Posted tagged ‘Steve Ballmer’

What Happens in Vegas…

February 2, 2011

As we turn the calendar from one year to another, what does it make you think about? New Year’s Resolutions? Back-To-School? The Super Bowl?

Well, if you’re like me and employed in the world of tech PR, it means one thing…the annual “Super Bowl” of consumer electronics events, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

If you’ve ever attended CES then you know that the show has grown exponentially since its early days. There’s nothing quite like getting more than 140,000+ of your closest friends together in Las Vegas for 4 days of the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos from some of the largest consumer electronics companies in the world. Each year, months of hype lead up to the show. Who’s going to be there? What are they going to be demonstrating? What’s the big, new “it” product? And this year was no different.

Quite a few major technology trends emerged from this year’s show floor that are sure to keep me busy throughout 2011. Some of the significant topics of discussion included the launch of dozens of new tablet devices, wireless 4G LTE and enhanced connected television technologies.

And if you thought that CES had lost its luster and prestige…think again! Last year was a major down year in terms of attendance for CES. But, it was the large crowd at this year’s show that caught the attention of many in the media:

“I must’ve gotten the following question fifty times in the past few days: what’s the coolest thing you saw at CES? Every time, I’ve given the same answer: the crowd…It’s what the size of the 2011 CES signifies about the consumer electronics industry, and about the cultural centrality of a set of devices and issues that used to be the sole province of geeks.” Jon Stokes, Ars Technica

“CES 2011 is back to normal. It was packed with vendors and attendees. The overall tone was extremely up beat… It was fun to walk the floor and see what was on display.” Bill Wong, Electronic Design

There was no shortage of big names at CES. Amongst those speaking in Las Vegas this year were Steve Ballmer of Microsoft, Rupert Stadler of AUDI AG, Boo-Keun Yoon of Samsung, Alan Mulally of Ford and Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon. Each gave a Keynote presentation and Mulally used his presentation to unveil the company’s first electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric. Did you miss any of the Keynote presentations? Don’t worry…in this day and age you can easily go back and watch all of them online on the CES website anytime you like.

We talked trends coming out of the show earlier, and in 2011, there was no shortage of hot button topics that everyone wanted to talk about. Here’s what members of the media had to say about what they saw on the show floor:

“From the very first press conference, the main theme from the show emerged: your next smartphone will likely connect to a 4G network. For business use, 4G on your smartphone or tablet means easier Internet back-ups, smooth video chats, and snappier Web viewing.” John Brandon, Inc. Magazine

“This year, the show was all about Android. We ushered in the era of dual-core Androids with LG and Motorola, we celebrated the 4G revolution with LG, Motorola, and Samsung, and we even got a glimpse at how Android works when screen resolution is bumped beyond the all-too-common WVGA, thanks to Motorola. Oh, and a little thing called Android 3.0 Honeycomb is going to transform the way we think about not only tablets, but smartphones too.” Brandon Miniman, PocketNow.com

Larger crowds, 4G and gadgets galore! These were some of the highlights of CES this year. I think we can safely say that the recession appears to be over and if CES is any barometer for the state of the industry, then we’re in for a big 2011!

Did you go to CES this year? What was your biggest takeaway? What was your most memorable moment (at the event…not in Vegas)?

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Microsoft Announces 3,000 Layoffs

May 5, 2009

Microsoft has announced that it has aid off 3,000 employees from its U.S. and worldwide locations as part of a previously announced cost-cutting initiative.

From InformationWeek:

“This is difficult news to share,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in an e-mail to employees. “Because our success at Microsoft has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard.”

Microsoft in January said it planned to trim a total of 5,000 jobs from its workforce. Ballmer said Tuesday’s action means the company has “mostly” reached that objective.”We are moving quickly to reach this target in response to consistent feedback from our people and business groups that it’s important to make decisions and reduce uncertainty for employees as quickly as possible,” said Ballmer.

Ballmer added that Microsoft could cut more than the originally announced 5,000 jobs if economic conditions worsen or fail to improve. “As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job cuts,” Ballmer said.

Yahoo, Microsoft Talking Partnership

April 10, 2009

Yahoo and Microsoft have restarted partnership discussions, this time over a possible advertising agreement.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The discussions restarted a few weeks ago, and included a meeting between new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the technology blog AllThingsD said Friday.

The two companies have intermittently talked about partnering in search engine advertising since last year after Microsoft’s unsolicited $47.5 billion takeover bid for the Sunnyvale Web portal fell apart. Microsoft executives have championed a partnership as a way to better compete with search industry leader Google Inc. while underscoring that they are no longer interested in an acquisition.

Current discussions are aimed at finding ways for the pair to work together on a number of fronts, according to the report. One potential idea is for Microsoft to handle the search advertising business for both Web sites while Yahoo would handle all of the display advertising, capitalizing on its strength in banner ads.

Microsoft to Cut 5,000 Jobs

January 22, 2009

Microsoft shocked its investors this morning as the company announced its first broad layoffs in its history and offered a bleak forecast for the second half of its fiscal year.

From the New York Times:

Rather than issuing its second-quarter results in the customary fashion after the market closed, Microsoft rushed out the news Thursday morning that it will lay off up to 5,000 of its 94,000 employees over the next 18 months, including 1,400 people Thursday. The layoffs span across research, sales, finance and technology roles, the company said.

“We will continue to manage expenses and invest in long-term opportunities to deliver value to customers and shareholders, and we will emerge an even stronger industry leader than we are today,” said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive.

Microsoft’s shares dropped $1.50, or 8 percent, to $17.88 in early trading.

For its second quarter, Microsoft posted net income of $4.17 billion – a figure 11 percent lower the $4.71 billion reported in the comparable period last year. Microsoft’s revenue for the quarter rose 2 percent year-over-year to $16.63 billion.

Microsoft’s earnings of 47 cents during the quarter missed the forecast from Thomson Reuters by 2 cents.

The direct impact of falling personal-computer sales, which roiled Intel last week, were evident in Microsoft’s results, as sales of its PC operating-system software dove 8 percent to $3.98 billion from $4.33 billion last year.

Blaming market uncertainty, Microsoft declined to issue a revenue or earnings forecast for the rest of its fiscal year.

Microsoft Exploring Possibility of Job Cuts

January 15, 2009

Rumors of massive job cuts at Microsoft, totaling up to 15,000 positions, appear to be untrue.

However, the company is reportedly considering some job cuts that could be announced as early as next week.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Microsoft Corp. is seriously exploring significant work force reductions that could be announced as early as next week, in a sign that the weak economy is prompting tough decisions even at one of the steadiest ships in the technology industry.

According to people familiar with its plans, the Redmond, Wash., giant is considering layoffs across its various divisions, a rare occurrence for the world’s largest software company. However, plans for the cutbacks are still in flux and Microsoft could end up finding alternative methods of reining in costs, one of these people said.

Although the number of potential job cuts couldn’t be learned, people familiar with the matter said they are likely to be far less than the 15,000 positions that have been rumored in recent weeks, a figure that would amount to more than 16% of Microsoft’s global work force.

In an interview last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declined to say whether the company was planning layoffs, though he said the economy is forcing Microsoft to think seriously about cost cutting measures.

“We’re finding our right balance,” Mr. Ballmer said. “When we find it, I’m sure we’ll communicate that publicly.”

Windows 7 Beta Now Available

January 9, 2009

Yesterday at CES, Microsoft announced that its upcoming Windows 7 OS will allow users to link their PCs to their other devices, as well as to others, in just three steps using a feature called Home Group.

From Ars Technica:

As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised at CES 2009 during his preshow keynote, the Windows 7 beta is now available to the public for download. It is only available to the first 2.5 million people who download it, so make sure to get your hands on it as soon as you can!

The beta is available in English (32-bit and 64-bit), German (32-bit and 64-bit), Japanese (32-bit and 64-bit), Arabic (32-bit and 64-bit), and Hindi (32-bit). Once you have the .iso image downloaded, I recommend you use IMGBurn to burn it to a DVD. The beta supports clean installs and Windows Vista SP1 to Windows 7 upgrades. You can only install the Ultimate edition. You should receive a beta key by e-mail sometime after you download the build. Microsoft gives the following minimum hardware recommendations for the Windows 7 Beta (and notes that they can change before the final):

  • Processor: 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
  • Memory: 1 GB of system memory
  • Hard drive: 16 GB of available disk space
  • Video card: Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128MB memory (in order to enable Aero theme)
  • Drive: DVD-R/W drive
  • Internet connection (to download the Beta and get updates)

Two days ago, Microsoft gave the beta to its testers on Microsoft Connect, as well as to its MSDN and TechNet subscribers, although there was some trouble with beta keys.

From BusinessWeek:

If Microsoft has one message they want people to take away from the annual Consumer Electronics Show, it’s “we’re listening.” While the software giant didn’t reveal any major surprises during the opening keynote last night with CEO Steve Ballmer, the company’s announcement that Windows 7 would be released to 2.5 million or so beta users beginning tomorrow has been billed as a watershed moment for the company.

After its disastrous Windows Vista operating system was panned near-universally, the company has spent many months and hours talking to businesses and consumers about what they’d like in the new operating system. There certainly are a lot of nifty new features, including the ability to perform touch-based tasks. And the new OS will be a kindler, gentler force to your PC, taking up less resources after Microsoft engineers jettisoned legacy code and rebuilt the OS as a much cleaner piece of software.

Now it will spend several months getting feedback for Windows 7 from the beta users. What does it all mean? PC users will finally get an OS that works quite well late this year. Meantime, Apple is likely to continue to sign up a bunch of new converts to the Mac platform. The real comparisons will come when Apple announces new additionals for its update in coming months.

From InformationWeek:

“For most consumers, setting up a home network is way too complicated,” said product manager Charlotte Jones, during Microsoft’s CES keynote presentation. “But, in Windows 7, there’s a feature called Home Group, and it sets up a home network very easily.”

Windows 7 automatically networks with Internet-connected devices added to a user’s Home Group, Jones said. In a live demonstration at CES, Jones added her husband’s PC to her network so she could access his music files.

“My husband has the best music on his PC, so I can navigate to his PC just like it’s my own hard drive and pick some music,” said Jones. After tapping the files, users could play the music on their own computer or export it to a third-party device, such as an Xbox. “It’s way cool,” she said.

“I set up a home network, and it didn’t take me a whole Saturday to do it. In three steps and two minutes I was accessing my other PCs and devices,” Jones said.

Earlier, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used his opening keynote address to pitch some of Windows 7’s other benefits, which Microsoft hopes will erase memories of the widely maligned Vista.

“We are on track to deliver the best version of Windows ever. We’re putting in all the right ingredients — simplicity, reliability, and speed, and working hard to get it right, and to get it ready,” said Ballmer.

CES: Las Vegas

January 7, 2009

Gil Grissom may be leaving CSI this week, but people are just arriving in Las Vegas for one of the biggest shows of the year.

It’s expected that while attendance may be down slightly this year due to the struggling economy, as many as 130,000 attendees will be converging on the city for the 42nd annual International Consumer Electronics Show.

The show always has a great lineup of speakers and this year will be no different (minus Bill Gates of course). For those of you who are already in Vegas, and plan to leave the comfort of the hotels and casinos for the show, make sure to check out clients from ACCESS, mBlox and Nero on these thought provoking panels at Digital Hollywood, co-located at CES:

Thursday, January 8

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Track III- ME6- Mobile Entertainment Track

Reinventing the Mobile Device and Mobile Network- Integrating the Full PC Experience into a Personal Communications Device

Albert Chu, VP of Marketing & Alliances, ACCESS Systems America


For Session Description & Speaker Bios Click Here

Thursday, January 8

Noon to 1 p.m.

Track III- ME7, Mobile Entertainment Track

The Mobile Web: The Future of Applications, Commerce, GPS, Communications and Content

Larry Berkin, VP, Ecosystem and Corporate Business Development, ACCESS Systems America


For Session Description & Speaker Bios Click Here

Thursday, January 8

3 to 4 p.m.

Track III- ME9- Mobile Entertainment Track

Mobile Commerce and Content- The Mobile Web, Off Deck Content, Mobile Search and Advertising Options

Brian Johnson, Senior Vice President, Americas and Asia Pacific, mBlox


For Session Description & Speaker Bios Click Here

Additionally, Nero US President, Richard Carriere, will be a featured speaker on January 9, at 3 p.m. in the North Hall – N261. His panel, “The Television, the PC, Online Video and the Digital Consumer Experience” will discuss consumers’ use of TV as the gateway to entertainment and information. Included in the discussion will be the topics of interactive TV, IPTV, PVR TV, broadband-based TV, as well as the many ways that consumers will use and access content and programming.

Nero Move it, Nero 9 and Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC will be showcased at the AMD-sponsored Nero Theater at the Nero booth, January 8-10 in the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 4, #35625.

Nero and OEM partner product trials and promotional giveaways will also be offered at the Nero Theater, with the first demonstration of Nero 9 at 11 a.m. PT, Nero LiquidTV | TiVo PC at 1 p.m. PT, and Nero Move it at 3 p.m. PT. This newly expanded Nero product line represents the company’s delivery of liquid media technology — where the TV and PC are merged and digital entertainment content moves easily across a variety of devices.

If you’re interested in meeting one-on-one with Nero at CES, please contact Karen Clyne at (408) 727-0351 ext 763 or karenc@mcgrathpower.com.

It should be a great show once again this year. Looking for more information? CNN has a great preview of the show today.

From CNN:

With many Americans struggling to pay bills, find jobs and even avoid foreclosure, it may seem like an extravagance to spend hundreds of dollars on a laptop or a digital camera.

But financial fears also are causing consumers to spend more time at home, where they still want to be entertained. Industry observers believe this nesting trend could sustain demand for products — Blu-ray players, stereos, video games, cheap computers — that brighten the family room while easing the sting of canceling that Disney World vacation.

“We’re about to experience a renaissance in in-home entertainment,” said Scott Steinberg, publisher of DigitalTrends.com. “History proves that even during times of recession, people are willing to invest heavily in great escapes, and products that take their mind off the concerns and vagaries of everyday life.

“That being said, consumers are becoming smarter about how they spend their money,” he added. “This year’s mindset will be less about luxury than convenience, and a specific gadget or technology’s pure ability at the end of the day to get the job done.”

With an uneasy eye on the economy, tech companies seem to be scaling back expectations for CES, which kicks off officially on Thursday. Attendance will likely be down about 8 percent, and few blockbuster announcements are expected. Industry heavyweights also are downsizing the usual slate of lavish corporate parties that in 2006 saw the Foo Fighters gigging for Motorola and Intel hosting The Black Eyed Peas.

“The pre-buzz has really been a lot quieter than it’s been in recent years,” said Kent German, a senior editor at CNET.com, who is attending his fifth CES. German believes more tech companies are choosing to launch products at other times of the year when they don’t have to compete for attention.