Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.
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May 17, 2013 at 7:55 PM
New Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood is getting about 186,000 shares of Microsoft stock as part of her compensation package, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
At today’s share price, that comes to about $6.5 million. Part of the stock award will vest over three years; the remaining will vest over four.
Hood’s base salary is $570,000 a year, according to a Microsoft spokesman, saying it’s company practice to have the vast majority of its top executives’ compensation be in the form of stock awards “so that their interests align with shareholders’.”
Hood’s predecessor, Peter Klein, received $580,000 in base salary, $950,000 in bonus and $3.6 million in stock awards last fiscal year, according to the company’s proxy statement filed last October.
May 16, 2013 at 9:15 AM
Windows Phone is slowly but definitely increasing its market share, according to figures from several research firms released this week.
Now the latest comes from IDC, which shows Windows Phone’s worldwide shipment market share increasing from 2 percent in the first quarter of last year to 3.2 percent this year. That’s enough of a jump to vault over BlackBerry, which IDC says had a 2.9 percent market share in the first quarter of 2013.
According to the IDC news release:
Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year gain among the leading operating systems, more than doubling its size from a year ago. Nokia was largely responsible for driving these volumes higher, accounting for 79.0% of all Windows Phone shipments during the quarter. Since Nokia began shipping Windows Phone devices, the company has shipped a total of 20.3 million units and grown the footprint worldwide to include address multiple market segments.
Research firm Gartner released its smartphone share figures earlier this week — though it counts sales rather than shipments. Gartner had Microsoft’s smartphone platform at a 2.9 percent share in the first quarter — not quite enough to overtake BlackBerry, which had 3 percent.
Here’s IDC’s chart:
May 15, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Google has demanded that Microsoft remove the YouTube app that Microsoft developed for Windows Phone 8, saying the app violates YouTube’s terms of service by, among other things, not displaying ads.
That’s according to a report in The Verge, which says it obtained a copy of Google’s cease-and-desist letter to Microsoft.
According to the letter, Google says the app allows users to download videos from YouTube, prevents the display of ads in YouTube video playbacks and plays videos that have been restricted from playback on certain platforms.
“These features directly harm our content creators and clearly violate our Terms of Service,” Google said in the letter. “Content creators make money on YouTube by monetizing their content through advertising. Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube.”
Google has requested that Microsoft remove the app from the Windows Phone Store and disable existing downloads of the app by May 22.
We’ve asked Microsoft and Google for comment and will post any responses here.
[Update 3:54 p.m.: Microsoft sent the following statement:
YouTube is consistently one of the top apps downloaded by smartphone users on all platforms, but Google has refused to work with us to develop an app on par with other platforms. Since we updated the YouTube app to ensure our mutual customers a similar YouTube experience, ratings and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs. In light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers.]
This is the latest in a series of ongoing disputes between the two companies. The two tech titans have been battling over everything from patents to privacy issues to interoperability.
Earlier today, Google CEO Larry Page, speaking at its Google I/O developer conference, said: “We struggle with companies like Microsoft.” He was talking about how, earlier this week, Microsoft had announced it was rolling out Google chat capabilities to Outlook.com, but that it did not give Google Chat users access to Outlook.com, according to a CNET report.
May 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM
Continuing its slow, steady climb in search engine share, Microsoft sites (primarily Bing) broke the 17 percent barrier in April, garnering 17.3 percent of U.S. searches in April, according to research firm comScore.
That’s up from a 16.9 percent share in March and 15.4 percent share in April 2012.
Yahoo’s search share also went up — with the combined total share increase from Microsoft and Yahoo corresponding exactly to how much Google’s share went down.
Here’s comScore’s chart:
May 14, 2013 at 5:13 PM
Surrounded by students and teachers from Rainier Beach High School, along with representatives from the high-tech industry, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill today allowing Advanced Placement Computer Science course to count toward the state’s high school math and science graduation requirements.
AP Computer Science has, since its inception, been an elective, said State Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge. Having it count toward graduation requirements is one step toward getting and training more students in the field — one that industry leaders says is facing a shortage of qualified workers.
“We live in a state that is a national leader when it comes to information technology,” said Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft, who spoke at the event. “Yet we have jobs that have been open for months…. We are not producing people with the skills needed to fill them.”
Pushing for changes in education and education funding for math, science and technology jobs is one part of a push Microsoft is making in contending with what it and other high-tech leaders say is a sizeable gap between supply and demand for high-tech workers. The other part is pushing to raise the limits on H-1B visas for foreign qualified high-tech workers.
May 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM
Microsoft’s tiny share of the worldwide smartphone market got a wee bit bigger, according to research firm Gartner, which reports that in the first quarter this year, Microsoft’s share of worldwide smartphone sales was 2.9 percent. That’s up from 1.9 percent last year.
The real gainer among smartphone operating systems was Android, which saw its smartphone share zoom from 56.9 percent last year to 74.4 percent first quarter this year.
Apple iOS’s share declined from 22.5 percent to 18.2 percent.
Samsung and Apple were, by far, the top two vendors.
Here’s Gartner’s chart:
May 14, 2013 at 7:49 AM
The upcoming Windows 8 update, known up to now by the codename “Windows Blue,” will officially be called “Windows 8.1,” Windows marketing and financial chief Tami Reller said today.
She also said Windows 8.1 will be delivered as a free update to Windows 8 and Windows RT, adding that update will be easy to get directly from the Start screen and from the Windows app store.
A preview version of Windows 8.1 will debut June 26 at the company’s annual Build conference for developers, and will be available for download.
Reller did not give a specific date for when the final version of 8.1 will be generally available but said it would be later this year and that the company is sensitive to the timing of getting hardware preloaded with Windows 8.1 out in time for the holidays.
“We understand when the holidays are,” she said.
May 14, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Microsoft is rolling out the ability for Outlook.com users to chat with friends on Gmail directly in the Outlook.com inbox, or via the user’s Microsoft account calendar, contact list and SkyDrive.com.
“We heard that some of you who switched over from Gmail still want to chat with friends” who are using Gmail, Douglas Pearce, group program manager for connected services, said in an official company blog post today.
The capability enables Outlook.com users to, for example, start a quick chat — text only; video chat is not supported — while reading an email from a friend using Gmail. Or, if a user is editing a document at the same time as a colleague who’s editing it via Google, they can chat or edit the document together in real time via SkyDrive.
Microsoft says it’s rolling out the capabilities over the next few days and that the chat capability should appear first in users SkyDrive and then in their Outlook.com inbox and People contacts page.
May 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Microsoft has been getting a bit of buzz for a series of online ads for Windows 8 that it released in Asia. The ads are weird and wacky (I’m kinda partial to the faceplanting makeup lady) — unlike any Windows 8 ads we’ve seen in the U.S. Another weird thing about them: They’re not in any language that we can recognize.
Those of us at The Seattle Times who speak Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese Chinese say it’s not in those languages.
Microsoft declined to say what language the ads are in, issuing only the statement that: “We created these online-only social videos for the Asian market, where they were well-received.”
So: Any of readers know what language is being spoken?
Here are the ads:
May 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Nokia is launching the Lumia 928, its newest high-end Windows Phone, on Thursday. The phone, which will be carried by Verizon, will sell for $99.99, after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract.
The phone, which will come in either black or white, has a 4.5-inch OLED screen with 1280 x 768 resolution and an aspect ratio of 15:9. It has a 1.5 GHz dual core, Qualcomm processor, a 8.7 megapixel camera with Xenon flash, and 32GB of internal memory.
For a limited time, the phone will also come with a $25 credit for the Windows Phone store, which Microsoft says now has 145,000 apps and games.
ZDNet has a good comparison of the 928 and the Lumia 920.
It’s a busy month for Nokia’s Lumia line. In addition to this latest version of a flagship Windows Phone, Nokia is also launching the entry-level Lumia 521 in Wal-Mart and T-Mobile stores.