The UpStream

Microsoft Acquires Internet Startup Yammer for $1.2 Billion

posted Sunday Jul 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Acquires Internet Startup Yammer for $1.2 Billion

It appears that Microsoft wants more than just a slice of the social networking pie. If you thought theirSo.cl project was the only social interest the company had, think again. Microsoft has purchased Yammer, an Internet startup company, for $1.2 billion. This is all an effort to bring more social networking features to not just So.cl, but to all of their business software. This is very similar to what we are seeing in the collaboration efforts with their Windows Live suite, Office 365 and the OneNote IE9 integrations.

What is Yammer and why did Microsoft want any part of the company, let alone the whole thing? Yammer's freemium business model focuses on private social networking. Employees of the same company can connect with each other and see what each of their coworkers have going on in their business lives. Essentially, it's Facebook for work. Microsoft's new acqusition will allow its sometimes fragmented business suite to finally be pulled together in some way.

Zynga's Unleashed Event Featured New Games in Attempt to Save Company

posted Sunday Jul 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Zynga's Unleashed Event Featured New Games in Attempt to Save Company

Zynga has been able to make the news a lot as of late. After their initial $200 million purchase of studio OMGPOP, Zynga was then spotted at the ever so relevant E3 2012, however only in a meeting room. Then, just last week we mentioned that Zynga's usage of its popular games were down so much that the possible Draw Something game show might turn their ship around and make back some of the $200 million they spent on that studio.

This week, Zynga had a little media social at their office in San Francisco called Zynga Unleashed. Media and analysts were able to get a look at the roadmap of Zynga's games for the remainder of the year. After a dismal Q2, these games may be the only thing to save the company. Right now, the company only has Farm- and CityVille producing on a consistent basis.

Check after the break to see how the event went and what will the future be for Zynga.

Microsoft has No Plans to Build Their Own Smartphones

posted Sunday Jul 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft has No Plans to Build Their Own Smartphones

With the previous week Microsoft just had, you might assume they will end up taking over the gadget and tech worlds like never before. Microsoft's Surface announcement definitely shocked the industry and caused competitors like Google to play catch-up and release a tablet of their own. More importantly was the fact that Microsoft was now "manufacturing" their own tablet, which we all know is them just putting their logo on the new device. Later in the week, Microsoft announced the new Windows Phone 8, which raised the bar for mobile operating systems.

That is where this week's comments from Microsoft's senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, have impact. Sullivan said that Microsoft specifically has no plans to build their own labelled smartphone, which goes against analyst predictions from last week.

This opens up a very interesting scenario for Microsoft. We go into detail after the break.

Xbox Decision Deferred to Next Year

posted Sunday Jul 1, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Xbox Decision Deferred to Next Year

Last week, the fear of an Xbox import ban was strong. Motorola's patent dispute had been validated by an International Trade Commission judge, with a recommendation of blocking all new imports. It all came down to the 6-member ITC panel to either approve of deny the judge's recommendation and, in grand government tradition, they managed to do neither.

Instead of making a decision, they pushed it back to the judge to look again and reconsider his findings. It appears that one of two things is happening here. The first possibility is that the commission is made entirely of cowards. They might not want to be on the bad side of either Microsoft of Motorola's parent company, Google. While the ITC is, theoretically, in charge, Obama's Chief Technology Officer is a former Microsoft exec and Google's products are slowly taking over the federal government. Getting on the bad side of these companies could end up making their own lives harder.

On the other hand, the ITC is currently investigating Google's Motorola division for fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms. Microsoft accused Motorola of using their patents to bully other companies, like in the licensing agreement that they pitched to Microsoft. The ITC has taken this claim seriously, launching an investigation into Motorola's licensing terms across the board to look for bullying. This investigation could certainly change the outcome of the judge's finding, so pushing the decision back on him might be a good decision.

We are expecting to not hear back from the judge until almost the end of the year, meaning for at least the holiday season, the Xbox 360 will be safe in the US market.

The Office Team to Tackle Third Series

posted Saturday Jun 30, 2012 by Scott Ertz

The Office Team to Tackle Third Series

The word "spin-off" has been surrounding The Office for almost as long as it has been on the air, but it has never happened. The last time major talks were had, it resulted in Karen leaving to run her own branch and, instead of a spin-off, we were given Parks & Rec, which is a more viable show than a Karen Filippelli-centric Dunder Mifflin show. This time the producers are looking at an original to leave and take the reigns of his own series: Dwight Schrute.

It is a compelling prospect, for sure. Dwight has always excelled at, but never really fit into, the office life. While winning sales competition after competition, he has always focused on his beet farm/bed and breakfast. Whether hosting a garden party for Andy, a romantic weekend away for Jim & Pam or a creepy setting for "sales training" for Ryan, Dwight always manages to get back to the farm. That is where the new series, or at least the pilot, will take place.

For more details on Dwight's possible new career, hit the break.

Amazon's Lack of Experience Leads to Massive Outages

posted Saturday Jun 30, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Amazon's Lack of Experience Leads to Massive Outages

The allure of new technology and existing companies dabbling in new technology can be too much for some companies to resist. That has been the case with Amazon's Web Services, known as AWS. A large number of companies, some that should really know better, have come to rely on the AWS EC2, Amazon's server system for data storage. Companies like Foursquare, Pinterest and even Netflix have switched their data storage to the EC2 platform.

One of the problems with new technology is a lack of preparation from the companies that buy into it. This has been the realization of many of Amazon's cloud-server customers. Over the past few months, AWS has experienced a series of failures leaving customers in the dark. Last weekend's failure left all three of the mentioned major companies entirely down. Netflix losing service costs them money each and every time, so this is a pretty massive deal for everyone involved.

So, what caused the problem that took down the largest user of Internet bandwidth on the planet? Hit the break to find out.

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