Microsoft

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

Microsoft plans to patch critical Windows, IE bugs next week

Microsoft has marked two of the five security updates it plans to release next week as "critical," including one that addresses a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is currently being exploited in the wild.

One of the updates announced in a security bulletin Thursday will patch a flaw in IE 10 -- discovered last month by security company FireEye -- being exploited by attack code found on the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Web site. Security firm Websense reported finding similar code exploiting the same flaw on the compromised Web site of a French aerospace association, indicating there was … Read more

Microsoft teases unveiling of DirectX 12 later this month

Game developers' long wait for the next iteration of Microsoft's DirectX will apparently come to an end this month.

Details of the DirectX 12 game programming interfaces will apparently be released March 20 during the Game Developers Conference, according to a Microsoft teaser page. Microsoft's page includes the logos of AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm, suggesting they are partners that will support the new suite of APIs.

Anuj Gosalia, a development manager on Windows Graphics at Microsoft, is scheduled to lead a presentation at the conference, according to a GDC program page:

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has … Read more

Microsoft board not so keen on Nokia deal at first

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has published a fascinating story on the backroom politics around Steve Ballmer's retirement as Microsoft CEO.

The part of the piece entitled "Microsoft's Nadella Manages Legacy of Ballmer-Board Split" that I found most interesting is the drama around the decision to buy Nokia's handset business. According to reporter Dina Bass and colleagues, the Microsoft board initially was divided over the wisdom of the move, with Ballmer in favor and founder Bill Gates and unnamed other board members opposed.

Microsoft's current CEO Satya Nadella also was initially against the move, but later changed … Read more

Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone

Windows Phone users can now download Facebook Messenger.

Already available for iOS and Android devices, the social network's dedicated chat app is now nestled in the Windows Phone Store.

A spinoff of the full Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger lets you chat with one or more of your friends, share your location, and perk up your chats with pictures and stickers.

The launch doesn't come as a surprise. At last week's Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger would soon land on Windows Phone.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps … Read more

Ballmer: Regrets, he's had a few

You'll never confuse him with Frank Sinatra, but in his first public speaking appearance since stepping down as Microsoft's chief executive last month, Steve Ballmer expressed having a few regrets -- but not too many to mention. (Cue the ballad.)

Speaking to students at the University of Oxford on Tuesday, Ballmer reflected on his former company's missteps and made the argument that Microsoft remained in a strong position to catch the next wave of innovation.

"The notion of taking a long-term point of view I think is the number one thing missing in most companies, big, … Read more

Xbox One adds music videos to streaming service

Xbox Music, Microsoft's music streaming product for its game console franchise, is adding music videos to the gaming console, the company said Tuesday in a blog post.

"Once a TV staple, music videos are now primarily housed on the internet, where easy access is key," it wrote, noting that when customers play a track on their Xbox One using Xbox Music, the song will automatically play as a video if it is among the 92,000 that are being added.

Vevo, a joint venture between venture between Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group with a strategic … Read more

Skype rolls out to Outlook.com users worldwide

Users of Outlook.com around the world can now tap into Skype without having to leave their inbox.

Skype integration with Outlook.com is now available worldwide, according to a blog posted Tuesday by Skype marketing executive Karen Tong. The expanded rollout follows a limited release for users in the US, UK, Germany, and other countries last year.

To enable Skype integration with your Outlook.com account, first download and install the necessary plugin. After the installation completes, you're prompted to open your Outlook.com account.

In Outlook.com, click the Messaging icon on the upper right corner. If … Read more

Bill Gates reclaims 'world's richest person' title with $76B

Microsoft has gotten a new CEO, bought Nokia's devices and services business, and had better-than-expected earnings the past few months -- another big change is that company chairman Bill Gates has reclaimed his title as the world's richest person.

Forbes released its annual rankings for the world's richest people on Monday showing that Gates overtook telecom mogul Carlos Slim for the first time in four years. Gates' current net worth is $76 billion, up from $67 billion last year, while Slim's fortune fell from $73 billion to $72 billion. The Microsoft chairman has held the No. … Read more