Microsoft has acquired Id8 Group R2 Studios in a move to its upcoming Xbox plans that may have some kind of expanded remote control features.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, “Microsoft apparently was the winner in the race to acquire R2 Studios with Google and Apple both reportedly also interested in buying the company.”
So far, R2 Studios’ only product is a $99 Android app, R2 Control For Creston. which allows users to remotely control devices such as security systems, lighting and more on an Android smartphone or tablet. Founder of R2 Blake Krikorian and his team will join Microsoft’s Xbox unit and that the deal also includes some patents that R2 Studios owns.
Also, Microsoft is currently working on a pilot service that will allow users to easily migrate their Xbox Live account from one region to another-as opposed to the current process that would take up to six weeks for the migration to occur and, during the time, Xbox Live account would be inaccessible.
While Microsoft has not officially acknowledged, only a couple of users who have requested a region change said that Microsoft has informed them to wait a few more weeks as the process will be moving online to allow for instant migration.
In Microsoft news, Dave Heiner, VP and Deputy General Counsel today fired another barrage aimed at Google, on the two-year old antitrust case against Google on the YouTube-Windows Phone compatibilty issue, which is yet to be address despite the fact it’s under antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission.
“You might think that Google would be on its best behavior given it’s under the bright lights of regulatory scrutiny on two continents, particularly as it seeks to assure antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe that it can be trusted on the basis of non-binding assurances that it will not abuse its market position further,” wrote Heiner.
“However, as we enter 2013, that is not the case. Here’s just one example: We continue to be dogged by an issue we had hoped would be resolved by now: Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone,” adds Heiner.
Heiner reiterates citing his earlier post that Microsoft has a “high quality YouTube app” ready, but that Google won’t let it happen:
“[I]n 2010 and again more recently, Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube. Google has enabled its own Android phones to access YouTube so that users can search for video categories, find favorites, see ratings, and so forth in the rich user interfaces offered by those phones. It’s done the same thing for the iPhones offered by Apple, which doesn’t offer a competing search service.
Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones. Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide.”