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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Highlights: Apple Inc. (AAPL) Siri’s Competitor, Awaited Interrogation, Surface Phones & More

Editor’s Note: Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Microsoft May Be Launching Siri Competitor in 2014 (Tom’s Hardware Guide)
Microsoft is unsurprisingly building its own personal assistant to compete with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s impersonal Google Now platform. The virtual assistant will be called Cortana, named after the artificially intelligent character in the Halo series who can learn and adapt. Cortana will supposedly help tie all Windows 8 platforms together including Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, Windows RT 8.1 and Xbox One. Cortana first made an appearance back in June as an app called zCortana in a leaked build of Windows Phone; the “z” designation meant she was merely a test build. Now Cortana has returned, conveniently close to the launch of all four platforms mentioned above.

Stephen Elop & Steve Ballmer

The Week Ahead: Tough Questioning Awaits Microsoft (Wall Street Journal)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) executives this week are hosting the company’s first major huddle with financial analysts in two years. It could be a firing line. Intense questioning seems all but assured in the wake of a string of moves that left investors puzzling over their spreadsheets. First, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in July pushed through a massive reorganization of the company that broke apart business groups such as Windows and Office, and seemed to reinforce his authority. Then, surprisingly, Microsoft announced that Mr. Ballmer would retire after a successor is found, in a process expected to take up to a year. Next, the board took the landmark step of offering a director post to an activist stockholder, and Microsoft struck a strategy-reshaping purchase of Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)’s mobile-phone business.

Microsoft updates display ‘worrisome’ decline in quality (Computerworld)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Friday acknowledged it had rewritten four of its security updates issued just three days earlier after customers reported never-ending demands that they be installed, even though they had been. The flawed updates were just the latest in a disturbing trend of quality problems in Microsoft’s security and stability updates. The repeated installation requests followed Microsoft’s yanking of a non-security update last week, as well as buggy fixes shipped in August and April that blocked access to server-based email mailboxes and crippled Windows 7 PCs. “Worrisome,” is how Andrew Storms, director of DevOps at San Francisco-based cloud-oriented security vendor CloudPassage, put it when asked about the trend in an interview conducted via instant messaging Friday.

Microsoft built prototype Surface phones, sources say (CNET UK)
So, what would Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have done if Nokia embraced Android, as it’s reported to have been considering? It would’ve made its own mobile, that’s what. Sources told The Verge that Microsoft even went as far as to make a few prototype Surface phones. This would’ve served as a plan B, if Nokia did jump ship. Considering how its Surface tablets have struggled, Microsoft must be thanking its lucky stars Nokia decided to join the fam. Microsoft knew Nokia was testing Android on its Lumia range of handsets. Seeing as Nokia mobiles account for 80 per cent of Windows Phone’s sales, obviously Microsoft wanted to have a back-up in place in case Nokia sided with Google.

Microsoft Working Out Kinks in’s IMAP Implementation (Computerworld India)
Getting to work with email client applications via IMAP is proving to be a challenge for some users of the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) webmail service. A variety of problems have been reported through comments in the blog post Microsoft published Thursday announcing the new IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) support in To their credit, Microsoft officials are clearly monitoring the feedback very closely, as evidenced by their frequent replies to the comments being posted. “We’ve seen a handful of reports of users running into the error 9 so we’re looking into this with high priority,” wrote Ben Poon, an program manager with Microsoft, referring to a server timeout error some users are experiencing.

Microsoft wants to buy your iPad (

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