Posts Tagged Windows 8

First Windows 8 TV Spot

Windows 8 is officially launching on October 26, but does the first TV spot entice you? Microsoft totally changed things up and went in the opposite direction of the standard calm, look-at-how–interesting-this-is approach. The TV spot is loud, crazy and very exciting. There are exploding lap tops, a punk metal soundtrack and a nearly-rabid cartoon dog.

It’s only 30 seconds long but Microsoft packs a lot into a New York minute. There are images of people using Windows 8 but just as many images of seemingly unrelated things. It’s like an SEO company developed an advertisement filled with unicorns and glitter. It will get your attention, but does it get the job done?

What the Critics Say

Some critics are hoping that Microsoft will tone down the ads in the future because Windows 8 is confusing. It’s not the most user-friendly version Microsoft has ever dished up and there are huge differences from Windows 7. Getting people to understand how to use and appreciate Windows 8 will be critical for success and adaption. Not even the start menu is the same.

Windows 8 replaces the familiar start tab with a full start screen complete with tabs. It has a universal search feature, side-by-side app snapping and is geared to be used on tablets and mobile devices as well as PCs. It’s estimated that Microsoft will spend $1.5 billion on advertising, but this preview has critics wary. Windows 8 is like nothing Microsoft has done before and it has some explaining to do.

Why Should I Buy This?

The non-tech crowd will be completely confused with Windows 8. Anyone who hasn’t been loyally following the impending launch and reading every article available on the features will be faced with an alien object. Windows 8 needs to explain why a laptop-cum-tablet hybrid is important and benefits every consumer. There’s no mention why Windows 8 is better than Android or Apple.

Of course, Android and Apple are the competition. In order to take on these players, Windows will seriously need to step up the marketing. Going back to basics, especially with a completely new product, is necessary. This wild ad does nothing to ease consumers into a new system.

On the Other Hand…

Some people are raving about the latest TV spot. It’s high-energy, bright, colorful and (some say) obviously hinting at the touch-screen capabilities. Windows 8 was designed with touchscreen platforms in mind even though it’s also available for old school use. However, there’s no mention of the XBOX or Windows Phone.

This might be because these devices are getting their own Windows 8-themed commercial. If not, that’s a huge oversight for Microsoft. The bottom line is, whether you love it or hate it, the ad marks the influx of tech-themed holidays.

Michael is a full-time blogger who has passions in all corners of the online world. In his down time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and blogging on everything from technology, to business, to marketing, and beyond.

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Microsoft aims for Guinness world record

MUMBAI: Microsoft is aiming to create to a new Guinness world record by bringing together the maximum number of people under one roof to build apps for its new Windows 8 operating system (OS) releasing in October.

The site for this hackathon or codefest will be Bangalore, the city which is probably home to the largest number of coders across the world. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s first OS that will work across tablets, smartphones and computers.

The former king of consumer software is betting big on its return to glory after ceding place to Apple and Google’s Android. The success of the OS will to a large extent depend on the apps that are available on it.

The 18-hour, non-stop jam will happen on September 21-22 and is open to everyone, including developers from outside India. Developers will code non-stop during this period and will have access to special Microsoft mentors from over the world, the software firm said. If 3500 or more developers participate in the codefest, Microsoft will create a new Guinness record.

Apps can be submitted in more than 20 categories that range from food, finance productivity, books, social, photo, music and video and shopping, Microsoft said. “The Windows 8 App Fest is an international opportunity, for developers to build their apps, which will then be available for download across the world through the Windows 8 marketplace,” it added.

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Samsung to ship first Windows Phone 8 in Q4

BERLIN: Samsung will ship its first Windows Phone 8 model in the fourth quarter, a company spokesman said, after the firm unexpectedly unveiling the device on the sidelines of Europe’s top consumer electronics fair in Berlin.

The South Korean firm has come under pressure to innovate after losing a US patent battle with Apple Inc.

A US federal jury last week found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain.

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Acer slates Microsoft’s hardware push

LONDON: Acer, the world’s fourth largest PC maker, has dismissed Microsoft’s chances of becoming a rival to Apple by building its own devices and urged its software partner to focus on its new operating system instead.

Microsoft announced on Monday that it would design and sell its own “Surface” tablets to showcase Windows 8 and take on Apple and Google in devices that are capturing more and more of the computing market.

It kept PC makers largely in the dark about its plans, according to sources, marking a radical departure from its previous close collaboration with its hardware partners.

Oliver Ahrens, Acer’s senior VP and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Microsoft was trying to copy some of Apple’s strategy, but he was doubtful it would succeed.

“I don’t think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products,” he said in an interview, adding that the former darling of the tech sector would also have to adapt its brand to compete with Apple.

“Microsoft is working with two dozen PC vendors worldwide, including the local guys, whereas Apple is alone, it can more or less do what it wants,” he said. “Microsoft is a component of a PC system. A very important component but still a component.”

He was also worried that Microsoft would shift resources to building a consumer hardware brand and retail operation, and in the process take its eye off the ball in making sure Windows 8 was a success for the PC industry.

“Instead of enhancing the user experience for Win 8 (…) they open a new battlefield,” he said.

“I worry that this will lead into a defocus internally for Microsoft, and then we have to suffer because we are working with their products.”

OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE Taiwan-based Acer, which ranked fourth in PC shipments in the first quarter, has had its own problems after failing to adapt to changes in the market including in particular the rise of Apple’s iPad last year, but Ahrens said the group was now getting back on track.

He said Windows 8, which does not yet have a launch date, was “extremely important” for Acer, and it would have four or five devices tied in with its launch, including tablets and a high-definition slimline “Ultrabook” notebook.

Ahrens said the new products would be supported by an advertising campaign focused on the user experience rather than the specifications of the machines, which has been the traditional approach of PC makers.

“Acer wants to be more about value than volume,” he said, adding that the company needed to do higher end products to lift the status of the whole brand.

Acer, an Olympics sponsor, will also be in the spotlight next month as the PC provider to the London games.

“Everything is run by Acer – the scoring systems, the internal IT,” said Acer UK managing director Neil Marshall. “It will demonstrate that we have the commercial ability to deliver this type of project.”

Ahrens said the second quarter, which ends in nine days, would see about a 50 percent rise in revenue in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, as the group continued its recovery from the lows of a year ago.

The region accounted for 37 pct of revenue in the first quarter, according to a company presentation.

“Q3 will be more challenging because it’s a transition quarter from Windows 7 to Windows 8,” he said.

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Microsoft Is Expected to Introduce a Tablet

For decades, Microsoft has made the software that runs a majority of the world’s personal computers, leaving a gang of outside hardware companies to design the machines. Apple, its rival, makes it all.

Microsoft is about to concede that Apple may be onto something.

On Monday, Microsoft is expected to introduce a tablet computer of its own design that runs a new version of its Windows operating system, according to people with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans who declined to be identified discussing confidential matters. It is the first time in the company’s 37-year history that it will offer a computer of its own creation. The device is aimed squarely at Apple’s blockbuster iPad, which has begun to threaten Microsoft’s hegemony in the computer business.

Microsoft’s move is another example of how Apple has demonstrated that the most effective way to create easy-to-use consumer gadgets is by building the whole package — upending the longstanding practice in the technology industry of companies’ devoting their energies to either hardware or software. Google, too, has made a big concession to Apple’s approach, signaling with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility last year that it will also design its own devices.

Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

For Microsoft, the decision to make its own tablet would once have been almost unthinkable. Microsoft swallowed the PC market in the 1980s and 1990s by letting any hardware maker pay licensing fees to put Windows on its machines. That business was so lucrative for Microsoft that there was no reason for the company to make its own PCs and compete for computer sales with its own partners.

The stunning success of Apple, now the most highly valued company in the world, has shown its rivals that they can no longer rely entirely on the business models that were so successful during an earlier era of the tech industry.

With the iPad, Apple coupled hardware and software together in an elegant package, producing longer battery life, a more responsive touch screen and other features competitors have not been able to match.

“If it’s true that Microsoft is going to produce its own tablet, it’s a major turning point for the company and shows just how breathtakingly the landscape has changed in a just a few years,” said Brad Silverberg, a venture capitalist in Seattle and former Microsoft executive, who said he had no knowledge of the company’s plans. “The stakes are enormous.”

In the smartphone business, Google initially followed Microsoft’s playbook by making its Android operating system available to any hardware maker who wanted it, a move that helped turn Android into the top operating system for smartphones. The search company’s hardware partners were far less successful, though, in selling Android tablets to the public, which were often criticized for being inferior to the iPad.

Last year though, Google announced plans to pay $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility, a maker of Android smartphones and tablets. That deal, which was completed last month, was seen as a big shift in strategy for Google that will help it create better Android smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft and Google are not entirely embracing Apple’s approach. Even as they design their own devices, they both will continue to make their software available to hardware companies that want to base their products on them. Microsoft has already publicly demonstrated devices from hardware makers like Samsung running Windows 8, the next version of its operating system.

Microsoft has invited the media to an event in Los Angeles Monday afternoon, where it is expected to show its tablet device. The entertainment industry Web site The Wrap earlier reported that Microsoft planned to announce a tablet at the event.

For Microsoft, making a tablet is a risky venture. Even with the emerging competition from the iPad, Windows remains one of the greatest franchises the technology industry has known, accounting for $4.6 billion in sales during the most recently reported quarter. Those sales are rooted in Microsoft’s alliance with its hardware partners. The plans could erode the commitment those partners have to Windows since Microsoft will effectively be competing with them for sales.

Also, Microsoft has a mixed track record in making hardware. It makes the popular Xbox 360, but that device sustained years of losses and manufacturing problems before it became a success. Microsoft failed with the Zune, a music player that was designed to compete with the iPod.

But there is also great risk for Microsoft in betting entirely on its old way of working with PC companies. The iPad has already begun to steal sales from low-end Windows laptops, though most people still aren’t using tablets for hard-core tasks like writing long documents and building big spreadsheets.

Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has repeatedly predicted that tablet computers will eventually outsell traditional computers in part because of their simplicity.

In its most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue from the iPad was $6.59 billion, more than Microsoft’s sales of Windows.

Microsoft’s move is a vindication of sorts for Steve Jobs, Apple’s late chief executive and long the technology industry’s most vocal advocate for making both hardware and software. Mr. Jobs often said that the only way to create superior technology products was to “make the whole widget.”

Many technology executives these days have come around to thinking like that, saying that conceiving hardware and software together is especially important with consumer devices like the iPad because of how things like poor battery life and unresponsive touch screens can ruin consumers’ enjoyment of the devices.

“In consumer technology, tight integration of hardware and software produces a demonstrably better platform,” said Roger McNamee, a veteran technology investor with Elevation Partners, a Silicon Valley private equity firm. “But that is only the first step in competing with Apple. Now Microsoft has to deliver functionality superior to iPad in a package consumers want to buy.”

A longtime Microsoft executive, Steven Sinofsky, is leading the company’s tablet effort. Mr. Sinofsky took over the company’s Windows division several years ago, helping to lead a turnaround in the business after the release of Windows Vista, which was widely criticized for early technical flaws.

Mr. Sinofsky’s first step in responding to the iPad was to oversee the most drastic change in the design of the operating system in years so that it could take better advantage of touch screens. That new version of the software, Windows 8, is expected to be released this October on an array of devices, including more traditional-looking computers.

The Microsoft tablet is expected to use a variation of Windows 8, known as Windows RT, that is designed specifically for tablet devices based on a class of microprocessors called ARM chips. That is the same class of chips inside the iPad and other mobile devices.


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