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Microsoft launches Outlook.com, begins phasing out Hotmail

Microsoft Outlook.com Email Released

Microsoft (MSFT) is giving its email application a much-needed makeover. On Tuesday Microsoft’s Outlook Blog took the wraps off of Outlook.com, a new online email portal that cleans up the traditional inbox user interface and adds several social networking features to the mix. On the inbox side, Outlook.com automatically detects emails that are newsletters and puts them into their own separate folder while also giving users the option to easily stop receiving newsletters with a one-click “unsubscribe” button. The new inbox also allows for message “sweep” operations where Outlook will only keep the very latest message from a given sender and will delete all previously sent messages.  

On the social networking side, Outlook.com syncs up with most of the usual suspects including Facebook (FB),Twitter and LinkedIn, and also updates contact information whenever anyone changes information in their Facebook or Twitter profile. Outlook.com also automatically filters all social networking emails detailing status updates into their own specific folder thus further eliminating inbox clutter without any additional user input. Outlook has incorporated Facebook’s instant messaging system as well, so users can connect through IM with their Facebook friends directly from their inboxes.  Read More

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OS X Mountain Lion now available for US$20

 

The Reminders app is one of the new features on OS X that first appeared on the iOS platform.
(Credit: Jason Parker/CNET)

 

Apple has rolled out its latest operating system for Mac computers–Mountain Lion. The 4GB software update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for US$19.99 and will come preinstalled on new Mac systems.

Also known as OS X 10.8, it is an incremental update that, nevertheless, boasts 200 new features, many of which will be familiar to users of Apple’s iOS devices. They include Notifications, improved iCloud integration, Messages app and Game Center. You can read CNET’s full review of Mountain Lion here, which found it a “worthy upgrade for the lowered price of US$19.99”.

Some older computers are not supported by the new OS, though there’s apparently a workaround for Intel-based Mac Pros that involves upgrading the graphics cards and using an emulated firmware. Do note that this hack is not guaranteed to work perfectly and it cannot be used on Apple laptops, as the graphics cards on these machines cannot be changed.   Read More

Windows 8 Release Preview debuts

Microsoft today posted the Windows 8 Release Preview for public download, the last major milestone before the final release of the operating system, which will be the biggest change for the widely used software since the landmark Windows 95 release.

The company also confirmed that it will roll out a Windows Upgrade Offer starting June 2, letting anyone who buys a Windows 7 PC prior to the Windows 8 final release upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 when the new operating system comes out.

Microsoft still isn’t saying when it plans to release the final version of Windows 8. (Msnbc is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The company had promised to issue the Release Preview in early June, so it’s staying ahead of schedule. In a blog post announcing the Release Preview, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky said the Release Preview brings hundreds of new and updated apps. They include new apps from Microsoft Bing for Travel, News and Sports, as well as third-party apps available through the Windows Store.  Read More

Mozilla accuses Microsoft of anticompetitive behavior with Windows RT

Mozilla yesterday accused Microsoft of withholding APIs necessary to build a competitive browser for Windows RT, and said the behavior “may have antitrust implications.”

Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s general counsel, and Asa Dotzler, director of Firefox, weighed in with the accusations late Wednesday in a pair of blog posts.

Anderson warned that Microsoft’s decision to allow only Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) in one mode of Windows RT “signal[s] an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.”

Dotlzer was more direct. “Microsoft is trying to lock out competing browsers when it comes to Windows running on ARM chips,” he said.

Their beef stems from Microsoft’s decision to deny other browser makers, including Mozilla, access to APIs (application programming interfaces) necessary to run a browser on Windows RT’s conventional desktop.

Windows RT — the edition for ARM processors — will offer a Metro mode that features touch-based apps available from the Windows Store. But it also includes a heavily-restricted “desktop” mode that will run only Microsoft code.

Among the software that will run on the Windows RT desktop — Microsoft hasn’t given that mode a specific name — will be new versions of Office’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; the Windows Explorer file manager; and a “desktop” edition of Internet Explorer 10 (IE10).  Read More

Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined

Windows Live was first announced on November 1st, 2005, and in our press release we described it as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.”  Since that time, we’ve been hard at work building software and services that deliver that promise, a foundation that we could rely on as we designed new versions of Windows as well as other Microsoft products. We’ve received lots of feedback about features and ways we could improve the software and services. And we’ve also received some feedback about the naming and marketing we have done. Windows 8 is a chance for us to act on that feedback and reintroduce you to the broadest and most widely used collection of services on the Internet.

Today, Windows Live services are used by over 500 million people every month.  There has been a lot of discussion recently on what constitutes an “active” user of a service; for the purposes of this post this term refers to people who use Hotmail, SkyDrive, or Messenger at least once a month, meaning they send email, use instant messaging, or upload files to SkyDrive.

These services run at massive scale – Hotmail is the world’s leading web email service, with 350 million active users and 105 petabytes of storage; Messenger is the world’s leading instant messaging service, with 300 million active users, and SkyDrive has over 130 million users with 17 million of these uploading files every month. Windows Live Essentials applications are among the most popular applications in their categories on Windows – including Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker, leading in photo management and video editing, and Windows Live Mail, second only to Microsoft Outlook in mail apps.  Read More

Is Evernote the next billion-dollar company?

Evernote, which makes a popular app for taking and keeping notes, has raised a $100 million round of funding led by Meritech, according to a Business Insider story.

The story reports that the funding round would value Evernote at $1 billion. TechCrunch counters that the round has not closed and that the numbers may end up being different. Everynote has raised $95.5 million to date in four venture rounds; the last was $50 million.

Evernote reports 20 million users of its product over several major computing platforms: Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, and others. The product is sold in the U.S. on the freemium model; it’s free to use, with some features and capacity limits raised for paying customers. In Japan, where Evernote is also popular, it is also sold in retail stores. Read More

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