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November 16, 2009

Microsoft adds Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 apps to Windows Marketplace for Mobile

Posted by David Hunter at 5:48 PM ET.

Microsoft launched the Windows Marketplace for Mobile in October for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones only, but today the coverage was expanded to applications for phones running on Windows Mobile 6 or 6.1:

Today, almost all people with phones running Windows Mobile 6.0 and above with a supporting data plan can now access Marketplace. We’re delighted to bring the benefits of Marketplace to even more people, and give Windows phone developers the opportunity to reach more than 30 million devices worldwide. To get Marketplace for a Windows Mobile 6.0 or 6.1 based device, customers can simply point their phone’s browser to to start the download process; from the Web, customers can visit or simply click here. Then browse and shop a wide range of quality applications for work and play; roughly 90% of the apps in our catalogue already support Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 devices.

We now offer over 800 applications, more than three times the number we offered when Marketplace launched just over one month ago. Additionally, over 1,000 software vendors and counting are registered to deliver great applications for work and play on Marketplace.

Windows Marketplace for Mobile is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s wildly popular iPhone App Store and the idea is fine. The problem, of course, is the declining popularity of Windows Mobile itself which according to the Gartner Group has dropped 28% in worldwide market share in the last year. I suppose the argument can be made that an app store will increase adoption, but I suspect the problem is more fundamental.

Filed under Marketplace for Mobile, Microsoft, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6

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November 9, 2009

Microsoft launches MSN Music beta in the UK

Posted by David Hunter at 8:50 PM ET.

Here’s an odd duck – Microsoft last week launched a music download  and streaming service beta in the United Kingdom called MSN Music:

As first revealed by The Telegraph, in July 2009, the download service will go live tomorrow in beta. However, the streaming side of the service will only be available to “several thousand” people invited to test the product.

MSN Music had been scheduled to go live by the end of July. However, the product “took longer than they thought it would to get it to the high quality they wanted”, according to Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN.

Microsoft has signed deals with the four major music labels: EMI, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony BMG, securing around one million tracks for the launch ready to download. Comparatively iTunes has over 10 million tracks available and 7digital has over eight million tracks in its catalogue. The Telegraph understands independent record labels have yet to be signed.

The service will sit within the ‘Music’ section of MSN and be promoted across the portal. When asked why Microsoft was making a move into the highly competitive world of digital music services, Mr Bale replied: “This shouldn’t be seen as a major company-wide strategic move. We are replacing a service that used to be on MSN a year ago and the service is very much confined to MSN.

Easy for Mr. Bale to say. A more likely rationale is that MSN Music is a stopgap service until the Zune Marketplace finally gets beyond North America:

The download store will be run on the same technology Microsoft uses to power the Zune marketplace in the US. Zune is the company’s music player, which is only available in the US, and similar to Apple’s iTunes, it has its own music download online store. However, Mr Bale said the company’s decision to use the same technology for this service was a logical move and not “necessarily a pre-cursor to Zune launching in the UK”.

I guess they will have to leave the lights on waiting for the Zune to show up.

All of this is more or less understandable except for choosing the MSN Music name which conjures up unpleasant memories of the last MSN Music service which was killed by the Zune in 2006.

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, MSN, MSN Music, Microsoft, Zune

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Microsoft buys Teamprise Eclipse to Visual Studio TFS bridge from SourceGear

Posted by David Hunter at 8:37 PM ET.

Today Microsoft announced that they had acquired the Teamprise assets from SourceGear:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will purchase the Teamprise-related assets of SourceGear LLC, which enable developers using the Eclipse IDE or operating on multiple operating systems, including Unix, Linux and Mac OS X, to build applications with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. Development organizations will benefit from increased integration in heterogeneous environments, as well as reduced time and complexity associated with application development tasks. Functionality from the Teamprise Client Suite will be integrated into the Visual Studio product line beginning with Visual Studio 2010.

The Teamprise technology will be available in the Visual Studio 2010 wave. Customers will be able to jointly purchase the Teamprise Client Suite technology, updated to work with Team Foundation Server 2010, and one Team Foundation Server client access license. Customers with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN also will receive the Teamprise Client Suite technology as part of their original subscription purchase. SourceGear will continue to provide support for Teamprise products and sell its latest release of the Teamprise Client Suite until the Microsoft solution becomes available.

Teamprise consists of the following:

Teamprise Plug-in for Eclipse. The Teamprise Plug-in for Eclipse allows developers to perform all their source control, bug tracking, build and reporting operations from within Eclipse and Eclipse-based integrated development environments (IDEs), such as Rational Application Developer, JBoss, BEA Workshop and Adobe Flex Builder.

Teamprise Explorer. Teamprise Explorer combines all the functionality available to Eclipse developers using the Teamprise Plug-in into a stand-alone, cross-platform graphical user interface (GUI) application that is perfect for team members working outside of an IDE, such as graphic designers, quality assurance testers and project managers.

Teamprise Command-Line Client. The Teamprise Command-Line Client provides a cross-platform, nongraphical interface to Team Foundation Server, making it perfect for scripting and build scenarios or for developers who prefer a command-line interface.

This seems like an novel play by Microsoft to extend the market for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server to non-Microsoft developers. On the face of it that seems unlikely until you consider developers in large shops with heterogeneous environments whose management might be receptive to a single uniform tool for all their development management needs. View this as a move on IBM’s Rational products that provide much the same functionality plus providing a Microsoft foot in the door the next time a large enterprise needs to make a development platform decision.

Filed under Acquisitions, Coopetition, IBM, Microsoft, Team Foundation Server, Tools, Visual Studio 2010

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November 4, 2009

800 more layoffs at Microsoft

Posted by David Hunter at 7:58 PM ET.

Microsoft today announced 800 more employee layoffs around the world. The public head counting is bit vague, but a Microsoft spokesman said that the company had already let go most of the 5,000 employees promised in January so today’s 800 layoffs were new and additional. On the other hand. if you like to try to read the tea leaves:

The software maker, based in Redmond, Wash., employed about 94,000 people as of the end of December 2008. At the end of September, about 91,000 people worked for Microsoft, indicating the company has added 2,000 jobs this year.

Perhaps, but it is cold comfort for those laid off although typical of the large corporation that Microsoft has become to be unable to manage their portfolio of activities without gratuitous layoffs whenever an economic downturn provides air cover. Among those laid off was Don Dodge, formerly Microsoft’s Director of Business Development for the Emerging Business Team who has been quoted a number of times on this blog.

Filed under Financial, General Business, Layoffs, Microsoft

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