Microsoft officials have posted slightly better than expected figures for the company’s first quarter results. Unusually sales were boosted from outside of the company’s core business, in particular servers and MSN. For the period ended September 30 sales rose 6% from the same period last year to $8.22 billion. Excluding employee stock-based compensation, which have only been reported this quarter, the company earned 30 cents a share – one cent higher than analysts had expected. Net income also increased to $2.61 billion, up from $2.04 billion last year.
Importantly the company saw a 20% revenue growth in its home and entertainment unit, which includes the Xbox, with $581 million in revenue generated. Nevertheless shares in the company still fell once the figures were announced, due to news that fewer large corporate contracts for software had been agreed than expected. This fall in contracts is largely due to a number of high-profile security scares involving Microsoft products.
NVIDIA is now one of nine permanent board members, the other being 3Dlabs, ATI, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and SGI. NVIDIA had been a term member. Apple, Dell Computer, Matrox, and Sun are term members. A term member still has a vote, but is on 1-year membership. This is a bit like the UN, as the permanent members vote (in closed sessions) on whom to admit as a permanent or term member. It comes as a bit of a surprise that NVIDIA wasn’t a permanent member before this. It also brings to mind “why now” questions. There was some contention between the ARB and NVIDIA over Cg and the GL Shading Language, with NVIDIA pushing an NVIDIA-centric Cg featureset and some others pushing anything but Cg.
Nonvoting participants include (as of June 2002) Alt. software, Crytek GmbH, Discreet, Empire Interactive, Ensemble Studios, Epic Games, GLSetup (which tells you this is an old list), id Software, Imagination Technologies (PowerVR), Intelligraphics, Micron, NEC, Obsession Development, Quantum3D, RAD Game Tools, Raven Software, S3/Diamond Multimedia, SiS, Spinor GmbH, Tungsten Graphics, University of Central Florida, Verant Interactive, and Xi Graphics. Microsoft quit the ARB to focus on DirectX issues.
If you’re an artist leaning shader programming, a programmer interesting in having a shader testbed, or just interested in shader programming, ATI has released RenderMonkey 1.0. (To find out what RenderMonkey can do, look here.) According to ATI RenderMonkey has undergone a major rewrite since the V0.9 beta. These changes have greatly improved the stability and usability of RenderMonkey and also provided a much more developer friendly framework for the introduction of the RenderMonkey SDK. Find out more at the ATI site here. You’ll need the DirectX9.0b. The following features have changed or been added since the V0.9 beta:
- Completely rewritten preview window including a more extensive Trackball user interface.
- Completely rewritten HLSL and Assembly editors with improved user interface and syntax highlighting.
- Support for REFRAST
- Additions to existing set of RenderMonkey special variables giving user control and adding functionality such as random number generation.
- Addition of Camera object types allowing for per-pass camera parametersto be stored in the workspace.
- Display of HLSL disassembly.
- Addition of many more HLSL examples
- Improved error checking and reporting.
- Automatic mipmap generation for renderable textures.