Tag: bing

Bing angers Saudi Arabia with terrorist slur

Saudi_ArabiaMicrosoft’s translation function on Bing has angered a fair few Saudi Arabians by mistranslating the Arabic word Daesh into English as “Saudi Arabia”.

For those who came in late, Daesh is the name of the Arabic death cult also known as the Islamic State, which is better known for its head lopping antics and tendency to murder innocents in the name of their God.

The news spread on social media and a campaign was quickly organised in Saudi Arabia calling for a boycott of Microsoft products. Redmond fixed the issue and has formally apologised to Saudi officials for the blunder.

According to Dr Mamdouh Najjar, VP and national technology officer for Microsoft in Saudi Arabia, the error occurred because Bing Translator has a crowdsourcing function – if a large group of people suggest a translation, then it becomes listed as a possible answer.

There are enough people in the US who believe that Daesh has been funded by Saudi Arabia and who would think that it would be a laugh to change Bing’s meaning.  However, while there have been cases of Saudi Arabians supporting Daesh, Saudi Arabians fighting for Daesh and a common belief in Wahhabism which is an extreme flavour of Sunni, the Saudis are actually fighting Daesh.


Microsoft relies on Wikipedia and loses Melbourne

Surprised-KoalaMicrosoft’s Bing made the grave mistake on relying on data collected by Wikipedia for its mapping software and lost Melbourne.

While Melbourne might not be the nicest it place to live, there were a fair few who felt that Bing Maps moving it to the wrong hemisphere was not exactly fair dinkum.

Apparently Vole made the mistake when it collected the data. Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, said that the outfit does not normally rely that much on Wackypedia, but sometimes it uses it.

Unfortunately, in this case the Wackypedia entry for Melbourne was designed by the same fake penis experts and geniuses that decided that Mike Magee, the Everywhere Girl, and Fudzilla did not exist. They put in the wrong map references.

However, to be fair to the fake penis expert editors they did fix the co-ordinates in February 2012, so Bing has been getting it wrong since then. Suddenly Apple Maps, which used to send Australians to the desert to die, is looking a bit more reliable.



Yahoo signs Google pact

French_surrenderYahoo has signed a search advertising deal with Google which it claims will boost its efforts to turn around the company.

The deal, which is a bit like the French surrender during WW2, was announced as Yahoo reported revenue and profit that fell short of what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted.

The deal with Google builds on an existing search partnership with Microsoft under which Yahoo gets a percentage of revenue from ads displayed on its sites.

The companies have agreed to delay implementation of the deal in the United States to allow the antitrust division of the Department of Justice to review it.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost revenue from ad sales in the face of stiff competition from Google and Facebook.

It  is a sign of how bad things are getting at Yahoo, when the Google deal is cast as one of the few bright spots included in the company’s third quarter results.

Yahoo said it expected fourth quarter revenues of $1.16 billion–$1.20 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.33 billion.

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want”.

“We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core advertising business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said. Maybe the word should be headaches.

Yahoo said the proposed spinoff of its 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding – a key matter for shareholders – will go through in January.

Yahoo earlier this year sought a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to confirm whether the transaction, worth about $27 billion currently, would result in a tax obligation. The tax agency denied the request, but Yahoo said it would go ahead with the spinoff by the end of the year anyway.

Many analysts attribute little value to Yahoo’s core business without its Asian assets, which also include a 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan.

Other good news came results came from Yahoo’s emerging businesses, which Mayer calls Mavens – mobile, video, native and social advertising.

Revenues in that area rose 43 percent to $422 million in the quarter. Native advertising refers to ads that blend into the type and style of the content being viewed.

Revenues after deducting fees paid to partner websites fell to $1.0 billion from $1.09 billion, and the company forecast a drop to $920 million-$960 million in the current quarter.

Traffic acquisition costs, the amount Yahoo spends to attract users to its websites, jumped to $223 million in the quarter from $54 million a year earlier. Whatever that means.


Microsoft plunges money into Uber

London taxi cabA report said that software giant Microsoft has invested $100 million in taxi contender Uber.

Uber, which faces stiff inspection in various cities around the world has drawn the ire of car hire firms and traditional taxi cab outfits.

A report in US wire Bloomberg said that Uber will use the cash injection to launch its operations to more cities worldwide.

Uber is now valued at close to $50 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Last month Microsoft sold a share of its Bing mapping outfit to Uber and both companies have agreed to integrate Uber into Microsoft Cortana – a Siri like voice system that was rolled out along with Windows 10.

Uber already has a strong reach covering over 300 cities in over 50 countries worldwide.

European PC market fades

IBM PCA further decline in sales of PCs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) was recorded in the first quarter of this year.

IDC said sales fell by 7.7 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Last year commercial sales were good as companies replaced PCs following the withdrawal of support for Microsoft Windows XP.

Other factors also affected sales during the quarter – currency fluctuations and political tensions had an effect.

But sales of notebooks with Bing improved compared to desktops – desktop PCs fell by 14 percent in the quarter but notebooks only 3.6 percent.

Market consolidation has increased but IDC gave a lukewarm prediction for the future. Analyst Chrystelle Labesque said that while there is some anticipation for new microprocessors and operating systems, the strong dollar will hit IT budgets.

Commercial PC shipments in Western Europe posted a 9.5 decline in the quarter, while desktop shipments fell by 17.2 percent. The UK and Germany both posted double digit declines and France was flat.

IDC said that vendors continued to ship Bing cheap products but the commercial market will remain negative.

Microsoft and Yahoo change search agreement

constitutionSoftware giant Microsoft and foundering search engine Yahoo have amended a 2009 search partnership, so that Yahoo has more control over how search results are displayed on desktops and mobile devices.

The 10-year search partnership, crafted by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, allowed the companies to amend or terminate it after five years.

Under the old rules Microsoft controlled how Bing displayed search results on Yahoo websites accessed on PCs.

Microsoft will now own the ads delivered from its own Bing Ads platform.

Yahoo was responsible for sales for Bing search ads.

Microsoft and Yahoo plan to transition sales responsibilities starting this summer.

Originally, the deal also included a revenue-sharing agreement where Microsoft paid Yahoo a percentage of Bing ads revenue delivered from Yahoo searches. This structure would remain intact, the companies said.

Apple installs Bing

It looks like the long running feud between Apple and Microsoft is over as both sides have a common enemy in Google.

Apple has announced that it is getting rid of Google’s search engine from its shiny rounded rectangular toys in favour of Microsoft’s Bing.

Bing will find its way into OS X 10.10, the new desktop operating system from Apple.

Other signs have followed that Microsoft and Apple are chums. Recently Microsoft introduced a version of Office for the iPad which suddenly made the keyboardless netbook useful.

Now that the Bing search engine is well on its way to gain additional traction due to its integration with OS X, do expect its current partnerships with Siri and Windows 8 to also help see the search engine gain some market share in the long run.

Still it does mean that the days of Apple fanboys boring anyone who will listen that Microsoft is always copying Apple a few years later will finally be bought to a close. Instead they will be telling the world, plus dog, that Bing is better than Google because Apple uses it. 

Vole claims Bing did not censor anyone

Software king of the world, Microsoft, has denied that its search engine Bing has been censoring searches to appease the Chinese.

It had been claimed by a Chinese rights group that Vole was omitting websites from its Bing search engine results for users outside China to appease Chinese mandarins.

GreatFire.org, a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group, said in a statement Bing was filtering out both English and Chinese language search results for terms such as “Dalai Lama”, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whom Beijing brands as a violence-seeking separatist.

However Microsoft blamed the problem on a systems fault which had removed some search results for users outside China.

Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing, crooned in a statement emailed to Reuters  that an error in its system triggered an incorrect results removal notification for some searches noted in the report but the results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China.

He did not say if the error had been fixed. Reuters noted that Microsoft sent a shortened version of the statement to China-based media organisations which omitted all reference to GreatFire.org and did not address the claims.

Bing omitted several websites that showed up on the search engine of rival Google when they searched for “Dalai Lama” in Chinese from Singapore. The English-language search results on both engines were similar.

This is the second time that Vole has been slammed for helping the Chinese censor things. It was criticized for censoring the Chinese version of Skype, which it ran jointly with Hong Kong-based TOM Group. In November, Microsoft said it had formed a new joint venture with Guangming Founder, and advocacy group GreatFire.org said Skype in China was no longer being censored. 

Microsoft plays a game with Google fears

Microsoft is running an anti-Google marketing campaign where you can buy products which slag off the search engine outfit.

For a year Vole has been running a year-long anti-Google Scroogled campaign highlighting what it sees as the Mountain View company’s various dodgy practices and underhand use of user data.

Its latest trick is to sell off Scroogled word-cloud T-shirts with “Scroogled synonyms” like sold out, fleeced, scammed, conned, cheated, fooled, double-crossed, defrauded, hoodwinked, swindled, and duped. There is also the “Keep calm while we steal your data” mugs, to “Step into our Web” shirts.

Vole’s idea was to promote Bing by bashing Google’s practice of “selling their shopping search results to a high bidder”.

Of course Google fans can point out that the US Federal Trade Commission ordered Google and Bing to distinguish between search results and ads better on their webpages. This suggests that Google and Bing are as bad as each other.

But Vole is not just going after Google, it released a video poking fun at the iPhone 5S. Apple fanboys complained that it was poor taste because their iConnic savour had not risen from the dead yet.

Fox News  is now asking its viewers if Microsoft should abandon the campaign because it is not funny. We would have thought if things should be abandoned because they are not funny, the first to go should be Fox News. 

Apple fanboys will have to praise Microsoft's Bing

Software giant Microsoft will be providing the search engine for Apple’s Siri.

For decades, Apple has seen Microsoft as its number one sparring partner and made its followers chant mantras about how Redmond nicked all Steve Jobs’ ideas.

The reality was that most of the time, the two shared an alliance of the proprietary, particularly in the court room where the pair seemed to be on the same side.

Now it seems that Apple has a new sparring partner, Google and it seems that it is time to bury the hatchet with Microsoft.

According to the Wall Street Journal,  Apple said Bing is displacing Google as the default source for searches spoken into the Siri voice assistant for the iPhone and iPad.

From the next version of the iOS software, released to consumers in the autumn, people who ask Siri get answers from Bing.

The news is great for Microsoft which wanted desperately to boost its signed up users. Bing is centuries behind Google in terms of market share.

At the moment, Bing will only serve Siri. Google remains the default web-search engine in the Safari browser built into the iPhone and iPad.

It is possible for Siri users to opt for Google search results if they specifically ask Siri to “search Google” for a particular request. Of course, no Apple user is ever going to leave the default settings because that would require them to think differently.