Facebook Drops Another Microsoft Service, Proving It May Have Outgrown the Relationship

As Facebook continues to roll out new features and make slight adjustments to its social media behemoth, it’s clearly placing a higher priority on in-house services. While this is allowing Facebook to gain more independence, it’s also forcing it to sever ties with some of the tech giants that helped it become the unstoppable force it seems to be today.

Facebook users probably didn’t notice any major changes when they logged on to chat with their friends or scroll through cat photos, but the site had just ended its relationship with Microsoft’s Skype service.

It’s been roughly four years since Microsoft and Facebook announced that they would be partnering on bringing video calling to Facebook Messenger.

Throughout the time there never seemed to be any real signs that the relationship wasn’t going well and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that he and then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer were “really aligned on this.”

Things have changed since then, and it all centers around a key question in the world of business — why pay someone else to do what you can do yourself?

Facebook unveiled video calling in Facebook Messenger via its iPhone and Android apps, a sign that Facebook will stick with in-house development for its new technology rather than relying on third parties like Microsoft.

That was all but confirmed after Facebook discreetly stopped using Skype technology for their video call service on desktops, according to Business Insider.

“This change was made because Skype-powered video calls required users to install a browser plug-in, while the technology Facebook whipped up works without one — important for call performance, video quality and letting Facebook more quickly make changes and upgrades to video chat,” Business Insider reported.

While Microsoft and Facebook have typically always had a positive relationship, this actually isn’t the first time Facebook severed ties with Microsoft.

Back in December, Facebook decided to stop relying on Microsoft’s Bing for Web search results on the platform.

It essentially seems like a tale of the baby bird outgrowing the need to remain in the mother’s nest. Microsoft invested $240 million into Facebook back in 2007 before it was the giant it is today.

Now Facebook has no need to rely on Microsoft for funding or services.

While the change doesn’t mean much for Facebook users, it was far from unnoticed for Skype users.

A plethora of features on Skype that incorporated integration with Facebook will no longer be available such as being able to message Facebook friends within the Skype app.

6 Tech Giants That Signed Fat Checks to Help Black Students in STEM but Still Lack Diversity in Their Own Companies



Google has consistently donated to a variety of different causes aimed at boosting diversity in the tech space, including the Black Girls Code initiative. Google donated $190,000 to the initiative in 2014 but never did much for increasing diversity in its own staff. That same year, Google’s diversity report revealed that roughly 79 percent of the tech giant’s staff across the globe was male. Only about 2 percent of the staff was Black.

Is Halo The Best Video Game Brand Of All Time?

As I’ve written, and written and written, I am a ridiculous Halo fan.

I still contend that outside of Half-Life, no other game has changed the First Person Shooter genre more since the big green guy in the Mark IV MJOLNIR armor arrived. Despite the dismissive hand-waving of Sony Fanboy lifers, Halo is still the largest single platform shooter of all time (whose sales still rival Call of Duty as a multi-platform juggernaut) and a big reason that Xbox survived its embryonic stages after launch. Its 2004 follow up, Halo 2, was the largest entertainment release at the time. Considering there have been four official releases since, other Halo strategy games, merchandise, Legos, fiction novels, comic books, mini movies, etc, the canon that is Halo is strong and enduring and thick like a Jackal’s energy shield. So, is there any possible way of damaging that monolithic brand?

This question comes about because of Halo’s most recent release, the Master Chief Collector’s Edition that debuted November 11th, developed by 343 Industries. Now, this should have been a slam dunk. All the Halo games featuring the 7 foot man of few words protagonist, Master Chief (Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach don’t apply), all games that were legitimate Game of the Year nominees (and some winners), all games that had incredible sales records and all games worthy of a next gen upgrade. So the games are already great. And they were released for the 10-year anniversary of Halo 2, the series’ most ambitious and fabled entry. And a huge budget was allotted for Halo 2’s complete (and stunning) makeover with a multiplayer suite and tons of options across all 4 games. Retailers were charging $60 for this game, but Halo-stans like myself probably would’ve paid twice that for all that was included and folks, we’re talking about games up to 13-years-old. So what could possibly go wrong? Well, how about everything.

For context, the first three games of this collection were developed by Bungie, who is currently commanding this year’s biggest release in Destiny (which I’m still playing more than any other game by the way, but that’s a column for another day). Bungie left Microsoft to develop games for Activision, but Microsoft had already acquired Halo outright years before and hands it over to 343, who exceeded expectations and continued the storied legacy of Master Chief in Halo 4. It was 343’s first huge test and they passed with all skulls active, so when we finally heard about the Master Chief Collection, we trusted that 343 would deliver.

Read More from William Evans at blacknerdproblems.com

Microsoft Gets Behind African Startups as Demo Africa Gains Momentum

Microsoft is keeping a close eye on the innovation and tech-generated startups coming out of Africa lately and the IT giant is hinting at some major opportunities for the company and the emerging entrepreneurs.

Demo Africa aims to connect African startups to the global ecosystem by giving them a substantial platform with financial backing to launch and grow their businesses.

Apparently, Microsoft is on board with the plan and is ready to create serious opportunities for the young software innovators in Africa.

“For African investment it is an event that touches one of the core pillars of our drive around inspiring local economic development in the continent,” said Kabelo Makwane, the managing director of Microsoft SA, according to CNBC Africa.

Demo Africa is an affair that is sweeping the entire continent, but Makwane stressed the importance of seeing so much local participation in Nigeria.

“It is really encouraging because the same could not be said for the past where the momentum was a bit slow,” he said. “We have seen significant growth through public and private sector participation and also international donors and funders that have really risen to the occasion in helping to support these businesses to set up.”

He went on to say that Microsoft is always looking for opportunities in invest in something that will “contribute to real local economic development.”

Needless to say, the startups being launched through Demo Africa are exactly what they’re looking for.

“The first major reason is a very firm statement that Microsoft globally is very serious about Africa and is also very serious about Nigeria in terms of what this country represents in the broader context of the continent,” Makwane added.

Nigeria holds one of the continent’s largest markets, and, to Microsoft, that screams of opportunity.

“There is a nice catchphrase that says ‘Glocal,’ ” Makwane said. “We want to be more Glocal now as opposed to where we were in the past. So this means coming up with solutions and initiatives that are most relevant in a real way that can make a meaningful impact to the Nigerian context.”