New look sports Metro influence
Microsoft has rolled out a preview version of its new email service. Dubbed Outlook.com, the service will eventually replace Hotmail, which Microsoft acquired in 1997 for $400 million. The redesigned mail interface sports a minimalist aesthetic that is somewhat reminiscent of Windows 8's Metro interface and is intended to improve legibility.
Windows Live Wave 5 to get video chat: leak
An earlier report of Windows Messenger Live Wave 5 getting web-based video chat has been confirmed thanks to a slip on Microsoft's MSDN blog. While the screenshot in question seems to have since been replaced, Liveside shared the original, which shows a testing version of SkyDrive. It contains a video icon beside the user's name (in this case Program Manager for SkyDrive apps Mike Torres), which matches up with a similar icon leaked back in August.
Microsoft full-page ad tackles Google policy swap
Microsoft has started running a slew of full-page newspaper ads in an attempt to scare users over Google's simpler privacy policies. It claims that Google's attempts to simplify and clarify its policies are disingenuous and that the real goal is to "connect the dots" between Google's services and track users. It goes on to insist that the policy makes it difficult to back out.
Hotmail becomes rare core MS app for Android
Microsoft as part of a complete revamp of the Hotmail interface put out a rare Android-first app. Hotmail for Android (free, Market) gives users push (real-time) e-mail like they would if they used Gmail and will also sync calendars and contacts. It can take on multiple accounts and has a specialized interface for picking photos along with the usual attachment support.
Microsoft dev update helps Live in Android, iOS
Microsoft on Wednesday outlined an updated developer platform that should help bring its services into third-party apps on smartphones, including those using its competitors' platforms. Apps on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 now just need a basic client link and to point the app to an OAuth 2 sign-in. The link gives them access to information from Windows Live's core services, including Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, and SkyDrive cloud storage.
Verizon details Android 2.3 for Droid Incredible 2
Verizon on Friday posted an update page confirming the imminent launch of Android 2.3 for the HTC Droid Incredible 2. The phone should bring the the expected interface improvements of 2.3 but will also bring a handful of new features specific to Verizon's phone. A new Wireless Charging UI will revamp the interface only when the phone is using its optional inductive charging; a Desktop Dock app is new but hasn't been matched by a dock of its own, suggesting there's a special accessory in development.
Russia may reject Gmail, Skype bans out of hand
An anonymous official from Russia's Kremlin on Saturday dismissed an FSB proposal to ban Gmail, Hotmail, Skype and possibly other services. The official disliked a set of attacks on a major Russian blogging site but didn't believe the proposal, from the FSB security agency's information lead Alexander Andreyechkin, was necessary. He didn't explain to the AP support why or whether the statement was a sign the government would reject the FSB's measure out of hand.
Russia threatens blocks on Gmail and Skype
The lead for the FSB security agency's information group Alexander Andreyechkin on Friday proposed banning Gmail, Hotmail, and Skype in Russia. He complained that the brunt of the traffic on these sites wasn't managed within Russia and allegedly made them a haven for 'extremist' groups. Without filters, using these services could lead to a "massive threat" to the nation's security, he claimed.
More Facebook e-mail details leak
Facebook's fledgling e-mail system was given unofficial but potentially corroborating support this evening through a new leak. Along with backing the use of @facebook.com addresses for the new service, two anonymous sources said the future platform wouldn't be stand-alone like Gmail or Hotmail but would instead integrate tightly with the existing social network. What special features it might have over regular e-mail weren't mentioned by the New York Times tipsters.
Also covers Nokia, Windows Phone devices
Microsoft has begun enabling Exchange ActiveSync support for Hotmail users, reports say. The technology should allow push synchronization with a number of mobile devices, most notably the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Also supported are Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile 6.x devices, as well as Nokia E-, S- and N-series phones.
Windows Live Messenger iPhone marks 2nd MS app
Microsoft today posted its second major iPhone app today in the form of Windows Live Messenger (free, App Store). The download gives the expected instant messaging on Windows Live but also integrates closely with other networks; it also talks to Yahoo Messenger contacts, pulls status updates from Facebook, Flickr and MySpace.
Problem persists for several days
Some people have been unable to use the regular Hotmail website on the iPad, Microsoft has acknowledged. Those affected are unable to write or reply to messages, effectively rendering the site useless. Microsoft elaborates that it is currently working with Apple to "understand the issues," and ultimately fix them as soon as it can.
MS chief talks Win Mo 7, Sidekick, Courier
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer today provided a handful of minor revelations for his company's strategy in an interview today. In his discussion with Engadget, the executive has now all but confirmed that Windows Mobile 7 will "come hard" with elements of the Zune interface; previously, the company had only made indirect allusions to the software appearing in a future update. Most anticipate the release moving the phone OS towards a more touch-friendly platform as well as to give it stronger media playback.
BlackBerry Windows Live
Research in Motion today continued a string of announcements for its Wireless Enterprise Symposium with word that it will start offering Microsoft's key Windows Live services on its smartphones. Both Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger will be available from the software and will only require a single sign-in to access both services when they sign in. The BlackBerry's trademark "push" technology will apply to Hotmail and will deliver mail almost in real-time to the phone, complete with full HTML and an optional separate inbox; Live Messenger in turn will have the same multi-chat and emoticon options as with other clients.