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By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft Store for Business and Education may be killed off soon
by Usama Jawad
Over a year ago, it was reported that Microsoft is considering killing off Microsoft Store (previously "Windows Store") for Business and Education, and that the process would be initiated in June 2020. This report surfaced prior to the pandemic, which of course put a dent in any plans the company may have had about these offerings, and nothing in this regard was officially announced.
This may be changing soon as the Redmond tech giant has announced that it will soon be restricting users from purchasing paid apps from the Microsoft Store for Business and Education.
Customers of Microsoft Store for Business and Education have started receiving notifications from the company that they will not be allowed to purchase paid apps from the portals after April 14, and will only be able to download free apps. That said, paid apps that you have already purchased will continue to work and receive updates, and free apps will not be impacted either.
The firm has also updated the dedicated webpage for Microsoft Store for Business and Education, which now has a notice that reads:
Microsoft has specifically highlighted that since Minecraft: Education Edition is a subscription offering, it will continue to function. Furthermore, if you still need to purchase paid apps after April 14, the company recommends that you get directly in touch with the app's publisher for your licensing needs.
Based on the above changes, it's very likely that plans to kill off the offerings have finally been put in motion by the firm. Microsoft Store for Business and Education were slightly altered versions of the vanilla Microsoft Store, and allowed administrators to tailor what apps can be download by users inside an organization. It could also be used to distribute certain apps that are only meant for businesses. As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports, one factor behind this change could also be Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) plans failing to materialize in any meaningful way, which means that there is less of a need for Microsoft-managed dedicated app stores. We have reached out to Microsoft for confirmation if this is indeed the first step in deprecating the portals completely, and will update this article when we hear back.
By Usama Jawad96
Apple reverses stance about popular Mac app being named after a drug
by Usama Jawad
Amphetamine is a very popular app that prevents your Mac from going to sleep. It has been downloaded nearly 500,000 times from the App Store and sports a rating of 4.8/5. Recently, Apple took issue with the name and asked the developer to rename their app and its icon as it "includes references to controlled substances, pills". If the developer does not comply, their app would be removed for the App Store on January 12, 2021. The move attracted backlash from the app's developer and its users alike, and today, Apple has backpedaled on its initial decision.
Apple had initially stated that Amphetamine violates the following App Store guideline:
The developer of Amphetamine William C. Gustafson argued that the app does not promote drugs in any way, and the drug of that name is actually legally prescribed to adults with narcolepsy and children for ADHD. Gustafson also highlighted examples of other apps actually promoting drugs in the App Store without any concerns raised by Apple. He went on to say that Amphetamine's branding is core to its identity, and the app was even featured by Apple itself a while ago. Gustafson also filed an appeal to Apple, and stated that if the company does not agree, he would rebrand his app and work to raise awareness regarding Apple's actions.
It appears that the Cupertino tech giant has finally been convinced by Gustafson's argument as well the developer's tweet and Save.org petition gaining traction in the past couple of days, as it has decided to reverse its decision.
Gustafson has stated that an Apple representative contacted him and informed him of the company's decision:
As such, it seems that Amphetamine will live on in the App Store with its current branding, which also includes a pill icon, as before.
By Rich Woods
NBC News releases an election widget for iOS 14 users
by Rich Woods
NBC News is updating its app for iOS today with a new Decision 2020 widget, which is meant to keep users informed of the general election in the United States. You'll need to be on iOS 14 in order to get the new widget.
NBC says that the new widget lets you see important voting information, voting stats, the latest polls, and the latest election results. Thanks to the nature of iOS 14 widgets, you can do all of this from your iPhone's home screen.
In the widget settings, you can choose the state that you live in for more localized results. You can also choose the type of information that you want to see. By default, it's set to auto rotate, but you can choose topics like Plan Your Vote, National Poll Average, Latest Polls, Early Voting, Election News, and Elections Results.
The new widget is available now in the NBC News app on iOS, although as mentioned above, you need to be on iOS 14 to get it. You can check out NBC News on the App Store here.
Ebb Software's Giger-esque horror title Scorn, shown off at Inside Xbox
by Florin Bodnarescu
Today, kicking off the Xbox 20/20 series of events planned between now and the launch of Microsoft's Xbox Series X this holiday, was a special episode of Inside Xbox. During it, Serbian developer Ebb Software showcased the latest trailer for its atmospheric first-person horror adventure title Scorn, a game inspired by the works of H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński.
Published by Humble Bundle, the upcoming game is "set in a nightmarish universe of odd forms and somber tapestry". As you'd expect from something with the aforementioned source of inspiration, there is plenty of gore, violence, and other mature content. The game was Kickstarted and initially meant to be split into two parts, but later the decision was made to release the game as a whole.
Scorn does not have a release date currently, although the wording of the announcement on the Steam page makes it seem like this will be a Series X exclusive, at least on the console side:
Furthermore, it is not coming to current-generation consoles. It has been announced for release on Series X and PC, with folks on the latter platform being able to grab it from either the Windows Store, Steam, GOG, or play it via Xbox Game Pass at launch. Noticeable by its absence is Humble Bundle, which is odd given that currently this is the game's publisher. Only the Steam page seems to be up currently.
By Rich Woods
The Windows Phone Store shuts down today
by Rich Woods
It's been nearly a year and a half since support ended for Windows Phone 8.1, not that it had even received an update for a couple of years before that. Of course, when support ends, the device still works, although services begin to get shut down. One of those services is the Windows Store. As Microsoft announced in October, the Store for Windows Phone 8.1 is shutting down today, and you can no longer download apps.
The apps you have will continue to work, but if you do a factory reset on your phone, you won't be able to get them back. The only way to continue getting apps on your phone is to upgrade it to Windows 10 Mobile.
That's another issue though, because you actually need an app to get the update, at least the over-the-air update. When Microsoft launched Windows 10 Mobile, it did it for a small subset of devices, mainly those that launched with Windows Phone 8.1 rather than those that upgraded from Windows Phone 8. And it never notified users that there was an upgrade available. You had to know about it, and seek it out yourself by downloading the Upgrade Advisor app.
Luckily, there's a way to still get Windows 10 Mobile, assuming that your phone is supported for the upgrade. You can use the Over-the-Cable Updater tool that Microsoft provides.
Windows 10 Mobile, of course, isn't supported either, but at least you'll have more working services. Most phones that are upgradeable will be able to get up to the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update (version 1607), with the exception of the Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL, which will land on the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update (version 1703).
Microsoft was supposed to end support for all versions of the OS this month, but it inexplicably extended support for a month at the last minute. This doesn't apply to devices that shipped with Windows Phone 8.1 though, as none of them were eligible for Windows 10 Mobile version 1709.