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Microsoft relaunches Office Web Apps as Office Online

The online version of Microsoft Office has a new name, along with some new features intended to streamline certain activities.

Why the name change? In a blog post on Wednesday, Office Online product marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre acknowledged that the name Office Web Apps confused users. Some apparently thought they had venture to an app store to find the software and then manually install it.

"No, to use them all you need is a web browser," Lefebvre said. "Ah! You say. So it's like Office, online. Yes, exactly. Office Online."

Beyond a new name, the … Read more

Microsoft just made it harder to break up the company

It's too early to talk about the return of the juggernaut of yesteryear after one quarter of strong results, but Microsoft's latest financial quarter suggests that -- new CEO or no -- the company is recovering from recent missteps.

"In summary, we had a very good quarter," CFO Amy Hood said during a conference call Thursday to discuss the company's fiscal second quarter.

That was an understatement. Sales and earnings beat Wall Street handily, and investors snapped up shares in after-hours trading (even after Hood narrowed full-year revenue guidance to between $31.2 billion and $… Read more

Microsoft tops Q2 earnings expectations, still no new CEO

This may turn out to be the first earnings report where Microsoft's actual financial results are a sideshow to the main event.

Microsoft reported fiscal second-quarter results Thursday that were better than expected. The company had sales of $24.5 billion and 78 cents per share. Wall Street had expected revenue of $23.7 billion with a profit of 68 cents a share.

But the bigger news -- who will replace Steve Ballmer as the company's next chief executive? -- remains in the realm of a press release, at least for the foreseeable future. The company had nothing … Read more

Microsoft spruces up Outlook.com Android app

Microsoft has enhanced its Outlook.com app for Android users.

Rolled out Thursday, the new version lets you search for all e-mail, including items still in the cloud and not yet synced to your device. You can also sync all of your e-mails to access them offline.

You can now send e-mails from the app using any of your Outlook.com aliases and set an automated vacation reply for when you're away.

Microsoft has added 8 new color themes, so you now have 11 colors in total should you wish to give the interface a fresh paint job. Finally, … Read more

Microsoft adds 200GB storage option to SkyDrive

Microsoft SkyDrive users can now grab an even bigger chunk of the cloud to house their documents, photos, and other files.

Launched on Monday along with Microsoft's new Surface 2 tablets, the new SkyDrive plan offers 200GB of space for $100 a year. That amount of online storage is enough to hold a photo taken of a person every hour from the moment of birth to college graduation, at least according to Microsoft.

SkyDrive users who want to sign up for the 200GB plan will now see it listed as an option on their SkyDrive Web page. Just select … Read more

Blame Steve Ballmer for Microsoft's woes? Not so fast

No self-respecting CEO -- let alone one with a raging Type A personality -- wants to be remembered as a victim of circumstance. They all want to believe that they were agents of change.

That includes Steve Ballmer, who presides today over what's likely to be his last financial analyst gathering as Microsoft's CEO. Sometime within the coming year, Ballmer plans to step down, leaving the scorekeepers to size up his legacy and he would bristle if anyone applied that description to him. But in his quiet moments -- if those exist -- Ballmer knows that there's … Read more

Microsoft to kill Games for Windows Live in July 2014 -- report

Microsoft's Games for Windows Live may end up going the way of the Dodo.

The software company on Monday posted an update to its Age of Empires Online support page saying that Games for Windows Live "will be discontinued on July 1, 2014." The news, which was spotted by several gaming publications, had not previously been announced by Microsoft. The page update was promptly taken down and no longer shows that excerpt.

It's not much of a surprise that Games for Windows Live is being shut down. Last week, Microsoft announced that the Games for Windows Live Marketplace, … Read more

Microsoft still struggling to fix Outlook.com glitch

Microsoft is still trying to resolve a nagging problem that has affected access to Outlook.com for many users.

A few of Microsoft's key online services started suffering from hiccups on Wednesday. Many users reported trouble trying to access Outlook.com, SkyDrive, and Contacts. Microsoft's status dashboard confirmed the trouble with all three. The problems with SkyDrive and Contacts were apparently resolved on Wednesday, and they were given a clean bill of health later in the day via the status page.

Outlook.com has remained the sole problem child, and it's proving to be a difficult one. … Read more

SkyDrive.com update aims to put you on easy street

Microsoft's SkyDrive is available in a variety of flavors -- Windows software, Mac software, mobile app, local folder. But those of you who manage your files directly through the SkyDrive.com site will find several helpful new enhancements.

Described Tuesday in a new Microsoft blog post, one new feature lets you view higher-quality photos in their full resolution. SkyDrive.com now measures the DPI (dots per inch) of your device to show higher-resolution images and thumbnails. That's a nod to newer devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020, which can snap a photo at 41 megapixels. You can … Read more

Microsoft's Build 2013 keynote: Join us Wednesday (live blog)

Microsoft will gather thousands of developers in San Francisco this week for its Build conference, with much of this year's event focused on generating excitement about updates to its Windows 8 operating system.

CNET will be there live on Wednesday, giving you the blow by blow of the opening keynote, with photos and running commentary as well. The keynote, which will offer a look at the Windows 8.1 update, starts at 9 a.m. PT at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco.

You can tune in here:

CNET's live coverage of Microsoft Build 2013 keynote

The … Read more