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Microsoft Weekly: AD woes, acquisitions galore, and Bingo was her name-o

Microsoft Weekly logo in the middle with Cortana on the right and Windows logo on the left

We are at the end of the week and while it was a relatively slow due to the holiday season, there is still some stuff that is worthwhile to recap in case you haven't been keeping up with our daily coverage. This week, we learned some more about Active Directory (AD) troubles, one of Microsoft's name considerations when christening Cortana, and some interesting stuff about Windows 11 too. Find out more in our recap for December 18 - December 24.

Active Directory woes

Windows 10 logo gradient from blue to peach

Earlier this week, Microsoft issued an advisory about some vulnerabilities reported in AD a few weeks ago. Although the company released patches back in November, it is once again asking customers to immediately apply the fix on domain controllers because a proof-of-concept tool that exploits the issues has now been publicly released and can be used by malicious actors. Threat actors can now fairly easily gain Domain Admin privileges in AD as long as they can compromise a regular user account, which means that its essential that organizations update their domain controllers as soon as possible.

Acquisitions galore

The Microsoft logo in front of the EU flag

There are two notable acquisitions to talk about in this week's digest. The first is Microsoft's purchase of Nuance, that has finally been approved by the European Union (EU). Nuance is a company that develops transcription software, and the EU has provided unconditional approval for the deal, reportedly valued at $16 billion. The EU's blessing is a major hurdle overcome by Microsoft in terms of finalizing the transaction since the United States and Australia have already deemed it to pose no competition concerns and given it the go-ahead.

The second acquisition is in a completely different domain altogether. Microsoft has entered a contract to acquire Xandr, which is AT&T's global programmatic advertising marketplace. With support from Xandr, Microsoft will be capable of expediting the provision of digital advertising solutions for the open web by bringing together Xandr's data-driven platforms for advertising and Microsoft's technology and global advertising customer base.

Bing-o was (almost) her name-o

Cortanas face in space

It turns out that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wanted the company's virtual assistant to be named "Bingo" instead of Cortana. For those unaware, Cortana is the name of the virtual AI companion for Halo's chief protagonist Master Chief, whereas Bingo... well, that likely stems from the word "Bing", which is Microsoft's search engine. While the latter may have made sense to Ballmer from a functionality and branding perspective, the name Cortana received overwhelming support from the Windows and Windows Phone user base.

Talking about Windows, a third-party developer has released a Dark Mode for Paint on Windows 11. While the capability to officially enable this has been promised by Microsoft already, we are yet to see that happen. If you simply can't wait and are on the Windows 11 Dev Channel, you should probably check out the workaround, while owning the risk that comes with installing third-party packages.

Finally, fans of Microsoft's Edge browser will be pleased to know that the Web Capture tool now works with PDF files in the Canary channel. It's unclear when the feature will make its way to the Stable channel, but it should be sooner rather than later, in light of the current development.

Dev channel

Games with Gold January 2021

Under the spotlight

A screenshot of News and Interests in Windows 10

This week, I talked about how I miss the News and Interests integration with the Taskbar when using Windows 11. Widgets in the OS just don't feel the same since they essentially behave like a separate app rather than providing information and utility in the Taskbar, which should be the core purpose of Widgets, and something that Windows 10 provides to some extent, in my opinion.

Feedback Hub graphic on a laptop with the logo on the left

I also discussed how Microsoft needs to fix the upvote counts in its Feedback Hub. Currently, we noticed drops of up to 40% in the metric for popular pieces of feedback, and it's clear that something is wrong. Given that there is no way to downvote feedback in the tool, this has led to speculation about whether this is a malicious bug or intentionally malicious behavior from Microsoft, but it's clear that action needs to be taken.

Logging off

Header image showing eighty percent game compatibilty

Our most interesting news item of the week came from our new reporter Dean Howell, who noted that 80% of Steam's top 100 games now work on Linux. This includes titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator, No Man’s Sky, Back 4 Blood, Cookie Clicker, Dark Souls III, and more. You can expect these games to run on Linux exactly like they do on Windows. Check out Dean's analysis here.

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