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Microsoft Talks Up Cortana Details; Says She will be 'absorbing the entire Internet'

Mar 03, 2014 - 1:23 PM - by dgstorm

Supposedly, a Microsoft insider recently dished out more details on their Cortana AI digital assistant. The voice-activated PA will show up as a blue circular icon in the new Windows Phone 8.1 edition. Additionally, Microsoft plans to imbue it with personality traits. For example, while processing requests Cortana will "humbly" display the message, "I'm absorbing the entire internet. Won't take long..."

If you give it permission, Cortana will be able to scour your messages to share flight details or set notifications on its own. Similar to Google Now, it will supposedly be able to collect calendar reminders, behavior patterns, location data and contact information in something Microsoft calls a Notebook and then dynamically alert you. You will also be able to rename it if you want, and/or Cortana can refer to you by any nickname you choose, adding a more personal touch. Finally, the word is that Cortana will completely replace Bing Search.

Microsoft will be unveiling the first iteration of Cortana sometime next month. Here at HQ, we are anxious to see how well Microsoft implements all of these grand ideas. It's possible Cortana might just blow Siri away, and actually give Google Now a run for its money.

Source: TheVerge
  1 Reply | 547 Views

Stephen Elop Will be Put in Charge of Xbox Gaming Division, Surface & Windows Phone

Feb 25, 2014 - 3:18 PM - by dgstorm

In a supreme twist of irony, Stephen Elop has been named by Microsoft to be taking over as head of the Xbox Gaming Division of Microsoft. The soon-to-be former CEO of Nokia will be taking over the position, despite several earlier rumors suggesting he intended to shut down or sell-off the division if he had been named as Microsoft's new CEO. Now it seems he will be given the task of making sure it survives and thrives despite the intense competition from the Sony PS4.

Reportedly, Elop will also be in charge of Microsoft's Windows Phone efforts and their Surface product as well. This will all occur once Microsoft takes control of Nokia's handset business. Now that Elop's fate is tied directly to the success of these divisions it's likely we will see the former head-boss of Nokia with a different outlook on them. Let's just cross our fingers that he is more successful with these products than he was with Nokia's. Here's a quote with the full internal memo below,


As you will read in the notes below from Qi and Satya, I’ve accepted a new challenge, leading the My Life & Work team in ASG and serving as the Chief Experience Officer (CXO). As hard as it is for me to leave Devices & Studios, I’m thrilled about this opportunity. In working with company leaders this year to establish our One Microsoft vision and plan, I thought about ways I could have impact on helping Microsoft prepare for the future and innovate. My discussions with Satya and Qi made clear this is a critical space to drive new thinking and an essential way to help the shape the company’s direction. I’m looking forward to developing the Digital Life & Digital Work Experience Substrate that powers modern digital experiences regardless of device, as well as working across ASG to strengthen customer experiences.

I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe. We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few – incredibly impressive!

Our opportunity to grow as a world-class devices and experiences company is greater than ever, and I have every belief that as One Microsoft we’re on the right path. The addition of Nokia Devices & Services into the DnS family will add tremendous scale, talent and opportunity for our future.

I’ll remain in role leading the DnS organization in the interim until the Nokia deal closes and Stephen Elop makes his transition to Microsoft. We’ve been meeting regularly throughout and are making a lot of progress, ensuring our teams are ready for the Day 1 close and beyond.

You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we’ve shared a lot with him and his LT from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS. I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with
... [Read More]
  15 Replies | 801 Views

Maroo tablet cases, First Take: Stylish protection for Surface and other models

Feb 20, 2014 - 2:12 PM - by dgstorm

I've been using Maroo's Pango[hi] MacBook Air sleeve for my Surface Pro since it came out; made of high-quality leather, it's lined with a striking green microfibre that brushes off the dust nicely. The Surface 2 rattles around in there though. Now Microsoft has asked Maroo to be the first partner to create a leather case specifically for Surface and Surface Pro tablets, and the company has responded in style.

There are different cases for Surface and Surface Pro, but they're the same apart from the size, and both are available in black, power purple and azure blue, all at $49.95. We'd say the colour complements rather than matches Microsoft's Touch and Type Covers — especially as the materials are different (leather and fleece). Still, it's certainly stylish, with a nice accent colour and top-stitching (blue on the power purple case we tried out).

The leather is the same high quality, with...

Continue Reading @: Maroo tablet cases, First Take: Stylish protection for Surface and other models | ZDNet
  1 Reply | 675 Views

Microsoft Might be Forced Into a Move that Could Kill the Surface Tablets

Feb 17, 2014 - 2:15 PM - by dgstorm

Microsoft could release a touch-based version of its Office software suite for Apple's iPad before it's released on Microsoft's own Windows tablets, according to plugged-in Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley.

If that's the case, Microsoft could be about to deal a crippling blow to its Windows tablets, which have already vastly underperformed Apple's devices. With Office on the iPad, it's difficult to see how Surface and other tablets running Microsoft's operating system survive.

Selling the Surface
Microsoft has run several different TV ads for its Surface tablets, and though they vary significantly, all of them contain the same phrase: "It has Office."

The inclusion of Microsoft Office has been a key selling point for Microsoft's devices, including the Surface and other tablets running the full version of Windows 8. Compared with Apple's iPads, Windows tablets have far fewer apps -- in fact, the Windows app store is so far behind Apple's iTunes, it's difficult to even compare them.

In that regard, it's not surprising that Windows tablets have struggled. Last year, Microsoft took a $900 million writedown on the Surface tablet, after the device sold worse than Microsoft had anticipated. Surface sales have improved but are still nowhere close to the 26 million iPads Apple sold last quarter.

Continue Reading @: Microsoft Corporation Could Be About to Kill the Surface Tablet - DailyFinance
  16 Replies | 1,555 Views

Gates and new Microsoft CEO Nadella look like they’ll be joined at the hip

Feb 11, 2014 - 12:59 PM - by dgstorm

Microsoft obviously isn’t the easiest company to manage but new CEO Satya Nadella will have a powerful ally helping him out in the early going: Cofounder Bill Gates. TechCrunch notices that Gates said during an Ask-Me-Anything session on Reddit that Nadella specifically asked him to stick around at Microsoft and help advise him on products. TechCrunch notes that having Gates working with him will greatly help Nadella out since “in Redmond, Gates is still god, and Nadella can use god’s backing to make sure that his dictums are law.”

Continue Reading @: Microsoft CEO Nadella: Gates was asked to stay onboard | BGR
  0 Replies | 436 Views

FAA clears Surface for takeoff in US cockpits

Feb 11, 2014 - 12:57 PM - by dgstorm

Begun, the airline tablet wars have? Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 has just joined the iPad on the FAA's list of approved pilot EFBs (Electronic Flight Bags) for all phases of flight. That follows Delta's recent announcement that it would deploy 11,000 of Redmond's hybrid tablets in its cockpits instead of the iPad, which it also considered. Apple's tablet is already used by American Airlines and others, but Delta said it preferred the readability, productivity apps and other features of the Surface Pro 2. Pilots will now be able to switch from heavy paper charts and books, which Delta said would save millions in fuel costs once the transition is complete in 2015.

Continue Reading @: FAA clears Surface for takeoff in US cockpits
  1 Reply | 345 Views

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