Satya is Microsoft’s new CEO

Microsoft Corp. named Satya Nadella chief executive officer, tapping an insider steeped in business technology to speed turnaround at a software maker that helped usher in the personal-computing age only to be left behind as the world shifted toward the Web and mobile devices.

Nadella will replace Steve Ballmer effective immediately after a five-month search, Microsoft said in a statement today. Bill Gates, the company’s first CEO, will step aside as chairman and devote more time to product development, while remaining on the board and running his philanthropic foundation. John Thompson, the board member who led the CEO search, becomes chairman.

The new CEO, who was born in India and joined Microsoft in 1992, takes over at a critical juncture. Consumers and businesses are shunning PCs in favor of handheld devices made by rivals, sapping demand for Microsoft’s flagship products. Besides playing catchup to the likes of Apple Inc. and Google Inc., Nadella will be tasked with completing strategy changes, begun by Ballmer last year. That includes integrating the $7.2 billion integration of Nokia Oyj’s handset unit and turning Microsoft into a provider of services and hardware.

~  Dina Bass – Bloomberg Technology

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This is great news, Satya is a great option but the idea of Bill Gates becoming more involved with product development is what’s both interesting and exciting.

Microsoft reduces prices on Windows Azure Storage to match AWS price reduction

As you may recall from the April announcement, we committed to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services like compute, storage and bandwidth. Effective March 13, customers will see lower prices for Block Blobs Storage and Disks/Page Blobs Storage matching AWS’ prices.  We’re also making the new prices effective worldwide which means that Azure storage will be less expensive than AWS in many regions.

Here are the details… We are matching AWS’ lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.

Cloud Spectator’s recent study, A Comparative Analysis of 5 Large Cloud IaaS Providers, showed Windows Azure Infrastructure Services was the highest performing provider and on average has 3X better price for performance than Amazon EC2.

~ Steven Martin – Windows Azure Blog

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This is really great news for all those companies and individuals who have chosen Microsoft’s Azure as their cloud platform. It is not a solid platform and very competitive in performance and pricing. Also, Microsoft’s commitment to match Amazon Web Services’ price reductions is great for all of us as it creates competition that benefits all of us, keep it coming guys.

Google browser as a platform

Google today launched Chrome apps for Android and iOS. The company is offering an early developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework for building native mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Developers can use the tool to wrap their Chrome app with a native application shell that enables them to distribute it via Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Today’s announcement builds on the company’s launch of Chrome apps in September that work offline by default and act like native applications on the host operating system. Those Chrome apps work on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS, but now the company wants to bring them to the mobile world.

Last month, we broke the news that the company was working on bringing Chrome packaged apps from the desktop to the mobile world. At the time, Google developer advocate Joe Marini said the beta toolkit for porting and building such apps would be ready in January. In the last week of the month, Google has delivered as promised.

~ – The Next Web

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This is really interesting, the fact that you can wrap HTML/CSS/JavaScript with a native application shell is nothing new. However, making Chrome the platform and why not, an operating system in itself so you can run these apps even when you are offline is interesting and very attractive to developers to say the least. Back in 2008 Mozilla was developing Ubiquity which never really got released but the idea was there – a browser as an operating system. There was/is also Webian which since long ago, has been trying to accomplish this.

Google Glass with Designer Frames

The move comes as Google Inc. prepares to make Glass available to the general population later this year. Currently, Glass is available only to the tens of thousands of people who are testing and creating apps for it.

Glass hasn’t actually had glasses in its frame until now.

Glass is basically a small computer, with a camera and a display screen above the wearer’s right eye. The device sits roughly at eyebrow level, higher than where eyeglasses would go.

It lets wearers surf the Web, ask for directions and take photos or videos. Akin to wearing a smartphone without having to hold it in your hands, Glass also lets people read their email, share photos on Twitter and Facebook, translate phrases while traveling or partake in video chats. Glass follows some basic voice commands, spoken after the worlds “OK, Glass.”

The gadget itself is not changing with this announcement. Rather, Google plans to make various attachments available. Starting Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif., company is offering four styles of prescription frames and two new types of shades available to its “explorers” — the people who are trying out Glass. The frames will cost $225 and the shades, $150. That’s on top of the $1,500 price of Glass.

~ Barbara Ortutay AP Technology Writer

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