Microsoft Kinect official pricing

Microsoft Kinect, the motion sensing, wii-beating, game changing Xbox 360 add on, now has official pricing.

US = $149.99
UK = £129.99

It’s good to have pricing but it does seem we’re getting the short end of the stick here in the UK. The current conversion rate puts it around £90, which would far more palatable. I don’t see why it is so much more over here…almost 50%!

When I pre-ordered my Kinect a couple of weeks ago, Game told me they expected it to be less than £100 as Microsoft wanted to “make it as accessible as possible”…that sounded plausible but alas, clearly isn’t the case :(

In my opinion the Kinect should be positioned as a way to attract new Xbox owners, but I can’t see £300 being seen as that attractive…especially when a Wii costs £119.99!

Will I still pick up my pre-order? To be honest, yes…but I’ll be expecting even more from it now!

Microsoft BPOS Wave 14: Client Support

BPOS, Microsoft’s Online Services offering, obviously plugs in to their Office suites but there are restrictions about which versions you can use. Currently Office 2003/2007 & 2010 are all supported but, once the new online release happens, that will change.

Based on current rules, partners are expecting Office 2003 support to end by early 2011 but, based on the MS Online Service post here, that may not be the case:

“We are currently investigating Office 2003 support and will publish a list of supported capabilities in the future”

which indicates at least some functionality will still be available to organizations running Office 2003. There are a HUGE number of reasons why upgrading to 2010 is a great idea, but that’s for another time :-)

The full list of supported products is:

Operating Systems:

  • Windows XP SP3 with RPC over HTTP patch
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • Windows 7
  • OS X 10.4 (Tiger)
  • 10.5 (Leopard)
  • 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  • *Windows XP Home and Windows Media Center edition are supported but will not support federated identity.

    Office Client:

  • Office 2007 SP2 or Office 2010
  • Office 2008 for Mac & Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition
  • .NET 2.0 or later
  • Microsoft Communicator “14”
  • Mac Messenger 9
  • *Office client is not required for customers who choose browser-only access. Office Communicator ‘14’ will be generally available later this year.


  • Administration Center and My Company Portal
    • Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP
    • Internet Explorer 7 or higher for Windows Vista and Windows 7
    • Firefox 3.x
    • Safari 4.x
  • Outlook Web App
    • Internet Explorer 7 or later
    • Firefox 3 or later
    • Safari 3 or later on Macintosh OS X 10.5
    • Chrome 3 or later
  • Outlook Web App Light
    • Internet Explorer 5.5 or later
    • Firefox 2 or later
    • Safari 3 or later
    • Opera
  • The news that Office 2003 won’t be killed off completely is good news, as it allows partners to position BPOS separately to Office upgrades…and allows customers to keep the costs apart!

    Microsoft BPOS: More new features

    Microsoft BPOS has, yet again, been something of a star of the Worldwide Partner Conference and a bunch of new features have been confirmed/announced. They are:

    Exchange Online:

  • Voice mail with Unified Messaging
  • Integrated archiving
  • Retention policies and legal hold
  • Transport rules
  • Multi-mailbox search
  • Conversation View
  • MailTips
  • Enhanced Web-based administration
  • Role-Based Access Control
  • Remote PowerShell
  • Free/busy between cloud and on-premises
  • Cross-premises management
  • Native migration tools


    Sharepoint Online:


  • Portal site templates
  • Extranet access
  • Anonymous Access
  • Multi-Lingual UI
  • Office 2010 integration
  • Tagging, Rating, Tag Cloud
  • Activity Feed, Social Networking, Note Board
  • Improved Wikis & Blogs
  • Content publishing
  • Navigation controls
  • Cross site-collection search
  • Phonetic search
  • People search
  • Visio Services
  • Excel Services
  • Sandboxed Solutions
  • Improved workflows
  • Improved SharePoint Designer 2010
  • Access Services
  • Better controls of FQDNs


    Office Communications Online:


  • P2P A/V across firewall
  • File transfer across firewall
  • Presence with pictures
  • Federation
  • IM with Windows Live


    Platform Updates:


  • Free/Busy co-existence
  • Single Sign On
  • Identity federation
  • Redesigned admin interface
  • More administration and access control

    There are some really awesome additions here, which will make BPOS hugely more attractive and credible to users in the mid-market segment. Some of the game changes are, in my opinion,:

    Exchange Online:

    • Transport Rules
    • Legal Hold
    • Unified Messaging
    • Remote Powershell

    Sharepoint Online:

    Extranet & Anonymous Access

    Cross Site Collection Search

    Visio, Access & Excel Services

    Office Communications Online:



    These new features bring Microsoft’s Online Services so much closer to feature parity with their existing on-premise brethren which is what I, and most people, have been waiting/asking/pleading/clamouring for. The number of times I’ve had a customer opportunity collapse due to BPOS missing a standard and relatively basic feature isn’t funny!

    This is a very positive move from Microsoft which will make the world of Online Services a much better place for Microsoft, it’s partners and our customers :-)

  • Microsoft BPOS July Service Update

    Microsoft’s BPOS updates usually bring great features and July 2010 is no different:

    Hosted Blackberry Admin Centre:

    While Microsoft have offered Blackberry hosting for a while, most of the admin features required you to raise a ticket with support. Now however you will be able to:

    • Add/Delete users from licences
    • Activate Devices
    • Perform Remote Wipes

    all through the portal. This makes Microsoft’s Blackberry offering much more attractive.

    You will also be able to increase your number of Blackberry licences via the portal, removing the need for paper orders. Decreasing now just requires a support request.

    Live Meeting LifeCycle:

    The Live Meeting client will now be supported for 18 months from release, and there are quarterly releases of the (free) client.

    There is also a new version of the Live Meeting Outlook Add-in which goes about:

    • Improving the ability for users to respond to access control prompts when sharing control for Application Sharing.
    • Retaining the scheduled meeting on the Office Live Meeting service when an attendee has been removed from an invitation created by the Outlook Add-in.
    • Displaying invitees’ tracked responses for recurring meeting series that were converted to Office Live Meeting via the Add-in.

    The Microsoft Online Services Blog is here:

    Service Update- July 2010 Release Availability, Features Announced

    Microsoft Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 SP1 available

    As expected, Microsoft have made the beta of the 1st Service Pack for Windows 7 & Server 2008 R2 available after the kick off of the Worldwide Partner Conference.

    You can grab the download here:

    although it does say:

    This early release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Beta is not available for home users. The SP1 Beta does not provide new end-user features, and installation is not supported by Microsoft.

    It’s currently available in English, French, German, Spanish & Japanese.

    Microsoft Windows Intune: Second Beta

    Microsoft Windows Intune is a new product aimed at managing pcs in a new way. My original post can be found here:

    Read Windows Intune

    The initial beta was restricted to the US, Canada, Mexico & Puerto Rico and 1000 participants. Microsoft have now opened that up to another 10,000 users in the following countries:


    To be eligible you need to deploy it to at least 5 machines and start within 1 week.

    If you’re interested, go and sign up here:


    The pricing of Windows InTune has now been confirmed for the States and it is:

    $11 per user per month

    That gets you:

    • Cloud based Desktop Management service
    • Anti Virus and Anti-Spyware
    • Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Upgrades

    and, for an extra $1 per user per month, you can get the whole MDOP suite too. More MDOP info here:

    Read Microsoft MDOP

    Partner Features

    Many partners will be looking to InTune to provide them with a new way of generating revenue, through the ability to remotely manage their customers machines. This will reduce the need to travel thus saving money on hotels and petrol and increasing profit margins. Microsoft have quickly, and cleverly, added in a new feature aimed at making this as easy as possible…the “Multi – Account Console”:

    This will allow partners to quickly and easily see a top level view of all the customers they manage and, through filtering, spot those needing urgent assistance immediately.


    There is already a lot of positive feedback on Windows InTune from the first beta, such as:

    “I save about 40% of the time I used to spend managing PC updates, thanks to Windows Intune. It frees me up to focus on developing more custom applications—and bring on more customers”

    “I think we could expand our customer base by at least 10-15 percent immediately”

    “It accelerates their (customers) decision to make the move (to Windows 7)”

    The Future:

    Early 2011 will see the general availability of Windows Intune in the countries listed in the 1st screenshot above. It will then move to more European & Latin countries as well as “select” Asian locations.

    I’ve signed up to the beta and will hopefully have some post following up on that experience soon.

    The MS Blog post can be found here.

    Google App Inventor for Android

    Google App Inventor for Android could be one of the coolest things they, or anyone, has brought out.

    I’ve got a Google Android phone and I love some of the apps that are available for it. They make things so much easier/quicker/more enjoyable etc and are truly what a smart phone should be full of.

    I’ve also got ideas, lot of ideas. Ideas that involve Twitter, Blogs, GPS, football, music, places, t-shirts and more.

    What I don’t have is any knowledge of Java, other than an awareness that it exists! I’ve got some rudimentary VB skills and a bit of Javascript so I looked in Java but it appears to need much more time devoting to it than I can give it. That means all my app ideas have been languishing around and I thought they would forever more.

    Aber nicht.

    Mais Non.

    Pero No.

    Google’s App Inventor has the power to change all that!

    What is it?

    A WYSIWYG tool allowing you to create apps without ANY programming knowledge.

    How does it work?

    It uses “blocks” of pre-written code that cover most actions you could want in an app and lets you drag and drop them together.




    When I first saw this I assumed it would be very basic and that all the cool functionality would be missing but that’s not the case:

    “There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter.”

    “App Inventor provides access to a GPS-location sensor”

    “You can even have the app read the incoming texts aloud to you”

    “use App Inventor to write Android apps that talk to your favourite web sites, such as Amazon and Twitter”

    These quotes from the Google App Inventor site show that it can be used to create some really cool, funky and innovative apps…and that is exciting!

    More Info:

    The App Inventor site is:

    The sign up form (which requires a Gmail address) is: 

    The tutorials are here:

    The User Group is here:


    I’ve requested access to the beta and am really hoping I get allowed on…this could be really great for me and my phone, others who may want my sure to be awesome apps (joke!), the Android community as a whole and Google in general.

    Go sign up!