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Microsoft's Secret Conference Gave Us a Look into The New Microsoft Office

posted Monday Jul 16, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft's Secret Conference Gave Us a Look into The New Microsoft Office

Microsoft had a surprise meeting today for an invitation-only crowd to reveal what we expected to be the upcoming Microsoft Office suite of products. As it would turn out, we were correct on that assumption and Steve Ballmer opened the 45 minute presentation to talk about The New Microsoft Office, or Office 15 - Ballmer used both so we can't seem to figure out which one is right. He began by explaining where Microsoft was and what they were trying to do with the new product and said that with this new generation of Microsoft Office, users will see the "same boldness and beauty in Windows 8 and Windows Phone" brought into the productivity software. Ballmer then added that The New Microsoft Office is the "most ambitious release of Office" Microsoft has ever done.

Starting with Office 365, Microsoft was very clear on pushing the cloud-based services that surrounded The New Microsoft Office, even though there was mention that there would be a version you could install that wouldn't require a 365 subscription. With the preview of Office available today, you can experience "your modern office," with the software focusing on four key aspects: Windows 8 style and functionality, cloud, social and new usage scenarios.

For more on what was behind those four aspects and to learn everything about The New Microsoft Office, click the break.

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Yahoo Closes Deal with Clear Channel, Adding to List of Partnerships They've Made Recently

posted Sunday Jul 15, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Yahoo Closes Deal with Clear Channel, Adding to List of Partnerships They've Made Recently

Last week, Facebook settled the score with Yahoo, which turned out to be the best thing for Yahoo. The company was able to cross-license patents Facebook acquired from Microsoft and also put Yahoo into a mutual advertising partnership with the social networking giant, allowing them to form a platform that would bring Yahoo content onto Facebook. Yahoo is continuing the run of good fortune for them as this week they've entered into another deal, this time with Clear Channel.

Yahoo will be aligning itself with Clear Channel in order to further their cross-promotion and distribution campaign with well-established names. Yahoo will now also be able to use the iHeartRadio platform as part of their music service. Also in the long-term agreement is Yahoo will now stream over ten of Clear Channel's live events per year, including the infamous iHeartRadio multi-day concert live from MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

CEO Bob Pittman of Clear Channel said that Yahoo's fill-in CEO Ross Levinsohn came up with this idea and Pittman decided to roll with it.

We were thrilled when Ross approached us about this partnership. We like the direction Yahoo is going and by working together we can accelerate growth for the both of us.

This puts Clear Channel in the list with Facebook, ABC News and CNBC as companies that Yahoo has come to agreements with as of late. The difference here is that now Yahoo has a terrestrial radio giant on their side, which will allow them to promote Yahoo created content across all of the 850 radio stations under the Clear Channel umbrella. While the financials were not disclosed to the press, it seems that Yahoo has seemingly admitted defeat on their search engine and have instead decided to bring in outside partners in order to directly impact the traffic they see on the content they produce. Perhaps this is the saving grace for Yahoo and the company will turn around from the disaster that has been the past two years.

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Best Buy to Cut Workforce by 2,400 Jobs by August 1st

posted Sunday Jul 15, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Best Buy to Cut Workforce by 2,400 Jobs by August 1st

A little over a year ago, Best Buy announced they would be shrinking their store footprints and moving to smaller, Best Buy Mobile locations in order to keep costs down. Well, it appears that cutting the size of the stores has not been enough and now the workforce cuts will commence. Best Buy will be eliminating 2,400 jobs, which comes out to 1.4 percent of Best Buy's positions. It is also being reported that the reduction will happen immediately.

Inside the 2,400 people who won't be working for the blue box anymore are 600 Geek Squad employees and 1,800 other jobs in the stores, all to be cut by August 1st, which gives those who will be termed about two weeks warning before they no longer have a job with a blue polo or black tie. Best Buy will be offering severance and employment assistance to those who will be fired. This all comes as no surprise to people in the retail space, as Best Buy has been trying to fend off Amazon and Wal-Mart as their top competitors, after successfully putting Circuit City to shame no more than three years ago. Best Buy posted a $1.7 billion Q4 loss earlier this year and announced it was closing 50 stores right off the bat but we knew the job cuts were only the next step of the plan.

For more on the job cuts, follow the break.

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Hulu Brings Israeli Series to the Network, First Foreign Language Series

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Hulu Brings Israeli Series to the Network, First Foreign Language Series

Since its inception, Hulu has been known as the place for Americans to watch American programming. This is not to say there isn't foreign language programming available. In fact, Hulu has more anime available than Manga Entertainment, as well as Spanish language programming. What Hulu has never offered, however, is exclusive foreign language programming.

This week, Hulu has changed that. Their first exclusive foreign programming is the critically acclaimed Israeli drama Prisoners of War. The series, whose first episode is available now, is the highest rated Israeli television drama, and even won nine Israeli Emmy Awards. The series, which will be published in 10 parts, follows the lives of two soldiers as they try to reintegrate into modern society after being in a prison camp for 17 years. As if that is not enough, during their debriefing, their stories do not match, initiating an investigation into who they are.

The CEO of Keshet Broadcast, Avi Nir, who owns the rights to the program, said,

We are looking forward for this great opportunity to bring the unique voice of 'Prisoners of War' to a worldwide audience. We are happy and proud to partner with a market leader such as Hulu in this U.S. debut.

It is good to see Hulu expanding its lineup, especially so close to the possibility of the company going up for sale. Obviously foreign broadcasters are starting to get excited about the Hulu platform, and if they can gain more traction with foreign exclusive programming, they could solidify their place in the industry, worldwide.

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US Navy to Buy $700 Million of Hardware and Software from Microsoft

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

US Navy to Buy $700 Million of Hardware and Software from Microsoft

Have you ever wondered where our tax dollars end up going? Well, luckily for you I love to cover that kind of stuff. Just under three years ago, I wrote about the Air Force buying 2,200 PlayStation 3 consoles for the building of a supercomputer, bringing their total to 2,536 units. If you thought the $118,000 used to spend on Sony's gaming machine was a lot, you better prepare yourself for this news.

This week, the United States Navy has signed a three-year business deal with Microsoft that is worth $700 million. This licensing contract deals with both the Navy and the Marines and will consolidate the existing agreements into one big deal that will have Microsoft delivering desktop and server software to our men in uniform and will be the "first-ever department-wide Enterprise Software License Agreement." This follows a memo issued back in February that requires all departments in these branches to acquire their software through an enterprise deal. Apparently Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle also had the ability to get in on a contract but Microsoft ended up winning the bid.

For more on the story, follow us beyond the break.

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Sony Preparing Its Third Generation PS3

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Sony Preparing Its Third Generation PS3

While Sony readies their next generation console, Orbis, it appears that they are also preparing to launch a 3rd generation of their current console, the PlayStation 3. Much like the second generation, currently available, the new model will be significantly thinner than its predecessor.

It is a little surprising that Sony would put forth the energy and resources to redesign their current generation of console when a whole new device is right around the corner. There are a couple of possibilities as to why they would be doing this. As with the launch of the PS3, the PS2 was retained as an active SKU for at least 2 years. With that precedent being set, it is possible that this redesign is to keep the existing console fresh during its final 2-3 years of life on the market. If the Orbis is going to be a slim console, not the behemoth that we have come to know the PS3 to be, then it would make sense that the PS3 would have to have a sleeker look to stand on shelves next to it.

Hit the break to find out my opinion on what else might be the circumstances behind the new console and to see what it looks like compared to its predecessors.

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