It has taken a long time for Yahoo to completely outsource their search engine and marketing efforts from their in-house team to Microsoft’s Bing team. Nevertheless, it is now learned that the transition is complete. Moving on, all the search results as well as the associated advertisements on the Yahoo portal and partner websites will be handled by Microsoft. An email was sent to Yahoo advertisers announcing them of this development.
The partnership brings a significant level of benefit to both the companies. The total search engine share of Bing and Yahoo combined in the US is close to 30% and this partnership will bring better competition from advertisers and consequently higher ad dollars.
What does this mean to the existing Yahoo advertisers? The company has noted that the search marketing solutions page will be accessible for the next five months during which the advertisers are expected to effect a complete transition to the Microsoft adCenter. Advertisers may no longer use the Yahoo interface to run campaigns.
We always knew this was coming and after Microsoft announced last week that an announcement was due on Tuesday, it was more or less confirmed that the new Microsoft Office 2011 productivity suite for Mac was releasing this week. Now it has.
The new Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac is now available for public consumption and brings with it, all the expected suite of applications like Word, Excel and Powerpoint. And perhaps in what should come as a huge relief, Microsoft has finally replaced Entourage with Outlook in the latest release.
A single license of the Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac software should cost Home and Student users between $109.99 and $149.99. On the other hand, for business users, this application should cost higher between $174.99 and $279.99.
Of course, the price is going to be cheaper if you are checking it out from third party retailers like Amazon.
Looks like the mobile platform makers need to take a leaf out of the dotcom biggies and launch all their final releases with a ‘beta‘ tag attached. Such is the number of bugs that have been observed with almost all the major smartphone releases of late including iOS 4, Android 2.2, etc. Now, after we reported about several users seeing their XBox Live Extras crash on their newly purchased Windows Phone 7 handsets comes the news about yet another significant error. Users trying to associate their Windows Live account with their WP7 handset are unable to do so and are instead shown a message that reads, “Product Activation Failed“.
Now if you are in the UK, that’s double whammy because the Microsoft UK Support does not work on weekends and so users are left until support reopens on Monday to take their concerns.
Microsoft has introduced a new 12 month subscription plan for Zune Pass that effectively brings down the overall monthly cost that subscribers pay for the service. What more, with this new subscription plan, Microsoft now offers a better deal for music lovers with Zune Pass than Pandora does with their own offering.
Let’s look into it now. Until now, Microsoft Zune Pass was available at two price points – the $14.99 plan for 1 month subscription and the $44.97 plan for a 3 month subscription. Each of these plans provides unlimited music downloads with the ability to keep 10 songs for yourselves for each month of subscription. Assuming the price per song to be $0.99, these plans will give you $120 worth of songs in a year where the total cost would come out to be close to $180. That makes the annual cost of Zune Pass subscription alone $60.
The new annual subscription offer is provided at $149.90. With the 10 songs per month offer still holding true, the subscription cost now stands at a mere $30 a year when Pandora still costs the user $36 a year.
What do you think? Does this make the Zune Pass subscription all the more attractive?
As you know, the Windows Phone 7 handsets from manufactures like HTC and Samsung launched this week in several countries in Europe and Australasia. Now that the customers have started exploring the new device, there appear to be a number of complaints from users who have reported that the XBox Live Extras; a free download on WP7 phones appears to be crashing on launch. The problem is not restricted to any one particular handset but to almost all the HTC handsets – the Trophy, HD7 and 7 Mozart.
This is not the only problem that users have been experiencing with their new WP7 handsets however. There are two other popularly discussed issues. One is with game loading where a number of users have noticed an extraordinarily long load time on their new phones. Also, a select number of users are reporting inaccurate reporting of the GPS location on their handsets. This is on phones other than HTC as well which means the problem could well be software based.
Are you seeing any of these issues?
Come November 15, Microsoft will be launching a Games marketplace for Windows users to browse and download gaming applications to their computers. The marketplace is expected to offer a good line-up of PC games that will offer desktop gamers a great place to browse and download games from.
The Games for Windows Marketplace is expected to only hold close to a 100 games at launch, but expect the numbers to grow rapidly as the exposure and target market that developers can gain through such a marketplace can be overwhelming. Microsoft is also expected to come up with features like ‘Deal of the Week‘ and ‘Featured games‘,etc.
To buy a game, users will need to sign in using a Windows Live ID, Zune tag or Xbox Live gamertag. The payment can be made either using a credit card or Microsoft Points. Here is a partial list of the games that will be available on the Games for Windows marketplace at launch.
- “Fable: The Lost Chapters”
- “Grand Theft Auto III”
- “Lego Universe”
- “Dead Rising 2?
- “Lost Planet 2?
- “Max Payne”
- “Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition”
- “Flight Simulator”
- “Gears of War”
- “Zoo Tycoon”
- “Fable III”
- “Age of Empires Online”
- “Microsoft Flight”
Early this month, there was a running speculation that Microsoft may have acquired Linden Lab, the company that is behind the popular virtual reality game, Second Life. Word was that Redmond may have either actually acquired the whole company or is at least in the final stages of talks before acquisition. The rumor mills also indicated a possible inclusion of the popular game on Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming network.
Now, word is out that the Founder of Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale is quitting his CEO post – just four months after he started his stint. In a blog post announcing his decision, Rosedale said,
“After about four months as interim CEO, working closely with Bob Komin, the management team, and the board, we’ve decided we are ready to start the search for a new CEO. I’ll be leaving day-to-day management of the company and continuing in my role on the board, including helping in the search to find a great CEO. I will also be continuing my work with my new company, LoveMachine.”
The announcement has revived the speculations that Linden Lab is prepping itself up for news about getting acquired by Microsoft. This is just speculation, but it would be wonderful news for the gamers should this turn out to be true.
Microsoft will be launching a new-look Xbox.com website sometime now. The new site will bring a number of new features besides opening up support for Xbox Live to nine new countries where the service is launching next month. These countries include Russia, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.
The new features as described by Major Nelson include
- Browser based Avatar editor: Edit your avatar and preview avatar items before purchase
- Combined views for messages, friend and game requests
- Improved notification of your account subscription
- Leverage Family Reports to understand what your family is doing and how they are using LIVE
- Play web games with your Xbox LIVE friends on the web or on Windows Phone 7
- Marketplace: More powerful search and more intuitive ways to browse and filter
The new website is set to go live starting 09:00 AM GMT. That’s almost here.
Following what we had heard earlier, Microsoft has launched a new website for the cloud version of their popular Office productivity suite. Announcing the launch of the new beta version of the office365.com website, the company has said that the new service will provide the “best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service” and that this will let people “focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology“.
The announcement however did not make a note of the exact launch date of the new Office365 service but what we know is that the product will launch early next year in as many as 40 countries worldwide. As of now, users can sign up for beta testing the service besides clicking on the various links to learn more about what is on offer.
The Windows Phone 7 comes integrated with Zune which is a premium service that is available at a price of $14.99 a month. Now a free subscription to this paid service appears to be the perfect bait for companies to lure customers into buying handsets running Windows Phone 7. After Microsoft announced a 3 month free Zune pass subscription to users who shall pre-order a Windows Phone 7 handset, AT&T has now announced an additional one month of free Zune subscription. While the Microsoft offer is only valid on customers who pre-order a phone unit, the AT&T offer shall be valid on all Windows Phone 7 handsets purchased before the end of this year.
It looks like a perfect bait at least from the perspective of Microsoft. A good number of users who get access to this free service are likely to turn into long term Zune customers and a comprehensive free trial of Zune is a perfect way to lure these customers. What do you think?