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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September 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM
At Microsoft’s annual company meeting today, executives reportedly demonstrated the cloud gaming streaming service it’s been working on.
The company apparently demonstrated “Halo 4″ being streamed to a Windows Phone and PC, according to The Verge.
Microsoft has been emphasizing cloud services as part of its shift into a devices-and-services company, and the gaming arena is no exception. For example, the company has already shared details of its revamped Xbox Music service, which streams to the phone, PC and Xbox console, along with devices on other platforms.
Microsoft declined to provide more details of the project, other than to say: “The Microsoft Company Meeting is a great place to demonstrate many exciting possibilities, but we don’t have any specific plans to share at this time.”
September 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Microsoft launched Xbox Music on the Xbox 360 and as a part of the services that come with Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 devices.
Now Microsoft is expanding the platforms Xbox Music runs on, adding iOS and Android, as well as free streaming on its Web player, meaning it’s free to anyone with a Web browser.
The company had launched its Web player in July, but streaming was available only to Xbox Music Pass subscribers at $9.95 a month or $100 a year.
Now, it’s offering the streaming for free, though the number of free streaming hours will be limited after 6 months for non-subscribers.
“Xbox Music is coming up on its one-year anniversary and we’ve learned a lot in that time,” Jerry Johnson, Xbox general manager, wrote in a blog post, which also says the company plans to add more features such as Radio for the Web and Web Playlist.
July 8, 2013 at 6:10 AM
Microsoft is ending MSN TV (formerly called WebTV) service on Sept. 30, marking an end to one of Microsoft’s many attempts to become a major presence in TV and home entertainment.
Microsoft purchased WebTV networks in 1997 for $425 million — at that time its largest acquisition ever. WebTV was a Palo Alto-based company that provided technology that enabled people to use their TVs to browse the Internet. For a lower price than a typical PC, WebTV allowed users to surf the Web and handle emails via their TV and a wireless keyboard.
July 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM
Don Mattrick, the Microsoft exec in charge of Xbox who will be taking over as Zynga’s CEO on July 8, is getting a compensation package from the social-games company worth at least $50 million.
Mattrick will receive a one-time signing bonus of $5 million plus an annual base salary of $1 million, Zynga disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
July 2, 2013 at 5:45 AM
[This story is running in today's print edition of The Seattle Times.]
Don Mattrick, head of the Microsoft division that produces Xbox, is leaving to lead social-game company Zynga — a move that could signal the first big-name jumping of ship from Microsoft in an expected companywide reorganization.
Mattrick, 49, who has been president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business for three years, will become Zynga CEO and a member of its board starting Monday.
Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founding CEO, will remain chairman of the board and Zynga’s chief product officer.
There’s been speculation that Mattrick’s move could have been motivated by a reorganization that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly been working on and that could be announced as soon as Tuesday.
June 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM
The price includes the Xbox One console (which has a 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray player and built-in Wi-Fi), the new Kinect, an Xbox One Wireless Controller and a 14-day free trial of Xbox Live Gold for new members.
Here’s a roundup of the news coming out of the event:
My Seattle Times colleague, Brier Dudley, writes about Microsoft’s press event this morning, in which the company also disclosed the roster of games that will be available when the Xbox One launches.
Here’s The Verge talking about how digital purchases on Xbox One will use real currency instead of Microsoft Points.
Here’s Engadget’s roundup of details on Xbox One hardware, software services and games.
Xbox One is Microsoft’s long-awaited successor to its Xbox 360 gaming console. It marks another step in the company’s goal of making the Xbox a living room entertainment center, not just a gaming console, and also another step forward in Microsoft’s evolution into a devices-and-services company.
May 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM
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.)
April 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM
In case you missed it, this story — looking at how Microsoft is faring six months after the launch of Windows 8 — is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times today.
Here are some additional thoughts from analysts that didn’t make it into the story:
Rick Sherlund, Nomura:
- “Windows 8 is trying to reposition Microsoft in the tablet market and at the same time trying to preserve its presence in the traditional Windows market. And so far, it hasn’t resonated well in the tablet market. I think the real opportunity for Microsoft will be in the evolution of notebooks as they converge with these tablets.”
- “I think it’s really hard for Microsoft to break into the consumer tablet market where Apple already dominates with their product and with iTunes for content. Google is probably the real competition, long term, to be concerned about.”
- On rumors that Microsoft may be coming out with a 7-inch tablet device: “Office is where Microsoft has the most leverage. … I don’t know that the 7-inch form factor is a very good device for using Office. I don’t know if I would expect that to be a big seller for Microsoft. But you have to be there (in the 7-inch/small tablet space) – it’s obviously a big seller for consumers.”
- On rumors that the smaller tablet might be branded an Xbox tablet or have a strong Xbox branding or gaming component: “I like that idea – it appeals more and leverages more of their strength on the consumer side. (If Microsoft did this), it would be a more netbook style model: a Windows-type device at a lower price point, reduced capabilities. And try to throw in some Office capability for those who want Outlook and the ability to read and edit some attachments. … But if you don’t really need Office, then I think it’s important that Microsoft try to find some lever to try to find demand for their products. If you can leverage some Xbox capabilities that would appeal to a consumer, maybe throw some Skype in — Microsoft has to throw in a hook to leverage its appeal to the consumer.”
April 26, 2013 at 5:30 AM
A federal judge in Seattle, in a case that has potentially wide-reaching ramifications for tech companies worldwide, has issued a ruling favorable to Microsoft in its ongoing patent battle with Google’s Motorola.
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Thursday made public his ruling determining how much would be fair for Motorola to ask Microsoft to pay for using certain patented Motorola technologies in its products.
The resulting amount, based on the rates set by Robart, is very close to what Microsoft had proposed as reasonable, and is far less than what Motorola had asked for.
Motorola had asked initially for 2.25 percent of the sale price of each Xbox and Windows — a rate that Microsoft said would amount to paying Motorola $4 billion annually.
Microsoft had said that $1.2 million annually might be a reasonable amount to pay Motorola.
Judge Robart set royalty rates that, according to Microsoft, would amount to the company paying about $1.8 million annually to Motorola.
“This decision is good for consumers because it ensures patented technology committed to standards remains affordable for everyone,” David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement.
A Google spokesman issued a statement saying that: “Motorola has licensed its substantial patent portfolio on reasonable rates consistent with those set by others in the industry.”
March 22, 2013 at 3:06 PM
A judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission has issued an initial ruling that Microsoft’s Xbox console does not infringe on a Motorola patent.
The administrative law judge’s decision today, if upheld by the ITC’s full six-member commission that will review the case in July, means it would be impossible for Motorola, now owned by Google, to be granted an import ban on the Xbox, as it had sought.
Today’s decision stems from a case in which Motorola claims that certain technologies used in the Xbox violates its patents. Motorola sought a ban from the ITC on the import into the U.S. of all Xbox consoles, which are manufactured mainly in China.
“We are disappointed with today’s determination and look forward to the full commission’s review,” Google said in a statement.
Microsoft issued a statement from David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, saying: “We are pleased with the administrative law judge’s finding that Microsoft did not violate Motorola’s patent and are confident that this determination will be affirmed by the commission. The ITC has already terminated its investigation on the other four patents originally asserted by Motorola against Microsoft.”