The 'one more post before a long weekend' Microsoft roundup: WP7, Hulu, Skype and more

Here's a roundup of Microsoft-related news items, including Windows Phone Marketplace connectivity issues; Microsoft rumored to be talking to Hulu about an acquisition; a possible Microsoft/Skype/Facebook deal and more.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Just before the long Fourth of the July weekend begins here in the U.S., here are a few more Microsoft-related news items worth noting:

Microsoft is aware of Windows Phone (and Zune) connectivity issues: There have been all kinds of new and interesting Windows Phone 7 applications flooding into the Windows Phone Marketplace over the past few days. (Microsoft is now up to more than 25,000 Windows Phone apps.) But I -- and a number of other Windows Phone users are unable to get access to them because we can't get access to the Marketplace. I've been unable to see anything in the Marketplace on my HTC 7 Trophy on Verizon for several hours. I also have been unable to access almost any content via Zune since this morning, and have been getting weird server connectivity error messages. What's going on? The only word I've gotten from Microsoft (around 3 p.m. ET today) is“We’re aware that some customers are having trouble installing apps from Windows Phone Marketplace and are investigating the issue.”

Update (July 5): I never did hear back from any Microsoft reps, but access seems to have been restored to the Marketplace and Zune services some time late Friday, July 1. Microsoft in talks to buy Hulu? The Los Angeles Times is reporting everyone and her sister -- well, actually "just" Google, Microsoft and Yahoo -- have been talking with Hulu about a possible acquisition. Hulu is trying to drum up interest in a sale and is making "presentations to the potential suitors," the Times said. The Times also said that Hulu has received an "overture from Yahoo." Microsoft already has a deal with Hulu involving Xbox Live. But the Redmondians are famous for jumping in at the last minute to keep certain purchases out of Google's hands. So who knows what may/may not happen.

More Microsoft-Facebook love (this time with Skype added into the mix)? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making no bones about Facebook's plan to launch something super awesome next week. TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook will launch a new video chat product, powered by Skype, that will work in a browser. That would be one way to try to head off Google+. And yet one more tie-up between Microsoft (via its still to be finally approved Skype acquisition) and Facebook. Not sure about you, but the last thing I need in my life right now is YASN (yet another social network)....

Windows Thin PC is now available for download: As promised, Microsoft has made available to its Software Assurance volume licensees the final version of Windows Thin PC for download as of July 1. Based on Windows 7, Windows Thin PC allows users to repurpose older PCs as thin clients.

Happy Fourth to all my U.S. readers. And happy weekend to one and all.

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