Microsoft this week bids farewell to Kevin Johnson, the now former president of its platfroms and services division. During Johnson's tenure, many thought he would one day succeed CEO Steve Ballmer, and together the two of them played a major role in the company's pursuit of Yahoo.
This isn't the first defelction in recent times, as earlier this year Senior VP Steven Berkowitz announced plans to leave Microsoft by the end of the summer. And with Bill Gates having gone into semi-retirement, the face of Microsoft is beginning to look much different than it did just one year ago.
Find out why Johnson's announcement comes ill-timed for Microsoft after the jump. Touché?
In order to work in the gaming industry -- or any industry where ravenous journalists circle about, just waiting for a choice quote, really -- you probably need a fairly resilient sense of humor. After all, even if you possess an iron will and never blab a single well-guarded secret, out-of-context headlines are still perched atop websites, waiting to knock the wind out of your sails.
With that said, life isn't fair, and I have a living to make. Today's Roundup does, in fact, feature a couple of seemingly-ridiculous lines from a couple of your favorite industry luminaries. But you guys are great, so I'm sure we won't have any issues with context or mockery, right? Right?
Google has just made a new addition to its bouquet of internet properties. Its answer to Wikipedia, Knol, is now in open beta. Unlike Wikipedia where every author has no choice but to be self-effacing, Knol keeps the author in the foreground and well in control of his/her work. It will solely depend on an author whether he wants his Knols to be accompanied by ads – of which he will be a beneficiary – and if he wants to heed a call for modifications or edits to his article.
Knol also allows authors to collaborate on a certain article if they so desire. The media hasn’t really received Google’s announcement of Knol all that well as it fears that Google’s search engine results will be biased towards Knol.
Funnily and ironically enough, it seems to be more of Google’s own version of the quintessential information-centric website or online content hubs - that promise authors a share in adsense revenues - and less of a Wikipedia rival.
Google is currently exploring all possible methods of milking the Youtube cow despite having deemed revenues from the website to be immaterial during it Q1 filing.
It has now dawned upon Google that professionally made content is more lucrative to advertisers than amateur videos, and can help it recover the $1.65 billion Youtube acquisition costs. The search engine major’s enlightenment will greatly benefit Hollywood companies, who have been clamoring about the ease with which their interests are compromised on piracy hotbeds like Youtube.
Google knows that to monetize copyrighted movie and TV videos with advertisements it will have to legitimize their use first, which it plans to do with revenue sharing deals with major Hollywood studios. It recently struck a revenue sharing deal with Lionsgate and is in talks with other media companies, although very little is known at this stage.
Does it mean that Google will completely prevent users from uploading copyrighted content - something it has failed to do hitherto? Most probably that won’t be the case as it is currently working on a new technology that will help identify copyrighted content and allow its rightful owners to display ads next to it without the video being taken down.
The battle of the browsers always comes down to Mozilla's open-source Firefox and Micrsoft's tight-lidded Internet Explorer, and no matter how hard Opera, Flock, Safari, and the rest of the alternate browser try to join the fight, there just doesn't appear to be room for a third contender. Or is there?
A Japanse software company apparently never got the memo and thinks it has a chance at snagging 5 percent of the browser market within the next few years. And while most of us would automatically shrug at such an impossibly ambitious notion, it would be a mistake to dismiss the company's claim without a second glance.
Hit the jump to see why this new browser might make a splash in the American market.
BitTorrent has already proved itself a capable technology for distributing large files to the masses, and at least one company is hoping it will prove equally adept at delivering streaming content. Backed with $22 million in funding from the EU and partners, the P2P-Next research group has come up with a zero-server solution for delivering streaming content, and has begun testing the breakthrough technology with its SwarmPlayer software.
After installing the SwarmPlayer application, a user can start watching streaming content by clicking on a "live" .tstream file that connects them to whatever broadcast the file is associated with. The player then downloads and buffers a minute's worth of data, which is then traded with other people in the stream.
If the trial run proves successful, it could open the door to a deluge of broadcasts from anyone with an internet connection without concern for gobbling up oodles of bandwidth. Instead, the onus gets passed back to the ISPs in the long run, so it will be interesting to see what kind of opposition emerges should the new technology build up a head of steam. And it's not all peaches and cream for end users, either. If you think YouTube is bad, just imagine what YouStream would be like.
With the all the brouhaha surrounding solid state drives (SSDs), there remains a question of exactly how big of a performance advantage flash memory really holds over today's hard drives. On paper, most SSDs scream ahead in both read and write speeds, but real-world benchmarking paints a different picture. So why the discrepancy? At SandDisk, they're blaming Vista. The company's CEO, Eli Harari, says SSD "performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs. Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disks."
It's not hard to find fault with Vista, but blaming the OS for underperforming SSDs qualifies as a new one that even Apple hasn't yet exploited in its many mocking commercials. To be fair, Harari made the statement as part of a pitch to improve SSDs' next generation controllers, which he says "need to compensate for Vista's shortfalls." Because of this need, the company claims it is behind schedule bringing competitive SSDs to market.
Is SanDisk justified in pointing the finger at Vista?
Better late than never, right? That seems to be what roughly half of you think about GFW Live finally ditching its subscription fee. The remaining half, then, think Microsoft wizened up too late in the game, and that Steam has already taken home the gold. Personally, I have to say that dropping the fee was a smart move, but it's what Microsoft does next that'll really count. Will they add features that differentiate GFW Live from other services, or was today's announcement just lip service to keep the unwashed masses from becoming belligerent?
Luckily, today's Roundup will provide you with instant gratification where Microsoft couldn't. Whether you're looking for humbled admittances from Nintendo, excellent new titles on Gametap, or proof that the PS3 is actually front-runner in the console wars, the Roundup has you covered.
One of the big announcements at this year’s Gamefest – Microsoft’s XNA developers conference taking place in Seattle right now – is the next step for the Games for Windows initiative. We spoke with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who gave us a breakdown of the updated service and how it’ll affect current GFW account owners. Kevin also clued us into the details from the official DirectX 11 unveiling, including what three new features have been added to the API.
Click through the jump for more details, and how this affects gamers who've already paid for GFW LIVE accounts.
We still have a ways to go before being able to print out an entire PC's worth of components ordered through Newegg, but imagine taking that killer motherboard layout you've been brewing in your head and printing out a 3D mockup. Then the only question is do you send your design to your favorite motherboard maker, or start up your own company and show the competition what a real enthusiast's layout is supposed to look like? Forget about Fatal1ty, and slap your own forum nick on your custom mobo!
Sound farfetched? It is, but only because of the high costs associated with 3D printing. Looking to break that barrier is Netherlands-based Shapeways, an ambitious startup who hopes to help you transform your 3D modeling designs from software creations into hard printouts, all without breaking the bank. After submitting your object, Shapeways decides whether or not it can be produced and provides a real-time cost estimate, which the company claims usually runs between $50-$150.
It's all part of Shapeways' private beta for a new online consumer co-creation community and do-it-yourself 3D printing service. The site beta has just gone live, but the only way you'll get to try it out is with an invite. That's no problem for Maximum PC readers, as we've secured 250 exclusive invitations!
Hit the jump to learn more about Shapeways' 3D printing service and to snatch your invite. But hurry, they're first come, first served!