What Will Microsoft And Nokia’s September 5 Press Conference Be About?

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PROBABLY NOKIA’S NEW WINDOWS PHONE 8 DEVICES.

But seriously, Microsoft very publicly revealed the future of its Windows Phone platform a few months back. At the time Nokia though, didn’t have much more to announce than some conciliatory apps for all the people whose Lumias wouldn’t work with Windows Phone 8.

Now it looks like Nokia and Microsoft are finally ready to talk hardware. The two companies jointly sent out invitations to a press conference in New York on September 5, and while the invite doesn’t provide much insight into the day’s proceedings, you don’t need to be a mind-reader to figure out it has something to do with Nokia’s new batch of Windows Phone 8… phones.

The multiple tile sizes in seen in the invitation are a clear sign that WP8 (or WP7.8) is involved, and it just so happens that Nokia World is also slated to kick off in majestic Helsinki that same day.

In case you were wondering, the last time Nokia World rolled around the Finnish company officially pulled back the curtains on its first two Windows Phones, the Lumias 710 and 800. What better opportunity is there for Nokia to reveal its swanky new handsets? Of course, neither Nokia or Microsoft has specifically said any of this, but the timing is just too perfect to be anything else. If I’m wrong, I’ll make and eat this ridiculous hat and document the whole damn process.


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The Microsoft Surface Is Safe From Apple’s Zealous Patent Lawyers

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Compare the Microsoft Surface to the iPad: They are both thin slate devices with black bezels. Likewise, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is also a thin slate device with a black bezel. Except only one of these companies is suing the other.

It was revealed today in the third week of the Apple/Samsung courtroom battle that Microsoft is licensing several unnamed Apple design patents for the Surface. This deal reportedly stems from Microsoft and Apple’s long-standing cross-licensing agreement. There are some caveats but it seems for the most part that Microsoft is safe from Apple’s legal hounds — and therefore the Surface has an edge on the tablet market.

Reuters reports that this deal contains a so-called anti-cloning provision, which prevents the two companies from copying (i.e. cloning) each others devices.

According to Apple’s patent director, Boris Teksler, Apple rarely licences these patents. He said he could count on one hand how many times Apple has offered to do so. That includes at least one offer to Samsung which the Korean company supposedly turned down.

Apple vigorously defends its patents and trademarks. Just ask Samsung. The two companies are currently locked in a heated trial. According to Apple, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and smartphone is a bit too similar to the iPad and iPhone. In fact it was revealed last week that Apple approached Samsung in 2010 and offered to license its design patents for $ 30 per phone and $ 40 per tablet sold. Samsung said no to the offer and continued releasing products that are eerily similar to Apple’s. And now the two are battling it out in court.

The iPad dominates the tablet market thanks in part to its simple design. For the most part Samsung replicated the iPad’s design cues, but did so without the proper licences. But Microsoft got the nod from Apple and it’s hard to deny that the Surface is a good-looking tab. Now, if Microsoft can price it properly, the Surface could be the next big tablet and Apple’s lawyers cannot do a thing about it as long as Microsoft plays by the aforementioned rules.


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Microsoft Officially Signs Off On Windows 8, Releases It To Manufacturers

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Right on schedule, Microsoft has just announced on its Windows Team blog that Windows 8 has emerged from its long development and testing phase, and will soon be in the hands of manufacturers and OEMs for installation on new PCs and devices.

Among those on the list to receive the final build (build 9200, if you were curious) are Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and Toshiba, though that’s clearly just the tip of a very large iceberg.

While average users won’t be able to get their collective hands on the new OS before its official launch on October 26, Microsoft revealed when certain subsets of users could access the final build. Developers can download Windows 8 via their MSDN subscriptions on August 15, as can IT professionals with their TechNet subscriptions — lucky devils.

In a separate blog post, Microsoft’s Stephen Sinofsky dives into greater detail about the RTM process and the steps that led up to it. One of the juicier tidbits Sinofsky addressed was just how many people participated in the Windows 8 preview program — over 16 million PCs took part in the preview, with a full 7 million of those PCs running on the company’s Release Preview build. Solid numbers for what the company has referred to as a substantial “reimagining” of Windows as we know it, and the company hopes that same sort of momentum carries over into retail sales.

With Windows 8 finally complete, Microsoft has begun to bring other parts of its ecosystem online. Take the Windows Store for instance — developers will soon able to submit paid apps into the new marketplace, though they’ll have to have their RTM builds installed and ready first. That said, Sinofsky was quick to note that “no software project is ever really ‘done,’” so the company will continue to monitor feedback from both users and its myriad hardware partners.


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