This week has been quite interesting in the world of Microsoft. We’ve covered a lot over the past week and chances are you most likely missed an important piece of news. Let’s take a look back in a feature we call “Weekend Recap,” highlighting the popular stories from the past week.
This past week, Microsoft showcased a video that highlights how one can update to the new Lumia Denim update. In the United States, Verizon was on a roll this past week, having released Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 to the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928, as well as rolling out a firmware update for the HTC One M8 for Windows. The Blu Win HD and Blu Win JR also received Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 this past week. In China, Lumia Denim was rolled out to various handsets. ‘Hey Cortana’ hands-free voice activation was also demoed on video, giving us a taste of what Lumia Denim offers.
Fitbit for Windows Phone received a big update this past week, offering a visual overhaul and various other improvements. Rdio, Lumia Storyteller, Shazam, and Plex also received big updates this past week. Flipboard for Windows Phone received a minor update, adding support for 512MB devices. Netflix received an update, adding Cortana integration. BBM for Windows Phone was also updated, introducing timed messages, stickers, BBM shop, and more.
Microsoft announced that it had sold its MixRadio service to the popular messaging company LINE. You may remember that Microsoft itself acquired MixRadio from Nokia as part of the deal to transfer the phone manufacturer’s Devices & Services division to Microsoft.
Microsoft and Sprint announced that Sprint is bringing the first Windows Phone 8.1 device to Sprint’s network in the form of the Lumia 635, coming first with pre-paid plans to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, two Sprint companies.
Microsoft also announced new carrier billing additions for app purchases in China, India, and Brazil. On top of that, Verizon Wireless has added Windows Phone to the platform it supports with carrier billing.
6snap, a popular Snapchat app, has been removed from the Windows Phone Store, along with several other third-party Snapchat apps. No formal explanation has been given from Snapchat. If you were waiting for it, Rovio’s Angry Birds Stella arrived in the Windows Phone Store. And finally, a new rumor claims that the Lumia 435 will launch as another entry-level smartphone from Microsoft.
Microsoft Azure Backup is now available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Azure Backup is a fast and reliable way to backup your data to the cloud. Earlier this week, VirnetX and Microsoft signed a settlement agreement and extended their license agreement over their patent infringement lawsuit regarding Skype.
While in the holiday spirit, Microsoft visited the TODAY show and donated $2 million to NBC-sponsored charities and non-profit companies serving America’s youth, earlier this week. Microsoft Stores also donated 200 HP Stream Windows tablets as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark program.
Microsoft is rumored to be developing a VR Headset for unveiling at E3 next June, however this is pegged as a huge rumor until more details surface. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Microsoft no longer needed to display the ‘Browser Choice’ for European users
Microsoft CTO Mark Russinovich took part in a special interview to discuss and explain the November Azure global outage, hopefully explaining and convincing Azure users that you can still trust Microsoft for your cloud computing needs.
After announcing its intentions earlier this year, Microsoft has confirmed to partners that its certification exams can now be taken online, and that the online exams are available to more than 20 countries outside the United States. This makes it a lot easier for partners to take the certification exams without having to travel to testing facilities.
Feature of the week
“2014 has been a momentous year for the operating system, arguably the most important since its inception. Amid a number of major developments, the completion of Microsoft’s Nokia purchase was undoubtedly the climax. With the closure of that deal, Windows Phone’s only major hardware champion and the source of over 90% of its devices vanished into the depths of Microsoft. Whether this will prove to be a positive or negative development in the long run is, as of this moment, impossible to tell. One thing that is sure, however, is that the press and the public are very keen to see what the future will bring.”
Top story of the week
“Looks like 6snap, a popular Snapchat app, has been removed from the Windows Phone Store, along with several other third-party Snapchat apps. No formal explanation has been given from Snapchat at this time, however, Rudy Huyn, the developer behind 6snap, has expressed his thoughts on the matter via Twitter.”
That’s all for this edition of Weekend Recap. Stay tuned for yet another exciting week of Microsoft news.