Tag: windows

Thin clients are thin on the ground

skeleton-woman-615While thin client set ups have been touted as the “next big thing” for nearly two decades, it would appear that no-one can make cash from them.

Bean counters at IDC said that the market leaders HP and Dell suffered double-digit shipment drops last year. Apparently companies are walking away from, or cancelling their thin-client projects. Ironically mostly before the poor economic climate, thin clients were touted as a cost-saving measure.

Thin client projects are being canned or postponed in the face of the faltering economic climate and reduced public budgets, IDC said as it warned that shipments in the sector shrank last year.

According to IDC, thin and terminal-client shipments fell 6.9 per cent to 5.08 million in 2015, with market leaders Dell and HP enduring double-digit drops.

To be fair it is not all doom. Thin-clients did better than PCs which fell 10.6 per cent last year.  IDC insists that the outlook for thin clients and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) remains favourable, although people have been saying that since networking became a thing.

Jay Chou, research manager, worldwide enterprise client device trackers at IDC said that while there was a certain amount of slowdown expected as many organisations had just refreshed their systems a year or two ago, the extent of economic and currency-related issues had a definite impact in the budget and timeline of other projects which were supposed to be in the pipeline.

“Nonetheless, awareness around VDI continues to improve, and IDC does expect an improved outlook ahead, especially as companies begin to think about moving beyond Windows 7.”

While the PC market may be consolidating into the hands of fewer players, the same cannot be said of thin clients, where market leaders Dell and HP lost market share hand over fist during the year.

The US duo’s collective share of thin-client shipments fell from 55.1 to 50.6 per cent between 2014 and 2015, with Dell seeing shipments drop 13.8 per cent and HP suffering a 15 per cent fall, IDC said.

NComputing came third as its shipments rose 12.8 per cent to 518,000, IDC said.

Windows 10 not helping to push PC sales

screen-shot-2015-11-02-at-81934-amThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP’s  Chief Executive Dion Weisler, said that Windows 10 was not helping push PC sales.He said that Windows 10 hasn’t delivered and there is not enough demand for Microsoft’s new OS to help HP survive in a declining PC market.HP delivered the first earnings report since its split. HP reported a 12 percent drop in revenue to $13.9 billion, and a 16 percent drop in continuing operations to $700 million. Virtually every meaningful segment of the business reported declines, including revenue and earnings in both its printer and PC businesses.

He blamed Microsoft which he said that made a  tremendous operating system platform, and universal apps and Continuum computing but failed to stimulate demand.

“We’re carefully monitoring any sort of price development that could further weaken demand,” Weisler said.

HP sold 14.2 million PCs during 2015, but still saw its market share drop by 10 percent—and it ranked second in worldwide PC sales behind Lenovo, according to IDC.  If HP can’t rely on Microsoft to provide the killer app, it might be its own PC future is limited.

Windows 10 shatters all records

magritte-windowIn just a month Windows 10 has captured more than five percent  market share.

According to the latest figures from Net Applications, Windows 10 has already been installed on over 75 million PCs. Vole wants a billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years,” though that includes not just PCs, but smartphones, consoles and IoT devices.

Windows 10 had 0.39 percent  market share in July, and gained 4.82 percent age points to hit 5.21 percent  in August.

Windows 8 slipped 0.21 percent age points to 2.56 percent, while Windows 8.1 fell 1.71 points to 11.39 percent. Together, they owned 13.95 percent of the market at the end of August, down from 15.86 percent at the end of July.  Windows 8 and 8.1 never gained more than 20 percent market share mark (they peaked at 16.45 per cent in May), and with Windows 10 now available, they never will.

There’s lots of percents in this story.

Windows 7 passed the 60 percent market share mark in June but in in August dropped 3.08 points to 57.67 percent.

Windows 7 will remain the most popular OS for at least this year. Windows 7 overtook Windows XP in September 2012.

Windows Vista meanwhile slipped 0.02 points to 1.82 percent. Windows XP somehow managed to gain 0.40 points to 12.14 percent. The free upgrade to Windows 10 doesn’t apply to Vista or XP.

Windows gained a bit of share in August, up 0.18 points to 90.84 percent. Mac OS X and Linux in turn suffered minor losses, losing 0.13 points to 7.53 percent  and 0.05 points to 1.63 percent , respectively.

Microsoft and partners defend against Chromebook

windowscomputexThe glorious Wintel alliance which is still running despite a few hiccups has a cunning plan to see off the threat of Google Chromebooks.

Microsoft and its chum Intel plans to launch a device running Windows 10 with Bing.

Microsoft and Intel are working with all   partners to bring cheaper devices to the market and help tackle the growth of Google Chromebooks.

Stage one of the plan is to release a cheap OEM version of Windows 10 with Bing.

As was the case with Windows 8.1, Windows 10 with Bing will be a Windows 10 SKU available exclusively for PC makers and will be offered at a very low cost or even free of charge.

Microsoft has worked out that it needs to slash licensing fees that manufacturers need to pay for installing Windows on their devices.

Windows with Bing is basically Windows 8.1 with Bing offered the same features as Windows 8.1 but came with Bing branding that OEMs could not change.

Users, however, were allowed to replace Bing as the default search engine with Google or something else.

A Windows 10 with Bing flavour will appear later. In fact Windows 10 is designed to be installed on as many devices as possible, and Microsoft expects one billion PCs, tablets, and smartphones to be running it by 2017.

Reseller leaks Windows 10 pricing and launch date

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseMicrosoft reseller Newegg accidently leaked the pricing and release date of Windows 10.

Windows 10 will be released to hardware makers on August 31, according to a product listing at Newegg.com.

The new version of Microsoft’s widely used operating system will be delivered to original equipment manufacturers on August 31, according to listings at Newegg.com, which is also taking pre-orders for the software. The Home edition will cost hardware makers $109, while the Professional version will cost $149, according to the listings.

The exact release date for Windows 10 had been a closely guarded secret. Microsoft said in March that Windows 10 would launch this sometime this summer, and while developers hoped for something more definitive during the Build developer conference last month, the company was still mum.

This means that consumers should have Windows 10 in their hands before the end of summer. We should point out that this is the second time that Newegg jumped the gun. It leaked price details and a release date for on Windows 8 in 2012.

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.

 

Tablet shipments to slide

ipad3The next five years for shipments of tablets will see them grow only in the low single digits, according to market research company IDC.

IDC said it expects worldwide shipments of tablets to amount to 234.5 million units this year, that’s only 2.1 percent up from shipments last year.

It anticipates, however, that the commercial market for tablets will grow, and Microsoft will gain some market share in the sector.

IDC said that the Android operating system will remain the leader in the market while Apple’s iOS will show declines this year. Microsoft, which had 5.1 percent share in 2014, is expected to grow to 14.1 percent in 2019.

IDC thinks the introduction of Windows 10 this year will have a “significant impact” because people want consistency across different devices.

Predicted market share in 2019 will be 62.9 percent for Android based tablets, 23 percent for iOS based tablets, and 14.1 percent for Windows based tablets.

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.

 

Lenovo goes tablet crazy

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.38.21Announcements from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) are as thick as blankets of snow this week, and Lenovo has joined in the chase for more business by announcing a range of three tablets.

Lenovo, according to market watchers, has been doing comparatively well in the tablet market.

Today it announced the A Series Android tablets, the Tab 2 A7 and A10-70 and a Windows tablet too.

The A10-70 has a 10.1-inch FHD screen, and Dolby Atmos. The machine runs Android 4.4, uses a MediaTek quad core processor, weighs 500 grams and is 8.9 millimetres thick. It will cost £180 and ships in April.
The Tab 2 A8 weighs in at 360 grams and comes with a dual SIM card slot, and costs £130 for the wi-fi model. It will ship in June.

The Windows Ideated MIIX 300, uses Windows 8.1, has an Intel Atom chip inside, and a media card reader. It will ship in July and will cost around £150.

 

Apple PCs make a dent in the marketplace

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseWhile the conventional Windows PC market continues to decline, it appears to be losing market share to Apple’s range of PCs.
That’s the conclusion of Taiwanese vendors who have told local wire Digitimes that global PC shipments are expected to fall by over three percent during 2015.
Apple, on the other hand, is set to do much better, with growth of between 10 and 15 percent during 2015, amounting to shipments of between 20 and 23 million worldwide.
Apple is gaining additional traction from more competitive prices and Digitimes said it expects the company to drop prices on its 11 inch and 13 inch notebooks when it launches a 12-inch Macbook Air this year.
While traditional PC sales have been hit by smartphones and tablets to some extent, Microsoft’s delays in shipping Windows 10 will also not help sales.
Microsoft is responding to vendors’ complaints about the excessive price of licensing its operating system by introducing aggressive pricing in a bid to boost the market during 2015.

 

Many companies will miss Windows server deadline

my_tombstoneCompanies are doomed to miss the end of the life of Windows Windows Server 2003, warned software experts.

The server operating system will retire in six months and many companies will still have boxes running the OS when Microsoft finally kills it off.

David Mayer, the director of Microsoft Solutions for Insight said that companies had adopted an approach that “it is not broken so they did not need to fix it.  It was the first really mainstream server from Microsoft, a really solid OS, and gave Microsoft a lot of credibility in server software.”

Microsoft will end security updates for Server 2003 on July 14 which should end the product’s support lifecycle. It has been supported years longer than the usual decade.

But there are still millions of machines running Server 2003, with pockets of the software in most data centres and it is a significant effort to upgrade.  While getting rid of a dead XP laptop is not a problem, server replacement is tricky.

A server might contain unsupported software and the company that built them may be out of business or the in-house development team may have been disbanded.   Updating this software might be impossible.

Many of those applications are 32 bit and while Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a compatibility mode to run such applications it does not always work.

Microsoft  is likely to make a killing out of after-retirement support contracts, or “Custom Support,” to its largest customers. Under a Custom Support agreement, Microsoft provides patches only for the security vulnerabilities it has rated “critical,” its highest threat ranking.

This time Redmond is suggesting that its customers facing end of support to shift their servers to the cloud. However, that might be an additional change too far for many companies.

 

Smart wearables will be invisible

glassesThe Gartner Group has studied the tea leaves at the bottom of its tea cup and come up with some predictions on the future of wearable devices.

The market research company predicts that by 2017, a third of so-called “smart wearables” will be practically invisible.

Gartner said smart contact lenses are already being developed, and there’s some interesting projects creating smart jewellery.  Why would you need smart jewellery?  They could deliver comms alerts and emergency alarms, according to Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

These will be in contrast to smart glasses, which are pretty easy to spot.

And we’ll also see the proliferation of head mounted displays (HMDs) for virtual reality but they’ll have to be not only smart, but smart looking.

Gartner also predicts that by 2016, 40 percent of smartphones will include biometric sensors with such features as fingerprint, facial, iris, voice and palm vein authentication.

And Gartner sees the end of Windows.  It estimates that in 2017. a third of people in emerging markets will never have owned a Windows device.

Microsoft mulls new model

andrew-neilSoftware aging lothario Microsoft is mulling if it is worthwhile moving to  a younger sexier subscription-based model.

At the recent Credit Suisse Technology Conference last week, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner was speaking to investors about the fact that Microsoft is interested in exploring new monetisation methods for its Windows line of products. The company might adopt a new pricing model for the upcoming operating system, as it looks to shift away from the one-time initial purchase to an ongoing-revenue basis.

When asked if Microsoft was going to start losing money on Windows, Turner said that we Microsoft had to monetise the software differently and link it to services.

“There are additional opportunities for us to bring additional services to the product and do it in a creative way. And through the course of the summer and spring we’ll be announcing what that business model looks like. At the same time it’s wonderful to see these nine-inch and below devices explode, because that was an area, candidly, I was blocked out and I had no share of what was getting built. So it’s a very fascinating transition for us,” he said.

It looks like Microsoft will be ruminating over its new cunning plan through the long winter nights and plan what a new Windows business model will look like. This could mean that Nadella and his team has already decided which path to take.

There have been previous rumours that have already pointed toward the creation of Windows subscriptions. What is crucial is the price and the frequency of upgrade cycles.

Windows 10, which is already promoted by Microsoft as ‘one Cloud OS’, will be the first to fall under this new pricing scheme. Microsoft also needs to lure in hundreds of millions of Windows 7 and Windows XP users who did not perceive Windows 8 and 8.1 as good.

Microsoft has made its Microsoft Office products available for free to mobile users on iOS and Android.

 

Microsoft software is unsafe again

Stained Glass - picture Mike MageeExpect a slew of critical updates to Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft software this week.

The company last week warned that much of its software needed patches to be safe and sound.  Many will need you to restart your machine or machines.

At the same time Microsoft will release an upgrade to its Malicious Software removal tool, its update services and the download centre.

Affected software includes Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1, Windows Technical Preview and Windows Server Technical Preview.

Microsoft doesn’t support Windows XP anymore so you are on your own unless like the NHS or people that use point of sale (POS) embedded software you have additional security built in. You can find the whole sorry tale at the Microsoft site, here.

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.