Tag Archives: Microsoft

ExecTweets is shite

Is it just us or is the new ExecTweets site a complete waste of time?

The site is sponsored by Microsoft’s People-Ready program, and is essentially about grouping together a bunch of executives who use Twitter. Yawn.

The only interesting feature, although hardly a new one, is the ability to vote up a Tweet (but not down as far as we can see). Could be useful, but we’re not really sure for what (Retweeting is far more useful in our opinion). Time will tell.

The Twitter guys get inundated with all kinds of feature requests, and voting has long been on the list. The restraint they’ve shown in ensuring Twitter stays simple is a fundamental reason for its success.

So, you can bet the only reason (in spite of what they say) for featuring the ExecTweets link is so they can observe the response it gets. If enough people love the ability to vote, they’ll just add it to Twitter itself (and kill ExecTweets in the process). The same applies with all the different categorisation and aggregation products out there. They are niche features that only a select few want. But if they get popular enough (eg like the ability to Search Twitter became) they’ll add it in.

Our guess is that hardly anyone wants the ability to vote on a Tweet, and the site will be wallowing within a month. But hey, a great little promotional effort all the same. Nice work to whoever came up with the concept. Enjoy your success while you can.


(via MG Siegler at VentureBeat)

Microsoft DemoFest reports

Having an event (even if it is smaller and to a select audience) called DemoFest raises expectations, especially when the topics are related to Microsoft’s adCenter Labs latest ideas.

You may have read Benjamin Romano’s report (the demos ‘were not jaw-dropping’) in which he covered the main concepts demonstrated:

  • Gift Matching – really just demographic matching
  • Microsoft Gaze – Javascript enabled popup launcher
  • Display ad tool – automatically generates ad layouts
  • Location platform – tries to predict user intent

As Ben notes, these are nothing really new, and are simply catchup mechanisms on Microsoft’s part (see also Matt’s thoughts over at Search Engine Land).

Whilst admittedly it is just Microsoft showcasing what they are up to, wouldn’t it be a great confidence boost if Microsoft actually came up with something innovative that changed the game, rather than annoyed the shit out of users (eg the popup launcher is going to be very hated if it ever makes it out in the wild).

We love Eric Brill’s (General Manager of Strategic Direction) comments on the developments:

“We’re making a lot (of progress). It’s not user-visible but it means the velocity of innovation will go up a lot,” Brill said.

Source: Joe Tartakoff at PaidContent.org

Velocity of innovation my arse!

Microsoft adCenter Labs

(via Joe Tartakoff)

Internet Explorer 8 Released

It’s been a big week here at MIX09, so much so that we thought we’d get the blog going again.

We’ll cover some of the other big announcements in the coming days once the dust has settled, but couldn’t wait to cover the IE8 release. Download it here.

It’s been a long time coming, and hopefully the wait is worth it. Microsoft yesterday released IE8 to the masses, although not to Windows 7 users just yet (see below).

Performance (cheesy rock video about performance here) and safety top the list of improvements, as well as web standards compliance. But it doesn’t stop there – the new version includes some cool new features including:

  • Web slices
  • Accelerators
  • InPrivate Bowsing, as well as
  • Search Suggestions
  • Safer browsing with SmartScreen

If you are a Windows 7 Beta user you’ll have to wait a little longer, as noted on the IE8 site:

Windows 7 Beta already includes a pre-release candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 that is optimized for that release. Windows 7 enables unique features and functionality in Internet Explorer 8 including Windows Touch and Jump Lists which require additional product tests to ensure we are providing the best Windows experience for our customers. We will continue to update the version of Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows 7 as the development cycles of Windows 7 progress and plan to include the final version of Internet Explorer 8 in the release candidate version of Windows 7 later this year. For the latest information on Windows 7, visit the Windows 7 site.

This is disappointing, but perhaps understandable.

The most significant improvement in our opinion is the web standards compliance, as noted by Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft:

Internet Explorer 8 is Microsoft’s most standards-compliant browser to date, and benefits from work the company is doing with standards bodies to bring increased measurement and consistency. As part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting standards, the company has submitted more than 7,000 cascading style sheet (CSS) 2.1 test cases to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the last year to help drive easier and more measurable standards adoption for all developers. Moreover, Internet Explorer 8 now passes more of the W3C CSS 2.1 test cases than any other shipping browser and has invested significantly in support for HTML 5.

Source: Microsoft PressPass

Web standards is a big, opinionated area, so it will be worth watching to see whether Microsoft has understood the ‘real’ needs of developers and companies correctly.

All in all this is a pretty big upgrade over IE7, and with a falling market share in the browser space Microsoft needs to lift their game. Time will tell whether IE8 has the firepower they are hoping for.

Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft share price

Time to check in on how the Microsoft share price has travelled this week.Microsoft share price

And it seems that the announcements at PDC haven’t done much to boost investor confidence. Whilst there was some strengthening during last week, most of that has eroded this week. In a word people are: nervous.

With a P/E in the 11-12 range, the company is a good buy. But emotion rules in the stock market at present.

Microsoft’s Blue Monster turns 2

Apparently the Blue Monster idea has been around for 2 years.

Blue Monster

We have to admit this is a piece of marketing that we’ve never really understood. In fact we don’t even like it. But it seems to be popular. And getting more so.

Initially we thought it was a bizarre case of the Emperor’s New Clothes, but now we are happy to admit that. we just don’t get it. Steve Clayton does, it seems. And Happy Birthday Steve, we love your blog. Most of the time.

Open Standards Messaging Snooze

Ooops, that should have read Open Standards Messaging Software, but we fell asleep before we got to the end! Why? Because it sounds soooo boring.

In a press release today, Microsoft has announced its decision to join the Advanced Message Queue Protocol (AMQP) Working Group. Oh, sorry we drifted off again. Yes, this must extremely boring.

But actually it’s very important.

The group is trying to develop an open industry standard for ubiquitous messaging. Currently there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different messaging standards around. Most integration projects require some kind of interface between systems that handle messaging. Millions of dollars are spent every year just re-building the interfaces between this system to that. It’s all wasted money. Money that should be spent on innovation and real value to the customer, but is instead spent on ‘plumbing’.

The key is interoperability. That’s the goal. Imagine having a set of providers in your toolset that allowed simple connection between each and every system you need to message between. [As an aside, on the orchestration side of the coin this is something that BizTalk has been attempting to provide for years now.]

Microsoft joins the likes of Cisco, Novell, Red Hat, and a bunch of financial institutions in this goal.

Sure, it sounds boring, but this is something to be applauded.

More doom and gloom

Maybe it’s just that I’m tired after a bit of travel, or perhaps it’s the downtown smog, but I’m just not in a happy mood this afternoon. The week is ending on a low.

I’m talking of course about the latest stock market news (which I’ve been blissfully disconnected from for the last day or so).

Here’s the damage (in case you too have been out of the loop). The markets are down again! Just when we started to think they’d perhaps hit a bottom, no, they’ve gone further south.

Here’s how they are stacking up:

Google finance graph of Microsoft, Google and Apple

Microsoft (green) is holding up OK, compared to the Dow (blue) and Nasdaq (yellow), whilst Google (purple) is feeling some pain and Apple (red) is getting smashed.

Surely it must getting close to buying time soon!.

OK, I’ve got to catch up on some sleep now. Perhaps this is all a bad dream.

Microsoft and the economy

Microsoft stock has weathered the current economic downturn pretty well we have to say. But that hasn’t stopped it hitting a few new lows over the last 2 weeks.

With a market capitalisation under $200B now, and expected forecast cuts coming, this really is a stock to look at buying soon. Wait for the results, and most likely a further fall, and then start buying up we say! (And thanks to WinBeta for the links)

Microsoft have strong product suites across multiple areas, and must surely be a strong contender when the markets to pick up (but as usual take our opinion on financial matters with a grain of salt). They will endure this climate well, and be ideally placed to pick up innovative technology companies cheaply in the coming months.

More on the Apple tax

When we reported on Microsoft’s use of the term ‘Apple tax’ we didn’t have any concrete figures at hand. We just knew it had to be correct.

Thankfully Ed Bott has been through the process first hand and given us a full account of how much extra it costs to run a Mac than it does a Windows box. It’s around $500 for starters.

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