ICYMI: February 26, 2016 Getty Images

ICYMI: February 26, 2016

Good morning! 


The biggest story of yesterday and why you should care today: 

Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are all vowing to file friend-of-the-court briefs to support Apple's challenge to the U.S. Justice Dept. Microsoft president Brad Smith confirmed the company's intention to file an amicus brief during his Congressional testimony Thursday morning. (More on Smith's planned testimony here.)

You will all recall that Apple is refusing to comply with a court order to build technology that permits the FBI to access a locked iPhone.

CNet reports that mobile industry executives at Mobile World Congress are declining to go on the record with their stance:

When asked about the standoff between Apple and the FBI, the common response of tech execs here at MWC was uncomfortable laughter followed by some variation of: "No way am I saying anything."

Glenn Lurie, CEO of AT&T's consumer mobility business, wouldn't touch the subject.

Don Mesa, head of North American marketing for Sony Mobile, said simply: "I can't even fathom."

Katharyn White, who leads IBM's partnership with Apple to create iOS apps for enterprise customers, laughed and shook her head when asked repeated questions about the FBI's and Apple's stances. "We're not commenting," she said.

Finbarr Moynihan, general manager of global sales at chipmaker MediaTek, guffawed and said, "Pass."

Executives from BlackBerry, ZTE and several other mobile players also declined to comment.

Also developing:

The Financial Times reports:

Apple is working on new ways to strengthen the encryption of customers’ iCloud backups in a way that would make it impossible for the company to comply with valid requests for data from law enforcement, according to people familiar with its plans. 

So long, Astoria. Microsoft's Windows blog outlines the company's plans to shut down the Windows Bridge for Android project, meant to help Windows developers bring their products to the Android platform. Here's what is next:

We have carefully considered this feedback and decided that we would focus our efforts on the Windows Bridge for iOS and make it the single Bridge option for bringing mobile code to all Windows 10 devices, including Xbox and PCs. For those developers who spent time investigating the Android Bridge, we strongly encourage you to take a look at the iOS Bridge and Xamarin as great solutions. 

So long, tablets? TechCrunch's Romain Dillet argues that the lack of new tablet models at Mobile World Congress points to a wider industry trend: tablets have become commodities, people don't really care if they have lots of features, and that particular device category is dead.


The most useful tech news:

Kirk Koenigsbauer outlines the latest updates to Office 365, including:

Using your pen, finger and the new tools in the Draw tab to write, draw and annotate in the mobile Office apps on Windows tablets .

Pinning documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes to the Windows Start menu. 

Inserting images into your documents using the camera on your phone or tablet. (Available now in PowerPoint, for Insiders, and coming soon for Word and Excel.)

Integrating Box storage in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Other quick and handy how-tos: Download Laplink to easily transfer files from your old machine to your new one. Use File History as a backup tool in Windows 10. Don't worry about a file getting downloaded to your hard drive when you use your computer solely to transfer that file between two different flash drives. Make your own external SSD for an Xbox One.


The most amusing tech news: The revamped Barbie's Dream House -- it now syncs with wifi! Kids can turn the lights off and on with voice commands! -- will condition generations of children to become smart-home-craving consumers, the Atlantic's CityLab argues.


What we published yesterday: 

Windows 10 Build 14271 - The Visual Changes -- "We are seeing more visual updates and changes with each new build which means the work to bring new features to the OS is now underway."

How I Store and Access Files in the OneDrive Cloud -- Richard Hay runs through how he uses the cloud storage service.

What I Use to Do What I Do: The Architect Who Also Podcasts -- "Welcome to another installment of "What I Use to Do What I Do," the series in which people talk about how they use hardware and software in all parts of their life -- and what tech they love and hate. Today, we've got an architect who balances his practice with a civic commitment, a podcast and marathon training"

PSA: Microsoft Band Torx Screws Cause for Clasp Issues? -- "I was contacted recently by a source who believes he might have an answer to the majority of clasp breakage problems. To get the details behind the story there’s a report on Amazon.com as well as in the Microsoft Answers forums."

How can you restore my faith in God Mode? -- A Fred Langa petitioner tries to use God mode, with unholy results.

Quick Tip: Pairing Problems with Microsoft Bands Sold in International Markets -- "Some international Microsoft Band owners have reported problems when attempting to pair the Microsoft Band 2 with their Windows Phones. The reason? Well…the reason is one most international users are constantly complaining about – particularly with the Microsoft Band. "

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