Xbox 360 is Still the Top-Selling Console in the U.S.

Despite a variety of consoles out in the market, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has been the top-selling gaming console in the United States for 14 of the past 15 months, according to Microsoft’s official blog. It trumped two other popular gaming consoles—Nintendo Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3—to maintain its spot at the top. NPD Group, a New York-based independent market research firm, states that Xbox 360 has sold 308,000 units in August alone, making it the best-selling console in 2011 thus far.

Microsoft’s recent partnerships with Disney and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) seem to indicate a bright future for the company, saying that a line-up of new titles are slated to be released during the upcoming holiday season. The much-anticipated Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which has a huge number of devoted fans, is expected to hit stores on November 8th.

Microsoft iPad Killer In The Works

Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer has announced the need to combat the Apple iPad tablet platform. No time commitments were made as to when a Microsoft tablet computer would come out but it is an urgent agenda of his organization. These tablet computers will run on Windows 7 to catch up with Apple and Google in this growing piece of the market.

It can be recalled that Ballmer shot down a similar tablet platform project before Apple released the iPad. Now that the iPad is capturing an interesting piece of the consumer market, analysts are now seeing that this market segment could grow exponentially. Analysts are saying that for this decade, the tablet market along with smartphones are expected to be the fastest growing segments. Ballmer knows this and it makes him realize the urgency to start competing in the tablet computer market.

Ballmer seems confident about capturing market shares but without a specific timeline and strategy, it may just all seem like lip service. The iPad is gaining popularity with its user-friendly features, something that can be challenging for Window 7 applications.

Release Date of Microsoft’s Latest Kin Phone

Among other large phone companies, it is really expected that from time to time, they would have their own version of what’s latest. Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Nexus and Research In Motion’s Blackberry are just among those popular phone today. Equipped with its own unique features, ‘techies’ or technology addict individuals are trying to have one of them or having all them.

Here comes another giant in the world of technology, Microsoft. The had unveiled their latest phone. It is called the Kin Phone. According to the software company, the phone has made suitable for people who like to stay in touch with friends and share content. With all the social networking sites that we have right now, it is really a great need that our phone in which we are bringing along wherever we go can provide us access to those social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.

“This is a phone that knits together a tight community of kindred spirits…, the phone personifies true kinship between people, technology, friends and customers,” said Robbie Bach, president of the entertainment and devices division at Microsoft.

The phone comes with a high resolution camera and the first to access Microsoft’s Zune music service. It has a multi-touch screen and a slide-out keyboard. The home screen of the device is always on and shows the latest events, such as text messages, tweets, or shared images, happening among someone’s group of friends.

“Social is the DNA of this phone,” said Microsoft’s Derek Snyder, one of the product marketing managers who worked on its development. “Social is the fabric of this experience.”

With Kin, the company will have a control over hardware and software. Kin handsets will go on sale in the US in May. In Europe, the Kin models will be available on the Vodafone network and will be launched in Autumn 2010. No prices has been revealed yet.

Ed Roberts: The Father of PC dies at 68, Bill Gates and Paul Allen Paid Tribute

The founder of Altair 8800, Dr Henry Edward Roberts died at the age of 68. Altair 8800, the machine that started the home computer era. This machine started the careers of Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Roberts founded the Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS).

According to Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak, Roberts has taken ” a critically important step that led to everything we have today”. He told technology website CNET.

When Roberts company has been struggling with debts in mid-1970’s, he then decided to invent a computer kit for hobbyist. It is already the Altair 8800. It was then featured in the cover of Popular Electronics in 1975. Among the individuals who were interested in the machine were Gates and Allen. They contacted Roberts and offered him to write a software code for his machine. The pair eventually moved to Albuquerque – the home of MITS – where they founded Micro-Soft, as it was then known, to develop their software: a variant of the Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (Basic). And the technology of computers emerges from then on.

Roberts died April 1 after his long bout of Pneumonia.

E-commerce revolution has driven discounting change

Here’s the latest news from Microsoft by Dan Smith. He said that the e-commerce revolution has changed the way discounting is applied to brands.

Director of fashion e-tailer Stephanie Phair claimed that discounting is something that “used to happen in friends and family sales, sample sales or in bricks and mortar outlets 25 miles away from the flagship”.

She claimed that brands used to maintain their image within the confines of their retail state and discounting was “something very separate”, but the internet has changed this situation as it “demands transparency”.

“At the same time if you look at the consumer, thanks to the internet and shopping online, the consumers have changed the way [they shop],” Ms Phair said.

Referring to the fashion industry in particular, she suggested that trends have also altered, making discounted clothing more acceptable.

“Suddenly, vintage was the way to shop and eBay became a treasure trove for vintage. There was an evolution there and previous season became acceptable and cool,” she added.

According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, Britons spent £4.2 billion online in October 2009.

However, statistics show that market growth dipped significantly during the recent postal strikes.