February 24 Latest Microsoft News: Free Play Days, story behind Bing creation, layoffs, and more

February 24, 2023

Here are more Microsoft-related news and stories you might like to know.

Microsoft is Ukraine’s most generous private donor

Different countries and even private companies and organizations continue to support Ukraine. According to a report from Fortune, Microsoft is the biggest private donor of Ukraine, with a $430 million donation in cash and services. For the latter, it includes its cloud services, cyber security defense, and threat detection services.

Microsoft is axing employees in Germany

The global job cut recently announced by Microsoft continues. According to business news outlet WirtschaftsWoche (via Reuters), the company wants to let go of 120 jobs in Germany. This will follow the recent layoff in LinkedIn and Microsoft’s cloud services sales department.

Free Play Days

Microsoft announced three titles (Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, and Dragon Ball: The Breakers) coming to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members this weekend for its Free Play Days. The games are free for members to play until Sunday, February 26, at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure

The Forza Horizon 5 Rally Adventure expansion was announced during the Forza Horizon 5 Let’s ¡GO! Livestream. The new expansion will feature 10 new cars, six new biomes, and other features. It will be available on March 29 across Xbox consoles, PC on Windows and Steam, and Cloud Gaming (Beta).

The making of ChatGPT Bing

Jordi Ribas, CVP at Microsoft – Search & AI, recently shared how the software company came up with the design and other significant elements of the new Bing. Specifically, Ribas shared how team members argue about how Microsoft’s proprietary technology Prometheus would be combined with Bing, with some voting to stay in the traditional search UX while others preferred a “new interactive, chat-based way of searching.” Ribas said it took the team multiple tries to deliver the perfect product.

“Our design team took on the challenge and, after multiple iterations, developed a new UX that unified Search and Chat in a single interface, where users could easily switch back and forth by clicking on UX elements in the page, or by simply scrolling or swiping up and down,” he said.

Ukraine burgers Microsoft and other companies to stop selling Atomic Heart

The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine said it wants Microsoft and other companies like Valve and Sony to stop the sale of Atomic Heart in Ukraine. Deputy minister Alex Bornyakov explained that since the title was developed by Russian studio Mundfish and probably has links to the Russian government, the money that could be collected from the sales can be used to contribute to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Here is Bornyakov’s statement from Dev.ua (via PC Gamer):

“The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine will send an official letter to Sony, Microsoft, and Valve requesting a ban on selling digital versions of this game in Ukraine,” deputy minister of digital transformation Alex Bornyakov said. “We also urge limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential data collection of users, and the potential use of money raised from game purchases to conduct a war against Ukraine.

“According to media reports, the game’s development was funded by Russian enterprises and banks sanctioned and have systemic importance to the Russian government. Therefore, we call for all users worldwide to avoid this game. We also want to emphasize that the game developers have not publicly condemned the Putin regime and the bloody war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine.”

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