If you want to understand why Windows 8 has been a failure so far, the following quote from IDC analyst Jay Chou explains it all: “The chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system.” This is a big problem for Microsoft because the entire point of Windows 8 was to ignite demand within the PC market and make people want to replace their older systems with new touch-enabled PCs that would slow the growth of iOS and Android as rival mobile computing platforms. But as IDC’s latest research shows, that simply isn’t happening. More →
Like any good pusher, Microsoft knows that the best way to get kids hooked on your product is to start them off with free samples. Microsoft this week officially launched its Student Advantage program that will give students at more than 35,000 participating schools free access to Microsoft Office 365 as long as the schools license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for their faculty members. This is the second big Office 365 promotion Microsoft has announced for students this year, as over the summer the company said that it would give new Office 365 subscribers in select countries free 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.
Sorry, Microsoft: Even the superficial return of the Start button isn’t enough to make people clamor for Windows 8. TheNextWeb takes a look at some of the latest numbers from Net Applications and finds that Windows 8′s growth has stagnated as the combined market share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 grew by only 0.05 percentage points in November. In contrast, Windows 7′s market share grew by 0.22 percentage points, which means that users upgrading to new PCs still seem to prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8. It also seems that Windows 8.1′s growth is almost entirely driven by current Windows 8 users who are eagerly upgrading their PCs to take advantage of the latest software, as Windows 8.1′s market share grew by 0.92 percentage points and Windows 8′s market share shrank by 0.87 percentage points.
In our review of the Xbox One, we talked about the potential of the console as a platform that will evolve over the course of this generation. According to ZDNet, part of that evolution will include unifying the game console even further with the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems. An update codenamed “Threshold,” reportedly set to be released in 2015, will roll out to virtually every Windows-powered device. If the site’s sources are correct, this convergence will bring even more shared features and capabilities to Microsoft’s lineup than the previously-reported merging of Windows RT and Windows Phone. This update could also play a significant part in the single, OS-wide app store that Microsoft is working to bring to Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1.
Microsoft’s mobile platform has made some impressive gains over the last year and the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel show that Windows Phone’s market share has passed the 10% barrier across Europe’s five biggest markets, a huge improvement from a year ago when it accounted for under 5% of smartphones sold across the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Windows Phone sales have gotten a big boost in Europe thanks to the efforts of Nokia, which has long been a popular brand in the Eurozone and which this year released some top-notch handsets such as the Lumia 1020 alongside some very competitive budget handsets such as the Lumia 520.
Can’t we all just get along? Some have issued a call for peace but the next-generation console war is inevitable. PlayStation 4 fans and Xbox One fans have their own war going, and market research firms and other industry watchers will constantly pit the two consoles against each other as they fight for sales. While the PS4 undoubtedly took an early lead since it launched a week ahead of Microsoft’s new console, it looks like the Xbox One gained some ground and dominated Black Friday sales at two of the biggest retailers in the country. More →
Try as Microsoft might, it just can’t seem to put a dent in iPad sales with its Apple-bashing Surface ads. The company has issued several different ads that deal various jabs at Apple’s popular tablets, but the Windows RT-powered Microsoft Surface has yet to catch on with consumers while iPad sales came in at 14 million units last quarter. So, Microsoft decided to try something new. Since Android tablet sales have been growing far more quickly than iPad sales over the past year, why not start bashing them instead? And so we have Microsoft’s newest Surface RT advertisements, which set their sights on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead of Apple’s iPad lineup. More →
A French court on Thursday ordered Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to remove from search results 16 websites that host pirated media, in a case started in December 2011 by various French organizations and groups that protect the interests of entertainment companies such as Paramount and Sony. Local ISPs including Orange, Free, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, Numericable and Darty Telecom are also ordered to “implement all appropriate means including blocking” these websites, TorrentFreak reports. More →
A new report has once again received highly detailed leaks about Microsoft’s internal deliberations about the next CEO. And once again, the leaks have a decidedly anti-Elop slant. According to the brand new Bloomberg scoop, the two leading candidates are now Ford’s Mulally and Microsoft’s own Nadella. What I find fascinating is that the article goes out of its way to spell out that Elop is no longer a leading candidate for the top job. It is highly unusual that the CEO selection process receives such high-profile and detailed coverage by leading news organizations. And it is almost unprecedented that a series of articles has multiple sources specifically highlighting aspects of the selection process that are unfavorable to one of the candidates. Namely Elop. More →
Microsoft on Wednesday launched its Xbox Video service on the web at XboxVideo.com, allowing users to watch movies and TV shows in the browser, using the Silverlight plug-in. There are “more than 300,000 movies and TV episodes” to choose from, the company announced, and they can be watched on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs, but also on other operating systems, Macs included. A Windows Phone application for the service isn’t available at this time, but the company says it’s coming soon. More →
Two separate surveys are showing that the PlayStation 4 sits substantially ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox One when it comes to polling American consumers about console preference. According to a new Nielsen survey, 30% of active gamers intend to definitely buy a PS4 console while 22% said the same about the Xbox One. According to Parks Associates, 36% of console shoppers favor PS4 while 27% are leaning towards Xbox One. More →
We’ve had no shortage of gossip about Microsoft’s search for its next CEO and the latest comes to us from Bloomberg, which reports that Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Microsoft’s own cloud and enterprise boss Satya Nadella are now the two leading candidates to replace Steve Ballmer. We’ve heard a lot about Mulally in the past but this is the first time we’ve heard Nadella mentioned as a serious finalist so far. Bloomberg says that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and one-time Skype boss Tony Bates are still being considered but that they’ve largely taken a backseat to Mulally and Nadella at this point in the process.
In addition to providing a template for writing quick, easy-to-use Xbox One-related “doctor’s orders,” Microsoft is also providing a similar email form for convincing your significant other that an Xbox One purchase is necessary this Christmas. Just like the doctor’s orders form, the new letter can be customized to perfectly explain why you deserve an Xbox One and why your girlfriend/boyfriend should buy you one. More →