The Brief: Microsoft

Microsoft recently revealed numbers and took questions this week as news broke on Black Friday sales. Microsoft has said 40 million Windows licenses have been sold in a month and the Xbox outperform sales expectation over the holiday weekend. Lastly, the Redmond software company held its public shareholder meeting today; allowing shareholders to ask questions of CEO Steve Ballmer and Chairman Bill Gates. Many questions revolved around Microsoft’s consumer offering and help with getting your security system working with your Xbox.

And now links with commentary (because baby needs to get back on the bike)

Windows Blue is Microsoft’s future low-cost OS with yearly updates by Tom Warren (The Verge)

Microsoft is busy preparing its next-generation Windows client, shortly after shipping Windows 8 in October. The Verge has learned from several sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans that the company is planning to standardize on an approach, codenamed Blue, across Windows and Windows Phone in an effort to provide more regular updates to consumers.

The Verge confirms what ZD Net reported awhile ago; that Microsoft is moving toward quicker releases of software starting with the Blue update next year. The Verge’s Tom Warren adds that the update will have new UI elements and an update to the Software Developer Kit or SDK. What seem to get the commentators on the site riled up was news that developers will have to update apps for Blue. My take is that much like Apple, Microsoft is trying to get developers to update apps when the OS is updated. The Verge also reports that this update will be as aggressively priced as Windows 8 was at launch, or cheaper. 


Tami Reller Talks Windows 8 by Paul Thurrott (WinSupersite)

“I will miss Steven,” she said. “I will miss working with him on a daily basis. And one of his strong philosophies is that any organization and any system that has to deliver something as big as Windows absolutely needs to be able to live past any one leader, or really any one small set of leaders. And so that philosophy is really part of the DNA of the organization.

WinSupersite’s Paul Thurrott goes through the speech by Windows business chief Tami Reller so you don’t have too. Reller was speaking at Credit Suisse’s Annual Tech Conference and this is where Microsoft officially disclosed the 40 million licenses. Thurrott also writes about Reller’s speech confirming internal murmurs that Microsoft has been less than pleased with their PC partners retail presence re Windows tablets. Of note was a throwaway line by Thurrott on Julie Larson-Green, the new head of Windows engineering; it was a strange statement that makes me think the writer protests much.


Ballmer: Sometimes Microsoft will just have to make its own hardware by Todd Bishop (Geek Wire)

The more interesting comment, in my view, was Ballmer’s response to the shareholder who asked what Microsoft is doing to create an atmosphere that encourages and supports real innovation. The shareholder cited the example of Bill Gates, many years ago, standing in front of an audience and declaring tablets the future of computing, only to see Apple come along and realize far bigger success with the iPad.

Ballmer’s response showed just how much things have changed for the company.

Geek Wire’s Todd Bishop was on hand for Microsoft’s shareholder’s meeting and reports on one of the more salient questions put to Microsoft’s CEO. The unnamed shareholder asked why Microsoft was playing catch up to Apple when Bill Gates showed off the Tablet PC years before. The answer by Ballmer was interesting for Bishop (and me to be honest) because it shows a clear shift in a key part of Microsoft’s battle plan and may give extra credence to rumors of a Microsoft branded Windows Phone. 


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