Category Archives: microsoft

The biggest tech hits and misses of 2013


Edward Snowden: the most wanted man since Julian Assange.

So what were the biggest technology related stories in 2013? There were quite a few, but here are the 10 most important.

Selfies take over:

With the Oxford Dictionaries naming “selfie” as the word of the year in November, the self-portrait’s domination of pop culture was complete. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt recently got in on the action with their own selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

Is the self-portrait, followed by its inevitable sharing on social media, a sign of society’s growing narcissism? It’s a topic that’s now being debated. Over at the Globe and Mail, Navneet Alang argues it isn’t - it’s merely the latest evolution of how people are defining their identities while communicating with each other.

I think it’s even a little more innocuous than that. Whenever I show friends or relatives vacation photos of famous monuments or gorgeous vistas, they always wonder why I’m not in them. People like to see other people in photos - it’s often what makes them interesting. Read the rest of this entry »


Updated Surface tablets still don’t have a market

surface-2With Microsoft launching its second-generation Surface products and Apple announcing a refresh of its iPad line today, we might as well call this Tablet Tuesday. Yet, while Apple is certain to get the majority of the day’s headlines, it’s actually Microsoft’s products that are more interesting, mainly because they illustrate the rather decided state of the market and how difficult it’s going to be to crack.

I got to play around with the two new Surface tablets last week at an event in Toronto and I generally liked what I saw. Microsoft is bringing two new products to bear, with each apparently aimed at different markets, although both are being billed as productivity tools. The lighter and cheaper Surface 2 is the company’s main tablet competitor to the likes of the iPad or Nexus 7 while the Surface Pro 2 is the next iteration of its effort at tablet-laptop hybrids.

However, despite both devices having some neat features, upsides and improvements over their progenitors, I’m still not sure whether there’s really a market for either. I don’t think I would buy either of them for their intended purposes, if at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in apple, ipad, microsoft


Next Microsoft CEO? Don Mattrick would have fit

don_mattrickThere was hardly a murmur of surprise on Friday when Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down within the next 12 months, after a successor is found. Reviews of his tenure, which began in 2000, ranged from negative to mixed at best.

Many pundits pointed out that Microsoft, under Ballmer, has missed just about every major technology trend of the past decade, to the point where it is now largely irrelevant. The most charitable reviews brought up his solid financial performance, since Microsoft has indeed been good to shareholders with steady profits from the same old Windows and Office products.

The company’s future is an open question, given its lack of presence or traction in key markets that matter, such as smartphones and tablets. The challenge for the next CEO, whoever he or she is, will be to turn the company around and get it leading and innovating again, rather than just desperately playing catch-up to competitors.

Who could this individual be? It’s too bad Ballmer didn’t make his announcement a little sooner because he might have prevented just such a person from beating him out the door. How about Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s Xbox division - officially the president of the interactive entertainment business - who left for social game maker Zynga last month? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 26, 2013 in microsoft


Why hasn’t Microsoft already bought BlackBerry?

blackberryBlackBerry made some waves Monday by announcing that it is officially looking at strategic options, including a sale of the company. You know they’re serious because director Prem Watsa, head of insurance company Fairfax Financial and one of BlackBerry’s biggest shareholders, excused himself from the board in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest. In other words, Fairfax may also be invested in a potential BlackBerry buyer.

The question everyone is asking now is who might buy the beleaguered, Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker. The more intriguing mystery, in my books at least, is why one of those potential suitors - Microsoft - hasn’t bought BlackBerry yet?

The logic is pretty solid. Android and Apple have run away with the smartphone market, with the Canadian company clutching at a distant and declining third-place slice. The latest numbers say the company has indeed lost that spot to Microsoft and its Windows Phone. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on August 13, 2013 in microsoft, mobile, nokia, RIM


Netflix a lone bright spot among a tech lull

Orange is the New Black: does "TV" get better than this?

Orange is the New Black: does “TV” get better than this?

For technology watchers, 2013 hasn’t exactly been an exciting year. There seem to have been more flops over the first seven months than hits, with a number of big companies either limping along or treading water.

There is, of course, Apple, which hasn’t done anything notable this year other than get nailed in court in the Great E-Book Conspiracy. That hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from churning - are cheaper iPhones on the way? How about ones with bigger screens? Yet, if a smartwatch is the sexiest thing we can expect from the company this fall… well, it’s going to be a boring end to 2013.

Google’s biggest headline of the year so far is the flopping of Glass, the augmented reality glasses that were supposed to transform the world but which actually came to be considered as cool as Bluetooth earpieces. Maybe these things morph into something cool as they iterate, but maybe not. And sure, the company announced a new Nexus 7 tablet and Chromecast streaming device on Wednesday and the Moto X smartphone will debut next week. But smartphones, tablets and media streaming devices? How 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


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