Microsoft Posts List of Products that Will No Longer Be Supported Online Including Windows 7, Zune, Office, IE10

Microsoft is looking to minimize the effort it has to put forth for supporting products and services that are no longer viable. In a post to the company’s Answers forums, the following list of products will no longer be supported for online help…

  • Windows 7, 8.1, 8.1 RT
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Office 2010, 2013
  • Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2
  • Microsoft Band – this topic will be locked. Users are invited to participate in Microsoft Band 2 topic.
  • Mobile devices forum – Microsoft support will continue in “Other Windows mobile devices” topic
  • Zune – this topic will be locked, but will remain available for browsing

 

These changes will take effect in July.

Full announcement: Product support forum changes on Microsoft Community

 


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Updated Health Technology Patents Brings Hope that Microsoft May Not Be Done with Wearables

Microsoft left a bad taste in customers mouths after using them as guinea pigs in its health devices test lab for a couple years. The company’s Microsoft Band won over loyalists due to its advanced features. But, sadly, as with many Microsoft products that are consumer-centric, the company had to abandon it. The cause was primarily due to production issues and quality problems. Essentially, in most cases the wearable would fall apart after 6 months of use. As the costs to support the failing devices mounted, the company backed out.

However, a couple new patent refreshes, has some customers believing Microsoft may jump back on the health wearable bandwagon.

A skin sensor and a blood pressure sensor have both been updated recently.

Many customers might think that Microsoft could be back on the road to manufacturing its own devices. But that’s probably a pretty far stretch. Originally, Microsoft only intended the Microsoft Band to be a proof-of-concept device, to show off the company’s technical acumen for its devices. Unfortunately, for both Microsoft and customers, the wearable caught on too quickly, bolstering (falsely) Microsoft’s ego that it might actually be able to compete in the fitness wearable market.

Most likely, like what the company did when it backed out of the wearable market, it is still developing the technologies to simply license it to others. The company licensed the original Microsoft Band technologies to Casio when it left the market. Casio has yet to make a fitness device based on Microsoft’s patents, but reports show that’s still in the works.

 


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Third-party Support for Microsoft Band Continues to Dry Up

About the only place where discussions about the Microsoft Band still exist is in a Reddit forum, and that forum stands more as a support group than an information library.

Over the past couple days, the third-party connections link in the Microsoft Band’s Health dashboard has gone missing. When accessed, the resulting page simply reads…

wrongnow

And, if you spend the time to visit and login to all those third-party services that used be available to connect and synch data (MapMyFitness, Strava, Microsoft HealthVault, etc.), the only one left with any hint of a Microsoft Health connecting is the Lose It! service – and even that is grayed-out now.

The warranty of every Microsoft Band sold should be up soon, and it seems for Microsoft that can’t come soon enough. The Microsoft Band was a wonderful, advanced fitness device but was plagued with material quality issues.


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Microsoft Takes Another Step in Exiting the Health Data Collection Industry

Microsoft stopped sales and development of its wrist-based Microsoft Band fitness device on October 3, 2016. There are many that still consider the Microsoft Band as one of the better devices available. If you check out Reddit, you regularly see folks posting that have stocked up on Band devices to have on hand as each device dies.

Just a couple years ago, it seemed Microsoft was tooling its resources and services to work in the health industry. But, with the Band now defunct, and old Band apps suddenly disappearing from the respective mobile stores recently, Microsoft seems to be working to exit the industry even further.

A new statement on the HealthVault web site says…

An update on HealthVault Insights

We launched HealthVault Insights as a research project last year, with the goal of helping patients generate new insights about their health. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how machine learning can be used to increase patient engagement and are now applying that knowledge to other projects. As part of this progression, we’ve made the decision to remove HealthVault Insights from the iOS, Android and Windows stores effective later this month. This change will have no impact on the data users generated in HealthVault Insights, which will continue be accessible via the HealthVault website. Thank you for participating in our project. Please contact our support team if you have any questions.

For those wanting to store their health information in Microsoft’s resources, it looks like your history data will remain, but there will be no way (except for the website) to log new data.

As noted above, other apps that worked with the Microsoft Band have reportedly started also disappearing from the mobile app stores. For those still holding out hope that Microsoft might reinvest in a fitness app, service, or device – you should probably just move on.

The Microsoft Health Dashboard that is still used by Microsoft Band users is still functional, but a time is coming when even that will be inaccessible – most likely around October of this year (if not sooner).


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Microsoft Band: Support Yourself with iFixit Repair Guides

With the Microsoft Band (1 and 2) now out of warranty and service options, many have taken to repairing the devices themselves. Thanks to iFixit, there are now guides available for repairing and replacing certain parts to extend the life of the devices, along with the list of tools you need to acquire.

Each guide provides level of difficulty and numbers of steps involved, along with where and how to obtain the replacement parts.

Here’s what’s available:

Microsoft Band 1

Battery
LCD Screen
Motherboard
Screen Frame
Sensor Ribbon
Wrist Clasp

Microsoft Band 2

Battery
Buttons
Screen
Wrist Clasp


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Mark Cuban Favors the Microsoft Band

With inventory finally depleting for returns and replacements, its probably sad for some to hear about new Microsoft Band news. But, in a recent news piece, Dallas Mavericks owner and tech billionaire, Mark Cuban makes reference to his favorite fitness tracker. Guess what it is?

He says he also uses a fitness tracker to know when he’s getting good sleep and when he’s not. (He’s used Fitbit but says the Microsoft version is his favorite.)

Full story: Billionaire Mark Cuban’s e-mail, workout and sleep habits

Maybe if Mark could take some of that billion dollars and invest in Microsoft’s tiny hardware group, we could see a revival of the device? Nah.


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The Next Microsoft Band Will Come From Casio

Microsoft has now entered into a partnership with the electronics maker, Casio. The details of the partnership show that Microsoft will be licensing the sensor technology that was housed inside the company’s failed Microsoft Band fitness device. Casio devices will include this and other Microsoft developed technology to attempt improve Casio’s standing in a competitive industry. Those bitten by Microsoft’s entrance and abrupt exit from the industry may find it difficult to forgive – even if the technology is wrapped inside another manufacturer’s device. However, there are many Microsoft Band customers that still swear that, if not for Microsoft’s lack of material quality, the wearable was the best in its class – from a feature standpoint.  A durable wearable with long battery life from Casio, mixed with Microsoft’s sensor technology and fitness features could be a winning combination.

Press Release

Microsoft announces new licensing partnership with Casio

REDMOND, Wash., and TOKYO, April 3, 2017  On Monday, Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC and Casio Computer Co. Ltd. announced a new patent licensing agreement that includes broad coverage for smartwatch technologies. Casio’s smartwatches, which include Casio’s WSD-F10 and WSD-F20 Smart Outdoor Watch, enable modern personal connectivity, while also coming equipped with many sensors that support a complement of outdoor features such as activity monitoring, and altimeter, barometer and compass readings.

“Casio’s smartwatches combined with Microsoft’s technology will help customers all over the world achieve more from their wearables,” said Micky Minhas, head of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC.  “This is an outstanding partnership that builds on Microsoft’s heritage of innovation in the technology powering personal wearables to boost Casio’s best-in-class products in this space.”

“Casio is committed to creating innovative products for all our customers, and this partnership builds on our longstanding relationship with Microsoft that’s covered products and solutions ranging from industrial handheld terminals to business information systems,” said Hiroshi Okumura, general manager of Intellectual Property & Legal Department of Casio.

Microsoft’s commitment to licensing IP

The patent agreement is another example of the important role intellectual property (IP) plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant technology ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, it has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements. More information about Microsoft’s licensing programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing.

About Casio Computer Co. Ltd.

Casio Computer Co., Ltd. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics products and business equipment solutions. Since its establishment in 1957, Casio has strived to realize its corporate creed of “creativity and contribution” through the introduction of innovative and imaginative products. News and product information from Casio is available at http://world.casio.com/.

About Microsoft Technology Licensing

Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC was formed in 2014 to acquire, manage and license Microsoft’s patent portfolio.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.


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The Ultimate Microsoft Band Gash Repair Glue

Those that are still hanging on dearly to their now unsupported Microsoft Bands have found a perfect solution to keep the wearable running even after the expected tears, gashes, and rips start to appear.

Sugru Moldable Glue is a self-setting rubber adhesive. With the Microsoft Band completely unsupported and most now out of warranty, there’s not reason not to use something like Sugru – i.e., you can’t void a warranty that’s no longer in effect.

Some details…

  • Self-setting rubber, formed by hand and cures at room temperature overnight
  • Self-adhesive – bonds to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass, wood and some fabrics. Removable from most non-porous surfaces
  • Waterproof, UV resistant, electrically insulating and dishwasher proof when cured
  • Bendable to any color and temperature resistant from -58 to +356 degrees Fahrenheit

 

You can snag a pack of 8 from Amazon for around $22 and it comes in multiple colors: Sugru Moldable Glue

Incidentally, the Microsoft Band isn’t the only wearable to buckle under use, so this compound may work for Fitbit and others.


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Microsoft Band Makes a Rare News Appearance for Epilepsy Care

Microsoft’s fitness wearable – the Band – has had a catastrophic history. Still touted to be one of the best wearables due to the feature set, the life of the device in its current iteration is just about over. Microsoft may make inroads back into the health category eventually, but the future offering will most likely take a different shape and industry angle.

It’s been a long while, but the Microsoft Band has recently made new headlines in the health industry as Microsoft is touting Azure, Machine Learning, and the Microsoft Band as a winning combination for improving the lives of epilepsy patients.

Using the Microsoft Band, in conjunction with software on the patient’s mobile phone, the Epilepsy Care Alliance have harnessed machine learning powered by Microsoft Azure to track patients’ daily activities and detect when they are experiencing a seizure. The app on their mobile device can be used to alert their next of kin and to send details to their NHS clinical team so that their care cane be adjusted accordingly.

Read the full customer story: Epilepsy patients are managing their lives with Microsoft technology


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