Roundup It has been a bumper week at Microsoft with new builds, bigger meetings and streaming software.
It's taken a while, but Skype has finally leapfrogged FaceTime in the group meeting stakes, bumping the maximum participants in a group call from 25 to 50. Apple trumpeted a mere 32 back when it launched the functionality in iOS 12 back in 2018. The fruity firm later temporarily pulled the feature following the discovery of a horrific privacy bug in January.
Skype's new functionality is currently available to insiders and will also now send a notification rather than ringing the devices of those members who can't join.
Skype for Business, on the other hand, allows up to 250 participants in a group call.
As is the norm this close to the release of a Windows 10 build, there was little to get too excited about in the new Fast Ring emission - build 18358 - although fixes of note included upgrades failing and having to rollback and a worrying bug where certain upgrade paths could result in the contents of the Recycle Bin being left under Windows.old.
Microsoft again reminded its Fast Ring insiders that the company would really like them to have a crack at zombie botherer, State of Decay. It also introduced a new bug that prevents app updates being automatically installed from the Microsoft Store.
Slow Ring users, now tracking mere days behind their Fast Ring cousins, also received quick fire builds as Microsoft first leapt from build 18351.8 to 18351.26 between 13 and 14 March in order to test out the packaging of Cumulative Updates. The company then shifted those Slow Ring testers to build 18561.1, a mere three days after some Fast Ring testers had enjoyed finding themselves inadvertently opted out of receiving any further builds.
Windows 10 Home users have long been a handy resource for trying out updates before Microsoft's all-important Enterprise customers receive new code. Consumers have been unable to do much in the way of holding off the update train.
However, reports have been circulating that, in recent Insider builds, Microsoft may allow customers to hang fire for up to 35 days.
The move would make sense, given the plan to have Windows 10 automatically uninstall a borked update and then wait 30 days before trying again.
Or it could just be a bug in the build. Windows prodder Tero Alhonen tweeted a guide to extend that hesitation beyond mere days to months or even years.
The Register was unable to recreate Alhonen's findings in more recent builds so setting a century-long delay on Windows 10 updates is going to have to remain just wishful thinking for now.
Microsoft Teams is now available in all Microsoft 365 Government cloud environments.
Already a thing for the Government Community Cloud (GCC), users in GCC High and Department of Defense (DoD) environments can now join Microsoft's cloudy party as the company looks to head off the likes of messaging platform Mattermost, which has been quietly making inroads into the likes of the DoD.
Microsoft has been very keen for government users to adopt its Microsoft 365 platform, and regards Teams as a key component in gluing together apps such as Word and Excel with services like Sharepoint.
As well as reminding officials that Office mobile is also compliant with all the security requirements of the DoD and its ilk, Microsoft also took the opportunity to dangle the carrot of some functions due to appear in Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to deal with email nasties.
Now, if only it could do something about early morning Twitter usage from the White House bathroom.
The Xbox team popped up last week to give an update on the progress of its xCloud initiative - shoving Xbox One hardware into Microsoft's data centres to allow gamers to stream interactive entertainment to their device of choice.
The team insisted the technology was intended to complement rather than replace game consoles, but pointed to a future where content can be accessed from a connected device.
To demonstrate how far the tech had come, Microsoft unveiled a live, public demonstration of a Forza racing game running on a handy phone to howls of "fake!" from the usually balanced and well-reasoned world of Twitter. While that's highly unlikely, the latency between controller and game seemed brutal to us in the demo.
But then again, gaming peaked with the 1983 release of Netware Snipes.
Microsoft expects to get the public involved with testing out its new service later this year. ®