Microsoft News Roundup – Bing gets Penn, MS does well with Entertainment and Xbox gets serious about security

There’s been a lot of news today—both for Microsoft and Nokia—so we’re going to just touch on a bit of that and also mention some other Microsoft stories that you may have missed. So here’s your roundup:

  • Microsoft wants you take your Xbox security seriously and posts tips on how to do that
  • Mark Penn, former advisor to President Clinton, will be a VP at Microsoft where he hopes to make Bing cool
  • Microsoft may have lost money this quarter but their consumer division is actually doing well

So head on past the break for today’s wrap up...


Don’t let your Xbox LIVE account get hacked

Xbox LIVE General Manager Alex Garden guest-blogged over at on how Microsoft is taking your privacy seriously, describing the steps they are taking to ensure your LIVE account does not get compromised. We’ve had reports in the past from users where people have phished their accounts and other nefarious tricks which could result in charges to your account and all sorts of nasty things.

Microsoft started working on this months ago and now their notification system for compromised accounts has greatly improved in addition to these changes:

  • We’ve taken legal action to pull down online posts of gamertags, usernames and passwords gathered from malware or phishing schemes to help protect our members.
  • Our Xbox LIVE Spring update included many behind the scenes improvements that help us build on security enhancements for the near future.
  • We’re sending unique codes to the security phone numbers and secondary email addresses provided by members to verify authorization for purchases or account change attempts not stemming from a member’s trusted device.
  • We’re working to reduce market incentives for criminal activity. Engaging in identity theft, trading in stolen accounts and committing credit card fraud are illegal and violate our Terms of Use. Those involved in these activities risk criminal prosecution, account and console bans. That goes for both sellers and buyers of known stolen accounts and content.

Not too shabby. But the biggest thing they stress is you need to make sure your account has all the security features not only enabled but up to date—that means proper email addresses, secure passwords and more.

So take the time and read up on adding proofs to your account—you’ll sleep better. Source: Xbox

WP Central

Mark Penn gets Binged

Microsoft has been shifting people around lately, putting them in odd categories for which we know little about. One of those areas is Microsoft’s new ‘Strategic and Special Projects’ area which sounds like where former Windows Phone division President Andy Lees went to back in late 2011.

Mark Penn, who has a long history in advisory politics and famously worked under President Bill Clinton, will be the new VP of that area which will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

What’s his task? According to Microsoft Penn will “…lead a cross-functional team focused on consumer initiatives and will draw on his experience in strategic development, branding and positioning to develop and deliver breakthrough ideas that meet consumers’ changing and dynamic needs. He will continue to write about consumer, demographic and social trends but will not be involved in public policy issues for Microsoft.”

Getting away from the corporate-speak, Penn will be focusing on Bing and getting it more widely adopted in the market. We’re not sure if Penn is right for the job but clearly Microsoft believes in him, so hopefully he’ll turn things around—after all, we love ourselves some Bing around these parts. Source: Microsoft; via WSJ


Microsoft is Entertaining us

Despite that headline today about Microsoft reporting its “first loss ever” (mostly due to a write off from a failed acquisition back in 2007), Redmond’s numbers actually look pretty good—specifically in the Entertainment & Devices Division.

That part of the company saw some of the largest growth--$1.79 billion revenue, 20% increase—in all of Microsoft’s divisions despite a weakened economy. Heck, Microsoft even reported a 39% decrease in Xbox 360 sales due to a “soft market” yet they still maintained a 47% market share in consoles.

That’s good news because it shows even in a rough market, Microsoft can still hold their share. What’s more is the fact that “consumer stuff”, to be blunt, is not necessarily perceived as Microsoft’s strong foot—it’s Windows and Enterprise.

The Entertainment & Devices Division also oversees Windows Phone and while MS is not reporting on specifics, they did note that there was a 50% increase in units over this time last year—not bad.

In addition, Xbox LIVE members increased by more than 15% and even Skype increased by over 50% in term of minutes used.

Who says Microsoft can’t do consumer business? The only thing more interesting that those numbers is of course what’s coming next—Windows Phone 8, Xbox SmartGlass, new content partners for Xbox 360 and Kinect is still doing well.

So remember those stats when someone tells you “Microsoft just doesn’t get consumers”!

Source: Microsoft

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.