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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: microsoft

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February 4, 2015 at 8:10 AM

Nadella wraps up first year as Microsoft CEO

Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2014. (Photo by Microsoft)

Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2014. (Photo by Microsoft)

Corrected version 

Satya Nadella’s first year at the helm of Microsoft is in the books.

A year ago today, Microsoft completed its six-month search for Steve Ballmer’s successor, announcing Nadella’s appointment as the company’s third chief executive.

Microsoft officials have hinted that the company won’t throw a giant party or anything for the anniversary. So, pending any surprise on that front, here are some of the highlights of Nadella’s first year in charge:

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February 3, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Yahoo gains search share as Firefox deal bears fruit

Yahoo’s share of search traffic has climbed into double-digits, gaining at Google’s expense after that search giant lost its place as the default tool for the Firefox browser.

Data that StatCounter released Monday show Google’s share of U.S. search traffic — excluding searches on mobile devices — in January dropped below 75 percent for the first time since it started recording the data in 2008. 

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February 2, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Microsoft hires Adobe designer Michael Gough

Microsoft has hired Adobe executive Michael Gough to lead design efforts for its Web-based version of Office and other products.

As Adobe’s vice president of experience design, Gough worked on the design of the company’s digital pen and ruler for touchscreen devices, among other projects. Before joining Adobe in 2005, he was a vice president of brand design at Nike, chief creative officer at Quokka Sports, and founder of Construct Internet Design.

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January 30, 2015 at 4:11 PM

Microsoft reassures businesses on Windows 10

After a week in which Microsoft spent most of its time touting the features of Windows 10 for consumers, the company has a reminder for its business-client base: We haven’t forgotten you.

In a lengthy blog post Friday, Jim Alkove, leader of the Windows enterprise program management team, outlined the company’s plans to keep product updates in the hands of companies’ IT departments and outlined exactly who would get Windows free.

Small businesses? Yep. Microsoft’s bread-and-butter major corporate clients? Not so much.

Microsoft announced earlier this month that users of the off-the-shelf consumer version of Windows 7 and Windows 8  are eligible for a free year of upgrades to Windows 10. That offer also extends, Alkove said, to users of the “Pro” versions of those releases, a group that includes small businesses that need souped-up versions of Windows to plug in to company networking.

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January 30, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Microsoft’s Azure to support Super Bowl live stream

The latest task for Microsoft’s growing cloud-computing service: helping people watch the Super Bowl online.

NBC, the broadcaster of Sunday’s game, will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to support its online live stream. The network will also reportedly use services from Adobe and Akamai Technologies, bringing back the same trio that NBC relied on to stream the Winter Olympics last year. 

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January 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM

New Outlook apps arrive for Android, iOS devices

Microsoft is bringing new versions of its Outlook email service to Google- and Apple-powered mobile devices, the latest effort to get the company’s products in front of people who aren’t using Windows.

The free Outlook apps will be available for download on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating system starting on Thursday, the company said.

The apps are based on code written by the team at Acompli, the maker of well regarded email programs that Microsoft purchased in December. Acompli was among the companies working to unclutter the deluge of email that modern life brings with next-generation email and organization software.

“Today the average business user sends and receives 121 emails per day, but more email doesn’t mean more productivity,” Javier Soltero, a manager with Microsoft’s Outlook group and the former chief executive of Acompli, said in a blog post. “We need to be able to send better, more useful email, more easily.” 

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January 28, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Bill Gates takes on AI, Bitcoin in Reddit chat

Bill Gates, in the latest stop on his January media campaign of sorts, took to Reddit to answer some of your burning questions.

Among the topics the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist addressed:

  • Microsoft’s recently unveiled  HoloLens is “pretty amazing,” but it will take a few years of software development for it to reach its full potential.
  • While digital currencies could be used to help the developing world get better access to banking, the anonymity of services like Bitcoin presents some problems.
  • The development of supercharged artificial intelligence could be worrying…
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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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January 27, 2015 at 9:09 AM

Microsoft stock plunges as investors digest earnings

Update 1:49 p.m.:

Microsoft’s stock recorded the largest decline in 18 months after the company lowered the bar for its financial year ahead.

Microsoft released a mixed set of quarterly financial results Monday. The company’s profit met Wall Street expectations, but the report brought some signs that Microsoft’s Office and Windows businesses were stumbling more than investors had expected.

On a rough day for stocks across the board, Microsoft was hit particularly hard. Shares fell $4.35, or 9.3 percent, to close at $42.66 a share. The decline wiped out about 40 percent of the gains made in the 11 months since Satya Nadella was appointed as Microsoft’s third chief executive.

Tuesday’s swoon came as investors reacted to Microsoft’s dour outlook for the rest of its fiscal year.

The company’s expectations for how much cash it will bring in during the current quarter were “shockingly low,” John DiFucci, an analyst with Jefferies, said in a note to clients.

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January 26, 2015 at 6:06 PM

Microsoft’s earnings: Looking under the hood

Microsoft’s most recent quarter was a good news, bad news affair.

The company’s business-focused cloud-computing unit continued its pattern of double-digit sales growth, weighing in as a $5.5-billion-a-year business. But Microsoft’s biggest moneymaker — its commercial licensing group, which sells businesses Windows, server products, and Office — stumbled a bit. One-time charges, from employee severance bills to a tax adjustment from the IRS to the pain of a stronger dollar, wiped out a few hundred million dollars in profit.

Our big-picture story on the 11% drop in Microsoft profit during the three months ended in December lives here. For a geekier take on how Microsoft’s two main business units fared, read on.

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