Tech News

Microsoft Complains About Google, Spotify Switches To Mobile, & More [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 12-01-2015

Microsoft falls out with Google, Spotify gets more mobile, Nintendo quits Brazil, Apple increases app prices, the Flappy Bird arcade cabinet, and there’s no escaping the zombie apocalypse.


Microsoft Condemns Google For Bug Timing

Microsoft has publicly condemned Google for posting details about a vulnerability in Windows 8.1. Google revealed the security hole over the new year Netflix Starts Messing With VPNs, Google Reveals Windows 8.1 Exploit [Tech News Digest] Netflix punishes pirates, Google publishes Windows 8.1 exploit, Acer reveals giant Chromebook, Sony offers PlayStation freebies, the Smithsonian posts art online, and the $7,500 iPhone 6. Read More exactly 90 days after informing Microsoft of the bug. However, Microsoft feels Google made an error of judgement in this particular case.

In a lengthy diatribe on the issue, Chris Betz, Senior Director of the Microsoft Security Response Center, revealed Microsoft “asked Google to work with us to protect customers by withholding details until Tuesday, January 13, when we will be releasing a fix.” By not granting this request, Betz states “the decision feels less like principles and more like a ‘gotcha’, with customers the ones who may suffer as a result.” He concludes, “What’s right for Google is not always right for customers. We urge Google to make protection of customers our collective primary goal.

This is a difficult debate to know which side to support. Google certainly gave plenty of notice and then followed through on its promise to reveal the bug to the public. However, Microsoft asked for a short extension which Google then ignored. Which seems rather unnecessary. Whose side are you on?

Spotify Users Listen On Mobile Devices

More Spotify users listen on mobile devices than they do on desktops and the Web player. This is according to statistics the company itself splashed across screens at CES 2015. The stats show it’s 52 percent versus 48 percent: 42 percent of users listen on smartphones, 10 percent on tablets, 45 percent on desktop, and just 3 percent on the Spotify Web player A First Look At The Spotify Web Player Spotify has changed the way many of us consume music, myself included. I used to buy albums on a regular basis, but once the time came when I'd rip the CD to my computer's hard... Read More .

This is a significant change, and it shows why so many other companies are now jumping on the bandwagon and offering their own streaming music services. The more people Spotify can get listening on mobile the more people the company will be able to persuade to pay to use the service. And with every new subscription Spotify adds, the less sense Taylor Swift’s argument Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify In the past week Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify, inspired countless song-pun laden headlines and reignited the debate about streaming music services. Read More makes.


Nintendo Quits Brazil Over High Taxes

Nintendo is quitting Brazil, deciding to cease all operations in the South American country thanks to high import taxes. Nintendo will no longer sell hardware or software in Brazil for the foreseeable future, although the Japanese company has promised to “continue to monitor the evolution of the business environment and evaluate how best to serve our Brazilian fans in the future.

Nintendo could have bypassed the high import taxes by building a manufacturing plant in the vicinity but the company has decided not to do so. With or without Nintendo selling its wares in the country, gaming in Brazil is an expensive hobby, with an Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More costing around $800 and a PS4 Sony PlayStation 4 Review And Giveaway Ladies and gentlemen, the next generation of video game consoles is here, with the Sony PlayStation 4! Read More costing around $1500. Which means I would either emigrate or take up a new, much cheaper, hobby.

Apple Increases Minimum Price Of Apps

Apple has increased the minimum price of apps sold in the App Store in Europe, Russia, and Canada. According to MacRumors, the cheapest paid apps will rise from “£0.69 to £0.79 in the UK, €0.89 to €0.99 in EU countries, and $0.99 to $1.19 in Canada.” The changes are as a result of exchange rates and tax hikes, but they come hot on the heels of Apple announcing impressive figures for the first week of 2015.

There Is Now A Flappy Bird Arcade Cabinet

As if playing Flappy Bird The Short Story Of Flappy Bird [Weird & Wonderful Web] Few mobile games enter into the collective consciousness of the mainstream in the way Flappy Bird has done. It passes into Internet folklore, but these videos will help to preserve its virality. Read More on a smartphone or tablet wasn’t torture enough, you can now play Flappy Bird on an arcade cabinet. Bay Tek Games has turned the frustrating mobile game into an arcade cabinet with a 42-inch display. Which just means you get to see your endless failures more vividly than ever before. Oh, joy.


Parkour Fails To Beat Zombie Apocalypse

And finally, even extremely impressive parkour skills may not be enough to save you from the zombie apocalypse Apps And Smartphone Equipment To Take With You Into The Zombie Apocalypse Technology failing to work remains the most ridiculous genre trope of the zombie apocalypse. We've seen many disgusted protagonists sneeringly discard ominously "dead" phones: That's because people in movies do not know much about technology.... Read More . We know this to be the case thanks to this video created to promote forthcoming open-world zombie survival game Dying Light.

While this video may be a promo, it’s actually put me off playing Dying Light. It’s also convinced me that if and when the zombie apocalypse does occur, I’ll be one of the first to succumb to the walking dead. Running and jumping is pointless.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you side with Microsoft or Google in the the Windows 8.1 bug row? What devices do you use to listen to Spotify? How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.


Image Credit: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Spotify.

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  1. Muller
    November 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Anonymous is the best hacker around just give it a shot for your credit cards top ups , bank deposits , block chain and Bitcoin hacks, A remote mobile phone hack and tracking, advance spying spyware and remote installation, location of missing persons and tracking a scammer.

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  2. ItsYouNotMe
    January 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    60% of Adroid devices left vulnerable to security risk. Search for that headline that came out today on other websites. Great architecture Google. Google has no intention of keeping you safe. All operating systems have vulnerabilities. To just bash Microsoft and say their OS is the worst and so bad at security is just short sighted and misinformed by media fluff and the Fan Boys that love each OS or company.

    CVE Vulnerability list on Google products is well over 100 vulnerabilities for 2014.

    Linux Bash script vulnerability?, Heartbleed? Linux has had it's own issues in big head line news this past year. Not any better and not any safer. Not all the systems in the Sony hack were Windows. They broke into other Operating systems as well once they got into the network.

    Well over 100 vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel alone in 2014 let alone the separate pieces and distro specific vulnerabilities. Ubuntu safer or better? Me think not.

    Apple. Over 250 listed vulnerabilities for 2014.

    Microsoft - 376 for 2014. Apple not too far behind.

    None of them write 100% secure code. Microsoft is a big target because of share and so the vulnerabilities seem porous but if any of the vendors took over that market share you'd say the same things about them. People's perception doesn't bother me. It's companies like Google that put out info like this trying to make someone else look bad when they have a ton of issues themselves.

    • dragonmouth
      January 15, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      " Microsoft is a big target because of share "
      Please, please, not that old, tired excuse! Microsoft is a big target because they write shoddy code and their products are are easily hacked.

      "if any of the vendors took over that market share you’d say the same things about them"
      A safe statement to make, with little chance of being proven or disproven, since even if Microsoft disappeared today, their software is so pervasive that "Microsoft is a big target" excuse would be used for years to come.

      "Linux has had it’s own issues in big head line news this past year. Not any better and not any safer."
      Using the figures you provided, Linux is 3 times more secure than Windows, 100 to 376. :-) I notice you do not mention how quickly those vulnerabilities were corrected or patched after being discovered. IIRC, the Bash exploit and Heartbleed were corrected quite quickly.

      "It’s companies like Google that put out info like this trying to make someone else look bad when they have a ton of issues themselves. "
      Making the competition look bad is Standard Operating Procedure in the business world, no matter who the company is and/or what the product is.

  3. dragonmouth
    January 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    To all those claiming that Google should not have "exposed" the vulnerability to the world, all I can say, DON'T BE NAIVE!!!

    The people that could/would exploit this vulnerability for their nefarious purposes most likely knew about it as soon, if not before, Google discovered it. The only people to whom the Google announcement was news were the users. The entire "Don't disclose vulnerabilities publicly because that will alert the bad guys" ploy is nothing more than a Cover Your Ass ploy by a comapny that got caught with their pants and security down, be it M$, Google, Apple, or anybody else.

  4. Stu Montjoy
    January 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    IF Microsoft truly want to PROTECT their customers (users of Windows that is), they should release updates and Operating Systems when they have no errors. That's what Ubuntu does.

  5. GoogleIsEvilAsEveryone
    January 13, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Google needs to worry about it's own security instead of slamming other people. It's a trap. It makes you think Google is the good guy yet how many fake, malware infested apps have been found on the Google play store? How many privacy issues have they violated with streetview and many others that haven't even come to light yet with selling off data to marketers. If they are so concerned about vulnerabilities, they should clean their own house before pointing the finger at someone else. Marketing hype to get you to forget about their issues and bad deeds. Spend more time on cleaning up the Google echo system for a more secure, uniformed device that is easily upgradable and not controlled by the phone manufacturers. How many Google devices are vulnerable to attacks because users can't upgrade and fix their devices because they are at the mercy of the phone companies instead of getting the latest and greatest updates from the Google. Hmmm. People in Glass Houses.

  6. Nobody
    January 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    What devices do you use to listen to Spotify?
    How would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
    Pull the plug, get up from the couch, and LIVE.

    Do you side with Microsoft or Google in the the Windows 8.1 bug row?
    On this one point, with Google.
    They understand that too often in such matters, any plea for extra time is merely an empty delaying tactic.
    If Google wanted to continue to be taken seriously by Microsoft, they had to avoid appearing ready to fall for such a common trick.
    BTW -- Microsoft is lying when it implies that its "primary objective" is "the protection of customers".
    Its two main objectives here are 1 - Helping themselves, and 2 - Hurting Google.

  7. Nobby
    January 13, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Micorsoft have always released software with major security flaws and I convinced that they know about them but still choose to release on the basis that "the majority of users will never know!" The users have always been testing the products.

    If they do NOT know about the flaws, then the designers, developers and testers should hang thier heads in shame. How did this get through the QA process without being found?

    I admire Google for what they have done, they gave Microsoft ample opportunity to fix.
    Until Microsoft embraces the Open Software philosophy their flawed products should be exposed

  8. A41202813GMAIL
    January 13, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Maybe If M$ Had Not Fired So Many Past Employees, The Bug Would Be Fixed Before DECEMBER 9 ?

    Since The IE9 Sabotage Almost 4 Years Ago, And Now After APRIL 2014, Even IE7 And IE8 ( For Normal Users), I Expect Them Not To Cry Anyone A River, Whatsoever.


  9. Arun
    January 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Not really sure if this is all blown out of proportion. I see numerous posts on this, but none of them seem to state that a vagabond on the internet can gain elevated access due to this vulnerability. From what I have read, it appears the vulnerability can elevate privileges of a normal user of the system. So, it appears only those who already have access can really "exploit" the vulnerability; not someone who doesn't have any access at all. Agreed, it is still not something that can be ignored - fair enough not at the timelines "implicitly" determined by google. But, seriously MS and GOOG, "can we all get along?" :-)

  10. another horse with no name
    January 13, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Google as ever putting headlines and media coverage far above security, gee thanks google!

  11. Dan
    January 13, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Google should have handled the situation with a more security-conscious effort. Ultimately, users are exposed when this type of rivalry goes unchecked. Granted, Microsoft had 90 days to fix the bug and had somehow missed the deadline. Apparently, they did request a short extension which Google seems to have politely ignored. Most of the tech-world know, that patch Tuesday is the second Tuesday of the month and the so-called "egregious patch" could have easily slipped into the January 2015 patch release bundle, with the rest of us being none-the-wiser and then concluded the security transaction with a proverbial gentleman's handshake. Do we really need this type of rivalry on issues related to security?

  12. asdf
    January 13, 2015 at 5:04 am

    To be honest it seems to me like google was trying to light a fire under their asses by releasing the information. No idea how much time it would take them to fix but I cant imagine 90 days is not enough time with all the different microsoft teams and vast resources why 90 days was not enough time if microsoft really cared about all of our safety which I doubt because lets face it, microsoft. As soon as I see most of my favorite games coming out on linux i'm moving over permanently and it looks like I wont be waiting long as we are seeing more of those.

  13. Itanaman Dakar
    January 13, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I'm mostly with Google on this one. First off, this issue should have been brought to light by Microsoft themselves as soon as they found out about it so users could protect themselves until a fix was created. They had a moral and ethical obligation to do so. However, because they were more worried about their image over a security bug that all software is vulnerable to at some point and time, they chose to protect the way the felt would be better. I am disappointed in Google, for in reality, they should not have given them this long to fix a flaw like this, for in knowing it existed and not letting the public know, they are just as guilty as Microsoft for not making it public.

    Anytime any security vulnerability like that is found, it needs to be known by the public, so they can defend themselves (when possible as in this case) against dangers.

    Spotify: I use both computer and smartphone, and am a paid subscriber. I love the service, especially as a paid subscriber since I can download my songs and playlists for offline listening on all of my devices saving internet and cellular fees. While I would like to see some extras, and improvements, I have found them to be the best so far. They literally have anything I am looking for from Rock to spiritual to self-help, and all at a very very low price.

    Zombie Apocalypse: I would jump in the middle and offer myself up for a 3 course meal, cause like the author running and jumping isn't for me.

  14. A Horse With No Name
    January 13, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Google should not have leaked the info. Especially since Microsoft did communicate with them and let them know they were working on a fix. Some claim it's OK because Microsoft had 90 days notice, but some of those commenting are most likely not programmers. Not all fixes can be fixed right away. Think about it... They most likely had to pull people off other projects to write the fix, and may have not been the original programmers, which meant they had to research what the previous person had done before they could even begin on a fix. And also make sure it didn't break or compromise something else. I'm speaking from experience, because our IT department had a programmer that died while he was working on a project, and it took over 6 months to try to figure out what they had done and what still needed attention. And to you Linux or Mac lovers, yes there are security holes, it just doesn't get the attention that Microsoft does, so it is less of a problem. And before someone thinks I'm a Windows lover, well you're wrong. I prefer Mac OS X, but only because I prefer it for Audio, Photo, and Video production. In the 20+ years I've used Macs & PCs, there is some things a PC (Linux or Windows) can do better, and others that a Mac can do better. They are only tools, nothing more. I use both everyday.

    • dragonmouth
      January 14, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      "some of those commenting are most likely not programmers"
      I comment based on my experience. I put in 36 years in IT, mostly as a programmer and quite a few years in security.

      "They most likely had to pull people off other projects to write the fix"
      You make it sound like M$ is a some fly-by-night company with only a dozen employees. With thousands of programmer on the payroll, they probably have unit to just to handle bugs and vulnerabilities. I know my company did and our entire IT staff, including managers and secretaries, was around 100. Actually, M$ is a first rate company that releases fly-by-night software.

      "they had to research what the previous person had done before they could even begin on a fix"
      I doubt that very much. But I would not be surprised if, in their haste to roll out the product, they neglected to properly document anything, whether on paper or inline. So when it came time to debug, they had to start from scratch.

      "our IT department had a programmer that died while he was working on a project, and it took over 6 months to try to figure out what they had done and what still needed attention"
      Obviously the project was not properly and adequately documented. A common practice in many IT shops.

      "And to you Linux or Mac lovers, yes there are security holes, it just doesn’t get the attention that Microsoft does"
      First, there are much less security holes in Linux and Apple products. Second, I don't know about Apple but in the Linux community vulnerabilities are fixed or patched as soon as they come to light. Nobody has to give Linux developers a 90 day deadline before going public.

  15. K7AAY
    January 13, 2015 at 3:59 am

    How else will Microsoft learn the importance of security, if we don't call them out when they ignore their own bugs? Ninety days is _more_ than enough time. to fix an egregious error.

  16. Icestreaker
    January 13, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Couldn't the gamers in Brazil simply buy the systems in another country and simply ship it over? If they were true avid gamers,that is what they would do.

    As for Microsoft, they knew about the error, they have good programmers working for them, they had a set 90 days to fix the problem. Why could they not get the job done, and possibly get it done quicker? If nothing else, simply take some Win10 programmers and have them help fix the project quicker (WIn8.1 and 10 are basically the same right now are they not?) They screwed up and they don't want to admit it, that's all there is too it.

  17. YellowApple
    January 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

    I'm 100% for Google here. Microsoft had a full 90 days - almost three months - to get their act together. They failed. Google had a policy set which Microsoft was no doubt aware of.

    I really don't care about the bug itself - Windows being insecure ain't exactly a surprise at this point - but Microsoft can at least own up to its mistakes instead of the infantile whining they have resorted to.

  18. Bruce E
    January 12, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Although Microsoft has become better about addressing security issues in their software, it wouldn't surprise me to find out they didn't even begin researching the problem and working on a fix 60+ days after notification. If that is why they were requesting an extension, I feel nothing for them. If they were legitimately working on the issue since notification and were able to provide appropriate documentation to prove the claim, Google could have held off a few days with their public disclosure.

    As you can see, there are just a few trust issues here.

  19. michael clyde
    January 12, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    @ Andrew,
    It may not be love between them but, how can you trust a company (Google) that would sacrifice customers (Microsoft's) or potential customers? (It's own)

    • rk
      January 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      @Michael, MS should care more about its customers than Google cares about MS customers. Why should I trust MS when it didn't protect its own customers like me? In other words, why didn't MS comply and fix the issue within 90 days? That's long enough to fix a bug unless it's a BIG BUG!

  20. Jimmy.
    January 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    From a security point of view I would have to side with Microsoft.
    I can understand the annoyance of Google but being careless with
    the information was not a way to address the issue.

  21. Andrew
    January 12, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I find myself leaning toward the feeling that Goggle didn't really have to slam MS quite so hard, but not being a fan of proprietary operating systems a portion of my feelings are smiling widely as well. Microsoft does have to realize that Google does have an OS of its own now and may simply be choosing to concentrate on staying safe with their own system and not laboring to contribute to a closed system. Lets face it, if I decided to create my own Linux based system why on earth would I worry about helping another company that chooses to be proprietary, I would certainly want to promote my system as being superior and bring to light any reason for someone to be concerned about the other guys system. All is fair in love and war ... and it doesn't seem to be love between MS and Google.

  22. dragonmouth
    January 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    "Microsoft Condemns Google For Bug Timing"
    If M$ can't fix the bug in 90 days, another few won't make the difference. OTOH, if M$ can't fix the bug in 90 days, then the problem is more serious than just a bug. I guess we'll see if the "bug" is fixed on 1/13/15.