Cloud storage solution SkyDrive is getting additional functionality. Microsoft is banking on the service becoming the primary storage method for those who are part of the company's ecosystem. The software giant has made SkyDrive a focus in both Windows 8 and Office 2013 / 365 Home Premium.
Microsoft's Omar Shahine announces that "starting today and rolling out over the next 48 hours, we're making it easier for you to see all of your photos in SkyDrive across all your albums and folders based on a timeline view". With timeline view you will be able to scroll down to navigate through all of the images. They are organized into groups by event and time.
Tomorrow is what is commonly known as Patch Tuesday in the lands of Microsoft and Adobe. It's the time of the month when the two software giants attempt to fix the bugs and security holes in their software by issuing a series of updates that are intended to benefit users. The practice of waiting to issue these updates is debatable, especially when exploits are available in the wild.
These updates, at least in the case of Microsoft, can also cause as much harm as good. Given that possibility, security company GFI issued an advisory in advance of the upcoming patches. "In light of the reboot loop problems resulting from the Microsoft patches issued in April, businesses need to have the ability to test patches, or have a trusted third-party test them, before deploying on corporate networks and PCs, in order to minimize potential downtime caused by a faulty patch" says Cristian Florian, product manager at GFI Software.
I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia (or King’s Landing for Game of Thrones fans) when Tami Reller, Windows division CFO announced that Windows 8 had sold 100 million licenses. Since I’ve been back in the UK I’ve had a chance to catch up on what the internet thinks, and it’s fair to say Windows 8’s accomplishments continue to divide opinion.
Some pundits claim the big number proves the doubters wrong, and shows Windows 8 is a roaring success. Others, like my colleague Joe Wilcox, argue 100 million is nothing. I have my own view, and it’s somewhere in-between.
Despite the almost laughable nature of the Scroogled campaign, Microsoft continues to push it. The company slams Gmail, but that is not enough. Jake Zborowski, senior product manager for Microsoft Office, releases not one, but two blog posts that attack Google Docs. Both are accompanied by ads -- low resolution videos that view like someone pulled them from the cutting-room floor.
"Converting Office files into Google Apps is a gamble" Zborowski claims in one post. "Why take the gamble on converting your Office files to Google Docs when you can use Microsoft Office and the Microsoft Office Web Apps to create, share and edit your Office files with your content intact", he explains. A new casino-themed ad accompanies the post and features B-list celebrities Rob Schneider and Pete Rose.
Way back in 2007, Microsoft purchased a fraction of Facebook. The social network returned the favor in February by buying Atlas. The two tech goliaths are still smitten with one another, and today we learn that Microsoft search engine Bing gets closer to your friends.
Now the search engine is integrating Facebook comments directly into the sidebar that appears to the right side of search results. "Starting today, you will see comments on a relevant Facebook post within sidebar, as well as the ability add your own, all without having to leave Bing. You can also Like a post directly from Bing. Now you can see what your friends might know about what you’re searching for and engage with them directly without leaving the search page", Nektarios Ioannides, program manager for Bing, explains.
There’s more than one way to advertise a product and while I am a big fan of the approach that specifically focuses on features, I understand there is a need for other approaches. Sometimes you just need to go for the pure emotional response. In the case of the ads released by Microsoft today which focus on the Asian market that seems to be what they were going for. Take a look.
Patch Tuesday approaches quickly. That time of the month when Microsoft deems it appropriate to fix the myriad security flaws that rear their ugly heads during the preceding time frame. As is custom, the company gives advance notice of what to expect, but no details regarding actual flaws -- a nod to not allowing (more) hackers to take advantage of the issues discovered.
May 14th is the next scheduled update of your Windows computer, and it will carry along 10 bulletins with it. A couple of these patch much publicized holes in Internet Explorer, one of which the company just released a "Fix it" tool designed to temporarily mend.
Late yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows Phone 8 users from all over the world can now finally take advantage of the complete photo and video backup feature offered by its smartphone operating system. This comes a tad over six months after the Windows Phone 8 release in late-October, last year. A little too late, wouldn't you agree?
Previously, users from a number of regions were constricted to use a dumbed-down backup feature that only allowed automatically upload of low-resolution pictures (no video support) straight to SkyDrive. "We just started to light this up, so be patient if you don’t see it right away. The change could take a few days to roll out around the globe", Aaron Sauvé, Microsoft senior program manager says.
I was with a friend recently who has a pretty exciting Internet startup company. He has raised some money and might raise more, his product is in beta and it’s good. It solves a difficult technical problem many companies are struggling with. We argued a little over the name of the product. Of course I thought my suggested name was better or certainly cleverer, but then he said, “It doesn’t matter because we’ll probably sell the company before the product ever ships. It may never appear at all.”
His company will exit almost before it enters. This is happening a lot lately and we generally think it is a good thing but it’s not.
Some of Microsoft's greatest battles aren't being fought in the open, contentious field of constant public opinion and media coverage. If there's one thing Microsoft has always done better than the competition, it's blowing open new areas of opportunity and running with the ball on the sly. Apple and Samsung can keep their tactical flags limited to consumer electronics; Microsoft has far greater potential as a rising star in the cloud arena. The war started with its drive to push email to the cloud with Office 365, and the next leg of battle sits in the helm of Windows Azure and XaaS dominance.
If you're under the impression that we are not yet in the era of massive, prevalent 'big data', you're wildly mistaken. Our data needs are already climbing to astronomical levels, with IBM stating that 90 percent of the data in existence today was created in just the last two years. Not surprisingly, much of these growing data needs are being tossed into virtual environments whether it be on-premise in a VMWare or Hyper-V driven route, or my personal favorite: cloud-hosted virtual machines.
During last month's fiscal third quarter 2013 earnings call, Microsoft revealed that Peter Klein would step down as chief financial officer. Today, the company announced his replacement: Amy Hood, who currently is CFO of the Business division. She assumed that role in January 2010.
CEO Steve Ballmer describes Hood as an "instrumental leader" who helped "lead the transition to services with Office 365" and to bring strong financial results.
Colleagues Mihaita Bamburic and Larry Seltzer both have stories today about Microsoft's newest sales milestone. They make valid points in "Windows 8 is such a failure Microsoft sells 100M licenses" and "You wish you could fail like Microsoft". However, 100 million is less than you might think and represents Windows 8's failure.
Meanwhile, the announcement is Microsoft's attempt to use seemingly good news to admit failure, by softballing step-backwards changes coming with Windows Blue.
The sharks are in the water smelling Microsoft blood. It's the company's "New Coke" moment. Windows 8 is too little too late (hey, that rhymes).
Over the years Microsoft has had a number of true product failures, genuine losers, but fewer than you'd think. I'd certainly count Microsoft BOB as one of these; BOB was an attempt at a cartoony, fun interface to Windows that was laughed off the market in short order. (Microsoft reps told me at the time that the focus groups loved it.)
Judging by all the heavy criticism hitting the interwebs each day one would rightfully assume that Microsoft is on the wrong path with Windows 8. The operating system is often blamed for declining PC shipments, an user interface designed only for touchscreen devices or a scarce Modern UI app ecosystem filled with knockoffs. So, therefore, Windows 8 must be a clear sales miss, right?
Today, Tami Reller, Windows & Windows Live CFO, boasts about 100 million Windows 8 licenses, a figure which does not fall in line with what every naysayer leads you to believe. "This number includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. This is up from the 60 million license number we provided in January. We've also seen the number of certified devices for Windows 8 and Window RT grow to 2,400 devices, and we're seeing more and more touch devices in the mix".
Four weeks ago, Microsoft flicked the switch and officially merged Windows Live Messenger with Skype. Users of the popular IM tool were greeted with a message stating "A newer version is available. You must install the newer version in order to continue. Would you like to do this now?"
Although Skype is a great tool, many fans of Messenger were up in arms about the forced change, and I know people who still pine for the old chat application. Fortunately, there’s a very simple way to get it back.