Microsoft responds back to President Obama’s “turn off the X-Box” comments

via Ben Gilbert

Picture 21

President Obama hasn’t exactly been known for his positive stance on kids playing tons of video games (even though he owns a Wii and ran campaign ads on Xbox Live, ahem). Recently in a speech given to the NAACP, he pointedly noted that parents should be “putting away the Xbox,” as well as other crazy ideas — like “reading to your children” and “helping them with their homework.” What-ever, President Obama.

Microsoft has responded with backhanded diplomacy, dropping knowledge on the US President in a statement released to the AP that says, “We agree with President Obama that it’s a time for families to work together so that kids use media in ways that are safe, healthy and balanced … Xbox 360 is the only console gaming system that has a timer feature allowing parents to set time limits for their kids, as well as parent controls to enable parents to set limits on what their kids are playing and watching.

Microsoft Unveils New Controller

Vodpod videos no longer available.

via BBC

Microsoft has unveiled its new control system for the Xbox 360, at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles.

Project Natal is a fully hands-free control system that will use face recognition and motion sensors to allow users to play games.

Film director Steven Spielberg, attending the launch, said it was “a window into what the future holds”.

Although still in the early stages, Microsoft has sent prototypes to all the main game developers.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Spielberg said he had always stated that “the main barrier stopping people getting into video games was the complexity of a games controller,” and that Natal was “a whole new world”.

“There is technology now that recognises not just your thumb, it recognises your entire person. The technology knows who you are,” he said.

Mr Spielberg drew an analogy with the film industry, saying it was evolutionary step for games.

“It’s like the square screen we saw all of our movies on in the early 1950s. Then The Robe came out in Cinemascope. And then came CinRam and Imax followed. That’s what this [Natal] is. Continue reading

UPDATE: Facebook backs down on policy changes


via Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Facebook’s efforts to build a business model around its online social network have hit another roadblock, as a backlash by its users forced the company to reverse a new policy.

The dispute involves changes that Facebook had made to its terms of service agreement. Some critics said the changes appeared to give the company a perpetual right to content that users post on the network.

People Against the new Terms of Service, a Facebook group created to oppose the changes, counted more than 88,000 users on Wednesday.

The about-face by Facebook underscores the sensitivity that many consumers have about their personal data, even on sites where they freely share information about their lives with online friends.

And it reflects the challenges facing Facebook as it seeks to squeeze money out of its network of 175 million users and to offset the costs of its rapid growth.

Facebook is quickly burning through its initial funding, said Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay. Among other things, the social network needs to pay for the computers and equipment that host its online service around the world.

“That’s real money,” said Lindsay. “They’re realizing that they have to get a business model.” Continue reading

WTF? ‘There’s no reason only poor people should get malaria’: The moment Bill Gates released jar of mosquitoes at packed conference

via Mail Online

It was a show-stopping move by any standards.

Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft and a renowned philanthropist, let loose a swarm of mosquitoes at a technology conference in California to highlight the dangers of malaria.

‘Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,’ the Microsoft founder yelled at a well-heeled crowd at a technology conference in California.

’I brought some,’ he added. ‘Here, I’ll let them roam around – there is no reason only poor people should be infected.’

He let the shocked audience sweat for a minute or so before assuring them that the freed insects were malaria- free.

But that didn’t satisfy all the attendees.mosquitoes

‘That’s it. I am not sitting up front anymore,’ eBay founder Pierre Omidyar said.

The stunt was an attempt by Gates – who quit Microsoft last year to concentrate on his charity work – to hammer home the importance of malaria prevention.

It is one of the pet projects of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that announced last year it was donating £115 million to help develop a vaccine for the deadly disease.

Up to 2.7 million people a year still die of malaria each year, 75 per cent of them African children. Continue reading

E-40 Moves On From Fatburger, Microsoft Stocks


via HipHopDX

E-40 has been the center of controversy recently after a shooting following his Denver concert, but the Bay Area rapper also took some unlikely hits as the stock market crashed this past month.”40 Water” explained to the Los Angeles Times that he had some big loses in his Microsoft stock. “I was sitting there waiting for something, but it just didn’t unfold for me,” said E-40. “Apple, now that’s what I should have got.”

The Bay Ambassador, whose new album is titled The Ball Street Journal [click to read], explained he has been in the financial game for a while. “I first started messing with [stocks] in ’95 or ’96,” 40 said.
But even all this experience could not help the troubled rapper as not only his own personal stocks fell but he was also recently forced to close a Vallejo branch of his chain of restaurants, Fatburger. Continue reading

Users Baffled as Zune MP3 Players Freeze Up

via CNN

(CNN) — Baffled consumers are griping about a mysterious glitch that appeared to cause thousands of Zune music players to simultaneously stop working late Tuesday and early Wednesday.zune_gi

Internet message boards have been flooded with complaints about Zune’s 30GB models freezing, prompting Y2K-like speculation about end-of-year hardware or software problems.

Other users report their Zunes reboot but freeze when the startup status bar reaches 100 percent. A post on titled “Help-frozen zune!!!!” had attracted more than 19,000 comments by Wednesday afternoon.

Some Zune users have dubbed the crisis “Y2K9” or “Z2K9,” a reference to New Year’s Eve and concerns over potential widespread computer failures on January 1, 2000 — fears that proved unfounded.

Zune users were still trying to discover the cause of the problem Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

SONY Looking to Break-Even on Playstation 3 Consoles


via WSJ

Sony Corp. is closer to breaking even on its new-generation PlayStation 3 videogame console because it costs 35% less to make than the previous model, according to technology-research firm iSuppli Corp.

The electronics giant is locked in a battle with Nintendo Co.’s Wii and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 for control of the videogame-console market. The cost cuts could help stanch the hardware red ink at Sony, which sold the previous-generation PS3 at a significant loss, making up for it with game-title sales and royalties.

Integration and key changes in components has brought the latest PS3’s cost down to $448.73 from $690.23 for the first-generation model, said iSuppli.

The PS3 sells for about $399 in the U.S., at least $150 more than Wii and Xbox 360. However, the PS3 accounted for 16% of global videogame-unit shipments in the second quarter of 2008, second only to Nintendo’s Wii, which accounted for 54% of the market. Continue reading

Wii Outpaces Competition This Holiday Season

via CNET

Remember Sony and Microsoft? No? Well, neither does the average Amazon customer.nintendowii_console

According to a release sent out by the online retail giant Friday, the Nintendo Wii and all its accessories dominated video game sales during the holiday shopping rush and not one mention was made of Sony’s Playstation 3 or Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

“Nintendo Wii dominated the top sellers in video games and hardware, including the Wii console, the Wii remote controller and the Wii nunchuk controller,” the release reports.

What about all its competitors? Have they somehow entered the realm of irrelevance?

I’m starting to wonder if they have.

A quick glance at console sales over the past year tells you everything you need to know about the video game hardware business. With 43.75 million units sold, the Wii easily dominates the market, which is also home to 26.49 million Xbox 360 units and 18.82 million Playstation 3 consoles. Continue reading

Windows 7 Aims to Simplify

via Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is betting its next Windows operating system will be faster and easier to use and avoid the missteps of Windows Vista that alienated many users of the software that powers 90 percent of the world’s PCs.

Windows 7, which was previewed on Tuesday, is set to be introduced in a test version early next year with features including touch screen technology and the ability to more easily personalize the system.

Windows Vista was so heavily criticized due to poor compatibility with devices and slow start speeds that it became the target of an effective marketing campaign by rival Apple Inc.

In addition, the usefulness of a traditional Windows desktop operating system, the world’s largest software maker’s most profitable product, is being challenged as more software applications move online, highlighting the central role of Internet browsers in a world centered on the Web. Continue reading

Common Sides w/Microsoft to Promote Zune

via Woooha

Microsoft has aggressively been trying to shed it’s old school image as it continues to fight Apple for computer and MP3 player market share. While Steve Jobs and Apple have done a fantastic job integrating the Apple line of products with popular and hip-hop culture, Bill Gates and co. have been a step behind. But according to Microsoft, things will change.

Microsoft has recently reached out to the hip-hop community including Pharrell for it’s “I’m a PC” ad campaign, Bun B as an official sponsor of the Zune, and now Common has joined the Microsoft gang and will promote the Zune with his upcoming album “Universal Mind Control” due out on December 9th. The Common/Microsoft partnership is already visible in Common’s recently released video to his single “Universal Mind Control” where a Zune is shown in the first couple seconds of the video.

In a recent interview with Ad Age, Common reveals why he decided to work with Microsoft and the Zune. “The Zune is something that I’ve been confident about associating myself with, because I think it’s got a fly presentation to it. It is truly about music lovers, for me,” Common stated. “I know that Microsoft has been around for 20 years, they established themselves in the mid-’80s, and since then they’ve progressed. Microsoft is classy, it’s a timeless brand, and it means something to the world, internationally, and I felt like that’s the direction of what I want Common to be, to be honest.”

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more about “Common Sides w/Microsoft to Promote Zune“, posted with vodpod


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Microsoft Shifts From Seinfeld to Pharrell in New Ad Campaign

via Woooha

Microsoft recently launched a $300 million ad campaign, their largest ever, with TV ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. The majority of America however never understood the ads or felt they were funny, forcing Microsoft to quickly remove Seinfeld from the rest of the ad campaign. Microsoft insists however that Seinfeld was originally only supposed to be in this initial phase and was not removed for poor performance.

Now that this initial “Seinfeld” phase is over, Microsoft plans to use Pharrell Williams along with a group of other celebs with the tagline: “Windows. Life without walls.”No word on when the new campaign will start. Only problem is everyone in the music business knows Pharrell is a die-hard Apple user.

Bill Gates & Seinfeld Ads Pulled, Quest to Be Cool A Flop?

Well it seems the initial $10 million dollar plan to make Microsoft ‘cool again’ has not be a a big heat thus the ads are being yanked. Microsoft has their own expalnation for this but so far it has done more damage than make them seem in touch with todays youth market which is dominated by Apple. Read why we won’t see those wack ads anymore:

via Huffington Post

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the end of the Seinfeld ads was planned well in advance, and wasn’t coming in response to any criticism of the spots. “All along we said we were having a teaser campaign,” he said. “We’re getting ready to start the second phase. This was the plan all along.”

The news, broken this afternoon by Valleywag, comes just days after Microsoft aired the latest in the series of commercials, produced by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, featuring the two men in comic situations. The ads have been largely panned as a strained effort on the software giant’s part to not only promote Windows but also portray Microsoft as cool and in touch with regular consumers — basically, to counter the stodgy image painted in Apple’s “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads.

Seinfeld, who reportedly received $10 million for his efforts, was a superstar in the 1990s with his hit show. Using him now, in 2008, only added to Microsoft’s image as being behind the times, critics said.

New Family – Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates Ad (Long Version)

Microsoft gives Seinfeld $10 million to be its next pitchman..

This is definitely a great way to pump some life in the Microsoft brand, its a known fact that Apple has been faster and smarter and have been super effective with their ad campaigns which have brought them to the top of the technological food chain. These new Commercials will be a roaring success but still may not effect the sales of Microsoft Zune amongst other products that Apple still has a significant stranglehold.

Jerry Seinfeld plans on making people go bananas for Microsoft.

Jerry Seinfeld plans on making people go bananas for Microsoft.

via Huffington Post

Microsoft Corp., weary of being cast as a stodgy oldster by Apple Inc.’s advertising, is turning for help to Jerry Seinfeld.

The software giant’s new $300 million advertising campaign, devised by a newly hired ad agency, has been closely guarded. But Mr. Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen, say people close to the situation. He will appear with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in ads and receive about $10 million for the work, they say.

The new ad effort is expected to use some variation of the slogan “Windows, Not Walls,” according to several people familiar with the matter. Those people say the point is to stress breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting. The campaign, said to debut Sept. 4, is one of the largest in the company’s history.

Xbox 360 Slashes Prices to $299

Xbox 360

via Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp plans to cut the price of its best-selling Xbox 360 Pro model by $50, to $299 in the next few weeks, the Hollywood Reporter reported citing anonymous sources.

The price cut for the Xbox 360 model with the 20 gigabyte hard drive will come before the video game industry’s biggest trade show, E3, taking place in Los Angeles on July 15-17, the report said.

Rumors of the Xbox price cut swirled on popular gaming blogs Joystiq and Kotaku last week. The two sites received snapshots of Kmart and Radio Shack flyers advertising the $299 price.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.
Continue reading

Facebook Gets A Facelift


Facebook is undergoing a sweeping facelift that programmers are convinced will change the face of the social network site forever. To clear the clutter that has stigmatized other social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook will be introducing tabs that will reclassify applications into easily accessible “categories” giving users more control over their profile page. The overhaul, which has been in the planning stages since January will be implemented in June. Read below for more info:

Having nearly tripled its audience and added about 20,000 new applications over the past year, Facebook Inc.’s popular online hangout is about to undergo a housecleaning.
Visitors who can’t stand the clutter that’s been piling up will be glad to see that the site’s new look sweeps disparate bits of information into categories marked by tabs at the top of each user’s customized home page.
Continue reading

Microsoft Sets Sites On Facebook After Yahoo! Bid Fizzles Out

Microsoft looking at Facebook

Source: TimesOnline

After publicly courting Yahoo! for three months, only to see their $47.5 billion offer rebuffed, Microsoft now has its sites set on Facebook, the social network behemoth according to the Wall Street Journal. Facebook, which Microsoft already has an 1.6 percent interest in is reportedly worth $15 billion. Microsoft, which shelled out $240 million for its stake reportedly asked Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg what he felt is company was worth.

Some are wondering whether this is a tactic to position Microsoft for yet another play to acquire Yahoo! sometime in the summer while others say an acquisition of Facebook is still an uphill battle, especially since the relatively young company hasn’t proved that it can generate the necessary revenue to make it a player on par with Google, the leader in the $40 billion online advertising market that is expected to double by 2010. For more on this story CLICK [HERE]

Lambo Laptop (ASUS Lamborghini VX30)

Source : Engadget
That, friends, is ASUS’ Lamborghini VX3. As expected, it’s available in black and yellow hues and proudly dons that oh-so-iconic Lambo badge, but as you can tell from comparison shots in the gallery below, it’s mighty, mighty similar to the U6. ‘Course, it was said to be rocking a Penryn processor and loads of sexy, but we’ll let you be the judge on the latter.

Editors : Definetly Street Knowledge Media.

Hotels Planning To Include Wii & XBox To Rooms


[Source: Joystiq]

Hotels across the US are aware that they are competing for a diminishing pool of duckets so they are incorporating new incentives to become patron’s choice of destination. Including Wii Sports and Guitar Hero is not a bad start. Hotels are clamoring over themselves to collaborate with Nintendo and Microsoft to lock down customers eager to entertain themselves while away from home. One hotel is even proposing a XBox Live network that will allow guests to play one another for free. Another hotel, Hotel Monaco out of Seattle is even hosting a Guitar Hero night (think Karaoke) at the bar which I’m sure keeps the tap flowing. Ingenious move for the Hospitality Industry, don’t ya think?

X-Box To Produce Original Shows


Microsoft has hired top gun Peter Safran, the veteran Hollywood producer and talent manager(he also reps Diddy) ,to produce original shows for its X-Box gaming system. Millions of fans will now have programs that will be exclusive to X-Box Live and will initially feature comedys and horrors.

In an interview at his office in Los Angeles last week, Mr. Safran said his first round of programs would all be scripted, as opposed to reality shows, and would probably run under 10 minutes.

Full article here

Does anybody know if the rumors about a Halo movie are true?



“According to the Internet Filter Review, worldwide porn revenues, including in-room movies at hotels, sex clubs and the ever-expanding E-sex world, topped $97 billion in 2006. That’s more than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.” 

 To peep inside and read the rest of this article CLICK HERE 

Microsoft and Viacom Partner Up


Microsoft and Viacom jumped in bed for a five year co-venture valued at $500 million. In the agreement between the web behemoth and the media conglomerate, Microsoft partnered to access Viacom’s catalog of content shown across its vast network that includes BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures.  The content will be shown on Microsoft’s MSN website and incorporated into its XBox internet platform, with Viacom and Microsoft sharing revenue for ads shown across all of their platforms.  Ad revenue will be tracked by AdManager, a recent Microsoft acquisition.  For the full story, click HERE 

In addition, MTV is partnering with Jerry Bruckheimer to develop original programming for its video game division.  Viacom recently infused $500 million into this division.  Bruckheimer will be bringing his big-budget Hollywood expertise to the gaming world, a first for him.   Known for his exploding cars and special effects, MTV is depending on the producer to produce original content which can then be transformed into movie(s) or TV shows, depending on the game’s success.  For more on this historic pairing, click HERE