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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.

Topic: apple

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February 17, 2015 at 9:20 AM

Microsoft, Apple, broaden access to their productivity apps

Cooperation is the word of the day in office applications.

Apple recently opened up its iWork word processing and spreadsheet applications to consumers who don’t own an iPhone or Mac. On Tuesday, Microsoft continued its own effort to broaden the reach of Office, announcing that users of the productivity suite on Apple devices will be able to store their documents with a variety of cloud storage providers.

“We want Office to be the preferred way to work with documents no matter where they’re stored,” Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer said in a blog post.

Koenigsbauer also announced a program allowing users of cloud services like Citrix, Salesforce.com and Box to edit and save Office files stored on those platforms.

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Comments | More in Office | Topics: apple, microsoft, office

January 27, 2015 at 4:44 PM

Apple, Microsoft going opposite ways in China

Microsoft and Apple are having very different weeks.

The same day Microsoft’s stock plunged the most in 18 months on a middling earnings report and gloomy outlook, old rival Apple released a spectacularly good earnings report. The Cupertino, Calif., company earned more profit in the last three months of 2014 than any publicly traded company has ever reeled in during a quarter.

Microsoft sold $26.5 billion in software and devices, taking home $5.8 billion of that in profit. Apple, propelled by sales of its iPhone 6, logged sales of $74.6 billion, and a profit of $18 billion.

Nowhere is the contrast between the rivals clearer than their diverging fates in China.

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Comments | More in Apple | Topics: apple, china, iphone

January 7, 2015 at 11:07 AM

iPhone 6 boosts Apple at the expense of Google, Microsoft

How successful has the iPhone 6 been? Apple’s new flagship blew past not only Microsoft’s struggling smartphone unit, but also helped push Google’s Android to its first setback in the U.S. in more than a year.

Apple’s iOS powered 47 percent of the smartphones sold in the U.S. during the three months through November, according to data researcher Kantar Worldpanel’s ComTech division, from 43 percent a year earlier.

The share of smartphones that run Google’s Android fell to 48 percent of sales from 50 perecent, the first decline since September 2013.

Windows Phone fell to 3 percent, from 4.6 percent.

Things don’t look much better for Microsoft internationally, despite the larger footprint Nokia has historically had outside the U.S.

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Comments | More in Mobile | Topics: apple, google, microsoft

January 6, 2015 at 2:47 PM

Fitness trackers go mainstream. Smartwatches? Too soon to tell

Will 2015 be the year of wearable technology? (Or was it 2014? 2013?)

No matter, says Weston Henderek, who tracks the devices for data analysis firm NPD Group. One corner of the wearable device market, fitness trackers, has clearly gone mainstream: wearable fitness trackers.

“These things have really started to take off among users that aren’t fitness fanatics,” Henderek said.

An NPD survey found that fitness trackers, brought into the public consciousness in the past few years with products released by the likes of Fitbit and Nike, are owned by roughly 10% of U.S. adults (though Henderek points out a good chunk of users tend to stop using the devices after a month or two).

Microsoft jumped on the wearable fitness tracker bandwagon in October with its Band

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Comments | More in Devices | Topics: apple, microsoft, microsoft band

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%.

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December 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Apple, Microsoft-backed patent group cashes out as legal wrangling cools

The battle over smartphone patents continues to migrate from the courtroom to whatever room licenses are negotiated in.

The Rockstar Consortium, an Apple-led group formed in 2011 to buy Nortel Networks’ patents, will sell the bulk of those to RPX, a patent clearinghouse that acquires the rights to intellectual property to license to its members. RPX plans in turn to license those patents to a group of more than 30 companies, including Cisco and Google.

Rockstar, which in addition to Apple includes Microsoft, BlackBerry and Sony, spent $4.5 billion for the 6,000 patents auctioned by bankrupt Canadian telecom giant Nortel. Rockstar transferred about 2,000 of those patents to individual consortium companies, and spent the years since then licensing the remaining set to the wider tech world and taking to court those who allegedly used the technology without properly paying for it.

That hefty price tag Rockstar originally paid kept the patents out of Google’s hands, and also beat a bid by RPX. (Google memorably offered pi and other mathematical constants in its own attempt to buy the patents)

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Comments | More in Intellectual property | Topics: apple, google, microsoft

July 15, 2014 at 4:09 PM

What does Apple and IBM’s partnership mean for Microsoft?

Apple and IBM announced today a partnership to create new business apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Specifically, the companies are promising to bring more than 100 industry-specific apps and IBM big data and cloud services (including device management, security, analystics and mobile integration) to iOS devices. IBM is also offering new packages for device activation, supply and management, while Apple is offering service and support more tailored to enterprise needs.

So what does the deal mean for Microsoft, which has a strong presence in the enterprise but is still battling to get its smartphones and tablets into the hands of more business users?

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Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: apple, ibm, tablets

May 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Gartner: Windows Phone’s worldwide share goes up to 3 percent

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…

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April 15, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Microsoft reportedly working on a smartwatch (again)

Microsoft has a history of coming out with products that are either before their time or whose execution or price don’t jibe with consumers. Tablets or slates — used with styluses – were one such idea. So were smartwatches, known within Microsoft as SPOT — Smart Personal Objects Technology — Watches, that allowed subscribers to get…

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