Tag: microsoft

Microsoft rejects handing over emails stored overseas

PCMag reports that Microsoft rejects handing over emails stored overseas in Ireland. A New York judge ordered the email data to be handed over to the US government, while the data is stored in Ireland. The emails were requested by the US government this summer. Judge Preska approved this request in a ruling in late July. However, the green light for the government to go ahead and get the emails off the Microsoft servers in Ireland was only given last Friday. The reason for this was to allow Microsoft time to appeal the ruling.

Microsoft rejects handing over emails stored overseas

A Microsoft datacenter in Dublin, Ireland

The reason Microsoft refuses to hand over the emails is privacy. This is noted by Microsoft chief privacy officer Brendon Lynch in a blog article from August 27th. A quote from the article:

So far the courts have sided with the U.S. government, but we are appealing the latest decision. This case could have important implications outside the U.S.  Other governments could demand emails held in datacenters outside their jurisdiction. In fact, earlier this month the British government passed a law asserting its right to require tech companies to produce emails stored anywhere in the world. This would include emails stored in the U.S. by Americans who have never been to the UK.

Brendo points to Microsoft’s Digital Constitution website which shows a timeline of events, posts and surveys about the situation and how Microsoft is responding to the situation.

Microsoft is not alone in its stance on privacy online: other large technology corporations including Cisco and Apple support the company’s vision. This can be found on the ‘what others are saying‘ page on the Digital Constitution website.

Modern technology can be both a blessing and a curse for people and corporations. While it enables to communicate with everyoen everywhere, and find all the information on any subject, however obscure, it also poses security and privacy issues. While some laws and regulations have been updated over the years, legislation in general is lagging behind technology developments.

In the case of Microsoft’s refusal to hand over the emails, I believe Microsoft has a strong point when it comes to trust. If trust in a company is lost by its customers, can it ever be rewon when it comes to online services like email?

Source: PCmag

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Scroogled followup: Pawn Stars and Chromebook

microsoft-google-chromebook-scroogled-gmail-pawn-starsRemember the Scroogled campaign in which Microsoft ridicules Google’s way of showing ads on Gmail content?

Well, there’s a new episode in that saga (or drama). You’d though we were past this finally, but no, apparently Microsoft can’t get enough of it yet.


There’s a Pawn Stars inspired Scroogled video over at Bing video which shows the following:

Well ain’t that great. A woman holding a Chromebook takes it into the Gold & Silver pawn shop. Rick Harrison, one of the Pawn Stars stars, asks why the woman thinks it’s worth a ticket to Hollywood. Rick calls it a brick in a behind the scenes scene after that. He then goes on that it’s not a real laptop, as real ones have Office and iTunes that work offline.

I guess it’s time someone woke Microsoft up and told them this Scroogled campaign isn’t doing themselves a favor. First there was the Gmail man, then there was a Scroogled website. It’s all becoming pretty childish and lame – it was like that already from the beginning.

A quote from a post on Marketingland about this:

Again, there haven’t been a lot of horror stories about Chromebook phoning home about everything you do. Certainly the Chrome browser will fetch ahead for certain types of content; I’m fairly sure that Internet Explorer does the same.

If we’re talking ads, Windows 8 has new giant “Hero Ads” that show up baked into the operating system, an extension of other ad options in Windows 8 that people can buy. You can’t buy ads baked into Chromebooks. You just get them the old-fashioned way — in your browser.

At least Google sold a Chromebook to Microsoft for this Scroogled video, that’s a win.

Talking about sales, here’s how the Chromebook has been doing, for instance for Acer:

By January 2013, Acer’s Chromebook sales were being driven by “heavy Internet users with educational institutions”, and the platform represented 5-10 percent of the company’s U.S. shipments, according to Acer president Jim Wong. He called those numbers sustainable, contrasting them with low Windows 8 sales which he blamed for a slump in the market. Wong said that the company would consider marketing Chromebooks to other developed countries, as well as to corporations. He noted that although Chrome OS is free to license for hardware vendors, it has required greater marketing expenditure than Windows, offsetting the licensing savings.[99]

Over the summer of 2013 sales of Chromebooks increased to 3.3% of the market, while sales of Windows and Apple laptops declined. Between June 30 to September 7, 2013 computer sales in general were down with chromebooks the only category that were increasing, with 175,000 units sold.

So wait, in a market plagued by tablet and smartphone sales, Chromebooks were the only type of laptops increasing sales? Hmm, they must be bad indeed. Or is Microsoft just Miscroogsofting us? That sales info came from the Chromebook Wikipedia page.

See the Scroogled – Pawn Stars video here, titled ‘Want laptop value? Know what to look for.’

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Just 25% of Yahoo crew use Yahoo Mail, internal memo says

yahoo-mail-webmail-clientYou may remember the update that rolled out for Yahoo Mail not too long ago. Reception wasn’t too great with the users. Bad design and slow, confusing users is not what you’d want from a webmail client. Tabs got removed too, and replaced by a multitask feature.

But now things have gone from bad to worse for Yahoo Mail. Kara Swisher posted at AllthingsD that she obtained an internal memo concerning Yahoo Mail. Apparently, just 25% of the Yahoo crew uses Yahoo Mail. The rest of them still stick with Outlook. This is painful: there’s the saying ‘eat your own dog food’, meaning if you don’t use your own products or services, why should others outside your company do so?

This comes at a bad time for Yahoo Mail, which already saw a revamping late last year. Later on in April this year a new Yahoo Mail app was released for both Android and iOS tablets.

A quote from the internal memo, sent by Jeff Bonforte, SVP Communications Products and Randy Roumillat, CIO:

Earlier this year we asked you to move to Yahoo Mail for your corporate email account. 25% of you made the switch (thank you). But even if we used the most generous of grading curves (say, the one from organic chemistry), we have clearly failed in our goal to move our co-workers to Yahoo Mail.

And about leaving Outlook for Yahoo Mail:

First, it doesn’t feel like we are asking you to abandon some glorious place of communications nirvana. At this point in your life, Outlook may be familiar, which we can often confuse with productive or well designed. Certainly, we can admire the application for its survival, an anachronism of the now defunct 90s PC era, a pre-web program written at a time when NT Server terrorized the data center landscape with the confidence of a T-Rex born to yuppie dinosaur parents who fully bought into the illusion of their son’s utter uniqueness because the big-mouthed, tiny-armed monster infant could mimic the gestures of The Itsy-Bitsy Pterodactyl. There was a similar outcry when we moved away from Outlook’s suite-mates in the Microsoft Office dreadnaught. But whether it’s familiarity, laziness or simple stubbornness dressed in a cloak of Ayn Randian Objectivism, the time has come to move on, commrade.

Well, this all seems very well, but the internal memo would have a bit more weight if their own Yahoo Mail would be more appreciated and functioning like a webmail client should. Or in any case, any type of software should. All software should have one purpose: serve the user to get the job or task done asap, no hassle.

Full post on AllthingsD here.

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Microsoft Netherlands testing working without email

microsoft_netherlands2Microsoft Netherlands is starting an experiment which involves not using email at work. Both Microsoft employees, partners and suppliers are involved in the experiment. As a replacement for email, tools like an intranet, instant messaging and blogs will be used to communicate. Investigators will be testing how the productivity of the people involved will be affected.

According to Microsoft Netherlands spokeswoman Julie de Widt they’ve been trying out Yammer for about half a year now. The tool is being used for file sharing and discussions. However, other platforms like Twitter are used as well, as is Sharepoint, their own collaboration tool, she notes.

People who communicate with customers a lot will still be using email. Internally however, they can be forced to use other means of communications.

The employees of Microsoft Netherlands feel that email is quite a strain on their daily work lives, and doesn’t help productivity. de Widt notes that she’s working at home for a day to trim down the 330 unread emails.

Back in November 2011, Atos France announced it would be quiting email for its 70,000+ employees. Earlier in 2013 it was noted that Atos employees can spend up to two days per week just on handling email.


Computable (Google Translate) / Original Computable article (Dutch)

Hotmail accounts all switching to Outlook.com by this summer

Microsoft has noted on the official Outlook Blog that all current Hotmail accounts that have not switched to Outlook.com yet will be upgraded by this summer.

In the past six months since its introduction, Outlook.com has grown to an impressive amount of 60 million people actively using the webmail client.




The blog post further notes that the Outlook.com team had a certain vision for the new client:

  • Delivering a beautiful, fresh and intuitive experience on modern browsers and devices
  • Keeping people connected to their friends and co-workers across the networks they really use
  • Providing a smart and powerful inbox to handle today’s email needs, including SkyDrive for sharing virtually anything in a single email
  • Putting people in control by prioritizing their privacy

The team has been happy to see people connect their accounts to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as receiving feedback on getting fewer ads and see them replaced with updates from the aforementioned social networks.


Another interesting bit is about the typical Outlook.com inbox contents: about 80% of that inbox consists of newsletters and commercial email, quite a large portion! To keep inboxes manageable, the Sweep function (cleaning up old(er) messages automatically) is noted to be well used and well received by users.

If you haven’t upgraded your Hotmail account to Outlook.com yet, you now know it will happen automatically by this summer. The old Hotmail served us well all those years, right?


Read the full post with more details on the Outlook Blog here.

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