microsoft

Apple, Microsoft among firms earning tax-free interest from US -- report

Four of the largest US-based technology companies hold a huge amount of US Treasury debt and use it to earn tax-free interest, a new report claims.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Cisco Systems collectively hold $124 billion in US Treasury debt overseas, the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported Wednesday. The debt is kept offshore so the companies can earn interest on the treasuries without worrying about paying taxes.

That some of the largest technology companies in the world are holding so much interest-bearing debt and not having to pay taxes might not resonate well with individuals looking down the … Read more

Microsoft offers Windows Phone free to device makers -- report

Microsoft reportedly will dole out Windows Phone for free to a couple of Indian phone makers to spur adoption in the country.

The software giant has been chatting with Indian phone makers about developing more affordable Windows Phone devices, The Times of India said on Thursday, citing "multiple industry sources with knowledge of the negotiations." Two device makers purportedly agreed, but only after Microsoft promised to drop the normal license fee for its mobile OS, according to the sources.

"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a licence fee," a source at … Read more

New version of Office for Mac expected later this year

More than three years after releasing the current version of Office for Mac, Microsoft is readying a major refresh.

Mac users can expect a new version of the apps suite by the end of the year, according to Thorsten Hübschen, leader of Microsoft's Office group in Germany. The revelation came during an interview with Computerwoche at CeBit 2014, a computer trade show occurring this week in Hanover, Germany.

Hübschen blamed the delay on the merger of the Mac business unit -- the Mac suite's development team -- with the Microsoft business unit in 2010. … Read more

Xbox Live struggles with access issues as Titanfall launches

Microsoft's launch Tuesday of the much-anticipated game Titanfall on Xbox Live has not been without hiccups.

Players hoping to access the first-person shooter game on Xbox Live are having difficulty connecting with the online gaming service Tuesday. The Xbox Live Service Status page currently lists service as "limited."

"We're aware that some users are having difficulties signing in to Xbox Live," according to an update posted to the page. "Our team is hard at work trying to mitigate the issue and we appreciate your patience while we work."

Microsoft also promised to … Read more

Microsoft delivers new batch of Surface firmware updates

It's Patch Tuesday, yet again. And as it often does, Microsoft is rolling out a number of Surface firmware updates as part of it.

There are no firmware updates for the ARM-based Surface RT this month, according to Microsoft's update history page. But the other three Surface devices are all getting numerous updates that users will see listed as "System Firmware Update - 3/11/2014" in their update histories on their devices.

All three are getting keyboard/cover updates, including a driver that supports the new Surface Power Covers that Microsoft will begin making available as of March 19. … Read more

Google cited as bothered by Android-Windows hybrid

Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim.

A report on Friday from Digitimes fingers Google as holding up the Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300, a novel laptop-tablet hybrid that can instantly switch between Android and Windows 8.1.

This follows earlier reports from CNET and Digitimes.

Here's what Digitimes said on Friday, in part:

Currently, only Intel's...chip can support dual operating systems, giving consumers an … Read more

Microsoft plans to patch critical Windows, IE bugs next week

Microsoft has marked two of the five security updates it plans to release next week as "critical," including one that addresses a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is currently being exploited in the wild.

One of the updates announced in a security bulletin Thursday will patch a flaw in IE 10 -- discovered last month by security company FireEye -- being exploited by attack code found on the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Web site. Security firm Websense reported finding similar code exploiting the same flaw on the compromised Web site of a French aerospace association, indicating there was … Read more

Microsoft teases unveiling of DirectX 12 later this month

Game developers' long wait for the next iteration of Microsoft's DirectX will apparently come to an end this month.

Details of the DirectX 12 game programming interfaces will apparently be released March 20 during the Game Developers Conference, according to a Microsoft teaser page. Microsoft's page includes the logos of AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm, suggesting they are partners that will support the new suite of APIs.

Anuj Gosalia, a development manager on Windows Graphics at Microsoft, is scheduled to lead a presentation at the conference, according to a GDC program page:

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has … Read more

Microsoft board not so keen on Nokia deal at first

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has published a fascinating story on the backroom politics around Steve Ballmer's retirement as Microsoft CEO.

The part of the piece entitled "Microsoft's Nadella Manages Legacy of Ballmer-Board Split" that I found most interesting is the drama around the decision to buy Nokia's handset business. According to reporter Dina Bass and colleagues, the Microsoft board initially was divided over the wisdom of the move, with Ballmer in favor and founder Bill Gates and unnamed other board members opposed.

Microsoft's current CEO Satya Nadella also was initially against the move, but later changed … Read more

Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone

Windows Phone users can now download Facebook Messenger.

Already available for iOS and Android devices, the social network's dedicated chat app is now nestled in the Windows Phone Store.

A spinoff of the full Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger lets you chat with one or more of your friends, share your location, and perk up your chats with pictures and stickers.

The launch doesn't come as a surprise. At last week's Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger would soon land on Windows Phone.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps … Read more