WPD Bits: Microsoft fined by EU, Windows licensing costs to be cut, and Scroogled ads coming to an end

The non-Windows Phone world of Microsoft was a little less participatory this week compared to the last edition of WPD Bits. Nonetheless, there was more than enough action going on around the company to fill up your weekly serving of Bits, served European Union style. That’ll be €561 million, please.

Microsoft fined €561 million by European Union for Windows 7 browser ballot violation

A few weeks ago, the European Union warned that it could fine Microsoft for a glitch in their browser ballot, which was a screen that offered alternative browsers to download in order to reduce the monopoly of Internet Explorer. The glitch resulted in millions of Windows 7 customers in the EU never being offered the ballot screen, and thus Microsoft had technically violated the EU’s imposition.

This week, they paid for it: the European Union fined Microsoft a staggering €561 million ($732 million) to which the company accepted “full responsibility”. The monetary sum has drummed up quite a bit of controversy about the EU’s practices, especially as Neowin points out that the government has fined Microsoft for more than 3 billion dollars in the last nine years alone.
Via: Neowin | Source: European Union, Microsoft

Stardock announces ModernMix, runs Windows Store apps inside of desktop environment

Stardock is one of the more reputable software houses when it comes to creating applications that augment the Windows experience, and with Windows 8 the company is doing some of its best work ever. This week the company announced an intriguing new application called ModernMix, which allows a user to open Windows Store (Metro/Modern) apps inside of the windowed environment of the desktop. Currently available as a beta, ModernMix can be purchased for $4.99 or downloaded as a 30-day free trial.
Source: Stardock

Microsoft planning to cut Windows licensing fees to pursue more affordable product prices

Reports are continuing to build suspense around a big strategy shift for Microsoft this year, as the Wall Street Journal claims the company will be cutting the licensing costs of Windows for OEMs. The reason appears to stem from Microsoft’s desire to “spur the development of small, touch-enabled laptop computers”. Sources say Microsoft offered manufacturers Windows 8 and Office 2013 for $30, so long as the license was used on devices with touch screens of 10.8-inches or less. That’s a dramatic cut from the $120 per license cost previously, and the result could be more touch-based Windows 8 devices for much more affordable prices.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Windows 8 core apps to be updated with new functionality before ‘Blue’

Speaking of changes in strategy, the upcoming Windows Blue update promises to revitalize Windows 8 in a significant way. However, that doesn’t mean Windows 8 users will have to wait until later this year to benefit from some improvements as All About Microsoft reports that various built-in apps are due to receive updates soon. According to their sources at Microsoft, the company is already testing updated versions of the Mail, Calendar, Music, and Games apps internally. Expect to see the apps to debut through the Windows Store this month.
Source: All About Microsoft

Scroogled commercials end, but campaign isn’t going anywhere

Oh Scroogled, we knew ye too well and now it’s time to die. The well-intended but poorly-executed smear campaign has decided to change up its strategy by ending its commercials, which featured bad acting and even worse dialogue (unlike the informational Scroogled video above). However, Microsoft has been encouraged by the progress it has made and thus asks people to “Stay tuned for the next chapter”.
Via: The Verge | Source: KQED

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Saad Hashmi

Founder of Windows Phone Daily. Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Information Systems. While procrastinating on that goal I write, play games a little too often, and watch exorbitant amounts of mediocre half-hour comedies because I lack the patience to watch hour-long dramas that are probably better. Follow me on Twitter: @Saad073