Microsoft

Technology • Games
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Microsoft announces that Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS without Apple App Store
Credit: unsplash.com / Kamil S

In an all-hands meeting, Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer has announced that the Xbox Game Pass will come to iOS in 2021. Using a "direct browser-based solution" the company aims to circumvent the Apple App Store which prohibits the offering of the Game Pass.

Spencer stated that "we absolutely will end up on iOS,".

Health
Excel caused almost 16,000 Covid-19 test results to be lost
Excel caused almost 16,000 Covid-19 test results to be lost
Credit: unsplash.com / Mika Baumeister

Public Health England (PHE) in the United Kingdom have used an old file format known as XLS for the reporting templates for Covid-19 test results. As a consequence, each template could handle only about 65,000 rows of data rather than the one million-plus rows that Excel is actually capable of.

16,000 positive Covid-19 cases have gone unreported and have only now - days later - been submitted.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
European Union drafts Digital Services Act to regulate large technology companies
Credit: Corentin Béchade / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Commission is working on a new legislative package in order to regulate major online platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others. According to an internal paper, one of the goals is to prevent "unfair practices". One rule could specify that the platforms would "not be allowed to pre-install their own applications exclusively" such as installing mobile apps on smartphones and preventing users to uninstall them.

In addition, there could be new restrictions on the usage of data generated by their services for their own commercial activities. This kind of data could only be used if made "accessible to other commercial users".

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
Credit: Florian Schmidt courtesy Twitter

With a delay of almost nine years, the new Berlin airport is scheduled to be opened on the last day of October. A journalist from t-online has now spotted that parts of the IT systems at the Berlin airport still run on an outdated version of Windows XP that lost support my Microsoft latest in April 2019.

The system has been spotted in an elevator. Currently, it is unclear if the system is connected to the internet or to an internal network leaving the security implications unclear.

Technology • Internet & Web
Chinese state media reports TikTok won't be sold to Oracle denying reports
Chinese state media reports TikTok won't be sold to Oracle denying reports
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok, Microsoft, Oracle

With Microsoft announcing that the U.S. operations of TikTok won't be sold to the technology company, rumours have broken out that Oracle will be the winner of the bid for the TikTok U.S. operations.

The Chinese state broadcaster CGTN has now reported that the TikTok owner ByteDance will sell its U.S. operations to neither Microsoft nor Oracle. ByteDance themselves refused to comment.

Technology • Internet & Web
Bytedance won't sell TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft
Bytedance won't sell TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok, Microsoft

Bytedance has decided to not sell TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft.

"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users while protecting national security interests," so Microsoft in a statement on Sunday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Microsoft finds Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting US elections
Microsoft finds Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers targeting US elections
Credit: Element5 Digital

Hackers from China, Russia and Iran are targeting the 2020 presidential elections, Microsoft found. In a blog post, Microsoft stated that the three hacker groups Strontium (Russia), Zirconium (China) and Phosphorus (Iran) have launched attacks aimed at both the Democratic and Republican party. The groups have attacked "more than 200 organizations including political campaigns, advocacy groups, parties and political consultants", "high-profile individuals associated with the election" including associates of Biden's campaign and "personal accounts of people associated" with the Trump campaign.

"The majority of these attacks were detected and stopped by security tools built into our products. We have directly notified those who were targeted or compromised so they can take action to protect themselves," so Microsoft

Technology • Internet & Web
Walmart is partnering with Microsoft on TikTok deal
Walmart is partnering with Microsoft on TikTok deal

Walmart is partnering with Microsoft to potentially buy TikTok's U.S. business from BtyeDance. The news was first reported by CNBC, which was later confirmed by Walmart.

In a statement, Walmart said that TikTok's integration of e-commerce and advertising "is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets" and that the retailer believes "a potential relationship with TikTok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses."

Science • Humans
Scientists rename human genes to avoid Microsoft Excel misreading them as dates
Scientists rename human genes to avoid Microsoft Excel misreading them as dates

Scientists have renamed some 27 human genes over the past year to avoid Microsoft Excel misinterpreting their alphanumeric codes as dates.

These codes are used as a shorthand method for researchers to identify the genes in the human genome. Sometimes, though, they end up reading as something else. For instance, the gene symbol for Septin 2, SEPT2, defaults to the date '2-Sep' when typed into Excel, while Membrane-Associated Ring Finger, aka MARCH1, becomes '1-Mar'.

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) defined guidelines for naming protein-coding genes, RNA genes, and pseudogenes to avoid such mishaps. The instructions further say gene symbols should only contain Latin letters and Arabic numerals; should not contain common abbreviations; should not refer to any particular species; should not be offensive, and should be unique.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Apple states it has no interest in buying TikTok
Credit: Solen Feyissa

Apple Inc has no interest in acquiring TikTok, a company spokesperson told Axios, denying an earlier report published by Axios, citing Apple has expressed interest in buying the ByteDance-owned firm.

Microsoft is currently negotiating a deal to acquire the popular short-video app, with a 45-day deadline imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Credit: Aaron Weiss

The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

Technology • Internet & Web
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Slack, Microsoft Teams (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The complaint details Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law. Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the actual cost to enterprise customers.

Business • Economy
LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
Credit: Greg Bulla

Microsoft's professional networking site LinkedIn has said it plans to cut 6% of its global workforce as the Covid-19 pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products. Nine hundred sixty jobs will be cut across sales and hiring divisions of the group globally.

LinkedIn said employees affected by its job cuts would be informed this week, and they will start receiving invitations in the next few hours to meetings to learn more about next steps.

Technology • Games
Microsoft Flight Simulator landing on August 18
Microsoft Flight Simulator landing on August 18
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will launch for PC on August 18, the first release of the franchise since 2014.

The game will come in three versions:

  • The standard edition ($59.99) includes 20 planes and 30 airports.
  • The deluxe edition ($89.99) adds five planes to the fleet and five additional international airports.
  • The premium deluxe edition ($119.99) has a total of 30 planes and 30 airports.

It is possible to pre-order the game now on Windows 10, or pre-install with Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Technology • Internet & Web
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Credit: unsplash.com / Morning Brew

The non-profit Tech Inquiry has discovered alleged ties between technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft with the United States law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Tech inquiry has analyzed over 30 million governmental contracts from the past five years and sub-contracts below them. They discovered that Google and Amazon several hundreds of subcontracts with United States law enforcement agencies while Microsoft several thousand.

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft enhances Teams with Together Mode, support up to 1,000 participants in a meeting
Microsoft Team's Together Mode
Microsoft Team's Together Mode Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft announced Wednesday new features to improve the Microsoft Teams experience and beat Zoom, including the new Together Mode and the support to up to 1,000 people in a call.

Together Mode, digitally place up to 50 participants in a shared background, so it emulates the experience of sitting in the same room while meeting remotely.

Microsoft Teams also support for up to 1,000 participants in meetings, soon allow up to 20,000 viewers in presentations and seminars.

Technology • Games
Microsoft is reportedly interested in buying WB Interactive
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 Credit: Microsoft (Reproduction)

Following the news that AT&T is considering parting ways with Warner Bros., Microsoft is considering acquiring the game division.

The Information reported that Microsoft is not the only one interested in the company; EA, Take-Two and Activision Blizzard are also considering buying WB Interactive and its several development studios (Avalanche Software, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, TT Games, and many others).

Business • Economy
Microsoft is permanently closing almost all of its stores
Microsoft Store in Sydney
Microsoft Store in Sydney Credit: Wpcpey / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Microsoft announced its plan to permanently close all its retail stores worldwide, with staff being relocated to Microsoft's corporate facilities. Four stores in London, Sydney, New York and Redmond are to remain open but will be "reimagined".

"Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location," so David Porter, Microsoft Corporate Vice President.

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft to shutdown streaming platform Mixer
Mixer Logo
Mixer Logo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has announced the shutdown of its streaming platform Mixer by July 22 after failing to reach its growth expectations. Streamers such as Ninja and Shroud were recruited last year to exclusively stream on Mixer, but the platform has been struggling to compete with Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Gaming. Microsoft said it is partnering with Facebook and plans to move existing Mixer partners to Facebook Gaming starting today.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Tech Industry condemns Trump's executive order freezing work visas
Tech Industry condemns Trump's executive order freezing work visas
Credit: unsplash.com/Annie Spratt

Many tech companies have spoken out against Trump's executive order signed on Monday, barring foreigners to seek employment in the United States. Amazon and Facebook both have released statements, with Amazon stating that the ban will "preventing high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America's economic recovery puts American's global competitiveness at risk," so an Amazon spokesperson, and adding that the company will continue to "support efforts that will preserve their ability to strengthen our economy."

Microsoft President Brad Smith said that it was not the time to "cut our nation off from the world's talent or create uncertainty and anxiety" as "immigrants are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most."

Elon Musk took to Twitter where he replied to the New York Times, writing: "Very much disagree with this action. In my experience, these skillsets are net job creators. Visa reform makes sense, but this is too broad."