Tag: microsoft

Windows 11 codenamed Redstone

redstoneblock1With Windows 10 coming to market sometime this summer, or possibly later, Microsoft is already starting to work on the next update for the OS and has been devoting brain time to what to call it.

The codename for the project, which will be ready in 2016, will be ‘Redstone’, a popular item in the recently acquired game, Minecraft.

Not much is known about Microsoft’s plans for Redstone but the company has now entered the planning stages of the update.

Microsoft  has been using minecraft and some of its other games to provide codenames. There have already seen several names from the Halo series spring to life, like the Spartan web browser.  Cortana also comes from the game and not a clapped out car teens used to drive around in the 1980s.

Windows 10 is an overhaul of the entire platform, so Redstone will likely be relatively minor in comparison, but other than the name that is all we have on it.

Windows Server is expected to be released in 2016, so Redstone could possibly be related to this project as well. But if you know that when Vole is talking about Redstone, you know it is going to be about Windows 11.

 

Windows 10: Summer is a coming in

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseWe’ve already written how Microsoft is to give away Windows 10 to Chinese users but senior VP Terry Myers has revealed other elements that he hopes will give his company an edge on the operating systems front.

Speaking at a Windows technical conference in China, Myers said the firm will roll Windows 10 out this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages.

He showed off a feature called Windows Hello that supports biometric authentication rather than the usual typed in passwords. Hello will use facial recognition, iris recognition or fingerprints to unlock devices using the Intel RealSense F200 sensor.

He also said there will be a new version of Windows specifically aimed at the internet of things (IoT) market – and that version of Windows will be free and see applications in ATMs, ultrasound machines, and gateways.

Microsoft has signed deals with a number of organisations including the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Qualcomm, Intel and others.

Myerson also announced the Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C which is a Windows 10 developer board with integrated wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and uses a smartphone style Snapdragon 410 chipset.

He claimed that Windows 10 is the only operating system that has a reach across such a broad family of hardware.

 

Apple buys into white box servers

novità-apple-2013Cupertino based Apple Inc has decided to ditch HP and Dell to supply its servers and instead is looking to Taiwanese firms to supply its data centre needs.

That’s according to Taiwan wire Digitimes which said some of the local white box server manufacturers have already received orders from Apple for boxes.

One of the major manufacturers of servers is Quanta, which used to specialise almost wholly in making notebooks for big vendors but has diversified its business over the last two years.

It offers servers at a price that undercuts Dell and HP and will customise the machines for customers which already include giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Apple said recently it will open data centres in Ireland and in Denmark and it’s also spending billions on building up data centres in the USA.

The company is also cuddling up to IBM and wants to release tablet machines that will appeal to enterprises rather than the home users it has depended on in the past.

Microsoft gives the Chinese free Windows 10

eclipse-chinaSoftware king of the world Microsoft has decided that the best way to stop the Chinese pirating its Windows 10 operating system is to give it to them.

Microsoft has decided to push into the heavily pirated Chinese consumer computing market this summer by offering free upgrades to Windows 10 to all Windows users, regardless of whether they are running genuine copies of the software.

The big idea is to get legitimate versions of VoleWare onto machines of the hundreds of millions of Windows users in China. Recent studies show that three-quarters of all PC software is not properly licensed there.

Terry Myerson, who runs Microsoft’s operating systems unit, announced the plan at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China.

Microsoft will upgrade all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10. The plan is to “re-engage” with the hundreds of millions of users of Windows in China, he said, without elaboration.

Windows 10 would be released globally sometime “this summer”. That is the first time Microsoft has put a time frame on the release, although it has been expected in autumn.

Microsoft said in January it would offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for users of Windows 7 or later in an attempt to hold onto users and make up for lost revenue by selling services such as Office over the Internet.

Microsoft is working with Lenovo to roll out Windows 10 in China to current Windows users, Myerson said.

It also is offering Windows 10 through security company Qihoo 360 Technology and Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest social networking company, which will build a Windows 10 app that will work on smartphones and PCs for its popular QQ gaming and messaging service. QQ has more than 800 million users.

Lenovo said in a statement that it will make phones running Windows software, available through China Mobile, sometime later this year.

 

Goodbye, Microsoft Internet Exploder (sic)

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseIt’s fair to say that Microsoft’s browser – Internet Explorer – has not been the favourite browser in the world.

But Microsoft has now confirmed that it will put IE in the background when it releases Windows 10 – that’s not until autumn this year.

Instead of pushing Internet Explorer – which has landed it in a lot of bother with government regulatory authorities, Microsoft is to produce a leaner meaner browser which is codenamed Spartan.

Microsoft got into trouble with different governments because IE was bundled with its operating system.

According to web site the Verge, Microsoft won’t kill off Internet Explorer completely but will supplement it with Spartan.

People got so fed up with Internet Explorer in the past that many opted for alternative browsers such as Opera or Firefox.

Microsoft is eager to show that under the stewardship of newly fledged CEO Satya Nadella, things ain’t what they used to be.

Although there’s no official launch date for Windows 10, the perception in the supply chain is that if it comes out before autumn, it will be something of a miracle.

China puts anti-western tech law on hold

1900-intl-forces-including-us-marines-enter-beijing-to-put-down-boxer-rebellion-which-was-aimed-at-ridding-china-of-foreigners-A law, China claimed was all about counter-terrorism but stopped US technology companies selling so much behind the bamboo curtain, has been put on hold.

A senior US official welcomed the move which he said was a good sign for Western businesses that saw the rule as a major impediment to working in the world’s second largest economy.

President Barack Obama said in an interview with Reuters on March 2 that he had raised concerns about the law directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel said the Chinese have decided to suspend the third reading of that particular law, which has put the law on hiatus.

“We did see that as something that was bad not just for U.S. business but for the global economy as a whole, and it was something we felt was very important to communicate very clearly to them,” Daniel said.

The law would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access.

The move has given companies “some breathing room, but not complete relief” because the bill could be picked up again at any point.

The thought is that the Chinese are not ready to kick out all foreign companies, and because they weren’t ready to take that step, they backed off.

The initial draft, published by the NPC late last year, requires companies to also keep servers and user data within China, supply law enforcement authorities with communications records and censor terrorism-related Internet content.

Although the law would apply to both domestic and foreign companies, officials in Washington and Western business lobbies complained that the combination of that law, the banking rules and anti-trust investigations amounted to unfair regulatory pressure targeting foreign companies.

 

Microsoft migrates tech to competitors

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseThe artificial intelligence project called Einstein and used in its so called personal assistant Cortana is set to be ported to Android and to Apple’s iOS.

That’s according to a report from Reuters, which said in an exclusive interview that Cortana will eventually become a stand alone application.

But in the interim and widely flagged, Cortana will be rolled out as part of its Windows 10 desktop, not due until the autumn of 2015.

Microsoft has been boasting about Cortana’s abilities and a few weeks ago the company managed to predict a large number of Oscar winners.

Microsoft wants to get away from being considered a proprietary company and the new CEO broom at the company, Satya Nadella, wants to sprained the appeal of the company’s tech.

Certain differs from Google Siri because that trawls the web and its own server for information that it believes people want.

Certain is being projected as super duper artificial intelligence (AI). But although AI has been touted now for many decades it still faces many challenges.

What’s certain is that in the quest for the perfect AI agent, Microsoft faces many challenges from its competition – in particular Google – which has fairly deep pockets too.

US advances cyber threat bill

National-Security-Agency--008A move that would allow the US government to share cyber information with private companies has been given the nod by a key committee.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee voted 14-1 on Thursday to approve a bill intended to enhance information sharing between private companies and intelligence agencies about cybersecurity threats.

The Bill will go to the Senate where it is expected to get a full backing – after all many private companies would like all that data that the US intelligence services collect and are quite happy to pay their tame Senators to change the law to get it.

Privacy advocates opposed the bill, worrying that it would do too little to prevent more data collection by the National Security Agency and other US intelligence agencies.

Privacy concerns were cited by the only member of the committee who voted against the bill, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon who saw it as another surveillance bill.

In practice the law is targeted at preventing the major cyber attacks and co-ordinate companies and government departments better. Microsoft, Lockheed Martin and Morgan Stanley, had pushed for a such a threat-sharing bill.

 

More gloom ahead for the PC market

A not so mobile X86 PCThere’s still no light at the end of tunnel for PC sales, market research company IDC has predicted.

It estimates that world wide shipments of PCs will drop by 4.9 percent this year, but it suggests things may be slightly better in 2016 and 2017.

Total shipments of PCs this year are expected to total 293.1 million, but the underlying trend remains poor.

IDC said that some sectors of the market saw an uptick in demand during the second half of last year, but volumes were up because the supply chain was inflated by Microsoft’s plan to cut subsidies in its Windows 8.1 + Bing scheme early this year.

The strong US dollar makes PCs more expensive and there’s a continuing move to other form factors. Intel won’t release its Skylake processor and Microsoft won’t ship Windows 10 until later this year, so many will wait buying until they see which particular writing is on the wall.

Emerging markets don’t offer much either. IDC said that these markets ended 2014 with a decline of 9.5 percent in PC shipments.

Loren Louverde, VP of PCs at IDC, said opportunities for long term growth depend largely on growth in the emerging market. “That seems unlikely with the shift towards mobile devices. Vendors can focus on growth segments of the market such as All in One, slim and convertible PCs, or consolidate share, but pressure on pricing and from competing devices will continue to make it a challenging market.”

Microsoft opens up Visual Studio to Java developers

microsoft-in-chinaMicrosoft has opened its Visual Studio Application Insights cloud software telemetry service so that Java developers can come up with new Azure designs.

For those who came in late, Application Insights is part of the Visual Studio Online set of services that Redmond announced in November 2013. It gathers and generates reports on usage and performance data for online applications.

These can be accessed through the Microsoft Azure Portal – which means you need an Azure subscription to use Application Insights.

The service had only allowed for the connection web applications and apps written using Microsoft’s own ASP.Net framework. But the new rules allow the same kind of monitoring to Java applications.

Microsoft is also offering support for Application Insights in its new version of the Azure Tookit for Eclipse.

A free trial of Application Insights is available. After that, pricing depends on the level of Visual Studio Online service you need and the amount of Azure resources you consume each month.

You’re trapped by mobile ads

330ogleA frenzy of competition from major vendors for advertising revenue including the mobile market means growth between now and 2020 compared to the conventional advertising market.

That’s the conclusion of ABI Research today, which said in a report the competition is between Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others to push adverts at you through your mobile device.

Growth in the mobile advertising market is set to grow 16 percent CAGR between 2015 and 2020, compared to the total advertising market at 11 percent.

ABI thinks that mobile advertising will represent over 50 percent of total advertising revenue in the next few years.

Right now, Twitter and Facebook have the largest chunk of the market and so the strongest mobile advertising revenues.

The research company believes that there will be plenty of acquisitions as the different players jockey for position to grow their revenues.

Google is the clear leader in the search advertising sector but it faces increasing competition in the years to come, too.

Microsoft Freaks out over security

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft said that people using all versions of Windows could be affected by the recent Freak phenomenon.

Freak is a vulnerability caused by software engineers making encryption weaker in operating systems as a result of an order by the USA in the 1990s.

Previously, it was known that the Freak vulnerability affected devices such as Apple and Android operating systems.

Microsoft described Freak “as an industry wide issue that is not specific to Windows operating systems”.

Microsoft doesn’t believe that peoples’ computers have yet been publicly exploited.

Microsoft said it is working with its partners to give information to customers to help them secure their machines. The security advisory can be found here.

Microsoft tech support scammer had a bad day

Microsoft campusA tech support scammer managed to present two different types of fail by losing his temper with the person he was trying to rip off.

Tech support normally requires the patience of Job and the art of being a scammer involves convincing another person that you really are who you claim.

However one scammer took things to a new level by threatening to kill a man who twigged what he was doing.

Jakob Dulisse of British Columbia had been called by people pretending to be Microsoft tech support before, so when a scammer called him and tried to ask for access so he could install malware on his computer that would steal banking information, passwords, and PayPal credentials he told him to go forth and multiply.

Apparently the scammer was a little shocked at that and resorted to threats to kill – as you do.
“You do understand we have each and every information, your address, your phone number,” the scammer said in the recorded call. (You can listen to excerpts at the CBC link.) “We have our group in Canada. I will call them, I will provide your information to them, they will come to you, they will kill you.”

But that  was only part  of it when Dulisse asked why the man would try to steal from unsuspecting people that the conversation took what Dulisse calls a “sinister turn.”
“He admitted that he was in India… and then he said, ‘If you come to India, you know what we do to Anglo people?’ I said, ‘No.’

“He said, ‘We cut them up in little pieces and throw them in the river.'”

Dulisse found the threats “chilling, but hard to take seriously.”

What was amusing about the call was while he was making those sorts of threats he was still trying to get Dulisse to give him remote access to his computer.

It was probably better that the scammer find a new occupation, as he is clearly in the wrong career.

Android ruled the smart roost in 2014

Android building, WikimediaIn 2014 Android was dominant as the operating system for smart devices – including smartphones and tablets.

And while Google’s Android OS will rule the roost this year too, as more “intelligence” goes into cars, glasses, and watches, ABI Research thinks its dominance will reach its peak between 2014 and 2019, showing only a modest CAGR of 10 percent.

Android will have competition from Chrome and Firefox, according to Stephanie Van Vactor, an analyst at ABI Research.

She predicts that those will show CAGRs of 29 percent and Chrome respectively in that time period.

Of course Chrome is also a Google product, but she thinks Android will work well with it.

The move to smart devices means that people will have a lot more choice in choosing an operating system. The research company didn’t say how well it thinks Microsoft’s OS for smartphones and the like will do.

 

Alibaba gets its own US cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeAlibaba is launching a cloud computing hub in Silicon Valley which is the first that the e-commerce giant has set up outside of China.

The new California data centre marks the Chinese company’s latest expansion onto an US market dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Alibaba’s Aliyun cloud division intends the new data centre to cater initially to Chinese companies with operations in the United States. Later it will target US businesses seeking a presence in both countries.

Ethan Yu, a vice president at Alibaba who runs the international cloud business said that it was all part of Alibaba’s international expansion plans. The next stage would be a cloud on the East Coast, or somewhere in the middle of the US.

Aliyun is similar to Amazon Web Services and was part of the company’s in-house technical infrastructure. It has since expanded to lease processing and storage space for small and medium Internet businesses in China.

Aliyun, also known as Alibaba Cloud Computing, holds about a 23 percent market share in the Chinese market. It faces both Chinese and foreign competitors, from carriers like China Telecom to Microsoft and Amazon. Its existing data centers span the Chinese cities of Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.