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November 30, 2007

Microsoft buys WebFives phone photo sharing site

Posted by David Hunter at 10:32 PM ET.

Brier Dudley at the Seattle Times is reporting that Microsoft has acquired Internet startup WebFives (formerly Vizrea) headed by Mike Toutonghi, a former Microsoft distinguished engineer who is apparently headed back into the fold.

With support from some early Microsoft executives, Toutonghi in 2004 started Vizrea, a mobile phone image sharing service that never really took off.

Part of the problem was that it was geared toward advanced phones that are only lately getting traction.

After a big pullback last year, Vizrea was rechristened WebFives in May and positioned as a sort of social network for sharing videos and music, as well as photos, from a greater variety of mobile devices.

No terms have been revealed and in fact no formal announcement has been made, just a letter to WebFives subscribers from Toutonghi which also told them to get their content off before Dec. 31.

Update: John Cook at the Seattle PI has some more details including the unsurprising “‘It was more the technology value than the user base,’ said Toutonghi when asked about the sale.”.



Filed under Acquisitions, Microsoft

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Microsoft updates .NET Web development tools roadmap

Posted by David Hunter at 11:15 AM ET.

Microsoft Developer Division General Manager Scott Guthrie today revealed the roadmap for a series of additional Web development products that build on top of last week’s RTM of Visual Studio and .NET FX 3.5. In outline form with liberal quoting from Guthrie, it looks like the following:

(more…)



Filed under .NET FX 3.5, ADO.NET, AJAX, ASP.NET 2.0, ASP.NET AJAX, Beta and CTP, General Business, IIS, Microsoft, Shared Source, Silverlight, Technologies, Tools, Visual Studio 2008

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November 29, 2007

Microsoft and Google faceoff for hosted email at the State of California

Posted by David Hunter at 4:54 AM ET.

Paul McDougall reports at InformationWeek that the government of the State of California is examining a move to hosted email and calendaring for state employees and it’s a Google vs Microsoft faceoff for the business:

California is looking at moving its e-mail, messaging, and calendaring systems to a hosted service … and the contract could land in the lap of either Google (NSDQ: GOOG) or Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), InformationWeek has learned.

It’s a choice that could affect a quarter of a million state workers and create a multimillion dollar revenue windfall for one of two major technology vendors. The state already has formed a working group to weigh the possibility of shifting to an online software service and how that would be handled either by Google or Microsoft.

Documents generated by the working group show that California would expect to pay Google about $4.17 per user, per month, for basic e-mail hosting, messaging, and calendaring services with no setup fees. Exchange Online, by contrast, would cost the state a one-time setup fee of $17.65 per user, and an ongoing, per-user fee of $8.59 per month.

Ellison called the figures “ballpark” numbers. “We haven’t done any serious negotiating yet” with Google or Microsoft, he said, noting that about 250,000 California state workers are regular e-mail users. “We’d expect very competitive prices if we go forward,” said Ellison.

John Ellison, technology officer for the California Resources Agency and chairman of the working group also indicated that the current in-house Microsoft Exchange systems are comparable in cost to the hosted Microsoft Exchange offering, but inferior is some ways.

There will inevitably be jousting over features, but I think it is clear that Microsoft will not be able to maintain a price differential like that described as more and more of these head to head competitions with Google crop up. That means that Microsoft’s server software revenues just sprang a slow leak. And, of course, once Google gets its nose in the tent can Google Docs and a Microsoft Office revenue hit be far behind?



Filed under Coopetition, Exchange, Google, Hosted Services, Microsoft, Servers

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Microsoft to give Windows Live a $300M ad campaign?

Posted by David Hunter at 3:02 AM ET.

Holly Sanders is reporting in the NY Post that Microsoft is auditioning creatives for a proposed $300 million ad campaign for Windows Live:

Microsoft wants to show consumers where Windows meets the Web.

The software giant is gearing up for a major ad push to highlight how its suite of free online software connects to its Windows operating system over the Internet.

Fair enough although rather late since Windows Live left beta earlier this month. It’s also going to be a tough job given the patchwork way Windows Live was explained and rolled out:

The challenge for whichever agency gets the creative assignment is helping consumers understand what Windows Live is in relation to its other Web offerings.

Microsoft took a piecemeal approach to building out its Microsoft Live services, perplexing even people who follow the company closely.

Many consumers couldn’t tell the difference between Microsoft’s Web properties, such as its MSN site, and Windows Live, which is a collection of individual applications.

Sometimes it is hard to tell if Microsoft can explain the differences. I would also observe that it is rather lame to hang Windows Live off Windows instead of the Web, but given the number of applications carrying the “Windows Live” brand that are really just Windows client applications, why not?



Filed under General Business, MSN, Microsoft, Public Relations, Windows Live

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