We’ve said in the past that Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign rings somewhat hollow to us because Microsoft has certainly not been above using its users’ data to sell more targeted ads. Now The Washington Post informs us that Microsoft is going to cobble together Xbox Live user profiles from “Microsoft user IDs and other public data” that it will then use to deliver targeted political ads on the Xbox Live dashboard based on what it thinks are users’ personal beliefs. Microsoft is also apparently pitching political campaigns to share their “own lists of voter e-mail addresses” so that “Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting.” No Microsoft officials would comment on the Post’s story and it’s not clear what opt-out policies will be for any gamers who don’t want their Xbox dashboards spammed with political ads.
As we mentioned earlier this week, Microsoft has a problem because a huge chunk of Windows XP stragglers still aren’t upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 even though there’s just over a month to go until XP support ends. Tom’s Hardware writes that Microsoft does have one more card to play that it hopes will finally convince XP diehards to switch: Windows 9. More →
By his own admission, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is “big, bald and loud.” These are traits that have helped him impose his will at Microsoft for years but apparently there are limits to how far Ballmer’s brash personality can take him. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg Businessweek that Microsoft’s board of directors finally reached the end of its rope with Ballmer after he got into a screaming match with them over his plan to buy up Nokia’s handset division last year. More →
Gamers, start your engines. Just weeks after the console’s first major update was pushed out, Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One’s March update began rolling out to consoles on Tuesday night. The big new software update comes one week ahead of Titanfall’s release on March 11th, and it includes plenty of new functionality as well as some big bug fixes. More →
The Windows Phone 8.1 leaks continue to roll out as the Microsoft Build Developer Conference inches closer. Just a day after the reveal of Cortana’s appearance, Unleash the Phones has come forward with footage of the Windows Phone digital assistant in action. The video begins with the initial set up, in which you will be asked to allow Cortana to access your information and sign in to your Microsoft account. Once you’re logged in, Cortana will quickly “absorb the entire internet” before asking you what you would like to be called. More →
By the time Windows Phone 8 made Microsoft’s mobile platform a real competitor in 2012, the iPhone had been on the market for five years and Android-based phones had been on the market for four years. Clearly, Microsoft wasn’t nearly fast enough when it came to getting its mobile platform up to speed and now The Wall Street Journal reports that outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said this week that Windows Phone would be in a much stronger position today if he could go back in time and “re-do the last 10 years.” More →
The launch of live game streaming on the Xbox One is still a week away, but Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb took to Twitch last night to show off why the feature has been mysterious absent for the past few months. Reddit user rotj used Twitch Analyzer on the Xbox One stream last night and discovered that the quality of the stream is noticeably better than that of the PlayStation 4. More →
Microsoft has a problem: It desperately wants any remaining Windows XP users to upgrade to a newer version of the operating system but a huge chunk of them still haven’t budged. The latest numbers from NetMarketShare show that Windows XP still accounts for around 29.5% of all desktops in use even though Microsoft is due to end support for the 13-year-old platform on April 8th. ZDNet reports that Microsoft plans to pester remaining XP holdovers starting next week by sending them pop-up notifications reminding them — again — that it will end XP support within a month. More →
Has Microsoft’s Scroogled ad campaign convinced you to switch to Bing yet? Probably not but that isn’t going to stop Microsoft from unleashing similar anti-Google ads in the future, especially now that it’s appointed one-time political consultant Mark Penn to be its chief strategy officer. Penn, who masterminded Microsoft’s not-exactly-successful Scroogled campaign, will be new CEO Satya Nadella’s point man for strategic decisions at Microsoft that will include “input in the area of competitive research and analysis.” In his letter announcing the new appointment, Nadella said that Penn will use his “unique skill set across a broader set of challenges facing the company, from new product ideas to helping shape the overall areas of strategic investment.” Before working on the not-quite-successful Scroogled campaign, Penn was best known for his work on the not-quite-successful political campaign to get Hillary Clinton elected president in 2008.
Microsoft is preparing for another major shakeup as CEO Satya Nadella announced over the weekend that two top executives will be leaving the company this year. According to the internal letter sent to Microsoft employees, Tony Bates, the leader of the Business Development and Evangelism team and former CEO of Skype, will be departing, along with Tami Reller, leader of the Marketing Group. Business Insider shared the letter on their website, and you can read it in full below. More →
The release of Titanfall is just over a week away, but much of the game was shrouded in mystery until Reddit user FallenFusion unveiled several screenshots and previously unknown details this week. According to the leak, Titanfall will feature 15 maps at launch, at least 5 modes, 9 campaign matches and the ability to “regenerate” (similar to prestige in Call of Duty) once you’ve reached the highest attainable rank in multiplayer. A detailed list from the thread can be seen below. More →
Game Center on iOS has always been a bit of a let down. As a bare bones social network to keep track of your friends and achievements, it does its job, but it can’t compete with the functionality of most gaming networks. That’s why Microsoft is thinking about expanding its hugely popular Xbox Live to every mobile platform under the sun. More →
Microsoft and Apple have been exchanging blows in TV commercials for years. In recent history, Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ad campaign was the height of the advertising rivalry, but the Mac maker has since backed off as its focus shifted to its more recent mobile devices. Microsoft isn’t done throwing friendly jabs toward its longtime rival, however, and its latest ad suggests that Apple’s Mac computer lineup should be more like… Windows 8. More →