Microsoft earnings reports:
$7.6 billion write-off on Nokia, no big deal.
$1 billion Xbox writeoff, no big deal.
$900 million write-off for Surface RT, no big deal.
$6.2 billion write-off for Aquantive, no big deal.
Apple earnings reports:
Record profits, stock price takes a nose dive
Reddit user p4block spotted the new “Get Windows 10″ message on his Windows 8 computer earlier today. Other users, including those running Windows 7, confirmed they received the message too (shown below).
So let me get this straight. They ARE able to reach everybody to send them a free popup advertisement, but they are NOT able to reach those same people to send them a free upgrade (using the same mechanism) and they need your e-mail address. I can’t help but think that’s shady as hell.
One reason the chip giant cited for that weaker demand: a slowdown in companies upgrading from Windows XP systems. What’s particularly interesting about this is that the move away from the ancient OS helped drive some of Intel’s better results in 2014.
What that suggests is a potentially intractable problem for both Intel and Microsoft: businesses that still manage to operate fine, thank you very much, with an operating system that’s nearly 15 years old. It’s the desktop equivalent of the guy who still uses a flip phone and doesn’t care if you have an app that can identify a song on the radio in three seconds or can stream the Super Bowl live on your smartphone.
But it’s even worse, actually, because that inertia isn’t one guy: It’s firms with potentially dozens or hundred of employees that have their productivity disrupted while new systems are installed and training is implemented. Then there’s the issue of the need for an updated OS. What does Windows 7 or 8 (or 10) do that compels these stragglersto upgrade? If they’re fine with whatever version of Office they’re currently using, and have a decent enough web browser, then most workers are set (though maybe not overjoyed).
A lot of advice is thrown at women to be considered equals in the workplace — lean in, speak up, be confident, demand raises and promotions, don’t dress “slutty” — which in itself is problematic because it places the onus on women to correct the culturally entrenched male dominance in workplaces.
(Companies should be the ones working to demolish the “old boys club,” and putting practices into place including strict policies on sexual harassment, equal pay, mentorship and paid maternity and paternity leave, for starters.)
However, advice given by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hit a new level of terrible: Don’t ask for raises, trust that your “super powers,” “the system” and “karma” will get you what you want. I’m not sure what mystical world Nadella is living in, but I imagine that there, raises gallop magically into a woman’s bank account via a unicorn.
Update: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issued an apology, which an be read here.
Steve was too limited when he said it:
“The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”
Because, really. If you’re trying to rephrase something that came out inartfully the first time, don’t try to fit it into one tweet. Take up all the goddamn space you need so that it comes out better the second time. A petri dish has more culture than Microsoft..
Microsoft had a few internal builds calling it “Windows 9”, and they started testing all kind of third party software and ran in to this.
And that’s when they decided to call it Windows 10….
Late last night, Microsoft unveiled the next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 10. The company says that the new operating system is designed to run across a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, as well as tiny Internet of things devices. “Windows 10 will deliver the right experience at the right time on the right device,” Microsoft’s operating systems chief Terry Myerson said. However, Windows 10 isn’t fully designed yet. At the event, Microsoft demonstrated several new features of the operating system, but noted that this is just the scratch of the surface it plans to ship with the final version of Windows 10, which ships next year.
In that case, you’d better not install it on your surface, right?
Microsoft is to put some numerical distance between its poorly received Windows 8 operating system and its replacement by calling the new version Windows 10.
The new operating system, expected to be released next year, comes three years after the launch of Windows 8. It was announced at an event aimed at business users in Seattle.
“Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever,” Terry Myerson, head of the operating systems group, told the audience. “It wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9.”
It’s official, Windows 8 is a write-off . Sales for the operating system have been poor and now it is even starting to lose market share to Windows 7. To Microsoft MSFT credit it has bravely persisted addressing issue after issue. Most notable was the major Windows 8.1 Update 1 patch released in April which makes the OS a genuinely credible platform. Still it remains far from perfect and now Microsoft is prematurely pulling the plug.
In a blog post by Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc, he explains that there will be no more major update releases for Windows 8: “despite rumours and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 ‘Update 2’.”
Word has it that Windows XP, Vista, and 7 might be allowed to upgrade free of charge to Windows 9 in order to boost adoption of the new operating system and thus convince more users to upgrade. This would clearly help not only Microsoft, but also the PC industry, which is still struggling to boost sales despite the release of the Windows 8 modern operating system.
People who upgraded to windows 8 have been punished enough. Poor bastards.
Microsoft Corp must turn over a customer’s emails and other account information stored in a data center in Ireland to the U.S. government, a judge ruled on Thursday, in a case that has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies.
Microsoft and other U.S. companies had challenged the warrant, arguing it improperly extended the authority of federal prosecutors to seize customer information held in foreign countries.
Following a two-hour court hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said a search warrant approved by a federal magistrate judge required the company to hand over any data it controlled, regardless of where it was stored.
“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” Preska said.
So Microsoft can break US law by not handing them over, or European privacy laws by handing them over. Seems like this may be the end of off-shore data centers for US companies…
As a veteran of the aerospace industry, I’m very familiar with layoff notices. During the almost-decade I spent working for Boeing, I survived probably a dozen major reductions in force, and they all had two things in common: a plainly stated promise of an open and transparent process and a hilariously terrible lack of actual transparency.
Well, congratulations to Satya Nadella and the Microsoft HR and communications teams, because you’re stealing from the best—or maybe you all took the same course in corporate doubletalk and truthiness as part of your MBA programs. Microsoft this morning announced far and away the largest round of layoffs in its history, and Nadella’s e-mail drips with that familiar mixture of faux sympathy and non-information that is so typical of carefully managed corporate communication.
There’s a name for this kind of uninformative spin-talk: it’s known as “ducking and fucking.”
This, sadly, is not a Microsoft-specific issue; it’s standard all across not just the tech industry but essentially every large American company.
The first sentence of any story sets the tone—and look at the robo-sentence the Microsoft layoff notification e-mail starts off with:
Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction as a productivity and platform company.
Leading off with a sentence like this immediately creates distance between the reader and the speaker—the kind of distance necessary to dehumanize both parties so that the big blow to come hurts less. The corporate-speak continues with creaky euphemism after creaky euphemism, including using the phrase “workforce realignment” instead of simply saying “staff reduction” or “layoff.” People and corporations both use euphemisms to cloak unpleasantness; however, it’s much more honest and personal to simply speak the unadorned truth when dealing with people’s livelihoods. “We’re going to realign our work force” might sound a lot better than “we’re firing 18,000 people,” but the latter more properly informs employees that jobs are going to be lost and lives are going to be affected.
“synthesizing a strategic direction”, right? If you were up until that minute the person responsible for corporate strategic direction, that is the very last thing you care about. Because it has instantly become completely irrelevant to you. Forever. So, yeah, great way to start.
and don’t get me started on how you talk about Microsoft’s strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people “do more” and then listing XBox as an example.
Microsoft is offering a limited time Surface Pro 3 promotion via which users can get up to $650 in store credit for trading in certain Apple MacBook Air models.
The new promotion, running June 20 to July 31, 2014 — “or while supplies last” — requires users to bring MacBook Airs into select Microsoft retail stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. (The trade-in isn’t valid online.)
“while supplies last” is probably the least of their worries…
Here recently I run by the store on the way home to pick up some
milk. Was in a rush and left my Surface Pro on the front seat, in
When I came out, I discovered someone had broken into my car and
left three more Surface Pro’s
Microsoft is challenging the authority of federal prosecutors to force the giant technology company to hand over a customer’s email stored in a data center in Ireland.
The objection is believed to be the first time a corporation has challenged a domestic search warrant seeking digital information overseas. The case has attracted the concern of privacy groups and major United States technology companies, which are already under pressure from foreign governments worried that the personal data of their citizens is not adequately protected in the data centers of American companies.
Verizon filed a brief on Tuesday, echoing Microsoft’s objections, and more corporations are expected to join. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is working on a brief supporting Microsoft. European officials have expressed alarm.
In a court filing made public on Monday, Microsoft said that if the judicial order to surrender the email stored abroad is upheld, it “would violate international law and treaties, and reduce the privacy protection of everyone on the planet.”
Sounds very noble of Microsoft, but it would be more honest to say that if they lose this one, everybody will stop doing business with companies that operate in more than one jurisdiction. Which would kill them.
On Tuesday, we dusted off the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. With the help of the Computer History Museum, we are making this code available to the public for the first time.
Microsoft is not unique in claiming the right to read users’ emails – Apple, Yahoo and Google all reserve that right as well, the Guardian has determined.
The broad rights email providers claim for themselves has come to light following Microsoft’s admission that it read a journalist’s Hotmail account in an attempt to track down the source of an internal leak. But most webmail services claim the right to read users’ email if they believe that such access is necessary to protect their property.
Following Tuesday’s announcement that company vice president Satya Nadella had been named Microsoft’s new chief executive officer, many of the software giant’s older employees reportedly reminisced about an earlier era in the tech industry’s history when CEOs were so large they took up entire rooms. “When you look at our brand-new thin, mobile CEO, it’s hard to even imagine that these guys were once so gigantic that a warehouse-sized space was needed to hold one of them,” Microsoft senior developer Glenn Maloney told reporters, noting that despite Nadella’s impressive memory capabilities and ability to engage in complex operations, there was something “kind of charming” about relying on a bulky old CEO that weighed several tons and required an extended staff of engineers to maintain. “Sure, those giant executives were a little cumbersome and a whole lot slower, but I always liked being able to walk into a climate-controlled vault and see a humming CEO crunching numbers.” Maloney noted, however, that despite their difference in size and ability, tech CEOs of today were still essentially the same calculating, unfeeling machines underneath their exteriors.
The key role private companies play in National Security Agency surveillance programs is detailed in a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time on Friday.
One slide in the undated PowerPoint presentation, published as part of the Guardian’s NSA Files: Decoded project, illustrates the number of intelligence reports being generated from data collected from the companies.
In the five weeks from June 5 2010, the period covered by the document, data from Yahoo generated by far the most reports, followed by Microsoft and then Google.
Between them, the three companies accounted for more than 2,000 reports in that period – all but a tiny fraction of the total produced under one of the NSA’s main foreign intelligence authorities, the Fisa Amendents Act (FAA).
It is unclear how the information in the NSA slide relates to the companies’ own transparency reports, which document the number of requests for information received from authorities around the world.
Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies, and say they hand over data only after being forced to do so when served with warrants. The NSA told the Guardian that the companies’ co-operation was “legally compelled”.
Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset—a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies—at an auction in 2011.
Google bid for the patents, but it didn’t get them. Instead, the patents went to a group of competitors—Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name “Rockstar Bidco.” The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion.
Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a “responsible” party.
This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.
Google probably knew this was coming. When it lost out in the Nortel auction, the company’s top lawyer, David Drummond, complained that the Microsoft-Apple patent alliance was part of a “hostile, organized campaign against Android.” Google’s failure to get patents in the Nortel auction was seen as one of the driving factors in its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola in 2011.
Rockstar, meanwhile, was pretty unapologetic about embracing the “patent troll” business model. Most trolls, of course, aren’t holding thousands of patents from a seminal technology company. When the company was profiled by Wired last year, about 25 of its 32 employees were former Nortel employees.
The suits filed today are against Google and seven companies that make Android smartphones: Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE. The case was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, long considered a district friendly to patent plaintiffs.
Steve Ballmer, 2007:
Right now we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year.
Steve Ballmer, a few months later:
It’s sort of a funny question. Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.
Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.
Steve Ballmer, yesterday:
Mobile devices. We have almost no share.
And talking about 6 years of mobile phone history, ouch.
In the case of Microsoft, according to the engineers, the requests came in the course of multiple meetings with the FBI. These kinds of meetings were standard at Microsoft, according to both Biddle and another former Microsoft engineer who worked on the BitLocker team, who wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.
“I had more meetings with more agencies that I can remember or count,” said Biddle.
Biddle said these meetings were so frequent, and with so many different agencies, he doesn’t specifically remember if it was the FBI that asked for a backdoor. But the anonymous Microsoft engineer we spoke with confirmed that it was, in fact, the FBI.
During a meeting, an agent complained about BitLocker and expressed his frustration.
“Fuck, you guys are giving us the shaft,” the agent said, according to Biddle and the Microsoft engineer, who were both present at the meeting. (Though Biddle insisted he didn’t remember which agency he spoke with, he said he remembered this particular exchange.)
Biddle wasn’t intimidated. “No, we’re not giving you the shaft, we’re merely commoditizing the shaft,” he responded.
Whoa. Big news from the middle of the night. According to Nokia, Microsoft will purchase “substantially” all of Nokia’s device and service arms as well as licensing the phone maker’s patents and mapping know-how. The Redmond company will pay Nokia a cool 3.79 billion euros ($4.99 billion) for the business, and 1.65 billion euros ($2.18 billion) for its patent armory.
Microsoft hopes that allying with its biggest Windows Phone manufacturer will speed up growth (and improve its smartphone market share) — the company is already promising “increased synergies”. CEO Steve Ballmer added: “It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services.”
Just a few short years ago this would have been unthinkable…
The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency’s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.
The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.
And in the article, you can find Google basically admitting as much:
Google did not answer any of the specific questions put to it, and provided only a general statement denying it had joined Prism or any other surveillance program. It added: “We await the US government’s response to our petition to publish more national security request data, which will show that our compliance with American national security laws falls far short of the wild claims still being made in the press today.”
Falling short of “wild claims” is very easy…
Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor.