Tag Archives: Microsoft

Ukrainian Government Asks Game Companies to Cut Off Russia



The Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted: from his verified account calling on Xbox and PlayStation to leave the Russian market. The tweet includes a screenshot of an official looking longer statement.

Mykhalio Federov tweeted: “You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market.”

Here is a piece of the statement, which was directed to all gaming companies and esports platforms:

…I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe, and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression – and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarius.

We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression…

In another tweet, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted: “@riotgames @EA @Ubisoft Gameloft @wargaming_net Right now russian troops are bombing Ukranian cities and killing Ukrainians. Please help us stop this. Close your offices in russia! There’s no place for aggressor on the global technological map!”

I find this interesting for several reasons. First of all, it isn’t common for government officials to call on gaming companies to close their offices in Russia via a couple of tweets. That said, I suppose that a person with the title “Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation in Ukraine” would be quite adept at using Twitter in this way.

Secondly, there is something to be said about the wrath of angry gamers! Unfortunately, some gamers, who decide they do not like something that was added to – or removed from – a video game, take to Twitter to complain about it to the game developers. Sometimes, they tweet rage directly at the company that makes that particular game.

One vivid example of this happened in-person at BlizzCon in 2018, after a group of Diablo players learned that Diablo Immortal would only be on phones or tablets, not on PC. They booed the people on the stage who announced it, mostly because that group of gamers only played on PC and were expecting the announcement of a highly anticipated Diablo game on PC.

If all of the gaming companies chose to follow through on Mykhalio Federov’s request, by closing their offices in Russia, preventing Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers from esports, and cancel their conferences, – there will definitely be some immediate pushback.


Microsoft Released Open App Store Principles



Microsoft posted information titled: “Adapting ahead of regulation: a principled approach to app stores”. It includes four commitments in four important areas. This could be seen as an attempt to appease regulators.

The four Open App Store Principles are:

Quality, Safety, Security & Privacy

  • We will enable all developers to access our app store as long as they meet reasonable and transparent standards for quality and safety.
  • We will continue to protect the consumers and gamers who use our app store, ensuring that developers meet our standards for security.
  • We will continue to respect the privacy of consumers in our app stores, giving them controls to manage their data and how it is used.

Accountability

  • We will hold our own apps to the same standards we hold competing apps.
  • We will not use any non-public information or data from our app store to compete with developer’s apps.

Fairness and Transparency

  • We will treat apps equally in our app store without unreasonable referencing or ranking of our apps or our business partners’ apps over others.
  • We will be transparent about rules for promotion and marketing in our app store and apply these consistently and objectively.

Developer Choice

  • We will not require developers in our app store to use our payment system to process in-app payments.
  • We will not require developers in our app store to provide more favorable terms in our app store than in other app stores
  • We will not disadvantage developers if they chose to use a payment processing system other than ours or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.
  • We will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their customers through their apps for legitimate business purposes, such as pricing terms and product or service offerings.

The New York Times described Microsoft’s efforts as a “charm offensive” in order to gain government approval for its $70 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard. The New York Times also noted that Microsoft pledges to continue to allow Activision’s major franchises, like Call of Duty, to be available on Sony PlayStation.

I find it interesting that Microsoft is not going to force game developers to use its payment systems for in-app payments. That is a big difference from Apple, who appears to strongly prefer that game developers use its payment system. Hopefully, Microsoft’s Open App Store Principles will prevent it from having to fight against a developer in court.


Microsoft and iFixit to Bring Official Tools to Independent Repairers



The Repair Association describes the Right to Repair this way: “It’s simple. You bought it, you should own it. Period. You should have the right to use it, modify it, and repair it, whenever, wherever, and however you want. It’s our mission to make sure you can. We fight for your right to fix.”

There is good news for people who want to fix their Microsoft products. Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, wrote the following in a post: iFixit Pro independent repairers, Microsoft Authorized Service Providers, Microsoft Experience Centers, and Microsoft Commercial customers can now purchase Microsoft service tools for Surface devices directly from iFixit.com.

Kyle Wiens also wrote: This program is launching with three tools, as well as weights and accessories, all designed by Microsoft and manufactured by iFixit. These tools enable precision debonding and rebonding of adhesive for select Microsoft Surface models and will undergo the same rigorous quality testing and attention to detail that we give to all of our products.

The three tools are:

  • The Surface Display Bonding Frame
  • The Surface Battery Cover
  • The Surface Display Debonding Tool

Windows Central reported that these tools are not available direct to consumers. However, it does allow companies besides Microsoft to repair consumer and enterprise Surface devices.

In other words, you will still need to take your Surface devices to a store and have someone there repair it for you. This might be easier than trying to send the damaged device to Microsoft and waiting for it to returned to you good as new. My best guess is that having the damaged device repaired by someone at iFixit would be less expensive than buying a brand new Surface.


Pentagon Announced New Cloud Initiative to Replace JEDI



The Pentagon announced a limited request for bids for a new cloud initiative that replaces the cancelled $10 billion, decade-long JEDI contract initiative, TechCrunch reported.

As you may recall, the JEDI contract was contentiously fought over by Microsoft and Amazon, even after the Pentagon announced that they had selected Microsoft. Eventually, the JEDI cloud contract was cancelled.

CNBC reported that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) said that the Defense Department has solicited bids on their new cloud initiative, called JWCC. It is known as Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. The Defense Department has solicited bids from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle for cloud contracts.

According to CNBC, the GSA announced the following: “The Government anticipates awarding two IDIQ contracts — one to Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) and one to Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) — but intends to award to all Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) that demonstrate the capability to meet DoD’s requirements.”

This is being handled differently than how things were handled with the JEDI contract. This new cloud initiative appears to have an interest in working with both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services – but also seems to want to award other CSPs that can demonstrate the capability that meets the Department of Defense’s requirements. The JEDI contract was “winner take all” and that led to some complaints when the DoD chose Microsoft over Amazon.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft and Amazon went to court over the decision, and the Pentagon got tired of it and decided to scrap the JEDI project altogether. As such, there is now a new cloud infrastructure project that appears to be interested in accepting both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services at the same time.

I cannot help but wonder if teams from those two companies will be able to work together, or if one will insist they are not being treated fairly. There is also the possibility that smaller CSPs, who don’t meet the DoD’s requirements, will end up going to court over this.


Microsoft Ignite Starts Today



Microsoft’s Ignite three day conference event starts today with a keynote presentation by CEO Satya Nadella on emerging trends and innovations for business transformation. Along with Envision, Build and Inspire, it’s one of several major conferences hosted by Microsoft each year.

Running from 2nd to 4th November, Ignite is aimed at IT professionals and developers. The event showcases development tools and provides bite-sized training and guidance on getting to grips with new technologies. In pre-pandemic times, it would have been an in-person event costing $$$$, but in the Covid-19 era it’s all on-line and best of all, it’s free to attend.

The overall theme this year is “Take the Lead” and within the conference, there are four streams this year, drawing on both the current environment and new approaches.

  1. Empower everyone for a new world of hybrid work
  2. Innovate anywhere from multicloud to edge
  3. Build a hyperconnected business
  4. Protect everything with end-to-end security

As expected, the programme is chock full of Microsoft goodness: Windows 11, Microsoft 365, Teams, Dynamics 365, Power BI, Azure and so on. There are sessions from beginner level to advanced. Everything from starting to code through to managing Linux endpoints.

I don’t get to program as much as did but I still enjoy keeping up to date with the art of the possible. Being online, it’s easy to drop in on the sessions of interest, and it’s a valuable resource if you’re thinking of a career change. There’s even digital swag, including backgrounds for phones, desktops and Teams, such as the one on the right.

The event starts at 0800 / PDT / 1100 EDT / 1500 GMT with the first keynote 15 minutes later. Last minute registration is still available at the Ignite site.


Microsoft Reversed .NET Change after Open Source Community Feedback



Microsoft reversed a decision to remove a key feature from its upcoming .NET 6 release, after public outcry from the open source community, The Verge reported. According to The Verge, Microsoft angered the .NET open source community earlier this week by removing a key part of the Hot Reload in the upcoming release of .NET, a feature that allows developers to modify source code while an app is running and immediately see the results.

The Verge reported that the .NET 6 feature was one many had been looking forward to in Visual Studio Code and across multiple platforms. Microsoft made what The Verge described a “a controversial last-minute decision to lock it to Visual Studio 2022, a mostly paid product that’s limited to Windows”.

Microsoft responded to the controversy on its Microsoft .NET blog. From the blog post, which was written by Director Program Management, .NET, Scott Hunter:

…First and foremost, we want to apologize. We made a mistake in executing on our decision and took longer than expected to respond back to the community. We have approved the pull request to re-enable this code path and it will be in the GA build of the .NET 6 SDK…

Scott Hunter also wrote: With the runway getting short for the .NET 6 release and Visual Studio 2022, we chose to focus on bringing Hot Reload VS2022 first. We made a mistake in executing this plan in the way it was carried out. In our effort to scope, we inadvertently ended up deleting the source code instead of just not invoking that code path. We underestimated the number of developers that are dependent upon this capability in their environments across scenarios, and how the CLI was being used alongside Visual Studio to drive inner loop productivity by many…

The Verge provided more details. They asked Microsoft to comment on the fact that an executive ordered the change, but the company didn’t want to discuss the controversial decision. “We have taken steps to address the issue that some of our OSS community members have experienced,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “Hot Reload capability will be in the general availability of the .NET 6 SDK available on November 8th.

So, which is it? Did an executive at Microsoft order the change to .NET 6? Or was the removal of .NET 6 a mistake that Microsoft did not intend to make? There is no clear answer.

It appears that one of the controversies here is that the .NET Foundation is an “organization established to support an innovative, commercially friendly, open-source ecosystem around the .NET platform.” The .NET Foundation was incorporated by Microsoft on March 31, 2014 to improve open-source software development and collaboration with the .NET Framework.

It seems to me that a Foundation that is focused on improving open-source software development with the .NET Framework would disagree with Microsoft’s “mistake” that put the .NET 6 feature behind a paywall.


Microsoft aims to save the oceans with new mouse



The environment is on almost everyone’s mind these days. It’s hard to ignore when it keeps reminding us with things like one-hundred-year storms every couple of years and going through the Latin alphabet and into the Greek one while naming storms during one season. 

Most of us try to be conscious of what we do with waste and watch our energy consumption, but the giant garbage pit of the Pacific doesn’t shrink any. There has to be things we can do about it, right? 

Now Microsoft claims to be putting some of that waste to use as part of a new mouse. The shell of the new peripheral is made of twenty percent ocean-recycled plastic and the pack is from one hundred percent recycled material. 

The plastic outer part of the body uses a resin with recycled material made from plastic trash that is recovered from our oceans. The plastic waste then gets turned into pellets, which are eventually blended in with the other materials that make up the outer layer of the mouse. 

The mouse is available now for pre-order, priced at $24.99, and will begin shipping on October 5th.