Microsoft targets iPad with new back-to-school ad

Microsoft targets iPad with new back-to-school ad

Summary: Microsoft news roundup: New iPad focused ad; Microsoft Tag phase-out; new markets for Skype for and more news of the week.


Here's a quick round-up of Microsoft news kicking off the week of August 19.

Microsoft takes aim at iPad in new back-to-school ad

Microsoft may be missing the back-to-school market with its October 18 launch date for Windows 8.1, but that doesn't mean the Softies are conceding the student market.

Microsoft is continuing with its new campaign of Apple-targeted ads. The latest pits the Lenovo Yoga against the iPad and focuses on the multitasking enabled by Microsoft's Snap multiple windowing technology. Here's the new clip:

I like these new Apple-compete ads a lot more than I like Microsoft's Scroogled campaign. Main reason? They focus on Microsoft's products, instead of those of its competitors.

Microsoft offloads its Tag QR coding technology

Microsoft sent a note to those who have used its Microsoft Tag technology on August 19, notifying them it planned to sell its tagging technology to Scanbuy.

The note let users know that Microsoft planned to terminate its Tag service two years from now, on August 19, 2015. (Microsoft is letting users know now as part of its Terms of Use for the Tag service.)

Through August 19, 2015, Microsoft Tag users will be able to continue to log in to their existing accounts, use existing Tag codes, generate new Microsoft Tags and run reports as usual.

"To help you prepare for the termination of the Microsoft Tag service on August 19, 2015, Scanbuy has been selected to support Microsoft Tag technology on the ScanLife platform beginning no later than September 18th, 2013, and to offer transition and migration services to Microsoft TAG customers who choose to migrate to the ScanLife platform," according to the note. (Thanks to reader Blair Leducfor a copy of the note.)

Scanbuy, according ot the note, is the largest provider of QR codes and runs ScanLife, a cloud-based mobile platform. Interestingly, Scanbuy is backed by Google.

Microsoft enables Skype for in more markets

In April 2013, Microsoft rolled out a preview of Skype for, which allowed users to make calls and send instant messages from within via a browser plug-in.

At that time, Microsoft said it would make the preview available first to UK customers with support coming to the U.S. and Germany "in the coming weeks."

On August 19, Microsoft announced Skype for was "fully available" in the UK, Germany, Brazil, France, Canada and the U.S.

"For those of you outside those countries, we're still working hard to ensure this is available worldwide in the near future," said company officials in a new blog post today.

New Win Phone App Studio beta: 55,000 active users and counting

Microsoft released new usage data about the recently released beta of its Windows Phone App Studio tool.

"In the first 48 hours we saw more than 20,000 people from all over the world kicking off more than 30,000 projects, and just a few hours ago we surpassed 55,000 active projects," said the Softies in an August 19 blog post.

The tool is mainly aimed at non-professional developers, but some pro developers are using the preview, too. Apps developed using the tool can be pushed to the Windows Phone Store or made private and shared only with smaller local groups.

There were some initial sign-up hiccups, Microsoft execs acknowledged, but they have been working to remedy them.


Topics: PCs, Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, Tablets, Unified Comms


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).

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  • I really do feel the keyboard thing

    makes a better argument for laptops than it does for tablets of any variety. If she'd been using one of the hybrids or transformers, she'd have done even better.
    • Huh?

      It is a "transformer" laptop. Were you even paying attention? 9 seconds in.
      • Yep

        I'm absolutely blind. Duh!
        • What has me a little baffled...

          Is that after almost 12 months of non-stop break dancing hipsters, snapping touch covers on and off of Surfaces suddenly keyboard peripherals for tablets are a bad thing. There's nothing like a good consistent marketing message.
          • Huh?

            Where did they say attachable keyboards were bad?
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Actually

            They are not saying it is a bad thing. But they are actually showing that Surface is a tablet and does not require the keyboard. Something they were horrible at in the first commercials. Basically the commercials made it look like you had to click the keyboard in to use the Surface because they never showed it without a keyboard being clicked in.
          • huh??

            nothing of the sort. they are showing the keyboard folds up and is easy access if never removed. you know, just like the iPad has.
            The Danger is Microsoft
    • I agree with the keyboard idea.

      However, the Lenovo Yoga they are using for comparison is the 13" model and is twice or more the price of an iPad. Weighs 3 times what the iPad does and only has 8 hours of battery life (on a good day). Clearly, the students would be better off with an HP Slatebook x2 (runs Android, has integrated, removable keyboard that gives extra battery life for a total of 18 hours, cost $449)

      The WinTel world, just doesn't seem to get the idea that cost matters and that there is significant competition now. Apple isn't Microsoft's biggest threat, Android is. There are dozens of new hybrids and all-in-ones coming this holiday season.
      • Oh, meant to mention the 55,000 App Studio Projects.

        Wow... 55,000 "Hello, World!" apps!
        • That has absolutely

          nothing to do with windows 8, or any windows 8 devices. You're thinking windows phone 8.
          Sam Wagner
        • You mean like the 400,000

          Android "Hello, World!" apps that are used against WP.
          • I agree, Android probably has about 400,000 "Hello, World!" level apps.

            But then it has 500,000 more apps beyond those.
      • Yes there are new hybrids coming.

        And lot of them are going to be running a combination of a Bay Trail processor and Windows 8. Which means they can do everything you mentioned plus run all the software I already own. If that means I maybe have to pay $100 more then I would for a less powerful, less functional device I'll have to spend the first fortnight messing around with just to see whether or not it is actually going to meet my needs, then I'll happily do that.
        • The benchmarks that are available so far suggest Bay Trail will disappoint.

          The chips that are likely to be shipping this holiday season are slower than the ARM processor in the Samsung Chromebook (which is about half the speed of the most best of the ARM chips). The Tegra 4 chip in the Slatebook I mentioned above is more than twice the speed of the Bay Trail chips. It will run Android at laptop speeds with no problem. Windows 8 is a much heftier OS, you probably won't be happy with it on Bay Trail.
          You can see a list of benchmarks here:

          Out of curiosity, have you taken a close look at "all the software I already own"... when I was moving my business off of Windows a couple of years ago, I did an inventory of what we were using and did the same thing personally. It turns out, we really used very little software. Most of the packages we did use were to make the OS more palatable. For example, a PDF reader, an encrypted drive package, etc. Oddly, I found that I used personally, more software than I did in the business. Anyway, you may find that you use considerably less than you think you do. You may also find that tablets can provide far more of these things than you thought.
          • you're likely to run into a few Windows apps you have to have...

            Consider using using PocketCloud. I've never used it under iOS, but the Android version is great (does RDP and VNC... including using Apple's native security under VNC).
          • I've read some reviews

            And supposed benchmarks. From what I saw, even at a lower clock speed bay trail was able to outperform most, if not all, of the currently available arm chips. I'd take any review with a grain of salt until bay trail is commercially available though.
            Sam Wagner
          • No, sorry, that was faulty Antutu benchmarks you were seeing.

            Intel had some compiler tricks that optimized out portions of the Antutu benchmark. Antutu has since corrected this problems. The benchmarks above give an accurate picture of the first Bay Trail chip that will be shipping. It is likely the only version that will be shipping in time for this Holiday Season. That Bay Trail chip cannot even beat last year's Exynos 5250. We'll know more September 11th... that is the day Intel is supposed roll out Bay Trail.
      • Te cheapest (non mini) ipad

        Cost 499. As opposed to the 13" yoga's 899. Of course for that price you get a 13" screen, I5 processor, 4GB of ram and 128 GB of storage. The comparable 128GB ipad costs 799. That's 100 dollar more, but you don't need to buy a keyboard nor a stand, you can run millions of Win32 applications, over 100.000 rt applications and if needed you could even run Android applications.
        • The Yoga 11 costs less

          Like 700-800, but yeah.
          • The Yoga 11 has been discontinued.

            At this point only Microsoft is still actively shipping Windows RT tablets. It does appear Nokia is about to ship one. Poor Nokia.

            Oh, the remaining 11's are under $500 now... however, it was Tegra 3 based, so I'd steer clear... while it was great in the first Nexus 7, that chip really couldn't handle Windows RT (this is the chip that is in Surface RT).