Have you used Bing lately? An increasing number of people are, and perhaps one day it will earn verb status the way Google has. In the meantime, Microsoft can celebrate snagging a 20.1 percent share of the search market as of the end of March, up from 19.8 percent at the end of February. It's also the first time that Microsoft has crossed over the 20 percent mark, according to data provided by comScore.
Amended search partnership gives Yahoo more flexibility
Yahoo search is changing, though you won't notice it right away. As is stands now, Yahoo search is powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine. For the majority, that won't change, though for others, it might. As part of the new search deal between Yahoo and Microsoft, Yahoo will be allowed to display its own search results and ads for up to half the searches performed by visitors to its sites and applications.
The search wars are an ongoing thing with plenty of advertising dollars at stake, and if you snooze, well, you lose out on the loot. To keep up with the competition -- namely, Google, the search engine that's also a verb -- Microsoft paid special attention to Bing's image search functionality and added some new features, including an online shopping feature that's currently in beta.
Microsoft is applying for licenses to be a money transmitter
The mobile payments category is on its way to becoming a bit crowded. We already have Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and around the bend we can spy Android Pay (which will be separate to Google Wallet) and Samsung Pay. Might we add Microsoft Pay to the mix? While nothing is yet imminent, it's being reported that Microsoft has quietly begun applying for money transmitter licenses in all 50 states and a handful of U.S. territories.
Microsoft has brought back its "Work & Play" subscription services bundle, a collection of cloud-based offerings at a discounted price. Last time around, Microsoft wanted $199/year for the bundle, which came with Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Unlimited World + Wi-Fi, plus associated bits like 1TB of OneDrive online storage. This time around, the bundle is the same, only cheaper at $149 for a year.
It was on April 4, 1975, that Paul Allen and Bill Gates founded Microsoft. Gates hadn't even turned 20-years-old at the time, and Allen wasn't much older at 22. Yet what they created changed everything. In reflecting on the past 40 years of Microsoft's existence, Gates talked about the shared goal he and Allen had of seeing a computer on every desk in every home, a rather bold vision for the time. They pretty much accomplished that goal, but it's Microsoft's 50th anniversary that has Gates particularly excited.
Microsoft won plaudits from privacy advocates when it released Internet Explorer 10 in 2012 with the Do Not Track (DNT) option enabled by default. For obvious reasons, the move didn't go down well with advertisers, who saw it as an act of overbearing unilateralism on the company's part. Microsoft, though, remained steadfast ... until now.
Production of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor has now ceased. Coming some nine months after the $200 PC-compatible variant of Xbox One's powerful motion-sensing camera first began shipping, Microsoft says the move is designed to allow it to “consolidate the whole Kinect for Windows experience around a single sensor": the $150 Kinect for Xbox Onecamera.
Microsoft just expanded its Surface line with the Surface 3, a less expensive version of the Surface Pro 3 that's also smaller and less powerful. Other than size (10.8-inch display, 8.7mm thin) and weight (1.37 pounds or 622 grams), the physical design is the same as the Surface Pro 3, as both use premium materials and sport the adjustable kickstand that Microsoft is so fond of.
Microsoft, Google, and Apple among tech companies fighting against provision in the Patriot Act
The collection of metadata by government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, has been a source of contention for tech companies forced to hand over the information in bulk to the US Government. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows for the bulk collection of metadata but the provision will expire in June unless the government renews it. As the date draws closer, tech companies have joined privacy groups in sending an open letter asking that Section 215 not be renewed in the Patriot Act.