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Apple could be prepping new iPad UMPC

More recently, companies have been trying to develop a useful and highly mobile computing device, one that is more powerful than a mobile phone, but less powerful than a laptop. Various products such as Tablet PCs and Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPC) have been released but they haven’t been very successful because they are based on Windows XP, an OS that is not really designed to run on such a small device.

In October 2008, Steve Jobs entirely dismissed netbook computers, saying the company couldn’t develop a $500 computer that was “not a piece of junk”. Since then, Apple’s mindset seems to have actually shifted towards a super mobile computing device, with more and more indications the company is readying the release of such a device.

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Microsoft Pink=iPhone Killer? iPhone headed to Verizon? iPhone Mini?

According to a WSJ report, Microsoft is developing a new Microsoft branded phone dubbed “Pink”, that will likely be powered by Windows Mobile 7, coupled with Zune, Marketplace, and My Phone services, among other services developed by the MS Danger team.

The device will exclusively support the features above; the features will not be available for licensing for other vendors who power their devices with Windows Mobile.

The report also indicates Microsoft is in talks with Verizon to launch the device exclusively in the U.S.

There is currently no other information relating to a possible release, pricing, features, or even what the device will look like.

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Microsoft launches web-based IM support, Facebook feed going to Win Live

Microsoft today has added web-based support for IM on select Windows Live web pages, including Hotmail and the Win Live people page.

The feature was already added for users in Japan, Spain, the U.K., Italy, and France, though will now be added in North America, Brazil, Germany, and other European countries. The service will eventually support all users.

The new web-based IM support will make it easier for people to connect and use Windows Live Messenger from restricted computers such as at work.

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Digg ditches Microsoft as ad partner

Digg will be ending its exclusive advertising partnership with Microsoft after two years, a deal that should have ended mid-2010, according to a Clickz report. The deal is believed to have earned Digg only about $20 million over the last two years. The partnership was initially announced in 2007.

The move comes as Digg shifts to selling its own advertising to maximize revenue.

According to Digg executives, the company will focus on selling customized and standard banner ads to partners. Microsoft will now get whatever ad inventory space is left over. There is speculation Digg could release an AdSense type product, where partners can place contextual CPC advertisements within the Digg news streams. Read the full story

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RIM hires ex Apple designer

RIM’s consumer base now represents 40% of all clients. With intensifying competition from the iPhone, RIM has hired Don Lindsay as the companies new Vice President of User Experience. Don will be responsible for helping to make the RIM OS user interface more intuitive and design friendly.

Don previously worked at Apple in Apple’s user-experience team helping contribute design ideas to Apple’s OS X.

Don previously also worked at Microsoft who helped design Vista.

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Microsoft announces new systems/apps for healthcare

Microsoft today has just announced Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS) 2009. The system can be used to aggregate patient healthcare data from existing systems to make the data easily accessible for both professionals and patients via Microsoft’s HealthVault technology (HealthVault was firstly announced in 2007).

The new version includes many new features, including added plugins and IT tools that will lower the total cost of ownership, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft today also unveiled new prototypes of applications aimed at assimilating health care patient data on Microsoft Surface tables. Thirteen hospitals in the U.S. are currently testing the technology in a live environment.

There are various included applications that allow doctors to easily access records, utilize images and video to help in better explaining information to patients. With the multi-touch technology, more than one person can use the device at the same time. Doctors can easily zoom, change sizes, and rotate photos.

Microsoft Surface also features the ‘vision system’ that can identify objects placed on the surface of the display. As an interesting side note, Sony recently filed for a printer patent that uses similar technology as the Microsoft Surface vision system, where gadgets placed on the surface of the Sony printer are identified, allowing the user to print directly from supported devices.

A new app in Microsoft Surface for health care lets doctors know the number of beds available, the status of pending laboratory results (with alerts), the number of patients arriving and with what type of emergency, among other useful information for emergency physicians. Another app includes a patient scheduling and check-in system.

Developers can also Read the full story

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Office 2003 get retired, Windows XP to enter extended support

Microsoft is set to completely retire Office 2003 on April 8, 2009 when the product is pushed out of the extended support phase.

Microsoft will no longer offer any upgrades for Office 2003, but will only provide security and bug patches to everyone as needed. Other upgrades and fixes will only be given to companies that have lasting technical support agreements already in place.

Microsoft lastly updated Office 2003 in September 2007 when the company released Service Pack 3.

Windows XP is also set to enter extended support on April 14, 2009, meaning Microsoft will no longer offer mainstream support for its most successful operating system.

Microsoft earns about more than 80% of its total revenue from sales of its operating system. In 2006, Gartner estimated about 239 million PCs were sold worldwide, with close to 90% running Windows.

Microsoft lastly updated XP on April 21, 2008 with Service Pack 3.

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Microsoft settles GPS patent suit with TomTom

Microsoft and TomTom have both sued each other over alleged patent infringement in car navigation GPS systems. The companies have now reach a five-year agreement. Under the terms, TomTom will pay to license eight patents, while Microsoft will be able to use four TomTom patents without any payment. Microsoft said in a written statement, “We are pleased TomTom has chosen to resolve the litigation amicably by entering into a patent agreement,”

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Ballmer Says Microsoft Wants Yahoo Deal

microsoftMicrosoft Steve Ballmer CEO Steve Ballmer said at a media conference in New York today that he still think there is an opportunity to make a deal with Yahoo, likely to acquire Yahoo’s search engine business that remains a significant business for Yahoo.

Ballmer expects to discuss possible deals with new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

Microsoft first offered Yahoo $47 billion (about $30 per share) in an unsolicited bid that later broke down with then CEO Jerry Yang after failed talks. Jerry Yang was later heavily criticized for not taking the deal and later resigned. The Yahoo stock is now trading at $13.75 (1:23pm) and is up about 2.53%

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Microsoft to Bring Films on Xbox with new NBC Partnership, Announces New Xbox Features

xboxMicrosoft today has unveiled significant plans to extend its entertainment offerings on the Xbox 360 to new heights. The announcements were made by Microsoft UK Head Neil Thompson in London. The big announcement is Microsoft has reached an agreement with NBC Universal International Television Distribution to bring films produced by Universal Pictures to Xbox Live. People will be able to easily rent and watch the latest movie titles in high definition on the Xbox. Read the full story

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