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'Microsoft' Articles

Microsoft Opens Up Xbox Live Data Syncing to All iOS and Android Apps

Last month, a post from the GDC 2019 scheduling website hinted that Microsoft was preparing to launch a new software development kit that would sync your Xbox Live data to any compatible iOS app. This week, Microsoft confirmed the launch of the cross-platform mobile SDK, enabling developers to build achievements, Gamerscore, friend lists, clubs, and more into iOS and Android apps (via The Verge). Game developers will be able to "pick and choose" the parts of Xbox Live they want to integrate into their apps, and all of the features will be enabled on the consumer side through a single sign-in to their Microsoft account. The company is using Minecraft as a template for what other developers can do in this space. “We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community,” explains Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s gaming cloud chief in a media briefing this week. “If you watch what we’ve done, especially with Minecraft, over the past few years we’ve taken Xbox Live to as many platforms as Minecraft is on as possible. Really uniting all those communities together with a consistent singular experience for those gamers.” The new SDK is part of the "Microsoft Game Stack" initiative, which has the goal of bringing together Microsoft's tools and services to help both indie and AAA developers create games. At the moment, there are a few iOS games with Xbox Live features like achievements, but they're only available in games that were released by Microsoft Studios. With the new SDK, these features will greatly expand to any

Apple's MacBook Air vs. Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2

The MacBook Air, last updated in 2018, is Apple's most affordable notebook machine, with pricing that starts at $1,199 for the newest hardware. Microsoft also makes a comparable machine, the Surface Laptop 2, which came out right around the same time Apple released its 2018 MacBook Air update. In our latest video, we decided to pit the MacBook Air against Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 to determine which machine is the better value and the best buy. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Both the MacBook Air and the Surface Laptop 2 are thin, light machines, with each one weighing in right around 2.75 pounds. The Surface Laptop 2 has a 13.5-inch display with a 2256 x 1504 resolution, while the MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, so all in all, design wise, these two machines are quite similar, though the Surface Laptop 2 offers a 3:2 display. The Surface Laptop 2 comes in a matte black color (it's also in burgundy and blue) that we were a fan of because it's a nice deviation from the standard gold, silver, and space gray shades Apple uses for its notebooks. Inside, the MacBook Air is all aluminum, but the Surface Laptop 2 uses an Alcantara fabric design, which has become a key feature of the Surface lineup. When it comes to key feel, the MacBook Air wins out, though those who are not fans of the butterfly key design might not agree. The MacBook Air also has a better trackpad, which is unsurprising because most

Microsoft Working on SDK That Will Expand Xbox Live Features to More Games on iOS

Microsoft is working on a new software development kit that will allow your Xbox Live data to sync "to almost every screen" that you own, including iOS devices, Android smartphones, and Nintendo Switch, in addition to existing support on Xbox consoles and Windows PC. The SDK will bring your Xbox achievements, friends list, clubs, and more to supported iPhone and iPad games in the future (via Windows Central). The news comes from the GDC 2019 scheduling website, hinting at more details for the feature to come during the conference, which takes place in San Francisco the week of March 18. Microsoft already supports cross-platform play for certain smartphone games, like Minecraft on iOS, but the new SDK is described as a big expansion to this existing feature, since it would support games besides first-party, Microsoft-owned titles. Now Xbox Live is about to get MUCH bigger. Xbox Live is expanding from 400M gaming devices and a reach to over 68M active players to over 2B devices with the release of our new cross-platform XDK. Xbox Live players are highly engaged and active on Xbox and PC, but now they can take their gaming achievement history, their friends list, their clubs, and more with them to almost every screen. This will break down barriers for developers that want their communities to mingle more freely across platforms. Combined with PlayFab gaming services, this means less work for game developers and more time to focus on making games fun. The SDK will allow developers to build cross-platform Xbox Live achievements, social features, multiplayer modes,

Microsoft Suggests Windows 10 Mobile Users Switch to iOS or Android as Support Winds Down

With support for the now-discontinued Windows 10 Mobile devices set to end on December 10, 2019, Microsoft is recommending that its current Windows 10 Mobile customers move to an Android or iOS device instead. Microsoft made the recommendation in a Windows 10 Mobile support document (via Thurrott) explaining its plans to stop offering security updates and patches for Windows 10 Mobile. With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft's mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.Microsoft ended support for Windows Phone in July 2017 and stopped active development on Windows 10 Mobile in October of that year, leading to the death of the platform. Microsoft struggled to get app developers to write apps for the device, and it was also never able to establish a strong user base. With the abandonment of Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft has been focusing on other platforms and has a wide array of apps available for both iOS and Android devices. All customers who have a Windows 10 Mobile device will be able to keep using it after December 10, 2019, but no further updates will be

Microsoft Office Apps Now Support Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

Microsoft today updated its suite of Office for Mac apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with support for Dark Mode on macOS Mojave and several other new features. The updates are available to both Office 365 subscribers and to users who purchased Office 2019 for Mac as a one-time purchase. The update also makes it easier to insert a photo from an iPhone or iPad into a PowerPoint slide using Apple's new Continuity Camera feature. This allows users to control-click in a PowerPoint window where you want the photo to appear, quickly take a photo on a nearby iPhone or iPad, and import it into a slide. And with v16.20 some customers will see our Ribbon Visual Refresh with new icons and styling in Office 365 for Mac, as we begin rolling out and getting your feedback! On macOS Mojave, the new icons adapt to Light and Dark Mode as well! #Office365 pic.twitter.com/2iLdWNx7qD— Derek Snook (@derek_snook) December 11, 2018 Office for Mac apps can be updated via the Microsoft AutoUpdate mechanism by navigating to Help > Check for Updates in each app. For a full list of new features, read the Office for Mac version 16.20 release notes. (Thanks, Daniel!)

Microsoft Edge Web Browser Coming to the Mac Over 15 Years After Internet Explorer for Mac

Microsoft today announced that it expects to bring its Edge web browser to the Mac, possibly as early as next year. "Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS," said Microsoft. The news was revealed as part of Microsoft's larger announcement that Edge will be rebuilt based on the open source Chromium rendering engine, the same engine used by Google Chrome. Microsoft said it expects to have a preview build of the Chromium-based Edge browser ready in early 2019 for users to try. However, it's unclear if the preview will initially be limited to Windows or extend to the Mac simultaneously. Edge succeeded Internet Explorer as Microsoft's default web browser on Windows in 2015, with a mobile version later released for iOS and Android. It will be Microsoft's first web browser on Mac since Internet Explorer for Mac received its last feature update over 15 years ago, in June 2003. Internet Explorer was the default web browser on Mac between 1998 and 2003, when Apple released Safari on Mac OS X

Microsoft Shares Holiday Ad Promoting Surface Go Over Apple's iPad: 'Big Dreams Need a Real Computer'

Microsoft this week shared a new ad on its Microsoft Surface YouTube channel, this one aimed at promoting the Surface Go. As the ad begins, a little girl stares into the window of a Microsoft Store and begins singing about her preference for the Surface Go over Apple's iPad, to the tune of the song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." She sings, "Grandma don't run out and buy an iPad, it was fine when I was six but now I'm 10. My dreams are big so I need a real computer, to do all the amazing things I know I can." Microsoft's ad is aimed at Apple's own "What's a Computer?" ad campaign, which began in 2016 and showed off a few of the things that the iPad Pro can do as a replacement to a traditional laptop computer. Microsoft's description of the video includes a reference to needing a "real computer": "Big dreams need a real computer, like the Surface Go, to help make them come true. This holiday season, discover all the possibilities with the Surface Go. Portable, powerful and starts at $399." The Surface Go launched over the summer at a price point of $399, making it a direct competitor to Apple's cheaper iPads. The Go is basically a smaller version of the $799 Surface Pro, including the integrated kickstand and a front-facing camera above the 1800 x 1200 resolution IPS touchscreen

Apple Releases iCloud for Windows Update to Fix Incompatibility Issues

Apple this afternoon released an update for iCloud for Windows, which is the iCloud software designed to run on the Windows operating system for those who have both Windows machines and own Apple devices. iCloud for Windows version 7.8.1 is designed to fix compatibility issues with the latest version of Windows 10. Earlier this month, Microsoft blocked the iCloud for Windows software from being downloaded by Windows users after Apple discovered an incompatibility that could result in problems updating Shared Albums after users upgraded to Windows 10 version 1809. At the time, Microsoft said that it was working with Apple to provide a version of the iCloud software compatible with the latest version of Windows 10. The fix isn't mentioned by Apple, but the company did revise a support document that had previously suggested iCloud for Windows was only compatible with Windows 10 through the April 2018 update rather than the most recent

Microsoft Passes Apple to Become Most Valuable U.S. Company

Microsoft today surpassed Apple to become the world's most valuable publicly traded company as a result of Apple's continually declining share price, reports Business Insider. Microsoft has reached a market capitalization of approximately $814 billion, while Apple's is now slightly less. Apple earlier this year became the world's only trillion dollar publicly traded company, but it lost that status in November and its market cap has steadily declined since then over concerns of weak iPhone sales and its announcement that it will no longer share iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales on a unit basis. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft's market cap has not previously matched Apple's since mid-2010, eight years ago. Microsoft's growing cloud business and strong PC sales made Microsoft one of the few tech companies to grow in value following its September quarter earnings results. Apple's valuation, meanwhile, has fallen more than 20 percent since its own earnings results. Microsoft shares hit a high of $105.94 in intra-day trading, while Apple's have dropped to a low of $170.27. As stock prices fluctuate, Microsoft and Apple are now competing for the most valuable company title with the lead company shifting back and forth.

Microsoft Releases Redesigned Cortana App for iOS

Microsoft today released an updated Cortana app for iOS, which features an overhauled interface and new features like music and podcasts support. For those unfamiliar with Cortana, it is Microsoft's version of Siri or Alexa, an AI-based personal assistant that can answer questions and complete small tasks. Microsoft has been testing the revamped version of Cortana since October. The new interface is focused on conversational experiences with Cortana, plus it includes support for music and podcast suggestions, and a focus on setting reminders, timers, and meetings. Cortana 3.0 offers up a new conversational experience when asking questions, and there is a new dedicated spot for setting up and managing Cortana devices. Microsoft's full release notes for the update are below:What's new: · A new conversational experience for answers · A new place to manage and set up your Cortana devices · Listen to music and podcasts on the go · Stay on top of your tasks managing meetings, emails, reminders and To Do on the go · Join your next Skype or Teams meeting by simply asking CortanaMicrosoft's Cortana app for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link

Dark Mode Coming to Microsoft Office for Mac

With the release of macOS Mojave in September, Apple introduced a Dark Mode to its desktop operating system that some users prefer the look of, or just find more forgiving on the eyes. Many third-party apps have followed suit with their own darkened interfaces, and now it looks like a similar interface option is also headed for Microsoft Office. MS PowerPoint in Dark Mode Microsoft Office product manager Akshay Bakshi has been teasing as much on social media, with two tweets posted on October 29 and 30 indicating that users of Office for Mac will soon have the ability run at least some apps included in the productivity suite in a new native Dark Mode. Look closely at the Pictures icon. Office running on macOS Mojave in Dark Mode. #OfficeInsiders #office365 pic.twitter.com/xDSTFvNr5q— Akshay Bakshi 🎉 (@AgentAkki) October 29, 2018 According to the tweets, Dark Mode will be available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, featuring new dynamic ribbon and icon styling. Users signed up to the Insiders Fast community getting access to the visual refresh first in build 181029. 📣 Office Visual Refresh and Dark Mode support rolling out now to Insiders Fast with build 181029! 🎀 New Ribbon and icon styling in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. 🌙 Dark Mode in Word, Excel and PPT on macOS Mojave. https://t.co/gTrEQbJoiN#OfficeInsiders #office365 pic.twitter.com/rTvFvOsqE1— Akshay Bakshi 🎉 (@AgentAkki) October 30, 2018

Microsoft Testing Revamped Version of Cortana App for iOS

Microsoft is testing a version of its Cortana app for iOS and Android devices that features a major interface overhaul and new features, according to Windows Central. The updated app, which is being tested by beta testers, features a user interface that's focused on conversational experiences with Cortana, along with support for music and podcast suggestions, and a focus on setting reminders, timers, and meetings. For those unfamiliar with Cortana, it is Microsoft's personal assistant, available on Microsoft devices and other devices through iOS and Android apps. It is equivalent to Apple's Siri, Samsung's Bixby, and Google's Google Assistant. Full release notes for the new features in the current beta are below:- An update to the UI enabling conversational experiences with Cortana and a new place to manage and set up your Cortana devices - Listen to music and podcasts on the go. Just ask Cortana to play your favorite tunes and podcasts with Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn on your phone or through a paired Bluetooth device - Stay organized and on task. Set reminders, timers and create meetings with your voice - Join your next Skype or Teams meeting by simply asking Cortana. You can also manage your calendar or send a quick email by voiceFollowing the beta testing period for the app, the new features with the redesigned interface will roll out to the official Cortana for iOS app. Cortana for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Passes Away at 65 Following Battle With Cancer

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen passed away today at age 65 following complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Allen earlier this month announced that he was again undergoing treatment for the cancer, which he was first treated for in 2009. A childhood friend of Bill Gates, Allen co-founded Microsoft with Gates in 1975. He worked at Microsoft until 1983 when he faced his first fight with cancer after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. After his time at Microsoft, Allen used his wealth to invest in real estate, aerospace, sports teams, and filmmaking. Allen was the owner of the Portland Trailblazers and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC. He operated Vulcan Real Estate, funded multiple sports venues, and owned Vulcan Productions, a television and film production company. Following his death, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Allen's contributions to Microsoft and the tech industry were "indispensable."Paul Allen's contributions to our company, our industry, and to our community are indispensable. As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him - his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul's family and loved ones. Rest in peace.Bill Gates said that Allen wasn't content with starting one company, and instead channeled his intellect and compassion "into a second

Skype Calling Features Coming to Alexa Devices Later This Year

Microsoft has revealed that Skype is coming to Alexa devices. The partnership between Microsoft and Amazon means that owners of devices in Amazon's Echo range will soon be able to make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and also make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world. Announcing the upcoming feature in a blog post, Microsoft said device owners will be able to say something like "Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype," or if Jimmy is calling you on Skype, they'll be able to say, "Alexa, answer." This isn't the first time Amazon and Microsoft has seen fit to merge existing products and services. The two companies partnered on Alexa and Cortana integration last year. "Since then, we've added Alexa integration on Xbox and are continuing to work together to bring the best of Skype and Alexa together to enable intelligent communications for our users," said Gaurav Sareen, corporate vice president for Microsoft. "We're excited to continue bringing the best of Microsoft and Amazon together."Skype calling on Alexa will begin rolling out later this

Skype Introduces Call Recording Feature for Mac and iOS

Microsoft today announced that it has added call recording functionality to the latest version of Skype available on Mac and iOS. Skype says that the new call recording feature is cloud-based, with Skype informing every participant in a given call that a call is being recorded. Call recording for video chats includes everyone's video and screens that are shared during the call, with the call available to be saved and shared for the next 30 days. There is no way to record the audio portion of a video chat without also recording the video. On both mobile and desktop, call recording can be initiated by clicking or tapping on the "+" icon at the bottom of the screen and then selecting "Start recording." Once call recording has been initiated, participants will see a mobile banner letting them know that a recording is in progress. Call recording is available in the current version of Skype, which can be downloaded from the Skype website on the Mac or the App Store on iOS. [Direct Link]

Skype Redesign Ditches Snapchat-Like Highlights Feature to Focus on 'Simplicity'

Microsoft is to simplify the user experience of its Skype mobile and desktop apps, with the aim of returning the platform's focus to core services like calling and messaging. In announcing the decision in a blog post, Microsoft acknowledged that the Snapchat-style redesign it introduced last year "didn't resonate with a majority of users" and had "overcomplicated" the platform, and said it hoped the new changes would make the service faster to learn and easier to use. As a result, the Highlights and Capture features are being removed from the mobile app, leaving options for Chats, Calls, and Contacts at the bottom of the interface. Microsoft says users can download any Highlights they have posted in Skype until September 30, 2018. Meanwhile over on desktop, buttons for Chats, Calls, Contacts, and Notifications are being moved to the top left of the application window, which should make more sense for veteran Skype users. In addition, contacts are being "updated for simplicity" to make them easier to discover. Visually, Microsoft says it has "toned down" the range of the gradients available in the light and dark themes, and it's also reintroducing the simplified Skype "Classic" blue theme, with subtle adjustments for contrast and readability. Lastly, some decorative elements have been removed from the Skype interface to provide users with "a more elegant experience" that brings the focus back to content. "This is only the beginning and you can expect many more updates over the next several months as we continue to simplify and improve the core

Microsoft Office Experiencing Activation Issues on Mac and PC [Fixed]

Microsoft Office appears to be experiencing activation issues on both Mac and PC today, according to several user reports on Twitter. MacRumors also received emails from multiple readers affected. At least some Office 365 subscribers who have attempted to use Word, Outlook, and other apps in the Microsoft Office suite have been prompted to reactivate their license, but the process fails to complete. Affected users have encountered various errors while Office apps hang on "activating" or "looking for licenses," which eventually leads to a window that says "no license found," with seemingly no workaround. Hi @Microsoft,Is @Office365 having trouble with it's activation service right now? Just updated @Office for #macOS and it asked to be activated (again). Tried 3x over the past half-hour or so. pic.twitter.com/9VeLR0bVOC— Henry Ferlauto (@HTFIII) August 16, 2018 The issue appears to be affecting not only individual users, but businesses and universities and with enterprise licenses. Update: A spokesperson for Microsoft says "our team has addressed the issue and is continuing to monitor to ensure complete

Microsoft Plans to Keep Skype Classic Available 'for Some Time' Following User Backlash

Microsoft last month announced plans to shut down Skype 7, aka Skype Classic, on PCs and Macs in September, with the company encouraging customers to instead upgrade to the latest version of Skype, Skype 8. Skype 8, first introduced last year, features a total design overhaul that has not been popular with some customers, which led some Skype users to be unhappy with Microsoft's announcement. As of today, as pointed out by Windows blog Thurrott, Microsoft has changed its mind following user feedback. In a forum post, the Skype team says that support for Skype 7 will not end in September, with the end of life date extended to an unknown time.UPDATE: Based on customer feedback, we are extending support for Skype 7 (Skype classic) for some time. Our customers can continue to use Skype classic until then.It is not clear how long "some time" will be, but customers who prefer the design of Skype 7 can continue using that version of Skype instead of upgrading to Skype 8. The Skype team also said that it is listening to customer comments and plans to introduce features customers have requested into Skype 8. Classic Skype for Mac can be downloaded directly from Microsoft, as can Skype 8.

Microsoft Joins Movies Anywhere, Syncing Movies Purchased on Xbox/Windows With iTunes

Microsoft today announced that it is joining Disney's expanded Movies Anywhere service, allowing customers who purchase films on Xbox and Windows 10 to link their content to Movies Anywhere (via The Verge). Thanks to the new addition, this means that any supported movie you purchase through Microsoft Movies & TV will now also be available on other linked Movies Anywhere accounts, including iTunes. Digital retailers supporting the service now include iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, VUDU, Google Play, FandangoNOW, and Microsoft Movies & TV. Movies Anywhere supports films from Disney, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros., meaning that most of the latest releases can be found on the service. If the films you purchase come from these studios, and you have your Microsoft and iTunes accounts connected to Movies Anywhere, you'll be able to sync purchases between the two platforms. Microsoft Movies & TV now supports Movies Anywhere! Purchase Movies Anywhere eligible films from Microsoft Movies & TV and watch on supported platforms: Xbox, Windows, iOS, Android, and streaming devices. Sync your accounts to access your entire Movies Anywhere library on Microsoft Movies & TV, no matter where you purchased. As a bonus for syncing your Microsoft Movies and TV account with Movies Anywhere, the companies are gifting X-Men: Days of Future Past to its customers for a limited time. Head to Microsoft's FAQ page for more information on how to link the two accounts. Disney originally expanded Movies Anywhere from "Disney Movies Anywhere" last October, growing the

Highly Requested Dark Mode Comes to Outlook Web Mail Service

Microsoft today launched a much-requested dark mode for its Outlook.com web mail service. The company teased the new mode earlier this month, suggesting it would be reminiscent of last year's Halloween theme for Outlook. The new dark mode actually adopts shades of grey to generate panel contrast, providing a more polished look as a result. You can enable it from the Quick settings menu (the cog wheel icon in the upper right). Currently it only works with the default blue theme. The dark mode for Outlook.com is one of the most highly requested features for Microsoft's web mail service, according to listings on the Outlook.com feedback site, although there's still no word on whether a similar mode is coming to the mobile Outlook app. Last month, Microsoft launched a rebranded version of its Microsoft News app for iOS with a dark mode. Several other iOS apps have similar modes, including Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Twitch, while Apple's upcoming macOS Mojave also includes dark mode