Items tagged with NASDAQ: MSFT

Are you ready to take your Minecraft skills to the next level? The creators of Minecraft, are releasing a new augmented reality mobile game, Minecraft Earth. The Minecraft Earth beta will be available this summer and arrives just in time for Minecraft’s tenth anniversary. Minecraft Earth will allow players to make life-size creations and place them in the real world through augmented reality (AR). Players will be able to discover new mobs, collect resources, complete challenges, and fight off enemies. They will also be able to craft items with other Minecraft Earth players and share their creations through the game. Minecraft Earth will be free to play and available on iOS and Android devices.... Read more...
Microsoft has stepped out to explain its side of a recent story here that made headlines and it underscores that it's never wise to jump to conclusions in legal cases unless you have a firm grasp on the particulars. This week, we reported on an e-waste recycler who was sentenced to prison for 15 months for selling unofficial Windows install disks. At first glance, it may have been easy to consider Microsoft the bad guy for its overzealous prosecution. In the company's recent blog post, Corporate VP of Communications Frank X. Shaw gives great detail on the case, based entirely on publicly available records. While the company clearly has its own interests and its customers interests at heart,... Read more...
Your mama, and now Microsoft, wants you to watch your mouth. Microsoft "may stop providing Services" or "close your Microsoft account" if you "publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material". "Offensive language" was listed as potentially inappropriate content. The new services agreement was posted this month and will go into effect Tuesday, May 1st for U.S. users.  The service agreement applies to a number of Microsoft services such as Bing, Cortana MSN.com, Office, Skype, and Xbox Live. If one's Microsoft services are cancelled, either by themselves or by Microsoft, they will lose their licenses and other products they have acquired. They will no longer... Read more...
With critical vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre having been disclosed to the public, it's clearer than ever that more eyeballs are needed when it comes to making sure that our software and hardware is secure. Not long after Intel suffered the bulk of fallout from Meltdown and Spectre, the company bolstered its bug bounty program to encourage more people to dive in and discover bugs before they can be exploited. Intel made great strides to improve the program overall by cutting out the invite-only requirement, allowing anyone to find, explore and report potential bugs. Clearly, Microsoft liked that idea, as it has also enhanced its bug bounty program to offer the the same top quarter... Read more...
Microsoft has just rolled out a brand new Windows 10 Insider Preview update, representing build number 17107. This is exclusively available for users on the Fast Ring; those who opted to "Skip Ahead" will indeed skip ahead when one of the next builds arrives. For the most part, this is an iterative bug-fix and refinement release, so you won't be finding any new toys to play with after upgrading. But if you are running the Fast Ring, you'll want to waste no time upgrading to make sure you have as bug-free an experience as possible. The biggest change in 17107 is a tweaking of how Windows Update works. To make sure that people are as up-to-date as possible, and as quickly as possible, Microsoft... Read more...
Privacy has become a major concern for computer users, so Microsoft has announced that it has new features that are rolling out right now to Windows Insiders and will become part of the next major update for Windows 10. These new features are rolling out ahead of Data Privacy Day and include the Diagnostic Data Viewer and an updated Privacy Dashboard. Microsoft's Marisa Rogers, WDG Privacy Officer, wrote, "Our commitment is to be fully transparent on the diagnostic data collected from your Windows devices, how it is used, and to provide you with increased control over that data. This is all part of our commitment to increase your trust and confidence in our products and services." The Privacy... Read more...
It's not uncommon for us to write about security issues, but it's pretty rare when we write about one that's not going to be fixed, per the guilty party. In this case, that guilty party is Microsoft, and the bug is one that has been around ever since the launch of Windows 2000. Whether or not it's truly severe, we'll really have to wait and see. Or, at least we suppose, since it's existed for 17 years already.  The bug is related to a Windows API hook called PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine, which lets the kernel know that a new module has been loaded. The problem, allegedly, is that invalid module names can be reported, ultimately tricking security software that rely on Windows' APIs into handling... Read more...
It feels like it's hard to get a great opinion on PayPal from the users that have to deal with it, and likewise, the latest Skype mobile update threw many for a loop (and not in a good way). So naturally, seeing the two companies team up would seem like the perfect cocktail for disaster, but this latest move is actually a really nice one. Given just how large both Skype and PayPal are, many reading this likely have accounts with both services. However, when you want to send a quick buck to a friend, it can really feel like quite a hassle, given how many steps you have to take, and how much info there is to double-check (especially with regards to fees). With a new mobile Skype update, though,... Read more...
When mischievous hackers cause trouble, the fix sometimes can't be conventional. Microsoft has proven that this week with its move to thwart the efforts of the Russian hacker group "Fancy Bear", whose members have not been unmasked. Fancy Bear was responsible for last year's DNC hack, although politics are not the reason why Microsoft got involved. To make their attacks seem as normal as possible, Fancy Bear uses a control center that heavily utilizes URLs meant to mimic Microsoft's own; eg: "livemicrosoft.net". Often, control centers will use explicit IPs to avoid issue, but because Fancy Bear decided to infringe on Microsoft's trademarks, it screwed itself over. Microsoft ordinarily wouldn't... Read more...
Getting on-board with an operating system like Windows 10 S may be difficult for some users. Only a certain type of user would purposefully opt to use a whittled-down, locked-down OS by choice, but for the security conscious, it makes a lot of sense. After all, 10 S is still Windows -- it's just supposed to be safer. That's been Microsoft's message since the OS' launch, and its logic is sound: the more locked-down an OS, the lower the chances are that a piece of malware -- including ransomware -- will make it onto the system. To put it simply, using Windows 10 S is akin to locking your doors and windows. That level of security might not be bullet-proof, but its a lot better than leaving... Read more...
When Microsoft decided to embed its Cortana digital assistant into Windows 10, the original plan was to keep it out-of-the-way, nestled in the system tray. However, before the OS' release, the Redmond giant decided to push it to the taskbar, to the right of the Start menu, which was done to encourage discovery. At this point, many know what Cortana is, so it appears Microsoft is planning to give the talkative assistant a notice of eviction from its current residence and court it with a good rate in system tray city. Because Microsoft originally chose to put Cortana close to the Start menu, many users have complained that it's in the way. So it should come as no surprise that a lot of Windows... Read more...
It's been a busy week for Microsoft on the security front, and for very different reasons. Earlier this week, we reported on a move by Kaspersky to shed light on the Redmond company's alleged antitrust behavior. Kaspersky claims that Microsoft promotes its own Windows Defender security solution too heavily, while at the same time putting roadblocks in place to make third-party solutions look less attractive. Well, if that wasn't a sure sign that Microsoft cares a lot about its security solution (even if it's a bit too aggressive about it), today's news of an impending security-related acquisition helps bolster that sign even more. Israeli company Hexadite is about to join the computing... Read more...
The folks at Kaspersky, one of the biggest antivirus companies on the planet, are not too pleased with Microsoft's recent Windows design cues. Last year, the company filed a complaint against the Redmond company with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), and recently, it did the same thing in Europe. Any mention of Windows and "monopoly" make this complaint easy to figure out without even looking at it. Kaspersky has a beef with how Microsoft promotes the use of its Defender antivirus / anti-malware app over third-party solutions. One issue in particular is how Windows acts as a bit of a roadblock when a third-party antivirus application is installed, giving a modest warning of "You should... Read more...
One of the biggest advantages of Microsoft's Xbox One is that gamers are not locked into playing only Xbox One games. Through its backwards compatibility feature, Microsoft allows playback of hundreds of Xbox 360 games, meaning those titles sitting on the shelf are not going to rot if a user's actual Xbox 360 console dies. As cool as that feature is, it's just the tip of the iceberg of what the Xbox One can do. While it's not entirely intuitive, users can install custom software to allow them to play games from other consoles, including Game Boy Advance, PSP, Nintendo 64, and even the original PSone. Soon, Sega's Dreamcast is going to be added to that list. We can forgive you if you didn't even... Read more...
Microsoft has just been granted a patent that could help the company to fight back against users that have been taking advantage of its OneDrive cloud storage service to share pirated materials. Now more than ever, users are storing a lot of their data outside of their homes or devices, taking advantage of services like OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox to keep that data safe on someone else's servers. That's a great perk in itself, but more than that, these services also allow users to share that data.Some patent titles are vague, but Microsoft's latest leaves nothing to the imagination: "Disabling prohibited content and identifying repeat offenders in service provider storage... Read more...
From the start of the current console generation, Sony looked to have an immediate edge. Its console was more powerful than Microsoft's, namely with regards to graphics horsepower. While graphics don't always make the game, we've seen Sony lay the smackdown on Microsoft by releasing a consistent stream of hit exclusives, helping it ultimately sell 60 million units to date. For the first time ever, this console generation has seen both Microsoft and Sony open up to the idea of mid-cycle upgrades. Last fall, Sony released its 4.2 TFLOPs PlayStation 4 Pro, more than doubling the horsepower of the launch unit that pushed 1.84 TFLOPs. Both are much better than the Xbox One's 1.31 TFLOPs, but Microsoft... Read more...
In a bit of news that could spark excitement in many Windows users out there, it's beginning to look like the next major iteration of Windows 10 (Redstone 3) is going to introduce tabbed applications, making it easier that ever to manage the slew of windows you have open. If you're not familiar with tabbed applications, the screenshot below should help clear everything up. Instead of having a taskbar littered with entries, or a single taskbar entry needing to be hovered over to then choose which window you want, tabbed applications make for a more all-in-one approach, allowing users to access different documents from within the same application window. Concept courtesy MSPowerUser The biggest... Read more...
Microsoft made headlines early last year when it announced that users of Intel Skylake (and newer) processors, would need to run Windows 10, as support would be dropped on older versions of Windows. After that initial announcement, there wasn't much additional news related to the story. That is until last fall, when Redmond's most notable company told us that it was backtracking on the idea. That was a relief to many users, but unfortunately, it was only a temporary one. It didn't take long for another issue to arise, when it was revealed that those restrictions would go into effect with Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Ryzen processors. And today, Microsoft has finally dropped the hammer.... Read more...
A couple of years ago, Valve relaxed its rules and regulations for customers being able to get a refund on a game title as a clear result of way too many unhappy customers asking for refunds. At that time, the company began letting people play up to 2 hours of a game, and if it didn't live up to expectations (or it simply didn't work on your system), you'd be able to get in touch with customer service and get a refund. Valve was praised for its move, and it was well-deserved. Now, though, Microsoft has decided one-up that offering for both the Xbox One and Windows Store, allowing customers to get a refund on their own, without the hassle of contacting customer service. As far as customer... Read more...
With the Windows 10 Creators Update having just launched, Microsoft decided to create a quick guide that explains its numerous gaming-related features, such as Beam game recording/streaming, Game Bar, Game Mode, and the countless number of settings now found inside of the OS' "Settings" control panel. Of all the new gaming features found in the Creators Update, it's the Beam game recording and streamer that Microsoft is putting most of its weight behind - and it makes sense, as it needs to justify that acquisition cost. While Microsoft is undoubtedly going up against difficult competition, one of its features does offer something to its advantage: extremely low-latency. Whereas competing solutions... Read more...
This spring, Microsoft is going to be launching a brand new online store for its ultra-popular Minecraft world builder. There are multiple goals that can be accomplished through this new portal: fans will have a lot of great new content to play, and community members who produce good content could reap the benefits of being featured on the store. One thing that will make this online store different from most is the fact that all of the content is curated, meaning that not just anyone can produce content and expect it to appear there. Ultimately, this is a very good thing, as it means that the content available is guaranteed to be of good quality. As it appears right now, nothing on this... Read more...
Last week, Microsoft made a surprise mention that it had been working with Qualcomm to bring Windows Server to ARM, a tidbit that no doubt sent many into a frenzy. At Intel, we wouldn't be surprised if a little bit of anxiety was felt.  From a consumer or enterprise standpoint, Windows Server on ARM could sound like an interesting route to take. Well, as it happens, Microsoft didn't announce that Windows Server was going to become available for ARM. Instead, the company has been using WS on ARM internally, and as for now, that's not going to be changing. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley verified this through a bit of prodding, with Microsoft explicitly stating that this interesting OS release is for... Read more...
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