An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including the ongoing problem of "scam" apps in the Windows Store, HP's quarter is saved by strong PC sales, HP's layoffs dwarf Microsoft's, Sony doesn't understand why the PS 4 is doing so well, but I think I have the answer, and Apple's stock surges on speculation, as always.
The sudden announcement earlier this week that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was stepping away from the Microsoft board of directors raised a number of questions. But the elephant in the room, so to speak, is another former Microsoft leader who's been hanging around the firm's Redmond campus a lot more than usual lately. Is it finally time for Microsoft co-founder and tech industry icon Bill Gates to step away from the software giant for good as well?
Former Microsoft CEO has stepped down from the company's board of directors. The move, which comes just six months after he retired from Microsoft, effectively severs Mr. Ballmer's ties to the company, though he is of course still its biggest individual shareholder. The question is: Why?
Microsoft removed the download links to several Patch Tuesday-based software updates after customers complained of frequent problems, including in some cases non-booting PCs and Blue Screens. This isn't just unprecedented, folks, it's catastrophic, and it casts a pall over Microsoft's rapid release strategy.
Sprint dropped its $32 billion bid to purchase T-Mobile earlier this month because US antitrust regulators had indicated that they would block the merger. Now, it looks like the government got it right for a change: In just the few weeks since that reversal, both Sprint and T-Mobile have moved aggressively to lower prices and make more versatile wireless plans available to customers.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer still commands almost 60 percent of desktop PC web browser usage, a figure that has held steady for over a year. But IE is widely viewed as the AOL of web browsers, something that the unwashed masses use only because they don't realize there are viable, even superior, alternatives. And the software giant is hoping to change that.
While Microsoft has always rejected the quasi-religious message behind the free software movement, the company is inherently pragmatic. And with the personal computing market moving quickly to highly portable mobile devices running other platforms, Microsoft has little choice but to follow suit and make Windows free on such devices. Will this strategy work?
An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including a side-trip to Africa, Surface losses and investments, Microsoft finally moves to secure Internet Explorer, Microsoft will finally open a store in New York, a disrespectful parting gift from a former Nokia factory in China, the USPTO shoots down yet another Apple patent claim, and Yahoo teams with Google on encrypted email.
Sprint on Wednesday confirmed rumors that it has backed out of a proposed deal to merge with T-Mobile in order to create a third large wireless carrier that could compete more effectively with Verizon and AT&T Wireless. According to Sprint, which had allied with its corporate parent SoftBank, antitrust regulators had indicated that they would block the merger, so there was no point in proceeding.
In an unexpected development, Samsung and Apple have settled all of the pending mobile patent lawsuits the firms have against each other outside the United States. The agreement relates to cases in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and the UK, and it does not apply to intellectual property infringement allegations.
If you're familiar with Microsoft's product portfolio, you know that the firm's "mobile first, cloud first" strategy is heavily tilted towards the latter half of that phrase. That is, Microsoft has had a lot more success moving its on-premises products to cloud services than it has moving traditional software products to mobile devices.
In a surprising and strongly-worded rebuke, the government of China warned Microsoft on Monday not to interfere with an antitrust investigation against the company. It's unclear what triggered this warning, though a related threat about not involving the US government may provide a clue.
Verizon has formally responded to a complaint from US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, stating that its plan to throttle customers on "unlimited" data plans is both fair and non-controversial. In fact, Verizon says, it did the same thing to customers previously with 3G services, and there were few complaints.
If you travel frequently in the United States, you've probably noticed that previous restrictions on electronic devices have eased dramatically, and that it's now possible to use anything other than a full-blown laptop during airplane takeoffs and landings. But the US Department of Transportation is about to formally expand one device restriction that should please anyone who spends a lot of time locked in an airplane with hundreds of other people: It is going to ban the use of cellular phone calls.
Microsoft and Samsung are frenemies—both competitors and partners—but the tone of the relationship edged closer to the enemy category on Friday: Microsoft has sued Samsung, alleging that the mobile device giant is trying to illegally back out of the Android patent licensing contract the two firms signed in 2011.