Microsoft News

The latest Windows Phone ad not only pits Cortana against Apple's Siri, but shows off some of the features that the optional HTC Dot View Cover can do on the Windows Phone-powered HTC One (M8) for Windows. The ad starts with Siri looking in the mirror, admiring her prettiness, and goes on to the One (M8) for Windows showing off the features of the Dot View Cover, like activating Cortana, receiving notifications, and answering calls. In terms of similar cases for the iPhone? The fun stops there as it looks like other iPhone covers just muffle up Siri.

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Microsoft invited the media to the River Thames in London this evening to see something special, the #MakeItHappen stunt. The company put on quite the show for Cortana, partnering up with "legendary trials cyclist" Danny MacAskill who attempted to recreate the famous Cortana icon in a loop on his chosen two wheels. The end result was impressive, as was the show itself. MacAskill performed the stunt not only in the vicinity of the river, but in the middle, between the banks, aboard a float, and situated just in front of the London Eye.

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Microsoft is selling the 32 GB refurbished Surface 2 on its official eBay store at a steep discount. The refurbished Windows RT slate is now going for just $199, which is one of the cheapest deals we've seen. Additionally, with the Surface 2, you also get Microsoft Office 2013 RT included in the asking price. The tablet also comes with a rated 10-hour battery life, 200 GB of free OneDrive storage for two years, and unlimited Skype minutes for a year.

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TheHaloWars.com recently caused quite a stir with fans of the Halo Wars title waiting for an upcoming announcement to be made for a sequel. Unfortunately, it turns out the website itself isn't official and was maintained by fans who also want to see a sequel developed. While speculation of a Halo Wars 2 remains, it has not been confirmed by Microsoft with a teaser website as previously reported.

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A new report suggests that a U.S. Marshals Service spy program operating under the Justice Department is collecting thousands of cellphone identification numbers from Americans by employing fake communication towers. The program has been operational since 2007 and the towers are mounted on Cessna airplanes operating out of at least five metropolitan-area airports. These fake towers would trick cell phones on the ground into sending their identification numbers, which are then collected by the government for use in criminal cases.

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Microsoft and their former Nokia team love making teaser videos for events and promotions. The latest one is #MakeItHappen, which was mysteriously teased this morning on the Lumia Vine channel. Now, a second video has appeared on YouTube with a little more detail.

Evidently, "legendary trials cyclist" Danny MacAskill is "planning his biggest stunt ever with a little help from his very own personal assistant, Cortana".

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The holiday shopping season is getting in full swing, and that includes consumers buying apps for all those new Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 devices. This week, Microsoft said there will be up to $100 million in Windows Store gift cards available for consumers to help them purchase apps, music and video for those platforms.

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Microsoft is launching a Work and Play Bundle that brings together the best of its cloud services for $199 annually. The bundle includes Office 365 Home along with 1 TB of OneDrive storage, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass for unlimited music streaming, and Skype Unlimited World & WiFi calling. Unfortunately, it looks like to get the bundle, you will need to head into a Microsoft retail store, but you have up until January 4th to take advantage of the pricing.

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Cortana may soon be ready to lend her sagely knowledge and wisdom to users of non-Windows Phone platform. Microsoft could soon be ready to unleash Cortana, a digital voice assistant that debuted on Windows Phone, on to competing operating systems to take on the likes of Siri for iOS and Google Now on Android. Though specifics were not disclosed, Microsoft hinted at its plans to free Cortana soon.

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