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

Xbox Executive Marc Whitten is leaving Microsoft to join Sonos.  Terry Myerson is temporarily in charge of Xbox, we’ll analyze this fully in a follow up post.  Here are the official statements from Whitten and Microsoft, respectively. I started at Xbox on April 1, 2000, when the console was just a vision of what gaming could be. Over the last fourteen years, I’ve worked with an amazing team of highly passionate people who are driven to make gaming and entertainment the best experience for our Xbox fans. Since then, we’ve shipped over a hundred million consoles with tens of millions of people on Xbox Live. And, we are just getting started.  There are amazing things on the horizon and I am so excited to see where this talented group of men and women will take Xbox. One of the best parts of Xbox has been its fans. I want to thank you for making ...

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VideoLAN President and VLC developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf, based in Paris, France, graciously agreed to talk to us about the recent release of the Windows 8 VLC application.  It has been a long journey for VideoLAN which originally started a KickStarter for the Win8 VLC project in late November of 2012.  Lately Mr. Kempf has been spearheading efforts to get VLC on mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone.  We had a very open and honest conservation about the WinRT development platform and the future of VLC. 1) Why did VideoLan feel it was important to make a WinRT VLC application for Windows 8/8.1?  Well, VLC needs to be everywhere on all platforms.  Windows RT and Windows Phone are new platforms, and we need to support them.  Moreover, we never know how the platform will extend, so it is a good idea to try to reach all of them. 2) ...

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The deadline for installing secure operating systems on federal government computers will pass next month with the job incomplete, leaving hundreds of thousands of machines running outdated software and unusually vulnerable to hackers. Federal officials have known for more than six years that Microsoft will withdraw its free support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.  Despite a recent rush to complete upgrades, an estimated 10 percent of government computers — out of several million — will still be running the operating system on that date, company officials said. That includes thousands of computers on classified military and diplomatic networks, U.S. officials said.  Such networks have stronger defenses generally but hold more sensitive material, raising the stakes for breaches if they occur. Security experts warn that hackers have been preparing for what Microsoft calls the “end-of-life” for Windows XP by stockpiling “vulnerabilities” that amount to skeleton keys that can give ...

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Microsoft, via Corporate Vice President of  Microsoft Technology Policy David Tennenhouse, has released a statement about the US government relinquishing control of internet addresses.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a fairly hollow statement made only after it was certain transition would be made. The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent announcement of its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community is a significant and welcome development. Unlike the other major international communications networks (e.g., the telephone system and postal systems), there has been no single government-led organization that has guided the evolution and growth of the Internet. Instead, “Internet governance” has been the responsibility of literally dozens of different organizations, involving academics, technologists, government and business working collaboratively to create and implement the key standards, shape business practices, and develop norms that have enabled the Internet to grow at an ...

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Given all the hype, it is no surprise to anyone that Titanfall is #1 selling console game in the UK, but is nice to have the data to back it up.  Sales of the Xbox One are up 96% with 70% of Xbox Ones purchased this week were part of the Titanfall bundle (in the UK).   Last Week This Week Title New entry 1 Titanfall New entry 2 Dark Souls II 1 3 South Park: Stick Of Truth 4 4 The LEGO Movie Videogame 2 5 Thief 5 6 FIFA 14 3 7 Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 6 8 Call Of Duty: Ghosts 7 9 Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition 8 10 Battlefield 4 10 11 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag New entry 12 Yoshi’s New Island 9 13 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 12 14 Grand Theft Auto V 14 15 Aliens: Colonial Marines 11 16 Rayman Legends 16 17 ...

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VLC for Windows 8 was finally made available in the Windows Store, in beta form, just a few days ago.  The initial release contained a number of bugs including one that crash the app on startup.  An update to fix this issue along with improving the stability of the app has been submitted to the Windows Store.  President of VideoLan Jean-Baptise Kempf gave us an update on his blog: After the first beta release a couple of days ago, a second build fixing the most important crashes has been submitted to the store, for certification. It should notably fix the crash on start, on some machines, but other stability issues, on the music side too! We’d like to thank the new contributors that helped. It should appear automagically in a few hours on the store. Next release, next week! Hopefully these rapid updates continue. It appears VLC seems to have more than a 1000 users ...

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Over $400,000 has already been given away at the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest where the world’s most popular browsers are exploited for cash prizes.  An item which has been getting very little media attention is a $150,000 prize for exploiting Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 11 running on 64-bit Windows 8.1, with the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) turned on is still unclaimed. On the other hand, Google Chrome has been exploited twice, and a handful of exploits for Mozilla Firefox were also shown off.  Internet Explorer was successfully exploited once without EMET turned on. Source: @jmanici ...

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Banks around the world will miss a deadline to upgrade outdated software for automated teller machines (ATMs) and face additional costs to Microsoft to keep them secure.  The Redmond software giant first warned that it was planning to end support for Windows XP in 2007, but only one-third of the world’s 2.2 million ATMs which use the system will have been upgraded to a new platform, such as Windows 7 by the April deadline, according to NCR, one of the biggest ATM makers. To ensure the machines are protected against viruses and hackers many banks have agreed deals with Microsoft to continue supporting their ATMs until they are upgraded, extra costs and negotiations that were avoidable but are now likely to be a distraction for bank executives. “There are certainly large enterprise customers who haven’t finished their migrations yet and are purchasing custom support,” a spokesman for Microsoft said, declining ...

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In a lengthy blog post today, released on a Friday evening in an effort to bury the story, Mozilla announced it was cancelling the Metro Firefox Project.  The company cited “low usage” and “limited resources.”  Having tried out the Metro browser a couple times it was a terrible & buggy piece of software.  Also not mentioned in the blog post was that the project was wildly off schedule, like clockwork every few months I would write about how the project had been delayed again and again.  I used the first beta of Windows 8 in 2011 we’re now almost quarter way through 2014.  Mozilla is clearly struggling to find its identity.  With their “limited resources” they seemed to manage to write an entire mobile operating system which has gained little traction as well.  Firefox is being overtaken by the popularity of Google Chrome, the very company the are dependent on their funding for.  ...

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Microsoft has scored a big deal in Sweden with the Riksdag Administration buying into Windows 8, Office 2013, Skype, and Lync.  The new environment started rolling out in  March in the form of a pilot project with 100 participants and after the elections this fall, all 1,650 jobs in Parliament will receive the new software. The big Microsoft venture also means that employees will receive select phones and tablets based on Windows. The Swedish government will be developing apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. (Due to the translation it is unclear if the government is adopting Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 or Win8.1 Update 1) Mr Einarsson, head of it operations at the Parliament administration, says that the focus on mobility that began a few years ago are now going to be widened, which will offer the same experience to users regardless of which device they are using.  The ...

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Microsoft will be rolling out calendar search for Office 365 users over the next several months. Calendar Search allows you to search your own calendars or Group calendars for events in the past, present, and future. You can also search for people’s calendars and overlay their calendars on top of yours for quick comparison. To search your calendar using a keyword or phrase, while your calendar is selected you simply type a keyword in the search box and click or tap enter (or the search icon). The Outlook Web App shows results based on the term you typed, whether that term appears in the body, title, or location of the event, in the name of an attendee/organizer, or even in the name of a category applied to an event.  Calendar Search groups results by month and orders them in descending order by date. Microsoft has provided a FAQ: Q: When ...

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Bill Gates sat down with Rolling Stone Magazine for extensive interview that dealt mostly with his charitable foundation.  In the interview there were a few questions surrounding technology and Microsoft. He revealed that Microsoft was also interested in buying WhatsApp. He personally feels WhatsApp is extremely valuable company, but the price Mark paid for WhatsApp is more than what he expected. If there’s a deal that symbolizes where Silicon Valley is today, it’s Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. What does that say about the economics of Silicon Valley right now? It means that Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be the next Facebook. Mark has the credibility to say, “I’m going to spend $19 billion to buy something that has essentially no revenue model.” I think his aggressiveness is wise – although the price is higher than I would have expected. It shows that user bases are extremely valuable. It’s software; it ...

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Yesterday the annual British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Games Awards celebrated the best titles over the past year.   While Sony was seen as the big winner, the Xbox had a few wins too. Xbox Live indie title Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons scooped up the award for Best Innovation – a huge achievement for its creative director and long-time filmmaker Josef Fares, who up until this title had never made a game before.  Xbox One exclusive Forza Motorsport 5 was nominated for both Best Strategy and Simulation, and Best Sports game.  Grand Theft Auto 5 picked up awards for Best Multiplayer, Best Game Design, and Best British Game. Source: TechRadar ...

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A new trademark filing by Microsoft appears to be for in house game studio Leap Experience Pioneers. Leap Experience Pioneers (LXP) are an in-house games developer for Microsoft based in the US. Although they had been in existence for some years they thought it was the right time to define their identity. Something that all parts of their business could relate to, but more importantly, be inspired by. They considered themselves pioneers (as their name suggests) and wanted to encapsulate the the spirit of fronteering Americans – combining a cowboy with an astronaut with attitude. We then set about creating some short animated logo stings and brand guideline document. – See more at: http://www.territorystudio.com/work/….HFrgBuyl.dpuf On March 6, 2014, Microsoft filed a trademark via the USPTO for “LXP”. It entered the Trademark Reporting and Monitoring System (TRAM) yesterday, on March 10. It’s a basic 1(b) Intent-to-Use filing for game software, and reads ...

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The StartupBus is an annual invitation-only event where coders build a startup in the time it takes to drive to the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Once at the show, they present their idea to angel investors. This year, the bus was traveling from Florida. The event was almost ruined when  in the wee hours of Sunday night, the house they were staying at in Austin got robbed and “tens of thousands of dollars” of laptops were stolen. Mitch Neff, the Bus’ organizer tweeted about it a 3 a.m. So.. #StartupBus Florida house got robbed tonight of tens of thousands of laptops/electronics. That’s #sxwproblems — Mitch Neff (@MitchNeff) March 9, 2014 Lucky for the Startup Bus Microsoft had been monitoring the SXSW twitter stream and came to the rescue.  Microsoft delivered a bunch of Surface tablets and Dell and HP laptops running Windows 8.1. The coders also received shoes from Creative Recreation and Herschel backpacks courtesy of Microsoft. ...

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It is Patch Tuesday and on schedule Microsoft has released a number of updates for the the Surface 2, Pro, & Pro 2.   The updates contain support for the Power Cover (which is now available for pre-order), improved multiple finger support, bug fixes for wireless issues, improved miracast support, and stability and performance improvements.  A detailed list can be seen below: Surface Pro March 2014 updates Windows 8.0 updates: The following updates will be listed as “System Hardware Update – 3/11/2014” when you view your update history. Surface Type Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v1.0.317.0) update improves multiple finger support on the touchpad. Surface Touch Cover 2 Firmware Update Device (v1.0.317.0) update improves multiple finger support on the touchpad. Surface Power Cover Firmware Update (v1.0.323.0) provides support for Surface Power Cover. Windows 8.1 updates: The following updates will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 3/11/2014” when you view your ...

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