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This article was published on August 19, 2011

This week at Microsoft: Mozilla, Windows 8, and Office 365

This week at Microsoft: Mozilla, Windows 8, and Office 365
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

It is Friday, dear readers, and that means that it’s time to sit down and take a look at the last seven days. This post, which is written every week, is also up for tweaking, so please do send in your comments. We read all of them.

As always, we are going to restrict ourselves to a mere four stories, so if you want to get a better look at the larger scope of everything that occurred over the last week, be sure and check out the archives.

Now, follow TNW Microsoft on Twitter and Facebook, and let’s get into the news.

Microsoft Sends Mozilla A Cupcake

The funniest, and funnest, story of the week was Microsoft’s gift to Mozilla. As always, when Mozilla ships a new version of Firefox, Microsoft sends the firm a cake.

However, Microsoft decided to take a swipe at Mozilla, in a playful way. What did the company do? It sent Mozilla not a cake, as usual, but a tiny cupcake. Why? Microsoft decided that the Firefox release was too small to warrant a larger desert.

While that was worthy of a laugh, how Mozilla handled the entire escapade was perhaps even better:

Perhaps ironically, Mozilla agrees. In their posting of a picture of the cupcake, the photographer said: “Every time Mozilla releases a version of Firefox, the IE team sends us a cake. They’re cool like that. As the releases have gotten faster and leaner… so have the cakes.”

Mozilla is on a new schedule that should have the company sending out releases on an accelerated timeframe. Yes, that means we’ll get to see more hijinks. Get happy.

Windows 8: More Shakes Free

There has been a goodly number of Windows 8 news tidbits that have come out in recent days, mostly in relation to a new, public build of the future OS that is likely to be given to the world at the forthcoming BUILD conference.

Microsoft also made it plain that Windows 8 will contain an app store:

The truth came out in an entry that Microsoft posted on its new blog that focuses on Windows 8. While it has been generally known in the market for some time that such an app store was being built, today’s revelation is the first completely ironclad mention of the product’s existence.

In a list of the teams that are working on the coming operating system, Microsoft listed “App Store” as one of the groups. The post promises that each group will eventually make itself better known through the blog.

Of course, this is only a slice of this week’s Windows 8 news. Check here for the rest.

Office 365 Takes A Dive

Office 365 suffered from some very embarrassing downtime this week. Unlike a free consumer service, whose users might tolerate such interruptions, the business customers that suffered during the outage have little patience.

Such downtime is bad for more than just Office 365, as it harms all cloud services that are attempting to court business customers. Early this morning, Microsoft released a statement on the cause of the outage:

Preliminary investigation indicates that a networking interruption in one of our North America data centers caused Office 365 Exchange Online to be inaccessible by some customers. This incident lasted from approximately 11:30 AM PDT to 2:40 PM PDT, during which time customers were not able to access the Outlook Web App or send and receive email through Exchange Online. The Service Health Dashboard was updated regularly during the event to notify customers of the problem, though there was a brief period of intermittent access issues to that dashboard.

Office 365 is such a new product that its customers may chalk up the mistake to growing pains, but Microsoft needs to ensure that for at least the next year the sky is cloudy, but clear.

Xbox 360’s Coming Dashboard

Microsoft is working on a refreshed dashboard for the Xbox 360 that briefly made an appearance on YouTube. The videos have subsequently been pulled.

Also in the world of Xbox this week a string of LIVE titles that were popular on the WP7 platform were pulled. Why? The game’s licenses had expired. But what about people who had already purchased the games? They could have issues later if they change phones or reset their current handset. That is a problematic scenario.

That is all for this week, folks. We will be back before you start to miss us.

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