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 (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab); 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 (opens in new tab)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I just thought of this.. Wp7 is just like the 1st Xbox give it some time and it will do work in the future (wp8)
  • Microsoft always gets things right on the third effort. First is a dud, second is good but leaves you wanting more, and third is the champ for a long time. WP8 is the third mobile effort after WP7 and WP7.5. Xbox 360v2 + Kinect + Media Services is their third effort (after Xbox and Xbox 360 featuring Red Ring of Death). Windows 8 is the third major release after Vista and Windows 7. Just happens that we have the potential for a trifecta. God I hope so, at least.
  • Don't forget the kin :p and I agree as well
  • I agree
  • True
  • I agree to IV seported Microsoft since I can remember never had Apple or playstation I did use Dreamcast that was Microsoft too and Sega then came the very similar Xbox witch I had then 360 now 2 360slims with one Kinect a big gears of war fan got all of them even wallet,belt buckle,and now car decal lol first smart phone Samsung focus now every one in my family got a windows phone go me lol got them all to switch now they love it wp8 I'm gettn one by next year contact up and got a Nokia lumia 900 baught outright on the day of release just waiting on wp8 so I can keep supporting the mega king Microsoft!
  • Given Mark Penn's success on electing the first female President of the United States, I now seriously doubt whether Bing will ever take hold.
  • If Microsoft wants to take security seriously they should let me make a password longer than 16(?) characters and offer an authenticator, physical/app like Blizzard does.
  • In their press release they said the Entertainment division growth was primarily due to the acquisition of Skype:

  • I quite well remember Mark Penn during the Clinton '08 race...I have no idea how he can be tied into Microsoft's Bing work so this will be interesting to watch.