Tag: windows phone 7

Microsoft reports 80,000 more Windows apps

In the week before the Windows based Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan 2 are given to the great unwashed in the US, Microsoft has been flat out getting developers to stick apps in its Windows Phone store.

More than 80,000 application submissions have been shoved into the Windows Marketplace. This is small fry compared with Android, with its 450,000 apps, and iOS with 550,000, but still better than Blackberry and the dying Symbian, both with 70,000.

Microsoft can be happy that there are 340 new apps added every day in March and with the Lumia 900 due to hit American developers in serious numbers in April and May, Forbes is expecting that number to reach up towards 500 per day.

Nokia is desperate for its Lumia 900 to do well and justify killing off Symbian and moving its shop entirely to Windows.  

Microsoft is playing the longer game here. It wants everything to be ready for Windows 8 and it should have more than 100,000 apps by May, which means it is ready for the big time in October when Windows 8 is with us.

It will still have an uphill battle, but it might just pull it off if reviews for Windows Mobile 8 hold up. 

 

Microsoft continues to bleed Android dry

Microsoft announced that is has got one up in the world of smartphones with another patent licensing deal, this time with LG Electronics.

Microsoft revealed that it had reached an agreement with LG to license its Android and Google Chrome OS devices.  Specifics of the deal were not revealed but given the nature of other licensing deals it’s likely that UnLucky Goldstar will be forced to cough up for royalties.

Microsoft gleefully announced that a massive 70 percent of all Android smartphones in the US are now subject to its licensing deals, claiming it is “proud of the continued success”. Of what? Android? Android’s one of the biggest money spinners the Vole has going for it, now.

No wonder it’s happy. After a disastrous attempt at a mobile play, eventually Microsoft began moving into the mobile market in a big way. Every time a manufacturer thinks about extra costs involved in the – supposedly free – Android OS, its own services begin to appear more attractive. 

Of course it is going to need all the help it can get to catch up to Android , but a string of licensing deals will not have done it any harm.

Samsung has been forced to hand over cash on its handsets, thought to be to the tune of around $15 per device – no small amount when you are flogging Galaxy S2s by the millions and millions.  Alongside Samsung, Microsoft has also claimed the scalps of HTC and Acer in Android or Chrome OS deals and is unlikely to stop until it has hunted down all Google OS users.

Microsoft is also attempting to put the screws on Barnes & Noble and Google’s newly acquired Motorola Mobility, though both are holding out for the moment.

TechEye spoke to patent expert Florian Mueller who said that it’s likely that Microsoft’s LG licensing deal is of the same ilk to those with other Android device makers.

He also said that the deal, which is a boost for Microsoft, leaves Motorola and B&N more vulnerable.

“It’s another milestone for Microsoft’s patent licensing business and those who refuse to take a license, particularly Motorola and Barnes & Noble, are increasingly isolated,” he said. “Those two companies are being sued by Microsoft while others have resolved at the negotiating table any IP issues surrounding Google’s platforms.”

Microsoft may suffer from Intel profit warning

Market analysts are warning that Intel’s profit warning might effect more than hardware makers and Microsoft should be concerned too.

Earlier this week Intel slashed its fourth-quarter outlook claiming that it would be harmed by the hard disk drive (HDD) supply shortages related to flooding in Thailand. Yesterday the word was out that AMD might suffer a similar fate.

But according to the International Business Times, the development could be bad news for Vole as it could cast a shadow on Microsoft’s client revenues.

While Caris analyst Curtis Shauger said the impact on Microsoft’s fourth quarter results should be negligible, he expects that the March and June 2012 quarters will face a judgement day.

He said that Intel’s near term weakness seems to be centred on inventory reduction and not sell-through so there will be little effect on Vole at the end of this year. But, he warned that there would be a risk to Volish client revenues and, as a result, Wall Street profit estimates.

Shauger warned that all sorts of problems will prevent Microsoft’s mature, core segments such as Client and Servers from growing sustainably much beyond mid single digits.

To make matters worse, all the cash that Microsoft is investing trying to get into new markets will create a big hole in the balance sheet.

At the very best Microsoft’s share price is going to stay the same, at $27 per share. Microsoft shareholders are miffed that the outfit has been trading at a more or less consistent share price for too long. This time it is forces that are beyond Steve Ballmer’s control which are causing the problems. 

Gentle Ballmer meekly suggests the competition is doomed

Modest Microsoft CEO, the shy and retiring Steve “There’s a Kind of Hush” Ballmer has displayed his usual understated charm at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

Speaking about mobile, the market Microsoft re-entered successfully after making a laughing stock of itself, Ballmer took a swipe with his clumsy bear paw in an attempt to knock Android and Apple off their pedestals.

He gave a nod to a competitor which was a “sea of icons” (read: Apple) and, Information Week reports, that Android is an operating system for “computer scientists”.

Ballmer gave no mention to the computer scientist’s OS of choice landing him and MSFT a hefty royalty cheque for each device sold.

Meanwhile, Google is being trounced in the cloud, according to the unassuming CEO.  He said Microsoft is “all in, baby” in cloud storage, not sounding too dissimilar from, say, the WWF’s Ultimate Warrior.  

Not only that, but Information Week reports he believes Microsoft is “winning, winning, winning” for applications in the cloud, at least 98 percent of the time.

What isn’t quite winning, winning, winning is Ballmer’s bonus. Again.

Crucially, Ballmer also confirmed that the expensive shopping trip to Skype’s headquarters was about the social web. AKA, Facebook

Microsoft denies it is locking out Linux

Software colossus Microsoft has denied that its new Windows 8 operating system has been cunningly designed to lock out Linux.

For ages Open Sources have been running dual boot set ups with Windows and Linux running alongside from a standardised boot.

However in the new Windows 8, UEFI firmware will replace the low level BIOS and the ability to lock down computers so that operating systems need to be digitally signed via ‘secure boot’.

Writing in his bog, Cambridge University security engineering professor Ross Anderson warned that by Microsoft pushing for mandatory UEFI support meant “unauthorised operating systems like Linux and FreeBSD just won’t run at all.”

He said that this would mean an increased lock-in, decreased consumer choice and lack of space to innovate. It is clearly unlawful and must not succeed.

However Microsoft’s Windows top Vole Steven Sinofsky hit back, saying that the argument was pants.

Sinofsky said that secure boot did not lock out operating system loaders, but was a policy that allows firmware to validate authenticity of components/

Vole has posted a long description of UEFI and Windows 8 support for the next-generation security feature and claims that it does not control the settings on PC firmware that control or enable secured boot from any operating system other than Windows.

If a manufacturer wanted to disable the UEFI secure boot, she or he could and Vole has created a feature that does just that. 

Microsoft wants Windows to be "just another app"

A top Vole has said that the next version of the Windows Operating system will allow users to treat the desktop as just another app which loads only on command.

Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division has been providing the world+dog with more detail on Windows 8’s user interface (UI).

He said that Windows 8 would feature a “touch-first” interface to help it compete in the fast-growing tablet market.

But below that would be a traditional Windows-style desktop which could be activated when users wanted it.

Writing in his bog, Sinofsky called the design work a “balancing act.”

There would be a “Metro”-style UI, which has been inspired by Windows Phone 7’s tile-based design and this will show up when a user boots a device.

A user can stay with that interface and never see the desktop and it will not be loaded.

He wrote that if you don’t want to do ‘PC’ things, then you don’t have to. It will not cost you in terms of memory, battery life or hardware requirements.

PC users, where keyboard and mouse are the primary input devices, will run an “app” to load the desktop.

We can see some positive and negative sides to this. If you log on just to check your email, or surf the net, or even write a quick letter, this would be handy. However if you automatically use the desktop, this will be one extra hurdle in your boot up which you will have to leap over before you can go.

In other words the move to make life easy for tablet users will make it harder for traditional multi-tasking PC users. 

Microsoft targeting WebOS developers

Software giant Microsoft has been targeting WebOS developers who might be a little worried about their futures after HP pulled the rug on the project.

Microsoft has been offering webOS developers “what they need to be successful” on its own Windows Phone platform.

Microsoft’s Brandon Watson is apparently offering phones, development tools, and training were all on offer to webOS developers looking for a new platform to code for.

According to Ars Technica, the approach has been paying off. Watson claims to have been overwhelmed by the response.

More than a 1,000 webOS developers have got on the blower to him. The only stipulation is that the developers must have had their applications published in webOS’s App Catalog which narrows the field a lot.

However Watson has been successful in his recruiting efforts on other operating systems. His scalps have included high-profile developers such as the iPhone jailbreaker George “geohot” Hotz. Watson has also offered Windows Phone hardware to celebrities that have slagged off their iPhones or Android handsets. Sadly nothing has been sent here.

Dilbert author Scott Adams was given a Windows Phone, with Watson promising to make a $1,000 donation to a charity of Adams’ choice if he didn’t like it. Fortunately Adams did.

According to one former WebOS developer we talked to, Microsoft has a lot to offer over HP. He said that there was practically no backing from the maker of expensive printer ink.

“There were no users either so we were never sure if our app was rubbish or just no one had seen it. In the end we decided to shove our resources into Windows and the iPhone. Looks like we made the right decision.” 

Microsoft Mango ready but no-one is releasing it

While pundits have touted Windows Mobile 7 as the antidote for Android problems, it seems that manufacturers can’t be bothered.

This week Microsoft had to go public that its Mango flavour of the operating system was ready to go.

Peter Wissinger, Microsoft’s director of Mobile Business in the Nordic countries, said that Mango had been released early.

The only problem was that Vole’s OEM partners were not ready. That includes HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE Corporation and Nokia. Nokia’s first Mango smartphone, the “Sea Ray” was being shown to hacks at the end of June.

While in the case of Android there is much moaning about the software versons not being ready, it seems that when something is, the OEMs aren’t.

It is not clear when users of Windows Mobile 7 will start seeing updates either, but at least one side of Microsoft is happy that it has done its job on time and they can go off and find a nice beach somewhere. 

Nokia completes Symbian outsourcing deal with Accenture

Nokia has officially signed on the dotted line to outsource its Symbian software development services to Accenture.  

The agreement, which has been in the pipeline since April, now means that Accenture will develop and support Symbian until 2016. Poor souls. In other words, it will be responsible for helping Nokia transfer from Symbian to Windows Phone.

However, there’s upheaval on the horizon for thousands of employees with the transfer of around 2,800 staff in China, Finland, India, Britain and the United States expected in October, when the deal closes.

For their troubles they will be retrained to ensure the changes happen smoothly.

Back in April Nokia announced that it was to slash 7,000 jobs as it wanted to cut costs by $1.5 billion by 2013.

At the time, it said 4,000 staff would be pushed off the sinking ship completely, especially in  Finland, Denmark and the UK. However, another 3,000 would be spared the short plank and shipped off to the long one at Accenture.

Last week the company tried to justify its actions and its means for outsourcing jobs.

It told TechEye that although it was not proud of the job cuts and the effect it had on people in Finland, it had to be done.  

Doug Dawson at Nokia told us: “Nokia is woven into the fabric of Finnish society. I think there’s a lot of pride in Finns and the success of Nokia.

Regarding job losses, “those are always difficult days,” Dawson said.

“I don’t think there’s any way you can describe it any differently. If you talk to your average guy on the street they will say they want Nokia to succeed.”

Those moved to Accenture may want to keep the champers on ice as the new agreement only lasts until 2016, making us wonder what Nokia plans to do with its doomed system later on.  

Microsoft says Apple is playing catch up

In one of the more ironic tweets of the year, Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore claims that Apple’s new iOS features just copied what Vole already has.

As Steve Jobs was thrilling the faithful with what he just invented, Belfiore was twittering that he was somewhat flattered because lots of great Windows Phone ideas had been installed into Apple’s iOS.

As you might expect certain corners of the press, which has been insisting that Steve Jobs has been behind every great technology since Fire and the Spinning Jenny, have been wading into Belfiore for daring to suggest that Microsoft might have come up with something first.  

However, he does appear to be right. Most of the innovations in the iOS 5 have either been in Windows Phone 7 for ages or have been in the public arena for months as coming out in Mango.

The first thing that Belfiore listed was a button for the camera. While we would have thought this was a no brainer, apparently on an iPhone it is much like a second mouse button. Apparently Jobs did not think of this one and it mimics the Windows Phone feature.

Jobs appears to have copied the auto-uploading of pictures. Windows Phone 7 can automatically upload each picture taken with the camera to either Windows Live SkyDrive or Facebook. On the iPhone users had to manually upload photos.

Microsoft’s notification system was non-invasive which did not stop, whatever you were doing.

The iPhone stopped you mid-game to tell you to deal with the notification straight away.

While both operating systems do things differently, the fact that its notification system was so annoying had not occurred to Jobs’ Mob until people started prasing Windows Mobile 7’s equivalent.

The other thing that Apple copied according to Belfiore is the Wi-Fi device sync. This was first seen in the Zune. Apple refused to do anything about this for a long time. It really has come late.

With social not-working, Apple has finally got around to allowing an integrated Twitter.

Windows Phone currently offers an integrated Facebook in Windows Phone and Microsoft announced in January that Twitter would arrive in “Mango”. Of course, Jobs’ Mob beat Microsoft to getting the product to market, but Vole had told the world it was going to do it for a long time.

The fact that Microsoft has Facebook is probably a little more valuable than Twitter.

Jobs announced that the MacOS would get a background downloading service. Vole will have one in Mango and this has already been announced – as was the short messaging chat system.

Apple announced that iOS 5 will provide a proprietary messaging service, iMessage, between devices that run iOS 5. This is similar to RIM’s Blackberry Messaging Service . The Volish equivalent in Mango service is a bit more useful and can be used to talk to people beyond a walled garden.