Tag Archives | Microsoft Xbox

Verizon FiOS Xbox Live TV Deal Is Another Disappointing Half-Measure

Giving people more options is generally a good thing, and the announcement on Tuesday that Verizon would offer a couple dozen FiOS cable TV channels through a new Xbox Live app certainly isn’t a bad thing. But it’s also a reminder of all that we still lack when it comes to consuming what we want to consume, and not subsidizing piles of stuff we don’t.

The FiOS deal sounds sweet enough—watch live TV through your Xbox 360!—until you realize it’ll require you already have a Verizon FiOS subscription. In that sense, Verizon’s deal is like all the others from cable providers who offer their services through devices likes computers or laptops. What sounds wonderful in theory—the ability to watch live TV without a cable box—turns out to require the cable box after all, and a regular subscription to boot. Instead of supplanting cable boxes, your computing devices become adjuncts to an aging, increasingly old-school method for consuming digital content, not the independent pipelines for discrete digital content they’re capable of being…and that so many consumers seem to be looking for.

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Microsoft's Changing of the Guard

Microsoft has announced that two executives with a total of 41 years at the company are stepping down. Robbie Bach, president of its Entertainment & Devices Division–home to the Xbox and Windows Phone–is going to retire in the fall. And J Allard, the division’s senior VP of design & development, is leaving Microsoft, although he’ll remain an advisor. Who instigated the change? I dunno, but but the guys who will preside over games and phones–Don Mattrick and Andy Lees, respectively–are already in place; it’s just that they’ll report directly to Steve Ballmer rather than to Robbie Bach. So it doesn’t represent an attempt at dramatically new thinking. And it sounds like Microsoft will no longer bundle games and phones into one group, which sounds logical enough.

One of the most intriguing questions about the future of Microsoft–and the future of the tech business in general–is whether it’ll figure out how to become a major player in mobile operating systems–and if so, what does the trick. Windows Phone 7 looks promising, but it’s intentionally limited in its ambition–an attempt to get back on track with an OS that relatively few things, but does them well. There are those who argue that Microsoft should give up on phones, but I don’t see how Microsoft can be Microsoft in five or ten years unless it has a thriving business involving mobile platforms. Andy Lees is now the person charged with making that happen. I’d love to know just what is strategy is–not so much for the next year or so, but for 2012 and beyond…


Obama Praises Tech Giants

U.S. President Barack Obama heralded the technology industry in a speech today about the importance of education. The speech, which was given to school children across the country, emphasized personal responsibility, hard work, and perseverance.

In his remarks, Obama told school children that students sitting in classrooms a generation beforehand had grown up to produce Facebook, Google and Twitter –changing the way Americans communicate with one another. Those successes would have been hard to come by without an education, the President noted.

Obama successfully leveraged social networking in his campaign to become President, building a large grassroots following on the Web. His campaign leveraged Web services to rapidly convey his message and to respond to political attacks.

Despite the President’s praise, technology didn’t get a free pass in his speech. He cautioned against too much of a good thing, and asked parents to manage how much time their children spend watching TV and playing Xbox. (Obama singled out Microsoft’s game console rather than mentioning the PlayStation and Wii as well, a fact some folks noticed).  He also told children to be careful about what they post online (which was a world away from President Eisenhower’s generic appeal for students to study math and science).

Here’s the speech in its entirety, in two chunks–thank you, YouTube:

Controversy aside, the President gave common sense advise that it would behoove every child to follow. Maybe the inventor of the next big thing was listening in, and became inspired by the President’s words.

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