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Briefly: Microsoft re-Surfaces; BlackBerry bought; Oracle faster
Posted on 24-Sep-2013 08:15 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.

Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2
Microsoft’s new Surface 2 tablets look remarkably like the original Surface tablets

There were no huge surprises when Microsoft took the wraps off its Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro tablets in New York overnight.

Instead of offering something fresh and different, Microsoft followed the PC industry tradition of spec-bumping:  the new models are faster, with better graphics and massively improved battery life.

Along the way Microsoft dropped the misunderstood RT label. The new Surface 2 is effectively its replacement coming with a cut-down version of Office. The Surface 2 Pro includes the full productivity suite.

Surface is key to Microsoft’s plan to move away from being just a software company by adding devices and services to its offering. Significantly the new tablets come bundled with free international calling via Skype and a generous 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years.

Microsoft says the new models will go on sale in many countries, including New Zealand on October 22.

Surface got off to a poor start. Recently Microsoft wrote off almost US$1 billion for unsold inventory. While many talk as if Surface is in head-to-head competition with Apple’s iPad, here at digitl we think Microsoft’s tablets are more a re-imagination of laptop computing.

  • It’s not yet done deal, there is six weeks of due diligence to get through first, but it appears troubled BlackBerry has found a buyer. A consortium led by Fairfax Financial says it has a letter of intent to buy the company for around US$4.7 billion. That’s roughly four percent of the company’s peak value.
  • It may not be a good time to mention Oracle in polite New Zealand company. At the weekend Larry Ellison showed new products he says will make data flow faster across corporate data centres and the Internet. The company’s flagship 12c database gets an in-memory upgrade which can make it work 100 times faster than before.
  • Another day, another oversized Android smartphone. LG has launched its Vu 3 in Korea. The device has a 5.2 inch screen and works with a stylus. There’s a 13 megapixel camera and a range of proprietary software which hardly anyone will ever use.

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