At this month’s Professional Developer Conference Microsoft will be handing out the software development kit for their Surface tabletop computer. In an announcement made on the PDC’s site, Robert Levy sates that attendees will be able to “learn how you can become a part of the expanding partner ecosystem for Microsoft Surface and leverage your existing investments in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and Visual Studio to build engaging end user applications. Attendees will receive access to the Microsoft Surface SDK.”
This announcement comes as a sigh of relief to developers, who have been promised the SDK for some time now. The only known companies with access to the SDK are AT&T and Starwood hotels, whose projects are unknown. Microsoft has also been stating that the multitouch interface will be part of Windows 7, but is yet to detail how.
Let’s just hope that Chris Taylor and his boys get started on their version of Supreme Commander for the Surface ASAP!
In the latest indication that Windows Vista's not one of Redmond's greatest hits, Windows XP (aka "The operating system that will not die") has won another reprieve. Friday, Microsoft confirmed rumors that OEMs bundling Windows Vista Ultimate or Vista Business can continue to order media for downgrades to Windows XP Professional until July 31, 2009 . Meaning, for those paying attention, that Harry Potter could get a Vista system downgraded to Windows XP for his birthday. Previously, the last day for downgrade media was going to be January 31, 2009. 1-31-2009 remains the deadline for system builders (aka "the corner computer store") to buy Windows XP licenses for their systems.
As an OEM product, Windows XP won't quite make it to Windows 7's anticipated release date of January 2010, but it will get closer than anyone could have guessed when it was released in October 2001.
So, what say you? Have you exercised your downgrade rights to send a Vista machine back to XP land? Any tips or tricks to consider? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.
Startup company G.ho.st is crying foul over Microsoft's new ad campaign, but not because the commercials suck. Instead, the company claims Microsoft's ads violate the startup's trademark, specifically the phrases "life without walls," "imagine without walls," and "imagine no walls." G.ho.st. CEO Zvi Schreiber has sent a letter to Steve Ballmer requesting that the phrases in question be removed from Microsoft's product lineup, website, marketing materials, and anywhere else the software giant might be using them.
Michael Marinello, a Microsoft spokesman, did acknowledge that Microsoft had received the letter, but said in an email "the allegation is without merit." Not so says Schreiber, who claims that G.ho.st has been using the phrase "no walls" in conjunction with its G.ho.st Virtual Computer software, which Schreiber describes as an alternative to Windows.
Going for the gusto, Schreiber not only wants Microsoft to stop using the above mentioned phrases, but wants Microsoft to amend existing ads clarifying that it has not licensed G.ho.st's technology or trademark, as well as mentioning that they do not use the same "features or benefits of the G.ho.st Virtual Computer." All this on top of wanting Steve Ballmer and Co. to negotiate a "good faith" license for past use.
Ready for the kicker? Not only does G.ho.st not yet officially own the allegedly trademarked phrases, but according to PC World, the company filed an application for the trademarks on the same day it sent Microsoft the ceast and desist letter.
If there's one thing Nintendo's DS taught us, it's that there's some nifty uses for dual-screen electronics. The potential lies far beyond just gaming, and Microsoft Research's Ken Kinckley sees this perhaps more than anyone. Hinckley unveiled a prototype project he's been working on called Codex, which is essentially two OQO Model 02's fused together. The end result is a multi-tablet configuration designed to be more than a glorified eBook reader.
"The Codex has two screens, it's designed to be used that way, and you won't find any half-apologetic demos that try to mash them back together into one big screen," Hinckley writes in his blog. "Instead, it's all about the intelligent partitioning of tasks and interface elements across the screens."
As is essential for any would-be tablet, be it a single or dual screen version, Hinckley's concoction switches between portrait and landscape mode depending on the device's orientation. The screens can also be arched backwards in what he calls a battleship posture, or pop one of the screens right out of its binding.
Underneath the hood, the OQO Model 02 runs either Vista or XP with a 1.6GHz CPU, comes with WiFi and bluetooth, and uses either a 120GB hard drive or 64GB SSD. In other words, there's plenty of potential here for a kick-ass gadget.
Whether or not this ever makes it out of prototype form remains to be seen, and as such no information on pricing or availability has been made. Though as Hinckley points out, "the crass answer is you can have one now if you are willing to spend some dollars, build yourself a custom binder, and write a little bit of code."
According to a new report from Net Applications, both Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox browsers saw a drop in market share last month. That shouldn't come as a big surprise considering that Google's Chrome browser made its debut in the same time period, but what's interesting to note is that the combined drop exceeds the gains posted by Chrome.
At some point, Microsoft has to be getting concerned. IE still dominates the browser landscape by a wide margin, but that won't always be the case if it keeps giving up market share. IE slid .63 points to 71.52 percent in September, which adds up to a 3.95-point drop on the year, or down 5.2 percent. Firefox's slide was a little less slippery at .22 points settling in at 19.46 percent, and has gained ground on the year with a 2.48-point climb, or up 14.6 percent.
It also wouldn't take a leap of faith to assume most Chrome users were previously surfing with IE and Firefox, and if true, that would mean more IE users made the jump than those using Firefox. You can draw your own conclusion on that one.
Amazon's much more than the "world's biggest bookstore" - its Amazon Web Services division has been offering flexible hosted application development for some time. And this week, Amazon Web Services launched what ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley calls a "pre-emptive strike" against Microsoft's forthcoming "Windows Cloud" operating system by adding Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server to its product portfolio.
Amazon's move to provide access to Windows Server and SQL Server is significant because it enables developers to have their choice of Linux-based or Windows-based development resources on what Amazon calls its "cost-effective, pay-as-you-go pricing model." Essentially, Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud service (also known as Amazon EC2) lets developers rent a virtual machine with varying amounts of disk space and transfer capabilities on an as-needed basis without the need to carve out space in a crowded server room or spend long-term dollars on a short-term requirement.
To learn more about why Amazon Web Services has added Microsoft vehicles to its "rental fleet," join us after the jump.
"Windows Cloud" is the code name for a new operating system that will make its debut at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference later this month, InfoWorld reports.
It's no secret that Microsoft has been developing what it calls "software plus services" for some time now. In addition to SharePoint, Exchange, and Dynamic CRM software for enterprise and business clients, the list of S+S from Microsoft also includes the home and small-business-oriented Windows Live family, which has just been upgraded. So, what exactly will be in "Windows Cloud" (or whatever its actual name will be)? For a peek behind the curtain, and the Microsoft rival preparing to use Microsoft's own tools against it, join us after the jump.
That’s right, you didn’t misread the headline – Microsoft is looking to pay you to use their search engine (again). Not with real money mind you, but points that can be redeemed for prizes (read: Chuck E. Cheese).
The program, called SearchPerks, will give users of Microsoft’s LIVE Search a point each time they search, with the possibility of accumulating 25 per day. However, users will only be able to collect these points once they’ve agreed to download and install a small program that allows Microsoft to track their usage.
In the past, Microsoft hasn’t been successful in getting new users for their search engine, currently only holding 8.3 percent of the search engine market. With the Live Search Club, Microsoft saw an initial boost in their search engine usage of nearly 3 percent, but the results failed to hold. The success of the search engine appears to be directly tied with the incentive programs that Microsoft offers.
If you’re looking to get in on the point-spending goodness, be sure to sign up soon. Microsoft is only allowing people to sign up until the end of the year, or until they get their target of 250,000 participants.
I bet you never thought all those searches for Lindsay Lohan would one day be profitable, did you?
There's a major disappointment resonating from Redmond, and really, you're the only one that can do anything about it. you see, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't like "not being No. 1," but that's exactly the position his company takes in the search arena. If that's to change - and Ballmer believes Microsoft may be the only company with a fighting chance - he says it will take several more years and lots of cash.
It's going to take us a while," Ballmer said during a speech at the Churchhill Club. "It's a five-year task. We've got a lot to do."
Ballmer went on to say that the Microsoft will have to figure out a way to fundamentally change both the experience and economics of the search industry, claiming his company has "taken some steps in that direction." Of course, we're sure Google would have a different outlook, but ultimately it's you, the web searcher, who decides the outcome. So if you refuse to use Live Search because it sucks compared to Google, at least consider switching so Ballmer can sleep more soundly at night at not having to be not No. 1.
Microsoft Tinker, developed for Microsoft by Fuel Industries, puts you in control of an old-school robot that's exploring a miniature world. Move to each level's destination by moving blocks, jumping on elevator buttons, and destroying objects. Along the way, you can also turn switches on and off and collect cog wheels. You can control your journey with the arrow keys on the keyboard, an Xbox 360 controller, or a Windows Media Center remote. You can also record a video of a game level, and while you play, a cool jazz soundtrack keeps your spirits up.
Game sounds from Microsoft Tinker make up the second Ultimate Extra, joining previous audio Ultimate Extras Glass and Pearl.
Dream Scene Content Pack #4 adds three variations on a mountain lake at sunset (see illustration) to previous full-motion wallpaper offerings.