Microsoft Monday: Surface Pro 4 Price Drop, Patent For Phone That Folds And Is Windows 7 Dangerous? – Forbes

“Microsoft Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about a Surface Pro 4 price drop, a foldable device patent, the acquisition of Simplygon, a game like Halo Mega Bloks potentially launching, a warning about Windows 7 being dangerous and much more!

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Price Temporarily Drops $100 In The U.S.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 / Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 / Photo Credit: Microsoft

If you live in the U.S. and you are looking to buy a Surface Pro 4, then you may be happy to hear that the price has been temporarily dropped. The price drop is for the Core i5 version with 128GB storage and 4GB RAM. Until January 28th, the price of this version is $899. After that, it will go back up to $999. Students and teachers are also eligible for an extra 10% off. The discount can be found at the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft Files A Patent For A Phone That Folds Into A Tablet

Folding phone patent drawing filed by Microsoft / Photo Credit: Microsoft via USPTO

Folding phone patent drawing filed by Microsoft / Photo Credit: Microsoft via USPTO

Last week, a Microsoft patent surfaced that details a phone that folds into a tablet. The device described in the patent appears to be a tablet with a flexible hinge, according to MSPowerUser. You will also notice that the drawing in the patent looks akin to the Yoga tablet design.

The device also appears to work in different configurations. For example, the device looks like it can be folded in half to work like a phone. Or you would be able to unfold it and make it operate like a tablet. The patent was originally filed in October 2014.

Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning to release a Surface Phone at some point. But Microsoft will have to do something game-changing in order to compete against the likes of Android and iPhone.

There are other companies that are rumored to be working on foldable devices too. LG and Samsung are also in the running for potentially releasing a foldable device within the next couple of years.

Baidu Hires Former Microsoft Exec Qi Lu To Serve As COO

Baidu, one of the largest Internet companies in China, has hired former Microsoft executive Qi Lu to work as its COO. Lu previously worked as an executive vice president at Microsoft where he oversaw the Bing search engine, Microsoft Office and Skype. Lu also worked closely with Satya Nadella to build out teams for Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and bot products. Lu will become group president and chief operating officer of Baidu going forward where every business unit head will be reporting to him, according to Bloomberg.

Baidu founder Robin Li oversaw the hiring of Qi Lu. Lu is expected to help Baidu improve its search by building artificial intelligence teams. Lu had actually stepped down from his position at Microsoft four months ago due to health reasons caused by a bike accident, according to Recode. However, he told Nadella about his plan to move to Baidu around 3-4 weeks ago.

Bloomberg pointed out that Baidu is also coming off a tumultuous year due an online medical ad scandal. Baidu also attempted to sell iQiyi to Li himself, but investors protested that the price was too low.

“To achieve our goals, especially in artificial intelligence, which is a key strategic focus for the next decade, we will need to continue attracting the best global talent,” said Li in a statement. “With Dr. Lu on board, we are confident that our strategy will be executed smoothly and Baidu will become a world-class technology company and global leader in AI.”

343 Industries: A Game Like Halo Mega Bloks Could Launch In The Future

Recently PtoPOnline posted a game play video of Mega Bloks Halo. Mega Bloks Halo — which was canceled in 2013 — was developed by N-Space for the Xbox 360. The cancellation was unfortunate because the game looks like a lot of fun. But rest assured that 343 said it has something in the works that is reminiscent of Mega Bloks Halo.

Bonnie Ross, founder and head of 343 Industries referred to Mega Bloks Halo as an internal project called “Project Haggar.” And Ross issued the following statement in the Halo Waypoint forums:

Over the past few days, footage has recently made the rounds of an exploratory Xbox 360 project we worked on several years ago, known as “Haggar.” Since then, we’ve received a lot of great feedback from the community. Haggar was something we prototyped with our friends at Mega Bloks that focused on the elements of action, exploration and user creativity found within the Halo universe. Haggar had a lot of fun ideas and invention behind it, but ultimately didn’t progress beyond the early prototyping levels that are shown in the recent video. This is just one example of several similar projects we have evaluated throughout the years – a process that we continue exploring on an ongoing basis.

Microsoft Buys 3D Optimization Technology Company Simplygon

Last week, Microsoft announced that it has acquired Simplygon. Simplygon is known for developing automatic 3D data optimization solutions. Microsoft said that the acquisition accelerates its 3D For Everyone vision and strategy.

“Simplygon’s technology and talent will strengthen our position in 3D creation, making it easier to capture, create and share in 3D. It builds on and extends our aspirations to empower a new wave of creativity with the Windows 10 Creators Update, Paint 3D and our online creator community at,” added Microsoft in a blog post.

The terms of the deal were undisclosed. Simplygon was developed by Sweden-based Donya Labs in 2006.

Major Cyber-Attack Links Back To Minecraft Servers

Investigators are looking into how a major cyber attack caused by the Mirai botnet took place last year. And when cybersecurity expert and blogger Brian Krebs started looking into the matter after the Mirai botnet caused his blog to go offline, he discovered that it links back to Minecraft servers.

The Mirai botnet was publicly released as open source by a hacker that goes by “Anna-senpai.” Anna-senpai said that around 380,000 Internet of Things devices were used to carry out the Mirai DDoS attacks. Some of the applications that went offline due to the botnet include Twitter, Reddit and Spotify.

Now Krebs is working on trying to figure out who exactly was behind the Mirai botnet. “If you’ve ever wondered why it seems that so few internet criminals are brought to justice, I can tell you that the sheer amount of persistence and investigative resources required to piece together who’s done what to whom (and why) in the online era is tremendous,” said Krebs via BBC.

Krebs noticed that Mirai was an incarnation of an Internet of Things botnet family that has been in development over the last three years. And the code for earlier versions of that botnet was used to take down Minecraft web servers.

ProxyPipe, a company that offers DDoS protection for clients, is also involved in the investigation. Robert Coelho, the VP of security at ProxyPipe, said he had many Minecraft servers as clients — many of which were hit by a botnet attack in the middle of 2015. Coelho told the BBC he has suspicions about who might be behind the attack. “Minecraft is a tight knit community. We know who is talking to who,” he said.

Coelho said that the attack may have come from a rival security company that is also offering DDoS protection to Minecraft clients. And the founder of the security firm used to run a Minecraft web server and was one of his own clients. Coelho also said that “Anna-senpai” contacted him through Skype around the end of September to say the attack was not personal. But Anna-senpai also seemed to brag that he or she was paid by a large Minecraft server to attack a rival server.


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