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Microsoft announces Halo 4, coming this November

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the return of Master Chief and the Halo franchise with the release of “Halo 4″ on November 6th. The franchise was originally imagined as a trilogy, with the game’s third installment becoming the biggest consumer product launch of all time when it was released in 2007. Many questions were left unanswered, however, and fans of the series wanted more. The game is set four years after the events of Halo 3, as Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens to destroy the entire universe. “We are beginning a new saga with ‘Halo 4′ and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of ‘Halo’ games and experiences,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with ‘Halo 4′ leading the charge, we’re confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history.” Additional details surrounding the game will be announced on CONAN Wednesday night on TBS at 11:00 p.m. EST. Microsoft’s press release follows below.

Master Chief Returns With Worldwide Launch of “Halo 4″ Beginning Nov. 6

Marking the return of gaming’s most iconic hero, the first chapter of a brand new “Halo” saga is the year’s most anticipated video game release.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 17, 2012 — The countdown has begun for the landmark entertainment event millions of fans worldwide have been anticipating for more than four years. “Halo 4,” the hotly anticipated sequel to the iconic franchise that has shaped entertainment history, will launch worldwide on Nov. 6, 2012.

“Halo 4″ marks the return of legendary hero Master Chief, named by Fast Company as “one of the most popular characters in gaming history1,” and aims to set a new standard for blockbuster interactive entertainment with the launch. Set four years after the events in “Halo 3,” Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Developed by 343 Industries, “Halo 4″ marks a new beginning for the landmark entertainment franchise that has sold more than 40 million games worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, live-action shorts, comic books, action figures and apparel.

“We are beginning a new saga with ‘Halo 4′ and embarking on a journey that will encompass the next decade of ‘Halo’ games and experiences,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Millions of fans worldwide have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step back into the boots of Master Chief, and, with ‘Halo 4′ leading the charge, we’re confident 2012 will be the most successful year in Xbox history.”

“Halo 3,” the biggest consumer product launch of all time when it released in 20072, concluded the original game trilogy, but left many unanswered questions around the fates of the series’ beloved hero, the Master Chief, and his artificial intelligence companion, Cortana. On Nov. 6, fans will experience the next chapter of the iconic franchise. Tonight, Conan O’Brien will help celebrate this fall’s launch of “Halo 4″ with a special segment on “CONAN” on TBS at 11 p.m. PDT/10 p.m. CDT. Those interested should tune in and check out http://www.teamcoco.com or follow @TeamCoco on Twitter for updates and more details.

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Microsoft says CES 2012 will be its last year at the show [updated]

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Microsoft said on Wednesday that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2012) in Las Vegas will be the last time the company hosts a keynote or has a booth on the show floor. “We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing,” Microsoft corporate vice president of corporate communications Frank Shaw explained in a blog post. Microsoft has worked with the Consumer Electronics Association, which hosts the annual show, for 20 years and said it looks forward to continuing to work with the group. It sounds as if the Redmond-based company will begin holding its own press conferences, similar to how Apple operates, in the future.

UPDATE: Microsoft also confirmed with Engadget that this year’s keynote “won’t [offer] signficant news, but more of a wrap up of the strong year the company has had in its consumer sector.” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will focus “quite a bit on Windows Phone and the Xbox / entertainment story” in addition to “momentum from across the company for Windows, Office, Bing, etc.,” during his 2012 keynote, Microsoft said.

[Via ZDNET]

Read [Microsoft] Read [Engadget]

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Microsoft bumps Windows Phone head Andy Lees to new role

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Microsoft has moved Andy Lees, the head of its Windows Phone division, to a new position within the firm. AllThingsD broke the news but did not name Lees’s successor. Instead, several of Lees’s responsibilities, including marketing and business development, will be handled by Microsoft corporate vice president Terry Myerson. Lees will remain a president within Microsoft and will still report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer. “I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8,” Ballmer said in a purported internal memo that was obtained by AllThingsD. “We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential. In the three years Andy has been leading the phone group, we’ve come a long way,” he added. “We reset our strategy, built a strong team that delivered [Windows Phone 7] and [Windows Phone 7.5 Mango] and created critical new partnerships and ecosystem around Windows Phone. That is a ton of progress in a brief period of time, and I’m excited for Terry and team to keep driving forward and for Andy to dig into a new challenge.”

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Microsoft squeezes more revenue from Android thanks to new Quanta deal

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Microsoft announced on Thursday that Quanta Computer will begin licensing its patent technology for Android and Chrome-based smartphones and tablets. Microsoft will receive royalties from Quanta, but the terms of the deal not disclosed by either company. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property, Horacio Gutierrez, said. Microsoft has similar agreements in place with HTC, Viewsonic, Acer and Samsung, among others. Analysts estimate Microsoft pulls in three to five times more revenue from Android royalties than it does from its own Windows Phone devices.

Microsoft and Quanta Computer Sign Patent Agreement Covering Android and Chrome-Based Devices

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. and Quanta Computer Inc. have signed a patent agreement that provides broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Quanta’s tablets, smartphones and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome Platform. Although the contents of the agreement have not been disclosed, the parties indicate that Microsoft will receive royalties from Quanta under the agreement.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Quanta, and proud of the continued success of our Android licensing program in resolving IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome devices in the marketplace,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Commitment to Licensing Intellectual Property

The patent agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 700 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.

More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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Microsoft moves to block sale of Motorola Android phones

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Microsoft opened its case in front of the United States International Trade Commission on Monday in an attempt to block Motorola Mobility from selling its Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour and Backflip smartphones in the U.S. Microsoft believes that Motorola Mobility is infringing on seven of its patents related to how a user interacts with calendars, contacts, email and more. “We have a responsibility to our employees, customers, partners and shareholders to safeguard our intellectual property,” Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation David Howard told Bloomberg. “Motorola is infringing on our patents and we are confident that the ITC will rule in our favor.” Google recently announced its intentions to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in an effort to bolster its patent portfolio and help its Android partners fight in lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft. A Motorola Mobility spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company is “vigorously defending … against Microsoft’s patent attack business strategy,” and that the company has also “brought legal actions of our own in the U.S. and in Europe to address Microsoft’s large scale of infringement of Motorola Mobility’s patents.” The U.S. ITC expects to conclude its investigation of the matter by March 5th.

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Windows Phone ‘Mango’ released to vendors

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Microsoft confirmed on its Windows Team Blog on Monday that it has released the RTM build of Windows Phone “Mango” to manufacturing partners. “This marks the point in the development process where we hand code to our handset and mobile operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations,” explained Microsoft’s Windows Phone corporate vice president Terry Myerson. Microsoft has said Mango will deliver more than 500 new features to the Windows Phone platform, including Internet Explorer 9 and deeper social network integration, and we expect to see the release hit current devices in August. In addition, new phones from Microsoft’s partners, which include Nokia, HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE, are expected to be unveiled as early as September.

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Windows Phone 7 hits RTM stage

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Microsoft just dropped us a quick note to let us know that Windows Phone 7 has officially hit release to manufacturing (RTM) stage. As the note states: “The operating system has been finalized and is being delivered to partners around the world who will continue the work of integrating software with their hardware and networks to create amazing devices for customers by holiday season 2010.” Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Phone Engineering, Terry Myerson, had this to say in the blog post announcing the feat: “Windows Phone 7 is the most thoroughly tested mobile platform Microsoft has ever released.  We had nearly ten thousand devices running automated tests daily, over a half million hours of active self-hosting use, over three and a half million hours of stress test passes, and eight and a half million hours of fully automated test passes.  We’ve had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback. We are ready.” We’re ready too, Terry. Bring on the WP7 devices!

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Microsoft and Danger recover “most” Sidekick user data

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

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These past two weeks have been one hell of an emotional roller coaster for Sidekick users, but it looks as if all isn’t lost as Roz Ho, Corporate Vice President of Premium Mobile Experiences for Microsoft posted this message on T-Mobile’s Sidekick forum:

We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those  Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage.  We plan to begin restoring users’ personal data as soon as possible, starting with personal contacts, after we have validated the data and our restoration plan. We will then continue to work around the clock to restore data to all affected users, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible.

We now believe that data loss affected a minority of Sidekick users.  If your Sidekick account was among those affected, please continue to log into these forums for the latest updates about when data restoration will begin, and any steps you may need to take. We will work with T-Mobile to post the next update on data restoration timing no later than Saturday.

So just what was the cause of this who debacle? Oh you know, just another one of those “system failures” caused by a mischievous data gnome that triggered a “data loss in the core database and the back-up.” Oh well, it happens. At least you’re likely to get getting your data, one months free service and a $100 gift card for the inconvenience. Or maybe not the last two parts?

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