Archive for the 'Microsoft' Category



Windows 10 is Microsoft’s big fat apology for Windows 8

Tuesday 30 September 2014 @ 12:23 pm
Windows 10 is Microsoft’s big fat apology for Windows 8

Above: Microsoft's operating systems head, Terry Myerson

Image Credit: Microsoft

With Windows 10, it’s almost as if Microsoft so desperately wanted to distance itself from Windows 8 that it skipped an entire version number.

Perhaps that’s being too harsh. Microsoft likely has some legitimate reasons for leaping past Windows 9 entirely — though it failed to really make the case during Windows 10’s announcement today.

But more surprising than Windows 10’s name is the fact that so much of what’s new in the OS is meant to appease users dissatisfied with Windows 8’s touchscreen focus. Microsoft’s new product is aimed at the keyboard and mouse crew. However, it isn’t forgetting about some of the progress it made with Windows 8.

The Start Menu is back!

Since Windows 95, Microsoft has trained Windows users to head to the Start Menu button on the bottom-left of their screen. But in Windows 8, Microsoft changed the Windows experience entirely by replacing the Start Menu with the Start Screen, a full-screen launcher with Live Tiles (carried over from Windows Phone).

The Windows 10 Start Menu

Above: The Windows 10 Start Menu

Image Credit: Microsoft

While the Start Screen was ideal for touchscreens, it was more difficult to navigate for users with keyboards and mice. You had to mouse to different corners of the screen to bring up options and to reach the Start Screen, which just felt unnecessarily complicated. Microsoft ended up adding a Start button in the Windows 8.1, but that just sent you right back to the Start Screen.

After countless user complaints, it’s not a huge surprise to see Microsoft resurrect the Start Menu in Windows 10. It’s also integrated with Live Tiles, so it looks like a weird hybrid of the Windows 8 Start Screen and the traditional Start Menu from Windows 7.

A new “Continuum” feature will also switch up the Start button functionality depending on if you’re using your computer with a tablet or with a keyboard and mouse. It’s primarily meant for devices like the Surface and Lenovo’s Yoga line, which can be used as both laptops and tablets. Once you enable tablet mode, the Start button will send you to a screen with bigger buttons, similar to the Windows 8 Start Screen.

A Windows 10 Metro app running in an actual window!

Above: A Windows 10 Metro app running in an actual window!

Image Credit: Microsoft

Windows 8 (Metro) apps can now run in Windows

Oh sweet irony — Microsoft is finally getting around to putting its Windows 8 “Metro” apps in actual windows. Previously, Windows 8 apps ran in a full screen mode, or you could devote slices of your screen to those apps.

Microsoft’s approach to Windows 8 apps felt more like an attempt to recreate iOS’s fullscreen app approach, rather than evolving the interface its customers are familiar with. Microsoft also made it difficult to use Windows 8 apps alongside traditional desktop Windows apps.

With Windows 10, you’ll be able to organize those fancy new apps just like any other Windows software. They’ll have title bars, and you’re free to resize them as much as you’d like. Finally, it will make sense for keyboard and mouse users to actually run Metro apps.

Windows 10 is made for multitaskers

There was a lot of talk about “experienced” Windows users during today’s unveiling, whereas I can’t remember Microsoft ever mentioning its fans when discussing Windows 8. Several features throughout Windows 10 are entirely devoted to more hardcore users: A new “task view” will let you set up different desktops for different uses (for example, you may use a different setup at home than you do at school or work); the Start Menu’s search bar is more powerful, with integrated web searching; and even the lowly command line gets a few upgrades (you can finally copy and paste directories using the CTRL + V command!).

I know plenty of Windows users who stuck with Windows 7 because it fit their workflow best. They didn’t need the Start Screen or any of the new features in Windows 8. Windows 10 seems expressly built for them.

Multiple desktops in Windows 10

Above: Multiple desktops in Windows 10

Image Credit: Microsoft

The desktop is once again the focus of Windows

This is perhaps the biggest takeaway from what we’ve seen of Windows 10 so far: Your core environment is once again the desktop — not the Start Screen or some fullscreen app. While Windows 8 made the desktop feel like a ghetto for all those ugly, ancient, non-touchscreen Windows programs, Windows 10 seems to embrace the desktop entirely.

As someone who’s used Windows for most of my computing life, and who waited a year before upgrading to Windows 8, I’m glad Microsoft is once again embracing something familiar. I gave the company a lot of credit for the risks it took with Windows 8, but ultimately that was a release that promised more than it could deliver.

Microsoft cares what you think!

For once, Microsoft is actually listening to its fans. Tomorrow it’s kicking off the Windows Insider Program, which will give you access to a preview build of Windows 10. You’ll also be able to send feedback about your experiences. It’s not clear how Microsoft is going to manage all of this information, but it’s at the least a nice gesture for Windows users who felt let down by Windows 8.


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft Will Start To Explain The Future Of Windows Tomorrow Morning

Monday 29 September 2014 @ 4:18 pm
jasdfjksdf-1 (2) Gird thyself, a new Windows approaches. Tomorrow morning in San Francisco, Microsoft will show off some part of its next operating system in a long-awaited event whose existence leaked before it was formally announced. The market is expectant, and the technology and business media will have its eyes trained on what Redmond has on offer. In the past few days, odd rumors have cropped up: Will… Read More



It’s official, finally. Microsoft launches Xbox One in China

Sunday 28 September 2014 @ 10:32 pm
It’s official, finally. Microsoft launches Xbox One in China

Above: Microsoft's Xbox One launch in China

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft said that it has finally launched its Xbox One video game console in China. That’s a first for Microsoft, since China’s console ban has been in effect for the entire time that Microsoft has been selling Xbox machines.

The launch with Chinese partner BesTV was supposed to happen last week, but Microsoft delayed the official sales until today. The delay was no surprise, given how many things can go wrong with a console launch. Microsoft said it has launched the Xbox One, which debuted in the U.S. in the fall of last year, is now on sale in 4,000 retail locations across 37 cities in China.

That’s a pretty good spread, but it’s worth noting there are a 160 cities in China with more than 1 million people.

Last week, Microsoft went forward with a party for gamers in Shanghai at the Oriental Pearl Tower, even though it delayed the official launch by a week.

Microsoft previously said those in China who preordered will still be the first to receive the Chinese version of the console, and they will also get an unspecified added bonus. The company still says it is working with 25 leading developers to deliver 70 games for Xbox One fans in China.

China has had a ban on game consoles since 2000. Microsoft debuted its first Xbox in 2001.

The line to buy the Xbox One at a store in China.

Above: The line to buy the Xbox One at a store in China.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Free Windows 9 For Some Isn’t Too Crazy

Sunday 28 September 2014 @ 6:02 pm
windows, empty room At some point, speculating about what will become quickly obvious is difficult. Still, on the cusp as we are of the release of the first preview of what may be called Windows 9, it’s reasonable to take a few notes of the latest rumor cycle: Will Windows 9 be free? Current gossip indicates that for Windows 8 and Windows XP users, the new code could be in the case of the former, free, and… Read More



Microsoft Brings MSN Back By Shifting Windows Phone’s Bing Apps To A New, Old Moniker

Friday 26 September 2014 @ 3:53 pm
microsoft sway Microsoft, in an effort to bring MSN back to mainstream prominence, is shifting its Bing-labeled Windows Phone and Windows apps under that brand’s aegis. You are forgiven if you forgot that MSN is still a thing, or that a number of Windows Phone and Windows apps that have little to do with search are in fact still branded under the Bing name. MSN may be on this side of risible in the… Read More



Microsoft Discloses New Data On Government Requests For User Information

Friday 26 September 2014 @ 11:29 am
microsoft-earnings Microsoft today disclosed data concerning global government request for its users’ data, and information about their accounts in the first half of 2014. The total number of requests, and the number of accounts impacted were similar to the six month period that concluded 2013. In total, between January and June of this year, 34,494 requests were sent to Microsoft, impacting 58,562 accounts. Read More



Microsoft teams up with Russian government-backed fund to support industrial startups

Thursday 25 September 2014 @ 8:35 pm

Last week FRII, the $200 million government-backed startup fund launched last year, and Microsoft announced that they were beginning an industrial accelerator to support startups developing IT solutions for education, healthcare, commerce, industry, the service sector, the financial sector and municipal services.

The project will receive support from Microsoft Ventures, the international subdivision of the corporation that is responsible for multifaceted support to young entrepreneurs worldwide.

The accelerator is intended for companies that have already developed a product prototype but are in the early stages of business development. Two four-month acceleration cycles are planned per year, in which ten startups can participate after submitting to a technical and investment selection process. The current application cycle is already underway.

The intensive acceleration program is made up of financing, including grants from Microsoft (with administrative and technical support from the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation) and investment from FRII, consulting and educational services, infrastructural and technological support, and a work space for the startup during the acceleration. Residents will be able to discuss pilot rollouts with leading entrepreneurs in a variety of industries.

This story originally appeared on www.ewdn.com.


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Microsoft pushes collaboration with Groups for Office 365

Thursday 25 September 2014 @ 8:25 am
Microsoft pushes collaboration with Groups for Office 365

Above: Microsoft Groups in action.

Image Credit: Screen shot

Microsoft knows how people work. It knows that sometimes people work together on projects. The new Group feature for Microsoft’s online services could help people collaborate more efficiently.

Announced in a blog post today, Groups can show employees at a glance all the different groups existing inside the company, without getting permission. Groups have dedicated inboxes, shared calendars, a hub for common files, and a way to comment on files without going to a different app.

“We’re launching Groups in stages starting today,” Jared Spataro, general manager of enterprise social at Microsoft, wrote in the blog post. “In this initial phase, Groups will show up within the web experiences of Office 365 email and calendar and OneDrive for Business. In upcoming phases, we will add Yammer and Lync to the Groups experience to help you do even more.”

For the most part, Groups might not sound like a huge advancement, drawing as it does on several Microsoft tools that have existed for years, like file sharing and email. But Groups does acknowledge how people really work, at least sometimes. And that position aligns well with Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella’s vision for the company.

“At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world,” Nadella wrote in a memo to employees in July.

And yes, you will be able to access Groups features on mobile devices.



Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft’s Chromecast copycat is more expensive and less functional

Tuesday 23 September 2014 @ 12:18 pm

Microsoft today unveiled a new device that will “cast” your smartphone or tablet’s screen to your television, much like Google’s Chromecast — another way the company is hoping to bait people into using connected gadgets that run Windows.

Microsoft isn’t the only company trying to compete with Chromecast, either. Earlier this year Roku started selling its Roku StickSony launched its Bravia media-sharing stick; and even Mozilla is planning a Firefox OS-powered stick of its own. And then there was the failed attempt by Tivo’s founders to launch a Chromecast competitor.

The dimensions of the new Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, the company's Chromecast rival.

Above: The dimensions of the new Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, the company’s Chromecast rival.

So what makes Microsoft’s version different? Well, how about it being pretty lackluster. The device itself, boringly called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, is an HDMI stick is about the size of a USB jump drive and powered via the USB port on your television. The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter retails for $60, which is more expensive than Google’s $35 stick.

Price is one of the biggest selling points for the Chromecast, because it’s far less expensive than most set-top boxes but allows you to enjoy most of the same perks. The only big reason to go with Microsoft’s device might be because of integration with Windows Phone.

Microsoft’s device also uses Miracast, so you’re actually just mirroring your phone/tablet’s screen on your television. Chromecast, by comparison, streams most of its media directly from the cloud, which means you can still use your other devices while casting media to a TV set.

The device seems like it’s targeted more at the enterprise-level customers rather than regular consumers. I can see someone buying one of these for conference rooms or other business-related facilities with an available TV screen. Outside of that, I don’t know that it’ll be a big seller.

Check out the demo video below for a closer look at Microsoft’s Chromecast competitor, and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.



Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











Microsoft strengthens its Azure cloud lineup with faster storage

Monday 22 September 2014 @ 1:50 pm
Microsoft strengthens its Azure cloud lineup with faster storage
Image Credit: Microsoft

One of the leading public clouds around, Microsoft Azure, sees its competitors Google and Amazon adding fast solid-state drives (SSDs) to their servers for running applications. Today it followed suit.

The new D-Series of virtual machines — slices of physical servers — in Azure come with SSDs, rather than hard-disk drives, to store and serve up data, according to a blog post. And they come packed with hefty memory capacity as well.

The D14 instance will boast 112 GB of memory and 800 GB of SSD storage at a price of $2.611 per hour in the U.S. East region, starting on January 1.

The question is whether developers will choose Microsoft for their applications when Amazon Web Services lead the market and Google is coming up quickly.

Amazon and Google both pack memory and SSD-backed instances. On the price point, Microsoft has previously committed to being competitive with Amazon on price. But Google executives have expressed a pricing vision more in line with consistent increases in computing power over time, rather than simply following whatever Amazon does. So now the question is how Microsoft responds to price pressure from Google, even with this new memory- and storage-heavy cloud infrastructure.



Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »











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