April 2 Microsoft Latest News: Bing features, misbehaving Defender, layoffs, more

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Here are the latest news and stories you need to know about Microsoft and its products and services.

New games for Xbox players

This week, a new batch of games is expected to arrive on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, and Game Pass. Here they are:

Meet Your Maker – April 4 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)

Curse of the Sea Rats – April 6 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)

Dashing Orange – April 6 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)

Horror Tale 1: Kidnapper – April 6 (Xbox One X Enhanced)

The Library of Babel – April 6 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)

Bumballon – April 7 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)

EA Sports PGA Tour – April 7

Joe Wander and the Enigmatic Adventure – April 7 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S)

New Windows Beta build

Microsoft released the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22621.1537 and 22624.1537 to Insiders in the Beta Channel on Friday. As usual, the build with a higher number gets most of the features. Some of them are those already announced in previous and earlier releases of Microsoft, including the File Explorer access keys shortcuts, live kernel memory dump creation in Task Manager, and availability of Content Adaptive Brightness Control even when the device is charging.

Bing Chat gets video and image search capability and more

In its latest update, Bing gets video and image search capability. Microsoft refers to it as “answer cards,” which will appear below chat answers. The cards are accompanied by the “See more” option, which will bring users to Bing image search when clicked. Also, Microsoft said it improved local searches (e.g., park, a store, or a doctor’s office near the user) through the local grounding. Alongside these Bing Chat improvements, the Redmond company said it also made enhancements to the Bing version in the Edge sidebar. Some include faster responses, image generation capability, conversation reset prevention, and context enhancements.

Recently, Microsoft confirmed the problem regarding Defender tagging legit links as malware. According to the reports of affected users, the issue caused them to receive a bunch of unnecessary alert emails. The Redmond company addressed the false positive issue by reverting recent updates to the SafeLinks feature.

“We’re reviewing diagnostics such as network telemetry data to verify the root cause and identify a path to resolution,” Microsoft said in its last update. “Further detail can be found under DZ534539 in the Microsoft 365 admin center.”

E3 canceled after a lack of support from Microsoft and other big publishers

In January, the news about big publishers like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo not joining this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event surfaced. In March, Microsoft confirmed it wouldn’t be on the E3 showfloor, but said it would co-stream Xbox Games Showcase as part of E3 Digital. Xbox Head Phil Spencer also expressed support for E3 despite this decision.

“Xbox is on the board of the ESA, and I think a successful and healthy ESA is critical to what we’re trying to go do,” Spencer told IGN. “So we place our showcase, like we always have done, at a time where hopefully it’s convenient for press and even consumers that are going to the E3 event, and that’s what we’re trying to do now. We will continue to work with ESA in terms of their plans. As I said, we’re on the board, and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help make the E3 successful.”

However, as more publishers like Ubisoft pulled out of the event, organizers at ReedPop and ESA decided to cancel E3.

“This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,” said Kyle Marsden-Kish, ReedPop Global VP of Gaming. “We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.”

Microsoft versus Google in cloud battle

Recently, the search giant slammed the software company by accusing it of anti-competitive cloud practices and said that its upcoming deals with European cloud vendors are not the absolute solution for licensing term concerns. Google’s comment came as its response regarding the latest antitrust complaints being scrutinized by the European Union regulators. Vice President and Head of Platform for Google Cloud Amit Zavery detailed this in his statement to Reuters.

“They’re selectively kind of buying out those ones who complain and not make those terms available to everyone. So that definitely makes it an unfair advantage to Microsoft and ties the people who complained back to Microsoft anyway,”

“Whatever they’re offering, there should be terms across for everybody, not just for one or two they’ve chosen and pick, and that shows you that they have so much market power they can kind of go and do those things individually.”

“My point to the regulators would be that they should look at this holistically, even though one or two vendors might settle doesn’t solve the broader problem. And that’s the problem we need to really resolve, not individual vendors’ problems.”

2nd Gen Surface Hub 2S

Microsoft said a second-generation Surface Hub 2S is coming later this year and said it would come with “Teams Rooms on Windows,” a new version of Windows that should replace the existing Windows Teams OS in the current Surface Hub 2S.

“This unlocks top-requested Teams Rooms features for both users and admins, such as Front Row, persistent chat, consistent remote management capabilities and more,” said Kate Canfield, Surface Product Marketing at Microsoft. “The future of Surface Hub will meet the realities of modern work, combining the latest Teams Rooms features with the iconic Surface Hub 2S design and premium hardware – a thin edge and bezel, dual active inking, and 20-point multi-touch – and providing users with a natural experience for enhanced collaboration.”

New Xbox Update Preview in Omega Ring

Microsoft released a new update in Omega Ring last week, and it introduced a new Subscription Management. Under this new feature, users can change their plan or update the recurring billing status directly from the console. It can be accessed by going to Settings > Account > Subscriptions. Other issues and known issues were also discussed in the announcement.

More layoffs: Whole GitHub India Team

In the latest news about Microsoft’s global job cuts, over 142 people comprising the entire engineering team at GitHub India were laid off. According to Firstpost, the layoff decision for the group was not based on performance but because the team was requested to resign. Thomas Dohmke, CEO of GitHub, sent an email to the team explaining the move.

“We are announcing a number of difficult decisions, including the departure of some Hubbers and the implementation of new budgetary realignments, designed to protect our business’s short-term health while also allowing us to invest in our long-term strategy,” Dohmke wrote in an email.

More about the topics: bing, cloud, e3, gaming, Windows Insiders

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