This is why tech companies need to stop having an event every time they make something new

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This is from the registration form for a Motorola/Verizon event next Wednesday afternoon in NYC - if you can’t see it, it says “*If you’re attending an event at 548 West 22nd Street in the morning, would you like transportation from that location to Gotham Hall?”
See, there’s also a Nokia/Microsoft event in the city that morning. Motorola doesn’t want to use the phrase “a Nokia event” so they browsed their thesaurus to change it to “an event.” There’s also an Amazon event the next day. You might say they’re all trying to show off new products before the big Apple event the following week. It’s tech event overload.

Which makes me wonder, do companies really need to have an event/presser every time they launch a new phone or tablet? They’re basically throwing themselves a party for doing their job and then inviting the press along to confirm (and live blog!) that yes, they are still doing their job and yes, they will continue to make money by creating and selling new products that are “the most innovative and fastest/most powerful _______ yet.” 

Having an event for every new product is the equivalent of giving all the four and five-year olds in Snoopy soccer a trophy just for being there.

Here’s Dave at Mobile World Congress this past February, saying Samsung’s strategy was “throwing spaghetti at the wall.” Which is pretty true. And you know what? I don’t need to come over for dinner every time you make spaghetti. -Matt

Windows 8 will go on sale Oct. 26

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Microsoft announced Wednesday that Windows 8 (and presumably its Surface tablet) will go on sales on Friday, Oct. 26. 

This is the third announcement in as many weeks about Windows 8 pricing or availability. We know upgrade pricing will be $40 ($15 for folks that bought Windows 7 PCs recently or will buy one before February), but we still don’t know regular pricing. 

So expect at least one more announcement about Windows 8. Microsoft’s really milking this one, huh? -David

Excel 2013’s coolest new feature that should have been available years ago

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Microsoft Excel’s most aggravating feature — or lack thereof — was the spreadsheet software’s inability to intuit simple tasks like building lists.

When there’s a list of full names, and I wanted to separate that into two columns of First Name and Last Name, Excel was only slightly more effective than my cat walking across my keyboard.

Finally, in Office 2013, Microsoft has mostly solved that problem. It’s not perfect, but it’s faster than typing in an entire list of names.

When you begin to type a list, Excel 2013 will look at other columns and guess what you’re typing in. In the case above, it’s understanding that the list of e-mail addresses follow the FirstName.LastName@domain.com format, so if someone starts typing in Nancy, Andrew, etc., that’s probably a list of the first names in the e-mail list.

It doesn’t always work for people named Mary Joe or Peggy Sue, but it’s definitely a vast improvement. -David

Microsoft plans “major announcement” on Monday

Microsoft just send a cryptic press invite for a “media event” in Los Angeles on Monday, June 18, at 3:30 pm. 

No details on what will be unveiled. Only this: “This will be a major Microsoft announcement – you will not want to miss it.” Microsoft isn’t even telling us the venue location. It plans to send that to registered attendees on Monday morning.

These kinds of mysterious, sudden events are more Apple’s style than Microsoft’s, so we’re pretty curious to see what’s afoot — and why Microsoft is holding this so far afield from its Seattle-area headquarters. 

LA implies something in the entertainment space. (We’d include an image of the invite, but sadly, it’s all text — no fun graphical clues like Apple usually includes.) Comment or tweet us with your guesses!

UPDATE: The rumor mills say it’s tablet time. Two years after Ballmer told analysts that tablets are Microsoft’s “job one urgency,” we’ll finally get a closer look at what they’re going to throw into the iPad tablet market. Dave and a video crew will be in LA to cover. 

-Stacy

Microsoft “Office 15” in the works

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Microsoft announced on Monday that a new version of Office, codenamed “Office 15” is in the very early stages of development.

The software giant called Office 15 the business’ “most ambitious undertaking yet.” In addition to the update of Word, Outlook Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, Microsoft will also launch new versions of Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync„ and Visio.

Office 15 is currently in a “technical preview,” in which developers at Microsoft’s customers get to play around with the new product and provide the company with their feedback. It will launch in “Beta” — a test version open to the public — sometime in the summer, Microsoft said.

What would you like to see updated in Office 15? -David