microsoft en Microsoft Awards CEO Satya Nadella $84 Million Pay Package <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/satya_nadella_fist_pump.jpg" alt="Satya Nadella Fist Pump" title="Satya Nadella Fist Pump" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Not a bad looking paycheck</h3> <p>We'd all like to be paid eleven times the amount we earned last year, though for most of us, such a jump wouldn't put us in the tens of millions of dollars range. But for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, well, let's just say it's been a good year for him. How good? <strong>Microsoft revealed in a regulatory filing that its CEO was given a compensation package worth in excess of $84 million</strong> for 2014.</p> <p>Most of that money -- $59.2 million -- comes in the form of restricted stock, which is dependent on Microsoft's stock outperforming 60 percent of Standard &amp; Poor's 500 Index in 2019, 2020, and 2021, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reports</a>. And if Microsoft outperforms 80 percent of the Index, the shares award could jump to $88.8 million. The bottom line is, Nadella could earn more than $350 million in stock awards alone by 2021.</p> <p>As for Microsoft's fiscal 2014 period that ended June 30, Nadella raked in about $919,000 in salary plus a $3.6 million cash bonus, to go along with a $13.2 million stock award. In other words, he isn't likely to worry about the electricity being turned off in his home due to a late payment.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Bhupinder Nayyar)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft satya nadella News Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:13:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 28759 at Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Addresses Inequality and Other Topics in TV Interview <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/satya_nadella_3.jpg" alt="Satya Nadella" title="Satya Nadella" width="228" height="198" style="float: right;" />Satya Nadella's first TV interview since being named CEO of Microsoft</h3> <p><strong>Jon Fortt at <em>CNBC</em> sat down with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for his first TV interview</strong> since becoming boss of the Redmond outfit. Nadella answered questions about Microsoft's cloud strategy, why he opposes a spinoff, and yes, he addressed recent controversial comments that were made in regards to women in the workplace, and specifically the issue of a pay discrepancy between men and women.</p> <p>The controversial comments came when Nadella was a guest speaker at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Speaking to a mostly female audience, Nadella suggested that women workers rely on karma for raises.</p> <p>"It's not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. Because that's good karma. It'll come back because somebody's going to know that's the kind of person that I want to trust," Nadella said.</p> <p>His comments were later criticized on the web. Fortt asked Nadella if he understands why what he said upset so many people and if he could elaborate on that. In response, Nadella said he spent several days reflecting on what's been a "very humbling experience," admitting that he was "completely wrong" in his answer to how women should promote themselves.</p> <p>"I basically took my own approach to how I approached my career and sprung it on half the humanity, and that was just insensitive," Nadella said.</p> <p>On the topic of cloud computing, Nadella said that any major company that's not already spending "four or five billion dollars each year to just grow your cloud, probably it's a little too late to enter the market." That's what Microsoft is doing, as are Amazon and Google, which are really the big three in that category.</p> <p>And what of splitting the Microsoft's consumer business from its enterprise efforts? Nadella is against the idea, choosing instead to focus on what he calls "dual-use," such as people using Windows and Office for their personal use, and taking it to work."</p> <p>There's a lot more to <a href="" target="_blank">digest here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> interview microsoft satya nadella News Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:55:57 +0000 Paul Lilly 28751 at Report: Microsoft Smartwatch Announcement Imminent <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Microsoft Readying Smartwatch" title="Microsoft Smartwatch" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Only a matter of weeks now</h3> <p>Microsoft, which first flirted with smartwatches through its Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) initiative all the way back in 2004, is rumored to be on the verge of re-entering the smartwatch market. A new report suggests that the <strong>company could launch a wearable device within the next few weeks. </strong></p> <p>This report comes to us from <a href="" target="_blank">Forbes</a>, which was also the first to report back in May that a “sensor-rich smartwatch” capable of syncing with iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phones was in the works at Microsoft. According to the latest report, Microsoft is getting ready to unveil the device in the next few weeks. Forbes has further learned from sources close to the development effort that the plan is to make the device available soon after the launch so as to make the most of the coming holiday season.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;<br />Other than cross-platform compatibility, the device is said to be capable of lasting two days on a single charge despite constantly tracking the wearer’s heart rate — this monitoring functionality reportedly relies on company’s extensive optical engineering know-how.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: BizJournals</em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> android heart rate monitor ios kinect microsoft smartwatch spot Wearable windows phone News Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:14:36 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28747 at Patent Troll’s Bid to Benefit from Windows Live Tiles Falls Flat <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Live Tiles on a Windows Phone" title="Live Tiles " width="228" height="115" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>All patent claims ruled ‘unpatentable’</h3> <p>Microsoft is not the only company to have pinned high hopes on Windows Live Tiles and been let down. The user interface element that has come to be associated with Windows 8’s well-documented alienation of desktop users has been at the center of a patent lawsuit since 2012.&nbsp; A little-known Portland, Maine-based company named <a href="" target="_blank">Surfcast</a>, which inhabits the obscure realm of “operating system technology” design, suddenly shot to attention a couple of years back, when it filed a <strong>lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing the latter of infringing on one of its patents with Live Tiles.</strong> The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on Monday gave its <a href="">final written decision in an inter partes review (IPR) of patent 6,724,403 (the “'403 patent”)</a> and sadly for Surfcast, Live Tiles are just as difficult to make money from as ever.</p> <p>In its final written decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO’s) Patent Trial and Appeal Board declared as many as <a href="">52 of Surfcast’s patent claims “unpatentable.”</a> Now this wouldn’t have been such a huge problem had the total number of claims in Surfcast’s patent not been exactly 52. Ouch!</p> <p>“Microsoft has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 1–52 of the ’403 patent are unpatentable,” the board said in its decision.&nbsp; Further, the board also denied Surfcast’s motion to amend claims.</p> <p>Anyway, here’s an excerpt from <a href=";hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=IVhEVP2zIMGxuAS-zYGgDQ&amp;ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA" target="_blank">the ’403 patent</a> describing Surfcast’s proposed tiles-based interface:&nbsp; “The present invention comprises a grid of tiles that resides on the user's computer desktop. The grid of tiles provides a uniform, graphical environment in which a user can access, operate, and/or control multiple data sources on electronic devices. The graphical environment is uniform with respect to the source of accessed information and can manage multiple streams of content, entirely of the user's choice. For example, the invention presents video clips, e-mail messages, television shows, Internet sites, application programs, data files and folders, live video streams, music, radio shows, and any other form of analog signal, digital data or electronically stored information, to the user uniformly and simultaneously, regardless of whether the information is stored locally or available via modem, T1 line, infrared, or any other form of communication.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> inter partes review lawsuit live tiles microsoft patent Patent Troll surfcast UI windows 8 windows 8.1 windows phone News Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:34:08 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28744 at Microsoft Windows Boss Elaborates on Decision to Skip Windows 9 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10.jpg" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />Toe the company line</h3> <p>Somewhere out there is a hidden warehouse filled with missing software. In it you'll find such titles as Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies, Ultima X: Odyssey, and Windows 9. The location will remain a mystery until the end of time, though the decision to fill it with certain pieces of software is more readily known. <strong>With regards to Windows 9, Microsoft's Tony Prophet shared some additional details about the decision to skip it</strong> and go straight to Windows 10.</p> <p>Quoting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Prophet took to the stage at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco and said simply, "It came and it went." That's really the only explanation anyone needs, though Prophet offered up some additional insight into the matter.</p> <p>"Windows 10 is not going to be an incremental step from Window 8.1," Prophet said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Times of India</em></a>. "Windows 10 is going to be a material step. We're trying to create one platform, one eco-system that unites as many of the devices from the small embedded Internet of Things, through tablets, through phones, through PCs and, ultimately, into the Xbox."</p> <p>Microsoft doesn't want anyone associating Windows 10 with Windows 8/8.1. One of the keys to getting it right this time around is allowing users to try out the OS much earlier in the development process than before. The stated goal of the Windows 10 Technical Preview is to collect feedback.</p> <p>"The reason we're doing that is so we can listen to our customers," Prophet says, adding that Microsoft is especially interested in what enterprise customers have to say.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software tony prophet windows 10 windows 9 News Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:41:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28710 at Microsoft's Windows Insider Program for Windows 10 Hits 1 Million Registrants <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_laptop.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Technical Preview" title="Windows 10 Technical Preview" width="228" height="145" style="float: right;" />Over a third of Windows 10 users are running the OS on a virtual machine</h3> <p>Microsoft caught the tech community off guard when it skipped over Windows 9 and <a href="">jumped directly to Windows 10</a> -- so for much for those rumors of Windows 9 being a <a href="">free upgrade</a> for Windows 8 users! Alternative theories aside (such as lazy coding), the move to Windows 10 is a marketing ploy, and if the goal is make users curious, it's working. <strong>Over the weekend, Microsoft's Windows Insider Program hit 1 million registrants</strong>.</p> <p>Signing up for the Windows Insider Program is a prerequisite to downloading the <a href="">Windows 10 Technical Preview</a>, and while Microsoft didn't provide specific download figures, the company stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> that those 1 million registrants "equates to a lot of people" using the new OS.</p> <p>Microsoft's goal with the Technical Preview is to get feedback from users (or if you're wearing your conspiracy theory cap, it's to <a href="">spy on users</a> and collect personal data). In the less than two weeks since Windows 10 has been available to the public, Microsoft has collected over 200,000 pieces of feedback submitted via the Windows Feedback app.</p> <p>According to Microsoft, "only 36 percent" of Windows 10 Technical Preview installations are on a virtual machine (VM); the rest are on actual PCs. While Microsoft says it's "cool" to use a VM if you want, the amount of users running the OS on an actual PC makes the company confident that the majority of feedback is based on "medium-term" use rather than just a few minutes of experimentation.</p> <p>Other fun stats -- around 68 percent of Windows 10 users are launching more than seven apps per day. A quarter of Windows 10 users have been launching more than 26 apps per day, while 5 percent average 68 app launches on any given day.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software technical preview windows 10 News Mon, 13 Oct 2014 18:02:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 28708 at Microsoft Refutes Surface Pro 3 Rumor, Says Tablet is Here to Stay <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_pro_3_4.jpg" alt="Surface Pro 3" title="Surface Pro 3" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" />News of the Surface Pro 3's demise have been greatly exaggerated</h3> <p>It's not too often that Microsoft addresses rumors and speculation floating through cyberspace, so the fact that it stood up in defense of its Surface Pro 3 tablet amid talk that it's planning to cancel the product line is telling. Straight and to the point, <strong>Microsoft took to its Surface blog to reiterate to businesses (and anyone else) that it's not planning to discontinue the Surface Pro 3</strong>. Period.</p> <p>"Businesses can buy with confidence. We are here to stay," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft stated</a>. "At Microsoft, we believe in the future of mobile computing, and with Surface, we have brought a unique perspective to market that meets the needs of many mobile professionals, businesses, educational institutions, and government organizations."</p> <p>It was <em>Digitimes</em> that <a href="" target="_blank">threw the rumor out there</a> suggesting that weak sales prompted Microsoft to rethink things and ultimately decide to scrap its Surface product line. The site also cited financial losses of around $1.7 billion attributed to Microsoft's first- and second-generation Surface tablets.</p> <p>Microsoft responded in a long-winded blog post saying that Surface Pro 3 is "off to a strong start with both individuals and businesses."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 2-in-1 Hardware Hybrid laptop microsoft notebook slate surface pro 3 tablet News Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:24:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28694 at Microsoft Explains Key Logging Activities in Windows 10 Technical Preview <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/keylogger.jpg" alt="Keylogger" title="Keylogger" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />'You agreed to it, sucka!'</h3> <p>Microsoft has a chance to atone for Windows 8/8.1 with Windows 10, the operating system that Windows 8 probably should have been, though things are getting off to somewhat of a rocky start. <strong>Complaints are starting to roll in that the Windows 10 Technical Preview is overstepping its bounds with the amount of information it collects</strong>, and some have even categorized the OS as a keylogger of sorts.</p> <p>Turns out it's true -- the Windows 10 Technical Preview does record keystrokes in certain situations, and it also mines quite a bit of personal data. However, Microsoft contends that these methods are all laid out in the Terms of Use -- the fine print filled with legalese that we all make sure to read, right? -- and by downloading and installing the software, you agreed to the data collection.</p> <p>"With Windows 10, we're kicking off the largest ever open collaborative development effort that will change the way we build and deliver Windows. Users who join the Windows Insider Program and opt-in to the Windows 10 Technical Preview are choosing to provide data and feedback that will help shape the best Windows experience for our customers," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft told <em>The Inquirer</em></a>.</p> <p>"As always, we remain committed to helping protect our customers’ personal information and ensuring safeguards are in place for the collection and storing of that data. As we get closer to a final product, we will continue to share information through our terms of service and privacy statement about how customer data is collected and used, as well as what choices and controls are available," Microsoft continued.</p> <p>Straight to the point, Microsoft is saying that this is pre-release software, and in order to shape and mold it into a prime time OS, it needs to collect your data, data which you agreed to fork over. And in the future, Microsoft will be more upfront about its data collection methods, scout's honor.</p> <p>So, what exactly are you agreeing to? As laid out in a <a href="" target="_blank">Privacy Statements page</a>:</p> <p>"When you acquire, install and use the Program, Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks," Microsoft states.</p> <p>Microsoft goes on to give examples of the data it collects, which includes your name, email address, preferences and interests, browsing, search and file history, phone call and SMS data, device configuration and sensor data, and application usage. However, it's this entry that has people comparing the Technical Preview to a keylogger:</p> <p>"When you open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file and how long it takes and use it for purposes such as improving performance; or enter text, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving auto-complete and spell check features," Microsoft explains.</p> <p>If you're okay with all that, as well as your data being shared, then carry on. Otherwise, the only real solution is to not use the Technical Preview and wait for a later version, such as the final release or a Release Candidate.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Robbert van der Steeg)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> keylogger microsoft operating system OS Privacy Software technical preview windows 10 News Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:12:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 28674 at Microsoft's RoomAlive Technology Turns Rooms into Game Levels <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/roomalive.jpg" alt="RoomAlive" title="RoomAlive" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Augmented reality is the key to (literally) getting in the game</h3> <p>Journalists are going bonkers over the idea that we're closer than ever to having our own in-home holodecks courtesy of Microsoft's RoomAlive technology, and we admit, we're excited about it too. Using augmented reality, <strong>RoomAlive has the ability to transform your living room into a video game level</strong>, which opens the door to all new kinds of game play and use case scenarios.</p> <p>At present, <a href="" target="_blank">RoomAlive</a> is a proof-of-concept prototype designed to turn rooms into immersive entertainment spaces. It uses a unified, scalable approach for interactive projection mapping and dynamically adapts content to any room. Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge, and steer this projected content just like a traditional video game, but without a controller.</p> <p>"Our system enables new interactive projection mapping experiences that dynamically adapts content to any room. Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge, and steer projected content that seamlessly coexists with their existing physical environment," Microsoft researcher Hrvoje Benko explains in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>RoomAlive uses Microsoft's Kinect motion controller and projectors to create virtual landscapes out of your real-world environment. At the moment, the combination is too big and costly to be feasible, but in time that will change. Until then, check out the demo below:</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> augmented reality kinect microsoft roomalive xbox News Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:20:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 28665 at Samsung Paid Microsoft Over $1 Billion in Android Patent Royalties in 2013 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Microsoft's Android Patent Tax" title="Microsoft's Android Patent Tax" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Entertainment and Devices Division’s 2013 operating income pales in comparison</h3> <p>A couple of months back, <strong>Microsoft instituted legal proceedings against Samsung for its refusal to fulfill “substantial” obligations under a 2011 agreement that allows the latter to use patented technology in its Android devices in exchange for annual royalty payments</strong>. But with virtually all vital facts and figures contained in <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft’s complaint</a> being redacted from public view, we could do little more than take wild guesses at the money involved. Not anymore. Microsoft’s complaint was <a href=";allow_share=true&amp;escape=false&amp;view_mode=scroll">unsealed</a> Friday and, as a result, we now have a much better idea of just what is at stake.</p> <p>For instance, we now know that the deal is meant to last seven (fiscal) years in all, and that the fiscal year (FY) 2 royalty payment that Samsung made late last year (albeit reluctantly and over a month late) was in excess of $1 billion. We also know that Microsoft wants Samsung to cough up over $6.9 million in late payment interest that it says is contractually its due. Of course, as we reported back in August, Microsoft believes Samsung’s refusal to pay this amount stems from its belief that the Redmond-based software giant’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business breaches the patent license agreement.</p> <p>Just to put things in perspective, the <a href="">FY2 royalty payment Samsung made last year was well more than the $848 million operating income Microsoft’s entire Entertainment and Devices Division</a> — includes Xbox, Skype and Windows Phone — generated in 2013. What’s more interesting is that the said amount is over half of the $2 billion per year in revenue that Microsoft was estimated to be making from all such patent royalty deals — the company has such agreements with over 80 percent of Android vendors — back in 2013. Frankly, this is hardly a&nbsp; surprise when one considers Samsung’s utter dominance of the Android device market.</p> <p><span style="color: #000000; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 21px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: #ffffff;">Follow Pulkit on<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 21px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background: #ffffff;" href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> android android licensing program lawsuit microsoft patent royalties samsung News Mon, 06 Oct 2014 02:39:34 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28661 at Maximum Debate: Is Microsoft’s $2.5 Billion Minecraft Acquisition Worth It? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/dr_evil_billions.jpg" alt="Dr Evil meme" title="Dr Evil meme" width="250" height="186" style="float: right;" />Jimmy and Sean disagree on whether or not it was wise of Microsoft to purchase Mojang for $2.5 billion</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;">Welcome to Maximum’s inaugural Maximum Debate article, a new opinion column where two Maximum PC editors duke it out over a specific topic. This time around, Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang and Contributing Editor Sean Knight debate the merits of whether or not it was a good idea for Microsoft to purchase <a title="Minecraft" href="" target="_blank">Minecraft</a> developer Mojang for <a href="" target="_blank">$2.5 billion dollars</a>.<br /></span><span style="font-weight: normal;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;">Read through the debate below and let us know where you stand by voting in our poll at the end of the article or by leaving a comment.&nbsp;</span></p> <h4>Sean's opening statement:&nbsp;</h4> <p>Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang has been the subject of many discussions lately. While the acquisition of Mojang is a good move on Microsoft’s part, the company paying <span style="color: #000000;">$2.5 billion</span> for the developer has surprised everyone. It’s a lot of money for a small developer with one successful game, so far, under its belt. But is Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang worth it?</p> <p>I personally think that this deal is definitely worth it for the company. Not only is Minecraft a very popular title, but it has been downloaded 100 million times on the PC and, last we were told, had sold around 54 million units total over the various platforms it is on. It is a juggernaut that has captured the attention of not only older gamers, but the next generation of gamers, &nbsp;and there is no sign of its popularity waning anytime soon.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/minecraft_004.jpg" alt="Minecraft Chickens" title="Minecraft Chickens" width="600" height="353" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Should we be counting our chickens yet?</strong></p> <h4><strong>Jimmy's opening statement:&nbsp;</strong></h4> <p>To put how much money 2.5 BILLION dollars into perspective, that’s roughly 2.5x the amount <a title="Amazon buys Twitch" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Amazon</span></a> bought the world’s most popular game streaming website Twitch for (which some suggest is also too much). In general, if you were to ask me about all these massive tech buyouts, I’d say it’s unsustainable and is a bubble just waiting to burst, but that’s a different matter.</p> <p>Off the top of my head, I’d say there’s really only three current gaming franchises that are perhaps worth that pretty penny moving forward: League of Legends, Dota 2, and the World of Warcraft. Like Minecraft, all those aforementioned games have a large player base, but unlike the Mojang-developed title, they are cash cows that consistently bring in revenue via either a monthly subscription or micro-transactions. They are, for the most part, rock solid revenue generators. As Minecraft stands right now, you spend $20-something bucks and you’re all set. I would imagine Microsoft will try to monetize the game further with micro-transactions, but considering that most of the Minecraft audience isn’t used to that business model, an abrupt shift could be off putting and hurt the existing community. Furthermore, how do we know that Minecraft hasn’t hit critical mass and reached saturation? While you could also say that of the other aforementioned games I've mentioned, I’d argue that they’re still safer bets considering they bring in a constant barrage of money via micro-transactions each month from huge user bases. &nbsp;</p> <p>That’s not to say that Minecraft isn’t a cash cow in its own right. Considering the game has sold 54 million copies to date across all platforms, it’s certainly also in a league of its own. But when you crunch the numbers, there's still a steep hill to climb in making $2.5 billion moving forward.</p> <p>Considering the game sells for $27 (with the mobile and console versions being significantly cheaper, but we’ll disregard that), total revenue equates to around $1.4 billion in a best-case scenario. This is no small chunk of change, mind you, but that’s still more than $1 billion shy of what Microsoft paid for the developer, and roughly the amount Microsoft had to lay down to resolve that nasty <a title="Red Ring of Death" href=",-take-1-billion-hit/2100-1014_3-6195058.html" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">red ring catastrophe</span></a> with the Xbox 360. And again, who’s to say that Minecraft hasn’t already reached critical mass?</p> <p>I can understand why Microsoft would want Mojang and Minecraft, but in my humble opinion, they should take a lesson on learning how to buy low to sell high.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/minecraft_055.jpg" alt="Minecraft Storm" title="Minecraft Storm" width="600" height="361" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A storm is brewing over this debate</strong></p> <h4><span style="font-size: 1.17em;">Sean's rebuttal:</span></h4> <p>Minecraft is far from reaching critical mass. There is still a huge market for it on PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. It’s safe to say that Minecraft has been a cash cow for Mojang as well. In addition to selling the game, there are <a title="LEGO Minecraft sets" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">LEGO Minecraft sets</span></a> and a variety of merchandise such as plushies, hoodies, foam pickaxes, keychains, stickers, cups, caps, and more. On consoles, there are texture packs that are being sold to gamers and even themed-texture packs for games such as Halo. As for mobile devices, the pocket edition is in the Top 10 apps for both Android and iOS devices on a consistent basis. So imagine if Microsoft were to start offering mobile users texture packs for sale?</p> <p>But Microsoft could take things even further. Just look at its Halo franchise. That franchise has had a webseries, will have a live TV series debuting later this year, and a Halo channel that will be launching soon. A Halo channel dedicated solely to Halo! So I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something similar with Minecraft from cartoons to, as crazy as it sounds, a movie.&nbsp;</p> <p>Minecraft may not have a story, but this game is appealing to a ton of kids. Kids who tend to go on YouTube to watch Let’s Play and Minecraft-related videos. That is the target audience Microsoft will, presumedly, focus on. An audience that will continue to grow unless Microsoft screws things up.&nbsp;</p> <p>We also have to look at China, now that Microsoft’s Xbox One has just launched there since the country’s <a title="Console ban lifted in China" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">14-year ban</span></a> on consoles has been lifted. So far, there are only 10 games available for the Xbox One in China and titles such as Halo are not among them due to Chinese regulators being wary of violent games. This means that Minecraft could easily be brought over to the Chinese market.</p> <p>I also believe that Minecraft is the equivalent of Nintendo’s Mario and LEGOs rolled into one. For many, Mario was the gaming icon for a generation of gamers while LEGO continues to be relevant and profitable because it appeals to the imagination of children. Minecraft is this generation’s Mario and could have the endurance similar of that to the LEGO brand. Microsoft just needs to be smart and continue to cultivate the audience that has grown around Mojang and Minecraft.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/minecraft_002.jpg" alt="Minecraft lake" title="Minecraft lake" width="600" height="352" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Does the deal provide endless possibilities?</strong></p> <h4>Jimmy's rebuttal:&nbsp;</h4> <p>While it is debateable whether or not Minecraft has reached critical mass, Mojang did lose its prominent founder <a title="Notch leaves Mojang" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Markus “Notch” Persson</span></a>, which would be akin to the Mario franchise losing Shigeru Miyamoto (game designer behind Mario and Zelda). In other words, it’s a big blow to the franchise. And without Notch’s presence, who’s to say Microsoft won’t screw the franchise up? After all, they turned Rare from the beloved developer of Goldeneye to an average developer making <a title="rare xbox" href="" target="_blank">mediocre Kinect games</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/goldeneye_box.jpg" alt="GoldenEye Box" title="GoldenEye Box" width="333" height="233" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>&nbsp;Before Microsoft bought Rare</strong></p> <p>In regards to your comments about them being able to push Xbox Ones in China, I highly doubt it will have much of an impact unfortunately due to the high amount of piracy that happens there.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/kinect_sports.jpg" alt="Kinect Sports" title="Kinect Sports" width="500" height="500" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>After Microsoft bought Rare</strong></p> <p>Moreover, if Minecraft falters, they have no other established IPs to rely on considering Mojang has ever only made one game. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. When Activision acquired Blizzard, at least they got WoW, StarCraft, and Diablo.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/minecraft_foam_sword.jpg" alt="Minecraft foam sword" title="Minecraft foam sword" width="500" height="500" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Do these swords look like they are worth $2.5 billion to you?</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">And sure, they can try to make a Minecraft TV show (though I find that a little challenging considering, as you mentioned, there is no story to Minecraft) and they’ll continue to sell Minecraft foam axes and whatnot, but call me skeptical, but I don’t think they’ll be able to sell $2.5 billion worth of it.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>That's what we think anyways, what do you think? Vote in the poll below!</strong></p> <form action="" method="post"> <div style="background-color: #eeeeee; padding: 2px; width: 175px; font-family: Arial; font-size: small; color: #000000; box-shadow: 0px 0px 5px #888;"> <div style="padding:2px 0px 4px 2px;"><strong>Do you think Microsoft purchasing Mojang for $2.5 billion was a good deal?</strong></div> <p><input id="answer651381851" style="float:left;" name="answer" type="radio" value="1" /><label style="float: left; width: 150px;" for="answer651381851">A) Yes, I think it was a good deal</label><input id="answer651381852" style="float:left;" name="answer" type="radio" value="2" /><label style="float: left; width: 150px;" for="answer651381852">B) No, I don't think it's a good deal</label><br /> <div style="padding:3px;"><input type="submit" value=" Vote " />&nbsp;<input name="view" type="submit" value=" View " /></div> <div style="font-size:10px"> <a href="">free polls</a></div> </p></div> </form> debate Markus Persson maximum pc. $2.5 billion microsoft Microsoft acquires Mojang minecraft Mojang Notch Gaming Features Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:25:33 +0000 Sean D Knight and Jimmy Thang 28655 at Yes, DirectX 12 is Shipping with Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/forza.jpg" alt="Forza" title="Forza" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Microsoft confirms that DirectX 12 will be included in the final release of Windows 10</h3> <p>In case you were wondering, <strong>Microsoft fully intends to bake DirectX 12 support into the final version of Windows 10</strong> when it releases next year, the company confirmed in a DX developer <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>. Oh, and also in case you were wondering, Microsoft thinks "it's going to be awesome," which is much better than the company saying, "Meh, it's simply okay. Actually, it kind of sucks, but we're including it anyway."</p> <p>Game developers who want to get a head start playing with the API can register for the DirectX <a href="!107&amp;authkey=!AFgbVA2sYbeoepQ" target="_blank">Early Access</a> Program. Those who are accepted will receive updated runtimes, API headers, drivers, documentation, and samples, all of which Microsoft says will work with the Windows 10 Technical Preview.</p> <p>But wait, there's more! Microsoft has teamed up with Epic to create a DX12 branch on the Unreal Engine 4 GitHub repository. It supports UE 4.4, which is the latest publicly released version of the Unreal 4 Engine. Those who also <a href="" target="_blank">subscribe to Unreal Engine 4</a> can join Microsoft's open development project.</p> <p>Like AMD's Mantle technology, the DX12 API offers developers deeper access into hardware to improve performance. It also introduces a set of new rendering pipeline features that <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft says</a> will "dramatically improve the efficiency of algorithms."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> api directx 12 dx12 microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:20:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28658 at Try Out Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview Today <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_laptop.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Laptop" title="Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Laptop" width="228" height="145" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Kick Windows 10's tires for free</h3> <p>Microsoft surprised quite a few people yesterday when it <a href="" target="_blank">unveiled its next generation of Windows</a>. It wasn't that Microsoft announced a new version of Windows, but that it decided to skip over Windows 9 and go straight to Windows 10. The reason behind the decision is because the new version is the beginning of a new era for the Windows platform, so Microsoft decided it warranted a numerical skip. Curious about the new OS? <strong>If you join the Windows Insider program (free), you can download and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview today (also free)</strong>.</p> <p>"As a member of the Windows Insider community, you will have an active role in helping us build Windows 10 and be among the first to see new stuff," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc explains in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "You will automatically receive new builds as we release them with the latest features we’re experimenting with – and our freshest bugs. Some of these features may not be fully 'baked' – meaning they may not work correctly as you are seeing these features as we work on them. And there’s no guarantee that what you see will be part of the final release. But as a Windows Insider, you’ll have the ability to impact and influence those types of product decisions."</p> <p>Keep in mind that this is pre-release software you'd be dealing with, so it's probably not wise to install the Technical Preview on a mission critical system or any other rig that favors reliability. However, if you're curious about Windows 10 and want to help shape the direction it goes in, this is your chance to give it a spin and let your voice be heard.</p> <p>There's a Windows Feedback app you can use to report any issues you run into, or to simply tell Microsoft, "Hey, I don't like this feature and that feature," but hopefully with more detail than that.</p> <p>Also bear in mind that what you see today isn't the whole Windows 10 package. The final version will ship in 2015, and by then, it's likely to look and act a bit differently than what the Technical Preview portrays at this moment in time.</p> <p>All that said, if you still want to check out the Windows 10 Technical Preview, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a> and follow the instructions.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software technical preview windows 10 News Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:34:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28648 at Microsoft Tosses 'Windows 9' into Recycle Bin, Announces Windows 10 Instead <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Mock Logo" title="Windows 10 Mock Logo" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />"It wouldn't be right to call it Windows 9" - Microsoft</h3> <p>You're probably familiar with the argument, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, Juliet may not have cared about the name of things, but Microsoft does, which is why you'll never see a Windows 9. Instead, <strong>Microsoft today skipped a number and announced Windows 10</strong>, the OS formerly known as Threshold and the successor to Windows 8/8.1.</p> <p>"Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever," Windows head Terry Myerson said during a press event with a small gathering of reporters in San Francisco. "It wouldn't be right to call it Windows 9."</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Windows 10 preview video</strong></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Recode</em></a>, Windows 10 is designed to run on a wide range of devices with screen sizes running the gamut from four inches all the up to 80 inches. Microsoft will have a single application platform with one integrated Store to deliver Windows experiences across all those devices.</p> <p>In order to serve all those devices, Windows 10 was built from the ground up for a "mobile-first, cloud-first world," Myerson added, <a href="" target="_blank">according to </a><em><a href="" target="_blank">TechRadar</a>.</em></p> <p>Reports from around the web say Windows 10 looks a bit like Windows 7. It has a hybrid Start menu that combines Windows 7-era features with Windows 8 style tiles, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Seattle Times </em>reports</a>. However, Microsoft isn't viewing Windows 10 as just a rehash of previous versions. Part of the reason for the Windows 10 name is because it represents the "first step of a whole new generation of Windows," Myerson said.</p> <p>The focus right now is on the enterprise, and towards that end, the first priority of the OS is to make sure it's familiar for business users coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8 so they can hop right in and be productive. Microsoft's second priority is "modern management" of lots of computers.</p> <p>So, what about that Modern UI that caused such a fuss with power users? It's gone in Windows 10, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Endgadget</em> reports</a>. In place of the Modern UI are Live Tiles integrated into the right side of the Start menu on the Desktop. On the left side are pinned and frequent apps.</p> <p>There's also a refreshed taskbar with a new "task view" that presents all of your running apps. Windows 10 allows you to tile up to four apps on the same screen.</p> <p>Other goodies include a beefed up command prompt that allows you to use keyboard shortcuts, along with copy and paste, and a Charms Bar that may or may not make it into the final cut.</p> <p>Microsoft is planning to issue a Technical Preview of Windows 10 next week, with a launch of the OS by spring 2015. We'll have a more in-depth look once all the information is out, as well as hands-on impressions once we get a copy to play with.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software threshold windows 10 windows 9 News Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:49:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28638 at Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is (Still) the Richest Man in America <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bill_gates_2.jpg" alt="Bill Gates" title="Bill Gates" width="228" height="167" style="float: right;" />Software guru turned philanthropist tops Forbes 400 list for 21 years straight</h3> <p>You know the saying about how the rich get richer? Well, if going by the numbers, the saying is true -- in order to make the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, you'd need a net worth of $1.55 billion, the highest it's been since <em>Forbes</em> started tracking American wealth in 1982 (last year it required $1.3 billion to make the list). And speaking of long-term trends, <strong>Bill Gates tops the list as the richest American for the 21st year in a row</strong>.</p> <p>The Harvard dropout and co-founder of Microsoft has a net worth of $81 billion. Interestingly, his stake in the company he built into an empire accounts for less than 20 percent of his total net worth, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Forbes</em> says</a>. That stake is still lucrative, however, as he added $9 billion to his net worth last year due in part to a rise in Microsoft stock.</p> <p>Having retired from daily duties at Microsoft, Gates spends most of his time with the Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation, which has given away $30 billion since 2000. If that money belonged to a single person, he or she would be the 16th wealthiest person in America.</p> <p>Some other tech figures on the list include Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison (No. 3, $50 billion), Facebook whizkid Mark Zuckerberg (No. 11, $34 billion), Google chief Larry Page (No. 13, $31.5 billion), Google co-founder Sergey Brin (No. 14, $31 billion), Amazon head Jeff Bezos (No. 15, $30.5 billion), and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (No. 18, $22,5 billion).</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (IssacMao)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Bill Gates Forbes microsoft wealth News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:50:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 28630 at