Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
August 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Skype is now available for Outlook.com users in six countries including the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
The service, a preview of which has been available since spring, is also now available in Germany, Brazil and France. Microsoft says it’s working to get Skype to other Outlook.com customers worldwide.
August 14, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Service outages have hit Outlook.com and SkyDrive, with some people unable to access their emails, get address book change notifications or access their files on SkyDrive.
The company, on its service status page, said it’s working on those problems and will have updates later today.
A statement from Microsoft said the outage are affecting “a small number” of customers.
[Update 12:10 p.m.: SkyDrive appears to be functioning normally again, according to Microsoft's service status page.]
[Update 2:15 p.m.: Regarding Outlook.com, Microsoft says in the service status page: "We identified a solution to the problem and have brought most services back online. The rest of services are being brought up gradually."
A statement sent from the company did not identify the cause of the problems. The statement goes on to say: "We have restored web access for all users but some people might still see issues with their mobile devices. We are working to restore full mobile access as quickly as possible."]
[Update 4:52 p.m.: Microsoft's service status page says: "Access to email through Outlook.com has been restored. We are currently working to resolve issues syncing email with your mobile device."
Still no word on the cause of the problems.]
July 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM
Microsoft calls on U.S. president, attorney general to let company divulge info on national security requests
Microsoft joined other tech companies in calling on the U.S. government to let the company reveal more information about it handles national security requests for customer information.
In a letter today, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder or President Obama to get personally involved, saying “the Constitution itself is suffering.”
Smith detailed requests Microsoft had made to be allowed to divulge more information — requests that were either denied or is still being considered weeks after the request was made.”This opposition and these delays are serving poorly the public, the Government itself, and most importantly, the Constitutional principles that we all put first and foremost,” Smith said in the letter.
May 14, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Microsoft is rolling out the ability for Outlook.com users to chat with friends on Gmail directly in the Outlook.com inbox, or via the user’s Microsoft account calendar, contact list and SkyDrive.com.
“We heard that some of you who switched over from Gmail still want to chat with friends” who are using Gmail, Douglas Pearce, group program manager for connected services, said in an official company blog post today.
The capability enables Outlook.com users to, for example, start a quick chat — text only; video chat is not supported — while reading an email from a friend using Gmail. Or, if a user is editing a document at the same time as a colleague who’s editing it via Google, they can chat or edit the document together in real time via SkyDrive.
Microsoft says it’s rolling out the capabilities over the next few days and that the chat capability should appear first in users SkyDrive and then in their Outlook.com inbox and People contacts page.
May 2, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Outlook.com, which launched in preview last July, is now up to 400 million active users, the company said Monday.
That figure includes the hundreds of millions of Hotmail users that Microsoft has been migrating over to Outlook.com. That migration is now complete, Microsoft said.
Outlook.com is meant to be the replacement for Hotmail as Microsoft’s free, Web-based personal email service. Outlook.com came out of preview and formally launched in February with 60 million active users.
In a blog post outlining the milestone, Dick Craddock, group program manager for Outlook.com, said that 125 million of the Outlook.com users are accessing it on a mobile device. The company is also adding two new features: SMTP send to make it easier to send mail from different email addresses and deeper integration with SkyDrive.
April 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM
Microsoft confirmed today — as has been rumored — that it is adding two-factor authentication to Microsoft accounts.
That means that when you sign in with your username and password to Microsoft services such as Outlook.com and SkyDrive, you will soon have the option of adding another step to verify that it’s indeed you signing in. The second step, if enabled, is meant to provide additional security and would mean that signing in to your account requires a second step such as entering a code sent to your phone or to an email account that you’ve provided to Microsoft.
The upgrade is expected to roll out over the next few days.
Other companies, including Google and Facebook, already offer optional two-step verification.
In other Microsoft news this morning, the company announced that Outlook.com is offering domains in 32 additional international markets, meaning users can now have @outlook addresses that are country specific (such as @outlook.fr for those in France.)
Users will also now be able to sign in with any Outlook.com alias you’ve added to your account, rather than only with the username you originally signed up with.
March 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM
Microsoft said a temperature spike in one of its data centers was the cause of an outage earlier this week that affected some people’s ability to access Hotmail.com, Outlook.com and SkyDrive.
The outage, which ran from mid-day Tuesday until early Wednesday, occurred after Microsoft started one of its regular firmware updates, wrote Arthur de Haan, a Microsoft vice president, wrote in the official Outlook blog.
According to de Haan:
On the afternoon of the 12th, in one physical region of one of our datacenters, we performed our regular process of updating the firmware on a core part of our physical plant. This is an update that had been done successfully previously, but failed in this specific instance in an unexpected way. This failure resulted in a rapid and substantial temperature spike in the datacenter. This spike was significant enough before it was mitigated that it caused our safeguards to come in to place for a large number of servers in this part of the datacenter.
These safeguards prevented access to mailboxes housed on these servers and also prevented any other pieces of our infrastructure to automatically failover and allow continued access. This area of the datacenter houses parts of the Hotmail.com, Outlook.com, and SkyDrive infrastructure, and so some people trying to access those services were impacted.
February 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM
[This story is running in the print edition of The Seattle Times Feb. 19, 2013.]
For Outlook.com, the time has come to end previews and take the stage for real.
Microsoft debuted its free, Web-based email service to the public in preview form last July. Since then, according to the company, it has gained 60 million active users.
And Tuesday, Microsoft is removing the “preview” label and launching a big global ad campaign for
“It’s the largest ever campaign for free email from Microsoft, and probably for all free email,” said Dharmesh Mehta, a senior director for Outlook at Microsoft.
Mehta declined to specify how much the company is spending on the ad campaign, but said it’s “tens of millions” of dollars and will include TV, radio, online, bus and train ads.
Why the big push?
”We think it’s the best free email out there,” said Mehta.
It’s also part of the company’s move toward more tightly integrated and branded products and services.
Outlook — which is used mainly by businesses — is a well known Microsoft brand associated with email. So extending the brand into the consumer realm with Outlook.com made sense.
Microsoft wanted to have “one brand for email,” Mehta said. “You have Outlook in the workplace. We want to reach people in both parts of their lives.”
Outlook.com could also serve as an entryway for consumers to other Microsoft offerings, given how integrated it is to products such as SkyDrive, Microsoft’s personal cloud service.
“Your choice of email influences your choices of other things: productivity and product solutions, how you share,” Mehta said.
It’s all part of Microsoft’s “better together” strategy that’s coming together, said Wes Miller, an analyst with independent research firm Directions on Microsoft.
“This year, we can expect a significant push from Microsoft on all cloud fronts,” including Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Office 365 [the company’s new subscription-based version of its productivity suite] and Windows Azure cloud platform,” Miller predicts.