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Microsoft announced today a new Xbox 360 Controller,which has a D-Pad that apparently doesn’t suck. Now, you’re probably wondering why we’re covering this bit of console news, but to explain, the Xbox 360 controller can also be used with a PC and we here at the Olive absolutely love that fact. There are simply some PC games that are just better with a gamepad.

Now, more about this new controller: It has a better D-pad that transforms. It can be the traditional “disc” that we all know and hate or with a small twist of the D-pad, it can turn into a “plus.” Other significant changes include the color of the ABXY buttons, which are now assortments of different shades of gray. The color of the new controller is a matte silver with black trim and black trigger and bumper buttons. The “dome” has a chrome finish rather than just a normal gray color (same with the D-pad), and the analog sticks are still concaved, but instead of the small dimples, the edges are raised slightly to avoid annoying thumb slip-off.

The controller will be available on November 9th. It will only be available as a Play-n-Charge kit bundle for $65. Hit up the break for another photo and a short video featuring Larry Hryb, Director of Programming for Xbox Live.

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Happy 15th Birthday, Windows 95!

The day was August 24th, 1995. Microsoft Windows 95 was released to the public. It changed the way we do…well…things. It’s pretty crazy to think that up until Vista, the layout really didn’t change much. That’s not a bad thing, really. There’s a lot of technology that hasn’t changed for quite some time. The workings of a CRT monitor have been roughly the same for about 100 years now.

Anyway, we salute you, Windows 95. You’re almost old enough to drive.

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Microsoft Games Studios General Manager Dave Luehmann said that the company “needs to invest” more in PC gaming. He told gaming news blog Computer and Video Games that “Windows is an important space for us so we need to invest our first-party IP in it as much as anybody else. We cant really ask other companies to step up if the first party isn’t stepping up.”

Luehmann continues on about how Microsoft may have been focusing more on the Xbox 360 console and not paying a whole lot of attention to the PC platform as much as they should be.

I’m glad that they’re finally realizing this, and actually, they’re already starting to focus more on the PC with Fable 3 coming this Fall, as well as the just announced Microsoft Flight and Age of Empires Online.

via [Computer and Video Games]

Image Credit: Robert Scoble

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Microsoft announced today that the Internet Explorer 9 beta will be officially launching on September 15th and the company will be holding a neat little event in San Francisco to celebrate, but as far as the beta itself, there’s really no information about it yet. However, we do know that it will require either Windows Vista or 7 to use. Windows XP users are left in the dust. Not surprising, though. Microsoft has been trying to get people to stop using XP for a while now.

[Windows Team Blog]

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Fable 3 PC Release Date Now Unknown

It seems it was all too good to be true. When Microsoft Game Studios announced that Fable 3 was coming to PC gamers on October 26th, it was hard to believe, but irrefutable proof. However, it seems things have changed since then and the PC release has slipped into the great unknown with nothing but the following quote.

“The console and PC versions are now on different schedules as we’re focusing on building experiences optimized for each platform. We aren’t announcing a ship date for the PC sku at this time, but expect news soon.”

Fingers crossed that the game is still hitting PC this holiday season. We’ll keep you updated.

via [Big Download]

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Windows 7 Turns 1

Wow, so it’s totally been a year since Windows 7 was officially launched (RTM, that is). We felt like we should recognize such a birthday, since Windows 7 is probably one of Microsoft’s best pieces of software in a long time. So, what’s next for the revolutionary OS? For starters, Service Pack 1 should be arriving sometime early next year, but the public beta is already out and about.

So, Windows 7, it’s been a good 365 days. Hopefully the next 365 days and days beyond will be even better. Happy Birthday!

UPDATE: Also, on top of Window 7′s first birthday, Microsoft has announced that they sold over 175 million licenses since the OS’s release.

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Capcom confirmed today that the PC release of their upcoming zombie-killing sequel, Dead Rising 2, will make use of Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live for its achievements, profiles, multiplayer and more.

This is always a point of concern due to GFW Live’s unreliable past of gaming stability and functionality. However, with Microsoft’s promise to focus more on the PC gaming-side of things, perhaps this will be their first chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the gaming public. That, or we’ll end up with another Fallout 3 — great game, but almost unplayable thanks to GFW Live.

via [Shack News]

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We’ve all heard the saying that all things must come to an end eventually. Well, Microsoft is pulling the plug on Windows XP SP2 and will no longer support it, which means users will no longer receive updates and important security fixes for the OS itself, as well as programs like Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Outlook Express. There is an easy fix for this, though. Simply upgrade to SP3 and you’ll be in the clear.

[via Maximum PC]

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Microsoft’s most recently published game, Gears of War, is now available for download on Games for Windows Live for $20 (or 1600 MS points). You can also grab BioShock for $20 and Max Payne for a cool $10.

via [Big Download]

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Just How Big is Microsoft?

We all know that Microsoft is a pretty big corporation, but exactly how big are they, really? Take a look at some numbers that Microsoft posted:

• 150 million Windows 7 licenses sold

• 7.1 million projected iPad sales in 2010
• 58 million projected netbook sales in 2010
• 355 million projected PC sales in 2010

• less than 10% of US netbooks ran Windows in 2008
• 96% of US netbooks ran Windows in 2009

• 16 million subscribers to the largest 25 US daily newspapers
• 14 million Netflix subscribers
• 23 million Xbox live subscribers

• 173 million Gmail users
• 284 million Yahoo Mail users
• 360 million Windows Live Hotmail users

• $5.7 billion Apple net income for fiscal year ending in Sept 2009
• $6.5 billion Google net income for fiscal year ending in Dec 2009
• $14.5 billion Microsoft net income for fiscal year ending in June 2009

Say what you will about the company, but you have to admit they are freaking huge and successful.

via [Official Microsoft Blog]

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