Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

Eric Lundgren is an environmental hero, whose California business diverts literal tons of e-waste from landfills, refurbishes it, and puts it in the hands of people who can make good use of it. Read the rest

The end of Windows closes in

Five years ago, Steve Ballmer said "we can make Windows devices once again the devices to own." Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows will no longer be a standalone unit at Microsoft, ending a division dedicated to personal OS that started in 1980. Read the rest

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others join to create royalty-free video codecs for all

The group plans to develop a new generation of royalty-free open source digital media formats for video, audio, and still images.

Windows Phone 8.1 surprisingly great

Windows Phone 7 was Microsoft's belated entry in the smartphone wars, ushering in cool new design trends without making a huge impact on the business. Windows Phone 8 was a disappointment. Read the rest

Executive shakeup begins at the new Microsoft

Kara Swisher learned that some high-ups at Microsoft at leaving the company following the appointment of new CEO Satya Nadella. On one departing exec: "Good for him not to have hung around twiddling his thumbs ... Read the rest

Lincoln's Gettysburg PowerPoint, delivered 150 years ago today

For those who missed Abraham Lincoln's PowerPoint presentation in Gettysburg 150 years ago today, he kindly posted his slides online, along with rough speaker notes. "The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

(And here's Peter Norvig on why he created this Web classic way back in 2000: "The Making of the Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation") Read the rest

Ballmer fell, cut head, during Nokia buyout negotiations

The Wet Lord bleeds.

Mr. Ballmer and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, were walking across the law firm’s lobby, when Mr. Ballmer — absorbed in reading a document from Nokia related to the deal — tripped on a glass coffee table.

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Microsoft's Ballmer to retire

After 13 years at Microsoft's helm, CEO Steve Ballmer is to retire within 12 months. The search for a successor is on.

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a press release. Read the rest

Microsoft: NSA harming constitution

Declan McCullagh: "A strongly worded letter from Microsoft's general counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder says secrecy about National Security Agency surveillance is harming fundamental 'constitutional principles.'" [CNET] Read the rest

WA grants MSFT $1.5B tax amnesty, resorts to taxing dance-clubs to make up shortfall

Jeff Reifman sez,

After granting Microsoft amnesty on its $1.5 billion Nevada tax dodge, state tax collectors are aggressively targeting Seattle dance clubs and night clubs over an obscure 'opportunity to dance' tax.

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Children of the 90s

Microsoft cancels negative memories of its products with positive memories of the age in which they existed.

Windows Surface reviews

Mat Honan at Wired: "This is a great device. It is a new thing, in a new space, and likely to confuse many of Microsoft’s longtime customers."

Joshua Topolsky at The Verge: "I wanted to love this device."

Sam Biddle at Gizmodo: "Should you buy it? Read the rest

Windows RT

The part of Microsoft tasked with marketing good products badly has gotten its clutches on Windows 8, whose ARM tablet incarnation will henceforth be known as "Windows RT". Read the rest

Microsoft text adventure game!

"Microsoft has jumped onto the free-to-play bandwagon with its latest game, a text-driven adventure called Visual Studio 2010. The innovative new game marries the traditional interactive fiction text adventure with its arcane commands and exploration with the free-form, open-ended gaming" [Ars Technica, following the introduction of gamification and "achievements" to the coding app] Read the rest

Microsoft buys Skype, attacks reverse engineer with bogus takedown notices and florid language

Microsoft-owned Skype has launched a campaign to shut down programmers who use reverse-engineering to understand its protocol and make interoperable products. Their PR agency calls this "nefarious attempts to subvert Skype's experience." Unfortunately for Skype and Microsoft, "experience" is not something the law protects -- after all, if a Skype user wants to talk to another person who uses a third-party Skype client, why would the law want to prevent that? Read the rest