Microsoft Apologizes for Amy Winehouse Download Tweet

"Tasteless beyond belief" says one about @tweetbox360's "tribute" tweet to Amy Winehouse.

The Twitter account of Microsoft’s Xbox (@tweetbox360 ) tweeted “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune,” and stirred a lot of negative reactions.

"Tasteless beyond belief" says one about @tweetbox360's "tribute" tweet to Amy Winehouse.

Ranging from sarcastic advice to “stay classy” to being called a “contender for stupidest tweet of the day”, the tweet has forced Microsoft to issue an apology. “Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.”

[Read more…]

Facebook, Microsoft Declare War Against Child Predators


One doesn’t attract 600 million plus users without picking up some of the worst scum along the way. Fortunately it seems as if Facebook is teaming up with Microsoft in order to catch child predators using the social giant’s website.

Facebook is joining Microsoft in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s PhotoDNA program to combat child pornography. NCMEC’s program, using image-matching technology created by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Dartmouth College, gives online service providers an effective tool to take more proactive action to stop the distribution of known images of child sexual abuse online. (Official Microsoft Blog)

According to the NY Times (who first broke the story), PhotoDNA basically converts the image into a black and white photo, then chops them into smaller blocks.

Using certain measurement tools (which understandably they decline to elaborate upon), PhotoDNA is able to determine if certain images are indeed exploiting children.

Microsoft is apparently giving away this technology for free, and is trying to convince competitors (i.e. read Google) to adopt their technology (which they have already tested using Bing!).

Creating a safer environment for children seems to be a recurring theme for the social giant, and hopefully more companies (like Flickr, Twitter, etc.) will consider implementing PhotoDNA in order to root out child predators from the social universe.

Image Credit: NY Times

2nd Most Popular Facebook App? You Wouldn’t Think So

Microsoft Live Messenger Logo

Microsoft Live Messenger LogoFarmville might be the most played game on Facebook with 16 million daily users, but some visitors might be interested to know that the 2nd most popular application isn’t a popular game or gift sending app, it’s Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger Facebook application.

ReadWriteWeb reports that 9 million Live Messenger users are currently logging into Facebook and then chatting to their friends through the application, rather than using Facebook’s own chat application.

The application is a smart move for Microsoft who may be able to etch out a name for themselves by providing the type of chat functions users fail to love on Facebook.  It could be a great way for Microsoft to introduce their own users to Facebook, while possibly rolling out new features that could provide a further social network reach for the company. [Read more…]

WordPress Assimilates Windows Live Spaces

Automattic (the company behind WordPress) has just announced that they have been anointed by Microsoft (yes, that Microsoft!) to become their default blogging platform, replacing Microsoft’s home grown creation (Windows Live Spaces).

We’re excited to announce that is now the default blogging platform for Windows Live Spaces users. We’ve worked with our partners at Microsoft to create a simple migration service for Spaces bloggers to easily bring all their posts, comments, and photos to

Over a six month period, beginning today, Windows Live Spaces users will have the option to move their blogs to To make this possible, we’ve created a brand new importer for Windows Live Spaces to New Windows Live users will also be offered a blog when they choose to create a new blog. (Official WordPress Blog)

This is a smart move by Microsoft, who was unable to convert Windows Live Spaces into a viable competitor against Google’s Blogger, let alone other platforms like Posterous and Squarespace.

Windows Live Spaces currently has 30 million users (note: how many are still active is uncertain. UPDATE: 30 million active users according to Jeff Kunins from Microsoft), which should help Automattic compete against Blogger who currently reigns as king of the blogging platforms (at least according to Compete and Quantcast).

By partnering with WordPress, Microsoft can focus on areas of strength (like Bing!) while at the same time forging alliances against an old foe.

It will be interesting to see if Automattic forges a deeper relationship with Microsoft (note: think WordPress for Windows 7 Phone), although for now WordPress’s status as a corporate CMS just went up a few notches.

Update: Post updated (see second paragraph after block quote above).

Foursquare Talking With Top Search Engines [Report]


foursquareIt’s confirmed, Foursquare is currently in talks with the nets top search engines, including Google Microsoft and Yahoo.

Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has told the Telegraph:

“Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search,” while adding, “We can anonymise data and use it to show venues which are trending at that moment. Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is trending – not what.” [Read more…]

Will WordPress Create A Windows 7 Mobile App?

With Microsoft launching Windows 7 Mobile to the masses in October, one has to wonder whether the world’s largest blog platform (after Blogger) is secretly creating a WordPress blogging app for Microsoft.

Although WordPress has yet to create an official app for webOS (which powers the Palm Pre), they will probably skip over HP’s mobile OS and instead embrace the Redmond software giant instead.

For those wondering why an open source company like WordPress would even seriously consider teaming up with Microsoft (who defines propriety software), here are three (3) reasons we will probably see a WordPress app debuting on Windows 7 mobile later on this year.

WordPress, Inc.

Although Blogger still dominates WordPress as far as traffic goes, Automattic’s platform has extended beyond personal diaries and is now being embraced by small businesses, large corporations as well as heads of state (dictators too!).

With blogs becoming an important tool for corporations (at least for those in the PR business) we may see Microsoft forge a deep relationship with WordPress in order to gain some traction with their phone. [Read more…]

Microsoft Resorts to Giving Free Wi-Fi in Exchange for Bing Search

If you regularly check Techmeme tech news aggregator, you’d know that the biggest news today as it always been whenever things like this happen – is Google’s acquisition of mobile ad technology company AdMob.  But if you scroll through the Techmeme page, passing through the list of blogs covering the news, you’d see a small headline that says – “Microsoft Bing Gives WiFi Users Free Search”.

So, what was that all about? [Read more…]

Microsoft shows off overhauled MSN home page


Do you use some kind of information portal as your regular launchpad onto the web? There are certainly plenty of dedicated ones to choose from, as well as being able to choose any web page as your start page, of course.

Microsoft is hoping that it can increase the popularity of its MSN home page with a preview version of the new look just announced.


As you’d expect, the Bing search engine features prominently on the new site which, based on user feedback, is supposed to be less cluttered and easier to use than the current one. [Read more…]

BingTweets Marries Twitter and Bing

bingtweets.jpgI’m a bit surprised to see BingTweets, a marriage between Twitter and Microsoft’s search engine Bing, courtesy of Federated Media and Microsoft themselves. Why? This from the Bing blog:

How does partnering with Twitter make Bing a more effective decision engine? Many people share their thoughts on Twitter, and search engines don’t currently do a great job of capturing that real-time content. We designed Bing to help you make faster, more informed decisions, and, since people often turn to real-time content to help them make decisions, BingTweets was a logical next step.

Federated Media has a post up on it as well, not adding too much. I fail to be wowed by this though, it lacks the fine-tuning of projects like ExecTweets for example. This is just a ticker, some trending topics, and the option to search Bing and Twitter at the same time.