microsoft

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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While everyone here has played a game or used an app that offers some kind of in-app-purchase (IAP), most of us probably don’t give the mobile payment systems that work behind the scenes much thought. And yet developers certainly have to consider mobile payment systems if they’re going to accept payments from users.

At GDC last week, we had the opportunity to speak with Rain Rannu, the Co-Founder of Fortumo Ltd.  Fortumo provides mobile payment services for Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, Windows 8 and RT, and several other mobile platforms. They’ve recently teamed up with Microsoft to offer an exciting deal for developers who sign up to use Fortumo with their Windows products by the end of May.

Head past the break for more details and our video interview!

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Microsoft and Nokia are preparing to hold a Windows Phone Developer Camp in London. May 11th this year will mark the day when the two companies will provide an introduction to the Windows Phone platform for developers who haven't quite looked into hopping on to the train just yet. Numerous sessions will be held with some hands-on labs. It's set to be a worthwhile day for anyone looking to develop apps for Windows Phone.

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The Outlook team has released a rather welcomed addition to its Outlook.com service. Calendar has now been added, utilising the new user interface to provide a stable and clean experience. As with all Microsoft products these days, the new "Modern" look ensures that the focus is on content rather than unrelated chrome and visual effects. Should you use Windows, Xbox or a Windows Phone, you'll feel right at home.

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Microsoft China posted an update on popular social network Sina weibo earlier today that Surface Pro, the Surface tablet/ultrabook that's built on Intel's desktop processor, will be available on 9:00pm, April 2nd (Beijing time). Microsoft announced on its official blog that Surface computers will be available in more markets in 2013, and China will be the first new market for Surface Pro.

The Chinese version of Surface Pro will be sold through Suning, the partner who was partly responsible for the lackluster sales of Surface RT in that region. But this time Microsoft isn't giving anyone "exclusive dealership" any more, for it has established its own Microsoft Store (online only) in China, and built an official store on Tmall.com, China's largest B2C e-commerce platform ever.

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We’ve got quite the variety when you look at the sea of tablets, slates, ultrabooks, and convertibles we have now in the Windows 8 landscape. Crazy designs like the ThinkPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12 spring to mind when thinking of the different ways manufactures have differentiated themselves.

Microsoft threw a wrench into the traditional PC world last June when it announced the Surface family of devices. The Surface is also unique in its design and has recently been awarded a design patent for it's Touch keyboard cover and magnetic coupling.

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If there’s one sore spot with a certain segment of users it was how the release of Windows Phone 8 lacked FM radio support—something which had been around since the Zune player days. No reason was ever stated, though it’s a safe guess that it was something Microsoft simply did not have time to complete by October’s release schedule.

Now, according to sources at the Verge, that situation will change with the expected GDR2 update coming out later this summer. That addition will allow users, when headphones are plugged in, to use their Windows Phone as an FM radio—an important source of news and entertainment for many in emerging markets who can’t afford streaming data plans.

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Good news for Chinese HTC 8S owners: there's a firmware update over the air. Bad news: the update may just kill your phone. On March 21st, owners of HTC 8S in China started to get a firmware update, and a fair portion of them were permanently stuck on the start up screen after the installation and reboot. HTC and Microsoft are trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with the firmware. Meanwhile the OTA update has been suspended.

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Microsoft is sending out more reminders to consumers who are still using Messenger with an offer for them to upgrade to Skype. On April 8th, the company will be merging both Messenger and Skype together, including IM and contact lists. This will require consumers to upgrade to the communication service, which will see the end of Messenger as we know it. To help soften the blow, Microsoft is offering a month of free calls for those who sign up with Skype.

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Microsoft's Windows Phone Next App Star competition is heating up and 64 finalists have been selected for the public voting phase. If you're not up to speed, it's a contest for Windows Phone apps to be voted on by the public for $60,000 worth of prizes. Through head-to-head style voting, the grand winner will pocket the opportunity to have his (or her) app featured in a Windows Phone prime-time TV advertisement spot in the US.

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Since launched, the Surface RT tablet has always been sold only through two channels in China: Microsoft's freshly established online store, and Suning (a chain store for electronics, much like Best Buy). Now Microsoft is looking into extending the Surface RT distribution network, as the exclusive dealership with Suning expired in February 2013.

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There's nothing worse for developers than updating their Windows Phone apps to address bugs and for the release to get lost wondering around the vast plains of the Microsoft Dev Center. Our own Jay Bennett has experienced an issue with the latest version of the Windows Phone Central app finding itself stuck in limbo (or rather "Certification Passed" and "Not Submitted" stages of approval).

Microsoft has since acknowledged the issue and has stated engineers are looking into reports.

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Microsoft is set to support both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 until 2014, according to the company's website. The website has detailed dates for when the company is planning to halt support and cease security update rollouts (much like the Windows desktop operating system). It's a positive sign for all Windows Phone owners as their smartphones will continue to receive updates for many months to come.

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Many in our audience here know our opinion on Samsung—they lead the way with the Focus back when Windows Phone 7 was launched and up until recently, appeared to be a major competitor on the platform.  But with Windows Phone 8 and their ATIV S and Odyssey phones (with on the runt of the litter getting US carrier support), we’re just going to say: Their phones and effort to promote the platform look half-assed.

That’s not to say they aren’t good devices, indeed the ATIV S has quite a few things going for it and we would actually have no problem recommending it. But between the lack of advertising, reported price drops and even the “late to the show” arrival of their flagship phone, one gets the impression that Samsung is not really into Microsoft any more. (Samsung blames the carriers).

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