During the D9 conference in California, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky began showing off Redmond’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system, fully optimized for tablets. According to AllThingsD, which got an early peak at the OS, Microsoft’s ultimate goal was to create an OS that could run on a home computer just as well as it could run on a portable 8-inch tablet. The new start screen, pictured above, shows a tile-based interface that’s strikingly similar to Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and makes use of the company’s Metro UI. Windows 8 includes Internet Explorer 10, and can run applications that are designed for desktop use, as well as HTML 5 and Java applications that will run better on tablet-sized devices that may provide less power. Sinofsky told AllThingsD that Windows 8 will deliver a new business model for developers, an app distribution mechanism — assumed to be a storefront — and a touch interface. Microsoft reportedly started working on the operating system when it shipped Windows Phone 7. “We really did take a step back after Windows 7,” Sinofsky told AllThingsD. “We were clearly influenced ourselves by phones.” The current demo products run on devices with Intel processors, although Microsoft reportedly also has devices powered by ARM processors, too. There’s still no word on when we’ll see the first Windows 8 devices hit the market, but we’re definitely excited with what we’re seeing so far.
Microsoft has issued a statement describing Steve Ballmer’s plans to sell up to 75 million shares in order “to gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning”. A sale this large is bound to ring alarm bells with shareholders, however Ballmer has cleared the air of any brewing conspiracy theories. “Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion. I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” said the Redmond CEO. SEC filings indicate that Steve Ballmer has already sold 49 million shares, making him a cool $1.3 billion. With capital gains tax said to increase to 20 from 15% in January, Steve Ballmer has just saved himself some serious money.
Windows XP set the bar quite high when it was released back in August 2001. Barring a few security issues, XP was considered a success and is still the OS of choice for some PC users today. Microsoft followed this up with arguably their most criticised offering, Vista. Steve Ballmer, CEO of the Redmond outfit went as far as calling Vista “a work in progress” after its launch. 2009 marked the start of better days for Microsoft, a year in which they released Windows 7, a welcome refresh for PC users. Windows 7 went on to sell an impressive 240 million licences in its first year; a record for Microsoft. Today, in a blog post on Microsoft’s Dutch website, the company explained that it is working on Windows 8, however, the OS will not be due for another two years. Microsoft representatives failed to elaborate further when asked to comment by CNET. According to a leaked presentation earlier this year, Microsoft plans to introduce a native Windows app store akin to Apple’s recently announced Mac app store. Amongst other improvements, Microsoft is purportedly working on improving power efficiency and computer wake times. If you don’t believe in the Mayan calendar, 2012 should be an interesting year for Microsoft. What features are you guys pining to see in Windows 8? More →
Microsoft has allegedly sent out a notice to former employees (those who were recently laid off) to come back so they can pour a little bit of salt in their wounds. Apparently, human resources in Redmond made a little oopsie and overpaid severance for some ex-workers. According to the notice, the folks in question have two weeks to send a check or money order back to Microsoft to cover the overage. The error may have also caused underpayment of severance for other former employees. This isn’t shaping up so well for Microsoft and for those who are being forced to send in payments to correct an HR error. Imagine receiving news of your impending layoff and then being sent packing with your check, only to receive a notice later that effectively reads, “Our bad. Send some of that money back, please.” No official word from Microsoft as to when the error occurred and why.