Microsoft targets iPad with new back-to-school ad

Microsoft news roundup: New iPad focused ad; Microsoft Tag phase-out; new markets for Skype for Outlook.com and more news of the week.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Here's a quick round-up of Microsoft news kicking off the week of August 19.

Microsoft takes aim at iPad in new back-to-school ad

Microsoft may be missing the back-to-school market with its October 18 launch date for Windows 8.1, but that doesn't mean the Softies are conceding the student market.

Microsoft is continuing with its new campaign of Apple-targeted ads. The latest pits the Lenovo Yoga against the iPad and focuses on the multitasking enabled by Microsoft's Snap multiple windowing technology. Here's the new clip:

I like these new Apple-compete ads a lot more than I like Microsoft's Scroogled campaign. Main reason? They focus on Microsoft's products, instead of those of its competitors.

Microsoft offloads its Tag QR coding technology

Microsoft sent a note to those who have used its Microsoft Tag technology on August 19, notifying them it planned to sell its tagging technology to Scanbuy.

The note let users know that Microsoft planned to terminate its Tag service two years from now, on August 19, 2015. (Microsoft is letting users know now as part of its Terms of Use for the Tag service.)

Through August 19, 2015, Microsoft Tag users will be able to continue to log in to their existing accounts, use existing Tag codes, generate new Microsoft Tags and run reports as usual.

"To help you prepare for the termination of the Microsoft Tag service on August 19, 2015, Scanbuy has been selected to support Microsoft Tag technology on the ScanLife platform beginning no later than September 18th, 2013, and to offer transition and migration services to Microsoft TAG customers who choose to migrate to the ScanLife platform," according to the note. (Thanks to reader Blair Leducfor a copy of the note.)

Scanbuy, according ot the note, is the largest provider of QR codes and runs ScanLife, a cloud-based mobile platform. Interestingly, Scanbuy is backed by Google.

Microsoft enables Skype for Outlook.com in more markets

In April 2013, Microsoft rolled out a preview of Skype for Outlook.com, which allowed users to make calls and send instant messages from within Outlook.com via a browser plug-in.

At that time, Microsoft said it would make the preview available first to UK customers with support coming to the U.S. and Germany "in the coming weeks."

On August 19, Microsoft announced Skype for Outlook.com was "fully available" in the UK, Germany, Brazil, France, Canada and the U.S.

"For those of you outside those countries, we're still working hard to ensure this is available worldwide in the near future," said company officials in a new blog post today.

New Win Phone App Studio beta: 55,000 active users and counting

Microsoft released new usage data about the recently released beta of its Windows Phone App Studio tool.

"In the first 48 hours we saw more than 20,000 people from all over the world kicking off more than 30,000 projects, and just a few hours ago we surpassed 55,000 active projects," said the Softies in an August 19 blog post.

The tool is mainly aimed at non-professional developers, but some pro developers are using the preview, too. Apps developed using the tool can be pushed to the Windows Phone Store or made private and shared only with smaller local groups.

There were some initial sign-up hiccups, Microsoft execs acknowledged, but they have been working to remedy them.


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