Posts tagged xbox
As long suspected, Microsoft is discontinuing its dedicated Zune music players, instead focusing on the Zune music service that runs on Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox. Microsoft will continue to honor warranties on the Zune HD and other models. An update on the Zune site says, ”Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy…we will no longer be producing Zune players.”
Announcing the largest deal in its 36 year history, Microsoft said earlier today that it would acquire internet telephony firm Skype for $8.5 billion, all-cash. The Redmond software giant will integrate Skype into Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone, along with its Outlook/Lync/Exchange enterprise platform. The company is investing heavily in mobile technology, and integrating the world’s most popular VoIP voice/video chat service should give that effort a shot in the arm, while also further extending the company’s enterprise leadership. Microsoft says Skype users who don’t run Windows or Windows Phone shouldn’t worry, as it will continue to “to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.”
Skype’s current CEO, Tony Bates, will head the new Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Skype boasts 663 million users worldwide, and its users made 207 billion minutes of voice and video calls last year. Most of these calls, however, were free, which has made it difficult for the company to make money since it was founded in 2003.
Rumors swirled over the last few weeks that Google was looking to buy Skype, but an IPO was the most likely option, so Microsoft’s offer had to be high enough to convice Skype shareholders that life in the Microsoft fold would be better– hence the hefty price premium. Microsoft is an investor in Facebook, which may now be able to tap into Skype’s network via Microsoft. Apple appears to be building massive server capacity to make a big telecommunications play (perhaps by extending its current FaceTime video chat service), and Google of course has its Google Voice service, so we’re likely to see a three-way internet telecom battle between the Microsoft-Skype-Facebook combine, Apple, and Google.
eBay first bought Skype in 2005 for $2.5 billion, but having found little potential for synergies, it sold off most of the company to an investment group led by Silver Lake in 2009 at a valuation of $2.75 billion. Microsoft’s purchase price today is over three times that. With this deal, Skype will gain a permanent home and likely a central role in Microsoft’s bid to gain prominence in Internet services and the mobile arena. Microsoft has an estimated $48 billion in cash reserves, and the Skype deal would be its largest deal in 36 years. The operating system giant’s last big-ticket acquisition was its $6 billion purchase of online ad firm aQuantive in 2007. The Skype deal has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to close by the end of the year.
Press release after the break.
Nokia just dropped the bombshell we predicted yesterday: a wide-ranging “strategic alliance” through which:
- Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS will become Nokia’s “principal smartphone strategy”
- Microsoft’s Bing and adCenter will provide search and advertising for Nokia Windows Phones
- Nokia’s Ovi Maps content will become part of Bing Maps
- Nokia’s app and music stores will integrate into Microsoft’s (Windows Phone / Zune / Xbox) Marketplace
- Like all Windows Phones, Nokia handsets will now also feature Xbox Live and Office
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (former head of Microsoft’s Business Division) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said:
“There are other mobile ecosystems. We will disrupt them. There will be challenges. We will overcome them. Success requires speed. We will be swift. Together, we see the opportunity, and we have the will, the resources and the drive to succeed.”
Read on for more about the Nokia-Microsoft deal.
Joystiq reports that Microsoft is remaking its 2001 smash-hit, Halo: Combat Evolved, which helped launch the company’s then-new Xbox and grew into the one of the most successful video game franchises in history. The remake will not simply be a version of the old game with higher resolution graphics; rather it’s being fully remade on top of a new graphics engine.
The Halo remake is apparently being made by Saber Interactive of New Jersey, under the guidance of 343 Industries, which has several ex-Bungie employees and is also working on another Halo title. The game will feature online co-op mode in addition to traditional single- and multiplayer modes.
The new game, which is likely to support 1080p and 3D, is on track to release on November 15, 2011, a full ten years after the original launched alongside the first Xbox.
Microsoft has finally launched a portable Xbox. It’s neither a dedicated gaming device like Sony’s PSP or Nintendo’s DS nor just a casual gaming platform like the iPhone/iPod Touch. The software maker has fully integrated its Xbox Live experience into its upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system– every WP7 phone will be able to play Xbox Live Arcade-style games with graphics reportedly exceeding anything seen in mobile gaming so far. The platform includes avatars, achievements, and more, though head-to-head multiplayer is not on the cards for the initial version.
Microsoft revealed over 60 launch titles, including Assassin’s Creed, Crackdown 2, Castlevania, Earthworm Jim, Guitar Hero, Halo: Waypoint, Splinter Cell, Star Wars, and more. Let’s just say it’s a pretty solid lineup.
Head over to Engadget for a full preview of what Windows Phone 7 gaming will have to offer.
Several questions were left unanswered at Microsoft’s launch of Windows Phone 7 Series at the Mobile World Congress 2010 on February 15. Since then, and particularly at the MIX developer conference this week, we’ve begun to hear answers, most of which indicate that Microsoft has dramatically shifted its view of smartphones. To summarize, Windows Phone 7 Series has no multitasking, removable storage (MicroSD cards) support, file explorer, or copy-and-paste.
It’s quite clear that Microsoft has shifted lock-stock-and-barrel from its idea of shrinking near-PC-level functionality into smartphones (Windows Mobile actually used to be called “Pocket PC”) to instead embrace Apple’s tightly-controlled, appliance-like approach to phones– the kind of vertically-integrated approach Microsoft has already used for Xbox and Zune.
Essentially what we’re left with is a misnamed OS– this is not a Windows Phone, but a Zune Phone. The “Windows” brand implies a full-fledged computer, not a music player with a phone built in. It’s important to note that Apple’s phone is not called a Mac Phone– it’s an extended iPod, hence iPhone. Microsoft also makes this branding separation- Xbox and Zune don’t contain any Windows branding, for example. Why, then, does Microsoft continue to use the Windows Phone brand when its mobile OS no longer has anything to do with Windows?
Read on for more details. More >