Many have wondered what Microsoft is going to do with Kinect beyond video games. Here’s a first glimpse: It’s a collaboration software that allows conference attendees and presenters to manipulate data and images on a screen using hand gestures. (Microsoft has more information about it on its Research blog).

As many have hacked the Kinect to do everything from 3D scanning to augmented reality, it’s encouraging to see Microsoft begin to think outside the box as well. -David

Eric Schmidt thinks Bing rules


Image source: Google, with a little help from MSPaint

Was Eric Schmidt defending Google or Bing in his testimony to Congress on Wednesday? 

Google’s chairman mentioned Microsoft’s search engine 11 times in his speech, praising it in every instance. He noted how Bing has “continued to gain in popularity,” and delivers richer results than Google.

"In fact, according to an October 2010 study published by Comscore, Bing contained these ‘rich results’ on their results pages 54 percent of the time, while Google only provided rich results 33 percent of the time," Schmidt noted in his prepared testimony.

Schmidt also noted that Bing’s search integration with Facebook gives it a “tremendous competitive advantage.” 

And then, Schmidt landed a whopper, saying Bing could even eclipse Google by next year: “Microsoft’s Bing launched in June 2009 and has grown so rapidly that some commentators have speculated that it could overtake Google as early as 2012.”

Obviously, Schmidt is lavishing an arch rival with praise to explain how Google is not a monopoly (which isn’t even the issue, but I digress). But that last quote really stands out as complete and utter nonsense.

The “commentator” is Mashable’s Christina Warren (this is not meant to be a judgment on Warren, I’m sure she’s great). The “speculation” was from an April article, extrapolating out trend lines of seven months of Hitwise data. The trend lines crossed in January 2012, with Bing overtaking Google.

To get there, the extrapolation predicted that by now, Google would have just 55% of the search market, while Bing would command 40%. We know neither is true — Microsoft just said last week that it has less than a 15% share.

Also, Hitwise is great as a marketing tool, but comScore’s metrics are preferred by the industry (including Microsoft and Google).

The point is that Eric Schmidt knows all of this. And presented Congress with a bald-faced lie. -David

The death of the PC counter-argument

We spend a lot of time talking about the death of the PC, but Microsoft is always happy to offer a well-reasoned rebuttal.

"If you have money for just one device to send your kid to college with, it’s going to be a MacBook or a PC laptop," said Microsoft director of corporate communications Frank Shaw, in a conversation with CNNMoney in late June.

Shaw noted that PCs offer storage, processing power and networking. But networking has always been the “weak sister,” he said, pointing to the iPhone’s connectivity problems as a recent example. 

"So why bet everything on the weakest link?" he asked of people predicting the death of the PC. Most PCs dwarf the processing power and storage capabilities of tablets like the iPad.

Do you agree with Microsoft? -David

Microsoft: Nice work, Apple!


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In the battle between Apple and Lodsys, the patent troll that has been ordering iPhone developers to pay for technology Apple had already licensed, Apple has found an unusual ally.

The Association for Competitive Technology this week said it “applauded Apple’s step to reassure app developers that in-app purchases are covered by the Cupertino company’s license of Lodsys technology.”

What’s odd about that? ACT poses as a grassroots organization that defends the interests of small technology businesses and developers, but it is actually a Microsoft-backed lobby group. 

Isn’t it nice when enemies can get along? Even if one of the rivals is wearing a disguise? -David