Facing competition from Google Drive and Apple's iWork/iCloud integration, Microsoft is stepping up its game, making real strides in an Office suite that everyone uses, but no one really enjoys. On Monday, Microsoft officially unveiled Office 2013 and Office 365. With the cloud at center stage and a refreshed design borrowed from the Windows 8 Metro interface, the new Microsoft Office is actually relevant - and enjoyable to use. In the latest Office suite, Microsoft is introducing a subscription-based cloud service (and thus an entirely new business model). You'll still be able to purchase the new Office 2013 in the same way you would with previous versions - by paying a one-time fee for the right to use Office forever on a single PC. But now there's also a revamped Office 365 that you can pay for monthly. Unlike the current web-based version of Office 365, the new version will allow you to purchase a subscription to the Office 2013 desktop applications as well. And if you buy Office 365, you'll be able to download the desktop software onto multiple devices. For example, the consumer-facing Office 365 Home Premium lets you download Office on up to five PCs.
The long-rumored breakup between NBC News and Microsoft (MSFT) is now official. On Monday morning, NBC News announced that its parent company NBC Universal (CMCSA) had bought Microsoft's 50 percent share of Msnbc.com for an undisclosed price (which The New York Times reports to be roughly $300 million) putting an end to a news-and-technology-sharing partnership that dates to 1996. The move will give NBC News full editorial and business control over Msnbc.com. For now, Msnbc.com will redirect visitors to nbcnews.com. Next year, executives at 30 Rockefeller Plaza will relaunch Msnbc.com as the brand appropriate, opinionated home of its left-leaning cable TV network MSNBC.
The Finnish handset maker is attempting to spur sales of the Lumia 900 in the wake of Microsoft's announcement that Windows Phone 8, set to launch this fall, will not run on legacy devices. With a new two-year contract, the Lumia 900 can now be bought for just $49.99, down from its original $99.99 price tag. Shares in Nokia fell over 3 percent on Monday, as noted by Reuters, as investors are concerned that the price cut on the Lumia 900 is a "sign of desperation" as Nokia struggles to compete with Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Android-based handsets.
Apple, whose iPad has dominated the 10-inch tablet market, may be about to enter the small tablet space with a different strategy. Reports from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere suggest that Apple will launch an iPad with a 7.8-inch display this year. It will likely be priced high enough for Apple to turn a profit--and, therefore higher than the competition--but the size of Apple's app store may be enough to spoil everyone else's 7-inch tablet party. (Keep in mind, also, that if Apple uses a 4:3 aspect ratio, its tablet would be 40 percent larger than most other 7-inch tablets.)
Research in Motion (RIM) has been fined $147.2 million over a 2008 patent lawsuit. To give you a rough background, the complainant was a company called Mformation Technologies which holds some patents related to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The patent held by Mformation is with regards to remotely controlling wireless devices via wireless networks, which is basically how RIM's service works. The court has found RIM to be infringing on the said patents and has fined $8 per BlackBerry device sold in the U.S which sums up to about $147.2 million. Thankfully for RIM, foreign and future BlackBerry smartphone sales weren't taken into consideration. RIM obviously has filed for an appeal to overturn the ruling, and is fairly confident in being successful at that.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL) said it's rejoining an environmental rating system after its exit from the group threatened to halt sales to governments and universities that use the registry when making purchasing decisions. Apple's decision to drop out of the environmental system called EPEAT was a "mistake" and its eligible products are now back on the registry, Bob Mansfield, Apple's senior vice president for hardware engineering, said in a statement posted on the company's website.
Production of the next iPhone has already begun, a Japanese-language Apple blog claims. The blog goes on to say that the back of the new iPhone has both glass and aluminum. "In the area where aluminum is not used, there is glass." The iPhone 5's most anticipated feature -- which has been widely reported -- is a larger 4-inch class Retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Previous iPhones have had a 3.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Oh, if you're interested in preordering an iPhone 5 Chinese resellers on Taobao (a unit of Alibaba) are already accepting orders, according to Reuters. Good luck with that.
A man whose prized sports car was stolen 42 years ago recovered the vehicle after spotting it on eBay, authorities said Sunday. Robert Russell told the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that he had never given up searching for the 1967 Austin Healy after it was stolen from his Philadelphia home in 1970. Russell recently spotted what he thought was his car on eBay and checked the vehicle identification number on the website with the one on the car's title certificate, finding they were a match, the department said in a news release. After working with Philadelphia police to resolve vehicle identification issues, the department told Russell he could pick up his car. He has since brought it back to Texas. His hometown wasn't immediately available. Russell told deputies that he bought the vehicle for $3,000. It's now valued at $23,000.
For many, YouTube is a beloved repository for humorous content, how-tos and general entertainment. However, YouTube is increasingly becoming a platform for news. For four months between January 2011 to March 2012, the most searched-for terms on YouTube were related to news events, according to a Pew Research Center report released Monday. The most popular videos on the web's third most-visited site concerned natural disasters or political upheaval since videos with "intense visuals" tend to perform best, says Pew. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami was the most popular news event on the video network: In the week following the disaster (March 11 to 18), the 20 most-viewed videos related to the tragedy were viewed more than 96 million times.
That's the advice every kid gets from frustrated parents over the summer. And Dale Dougherty aims to help them do it. In conjunction with Google, Dougherty -- the publisher of do-it-yourself bible Make Magazine -- launched the free Maker Camp on Monday. The six-week course aims to introduce 13- to 18-year-olds to the concept of DIY with the help of popular personalities from the community, such as Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing, Stephen and Fritz of EepyBird (the Coke and Mentos guys), Jimmy DiResta (co-host of Dirty Money on the Discovery Channel) and more
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