Microsoft: Privacy Shield is good

The new EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, Privacy Shield, is a step in the right direction for transatlantic transfers of personal data, but it's not enough by itself, according to Microsoft. The firm's EU government affairs VP John Frank is upbeat about the yet to be finalized agreement, a draft of which was published by the US in February, following President Obama's signing of the Judicial Redress Act.

Microsoft quietly drops bitcoin support

Microsoft has quietly stopped supporting bitcoin payments just over one year after it added support for the crypto currency within the Windows Store. Software encyclopedia Softpedia first noticed the change, which is confirmed in an FAQ note for customers: "You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded."

Microsoft is pulling the plug on IE 8, 9, and 10

Microsoft is ending support for Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 next week on January 12th, releasing a final patch encouraging users to upgrade to one of the company's more recent browsers. The end of support means that these older versions of Internet Explorer will no longer receive security updates or technical support, making anyone who uses them much more vulnerable to hackers. A recently-announced patch will deliver the last few bug fixes, as well as an "End of Life" notification telling users to upgrade to IE 11 or Microsoft Edge — the company's successor to Internet Explorer, built for Windows 10.

Windows 10 universal apps plan gets a lift from Uber

Uber on Wednesday took to Microsoft's Windows blog to announce its universal Windows 10 which can run on phones, tablets and PCs. Uber product team member Yuixin Zhu credited the "power of the Universal Windows Platform" for the company's ability to do what Microsoft hopes what more developers will do: "deploy a single app through a unified store that delivers the right experience to whatever device downloads the app".

Microsoft launches early Black Friday

Microsoft has launched its version of Black Friday with a week-long promotion offering content for only 10 cents. The Redmond giant announced the deals late last week. Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said in a blog post for the next 10 days Windows 10 users can take advantage of the promotion, which will over offer over 1,000 movies, music, applications and games for 10 cents each.

Windows 10 telemetry: Time for a level playing field

When, why and how much diagnostic data Windows 10 sends back to Microsoft has been a source of considerable debate for the last couple of weeks. By default Windows 10 collects some data about how Windows and Windows apps are performing plus some additional details - such as about crashes, so-called telemetry data. (Calling all this 'telemetry data' makes it sound much more grand than it is, like the sort of information that would be sent back by a probe en route to a distant star, rather than the more humdrum details of why your PC crashed halfway through you writing a Facebook post.)

Microsoft to acquire data protection firm Secure Islands

Microsoft announced Monday that it has made a deal to acquire Secure Islands, an Israeli company that focuses on protecting companies' data. Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal. The acquisition will help Microsoft level up its Azure Rights Management Service, which lets companies protect files individually and in bulk with tools that ensure they aren't opened or modified by people who are unauthorized to do so. Secure Islands's services include data classification technology that automatically detects the creation of new files from a variety of sources and then applies a protection policy to it. 

Microsoft readying Windows 10 Store for Business

Microsoft is readying its promised Windows Store for Business for Windows 10, and has made available some initial information on the coming Store as of November 4. The Windows Store for Business is the portal for Windows 10 apps for business users. Microsoft officials first outlined the company's plans for a Windows 10 Store for Business in November 2014.

Microsoft to discontinue Windows 7 and 8.1 next November

Updated late October, Microsoft's "Windows lifecycle fact sheet" shows October 31, 2016, as the "end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled" for both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1, a change spotted by CNET sister site ZDNet. After that date, the only choice for consumers will be to purchase new computers with Windows 10 installed. The lone exception will be businesses with license agreements that entitle them to choose which version of Windows they want preinstalled.

Microsoft Announces Office 2016

Microsoft announced this morning the official launch date for the long-anticipated new version of Microsoft Office. Office 2016 will be broadly available starting on September 22, the company says. Meanwhile, Office Customers with volume licensing agreements will be able to download the software on October 1. The updated version of Office includes a number of new features for desktop customers, including the ability to co-edit documents at the same time, sync files to OneDrive in the cloud, and more.

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