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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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February 25, 2009 10:50 AM

Microsoft news roundup: OEM exec says Windows 7 in September, October; Google wants to join EC antitrust proceedign against Microsoft; wrapping up TechFest

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

"According to current planning, it should be late September or early October." That's what Ray Chen, president of a Tapei OEM, Compal Electronics, told Bloomberg about when Microsoft may begin shipping Windows 7. That would put it ahead of Microsoft's officially stated schedule, which has the new OS due by January 2010. But it would match some observers' expectations that Microsoft will have Windows 7 available in time for the 2009 holiday season.

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Comments | Category: Google , Internet Explorer , Legal issues , Natural user interface , News roundup , Research , Search , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 13, 2009 10:59 AM

Microsoft's Bach won't talk specifics on touch-screen Zune, but says touch is coming 'across all of Microsoft'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Students visiting Microsoft for the company's Minority Student Day pressed Robbie Bach, president of the company's Entertainment and Devices Division, to talk about the future of some of his division's most recognizable products. In this post, I covered what he said about the next two generations of Windows Mobile. [Update, Feb. 23: I've added the name of the student who asked the question highlighted in this post.]

Zune, Microsoft's music player, was another hot topic. This morning, CNET reported on changes in the organization of the Zune team.

One student, Marian Abdullahi of Kent-Meridian High School, asked, "I was wondering if you plan on making a touch-screen Zune?"

Bach: "Ah, a question about whether we're going to make a touch-screen Zune. I won't talk about future product things that we're doing explicitly, cause that will get me in trouble with a lot of people.

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Comments | Category: Natural user interface , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 9, 2009 8:57 AM

CES: Video of Ford Sync demonstration

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LAS VEGAS -- Here's a short video of Microsoft's Velle Kolde demonstrating new features of Ford Sync, the in-vehicle entertainment and information software that Microsoft has helped the car maker develop. Check out this story for more details on the Seattle-area companies involved in the effort.

Comments | Category: Commuting , Consumer Electronics Show , Mobile , Natural user interface , Video |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 7, 2008 5:53 AM

Q&A with Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, and Bill Gates take the stage at a conference in 2007.

I spoke Monday with Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer and one of the two executives filling Bill Gates' role in setting the company's course. He is in the midst of a U.S. university tour, talking to students and professors about Microsoft and the future of technology in many different disciplines. (Here's today's story from the paper.) It's something Gates used to do regularly, and another way Mundie has assumed Gates' functions at the company. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation, covering his tour, views on technology in education, Gates' transition, and the Windows ad campaign.

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Comments | Category: Bill Gates , Education , Natural user interface , Personalities , Research , Strategy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 20, 2008 9:01 PM

Microsoft releases version of Photosynth you can use

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

"You hope a computer could do something that's sort of magic and it so rarely ever happens. Photosynth is one of the cases where when you see this for the first time, and even after you've seen 100 synths, it's still magic."

That was David Gedye, group manager of Microsoft's Photosynth, talking about his team's enthusiasm as they prepared to launch a version of the software that consumers could use. I couldn't find a place for it in my story in Thursday's paper, but, even though it's a bit hyperbolic, I wanted to post it here, because, frankly, I agree.

Here's a "synth" National Geographic did on Stonehenge. You'll need to download the Photosynth software (8 megabytes) and be running Windows Vista or XP to view it.

And here's an excerpt from my story in Thursday's paper on Photosynth:

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Natural user interface |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 18, 2008 9:01 PM

Four Microsofties make Technology Review's list of 35 under 35

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

MIT's Technology Review, the world's oldest tech magazine, has named four Microsoft employees to its "annual list of 35 outstanding men and women under the age of 35 who exemplify the spirit of innovation in business and technology." Only Harvard and its affiliates had more people on the TR35.

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Comments | Category: Microsoft , Natural user interface , Personalities , Recruiting , Research |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 15, 2008 10:26 AM

Video: UW-Microsoft Photosynth team back at it with new mind-blowing demo

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

When I saw Photosynth for the first time about two years ago, it joined a small handful of new products that really captured my attention. The software arranges sets of photos in 3-D context and allows viewers to navigate fluidly from image to image, moving their gaze from a building's facade to a detail shot of a specific fresco, for example.

Photosynth is a distinctly Seattle invention. It emerged from a collaboration of University of Washington graduate student Noah Snavely and computer-science professor Steven Seitz, with Microsoft researcher Richard Szeliski, as well as a Ballard startup Microsoft acquired. Now at least part of that team is at it again.

In a paper presented at this week's SIGGRAPH (a meeting of the world's top computer graphics researchers), the UW/Microsoft team described the next iteration of their work, soberly named "Finding Paths through the World's Photos." Here's the video:

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Comments | Category: Graphics and imaging , Natural user interface , Video |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

August 12, 2008 9:03 AM

Microsoft Surface to make Seattle commercial debut in Sheraton Hotel

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft's much-discussed and demonstrated touch-sensing, tabletop computer will finally make a commercial appearance in Seattle tomorrow. Sheraton Hotels and Resorts -- one of the original customers for the Microsoft Surface -- plans to roll out the devices in several hotels, including the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, 1400 6th Ave.

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Comments | Category: Devices , Natural user interface |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 24, 2008 3:05 PM

FAM: Robotic receptionists coming to Microsoft buildings

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

As my colleague Brier Dudley noted, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie just described spatial interaction with computers as a major new frontier in computing.

He also showed progress Microsoft has made in robotics and natural user interfaces such as speech and facial recognition. He gave one demonstration of how Microsoft is putting these big ideas in practice.

Microsoft is working on "robotic receptionists" for its buildings that will perform one of the most common but mundane tasks that the real receptionists do dozens of times a day: scheduling shuttles, Mundie said.

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Comments | Category: Commuting , FAM 2008 , Natural user interface , Robotics |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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