Microsoft Monday: CMO Says Forced Windows 10 Issue Was ‘Painful,’ $927M DoD Contract, New Xbox Deal – Forbes

“Microsoft Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about the Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, new Xbox One deals for the holidays, the CMO discussing how the forced Windows 10 upgrade was “pretty painful,” the $927 million Department of Defense contract deal, improvements made to the Office 365 admin experience and much more!

Major Nelson Announces New Xbox One Deals

Promotion for Xbox One purchase with a free gift / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Promotion for Xbox One purchase with a free gift / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has announced some holiday deals for the Xbox available between December 25th and December 31st. Now when you buy any new Xbox One or Xbox One S console, you will get a gift at most major retailers in the U.S. For example: when you buy a console at Best Buy, Amazon or Walmart.com, you will get a free Xbox Wireless Controller. Or when you buy a console at GameStop, you will get a free Xbox Stereo Headset in white or black. And console purchases at Microsoft Stores or Target gets you a free game of your choice. Most of the participating retailers are also offering special online-only deal for a $50 gift card in addition to the gifts.

Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela Says Forced Windows 10 Upgrade Campaign Was “Pretty Painful”

During the “Windows Weekly” video podcast recently, Microsoft chief marketing officer Chris Capossela admitted that the forced Windows 10 upgrade may have been too aggressive at times. Capossela specifically said that the time when Microsoft disabled the red “X” — which would normally close the upgrade did not have an effect — was a “pretty painful” issue.

“We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn’t mean cancel,” said Capossela via HotHardware. “And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have we knew that we had gone too far and then, of course, it takes some time to roll out the update that changes that behavior. And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a low light for us. We learned a lot from it obviously.”

The Get Windows 10 campaign known as GWX popped up and asked users to “Upgrade Now,” “Upgrade Later” or “Start Download” without an obvious way to opt out of the upgrade. This made the upgrade seem aggressively forced and even “malware-like.” Plus one of the biggest Windows 10 problems is that it consumes a substantial amount of storage space, which is especially problematic for devices that have lower capacity SSDs. Microsoft ended the forced campaign back in July when the free one-year upgrade promotion expired.

Microsoft Wins $927 Million Department Of Defense Contract

According to Reuters, Microsoft has been awarded a massive $927 million contract to provide technical support to the Defense Information Systems Agency within the Department of Defense. Microsoft also won a deal to install Windows 10 for four million employees at the Department of Defense within 12 months back in February.

This is not the first major deal that Microsoft signed with the Department of Defense. BusinessInsider pointed out that Microsoft signed a similar deal with the Department of Defense for Windows 8 in 2013. The Windows 8 deal was a smaller deal as it was installed for about 350,000 employees.

Microsoft Makes Improvements To Office 365 Admin Experience

Microsoft said that it was focused on enabling administrators to manage new workloads and improve monitoring so it updated the admin experience in Office 365 with a few new features. The new features include a new OneDrive for Business admin center, new settings for managing Microsoft Teams and GigJam and Service heath dashboard improvements.

Users have been asking Microsoft for easier ways to manage their company OneDrive for Business settings and policies. The new OneDrive admin center has started rolling out to first release customers at onedrive.com/admin.

New OneDrive for Business admin center / Photo Credit: Microsoft

New OneDrive for Business admin center / Photo Credit: Microsoft

And now Office 365 admins can enable and manage Microsoft Teams directly from the Office 365 admin center. This can be set up by going to the Services & add-ins page and going into the new Microsoft Teams section. From there, you can enable the service for the organization. This feature is disabled by default during the preview period.

Office 365 admin center in Microsoft Teams / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Office 365 admin center in Microsoft Teams / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Plus you can enable GigJam from the Office 365 admin center. Currently available in preview mode, GigJam is an application that allows you to ephemerally share photos and Office files. You can also temporarily send parts of information from business systems such as Office 365, Salesforce, Trello and Asana. And you can control whether others see your information or if you want people to co-work with you on projects. You can enable GigJam from the Office 365 admin center by going to the Services & add-ins page.

GigJam Preview / Photo Credit: Microsoft

GigJam Preview / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is also rolling out a new Service health dashboard to First Release customers. This adds a new level of health insights that are personalized for users within an organization. And the dashboard makes it easier to identify issues by separating major business-critical outages from others and split them into incidents and advisories.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Early Access Is Now Available

Dan Ayoub, the Studio Head of Strategy Games Development at Microsoft, announced that Halo Wars: Definitive Edition Early Access is now available for people that pre-ordered the digital version of Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition. Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is expected to launch in February along with Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition.

“In addition to the great campaign and multiplayer modes fans will remember, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition also features a new multiplayer session browser in place of the legacy matchmaking system. This allows players to create and join their favorite multiplayer, skirmish, or co-op campaign games quickly and easily on their preferred platform,” said Ayoub.

Halo Wars: Definitive Edition is an Xbox Play Anywhere game so it will work on the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Codes will be rolling out in the next few weeks for people that have not pre-ordered by December 14th.

Microsoft Launches A Holiday Movies & TV Guide In The Windows Store

Microsoft Holiday Guide for Windows Store / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Holiday Guide for Windows Store / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has announced a new holiday movies and TV guide in the Windows Store. The Windows Store now has the following sections for movies: Holiday Family Films, Holiday Animated Favorites, Non-Traditional Holiday Movies and New Release Holiday Movies. There are new music sections called Holiday Classics and New Holiday Music. And a new Apps for the Holidays section.

Microsoft Edge Browser Now Using The Brotli Compression Algorithm

Last week, Microsoft announced that the Edge browser for Windows 10 will start using the Brotli compression algorithm. This is the same compression algorithm that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox uses. The change will be released to stable builds with the Windows 10 Creator’s Update at the beginning of the new year.

“When used as an HTTP content-encoding method, Brotli achieves up to 20% better compression ratios with similar compression and decompression speeds,” said Microsoft in a blog post. According to VentureBeat, the Brotli compression algorithm was open-sourced by Google in September 2015 and it is the successor to the Zopfli algorithm. As a result of the change, Edge will load websites faster and it will use less power.

Phil Spencer Clarifies DLC Exclusivity Discussion

Last year, Xbox head Phil Spencer said Microsoft is looking to focus more on its own franchises and expand upon them. And he reiterated that goal again this year on Twitter with examples such as Xbox One and PC cross-play, Game Preview, EA Access and Fallout mods. Another example is the continued support for Halo 5 such as Forge mode.

Spencer said: ”Paying marketing funds so another console’s base can’t play a piece of content doesn’t feel like growth.”This seems like a jab at Sony’s exclusive deal with Activision for its Call of Duty and Destiny DLC. When Twitter user bxrocboy said that this statement was hypocritical because Microsoft promoted exclusive content for Call of Duty in the past. “People getting worked up on this, Never said Xbox has never done this, not calling out others, just not practice I like, that’s it,” added Spencer. Hat tip to GameSpot for pointing out the clarification from Spencer.

Microsoft SharePoint-OneDrive Sync Feature Pushed To January 2017

OneDrive Sync Client / Photo Credit: Microsoft

OneDrive Sync Client / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is now expected to release the SharePoint-OneDrive sync feature to January 2017. And Microsoft is planning to launch a standalone OneDrive sync client for Mac — which is being managed outside of the Mac App Store. The change in the OneDrive Sync Update launch date was reflected in a Microsoft Tech Community discussion post.

“We remain committed to providing a reliable and performant sync experience for all your Office 365 files and continue to refine the public preview to meet our quality expectations. We’re on target to make this capability generally available in January,” said Microsoft in the post. But you can download the preview of the OneDrive sync client now

Microsoft’s Strategic Mobile Partner Cyanogen Is Shutting Down

Last year, Microsoft announced it made a strategic partnership with Cyanogen. Cyanogen is an open-source operating system for smartphones and tablets based on Android. Through the partnership, Cyanogen agreed to implement Microsoft apps like Skype, OneDrive, OneNote and Outlook into its operating system. According to Crunchbase, Cyanogen raised over $100 million in funding from investors such as Benchmark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Tencent Holdings, Qualcomm and PremjiInvest.

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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