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Amid ‘idiotic blockchain phase,’ EY and Microsoft tout smart contracts

In an effort to demonstrate there are actual uses for blockchain technology, global professional services biz EY and Microsoft have teamed up to offer companies a way to manage rights and royalties.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2yG8NSu

Microsoft finally releases its secret weapon in the cloud wars with Amazon and Google

Microsoft has long maintained that it has a secret weapon in the cloud wars against the Amazon Web Services juggernaut. The weapon is Microsoft’s existing inroads into the business software market.

Read more: http://read.bi/2tCAB5t

Microsoft goes all in on VR

Less than two years ago — seemingly out of nowhere — Microsoft reveals the very first manufacturing prototype of Hololens. No one had heard anything about Hololens before Microsoft’s premiere, and it certainly took the tech world by storm.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2fgRUnI

Microsoft Boosts Its Chatbot Future By Acquiring Wand Labs

On Monday, Microsoft made headlines by plunking down $26 billion for LinkedIn.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1XsEh2T

Here’s Microsoft CEO’s letter to employees about the $26 billion LinkedIn acquisition

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella just weighed in on why the company decided to buy LinkedIn for a whopping $26.2 billion in cash—and no, it had nothing to do with spam email.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1U4cfoM

Windows 10 Now on 300 Million Active Devices – Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon

As we near the one year anniversary of the availability of Windows 10, we’re excited to share that Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. We’re pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1SSykWB

LEAKED: Microsoft has a new tool to help automate your life

You can have your Dropbox files automatically copied to a OneDrive account. You can have your Tweets saved to a spreadsheet. If you’ve ever used the mega-popular IFTTT service, it’s exactly like that, with user-created “flows” for shunting data from one service to another.

Read more: http://read.bi/24cwgU9

Steve Ballmer 最後一封股東信

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好不容易,硬件、軟件、作業系統、手機平台、商店、廣告、等各方面的業務,來到這一刻,Microsoft終於齊全了,但Steve Ballmer亦要退下來。

Microsoft的轉型,目標是統一各業務部門,整合資源,達到「一個Microsoft」的整體用戶經驗(Total UX)的結果,就像Apple那種從手機到平板以至商店的用戶經驗。走到這一步,方向正確,奈何速度太慢,各條主要戰線除了XBox以外,尤其是Windows 8.1 和 Surface,看不見太多曙光。

Ballmer寄語Microsoft的黃金時代「尚未來臨」,作為他最後一封的股東信的最後一句話,與其說是一個寄望,聽上去似乎更像是一個遺託。

以下是 Steve Ballmer 股東郵件全文

TO OUR SHAREHOLDERS, CUSTOMERS, PARTNERS AND EMPLOYEES:

This is a unique letter for me — the last shareholder letter I will write as the CEO of the company I love. We have always believed that technology will unleash human potential and that is why I have come to work every day with a heart full of passion for more than 30 years.

Fiscal Year 2013 was a pivotal year for Microsoft in every sense of the word.

Last year in my letter to you I declared a fundamental shift in our business to a devices and services company. This transformation impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses.

This past year we took the first big bold steps forward in our transformation and we did it while growing revenue to $77.8 billion (up 6 percent). In addition, we returned $12.3 billion (up 15 percent) to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases. While we were able to grow revenue to a record level, our earnings results reflect investments as well as some of the challenges of undertaking a transformation of this magnitude.

With this as backdrop, I’d like to summarize where we are now and where we’re headed, because it helps explain why I’m so enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead.

Our strategy: High-value activities enabled by a family of devices and services

We are still in the early days of our transformation, yet we made strong progress in the past year launching devices and services that people love and businesses need. We brought Windows 8 to the world; we brought consistent user experiences to PCs, tablets, phones and Xbox; and we made important advancements to Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365. We are proud of what we accomplished this year and continue to be passionate about delivering better devices and services more quickly.

To increase innovation, capability, efficiency and speed we further sharpened our strategy, and in July 2013 we announced we are rallying behind a single strategy as One Microsoft. We declared that Microsoft’s focus going forward will be to create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.

Over time, our focus on high-value activities will generate amazing innovation and new areas of growth. What is a high-value activity? Think of the experiences people have every day that are most important to them — from communicating with a family member and researching a term paper to having serious fun and expressing ideas. In a business setting, high-value activities include experiences such as conducting meetings with colleagues in multiple locations, gaining insight from massive amounts of data and information, and interacting with customers.

Microsoft will enable these types of high-value activities with a family of devices — from both Microsoft and our partners — as well as with our services.

As we go to market, we will primarily monetize our high-value activities by leading with devices and enterprise services. In this model, our consumer services such as Bing and Skype will differentiate our devices and serve as an on-ramp to our enterprise services while generating some revenue from subscriptions and advertising. Enterprise services continue to be an area of great strength, growth and opportunity as businesses of all sizes look to Microsoft to help them move to the cloud, manage a growing number of devices, tap into big data and embrace new social capabilities.

Executing and accelerating

In the past year we took many bold steps forward in executing on our strategy.

First, we are well underway in implementing the new organization structure announced in July. The teams are working together in new and exciting ways. The key change we made is deceptively simple but profoundly powerful: Instead of organizing our teams around individual products, we’ve organized by function, including, for example, engineering, sales, marketing and finance. It ensures we have one strategy and work as one team with one set of shared goals.

Second, in September we announced we are purchasing Nokia’s Devices and Services business — including its smartphone and mobile phone businesses; award-winning engineering and design teams; manufacturing and assembly facilities around the world; and teams devoted to operations, sales, marketing and support. This is a signature event in our transformation and will bring together the best mobile device work of Microsoft and Nokia. It will accelerate our growth with Windows Phone while strengthening our overall device ecosystem and our opportunity.

Third, in September, we also announced a new segment-reporting framework. We have five new reporting segments tightly aligned with our focus on delivering innovative devices and services for both our enterprise and consumer customers. This framework was designed to give valuable insight into our progress in the key transformations we are undertaking in our businesses to drive long-term growth.

As I think about what’s ahead, I’m incredibly optimistic about what Microsoft will deliver. We are accelerating as we bring to market Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets with our partners, Surface 2, Xbox One and new phones; advance our enterprise services including Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Office 365; and innovate on new high-value activities.

Moving forward

With the decisions we’ve made this year, the strategy we’ve put in place, the organization we’ve designed, the world-class talent we have, and the devices and services we are creating, we are well-positioned to deliver growth and world-changing technology long into the future.

We have seen incredible results in the past decade — delivering more than $200 billion in operating profit. I’m optimistic not only as the CEO but as an investor who treasures his Microsoft stock.

Working at Microsoft has been a thrilling experience — we’ve changed the world and delivered record-setting success — and I know our best days are still ahead.

Thank you for your support.

Steven A. Ballmer
Chief Executive Officer
September 27, 2013

諾基亞告別手機業務 557億賣給微軟

Nokia_evolucion_tamaño

Steve Ballmer發信給Microsoft員工,宣佈公司以54.4億歐元(約557億港元)收購諾基亞的手提電話業務。

Nokia歷史近150年,曾幾何時,市場佔有率逾四成,公司市值一度高達2萬億港元。但自從遇到來自iPhone和Android手機的挑戰,勢力和影響力已是江河日下。

終於,又一個時代的終結。

問題是,在某程度上,Microsoft在各方面的發展亦同樣裹足不前,接收Nokia之後是否就能扭轉局勢,現實是不容許投資者樂觀的。

想了解更多,以下文章必看:

1. Steve Ballmer email to Microsoft employees on Nokia Devices & Services acquisition

2. Nokia to sell Devices & Services business to Microsoft in EUR 5.44 billion all-cash transaction

3. Microsoft Explains the Rationale Behind the Nokia Deal

傳微軟正測試半透明SmartWatch

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 9.49.48 AM

Microsoft’s prototype smartwatch testing has moved over to its Surface team. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Surface plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is now prototyping devices directly under the Surface team as the firm moves its wrist-worn device closer to reality.

Read more on the verge.

 

Preview of Windows 8.1

Although I am still watching this video on my mac, I am recently consider whether I should buy a windows laptop or tablet for my next PC..

Listen to what Brandon LeBlanc say:

Start screen is filled with all kinds of apps with tiles in various sizes – Windows 8.1 adds two new tile sizes: large (really big) and small (really small). For example – I have the Weather app as a big tile and it now shows me today’s and tomorrow’s forecasts. Big tiles can have much more information on them, which is great. On my devices with smaller screens – like my tablet

Start Button is back but..

While the Start button is back, the Start Menu isn’t coming back anytime soon. By default, clicking the Start button takes you to the good-old Start menu. Thankfully, however, Microsoft has added a new Apps screen that can take the place of the Start menu when you click the Start button.

Read more on

  1. The Windows 8.1 Preview is here!
  2. Continuing the Windows 8 vision with Windows 8.1
  3. Microsoft Launches Windows 8.1 Preview With Start Button, Deep SkyDrive Integration, Smarter Search Tool & More

Microsoft Ventures:我們也支持 Startups

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Below a post and it’s abstract from Rahul Sood, GM of Microsoft Startups:

Today, Microsoft is announcing the creation of Microsoft Ventures, a coordinated global effort that offers the tools, resources, expertise and routes to market by providing mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits.

Microsoft Ventures is broad-based and takes a holistic approach, featuring a community evangelism program including BizSpark, an accelerator program and a seed fund that works with startups worldwide.

Microsoft Ventures Community: Anyone with a great idea can benefit from the Community program. Microsoft is providing easy access to technology and resources to help entrepreneurs explore how to turn a great idea into a business in several different ways:

· The BizSpark program will continue to offer access to Microsoft tools and technologies, including Windows and Office, Visual Studio, Windows Azure and more.

· Locally-supported partnerships with approximately 200 startup-focused organizations around the world like Startup BootCamp, Enterprise Ireland and Telefonica’s Wayra.

Microsoft Ventures Accelerators: Once entrepreneurs realize the business potential of their ideas, they can apply to an immersive 3-6 month accelerator program. Along with Microsoft-owned and operated accelerators currently in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv, we are expanding to further locations including Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

Seed Funding from Microsoft Ventures: Microsoft is evolving the Bing Fund by adding additional funding to support even more startups. Startups can receive direct funding from Microsoft after achieving early business success. That may mean having a viable product in market with demonstrated customer traction, a full-time founding team or alignment to Microsoft domain expertise, including enterprise software, big data, security, artificial intelligence, advertising, gaming, SaaS and cloud services.

At a minimum, applying companies must have a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technologically driven solutions and less than $1 million raised. The accelerators provide access to business mentors, technical and design experts, development tools and key resources to help entrepreneurs take the early steps toward turning their ideas into businesses.

Read more on TechNet

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“Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device.”

How Xbox One Plans to Fight Sony, Steam, and Everything Else

  • The front is nearly without embellishment; even the optical disc drive slot blends into the frontpiece of the box. On the whole, it looks more like a TiVo than any gaming console I’ve ever known.
  • The humplike battery pack on the controller’s underside is all but gone; the triggers and shoulder buttons are carved from a single graceful swath of material.
  • Quantifying graphical performance is notoriously squishy. That being said, Microsoft touts the Xbox One as delivering 8 times the graphic performance of the 360.
  • If the revision of the console consisted mostly of upgrades to its components and architecture, the Kinect received a head-to-toe retooling.
  • It’s essentially like turning each pixel of the custom-designed CMOS sensor into a radar gun, which allows for unprecedented responsiveness.

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Sundar Pichai

SVP, Chrome and Apps, Google

Can’t it be confusing having two operating systems?

It’s a world of multiple screens, smart displays, with tons of low-cost computing, with big sensors built into devices. At Google we ask how to bring together something seamless and beautiful and intuitive across all these screens. The picture may look different a year or two from from now, but in the short term, we have Android and we have Chrome, and we are not changing course.

As Android’s new head, what do you see as the biggest challenge?

I see huge opportunity, because it is just shocking how much of the world doesn’t have access to computing. In his book Eric [Schmidt] talks about the next 5 billion [the people on earth who aren’t connected to the internet who soon will be]. That’s genuinely true and it excites me.

What does that mean when a company like Facebook comes out with Home, which changes that experience?

To Mark [Zuckerberg], people are the center of everything. I take a slightly different approach. I think life is multifaceted: people are a huge part of it, but not the center and be-all of everything.

Talk about Samsung..

Historically the industry has had long stable structures. Look at Microsoft and Intel. They were very codependent on one another, but it served both of them well. When I look at where computing needs to go, we need innovation in displays, in batteries. Samsung is a world leader in those technologies.

Finally, you had a pretty full plate with Chrome and Apps, and now you’re handling the world’s biggest phone platform in addition. How are you managing?

I have a secret project which adds four hours every day to the 24 hours we have. There’s a bit of time travel involved.

source: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/05/exclusive-sundar-pichai-reveals-his-plans-for-android/

Amazon would move into closer competition with Apple Inc. (AAPL), which sells its own set-top box called Apple TV. The device would also compete with products from Roku Inc. and Boxee Inc., as well as gaming consoles from Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. that deliver video programming.

The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president at Cisco Systems Inc. who worked on the networking giant’s various consumer video initiatives. In the late 1980s and 1990s, Moynihan spent nine years at Apple.

Jason_Krikorian

“It would certainly make some sense,” said Jason Krikorian, a general partner at venture-capital firm DCM, and the former co-founder of Sling Media, who does not have knowledge of Amazon’s plans. “They have a ton of content, an existing billing relationship with millions of users.”

重要內容

  1. Amazon to Launch Set-Top Apple TV-Killer
  2. The economics behind Amazon’s possible set-top box gambit

Win 8 產品照,望落唔差喎!

[YouTube] Surface 示範撻Q + 對比 Steve Jobs 介紹 iPad

Apple fans 大反擊,大家搬定凳仔睇好戲

真係幾靚喎 Microsoft Surface

Nokia’s problem haunts Microsoft

傳聞HTC同Facebook合作,起新平台。若果屬實,基本大勢力分佈:

陣營1:Apple
陣營2:Google + Samsung
陣營3:Microsoft + Nokia
陣營4:Facebook + HTC

其餘RIM、Sony、LG… 只會繼續積弱,直至game over。

HTC, Facebook jointly developing smartphone, say sources.

超級手機

最近幾年, Microsoft來到智能手機市場,一直處於隱形狀態,早年推出的 Kin,由 Sharp生產, Verizon發售,走低價路線,但市場幾乎沒有任何反應,僅上市 48天,微軟已經決定放棄這個品牌。

想當年, Microsoft的解釋是, Verizon作為夥伴推動 Kin的銷售不夠積極,結果, Kin的團隊被併到 Windows Phone團隊裏,微軟的算盤大約是,「留得青山在,不怕沒柴燒」。到了今年初, Windows Phone和 Nokia宣佈合作,至最近在歐洲高調推出產品 Lumia,大鑼大鼓,好評如潮,是 Microsoft和 Nokia絕無僅有的佳績。

只可惜,到目前為止, Windows Phone實際的增長依然緩慢,在年中的時候,甚至連 Samsung自行開發的 Bada作業系統,成績都要比 Windows Phone更好。對此, Microsoft前高層 Charlie Kindel埋怨,由於網絡商和手機商不肯合作銷售,導致 Windows Phone落後於其他平台。

Kindel的理論是: Windows Phone為了對用戶好,在硬件上限制手機商,在軟件上限制網絡商,例如網絡商喜歡在手機加入自家軟件和服務,手機商喜歡根據自己喜好設計硬件規格,通通做不得,導致手機商和網絡商傾向自由開放的 Android。而事實上,大部份用過 Windows Phone的人,基本都認同, Windows Phone的確比 Android優勝一點。

問題是, Windows Phone是好,但未至於「超級好」,所謂超級好,好到有足夠的誘因,讓手機商和網絡商,願意放棄部份的自由,也要推銷 Windows Phone的產品,好到即使銷售渠道不足,消費者不惜用任何方法,也要弄來一部玩玩。 08年的 iPhone,就是「超級好」的最佳例子。

Photo credit: http://wmpoweruser.com/leaked-windows-phone-roadmap-gives-us-a-peak-into-the-future/

網上流出一張疑似內部照片,洩露了微軟 Windows Phone的來年策略,馬上遭到大批科技及財經網站轉載: 2012第二季,推出代號 Tango的產品,目標是將售價拉低,到第四季,推出代號 Apollo的產品,底下有行小字註解「 Superphones」,難道微軟現在才意識到,只有造出真正的「超級手機」才能打救他們?

2011年12月31日刊於蘋果日報

Nokia絕地反擊

自從 iPhone推出後,寫了許多將快樂建築於 Nokia痛苦的文章,直至一年前,寫過一篇《 Nokia討回歡心的 4個方法》,其實只是 4個小貼士,靈感來自男女之間的離合,那時候我想,若都源自人的六慾,那麼情愛關係的因果,也許還適用於人與物的關係吧?

一年後, Nokia和 Microsoft合作,推出運行 Windows Phone 7.5(代號 Mango)的 Lumia 800,在正式發售之前,着我試用和寫寫。對話匣子是我自己開的,我當然樂意接受邀請。回顧當日的 4個貼士,基本上都算做到了:

(一)減少接觸愛侶:過去一年,印象中 Nokia算是比較低調,最有記憶的新聞大概是管理層的吧。
(二)冷靜分析錯處: 1年前, Nokia最錯是硬件一流,軟件九流;來到今天, Lumia 800的 Mango作業系統令人眼前一亮,雖有點遲,但 Nokia的確有對症下藥。
(三)切忌模仿情敵:所謂情敵, iPhone是一個, Android是一個, Nokia沒有出 Android Phone,而 Mango的使用經驗又截然不同,是走對了路。
(四)保持風度:市場競爭激烈,如胸襟不足,很容易就祭起 anti-apple或 anti-android的廣告。 Nokia沒有這樣做,有大將之風。

而我用了 Lumia 800一兩個星期,心情起伏,最初感覺良好,覺得初步的使用經驗,相比 iPhone,竟可以有過之而無不及。問題是缺乏 Apps,相信未來一年, Nokia和 Microsoft將投放不少資源,用於支援和建立開發者社群。

我甚至認為,推出時,香港方面最好在《爽報》登全版廣告,最好連續登一段時間,因為只有《爽報》的「爽」,才匹配去形容此機的使用經驗,才足以令消費者心領神會。可惜,用了幾天,我又發現,為甚麼只用半天,就已經沒電?試過興致勃勃地給友人試用,誰知他拿上手就沒電關機,實在「不爽」,可惜,可惜。幸好 Nokia作出承諾,將透過軟件升級解決電力問題。有不少分析員指 Nokia不推出更受歡迎的 Android實屬不智,我不同意, Mango的使用經驗不遜色於 Android,而且對 Nokia而言,這是一場絕地反擊的戰役,需要一個心態相近的拍檔,選 Microsoft絕對是個明智的決定。

2011年12月10日刊於蘋果日報

網絡23條扼殺創新

版權修訂條例草案》向來被視為「網絡 23條」,事實上世界各國有關版權的立法,都被視為對網上自由的限制。在香港,那叫《版權修訂條例》,在美國,那叫 SOPA( Stop Internet Piracy Act),計劃限制載有版權內容的網站,結果美國網民及科技公司群起攻之

不難想像,若當年就有 SOPA, YouTube絕不可能誕生,今天也就沒有 Justin Bieber和許多在 YouTube綻放的明星;甚至於,就連 facebook、 twitter、微博等在未紅遍網絡的時候,已被版權擁有者,拿着版權法例的尚方寶劍殺掉。試想像,倘若世上從來沒有 twitter和 facebook,後來的中東民主革命和中國的茉莉花革命,又有可能發生嗎?有可能奧巴馬亦隨時當不上總統。香港政府要說服香港人,修訂《版權條例》,網上惡搞和二次創作都不獲得豁免,其背後沒有政治目的和任務,還會有香港人相信嗎?

科技進步,生活模式改變,賺錢方式同樣要變。對舊有商業模式依依不捨,而不開拓新產品、新模式的人,只有兩種:失敗者和既得利益者。 2010年美國的電影、音樂和電腦軟體等版權產業的收入,總計達 9318億美元,佔 GDP約 6.4%,難怪無所不用其極,包括促使政府立法加強版權收入的保障。

但最荒謬的,是蘇錦樑打着「與時並進」的旗號來介紹《版權條例》修訂。這些年來,出版業受惠於印刷技術,唱片業受惠於多媒體技術,電視業受惠於廣播技術,他們享受了科技發展的成果,來到今天,他們卻不想適應,不想科技繼續前進和進步?這就是所謂的與時並進嗎?

科技,是經濟成長的主要動力,一個文明社會應該加以鼓勵,而不是加以制約。的確,香港從來不是一個科技行先的城市,但基於互聯網的發展,近年至少出了幾個達到世界水準的代表作,靠自己實力打出名堂,他們沒有打算要政府支持,只求政府不要胡亂立法妨礙就好了。

2011年11月26日刊於蘋果日報

其他有關版權文章
愚蠢的內容創造者
無限數據淪陷了


聯繫我,最直接是訂閱尹思哲的 Facebook電子通訊,我會盡量回覆,請多多指教!

Microsoft買貴又買錯

Photo credit: thenextgreatgeneration.com

本周的科技大新聞,肯定是Microsoft以85億美元天價收購Skype。

眾所周知,Skype是再嫁之身,03年創辦,兩年後eBay以26億美元「禮金」擊敗其他收購對手。eBay倒相當老實,於07年大方認錯,公佈季度業績,撇賬14億美元,以行動直接告訴華爾街:「別再對eBay和Skype抱有幻想,兩者之間不可能產生甚麼化學作用。」結果eBay更在09年將Skype分拆出來。也許,上天總會獎勵老實人,eBay最終在是次交易中獲利14億美元。

說回Microsoft,知道收購的第一個感覺是「買貴了,不過Microsoft有的是錢。」再看Tony Bates和Steve Ballmer的對話,前者強調廣告,包括說視頻廣告是目前增長速度最快的市場云云。不難猜想到,他日使用Windows Phone、Kinet、X-Box Live、Hotmail、Outlook的時候,很有可能,可以一按啟動Skype的語音或視像通話,便可免費享用通話服務,但於接通之前,就像電訊公司的客戶服務熱線,我們要先聽或看由他們(Bing)提供的廣告!問題是,類似的廣告模式,早有其他公司試驗過,但不見成功,更關鍵是,Skype的早期廣告客戶Volkswagen對傳媒表示,Skype廣告的conversion rate並不理想。

就價錢而言,85億美元是Microsoft有史以來最貴的收購。其次,傳聞有份參與競爭的Google,出手也只是40億美元,不及Microsoft出價的一半。炒股有句術語「只有買貴,不會買錯」,但對象,是那些潛力深不見底的公司。目前為止,科技業可能尚處於牛市,但Skype的潛力早已見頂,而且作為Microsoft其中一個部門,再強的團隊和技術,都不見得有甚麼發揮空間,買貴了,即等同買錯。換言之Microsoft買Skype是既買貴,又買錯!

《2011年5月14日刊於蘋果日報》

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