Microsoft to Open Holiday Stores on October 26, 2012

Holiday Stores Opening Oct. 26; Wraps off of 'WE Day Seattle'; Reaches Settlement in Nitol Botnet; Over 5M Took Bing It On Challenge; Xbox LIVE Holding Interactive Presidential Debate; Access Adult Content on Xbox; Apple's Passbook App Infring Patent, Faces Lawsuit; The Story of the New 'Modern Style' Microsoft.com; Rumor 'Microsoft to Make Own Windows Phone'

Microsoft opening Holiday pop-up Stores in U.S. and Canada on Oct 26, 2012

Microsoft confirms the launch of more than 30 U.S. and Canadian pop-up stores for the holiday season on October 26. In a blog post, the Redmond company posted, that "all Microsoft holiday stores will be open on Oct. 26."

More information about specific store locations and hours can be found here. Additional details about the holiday stores will be made available soon.

In other Microsoft news, Microsoft has reached a settlement with the defendants in the Nitol botnet case, "which will help guarantee that the 70,000 malicious subdomains associated with 3322.org will never again be used for cybercrime," the company blogged.

Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit last month disrupted 500 strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people in a legal and technical action against the Nitol botnet.

Also at Federal Way High School in Washington state, Microsoft's General Counsel and EVP of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith joined Free The Children founder Craig Kielburger and Seattle Seahawks' Head Coach Pete Carroll to announce "We Day Seattle" - an year-long program at that will educate, engage and empower 15,000 youth in Washington to become involved global citizens.

On the eve of the first of the U.S. presidential debates, millions of people are expected to tune in. This Wednesday October 3rd at 9:00 p.m. EDT, "Xbox is providing U.S.-based Xbox 360 owners with an opportunity to interact live, with a presidential debate through its new Election 2012 Hub on Xbox LIVE."

"Participants will be able to view poll results of the Xbox LIVE audience throughout the evening. Throughout the debate, Xbox LIVE gold membership community will be able to weigh in with their opinions by responding to real-time poll questions about the candidate's performances, their responses to questions and views on issues," Microsoft stated.

Xbox LIVE participants can submit poll questions via Twitter - #XboxPoll.

Xbox 360 gaming console could be used to access adult material on the Internet, yes! it is the official statement. "To be clear, we are adding Internet Explorer to Xbox Live, not specific adult content providers like YouPorn or any other specific website content. Additionally, we give members and parents the option to turn this feature on or off for their accounts. Access to Internet Explorer for all Child accounts is blocked by default," a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying by UberGizmo.

What's more, when it arrives on Xbox Live, Internet Explorer will incorporate a restriction feature, so parents will be allowed to block Internet access for their children.

Bing It On Challenge: Took over by Five Million; 33% Google Users to use Bing more

Bing It On Challenge that was launched on Sep 6, last month to make it easy for you to compare the Web search results from Bing and Google -- as of today has "over five million visits to it, and the number of visits continues to rise steadily," Bing announced.

In a blog Mike Nichols, cvp and cmo Bing revealed the finding of a survey of approximately 4,700 people to learn what people thought about the Challenge and Bing, noted,

"64% people were surprised by the quality of Bing's web search results. Over half of the people surveyed indicated their impression of Bing improved after seeing Bing's web search results next to Google's.

Additionally, 33% who identified Google as their primary search engine, said they would use Bing more often after taking the Challenge and 17% found Bing more favorable after taking the side-by-side comparison said it revealed flaws in Google's results."

If you haven't yet taken the Bing It On Challenge yet, simply go to bingiton.com to take the Challenge.

A Microsoft backed company sued Apple over Passbook app infringing its patents. The company California-based Ameranth sued Apple because iOS 6 Passbook application allegedly infringes its patents.

Ameranth briefly said that Apple violates four of its patents, two called "Information management and synchronous communications system with menu generation" and the other two baptized "Information management and synchronous communications system with menu generation, and handwriting and voice modification of orders," as VentureBeat reports.

Finally, the new "Modern Style" sporting Microsoft.com which took the wrap off last week, got detailed today.

Nishant Kothary, a web strategist at Microsoft, goes behind the scenes of the new portal "design from the gut":

"In rethinking the user experience, we didn't want to simply offer up X number of programmable slots. We got together as a team to discuss how to best create an experience to tell our product stories, meet the needs of our customers, and how we wanted to have a beautiful experience across any device. We drew learnings from analytics and previous A/B testing, but at the end of the day it was strategy by gut, tweaking by data." said Benson to me when we met in the RedWest campus of Microsoft a few days ago in reference to the impressive hero graphic that spans the top of the page. It's easy to understate the significance of his statement in the absence of context. But consider that the new hero graphic is a huge departure from the information architecture of the last few versions of the site," Kothary quoted by rainypixels as saying.

The image below speaks a thousand words that amount to: go with your gut.

new modern style microsoft.com : behind the scenes

Update: According to reports, Microsoft is working on its own Windows Phone. A month later, when the rumor first surface in this summber, CRN asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during a sit-down interview if Microsoft would make its own smartphone. Ballmer evaded the question,

"When asked if Microsoft might make its own smartphone, Ballmer paused and then replied: 'Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That's the focus. That's our core. Look, "we'll see what happens." We have good partners with Nokia, H(T)C in the phone space. I love what we've got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.'"

Hmm. "We'll see what happens." Not exactly a denial.

Shortly after the interview, ZDNet's MJFoley asked Microsoft whether Ballmer's comments signified a change in Microsoft's previous position that Windows Phones would come from OEMs only, and not from Microsoft itself.

Microsoft responded with "We are big believers in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market with them."