Do you remember way back when Hotmail was just called, you know, Hotmail? Those were the days. Then Microsoft went on its whole "Windows Live" branding kick and swapped it over to "Windows Live Hotmail" to match the similarly renamed Windows Live Mail, Windows Live ID and Windows Live Photo Gallery, amongst others. Now, apparently, the folks in Redmond have realized how silly and superfluous the Windows Live sticker was; the company recently announced that the brand is being killed off in favor of more basic app names. Yes, Hotmail will be just Hotmail once again.
If this is indeed the post-PC era as some are claiming, it isn’t having the kind of detrimental effects that one would expect it to have on Microsoft’s fiscal health. The Redmond-based software leviathan on Thursday announced its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 and the numbers are better than Wall Street’s expectations. Hit the jump for more.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the old saying goes. The cliché looks to be in full effect in Windows 8. No, Microsoft hasn't suddenly and miraculously decided to drop the contentious-to-some Metro UI for its upcoming operating system, but it will be killing two other branding efforts. Windows Live and Zune are all rumored to be going the way of the Dodo, dropped in favor of Apple-esque simplified program names.
With 25GB of absolutely no strings attached free storage, SkyDrive has always been an amazing value. Of course that’s not to say its best in class, far from it actually for one key reason; it’s painfully difficult to access. Logging into the SkyDrive site using Windows Live is easy enough, but having to add files one at a time is painfully in-efficient. If you modify a photo for example, you need to download it fully, make your changes, upload the new version, and then manually delete the old one. Office Web Apps integration and batch file adding have helped, but it is still no substitute for Dropbox. If the rumors are correct though, this could all be changing soon. Both paid storage, along with Windows and OS X clients are apparently just around the corner.
I’m writing this right now using Microsoft Word on the recently released Windows 8 Developer’s Build. I’m using a real PC, not a tablet, and it’s a system any Maximum PC user would be proud of: a Core i7 990X system running 12 GB of RAM plus an eVGA GeForce GTX 580SC. The system also has a pair of 1080p monitors attached. The goal was to live with the OS for a few days as my primary operating system and see just how usable it is in its current state.
The bottomline: not ready yet. Read on to find out why!
Hotmail may been losing some of its “geek cred” to more feature rich services such as Gmail, but as one of the most popular email providers in the world, they had a bit of explaining to do after accidentally wiping out the inboxes of over 17,000 users last week. According to Microsoft’s Mike Schackwitz, an error in a script that is used for testing the stability of the service accidentally deleted valid user account folders, rather than just those belonging to internal test bots.
"In Hotmail, one way we monitor the health of the e-mail service is through automated tests. We set up a number of accounts with different configurations, and then use automated tests to log into these accounts, simulate normal user activity and behavior, and report when errors are found," Schackwitz wrote in a blog post. "We use scripts to create and delete these test accounts in bulk. The way we delete a test account is to remove its record from a group of directory servers that route users and incoming mail to the correct mailbox."
Microsoft didn’t really apologize for the error in its blog post, but at least they claim to have learned a valuable lesson. "This issue was one that had not arisen before, and at first, we did not assign it to the correct team for action," Schackwitz wrote. "Additionally, because there were a relatively small number of reports, the volume wasn't high enough to set off alarms. This meant we had a ticket in the system that was getting no action."
Microsoft has restored all missing emails but has this further eroded your trust in Hotmail?
After revealing tantalizing details of its new release of Windows Live Essentials for Windows 7 (and Vista) earlier this month, Microsoft took the wraps off the public beta today.
Windows Live Essentials is a free collection of web-enabled programs for blogging (Writer), photo editing and management (Photo Gallery), video editing (Movie Maker), instant messaging (Messenger), email client (Mail), parental controls (Family Safety), and a new component for file synchronization and remote access (Sync). In this new version, originally known as Windows Live Essentials Wave 4, Windows Live Essentials loses Windows XP compatibility, but gains new features and better usability. For more screen shots and information, join us after the jump.
While giving a speech on cloud computing at the University of Sau Paulo in Brazil on Wednesday, Steve Ballmer used the opportunity show off Microsoft's newest version of Windows Live Messenger.
"The new Messenger will provide a great way to have more meaningful conversations with the people you care about most while bringing together your social networks and sharing updates, cutting through the clutter, and staying up to date with your favorite friends,' Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft is making an effort to modernize its instant messaging program, and when it ships, it will come with a handful of new features, such as tabbed conversations, HD quality video chats, the ability to share websites and search results, and will be able to pull in updates from other social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.
Part of the focus on social networking will include being able to send Facebook messages to other users from within the IM client, the ability to update your status, and prioritize favorite Facebook friends to be sure you see their updates before everyone else's.
Microsoft plans to release a beta version in the coming months, with a final version slated for later this year.
Microsoft says that Silverlight Streaming beta sign-ups have been halted, and the service “will eventually be taken down,” along with all existing content. Microsoft assures users there content is safe and they’ll be given plenty of warning before it goes away. Instructions for retrieving Silverlight Streaming content for PC and Mac users are available at the Live Services Blog.
ArsTechnicapasses along a rumor that the next release of Microsoft's Windows Live, Wave 4, may reach beta status this week. Details are scarce, but Softpediapoints out that Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 Milestone 1, which offers a number of new features, has been live since mid-September.
When will Windows Live Wave 4 Beta shed the beta tag? ArsTechnica has run a Japanese blog entry about Wave 4 through a couple of online translators, with the rather fractured results pointing to a spring to summer 2010 target. Stay clicked to MaximumPC.com for more information.