Tag: Microsofts

11
Oct
2020
Posted in internet

Microsoft’s Apple workaround: How Xbox could bring Project xCloud to iOS via the web in 2021

Project xCloud, as shown at the Xbox E3 Showcase in the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live, Sunday, June 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images)

Microsoft is working on a browser-based edition of its cloud gaming service Project xCloud, according to multiple reports. Business Insider reported that Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees at a meeting Wednesday that the company will pursue a “direct browser-based solution” for bringing the cloud-based, multi-platform version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service to Apple’s family of devices. The Verge cites unnamed sources confirming the plans.

This news comes almost a month after Apple launched a new set of rules for its App Store in September. It would have allowed Microsoft to officially bring an xCloud app to iOS, but only if each game on the service was submitted to Apple as a separate playable app. As there are dozens of games on the Game Pass at any given time and they rotate in and out of the service monthly, this was essentially a case of Apple setting up a logistically-infeasible series of hoops for Microsoft to jump through. Naturally, Microsoft opted to decline.

According to Apple, this was done to make sure that Microsoft’s library of games on Game Pass all individually meet Apple’s stringent guidelines for the App Store. According to everyone else, it’s another case this year of Apple using its policies as a weapon against competitors. If xCloud (and similar services such as Google Stadia) were available in the App Store, that would provide a natural competitor for Apple’s own subscription service, Apple Arcade. If Apple were to follow its own stated policies, then Apple Arcade could not exist on the App Store in its current format.

(Microsoft Photo)

While Microsoft has reportedly not

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Why Microsoft’s Surface Neo Has Vanished

Where is Microsoft’s Surface Neo? Those tracking the development of Microsoft’s other dual-screened folding device have seen the Android-powered dual screened Surface Duo reach the market, but the larger Windows 10X powered hardware has quietly slipped out of sight.

The Surface Neo was introduced alongside the Surface Duo twelve months ago. The two devices provided a joint vision of foldable computing, with the Duo acting as the pocketable device, and the Neo acting as the laptop/tablet sequence device. Both were given a launch date of ‘the holidays 2020.’

The Surface Duo comfortably made that deadline, with pre-orders commencing in August 2020 ahead of the retail availability in early September. The Surface Neo? Reports started to circulate in April that Microsoft was not expecting any Windows 10X powered devices to launch during 2020. Mary Jo Foley for ZDnet wrote at the time:

“My contacts say that Chief Product Officer Panos Panay informed some of his team internally today, April 8, that Microsoft wouldn’t be delivering its own Surface Neo dual-screen 10X devices this calendar year. In addition, Microsoft also won’t be enabling third-party dual-screen Windows devices to ship with 10X in calendar 2020, I hear.”

Windows 10X is now expected in Q2 2021. Mayank Parmar lays out a presumptive schedule for Windows 10X and the resulting hardware as part of the regular Windows 10 release:

“In Q2 of 2021, Microsoft will deliver the first preview of Windows 10X, the company’s

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

20 years after Microsoft’s antitrust fight, Steve Ballmer betting that Big Tech won’t be broken up

Steve Ballmer at the GeekWire Summit 2019 (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Twenty years after Microsoft waged its own antitrust battle with the U.S. government, former CEO Steve Ballmer is betting that Congress won’t break up Big Tech this time around.

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday (below), Ballmer was reacting to a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee report released this week that found challenges presented by the dominance and business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

RELATED: House antitrust probe says Amazon has ‘monopoly power’ over sellers, company slams ‘fringe’ findings

“I’ll bet money that they will not be broken up,” Ballmer told CNBC.

The 450-page report from the subcommittee’s Democratic leaders concludes a 16-month investigation into the four companies as the operators of major online markets. It finds that the market power of the tech giants “has diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy, weakened the vibrancy of the free and diverse press, and undermined Americans’ privacy.”

Ballmer said he doesn’t think the notion of breaking up the companies answers most of the questions or complaints that are being raised against the companies. And he thinks Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple would do well to engage with regulators now rather than take unilateral action that they hope satisfies those calling the shots.

“If I’m in these guys’ shoes, I say, ‘Come on, let’s get down there and let’s regulate me and let’s get it over with so I know what I can do,’” Ballmer told CNBC.

Ballmer is currently the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise and founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic data initiative USAFacts.

Ballmer also discussed USAFacts’ launch of a $10 million ad campaign, to air during the nationally televised presidential debates, aimed at illustrating

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Government probes Microsoft’s effort to boost diversity

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”


CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding dearth of Black, Latino and female workers in technical and leadership positions. But this time they are running into scrutiny by a Trump administration that has sought to intervene with universities and other institutions over their approach to race and discrimination.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” in the federal workforce and among federal contractors. Microsoft is a major federal contractor, supplying its Office workplace software and cloud computing services to multiple government agencies.

Labor Department representatives didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday.

The Trump administration’s move contrasts a flurry of efforts by private companies and institutions to increase racial diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests. There has been a particular emphasis on bringing more African Americans into leadership positions.

More than 40 private and publicly traded companies have joined

02
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Windows 10: Microsoft’s new 2004 update fixes bug that stopped WSL 2 working

Microsoft has released an optional preview update for Windows 10 version 2004 that addresses Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 issues that emerged after September’s Patch Tuesday update. 

The preview update KB4577063 for Windows 10 version 2004, aka the May 2020 Update, bumps up this version to build number 19041.546.

This preview update brings many of the same fixes Microsoft released in last week’s 20H2 Beta preview for Insiders on the Release Preview Channels. Microsoft is expected to release 20H2, or the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, either this month or in November.

Two key issues addressed in this optional update for Windows 10 2004 are the WSL 2 bugs and a lingering connectivity issue with WWAN LTE modems.

The update addresses an issue in WSL that generates an ‘Element not found’ error when users try to start WSL. 

The other is a connectivity issue affecting devices with certain WWAN LTE modems, which prompted Microsoft to impose a safeguard hold on August 31, preventing users on Windows 10 1903 and 1909 from upgrading to Windows 10 2004. 

“Addresses an issue with certain WWAN LTE modems that might show no internet connection in the notification area after waking from sleep or hibernation. Additionally, these modems might not be able to connect to the internet,” Microsoft notes. 

With this LTE modem fix, Microsoft is preparing to remove the block on Windows 10 2004 upgrades in mid-October, likely after Microsoft releases the October Patch Tuesday update, which is scheduled for October 13. 

This update adds a notification to Internet Explorer 11 to alert users that support for Adobe Flash ends December 2020. It also addresses an issue that causes games using spatial audio to stop working, and reduces distortions in Windows Mixed Reality head-mounted displays. 

Like the update for 20H2, it ensures new Windows