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May 7, 2009

Microsoft layoffs hit .NET Micro Framework and MSN Direct

Posted by David Hunter at 1:22 PM ET.

Among the fallout from the latest round of Microsoft layoffs is the demise of the .NET Micro Framework, Microsoft’s embedded tooling for very low powered devices. Mary Jo Foley reports:

Microsoft is turning the source code for its embedded .Net Micro Framework over to the community and slowly withdrawing from that business, company officials are confirming.

On the rumored list of teams most heavily impacted by second wave of Microsoft layoffs announced on May 5 was the .Net Micro Framework team — as well as the related MSN Direct unit. Indeed, both groups were affected, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed on May 6.

MSN Direct was originally a oddball FM broadcast service for devices like the infamous SPOT watches, but it had moved into other areas in recent years.

Filed under .NET Micro Framework, General Business, Layoffs, MSN, MSN Direct, Microsoft, SPOT, Technologies

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April 25, 2008

Wave goodbye to SPOT watches

Posted by David Hunter at 10:25 AM ET.

As recently as 2 years ago Microsoft was still persuading partners to ship SPOT watches using their MSN Direct specialized FM radio broadcast service, but that has all come to an end:

As of recently, the Smart Watches with MSN Direct have sold out and are no longer for sale. While we continue to move forward with MSN Direct and seeking out new opportunities for devices that would benefit from the MSN Direct service, we, along with our watch partners, do not have immediate plans to create a new version of the Smart Watch, as we are focused on other areas of our business. We will maintain support of our watch customers and continue to deliver information to the watches, but we do not plan to increase our investment in the watch business going forward.

Those other areas are MSN Direct for GPS navigation devices and MSN Direct for Windows Mobile where the form factor is more amenable (the watches had to be recharged every few days) and in fact, the Windows Mobile variant doesn’t even use the FM broadcasts. However, if you are still pining for dubious geek chic, there’s still a Melitta coffee pot.

Filed under MSN, MSN Direct, Microsoft, SPOT, Technologies

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January 8, 2007

Other Microsoft announcements at CES07

Posted by David Hunter at 6:29 PM ET.

Not every Microsoft announcement at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show made the Bill Gates keynote.

From the Microsoft Hardware group (i.e. the part of Entertainment & Devices that makes money but gets no buzz):

Microsoft Hardware’s Innovative Industry Firsts Earn Top CES Honors

This week at the 2007 International CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. will showcase its award-winning peripherals, the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000 and the Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000, both named CES Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Awards Honorees on the basis of their innovative designs and advancements in peripheral engineering…

Microsoft’s Upgraded Fingerprint Reader Makes Windows Vista Features More Convenient

…Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader with software updates from DigitalPersona Inc., for Windows Vista compatibility, offering users the convenience of replacing their passwords with their fingerprint…

Microsoft and Razer Launch Cutting-Edge Gaming Keyboard

HD DVD related:

Microsoft Technology Brings HD DVD to the Mainstream

Microsoft Corp. showcased the growing momentum behind HD DVD through its contribution of core technologies. Microsoft helped deliver the highest-quality video with the VC-1 codec, advanced interactivity with HDi™, and a streamlined and affordable platform for player manufacturers through the use of Microsoft Windows CE 6.0.

Microsoft and Broadcom Deliver Combined Hardware and Software Platform for More Cost-Efficient HD DVD Players

Microsoft Corp. and Broadcom Corp. announced a joint effort to support a hardware and software reference design for more cost-efficient HD DVD playback. The new platform uses Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 and Broadcom’s BCM7440 system-on-chip solution, allowing consumer electronics manufacturers, original design manufacturers and systems integrators to more easily and affordably deliver HD DVD playback. Several of the more innovative, high volume electronics companies that plan to use this new hardware and software platform to speed the production of HD DVD players include Lite-On IT Corp. and Zhenjiang Jiangkui Group Co. Ltd./ED Digital.

MSN Direct:

MSN Direct Goes High Def with Clear Channel

Microsoft Corp. and Clear Channel Radio today announced at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that they have executed a collaborative agreement to build a nationwide data delivery service using HD Radio technology, providing personalized and localized content to a variety of HD Radio receivers. This initiative will be branded MSN Direct HD, an extension of Microsoft’s existing MSN Direct service, which currently transmits a variety of information including traffic, weather, movie times, sports, and stocks to Smart Watches, weather stations, Global Positioning System navigation devices and small home appliances.

Microsoft SPOT Initiative Accelerates With Addition of MSN Direct to Navigation Devices

Microsoft Corp.’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) Group announced the availability of MSN Direct navigation services and announced that Garmin International Inc. will be the first to offer the new MSN Direct service to Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Customers will be able to receive dynamic local information, including weather condition and traffic updates, movies listings, and gas prices.

Microsoft SPOT also announced plans to work with future versions of Microsoft Streets & Trips and Pharos Science & Applications Inc. to offer MSN Direct Navigation Services to their devices. In addition, Microsoft SPOT is working with Centrality Communications Inc. to integrate MSN Direct with its GPS reference designs…

Filed under Broadcom, CES07, Conferences, Coopetition, Digital Media, Embedded, HD DVD, Hardware, Keyboards, MSN, MSN Direct, Mice, Microsoft, Microsoft Hardware, Razer, SPOT, Windows CE

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September 29, 2006

Microsoft beta roundup – Forefront for SharePoint and more

Posted by David Hunter at 10:56 AM ET.

Some new Microsoft betas this week (so far):

Microsoft Launches Forefront Security for SharePoint Beta

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 28) is launching the public beta of Forefront Security for SharePoint® ( This latest release of Microsoft® Forefront security products for businesses is based on Antigen for SharePoint Server, the multi-engine security solution acquired by Microsoft as part of the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.

Forefront Security for SharePoint is optimized to provide advanced protection for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows® SharePoint Services 3.0. Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies facilitate easy collaboration across an organization, connecting people, processes and systems within and beyond organizational boundaries. Forefront Security for SharePoint uses the combined power of multiple antivirus engines from leading security providers to protect against viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content.

While we’re on the subject, Microsoft was also touting Gartner’s glowing assessment of their email security offerings including including Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.

Windows Mobile Device Center Beta Coming Soon
. It’s the replacement in Vista of ActiveSynch for synching up mobile devices with a Vista machine. It was AWOL in Vista RC1.

Windows PowerShell Release Candidate 2 was released. The scripting tool (codenamed “Monad”) for system administration tasks is expected to ship in the 4th quarter and/or embedded in Exchange 2007 when it ships.

The Windows Live Writer blogging tool beta got an update which fixed a number of problems in the original beta released in August.

Windows Live Expo started a limited beta in the UK.

Microsoft Releases First Broad Beta Developer Kit for .NET Micro Framework:

Microsoft Corp. today (Sept. 26) released a beta developer kit for the Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework, a new development platform for use with devices that are typically constrained by cost, memory, processor and/or power consumption. Announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the .NET Micro Framework broad beta extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio® toolset into a class of the smallest of devices.

The .NET Micro Framework grew out of the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative at Microsoft.

Here’s an explanation:

The framework currently provides the software platform for all Smart Watches for MSN Direct. Additionally, the company plans to include it in Windows Vista SideShow displays and in an upcoming version of Microsoft TV Foundation Edition, the statements say.

Filed under .NET Micro Framework, Acquisitions, Antigen, Beta and CTP, Exchange, Forefront, Hosted Services, MSN, MSN Direct, Microsoft, Microsoft TV, OS - Client, OS - Server, Office, PowerShell, SPOT, Servers, Service Providers, SharePoint Server, Sybari, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Expo, Windows Live Writer, Windows SharePoint Services, Windows Vista

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