Microsoft has released 10 principles for their Microsoft Store on Windows 10. It appears to be done in response to Apple’s recent decisions regarding their App Store and Epic Games. Microsoft states that the 10 principles build on the ideas and work of the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) to promote choice, ensure fairness, and promote innovation on Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store on Windows 10.
The 10 principles include:
- Developers have the freedom to choose whether to distribute their apps for Windows through our app store. We will not block competing app stores on Windows.
- We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s business model or how it delivers content and services, including whether content is installed on a device or streamed from the cloud.
- We will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s choice of which payment system to use for processing purchases made in its app.
- We will give developers access to information about the interoperability interfaces we use on Windows, as set forth in our Interoperability Principles.
- Every developer will have access to our app store as long as it meets objective standards and requirements, including those for security, privacy, quality, content and digital safety.
- Our app store will charge reasonable fees that reflect the competition we face from other app stores on Windows and will not force a developer to sell within its app anything it doesn’t want to sell.
- Our app store will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their users through their apps for legitimate business purposes.
- Our app store will hold our own apps to the same standards to which it holds competing apps.
- Microsoft will not use any non-public information or data from its app store about a developer’s app to compete with it.
- Our app store will be transparent about its rules and policies and opportunities for promotion and marketing, apply these consistently and objectively, provide notice of changes and make available a fair process to resolve disputes.
There has been an ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple which started when Epic Games created a direct payment option in which Epic Games lowered the prices for consumers who used it. Apple responded by terminating the Epic Games account on the App Store.
Microsoft’s 10 principles are a clear signal to software developers that Microsoft is not going to make the kinds of decisions that Apple has been making. I think this is a good thing. However, as a Mac user, I have concerns that this will result in even fewer developers making their video games Mac-compatible.
ByteDance has selected Oracle as TikTok’s technology partner for its U.S. operations, The New York Times reported. This decision comes after President Trump issued an executive order that requires ByteDance to divest from its U.S. TikTok business withing 90 days (from the issuing of the order).
Microsoft released the following statement:
ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combating disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.
Politico reported that the exact value or structure of the deal between Oracle and TikTok was not immediately clear. Will Oracle own part or all of TikTok’s assets? According to Politico, a source familiar with the matter described Oracle as a technology partner to TikTok and did not describe the transaction as a sale.
From this, it appears that ByteDance has potentially fulfilled at least part of President Trump’s executive order. ByteDance could be in the process of divesting from its US business with TikTok, and might able to do it before the deadline of September 20.
Another part of the executive order requires TikTok to destroy all data that was obtained from the application in the United States. If TikTok has not been outright sold to Oracle, I cannot help but wonder which company is going to be held responsible if that data is not destroyed.
Microsoft warns that it has detected cyberattacks targeting people and organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election. This includes unsuccessful attacks on people associated with both the Trump and Biden campaigns.
The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as had been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported. We also report here on attacks against other institutions and enterprises worldwide that reflect similar adversary activity.
Microsoft has observed:
- Strontium, operating from Russia, has attacked more than 200 organizations including political campaigns, advocacy groups, parties and political consultants
- Zirconium, operating from China, has attacked high-profile individuals associated with the election, including people associated with the Joe Biden for President campaign and prominent leaders in the international affairs community.
- Phosphorus, operating from Iran, has continued to attack the personal accounts of people associated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.
Microsoft believes that more federal funding is needed in the U.S. so states can better protect their election infrastructure. The company encourages Congress to move forward with additional funding to the states and provide them with what they need to protect the vote and our democracy.
Based on what Microsoft observed, it would be a good idea to stay vigilant when online. Shenanigans are happening that could affect the outcome of the upcoming election. We all need to take a step back and question election-related social media posts before spreading what might be misinformation from a foreign country.
Microsoft has officially announced the Xbox Series S after someone leaked information about it, Engadget reported. The Xbox Series S will be priced at $299 (ERP) and will be released on November 10, 2020.
In a tweet, the Xbox Twitter account announced: “Let’s make it official! Xbox Series S | Nex-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever. $299 (ERP). Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise.”
Xbox has also posted the “Xbox Series S – World Premier Reveal Trailer” on YouTube. the Xbox Twitter account announced: “Let’s make it official! Xbox Series S | Nex-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever. $299 (ERP). Looking forward to sharing more! Soon. Promise.”
Xbox has also posted the “Xbox Series S – World Premier Reveal Trailer” on YouTube. The trailer is about a minute and a half long. It starts very artsy, with the Xbox S appearing to form itself before the viewer’s eyes. It also provides some details about the Xbox Series S.
- Next-Gen Performance in the smallest Xbox ever
- Nearly 60% smaller than Xbox Series X
- Next-Gen Speed
- Custom NVME SSD powered by Xbox Velocity Architecture
- Incredibly fast load times
- Seamless game switching
- All digital gaming experience
- Next-Gen frame rates up to 120FPS
- Better with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
- Play over 100 high quality games
- Games optimized for next gen
- 1440P at up to 120 FPS
- DirectX Raytracing
- Variable rate shading
- Variable refresh rate
- Ultra-low latency
- Custom S12 GB SSD
- 4K Streaming Media Playback
- 4K Upscaling for games
Engadget pointed out that (according to reports) both the Series S and Series X will be available to buy on November 10th. Series S could be offered as part of a $25-per-month Xbox All Access financing option. The Xbox Series X will reportedly cost $499 and be made available via a $35-per-month Xbox All Access financing option.
I think Microsoft made a good decision to release this information shortly after it had been leaked. Doing so reduces the chance of people making assumptions about the veracity of the leaked information. It also gives consumers time to consider whether the Series S or Series X is the best choice for them.
The ongoing drama between Amazon and the Department of Defense about the JEDI contract continues, after a pause in August. Today, the Department of Defense announced that it has re-evaluated its decision to award the JEDI Cloud to Microsoft, and reaffirmed that decision.
The Department has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft’s proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government. The JEDI Cloud contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that will make a full range of cloud computing services available to the DoD. While contract performance will not begin immediately due to the Preliminary Injunction Order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on February 13, 2020, DoD is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform.
Amazon does not appear to have accepted that outcome. The company posted a response explaining why they will continue to protest what they have described as a “politically corrupted contract award”.
Amazon feels that the review by the Department of Defense “was nothing more than a ‘do-over’ for Microsoft to fix its non-compliant proposal.” Amazon also complains that the Department of Defense cited price as a major factor in the previous decision, and Amazon feels that it offered a lower price than Microsoft did.
Personally, I doubt that Amazon’s decision to continue fighting against the Department of Defense’s choice to go with Microsoft is going to change anything. I find it incomprehensible that Amazon wants to sink more time and effort into something that is unlikely to go their way. But, this is the “hill they want to die on”, and Amazon clearly intends to keep pushing.
Microsoft announced that Xbox Series X will launch in November of this year. No specific date was given, but its more information than we had before. In December of 2019, all we knew was it would available “holiday 2020”. That’s the good news.
The bad news, for Halo fans, is that the release of Halo Infinite has been shifted to 2021. Studio Head of Halo Infinite, Chris Lee, posted information on the Halo website.
The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year. I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.
Microsoft points out that when Xbox Series X launches in November, it will have thousands of games to play, spanning four generations. It will also have 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles. On day one, it will have:
- More than 50 games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Gears Tactics, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
- New games developed for Xbox Series X and launching with Xbox Game Pass, including The Medium, Scorn, Tetris Effect: Connected, and more.
- More than 40 popular games newly optimized to take full advantage of Xbox Series X, such as Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Madden NFL 21, and more.
- A shared library of great games through Xbox Games Pass.
It is reasonable that those who were really looking forward to the release of Halo Infinite will be disappointed that it is being delayed. They might be able to find something fun to play while they wait. If nothing else, the delay gives them something to look forward to in a world where COVID-19 has made things very stressful.
Microsoft really wants players to use Xbox Series X (but is not going to force them into it). Instead, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer laid out several advantages that Xbox Series X has over previous Xbox consoles in post titled: “You Are the Future of Gaming”. One of the enticements described in that post is an enhancement to the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
Finally, today we’re announcing that this September, in supported countries, we’re bringing Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud together at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet. And because Xbox Live connects across devices, you can play along with nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world…
The Verge reported that Microsoft is planning to launch a game streaming service that is currently called Project xCloud for free to paying Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. In short, the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combines Xbox Live access, a Xbox Game Pass subscription, and (starting in September) xCloud game streaming into a single $14.99 monthly subscription.
Another really cool thing about the Xbox Series X is that you will be able to play four generations of games on it on day one. Microsoft says that makes it the largest lineup for any new console ever, with thousands of games to play. Their intent is for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console.
I haven’t played on a console in a long time. But, back in the day, I found myself really annoyed when a newer version of a console would come out because it typically meant the games I was enjoying would not function on the newer console. Adding backwards compatibility is a fantastic idea, especially because it allows people to keep playing their favorite games.
The Microsoft post started off by emphasizing that they want to make the Xbox community safe, accessible, and welcoming. There’s a link to their community standards in the post. Microsoft says “harassment and hate take many forms, but none have a home on Xbox”. That’s good for players, and also for Microsoft. Players tend to leave gaming environments that become too toxic.