One of the most surprising announcements at the Microsoft Build Developers Conference earlier this month was the impending return of the Start menu. Although Microsoft attempted to eliminate the Start menu altogether in Windows 8, users never stopped clamoring for it, so the company finally caved and began development on a Live Tile upgrade for the feature. The conference ended without any release information, but according to The Verge, sources close to Microsoft say that the Start menu will be added back to Windows 8.1 in an update coming this August. More →
Some longtime Windows XP users are having a hard time letting go of the operating system that has served them so well over the years, but The Register has discovered a way to keep Windows XP alive even if you’ve upgraded to Windows 8 or higher. More →
The most baffling omission from Windows 8 is undoubtedly the Start menu. Microsoft went all-in with its Metro interface, leaving Start behind, but the company has heard the pleas of developers and users alike, and announced on Wednesday that the Start menu will be returning to Windows 8 in a future update. From the short glimpse we got, it looks like Microsoft will be integrating Live Tiles into the menu as well. There is currently no timetable for the update, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for any news on the matter.
Ever since Windows 8 was released in October 2012, Microsoft has undergone a massive internal reorganization. Shortly after Windows 8 was released, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky left the company. Then in mid–2013, former CEO Steve Ballmer announced his “One Microsoft” strategy that left many of Sinofsky’s close colleagues with unclear roles. Soon after this strategy was announced, Ballmer announced that he would be retiring, and after a long search process, Satya Nadella was promoted to CEO in February. More →
It’s crunch time for Microsoft as support for Windows XP will finally wind down for good on April 8th. In order to convince the stragglers to convert to its latest operating system, Microsoft is offering $100 of instant savings upon the purchase of select Windows 8 PCs over $599 when upgrading from Windows XP. If you’re in the market for a cheap netbook or an affordable desktop, you’re probably out of luck, but anyone with a slightly larger budget that wants to upgrade to Windows 8 should take this opportunity to shop around.
There is a certain breed of tech fanboy out there who views technology products much the way a snooty art student sees the works of famous avant-garde painters: That is, a tech product must be superior if it has been rejected by the masses of consumers who are too stupid to appreciate its true brilliance. Nowhere has this phenomenon been more apparent than with diehard fans of Windows 8, Microsoft’s attempt at fusing a desktop operating system with a touch-centric OS that has been so polarizing that Microsoft employees have reportedly started calling it “the new Vista.” More →
Microsoft and Apple have been exchanging blows in TV commercials for years. In recent history, Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ad campaign was the height of the advertising rivalry, but the Mac maker has since backed off as its focus shifted to its more recent mobile devices. Microsoft isn’t done throwing friendly jabs toward its longtime rival, however, and its latest ad suggests that Apple’s Mac computer lineup should be more like… Windows 8. More →
Microsoft didn’t make a lot of waves at Mobile World Congress this week but TechCrunch has spotted a little-reported detail from its MWC presentation that shows how Microsoft’s Windows Store has made some very strong gains over just the past six months. At MWC this week Microsoft said that Windows Store is now serving 4 million app downloads a day, which TechCrunch estimates is a 135% increase from the 1.7 million daily downloads it averaged this past October. This is extremely impressive growth, especially when you consider that Apple’s App Store last year was averaging daily download volumes in the 5.5 million to 6 million range. If Windows Store’s numbers keep growing like they have been then Microsoft should have much less trouble getting app developers to sign onto its platforms going forward.
Microsoft knows that Windows 8 has been very polarizing to much of its user base but it feels that it had no choice but to try to implement some kind of touch-centric OS in a world where smartphones and tablets are eating into PC sales. Neowin has spotted some comments made by Microsoft UX designer Jacob Miller, who recently took to Reddit to explain why Microsoft made a lot of the design choices it did with Windows 8, including the original decision to make the Metro UI the default boot-up screen. What emerges is a portrait of a company trying its best to please two different audiences by trying to make two completely different operating systems and stapling them together. More →
Although Windows 8 license sales appeared to be keeping pace with Windows 7 within the same time frame for the first several months, updates from Microsoft became less frequent as time passed. As Windows 8 approaches a year and a half on the market, The Verge reports that Microsoft has taken the stage at a Goldman Sachs technology conference to announce that sales have finally reached 200 million. To put that number into perspective, Windows 7 had reached 240 million license sales in a single year, and that number has been climbing by the hundreds of millions every year since. From what we’ve seen of Windows 8.1 Update 1, Microsoft is moving in the right direction, but tweaks and bug fixes won’t be able to right this train alone.
A recent report suggested that Microsoft is seriously considering adding support for Android apps to both the Windows and Windows Phone platforms. As it turns out, however, Microsoft might be able to solve its app problem without turning to Google’s dominant mobile platform for help. More →
Longtime Windows enthusiast Paul Thurrott has been holding back no punches lately when it comes to criticizing Microsoft over Windows 8. And although he thinks that Windows 8.1 delivered some much-needed improvements to Microsoft’s touch-centric operating system, he now believes the company has taken a step back based on what he’s seen of the latest Windows 8.1 update that’s scheduled to release in the near future. More →
The once-indomitable Windows empire is in a phase of slow decline. While Windows still is far and away the world’s leading desktop software, the growth within the computing industry has shifted over to smartphones and tablets that run on iOS and Android. However, just because Windows is no longer the only major computing platform doesn’t mean that Microsoft is in trouble. The company is still insanely profitable and can practically print money from its Office and Windows Server sales, which means that it can easily afford to shrug off $900 million write downs for unsold Surface RT inventory. More →