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Microsoft to sell Xbox One in China on September 23 for $600

Microsoft today announced that it will begin selling the Xbox One in China on Sept. 23, giving the company access to a massive gaming market. In partnership with BesTV New Media Co., which will help manufacture the Xbox One in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone, Microsoft will sell the console for 3,699 yuan (about $600) without the Kinect… Read More

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone gets ‘Live Folders’ on Start screen

Windows Phone users, your folders have arrived. Microsoft announced the first update to Windows Phone 8.1 this morning, including a feature that will let users organize the Live Tiles on their Start screens into “Live Folders,” as the company is calling them. It’s the latest example of Microsoft doing its own spin on features previously released… Read More

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Inside Microsoft’s hackathon: Big ideas and new traditions at a tech giant in transition

Each fall, for many years, Microsoft employees have bundled up and made the trek to Seattle’s Safeco Field to listen as top executives attempted to inspire them with a vision for the company’s future. Satya Nadella is replacing that tradition with a new one: Under sunny summer skies in Redmond on Tuesday morning, the new Microsoft CEO cranked a siren to start a… Read More

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First look at ‘Atari: Game Over,’ a Microsoft-funded documentary about the worst video game of all time

At San Diego Comic-Con, Microsoft released the first trailer for “Atari: Game Over,” a documentary about the rise and fall of Atari, and the renowned gaming company’s utter failure to make a commercial success out of its game version of “E.T.” It’s the first episode in “Signal to Noise,” a series of documentaries for its… Read More

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As tensions rise, China investigates Microsoft offices

Chinese officials reportedly visited Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, though no immediate reason was given for the investigations, according to Reuters. The visits by China’s State Administration for Industry & Commerce come at a time when tensions have risen between technology giants and China, sparked in part be revelations of  U.S. National Security Agency contractor… Read More

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New Microsoft ad touts Cortana, slams Apple’s Siri

Siri vs. Cortana might just be an updated version of the PC vs. Mac showdown. Microsoft just debuted a new video ad touting Cortana, its virtual assistant found on Windows Phone. The 30-second spot features Cortana accomplishing tasks like scheduling reminders and providing traffic alerts. Meanwhile, Apple’s digital assistant cannot understand the human commands. “Now that is a smart phone,” Siri… Read More

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Microsoft says it will closely monitor the impact of contractor policy changes

Microsoft is getting lots of attention for a new policy that will prevent its large contract workforce from accessing company buildings and the internal network after 18 months on the job — requiring a six-month break even for “v-dash” vendors who previously were on indefinite assignments. It’s a significant change in policy that promises to make many Microsoft teams think twice about using large numbers of… Read More

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Yammer co-founder David Sacks leaving Microsoft, two years after $1.2B acquisition

Yammer co-founder David Sacks is leaving Microsoft, and the team developing the business-oriented social network will be folded into the Office 365 and Outlook development teams. Sacks announced the news on Twitter this afternoon, and Microsoft confirmed the changes in a statement to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. The company said in the statement: “As we’ve seen… Read More

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Microsoft mum on Xbox One sales; notes 1.1M ‘Xbox consoles’ shipped in past 3 months

Microsoft hasn’t reported Xbox One sales statistics for quite some time, and that didn’t change with today’s quarterly earnings report. The company noted that it sold 1.1 million Xbox consoles to retailers worldwide in the past three months — that’s counting both Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles. It’s unclear how many were actually sold to consumers…. Read More

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Microsoft’s contractor crackdown: ‘Shadow layoff’ could force big cultural changes inside company

Microsoft employed about 100,000 people directly prior to its acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business. That’s the employment number the company reports publicly — the “blue badges” who make up the core of its workforce. But in addition to those employees, more than 71,000 worked with Microsoft as “orange badges” — contractors, vendors and other contingent staff who do a ton of work… Read More

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GeekWire Radio: ‘The Amazon Way’ — former insider explains how the company works

What makes Amazon tick, and where is the company headed? This week on the GeekWire radio show, we go behind-the-scenes of the technology giant with our guest, John Rossman, author of the book, The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company. Rossman, who is now a managing director at management consulting firm Alvarez… Read More

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How’s that search alliance working out? Yahoo’s U.S. search share hits all-time low as Microsoft Bing grows

Yahoo just can’t catch a break. ComScore’s new U.S. search market share numbers for June will show that the company’s piece of the market has shrunk to what one analyst calls an all-time low, according to a report by Search Engine Land. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company had 9.8 percent of the search market last month, which puts… Read More

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Internal memo: Microsoft to cut off all ‘external staff’ after 18 months, imposing mandatory 6-month break

An internal Microsoft memo, distributed earlier today, outlines new restrictions on the company’s use of “external staff” — including a new limit on people who work on projects for Microsoft through vendors. All contingent workers will be prevented from accessing Microsoft’s buildings and network for a period of six months after every 18-month period in which they perform work for the company, according to the memo. Perhaps most notably,… Read More

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Nadella earns high marks from Microsoft employees, outpacing Ballmer, prior to this week’s job cuts

The psychological impact of Microsoft’s job cuts is still rippling through the company’s workforce, but CEO Satya Nadella has the advantage of a very high approval ratings from employees prior to the cuts. Numbers provided to GeekWire by the Glassdoor employment review and ratings site put Nadella’s cumulative approval rating at 88 percent. That’s well above the average CEO approval… Read More

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Nokia’s MixRadio streaming service hopes to spin off from Microsoft amid layoffs

Nokia’s MixRadio music streaming service is aiming to spin off from Microsoft as a part of the layoffs the company announced yesterday. The service will still be pre-loaded onto Windows Phone handsets, but a successfully spun off MixRadio would also have the ability to make apps for other platforms, including Android and iOS, according to a… Read More