May 24, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
Japanese automaker Toyota and Salesforce.com are in the midst of perfecting a car-focused social networking platform that will enable users to, for example, get the car started in the morning or turn its seat-warming mechanism on with a few finger jabs to an iPhone, instead of the usual going outside. Microsoft, though apparently staying at the sidelines through the initial developmental stages, represents one of heaviest investors in the project. So far, Microsoft has forked out $4.1 million dollars, Toyota $5.5 million, and Salesforce.com $2.8 million. Reportedly, Microsoft will be constructing a “global cloud platform” with the popular automaker.
The in-development social network currently goes by the handle “Toyota Friend,” and responsible for its most current progress is Salesforce.com, a cloud computing company from San Francisco. Next year, drivers in Japan of Toyota plug-in hybrids and electric cars will be the first to make use of the evolving social network, which will be accessible from any gadget connected to the internet.
Users will be able to interact with the new network through Facebook and Twitter, but it will nonetheless remain a private network and run on Salesforce.com’s Chatter service. Benefits of joining the network will include receiving tweets about one’s car running low on battery power and finding out the status of tire pressure from a Facebook feed.
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corp., in a released statement commented: “Social networking services are transforming human interaction and modes of communication. The automobile needs to evolve in step with that transformation.”
May 17, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
It seems Microsoft may be in for a much-delayed social media breakthrough with a more socially searchable Bing. Reaping some of the rewards of its recent partnership with Facebook, Bing’s search results will be featuring a searcher’s Facebook friends’ Likes and Shares. The people at Bing are describing the new search layers as “conversational,” and adding, in the words of Bing director, Stephan Weitz, that “it’s a first step in the evolution of how search can become more human.”
Bing is en route to “humanization” by way of special highlights in its results alerting searchers to social media friends’ recommendations that coincide with one’s latest topic of inquiry. For example, as Weitz was helpfully paraphrased in the New York Times, if someone searches for a website “like NYTimes.com or Cooks.com, Bing will” produce “news articles or recipes deep inside those sites that … friends have recommended.” Moreover, the folks over at Microsoft not being ones to forget the ever-growing importance of location-based sociability, they are also piling on Bing a feature that will make note of which of a searcher’s friends live in a given city or other locale if it’s a destination being searched for. Microsoft may be, indeed, gaining some steam.
May 10, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
Big money, to the tune of $8.5 billion, was on the table and Skype took it all, from Microsoft. With the deep pockets that come from being a company named Microsoft Corp., the amount paid is astounding, but not unimaginable. In fact, Microsoft paid $6 billion in 2007 to buy aQuantive, an online advertising company. And that’s to say nothing of Microsoft’s “withdrawn” $48 billion offer to buy Yahoo in 2008. The current all-cash deal will likely be finalized before the end of the year; the buy’s currently awaiting regulatory approval.
Tony Bates, Skype Global’s sitting chief of staff, will continue to be at the helm of Skype as it transforms into the new Microsoft Skype Division. He had the following to say about the deal: “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.” Silver Lake Partners leads the investment group that owns Skype.
The buy comes after years of Microsoft trying to become “a verb” as Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, most pointedly said recently. Without mentioning verb-y Google, Mr. Ballmer let it be known that Microsoft was very pleased to be able to acquire a platform that comes joined to millions of dedicated and active users. He’s right about that — on average, Skype has 107 million users per month whose connection time totals more than 100 minutes.
Finally, Steven Ballmer also said that his company’s consumers should soon expect to see Skype’s technology for voice and video make an appearance in well-known Microsoft products. Plans for expanding Skype’s business and revenue are clearly in the works.
February 2, 2011 by admin · Comments Off
Microsoft has gone on the offensive against Google in their heated war over accusations of search engine plagiarism. Google recently announced the results of a “sting” operation which it claims shows that Microsoft is stealing search engine results from Google for its Bing search engine. While Bing Vice President Harry Shum has defended the company against the charges, other Microsoft spokespeople are taking their case to social media.
Microsoft communications head Frank Shaw made a series of Twitter posts today which called out Google on a variety of levels. Shaw accused Google of publicizing the alleged plagiarism in order to “change the subject because they’re under investigation in the US and Europe for manipulating search engine results.” He also pointed out that Google collects user data through Chrome and Android – a process which Microsoft said explains similar search engine results that Bing has with Google.
Google responded with a post on their company blog entitled “Microsoft Bing uses Google search engine results – and denies it” which lays out their case against Bing. This led to a series of snarky back-and-forth posts involving Shaw and Google search head Matt Cutts. It looks like things will get much more interesting and continue to play out in public before this is settled.
May 5, 2010 by admin · Comments Off
Microsoft announced today a new test project called Spindex, designed to aggregate social media streams, making it easier for users to find new information, view customized trending topics and get the most out of their social media experiences.
Currently in its early stages, Spindex offers users an overview of the entire social media world, allowing them to simultaneously connect and interact with multiple networks on one page. For example, users can find articles and content based on personal interests in their friends’ messages and comments. The new tool also allows users to keep track of the information they are saving via Evernote.
According to Microsoft, “Spindex is not just a social reader — as you browse your friends’ updates, Spindex continually suggests related content from Bing — giving you better insight into the topics and trends spinning around you.”
As the latest test project within Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, Spindex is available in early technical preview form.
January 21, 2010 by admin · Comments Off
Despite being a computer mogul, Bill Gates has been reluctant to join the social media universe. The Microsoft founder stopped using Facebook recently after too many users tried to connect to him, but the Wall Street Journal reports that he’s giving Twitter a try as he’s signed up for the microblogging site and started posting under the user name @billgates.
Along with beginning to post on Twitter, Gates also launched a Web site called “The Gates Notes” to share his personal views with the world. The site is broken down into sections such as “What I’ve Learned” and “My Travels” will include posts on a variety of subjects.
His first Twitter post on Tuesday was far less deep: “Hello World. Hard at work on my foundation letter – publishing on 1/25.” Still, it was enough to convince more than 230,000 people to start following him within the first 24 hours.
December 21, 2009 by admin · Comments Off
Twitter has reached the milestone of profitability thanks to $25 million in deals to make its content searchable on Google and Microsoft Bing, according to a report on Monday by BusinessWeek. Anonymous sources told the magazine that the two deals – reached in October – will allow the microblogging site to record a small profit for the final quarter of 2009.
Twitter CEO Biz Stone declined comment on the company’s finances, other than to say in an email that “we’re thrilled about the partnerships we’ve formed this year and we’re looking forward to opening Twitter even more in the future.”
BusinessWeek’s two sources said that the Microsoft and Google deals were “huge” with the Google deal earning the company $15 million and the Microsoft deal generating another $10 million in revenue.