Microsoft

Achim Hepp / flickr.com

Microsoft is appealing a $1.3 billion fine from European antitrust regulators. But its antitrust worries in the United States appear to be over. The consent decree with the US Justice Department expired May 11th. A lot has changed since Microsoft crushed Netscape in the browser wars of the 1990s. This month on The Digital Future, Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson says Microsoft has transformed itself into a much better corporate citizen.

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Shareholders often get excited when their companies announce share buyback programs. If a company reduces shares in the marketplace, an investor’s share of the company goes up. So that's good, right? Usually, it is, but sometimes it can be a sign that the company is in trouble.

CBP Photography / Flickr

The famous "battle in Seattle" more than a decade ago put the letters "W-T-O" into the collective consciousness. Now most people have at least a vague idea about the role the World Trade Organization plays in regulating international commerce. 

But what about the letters W-C-O?

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Microsoft's biggest acquisition ever might have people in the region worrying about layoffs. Often when companies merge, redundant workers get pink slips.

But it sounds like employees of the Redmond tech giant don't have much cause for concern with Microsoft's $8.5-billion purchase of Skype.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Boeing Readies for 747-8 First Flight
  • Dozens of Mudslides Block Rail Lines
  • Microsoft's Zune Sails Away

 

First Flight Plans for 747-8

Boeing's newest passenger jet could make its maiden voyage as early as Sunday.  The Herald of Everett Michelle Dunlop reports the  only obstacles are some tests on taxiing the plane and a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration:

"The team continues to do great work to get the 747-8 Intercontinental into the air," said Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager, 747 program. "It'll be a great day for the team when the airplane flies."

In the run-up to first flight, Boeing conducted flight simulation tests last weekend. The freighter version of the 747-8 is already in the air for tests, Dunlop writes. Initial deliveries of the freighter jets are scheduled by year's end.

AP

Microsoft's Xbox is breaking records in the gaming world. The company says it has already sold 10 million of its newfangled motion-controller device, the Kinect, since the product launched in November.

That's a world record.

Nokia

When Nokia decided its Symbian operating system wasn't the path to success in the smartphone market and started looking for outside options, it found two major suitors: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Google's Android.

The Friday before Valentine's Day, Nokia announced it was hooking up with Microsoft. Will this marriage work? Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson says this deal may not be the best thing that ever happened to Nokia, but it won't be the worst.

Brad Wong / Bellevue.patch.com

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Wind, rain, snow hitting Western Washington
  • Search continues for missing Lake Washington kayaker
  • Nokia Getting Microsoft Billions to Ditch Smartphone
  • Ferguson Jumping Into Attorney General Race

 

High Winds and Rain Expected for Western Washington

The National Weather Service has issued a wind warning for the Washington coast and northwest interior through Monday evening.

Forecasters say the frontal system also is bringing heavy rain to parts of Western Washington and snow to the Olympics and Cascades. A winter weather advisory is in effect for the mountains where 10-to-18 inches of new snow are expected by Tuesday.

Nokia

In a widely expected move, Microsoft and Nokia have announced they're joining forces on the smartphone front. Nokia has long been a leader in the cell phone industry, but has fallen behind Apple and Google in the smartphone arena. Microsoft has been playing catch-up with its Windows Phone 7. The new partnership melds Nokia hardware with Microsoft software in what the companies hope will be a winning combination. 

Simon Bisson (sbisson) / flickr.com

Microsoft wants more engineers leading the company. According to a Bloomberg report, CEO Steve Ballmer wants his senior executives to have solid technical backgrounds in addition to business expertise. Bloomberg's Dina Bass reports the new strategy may be announced later this month. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

PRNewsFoto / Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft handily beat Wall Street's expectations, posting record revenue: nearly $20 billion in its second quarter.

The company says the strong financial report was fuelled by rebounding business demand, as well as swift sales of the Kinect motion controller for its Xbox 360 video games. 

Xbox sales booming

Microsoft says it sold 8 million Kinect motion controllers in just 60 days this past holiday season, far exceeding the company’s expectations, as well as Wall Street's.  

midorisyu / Flickr

Todd Bishop at TechFlash has discovered that Microsoft is into global health, in a weird way.

As Todd reports, Microsoft has applied for a patent for “Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease.”

Anthony Sigalas (Sigalakos) / Flickr.com

Will Steve Jobs be returning to the helm at Apple? This is the CEO's third medical leave. Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson tells KPLU's Dave Meyer that Jobs probably isn't coming back this time. Jobs's previous leaves involved very serious conditions (pancreatic cancer, liver transplant) that don't bode well for his return to an active role.

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NPR recently reported on how your company’s IT department can wipe out your smartphone if you use it to retrieve email from work.  Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson says it’s a two-way street:  employee phones can also breach corporate security.  

AP

A huge new hit to the state's already ugly budget, a call for federal scrutiny of Seattle Police, and Microsoft takes on Apple at Bellevue Square.

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