If you specialize in supporting Microsoft technologies and you like to stay up to date with the latest news in your field, besides following this site Microsoft has now also released a cross platform app for Windows, Windows phone and Android, with iOS on the way, to do just that.
The app, called Microsoft Tech Companion, offers news on products, features and upcoming events and features:
- Access news and topics from virtually anywhere using either your Phone or Tablet.
- Stay up-to-date with news and events that interest you.
- Customizable feeds – Define feeds around products, terms, features, and functions. Turn them into live tiles that alert you with updates and customize the tiles with a splash of color.
- Bookmarks – Save a specific news topic, library article or blog in the application to easily find it again in the future (and be alerted when it has been updated).
- Streaming news – Microsoft news, events, you name it; it all streams to the app’s news reader.
- Always with you – Sign in with your Microsoft ID and your settings will sync to every device installed with the app.
- Search Microsoft all at once.
- Search through blogs, wikis, and library topics.
- Filter results by source and/or product and version.
- Save your searches for future reference.
- Stay up-to-date on a specific subject that interests you. Turn your searches into custom feeds.
- Share content with friends and colleagues.
The app can be found at the links below.
There are a number of candidates for the next Microsoft CEO, but Stephen Elop has always been considered a front-runner, but has recently run in some headwind after some controversial plans regarding Bing and Xbox was leaked.
In BusinessInsider CEO headhunter Adam Charlson, vice president for executive recruiting firm DHR International explains why he is still the obvious candidate.
Charlson believes the ideal candidate should be:
- someone who understands Microsoft’s culture.
- someone who understands the tech world, particularly enterprise software (Microsoft’s bread and butter).
- someone with the experience of running a publicly traded company
- someone who understands mobile, the strategy where Microsoft has staked its future by building its own PCs and buying Nokia’s device business for $7 billion.
Charlson notes there is really only one person that has all of these qualities, and that is Stephen Elop.
"Microsoft plans to become more of a mobile company. If they are going to abandon that strategy after buying Nokia for $7 billion, that’s highly doubtful. And if they are going to go with a mobile, Elop is the obvious choice," Charlson said.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.
Thanks Ruben for the tip.
Microsoft withdraws Completed Status from Windows Phone File Manager and SD card app storage requests
In a turn around which I suspect many of our readers expected, the Mobile Guru Admin who marked a number of much requested features as Completed, such as a File Manager and the ability to store apps on a SD card, have now reversed the move, writing:
The request was mistakenly marked as completed.
Now I generally do not believe Microsoft employs completely stupid people, and so I suspect these features are still on the way, and have just been prematurely ticked.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.
In a PDF published today the US Department of Justice formally gave their approval to Microsoft’s deal to purchase Nokia’s handset division for $7.2 billion.
The approval brings the deal one stop closer to completion, with Nokia’s shareholders already having given it their overwhelming approval, and the EU strongly rumoured to also be ready to approve the deal unconditionally. That decision is expected on the 4th December.
The deal with make Microsoft an OEM with handset sales of more than 60 million per quarter, most of which are feature phones, but which would still give Microsoft a significant footprint with consumers they did not have before. Nokia will continue as a cellphone infrastructure company, IP holder and also as a mapping company, and may in a few years re-emerge as smartphone consumer company.
The deal is expected to complete early 2014.
Nokia today released updates for HERE Maps and HERE Explore beta apps in Windows Phone Store. Both these updates are just contains bug fixes with no new features. HERE Explore beta app version is now 0.9.2088.0 and HERE Maps app version is 3.5.486.8. While we are well aware about HERE Maps app, HERE Explore app recommends places to go based on your location, the quality of places, and the time of day.
In the previous update, HERE Maps app got the ability to organize your favorites into groups, sync them across your phone and here.com and have these collections wherever you are.
In an interview to The Verge, Skype product manager Jeff Kunins spoke about the current state of Skype experience across all platforms and how they are trying to fix in the future. He admitted well known Skype annoying bugs like unsynced messages across devices, call notifications continue to ring even after attending on one device, etc. He assured that Microsoft is working on to fix these serious bugs very soon. Speaking on Skype experience on Windows Phone devices, Kunins revealed that they are going to improve app load times and better notifications in the near term and have more fun things planned when Windows Phone 8.1 releases next year. I hope Microsoft delivers on their promises!
Microsoft is also improving the load times on its Skype Windows Phone app alongside better notifications, but additional improvements are coming next year. “I don’t think we’ve talked publicly a bunch about Windows Phone 8.1 and the experience, but as you can imagine we’re certainly working closely with them and how that experience is,” explains Kunins. “We’ve made a ton of progress on our Windows Phone app in general, and as you can imagine we’re doing a lot of fun things for Windows Phone 8.1 as well. I think there will be some fun things to see there.”
Read the full interview from the link below.
Source: The Verge
Last week, Nokia shareholders approved the sale of Devices and Services unit of Nokia to Microsoft. Even though many of us were happy to see the deal happening, many Finnish people were not feeling the same. Many Finland based analysts criticized that Nokia’s devices division is undervalued in Microsoft’s deal and they raised many questions.
In an interview, Nokia’s chairman Risto Siilasmaa commented the following on the criticism.
“On the board of directors, we understood that, as the decision-makers, we would also be heavily criticized . However, we are convinced that continuing with the old strategy would have most likely led to great difficulties for Nokia, its shareholders and employees,”
He defended former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop on his work he did at Nokia.
“I have never met anyone who had done as much work as Stephen has done.”
He also revealed that Microsoft was forced to acquire Nokia’s business because the equation didn’t work for Microsoft, when Nokia paid Microsoft a US$10 licence fee to use Windows Phone OS, Microsoft paid Nokia US$20 to support its marketing efforts.
Read full interview from the link below.
Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Summit, Julie Larson Green, Executive Vice President, Devices and Studios, explained the rational behind Windows RT, and also the need to differentiate Windows RT more from Windows 8.
In response to the question:
QUESTION: Could we come back a bit to the Surface? It could be said that the launch of a dual track last year, RT and Windows 8, was somewhat confusing for the supply chain and the consumer. Do you think there is still a viable route here for that dual track to continue, as you’ve done with the refresh this year, or do you actually think we need a proper reboot of RT from the start? And I guess the question, as well, is exactly what has RT achieved from your standpoint?
… she said:
JULIE LARSON-GREEN: Sure. So Windows RT, I think there’s clearly, when you look out in the industry, there’s clearly a need for a simplified consumer electronics experience on devices. So you look at iPad in particular, and it’s a turnkey, closed system. It doesn’t degrade over time. It doesn’t get viruses. It’s not as flexible, you can’t do as much with it, but it’s a more seamless experience, even though more simplified.
Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Summit recently, Microsoft devices and services chief Larson-Green hinted that we could see some wearable devices from Microsoft in 2014.
"For my lifetime, there will desktop computers where people are doing precision movements with the mouse, which are highly tuned for productivity and typing – as well as maybe something on your wrist or on your head or something in your pocket where you will want to interact. You’ll want to see your emails, get notifications, get access to the information you need to do your job as well as interact with friends and family."
"Devices that are going to be in your home or on your body, services where you can get access to all the information and data you care about. The people, the documents, the entertainment, all the things in your life from whatever device is most convenient for you at the time."
Microsoft’s vision is based on ubiquitous computing, where we are not only surrounded by devices, but by devices that know us and try and help us.
She thinks the next step is the magic that happens when you bring together sensors that you wear or walk past, combining information from apps that can connect to each other and natural interfaces.
Citing “two people familiar with the matter” Reuters report that the EU is set to approve Microsoft’s $7.30 billion purchase of Nokia’s handset division.
Microsoft has not been the best of friends with the EU’s anti-trust watchdog, but it seems they will not be throwing any obstacles in the way of the sale.
"The (European) Commission is expected to clear the deal without conditions," one of the people said
The final decision is expected by the 4th December, with Russia, India, Turkey and Israel already having given their approval.
Both commission spokesman for competition policy, Antoine Colombani and Microsoft declined to comment.
Microsoft has however previously said they expect the deal to conclude early next year.
It seems with Nokia’s handset division Microsoft will also be purchasing the lease to Nokia’s Finnish headquarters.
MyNokiaBlog reports that Nokia House will pass on to Microsoft on completion of the deal, which of course means minimum disruption for the thousands of Nokia staff which will be moving to Microsoft.
The rest of Nokia will be moving the the old Nokia Siemens Network building.
A Nokia spokesman told the Economic Times:
“As the majority of employees currently working at our corporate headquarters are focused on Devices & Services (D&S) activities and support functions, Nokia House will become a Microsoft site once the deal closes,” a Nokia global spokesperson told PTI. “People working in Nokia management and support functions will be located in Karaportti Midpoint, the spokesperson said adding the headquarters for HERE (Nokia’s location services) and NSN (telecom equipment business) continue as normal.”
Nokia does not in fact at present own Nokia House, having sold the building to property company Exilion to raise money for their Windows Phone transition, making the move somewhat ironic.
It will however hopefully reassure Finnish Nokia fans that the company will not in fact be abandoning the country as soon as the deal is discharged.
Speaking to TechCruch, Microsoft has revealed that the Windows Phone Store has hit 3 billion cumulative downloads so far, and is currently servicing 10 million transactions per day, or 300 million per month.
This is up from 9 million in September and 6.6 million in June, indicating a very clear trajectory upwards.
The store now has 190,000 apps, with 500 added each day, though with initiatives like the App Studio one does have to wonder about the quality of those apps.
The number is about 5% of iOS’s cumulative total, but then the platform is only starting it hit its stride now.
Since the release of Windows Phone 8 last year monthly paid app revenue was also up 181% and app downloads has increased 290%.
The news coincides with several long-awaited apps such as Instagram and Vine arriving in the Windows Phone Store and the trajectory hopefully means in 2014 there will be much less talk of the “app gap”.
Instagram for Windows Phone devices will be available for download from Windows Phone Store later today. The app link will go live at 11am Pacific. You can download Instagram for Windows Phone from Instagram.com/download/windows. Here is the direct store link to download when it becomes available.
With Nokia shareholders embracing the Microsoft deal this morning, only regulatory approval remains. Many have questioned why Microsoft bothered to blow $7.5 billion on Nokia.
The classic idiom, while often used in another context, comes to mind “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
The company was already 100% committed to exclusively making Windows Phone devices, they now control nearly ~90% of the Windows Phone market, and were slowly starting to see some success closing in on 10 million windows phones last quarter. Microsoft claims with the purchase of Nokia they will be able to move at a faster pace. However, I see no real evidence of this; in fact I think the Windows Phone team has been moving at a relatively conservative pace given the competitiveness of the market. As an independent company Nokia had been able to do many things Microsoft was not, paying developers for high-profile apps, paying for exclusive apps, pushing out phones & tablets at a fast pace, creating phones for specific markets, and pushing for features in the platform and through their firmware. As an independent company Nokia had to work hard and be innovative because the future of their company depended on it. The risk of Nokia under Microsoft is a slower paced more complacent company. While it is true that Microsoft was paying Nokia $250 million a quarter, Nokia was also paying a license fee for each handset sold. The net numbers have never been officially released, but it clearly was not costing Microsoft a billion dollars a year.
Nokia is expected to approve the sale of their Devices and Services division to Microsoft in the shareholder meeting scheduled for later today. It seems some of the Nokia employees are not happy over this decision. Nokia Dongguan factory employees in China are protesting this deal between Nokia and Microsoft. They are expecting to receive some compensation in the process. Nokia China confirmed the protests and informed that actual factory work is not getting affected by it.
Unwiredview reported that the poster among protesting employees in the above image means “We do not sell, we have dignity and human rights”. I don’t understand why they are not happy over Microsoft’s acquisition because Microsoft is much stronger company financially over Nokia and it can pay them better.
Nokia Shareholders has approved the Microsoft-Nokia deal worth $7.35 billion which was announced few months back. As a result, Nokia’s Devices and Services business will be now part of Microsoft. Even though there were lots of opposing parties in the past for this deal, about 99.7 percent of the shareholders approved the deal. This shows that most of the shareholders understand that Nokia is in financial trouble and they cannot continue to operate with the loss making devices and services division.
For Microsoft, this approval is like crossing another hurdle. Microsoft and Nokia are working in several countries where Nokia is operating to get approvals from the respective governments. The deal is expected to close by early 2014.
Update: Find the press release after the break.