Microsoft unveiled the latest version of Office on Monday, intended to take advantage of the latest features of Windows 8 including touch, an ARM-based version for Windows RT, and two new Office applications including OneNote and Lync.
"We are taking bold steps at Microsoft", CEO Steve Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco. "The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8".
Microsoft plans to simplify Windows 8 sales by eliminating the full version of the operating system and focusing on upgrade and "system builder" editions. The change likely means that Windows 8 will be cheaper by and large to obtain the most consumers.
Pundits Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley spoke of the move, citing sources on their weekly Internet radio show "Windows Weekly". The move follows another from April where the company announced Windows 8 would only be available in standard and Pro editions, aimed at making the purchasing process much easier.
Yahoo is investigating a hack that disclosed the usernames and passwords of at least 450,000 users. The attackers are believed to have gotten into the site through Yahoo Voices, the user-generated content site formerly known as Associated Content.
Security Firm TrustedSec found that the passwords were stored unencrypted, and have now been posted online. This means anyone affected by this breach is at immediate risk of an account breach, and so far has only offered publicly that it is "looking into" claims of a breach. The best advice for Yahoo users at this point is to find out for themselves if their account has been breached, and take immediate steps to change their passwords.
Microsoft and Motorola Mobility pulled back from their bitter patent dispute in the courts, as both sides joined together Tuesday to ask for a temporary stay to all ongoing patent disputes in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. This involves three cases currently being heard by that court, and refocuses arguments on so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing terms.
Motorola is accused -- not only by Microsoft, but by other targets of the company's patent suits -- of attempting to demand too high royalties for standards essential patents. The company's efforts have frustrated judges, too, with one publicly admonishing both Motorola and Microsoft of using the courts to gain an upper hand in negotiations.
Microsoft will publicly release Windows Server 2012 a month earlier than Windows 8, the company's server and tools business vice president Satya Nadella told attendees of the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on Tuesday. The release will be part of a broader effort to draw customers away from its competitors and on to the Windows Azure platform.
The server platform will release to manufacturing first in August, followed by general availability of the OS in September.
While Microsoft has turned to the smaller touchscreen with its Surface tablet, the company hasn't forgotten about its roots in large-format touch screens and the original Surface (now PixelSense). Microsoft announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel on Monday, one of the leading large-scale, multi-touch display solution providers.
You are probably already familiar with Perceptive Pixel's technologies, although you may not realize it. CNN began using the company's touch displays during the 2008 presidential election and has used them ever since. Perceptive Pixel also has customers across other sectors, including government, defense, energy exploration, engineering, and higher education.
A bug in Apple's App Store updating mechanism caused some recently downloaded apps to crash on startup. The issue affects several popular apps including Instapaper and Angry Birds Space, and made Fourth of July stressful for many developers.
The issue appears to have cropped up after changes in Apple's app distribution. The glitch not only affects iOS apps but also those obtained through the Mac App Store, leading some to believe the issue may reside in Apple's FairPlay DRM mechanism.
Micron set itself up to be the world's top tablet and mobile memory supplier after announcing its intent to purchase Elpida on Monday. Apple is one of Elpida's biggest customers, and its chips are found in devices and Macs throughout its product line.
Micron will pay Elpida creditors $2.5 billion to settle any claims, and will pay Elpida $750 million to purchase its assets. Another $1.75 billion is to be paid through 2019 in installment payments for foundry services to be provided by Elpida to Micron, which will now operate as a Micron subsidiary.
The news for Research in Motion went from bad to worse after the close of the market Thursday, as the company reported a sharp 33 percent drop in revenues quarter-to-quarter. Worse yet, its next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system is postponed until the first quarter of next year, meaning any major new device releases are also delayed.
As part of its earnings announcement, RIM is also giving some bad news to its employees: layoffs for 5,000, or about a third of its workforce. Looks like it's time to start the RIM death watch once again.
Google has Amazon in its sights. The Mountain View, California company has announced Google Compute Engine, its answer to Amazon's Elastic Compute (EC2) service. While the company currently only offers its cloud platform in limited preview, it is likely wider availability will come in short order, likely later this year.
Google will provide customers with virtual machines in 1,2,4, and 8 core-configurations running Linux. Each virtual machine will come with 3.75GB of RAM per virtual core, and storage is provided through Google's new persistent block device, or its newly announced Google Cloud Storage product.
Google-backed startup CliQr launched its cloud management platform on Tuesday. CliQr's offering is aimed at making it easier for enterprise IT to migrate legacy apps to the cloud, as well as between different cloud platforms with little additional work.
Lock-in has become an increasing concern among cloud computing industry watchers, as Amazon Web Services takes an ever more dominant role. Rackspace president Lew Moorman slammed AWS last week, saying its proprietary cloud tools make it difficult for Amazon customers to migrate elsewhere.
Cloud storage service Box extended its mobile app framework OneCloud to the Android platform on Monday, allowing apps to use Box as storage for data. The company released a similar offering for iOS developers back in March.
Both platforms offer Box compatibility with 50 productivity apps on either platform. An SDK and API have been made available so that other developers may use Box in their own apps. The apps supported here initially with OneCloud for Android include iAnnotate, Breezy, Docusign Ink and Fetchnotes.
The rift between Amazon and its cloud competitors got a little wider on Thursday after Amazon Web Services' dominance in the market took center stage at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco. Rackspace president Lew Moorman called for an open alternative to AWS, and warned the service is creating vendor lock-in.
Rackspace and Amazon are becoming increasingly bitter rivals as competition in the cloud heats up. Moorman's company is one of the leading participants in OpenStack, an open-sourced cloud standard. Amazon does not follow cloud standards, and that has lead to the development of OpenStack rivals such as CloudStack.
The massive outage that struck Amazon Web Services last week proved the cloud service is becoming an increasingly vital part of the IT infrastructure of many companies. For better or worse AWS is becoming a standard in the cloud, and its own fortunes are tied to that of some of the biggest web services out there.
Quora and Pinterest are just two services that rely on AWS in part or in full. When Amazon's cloud goes down, these sites will too.
Microsoft sure is busy this week! Join BetaNews starting at 12 pm EDT for our liveblog of the Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco. We're expecting the debut here of Windows Phone 8, the next version of Microsoft's mobile operating system.
Windows Phone 8 is expected to have a host of new features, including Near Field Communications, support for multicore processors, new screen resolution support, improved Skype application (although still seperate), and the replacement of the Zune PC client with something that's closer to ActiveSync, Mary Jo Foley reports.