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This article was published on July 13, 2012

This week at Microsoft: Surface, the Bing Fund, and the Xbox 360

This week at Microsoft: Surface, the Bing Fund, and the Xbox 360
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Friday is upon us yet again, meaning that it is nothing but the time for TNW’s weekly Microsoft roundup. Admit it, you are giddy all Thursday in anticipation. This was a week of news not like the past few, so strap in.

As always, for the full dose, head to the archives. Now, ensure that you are following the TNW Microsoft channel on both Twitter, and Facebook, and let’s get right into it.

Surface Sales

Microsoft is more than proud of its Surface tablets. The company raised such a media stink for their initial, and only partial unveiling, that it’s all but impossible to imagine that the company is anything less than beaming about the project.

That in mind, the company doesn’t expect to sell very many of the devices in their first year on the market. A few million, the company said, at its partner conference, will make it into the hands of consumers in that initial 12 months. Apple shipped 20 million iPads last quarter.

There could be more than meets to the eye to the statement, however. As we noted after the statement was made:

 Microsoft could simply be setting the bar low for the product line, so that it can blow past it and crow about how ‘massive’ and ‘unexpected’ the ‘consumer reaction’ has been to its new product.This is a game worth playing for most companies, given its ease: tell everyone your success will be minimal, and even a moderate performance feels large.

Honest or not, the idea of only a few million Surface units being sold feels soft.

The Bing Fund

Bing may lose money, but that isn’t stopping it from opening an angel fund and incubator in the Seattle area. Accepted companies will take on cash, a place to work, access to Microsoft ‘experts,’ and discounted use of Bing’s paid search APIs.

The FAQ page even made a crack about how Microsoft doesn’t promise to acquire companies that make it through the program. The Bing Fund intends to only accept a few firms at a time. The play, of course, is to build mindshare for Microsoft in the startup community, and market share for Bing.

With Amazon and Microsoft anchoring the region, and yet another bucket of monies ready to be handed out to young local startups, it’s hard to not call Seattle a technology hub.

Xbox 360 Keeps Crown

The Xbox 360, now roughly 117 years old, continues to sell hundreds of thousands of units per month. In June, 257,000 were sold, according to the NPD group. Microsoft is cooing over the news. It’s held the top slot in the US console market for some 18 consecutive months now.

Even with the Next Xbox becoming an increasingly real substance, consumers are flocking to the current unit. Why? I suspect that its attractive price point, recent addition of the Kinect, and growing capabilities as a non-gaming media device are the largest factors in its continued success.

In case you were curious, the ‘360 commanded 47% of the US console market last month. Not bad, as they say.

The Continued Android Coup

Two more Android OEMs signed onto Microsoft’s ‘give us money so that we won’t sue you’ campaign. Yes, Aluratek and Coby Electronics are the latest companies to agree to pay Microsoft for the privilege of selling Android, as Microsoft contends that it infringes on its intellectual property.

According to Microsoft, the two agreements pushes Microsoft’s Android deal volume past 70% in the United States. Given that the company picks up a rumored $5 per device sold, under its deals, the dollar value involved here is significant.

That’s enough Microsoft for one week, so go make a Ye Olde Sidecar. Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.

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