Tag: Windows XP

Windows 10: the mess begins

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft appears to have further muddied the waters with its announcements about Windows 10 last week.
The new version of Windows, which no one really expects to be available until September this year at the earliest, is supposed to run on all sorts of different hardware platforms.
But, according to veteran expert Mary Jo Foley over at ZD Net, you might need a degree in both physics and marketing to try and make any sense of what’s in store for millions of people later this year.
She writes that the different SKUs – stock keeping units come in a plethora of shapes and sizes.
For example, the preview edition available to test now is Windows 10 desktop that will run on Intel based devices.
But the February version will be Windows 10 mobile and that’s intended to run on phones based on ARM chips.
There are other versions of Windows 10 intended for different kinds of devices.
You can read more about what Mary Jo has to say, here.
Our take on this is that all Microsoft will do is persuade its enterprise customers and everyone else that it is deeply confused about the future.
Some sources estimate that as many as 10 percent of people that use Windows are still using Windows XP.  That’s because they failed to be convinced it was worth moving to Vista, Windows 7, or the widely disrespected Windows 8.1.

Windows 10 may be a fail

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseTaiwanese suppliers of notebooks are not over impressed by the news last week that Microsoft will give free upgrades to its Windows 10 operating system.
Digitimes, which regularly talks to manufacturers in the supply chain, reports that Microsoft’s move is unlikely to prompt people to replace their existing notebooks.
Windows 10 is not expected to be available until the third quarter of this year – and the supply chain doesn’t think a free upgrade from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 is much of an incentive for people to go out and buy new machines.
The report claims that many people continue to use Windows 7 and as much as 10 percent of people are still using the now unsupported Windows XP.
People prefer to buy new smartphones or tablets than expensive notebook PCs, Digitimes said.
Notebook sales will continue to be of low end models rather than the full monte with bells and whistles, Digitimes said.

 

Thin clients get skinnier

Dell logoThe move towards thin clients has slackened after some growth prompted by Microsoft’s decision to deck Windows XP support.

IDC said shipments of terminal clients and thin clients amounted to 1.35 million units in the third quarter of this year, falling by 1.8 percent and bucking predictions.

While Windows XP made some move from PCs to thin clients, public projects were delayed and that accounts for the slippage.

Thin clients represent a massive 97 percent of enterprise client devices.  Within the thin client umbrella, those without operating systems – so called zero clients – still hold 24.6 percent share.

The winners in the thin client race for the third quarter are HP, Dell, Ncomputing, Centerm and Igel.  Of these, Dell saw growth of 16.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year, while Ncomputing’s share slumped by 44.7 percent.  HP more or less held its own although its share fell 4.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

UK NHS keeps Windows XP on life support

heart-rate-on-a-screen-ekg-machineNHS Trusts are insisting on keeping Windows XP machines despite concerns that they are about as secure as a celeb’s naked picture on the iCloud and have cost £5.5 million from Microsoft to support.

According to Citrix, the mobile workspace company, which filed a freedom of information act request to get its data, all the of 35 NHS Trusts are still using Windows XP and that just five are using  desktop virtualisation technology to handle migration away from it.

Jason Tooley, UK country manager at Citrix, said that like the rest of the public sector, the NHS is under tremendous pressure to do more with less and the IT department is no exception.

He called on NHS trusts across the UK to harness technology today to transform IT processes for the better. Using IT — including desktop and application virtualisation — can positively impact the entire workplace, delivering increased productivity and ultimately improved patient care.

Microsoft announced Windows XP’s end of life on 8 April 2014 but the British government has an extension on support until 8 April 2015 and with this in mind. More than 74 percent of the trusts surveyed admitted their last devices wouldn’t be migrated until March 2015.

Another 14 percent are unsure when they will transition their last computer away from Windows XP and in addition to the five that are already using virtualisation, just two more plan to take a similar path before the deadline.

There are rumours that the UK government could end up signing another extension with Microsoft to provide a second year of support and it’s likely to cost the same £5.5 million it shelled out for help this year.

Under that deal, Vole provides security updates for the 12 year old OS as well as Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 for the entire UK public sector, and a similar deal was signed by the Dutch government for the same level of support.

World on the street is that  the UK government may wait for Windows 10 to come to its rescue and there’s a distinct possibility we will be talking about an NHS stuck on Windows XP this time next year.

PC shipments still shrinking

A not so mobile X86 PCWhile Intel turned in remarkably buoyant financial results last week, the news remains somewhat gloomy on the PC front.

Figures released by IDC showed that shipments to consumers in the potentially lucrative Asia Pacific region in the third quarter of this year fell by five percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Sales were up compared to the previous quarter by eight percent and totalled 26.6 million units.

China and India showed better than expected shipments in the quarter.

Handoko Andi, research manager for client devices at IDC said: “[Windows] XP migration helped boost commercial PC spending earlier this year.  But in recent quarters, we have seen Microsoft add a lot to the entry level segment by launching the Windows 8.1 with Bing programme.”

Lenovo is numero uno iin the region, followed by Dell, HP, Acer and Asus.  HP showed a decline of 16.1 percent in shipments in the region compared to the same quarter last year, while Acer showed an 11.2 percent decline.

Windows 9 out next year

Microsoft campusYou may not have upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, never mind Windows 8 – but pretty soon you’ll have Windows 9 to think about.

Microsoft will release something it calls  a technical preview of Windows 9 at the end of this month.

The word on the street is that Windows 9 will include the start menu – and it might not be called Windows 9.  The beta is due to be supplied with a single beta.

According to PC Advisor, the preview version will come between the second quarter and the third quarter next year. There will be versions available for smartphones, for PCs and for tablets.

Web site Winbeta said that Microsoft is going to dump the so-called “charms bar”, an annoying menu that comes in from the right hand side of the screeen with buttons to search, share and the like.

The word on the street appears to be that Windows 9, or whatever it’s called, will use 64 bit processors only, although that could present a  problem for heaps of people.

Windows 9 looms into view

Microsoft campusWhile very many people haven’t yet upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, and very many people have stuck with Windows XP, it seems that Microsoft will show off Windows 9 soon.

Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows has delivered some Windows 9 screenshots from sources he is not ready to name in advance of Windows Technical Preview – due out in October.

And guess what, Microsoft is bringing back the Start menu.  There was much gnashing of teeth when it decided not to build it into Windows 8.x Start menu, particularly among corporate users of the operating system.

The preview uses the same Store as Windows 8.1, while mobile apps will run in floating windows on the desktop, according to Paul Thurrott.

Microsoft has a long running record of producing versions of Windows that are dogs followed by versions that are functional and popular.

Windows Vista was a dog, and Windows 8.x is a pooch too.  Perhaps Windows 9 will be better.

Notebook sales slow in the third quarter

notebooksWhile the computer industry saw comparatively small growth for notebooks in the second quarter, it looks like the third quarter will be much slower.

The third quarter always used to be buoyant for PC sales until sales started to slow a few years ago as smartphones and tablets came into their ascendancy.

Taiwanese wire Digitimes reports that ODMs (original design manufacturers) largely based on the island has fallen quite short of expectations.

It attributes the growth in the second quarter not to a rise in interest in the platforms any more, but because Windows XP was phased out in the spring.

People realised that if they were going to buy a notebook, it would be as well to do it then and move to a new Windows operating system.

Reports earlier this week suggested that sales of tablets in North American and western European markets had reached a degree of stasis too.  Most people who wanted a tablet have got one.

Rumours of Windows 9 emerge

Bill GatesSoftware giant Microsoft has been hinting that it will make changes in Windows 9 which should satisfy those who are using Windows 7 and will not upgrade.

While Windows 8 has been a disaster for Microsoft because it forced desktop users to conform to a tablet format and download Apps which did not function as well as their desktop version.

Word on the superinformationstrasse is that Vole is planning to further merge the Modern UI with the desktop in Windows 9 and might reduce the OS’s use for tablet users.

According to WinBeta, the cunning plan is that tablet users will see the demise of the desktop in Windows 9.  Instead Microsoft is set to replace Win32 applications with Modern UI alternatives in Windows 9, meaning Windows is set to get a full on Modern UI facelift when it rolls around next year.

This means that the desktop will no longer have a place for tablet users running Windows RT.
This fits into rumours regarding Windows Phone and Windows RT becoming one operating system. This would see Windows Phone devices and Windows RT tablets run the same operating system with no desktop.  If the device hardware requires it, a cut down version of the desktop will be available, but this is not likely to be seen much.

Vole is apparently worried about Chrome OS.  It wants to make Windows Phone free, and Windows RT being merged with it.  This will use this as the cheaper alternative for OEMs to sell tablets and cheap laptops too.

These laptops will run apps from the Windows Store just like on Chrome OS, which is limited to Chrome OS apps, the Windows Phone/RT devices will be limited to Windows Store apps.

This means that Windows 9 will be different depending on the hardware you use and you will only see a desktop if you are actually on the desktop.

Word on the street is that Microsoft will allow Modern UI apps to run in the desktop, in windowed mode, and have Modern UI apps pinned to the Start Menu instead of a Start Screen.

PC market shows signs of growth

pc-sales-slumpMarket research company IDC said there’s light at the end of the tunnel for PC sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

The second quarter of 2014 grw by 3.2 percent, ending seven consecutive quarters of decline.

But overall PC shipments were down 8.3 percent for the first quarter of this year, according to the IDC figures.

The decline in the market is largely because people and organisations are moving towards tablets and smartphones, according to Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a research manager at the firm.

But PC vendors are pushing aggressive pricing, new form factors and so the decline is softer in Q2 2014 than in the seven quarters before.

More political stability is helping the trend to spend, and the fact that people are moving from the now defunct Windows XP.

Analysts sniffy at XP “hack”

framedwindowsA method of receiving updates to Windows XP right up to 2019 has been described by analysts as “very bad news”.

Earlier this week, betanews reported that people now unsupported by Microsoft who have Windows XP can use the embedded version of Windows to receive security updates by a few simple registry changes.

But Richard Acreman, CEO of WM360 said using the tweak was “potentially very bad news for the industry if it encourages anyone to remain on the outdated operating system any longer”.

He said there are legal and security concerns. “Most important is that any company still relying on an operating system released a decade before the first iPhone is setting itself up for a fall.”

There is no clear figure how many people worldwide are still using XP but what is clear that many don’t want to be bumped into a potentially expensive upgrade involving a new user interface and investment in terms of PCs.

PC market stays in the doldrums

A not so mobile X86 PCHopes that the mobile PC market would show some spunk in the fourth quarter of 2013 were dashed by insipid sales.

According to market research company IHS, although the quarter showed the strongest global sequential growth in four years,  the results were still disappointing.

Shipments of mobile PCs worldwide amounted to 52.6 million units and that’s a rise of 9.4 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013.  But the industry, said IHS, wanted to sell 55.3 million units in the quarter. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, sales showed a five percent decline – the sixth year on year decline.

So what’s the problem?  According to Craig Stice, director of computers at IHS, Bay Trail and other platforms were expected to bring cheaperPs to the world.  But the vendors wanted to keep stock levels lean and entry level PCs failed to show high volume.

IHS counts its mobile PC sector as including laptops and PC tablets but as the world+dog knows, people think smartphones and non PC tablets are more appealing.

The industry is hoping against hope that when Windows XP shuffles off its mortal coil, people will buy more PC kit.

Tosh makes big channel push

windowscomputexToshiba introduced a campaign aimed at supporting channel players specialising in the SMB sector.

Called “”Get Modern with Toshiba”, the scheme ties in with Microsoft’s Get2Modern – an attempt by the software giant to wrest us away from Windows XP and Office 2003.

Toshiba said its channel partners will be given competitive prices on machines including the Portege Z30, Tecra Z40 and Tecra Z50. A trade in scheme lets SMBs claim up to £100 on new products, while Toshiba said its reliability guarantee lets its partners offer free repair and full refunds if on old model is traded in before March 31st 2014.

Toshiba said many SMBs are still using Windows XP and as we all know Microsoft will can support for Office 2003 and Windows XP on April 8th next.

Toshiba’s marketing director, Matt McDwall, claims “there’s a strong financial argument” to move from XP to Windows 8.1 – basing that claim on IDC figures that show running Windows XP is five times more expensive than Windows 7.

Notebook sales down

framedwindowsIt is hardly a surprise given that one in two UK households now have a swipy style tablet, but independent research shows top X86 models aren’t exactly the flavour of the month.

According to Digitimes Research, both branded notebook vendors and top original design manufacturers (ODMs), recorded month on month drops of 12 percent and 11 percent in December.

Dell and Toshiba did better than the other bunch of brand names, with the former, in particular, showing a bit of a surge because Microsoft will deck long in the tooth but reliable Windows XP this spring.

The ODMs were hit because HP was hit – Quanta and Inventec supply Hewlett Packard with most of its notebook boxes.

While the X86 mob hope that enterprises are still likely to plump for Windows based boxes, there is evidence that large corporations are seriously contemplating the bring your own device route, which will further erode Intel market share.

Microsoft shows clear signs of OS desperation

windowscomputexMost people were reasonably happy with Windows 7. For that matter, most people quite liked Windows XP. No one liked Vista.  And it’s pretty clear that Windows 8 has gone down with the most enormous thud.

Even Microsoft seems to acknowledge that – our sister publication TechEye is reporting that it is saying Windows 7 isn’t that secure.

Actually, it’s Microsoft that isn’t that secure. And its insecurity is linked to Intel’s insecurity too.  Microsoft, like Intel, was way too late to jump on the tablet bandwagon and its efforts to get into the smartphone market have been somewhat of a big fail too.

The truth is that it’s all about money and has very little to do with security. These endless patches from Microsoft for operating systems have always been a nuisance and demonstrate that on the OS front, at least, the software giant hasn’t really invented anything.  It’s all been borrowed or acquired.

You can’t get a new PC from a retailer now without it being installed with Windows 8.1. Want Windows 7? You’ll have to buy it separately. And if you believe Microsoft, it’s not that secure anyway.

At the launch of Windows XP in London all those years back, Steve Ballmer told us that it was the most secure version of Windows ever. Some of us remember what happened with that one.

I have a machine here that’s running Windows XP and there’s no way I’m “upgrading” it to Windows 8.1.  That will leave me insecure, according to Microsoft.  Insecure I will be, then. But I do get the definite feeling that I’m not alone in sticking with an OS I like and without the tablet feel I expect on a tablet, not on a PC.