Microsoft says it has launched an investigation into labor practices at a Chinese factory following a report alleging the vendor used large numbers of teenagers working in harsh conditions for low pay to build the company's mice and other products.
The investigation follows a report from the Pittsburgh-based National Labor Committee that found the KYE facility in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China allegedly uses significant amounts of teenage labor and has workers laboring as much as 80.5 hours a week for wages that amount to just over 50 cents an hour in take-home pay.
Bing is tapping further into Twitter to deliver the latest tweets on timely topics.
Microsoft's search engine is in the midst of adopting a new feature called Social Search, which will include tweets that are just minutes or even seconds old in regular search results. The goal is to provide more relevant tweets that appear in real time so that people can follow the latest trends and thoughts on subjects of interest, Microsoft's Bing blog announced Tuesday.
One of the central features of Microsoft's just-announced Kin phone is the "Loop" feature, which shows recent updates from a variety of social networks.
However, not only doesn't the Loop get automatically updated with new posts, but it refreshes itself only every 15 minutes. Those who want updates more frequently have to either open the Kin's built-in feed reader application or lock and unlock the phone. (The Kin automatically fetches new updates when it is unlocked.)
Microsoft characterized the setting as a battery-saving move for the phone, which is aimed at the 15- to 30-year-old &… Read more
Well, CNET is here to try to clear some things up. We'll try to answer as many questions about the device as possible. And, if we missed one, just let us know and we'll do our best to track down an answer.
Microsoft has outsourced its internal IT services--help desk, desk-side services, infrastructure and application support--to Indian outsourcing firm Infosys.
For Infosys, managing Microsoft's internal IT gives it a high-profile customer and insight to using the latest technologies from the software giant. Infosys will manage IT services for Microsoft employees worldwide. Microsoft has noted that Infosys is benefiting from a consolidation of services that were already outsourced to HP and others.
Specifically, Infosys is tasked with streamlining processes, simplifying support and service, and cutting costs by using Microsoft's own software, say Windows 7. Infosys will support Microsoft's applications, devices, … Read more
The original release of Windows Vista reached the end of its support on Tuesday, meaning that customers now need to be running either Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 of Vista to get assistance from Microsoft.
However, in conjunction with this milestone, Microsoft did make a subtle adjustment to its support policy, easing the hard deadline a bit. Under the new policy, Microsoft support staff are allowed to make their "best effort" to provide limited troubleshooting to customers running unsupported service packs, even if they don't have a custom support contract.
SAN FRANCISCO--The Kin isn't the iPhone and it doesn't have to be.
That was the message from both Microsoft and Verizon Wireless executives at the launch of the new smartphone line on Monday.
Instead of focusing on apps, the Kin focuses on bringing together in one interface all the social networking and other tools that the "upload generation" wants in its phone.
But executives also took pains to characterize the Kin One and Kin Two as entry-level smartphones, not part of the feature phone market that they admit is in decline.
Instead, they tried to create a new niche aimed at those who are really into social networking but haven't gotten what they want on their phone.
In an interview, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach and Verizon Senior Vice President John Harrobin made their case for their new family of phones. Here's an edited transcript:
A couple real quick questions. Add-on applications, yes or no? Bach: From a marketplace standpoint, there's certainly a video and music marketplace. There isn't an app marketplace, but we do support over-the-air (upgrades), so we have an opportunity as we get feedback from customers to add additional things if we choose.
We had to make a choice early on, are we going to do an integrated experience or one that is an app-specific experience. We chose from the start to be an integrated experience and I think you see that. We concentrated on the apps we thought this audience would want...Twitter, Facebook, that all comes with the device.
The user picks up this phone and they don't have to install anything. They don't have to start anything. They just have to enter their account.
Zune video--is that over the air or do you download that from your computer?… Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The fact that Microsoft and Verizon picked a nightclub to launch the Kin tells you a lot about their target market.
The short and squat Kin One and the wider-screened Kin Two are two shapes for the same idea--the mobile phone for those who want to broadcast their every thought, sight, and sound--"lifecasters," as Microsoft's Robbie Bach called them. Although many phones have Facebook or Twitter applications, social networking is at the heart of the Kin. Sharing has its own dedicated green button and is at the center of the Kin experience.
The target demographic is men and women between 15 and 30, said Bach, who runs Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices unit. The two companies said the phones would launch next month, but didn't say exactly when during the month, nor would either company talk at all about pricing.
Aside from their shape, the two devices are very similar. Both are touch-screen sliders running the same software. The Kin Two has a better camera (8 megapixels versus 5MP), double the memory (8GB versus 4GB), and a bigger screen.
These aren't a run at the iPhone. Bach stressed that Microsoft's general smartphone play is the Windows Phone 7 operating system, which will start showing up on devices this fall. In fact, there's not even an app store for Kin users to go to, although Microsoft and Verizon can push updates or add-on programs themselves over the air.
There are several key things built into the Kin, including the first phone implementation of the Zune service. The phones can play Zune video and music that is loaded onto the device from a PC, and Kin owners can also stream music over the air while they're on the go. … Read more
During an event Monday morning, Microsoft announced that it has teamed with Verizon on a pair of feature phones for the youthful Facebook crowd. The Kin One and Kin Two are the first in the Windows Phone family to come with the Zune music service. The following is a record of our live coverage from the event:
The pair of slider phones, each with a touch screen and keyboard, can be thought of as successors to the Sidekick line that Microsoft got with its Danger acquisition. Part of a long-running internal project called "Pink," they will be heavy on social networking and also will be the first phones to be able to access the Zune music service.
How will they stack up against the iPhone? They're not really intended to compete with Apple's juggernaut, but they may well help Microsoft regain its footing in the phone business. Plus, adding scale to the Zune community could help make the Zune feature of Windows Phone more compelling.
We'll be at the event--the start time is 10 a.m. PDT--where the phones will be unveiled, bringing you the action right here as it unfolds. So bookmark this post and check back for all the details.
9:21 a.m. PDT: The press is huddled outside Mighty, the club where Microsoft is holding the event. They haven't let us in yet.
So far, I haven't gotten anyone to confirm rumors the devices will be dubbed "Kin."
9:57 a.m. PDT: We're all inside the club. Lounge music playing softly as Ritual Coffee Roasters brew is being served to warm us up. Nothing going on yet. Various video monitors are running a slideshow of images similar to those on the invitation. The main screen carries the Sharp, Windows phone, Verizon, and Vodaphone logos.
10:00 a.m. PDT: We just got the five-minute warning.
10:02 a.m. PDT: Confirmed: It's Kin One and Kin Two. Microsoft's Kin site is live here, with pictures and details. … Read more
Microsoft is ready with the final versions of its Visual Studio 2010 developer tools software and Silverlight 4, as well as version 4 of the .Net Framework.
The company is announcing the launch of the three products on Monday at a Visual Studio developer conference in Las Vegas. Visual Studio 2010 and the updated .Net Framework are now broadly available, Microsoft said, while Silverlight 4 will be made available for download later this week.
"We're excited to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2010 with developers around the world today," Server and Tools unit President Bob Muglia … Read more