Microsoft Monday: Windows Vista Support Ends Soon, Creators Update Early Access, Xbox Transcriptions – Forbes

Terry Myerson, EVP of the Windows and Devices Group, unveiling the Windows 10 Creators Update in New York. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Microsoft)

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about Windows Vista support dropping, early access for the Windows 10 Creators Update, Teams receiving positive reviews, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman joining the board of directors and much more!

Microsoft To Drop Support For Windows Vista

On April 11, Microsoft will be ending its support for the Windows Vista operating system. The Windows Vista operating system, which former CEO Steve Ballmer candidly described as his “biggest mistake,” was originally released back in November 2006.

“After April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences,” says Microsoft on a support page.

Windows Vista was one of the biggest victims of Apple’s “Get A Mac” campaign. In the ads, Apple specifically criticized Windows Vista’s security features and technical problems.

According to NetMarketshare, Windows Vista can only be found on 0.78% of the machines it tracks whereas the older Windows XP operating system has an 8.45% desktop market share. And Windows XP actually stopped being supported in 2014.

Microsoft Is Now Offering Early Access For Windows 10 Creators Update 

Last week, Microsoft released an update for Windows 10 called KB 4013429 — which includes patches for several bugs. This update was actually expected last month. Interestingly the update contains an option to sign up for early access to the Windows 10 Creators Update.

You can sign up for early access by opening Settings and clicking on “Update & security.” Then click on “Check for updates,” which will restart your computer. After the update is installed, open up “Update & security” under Settings again and there should be a message that says “Good news! The Windows 10 Creators Update is on its way. Want to be one of the first to get it?” Tap on the message below that says “Yes show me how” and that should pull up a thank you page in Microsoft Edge where this confirmation message will appear:

Thank you for your interest in being one of the first to experience the Windows 10 Creators Update! We’re finalizing the update and will be ready to share it with you soon. When the update is ready for your device, you’ll receive a notification asking you to review your privacy settings before downloading the update.

Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco And Apple Supports Google In Legal Battle

Microsoft, Apple, Cisco and Amazon are supporting Google by filing an amicus brief in a case where a Pennsylvania court ruled the search giant had to provide emails stored overseas as demanded by an FBI warrant. Amicus briefs are legal filings written by individuals or companies that have an interest in the subject without any sort of direct involvement.

“When a warrant seeks email content from a foreign data center, that invasion of privacy occurs outside the United States — in the place where the customers’ private communications are stored, and where they are accessed, and copied for the benefit of law enforcement, without the customer’s consent,” says the amicus brief in this case via BusinessInsider.

Google is fighting the order and argued: “Our sister nations clearly view US warrants directing service providers to access, copy, and transmit to the United States data stored on servers located within their territory as an extraterritorial act on the part of the US government.”

The case will depend on how the court interprets the US Stored Communications Act (SCA). For example, there is a debate as to whether the SCA covers data stored outside of the U.S. The tech companies believe that should be up for Congress to decide. The brief also cited a case that Microsoft won in January. In that case, Microsoft did not have to turn over emails of a non-US citizen stored on Irish servers.

Microsoft Teams Has Been Receiving Positive Reviews

Microsoft Teams is a new application that allows users to chat with their colleagues in the form of threaded text updates, audio clips and video chats. These features are supported in the form of 1:1 communication and groups. Microsoft Teams was officially released last week and it has been receiving positive reviews . 

Teams is a “strong answer for Slack, at least for the large enterprises and small businesses on Office 365 accounts,” said USA Today in a report. “Teams is an intelligent, free and well-thought out offering that pressures the competition to do anything but slack off.”

And Devindra Hardawar of Engadget has called Teams “Microsoft’s most intriguing productivity app yet.” Hardawar also pointed out that Microsoft will be integrating bots and app connections to Teams such as Growbot and Trello. These software integrations will be built into tabs at the top of the Teams user interface.

Interactions that take place in Teams are also integrated into other Microsoft products. Files that are shared in Teams are saved in SharePoint and can be viewed/edited in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Teams is available for more than 85 million monthly Office 365 users. Over 50,000 organizations started using Teams ever since a preview version launched in November including Accenture, Deloitte, Expedia and J.B. Hunt. Teams is currently being promoted for businesses, but Microsoft has an education version in the pipeline. Currently, Microsoft Teams is available in 181 markets and 19 languages. Teams syncs across the web and its apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Energizer Xbox One Battery Charger Gets Recalled

Energizer’s double controller battery rechargers for the Xbox One — which is known as the Xbox One 2X Smart Charger — has been recalled due to overheating issues. There have been some cases where the issue caused the plastic cover to melt.

According to MSPowerUser, about 130,810 Xbox One 2X Smart Charger units have been sold across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The recall affects Xbox One 2X Smart Charger models that have “048-052-NA” printed at the bottom. If you have a defective unit, contact PDP at 1-800-263-1156 between 10 AM to 4 PM PT and request a refund.

LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Joins Microsoft’s Board Of Directors

Last year, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Prior to the acquisition, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was serving as the chairman of the professional social network. And now he will be taking a position as a board member at Microsoft.

“Just as I participated in a material way in the development of key LinkedIn initiatives such as LinkedIn China, our ProFinder professional services platform, and the acquisition and strategic development of our educational platform, Lynda.com, I will play an ongoing and comprehensive role in LinkedIn as it continues to grow,” said Hoffman in a blog post. “I’m also looking forward to getting to know employees who have been doing important work at Microsoft and, in particular, working closely with Satya who’s done a terrific job in his first 3 years as CEO.”

Hoffman’s decision to join the LinkedIn board of directors was based on conversations that took place between him, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. Hoffman wanted to remain involved at LinkedIn post-acquisition and this was a great way of doing it.

LinkedIn was co-founded by Hoffman in 2002 and was CEO until 2009. Hoffman is also a partner at venture capital company Greylock Partners where he will continue to work. Before LinkedIn, Hoffman served as an EVP and COO at PayPal.

Microsoft Outlook For iOS Now Has A Shared Calendars Feature

Microsoft has added a shared calendar feature to Outlook for iOS. This feature allows users to see events that their contacts are sharing. The Shared Calendars can be viewed by tapping on the settings wheel next to the calendar name. And the Shared Calendars feature lets you see the default permissions that other users in the same organization have.

In-Game Chat Transcriptions Gets Added To Windows 10 And Xbox One

Microsoft has added a new speech-to-text and text-to-speech feature to Halo 2. The voice transcription service for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC games is currently in public beta. According to PCWorld, there are three voices available for usage: David, Mark and Zira. This feature is especially beneficial for people that are hard of hearing or are unable to speak during gaming sessions due physical inabilities or due to a lack of microphone.

Currently this feature is available on Halo 2, but Microsoft plans to add this feature to other games soon. If you have Halo 2, then you can enable the feature by going to Settings > All settings > Ease of Access > Game Chat Transcription on the Xbox One. Or go to Settings > General > Game chat transcription on the Xbox app on a Windows 10 PC.

Microsoft Has Been Blocking Windows 7 And 8 Updates On Devices With Newer Processors

According to Forbes contributor Ian Morris, Microsoft has been blocking Windows 7 and 8 updates on devices powered by the Intel seventh generation Core i3, i5 and i7 (Kaby Lake), AMD’s Ryzen (Bristol Ridge) and Qualcomm’s 8996 processors. The devices powered by these processors would need to be upgraded to Windows 10 to be eligible for software updates.

Morris pointed out the problem appears when attempting to run a Windows Update with one of those devices running on an older Microsoft operating system. The error messages say: “Windows could not search for new updates” and “Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.”

“As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement sent to Morris.

This is logical because the newer software will likely be buggy on older hardware. However, it seems like the message should be more clear about why the software updates cannot be implemented. Perhaps the message should say: “This update is not compatible with Windows 7.”

“What’s more, the wording is clear that this will be an ongoing thing. Of course Microsoft pledged that it would put an end big numeric updates to Windows. There will be, it says, no Windows 11,” wrote Morris. “But instead users will be updated to new versions of what I expect will become simply ‘Windows’ in the future. But what that does also mean is that if there are additional things added to Windows that you dislike, you won’t have any option to use an old version of Windows instead. While there will be user benefits to this strategy, it also means that Microsoft is taking away a measure of control from users.”

Bill Gates Meets With President Trump To Discuss Issues With Foreign Aid Cuts

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and richest man in the world, met with President Donald Trump today to discuss how he disagrees with the administration’s plan for foreign aid cuts. The two of them met for a private conversation at the White House.

“The foundation has a long history of working with officials on both sides of the aisle to pursue shared priorities like global health and development and domestic education,” said Gates Foundation spokeswoman Sarah Logan in a statement sent to Forbes’ Daniela Sirtori-Cortina prior to the meeting. “Bill will meet with members of the administration and congressional leaders to discuss the tremendous progress made to-date in these areas and the critical and indispensable role that the United States has played in achieving these gains.”

The Gates Foundation has donated over $32.9 billion towards global philanthropic initiatives. And in a compelling blog post, Gates pointed out the benefits of foreign aid. The blog post was in response to Trump’s release of the “America first” budget for the U.S. government, which would increase defense spending by $54 billion while foreign aid programs would drop 28.7% to $27.1 billion.

Microsoft Releases Migration Software For People Switching From Mac To Surface

Microsoft has released a tool called “Mac to Surface Assistant” (Download Link), which makes it easier to transfer documents and media files in the form of a zip file which could be properly deployed on a Surface device. Microsoft did not officially announce the new tool, but it was spotted anyway by WindowsCentral via Twitter user WalkingCat

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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