About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2014 in Los Angeles is little over a month away. Microsoft has confirmed it will hold a press event on Monday, June 9th at the Galen Center beginning at 9:30 a.m. PDT. Major Nelson informs us: During the briefing, you’ll be treated to everything from in-depth looks at previously announced games to trailers for our unannounced games coming in 2014 and beyond. You can stream Xbox: Game On live beginning on June 9 at 9:00 a.m. PDT with our pre-show coverage on Xbox.com, Xbox Live, and Windows Phone globally. You can also watch Xbox: Game On on Spike TV in the U.S. and Canada at 9:30 a.m. PDT. We’re also planning a number of fan-centric events both before and after Xbox: Game On for those fans that are in LA, and for those who are watching around the world. Stay tuned for more details on those activities as ...

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Popular conservative American radio talk show host and political commentator Rush Limbaugh briefly commented on the Microsoft Nokia acquisition as part of his ‘Morning Update.’ Limbaugh is a well known technology enthusiast and became a fan of Apple hardware in the 1980s. Limbaugh frequently gives away Macbook Pros, Macbook Airs, iPads, and iPhones on his radio show.  Limbaugh is also known to be a frequent reader of technology blogs and often commentates about them on his radio show. He often connects cultural thinking within Silicon Valley to greater political events. ...

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is set to be released on the Xbox One on November 4th. It is rumored that the game will revolve around private military contractors. A new trailer has been posted on the Call of Duty YouTube channel. The trailer stars Kevin Spacey as President of the United States. Recently Kevin Spacey has been well known for his role as a politician for the Netflix series ‘House of Cards.’ Even if you’re not into Call of Duty or video games, I think you’ll enjoy Spacey’s rant in the trailer. ...

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Well known Microsoft observer Dr. Pizza (Peter Bright) has written an editorial criticizing Microsoft’s decision to patch IE on Windows XP. The decision to release this patch is a mistake, and the rationale for doing so is inadequate. A one-off patch of this kind makes no meaningful difference to the security of a platform. Internet Explorer received security patches in 11 of the last 12 Patch Tuesdays. Other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox receive security updates on a comparable frequency. The security of a browser is not contingent on any one bugfix; it’s dependent on a continuous delivery of patches, fixes, and improvements. One-off “exceptions” do not make Internet Explorer on Windows XP “safe.” There’s no sense in which this patch means that all of a sudden it’s now “OK” to use Internet Explorer on Windows XP. And yet it seems inevitable that this is precisely how it will ...

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Microsoft is releasing patches for all version of Internet Explorer, including those on Windows XP. A major security flaw in Internet Explorer was found being exploited in the wild a few days back. Microsoft is releasing an out-of-band patch on Windows Update at 1PM ET today. General manager of trustworthy computing Adriene Hall released the following statement: Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is past the time we normally provide security updates, we’ve decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP (including embedded), today.  We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP.  The reality is there have been a very small number of attacks based on this particular vulnerability and concerns were, frankly, overblown.  Unfortunately this is a sign of the times and this is not to say we don’t take these reports seriously.  ...

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American James McGee is an American game designer. He is perhaps best known as the designer of American McGee’s Alice. McGee recently commented on Microsoft’s annoucnment of having their console legally available in China (starting in September) with a lengthy facebook post: It’s a good thing Microsoft is rolling in cash, because they’ve just made announcement of a plan that’s going to cost them dearly. Of course no one reporting on this is any wiser to the blunder than Microsoft, so here are my Top 5 reasons why Xbox One will fail in China: 1. Can’t sell sand at the beach. Xbox One, PS4 (and all previous generations of consoles) are ALREADY IN CHINA. There is NO effective ban. Go to Taobao (www.taobao.com) and punch in “Xbox One” or “PS4.” You will find (as will Chinese consumers) consoles and games available for next-day shipping to your doorstep in China. 2. The set-top box ...

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments reached 57.6 million units in the first quarter of 2014. Android secured a robust 66 percent global share, while Apple iPad shipments were below expectations and iOS fell to 28 percent. Windows secured a 6 percent global share. Peter King, Director of Tablets at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global Tablet shipments reached 57.6 million units in Q1 2014, up 19 percent from 48.3 million in Q1 2013. Android continues to make steady progress and now commands two thirds of the tablet market share.” King added, “Apple iOS shipments (sell-in) were 16.4 million iPads in Q1 2014 which declined 16 percent annually, but Apple claimed that due to channel inventory changes which were reduced significantly from the same period last year, sell-through only declined 3 percent. We believe that the disappointing performance in the early part of the calendar year is ...

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Kazuo Hirai took over as Sony’s CEO two years ago promising big changes and a return to profitability. Now some are calling for his resignation and he is facing increasing pressure from activist investors to spin off more businesses. Sony has slashed its earnings guidance for the third time this year. Investors are furious and the stock is down nearly 2 percent this morning. Sony now expects a 130 billion yen loss ($1.3 billion).  Sony’s market cap once nearly $70 billion now sits at around $20 billion. Hirai recently brokered a deal to sell off Sony’s VAIO PC unit, but it appears this decision will come at some cost. The company said it would have to write down a further 30 billion yen ($300 million) on its Vaio PC unit, reflecting a sharp drop in sales as consumers shunned the brand following Sony’s decision in February to get out of the business. This ...

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We have been extensively covering the progress of the Atari documentary over the last few months.  Recently the documentary team successfully uncovered the buried E.T. game cartridges. The Xbox Wire staff interviewed the executive producer of the documentary Johathan Chinn on his recent success. Xbox Wire: How did all this come about – the documentary, and the logistics of arranging the dig? Jonathan Chinn: As soon as we signed on to make the film, we had to get in touch with the city of Alamogordo and the state of New Mexico, and specifically [local garbage contractor] Joe Lewandowski — who is the guy who led us to this particular spot in this rather large landfill. I’d say it’s taken about six or seven months from the time we signed on, to get to this point. Xbox Wire: Just milling around and talking to people today, it sounds like Joe Lewandowski had ...

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Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), a leading beverage manufacturer in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. CCA wanted to design a new way for consumers to interact with their brand. They teamed up with global creative agency TKM9 and Microsoft to create a solution that capitalizes on the Internet of Things (IoT) by utilizing interactive digital signage installed on beverage coolers (large refrigerator-like vending machines). In a limited trial run of 50 machines, this Internet of CCA’s Things, built on TKM9 and Microsoft technologies, is already boosting beverage sales — from 12 percent up to 20 percent, depending on the channel and outlet. It builds on existing beverage coolers, equipping them with Windows Embedded-powered touch screens and Kinect for Windows technology to provide immersive content experiences for customers. By linking to rich analytics in the cloud, the solution is also capable of mining a wealth of data to help CCA continually refine and target how the coolers interact with consumers. According to ...

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New numbers from Net Applications shows Windows XP marketshare dropped by 1.4% compared to last month. The small drop in not entirely unexpected. Many enterprises and governments have signed special deals with Microsoft to extend Windows XP support for another year, at the cost of millions of dollars. The Chinese is market continues to run mostly on Windows XP and there is no urgency to change this within the country. A significant drop in Windows XP marketshare will probably be seen one year from now. Windows 7 maintains the #1 spot with 49.27 marketshare, up from 48.77% in March. Combined Windows 8 & Windows 8.1 now command 12.24% marketshare, up about 1% from March. Specifically Windows 8 has 6.36% (down from 6.41%) while Windows 8.1 has 5.88% (up from 4.89%). Source: Net Applications ...

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Microsoft, Verizon, and other tech giants have long believed that the United States cannot force a company to hand over data stored outside the United States. Verizon’s chief lawyer Randall Milch publically commented on this issue in February. He said that the company’s view is “simple,” adding: “The U.S. government cannot compel us to produce our customers’ data stored in datacenters outside the U.S., and, if it attempts to do so, we would challenge that attempt in court.” Microsoft’s deputy general counsel David Howard also released a statement on the issue: The U.S. government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas. Microsoft’s chief legal counsel warned last December that Microsoft would fight any attempt by governments to seize data not located within their country: “…assert available jurisdictional objections to legal demands when governments ...

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With the Nokia/Microsoft deal officially closing  on April 25, Stephen Elop has made his triumphant return to Microsoft. Elop is now the executive vice president (EVP) of the Microsoft Devices Group overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel products, and accessories.  Other Nokia executives joining Microsoft include Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber. They will report to Elop for the time being. Elop will be part of Nadella’s senior leadership team which includes Terry Myerson, Qi Lu, Amy Hood, Lisa Brummel, Chris Capossela, Scott Guthrie, Mark Penn, Eric Rudder, Harry Shum, Brad Smith, Kirill Tatarinov, and Kevin Turner. Here is part of the bio: Elop rejoined Microsoft in April 2014 following the company’s acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. As Nokia’s president and chief executive officer from 2010 to 2013, Elop led the company through a ...

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Facing increasing competition from Dropbox, Google and others Microsoft has increased storage from 25 to 1 TB for OneDrive for Business customers: OneDrive for Business storage from 25GB to 1TB per user. All Office 365 ProPlus customers will get 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user as part of their Office 365 ProPlus subscription. Microsoft will help organizations migrate data to OneDrive for Business Historically OneDrive for business had been tied to Office 365. However, earlier this month the Redmond software giant started offering OneDrive for business as a standalone product. Microsoft currently has promotional pricing for new customers to OneDrive for business: Introductory promotional pricing: $2.50 per user per month (a 50% discount on standard pricing, $5 per user per month). For customers with Office with Software Assurance (SA) or Office 365 ProPlus: $1.50 per user per month. Source: Office Blog   ...

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The United States Department of Homeland Security has issued advisory for computers users to avoid using Internet Explorer. This is due to a zero day exploit that was recently uncovered. The exploit is believed to affect ALL versions on Internet Explorer (6-11). Users on Windows XP will not receive a patch; the exception are enterprise/government customers that have special agreements with Microsoft which often cost millions of dollars. The advisory asks users to consider alternatives to Internet Explorer. “We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute warned in a separate advisory, that US-CERT linked to in its warning. Cybersecurity software maker FireEye Inc warned that a sophisticated group of hackers have been exploiting the bug in a campaign dubbed “Operation Clandestine Fox.” “It’s a campaign of targeted attacks seemingly against U.S.-based firms, currently tied to defense and financial sectors,” said FireEye spokesman Vitor ...

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Google X is a well known research group within Google that works on special projects directly overseen by co-founder Sergey Brin. Two popular projects include Google Glass and the Google driverless car. A new report claims Microsoft has formed a similar group inside Microsoft dubbed “Special Projects Group in Microsoft Research (MSR).”  The group’s mission is specifically to work on “disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society.” In addition the new group will address “hard and interesting problems” in the areas of systems, networking, distributed computing, UX design, devices, cloud, mobility, machine learning/artifical intelligence, big data and datacenter technologies. According to the report, the new MSR Special Projects team boss is Norman Whitaker. Whitaker was previously Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense’s research arm and Program Manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge program. DARPA has had close ties to Google in the past and funded projects ...

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