In a surprise move, Facebook announced on March 25 that it plans to purchase virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for about $1.9 billion in cash and common stock. The first product Oculus made was a virtual reality headset for immersive gaming that was funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, which raised $2.4 million. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the move is part of Facebook’s plan to focus on platforms to “enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experience.”
Microsoft recently announced that Windows Azure—the company’s suite of cloud computing services—will be renamed Microsoft Azure on April 3, which will be day two of the company’s upcoming Build conference in San Francisco. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley stated in a report that the move made sense, considering that the platform supports a variety of operating systems, not just Windows. This move will also help disassociate Azure with Windows, which has a complicated relationship with the open-source community, governments and rival software makers.
Amazon Web Services may have to work harder to maintain its position on the cloud computing throne as Google recently wielded its technology, marketing and pricing power to surge ahead of the pack in the cloud race. Google Platform Live drastically reduced its cloud computing prices and offered a simplified version of the overly complex cloud pricing models, which has been a major complaint about Amazon Web Services.
Finally, it turns out Windows XP isn’t the only product for which Microsoft plans to soon end support. The company announced that it will also stop issuing bug fixes and security updates for Office 2003 on April 8. According to officials, Office 2003 “no longer meets the needs of the way we work, play and live today,” which is why the company plans to encourage the use of Office 365, a cloud-enabled business software suite.