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Posts Tagged ‘redmond software giant’

Mark Cuban-Backed Device Identification Startup BlueCava Raises $1.5 Million

July 8th, 2011 07:14 admin View Comments

BlueCava, a startup that has developed technology that enables its customers to identify unique connected devices such as smartphones, TV set-top boxes, gaming consoles, computers and more, has raised $1.5 million in debt funding according to an SEC filing.

Late last year, the company had already raised $5 million from billionaire investors such as Mark Cuban and oilman Tim Headington.

BlueCava says its device identification technology is actually about 15 years old and dates back to Australian inventor Ric Richardson, who was also the road manager for the band INXS.

Years after cooking it up in the nineties, Richardson’s idea became U.S, patent #5,490,216, and he later sued Microsoft (and many others) for infringing on his patent.

In 2009, a jury awarded Uniloc USA (which BlueCava was spun out from) $388 million excluding damages or interest in the case against the Redmond software giant.

You can read more back story here and here if you’re interested.

BlueCava says the technology can theoretically identify the 10 billion (citation needed) internet-connected devices on the planet. The identification helps its customers target advertising and combat fraud, among other use cases.

It’s a most interesting startup to keep tabs on – to give you an idea, its advisory board members include Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer at Facebook and Ellen Moskowitz, VP of Fraud Management Solutions at MasterCard.

Source: Mark Cuban-Backed Device Identification Startup BlueCava Raises $1.5 Million

Another Android Device Maker Signs Patent Agreement With Microsoft

June 28th, 2011 06:16 admin View Comments

Microsoft

doperative writes with this quote from El Reg: “Microsoft has nailed a second Android device maker to a patent licensing agreement. The Redmond software giant announced on Monday that General Dynamics Itronix has signed a patent agreement that will provide ‘broad coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio.’ In other words, General Dynamics Itronix has agreed to licensing certain, unnamed Microsoft patents for use with Android-powered portables.”

Source: Another Android Device Maker Signs Patent Agreement With Microsoft

Microsoft Says Rustock Botnet Still Dead, Advertises In Russia To Notify Culprits

June 6th, 2011 06:06 admin View Comments

As you may be aware, nearly two months ago Microsoft and federal law enforcement agents cracked down on the infamous Rustock botnet, which was responsible for a lot of the spam you hopefully never receive.

This morning, the Redmond software giant posted a status update on its company blog, positing that Rustock is still “dead and decaying”.

Microsoft also surprised with the announcement that it is placing quarter-page advertisements in two mainstream Russian newspapers “to make a good faith effort to contact the owners of the IP address and domain names that were shut down when Rustock was taken offline”.

As promised.

Microsoft says it has taken several technical countermeasures to prevent the bot’s self-defense mechanisms from reanimating it, and that these efforts have been successful. The company says the number of infected IP addresses decline as more and more people update their software or get malware removed from their computers.

Nevertheless, some reports claim the takedown hasn’t actually made a dent in spam.

The company adds that its Digital Crimes Unit continues to follow this case, and that based on evidence gathered, the perpetrators likely operated or are operating out of Russia.

Microsoft will now run ads in the Delovoy Petersburg and The Moscow News to notify the owners of the IP address and domain names that were shut down of the takedown as well as the date, time and location of hearings where they will have an opportunity to make their case. This in addition to setting up this website.

The company says it realizes that the people associated with the IPs and domains will probably not come forward in response to a court summons, although they say they still hope the defendants in this case will present themselves. That won’t happen, of course, so Microsoft also says it intends to pursue this case, including possibly within the Russian judicial system.

Source: Microsoft Says Rustock Botnet Still Dead, Advertises In Russia To Notify Culprits

Microsoft Wants To “App Your Sites”

June 3rd, 2011 06:14 admin View Comments

Earlier this week, Microsoft registered a bunch of domain names, including AppYourSites.com, AppYourSites.net, AppYourSites.info and more of the same with different extensions (including some country TLDs). If you open any of the URLs in your browser today, you’ll simply be forwarded on to the company’s search engine Bing, which makes you none the wiser. So why ‘app your sites’?

Frankly, I don’t know, but I can offer you a few theories.

One is that the domain names were registered to support an upcoming marketing campaign, either for the Windows Phone 7 series of smartphones and the associated Marketplace, or for HTML5 (of which Microsoft appears to be a big fan).

Another possibility is that the Redmond software giant is plotting a new service that lets you easily create Windows Phone 7 (or other smartphone platform) apps from existing websites, or something similar like Google’s App Inventor.

It’s worth noting Microsoft partner Nokia already offers a tool called Ovi app wizard that lets users create a mobile Ovi app from existing web content.

Both would make sense, although it could be just a couple of domain names registered on a whim without a masterplan. Perhaps you have some theories of your own?

Source: Microsoft Wants To “App Your Sites”

Microsoft Wants To “App Your Sites”

June 3rd, 2011 06:14 admin View Comments

Earlier this week, Microsoft registered a bunch of domain names, including AppYourSites.com, AppYourSites.net, AppYourSites.info and more of the same with different extensions (including some country TLDs). If you open any of the URLs in your browser today, you’ll simply be forwarded on to the company’s search engine Bing, which makes you none the wiser. So why ‘app your sites’?

Frankly, I don’t know, but I can offer you a few theories.

One is that the domain names were registered to support an upcoming marketing campaign, either for the Windows Phone 7 series of smartphones and the associated Marketplace, or for HTML5 (of which Microsoft appears to be a big fan).

Another possibility is that the Redmond software giant is plotting a new service that lets you easily create Windows Phone 7 (or other smartphone platform) apps from existing websites, or something similar like Google’s App Inventor.

It’s worth noting Microsoft partner Nokia already offers a tool called Ovi app wizard that lets users create a mobile Ovi app from existing web content.

Both would make sense, although it could be just a couple of domain names registered on a whim without a masterplan. Perhaps you have some theories of your own?

Source: Microsoft Wants To “App Your Sites”

Done Deal! Big Deal. Smart Deal? Microsoft Buys Skype For $8.5 Billion In Cash

May 10th, 2011 05:10 admin View Comments

The deal is done. Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 million in cash in its first sizeable acquisition since August 2008, when the Redmond software giant spent $486 million on Greenfield Online.

In fact, this is Microsoft’s biggest financial bet to date in terms of M&A, trumping its $6 billion+ purchase of aQuantive, which dates back to May 2007, in size.

The purchase price includes the assumption of Skype’s debt.

The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Skype.

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and chief exec Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The deal was first reported by GigaOM‘s Om Malik (he does that sometimes) and later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, who cited people familiar with the matter.

The $8.5 billion question: did Microsoft overpay for Skype?

Perhaps, perhaps not. Only time will tell. As always with these things, the many tech industry pundits and analysts will look at this deal from all possible angles and then some, and still only a handful will end up being somewhat accurate when we look back in a couple of years.

From a non-financial point of view, the acquisition makes a ton of sense today, though.

Skype digitally connects dozens of millions of people on a daily basis, enabling them to communicate with each other through voice calls, chat messages and video conferencing.

There’s no doubt it’s a big brand on the Web (with both consumer and enterprise appeal, worldwide at that), and is poised to keep mattering in the next decade and beyond.

In August 2010, Skype filed to go public, expecting to raise $1 billion, but not long after appointing a new CEO, former Cisco SVP Tony Bates, the company put its IPO plans in the freezer while it looked for ways to generate more revenue from the popular service.

Skype’s 2010 revenue was $860 million, adjusted EBITDA was $264 million, and – as many are tripping over each others to point out – the company actually lost $7 million last year.

But looking ahead, chances for the business to keep growing, perhaps even acceleratingly so, are fairly big. In that sense, it’s a valuable asset to own (and to keep out of others’ hands).

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Microsoft and Skype said they “hope to obtain all required regulatory clearances during the course of this calendar year”.

Since its former owner eBay sold the company to a consortium of investors formed by Silver Lake Partners, Joltid (the company founded by Skype’s original founders, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis), the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Andreessen Horowitz in November 2009, the company has been pursuing an aggressive strategy to be available everywhere, anytime, both in enterprises, the living room, even classrooms and, very importantly, on smartphones.

Microsoft, of course, has the exact same ambitions of ubiquity, and Skype and recently acquired Qik fit nicely into many of its current product offerings: think Windows Phone (combined with Nokia), Xbox and Kinect, Bing, Office 365, Windows Live Messenger and other Live products, Lync, SharePoint, Internet Explorer, Azure, and so on.

The purchase also provides Microsoft with a wealth of p2p and collaboration technology expertise and intellectual property, an increasingly important asset to have these days.

It also brings reach: Skype’s user base is comparable to that of Facebook in terms of size (more than 600 million registered users, that is) and the social network in fact has tie-ins with Skype already on a product level.

Note that I’m not arguing in favor of the acquisition, but I can see the logic behind it.

Facebook was also said to be sniffing around Skype, according to multiple reports, but its interest in the VoIP company wasn’t nearly as profound as assumed, according to multiple sources close to the company. If you think about it, Zuckerberg and co didn’t really lose anything today (and remember: Microsoft is also a Facebook investor).

Whether you think the Microsoft deal makes sense or not, rest assured that companies like Google, Cisco and Apple, on the other hand, are not going to be too pleased about it. Not that either of them absolutely needed to own Skype, but in the hands of Microsoft it’s a much bigger threat to them than if it were still under eBay’s wings, or as a separate company.

As I wrote earlier, only time will tell if it will become indeed a significant threat, or a giant dud.

Source: Done Deal! Big Deal. Smart Deal? Microsoft Buys Skype For $8.5 Billion In Cash

Is Microsoft Plotting A Yelp Competitor Named Postbox?

December 23rd, 2010 12:34 admin View Comments

Earlier this year, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that Microsoft, not just Google, made a serious attempt to acquire reviews site and business directory Yelp. According to “two people involved in the negotiations”, the Redmond software giant even bid as high as $700 million for the company. Yelp instead opted to remain independent, for better or worse.

Google is attacking it with Places and Hotpot. And now some information has surfaced that indicates Microsoft could be planning a Yelp rival as well.

Last Thursday, December 16, 2010, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for ‘POSTBOX’, by Microsoft to be more precise.

At first, I thought it could have something to do with the startup Postbox, which offers desktop email software for Windows and Mac OS X.

Perhaps Microsoft had quietly acquired them?

But then the description and category for the trademark struck me.

The POSTBOX trademark is filed in the category of ‘Advertising, Business & Retail Services’.

More interestingly, the description provided to the USPTO for POSTBOX is:

“on-line business directories featuring restaurants, bars, nightclubs, tourist attractions, entertainment and sports events, seasonal and holiday events; and providing online information concerning restaurants, bars, nightclubs, tourist attractions, entertainment and sports events, seasonal and holiday events”.

If you put two and two together, meaning the definition of a post box (a box into which members of the public can deposit outgoing mail) and the description of the trademark above, Microsoft appears to be plotting an online local business and events directory that invites users to submit information about those businesses, i.e. reviews, rankings and the like.

This is obivously pure speculation on our part, but the trademark could also concern a Foursquare competitor when you think about it.

Either way, Microsoft is obviously not blind for the massive potential of local business advertising, and the trademark filing indicates that they’re planning to build something called Postbox that will be part of its efforts in that space.

Microsoft could of course tie any service neatly to its mass audience search engine Bing.

We should note that there already is a U.S. trademark for ‘postbox’, registered by a San Francisco startup called Mailbox Technologies, Inc., although I was unable to find more information about this company.

I’ve contacted Microsoft for more information, but I’ve not received a response so far (the U.S. is just waking up now so I’ll update this post as soon as we get an answer back from them).

(Photo by Flickr user Mr Wabu)

Source: Is Microsoft Plotting A Yelp Competitor Named Postbox?

Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

November 5th, 2010 11:11 admin View Comments

Sean Siler, IPv6 Program Manager at Microsoft, is leaving the software company, reports Seattlepi.com. Who? Sean Siler, that’s who!

He’s the guy who starred in some of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” commercials, which were obviously created in response to Apple’s anti-Microsoft “Get a Mac” advertising campaigns.

Sorry, Apple fanatics, he’ll still be a PC and has mucho love for the Redmond software giant, he tells Seattlepi.com.

Today is his last day – here’s the email he sent to his coworkers (again, via Seattlepi.com):

I was cutting grass in the summer of 1987 when my friend told me that DOS 3.3 just came in at our local computer store. I barely got the lawnmower in the garage before we took off. On the way there, I told myself that I had to work for Microsoft one day. Any company that could get me that wound up was the place I wanted to work. …

I hate leaving Microsoft after working so hard to get here, but a family situation has forced me to move to the East Coast. My current position doesn’t allow this, and I haven’t been able to find another role. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I have a lot of memories from my time at Microsoft, but the “I’m a PC” commercial is the highlight. I really feel proud that I was able to be a visible part of the company’s fight against Apple.

And here’s Siler in 1 of 3 commercials he appeared in:

Source: Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

November 5th, 2010 11:11 admin View Comments

Sean Siler, IPv6 Program Manager at Microsoft, is leaving the software company, reports Seattlepi.com. Who? Sean Siler, that’s who!

He’s the guy who starred in some of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” commercials, which were obviously created in response to Apple’s anti-Microsoft “Get a Mac” advertising campaigns.

Sorry, Apple fanatics, he’ll still be a PC and has mucho love for the Redmond software giant, he tells Seattlepi.com.

Today is his last day – here’s the email he sent to his coworkers (again, via Seattlepi.com):

I was cutting grass in the summer of 1987 when my friend told me that DOS 3.3 just came in at our local computer store. I barely got the lawnmower in the garage before we took off. On the way there, I told myself that I had to work for Microsoft one day. Any company that could get me that wound up was the place I wanted to work. …

I hate leaving Microsoft after working so hard to get here, but a family situation has forced me to move to the East Coast. My current position doesn’t allow this, and I haven’t been able to find another role. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I have a lot of memories from my time at Microsoft, but the “I’m a PC” commercial is the highlight. I really feel proud that I was able to be a visible part of the company’s fight against Apple.

And here’s Siler in 1 of 3 commercials he appeared in:

Source: Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

November 5th, 2010 11:11 admin View Comments

Sean Siler, IPv6 Program Manager at Microsoft, is leaving the software company, reports Seattlepi.com. Who? Sean Siler, that’s who!

He’s the guy who starred in some of Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” commercials, which were obviously created in response to Apple’s anti-Microsoft “Get a Mac” advertising campaigns.

Sorry, Apple fanatics, he’ll still be a PC and has mucho love for the Redmond software giant, he tells Seattlepi.com.

Today is his last day – here’s the email he sent to his coworkers (again, via Seattlepi.com):

I was cutting grass in the summer of 1987 when my friend told me that DOS 3.3 just came in at our local computer store. I barely got the lawnmower in the garage before we took off. On the way there, I told myself that I had to work for Microsoft one day. Any company that could get me that wound up was the place I wanted to work. …

I hate leaving Microsoft after working so hard to get here, but a family situation has forced me to move to the East Coast. My current position doesn’t allow this, and I haven’t been able to find another role. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I have a lot of memories from my time at Microsoft, but the “I’m a PC” commercial is the highlight. I really feel proud that I was able to be a visible part of the company’s fight against Apple.

And here’s Siler in 1 of 3 commercials he appeared in:

Source: Microsoft’s “I’m A PC” Guy: “I’m Out”

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