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Microsoft

  • Skype tries to take on Snapchat with quirky video app called Qik

    Skype has just relaunched an app called Qik (pronounced "quick" and not to be confused with Kwik). Unlike its flagship Skype service -- which is somewhat formal -- the new video messaging app is geared for all those impulse moments you'd love to share with friends but certainly not the public. In April this year, the original mobile video streaming service, Qik, was put down only to be relaunched now as a mobile video messaging app. As the name suggests, Qik videos (or Fliks as they've been officially knighted) can go up to 42 seconds only. Why this specific number?...

  • Microsoft has one-million people testing out Windows 10

    After all the drama around Windows 8, Microsoft very clearly needs Windows 10 to work. It looks like it's got some pretty strong support in that regard too. The Redmond-based giant says that some one-million people have downloaded the technical preview of the refreshed OS and are providing plenty of information around potential bugs. In an official blog post marking the announcement, Microsoft says that over "200 000 pieces of user-initiated feedback have been submitted to us via the Windows Feedback app from Windows Insiders". Among the top requests being made by the folks testing out Windows 10 are...

  • Less flash, more business: why Microsoft is sticking to the basics

    Microsoft has gone back to basics. With its latest Windows update, it's being as cautious as a group of retirees crossing a busy intersection. Apart from the unexpected twist in the name (yes, there's no version 9), the latest operating system, Windows 10, is extremely subtle. And with good reason. Based on the preview release, what we know about the operating system so far is that Microsoft decided revert to something much closer in feel to Windows 7. In essence, it seems Windows 10 will be a version of Windows 7 with a few of the best bits of Windows...

  • Back from the dead, sort of: Microsoft rebrands Bing apps to MSN

    We're willing to bet that, by now, you'd probably forgotten about MSN or assumed that Microsoft had quietly buried it somewhere in the deep dark woods of the Pacific Northwest. It turns out though that the Redmond-based giant still has plans for the brand. In an official blog post, the company announced that it would be rebranding several of it Bing apps as MSN products across iOS and Android. Alongside the newly rebranded apps, Microsoft is also launching a new version of MSN as part of its mobile-first, cloud-first strategy. The new version, which is available for preview from...

  • Steve Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board to focus on Clippers, civic duty

    It's over. Steve Ballmer has stepped down from his position on the Microsoft board. You may have thought it was all over when he stepped down as CEO, but now it's properly over. In a letter addressed to Satya Nadella, the man who replaced him as CEO, Ballmer explains that his commitments to the LA Clippers -- which he recently took ownership of -- and his civic contributions mean that he no longer has time to be an active part of the Redmond-based company's board. While there had been rumours that Ballmer would likely step down from the board...

  • Microsoft wants you to creep celebs with its new iPhone app

    Whether you like it or not, celebrities are a big thing. People love knowing popular personalities' every move. To leverage this very creepy human condition of ours, Microsoft has decided it fit to release a celebrity-tracking app called Snipp3t for iOS. Snipp3t is not really tracking in the sense that celebrities are being tracked via GPS. It's essentially a news aggregator slash organisor at its core. Over 100 000 big Hollywood names are given a profile of which the user can choose their favourites. Mentions of these celebrities around the web (or Bing) are then curated into one app...

  • I’m a Mac…and I’m a Surface? Microsoft’s new ad reignites an old debate

    Cast your minds back a few years, to around 2006, and the start of Apple's long-running "Get a Mac" campaign. The campaign, which starred John Hodgman as the bumbling PC and Justin Long as the ultra-cool Mac, pretty much brought the Mac versus PC debate into the mainstream. Now Microsoft has released a new ad, in which it attempts to turn the table on that old chestnut. Gone is the PC and...

  • Turn your GoPro footage into a hyperlapse with this awesome new Microsoft research project

    So you've bought yourself a GoPro and you've taken it down a ski slope, or on that awesome coastal ride, or up that sheer rock face. That's great, but unless you have any kind of proficiency as a video editor, chances are you'll bore the pants off your friends every time you show them the footage. You could always speed it up, but all that'll happen then is that it'll look really shaky and your mates will wonder why you wasted a ton of cash on something that you effectively can't use. But all of that could soon change...

  • Microsoft’s Cortana whips Apple’s Siri in this new Windows Phone ad

    Microsoft's not shy when it comes to tackling its competition head-on -- from openly pitting its Surface Pro 3 against the Macbook Air to all those Scroogled ads. The latest victim? That would be Siri. The company's new Windows Phone ad essentially simulates a showdown between Apple's personal assistant and its own recently-launched competitor, Cortana. It directly compares Apple's flagship device to the Lumia 635, assigning them both a series of tasks -- and the budget Nokia beats it every time. While the ad does state that the screens have been simulated and the sequences shortened, its a pointed dig...

  • Microsoft’s LMFAO parody to promote the Surface Pro 3 is super awkward

    Okay, Microsoft is no stranger when it comes to troupes of dancers and snapping keyboards into place when promoting its Surface tablet... but this is another level. The tech giant's OneNote engineering team has put together a parody video of LMFAO's "Sexy and I know it" to promote the note-taking software and the latest iteration of the Surface which is, how do I put this... a bit funny. As in, not so much humorous as it is weird. While good parodies are difficult to pull off, this one is entertaining for the wrong reasons. In between the tutus and fake...

  • Microsoft officially rolls out TV White Spaces project in Limpopo, SA

    Microsoft South Africa has announced the official implementation phase of the highly anticipated TV White Spaces pilot project at the University of Limpopo, situated in South Africa's most northern province. Part of the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, this project aims to bring education to the masses using tech. More specifically, if you haven't heard of TV White Spaces project yet, the idea is to help people get online by reducing the cost of broadband. One of the principles is relying on frequency bands generally set aside for television transmissions in order to provide low-cost wireless networks. Working with local institutions, rolling...

  • Microsoft reveals Skype Translate: a real time voice interpreter

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that in the future Microsoft’s Skype will be able to translate voice and video calls in near-real-time. Nadella’s news came yesterday at the Code Conference, where the head of Skype, Gurdeep Pall, demonstrated the interpretation capabilities of the current version of Skype Translator. In the demo, Pall engages in a Skype video call with one of his German colleagues, Diane Heinrichs. Heinrichs speaks in German, which is immediately translated to English and read out by the programme, while Pall responds in English, which is then translated into German. The result is a virtually comprehensive multilingual...

  • Microsoft’s laplet: hubris, hype and hopeless enterprise-based optimism

    On Tuesday Microsoft fooled pundits who’d been predicting the announcement of a smaller addition to its Surface range of tablet computers by announcing a larger, 12-inch version instead, the Surface Pro 3. Rather than targeting the mainstream, consumer tablet market dominated by Apple and Samsung, Microsoft is doubling down on its enterprise-first strategy – which would be great if its latest offering weren’t overpriced, awkward and missing key features. Like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft promises this version can serve as a wholesale replacement for a laptop. Strange then that primary thing that distinguishes laptops from tablets –...

  • With the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft seems more confused about the future than ever

    This time, Microsoft means business. At the original Surface tablet launch in 2012, it told us it meant business. Again, at the far more muted Surface 2 launch in September last year. Perhaps it didn’t really, really mean business those first two times. This time, it's different. Promise. The euphoria around new chief executive Satya Nadella’s first 100 days in charge has tapered off, mostly completely. In fact, it died down after the company’s Build event in early April. It's fair to say that the Surface Pro 3 (why does it need the ‘Pro’ moniker in there?!) is not a Nadella...

  • Steve Ballmer takes over from Bill Gates as Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder

    He may no longer be CEO, but Steve Ballmer is now officially Microsoft's largest shareholder. The now retired Ballmer takes over from Bill Gates after the latter sold some 4.6-million shares in the Redmond-based giant. As per a recently released SEC document, the sale means that Gates holds 330 141 164 shares in the company. Ballmer, in comparison, owns 333 252 990 shares. It's interesting that Gates has taken the decision to dump so much stock at the same time as he's taking on a more active role in the company. As TechCrunch notes however, the sell-off is hardly...