What goes up must come down and on Wall Street, billions are made and lost betting on which direction companies are headed. Apple is the most valuable technology company in America by a huge margin so needless to say, it gets plenty of attention on the Street. At some point, be it sometime in the next few years or sometime in the next few decades, Apple will no longer be on top. It is inevitable. The question countless industry watchers try to answer, of course, is when. More →
Stephen Elop might get to become Microsoft’s next CEO after all. Bloomberg reports that Ford company director Edsel Ford II said on Thursday that current CEO Alan Mulally is staying on with the company through at least 2014, which would seemingly put him out of the running the become Microsoft’s next chief executive. Ford said that the company’s board of directors haven’t pushed Mulally to address the matter publicly because he’s already assured them that he’ll remain with the company for at least another year. Mulally was considered a leading choice to take over at Microsoft, which has been searching for a new CEO ever since Steve Ballmer announced his plans to resign in 2014. Other candidates for the job include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, one-time Skype boss Tony Bates and Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise boss Satya Nadella.
Microsoft is done playing nice with the National Security Agency. ITProPortal reports that Microsoft has now labeled the United States government an “advanced persistent threat” to its customers’ security, a designation that the company normally uses only “for foreign state-sponsored cyber terrorists.” Microsoft’s decision to label its own government a persistent threat comes as the company is working to beef up end-to-end encryption for all of its data center Internet traffic following revelations that the NSA has found a way to hack into major tech companies’ data centers. Both Google and Yahoo similarly moved to encrypt their data center traffic after learning of the NSA’s escapades.
One of the most exciting prospects of the Xbox One is the ID@Xbox program, which allows both independent and AAA developers alike to self-publish on Microsoft’s console. Chris Charla, director of the program, has taken to the Xbox Wire to share some familiar names that have already received dev kits and have begun working on the first round of self-published Xbox One games. Crytek, the team behind launch title Ryse: Son of Rome and the Crysis series, is easily the largest developer on the list, but several indie darlings have made their way into the first batch as well — Vlambeer, Double Fine, Iron Galaxy, Capy and Gaijin Games are just a few of the developers currently working on titles for ID@Xbox. According to Charla, “this is just a sampling of the many developers who are part of the program.” ID@Xbox is currently slated to kick off early next year.
Let’s be clear: I think that Windows 8 is in many ways a good operating system. But it is also a very polarizing one among longtime Windows users and that’s something Microsoft will ignore at its own peril. First, let’s go through Windows 8′s obvious virtues — it runs much more smoothly than earlier versions of Windows, it starts up more quickly and is generally a more stable platform than Windows 7. However, for a sizable chunk of PC users these plusses are outweighed by the giant minus of the big changes Microsoft made to the traditional Windows user interface. More →
The holiday console war is in full swing now and points are being scored on both sides. Sony came out strong, selling more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles during the box’s first 24 hours of availability alone. Then Microsoft’s Xbox One launched a week later and matched the PS4′s astonishing first-day sales performance. Things seemed to be leaning in the Xbox’s favor after sales of the new console crushed the PS4 at Walmart and Target on Black Friday, but PlayStation 4 supply constraints may have been to blame — Sony would later announce that it sold 2.1 million PS4 consoles so far and Microsoft has yet to issue a real response. Both consoles have their merits and either one seems like a solid buy this holiday season, but those considering the Xbox One should pump the brakes according to one reviewer. More →
Windows XP is now more than 12 years old but according to data from Net Applications, it is still used on more than 31% of desktop and laptop computers around the world. Those tens of millions of PC users could be in for a very rude awakening next year once Microsoft cuts off support for the aged operating system. Microsoft itself even warned users of the imminent tsunami of viruses and other malware that will inevitably wash over XP stragglers once it stops issuing updates and fixes for the OS. Now, a recently discovered critical zero-day flaw has been acknowledged in a Microsoft support document that could cause serious problems for XP users. More →
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 →