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Microsoft sells 5M Xbox One consoles, Sony hits 7M PlayStation 4 sales

04/18, 10:23am

Xbox One continues to be outsold by PlayStation 4

Microsoft has sold more than five million Xbox One game consoles since its launch, the company has revealed. While Microsoft is celebrating the sales milestone, the game console is still far behind the leading PlayStation 4, with Sony reporting more than 7 million units sold worldwide in a blog post just one day before Microsoft's announcement.

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Issues with XP Microsoft Security Essentials causing crashes, slowness

04/17, 2:17pm

Unclear if XP version of anti-malware utility will see an update

Widespread reports are circulating about problems with Microsoft's Security Essentials package for Windows XP. Users are claiming that the latest update is slowing machines down to a crawl, similar to the impact that an active virus would have on the machine.

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Briefly: Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard, Chrome Remote Desktop

04/16, 5:05pm

Microsoft unveils All-in-One Media Keyboard for living room use

Microsoft has launched its All-in-One Media Keyboard. Designed for use in the living room, the peripheral offers a full-size spill-resistant QWERTY keyboard, and connects to a device using a USB wireless transceiver. On the right-hand side is a multi-touch trackpad that supports gestures, and a row of three buttons above which can be customized for quick access to specific apps. Shipping tomorrow, the All-in-One Media Keyboard is priced at $40.

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Microsoft creates Office 365 Personal subscription for individuals

04/15, 11:37am

Cheaper Office 365 subscription lowers computer, tablet, user count

Microsoft has launched a new cheaper tier of its Office 365 subscription service, aimed at individuals wanting to use the productivity suite. Hinted at last month, Office 365 Personal allows for the software to be installed and used on one PC or Mac and one tablet, including the iPad version, rather than the five computers and five tablets provided in the more expensive Office 365 Home Premium, renamed to Home, subscription plan.

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Microsoft updates Office Online, adds apps to Chrome Web Store

04/15, 6:36am

Excel Online adds comments, OneNote gains printing options

Microsoft has made a number of updates to its Office Online web apps, just over a month after its rebranding and relaunch. Changes to the online versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote apply to all users of the online productivity suite, with Chrome users also benefiting from the addition of the Office Online apps to the Chrome Web Store.

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Microsoft starts accepting universal apps in Windows app stores

04/14, 7:36pm

Universal app submissions part of Windows Dev Center changes

Microsoft has started to accept submissions for "Universal Apps" in its Dev Center. Developers can now link apps made for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store to create a single Windows app listing, allowing users to buy once on one platform and for it to be downloadable and usable on other Windows devices they also own.

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Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview available to download

04/14, 8:46am

Windows Phone update to 8.1 adds Cortana, may void warranties

Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download as a developer preview, allowing users to try out the Cortana virtual assistant on their own devices. The latest version of the mobile operating system, which Microsoft officially debuted on April 2nd at its Build conference, can be installed on smartphones owned by developers enrolled in Microsoft's Windows Phone Developer program.

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IRS caught out by Windows XP support expiry, $30M needed to migrate

04/13, 5:51pm

Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 delayed by IRS over budget troubles

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid Microsoft for an extra year of support for Windows XP, it has been revealed. The agency's failure to migrate approximately 58,000 out of 110,000 Windows computers from Windows XP to Windows 7, and though the actual figure being paid is unknown, it is likely to cost the IRS millions of dollars.

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Windows 8.1 patch distribution suspended to enterprise customers

04/12, 10:55am

Flaw mandates TLS 1.2 support, not found in older Windows Server versions

Microsoft has stopped the downloads of the new Windows 8.1 update to enterprise customers after it was found to destroy the ability to recieve future updates, including security patches. The flaw affects businesses that use Windows Server Update Services 3.0 (WSUS) Service Pack 2.

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Apple, Intel decline new investment in Intellectual Ventures

04/11, 9:50am

Microsoft, Sony agree to providing more cash for patent buys

Two previous investment partners, Apple and Intel, have declined to put money into Intellectual Ventures' latest patent acquisition fund, says Reuters. IV is dedicated exclusively to buying intellectual property, and has so far acquired about 70,000 patents and other forms of IP. It has raised about $6 billion from investment partners in the past, but is looking to pick up another $3 billion. Microsoft and Sony have agreed to participate in the new round of funding.

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Briefly: Microsoft Surface 2 LTE in UK, AT&T NYC subway coverage plans

04/10, 7:43am

Microsoft opens pre-orders for Surface 2 with LTE in UK

Microsoft has opened up pre-orders for the Surface 2 with LTE in the United Kingdom. Just as with its launch last month in the United States, the UK edition will be limited to just a 64GB model, and its £539 ($905) represents a £100 ($168) increase over the standard Wi-Fi model. Microsoft will be shipping the Windows RT tablet on the 8th of May.

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Windows 8.1 update 1 available; brings security patches, UI changes

04/08, 3:10pm

Build-promoted 'Start' menu changes not implemented yet

Microsoft has started making the latest major update to Windows 8.1 available to end users. The mandatory update for Windows 8.1 users comes in a series of patches, and requires that the user have a fully-patched existing 8.1 system before the update commences. Failure to properly install the patch has dire consequences, according to Microsoft -- engineers claim that "failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014."

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Office for iPad to get printing, serve as basis for Office for Mac

04/08, 2:44pm

Technical limitations partly blamed for suite's delay

The recently-launched Office for iPad will get printing support "in due course," according to a Reddit AMA conducted by members of the software's engineering team. The team says it is also considering mathematical notation in OneNote, and working on implementation of comments and add/change conditional formatting in Excel. Something the suite won't support, though, is third-party Office apps, despite the fact that Microsoft allows desktop developers to hook into Office 365. Microsoft blames the situation on Apple's App Store policies, which block apps from installing code other than their own.

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Microsoft reveals 'studio-grade' Skype TX for broadcasters

04/08, 7:36am

Broadcast industry standard inputs, updated interface for Skype use on television

Microsoft has unveiled a version of its Skype messaging service designed for broadcasters. Skype TX is called a "studio-grade" software born from its acquisition of broadcast partner Cat and Mouse, which is said to provide a high level of hardware and software integration of Skype into the studio environment for video connections outside the studio.

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Microsoft, Nokia gain Chinese approval for $7.2B acquisition

04/08, 6:18am

Approval from Chinese Ministry of Commerce brings purchase closer to completion

The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services arm by Microsoft has been given the green light by Chinese authorities, both companies have revealed. The approval by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) brings the $7.2 billion purchase one step closer to completion, and brings the total number of markets approving the deal to 16.

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Microsoft lifts from Apple, intros 'Windows in the car'

04/07, 7:58pm

Revamps auto platform following Sync setbacks

In a somewhat startling direct lift from Apple, Microsoft announced a new "Windows in the car" initiative based on Windows Phone and Windows 8 that would mirror most of what Apple previously called "iOS in the Car" last summer before renaming it CarPlay. The concept, unveiled at last week's Build conference in San Francisco, comes on the heels of Ford's rejection of Microsoft's previous system in its Sync interface in favor of a BlackBerry-powered in-vehicle infotainment system.

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Briefly: Plex for Xbox One, Sony releases unlocked Xperia Z1

04/06, 11:15pm

Media client Plex to develop for use on Xbox One

Microsoft has given permission to Plex developers to create a version of the media client for Xbox One, in light of the recent announcement to support universal applications. Plex offers users the ability to organize movies, TV, music and photos for consumption on one's TV, and other devices. The developers have been granted membership into ID@Xbox.

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UK government strikes deal, Windows XP given one year reprieve

04/04, 9:36am

Deal mandates agencies have a migration plan for April 2015

On what is effectively the last minute before Windows XP's support expiry, the UK government has struck a deal with Microsoft offering another 12 months of support to the elderly operating system. The £5.548 million ($9.2 million) deal extends support for Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and Microsoft Exchange 2003 to governmental agencies in the UK.

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Briefly: Facebook Messenger calls, Microsoft Active Directory update

04/03, 9:58pm

Facebook Messenger for iOS and Android adds free calling

Facebook has updated its Messenger app again, adding a free calling feature. Users can now call their Facebook friends over a WiFi connection for free, meaning that those who need to make international calls can do so easily. Available in both the iOS and Android versions of Facebook Messenger, the app is free to download on iTunes and Google Play.

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Microsoft revises Kinect for Windows hardware for summer release

04/03, 6:32am

New Kinect for Windows sensor accompanied by new SDK

Microsoft has updated the version of the Kinect for Windows, bringing it in line with the Kinect used in the Xbox One, the company has revealed. The new sensor bar will ship sometime this summer alongside an updated software development kit, with Microsoft also preparing to make it easier for developers to provide members of the public with Kinect-enabled Windows apps.

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Microsoft giving Windows free to 'Internet of Things,' small tablets

04/02, 3:16pm

Wider adoption hoped to spur Microsoft service adoption

Microsoft is expanding its initiative to have a variant of its Windows operating system on as many devices as possible. At the same time, it discussed a more universal version of Windows for devices other than computers and tablets, and also announced that it would offer these versions of Windows to users and developers for free. Also free will be Windows installations on devices with screens smaller than nine inches. The move is intended to widen the install base of mobile versions of Windows, and will likely drive adoption of Microsoft-branded services such as Skype, Office, and OneDrive.

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Nokia reveals Lumia 930, Lumia 630, Lumia 635 at Microsoft Build

04/02, 3:09pm

New Lumias will ship with Windows Phone 8.1 onboard

The former CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop, has taken to the stage at Microsoft's Build developer conference to reveal three Lumia devices running on Windows Phone 8.1. The Lumia 930 has a five-inch ClearBlack full HD display with PureView camera capabilities, while the budget-aimed Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 are smaller devices with a 4.5-inch ClearBlack display and more restrained specifications.

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Microsoft Windows 8.1 'service pack' update coming April 8

04/02, 1:21pm

New update makes more concessions to keyboard, mouse users

At Microsoft's annual Build conference, Microsoft also announced that it has developed a major update to Windows 8.1. The update, available to users April 8, will improve the experience for keyboard and mouse users, as well as bring substantive changes to the Microsoft application store.

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Microsoft initiative allows universal Win 8 apps, including Xbox One

04/02, 12:57pm

Resolution independent UI, best practices detailed at BUILD conference

At today's Build conference, Microsoft has detailed an initiative to allow developers to create one application, usable across Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8 for the Surface tablet, Windows 8.1 for the PC, as well as the Xbox One. The move, rumored for some time, is the first of its kind, allowing nearly all the same code to be used across platform -- contrary to Apple's and Google's approach to mobile device application development.

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Microsoft officially debuts Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana assistant

04/02, 12:11pm

Announcements spearhead start of Build developer's conference

At today's Microsoft Build developer's conference, the company has officially taken the wraps off of a major update to its mobile operating system, Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8.1 brings improvements to compatible devices, as well as the beta release of previously-rumored voice-controlled virtual assistant, Cortana.

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Xbox Video update hits Xbox One this week, future updates previewed

04/01, 12:41pm

Xbox One owners in Europe, Canada, US involved in invite-only preview

Microsoft hopes to make the Xbox One more useful for watching television and media, by outlining updates for the game console and SmartGlass. Changes to the way SmartGlass navigates around the console have been shown off, as well as upcoming changes which will give more viewing options to users on both sides of the Atlantic in the future.

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MS CEO names Phil Spencer head of Xbox, details Stephen Elop's role

03/31, 12:09pm

Move latest in executive shuffles by new Microsoft CEO

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella continues to shuffle executives. In a memo to Microsoft employees today, Nadella has named Phil Spencer as the head of the Xbox division of Microsoft. Additionally, the CEO has promoted Scott Guthrie to executive vice president, and has detailed Nokia chief Stephen Elop's role as executive vice president of Microsoft Services Group.

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Nokia Lumia 630 allegedly leaks in video showing Windows Phone 8.1

03/28, 4:59pm

New video believed to show Lumia 630, Windows Phone 8.1 features

A Nokia smartphone running Windows Phone 8.1 has reportedly appeared in a new leaked hands-on video. The surfaced clip allegedly shows the Lumia 630, thought to be codenamed Moneypenny, using the Microsoft mobile operating system, showing the Action Center, apps for podcasts and radio, the new store app, and the layout of the camera app in the upcoming release.

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Office for iPad apps grab top spots in App Store charts

03/28, 3:12pm

Word only Office app in Grossing category's top 10

Just a day after their release, the Office for iPad apps are already in high positions in the Top Free and Top Grossing charts at the App Store. The top three Free apps are currently Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, in that order; a related Microsoft app, OneNote, is in fourth. Word is #5 on the Top Grossing chart, while Excel is 12th, and PowerPoint is 29th.

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Apple taking 30 percent cut from in-app Office 365 subscriptions

03/28, 10:21am

Microsoft sacrifices profits to reach iPad users

Apple is claiming a 30 percent cut of Office 365 subscriptions bought through Microsoft's Office for iPad, as usual at the App Store, an Apple spokesperson confirms. Although people can sign up for Office 365 outside of the iPad apps, a $100 in-app purchase provides a one-year plan. That suggests that Microsoft is sacrificing a significant amount of revenue to one of its rivals in order to attract iPad users.

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Microsoft retail stores to offer free Office 365 subscriptions

03/27, 10:53pm

Celebrates release of Office for iPad while boosting traffic

In a follow-up announcement after it took the wraps off its long-awaited Office for iPad app, Microsoft has announced that it will run a promotion on Friday in its own Microsoft retail stores offering free year-long Office 365 subscriptions to iPad owners. The Office for iPad app requires a Office 365 subscription in order to engage the editing and creation functions in the app -- without one, it will act only as a viewer and file manager for Office documents. The first 50 people to bring an iPad to a Microsoft retail outlet will get the free subscription, a $99 value.

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Hands-on: Microsoft Office for iPad

03/27, 5:18pm

Microsoft brings industry-standard document editing to iOS

Although a lot of apps have tried to fill the gap with degrees of success, there's always been an undercurrent of demand for a full-scale iPad version of Office. Even if you can escape using Office personally, it's the workplace standard -- it just makes sense to have the suite on the world's most popular tablet. Now Office for iPad is here, and it's time to share some first impressions.

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Microsoft shows cross-platform Enterprise Mobility Suite

03/27, 2:02pm

Program combines Microsoft offerings into one centrally-managed program

In parallel with the unveiling of Office for the iPad, Microsoft has also debuted a "holistic" approach to enterprise mobile device control. The new Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite is a cross-platform approach, encompassing Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, to control permissions, manage data access, and retain separation of personal and business-oriented data on a device, all with cloud-centric management.

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Microsoft launches long-awaited Office for iPad [u]

03/27, 1:34pm

Carries over editing, ribbon interface, other features

(Updated with app download links, dropping of subscription requirement for Office Mobile for iPhone)) Microsoft is today officially releasing Office for iPad, a long-rumored port of its Windows and Mac work suite. The trio of apps let people do full editing of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, while preserving the same formatting seen on the desktop. Each app uses a custom touch-tailored interface, for instance offering a special numerical/symbolic keyboard for Excel. The apps do however make use of the same "ribbon" interface scheme.

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Windows Phone 8.1 core rumored to be finished, store screenshots leak

03/27, 11:28am

Developer Preview of next Windows Phone version delayed by a week

The Windows Phone Store will be overhauled in Windows Phone 8.1, according to some new screenshots. At the same time, as the store changes have surfaced, there is also news the Windows Phone 8.1 core has been finalized, meaning that most of the main development of the mobile operating system has completed, but it is apparently still a long way off from reaching consumers.

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MS Enterprise Mobility Suite may debut today next to Office for iPad

03/27, 9:18am

Suite would improve current multiplatform support

Alongside Office for iPad, Microsoft may also be preparing to launch a new licensing bundle today called the Enterprise Mobility Suite, sources say. The bundle is reportedly aimed at large-scale customers who need a way of managing Windows, iOS, and/or Android devices. While cross-platform support has been available from Microsoft for a while, EMS is expected to include Windows Intune, a new Azure Active Directory "Premium" option, and Azure Rights Management Services. Active Directory Premium is described as a paid version of Azure Active Directory with features like group-based app access, and self-service password resets and group management.

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PC and Mac versions of Office subject to RTF privilege boosting attack

03/24, 4:08pm

No patch currently available, but mitigation of the problem possible

Microsoft has issued an advisory to users of its Microsoft Word application. In the note, the company says that remote code execution is possible if users open a maliciously crafted rich-text format (RTF) file, or open the same maliciously-crafted file in Outlook while using Microsoft Word as the email viewer. Outlook 2010 through 2013 default to using Microsoft Word as the email viewer, making users more vulnerable to attack.

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Microsoft, Nokia expect $7.2B acquisition to complete in April

03/24, 6:19am

Transfer of Nokia mobile phone business to Microsoft delayed by Asian regulators

The acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business by Microsoft will take longer than previously thought, with both companies expecting to complete the $7.2 billion sale in April. While the deal has received regulatory approval in the United States and Europe, pending approvals from "certain antitrust authorities in Asia" are causing the delay in closing the purchase.

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Microsoft offers $100 discount on new PC with Windows XP trade-in

03/21, 4:58pm

Attempt by Microsoft to upgrade users before Windows XP support ends

Microsoft is trying to encourage users to migrate away from Windows XP to a newer operating system, by offering a discount on a new computer. Customers buying one of a number of selected PCs at a Microsoft Store will be able to receive a discount of $100 off the cost of the new machine, after exchanging an older computer running Windows XP with the store.

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Microsoft launches DirectX 12; boosts efficiency, GPU control

03/20, 3:10pm

New API aimed at PC, Xbox One, tablets, smartphones

Microsoft today introduced DirectX 12 at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. DirectX 12 is Microsoft's latest version of the graphics API, a leader in the $25 billion PC gaming industry. Nvidia will support the DX12 API on the DX11-class GPUs it has shipped. Compatible cards belong to the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectural families, but cards not strictly adhering to the reference may not be compatible.

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Ex-Microsoft employee arrested over Windows 8, trade secret leaks

03/20, 9:26am

Alex Kibkalo accused of stealing, leaking Windows code to unnamed French blogger

A former employee of Microsoft has been arrested for allegedly stealing trade secrets and software relating to Windows. Alex Kibkalo, a Russian national based in Lebanon that formerly worked as a senior architect at the company, stands accused of passing pre-release software and Windows 8 trade secrets to an unnamed French technology blogger.

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Briefly: Microsoft's new budget mouse, new Sonos app released

03/18, 4:30pm

Microsoft's Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850 announced

Microsoft has announced its new lightweight wireless mouse, the Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850. Priced at less than $15, the 1850 uses 2.4GHz wireless technology for a reliable computer connection, and holds a built-in mini USB transceiver that can be plugged into one's computer or hidden inside the mouse. The mouse will be offered in black, red, pink, purple and dark blue, and is due to be available this month.

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Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten leaves for Sonos position

03/18, 12:37pm

Exits Microsoft Xbox unit after 14 years, three console launches

Marc Whitten, the long-time chief product officer for Xbox at Microsoft, is leaving the company, the software giant has revealed. Whitten is departing to take on the same role of chief product officer at home audio device manufacturer Sonos, leaving Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson to temporarily take over the Xbox position while the company searches for a replacement.

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Briefly: Khronos OpenGL ES 3.1, Microsoft updates remote desktop apps

03/17, 11:59pm

Royalty-free 3D graphics API adds 3D features and integrated GPU computing

Khronos Group has announced the release of the OpenGL ES 3.1 specification, offering significant functionality enhancements to the royalty-free 3D graphics mobile device API. OpenGL ES 3.1 includes computing shaders written in GLSL ES shading languages, and can share data with the graphics pipeline. Applications can program the vertex and fragment shader stages of the GPU independently, and can mix-and-match vertex and fragment programs without an explicit linking step. Other additions to the latest OpenGL ES include enhanced texturing functionality, shading language improvements, and optional extensions. OpenGL ES 3.1 includes backward compatibility with version 2.0 and 3.0.

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Microsoft reveals LTE-equipped Surface 2, ships tomorrow

03/17, 12:46pm

64GB Surface 2 with LTE priced $130 over standard edition

Microsoft is preparing to ship a version of the Surface 2 with 4G LTE connectivity on AT&T's network tomorrow, six months after the company unveiled the updated device range. The 64GB model with LTE will cost $679, a premium of $130 over the standard 64GB model, with the tablet being sold via the Microsoft Store and Best Buy.

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Microsoft launches OneNote for Mac

03/17, 11:10am

Software a free download, as expected

As anticipated last week, Microsoft has launched a free Mac version of OneNote at the Mac App Store. The software stores notes, lists, receipts, and other data. Most significantly it syncs the data across multiple platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and the web.

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Microsoft, Barnes & Noble changing deal according to SEC filing

03/16, 12:20pm

B&N halts Nook apps, will deliver content for Microsoft Consumer Reader

The relationship between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft seems to be changing after an 8-K SEC filing from March 10 was discovered, showing a change in the agreement between the two companies. The book store giant will be allowed to halt development of the Nook Windows app in lieu of working with Microsoft on a project dubbed "Microsoft Consumer Reader" according to the filing. This comes after Microsoft had reportedly considered buying parts of the Nook Media for $1 billion last year.

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Briefly: Film Strip Effect for Final Cut Pro X, Microsoft My Apps

03/15, 11:52pm

Film Strip Effect released for Final Cut Pro X, offers new projection styles

FXFactory has announced its release of Film Strip Effect for Final Cut Pro X, a plug-in that offers aesthetic options that go beyond a simple slide projector effect. Users have analog controls over each included effect, and can determine the shape, size, and position of each slide. Blurring, scratching, dust, jittering, light flash and more variables are featured, to offer a vintage look for one's production. A free trial of Film Strip Effect is available online, with the full plug-in available for $50.

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Reuters: Microsoft Office for iOS exists, waiting on release date

03/14, 10:54pm

Politics over Surface causing lost revenue; alternatives being adopted

Tired of waiting for Microsoft's flagship suite, Office, to be ported to iOS devices like the iPad, companies have turned to alternative means to create, revise and distribute documents in increasingly-mobile enterprise, institutional, small-business and collaborative workflows -- costing the Windows maker an estimated $2.5 billion annually in potential revenue. Sources say iPad and iPhone versions exist and are ready to go -- simply awaiting a release date complicated by politics.

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Briefly: Subsidized $99 Xbox 360 killed, new Steam controller shown

03/14, 4:27pm

Microsoft's Xbox 360 'pilot experiment' apparently ends in failure

Microsoft has pulled the plug on its subsidized Xbox 360 program. The program, which offered a $99 Xbox 360 for users that agreed to pay $15 per month for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service, emulated similar subsidized programs for cellphones. Microsoft spokesman David Dennis confirmed the program's discontinuation, saying that "this program was intended to be a pilot experiment from the start, and Microsoft routinely adjusts the mix of offers available to its customers and this change was simply standard business practice." The program was never extended to the next-generation Xbox One.

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