Archive for the 'Microsoft' Category



Which product launch was a bigger disaster: Microsoft’s Surface or Amazon’s Fire Phone?

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 11:51 pm
Which product launch was a bigger disaster: Microsoft’s Surface or Amazon’s Fire Phone?

Above: Amazon's new phone will, of course, have games.

Image Credit: Mark Sullivan/VentureBeat

Back when Jeff Bezos was first unveiling Amazon’s Fire Phone in June, he may have been preparing the world for the disaster the lay ahead. At the start of his presentation, calling on his inner philosopher, Bezos explained:

“You can fill a bucket with an eyedropper, if the bucket doesn’t leak.”

Well, Grasshopper is perhaps now learning that the bucket can also be filled with his employees’ tears. Or maybe the lesson is that the bucket is leaking and needs duct tape? Or that you need a bigger eyedropper? Sorry, it’s still hard to understand the metaphor.

In any case, years of work on an Amazon smartphone led to the painful revelation yesterday that the company is taking a $170 million write-off because of unexpectedly low sales.

This, of course, calls to mind another recent hardware launch that flopped: Microsoft’s Surface.

Now, if Amazon wants to take some comfort, it can look at Microsoft’s latest earnings, also announced yesterday, and see that the company reported revenue of $908 million from the Surface in Q1 2015, more than double from the same quarter a year ago.

Congratulations, Microsoft. It looks like the Surface is finally pulling down more quarterly revenue that Apple’s iPod. (In the June quarter, Apple reported $442 million in iPod revenue; the Surface was at $409 million.)

So, how does the Fire Phone’s start compare to the launch of the Surface?

Let’s consider some similarities. We’ll ignore the fact that both were made by companies from the Seattle area, because that would be unfair to the good people of Seattle.

Both gadgets were made by companies not known for hardware, though Microsoft did have almost a decade of building the Xbox behind it. It also had the Zune.

By technology standards, both gadgets were horrifically, horrendously late to whatever markets that their makers believed they were targeting. And both companies indulged their fantasy that, like Apple, they could charge premium prices for their hardware. Yet the Fire Phone and the Surface were criticized at the start for being too pricey.

Geez, it’s almost like the Fire Phone and Surface could be kissing cousins.

But what about the bottom line?

The Surface went on sale in October 2012. In July 2013, Microsoft announced to the shock of no one that sales had been lackluster. The company said it was taking a $900 million charge for unsold Surface tablets.

Now, Microsoft took that charge in the June quarter, which was the end of its 2013 fiscal year. So really, that probably accounts for non-sales going back the previous eight months.

Still, if you average that at a bit more than $100 million of non-sales per month, the Surface comes out ahead of the Fire Phone’s non-sales in its first quarter.

So, there. The Fire Phone does have something to brag about: We’re not as bad as the Surface!

Sounds like a great slogan for a t-shirt to us.


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Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where cu... read more »

Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft Up 3% After Reporting Better Than Expected FQ1 Revenue Of $23.20B, EPS Of $0.54

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 12:11 pm
microsoft-earnings After gaining more than 1 percent in regular trading, Microsoft reported its fiscal first quarter 2015 earnings: Revenue totaled $23.20 billion in the period, leading to profits of $0.54 per share. The revenue figure represents a 25 percent year-over-year increase, a large piece of which is due to the Nokia hardware acquisition. Read More



Microsoft sees Surface revenue soar to $908M in Q1 2015, Xbox console sales grow 102%

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 12:09 pm
Microsoft sees Surface revenue soar to $908M in Q1 2015, Xbox console sales grow 102%
Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

As part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings announcement, Microsoft today revealed Surface revenue soared to $908 million in Q1 2015, largely thanks to Surface Pro 3 momentum. At the same time, the company revealed total Xbox console sales grew 102 percent to 2.4 million units in the quarter.

In Q1 2014, Microsoft reported $400 million in Surface revenue, meaning it is starting this new fiscal year well, having more than doubled the figure (up 127 percent, to be exact). The company ended the last year with $409 million in Surface quarterly revenue.

surface_xbox_q1_2015

“Customers are embracing our latest technologies from Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 to Azure and SQL Server,” Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said in a statement. “Through great execution by our sales teams and our partners, we have been able to deliver our truly differentiated value to the marketplace.”

The growth of Xbox sales shouldn’t be too much of a surprise (its revenue also increased by 58 percent), given that the Xbox One launched in 28 new markets during the quarter. The company didn’t break out Xbox 360 and Xbox One numbers, likely because Sony’s PlayStation 4 is still winning the sales battle.

Last month, the PS4 once again outsold the Xbox One. That was the ninth consecutive month Microsoft had lost to Sony, according to market research firm NPD.

phone_q1_2015

Speaking of fighting a tough battle, Microsoft also sold 9.3 million Lumia phones in Q1 2015. That is a 5.6 percent increase from the record 8.8 million handset sales it saw in the same quarter last year.

At its very core, Microsoft is a software company. Yet these hardware results are nothing to dismiss. CEO Satya Nadella is trying to transform Redmond into a mobile-first and cloud-first company. With such a bold goal, hardware is just as important as software.


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft beats Q1 estimates with $23.2B in revenue, $4.54B in income

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 12:05 pm
Microsoft beats Q1 estimates with $23.2B in revenue, $4.54B in income

Above: Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella at the company's cloud press conference in San Francisco on Oct. 20.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

Things are looking up at Microsoft.

Today the company reported $4.54 billion in net income, or 54 cents per share in earnings, and $23.2 billion in revenue for the first quarter of its new fiscal year, beating analysts’ expectations of 49 cents in earnings per share and $22.02 billion in revenue.

That puts year-over-year revenue growth at 25.2 percent for the quarter.

And what a quarter it was for the tech giant, whose chief executive, Satya Nadella, not only announced a new vision for Microsoft to be “the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world” but also signaled that the company would cut as many as 18,000 jobs.

It was Nadella’s second full quarter as chief executive. Last time around, revenue barely beat expectations.

Today’s earnings report shows progress in cloud revenue, for both dedicated Microsoft applications and the company’s Azure cloud infrastructure. Commercial cloud revenue was up 128 percent, the company said.

That puts it ahead of Microsoft applications that customers can run on servers, like SharePoint and Lync. Growth for that category was merely in the double digits, according to today’s statement.

One challenging area for Microsoft: the evolution of the popular Office software from being solely a desktop product to one based in the cloud. Revenue for Office commercial products and services increased by just 5 percent “as customers transition to Office 365,” the company said in its earnings statement.

Surface revenue for the quarter came in at $908 million. And Xbox console sales were up 102 percent, Microsoft said. Microsoft also said it sold 9.3 million Lumia smartphones in FQ1 2015.

More detail on that and other subjects should come in the earnings call, beginning at 2:30 Pacific.


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Surface Revenue, Redux

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 11:03 am
screen-shot-2014-07-21-at-4-56-14-pm In about an hour, Microsoft will release the results of its most recent quarter, the first quarter of its fiscal 2015. The company is expected to report revenue of $22 billion, and earnings per share between $0.49 and $0.55, depending on which set of averaged estimates you trust. That will all come shortly. For now, let’s talk about Surface. Read More



Microsoft yields to Spotify, kills the free ad-supported Xbox Music Pass

Wednesday 22 October 2014 @ 2:47 pm
Microsoft yields to Spotify, kills the free ad-supported Xbox Music Pass
Image Credit: via Microsoft

Microsoft plans to shut down the free version of its Xbox Music Pass streaming service in December, the company announced today.

Xbox Music Pass is an on-demand streaming music service that’s more or less Microsoft’s version of Spotify, which it created to help lure customers into its Xbox media ecosystem. Previously, the company allowed people to listen to an ad-supported version of the service for free on computers running Windows 8.1 and the web (provided you logged in with a Microsoft account). After six months, Microsoft capped the amount of time you could spend listening to 10 hours. Now, however, the company is shifting its strategy.

“We are focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers,” Microsoft said in a new FAQ page regarding the shutdown of its ad-supported service. Those who wish to spend $10 per month can gain access the the entire service without ads or limitations on how long you can use it.

Microsoft declined to elaborate to VentureBeat on the reasoning behind ending its ad-supported Xbox Music Pass.

The move also comes suspiciously close to Spotify’s recent announcement that it will start offering a “Family” subscription plan, which offers a discount to people who want to have several members of their family use the service. As Spotify is the leader among streaming music services, it’s very possible that Microsoft decided the ad-supported Music Pass wasn’t likely to help grab more people into the service with the offer of free music.

Why? Well, Spotify also offers an ad-supported — albeit limited — on-demand version of its music service. So if Spotify users can spend another $5 to $10 to put family members on their account then there is even less of a chance those people will end up using competing music services like Xbox Music Pass. So, it really doesn’t make sense to keep up with the free version of Xbox Music Pass.

The ad-supported service will continue to operate until December when Microsoft will shut it down. The company notes that playlists created on Xbox Music as well as any songs purchased on the platform will remain available.

h/t WindowsCentral











Microsoft brings Outlook, OneDrive, & Office Online under one launcher

Wednesday 22 October 2014 @ 9:59 am
Microsoft brings Outlook, OneDrive, & Office Online under one launcher

Above: The new Outlook.com app launcher.

Image Credit: Microsoft

You no longer need to open a bunch of browser tabs to start using online applications from Microsoft like Office Online, Outlook.com, and OneDrive. Today Microsoft has word of an application launcher for its myriad services for consumers, where it will be easy to start using apps at the click of a button.

The tweak follows a similar redesign for applications in the Office 365 product line.

“We’re excited to say that launching apps is now the same, whether you’re using Office 365 at work, or attending to your personal life in Outlook.com,” James Shields, product marketing manager for Outlook.com, wrote in a blog post on today’s announcement. “Consistency just makes sense!”

Under the new arrangement, it’s even possible to go from Office Online to the dedicated desktop Word app on desktop and mobile devices, according to a blog post from Matt Gauthier, an Office Online senior program manager.











Microsoft and IBM partner to bring enterprise software to their respective cloud platforms

Wednesday 22 October 2014 @ 5:28 am

Microsoft and IBM today announced a partnership that will see the two companies bring their respective enterprise software to Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. The duo believes the relationship will help their respective clients, partners, and developers by offering more choice in the cloud.

The companies will let customers bring their own software licenses to the Microsoft and IBM clouds, with the goal of helping customers avoid extra costs. In turn, Microsoft and IBM hope to gain new business opportunities, spur innovation, and reduce costs.

More to follow.


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Microsoft’s smartwatch will be tightly integrated with enterprise systems

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 2:15 pm
Microsoft’s smartwatch will be tightly integrated with enterprise systems

Above: Above: Drawing of the Microsoft smartwatch from the patent application.

Image Credit: U.S. Patent Office

Reports over the weekend said that Microsoft will release its own entrant into the growing field of consumer smartwatches. If the reports are true (and some believe they aren’t), analysts are saying that Microsoft will be wise to integrate the new device tightly with Microsoft productivity tools in the workplace.

Rumors of the Microsoft watch have been swirling since last spring, and a Forbes story Sunday says the new watch will include a heartbeat sensor and will sync with phones using a number of operating systems, including iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

“My sources at Microsoft tell me that the watch will be deeply integrated with MS Outlook and services such as Lync,” Pascal Koenig of the Smartwatch Group in Zürich told VentureBeat. Lync is the messaging and voice communications piece of the Microsoft stack of services for the enterprise.

With the barrier between workplace technology and personal technology breaking down, users might buy the watch for work (or have it provided to them) and then begin using it for aspects of their personal life.

“In general, I believe the access to big corporations and an excellent understanding of business processes must be the focus of Microsoft to come up with a valuable product offering,” Koenig said.

Still, the question remains whether it makes sense for Microsoft to launch its own hardware, rather than coming up with software-based solutions.

“We are skeptical whether a critical number of people wants to wear a Microsoft-branded watch,” Koenig said. “However, the product may only be a showcase to get other hardware partners on board.”

This is what Google did by providing it’s Android Wear OS to its smartwatch-making partners.

Microsoft’s response to VentureBeat yesterday? “We do not comment on rumors … “

A move into smartwatches might make sense for Microsoft on a purely strategic level.

“In some ways Microsoft has more to gain than anybody because they have been a distant third in the smartphone race, so being able to move into wearables might allow them to establish a beachhead in this next wave of personal devices,” Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin told VentureBeat.

Rubin adds that an enterprise-focused smartwatch would fit in with the stated plans of CEO Satya Nadella, who has said that any new Microsoft products will have to pass a validity test for use in that environment.

“Of course some of that will have to cross over into personal productivity, because there’s only so many smartwatches people can wear,” Rubin says.

If a new Microsoft watch does show up before the holiday season (a goal Apple could not meet with its Watch), we’ll likely know on first sight if the device looks good enough (and comes in enough styles) to be worn outside the workplace.


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft identifies PowerPoint security flaw that leaves all Windows versions vulnerable

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 1:52 pm
Microsoft identifies PowerPoint security flaw that leaves all Windows versions vulnerable

Above: A display at a Microsoft Windows press event in San Francisco on Sept. 30.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

Microsoft’s “Security Response Center” today highlighted a new PowerPoint bug that affects all supported versions of the Windows operating system (save for Windows Server 2003). But fear not: Microsoft has a temporary solution to the problem.

“A cyberattacker could cause remote code execution if someone is tricked into opening a maliciously crafted PowerPoint document that contains an infected Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) file,” Tracey Pretorius, director of the response communications team, explained in a blog post today. An attacker can receive the same user rights as the person currently using the system, according to a summary of the issue.

Customers can use Microsoft’s fix-it option for a holdover until Microsoft releases an official patch, which will affect personal computer owners as well as companies that run Windows on the servers in their data centers.

“We continue to work on a security update to address this cyberattack,” Pretorius wrote. “We’re monitoring the threat landscape very closely and will continue to take appropriate action to help protect our global customers.”

The announcement follows a few recent Linux-related security vulnerabilities, including Poodle and Heartbleed.



Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











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