Tag: microsoft

Microsoft updates volume licensing use rights

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft has changed the way companies will have to update volume licensing use documents.

In the past, business consumers of Microsoft’s products and services have needed a Product List and the Product Use Rights. These determined the purchasing requirements and licencing rules applicable to those products and services. Both documents were incorporated into Microsoft’s volume licensing agreements and were updated periodically by Redmond on its website.

Now Microsoft has combined the Product List and the Product Use Rights into a unified document with the catchy title “Product Terms.” Users of Microsoft’s subscription-based Online Services like Office 365 still will need to use the Online Services Terms, which define service-specific use rights.

Product Terms come into effect when a volume licensing agreement is signed typically will remain in effect during the term of that agreement.

Upgrades to new product releases during the term will result in the incorporation of the then-current Product Terms for those products. Microsoft’s channel partners and resellers will have to point out the changes made to the incorporated terms to their customers, or there is going to be a pile of legal mess later.

Some changes in the new document already have been the cause of some confusion and concern. So fair most of the problems are about the General Licensing Terms for Developer Tools like Visual Studio.

Machinima in hot water for Xbox campaign

xbox-one-featured-imageThe outfit which helped market Microsoft’s Xbox One, is in trouble with the regulator for paying up to US$30,000 for video endorsements.

The FTC is looking into Machinima’s antics as part of an alleged deceptive advertising investigation.

Machinima paid two Xbox One endorsers a total of US$45,000 for producing YouTube videos. It also promised to pay a larger group of so-called online influencers $1 for every 1,000 page views, up to $25,000, the FTC said.

The company did not ask the influencers to disclose the payments, the agency said.

The failure to disclose payments for what the FTC called “seemingly objective opinions” violated the FTC Act. The agency’s endorsement guides, updated in 2009 to cover online endorsements, require disclosure of paid endorsements.

In a proposed settlement with the FTC Machinima is prohibited from engaging in similar marketing campaigns and would be required to clearly disclose paid endorsements.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said that when people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they are looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch.

Machinima insists that it does not do that sort of thing now. The FTC’s complaint stems from company activity in 2013, before a change in management in March 2014.

“Machinima is actively and deeply committed to ensuring transparency with all of its social influencer campaigns. We hope and expect that the agreement we have reached today will set standards and best practices for the entire industry to follow to ensure the best consumer experience possible.”

Machinima and its online influencers were part of an Xbox One marketing campaign, managed by Starcom MediaVest Group, the ad agency hired by Xbox maker Microsoft, the FTC said in a press release. Machinima guaranteed Starcom that the influencer videos would be viewed more than 19 million times.

A small group of influencers were given access to pre-release versions of the console before its launch in late 2013, the agency said. Two paid endorsers, one receiving $15,000 and the second receiving $30,000, produced YouTube videos that garnered nearly 1 million page views combined.

The FTC has closed its investigation into Microsoft and Starcom, it said. While both companies shared responsibility for the failure to disclose endorsements, the commission’s staff considered the payments to be “isolated incidents” that happened in spite of, not in the absence of, policies designed to prevent them, the agency said.

Both companies also moved quickly to end the Machinima payments, the FTC said.

Windows 10 shatters all records

magritte-windowIn just a month Windows 10 has captured more than five percent  market share.

According to the latest figures from Net Applications, Windows 10 has already been installed on over 75 million PCs. Vole wants a billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years,” though that includes not just PCs, but smartphones, consoles and IoT devices.

Windows 10 had 0.39 percent  market share in July, and gained 4.82 percent age points to hit 5.21 percent  in August.

Windows 8 slipped 0.21 percent age points to 2.56 percent, while Windows 8.1 fell 1.71 points to 11.39 percent. Together, they owned 13.95 percent of the market at the end of August, down from 15.86 percent at the end of July.  Windows 8 and 8.1 never gained more than 20 percent market share mark (they peaked at 16.45 per cent in May), and with Windows 10 now available, they never will.

There’s lots of percents in this story.

Windows 7 passed the 60 percent market share mark in June but in in August dropped 3.08 points to 57.67 percent.

Windows 7 will remain the most popular OS for at least this year. Windows 7 overtook Windows XP in September 2012.

Windows Vista meanwhile slipped 0.02 points to 1.82 percent. Windows XP somehow managed to gain 0.40 points to 12.14 percent. The free upgrade to Windows 10 doesn’t apply to Vista or XP.

Windows gained a bit of share in August, up 0.18 points to 90.84 percent. Mac OS X and Linux in turn suffered minor losses, losing 0.13 points to 7.53 percent  and 0.05 points to 1.63 percent , respectively.

Microsoft expands its Surface channel

tablet Software giant Microsoft has confirmed that more UK Microsoft resellers will get their paws on Surface tablets as it attempts to open up the channel.

Vole has previously worked with just nine authorised device resellers (ADR) since the tablet first appeared in 2013.  It added another six in April.  There were only 150 authorised ADR worldwide, so having so few in the UK was not unusual.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, Microsoft said it was ready to open up distribution globally and let more resellers in on the action.

Vole said that the channel was going to open to 4,500 resellers worldwide.

It looks like Volish distributers Ingram Micro and Tech Data will have 51 new ADRs on their books from 1 September, pushing the total number in the UK to 65.

Several hundred resellers initially expressed interest in selling the tablet and  Ingram and Tech Data, which then whittled them down to a list of 60. Vole cut the list down to 51. This group of resellers will be able to get the Surface tablet from Ingram Micro or Tech Data from next week.

The new ADRs will have the same Microsoft programme benefits, marketing money, rebates and price points available to them.

Microsoft offers developers “promotional codes”

Microsoft campusIn a move to push its marketing to the grass roots, Microsoft has started offering developers promotional codes

Developers generate codes from the Dev Centre from section found in the Monetisation tab on the sidebar of the app page.

They can select an app or in-app purchase and the number of code they want to generate, and then click Order Codes. The codes are generated and then downloaded in the form of a .tsv file (tab-separate value file). The file has all the codes, expiration dates, and URLs to share the codes with customers.

The developer then provides customers, testers, and reviewers with the promotional code or URL that leads the customer to a code redemption page. If the developer wants to give the customer a code instead of the URL, he or she can inform the customer that he can redeem the code at microsoft.com/redeem.

Once the customer has redeemed the code from the promotional URL code or the microsoft.com/redeem page, the customer will see a link to take them to the app in the Windows Store. If the code is for an app, the customer can click install without getting charged; if the code is for an in-app purchase, the customer can download the app to use the code.

Developers can monitor code usage, unredeemed code quantity, and see exactly when the codes expire.

Vole is asking for people’s opinions about its cunning plan.

 

 

Salesforce should have taken the money

Salesforce logoEarlier this year Microsoft offered $55 billion to acquire Salesforce only to be turned down by CEO Marc Benioff who countered with a $70 billion price tag.

It appears that Microsoft is not taking the snub lying down and is upping the competition against Salesforce’s most important product.

Beancounters at JP Morgan said that Microsoft is Salesforce’s biggest competitive threat in the cloud CRM market.

It surveyed vendors to ask what the biggest change you have seen in the competitive landscape facing Salesforce.com in recent months?

Of the 56 vendors that participated, 23 percent of them said Microsoft. That’s way ahead of number two Oracle, which was only named by 11 percent.

Microsoft becoming more visible and competitive in the Cloud arena while others are stagnating, cited by 23 per cent of partners.

One comment said that Microsoft was closing some ground in terms of retooling their platform to what is now becoming a cloud-dominant computing space.

The survey asked only 56 Salesforce partners, but the survey reflects how Microsoft may indeed be closing in on Salesforce in the CRM space.

Salesforce is seeing much more competition from Microsoft Dynamics, which is going all cloud based and is significantly cheaper. Microsoft was winning some sizable CRM deals.

Microsoft only had 5.8 percent of the CRM market share last year, ranking fourth behind Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle. Salesforce was the leader with 16.3 percent market share.

Gartner has also said in its Magic Quadrant Survey that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is “experiencing renewed investment and focus within Microsoft,” and that it was the second most asked for CRM product in a global survey in the first quarter of 2015.

All this means that Microsoft is putting the thumbscrews on SalesForce by taking away its crown jewels. If it gets away with it, Salesforce might be forced back to the negotiating table. Either way, life is not going to be as good for Benioff as it has been.

Microsoft and partners defend against Chromebook

windowscomputexThe glorious Wintel alliance which is still running despite a few hiccups has a cunning plan to see off the threat of Google Chromebooks.

Microsoft and its chum Intel plans to launch a device running Windows 10 with Bing.

Microsoft and Intel are working with all   partners to bring cheaper devices to the market and help tackle the growth of Google Chromebooks.

Stage one of the plan is to release a cheap OEM version of Windows 10 with Bing.

As was the case with Windows 8.1, Windows 10 with Bing will be a Windows 10 SKU available exclusively for PC makers and will be offered at a very low cost or even free of charge.

Microsoft has worked out that it needs to slash licensing fees that manufacturers need to pay for installing Windows on their devices.

Windows with Bing is basically Windows 8.1 with Bing offered the same features as Windows 8.1 but came with Bing branding that OEMs could not change.

Users, however, were allowed to replace Bing as the default search engine with Google or something else.

A Windows 10 with Bing flavour will appear later. In fact Windows 10 is designed to be installed on as many devices as possible, and Microsoft expects one billion PCs, tablets, and smartphones to be running it by 2017.

Reseller leaks Windows 10 pricing and launch date

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft reseller Newegg accidently leaked the pricing and release date of Windows 10.

Windows 10 will be released to hardware makers on August 31, according to a product listing at Newegg.com.

The new version of Microsoft’s widely used operating system will be delivered to original equipment manufacturers on August 31, according to listings at Newegg.com, which is also taking pre-orders for the software. The Home edition will cost hardware makers $109, while the Professional version will cost $149, according to the listings.

The exact release date for Windows 10 had been a closely guarded secret. Microsoft said in March that Windows 10 would launch this sometime this summer, and while developers hoped for something more definitive during the Build developer conference last month, the company was still mum.

This means that consumers should have Windows 10 in their hands before the end of summer. We should point out that this is the second time that Newegg jumped the gun. It leaked price details and a release date for on Windows 8 in 2012.

Redmond wants a Blackberry slice

blackberry tartThe dark satanic rumour mill is churning out a hell on earth yarns claiming that Microsoft is close to buying up a slice of the canadian telecommunications company BlackBerry.

A few other tech companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei are also amongst those interested in buying the outfit but Microsoft has been wining and dining a few investment firms to assess their chances of taking over BlackBerry.

Its plan is to upgrade its intensity in the business mobile solution segment and its patent portfolio in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), as well as mobile platform and communications sectors.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturers are mainly intended to invest in BlackBerry so that they can improve their brand visibility across US and European business sectors.

So far it is all rumour and speculation but BlackBerry has frequently been tipped to be ready for buying out before and it has never happened.  However sources in the Redmond lair have admitted that the stuffed head of Blackberry would look nice on its CEO’s wall.

BlackBerry said recently that it will  lay off number of employments across the globe and will merge its device software, hardware and applications business. It also indicated that it was “changing assets to profit” by development opportunities and accomplish benefit over all regions of business.

So far that involves scaling down its mobile phone division, which might mean Microsoft  will have to move fast if it there is going to be anything left of Blackberry.

Microsoft denies it will buy Salesforce

Salesforce logoMicrosoft is not trying to buy Salesforce and has sent its deep throats to leak messages to the press that it is not true.

Bloomberg News, citing people with knowledge of the matter, reported earlier this week that Microsoft was evaluating a bid for Salesforce after the it was approached by another unknown buyer.

But off the record Vole considers Salesforce’s current market valuation too expensive. Sources within Microsoft say that the company could review a bid for Salesforce in the long term, but not at the moment.

Salesforce is No. 1 in the $23 billion-a-year customer relationship management (CRM) market, according to tech research firm Gartner. It helps corporations organise and track sales calls and leads.

Salesforce’s services are entirely provided over the cloud, with no software directly installed on PCs. Oracle (ORCL.N) and Microsoft, which were relatively late to the cloud model, have much smaller online CRM revenues.

Vole and several other big software companies are seeking to beef up their presence in cloud computing and so picking up Salesforce made sense.

However Salesforce’s shares, which have risen 48 percent in the last 12 months, trade at 106.8 times the company’s forward earnings, well above Microsoft’s multiple of 19.1.

SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott said earlier this week his company has “zero interest” in its software rival.

“We have never bought something that was impaired and in decline,” he said, saying that Salesforce’s cloud computing software was becoming commoditised.

Microsoft bids for Salesforce

Microsoft campusMicrosoft is looking at buying Salesforce.

The cloud software provider has been approached by another, unknown, buyer, and told Microsoft, which put in a bid of its own.

Salesforce, which has a market value of almost $50 billion, is working with two investment banks to determine a response to approaches, two of the people said.

It has the option of telling any buyer to go forth and multiply or working out a sale.

Microsoft isn’t in talks with Salesforce, and no deal is going to be quick.  Microsoft  has said that it might compete for Salesforce if it was for sale.

Salesforce shares spiked and were immediately halted for volatility on the news

Salesforce offers a leading position in CRM, software, as well as cloud computing — the delivery of business software and services via the Internet.

Microsoft sells its own customer management software, but lags behind Salesforce.

Microsoft last week set a goal of increasing annual revenue from its commercial cloud business to about $20 billion.

Oracle Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz said  an acquisition of Salesforce would create disruption in the software market.

She declined to comment on whether Oracle was interested in buying Salesforce.

Salesforce was involved in strategic-alliance discussions with SAP last year and SAP has confirmed it is not thinking about a Salesforce bid.

Microsoft extends Surface channel

image-left-cyan-hero-e1400563125164Software king of the world Microsoft has been expanding its channel for its Surface tablets by adding more partners.

Six UK resellers into its authorised device reseller (ADR) programme including  O2, Academia, XMA, PCS Business Systems, Storm and Total Computer Networks have signed up following a competitive tender process.

This means that there are now 14 ADR’s peddling the Surface in the UK.

Being an ADR gives resellers access to special bid pricing on volume Surfaces and the ability to provide extended warranty and a range of other value-add services around Microsoft’s slow-burner of a tablet.

The first batch of nine ADRs included Insight, SCC, Misco, Softcat, Phoenix Software, Kelway, CCS Media, Computacenter and SoftwareOne. Phoenix Software was less interested in hardware and left the programme two weeks ago to concentrate on software sales.

Microsoft’s Surface distribution strategy after the launch of Surface 3 was likely due its popularity and the fact that Microsoft’s tablet is being demanded by those who need a tablet for business rather than consumer use.

Surface sales started off poor but picked up and demand had been “very strong” since the ADR scheme was launched. Surface sales grew 24 per cent in 2014 driven largely by the Surface Pro 3 and accessories, he said.

Microsoft wants $20 billion from cloud

clouds3Software giant Microsoft has said that it aims to make more than $20 billion in annual revenue from its cloud computing businesses by the end of fiscal 2018.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella said this would mean tripling its cloud based revenue in three years.

Microsoft is one of the leaders in the cloud, and been making a killing providing computing power and storage to customers through its network of data centres.

Microsoft said  that its total commercial cloud revenue, which includes online versions of its Office and Dynamics applications, is running at $6.3 billion per year.

Its closest rival in the cloud, Amazon.com said its competing Amazon Web Services operation took in $1.57 billion in revenue in the quarter, which would also equal an annual rate of $6.3 billion.

Nokia denies it wants its mobile phone business back

shoe phoneThe former maker of rubber wear for those cold Finnish nights, Nokia, has denied reports in Chinese media that it planned to return to manufacturing phones.

Nokia sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft and claimed it was quietly getting on with networking and other more lucrative things.

However the Chinese press was all abuzz with the news that Nokia was going to manufacture consumer handsets out of a R&D facility in China.

Nokia said that the reports are false. It even put it on its website, so the denial must be true.

“Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets.”

But Nokia has said it is looking into returning to the smartphones business by brand licensing, which is a little odd, but then there are a lot of things which are a little odd about Nokia lately

Soon after Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft, it launched a new brand licensed tablet computer, produced under licence by Taiwan’s Foxconn, with an intention to follow up with more devices.

Nokia has agreed with Microsoft that it will not enter the mobile phone business before 2016.

Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia’s Technologies unit, told Reuters in November that Nokia would be crazy if it did not look at mobile phone production eventually.

Nokia this month announced a takeover of France’s Alcatel-Lucent, a bid to boost its mainstay network equipment business, and also said it could hive off its map business.

All this suggests that Nokia sold off its mobile business with the long term aim of building a new leaner and meaner one, from scratch. Of course the denials might be true, for now, but if we look back this time next year the plans might have firmed up a little more.

 

Windows 11 codenamed Redstone

redstoneblock1With Windows 10 coming to market sometime this summer, or possibly later, Microsoft is already starting to work on the next update for the OS and has been devoting brain time to what to call it.

The codename for the project, which will be ready in 2016, will be ‘Redstone’, a popular item in the recently acquired game, Minecraft.

Not much is known about Microsoft’s plans for Redstone but the company has now entered the planning stages of the update.

Microsoft  has been using minecraft and some of its other games to provide codenames. There have already seen several names from the Halo series spring to life, like the Spartan web browser.  Cortana also comes from the game and not a clapped out car teens used to drive around in the 1980s.

Windows 10 is an overhaul of the entire platform, so Redstone will likely be relatively minor in comparison, but other than the name that is all we have on it.

Windows Server is expected to be released in 2016, so Redstone could possibly be related to this project as well. But if you know that when Vole is talking about Redstone, you know it is going to be about Windows 11.