Love him or hate him, Steve Ballmer has been a big part of Microsoft for the past 33 years and has held the CEO position for the last 13. He’s been a unique energetic personality that doesn’t really compare to any other speaker or CEO out there (if you haven’t seen this iconic video, where have you been hiding?)

Last week, Ballmer lead his final Microsoft employee meeting as CEO before he will step down in the middle of next year. The footage of his goodbye speech — set to the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing’s time of my life – is tearful and powerful. It shows a man that was dedicated to Microsoft for the majority of his professional life.

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It’s not entirely clear why this wasn’t Microsoft’s strategy from the start, but a report from The Verge today suggests that the company is working to build a unified app store that works consistently across Windows Phone and the Windows desktop.

According to the report Terry Myerson, head of the operating systems group at Microsoft made the announcement at an internal company meeting today.

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Even though Windows 8.1 is in the hands of developers and IT professionals  globally right now, Microsoft still has some surprises up their sleeves left for the launch of the OS on October 18.

The Verge reports today that Microsoft is working on a number of feature additions and application updates alongside the last minute bug fixes that are planned for launch day.

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Love photography? If you’re not already using 500px then you’re missing out on one of the best photo experiences of the web. Today, 500px has released a beautiful desktop companion for Windows 8′s Modern UI.

500px is essentially a Flickr competitor that has an emphasis on beautiful, professional photography and the ability to show that off online in a hosted portfolio. It allows you to share photography with a large community and get critique from them as well as having the ability to join discussions with like-minded photographers.

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Firefox users everywhere, rejoice! Mozilla has announced that they are making available an early preview version of their browser that was built from the ground up for Windows 8.

The browser is an early alpha build called Aurora and the announcement comes slightly after the company announced that the final build of Firefox for Windows 8 has slipped to early 2014.

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At a Surface event in New York City today, Microsoft announced the next generation of their Surface devices and they did not disappoint. While we would consider the upgrade only incremental in nature, the company has announced a massive set of accessories which help complete the device.

Not only this, the company has announced amazing ranges of the devices as well as availability in October for many countries around the world.

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Microsoft confirmed this week that it plans to release touch-first versions of Office for Windows 8′s “Modern” interface as well as bringing the experiences across to other platforms such as iOS and Android.

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After many rumors and leaks of the next generation Surface, it’s about to be official. Microsoft has announced that it will be holding a Surface event in New York City on Monday, September 23rd.

Obviously, we’re expecting two new devices at this event with both an update for the RT and the Pro lines well overdue. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen a ton of leaks such as the confirmation of a Haswell refresh, an adjustable kickstand, docking station and new type of cover called the “power cover” expected.

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Over the last year we’ve seen the quality of Windows 8 applications gradually increase and now that Windows 8.1 is on the horizon, we’re starting to see some unique apps that really set the platform apart.

Newseen is one of these apps, which has a unique view on how to read news and does the job much better than many fully-fledged RSS readers on the internet.

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A long time ago Microsoft was a company that was young, attractive and exciting. Of course, those aren’t metrics that we could easily quantify but if you look at the company over the last ten years you’ll see that they became boring and increasingly comfortable with what they had and their position in the market despite everyone else accelerating away from them.

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