Microsoft announce job cuts


The rumours have abounded for the last few weeks and today they were confirmed-Microsoft are making job cuts…5000 over the next 18 months, with 1400 of those taking place now.

Many thought and hoped it wouldn’t happen, but unfortunately not even the Software giant that is MS has proved immune. However, and while I am sorry to all those who have/will be cut, it isn’t as bad as it could have been. Numbers around 8000-15,000 were often spoken of, some even went as far as 30,000 s0 5,000 is a relatively conservative outcome. The positions are being cut from “R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT” according to the memo from Steve Ballmer…

On a more positive note, Ballmer also mentions that they’ll be hiring 2000-3000 new people during the same 18 month time frame, so MS are by no means freezing or stagnating; simply re-appraising and re-focusing. Also, at least MS profits were up…albeit only by 2% but still-that’s a fair increase when you’re talking numbers the size that they are. I was chatting about this at work today and just because the results (in this case and others) aren’t quite as good as predicted-they’re still good so is there as much need to worry as we’re told?

Gizmodo New BSOD Competition


I do love Gizmodo…not only a source of great tech news and gadget porn, but they’re also a funny bunch of dudes…as are the readers it seems.

They’ve announced the winners of the “Re-designed Blue Screen of Death” competion and here is the winner-welcome “Cobra Commander”:

cobra-commander

Haha, that cracks me up everytime I look at it… :-) I’d love it if that came up if Windows 7 ever Blue Screened on me-would certainly lighten the mood…

The other 130 entrants can be seen here, now STFU and forget ma face ;-)

Windows Mobile and the Sky


Microsoft look set to announce WinMo 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress and also a number of new cloud services including SkyBox, SkyLine and SkyMarket (via Gizmodo).

These are all exciting additions to the Windows Mobile experience and I can’t wait to start using them on my WinMo 6.1 HTC Diamond…first up SkyBox.

SkyBox is an Over-The-Air (OTA) sync/backup service for your contacts, email, SMS, calendar and pictures…very handy :-) The rumour is that this will be available to non WinMo devices but I’m not sure if that will come off…good way to get some extra love though!

SkyLine seems to be a “Small Business” version of SkyBox with the inclusion of Exchange and SkyMarket is MS’s version of the iPhone AppStore. A Windows Mobile app store will be brilliant as it will really help users to enhance their mobile experience with 3rd party apps that make their days easier and/or more fun!

Microsoft have done a brilliant job of turning things around with Windows 7 so hopefully 6.5/7 and the Sky set of products can do the same for WinMo…

WinMo 6.5 Available to Run?


Both Gizmodo & Engadget are reporting that there are some homebrew-style builds that are “mostly” Windows Mobile 6.5 available for install now.

Heads over at XDA Developers have got it running on some old school HTC models such as the MDA 3 and Qtek 9090, but it doesn’t look like much cop to me. It doesn’t look like the screenshots in my other recent postand I’m inclined to believe it’s just WinMo 6.1 with a new skin really.

The Gizmodo article with links is here.

Windows Mobile 6.5 announcements?


The buzz is getting ever louder as the Mobile World Congress gets closer-will Microsoft unveil Windows Mobile 6.5?

After the pretty disappointing CES keynote, MS need to pull something big out of the bag now and a new version of WinMo would fit the bill for sure…especially with all the love the Palm Pre is getting.

Sources say that we’ll see the first WinMo 6.5 phones drop in Q3 2009-so not a million miles away. Although I’m excited to see WinMo 6.5, especially if the screenshots (below) and other news are accurate-but I think I’ll probably hold off upgrading my device until WInMo 7 hits.

Alleged Windows Mobile 6.5 screenshots

Alleged Windows Mobile 6.5 screenshots

Exchange 14


There’s been a small flurry of activity on a few MS focused blogs recently about Exchange 14 and, although I initially decided not to post about it, following a number of conversations I’ve had at work recently-I figured I would :-)

Exchange 14 is the next incarnation of Microsoft’s ever more popular email system (no 13 for superstitious MS) and it certainly seems to be yet another great leap forward, as 2007 was over 2003. Microsoft’s entrance into the world of Software+Services means that Exchange 14 has been designed with cloud services in mind, making it the most scalable to date. Already there are 3.5 million users on Microsoft’s Exchange Labs via the Live@Edu scheme-surely the biggest Exchange deployment ever?!

An interesting bit of info from the Exchange Team is:

“Ferris Research just did a survey of several enterprise customers, and they found that the cost of running Exchange 2007 was roughly half that of running Exchange 2003. E14 will bring that cost down by a similar margin yet again.”

A clear sign that Microsoft can, do and will continue to save customers money while still delivering awesome products!

I’m looking forward to all the Wave 14 products but I find it hardest to get excited about Exchange if I’m honest. That’s because, as an end user, as long as it gets my emails from place to place that’s all I notice…all the fancy stuff I see is part of Outlook and thus Office 14. That said, Exchange 2007 had some great new features around UC that really enriched the UX (User eXperience) so I’m hoping E14 will too!