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Microsoft has just announced that if you were tired of hacking drivers to make the Xbox One controller compatible on your PC, you can finally buy a retail-packaged version of the thing along with a nice, long, 3-metre cable along with software to make it work on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 operating systems. You’re out of luck if you wanted to run one of these on your Linux machine or with OS X, but there’s some basic functionality already for those platforms so long as you’re running it in wired mode. If you want a wireless controller, the Xbox 360 version with the charge and play kit is still an option and Sony’s Dualshock 4 officially supports being run on various platforms because it uses Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.

Source: Microsoft

Minecraft

Rumoured last week, Microsoft has now confirmed that they have purchased Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. The game’s creator and Mojang’s majority shareholder, Markus “Notch” Perrson, will be leaving the company. Fellow Mojang co-founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porsér are also leaving. As for the remaining Mojang staff, they will continue to work at the company for the foreseeable future.

Insofar as the game and the community goes, Mojang says that they’re unsure what Microsoft’s plans are, but they see no benefit for anyone in Microsoft stopping things like mods, builds and videos. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer echoed this sentiment in a video we’ve embedded after the jump. Minecraft will also continue to be available on other platforms, although Mojang does admit that Microsoft has no control over what other companies wish to offer. The subtext of that reads: if Sony decided to pull Minecraft from their platforms, that would be entirely Sony’s call. That is rather unlikely however.

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xbox_one_console_sa

The Xbox One is finally (FINALLY!) arriving in South Africa next week Tuesday. That, for all of our epoch impaired readers, is the 23rd of September. That date couldn’t be better if Microsoft South Africa had tried, because Wednesday 24 September is a public holiday. Hooray, new console and the following day off work/school to vegetate in front of the TV!

Microsoft’s Graeme “Acey Bongos” Boyd has recorded a personal message for all South African Xbox fans. Mr. Bongos even took the time to learn some local words. We can all feel extra smug and special because according to Microsoft South Africa, we’re the only country in the world that has received a personal “welcome to the Xbox One family” video message.

Check it out after the jump.

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Minecraft-comp---featured

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft is days away from finalising a deal to purchase Swedish developer Mojang, the studio behind the phenomenon that is Minecraft. The Wall Street Journal is citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the potential purchase.

The buyout, which is rumoured to be in the vicinity of $2 billion, will see Microsoft add Mojang to their stable of first-party developers like 343 Industries and Lionhead. Both Microsoft and Mojang have declined to comment.

Minecraft is practically on every platform known to mankind. What will happen to the game’s availability will be interesting to see should this buyout happen. Rumours suggest that the deal will be finalised at some point this week. We’ll keep you up to date.

Source: The Wall Street Journal (article behind a paywall)
Via: Game Informer 

Microsoft header

On the heels of the breach of the pictures of famous celebrities who had their pictures stolen off their iCloud accounts, Microsoft has decided to not comply with a court order to force it to hand over data to the US government for e-mails stored on one of its servers. This is the first reported incident where the company is shown to not be complying with the NSA and its sister departments responsible for the security of the country. The company had until 31 July to hand over the data and it put out a statement this week that listed its reasons for doing so.

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Microsoft has begun to re-analyse their policies regarding app submissions to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store after a few online bloggers and one Forbes contributor pointed out how messed up the store has become with a huge amount of fake applications, fake services and fake fakes that are designed specifically to foist off your credit card details and charge you insane amounts of money for something that should be otherwise free. Microsoft says that they’ve “taken the feedback seriously” and will adjust the app certification requirements as a “first step toward better ensuring that apps are named and described in a way that doesn’t misrepresent their purpose.” So, no more paying $14.99 for VLC Player, then.

Source: Windows Blog

Sources close to The Verge have reportedly told them that Microsoft will soon be demoing the latest version of Windows, codenamed Threshold. The sources claim that Microsoft won’t be revealing the name just yet, but will be showing off the changes they’ve made to the user interface and how they’re getting around the mismatched behaviour of Windows in computers that don’t have touch screens. Microsoft is also expected to show off how they’re going to integrate their Cortana voice-driven virtual assistant into the OS and announce the launch date for the consumer preview of the next version of Windows.

Are any Windows users looking forward to this? Once bitten, twice shy? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Verge

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s most recent ex-CEO, announced yesterday that he would be retiring from his duties on Microsoft’s board of directors. Ballmer’s motivation for leaving were for personal reasons and other commitments he has made to other pursuits, notably lecturing at various colleges, studying in his spare time and running a basketball team called the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer announced his resignation from Microsoft as CEO in 2013 and has previously said that he’d only ever leave the company completely once his children were off to college. Ballmer is currently the biggest individual shareholder in Microsoft’s stock and has a net worth of around US $15 billion.

“Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off,” Ballmer said in his letter to current CEO Satya Nadella and the rest of the board.

Source: Microsoft

So if you’re updating Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 today, make sure you untick and hide MS14-045, a which is a group of security updates that patch a few vulnerabilities inside Windows to improve multi-language support and/or security. This applies to KB2982791, KB290228, KB2975719 and KB2975331, all updates that appear on Windows 7 as well. Once installed, a large number of users have reported seeing blue screens and occasionally a corrupted installation. In the case of KB2982791, uninstalling it fixes one of the blue screen errors. If you encounter issues with any of the other updates, this may require repairing Windows using a disc or, in some severe cases that I’ve seen online in several forums already, a complete reformat.

Microsoft says they are working on the issue and hope to have an update soon about the situation. In the meantime, it’s probably better to hold off on automatic updates for now.

Sources: Computerworld, Microsoft Community, Microsoft Support

Windows XP Virtual Desktop

One thing that I can clearly remember dabbling with back during the Windows XP era was the Virtual Desktop Manager. If you’re not familiar with it (or are using XP to read this right now) it is/was available as part of Microsoft’s PowerToys pack, which never again saw the light of day in other versions of Windows (Vista’s pack was complete crap). The software gave you four virtual desktops, but they were all separate – you couldn’t, for example, send an open application to another window like you can in Linux, or OS X spaces. According to some recent leaks on NeoWin, though, it seems that Microsoft is ready to revisit having multiple desktops with Windows 9.

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