Microsoft news recap: Skype outage, Office 2016, China, and more

Microsoft news recap is a new weekly feature highlighting the top Microsoft news stories of the past week. Sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy the read! Let us know in the comments section if you would like to see this particular recap every week!

At the start of the week, we learned that Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against software recycling firm Global Electronics Recycling  for improper disposal of its Office software. The Arizona-based recycling company reportedly unknowingly allowed as many as 10 employees to steal 70 thousand copies of Office 2010 meant for disposal, which went on to be sold on the black markets. The company and its owners Danny and Gary Kirkpatrick are liable for the copyrights damage, according to Microsoft’s lawsuit.

Skype faced a massive outage this week, with frustrated users unable to log into the service or use it. Turns out, a “larger-than-usual” configuration change was the culprit, causing some versions of Skype to disconnect users from the network. Microsoft offered an apology shortly after the services were restored. “No matter how quickly we were able to resolve this issue, it would not have been quick enough. We know many of you needed to use Skype during the outage, and finding that you couldn’t would have been incredibly frustrating. We are extremely sorry for any inconvenience caused to our users, and appreciate your patience while we addressed the issue.”

Familiar with Amiibo? Nintendo’s hugely successful figure-slash-interactive-toys that are all the rage these days? Well it looks like the market has caught Microsoft’s attention, as it filed a patent for a similar device. The patent, filed in April and published on September 17,  feature a device akin smart bracelet or accessory, consisting of a “connecting element” and “two or more smart beads” which are user-re-arrangeable. Each smart bead will have its own ID and data storage, and can presumably interact with some sort of base, similar to how Nintendo’s Amiibos work with Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. No word if Microsoft actually has something planned in this arena.

Office 2016 was released this past week, and you can read our hands-on review right here. Alongside the Windows release, Microsoft is also rolling out Office 2016 for Mac, which brings the same much needed features over to the Apple platform.

Microsoft and Baidu have partnered up to deliver a local Windows 10 experience in China. In other words, Baidu.com will become the default homepage and search for Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 (at least in China). Chinese President Xi Jinping, First Lady Peng Liyuan and other high-profile Chinese executives also visited Microsoft’s Redmond campus this past week, talking about the importance of a global partnership between the US and China. After the welcoming session, the visitors were taken on a tour around the Redmond campus, where they met with executives, watched tech demos and potentially had a hands-on with Microsoft’s most game-changing product in recent years, the HoloLens. Interestingly enough, while this get together was occurring, China’s government debuted NeoKylin OS, a Windows XP clone.

Do you know who Brad Anderson is? He is the Corporate VP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. Our very own Kip Kniskern had lunch with him and it was on video. Check it out below.

Expect to see two new Microsoft Stores opening up in the United States in November. International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa, Florida, and the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania are the two new locations. You can check out the details here.

A few years ago, Microsoft applied for a patent of a 3D cube-based user interface element based on its Live Tile theory. The patent covered a cube based Live Tile that could rotate in 3-dimensional space and house smaller cubes or subfolders within the larger Live Tile. Microsoft has now been granted this patent and we wonder if the company plans to do anything with it.

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Were you affected by the Skype outage? Have you made the move to Office 2016?