November 14, 2016

AAPL: 105.71

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Microsoft is hoping to persuade more developers to create Windows apps by bringing its main coding environment – Visual Studio – to the Mac for the first time. Previously, developers had to use a Windows machine or run a virtual machine on a Mac to write Windows software.

The company seemingly intended to make the announcement at its Connect() developer conference on Wednesday, but The Verge spotted that Microsoft accidentally released the information early in a now-deleted blog post.

Microsoft said that Visual Studio for Mac was designed to be a direct counterpart to the Windows version, though it would not fully achieve this aim from the outset …

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November 4, 2016

AAPL: 108.84

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In the list of moments you’re never going to live down, literally laughing at Apple’s launch of the iPhone has to be right there at the very top. Nine years on, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told Bloomberg that Apple made it work thanks to a smarter business model.

“I wish I’d thought about the model of subsidizing phones through the operators,” he said. “You know, people like to point to this quote where I said iPhones will never sell, because the price at $600 or $700 was too high. And there was business model innovation by Apple to get it essentially built into the monthly cell phone bill.”

Microsoft was very late to move into the hardware business, despite creating a number of prototypes over the years – including something remarkably similar to Apple’s new Touch Bar, created back in 2009 …

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October 28, 2016

AAPL: 113.72

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Apple announced its new MacBook Pro last night, featuring the all-new Touch Bar screen that replaces the function row with an OLED dynamic display. The touch bar can show shortcuts, controls and quick actions depending on what app you are in and what app you are doing. Apple showed off expansive support for Touch Bar in their stock apps at the event yesterday — and now third-party developers are showing what they can contribute to the new interface.

Microsoft has announced comprehensive updates to Office for Mac 2016 to take advantage of the Touch Bar in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. Here’s how it looks …

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October 26, 2016

AAPL: 115.59

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During Microsoft’s October Windows event today, the company did something I never expected them to do: surpass Apple’s own desktop solution and experiences. Microsoft announced the launch of their new Surface Studio desktop, an all-in-one system with a beautiful 28” touchscreen display. A powerhouse of a system with specs up to 32GB of RAM and a GPU with 4 GB video RAM, Microsoft is really pulling out all the stops here to make their desktop solution attractive to all creatives in a way normally seen as Apple’s place.

The iMac has maintained the same design for the past few years, and with the Mac Pro seemingly forgotten within the desktop lineup, Microsoft has a solid chance at stealing some of Apple’s customers away.

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August 24, 2016

AAPL: 108.03

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Microsoft officially launched its Word Flow keyboard on iOS earlier this year, and today the app has received a significant update, bringing its version number to 2.0. The update includes a host of new features, including some that rival what Apple is bringing to the Messages app keyboard with iOS 10.

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August 22, 2016

AAPL: 108.51

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August 18, 2016

AAPL: 109.08

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Earlier this summer Evernote limited the free tier of its note-taking service to use on just two devices while raising prices for its paid plans. While the move was clearly intended to make Evernote’s business more sustainable, reaction from a lot of vocal users was to switch from Evernote to OneNote or Apple Notes. Now Microsoft has responded with a new import tool that lets OneNote users pull in content from Evernote.

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August 17, 2016

AAPL: 109.22

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August 15, 2016

AAPL: 109.48

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August 12, 2016

AAPL: 108.18

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Update: Steve Gibson has taken issue with the ‘golden key’ term used by Ars, arguing that it overplays the significance of the vulnerability.

I wrote an opinion piece predating the San Bernardino shootings on why Apple was right to stand firm on encryption even in the face of terrorist attacks, and another one afterwards explaining why it would be too dangerous to give the FBI the iPhone master key they demanded.

My main argument was that something as powerful as a master key to unlock an iPhone would eventually fall into the wrong hands.

So soon, the FBI would hold the key. Then other law enforcement agencies. In time, that key would be held in every police precinct house. We would then be trusting more than a million people with access to that key to abide by the rules. Government agencies don’t always have the best of track-records in doing that.

And Microsoft has just proven my point, even with code that was never intended to leave the company’s possession …

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July 27, 2016

AAPL: 102.95

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Microsoft is taking on Apple’s own camera app with an iOS app it claims is smarter. Microsoft Pix has no user controls, but is instead controlled by AI software, which attempts to work out what you are photographing and automatically adjust the settings to give the best results. It also automatically enhances your photos, and shows you the before-and-after to allow you to pick the version you prefer.

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July 6, 2016

AAPL: 95.53

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June 13, 2016

AAPL: 97.34

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June 7, 2016

AAPL: 99.03

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May 25, 2016

AAPL: 99.62

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Ten months after Microsoft wrote-off its Nokia acquisition, the company has now announced that it is effectively out of the consumer phone business. It is cutting 1,850 jobs, and setting aside almost a billion dollars to cover the costs of exiting the business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million […]

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The company recently saw its market share fall below 1%. While Microsoft is – for now – insistent that it has a future in the corporate smartphone business, the reality seems doubtful …

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May 24, 2016

AAPL: 97.90

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Apple famously sits on a huge stockpile of cash – $215B at the latest count – but a new report from corporate credit rating agency Moody’s puts the number into perspective. It shows that if you exclude banking & finance, a sector that sits on a lot of cash by definition, just three companies hold 23% of all the corporate cash in the USA: Apple, Microsoft and Google.

GeekWire notes that this is the first time that all five of the top spots have been held by tech companies, with Apple holding twice as much as Microsoft and three times as much as Google …

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May 11, 2016

AAPL: 92.51

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May 9, 2016

AAPL: 92.79

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April 26, 2016

AAPL: 104.35

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Microsoft is getting serious with the Mac today with its new Skype for Business preview for OS X. The new business-focused version of Skype for Mac runs on OS X El Capitan and focuses on creating an enterprise-friendly experience. IT professionals can request access to the new Skype for Business Mac Preview starting today.

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