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We've previously touched on Microsoft's new email service, Outlook.com. The service has replaced Hotmail and offers advanced functionality along with a refreshed user interface to better match Windows 8 and other products. As well as checking through email, users can also chat with Facebook and Skype contacts in the sidebar. Microsoft has now implemented support for Google Talk. 

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Microsoft hasn’t been shying away from the competition lately. Last week they finally hit a home run with an ad for Windows Phone. So here’s one highlighting the strengths of Bing over Google. It also happens to showcase a killer, but underused feature of Windows Phone. Videos below.

The following videos aren’t HD. Sorry, we got them from a reader before they were hidden from the Bing YouTube account. They were prematurely posted there, but not before our man grabbed them for us. Check them out.

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I know what you're thinking, "Oh, not more patents!" Believe me, we wish we could simply forget about the business altogether and focus on technology and innovation, but we're talking about multiple corporations here. Microsoft is battling it out against Google and are currently in a strong position. This has been reinforced with ZTE becoming the 20th company to have taken a royalty-bearing Android license. 

Today the Munich Higher Regional Court rejected Google's (Motorola) appeal against Microsoft's injunction against Motorola, which was granted back in 2012. The patent in question is EP1304891 on "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface." The lower court's ruling has now been affirmed by the appeals court and so the injunction remains in place for the foreseeable future.

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The popular unofficial Google Maps app for Windows Phone has been updated to version 2.1. gMaps has been available on the platform for some time and it's good to see more updates published by the developer. gMaps (both the free and pro version) were previously bumped to version 2.0, adding Windows Phone 8 support. So what's new in this latest release? Street View has been refreshed and a number of improvements have been implemented.

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A group of companies led by Microsoft are calling on European authorities to launch an antitrust investigation into Google. The motion behind the move is the search giant's hold over the mobile industry with Google services on smartphones.

The group (called FairSearch) of 17, which includes Nokia and Oracle claim that Google is acting immorally by giving away the Android mobile operating system to OEM partners with the requirement for its software and service applications (Google Maps, YouTube, etc.) to be installed and prominently displayed. 

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WhatsApp, the popular cross-platform messaging service, has stated that it's not currently in discussions with Google to sell the company for $1 billion. Contrary to what recent rumours, Neeraj Arora, business development head at WhatsApp has informed AllThingsD that the company isn't actively looking to hold sales talks with Google and the rumours are not valid. We ran the rumour only yesterday, which relies on an inside source of Digital Trends, stating a deal was on the horizon.

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The past few months we’ve seen official apps slowly trickle into the Windows Phone Store. And for those services (cough YouTube, cough Instagram) that don’t provide an official app, third party developers have stepped in to provide incredible applications.

Sometimes doing a job so good it’s hard to see what companies can do better (Metrotube is a great example of this). Unfortunately, most apps require workarounds to function properly and can easily be broken by a change server side to all these apps. Right now users might experience some issues with MetroTalk and GVoice because of some authentication issues.

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A lot of you who are big fans of messaging app WhatsApp- a popular, cross-platfrom, instant messaging application for smartphones. If you’re holding a mobile device, odds are there is a Whatsapp application available for it. The company launched in 2009 and quickly did to SMS what Skype did to international calling on landlines (at least that’s what Wikiepedia is telling me). So here’s fairly big news for the app. Google is attempting to acquire it for one billion dollars.

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Nokia has made an intellectual property rights declaration to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) with respect to Google's VP8 data format and decoding guide, listing 64 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications. VP8 is Google's dream to create a royalty-free codec, but it's reportedly not open standard and Nokia is having none of it (to see why, check quote below). The company is already seeking injunctions against HTC in Germany over two VP8 patents.

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Google is set to cease supporting Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for its array of online services, including both GMail and Calendar. This will prevent consumers from setting up accounts on Windows Phones with both contact and calendar support (but will not affect those who already have email configured on Windows Phone). Consumers who make use of said features will have to go through workarounds to get connected, or switch across to Outlook.

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Google, like Microsoft, is a company in transition. This can be evidenced today by their entering into the “high end” Ultrabook market with their new Chromebook Pixel. It’s an odd move not because the hardware is not nice (it is) but the pricing: $1299 (32GB) $1449 (LTE, 64GB).

For a company that prides itself on 'free' it’s a different approach from the previous Chromebook strategy of low-cost devices.. To quote iMore’s Rene Ritchie “When did Google become Apple?”.

The other question is how does it stack up against Microsoft’s Surface Pro? We’ll take a look to see how things stand and if Google is making the right move here.

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Motorola/Google lost a bit of ground in their patent litigation against Microsoft when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington invalidated or dismissed thirteen of Motorola's patent infringement claims. The litigation claims that Microsoft infringed on sixteen of Motorola's patents with the Windows Phone and Xbox 360 systems.

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Even though Google Sync is nearing its end on Windows Phone due to the company dropping Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up hope with using their services. With no extension of the deadline in sight, Windows Phone users need an alternative and now we have one.

Rudy Huyn, one of the top developers on Windows Phone (Fuse, TVShow, Wikipedia, 9Gag and more) has just released a free, brand new app called GContacts that will keep your contact’s name, phone number and email up-to-date on your Windows Phone. Users can manually sync the app to check for any new changes to bring down to their phones, whenever they want.

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There's only just over a week left until Google flips the switch to drop Exchange ActiveSync support. Should you be an avid Google user and utilise Gmail (among other services) on your Windows Phone, you'll be left in the dark to an extent.

What the changes mean for consumers is from February onwards we'll no longer be able to synchronise calendars and contacts through a Gmail account (though email will still function normally) set up new Google accounts to take advantage of calendars and contacts using EAS (only email will function using IMAP). Those who already have accounts configured will be fine, according to Google.

Not all is lost, however. While you can take this as a golden opportunity to change over to Outlook, Microsoft is planning to support CardDAV and CalDAV in Windows Phone, according to sources familiar with company plans. The two protocols are actually Google's preferred route to synchronise content. Microsoft is attempting to work against Google's decisions of late to prevent consumers from being left out.

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Earlier today, Facebook announced a new advanced search engine for users called Graph Search. The engine allows users to search content friends and others have shared in rather interesting ways.

For example, a phrase like “Friends who live in Los Angeles under 30” would produce a list of all your friends who currently live in Los Angeles and are under 30 years old. While Graph Search was built by Facebook, sometimes results from the web need to be pulled in to help add context to results. Facebook was planning on working with Google, but that plan fell apart over privacy concerns.

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We’re not sure what’s going on over at Google but either incompetence or the trolling bug has seized control of operations. Last week we saw a purposeful redirect of maps.google.com send Windows Phone users to the search page instead of allowing them to use Maps (Google later backed down) and now today it’s affecting YouTube.

The behavior is specific: head to m.youtube.com and click any video. In the past, such an action would launch Internet Explorer’s HTML5 video player, allowing Windows Phone users to watch just about everything that was mobile (assuming it wasn’t a Flash-only video). Now on Windows Phone 8 devices we get prompted to install an app.

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This morning we woke to a nice little surprise: reports from users that Google Maps via the maps.google.com web address is once again now working on your Windows Phone. Heading to the site (in “mobile mode” not “desktop”) it asks to use your location and it loads up just as it should.

Over the last few days a brouhaha has exploded over Google unceremoniously dumping maps.google.com for Windows Phone users on top of confessing no desire to make a dedicated mobile app. The move was explained away at first under the guise of the Webkit theory, notably that Internet Explorer is a non-Webkit browser and ergo not optimized to run maps.google.com though not many of us took them seriously...

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Yesterday the interwebs went crazy over Google blocking Windows Phone from using their Maps application the web browser. Instead users were redirected to the Google homepage, quite frustrating was that this appeared to be a conscious decision on half of Google. Turns out that was the case and a recent development has been made to rectify the situation for Windows Phone 8 users attempting to access Google Maps on their devices.

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We’re not sure if this is just a temporary error or something more nefarious but Google appears to have changed something whereby Windows Phone users are now blocked when trying to access maps.google.com.

Granted, it’s not clear why you would want to use Google’s less-than-awesome mapping service through a browser, but humor us for a second. The move appears to be a continued approach to lockout all Google services from those who adopted Windows Phones. Or it’s just poor service.

We were able to verify on our Windows Phones that when going to maps.google.com we are redirected to www.google.com/m for mobile, regardless of IE10’s settings i.e. Desktop mode. Reports suggest that maps.google.co.uk still works for some folks but for us that too redirects, making this an in-motion change that is evidently occurring worldwide.

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