Items tagged with Skype

Hackers claiming to represent the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) decided to deface Skype's social media pages with disparaging messages about Microsoft and its digital properties. On Skype's Twitter page, for example, the hackers posted a status update telling followers not to use Microsoft's email services (Hotmail and Outlook) because "they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments." Skype eventually regained control of its Twitter account, but not before the restless bunch of hackers posted Steve Ballmer's contact information. It was followed by a message that read,... Read more...
Ever since Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in August, the company has been busily hunting for a new head honcho, and according to a Reuters report, among those on the shortlist are Nokia’s Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and three other external candidates whose names could not be determined. In addition to those five, there are at least three names from within Microsoft’s own ranks that are options for the big chair, including Tony Bates, former Skype CEO who is now in charge of Microsoft’s business development, and Satya Nadella, who runs Microsoft’s... Read more...
Among the various SNAFUs and PR misfires related to the Xbox One release earlier this year, one item that had people upset was that Kinect would be used for advertising--or worse, that the Xbox One Kinect was actually designed with advertising in mind. The source was a UI designer who was expounding the capabilities of the Kinect and how it could be used to deliver interactive ads and used for native advertising (i.e., ads built directly into the content). There was a great fear that Kinect was gathering biometric information, reading people’s emotions, gathering data about how many and what... Read more...
If there’s anything positive to take away from this summer’s NSA spying scandal, it might be the increased transparency of major tech companies, as Microsoft has its latest Law Enforcement Requests report for the first 6 months of 2013. Of course, a downside is that these companies still aren’t allowed to report requests from the FISA shadow court, so we have no way of knowing what agencies like the NSA are culling from Microsoft’s vast user base. But for what it’s worth, here are the numbers, sans FISA data: Microsoft received 37,196 requests in the first half of... Read more...
Let's stop harping on it. We've already discussed Microsoft's failures and shortcomings with their first generation of Surface and Surface RT devices. The company's $900 million dollar mistake has been bounced around along with Steve Ballmer's tenure ad nauseam and so it's probably no surprise that more than a few pundits and analysts are sounding off so negatively regarding Microsoft's recent Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 unveiling earlier this week.  They're too big, too expensive, not retina, too "Windows RT," whatever.  What is it about Microsoft that seemingly draws such a critical... Read more...
In the hardware world, even the best-selling devices eventually reach EOL (end-of-life) status. And, as fate would have it, it seems that the software world follows suit. But every now and again, a product is killed that leaves us scratching our heads. While Windows Phone 8 is clearly the premier mobile product for Microsoft, it sure doesn't feel as if Windows Phone 7 is that old. Plus, Microsoft owes what little success it has seen in the mobile realm to the early adopters who took a chance with WP7. Nevertheless, the company is axing support of its flagship VoIP app, Skype, on Windows Phone 7.... Read more...
Lest you forget that Microsoft has a new gaming console on the horizon, the company has been trickling out details surrounding it in the past few weeks. Next up? The audio side, and it's pretty impressive. Thanks to integration with Skype’s audio codec, Xbox One offers higher quality voice chat with the Xbox One Chat Headset compared to Xbox 360—whether you’re chatting in-game or through party chat with Skype on Xbox One. Microsoft claims that the console uses dedicated audio processing to handle Xbox One conversations via Skype and multiplayer party chats. On the controller side,... Read more...
If talking to someone on the other side of the world in 2D has got you down, you'll be happy to know that Microsoft has some big plans to change that in the future - and yes, Skype is involved. The idea is that with a 3D chat, it should feel more like you're actually "there", or at least give you an enhanced perception that you are. Microsoft notes that pulling this off isn't going to be easy, and hardware is almost entirely to blame. While 3D monitors and televisions are a dime a dozen (alright, not quite), 3D capture devices certainly are not. It's clear that we will see these creep up more and... Read more...
Gmail users have had access to built-in Google Voice calling (in North America, at least) for years now. With Microsoft exerting a renewed push on the Outlook.com, it's no real surprise to see Skype making the transition this week. A few months back, Microsoft announced that a preview of Skype video calling + messaging was arriving in Outlook.com windows, and now, it's going global. Well, almost. Skype for Outlook.com is now fully available in several countries around the globe including the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, France, Canada, and the United States. For those who reside outside of... Read more...
For months, there've been questions regarding just how secure Skype's encryption was. After Microsoft bought the VOIP company it began moving to a more centralized node structure that made it easier to scale the product but at the cost of intrinsic security. Now, it seems such concerns were valid -- new leaked documents from The Guardian allege that the NSA has an effective backdoor to all of Microsoft's online products including Skype, Outlook, and SkyDrive. While The Guardian doesn't have any slides to show this time around, it suggests that Microsoft has gone beyond the minimal amount of grudging... Read more...
And “voicemail” evolved. Microsoft announced on its Skype blog that the video chat service now offers a Skype Video Messaging feature that allows you to leave a video voicemail when one of your contacts is away. Skype Video Messaging is free, and you can leave a message by tapping or clicking the Video Message button and recording your message (up to three minutes in length). You can preview your recording (and if need be, delete and re-record it) before you hit the send button. When that contact next signs into Skype, she’ll receive the message. Skype Video Messaging is available... Read more...
In the week since word of the NSA's Boundless Informant and Prism programs leaked online, there's been a great deal of concern over to what degree various companies cooperated with the NSA's requests. Some companies, like Google, have pointed to their repeated requests for greater transparency. Twitter, of course, is the major social app that isn't on Prism's list at all. And then, there's Microsoft. It's been notably quiet since the Prism leak, and while the PR team has had its hands full dealing with the fallout over the Xbone E3 debacle, there's certainly been bandwidth for a situation as serious... Read more...
Skype is having security troubles again. According to great big red flag raised by a user on the Skype community forums, Skype accounts are extremely vulnerable--through Skype’s own support system. The user, Ximer, said on the forum that anyone can steal your Skype account with very little to go on; specifically, all one needs is 3-5 of your contacts on Skype; an email you’ve used on Skype at some point; and your first and last name. He notes that his account wasn’t “hacked” per se; it was simply stolen, using basic information to dupe Skype support into verifying... Read more...
Traditional phone companies are faced with the reality that it's cheaper to make calls over the Internet, and also relatively easy, even for novices. It shouldn't be all that shocking, then, to learn that Skype users are spending 2 billion collective minutes daily using Microsoft's VoIP software. To put that into perspective, 2 billion minutes is enough time to travel to the moon and back...over 225 thousand times! Alternately you could walk around the Earth more than 845 times or travel to Mars more than 5,400 times, Skype notes in a blog post announcing the record setting minutes usage. "2 billion... Read more...
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