After 10 months of beta testing, Microsoft makes the full version of Sway, its online presentation software, available for free online. It is available for free download immedaitely on Windows 10 PCs and tablets with a Windows Phone app arriving in coming months.
Your invaluable feedback has helped us improve Sway to meet your needs.
Gates writes a letter to employees of Microsoft on company’s 40th anniversary.
Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible. It is amazing to think about how far computing has come since then, and we can all be proud of the role Microsoft played in that revolution.
Today though, I am thinking much more about Microsoft’s future than its past. I believe computing will evolve faster in the next 10 years than it ever has before. We already live in a multi-platform world, and computing will become even more pervasive. We are nearing the point where computers and robots will be able to see, move, and interact naturally, unlocking many new applications and empowering people even more.
Under Satya’s leadership, Microsoft is better positioned than ever to lead these advances. We have the resources to drive and solve tough problems. We are engaged in every facet of modern computing and have the deepest commitment to research in the industry. In my role as technical advisor to Satya, I get to join product reviews and am impressed by the vision and talent I see. The result is evident in products like Cortana, Skype Translator, and HoloLens — and those are just a few of the many innovations that are on the way.
In the coming years, Microsoft has the opportunity to reach even more people and organizations around the world. Technology is still out of reach for many people, because it is complex or expensive, or they simply do not have access. So I hope you will think about what you can do to make the power of technology accessible to everyone, to connect people to each other, and make personal computing available everywhere even as the very notion of what a PC delivers makes its way into all devices.
We have accomplished a lot together during our first 40 years and empowered countless businesses and people to realize their full potential. But what matters most now is what we do next. Thank you for helping make Microsoft a fantastic company now and for decades to come.
Microsoft releases the first public preview of Office 2016 for Mac OS X 10.10 users. The company plans to regularly release updates for the preview version so as to receive user feedback for software improvement and bug fixes. Users can share files across devices that run the software.
Office will focus now on cloud connectivity.We think we’ve done a good job of striking a balance that customers expect.Our internal tagline, and we are actually corny enough to say this in the hallways, is Unmistakably Office and optimized for the Mac.
Microsoft announces Xbox One wireless dongle for Xbox One controllers for PC at GDC 2015. The device enables wireless connectivity for the controllers instead of USB. Pricing has not been set. The device will be released later this year. Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox:
The wireless devices you use on Xbox One will work on PC as well. We want to see that input isn’t a barrier. Gamers should be able to play the games they want to play.
At an event in San Francisco, the company announces the latest version of its Windows’ operating system: Windows 10. A Windows 9 version is not being released. The Windows Insider Program will launch October 1, 2014 to give users a chance to operate a very early beta version of the software. The first beta preview will be for desktops and laptops, and the build for servers will follow at a later date. With this version, the company is bringing back some features of Window 7, like a redesigned start menu, combining features from both Windows 7 and Windows 8 start screens. Windows 10 will also allow users to work with multiple desktops. The new “Snap Assist” UI will make it easier for users who need these multiple desktops to grab apps from multiple desktops and move them around.
Microsoft announces the Nokia and Windows Phone brands will not be used in this holiday season’s marketing materials. Microsoft also plans not to use the Windows Phone logo in promotions and commercials, instead it will be replaced with just Windows. The Verge confirms the information is accurate and reports a slide that reads:
As part of our phased transition, we will drop the manufacturer name [Nokia] from product references during the Holiday campaign.
Microsoft confirms that the Xbox One console will be available in 28 additional markets this month. Argentina will be added to the list at a later date. The dates and countries are as follows:
9/2: Chile and Colombia
9/5: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
9/23: Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan
The MS14-045 update to Windows 7 causes users to get a “blue screen of death” or “Stop 0x50” error on their computers. This error makes it so people cannot use their computers unless they do a system restore. Microsoft asks that users uninstall the update before they encounter the error if possible:
Microsoft is investigating behavior associated with the installation of this update and will update this bulletin when more information becomes available. Microsoft recommends that customers uninstall this update. As an added precaution, Microsoft has removed the download links to the 2982791 security update.
The Internet Explorer development team conducts an AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit. They discuss technical aspects of creating a web browser, what it’s like to work at Microsoft, and the negative reputation Internet Explorer has in tech communities. They say they briefly considered changing Internet Explorer’s name to avoid the stigma against the browser:
It’s been suggested internally; I remember a particularly long email thread where numerous people were passionately debating it. Plenty of ideas get kicked around about how we can separate ourselves from negative perceptions that no longer reflect our product today.
Microsoft announces the Nokia 130, which retails for $25 or 19 euros. The phone will only be available in select countries in Asia and Africa. It is intended to be a reliable, basic phone that includes features like video playback, a FM radio and a battery that can last 36 days on standby or 13 hours of talk time:
The Nokia 130 is an ideal handset for first-time mobile phone buyers, or for people seeking a reliable backup phone to complement their existing smartphones. It’s built to last, with a 1.8-inch color display and outstanding battery life of up to 36 days’ standby for the single-SIM variant and 26 days’ standby for the dual-SIM device. In design and quality, the Nokia 130 stands out among devices priced below $35.
Microsoft announces Xbox One will launch in China on September 23, 2014, making it the first foreign company to sell consoles in the world’s third biggest gaming market. A ban on consoles was lifted in China earlier this year. The console will cost 3,699 yuan ($600) without the Kinect motion detection system and 4,299 yuan ($700) with Kinect, about $200 more than the consoles cost in the USA. Last year, a deal was reached with Chinese internet TV set-top box maker BesTV New Media Co Ltd to form a joint venture to manufacture the consoles in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone.
Microsoft releases a statement that about 12,500 jobs will be cut over the next year. This reduction is part of the company’s 7 billion-dollar acquisition plan it has for Nokia’s handset enterprise. Representatives says the new CEO, Satya Nadella, wants to help Microsoft to simplify and streamline its business practices. In a memo, Nadella assures employees
My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible
Employees affected will receive notification over the next six months, along with job transition assistance and severance pay. This is the largest lay-off since 2009, when 5,000 employees were cut.
Bing begins complying with a European Union court ruling that says people have a right to have their personal information deleted from search results. They offer a form where users can submit requests for search result removals. They say they plan to evaluate the merits of each request and do not guarantee removal of any information:
In accordance with the ruling, the information you provide will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked.
Microsoft announces that three laptops at a sub-$250 price point are in production. The $249 Toshiba 11.6″ has a 32 GB SSD and weighs 2.2 lbs, and the $249.99 Acer Aspire ES1 has 500 GB of onboard storage and 4 GB of RAM. No specifications are released for the HP Stream, but it will cost $199 with a smaller mini laptop version at $99. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner makes it clear that these devices are meant to compete with the Chromebook:
We’ve got a great value proposition against Chromebooks, we are not ceding the market to anyone.
Nadella sends a 3,000 word email to all Microsoft employees, encouraging them to be productive and stick to the core value of Microsoft, helping people get things done. He also expresses a belief that Microsoft’s software and hardware will “set the bar” for productivity in the future:
Microsoft has a unique ability to harmonize the world’s devices, apps, docs, data and social networks in digital work and life experiences so that people are at the center and are empowered to do more and achieve more with what is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity — time!
Microsoft announces that users of the Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans can get licenses for the social networking service Yammer at no additional cost. Office 365 Enterprise plans already include the service, which allows for communication within organizations:
This simple licensing change significantly reduces the friction in cross-organization collaboration and will enable your users to work with customers, partners, and parents and students without having to worry about additional costs.
Certain Xbox 360 owners receive a message offering them $75 in credit for their Xbox account if they buy an Xbox One from any retailer. The company does not give any information about what the criteria for being selected for the promotion are:
This short-term promotion is offered to select Xbox fans in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. We are always looking for opportunities to bring promotions like this to our customers, but we have nothing further to share at this time.
Russian leaker Wzor posts on an online message board that Microsoft’s Windows 9 marketing campaign is set to begin this fall. Wzor says the upcoming update for Windows 8 will be the final one:
After release of Windows 8.1 Update 2 new updates will be released, but no new features will be added to the operating system. Update 2 is the final rebuild of all SKUs.
Microsoft joins the AllSeen Alliance, a group dedicated to building an open-source framework connecting things like cars, homes, and mobile devices from any manufacturer. Liat Ben-Zur, chairman of the AllSeen Alliancee, says in a press release:
No single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything in everyday, real-life scenarios. Microsoft’s strong presence in the home via computers, tablets, phones, gaming platforms and their strength in the consumer, enterprise, education, industrial automotive sectors, uniquely enables them to accelerate the adoption of the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn open source code across a very wide swath of products and verticals.
The Nokia X2 launches at $135 per device. It runs on Android despite the fact that Nokia’s parent company Microsoft also makes a mobile operating system. The phone features 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal memory (expandable to 32 GB), and a 5 megapixel camera.
The company announces a myriad of titles to be launched on the Xbox One, including Plague, Inc. , Halo 5: Guardians and Fable Legends, and Beyond, Mighty No. 9.
Microsoft releases a Xbox One without a Kinect sensor for $400, $100 cheaper than the starting version. So far the console has sold five million units compared with Sony’s Playstation 4’s seven million units. The lack of Kinect may cause issues with the Kinect usefulness in future games.
Notch criticizes Microsoft for its regulations regarding which games can appear on the Windows 8 app store. Microsoft must approve all games to ensure that they are coded properly and do not contain adult content.