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Microsoft Pri0

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 Matt Day.

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February 20, 2015 at 4:30 AM

Pri0 has moved

With the launch of our updated website, blogs at have moved. We’ll still be posting Microsoft-related news and analysis, which you can find here. As always, happy to hear comments, tips and suggestions at



December 29, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Apple trounces Samsung, Microsoft in Christmas smartphone, tablet activations

If you turned on a new smartphone or tablet in the week leading up to Christmas, chances are it was built built by Apple.

That’s according to a report by mobile analytics firm Flurry, which said the California giant accounted for fully 51.3% of the devices activated worldwide Dec. 19-25. Samsung came in second with a 17.7% share. Microsoft’s Nokia (or Lumia, after the ongoing rebranding) was third, with 5.8%.


Comments | Topics: apple, microsoft, samsung

January 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Microsoft hires Ari Mark for Xbox Entertainment

Microsoft has hired Ari Mark, a former AMC programming director, as head of unscripted programming for Xbox Entertainment Studios, according to Deadline Hollywood. Mark has been vice president of development at AMC, director of development at Embassy Row and manager of original programming and development at the Sundance Channel, according to his LinkedIn profile. At AMC,…


Comments | Topics: xbox, xbox entertainment studios

September 23, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Microsoft board OKs incentive payments to keep key leaders

Microsoft’s board has approved a compensation program to ensure that the company holds on to key leaders at a time when CEO Steve Ballmer has said he would be retiring within 12 months. Under the program, certain executives may be awarded stock grants to achieve certain company goals. Those goals include  “ensuring continuity of key leaders…



May 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

ITC rules Microsoft’s Xbox doesn’t infringe on Motorola patent

The U.S. International Trade Commission has decided to make final a judge’s preliminary ruling that Microsoft’s Xbox console does not infringe on a Motorola patent.

The decision brings to a close a case in which Motorola — now owned by Google — had sought an import ban into the U.S. of all Xbox consoles, claiming that certain technologies used in the Xbox violate Motorola’s patents. (Xbox console are manufactured mainly in China.)


Comments | Topics: google, itc, motorola

May 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Microsoft expands Windows Azure in Asia Pacific

Microsoft has been steadily growing its cloud business into one of its largest revenue-generating divisions. Now it’s expanding its footprint in the fast-growing cloud market in Asia.

The company announced Wednesday that, in partnership with Chinese data center services provider 21Vianet, a public preview of Windows Azure in China will be available on June 6.

That makes Microsoft the first multinational organization to make public cloud services available in China. (Currently, the major cloud providers in China are the China-based Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, according to 21Vianet.)


Comments | Topics: asia, australia, china

May 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Report: Microsoft thinking of purchasing Nook Media digital assets

Microsoft is thinking of buying the digital assets of Nook Media, the partnership between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft focusing on digital reading and digital education, according to a report in TechCrunch.

Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion, according to the TechCrunch report, which also says “Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year as it transitions to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on ‘third-party partner’ devices.” TechCrunch attributed the information to internal documents that it obtained and said those documents were not clear on whether the third-party devices would be Microsoft’s or not.

But given that Microsoft has confirmed it is working with manufacturers to make smaller Windows-based touch devices — devices that would presumably be smaller, lighter and thus friendlier to e-reading — it would make sense for the company to want to acquire digital content for such devices.


Comments | Topics: barnes & noble, nook, nook media

May 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Kinect Accelerator alum Freak’n Genius comes out with animation app — on iOS

The YAKiT app, from Seattle-based startup Freak'n Genius, allows users to animate mouths in photos and to record short messages. (Photo from Freak'n Genius)

The YAKiT app, from Seattle-based startup Freak’n Genius, allows users to animate mouths in photos and to record short messages. (Photo from Freak’n Genius)

Seattle-based Freak’n Genius was one of 11 companies chosen for the inaugural Kinect Accelerator, a Microsoft and TechStars incubation program for startups.

Now, Freak’n Genius is launching its first app — but on Apple’s  iOS rather than any Microsoft platform.

The app, called YAKiT, allows users to place an animated mouth — with a recorded short message — on any photo in their photo library. (Say, if you want to make your cat talk.) The app also allows users to search the Internet or Facebook for photos on which to place the animated mouth. (A demo video of YAKiT is posted below.) The app, which is free, launched Monday in the iTunes App Store.

Freak’n Genius’s original concept for a create-your-own-animation project used Microsoft’s Kinect motion- and voice-sensor. The reasons the company has since decided to move to iOS are at once unique to it but also shed some light on how Microsoft operates.



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