Chief correspondent, Seattle
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May 30, 2013

Microsoft brings back ‘start’ button, seeks to spur Windows sales

SEATTLE, May 30 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is
bringing back the Windows “start” button, offering a
stripped-down version among a slew of improvements aimed at
winning over tablet users and placating PC customers alienated
by Windows 8.

The world’s largest software company is looking to
re-energize sales of its latest Windows version, which has not
made the splash with computer users it was hoping for.
Executives say the plan is now to update Windows periodically,
rather than waiting three years or so between big releases.

May 27, 2013

The new tech palaces: visionary HQs, or cursed trophies?

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO, May 27 (Reuters) – While much of
corporate America is retrenching on the real estate front, the
four most influential technology companies in America are each
planning headquarters that could win a Pritzker Architecture
Prize for hubris. this week revealed plans for three verdant
bubbles in downtown Seattle, joining Apple’s circular
“spaceship,” Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed open-office complex
and a new Googleplex on the list of planned trophy offices.

May 21, 2013

Microsoft unveils Xbox One with Spielberg, Activision tie-up

REDMOND, Washington (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp gave the world a first look at its new Xbox One on Tuesday, announcing that its first gaming console in eight years will come with exclusive video and software content, including a “Halo” series produced by Steven Spielberg.

The Xbox One, which will be available later this year at a price to be announced, will also be the first platform to release the next installment in Activision Blizzard Inc’s blockbuster shooter franchise, “Call of Duty”.

May 18, 2013

New Xbox more than a game console for Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is set to make a splash this week with the eagerly awaited unveiling of its new Xbox game console, eight years after the last version, as it seeks a larger share of the $65 billion a year global computer gaming industry.

But the small device faces some big competition from the PlayStation 4 by Sony Corp and the Wii U by Nintendo Co Ltd in a shifting market.

May 7, 2013

Windows 8 hits 100 million sales, tweaks for mini-tablets in works

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses in the six months since launch, roughly in line with the previous version, but wants to combat sputtering interest in its flagship software with a substantial update to make it easier to use, and compatible with smaller tablets.

Windows 8 is the first Microsoft operating system primarily designed for touch commands, but it has failed to capture consumers’ imaginations or make a dent in a tablet market dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

May 2, 2013

Microsoft goes mainstream to win phone share

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s phone chief hates to call the new Nokia Lumia 521 cheap, but the lower-priced smartphone launching in the United States is the company’s boldest move yet to win mass market share from leaders Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

The world’s largest software company has so far focused on putting its Windows Phone software into expensive, high-end devices – chiefly from Nokia and HTC Corp.

Apr 30, 2013

Paul Allen gaining respect with sports, real estate moves

SEATTLE, April 30 (Reuters) – Paul Allen, the lesser known
co-founder of Microsoft Corp, has struggled for decades
to make his mark as a business mogul beyond the software company
he started with Bill Gates.

Since he quit Microsoft in 1983, the quiet Seattle native
has lost billions of dollars on ill-conceived or mistimed
technology investments, and he has been mocked as a juvenile
playboy manqué for spending lavishly on giant yachts and
off-beat projects like a Frank Gehry-designed rock museum.

Apr 19, 2013

Microsoft multiyear license growth softens pain of PC decline

SEATTLE, April 19 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s
strategy of selling more long-term software licenses to big
business customers is helping to cushion the blow from
plummeting PC demand and a faltering start for its Windows 8

Personal computer sales fell 14 percent in the first three
months of the year, just as Microsoft tries to ramp up sales of
the latest iteration of Windows. But the company’s ability to
keep hold of big customers rescued its third-quarter results,
which came in better than expected on Thursday.

Apr 18, 2013

Microsoft CFO exits; profit, shares rise

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp said on Thursday Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein would leave at the end of June after 3-1/2 years in the post, as the world’s biggest software company struggles with sharply declining personal computer sales and a lukewarm reception for its new Windows 8 operating system.

Klein, an 11-year Microsoft veteran, is the latest in a line of top-level executives to leave the company, following Windows head Steven Sinofsky last November. Some have questioned whether Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is still the right leader for Microsoft, whose shares have remained essentially flat for the last decade.

Apr 10, 2013

PC quarterly sales plummet, sharpest drop on record

SEATTLE, April 10 (Reuters) – Personal computer sales
plunged 14 percent in the first three months of the year, the
biggest decline in two decades of keeping records, as tablets
continue to gain in popularity and buyers appear to be avoiding
Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 system, according to a
leading tech tracking firm.

The huge drop over a year ago, the steepest since
International Data Corp started publishing sales numbers in
1994, mark a new milestone in the apparent decline of the age of
the PC as computing goes mobile via tablets and smartphones.

    • About Bill

      "Bill Rigby is Reuters' chief correspondent in Seattle, reporting on Microsoft and Boeing and overseeing coverage of general news in Washington state, Oregon and Alaska. He has been a Reuters journalist since 1998, reporting on banks, insurers, stock markets, defense companies and airlines from Reuters bureaux in London, New York and Seattle."
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