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April 16, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 family released to manufacturing

Posted by David Hunter at 10:36 AM ET.

Microsoft revealed yesterday that the Office 2010 family of products has been released to manufacturing (RTM):

I am very excited to share some great news with you. Earlier today we reached the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) milestone for Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010!

So when they actually be available?

Our Volume License customers with active Software Assurance (SA) on these products will be one of the first to receive the 2010 set of products. They will be able to download the products in English via the Volume Licensing Service Center starting April 27. Customers without SA will be able to purchase the new products through Volume Licensing from Microsoft partners starting May 1.

Earlier this year we announced that we will officially launch Office 2010 to our business customers on May 12 with Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft’s Business Division, delivering a keynote as part of our virtual launch. Our virtual launch will allow people from around the globe to participate in our launch by going to http://www.the2010event.com. The virtual launch site will showcase product demos, customer and partner testimonials, and interviews with product managers and executives, and we hope this will give you another great way to explore, learn, and get excited about the 2010 releases.

Office 2010 will first become available in retail stores in June in the US, and customers can pre-order Office 2010 today at the Microsoft Store to receive Office when it becomes available.



Filed under Microsoft, Office, Office 2010, Project, SharePoint Server, Visio

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April 12, 2010

Microsoft launches KIN, a social Windows phone

Posted by David Hunter at 1:04 PM ET.

Microsoft today unveiled their much buzzed entry in the mobile phone marketplace, but in keeping with their desire to still sell their phone operating system to the usual phone vendors, it has an oddly circumscribed target customer set:

Microsoft Corp. today announced KIN, a new Windows®Phone designed specifically for people who are actively navigating their social lives. Brought to life through partnerships with Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and Sharp Corporation, KIN is designed to be the ultimate social experience that blends the phone, online services and the PC with breakthrough new experiences called the Loop, Spot and Studio. KIN will be exclusively available from Verizon Wireless in the U.S. beginning in May and from Vodafone this autumn in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The New Way to Share

The home screen of the phone is called the KIN Loop, which is always up to date and always on, showing all the things happening in someone’s social world. KIN automatically brings together feeds from leading Microsoft and third-party services such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all in one place, making it easier to stay connected. Customers can also select their favorite people, and KIN will automatically prioritize their status updates, messages, feeds and photos. Another unique feature, the KIN Spot is a new way for people to share what’s going on in their world. It lets them focus first on the people and stuff they want to share rather than the specific application they want to use. Videos, photos, text messages, Web pages, location and status updates are shared by simply dragging them to a single place on the phone called the Spot. Once all the people and content are in the Spot to share, the consumer can choose how to share, and start broadcasting.

Your Phone, on the Web

KIN Studio is your phone online. Almost everything created on the phone is available in the cloud from any Web browser. Photos and videos are freed from the confines of the phone and presented in an online visual timeline so they are easy to view and share. The KIN Studio automatically backs up texts, call history, photos, videos and contacts, and populates a personalized digital journal so it’s easy to go back in time to relive a crazy weekend or recent birthday. And the KIN Studio gives customers tons of storage to keep all those photos, videos, contacts and texts so they’ll never run out of space on their phone and lose a memory.

Music and More

KIN will be the first Windows Phone to feature a Zune experience — including music, video, FM radio and podcast playback. With a Zune Pass subscription, customers using Zune software on their PC can listen to millions of songs from Zune Marketplace on their KIN while on the go, or load their personal collection. KIN also has other features customers want in a phone including a rich browser with the ability to share pieces of the Web, local and Web search by Bing, and an RSS feed reader to pull down information on people and stories from the Web.

The KIN is the product previously rumored as the "Pink Phone" and is an descendant of the Sidekick product acquired with the 2008 acquisition of Danger, Inc. As for the target market, the polite way to refer to it is as a "younger crowd," but the temptation is irresistible to refer to the KIN as the Kid’s Phone. I suppose the good news is that Microsoft probably has not burned their bridges with the phone OEM’s, but the bad news is likely that the KIN sinks like a rock. My guess that trying to convince the average teenager that he/she really wants a KIN and not an iPhone or BlackBerry is going to be a tough sell.



Filed under Acquisitions, Argo, Coopetition, Danger, Inc., Kin, Microsoft, Microsoft Hardware, Pink Phone, Sidekick, Zune

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Microsoft releases Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4

Posted by David Hunter at 12:46 PM ET.

Yesterday Microsoft announced the availability of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4:

Kicking off a global launch consisting of more than 150 developer-focused events, Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4. The company also announced that Silverlight 4 will release to Web (RTW) later in the week. Together, these technologies simplify the entire development process, enabling developers to target new platforms and build high-quality applications. Developers will be able to download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 in conjunction with the Microsoft Visual Studio Conference & Expo launch event in Las Vegas.

So what’s new in VS2010? Microsoft Developer Division Senior Vice President, S. Somasegar calls out the following:

To my mind the biggies are the full support of all the Windows 7 features and the enhanced support for Sharepoint which is a surprise hit as a business development platform. More details are available at the Visual Studio 2010 Web site.



Filed under .NET FX 4, Microsoft, Technologies, Tools, Visual Studio 2010

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April 6, 2010

Microsoft finally dumps Itanium

Posted by David Hunter at 10:16 AM ET.

It’s been a long time coming but the steady progress of x64 technology from both Intel and AMD has finally impelled Microsoft to drop future support for Intel’s variant Itanium 64-bit processor family.

Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the last version of Windows Server to support the Intel Itanium architecture.  SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 are also the last versions to support Itanium.

Current support for Itanium remains unchanged.  Each of these products represent the state of the art of their respective product lines.  Each fully support Itanium, support the recently-released Itanium 9300 (“Tukwila”) processor, and Microsoft’s support for these products will continue – following the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.  Mainstream support for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems (and R2) will end, in accordance with that policy, on July 9, 2013, while extended support will continue until July 10, 2018.  That’s 8 more years of support.

Why the change?  The natural evolution of the x86 64-bit (“x64”) architecture has led to the creation of processors and servers which deliver the scalability and reliability needed for today’s “mission-critical” workloads.  Just this week, both Intel and AMD have released new high core-count processors, and servers with 8 or more x64 processors have now been announced by a full dozen server manufacturers.  Such servers contain 64 to 96 processor cores, with more on the horizon.

Microsoft will continue to focus on the x64 architecture, and it’s new business-critical role, while we continue to support Itanium customers for the next 8 years as this transition is completed.

Once upon a time, Windows NT (the precursor to Windows Server) supported a variety of microprocessor architectures, but they have been steadily whittled down over the years. Itanium remained as long as it did because of its early promise of an industrial strength 64-bit Intel architecture. Now it mainly exists to power some Hewlett-Packard HP-UX (Unix) servers.



Filed under AMD, Hardware, Intel, Itanium, Microsoft, Technologies, x64

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