Microsoft

Xbox Music now available for iPhone and iPod touch

Microsoft has finally released their Xbox Music service in iOS form, with the new app now available to download for iPhone and iPod touch. Microsoft had promised Xbox Music would be coming to iOS some time ago, and it's been a bit of a wait – we've seen a web client release in the meantime – but fans of the service can now rock out using their iOS devices. It comes alongside a simultaneous launch on Android, too.

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Vector 9: Ben Thompson on Microsoft's mobile dilemma

Ben Thompson of stratēchery joins Rene to talk about Microsoft in a post-Ballmer mobile market, the IBM analogy, whether they need to be more like Apple, and why Google and Samsung were so damn smart. Also: Nokia sale!

Note: This was originally supposed to be next week's episode of Vector, but due to Microsoft buying Nokia, we decided to fast-track. (It's especially interesting given Thompson, until recently, worked at Microsoft on the Windows 8 apps team, and previously interned at Apple on the Apple University project.)

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What Microsoft buying Nokia means for Apple

Last night Microsoft announced they intended to buy or license all the parts of Nokia's mobile business that matter. That will either make them a vertically integrated player in the smartphone business like Apple or BlackBerry, or the stewards of some janky Franken-licensed business like Google and Motorola, or more likely, something in between. So what does that mean for Apple, and for the iPhone and iPod business?

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Microsoft buys and licenses the parts of Nokia mobile that matter, but will it make any difference?

Microsoft has just announced that they'll be buying Nokia's devices and services business, as well as licensing their patents and maps. Microsoft will pay close to $5 billion for the business, and almost $2.2 billion in licensing for the deal. It'll be paid out of their overseas cash reserve, which spares them the cost of repatriation. Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber will likely transfer to Microsoft. In Elop's case, he'll be returning to Microsoft. Here are the comments from Microsoft's release:

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Xbox One will also let you buy games from your iPhone and download them remotely

A few days back we picked up on a story where a Sony PlayStation executive confirmed you'd be able to buy games from your smartphone through the companion mobile app, and have them remotely download for you at home. Xbox One will also have a companion app, and Marc Whitten from Xbox has weighed in and confirmed a similar feature for Microsoft's next console via his Twitter account:

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What if Steve Ballmer was CEO of Apple?

I love the classic "What If?" series of Marvel Comics that altered one bit of a story and then showed how everything else would play out around it. So, of course, I love the idea of "What if Steve Ballmer ran Apple?". What if the Apple-is-doomed contingent forced Tim Cook out, and brought in the freshly-departed-from Microsoft Steve Ballmer? What various positives and negatives - everything is always a blend of both - would happen in just such an else-world? Clearly Ben Thomson does as well, as he's written it up brilliantly for Stratechery:

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Turning Microsoft into Apple... on the way out

Earlier today Steve Ballmer announced he would be retiring as CEO of Microsoft in 12 months. The timing is perhaps among the most interesting aspects of the decision. It happened on the eve of yet another massive, company-wide re-organization, and arguably the biggest ever - Ballmer transforming Microsoft into a functional alignment. In other words, reforging it in Apple's organizational image. Guy English on Kicking Bear:

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Steve Ballmer leaving Microsoft in 12 months... and to diminishing relevance and an uncertain future

Steve Ballmer, the marketing- and sales-centric force of nature who took over as Microsoft CEO in 2000, and became the public face of the company following Bill Gate's full retirement in 2008, has just announced that he too will be retiring, in 2014. Bill Gates oversaw the rise of Microsoft to brutal dominance in the late 90s and early 00s, only to face severe anti-trust action from the government that forced them into becoming a more mature, if less effective company. Ballmer was hugely successful in milking Windows and Office profits, but aside from the almost accidental birth of the Xbox, has been completely unable to transform the old giant into a new power. Google owns the internet. Facebook owns social. Apple owns tablets. And Apple and Google jointly own phones. That leaves precious little space for the company that once defined popular technology. Ballmer said, in Microsoft's announcement:

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Microsoft, once again hoping for free advertising on tech sites, releases another dumb anti-iPad ad

Microsoft has released a yet another anti-iPad ad, this time awkwardly trying to make fun of the iPad mini by putting it up against what everyone on Twitter tells me is the worst period Windows period tablet period in the world period - the Acer Iconia W3.

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Halo: Spartan Assault is worthy of envy, will we ever see it on iOS?

It isn't every day that something on Windows Phone has us green with envy, but since its big unveil, Halo: Spartan Assault has given us a case of the green-eyed monster. However, since taking possession of a Nokia Lumia 925 – more on that soon – and a copy of the game, one thing is clear; I really hope Microsoft gets this out on other platforms for everyone to play.

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