Everything is rosy in Redmond today. In one of Steve Ballmer's last stands before handing the reigns to someone else, a European court ruled against claims made by Cisco that Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype would amount to an anti-competitive advantage. With the decision, Microsoft is free to continue marketing Skype's video calls to consumers and businesses without making concessions to Cisco or other competitors.
Microsoft really should rethink its relentless "Scroogled" campaign and in particular its vendetta against Chromebooks. We're not saying Microsoft should readily embrace a competitor's ecosystem, but the more hardware partners that join the Chromebook movement, the sillier Microsoft looks for disparaging the platform. We bring this up because Dell, the world's third largest PC maker, just announced a Chromebook of its own.
SugarSync users who have been enjoying the service's free 2GB tier received some news today that they may find hard to swallow. Beginning February 8, 2014, SugarSync will no longer welcome freeloaders to the fold, and instead will adopt a paid-only model. On the bright side, customers will still be able to try the service at no cost for 90 days and 5GB (or 30 days for any of the paid plans), but after that, it comes time to pay the piper.
A boutique built Steam Machine with a 'take no prisoners' approach
Let's get one thing straight -- even though Valve is making a push for PC gamers to plop their rumps in the living room where console gaming has traditional ruled the roost, there's no mandate that says a Steam Machine has to be only as powerful as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (or Nintendo Wii). Taking that to heart, boutique builder Digital Storm makes no bones about the fact that it's upcoming Steam Machine won't compete with consoles on price, but in return for a higher price tag, gamers will receive a premium set of components that send consoles cowering in the corner.
Over a dozen years of litigation finally comes to end
There's been no love lost between Rambus and Micron over the years. The two have been mired in litigation since 1990, which is when Rambus first sought license fees and threatened infringement lawsuits against memory makers who turned to the popular SDRAM standard over its own proprietary RDRAM spec. Rambus contended that its patents and inventions also applied to SDRAM, but as far as things are concerned with Micron, it's now a moot point.
Where have all the the Radeon R9 290X graphics cards gone?
AMD threw down the gauntlet when it introduced its Radeon R9 290X graphics card. Its aggressive price point in relation to performance (bang-for-buck, in other words) impressed us most, and apparently it's a big selling point among Bitcoin miners. If you're not familiar, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that's surging in value and Bitcoin mining is a resource intensive task that involves adding transaction records to Bitcoin's public ledger of past transactions.
Microsoft last week made it be known that system retailers would not be allowed to sell Windows 7 PCs past October 2014. The deadline is known as the "End of sales" date, which refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or OEMs, as well as the last day partners are allowed to peddle the OS. After listing October 30, 2014 as the end of sales date for Windows 7, Microsoft pulled a 180 and is now leaving it up in the air.
Eight companies collaborate on an open letter to Washington
Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Aol, and LinkedIn have teamed up to call for global government surveillance reform. Rival companies and services are working together to put pressure on Washington to start the path towards reforming government surveillance and maintaining individual privacy.
If you're looking to order a Nexus 7 tablet that looks a little different from the ones your friends and family own, we have good news. It's now available in white, though only for the 32GB Wi-Fi model. Those of you shopping the 16GB SKU are still stuck with black. Other than the color of the backside, it's the same Nexus 7 as any other 2013 model, though Google has some more holiday treats of note.
To say November was a good month for Asus is like saying the 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Dream Team was decent. Both grossly undersell the accomplishment. The 1992 Dream Team is largely considered the greatest sports team ever assembled (regardless of sports), and for Asus, revenue hit a record high in November at NT$49,298 billion (around $1.67 billion in U.S. currency).