Microsoft’s UK partner boss Clare Barclay has been promoted to the role of UK chief operating officer.
According to a company email Barclay announced that she is “transitioning” into the role of UK COO and would report to UK CEO Cindy Rose. The reporting is unchanged she already does that in her current job of small and mid-market Solutions and Partners general manager.
Chris Perkins taking on interim leadership of the SMS&P business from 1 February until they can find a successor. He has led Microsoft’s corporate accounts business for the last four years and is a “great supporter” of selling with partners, Barclay said.
She added that she will continue to fly the flag for partners in her new role.
“I have always been and continue to be a passionate advocate for our partner community and will continue to stay connected in my new capacity. During my tenure, I’ve been supported by an incredibly strong leadership team, who remain in place to help you grow your business alongside Microsoft and you should not see any changes day to day as a result of this announcement.”
Vole announced plans to rejig its partner business last week, merging SMS&P and its Enterprise Product Group. However there were not supposed to be any management reshuffles as a result of the move.
Barclay said that it was an incredible time in the industry and one that is full of opportunity but also change.
“New year is often a time to reflect and it has been incredible to see the impact we have had together with our partners over the last couple of years, as we have helped our customers transform their businesses and have seen rapid adoption of cloud services during this time. I have had the pleasure of leading the SMS&P and partner business over this period and I wanted to thank you for the impact you have had,” he said.
Software giant Microsoft has been given permission to disrupt malware by known as Bladabindi and Jenxcus, writes Nick Farrell.
Although Vole has worked with the FBI and others to disrupt communications channels between hackers and infected PCs, it is rare to act on its own. This is also the first high-profile case involving malware written by developers outside of Eastern Europe.
The operation, which began on Monday under an order issued by a federal court in Nevada, Microsoft said the two malwares operated in similar ways and were written and distributed by developers in Kuwait and Algeria.
Microsoft said that it would take days to determine how many machines were infected. Voles’ own, anti-virus software alone has detected some 7.4 million infections over the past year and is installed on less than 30 percent of the world’s PCs.
The developers marketed their malware over social media, including videos on YouTube and a Facebook page. They posted videos with techniques for infecting PCs.
The court order allowed Microsoft to disrupt communications between infected machines and Reno, Nevada-based Vitalwerks Internet Solutions.
Boscovich said about 94 percent of all machines infected with the two viruses communicate with hackers through Vitalwerks servers.
Registries will direct suspected malicious traffic to Microsoft servers in Redmond, Washington, instead of to Vitalwerks.
Vole will then filter out communications from PCs infected with another 194 types of malware also being filtered through Vitalwerks.
Vitalwerks and its operational subsidiary No-IP claim to have a very strict abuse policy. To be fair Microsoft has not accused Vitalwerks of involvement in any cybercrime, though it alleges the company failed to take proper steps to prevent its system from being abused.
Microsoft is apparently about to slash the price of its Surface RT 32GB tablet by $150. The price cut should help the troubled tablet quite a bit, as it was originally priced at $499, which made it rather uncompetitive given its underwhelming spec.
Now though major retailers in the US are listing the Surface RT 32GB for just $349, reports Engadget. The new price sounds like a pretty good deal, although it is still no bargain. With such a sensible price tag, the Surface RT might have been a success, but the cut seems to be coming too late. Although Microsoft has not released any official sales figures, analysts believe it only manages to ship a couple of hundred thousand units per month.
Furthermore, the Surface RT is already ripe for an upgrade. It is based on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 and it has a 10.6-inch screen with 1366×768 resolution, which makes it look rather obsolete compared to iPads and high-end Android tablets.
Microsoft is expected to introduce an all new Surface RT in a few months, but before it does the current model should get a significant OS update, along with Outlook and it seems – a new, sane price tag.
Microsoft’s Surface tablets are off to a rather unimpressive start, but Redmond now believes that it can woo more business users by selling its gear in bulk. The new service allows business users to place volume orders for Surface tablets, reports ZDNet. We are, however, not convinced it will help Microsoft’s cause.
The Surface Commercial Order service is only available to authorized partners and volume licensees, which means smaller outfits can’t take advantage of it. The real question is whether anyone will take up Microsoft’s offer. Microsoft is still not saying much, but it seems the bulk rollout will be very limited indeed.
Surface sales are another thing Microsoft is willing to talk about. Analysts reckon that it manage to shift upwards of one million Surface RT tablets, along with 400,000 units of the pricier Surface Pro. The figures are unimpressive to say the least.
Microsoft still believes that Surface tablets, and especially the x86 based Pro version with Windows 8, are the right choice for businesses. The decision to make it a bit easier for partners and volume licensees to order heaps of Surfaces seems like a logical move in that direction, but Microsoft might have missed the boat already.
Apple’s iPad still reigns supreme in the business space, and it is being challenged by Android tablets, not Microsoft gear. BYOD is another worrying trend that should be taken into account. Few people will buy Surface RT tablets for personal use and even fewer will go for the chunky and expensive Pro version. They will try to use their iPads and Android slates at work and most companies will be happy to let them do so.
Windows 8 has failed to rejuvenate the PC market and even hopes of a Win 8 tablet push are slowly evaporating. Jun Dong-Soo, the head of Samsung’s memory division, recently said Windows 8 is no better than Vista, which is pretty much the worst insult one can bestow on a Microsoft product.
Dong-Soo pointed out that the PC industry is still shrinking despite the Windows 8 launch and he also said Redmond’s Surface tablets aren’t doing well, which is hardly a secret. What’s more, Dong-Soo is not alone. Computerworld reports that an HP exec recently said that the Surface RT is too pricey, slow and not very nice to use.
Acer president Jim Wong also believes Windows 8 is not successful. However, Wong told the Wall Street Journal that he expects sales of Windows 8 touch enabled devices to pick up in the second half of the year. This does not mean that we will see tons of tablets, as it is more than likely that the bulk of Windows 8 touch devices will be Ultrabooks and hybrids.
Many are now looking to Redmond for some action, any action will do. IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell told CNET that it might be time for Microsoft to start thinking about some changes.
“There were certain decisions that Microsoft made that were in retrospect flawed. Notably not allowing people to boot into desktop mode and taking away the start button. Those two things have come up consistently. We’ve done some research and people miss that,” he said.
In retrospect, the decision to ditch the start button was probably a wrong call on Microsoft’s part, as many Windows users tend to be rather conservative and fear change. O’Donnell says it is time for Microsoft to rethink its design, relying on input from PC makers. He argued that Microsoft should change the OS, allowing it to boot to desktop mode, as many users simply dislike the new Metro UI.
However, Microsoft is is still not saying anything on design changes or possible price cuts. O’Donnell believes Windows 8 sales are “horribly stalled,” so it might not be too long before the company is forced to take action. In doing so, it will tell the world that its Windows 8 strategy was flawed, on top of its flawed tablet strategy. And smartphone strategy, search strategy, social strategy, consumer electronics strategy and just about every other botched idea that came out of Redmond since Vista.