microsoft

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet is on sale from Saturday, costing 50 per cent more than its equivalent Windows RT forerunner – from $900 rather than $600 in the US for the 64Gb versions.

At first glance, the two look identical in their size and dark titanium design, but Microsoft is providing quite a few more features for the money. Whether they are enough to justify this price for a tablet is debatable. A review after the jump. Read more

If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

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Chris Nuttall

Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.

But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories. Read more

The FT’s latest ebook is about Amazon and its voracious expansion from online book retailer into technological giant.

Is the company a force for good? Can it justify its current stock price? Why does Amazon compete with the companies it provides services to? Will Amazon agree to pay more tax in the UK as Starbucks just agreed to do?

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Q&A. If you have further questions, please post them to Twitter using #FTAmazon. Barney Jopson, the FT’s US retail correspondent, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, global media editor, will answer them here as soon as possible. Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

A mere two weeks after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised many when it announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows. While many tech observers noted a parallel between Sinofsky’s exit and Apple’s recent management shakeup, others pointed out that chief executive Steve Ballmer could be the next target. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In a week of big numbers for a previously slumping video game industry, Activision has come up with the biggest one of all – $500m in sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in its first 24 hours.

On Monday, Microsoft announced $220m in first-day sales for Halo 4 and then revealed, on the 10th anniversary of Xbox Live on Thursday, that a record 442m hours were played on it last week. Meanwhile, Sony announced sales of the PlayStation 3 had passed 70m and Nintendo expects the Wii U to sell out when it goes on sale in the US this weekend. Read more

Will Windows 8 turn out to be Microsoft’s “New Coke”?

Messing around with one of the world’s most familiar everyday products is hardly something to be undertaken lightly – and with the new version of Windows, which goes on sale on Friday, there has been a lot of messing around. That almost guarantees some degree of user backlash. But it would be wrong to judge the outcome of what amounts to a bet-the-farm gamble by Microsoft on its initial reception.

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Richard Waters

If you’re one of those people who has been dying to use Excel or Word on a touch-optimised tablet, your wait is over. But that may not be enough to justify paying a premium for a device that is both Microsoft’s first foray into personal computing hardware as well as the flagship for the new Windows 8.

Try, for a moment, to put comparisons with the iPad out of your mind (admittedly not so easy on the day that Apple has just shown off the new iPad mini and a souped-up 10in version). The Surface, which goes on sale on Friday, deserves to be judged on its own terms: as a tablet that is designed to function equally well as a notebook PC. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has announced its Surface tablet, due to go on sale next week with the launch of Windows 8, will be priced from $499 in the US.

The initial Surface tablets will have Windows RT installed – a version of Windows 8 designed for Arm-based processors – and will come in three versions. Read more

Microsoft office on microsoft surface

Microsoft Office 2013
Rating: 4/5

It may seem hard to think of getting touchy-feely with a spreadsheet or sociable with a word processor but a more connected, collaborative, mobile, app-ified version of Microsoft Office seems set on converting us to new ways of working.

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The way in which a new product is unveiled can sometimes be just as important as the product itself. However, in Microsoft’s case this week, a few hiccups didn’t appear to distract some tech commentators from writing glowing reviews of the company’s tablet computer, Surface, announced on Monday.  Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has announced Xbox SmartGlass, a new way of transferring content from smartphones and tablets to a TV, using its home console.

When movies and other media are moved to the TV, the phone or tablet becomes a second screen on the couch, offering more information on what is being shown. Microsoft also announced the long-awaited introduction of its Internet Explorer browser to Xbox, tight integration with devices running the new Windows 8 operating system and a revamped music service. Details from its press conference on the eve of the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles are after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Just in time for the big computer show of the year – Computex in Taiwan next week – Microsoft is announcing a new version of Windows 8 and its longtime partner Intel has launched new versions of its latest Ivy Bridge-codenamed Core processors.

Both seem certain to be featured in new Ultrabooks later this year, although models unveiled at Computex will still feature Windows 7 and be Windows 8-ready, judging by briefings by PC manufacturers ahead of the show. Read more

Google drive

Apple has accumulated 125m users of its iCloud service just six months after the launch. But while it does a great job of saving and moving photos and music between different Apple devices, it is less agile with documents, video and non-Apple products – a weakness that three updated services are exploiting.

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Richard Waters

Microsoft just wrote the final chapter in a historic rivalry that defined the early years of the Web – and which became Exhibit A in its anti-trust showdown with the US government.

We hear that the legal remains of Netscape – along with its patents – have just been traded to Microsoft by AOL as part of a landmark $1.1bn deal. More than a decade after it was vanquished in the browser wars, Netscape really does seem to be worth more dead than alive. Read more

Richard Waters

It’s the weekend. What better time to pour a glass of wine, put your feet up and settle back with… a 9,000-word blog post about the future of Windows?

Not this post (which comes in at a mere 300 words) – this one, from Steven Sinofsky, which lays out Microsoft’s plans for bringing Windows to ARM-based mobile devices. But don’t worry: there’s no reason to read the whole thing to see why it’s got Microsoft-watchers buzzing. Read more

Richard Waters

Microsoft, which often lobbies intensively behind the scenes against Google, has for the first time taken its campaign into print. It began a three-day series of adverts in US newspapers on Wednesday taking aim at Google’s latest moves to integrate its services and standardise its privacy policies.

The message: You can no longer trust Google to put its users first. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Talks between media companies and Microsoft over the software giant’s online subscription service has been put on hold, it was reported on Reuters.

The technology giant had been in intense talks with potential programming partners for over a year and was hoping to roll out the Netflix-style service in the next few months. But it pulled back after deciding that the licensing costs were too high for the business model Microsoft envisaged, people familiar with the discussions said. Read more

Nokia Lumia 710

Microsoft is set to give a concerted push to its smartphone software this week as it kicks off its latest attempt to claw back lost ground from Apple and Google.

Despite rising anticipation on Wall Street, however, the software company is not ready to take the wraps off a new version of Windows, according to a person familiar with its plans. Windows 8, expected to be launched this year, is designed to work with touchscreen tablets as well as PCs.

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Tech news from around the web:

Microsoft, a 20-year stalwart of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, has decided to pull out of the event after the 2012 show in January, the Los Angeles Times reports. The company, whose keynote address has been one of the main highlights of the show, said it felt that it would be better to make announcements on its own time. Read more