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Riding on Strong Azure Performance, Microsoft Crushes Estimates, Jumps 4% in Stock Valuation

Following Microsoft's Earnings report last Thursday, the company enjoyed a smooth uphill with its stock value in after-hours trading. Riding on the strong of greater than expected Microsoft Azure Cloud earnings, Microsoft beat all estimates by a margin: earnings per share were announced at $1.14, versus $1.08 expected (GAAP), and revenue was declared at $30.1 billion, versus $29.2 billion expected. That's an extra billion dollars in revenue for all intents and purposes - and stock pricing increased by more than the additional revenue did, with investors expressing confidence on "strong guidance".

Productivity and Business Processes, with Microsoft Office, was up 13% from the year-ago period, to $9.7 billion. Intelligent Cloud, which encompasses the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform and related technologies, was up 23%, to $9.6 billion. And More Personal Computing, which includes Windows, the Xbox, and the Surface hardware business, was up 17%, to $10.8 billion (7% up in the Windows business alone). The Azure folder was the one with the most growth, by far: it saw revenue growth of 89% from the same period in 2017. LinkedIn revenue went up 37% from the same time last year, and gaming revenue saw a 39% increase - a boost not related to hardware, but Xbox software and services, which accounted for 36% of that figure. The Surface business is up 25% from this time last year, something Microsoft credits to both a strong hardware lineup this year and a less than stellar 2017 performance.

Microsoft Launching New Budget Surface Tablet on July 13th

Expectations of a budget Microsoft Surface tablet that would bring the company's reach to mainstream pricing ranges have been doing the rounds for years now. The company, however, has preferred to build on its product design chops on a higher margin market, going after Apple's usual product language. It now seems those days are over, as rumors and leaks have somewhat coalesced into an actual, impending product launch - if insiders are correct, this product should materialize this Friday, July 13th.

The new Surface tablet will launch starting from $399 under Microsoft's Education program, but configuration options should bring options up to the $829 mark. The screen is expected to be a 10" affair, with an 1800x1200 resolution. CPU options should start with Intel's "Gemini Lake" Pentium Silver N5000, a quad-core SoC with a 1.1 GHz base clock and up to 2.7 GHz boost. The more expensive versions will likely feature the Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y and the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, both based on the "Kaby Lake" architecture. Base configurations should carry 4 GB of DDR4 memory (configurable up to 8 GB), and 64 GB of storage (up to 256 GB), on a 562 g body and USB Type-C. A special-purpose Type cover and mouse will be made available as well.

Microsoft Launches the Surface Precision Mouse for $99.99

Microsoft today launches the Surface Precision Mouse. Designed for exceptional accuracy, comfort, and control, the new mouse helps you stay in your flow with flawless scrolling and three customisable buttons. Boasting an ergonomic shape, the mouse allows for either wired or Bluetooth connection and can work and switch seamlessly up to three different PCs. The Surface Precision Mouse is available for purchase now from the Microsoft store for $99.99. Special pricing is also available for eligible students, parents and teachers.

Microsoft Announces the New Generation Surface Laptop

Earlier today, we shared our vision for empowering today's students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow. This is a vision that resonates deeply with us on the Surface team because it taps directly into why we created Surface - to empower people to bring their ideas to life. To bring hardware and software together to transform the way people learn and create. This is what Surface has always been about. We built Surface Laptop to do two things: refresh the classic laptop form factor that our customers, especially college students, have been asking for; and make a Surface that works seamlessly to showcase the best of Windows 10 S.

The result is the most personal and balanced Surface we've ever made. This Surface perfectly blends fabric and function, power and portability, beauty and performance. It does all of this without compromising on the things we know are important to higher education students: battery life, display quality, storage, and portability.

Microsoft Announces Q2 2017 (Fiscal Year) Results - Beating Expectations

This afternoon, Microsoft had its earnings announcement for the second quarter of their 2017 fiscal year, beating Wall Street expectations with revenue of $26.1 billion (beating estimates of $25.3 billion), net income of $6.5 billion, and earnings per share of $0.83 (predicted at $0.79).

Microsoft has shuffled their product groups around a bit for reporting, and they now have three groups: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. LinkedIn results, when aggregated to Microsoft's subsequent earnings reports (which have been included separately due to the acquisition having been completed on December 8th 2016), will fall in the first group.

Microsoft Announces the Surface Studio - A 28-Inch AIO With Skylake and GTX 980M

At the 2016 annual Microsoft Surface Event, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Surface Computing Panos Panay announced a new addition to the company's Surface lineup: a 28-inch All-in-One, with a 3:2 aspect ratio monitor Microsoft calls a "Pixel Sense Display", packing a 4500x3000 resolution (with around 62% more pixels than 4K resolution, combining to provide about 192 pixels per inch), as well as 10-point touch and Microsoft Pen support.

All of that screen real-estate comes in at just 12.5mm thick - the AIO's innards are actually on the monitor's base, with an hinge that promises to allow the display to be moved seamlessly and in a wide variety of angles, as well as allowing it to take on extra weight in studio mode. All of this is powered by an Intel Skylake processor (configurable as an i5 or i7 model), your choice of an NVIDIA GTX 965 M 2GB or an NVIDIA GTX 980 M 4 GB model, 8 through 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1 TB or 2TB storage - with all configurable options also including in their base specs what Microsoft calls a "Rapid Hybrid Drive", which at the moment, remains unclear as to its nature of either a SATA or PCIe SSD, or even an SSHD.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 0.8.6

TechPowerUp released version 0.8.6 of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostics utility, which gives you detailed info on your installed graphics chips, and lets you monitor the various sensors of your GPUs. To begin with, the new version comes with DirectX 12 support, with the ability to tell which feature-level of Direct3D your hardware supports. Command-line usage has been added with the "/help" argument. Support was added for several GPUs, notably GTX 950, Microsoft Surface Book GPU, R9 Nano, and AMD "Carrizo" iGPU.

The app can now wake up AMD GPUs in laptops that are power-gated to conserve power (and which would hence not get properly detected). BIOS reading is improved, and incorrect fan-speed reading, and a rare BSOD in AMD R9 Fury series GPUs, are fixed. Several stability improvements for Intel iGPUs were made, with the addition of support for Intel "Braswell," "Cherry Lake," and "Skylake" iGPUs. AMD GPU clock speed detection with no AMD driver installed, has been improved. A rare case of misreading BIOS in multi-GPU setups, has been fixed. Voltage monitoring on some Sapphire graphics cards has been fixed.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.8.6 | GPU-Z 0.8.6 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.

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.

Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and New Accessories Available for Purchase

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that its newest Surface models - Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 - as well as an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories are now available for purchase at Microsoft retail stores, select third-party retailers, and authorized commercial resellers in 21 initial markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The new Surface products will be available in China in early November.

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are the most productive tablets on the planet, and they each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, display and camera resolution, and the kickstand - now featuring a second, wider angle so it's more comfortable to use Surface on your lap or at your desk. Enhancements in Windows 8.1 RT and Windows 8.1 Pro make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customizable. Knowledgeable staff are on hand at all Microsoft retail store locations to answer questions and help with Surface setup, so customers have a great out-of-box experience and walk out the door with a product that is personalized for them.

Intel To Ship Limited Quantites of 4.5W SDP Haswell BGA Chips

Intel is going in for the kill. The company has lowered the lowest SDP (Scenario Design Point, different from TDP) rating of Haswell based microprocessors from 6W to just 4.5W. The difference might not look like it's much (just 1.5W), but it is quite significant. While 6W wouldn't allow OEMs to use the processor in compact form factors like tablets, 4.5W will allow the same OEMs to go for fanless, passive-cooled Haswell powered tablets. Intel will ship very limited quantities of 4.5W SDP Haswell SKUs.

Of course, this opens up the possibility of these new Haswell chips to end up being used in Microsoft's next-generation Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet. If Intel manages to squeeze in an underclocked HD5000 GPU, there'll be nothing like it. Intel hasn't released any information regarding the exact specifications of the SKUs, pricing, or shipping dates.

DisplayLink to Demonstrate WiGig and USB Docking Expansion

DisplayLink, the leading provider of USB Graphics technology, today announced plans to show the latest solutions for Wireless and USB Docking at Interop 2013. Targeting Ultrabook and Tablet expansion and connectivity for business users, DisplayLink will feature wireless WiGig Docking, Enterprise Class USB Docking, and the latest Mac drivers, with demonstrations to be held at the Interop Expo.

Introducing the latest solutions, John Cummins, VP Sales and Marketing for DisplayLink said, "IT Managers are struggling with BYOD. At Interop 2013, DisplayLink will showcase our customer's products, including monitor-docks for tablets with touch screen and integrated Webcams, WiGig Docks for wireless graphics and peripheral expansion, and Enterprise-Class USB Docks with multiple display connections for both Windows and Mac. These products solve problems and enhance productivity."

Microsoft Grows Surface Family

Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Surface family of PCs is growing. Its newest model — Surface Windows 8 Pro — will be available for purchase on Feb. 9, 2013, in the United States and Canada at all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com, Staples and Best Buy in the U.S., as well as from a number of locations in Canada.

Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, Surface Windows 8 Pro provides the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet package. Perfect as your one device - at home, in the office, or on the road — it can run Windows 8 applications, as well as current Windows 7 desktop applications. Starting at an estimated retail price of US$899, Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available in 64 GB and 128 GB models. A Surface pen with Palm Block technology, designed specifically to work with Surface to let customers edit, collaborate and get things done, is included with Surface Windows 8 Pro.

Microsoft Increases Production and Expands Distribution for Surface Tablet

Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to make Microsoft Surface available at additional retailers as soon as mid-December. In addition, the company announced the extension of the Microsoft holiday stores, including the transition of several of the stores into permanent Microsoft retail outlets.

"The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We've increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface," said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro Gets Priced

Through its official blog Microsoft has announced that the x86-flavored Surface tablet, which runs Windows 8 Pro (the ARM-based Surface RT is loaded with Windows RT), will arrive in January, priced at $899 (64 GB model) and $999 (128 GB).

Set to have about half the battery life of the Surface RT, the upcoming device is equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor and has a 10.6-inch (1920 x 1080) ClearType display supporting both finger and pen input, 4 GB of RAM, 802.11 b/g/n/ WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a micro SDXC card slot, two 720p HD LifeCams, stereo speakers, an USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort output, and a kickstand. The Surface with Windows 8 Pro is 0.53 inches thick, has a VaporMg casing, and is backed by a one-year warranty.

Noctua Announces NF-A14 FLX, NF-A14 ULN and NF-A15 PWM 140 mm Fans

Noctua today introduced its new NF-A14 FLX, NF-A14 ULN and NF-A15 PWM 140mm fans that complement the recently announced A-series of premium quality quiet fans. Like the previously presented NF-A4x10, NF-A6x25 and NF-A9x14, the new 140mm models feature Noctua's novel AAO frames as well as the series' signature Flow Acceleration Channels for reduced boundary layer separation and improved aerodynamic efficiency. Reference class SSO2 bearing and 6 years manufacturer's warranty make the NF-A15 and NF-A14 a stand-out choice for all noise-sensitive 140 mm applications.

"Introduced in 2009, our NF-P14 has become a default-choice among PC enthusiasts looking for a premium quality, quiet 140mm fan, so we're excited to further improve its much acclaimed airflow to noise ratio with the new NF-A14 and NF-A15", says Mag. Roland Mossig, Noctua CEO. "The A14 and A15 models all sport the key features of our new A-series fans and now come in both round and square frame design."

NVIDIA Reports Financial Results for Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2013

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported record revenue of $1.20 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ended Oct. 28, 2012, up 15.3 percent from the previous quarter and up 12.9 percent from a year earlier.

The company also announced that it is initiating the payment of a quarterly cash dividend, and extending its existing $2.7 billion share-repurchase program, initiated in August 2004, through December 2014.

"Investments in our new growth strategies paid off this quarter in record revenues and margins," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "Kepler GPUs are winning across the special-purpose PC markets we serve, from gaming to design to supercomputing. And Tegra is powering some of the most innovative tablets, phones and cars in the market."

Microsoft Working on Xbox Surface, 7-inch Gaming Tablet

It looks like Razer's reluctance over Project Fiona may have cost it some potential market share, and it's going to have to face mighty Microsoft in the upcoming gaming tablet market segment. Redmond plans to fuse its Xbox and Surface product lines to create the Xbox Surface, a 7-inch tablet designed for gaming. There's not much information on how Microsoft will handle input, but we're guessing that in addition to its multi-touch screen, Microsoft could bundle a wireless Xbox 360 controller. The tablet itself could be designed with buttons and thumb-sticks. The 7-inch 16:9 screen of the Xbox Surface features a native resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p). Driving the tablet is an ARM-based SoC, though it's possible that Microsoft could decide to use an Intel x86 chip. The ARM processor is backed by high-bandwidth memory. The new tablet is most likely slated for 2013.

Microsoft Surface Now Available at Microsoft Retail Stores

Microsoft Corp. today announced that its new PC, Microsoft Surface, is now available for purchase at all Microsoft retail, holiday and online stores in the United States and Canada. Designed to be the ultimate stage for Windows RT, Surface is unique and represents exceptional value, providing an immersive entertainment experience and a foundation for getting things done. With a starting price of US$499,1 Surface will be available online at http://www.microsoftstore.com in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. In China and Hong Kong, Surface will be available online at Suning. More details are available here.

A variety of Surface accessories are also available for purchase, including Touch Covers in five vibrant colors — black, white, magenta, cyan and red — priced at US$119.99, so customers can express their personal style.2 Customers also have the option to purchase a Type Cover in black for US$129.99, which adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Func Unveils New Surface 1030 Gaming Surfaces

Func is paving the road to make it to the top of the gaming industry. Today marks the reintroduction of a refreshed concept coupled with a completely new upcoming range of innovative products.

Func aims to enhance the gaming experience through products designed with functionality in mind. Introducing first, a new version of the classic Surface 1030, highly acclaimed among gamers and reviewers. Func Surface 1030 offers the dual-sided concept like the earlier versions and now comes in two sizes, large and x-large.

Mad Catz Announces New Range of G.L.I.D.E. Professional Gaming Surfaces

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. announced today a new range of G.L.I.D.E. Professional Gaming Surfaces ("G.L.I.D.E."). Utilizing advanced materials, the G.L.I.D.E. has been designed and tested to greatly enhance sensor tracking performance when compared to other mouse mats or gaming surfaces currently available.

"We believe the new G.L.I.D.E. range will prove to be the ideal companion for our R.A.T. gaming mice," said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. "The announcement of the G.L.I.D.E. range continues our strategy of growing our portfolio of premium gaming products which resonate with the passionate gamer."

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 RT Priced, Starts at $499

Microsoft put price tags on some of its most important upcoming products, Surface with Windows 8 RT. The prices were revealed by Microsoft Store US, and covers three models based on storage capacity and Touch Cover (cover with keyboard and trackpad). The lineup starts at US $499 with Surface 32 GB without Touch Cover. For $599, you get the same model, with the Touch Cover. Leading the pack is Surface 64 GB with Touch Cover, priced at $699. The store is accepting pre-orders for all available color options of Surface and Touch Cover. Orders will delivered as early as by October 26.

Windows 8 Launch Event Slated for October 25, Held In New York

Microsoft plans to hold a launch event for its upcoming client operating system, Windows 8, on October 25, 2012. The event will be held in New York. In all likelihood, the event leads up to a midnight launch of the operating system on the 26th. Microsoft's next big launch for the year, the Surface, could be part of the event. Windows 8 is Microsoft's next major update to its flagship product, which radically changes its user-interface for the "post-PC era." It is also the first mainline Windows version since Windows 95 to support a machine architecture apart from x86 and IA-64 (Windows 8 RT, supporting ARM).

Microsoft Readies "Wedge" Mobile Keyboard for Windows 8 Devices

Microsoft's decades-old hardware division is ready with an ultra-compact wireless peripheral for upcoming Windows 8 devices (such as tablets, Microsoft Surface), called the Wedge Mobile Keyboard. Some of its first pictures were scored by Czech publication WinMAG.cz, which reveal a keyboard the size of the one found in 11.5-inch notebooks, with a solid metal base with Microsoft logo etched on it, and 76 keys. The WIN key has the latest Windows logo printed on it. Also pictured is what appears to be a plastic case for carrying the keyboard around. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard appears to be wireless, and probably uses Bluetooth to interface with the host.

Microsoft Unveils the New Office

Today, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office, available at office.com/preview. The next release features an intuitive design that works beautifully with touch, stylus, mouse or keyboard across new Windows devices, including tablets. The new Office is social and unlocks modern scenarios in reading, note-taking, meetings and communications and will be delivered to subscribers through a cloud service that is always up to date.

"We are taking bold steps at Microsoft," Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco. "The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8."

Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows

Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled Surface: PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Company executives showed two Windows tablets and accessories that feature significant advances in industrial design and attention to detail. Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise. It delivers the power of amazing software with Windows and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience.
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