The guessing games are over. On March 21, Microsoft announced that the company appointed a new search chief. And to the surprise of many company watchers, the company picked its former Dynamics ERP leader, Satya Nadella, to head up the newly created Search and Ad Platform group at the company.
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Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley's blog covers the products, people and strategies that make Microsoft tick.
Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).
In the new Windows regime, all references to Windows futures seem to be verboten. After I linked to Windows Media Center Product Manager Charlie Owen's post about Microsoft's release plans for the next version of Media Center (code-named "Fiji,"), Owen pulled his post and deleted from his blog all references to "Fiji."
Microsoft is offering users who purchase one Vista license -- full or upgrade, purchased either at retail or via a PC-preload deal -- the right to buy multiple additional copies at 10 percent off retail price per copy. At its heart, the promo is just as much, if not more, about fighting piracy as it is about spurring Vista sales.
It turns out that "Fiji" is, indeed, an interim Windows release and it is NOT Vista SP1. Fiji is the codename for the next version of Windows Media Center. And Microsoft's plan of record is to release this next Windows Media Center build "out of band," meaning in between core Windows releases.
At the kick-off of its second annual Small Business Summit even in Seattle on March 19, Microsoft took the wraps off Response Point, software designed to power small-business phone systems that are under development by a handful of Microsoft partners.
Now that Adobe has released the alpha build of Apollo, it's time for Microsoft to show its hand, in terms of its plans to create a development environment for coders interested in its WPF/E (Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere) technology.
Google is confirming that it has bought in-game advertising provider AdScape Media for an undisclosed amount. Guess that means Microsoft is going to have to come up with some kind of response when asked about Google as a competitor to Microsoft's Massive acquisition.
Now that the "Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search" cat is out of the bag, Microsoft officials are sharing more details about the program, designed to convince enterprise customers to use Microsoft's Live Search technology.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has thrown down the gauntlet and called Google's headcount growth plans "insane." Hmm. Let's look at a few interesting facts for comparison.
The "Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search" program provides kickbacks to businesses who agree to use Microsoft's Live Search services. The more users a company agrees to "influence," the bigger the payout from Microsoft. But the Web Search credit program isn't without precedent at Microsoft.