Windows Stores: Microsoft and Best Buy Team on Retail Space

Microsoft and Best Buy announced yesterday that they are teaming up to convert the computing sections of 600 Best Buy locations into new in-store retail shops called Windows Stores. The 1,500-2,200 square feet mini-stores plan to feature an array of Microsoft products including computers, phones and Xbox video game machines. Windows Stores will be distinctly designed featuring prominent Microsoft colors and logos, and plan to start opening this summer. Continue reading Windows Stores: Microsoft and Best Buy Team on Retail Space

Microsoft Unveils Xbox One, Emphasizes More Than Gaming

As promised, Microsoft announced its Xbox One yesterday, the successor to the Xbox 360 and the company’s eighth generation gaming console. Scheduled for release by the end of this year, the Xbox One will compete with Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4. While the update touts plenty of power and rich features for gaming, Microsoft is emphasizing the Xbox One as a lifestyle device designed for streaming an array of entertainment media. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils Xbox One, Emphasizes More Than Gaming

Will Windows Blue Help Customers with Learning Curve?

Microsoft announced last week that it has sold 100 million licenses for Windows 8 since the software’s release six months ago, approximately the same number it sold for Windows 7 in the same time range at its release. The company made bold changes to its software, which included replacing the traditional interface with a screen of tiles. However, there has a been a negative reaction from some customers and the company admits the moves may have been too aggressive. A soon-to-come update may help those who are disappointed. Continue reading Will Windows Blue Help Customers with Learning Curve?

Microsoft Reportedly to Pay $1 Billion for Nook Digital Assets

According to internal documents obtained by TechCrunch, Microsoft is pursuing a $1 billion purchase of the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book joint venture between Barnes & Noble and investors. “In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets.” Continue reading Microsoft Reportedly to Pay $1 Billion for Nook Digital Assets

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

Windows 8: Laptop/Tablet Hybrids Attempt to Embrace Features

“Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system is a combination of two very different user interfaces, with each best used in a different way,” suggests Walt Mossberg. The entire system is touch-based, but only the start screen is fully optimized for touch, while the second interface, the Windows desktop, is best operated with a physical keyboard and mouse or touch pad. Continue reading Windows 8: Laptop/Tablet Hybrids Attempt to Embrace Features

Impact of Tablets: PC Market Suffers Holiday Season Slump

According to new numbers from IDC, worldwide PC shipments were down 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to numbers from one year earlier. The drop was worse than IDC’s originally predicted 4.4 percent drop, suggesting that even the anticipated release of the Windows 8 operating system could not rescue the slumping PC industry. Continue reading Impact of Tablets: PC Market Suffers Holiday Season Slump

CES 2013: Windows 8 Strong on Surface Pro, Ships This Month

While Microsoft made a point of not having a CES booth this year, it quietly showcased its new Surface Pro tablet in a private suite. The unit is a full-on computer in a tablet, with an Intel i5 processor, true HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 on a 10.8-inch screen and a complete Windows 8 software suite. It’s due to ship January 26 with a retail price of $899 for 64GB of memory and $999 for a 128GB version. Continue reading CES 2013: Windows 8 Strong on Surface Pro, Ships This Month

Windows 8 Public Beta Slated for Early 2012: Will We See a CES Demo?

  • Sources close to Microsoft have told The Next Web that the company’s Windows 8 beta will be released in late February.
  • However, WinRumors says the release may be ready one month earlier, and is expected to make its debut at January’s CES.
  • “Recently leaked screenshots indicate that Microsoft will allow users to change the Start Screen color and the Start Screen background image in beta copies of Windows 8,” reports WinRumors. “Users will be able to create, name and rearrange Start Screen groups as well as navigate with the Windows 8 Apps screen in a better way. Microsoft is planning to group applications to make it easier for users to identify them in Windows 8 beta. Windows Media Center will also return to Windows 8 beta alongside the typical Windows games, DVD creator and .NET 3.5.”
  • In a related post by The Verge, a preview of MS Office 15 is also expected for CES: “The update is supposed to have a redesigned touch-friendly interface and a Metro Style hub for navigating to documents — we’d expect to find cues from the Metro style UI throughout the software to make it more usable with Windows 8 on a tablet.”
  • The rumor mill is also dropping hints of new Windows 8 devices. Nokia already announced it would have a Windows 8 tablet ready by June.

Video: Metro-Inspired Dashboard for Xbox Live Running in Windows 8

  • Digital Trends is among the sites currently featuring a 10-minute video shot from the audience (courtesy of Joystiq) during Microsoft’s recent Build developer’s conference.
  • The video shows what the upcoming Metro-inspired dashboard for Xbox 360 running in Windows 8 will look like.
  • “Microsoft confirmed last week that the upcoming Metro-styled update for the Xbox 360 dashboard will appear in Windows 8 as the user interface you’ll use to access Xbox Live from your PC,” reports Digital Trends.
  • From an earlier article on the same site: “Based on the ‘Metro’ design of WP7, ‘Immersive’ will be the name of a secondary User Interface (UI) you’ll be able to select when you boot up Windows 8.”
  • This video was first brought to our attention via Engadget, submitted by ETCentric staffer Dennis Kuba who commented: “The focus at Build 2011 was on the social and gaming aspects. They also mentioned that they will be talking in the future about content services such as video and music.”
  • “We get the feeling that Microsoft’s thinking this one through; rather than just shoehorning a gaming element in, things like ‘cloud saves’ and dedicated Music/Video panes will be around to enjoy,” reports Engadget. “Moreover, participation in the Xbox Live development program will purportedly be free, and if [Microsoft’s Avi] Ben-Menahem has his way, this will bring ‘everything you know and love on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live to Windows.'”

Windows 8: Viable Solution for the New Post-PC Era?

  • For the first time in many years, Microsoft is facing a serious challenge to its Windows desktop monopoly — not in the form of any operating system, but in the new computing concept of “post-PC.”
  • “The worry is that upstart tablets threaten to drive the computer out of the home, taking the Windows operating system with it,” reports Ars Technica.
  • Microsoft has been in the tablet business longer than anyone, but it has always been an add-on to Windows. Windows 8 will give the company another opportunity to create something new — a full featured PC that not only works on the desktop but on a post-PC device as well.
  • Windows 8 will work with touch devices and not require a stylus. It will support real multitasking. It will run on power-efficient ARM processors. It will still have a huge legacy of software, including Office. It will support a myriad of hardware and accessories.
  • In short, it will be able to do everything the tablet can and much more. Ars Technica concludes: “Still, this tablet-as-a-PC model hasn’t worked well despite 20 years of trying. Microsoft’s decision to stick with it might look like a mistake — why would this approach start working now when it hasn’t before? — but signs suggest it might be more successful this time around.”