Chinese launch of Xbox One follows lifting of foreign game console ban
Microsoft is working with Shanghai Media Group's BesTV on bringing the Xbox One to China for the first time, with the game console set to launch on September 23rd. Timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the console will launch with a number of games in tow, including Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, and Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood.
Cortana available in beta for UK, Chinese markets, alpha in Canada, India, Australia
Microsoft has formally announced its upcoming update to Windows Phone 8.1, one it will be releasing to developers next week. The GDR1 update, leaked earlier this week, introduces a number of new features and other improvements to the mobile operating system, as well as expanding the beta program for the Cortana virtual assistant to five new countries after its initial United States launch.
Now TV streaming service app from Sky available on Xbox One in UK
Now TV, the on-demand streaming service from satellite broadcaster Sky, is now available on the Xbox One game console in the United Kingdom. Previously available on the Xbox 360, as well as a large number of streaming devices and the PlayStation 4 as of last week, Pocket-Lint reports the Now TV app on Xbox One lets users pay in advance for passes to view the Sky Sports, Entertainment, and Movies packages, without requiring a satellite subscription.
File insertion, protected sections, notebook organization, formatted text and more
Microsoft on Tuesday issued a significant update of its free note-taking application, OneNote. The new version, 2.3, adds a number of user-requested features, including the ability to insert files into notes, add PDF printouts to any notebook page alongside a users' own notes, copy and paste formatted text and more -- as well as lock or unlock password-protected sections created in OneNote for Windows. The update affects all versions of the app, including iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Superman and Tesla Lumia smartphones said to have surfaced in internal Microsoft meeting
Two more smartphones may launch from Microsoft's phone division in the near future, according to a report. Two Windows Phone devices were allegedly revealed during an internal meeting chaired by Microsoft devices head Stephen Elop, with one smartphone described as a "selfie" device with a five-megapixel front-facing camera sensor above a 4.7-inch display.
Four title available at program launch for free play of subscribers
Electronic Arts has rolled out a new subscription service for some of its games for Xbox One owners. For either a $5 monthly or $30 annual fee, gamers on Microsoft's new console will soon be able to sign up for EA Access, allowing them to play FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4, in addition to saving 10 percent on purchases of all EA digital content through the Xbox Games Store.
Sharks Cove takes after Raspberry Pi as SoC board with external connections
Microsoft has worked with Intel and CircuitCo to create a Windows development board in a similar vein to the Raspberry Pi. Available to pre-order, the Sharks Cove is a System-on-Chip "Windows compatible hardware development board" meant to help developers work on software and drivers for smartphones, tablets, and other devices with a similar architecture.
Investigation centers on Windows operating system dominant position
Following yesterday's raid on Microsoft offices in China, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) has officially launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the company's ubiquitous Windows operating system. SAIC claims to have data backing up its investigation from the raids, but says that it cannot complete the investigation until some Microsoft executives come to China.
Comic Con reveal shows reworked cutscenes from Blur, gameplay footage leaked
During a panel at San Diego Comic Con last week, new footage from Halo: The Master Chief Collection was shown off by a number of people involved with the Microsoft project, including Franchise Development Director Frank O'Connor. A new video was released by the company, offering a first look at the new cinematics completely remade for high definition. Leaked gameplay footage from the panel has turned up as well, showing off some of the in-game changes.
Visit tied to investigation, Microsoft states that it will cooperate with officials
Officials from the China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) showed up at four Microsoft offices in the country unannounced earlier today. Offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai received the sudden visits, that could be tied to the start of an antitrust investigation for a presently-unknown reason. The visits come at a time when Microsoft faces scrutiny in the country, over spying allegations and government refusal of Windows 8.
Dev Center notes on GDR1 outlines technical changes, options to enable smart covers
It appears that a list of technical and some minor consumer changes are coming for the GDR1 update of Windows Phone 8.1. While the information is currently only available to those with an account to Microsoft's Dev Center, data was obtained showing that some important changes are coming - including new resolution support, options to allow smart cases, and a few ease-of-use options.
Skype update allows linking of phonebook with Microsoft account
Microsoft has made a few changes to Skype for Android, adding the option to connect the smartphone's address book to the service. At the same time, Microsoft has revealed it is releasing a version of the messaging app client for Amazon's Fire Phone, one which will take advantage of the smartphone's home screen and graphical effects.
Microsoft CEO confirms future convergence of operating systems in conference call
Microsoft is still planning to unify its operating systems in the future, CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed. As part of the conference call with analysts following its latest quarterly financial results release, Nadella advised that Windows 9 will be a version of the operating system which will work with universal apps, namely apps which work across multiple platforms and devices.
Nokia Lumia 530 has four-inch display, $115 price tag
Microsoft has unveiled its first Lumia smartphone since it acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division. Still labeled under the Nokia branding, the Lumia 530 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone with a four-inch, 854x480-resolution display and a low price point to help it compete against other competing low-specification devices running on Android.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
Expected profits fall shy of expectations, Nokia deal responsible for $0.08 EPS hit
Microsoft released its quarterly revenue figures for the end of the 2014 fiscal year, revealing that the company pulled in $23.38 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter. While the revenue numbers beat the expectations of $23 billion, earnings per share (EPS) missed the mark at $0.55 per share. Experts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the software company to hit $0.60 EPS based on the $23 billion in revenues.
Samsung sees big setback
Since April, the shares of North American tablet web traffic from iPads and Kindle Fires has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 points, respectively, according to new data compiled by Chitika Insights. The figures put the iPad at 78 percent of traffic, and the Kindle Fire at 7.3 percent, the latter displacing Samsung tablets in aggregate (down to 6.3 percent). Google and Microsoft -- also generally considered prominent tablet makers -- managed shares of just 2.1 and 1.4 percent.
Major Patch Tuesday update expected for Windows 8.1
The next scheduled major update to Windows 8.1 could be coming as early as next month, according to a rumor. Windows 8.1 Update 2 could arrive on the next "Patch Tuesday" on August 12th, a month suggested in earlier speculative reports, and though the exact contents of the update remain unknown to all but Microsoft, it is believed it could feature the return of the Start Menu.
Amid layoffs Microsoft announces closure of original content wing of Xbox
On top of the 18,000 layoffs and shifting company structure, Microsoft will be closing the Xbox Entertainment Studios in the coming months. The studio was launched to add Microsoft to the original content race on the Internet, with shows based on some hit Xbox franchises such as Halo. Xbox head Phil Spencer issued an internal memo thanking the team for their work, as well as what to expect. Microsoft issued a statement to Joystiq confirming that existing projects would carry on.
Company says that sakes figures are up from May according to internal data
It seems that dropping the Kinect as a requirement for buying a new Xbox One is paying off for Microsoft. Posting on the Xbox Wire, an internal blog for Xbox news, Microsoft is boasting that sales of the new console have doubled since removing the sensor in June and reducing the price to $400. The increase could mean an gain in awareness and consumer desire for the console, which has lagged behind the PlayStation 4 in sales for months.
Microsoft's Android device-producing days may be over
As part of the Microsoft layoffs memo, CEO Satya Nadella has laid out the future of the Nokia X handset. The company now plans on releasing "select" Nokia X products to the Lumia line, running Windows. No statement has been made about the rest of the Android-based Nokia X line.
Most of the Microsoft layoffs to come from Nokia devices and services
Microsoft has made official previous rumors of massive job cuts. The company is planning on cutting 18,000 jobs in the next year, with the largest cuts coming from the Nokia devices and services division. Microsoft claims that the first 13,000 of the laid-off employees will be notified in the next six months.
Four-part request form allows Internet users to remove listings from Bing
Microsoft is following after Google in complying with a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union over the "right to be forgotten." Microsoft has created a four-part form for users to request the removal of European search listings from Bing relating to their name, in cases where information can be deemed "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant."
Lumia Cyan adds Windows Phone 8.1, updates Nokia apps
Microsoft has started to roll out the Cyan software update for Lumia smartphones, bringing Windows Phone 8.1 to the smartphone range. At the same time, a report claims that some new Lumia devices being sold no longer give the option to set Google as the default search engine, restricting users to instead primarily search using Microsoft's own search engine, Bing.
No-IP will bring tales of woe to Senate, addressing improper enforcement issues
Following the fallout of the Microsoft seizure of No-IP domains, the dynamic domain name service company is speaking to the Senate about the incident. In a hearing scheduled before the Microsoft action against No-IP about proper enforcement of cybercrime laws, No-IP will address the Senate Judiciary Committee today about how the incident was handled, and the need for sensible enforcement so that the Internet property rights of innocent third parties don't become collateral damage in such efforts.
Microsoft combats Chromebooks with promise of low-cost notebooks
Microsoft is planning to fight off notebooks running Chrome OS, with the help of low-cost computers being released in time for the holiday season. Revealed at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 today, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner claimed a number of notebooks running Windows will directly competing against ">Chromebooks, with HP said to be preparing a $199 notebook for sale.
Image shows potential Start Menu with Tile column, icon list
Microsoft's Start Menu may appear in the next major update for Windows, an alleged leaked screenshot suggests. The image believed to depict an early internal build of the update shows the Start Menu as having two main columns, similar to an image which surfaced a few months ago, taking the old style of Start Menu from Windows 7 and earlier iterations, and combining it with Windows 8's Live Tiles.
Microsoft has little comment over the mishandled matter
The Microsoft and No-IP saga appears to be complete. Just one week after the dynamic domain name service (DNS) had its domains seized by Microsoft, all domains have been returned, users have reported restored functionality, and the lawsuit filed by Microsoft against parent company Vitalwerks has been dropped.
Letter short on details, hints at future Microsoft changes to come
A few hours ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella published a missive to employees, potentially redefining the trajectory that the company will take under his guidance. Embracing ex-CEO Steve Ballmer's vision of a "devices and services" company, Nadella is holding a series of meetings with Microsoft to be able to "hone in on our unique strategy" as a company.
Internet Explorer, other Windows apps affected; problem could be widespread
Microsoft Internet Explorer users are being affected by a series of fraudulent transport layer security (TLS) certificates. The fake certificates, issued by India's National Informatics Centre, are trusted by the Microsoft Root Store -- a core library that Internet Explorer and other Windows applications use for identity verification. India's Controller of Certifying Records claims that only four fake certificates were issued, but other sources, including Google, are claiming that there are many more.
Game creation tool exits beta and earns physical, digital versions for October release
Team Dakota and Microsoft Studios announced today that the game creation tool Project Spark would see a release later this year. Coming out on October 7 in the Americas, October 9 in Asia-Pacific territories and October 10 in Europe, the software is being offered in downloadable and retail versions for $40.
BlackBerry Messenger commences private beta on Windows Phone store
BlackBerry has put the BlackBerry Messenger app in the Windows Phone store, though it is not available to everyone. The listing, which follows the earlier BBM launch on iOS and Android, hints at a near-future release of the messaging app on the platform, though according to CNET, the app is being tested in a private beta ahead of its launch, with only whitelisted users able to install the app from the store.
Layoffs a result of redundant positions generated by Nokia purchase
In the wake of Microsoft's Nokia buy, the giant is facing an abundance of employees. Despite having over 2,000 open positions according to its own hiring page, sources within and close to the company claim that up to 10 percent of the workforce will be purged under former CEO Steve Ballmer's "One Microsoft" 10-year plan for the company.
Company no longer issuing platform fixes, security updates continue until April 2015
When the next quarterly update to Java rolls around later this month, Oracle says it won't include support for Windows XP users. The critical patch update, scheduled for July 15, updates Java 7 and Java 8 for newer Microsoft operating systems from Vista up to Windows 8. The choice to use Java on XP is left up to users because of the potential risk involved.
Service restoration in process, connectivity waiting on DNS propagation
Following Microsoft's seizure of dynamic DNS service No-IP domains on a claim that some were spreading malware, many customers' paid and free connections were no longer functioning. Many of these services have been restored tonight, as Microsoft has begun the process of returning domains to No-IP. As of this evening, all of the seized domains have been returned to the service, with .org redirect restoration waiting on the .org registrar to act. Not all DNS services have been updated, but Electronista can confirm that Verizon FiOS, Google, and OpenDNS are all resolving properly.
New Lumia believed to have aluminum frame, polycarbonate cover
A photograph has surfaced reportedly showing an upcoming Microsoft smartphone, suggesting the company has another Nokia Lumia device on the way. The mobile device in the images appears to have an aluminum frame with a polycarbonate backing similar to some of the more high-end Lumia devices, potentially putting the pictured smartphone in the same part of the Lumia product range.
Fitness tracker with small screen could be on the way from Microsoft
The rumored smartwatch from Microsoft could in fact be a fitness tracker, according to a report. A recent rumor stating the smartwatch will be more like Samsung's Gear Fit rather than something from Android Wear or the the Gear 2 has been given more credence, with the claim that the device will have the appearance of a wristband with a small screen for the time and notifications.
Each gains access to a 'broad range' of products and services under agreement
Software giant Microsoft and camera specialists Canon announced today that the two companies have signed into a cross-licensing agreement for intellectual property (IP) patents. The agreement gives each company the ability to license numerous patents, from mobile phones to digital imaging. Contents of the scope and scale of the agreement, as well as monetary considerations, were not disclosed in the announcement.
Android version of Office apps allegedly scheduled for release later this year
Microsoft is building a full suite of Office apps for Android, a report claims. Following the official port to the iPad it launched in March, Microsoft is said to be privately testing separate apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for the mobile operating system, with the company apparently seeking businesses and individuals to provide feedback on pre-release versions.
Outlook, OneDrive traffic gains encryption to increase security
Microsoft has announced three new ways the company will improve the security of customer data in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations. New encryption has been added to Outlook.com, with OneDrive also receiving a similar encryption-based security boost, and the company is also introducing its first "Microsoft Transparency Center" on its Redmond campus, in order to help governments understand and trust the security of the company's software.
No-ip.com domains seized ostensibly to prevent malware spread
Updated with more testing Early Monday morning, Microsoft announced that had seized, by court order, 23 domains used by dynamic IP company no-ip.com. Seeing a preponderance of malware hosts using these domains, the company then routed all "known bad traffic" through Microsoft filters, in order to classify the identified threats. The move was not without innocent victims, however, as users who use the affected domains -- including paid users for legitimate VPN purposes and one MacNN employee -- are this morning unable to connect through the redirect, at least in part.
Microsoft India tweet points to imminent Windows Phone 8.1 update release
Windows Phone 8.1 could be shipping to smartphones next month. A posting on Twitter by Microsoft India states the Windows Phone 8.1 update will "roll out to existing Windows Phone 8 users during the first two weeks of July," suggesting that features such as the long-awaited Cortana virtual assistant may reach consumers in the near future.
Entry-level Nokia X2 first Android smartphone launched under Microsoft ownership
Nokia's Devices and Services business has launched its second generation of Android smartphone, its first Android launch under the ownership of Microsoft. The Nokia X2 takes after the Nokia X launched in February, using a heavily customized Android implementation and a physical design reminiscent of the Lumia range, and though it is still a low-priced entry-level smartphone, it still offers a few improvements on the original.
Runs with ongoing marketing angle
Microsoft is offering MacBook Air owners up to $650 in store credit if they trade in the laptop when buying a Surface Pro 3. To qualify for the deal, people must bring an Air into a Microsoft Store in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico; it must also be able to power on, and not have water damage or a cracked screen. The promotion expires on July 31st.
More storage provided to Office 365 subscriptions, lower costs for extra capacity
Microsoft is becoming more aggressive in the cloud storage market against Google, by making a number of changes aimed at attracting more users. The free allocation of OneDrive storage will be doubled from 7GB to 15GB, bringing the service in line with Google Drive, with Microsoft also making some changes to storage included with Office 365 and its paid storage options.
Teardown of Surface Pro 3 reveals high usage of adhesive on components
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is extremely difficult to repair, according to the results of a teardown by repair outfit iFixit. The latest iteration of the Microsoft tablet continues the trend of the original Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 in receiving one single point out of a maximum repairability score of ten, with the device said to be making repairs even harder thanks to its use of glue and consolidated components.
Upgrade to Windows Phone 8.0 and above will incorporate fixes
A blog post by Microsoft's vice president of government affairs reveals that the company will update its Windows Phone operating system to comply with the CTIA's Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment program. Microsoft will expand its "Find my Phone" feature and add features similar to Apple's iOS 7 "Find My iPhone" security measures to accommodate the requirements of the program, and will meet the July 2015 deadline proposed by the group.
Docking Station coming Aug.15
The Surface Pro 3 is now available in Canada and the US, online and at retail, Microsoft has announced. Currently the only versions on sale are Core i5 models. Microsoft has solidified a release date for Core i3 and i7 models however, which should ship August 1st.
Manual mistake suggests Surface Mini still in development
Microsoft has accidentally let slip the Surface Mini tablet is still being worked on by the company. Online manuals for the now-released Surface Pro 3 include references to the Surface Mini in places where it should state the correct product name, suggesting Microsoft is using one of the device manuals to create another for the other Windows tablet.
Discounts of $100, $200 on Surface Pro 2 through Microsoft Store
Microsoft has cut the price of the Surface Pro 2 tablet in the United States, before the latest incarnation of the device, the Surface Pro 3, starts shipping. Echoing a similar discounting scheme in the United Kingdom, the lower cost of previous-generation Surface Pro tablets comes at the same time as news that there could be some delays in Surface Pro 3 shipments.