Microsoft Monday: Xbox Live To Support Custom Gamerpics, New Bookings Tool, Authentication Outage – Forbes

Windows 10 running on a Dell laptop (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about gamerpic support coming to Xbox Live, a custom Windows 10 version for China, an update about the Xbox 360 class action lawsuit, a data sharing agreement with Adobe, a Recon Tech Special Edition gamepad, a new LinkedIn enterprise CRM tool, a new partnership with Publicis and much more!

Microsoft Finishes Building Custom Windows 10 Version For China

Microsoft has completed the development of a custom Windows 10 version for the Chinese government, according to The Verge. To build the custom Windows 10 version, Microsoft collaborated with the China Electronics Technology Group (CTEC). Microsoft did not specify the changes that were made for the custom version of Windows 10 for China.

In the past, the Chinese government banned Windows 8 due to potential security issues. The Chinese government has been apprehensive about using Windows following the NSA spying revelations. So the Chinese government likely requested many customizations to allow Windows 10 there.

Over the last couple years, Microsoft has been increasing its presence in China by partnering with a number of companies there. For example, Microsoft recently signed partnerships with Lenovo, Xiaomi and Tencent.

Microsoft Xbox Live Will Soon Support Gamerpics

Microsoft recently announced several new Xbox One features, including the ability to upload a custom image for their gamerpic. “From your console, Windows 10 PC, or mobile phone, update your gamerpic with a custom image,” said Microsoft in a blog post. In the past, users were limited to avatars or other gaming-related snapshots. This has been one of the most fan-requested features.

In the Activity Feed, Microsoft is adding the ability to hide individual posts, pin posts to the top of the feed and filter posts by friends, games or Clubs. And you will be able to filter your game library by the Xbox One and Xbox 360 platform on the My Apps and Games screen. Plus Microsoft is adding captive portal support for wireless Internet, which allows Wi-Fi authentication through a browser.

Supreme Court Appears To Be Siding With Microsoft In Xbox Case

U.S. Supreme Court justices have indicated their support for Microsoft in a class action claim filed by Xbox 360 owners. The Xbox 360 owners that filed the class action claim that the console has been scratching up discs due to a design defect.

At first, the Xbox 360 owners were denied class-action status in the lawsuit. And an appeals court decided not to consider an appeal of that decision. So the Xbox 360 owners asked the judge to dismiss their case, which was a procedural move to get the appeals court to hear the argument.

Usually, parties are not allowed to appeal a class action ruling until the case fully concludes. However, the 9th Circuit allowed the decision for Xbox 360 owners to dismiss their lawsuit in order to appeal the denial of class certification.

The New York Times pointed out that Microsoft sold millions of Xbox 360 consoles since 2005, but only 0.4% of owners reported disc scratching. And in most of those cases, it was due to consumer misuse. In the Xbox 360 instruction manual and a sticker on the console, it specifies that the console should not be moved while a disc was inside.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Peter Stris, the attorney for the Xbox 360 owners, that “rule makers went through a lot of work” to come up with the regulations involving appeals in class action cases. And Microsoft’s lawyer Jeffrey Fisher told the court that ruling for the Xbox 360 owners would “upend” the “carefully considered” rules involving class action appeals.

Microsoft Faces Lawsuit Over Windows 10 Updates

According to The Register, three people in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against the Redmond giant. The three people that filed the lawsuit claim that Windows 10 updates have damaged their computers and caused data loss. The complaint was filed at a U.S. District Court in Chicago last week. In the complaint, the three individuals also claimed that Microsoft Windows 10 is a defective product and that there wasn’t an adequate labeling or warnings to consumers about the Windows 10 upgrade before it was installed regarding that consumers should back up their data before the download commences.

This isn’t the only lawsuit Microsoft faced over Windows 10 upgrades. Back in June 2016, Microsoft paid $10,000 to a travel agent for an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade.

Microsoft and Adobe Sign Sales And Marketing Data Sharing Agreement

Microsoft and Adobe have announced a new data sharing agreement for its sales and marketing products. The partnership between the two companies would make them more competitive against companies like Salesforce.com and Oracle. This partnership extends the relationship between Microsoft and Adobe where the two tech giants partnered on cloud computing services.

Adobe made the announcement at its annual user conference in San Jose earlier this month. Specifically, Adobe said it would create a shared data format between its marketing software products (Experience Cloud) and Microsoft Dynamics. “It’s going to enable to customers to go beyond the current (software) silos they have to navigate today,” said Microsoft’s EVP of cloud and enterprise Scott Guthrie via Reuters.

LinkedIn Launches A New Enterprise CRM Tool

Microsoft subsidiary LinkedIn has just launched a new enterprise version of its CRM tool called Sales Navigator. The new LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool directly competes against Salesforce. Here is what LinkedIn wrote in a blog post about the new service:

Enterprise Edition ups the number of InMails to 50 per month, adds improved manageability features like Single Sign-On (SSO) and introduces an exciting new feature: TeamLink Extend.

Until now, if you were looking for a warm introduction to a lead, you could go through your personal LinkedIn connections, or use TeamLink, which pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator seat holders in your company. But we know your reps are probably not connected on LinkedIn to the vast majority of employees at your company, and not every employee in your company needs a seat of Sales Navigator (as much as we’d like that).

TeamLink Extend solves that by letting anyone in your organization opt-in their LinkedIn network to the TeamLink pool. That means, if you’re trying to reach a prospect, you can quickly see if anyone in your company has a connection with that person, and reach out to your colleague to ask for warm introduction.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in June 2016. And Microsoft reportedly outbid Salesforce for the deal. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was not thrilled about Microsoft owning LinkedIn so he asked regulators to investigate the acquisition for “anti-competitive behavior.”

Microsoft Launches Bookings Tool For Managing Appointments

Microsoft Bookings is an online appointment management tool for businesses like dental offices, law firms, auto shops and hair salons. Microsoft Bookings has been integrated with Office 365 Business Premium. “Bookings is designed to delight your customers, simplify scheduling and free time for you to be on top of your business wherever you are,” said Microsoft in a blog post.

The Microsoft Bookings tool now allows you to account for buffer times before and after appointments. And Microsoft Bookings allows users to book appointments, contact customers and check staff appointments from the iOS and Android apps.

Microsoft Announces Recon Tech Special Edition Gamepad

Microsoft has announced a new gamepad in its new “Tech Series,” according to Polygon. The new gamepad is called the Recon Tech Special Edition. And it is inspired by military technology. The controller is colored dark gray and it has gold accents in a unique pattern around the front. The Recon Tech Special Edition controller also has Bluetooth support. It will be available on April 25th at the price of $69.99.

Microsoft Suffers From Authentication Outage

On March 21st, Microsoft suffered from an authentication outage affecting multiple cloud services. The outage prevented users from being able to sign into Azure, Xbox Live, OneDrive, Skype and Outlook. The issue was specifically caused by a Microsoft Account (MSA) outage. MSA is a single sign-on service that is used for signing into multiple apps, websites and devices.

“Starting at 17:30 UTC on 21 Mar 2017 a subset of customers using Stream Analytics, Azure Log Analytics and other services may experience login failures while authenticating with their Microsoft accounts. Retries may be successful for some customers. Engineers are aware of this issue and are actively investigating. The next update will be provided in 60 minutes, or as events warrant,” said Microsoft Azure in a status page via ZDNet.

This is not the only outage that Microsoft dealt with this month. The Redmond giant was hit with an hour-long outage a few weeks ago, according to Gizmodo.

Microsoft And Publicis Announce Cloud Partnership

Publicis Groupe has announced that it is expanding its partnership with Microsoft. The new alliance combines Publicis’ Cosmos A.I. marketing and data platform with Microsoft Azure, Cortana Intelligence and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

The companies will utilize artificial intelligence and behavioral data about customers in order to target display advertising and email messages. And Publicis SapientRazorfish’s Cosmos A.I. will be available to businesses through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

“Microsoft is pleased to partner with Publicis Groupe to create a new class of AI capabilities to help clients succeed in their own marketing transformations. Together, we want to bring the power of artificial intelligence to help brands create new customer experiences and transform digital operations. Our new partnership harnesses the power of predictive analytics, deep learning and natural user interfaces with the scale and security of our enterprise cloud,” said Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the data group Joseph Sirosh.

This is not the first major deal that Microsoft signed with Publicis. Microsoft sold Razorfish to Publicis for $530 million in 2009. Microsoft had gained ownership of Razorfish when as part of the aQuantive acquisition for $6.3 billion in 2007.

Microsoft Announces IP Licensing Program For Connected Cars

In a blog post, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel of the Intellectual Property Group Erich Andersen announced a new IP licensing program for connected cars. “Microsoft is working with the world’s leading automotive companies and suppliers to deliver these technologies and services to customers. We don’t make cars, but we have a long history of working with our partners in the automotive industry to deliver great products and services that power the automotive sector. For example, our Azure service is the leading cloud platform for the auto industry,” said Andersen.

Toyota is one of the first car companies that will be utilizing the IP licensing program. Toyota is already a partner in the Toyota Connected program and was an early adopter of the Azure IP Advantage.

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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