Items tagged with Skype

Kim Dotcom, the man who negotiated a deal with hacking group Lizard Squad to cease fire on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network over Christmas break, has Skype in his crosshairs and is ready to pull the trigger. His weapon of choice? A competing browser-based chat service tentatively called MegaChat that he plans to launch soon. The Mega founder made his intentions know via Twitter, though it's worth pointing out that he has a history of mentioning and hyping this same service without actually releasing it. And while there's still no concrete release date, he say this time around that it will be encrypted and offer "high-speed" file transfers when it does launch. Dotcom has been critical of... Read more...
Projects like Microsoft’s Skype Translator remind us just how life-changing technology can be. When Microsoft first announced its massive language-translation project earlier this year, the upcoming Skype feature was able to translate a conversation between English and German speakers. Microsoft promised to show us more progress before the end of the year and it did so today, announcing a preview version for the public. When the preview opens before the end of the year, the Skype Translator will translate Skype video chats in English and Spanish.  If you haven’t seen Microsoft’s promotional video, check it out – it’s worth the two minutes to see the language barrier being obliterated... Read more...
Well, that didn’t take long. In early November, Microsoft rolled out its new “Work & Play Bundle” that combines a year’s worth of Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Unlimited World + WiFi. Microsoft priced the bundle at $199, which at the time seemed like a sweet deal. Today, however, Microsoft is making the deal even sweeter thanks to a $50 price cut to $149 for the holidays. Purchased separately, here’s the breakdown of the costs for each service: Xbox Live Gold: $59.99 Office 365 Home: $99.99 Xbox Music Pass: $119.88 Skype Unlimited World + WiFi: $167.88  So Microsoft is giving users roughly $450 worth of online subscription services for $149. At $199, you... Read more...
Skype has been getting some love from Microsoft in recent weeks. On the consumer side, Microsoft introduced Skype Qik, a short video messaging service that’s bound to give SnapChat headaches. Today, Microsoft has news for business users: Lync is becoming Skype for Business in 2015. Microsoft says there will be more to the move than a name change. Lync, which is Microsoft’s messaging tool for corporate customers, will be undergoing a major interface change that will see many of Skype's features brought onboard. Although the launch isn’t until next year, Microsoft already has screenshots of the new Skype for Business, which feature Skype-like icons and the Skype Call Monitor window.... Read more...
Just how secure is your favorite chat app? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found out and is sharing the results of its research as part of its battle against NSA surveillance. As you’d probably expect, it has some complaints about the security of certain mainstream chat programs, but there are a few surprises on the EFF’s Secure Messaging Scorecard.  A portion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Secure Messaging Scorecard. Image Credit: EFF For one thing, Skype received poor marks, garnering only two positives (out of a possible seven). The video chat service encrypts communications during transit and doesn’t have a way to monitor the content of your chats, according... Read more...
Microsoft may have just figured out how to make short video messaging appealing to adults – and it might make headway with the teenage segment, too. Microsoft-owned Skype challenged the likes of Snapchat yesterday by releasing Skype Qik for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Like Snapchat, the app lets you record short videos and send them to your friends, but Skype Qik has some features that make it a different experience. Short video messages are huge with teenagers and millennials, but they’re gaining traction with all kinds of smartphone users because they make it so easy to carry on a video conversation. Sure, Skype is great for meetings and long chats, but it can be difficult... Read more...
It might not be too surprising given what we've seen from previous major releases of Skype, but thanks to the release of 7 for Mac, and the beta of 7 for Windows, we can see that the tradition holds. In addition to a revamped interface, Skype 7 has been treated to a number of enhancements that will simply make the experience of using it better. Well, hopefully. One change, for example, is built-in thumbnails that appear in a chat after a photo is sent. Not only does this improve the look of a chat, it'll help you be able to pinpoint a certain time in a conversation much easier (assuming pictures were shared, of course). Further, if documents are shared, especially those from Microsoft's Office... Read more...
Windows Phone owners needn't feel like the red-headed stepchildren of the mobile industry. It's true that Microsoft's share of the mobile market is a drop in the bucket compared to Apple (iOS) and Google (Android), but regardless of that, it's all about the apps and hardware, both of which have been steadily improving. That includes Skype, which has just been updated to include location sharing. "Today we’re pleased to release Skype 2.22 for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, which brings location sharing to Skype for the first time! Location sharing lets you have an even better chat experience on the go. Seeing friends or family and want to tell them where to meet you? Simply use this... Read more...
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has his work cut out for him. Although Microsoft is still one of the most important tech companies in the world, the company’s dominance is slipping as technology evolves rapidly. The company’s old product paradigms simply don’t work anymore, and Microsoft has appeared out of touch and confused at times when it comes to key areas such as mobile and the not-quite-right and relatively unpopular Windows 8 operating system. Nadella sent a lengthy (really, really lengthy) memo to all Microsoft employees espousing his values for the company moving forward, and he has a grand vision. For starters, he’s throwing out any affection for tradition and... Read more...
Our illusion of privacy was shattered when it came to light that our government is plugged into just about every form of communication that exists. To give users back some measure of privacy, Silent Circle has launched a fixed price, global encrypted calling service that allows customers to make and receive truly private phone calls without Uncle Sam listening in. According to Reuters, the secure voice and data calling plan will work on iOS and Android devices at the outset, with plans to port a version over to Windows Phone sometime down the line. Customers will be able to place secure phone calls with 79 countries. Not only will this compete against traditional phone carriers, especially since... Read more...
Recently appointed Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella had an onstage conversation that lasted more than an hour at the inaugural Code Conferences in Ranco Palos Verdes, California, and among the topics that came up is language translation. Not by coincidence, the planned topic allowed Nadella to demo a new capability Microsoft is developing for Skype. The capability is called "Skype Translator," which will allow users who speak different languages to communicate with each other. During the demonstration, Skype showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and German to English. "Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve... Read more...
Earlier this week, Apple released an updated set of legal guidelines spelling out exactly what it can and cannot access on your iDevice, what material it will turn over to the police, and under which circumstances it will surrender it. What's particularly interesting is the split response we've seen from different corners of the Internet. Everything Apple does tends to generate attention, but this particular set of announcements is getting a great deal of press -- and two very different narratives have emerged over what it means. Some readers and authors have reacted rather poorly to news that Apple can access user information even without knowing the passcode key. As my colleague, Rob Williams... Read more...
You know how Microsoft has gradually started pre-loading Windows 8 with a glut of apps? Sure, it’s kind of convenient--emphasis on the “kind of”--and having certain apps such as Skype ready to roll as soon as you install the OS is indeed rather handy, but a lot of it just feels like bloatware. (Cough, Bing, cough.) There’s an app for that (sorry, couldn’t resist) called Windows 8 App Remover. According to Betanews, it’s a portable program that’s designed for fresh installs of Windows 8, and it’s actually just a GUI front end for a tool called dism.EXE. Credit: Betanews You pick your version of Windows within the tool, click List Apps, and when the... Read more...
Microsoft's newly appointed CEO may have received near-universal praise, but that doesn't mean that things are completely rosy internally. As these events always tend to do, there are at least a few folks who aren't exactly thrilled with the way the decision went down. Due to that, a few key executives are heading for the exits at Microsoft, with Tony Bates and Tami Reller leaving the firm in short order. A similar exit happened at Yahoo once Marissa Mayer was installed as CEO. Word on the street has it that Mr. Bates was a contender for the Microsoft CEO title, and once he was skipped over, he figured it best to just head elsewhere. If you'll recall, Bates joined Microsoft via its acquisition... Read more...
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, "You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA." The SEA, if... 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 cloud and enterprise areas. Stephen Elop Reuters says that the first draft of the list included... 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 kind of people were in a room at a given time, and more. But in a forum post on NeoGaf, Microsoft... 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 this year, which potentially impacted a total of 66,539 user accounts; those figures include Skype.... 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 eye these days, especially when it comes to mobile? Let's all take a deep breath and analyze the Microsoft... 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. Here's the quote from Microsoft: "As we look ahead to the future, we are focusing all our efforts... 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, the Xbox One Wireless Controller’s new expansion port expands the data transfer rate between... 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 more as time passes, though. The fact that Microsoft is backing 3D chat with Skype is reason enough... Read more...
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