Microsoft Archive

Source code for MS-DOS 1.1, 2.0 and Word 1.1a released

The Computer History Museum announced today that it has, with permission from Microsoft Corporation, made available original source code for two historic programs: MS-DOS, the 1982 "Disk Operating System" for IBM-compatible personal computers, and Word for Windows, the 1990 Windows-based version of their word processor.

Great move by Microsoft - this ensures these programs remain available for eternity.

Don’t use Microsoft’s web mail to receive Microsoft leaks

One of the revelations in this week's case of a Microsoft worker who leaked pre-release Windows 8 software was that Microsoft accessed the Hotmail account of the blogger to whom the data was leaked. And it did so without a court order.

Well, it turns out Microsoft was apparently within its rights to do so, having explicitly carved out the right to access communications to protect its own intellectual property.

Yahoo and Google have similar clauses.

Microsoft Office for iPad will be unveiled this month

Satya Nadella is planning to host his first press event as Microsoft CEO next week. The software maker has been inviting members of the media to a special cloud- and mobile-focused event in San Francisco on March 27th. Nadella is expected to discuss Microsoft’s "mobile first, cloud first" strategy, and there will be some major news ahead of the company’s Build conference in early April. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the event will mark the introduction of Office for iPad.

Meanwhile, Office for Metro is nowhere in sight.

What ever happened to MSX computers

Not too many people will recall the short-lived era of the "MSX" initiative which was slated to pretty much take over the non-existent middle world where consumer electronics met personal computers. It was always believed, back then, that this is where the sweet spot of profits would emerge. What emerged was instead laughable MSX. It was one of Microsoft's greatest flops.

The MSX was one of the first computers I ever used. I did basic BASIC stuff on it when I was a kid.

Microsoft is using your data to target political ads on Xbox Live

Microsoft is trying to convince politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives.

It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting.

This from the company behind "Scroogled".

On a more general note, hypocrite company behaviour like this should be illegal. A company should not be able to say "leave company Abc behind because they do xyz, and come join us!", only to then turn around and do xyz as well. This is lying, and should be punishable in some way.

Microsoft’s Nadella manages legacy of Ballmer-board split

Nadella, who succeeded Ballmer one month ago, took a step this week by unraveling part of a restructuring his predecessor put in place in one of his last acts as chief executive officer. Nadella appointed onetime Democratic political operative Mark Penn to the just-invented post of strategy chief and shuffled other executives to resolve an unwieldy setup Ballmer had established in the marketing department.

Interesting look at the goings-on surround Ballmer's end.

Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s new CEO

As Satya Nadella becomes the third CEO of Microsoft, he brings a relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of collaboration to his new role. He joined Microsoft 22 years ago because he saw how clearly Microsoft empowers people to do magical things and ultimately make the world a better place. Many companies, he says, "aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance."

Say what you will - I won't say anything, I know nothing about this stuff - but I love this webpage introducing the new CEO. Very well done.

MS reveals its server designs, releases open source code

Microsoft has joined the Open Compute Project, a consortium that Facebook created to share the designs of servers and other equipment that power the internet's largest data centers.

Like other internet giants, Microsoft designs its own servers to be more efficient than standard boxes sold by the likes of HP and Dell. While Google has mostly kept its designs secret, Facebook has made its server and rack specifications public and has urged others to do the same. In theory, companies can swap best practices, and any vendor can sell servers identical to the ones that power Facebook's data centers.

Microsoft joining Open Compute boosts the chances that the project might have some impact on the server industry.

Good move.

Why Microsoft might not kill Nokia’s Android phone

Ina Fried has just confirmed the Nokia Android phone - and even argues that Microsoft might go ahead with actually releasing it.

According to a Nokia source, the software has a look more similar to Windows Phone than to the "squircle" icons used on the Asha. Normandy would also serve as a way to deliver Microsoft services such as Bing and Skype.

That is seen by some at Microsoft as a more palatable alternative than seeing more of those first-time smartphone buyers sign up not just for Android but also for Google's array of services.

Makes sense. It does raise another question, though: wouldn't this be yet another operating system Microsoft would need to develop and support?

Microsoft CEO search: stalemate

The Microsoft CEO succession process appears to be stalled. This is a company with immense human, technical, and financial resources; the tech industry is filled with intelligent, energetic, dedicated candidates. What's wrong with the matchmaking process?

The gist: Microsoft needs someone strong enough to stand up to the old guard still looking over everyone's shoulder (Gates and Ballmer) - and essentially dismiss them - since the company needs to look to the future, not the past.

Good luck with that.

Why is Microsoft scared of Chromebooks?

"It's pretty much a brick," says Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison as he rejects a Samsung Chromebook brought in by an actor playing a customer. Microsoft really doesn't want you buying this thing.

But why? Just how big of a threat are Chromebooks, Google's oft-ridiculed web-only laptops, to Microsoft's core business?

I'm puzzled too. It doesn't seem like Chromebooks are that big of a threat - why create terrible advertisements that only provide Google with free publicity?

Microsoft hires ‘Pawn Stars’ to bash Google Chromebooks

Microsoft has enlisted the reality-television series "Pawn Stars" in its ongoing campaign to bash rival Google.

An online video ad released Tuesday mimics the plot set up of "Pawn Stars," which features people toting precious or odd objects for appraisal at a Las Vegas pawn shop. In Microsoft's fictional telling, a woman is trying to trade in a Chromebook, a no-frills laptop powered by Google software.

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste."

Microsoft makes $2B a year on Android patents

Microsoft is generating $2 billion per year in revenue from Android patent royalties, says Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund in a new note on the company.

He estimates that the Android revenue has a 95% margin, so it's pretty much all profit.

This money, says Sherlund, helps Microsoft hide the fact that its mobile and Xbox groups are burning serious cash.

Microsoft has not written a single line of Android code, yet rakes in the profits through scummy software patents. Crime does pay.

Microsoft launches redesigned Bing website

With this release we've created a modern Bing.com experience - one that is faster, cleaner and more visually appealing. We believe that search can be beautiful as well as functional and efficient. With that as our goal, we evaluated fonts, spacing, color, visual scan patterns, the search box and even the underlying code.

My problem with this and recent moves by Google: when I do a regular search, I do not want my search results to be spammed by news, picture, and video results. Bing seems to follow in Google's footsteps by adding irrelevant crap to search results for the sake of looking cool, but at the cost of usability.

I mean, check this screenshot. How much of the page is reserved for actual search results, and not pictures, info boxes, news items, and god knows what else?

Exactly: none.

Microsoft raced to deal with soul-searching Nokia

Microsoft's agreement to buy Nokia's handset business, codenamed Project Gold Medal, was more of a sprint than a marathon.

Talks between the two companies began in February after both sides agreed a two-year-old collaboration on smartphone development wasn't working, according to people familiar with the deal.

This cannot be true. Internet commenters told me in no uncertain terms that Nokia and Windows Phone were doing just fine. And internet commenters are always right.

Tide rolls in: Microsoft acquires Nokia’s devices unit

Ever since Stephen Elop became CEO of Nokia we knew this outcome was inevitable. It was his job to make it as easy as possible for Microsoft to acquire the vital parts of Nokia, and here we are: Microsoft is acquiring Nokia's devices unit for 3.79 billion euro, and another 1.65 billion euro for its patents. It's a bit of a complicated deal in that Microsoft buys the Asha feature phone brand and Lumia smartphone brand outright, but will only license the Nokia name for current Nokia products; the Nokia brand will remain under the control of Nokia the company. This means Nokia as a phone brand is effectively dead.

In addition, Stephen Elop will return to Microsoft. I'm sure entirely coincidentally, Ballmer announced recently that he's stepping down.

All this was as inevitable as the tides rolling in. Nokia has been going downhill and has stagnated ever since the announcement it would bank its future on Windows Phone. It went from being the largest smartphone manufacturer to an also-ran, which is made painfully clear by the fact that Microsoft paid more for Skype than it does for Nokia's devices unit.

A painful end for a once-great phone brand. This was the plan all along, and in essence, Nokia's board has executed it masterfully; the Finnish company has switched core markets several times in its long, long history (it started out as a paper company), and the unprofitable phone business was a huge liability for the company, despite claims by some that Nokia was doing just fine. Nokia's board has masterfully gotten rid of this money pit so it can focus on the parts that are profitable.

And, as always, the next Lumia will turn it all around.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer retires

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

This was long overdue. Microsoft needs fresh blood at the top - not a salesman, but a visionary.

Microsoft took a $900 million hit on Surface RT this quarter

The Verge, reporting that Microsoft lost almost a billion dollars with Surface RT, in this quarter alone. "At the end of the day, though, it looks like Microsoft just made too many Surface RT tablets - we heard late last year that Microsoft was building three to five million Surface RT tablets in the fourth quarter, and we also heard that Microsoft had only sold about one million of those tablets in March." That's catastrophically bad.