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Microsoft Announces Board Changes and Quarterly Dividend Increase

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of Visa Inc., have been appointed to the company's board of directors and will join the board effective Oct. 1, 2014. The company also announced that Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon have decided not to seek reelection to the board of directors and will retire from the board at the expiration of their current term following the annual shareholders meeting in December.

Microsoft also announced its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.31 per share, reflecting a 3-cent, or 11 percent, increase over the previous quarter's dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 11, 2014, to shareholders of record on Nov. 20, 2014. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 18, 2014. "As we continue to focus on the company's transformation and the board continues to evaluate capital strategy options, this dividend increase is another step in our ongoing commitment to increase capital returns to shareholders," said Amy Hood, chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Microsoft to Hold a Big Windows Event in Late-September

Microsoft sent out invites to the press for a big event it's holding on the 30th of September, 2014. The invite's catchphrase reads "join us to hear about what's next for Windows and the enterprise." Speculation is rife about what Microsoft plans to launch on that day. The most plausible theory talks about a possible Windows 2014 launch, the next addition to its enterprise operating system family. A less plausible theory speaks of Windows 9, which is really a client operating system. Microsoft wouldn't specifically mention "enterprise." Windows 2014 could be loaded with features for the next-generation of enterprise environments, which are increasingly leveraging the cloud. It wouldn't surprise us if Microsoft took a big leap in favor of the new breed of ARM + x86 hybrid CPUs, and high-density ARM-based servers.

SanDisk DAS Cache Software Now Available for Next Generation Dell PowerEdge

SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced that SanDisk DAS Cache software will be offered by Dell for use in its next generation Dell PowerEdge servers with direct-attached storage (DAS). This all-software solution will allow customers to benefit from the high performance of solid state drives (SSDs), while maintaining data on direct-attached, disk-based storage. SanDisk DAS Cache software works with SSDs from any manufacturer, empowering customers to select the SSD capacity and performance that is appropriate to their data center needs.

"We have been working very closely with Dell to provide a complete solution for their customers that provides the performance and cost benefits of solid-state storage technology," said John Scaramuzzo, senior vice president and general manager, Enterprise Storage Solutions, SanDisk. "Combining innovations in both hardware and software enables customers to realize the full potential of enterprise storage solutions. We are excited that Dell is able to offer the benefits of our SanDisk DAS Cache software to customers with its new PowerEdge servers."

Windows 8.1 Overtakes 8 Worldwide – StatCounter

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system has overtaken its older sibling Windows 8 for the first time in terms of internet usage worldwide, according to StatCounter, the independent website analytics company. The company's research arm, StatCounter Global Stats also finds that despite Microsoft's ending of support in April this year, Windows XP refuses to die and remains the world's second most popular operating system version. However, for the first time globally, the combined total of Windows 8 and 8.1 (14%) overtook XP (12.9%) in August.

All AMD Graphics CoreNext GPUs to Support DirectX 12: Company

AMD production manager Devon Nekechuk, speaking at the company's 30 Years of Graphics event, disclosed that all AMD GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture will support DirectX 12, Microsoft's next generation multimedia API. The company is already up-to-date on the DirectX feature-level support, with support for DirectX 11.2. The company isn't drumming that up too loud, probably because it's developing an ecosystem for its own/competing AMD Mantle 3D API.

Microsoft to Release Nine Security Updates Next Week

With only a few more days until this month's Patch Tuesday Micrsosoft took to the web to announce that it plans to roll out no less than nine updates - two rated 'Critical' and seven rated 'Important'. The upcoming patches address vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office, Microsoft Server Software, SQL Server, .NET, and Internet Explorer.

The August updates are scheduled to be made available this Tuesday, August 12, at 10 AM PDT. For more info check out the advance notification published here.

Microsoft Unveils Halo-Themed Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500

The Halo franchise may not have any (recent) ties with the PC space but that isn't stopping Microsoft from trying to sell Halo-branded peripherals to the PC crowd. One such piece of hardware is the upcoming Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief, a 1000 dpi ambidextrous mouse with 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity and support for BlueTrack technology (which improves tracking accuracy).

The Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief also features a battery life of up to 8 months, it comes bundled with an USB nano transceiver, and has a three-year warranty. The mouse costs $29.99 and is now available for pre-order with shipments expected to kick off in October.

Microsoft Announces Fourth-Quarter FY2014 Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $23.38 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2014. Gross margin, operating income, and diluted earnings per share ("EPS") for the quarter were $15.79 billion, $6.48 billion, and $0.55 per share, respectively.

Microsoft completed the acquisition of substantially all of the Nokia Devices and Services ("NDS") business on April 25, 2014. Revenue and cost of revenue from the acquired business, including amortization of intangible assets, are reported in the new Phone Hardware segment. For the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2014, the results of NDS contributed revenue, gross margin, operating income, and diluted EPS of $1.99 billion, $54 million, $(692) million, and $(0.08), respectively.

Microsoft Announces Steps to Simplify Organizations and Align Devices Strategy

Microsoft Corp. today announced a restructuring plan to simplify its operations and align the recently acquired Nokia Devices and Services business with the company's overall strategy.

These steps will result in the elimination of up to 18,000 positions over the next year. Of the total, about 12,500 professional and factory positions will be eliminated through synergies and strategic alignment of the Nokia Devices and Services business acquired by Microsoft on April 25. The actions associated with the plan are expected to be substantially complete by Dec. 31, 2014, and fully completed by June 30, 2015.

Microsoft to Revamp Activation System with Windows 9

Microsoft is expected to introduce a radical new software activation system with its next major release of Windows, in a bid to stem piracy. According to BetaNews, citing a Russian source with a reasonably good track-record in leaking stuff out of Redmond, the company is planning to do away with software keys, 16-character alphanumeric passwords unique to each copy of the software, which let you prove the validity of your purchase, and unlock the software. The next Windows will use a system in which having a Microsoft Store account - which isn't necessarily the same as a Microsoft Account - is mandatory, and acquiring machine-specific images of the Windows installation disc from the store.

The way we understand it, it works like this. After paying for your license while logged into the Microsoft Store, you're made to download a generic install disc image. After its installation, your machine's details (usually just motherboard-related details) are logged with Microsoft, and the software stays activated on your machine. When you need to install your OS on another machine, you untie your current machine from your licence online, and install your software on the new machine. The software will stop working on the older machine, ensuring that only one single-user license is running on a machine at a given time. The concept can be suitably adapted for 3-user and 5-user family licenses.

Microsoft To Roll Out Six Security Updates Next Week

Microsoft Corp. has just announced its plans for this month's Patch Tuesday and they include the release of six updates - two rated 'Critical', three rated 'Important' and one rated 'Moderate'. The upcoming updates target vulnerabilities found in Windows operating systems, in Internet Explorer and in Microsoft Server Software.

The six patches will be made available this coming Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at about 10:00 am PDT. The bulletin advance notification for this month's releases can be found here.

Microsoft and Canon Sign Patent Cross-Licensing Agreement

Microsoft Corp. and Canon Inc. on Wednesday broadened their strategic alliance with the announcement of a broad patent cross-licensing agreement. With this agreement, Microsoft and Canon gain licenses to each other's highly valued and growing patent portfolios.

"This collaborative approach with Canon allows us to deliver inventive technologies that benefit consumers around the world," said Nick Psyhogeos, general manager, associate general counsel, IP Licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "Microsoft believes cooperative licensing is an effective way to accelerate innovation while reducing patent disputes."

Microsoft Declares Quarterly Dividend

Microsoft Corp. today announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share. The dividend is payable Sept. 11, 2014 to shareholders of record on Aug. 21, 2014. The ex-dividend date will be Aug. 19, 2014. Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft To Roll Out Seven Security Updates Next Week

The first Patch Tuesday of Summer '14 is coming up and it will see Microsoft release seven updates - two bearing a 'Critical' rating and five rated 'Important'. The incoming patches target vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8/8.1, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Internet Explorer (6 to 11), Office (2007, 2010) and Lync (2010, 2013).

Microsoft's software updates will be made available Tuesday, June 10th at about 10:00 AM PDT. The Advance Notification for this month's patches can be found here.

Microsoft Introduces the Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. introduced Surface Pro 3 - the lightweight tablet that packs the power and performance you expect from a laptop.

Surface Pro 3 is a tablet and a laptop: multiple processor, RAM and storage options intersect with a sleek design that, with a simple snap or click, transform the device from a perfectly balanced tablet to a full-functioning laptop and back again - all in a beautiful package that is 30 percent thinner than an 11-inch MacBook Air. Its stunning 12-inch display and new, continuous kickstand provide the screen real estate and multiple viewing angles people need for work and play. And the new Surface Pen - completely redesigned with form and function in mind - delivers a precise, luxurious drawing and note-taking experience with a single click of the pen.

Microsoft Readies Eight Patches For Next Week

May's Patch Tuesday is coming up and Microsoft is ready for it with eight new updates, two of which are rated 'Critical' while the rest are rated 'Important'. The patches will address vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, RT, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Office (2007, 2010, 2013), .NET Framework and Internet Explorer.

The eight patches are set to be released next Tuesday, May 13th, at about 10:00 AM PDT, For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Reports $20 Billion Revenue for Q3 FY14

Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $20.40 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Gross margin, operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $14.46 billion, $6.97 billion, $5.66 billion, and $0.68 per share, respectively.

The following table reconciles our financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") to non-GAAP financial results for the prior year. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance. Management commentary regarding performance and growth refers to non-GAAP financial results.

Microsoft and Motorola Solutions Sign Licensing Agreement

Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a patent licensing agreement with Motorola Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers. The license provides worldwide coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Motorola Solutions' devices running the Android platform and Chrome OS operating system.

"Microsoft and Motorola Solutions share a respect for intellectual property and a commitment to fair and reasonable patent licensing programs," said Nick Psyhogeos, general manager, associate general counsel, IP licensing of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "Microsoft prefers licensing to litigation, since licensing is a more effective way to share technology and accelerate the pace of innovation."

Four Microsoft Security Updates Coming Next Week

This month's Patch Tuesday (the last one for Windows XP and Office 2003) will see Microsoft roll out four fresh security updates, two rated Critical and two rated Important, targeting remote code execution vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. One of the updates is set to resolve a Word bug that was made public last week (on March 24th) and is known to have been exploited in 'limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010'.

The April patches will be made available next week on April 8th, at about 10:00 a.m. PDT. For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Showcases Latest Updates to Windows

Wednesday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp.'s developer conference, the company announced several advances to Windows including Windows Phone 8.1, the availability of Windows 8.1 Update, a converged developer platform, and a $0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners developing smartphones and tablets with screens under nine inches.

Microsoft detailed new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a common platform across devices, a single toolset, a common infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and a clear commitment to interoperability. The announcements highlight Microsoft's continued commitment to its partners and the developer community by maximizing opportunities across the broadest range of devices and services. Also as a part of the conference, Nokia announced three new Lumia smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1, including the flagship Lumia 930, the affordable Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.

Microsoft and Dell Sign Patent Licensing Agreement

Microsoft Corp. and Dell announced a patent licensing agreement allowing the companies to share technology and build on each other's innovations. It is the continuation of a nearly 30-year business relationship between Microsoft and Dell to deliver world-class technologies to consumers.

"Our agreement with Dell shows what can be accomplished when companies share intellectual property," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of the Innovation and Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "We have been partnering with technology manufacturers and vendors for many years to craft licensing deals, instead of litigation strategies."

AMD Demonstrates Full Support for DirectX 12 at Game Developer Conference

Today, AMD announced support for Microsoft and its revamped graphics application programming interface, DirectX 12, a new "console-like" version of the graphics API that has inspired PC gaming for nearly two decades. During the Microsoft-sponsored panel, DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform, AMD revealed that it will support DirectX 12 on all AMD Radeon GPUs that feature the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

AMD will support and collaborate with Microsoft on the development of the generational advancement of the API, to continue to improve the experience for both developers and end users.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 Leaked

Ahead of its anticipated mid-March launch, the Update 1 package of Windows 8.1 was leaked to the web. Not very different in definition to a service pack, Update 1 adds a host of features and under-the-hood changes to Windows 8.1. When updated, it should change the version string of your Windows 8.1 installation to look something along the lines of "6.3.9600.17031.WINBLUE_GDR.140221-1952." You'll notice how it's formatted similar to those of Microsoft's Windows Phone operating systems. NGOHQ.com hosts a repository of the Microsoft Update (*.msu) files that must be applied in sequence, to update your Windows 8.1 installation. If you're not sure, wait out till the update is formally out, and Windows Update will update the operating system with close to zero user intervention.
DOWNLOAD: Windows 8.1 Update 1 MSU files

Microsoft Readies Five Patches for Next Week

This coming Tuesday Redmond-based Microsoft Corp. is planning to make available five fresh security updates - two with a 'Critical' rating and three tagged 'Important'. The incoming parches are set to address bugs found in Windows, Internet Explorer and Silverlight.

One of the Critical updates will fix an Internet Explorer issue that has already been acknowledged and was exploited in a 'limited number of attacks'. Additional information about Tuesday's releases can be found in the Security Bulletin Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Readies Five New Patches for Next Week

For this month's Patch Tuesday Microsoft is set to deliver five fresh security update - two with a 'Critical' rating and three tagged 'Important'. According to the Redmond-based company, the incoming updates address vulnerabilities found in Windows operating systems, in Microsoft Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server, and in the .NET Framework.

The patches are set to become available this Tuesday, February 11, at about 10:00 a.m. PST. For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.
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