Ballmer plans to cash out 75 million Microsoft shares by year end

November 6th, 2010 at 12:45 PM  No Comments

While he will remain Microsoft’s second biggest shareholder, Steve Ballmer has begun selling off a good chunk of his shares and intends to do more before the end of the year. This week alone he’s shed over 49 million shares of common stock, netting him around $1.3 billion dollars. The remaining 26 million could go soon and net him just another half billion.

It’s the first time since 2003 Ballmer has cashed out his shares. That sell off brought Ballmer around $1.6 billion.

Bill Gates remains the biggest shareholder at Microsoft, owning around 7% of the company. Ballmer still owns around 4% of the giant. Gates himself cashed out around 3 million shares recently, probably to finance the purchase of more mosquitoes.

via CNET

Companies react to offering up Security Essentials through Microsoft Update

November 6th, 2010 at 12:12 PM  1 Comment

You know you’re probably doing something right when three of your biggest competitors start acting like the world has come to an end. In this case, it’s Microsoft versus the anti-virus world.

While we like to stress the importance of anti-virus products on all platforms, they’re sort of like insurance companies. Their products are usually expensive and bloated, and when you really need them most of the time they’re not that effective. Microsoft’s Security Essentials product is arguably one of the best anti-virus products on the market, and it’s free, and it’s got traditional vendors like Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro scared. Even more so now that Microsoft has begun distributing the software to users directly through it’s Microsoft Update service.


Microsoft admits iPad cutting into netbook sales

November 4th, 2010 at 12:16 PM  2 Comments

Does this really shock anyone?

Nick Eaton over at Seattle PI got Windows product manager Gavriella Schuster on record as saying that that the iPad is cutting into netbook sales:

“These are definitely getting cannibalized,” she said. “These are really a second device. But they are getting cannibalized.”

As they should. Netbooks, for the most part, have sucked. Under powered, small screens, stripped down Linux OS or Windows XP. Compared to the iPad or other tablets for similar price, who wouldn’t make that decision in favor of the iPad?

Internet Explorer 9 tops HTML5 benchmarks

November 1st, 2010 at 8:13 PM  No Comments

The W3C recently ran a comparison benchmark of HTML5 conformance among the beta’s of the 5 major browser engines, and (somewhat) shockingly, Internet Explorer has managed to come out on top.

Chrome 7 beta came in a pretty close second, followed by Firefox 4 beta. Opera and Safari trailed in last place. Pretty amazing to see Microsoft leading Google and Mozilla in standards compliance. It should be noted though that CSS3 functionality and compliance was not tested, nor was JavaScript, and that it’s the combination of those three pieces that continue to make up the modern web.

Still, nice to see Microsoft making some headway, even if it’ll probably only last for a little while.

via Neowin

Google sues the federal government for wanting to use Exchange

November 1st, 2010 at 6:35 PM  1 Comment

So the US Department of the Interior decides that it wants a new email system, and after consideration decides it wants to use Microsoft’s hosted Exchange platform.

Pretty straight forward, right?

Well, until Google decides that the DOI should have used Google Apps instead, and goes to sue the government for wanting to use Microsoft’s products. Nevermind the fact that Google doesn’t even have a GSA contract and cannot actually sell products to the federal government without one.

Google’s case makes it sound like they’re trying to protect the government from disaster by going with Microsoft’s product, providing a filing full of reasons why their platform is superior and Microsoft’s is run by idiots. Nevermind the fact that Google Apps has had it’s fair share of issues in the last few months (even in the last week) and that they’re constantly adding/changing/removing features that would probably not be welcome in a government setting.

via TechDirt


The problem with Windows Phone 7 and micro-SD

November 1st, 2010 at 5:54 PM  2 Comments

Microsoft doesn’t want you fiddling with your fancy Windows Phone 7 and its storage. Why? The micro-SD you choose is probably going to suck, at least according to Microsoft. However they’ll let your carrier pick a good one for you… as long as they’ll support it.

From Paul Thurott at Windows Phone Secrets:

The issue, apparently, is the micro-SD card format. The cards are unreliable and inconsistent, even between batches made by the same manufacturer, and in Microsoft’s tests, there was no way to “certify” that any would work properly. “Even with high end cards, we have seen wild differences in IO and performance,” he said. “There is just no standardization there.” Put simply, if you expand the storage in a compatible Windows Phone device, it may work, and it may not. “In most cases, users will have issues,” he told me.

However, at least one carrier, and it’s not one you’d expect, is taking a laissezfaire approach to the whole thing. With AT&T Senior Vice President of Devices Jeff Bradley telling customers:

The devices will support the addition of up to a 32GB class 2 (or higher) microSD card. You need to insert the card before you power up the device the first time so that the operating system can map it as available memory to maximize its utilization. This is outlined in the Quick Start Guide you receive in the box. I encourage you to read this before you launch the device the first time to have the best experience with a microSD card.

So Microsoft says don’t mess with it, and AT&T, of all companies, says go right ahead. The best advise we can give is to pick a card from a solid vendor like San Disk and see what happens… caveat emptor

Companies plan to stick with XP past 2014

November 1st, 2010 at 5:40 PM  1 Comment

Windows XP just won’t die. Like the living dead, it has come back to haunt Microsoft. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to kill it twice with Windows Vista and Windows 7, enterprise IT administrators have continued to allow it to run free on their systems and have no plans to stop.

According to Dimensional Research, 48% of companies surveyed say they plan to continue using Windows XP even after the 2014 date at which Microsoft will no longer support it. By 2014, Windows 8 should be out and Microsoft will be very close to plotting the release of Windows 9. But almost half of the enterprise world will still be on a nearly 14 year old operating system that by then will be four versions old.

Microsoft has already pushed back the drop dead date for Windows XP support multiple times and allowed OEMs to continue offering it on new PCs much longer than they should have. Microsoft contributed to their problem by not making Vista a functional upgrade for a lot of businesses. However, Microsoft has actually delivered some innovation and compelling reasons for total adoption of Windows 7, which is still at about 6% of businesses.

Is the problem that Windows XP is just so dang good that no one wants to move? That Vista and 7 were horrible? Or that the majority of system administrators are lazy?

via Computer World

Silverlight is dead, long live Silverlight

November 1st, 2010 at 2:00 PM  No Comments

Over the weekend we reported on a story based on an interview by Mary Jo Foley with Microsoft president Bob Mugulia. In this interview Mugulia made it sound like Microsoft would be backing off deploying Silverlight in the browser and focus it more on a mobile technology for building applications in Windows Phone 7.

Now it seems Mugulia is declaring the Silverlight is indeed still alive on the desktop and in a blog post is seeking to clarify Microsoft’s position:

During the conference, I gave an interview where, among other things, I talked about the great work we’re doing with Silverlight – in particular, support for Windows Phone 7, which we featured heavily at the conference. The interview was accurately reported. I understand that what I said surprised people and caused controversy and confusion. As this certainly wasn’t my intent, I want to apologize for that. I’d like to use this post to expand on what I said, and talk about the very important role Silverlight has going forward.

In the interview, I said several things that I want to emphasize:

  1. Silverlight is very important and strategic to Microsoft.
  2. We’re working hard on the next release of Silverlight, and it will continue to be cross-browser and cross-platform, and run on Windows and Mac.
  3. Silverlight is a core application development platform for Windows, and it’s the development platform for Windows Phone.

We haven’t yet publically announced a launch date for the next release of Silverlight, but we’ll talk more about it in the coming months.

via WinRumors

Will Bill Gates pull a Steve Jobs?

November 1st, 2010 at 12:50 PM  3 Comments

If you’re an Apple fanboy you already think Microsoft just rips off Apple’s ideas. However, David Milman at ComputerWorld has asked if it’s time for Bill Gates to pull a Steve Jobs and make a return to Microsoft?

Now granted, the departure of these two tech giants from their creations were under very different circumstances. Jobs was all but thrown out on the streets of Cupertino left to wander the scorched Earth through NeXT and Pixar. Meanwhile Gates stepped down from power at Microsoft leaving Steve Ballmer as CEO and later Ray Ozzie as CSA. Gates now spends his time unleashing mosquitoes on the unsuspecting public and convincing other super billionaires like Warren Buffett to give away their money.

And like when Jobs was removed from Apple, Microsoft has been on a decline since the departure of Gates. It’s stock has declined, it’s products have lost some of their edge (although a lot of that has changed with Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7) and their focus.

Some would argue that Ballmer should have lost his job after the failure of Windows Vista. I’m inclined to fall into that camp. But is Gates the best person for that job, again? Does Microsoft need fresh blood or does it just need its old blood back? We want to hear your thoughts.

Hotmail adds ‘Send As’ support, users say ‘meh’

November 1st, 2010 at 11:59 AM  No Comments

Microsoft has begun rolling out a new feature to Hotmail, allowing users to “Send As” another email account. While this is a welcomed feature and one that the lack of contributed to my migration to Gmail, it’s not exactly ground breaking new features.

In reality it’s just another example of Microsoft playing catch up to Google in terms of providing a fully functional web email client.

via The Windows Blog

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