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Microsoft

How to switch your Windows 8.1 log-in to a local account

When you configure a Windows 8.1 system the very first time, you're asked to use a Microsoft account to log in, and though you don't have to use one, it's not real clear at the time. If you used a Microsoft account to set up your Windows 8.1 PC and would like to use a local account instead, you can switch.

Using a Microsoft account does have some advantages over using a local account. For example, using a Microsoft account log-in lets you sync your settings across different Windows 8.1 PCs. You can also … Read more

Xbox One almost catches PlayStation 4 in February

After reporting no sales figures in January, Microsoft is trumpeting its February numbers after a market researcher showed it gaining on Sony's PlayStation 4 in the U.S.

Though the PlayStation 4 (PS4) led hardware sales in February, it was only "by a narrow margin," according to the NPD Group, as reported by Bloomberg.

The Xbox One sold "over 90 percent of what the PS4 sold in terms of unit sales," according to NPD analyst Liam Callahan. But because of Xbox One's higher price, "it led hardware sales on a dollar basis," … Read more

Microsoft, Nook redo deal; no Microsoft e-reader in the works

On March 10, Microsoft and Nook Media updated their agreement forged two years ago, according to a new 8-K filing by Barnes & Noble.

Under terms of the amendment, Nook Media is allowed to discontinue distributing the Nook Windows app and to cease work on its Windows Phone app. Ouch.

There seemingly is a replacement app coming for the Nook Windows app, however. It's rather confusingly named "Microsoft Consumer Reader."

This is not a dedicated e-reader, I hear from my sources. (Such a device from Microsoft has been rumored in the past.) Instead, I think this is … Read more

Bill Gates talks tech with Rolling Stone

Even though I've been covering Microsoft -- its people, its strategies and its products -- for decades, I've written very little about founder Bill Gates in the past five years.

The reason? Once Gates left his day job at Microsoft to focus on his foundation, he seemed to focus very little on Microsoft or the tech world anymore. Sure, he was Microsoft's board chairman until last month, when he was replaced and made "Technology Adviser." And yes, I've heard tales of him sitting in on occasional product reviews over the past few years. But … Read more

Apple, Microsoft among firms earning tax-free interest from US -- report

Four of the largest US-based technology companies hold a huge amount of US Treasury debt and use it to earn tax-free interest, a new report claims.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Cisco Systems collectively hold $124 billion in US Treasury debt overseas, the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported Wednesday. The debt is kept offshore so the companies can earn interest on the treasuries without worrying about paying taxes.

That some of the largest technology companies in the world are holding so much interest-bearing debt and not having to pay taxes might not resonate well with individuals looking down the … Read more

Microsoft offers Windows Phone free to device makers -- report

Microsoft reportedly will dole out Windows Phone for free to a couple of Indian phone makers to spur adoption in the country.

The software giant has been chatting with Indian phone makers about developing more affordable Windows Phone devices, The Times of India said on Thursday, citing "multiple industry sources with knowledge of the negotiations." Two device makers purportedly agreed, but only after Microsoft promised to drop the normal license fee for its mobile OS, according to the sources.

"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a licence fee," a source at … Read more

New version of Office for Mac expected later this year

More than three years after releasing the current version of Office for Mac, Microsoft is readying a major refresh.

Mac users can expect a new version of the apps suite by the end of the year, according to Thorsten Hübschen, leader of Microsoft's Office group in Germany. The revelation came during an interview with Computerwoche at CeBit 2014, a computer trade show occurring this week in Hanover, Germany.

Hübschen blamed the delay on the merger of the Mac business unit -- the Mac suite's development team -- with the Microsoft business unit in 2010. … Read more

Xbox Live struggles with access issues as Titanfall launches

Microsoft's launch Tuesday of the much-anticipated game Titanfall on Xbox Live has not been without hiccups.

Players hoping to access the first-person shooter game on Xbox Live are having difficulty connecting with the online gaming service Tuesday. The Xbox Live Service Status page currently lists service as "limited."

"We're aware that some users are having difficulties signing in to Xbox Live," according to an update posted to the page. "Our team is hard at work trying to mitigate the issue and we appreciate your patience while we work."

Microsoft also promised to … Read more

Microsoft delivers new batch of Surface firmware updates

It's Patch Tuesday, yet again. And as it often does, Microsoft is rolling out a number of Surface firmware updates as part of it.

There are no firmware updates for the ARM-based Surface RT this month, according to Microsoft's update history page. But the other three Surface devices are all getting numerous updates that users will see listed as "System Firmware Update - 3/11/2014" in their update histories on their devices.

All three are getting keyboard/cover updates, including a driver that supports the new Surface Power Covers that Microsoft will begin making available as of March 19. … Read more

Google cited as bothered by Android-Windows hybrid

Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim.

A report on Friday from Digitimes fingers Google as holding up the Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300, a novel laptop-tablet hybrid that can instantly switch between Android and Windows 8.1.

This follows earlier reports from CNET and Digitimes.

Here's what Digitimes said on Friday, in part:

Currently, only Intel's...chip can support dual operating systems, giving consumers an … Read more