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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.

Category: Xbox 360
May 7, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Microsoft to buy game company BigPark

Microsoft is acquiring BigPark, an interactive online gaming company based in Vancouver, B.C., according to a news release. BigPark will be folded into Microsoft Game Studios to develop a game for Xbox 360. The two have been working on the game together for the past year. The Vancouver company was founded by executives from Distinctive Software…


Comments | More in Games & entertainment, Xbox 360

March 20, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Repaired Xbox 360 finally reaches Nome

Xbox in Nome.JPG In the end, Microsoft’s customer service reps came through, though not with out a lot of haranguing on the part of the Gallehers of Nome, Alaska.

The family’s quest to get their Xbox 360 console repaired under warranty — which I first wrote about last week — ended Thursday after a full two months of frustrating calls, e-mails and a letter to the company’s top executives. A repaired console arrived at their home in the small town where the Iditarod Sled Dog Race ends via UPS delivery man Al Burgo (pictured).


Comments | More in Games & entertainment, Miscellaneous, Xbox 360

March 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Woman struggles to prove to Microsoft’s Xbox service agents that Nome, Alaska, exists

Kim Galleher’s nightmare may be coming to an end. The Nome, Alaska, mother has been trying since mid-February to get Microsoft to send her a shipping box so she could return her 13-year-old son’s Xbox 360, which died of the Red Ring of Death in the depths of winter when going outside to play wasn’t really an option. Microsoft extended the warranty on the Xbox 360, including shipping costs, in summer 2007, responding to what it called an “unacceptable” rate of hardware failures. But representatives at the company’s repair center could not find a way to ship an empty box to Nome for the Gallehers to send back the game console for repair. Their address wasn’t recognized, probably because the town of about 3,500 people on the remote Seward Peninsula has only post office boxes. And so began a month-long back-and-forth with Microsoft agents, nearing a dozen contacts, that starts to read like an Abbott and Costello routine, or an episode of the Twilight Zone, as Galleher put it.


Comments | More in Games & entertainment, Hardware, Miscellaneous, Xbox 360

February 24, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Microsoft Strategic Update: Ballmer tells Wall Street more dramatic cost cutting would be ‘imprudent’

With Microsoft’s Redmond campus largely emptied out for the winter holidays, CEO Steve Ballmer crunched the numbers on the proper level of spending for his company against the current economic climate, which he has repeatedly referred to as a “reset” rather than just a recession. Ballmer said his own estimates for the weakness and duration of the downturn tend to be more severe than those of other business leaders he meets.

With that in mind, he settled on $27.5 billion of operating expenses — a level the company aims to hold relatively steady through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and during its 2010 fiscal year. Ballmer made clear to financial analysts meeting in New York this morning for the company’s annual strategic update that cutting back even more significantly — say to $20 billion — would be “imprudent.”

“I think this is right,” Ballmer said.

That should give some comfort to those wondering if the modest layoffs Microsoft announced last month were the beginning of a more significant reduction. Wall Street analysts and investors are pressuring companies in every industry to continue cutting costs as sales and profits slow dramatically.

The strategic update call just came to an end. Ballmer gave a detailed look at seven major business areas for the company. Check back here later this morning for more details.

Update, 7:50 a.m.: As he told Congressional Democrats earlier this month, Ballmer said Microsoft’s corporate strategists have been evaluating past downturns — particularly those driven by “deleveraging.” The team read company annual reports from 1927 to 1938 to determine who did a good job managing through the Great Depression. “RCA, God rest them in peace, became our role model,” Ballmer said. The company was able to dominate the television business because it continued to invest during bad times, he said.

Then he broke down how Microsoft plans to invest.


Comments | More in Advertising, Apple, Enterprise, Financial, Games & entertainment, Google, Microsoft layoffs, Mobile, Office, Online services, Open source, Search, Server and tools, Steve Ballmer, Strategy, Tech Economy, Windows, Windows 7, Windows Azure, Windows Mobile, Xbox 360, Yahoo acquisition, Zune

February 23, 2009 at 5:15 AM

Microsoft news roundup: New work force training program; Severance benefits overpaid; More than half of Xbox 360 users pay for Live subscription

Microsoft on Sunday launched Elevate America, a multi-part work force training effort starting in partnership with three states, including Washington. The program, billed as an expansion of existing job-training efforts, “provides immediate support in response to the current economic crisis,” the company said in a statement. Starting immediately, job seekers can learn what skills they need for technology jobs and how to get them at a new Web site that starts with the basics, such as sending e-mail, and moves up to specific Microsoft programs. The three-year effort also includes vouchers for access to the company’s eLearning courses and selected certification exams. See this story by my Seattle Times colleague Linda Shaw for more details.


Comments | More in Compensation, Employee benefits, News roundup, Public policy & issues, Xbox 360

January 7, 2009 at 11:55 PM

CES: Q&A with Microsoft entertainment boss Robbie Bach

LAS VEGAS — Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, talked about layoffs (“you won’t hear us comment”), the great 2008 for Xbox and its impact on profitability, Microsoft’s deal with Verizon Wireless (creating a good mobile search experience is the key), where entertainment fits in Microsoft’s mobile strategy and more. Read on for a condensed transcript of my conversation with him Wednesday afternoon.


Comments | More in Consumer Electronics Show, Games & entertainment, Mobile, Music, Personalities, Xbox 360, Zune

December 11, 2008 at 3:55 PM

‘Gears of War 2’ sells 1.56 million units, powers record November for Xbox 360

Microsoft’s blockbuster first-party title for the holidays, “Gears of War 2,” was the best-selling game last month, helping the company’s Xbox 360 business turn in its best November yet. Microsoft moved 836,000 consoles in the U.S. compared with Sony, which sold 378,000 PlayStation 3s. But the big winner, according to NPD Group data released this afternoon, was Nintendo and its 2.04 million Wiis sold.


Comments | More in Games & entertainment, Nintendo, Sony, Xbox 360

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