Pro Sports Teams Offer Immersive, Interactive Experiences

Professional sports are often the first to embrace new technology because their fans demand the best experiences available. That’s why the professional sports arena is now integrating immersive technologies including augmented reality, virtual reality and the Internet of Things. The Sacramento Kings use Reddit, Facebook Live, video streaming, virtual reality and bitcoin to immerse their fans in an interactive world. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Clippers chief executive Steve Ballmer is launching CourtVision to offer more interactivity for fans. Continue reading Pro Sports Teams Offer Immersive, Interactive Experiences

Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

In 2012, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and computer chip researcher Doug Burger believed they had found the future of computing: chips that could be programmed for specific tasks, dubbed field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Project Catapult, as it was called, was intended to shift the underlying technology of all Microsoft servers in that direction. FPGAs now form the basis of Bing. Soon, the specialized chips will be capable of artificial intelligence at a tremendous speed — 23 milliseconds versus four seconds. Continue reading Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that a series of executive changes would take place at the company, including the departures of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and senior level execs Kiril Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn. Meanwhile, Windows head Terry Myerson will take on added responsibility. As part of the company’s shift from devices and services to productivity and cloud computing, Nadella has appointed a team to oversee the restructuring of Microsoft’s three engineering groups — Windows and Devices, Cloud and Enterprise, and Applications and Services. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft is developing a personal assistant app called Cortana that will compete directly with Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana derives its name from an artificially intelligent character in Microsoft’s “Halo” series. Essentially, the app will be able to learn and adapt while utilizing machine-learning technology and the Satori knowledge repository powering Bing. The app will likely be released somewhere between 2014 and 2016. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft Developing Next-Gen Personal Assistant

Microsoft to Pay $7 Billion in Deal for Nokia Phone Business

Microsoft is paying $7.17 billion in a deal to acquire Nokia’s devices-and-services business and license its mapping services. By purchasing Nokia’s core cellphone business, Microsoft is hoping to better compete with Apple, Google and Samsung in the fast-growing mobile business. The move follows the announcement of Steve Ballmer’s planned retirement as Microsoft CEO. Several Nokia executives will transition to Microsoft as part of the deal and could become contenders for Ballmer’s position. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $7 Billion in Deal for Nokia Phone Business

Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

Steve Ballmer is retiring as CEO of Microsoft, leaving many to question what the next CEO will need to do in order to invigorate the company, boost morale and emphasize innovation. Ballmer is said to have focused more on sales and revenue, rather than experimentation, and did not fully develop many technologies the company began, some of which competitors would later turn into blockbusters. However, innovation under Ballmer is evidenced by departures such as the Kinect motion sensor and the interface of Windows 8. Continue reading Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Talks Windows 8 and Surface

Technology Review interviews Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer about Windows 8, which the article refers to as the most ambitious and strangest major product ever released by the software mainstay. Windows 8 was designed to run on smartphones, tablets, laptops, servers and even on supercomputers and provides users with the same interface on any device, with minor variations from one to the next. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Talks Windows 8 and Surface

Microsoft Enters Discussions to Help Finance Buyout of Dell

The proposed buyout of Dell has a new development as Microsoft has entered talks to acquire the computer maker. The software giant would be buying the company from public stockholders, but a deal has not been announced. “Microsoft hasn’t made a commitment to throwing its money and weight behind the possible deal, which is expected to carry a price tag of $22 billion or more,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Continue reading Microsoft Enters Discussions to Help Finance Buyout of Dell

CES 2013: Qualcomm CEO Wants to Lead the Mobile Generation

“Born Mobile” was the theme of this year’s pre-show keynote as Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs discussed how his company has been there from the beginning — creating modems, processors and chips that help power smartphones and tablets and connect them to the Web. Qualcomm’s biggest announcement was the company’s new quad-core Snapdragon 800 series of processors, the next step by the company to lead the “mobile generation.” Continue reading CES 2013: Qualcomm CEO Wants to Lead the Mobile Generation

App Downloads for Android Sell More than iPhone and iPad Combined

  • App downloads on Google’s Android platform now top iPhone and iPad combined, even in the absence of any competitive Android tablets.
  • The OS accounted for 44 percent of all app downloads for Q2 of this year, according to a recent study by New York-based ABI Research.
  • In the new Steve Jobs’ biography, the Apple founder rails against Android as a “stolen product,” one that he vowed to go to “thermonuclear war” in order to stop its success. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently derided the OS as well, adding you need to be a “computer scientist” to understand Android phones.
  • “But a flood of low-priced handsets this summer has catapulted Android ahead of Apple for the first time in terms of app downloads,” reports the Daily Mail.
  • However, Apple still leads in the per user category. “Android’s app downloads per user still lag behind Apple’s by 2 to 1,” explains Dan Shey at ABI.

Microsoft Launches New Cloud Version of Office

  • Steve Ballmer will launch Office 365 this week: “a combination of communication, collaboration and productivity software delivered via the Internet” that Microsoft refers to as the “next generation cloud service.”
  • The company is hosting a launch event in New York to celebrate the suite’s debut.
  • Office 365 joins a crowded field including Google Docs and VMware’s Zimbra email, but WSJ suggests its biggest competitor might be itself: “The company now needs to convince those computer users, estimated at about one billion, to switch to Office in the cloud without disrupting the legacy version that is financing the transition.”
  • Businesses will be able to buy only the cloud services they need such as email for $2/month or Office for $27/month.
  • Large corporate clients will be allowed to use the service for free until license agreements are renewed.

Microsoft Acquires Skype in Hefty $8.5 Billion Deal

It’s official — Skype will become part of the Microsoft family. The service, that connects millions via Internet-based telephony and video, will provide Microsoft with what the Wall Street Journal describes as “a recognized brand name on the Internet at a time when it is struggling to get more traction in the consumer market.”

The deal — the biggest in Microsoft’s 36-year history — was closed late on Monday, knocking out the prospect of a Skype public offering as well as talks with other interested parties such as Google, Facebook and Cisco.

The $8.5 billion price tag is three times what Skype earned 18 months ago (when eBay sold it to a group of investors), and is clearly a sign of how ambitious Steve Ballmer and Microsoft Corp. are for new growth opportunities in the mobile phone and Internet markets.

Consumers should expect to see Skype integration with products including the Xbox gaming console and Office software suite; however, Ballmer said the service will continue to be available for Apple devices and others running Google software.

Skype was launched in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the two pioneers behind Kazaa file-sharing technology. Today, Skype has more than 170 million active users worldwide.