“Microsoft MSFT +2.30% Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about Windows 10 deleting apps, the HoloLens development kit now available for pre-order, the Band 2 price drop, the new “Bug Chicks” ad campaign, the new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection feature, the new Whitepages ID app for Windows Mobile, Minecraft coming to the Oculus Rift, Xbox One longevity, the cancellation of “Fable Legends” for Xbox One, reported talks about acquiring Slack for $8 billion, Tim Sweeney’s opinion about the Universal Windows Platform and Steve Ballmer dunking a basketball.
Windows 10 Update Deletes Apps Without Permission
After you install a Windows 10 update, you may notice that there are some applications that have gone missing. Windows 10 has been removing apps that are outdated, have incompatibility issues or causes crashes. The program removal seems to happen after Windows 10 is upgraded to a new major version such as the November update, according to How-To Geek.
Fortunately, Windows 10 leaves the older Windows installation in a directory called “Windows.old” on the system drive — which may be under C:\Windows.old. It can also be found under “Previous Windows installation(s)” under Disk Cleanup.
Windows 10 does not ask for permission to remove the files. But the Microsoft Services Agreement says that Windows may remove access to software and hardware. Users on aReddit thread reported that hardware utilities like Speccy, CPU-Z, HWMonitor and CCleaner were removed following the Windows update. The update also removed PDF readers and certain kinds of antivirus software.
Unfortunately the only fix seems to be reinstalling the applications whether you got it from a CD, an external hard drive or a website. And you may have to reinstall it again after the next major Windows 10 update.
You can also recover the program files by opening File Explorer and going to the C:\Windows.old folder. If the program was installed under Program Files, then you can find it under C:\Windows.old\Program Files. And the program application data may be stored under C:\Windows.old\Users\PROGRAM NAME\AppData. But it would be better to reinstall the program rather than trying to copy the program files over.
Microsoft Is Now Offering The HoloLens Development Kit For $3,000
In January 2015, Microsoft announced the cordless virtual reality headset known as the HoloLens. Last week, Microsoft said it will start accepting pre-orders from developers that applied for the HoloLens. The cost of the pre-order is $3,000 and it will start shipping to developers in the U.S. and Canada on March 30th.
Microsoft also announced several applications designed specifically for the HoloLens, including Skype and several games. The Skype app for HoloLens allows users to share their virtual reality experiences with each other. The HoloLens apps are Universal Windows apps so a majority of Windows 10 apps will work on the virtual reality headset, but there are a limited number of specially designed apps for it.
Over the last few months, Microsoft has been accepting applications from developers. It is unknown which of those developers will receive the HoloLens first. But Microsoft will be sending out invites in batches, according to TechCrunch.
The $3,000 HoloLens Development Kit includes the HoloLens, a charger, a carrying case, nose pads, overhead straps, a clicker to interact with applications and a microfiber cloth. The HoloLens is estimated to have about 3-4 hours of battery and around two weeks of standby time. It has 2 HD 16:9 light engines that provides a “holographic resolution” of 2.3 million light points.
Microsoft Band 2 Price Drops Down To $175
The price of the Microsoft Band 2 wearable has been dropped to $175, meaning it has received a price cut of $75. Originally priced at $250, the Band 2 has a continuous heart rate monitor that tracks heart rates, calorie burns and sleep quality. It also provides alerts for email, text messages, calendar events and phone calls. And the Band 2 has 11 sensors, including a GPS, a UV monitor and a barometer. The price drop — which is available at the Microsoft Store and Best Buy — appears to be temporary.
Microsoft has launched a new ad campaign that features two entomologists that talk about the advantage of Microsoft Surface and Windows 10. A woman in the video bashes on the Mac for not having a touch screen. The commercials also promote the capabilities of the Cortana digital assistant, the Inking drawing tool and the Hello facial recognition security feature. All of the ads end with “Windows 10 PCs do more. Just like you.” You can watch the ads below:
Microsoft Introduces Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
Microsoft has launched a new tool called the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to help detect cyberattacks. The tool looks at individual PCs to see if there are exploit attempts and unauthorized system file access. Then it recommends a solution to IT. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection is being tested by beta users now, but it will be fully rolled out later this year.
Whitepages Launches Caller ID And Spam App For Windows Phones
Last week, Whitepages announced that it has launched its Caller ID technology for Windows 10 Mobile. The app is called Whitepages ID and it is available for download in the Microsoft App Store now. The app is able to identify unknown incoming phone calls and text messages. This makes it easier to block spam calls and text messages. The app lets you report malicious and unwanted calls to help crowdsource a list of flagged numbers for all of the Whitepages ID users.
According to Whitepages, about 4 billion calls are made in the U.S. every day so caller ID is very important. About 30% of calls to mobile devices are from phone numbers are not from the address book of those users. The Whitepages ID app takes advantage of the 600 million phone numbers listed in the Whitepages database, of which 250 million are mobile phone numbers..
“We live in an age where people can feel uncertain and downright worried about answering an unknown call,” said Whitepages general manager of Communications Experience Stanley Kim in a statement. “With the release of the Whitepages ID app for Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile users, we are proud to bring our best-in-class caller identification technology to a new group of users to help them regain their peace of mind and confidence when answering a call from an unknown number.”
Other useful features in the app includes a call blocker, spam protection, phone book contact photos, True Contacts (adds names and addresses from the Whitepages directory to your phone book contacts) and Save Money (reduces the amount of minutes and text messages used per month).
At the spring Xbox showcase, Mojang revealed that Minecraft will be coming to the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Nick Statt of The Verge tested it out and said that it had a few issues.
“More often, however, a VR game will rely only on the position of your head and will take into account the fact that you’ll be stationary on a couch or in front of a computer,” said Statt. “Minecraft for the Rift tries to pull off both of those styles at once because it was designed to be played on a screen, and not one pressed up against your face. My head and joystick were in constant battle for control of my view. At times, I had to use the Xbox One controller to reorient the screen because the alternative was moving my whole body in dramatic fashion just to, say, round a sharp corner or turn to look behind me. It’s odd and discombobulating watching your view jitter left and right when you use the thumbstick while your head stays stationary. It’s a necessary though to have a wide-open game world you can’t explore by physically walking around a room.” Fortunately, there isn’t any blur or lag on Minecraft for Oculus because less processing power is needed to render Minecraft.
Minecraft will be available through the Oculus and Windows stores in the spring. And it will be an update to the Windows 10 edition of the game on the Windows Store.
Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update Includes New Enemies And Dual-Wielding Abilities
Mojang has released the patch 1.9 update for Minecraft recently, which supports dual-wielding. Ever since Minecraft was released, the controls have been clicking a button to swing a weapon. One of the most highly demanded features has been more combat controls. The patch 1.9 update includes a new inventory slot. The “off-hand” slot can be used to hold a shield so that you can block attacks from enemies. And you can place any of the new arrow types in the off-hand slot to easily pick your ammo. You can learn more about the update on the Mojang blog.
How Microsoft Plans To Extend The Xbox One Longevity
As you may know, Microsoft has been bringing some Xbox exclusive games to the PC such as Quantum Break and Tomb Raider. At the Xbox Spring Showcase, Phil Spencer said there will be more hardware innovation in the console space.
“You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform that allows us to focus more and more on hardware innovation without invalidating the games that run on that platform,” said Spencer via Forbes contributor Paul Tassi. “We can effectively feel a little bit more like we see on PC, where I can still go back and run my old Doom and Quake games that I used to play years ago but I can still see the best 4K games come out and my library is always with me. Hardware innovation continues while the software innovation is able to take advantage and I don’t have to jump a generation and lose everything that I played on before.”
What this means is that the Xbox One will be upgraded like a PC over time and the games developed on the Universal Windows Platform would stay backward compatible even with new hardware. The software platform is autonomous from the hardware so consoles can be upgraded without having to buy a console with a new generation of hardware. It is unclear how the “upgrade” system will work.
“What I’m saying is as hardware innovations happen we want to be able to embrace those in the console space. And make those available and maybe not have to wait seven or eight years for things to happen. But right now, we’re not announcing hardware. I’m happy with the console we have and the platform we built on top of that console and the constant innovation and the games that are there. But as a longer-term vision statement I wanted to make sure people understood what we’re doing I think is good for the console space in addition to being good for the PC space.”
Upcoming PlayStation 4 Update Will Let Users Play Games On PCs And Macs
Back in November, Sony said that Remote Play support will be available for Windows and Macs through a home network. This feature should be coming soon because Sony recently said that PC and Mac Remote Play will be part of the next major system update, according to PCWorld. Last week, Sony rolled out a closed beta test for version 3.50 known as “Musashi.”
Remote Play currently works with Sony’s Xperia smartphones and tablets. And Remote Play also lets you stream games to mobile devices, which can be played using a DualShock 4 controller.
Remote Play for PCs and Macs is not included in the beta release, but testers will be able to use social features such as friend notifications, the ability to set your status to offline and the ability to schedule gameplay sessions with friends.
Microsoft Decides To Cancel ‘Fable Legends’ For Xbox One And Lionhead Studio May Shut Down
Microsoft has decided to officially cancel the game “Fable Legends” for Xbox One. Microsoft may also shut down Lionhead Studio, the developer behind the game. According to Forbes contributor Paul Tassi, the “Fable Legends” has been in development since 2012 and was announced in 2013. Then it was released in closed beta in 2014. The 4v1 asymmetric game was expected to support an F2P model with a 5-10 year lifespan on the Xbox One and PC.
Here is a statement Microsoft released about the game cancellation:
“After much consideration we have decided to cease development on Fable Legends, and are in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK. Additionally, we will close Press Play Studios in Denmark, and sunset development on Project Knoxville.
These have been tough decisions and we have not made them lightly, nor are they a reflection on these development teams – we are incredibly fortunate to have the talent, creativity and commitment of the people at these studios. The Lionhead Studios team has delighted millions of fans with the Fable series over the past decade. Press Play imbued the industry with a unique creative spirit behind games like Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba, which both captured passionate fans. These changes are taking effect as Microsoft Studios continues to focus its investment and development on the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and want to play.”
Microsoft’s Hyperlapse Mobile Android App Now Lets You Save Videos In 1080p
Microsoft has released an update to its Hyperlapse Mobile app for Android so that you can save your hyperlapse videos in 1080p resolution. And you can save the videos with a time-lapse effect on an SD card so that it doesn’t take up too much space on your device’s internal storage.
Microsoft’s Hyperlapse Mobile app for Android supports the ability to create a hyperlapse of any video you already shot with your phone. You can select from multiple speeds between 1x and 32x times the normal speed of the video. And there is a stabilize-only mode — which lets you select 1x for stabilization without time-lapse and you can keep the video’s audio track intact.
Windows 10 Update Includes Cortana Reminders And New Languages
Last week, Microsoft rolled out a new Windows 10 update to fast ringer testers with a few new Cortana features. Microsoft has expanded the list of Cortana’s supported languages to Spanish (Mexico), Portuguese (Brazil) and French (Canada). Cortana now supports a total of 14 languages. Now Cortana also supports the ability to remember content whether it is reminders, book titles, etc.
Another feature added to the Windows update is the combination of the Windows 10 log-in and lock screen similar to how smartphone lock screens work. And several bugs have been fixed. You can find more details about the update on the Windows Blog.
Microsoft President Brad Smith Comments About Apple Encryption Case
Microsoft president and chief legal officer said the Redmond giant is in favor of Apple against its legal battle with the FBI. During an RSA security conference on Tuesday, Smith said via Mashable: “The path to hell starts at the backdoor, and we need to make sure that encryption technology remains strong.”
However, Smith said Microsoft would be willing to work with authorities. In fact, Smith said Microsoft received 14 information requests from the government about terrorist suspects. “In all 14 of those cases we were able to respond, determine that the orders were lawful, pull the content and turn it over and we did it in an average response time of under 30 minutes,” added Smith. “We do play our role as an industry.” Smith also pointed out that the U.S. courts need to define laws that are more up-to-date with current technology.
Microsoft Reportedly Considered Acquiring Slack For $8 Billion
Slack recently announced it would be offering voice and video services, meaning it would become more formidable of an opponent against Microsoft’s Skype. According toTechCrunch’s sources, Microsoft considered acquiring Skype for as high as $8 billion. However Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates and current CEO Satya Nadella opposed the idea. Gates suggested that Skype adds more features to make it more competitive against Slack in the business segment.
Slack currently has 2.3 million daily active users and 675,000 of them are paying. And Slack reportedly received 8-10 acquisition offers last year alone. At Microsoft, the executive that was attempting to spearhead an acquisition of Slack was Qi Lu Lu. Qi Lu Lu oversees the productivity and information services at Microsoft, including research and development for Microsoft Office, Office 365, Yammer, Exchange, Bing, etc. Slack is currently hitting over $64 million in annual recurring revenue.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney Criticizes Universal Windows Platform
Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, is not a fan of the Universal Windows Platform. Epic Games is known for building the Gears of War franchise in collaboration with Microsoft. In an opinion piece on The Guardian.
“In my view, this is the most aggressive move Microsoft has ever made. While the company has been convicted of violating antitrust law in the past, its wrongful actions were limited to fights with specific competitors and contracts with certain PC manufacturers,” said Sweeney in his article in regards to the Universal Windows Platform. “This isn’t like that. Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry – including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games.”
The Universal Windows Platform allows games to be played on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One consoles. Other developers have expressed similar concerns about the Universal Windows Platform.
“My view is that bundling is a valuable practice that benefits users, and my criticism is limited to Microsoft structuring its operating system to advantage its own store while unfairly disadvantaging competing app stores, as well as developers and publishers who distribute games directly to their customers,” added Sweeney. “The specific problem here is that Microsoft’s shiny new “Universal Windows Platform” is locked down, and by default it’s impossible to download UWP apps from the websites of publishers and developers, to install them, update them, and conduct commerce in them outside of the Windows Store.”
Watch Steve Ballmer Dunk A Basketball
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the owner of the L.A. Clippers and recently he bounced off of a trampoline and dunked a basketball. A week ago, the L.A. Clippers revealed a new mascot during halftime, but Ballmer dunking was the highlight of the event. The audience all won a pair of free Converse shoes because Ballmer successfully completed the dunk too. Ballmer bought the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion about three years ago.