Microsoft working on a game changer to bring more apps in the Windows ecosystem

windows 10 family1Microsoft just recently posted a job listing which has an intriguing invitation for its applicants. The invite is for them to apply for a job in which a team is working on creating something “game changing” in bringing apps to the Windows platform.  It’s a pretty well-known fact that the Windows app store lags behind the iOS and Android app stores and it looks like Microsoft is very well aware of that and has a plan.

We all know by now that Windows 10 is unifying all the Windows app stores across phones, tablets, PCs, Xbox, IOT devices and even its giant Surface Hub just unveiled recently.  Microsoft is making it very easy for developers to create universal apps for the entire Microsoft ecosystem of devices and we have heard that they are working on ways which will make it easier for developers to port iOS and Android apps to the Windows platform and vice-versa.

This is a major step in achieving proper app support and excitement from developers who will now have a massive target audience as they target the entire Windows user-base across all device types.  This in-turn is an essential part in creating a viable and healthy 3rd ecosystem which is a daunting task these days.

However, Microsoft isn’t prepared to put all its eggs in one basket and surely has a plan B in case this doesn’t pan out as expected.  Plan B has to be the enabling of Android apps to run on Windows mobile devices, but if it comes to this, it must be implemented well.

Windows 10 will be a critical release for Microsoft and lots of planning and restructuring of the company has occurred in the process of what Windows 10 is set to be.  This release is aimed to change its perception among users and developers and it will be a very interesting time for the company and the tech industry to see what unfolds but everything so far looks like they have a winner on their hands.

Check out the job posting below:

 Do you want to be the game changer in bringing more apps to Windows platform?

Our team is building next generation application platform that will change how Windows devices and services are perceived and received by our customers and developers. We are enabling an app platform that can enrich Windows in incredibly fast and efficient ways for our developers.

We are looking for a Senior Program Manager with expertise on Windows as well as competitors app platforms. Do you have experience writing apps on different platforms? Would you be able to articulate the pros and cons of each platform’s APIs, tools, documents and release process? You do not need to know every competing platform, but do need to have a deeper understanding in at least one of the competitors app platforms and associated cloud services.

We are looking for people with a ‘can-do’ mindset, great interpersonal skills, and strong technical background to back it up. You’ll need to understand the details of your features and stretch from specs, to evangelism, to design, to owning integration across groups while working closely with development, quality, and management. You will need adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to acquire new skills on-the-fly. A proven track record of defining, designing, specifying, managing, and shipping hardware/software technologies is a must. We’re focused on shipping quickly and often in a V1 environment, so we’re looking for someone who can drive and make the right things happen when plans are changing and not all the systems are in place.

Mandatory qualifications

o   Proven Program Management of complex hardware and software integration projects

o   A strong technical background and the ability to “go deep” in your feature area

o   Relentless customer focus

o   Knowledge of the app market and industry, competitors and customer needs

o   Ability and vision to anticipate future demands and competitive trends

o   The ability to partner closely with internal and external partners

o   BA/BS degree in Computer Science or related technical equivalent and 6+ years of industry experience

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status.

 

Source: Microsoft Careers via Neowin

 

Great Deals Available Right Now on the Surface Pro 3. Save $100!

Surface-Pro-3[1]Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is a bone-a-fide hit. The combination Laptop/Tablet form factor, combined with its excellent screen, impressive hardware, solid build quality and outstanding pen input has made this the most popular Surface Pro to date, with over a billion in sales last year quarter.

If you’ve managed to resist this gem, Microsoft is making it a bit harder to hold off with a great set of deals available both on-line and in it’s physical stores.  From Jan 30 to April 5th, a brand new Surface Pro will set you back up to $100 less than normal, plus Microsoft will throw in a free sleeve to boot.

"The Surface Pro 3's infinitely adjustable hinge makes it a great fit for any setting."
“The Surface Pro 3’s infinitely adjustable hinge makes it a great fit for any setting.”

Of course, this deal may be limited by availability of stock. It’s quite possible that Microsoft is selling off excess inventory from the holiday sales season, so its probably wise to grab one while you can!

 

 

You can hop on down to your local Microsoft Store, or click on the links below to the online store.

Surface Pro 3 Model.                                                Suggested Retail price (USD)
Intel® Core™ i3, 64 GB and 4 GB of RAM.                                $799
Intel® Core™ i5, 128 GB and 4 GB of RAM.                              $899
Intel® Core™ i5, 256 GB and 8 GB of RAM.                           $1,199
Intel® Core™ i7, 256 GB and 8 GB of RAM.                          $1,449
Intel® Core™ i7, 512 GB and 8 GB of RAM.                          $1,849

ITs never a question of: "Laptop or Tablet?" The Surface Pro 3 is Both!
ITs never a question of: “Laptop or Tablet?” The Surface Pro 3 is Both!

These are great prices for a great combination device. Don’t forget to add in the price for a type cover to your budget. The result is an irresistible combination at a great price.  I’ve been running the Windows 10 Preview on my “old” Surface Pro and I have to say I’m really excited about this new version of Windows in combination with the Surface’s form factor. Your new Surface Pro 3 will be receiving a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year, so there’s no reason to wait!

If you’re on the fence about the Surface Pro 3, take a look at our full blown review as it may help you decide.

Microsoft reports $26.5 billion in revenue for FY15 Q2, here are the highlights

microsoft-headquartersMicrosoft has reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter of 2015 ending on December 31 and has generated a total of $26.5 billion in revenue. This is up compared to the same time last year when the company was able to generate $24.5 billion in revenue.

However, net income was down to $5.86 billion compared the same time last year where it generated $6.55 billion.

These financial results include $243 million of integration and restructuring expenses, or a $0.02 per share negative impact, related to both Microsoft’s restructuring plan announced in July 2014 and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services (“NDS”) business.  There is also a $0.04 per share negative impact related to income tax expense resulting from an IRS audit adjustment.

Devices and Consumer revenue grew 8% to $12.9 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Surface revenue of $1.1 billion, up 24%, driven by Surface Pro 3 and accessories
  • Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers increased to over 9.2 million, up 30% sequentially over prior quarter
  • Search advertising revenue grew 23%, with Bing U.S. market share at 19.7%, up 150 basis points over prior year
  • Xbox console sales totaled 6.6 million units, with strong holiday season performance
  • Phone Hardware revenue of $2.3 billion, with 10.5 million Lumia units sold driven by growth in affordable smartphones
  • Windows OEM Pro revenue declined 13%; revenue was impacted by the business PC market and Pro mix returning to pre-Windows XP end of support levels and by new lower-priced licenses for devices sold to academic customers
  • Windows OEM non-Pro revenue declined 13%, with license growth from opening price point devices

Commercial revenue grew 5% to $13.3 billion, with the following business highlights:

  • Commercial cloud revenue grew 114% driven by Office 365, Azure and Dynamic CRM Online, and is now on an annualized revenue run rate of $5.5 billion
  • Office Commercial products and services revenue declined 1%; transactional revenue was impacted by the continued transition to Office 365 and declines in commercial PCs following the XP refresh cycle
  • Server products and services revenue grew 9%, with double-digit growth of SQL Server and System Center
  • Windows volume licensing revenue increased by 3%, with annuity revenue growth partially offset by declining transactional revenue

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft's Surface division passes the billion dollar revenue mark in Q4 2014 and achieves its purpose

surface pro 3 ad 1Microsoft has announced its earnings for its second fiscal quarter of 2015 ending on December 31 just recently, and one particular area has sparked our interest as it has now officially become one of the many billion dollar businesses Microsoft has.  This business that we’re talking about pertains to the Surface line of devices as it has generated $1.1 billion in revenue for the quarter largely driven by strong demand of Surface Pro 3 and its accessories.

This $1.1 billion the Surface line generated is up 24% compared to the previous quarter where revenue was just north of $900 million, and although the software giant didn’t disclose sales numbers, the fact that sales are increasing is an important achievement for the company.

The Surface has achieved it’s goal

Microsoft’s decision to get into the hardware space with Surface devices was a bold move for the company, and was done largely due to the fact that PC OEMs were creating lackluster hardware and Microsoft was not able to convince them to change and make devices that pushed the boundaries in hardware design. Microsoft’s shareholders were not supportive of this decision early on, especially as Microsoft took a $900 million write-down early on in the life cycle of the original Surface RT.

Microsoft’s goal with the Surface line was to create an aspirational device giving OEMs a reference point in hardware design and offer a clean Windows user experience.  This decision was met with a lot of backlash from some OEMs which have since started and continually support the Chromebook.

However, when we fast forward to today and look at the devices available in the market and ones that will make their way soon, shows us that Microsoft did in fact inspire OEMs to create bold designs and push into the frontier of hybrid PCs. There are now plenty of form factors to choose from, with new thin and light Ultrabook form factors, PCs that have rotating screens, screens that detach, and even ones that bend all the way back.

OEMs have embraced the change, and Surface is leading the way, and the fact that it’s generating more revenue for Microsoft and proving to be a successful viable business model is a sign of good things to come, especially as Windows 10 is set to arrive.

Source: Microsoft

Surface Hub's first hardware specs are very impressive

Win10_SurfaceHub_Meeting1_PrintMicrosoft’s Surface Hub has been receiving a lot of positive attention since its unveiling.  This giant PC certainly looks to be very capable and takes collaboration and idea sharing in the boardroom to a completely new level.  Many are curious of what’s under the hood in terms of both processing power and featured specs as this thing certainly seemed pretty sophisticated during its unveiling.

Neowin has posted some information about the tech specs in the Surface Hub but not everything is known yet. We know that it will feature Intel-based CPU but that’s about it when it comes to processing info available. Here is what else we know about the Surface Hub:

  • Comes with a 55-inch 1080P display or 84-inch 4K display
  • Displays are both locked at 120HZ to have no lag while writing
  • Displays will be optically bonded to have extra clarity
  • It will support up to three pens simultaneously
  • Comes with two 1080P cameras and mic array
  • Features, Miracast, HDMI, NFC, Bluetooth and USB ports (no word on how many exactly)
  • It will run a slightly modified version of Windows 10

This is all that’s officially known at the moment, but as Microsoft publishes more specs and capabilities we will surely keep you up to date.

Another area which is particularly of interest to many is the pricing, as based on the original Surface (renamed to PixelSense) its already expected to be crazy expensive.  However, Microsoft is committed to make the Surface Hub as affordable as possible, and if pricing is decent, this thing could even be adopted by small businesses or even for one’s home office.

For those of you interested in seeing this tech in action, take a look at Microsoft’s video below showing its use case scenarios and how writing, collaborating  and syncing those projects would look like on phones, tablets and PCs.

Source: Neowin

Microsoft Build 2015 event sells out in an hour, 24X faster than last year's event

build 2015Microsoft’s annual developers conference takes place this April 29th in San Francisco, and tickets were sold out in just an hour after going on sale.  This event holds quite a bit of people, and tickets cost $2095 to attend and a limited number of academic tickets go for $995, so it looks like the Windows 10 announcement played a big role in the fast sell-out.  When tickets went on sale for last year’s Build event, it took 24 hours to sell out the event.

Last year’s event was heavily focused on Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, it’s also when Cortana was first unveiled.  For those of you that remember, Microsoft also announced a flagship Widows Phone – the Lumia 930 (still the last flagship Windows Phone released).

This year is expected to be a much bigger event, obviously focusing on Windows 10 for  PCs, tablets, phones and a unified app store for all Windows devices.  Microsoft is expected to focus on their new augmented reality device HoloLens, and hopefully by then they’ll show off some more capabilities.  Timing would be perfect to learn more what effect Windows 10 will have on the Xbox One, and how the unified app store will be applied to it.

Build 2015 will likely light up the stage for what is to come, as Microsoft is set for its biggest year of software and hardware related releases.

Source: Build 2015

Watch Windows 10 keynote briefing highlights in under 4 minutes

Terry Myerson On StageDid you miss the Windows 10 press event on January 21st? Microsoft has just published a short recap with all the key announcements ranging from the free Windows 10 offer, Universal apps and Continuum to HoloLens, Surface Hub and the ability to play Xbox games on all devices running Windows 10. Here is the video, enjoy!

Microsoft's new Surface Hub is a dream digital whiteboard for businesses

surface hubA large 84″ touchscreen device hiding in plain sight throughout the event was unveiled towards the end of it, and Microsoft calls it the “Surface Hub”.  This new Windows 10 device is a dream canvas for businesses as it takes collaboration to new levels and is aims to change the way ideas are shared and worked upon.

You’re able to use it with others to simultaneously draw on its large screen as shown in today’s demo.  Surface Hub uses Microsoft’s state of the art digital inking technologies borrowed from the Surface Pro 3, and drawing on it while being in a Skype chat with other members who are collaborating with the document in real-time was also demoed today, looking rather impressive.

In addition, when a document on the canvas is finished being worked on, you’re able to take the content and copy on a tablet, smartphone or a PC for later uses.  Users will also be able to project from the same devices to the Surface Hub for others to interact with.   There will also be a tailored version of OneNote and Skype for Business built and ready for the Surface Hub at launch.

With the use of cameras, Bluetooth, WiFi, and various sensors on the device, it can detect you’ve picked up the pen and has a dedicated screen launch for you to start writing on.  The demo Microsoft showed earlier was very impressive but there are many things we don’t know about it yet.  Such as availability, cost and its tech specs.  But this is one thing that surely looks promising and can perhaps change collaboration in business as we know it.

Check out the video demonstrating some of its uses:

 

Surface Pro 3 receives a chunky January update

surface pro 3 ad 1Microsoft is starting the new year with a bang for Surface Pro 3 owners as the popular productivity device is slated to receive a pretty significant update.

This update, which is throttled (or delivered in stages) to all users, contains enhancements to the HD Graphics driver, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity improvements and updates for the Surface Home Button and Docking Station audio drivers.

Remember, if you didn’t get this update for your Surface pro 3 yet, you can always manually check by swiping in from the right edge of your screen, then go to Settings, tap Change PC setting and then tap Update and recovery. From here you can verify if you have the latest update available to install by tapping on Check now.

Here is the full list of updates:

• Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.450.0) adds support for updated HD Graphics Family driver.

• HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.

• Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3073.151) addresses connectivity issues while Hyper-V is enabled. Adds an advanced feature to control the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band preference.

• Surface Home Button driver update (v2.0.1179.0) ensures compatibility with the Surface Hub app.

• Microsoft Docking Station Audio Device driver update (v1.31.35.7) improves the user experience while using the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station so that sound is available when a speaker is not connected to the docking station.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft and PayPal partner on retail payments

paypal hereMicrosoft and PayPal have announced their partnership at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show.  With this deal they aim to provide retailers an all-in-one point of sale solution using the PayPal Here app and card reader with a Surface Pro 3.  PayPal Here will also be available on Windows Phone and will  use a triangular dongle through the phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack in order to read credit cards.

PayPal Here will be available to download from the Windows Stores in the next few months.  In addition, later this year Microsoft retail stores and select partner retail locations will begin to sell the complete point-of-sale (POS) solution which includes a Surface, the PayPal Here app and card reader.

Perhaps the major advantage of using the Surface Pro 3 for POS is that it eliminates the need for two devices, which businesses usually rely on.  Typically they would use a tablet with a card reader for these types of transactions, and a PC for inventory, accounting and customer information. Surface Pro 3 completes the job of both device types and has an actual Pen which is a much more professional way to sign a screen than your finger.

Microsoft has prepared a video showcasing what using the Surface Pro 3 and Lumia devices as POS would be like.