Do you know what MSN is? Yes, it is that online portal opened by Microsoft nearly two decades ago. Yes, it is also that default Internet Explorer webpage which you change more quickly than a race car driver can shift. But, fret not if you are not familiar with MSN, as almost no one cares about it anymore. To save it from oblivion, Microsoft has decided that the first thing that MSN needs to make a splash again is a nice revamp.
For many years, MSN was a product Microsoft cared little about. Instead, the software giant has pushed products with more potential and consumer appeal, like Office, Windows and Windows Phone. Now though, Microsoft wants to tie MSN in with its newfound strategy, recreating the online portal "from the ground up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world", and using many Bing-powered services (News, Sports and Travel, just to name a few) to boost its appeal.
Microsoft-owned Nokia has just released the latest in its Lumia range of smartphones, the Lumia 830, promising "the world's first budget flagship" with a no-compromises experience and "completely hassle-free photography," all for just €330.
So how does the new Lumia hold up? We go hands on to find out.
Getty Images Inc is suing Microsoft for "massive infringement" of copyright. Microsoft's recently released Bing Image Widget enables people to display images on a website based on search terms. The automatically generated code creates image slideshows and galleries that pull in images from Bing -- Getty's complaint centers around the fact that the widget displays unlicensed images from its catalog that are subject to copyright. The Seattle-based stock image company says that Microsoft has turned the images that can be found online into "a vast, unlicensed clip art collection".
The lawsuit, filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, says that the injury caused to Getty is "incalculable" and calls for the widget to be blocked immediately. The level of damages sought is not specified, but Getty's lawsuit suggests that the company has more than 80 million unique images in its library. Getty has its own image embedding tool, and John Lapham, general counsel for the company, explained to Reuters that it is "only available for non-commercial websites and includes photographer attribution".
The low-cost smartphone segment is really starting to heat up. As the market starts to saturate, manufacturers look to poor and developing nations to keep the momentum going. Here in the USA, however, an arguably weak economy is creating a low-cost demand too; for both inexpensive devices and cheap no-contract plans. While Apple's iPhone is immediately out of the equation (unless you want to lock into a contract), Android and Windows Phone are the two smartphone-types that can deliver rock-bottom prices.
Today, a very inexpensive, but very capable, Windows Phone is available for pre-order; the YEZZ Billy 4.7. Haven't heard of this manufacturer? Me neither, but the reward may outweigh the risk.
If you were planning on picking a new Xbox One console tomorrow, hold off on that purchase. Wait for a few more days and you can pick up a game worth up to $60 free of charge. This is the latest attempt by Microsoft to boost the popularity of its console and nose it ahead of Sony's PS4. It's likely that this offer will go down well with customers as, apart from the $60 upper price limit, every disc-based game is eligible.
The offer runs from Sunday 7 until Saturday 13 September and it applies to standalone consoles as well as bundles. You could pick up a bundle that already includes a game and still bag yourself another one free of charge. Here's the small print in full, although it's a pretty straightforward offer:
Microsoft today introduces Lumia 830, a new Windows Phone 8.1 device that is advertised by the software giant as "the first affordable flagship" smartphone. The device is touted to give rival devices from Apple and Samsung a run for their money, so let's take a look at what it has to offer.
The highlight of Lumia 830 is its PureView-branded main camera, which is paired with some very interesting software features, which allow users to, for instance, change the intensity of the flash in the captured still, after the fact. It is aided by optical image stabilization. To showcase just how capable the 10 MP unit is, Microsoft inexplicably compared Lumia 830 with an outdated flagship, Apple's iPhone 5 which is verging on two years of market time. Thankfully, Microsoft has not gone crazy (well, maybe it did).
Like most teenagers growing up in the late 90s / early 00s, MSN Messenger made me realize that there was more to life than having to talk face to face.
Maybe you didn't want to go to that party, for example, so you could just send your friend a message with some poor excuse about homework. Or maybe you just wanted to sit up in front of a desktop computer until 3.00am, discussing the wrongs and rights of the world through a series of awkward 'lols,' 'brbs' and emoticons. You could even declare your undying love for someone behind the safe smokescreen of your computer by just typing it, which let's be honest, is much, much easier.
Office 365 users are encouraged into storing their files in one of two locations -- locally or on OneDrive. Microsoft's own cloud storage service is neatly integrated into its office suite, just as it is into Windows 8.1. There are ways to integrate other services such as Google Drive, but today Box launched a beta version of Box for Office 365 in a bid to bring the cloud service to Office. The new beta was announced at Box's BoxWorks event. There are also plans to add Box integration to Office for iPad, although no timescale has been suggested for this.
The idea behind integrating Box into Office 365 is simple, but the beta page explains: "With our new Box for Office desktop app integrations, you can easily open, edit, share and save any file from Box seamlessly within Word, PowerPoint and Excel".
I am hardly a degenerate gambler, but I do enjoy my fair-share of games of chance. Whenever I go on a cruise, I can likely be found sitting at the roulette table or penny slot machine. While I do play for real money, I bet small and usually retire to other things after I lose $50 or so.
One aspect of gambling that I never tried is sports-betting. For the most part, I enjoy sports on their own, but many people need the thrill of gambling to truly enjoy watching it. Today, Microsoft announces that Bing can now predict the winner in NFL games -- for my foreign friends, that is American Football. If Microsoft's search engine proves reliable, it could be a great tool for gamblers.
The advert wars continue with comparative ads aplenty fired at each other by the big tech giants, and the latest one extols the virtues of Microsoft's voice assistant compared to Apple's effort.
The "mirror mirror" commercial (spotted by the Verge) tries to promote the natural voice and manner of Cortana, and contrast it with Siri, which is made to sound clipped and robotic in comparison.
Microsoft Windows 9's logo may have been accidentally outed by the company’s Chinese arm just 28 days before the company reportedly plans to officially unwrap the new version of Windows.
A post on the Microsoft China Weibo page, reported by CN Beta, showed a number nine made up of Windows tiles that have become a familiar feature of recent versions of the OS with the word Windows written underneath.
Seemingly refreshed after a day off yesterday, Microsoft now hits us with two snippets of Office-related news. iPad users will now be able to sign up to a monthly Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home subscription from their tablet. Nothing has changed about the subscription model itself, but now if you try to do something in the free version of the Office apps that require a subscription, you can upgrade there and then without having to scuttle off to your computer. You may be reading a Word file free of charge, but if you decide you want to edit it, you can upgrade with a few taps.
As before, Office 365 Personal will set you back $6.99 per month. It can be installed on one PC or Mac as well as one tablet, and bumps OneDrive storage from 15GB to 1TB. For $9.99 per month, Office 365 Home can be installed on up to five computers and five tablets. Microsoft will be hoping that the added convenience will encourage more people into making the jump into a subscription.
With many businesses still focused on the "end of XP", an important milestone in the story of software integration will slip by largely unnoticed this year, but it should be celebrated by anyone involved in end user computing.
2014 is the time to appreciate that Windows Installer (MSI) technology is 15 years old and still going strong. That is a very long time for a technology to be as relevant and as useful in today's enterprise environments as it was when it was first released in 1999. Originally developed to facilitate the installation of Microsoft Office 2000, there remains a surprising multitude of reasons it's stuck around for so long.
China is turning up the heat in its antitrust probe into Microsoft, with the authorities laying down a deadline for Redmond to respond regarding allegations of the software giant unfairly leveraging its products.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has laid down a time limit of 20 days for Microsoft to provide a satisfactory response to the antitrust probe which is focusing on Windows and Office (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player have also been previously picked out as bones of contention, as well).
Microsoft has announced service enhancements and a reduced price scheme for its Azure SQL database, as a result of customer feedback.
Microsoft has now promised to deliver a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99 percent availability, equivalent to a downtime of just 53 minutes per year.