Tag Archive | "zune"

The Zune Marketplace Will Be Dead Within 9 Days

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2013-11-13_10h06_47

Alas poor Zune, you are dead. Microsoft has stretched out the end of Zune over such a long time that I feel that we have called it RIP for years. Here’s what I consider the last domino: By November 22, Zune’s Marketplace will stop selling and renting content, and won’t allow users to browse TV content.

This means that the only remnants of Zune will be the hardware that is still in the market and the Zune desktop software. I presume that you can keep using both with music that you outright own, and I have asked Microsoft to confirm the fact.

If you have leftover Microsoft Points (yuck), you can convert those to local currency, and spend them in the Xbox Video and Music stores.

I bought the first generation device the day it came out, if I recall properly, and this is all a bit sad. Microsoft did some really neat things with its music project, and in the end made one of the best pieces of MP3 hardware, the Zune HD. In its heyday, the Zune music software was, and remains, the best piece of tune-playing software released in my view. Darn you, current Spotify edition.

Ultimately, Zune was caught trying to catch up to Apple’s iPod line at a time when Apple was hitting its stride with the iPhone, a device that would break the back of the standalone music player market. And then streaming services such as Spotify caught on, ending the potential for the Zune Pass, with its rental downloads and “keep” option, to become even a modest hit.

It was all too late, but still quite nice in its bright autumnal senescence. Zune is over. On we move.

For fun, here is a TechCrunch review of the Zune HD from 2009, of all things. Enjoy. Via WPCentral.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

New Moto X Details Point To Customizable Cosmetics, Not Components

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Motorola-Logo-590px

An ABC News report is dashing the hopes and dreams of Android fans everywhere. According to Joanna Stern, a version of the Motorola X will be available with custom casings and wallpapers, not customizable internal hardware like was widely speculated.

Owners will reportedly be able to order a version of the phone with different color options, backside engravings, and pre-installed custom wallpapers. This is said to be done in a new 500,000-foot factory in Texas, enabling Motorola and Google to deliver the custom phone to State-side customers in a quick manner. Another version of the phone will be available for purchase in retail stores, sans the artistic flair of their custom-ordered counterparts.

Motorola previously announced that the upcoming phone would be assembled in this facility and kicked off the phone’s marketing campaign with a full-page spread in several U.S. newspapers touting its American roots. The company’s new logo has gotten plenty of spotlight lately too, and the colorful new design may be representative of the chromatically diverse options for Motorola’s new flagship handset.

The Motorola X has long been rumored to be available with customizable options, though colors and trim weren’t exactly what some people were hoping for. It was widely speculated that the phone would be offered with various hardware options, and while that could still be the case, today’s report points towards a more logical plan.

Ordering a phone with more or less memory is one thing, but the thought of a user getting to pick and choose internal components such as the SoC, amount of RAM, and type of screen is rather ludicrous. Smartphones are relatively inexpensive through the economics of bulk ordering — if that’s removed, allowing the owner to swap different parts, the device’s price will ultimately be higher. And in the end, doesn’t everyone want the best option anyway?

These customizable options aren’t exactly novel. Apple has long offered backplate engraving on its iPods, and once upon a time Microsoft also offered the Zune with stunning backside artwork. As for custom color cases, Colorware is one of a few startups offering a similar service, allowing owners to customize their gadgets with a fresh coat of paint. But Motorola’s reported plan is the first to combine all the services prior to purchasing.

According to ABC News, the Moto X is currently in testing with carriers. With the ad campaign in full swing, it will likely hit stores sometime this summer.


Update: NoWhereElse.fr just published the pictures below reportedly showing the swappable backsides. Details are light and to me, I would wager these plastic backsides are for a mid- or low-level model. Motorola definitely doesn’t need a massive manufacturing facility to pump out colorful plastic back panels.




Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Google Introduces “Gmail Blue” – It’s Completely Blue, Because Brown Was a “Disaster”

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Screenshot_3_31_13_7_39_PM

The Google April Fool’s train continues with the announcement of “Gmail Blue.” Yes, it’s a version of Google’s email service where everything is the color blue. The YouTube one from earlier was OK, and the Nose one was just so-so, but I’d actually use this product if it existed, especially since it took six years to “develop the technology.”

Can you imagine something like this actually happening? Some people flipped out about the new compose screen becoming the default, so they’d lose their mind if Google changed all of the colors in the email service.

The real bit of news here? Gmail turns nine tomorrow. Yes, we’re all old.

The video for Gmail Blue is pretty damn hilarious and worth checking out. Be sure to count the number of buzzwords used:

I can’t help but wonder if this is a not-so-subtle poke at Facebook, which of course is well-known for having the color blue all over the place within its apps and site. One of our readers, Edd Friedman, smartly suggested in the comments that this could be Google making fun of Microsoft Windows Blue. Makes sense. The line about brown being a disaster? Commenter syntaxsyntax999 thinks it’s a riff on the Zune.

Regardless, hearing Googlers have a sense of humor about themselves and their “moonshot thinking” was enjoyable.

Get ready for more April 1st funnery from Google, and the rest of the Internet, tomorrow.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

25 Years Later, Microsoft Unveils A Revamped Corporate Logo

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microsoft-new-logo-2012

Microsoft has a new look. The company just took the wraps off its new corporate branding. Replacing its previous logo is a staunch, four-pane colored window very reminiscent of the grid layout scheme found in Microsoft’s latest products. Microsoft is also spelled in a simple, bond font — mostly likely Segoe.

The new grid clearly reflects Microsoft’s latest design language started first with the Zune and later adapted by the Xbox 360, Windows Phone and most recently, Windows 8. It’s clean, simple, and also like Windows 8, most people will probably hate it.

The symbol in the new logo should look familiar. It’s likely the merger of the Microsoft Store logo with Window 8′s.

The outgoing logo was 25 years old. This new version, Microsoft’s fifth corporate logo in 37 years, is the first to incorporate a symbol alongside Microsoft’s name. Previous editions simply spelled out Microsoft. As noted by the The Seattle Times, this latest version includes a subtle nod to the original 1975-1979 logo by connecting the F and the T.

Microsoft is attempting to turn the page on its past and move forward into a new chapter. Windows 8 features a radically different design philosophy from previous editions. The Surface tablet shows the company is ready to bust free from the software world. The Xbox 360 is leading the charge against the cable operators. It can be argued that even Windows Phone is something totally new. It’s a timely change for Microsoft’s corporate identity. The new logo more better represents the modern day Microsoft.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Microsoft’s Vision Of The Future Includes Touch-Sensitive Everything (And Beautiful People Only)

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Microsoft Vision

No one knows what the future will look like, but it’s always fun to guess, right? Microsoft has an entire position dedicated to the task, titled “Director of Envisioning,” which is held by David Jones. In an interview with GeekWire, he claimed that the future holds “an expanded definition of productivity where it’s not just about getting things done. It’s also about doing the right things, and doing them well and enjoying the process with other people in a very natural way.”

And that’s just what the sequel to Microsoft’s “Office 2019” video shows.

In the video (below), Microsoft paints a world inhabited only by beautiful people, in which smartphones are about the size of a business card, and just about any surface you come into contact with has a touch-sensitive interface. Everyone is also wearing the same clothes as we do today, which is curious but comforting all the same.

The video shows cloud connections as the primary form of content transference, whether that be from a phone to a book-like tablet, or from a tablet to the kitchen table. Interestingly, the “phone” type device (which no one actually speaks on throughout the whole video) sports a “live tile” interface very similar to the current Windows Phone Mango platform. There’s not a shred of paper in the video, which is bad news for the print industry should Redmond’s vision come to fruition. But on the whole, I wouldn’t mind living in Microsoft’s world in the next five to ten years.




Company:
Microsoft
Website:
microsoft.com
Launch Date:
April 4, 1974
IPO:

NASDAQ:MSFT

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured.

Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market.

Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…

Learn more



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Microsoft Revenue Up 7% To $17.37B, Earnings At $0.68 Per Share

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Screen Shot 2011-10-20 at 1.09.23 PM

Microsoft just reported its first quarter 2012 earnings with revenues of $17.37 billion, an 7% increase from the same period of the prior year. Microsoft’s operating income was at $7.20 billion, its net income was $5.74 billion and its diluted earnings per share were at $0.68, a 10% increase from last year.

Microsoft attributed this revenue growth to the demand of several key products,”We had another strong quarter for Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync, and saw growing demand for our public and private cloud services including Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online, and Windows Azure,” said Microsoft COO Kevin Turner. Notably, Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype was also completed during this quarter.

The company beat Wall Street’s revenue estimates, which were at $17.25 billion, and hit EPS estimates, which were at $0.68 a share, square on the nose.

The Business Division and Windows Live Divisions continued to be the company’s biggest assets, with $5.62 billion and $4.8 billion in revenue and $3.25 billion and $3.66 billion in operating income respectively.

Ballmer On Not Buying Yahoo: “Sometimes You’re Lucky”

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Speaking today at Web 2.0, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was boisterous as usual. In a rousing talk with John Batelle, Ballmer talked about how, since last being on stage at Web 2.0 three years ago, Bing has doubled its market share, Microsoft hasn’t completely given up on competing with Google+ and social, the tech giant bought Skype for a boatload, among other topics of interest for Microsofties and Windows aficionados.

In what was both a stroll down memory lane, and a calibration of Microsoft’s roadmap going forward, Batelle raised the question of whether or not Ballmer was glad that Microsoft didn’t buy Yahoo for $44 billion back in 2008.

“Times change”, the CEO said. “You ask any CEO who didn’t buy something big before the market crashed [in 2008, they'll probably say], ‘Hallelujah!’”. But, in a twist of fate, the U.S. economy dipped into one of the biggest recessions in history in 2008, and had Yahoo accepted Microsoft’s terms, perhaps ironically, the deal would have been settled right around the time that Lehman collapsed, he said.

“Sometimes you are lucky”, Ballmer admitted, grinning.

When asked if Microsoft is punting on social, Ballmer said that Skype and Xbox “seem social” to him and likely represent entry points into the broadly “social” market, and that, going forward, Microsoft is looking to add connectivity into its core products, specifically as its Skype product integration continues.

Then, regarding Microsoft’s play in apps in the cloud?

Ballmer, channelling Charlie Sheen, chanted: “We’re winning, winning, winning”.

When asked who Microsoft is beating?

Google.

Lastly, all those gathered couldn’t let Ballmer go without asking about mobile. In reference to how Microsoft is competing with Android, the skyrocketing young upstart in the mobile market, Ballmer seemed optimistic about the prospect of Windows tablets, and phones specifically.

Windows Phones have a leg up from the average consumer’s perspective, he said, because “you don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows phone”, the CEO quipped.

Zing!



Company:
Microsoft
Website:
microsoft.com
Launch Date:
April 4, 1974
IPO:

NASDAQ:MSFT

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured.

Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market.

Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…

Learn more

Person:
Steve Ballmer
Website:
Companies:
Microsoft

Steven A. Ballmer is Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft. Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. Since then, Ballmer’s leadership and passion have become hallmarks of his tenure at the company.

During the past 20 years, Ballmer has headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In July 1998, he was promoted to President, a role that gave him day-to-day responsibility for running Microsoft. He was named…

Learn more



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Skype Officially Becomes A Microsoft Division As $8.5 Billion Deal Closes

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microsoft

Microsoft this morning announced that it has closed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, a deal that was originally announced back in May.

They even made an infographic to showcase the importance of the deal completion. /sarcasm

Other than that, not much news to report. As previously announced, Skype becomes a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype CEO Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the new unit.

As I wrote back in May:

The $8.5 billion question: did Microsoft overpay for Skype?

Perhaps, perhaps not. Only time will tell. As always with these things, the many tech industry pundits and analysts will look at this deal from all possible angles and then some, and still only a handful will end up being somewhat accurate when we look back in a couple of years.

From a non-financial point of view, the acquisition makes a ton of sense today, though.

Skype digitally connects dozens of millions of people on a daily basis, enabling them to communicate with each other through voice calls, chat messages and video conferencing.

There’s no doubt it’s a big brand on the Web (with both consumer and enterprise appeal, worldwide at that), and is poised to keep mattering in the next decade and beyond.

Skype’s current products will continue to be offered, but over time the service will also be integrated “across an array of Microsoft products”.

Update: from another Microsoft blog post:

In the near future, Skype will be connecting on XBOX Live and VideoKinect for XBOX Live. In addition to skyping with XBOX Live gamers, Skype users with be able connect with Microsoft Lync Enterprise Voice for your school or university. Later this year, Skype and Lync clients will be available on the Windows Phone 7.5 (“Mango.”)

It should be noted that the acquisition still remains under review in a limited number of countries.




Company:
Skype
Website:
skype.com
Launch Date:
January 8, 2003
Funding:
$68.8M

Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis who were also the founders of the file sharing application Kazaa.

Skype has also become popular for its additional…

Learn more

Company:
Microsoft
Website:
microsoft.com
Launch Date:
April 4, 1974
IPO:

NASDAQ:MSFT

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured.

Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market.

Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…

Learn more



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Microsoft Puts The Zune Down The Memory Hole

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zunegone2

We already knew the Zune was pretty much dead and gone — the mp3 player, that is, not the service — but until very recently you could still take a stroll down memory lane by going to Microsoft’s Zune page and looking at all the Zune HDs frolicking in the background. No longer. The Zune itself has been expunged from the Zune page and new players will no longer be produced.

It’s actually long overdue. The primary Zune ecosystem moved over to Windows Phone 7 a long time ago, and it seemed strange to have discontinued hardware on a page that should be touting how much better the new phones are than the old dedicated player. Even if that’s not strictly true.

As I am contractually obligated by Microsoft to mention every time I write about Zune (disclosure: I am not contractually obligated by anyone to do anything at all), I love my Zune HD and still use it every day. But I’m aware that it’s a relic, and I would have liked to have the media capabilities of the WP7 phones thrust in my face as powerfully as the Zune HD’s were back in the day. Although they might consider a less opaque advertising strategy this time around.

Will Microsoft ever try to Zune it up again? I would actually say yes, but not any time soon. Windows 8 will likely leverage Zune features for its media playback, and after the tablet OS is refined a little, a compact version of it could possibly emerge. But as it sits now, per a Zune Support page, the players are gone. [via winrumors]

We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players. So what does this mean for our current Zune users? Absolutely nothing. Your device will continue to work with Zune services just as it does today. And we will continue to honor the warranties of all devices for both current owners and those who buy our very last devices. Customer service has been, and will remain a top priority for us. To get the most out of your Zune player or for additional support, see the following sites:

As usual, the fate of this interesting and ahead of its time (true regardless of the failure of the Zune hardware) Microsoft property is hazy. But perhaps by putting the past behind it, Microsoft is getting ready to take the next step.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Microsoft Responds To Google’s Extortion Claim: “Waaaah.”

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cashfinger-big

God I love this stuff. Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, has just responded to Google’s “extortion” claims — on Twitter, of course.

This type of response is clearly Microsoft’s M.O. And we thank them for that. I’m sure someone from Google will hop on Twitter to respond as well.

These are serious claims, but neither side is clearly going to move on this. They both obviously think they’re right. More importantly, both think the other side’s stance is pure bullshit.

Below, Shaw’s response:

@fxshaw
Frank X. Shaw

let me boil down the Google statment they gave to @parislemon, from 48 words to 1: Waaaah.

And more from Shaw:

@fxshaw
Frank X. Shaw

I would encourage the folks in MV in slowly read graf 5 of our blog on the topic today. Here's the link again: bit.ly/oZbi3X

He links to this post. Paragraph 5 reads:

We recognize that some businesses and commentators – Google chief among them – have complained about the potential impact of patents on Android and software innovation. To them, we say this: look at today’s announcement. If industry leaders such as Samsung and HTC can enter into these agreements, doesn’t this provide a clear path forward?

I’ll break this one down for Shaw: Google, pay up.



Company:
Microsoft
Website:
microsoft.com
Launch Date:
April 4, 1974
IPO:

NASDAQ:MSFT

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured.

Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market.

Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and…

Learn more

Company:
Google
Website:
google.com
Launch Date:
July 9, 1998
IPO:

NASDAQ:GOOG

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps and YouTube. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing them with a rich source of information….

Learn more



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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