Microsoft (MSFT) is rumored to be switching to an annual release for its operating system starting with “Windows Blue” in mid-2013. According to a PCBeta forum user who goes by the pseudonym “maxy” and has been unofficially identified as a Microsoft official, “Windows Blue” or “Windows 9 Dev” as some call it, will get customization options in the form of Windows Phone 8’s resizable app tiles. Microsoft will also reportedly still keep the legacy “desktop view” around, but remove the gloss on elements including the taskbar, “flattening” it to mesh better with the Metro UI. Maxy also says a new kernel (6.3) will be used, which should give the entire OS more polish. It’s still too early to deem whether the rumor is legitimate or not, but refining Windows 8 with small nips and tucks while overhauling the underlying framework does sound highly plausible.
In yet another move that shows it wants to be more like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) will reportedly move towards yearly Windows release according to sources from The Verge and ZDNet. Microsoft’s next Windows update codenamed “Windows Blue” will supposedly launch in mid-2013 and will “include UI changes and alterations to the entire platform.” Where things get interesting is pricing, with The Verge’s report suggesting Windows Blue will be released at “a low cost or even free to ensure users upgrade.” Of course, there will reportedly be a caveat: a genuine copy of Windows will be required to in order to upgrade from Windows 8.
Microsoft (MSFT) announced on Monday evening that Steven Sinofsky, president of its Windows and Windows Live division, will be leaving the company. The executive’s departure comes only weeks after Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet. The decision to leave the company is said to be mutual, however AllThingsD reported that Sinofsky left due to growing tensions with other Microsoft executives. Sinofsky took control of the Windows unit after the launch of Windows Vista and led development on Windows 7 and Windows 8, both of which received praise from consumers. Julie Larson-Green will now head the Windows hardware and software division, while Tami Reller, the company’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, will be responsible for the business end of Windows. All changes are effective immediately and Microsoft’s press release follows below. More →
Traditional PC shipments are set to decline in 2012 for the first time in over a decade while sales of mobile computing devices such as smartphones and tablets continue to increase and cannibalize PC sales. Even so, there are expected to be 1.5 billion devices running Windows by the end of the year, compared to 608 million using Android. The latest numbers from Gartner Research paint an interesting picture, however, suggesting that Google’s (GOOG) operating system will soon be on more computing devices than Microsoft’s (MSFT) according to Reuters. At the end of 2016, the total number of computers, smartphones and tablets running Android is estimated to reach 2.3 billion units, compared to 2.28 billion Windows devices. While Microsoft’s operating system has dominated the market for the last two decades, the company has struggled recently in the growing mobile space.
Fingerprint-reading software that comes pre-installed on laptops sold by Dell (DELL), Sony (SNE) and at least 14 other manufacturers has been independently confirmed to contain serious vulnerabilities. It has been discovered that hackers with physical control of select PCs can potentially access Windows account passwords. The vulnerability is found within multiple versions of fingerprint-reading software in the UPEK Protector Suite, which is marketed as a secure means of logging into Windows computers. More →
Regulators in Europe are reportedly set to file an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft (MSFT) related to the company’s failure to comply with a three-year-old ruling ordering it to offer users a choice of Web browsers on Windows PCs. An investigation into Microsoft’s breach of the order was opened this past July, and the company had previously acknowledged the violation last year. “The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company’s breach of an agreement. We are working on this,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Thursday. “It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognized its breach of the agreement.” Reuters reports that if the Redmond, Washington-based company is found guilty, it could face a fine of up to 10% of its global turnover. According to the report, Microsoft has already been fined more than $1.3 billion by European regulators over the past 10 years. More →
We are losing the war against cybercriminals, according to security firm McAfee. The company revealed in its quarterly “Threats Report” stating that the frequency of malware attacks is now growing at the fastest pace in four years. McAfee researchers found more than 8 million new kinds of malware in the second quarter, a 23% increase from the first quarter, and claim there are now more than 90 million unique strands of malware in circulation, CNNMoney reported. While traditional Windows PCs are still the most targeted by cybercriminals, attacks targeting OS X computers and mobile devices are on the rise. More →
According to the latest monthly totals from web metrics firm Net Applications, global usage of Apple’s (AAPL) Mac OS X platform overtook that of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Vista in the month of August. The Cupertino-based company’s operating system accounted for 7.13% of worldwide usage while Vista fell to 6.15%. The latest version of OS X, known as Mountain Lion, has seen extremely fast adoption and already has a worldwide usage share of 1.34%. In the same month, Windows 7 finally surpassed Windows XP to become the most popular operating system in the world. The firm also found that Apple’s iPad and iPhone accounted for 3.37% and 2.42% of Web traffic respectively, while the Android operating system made up only 1.71% of traffic. More →
A vulnerability in the latest Java 7 runtime has been discovered that can be exploited and used for malicious attacks, Computer World reported. While all the reported exploits thus far have targeted Windows PCs, according to Errata Security CTO David Maynor, both Mac and Linux computers are just as vulnerable to attacks. “This exploit works on OS X if you are running the 1.7 JRE [Java Runtime Environment],” said Maynor, who was able to exploit the vulnerability in both Firefox 14 and Safari 6 on OS X 10.8. The exploit is considered “super dangerous” and could compromise a computer simply by browsing a malicious or hacked website.Computer World suggests that users disable Java until Oracle (ORCL) releases a patch to address the problem. More →
Microsoft’s (MSFT) 10-year old operating system, Windows XP, is still the most popular platform in the world but Windows 7 isn’t far behind. According to data from Web analytics firm Net Applications, Windows XP captured a 42.86% share of the market in the month of July, compared to Windows 7’s 42.21%. Microsoft’s latest operating system has seen tremendous growth over the past year, though; in July 2011, Windows 7 held a mere 29.6% share of traffic while Windows XP had more than 52%. Windows XP was launched in 2001 and has had far more success with many businesses and consumers than any of other operating systems. Microsoft is planning to cut off support for XP by April 2014, however, forcing users to upgrade or be left in the dark. As a whole, Windows accounted for 92% of all traffic on Net Applications’s network in July, while Apple’s (AAPL) Mac OS X captured 7%, an increase from less than 6% in July 2011. More →
Windows and Mac users worried about not being able to play Rovio’s new hit iOS and Android game Amazing Alex can rest easy: Rovio has not forsaken you. Per The Verge, Rovio’s newest game will be available on Windows PCs, Windows Phone devices and Mac OS computers in the near future. The company’s official Twitter feed says that the Windows and Mac versions of the game “are to come later, post launch,” although there is currently no timeline for when the new versions of the game will be released. Rovio launched Amazing Alex for iOS and Android devices earlier this week and it quickly became the iOS App Store’s top paid app. More →
Shipments of Apple computers appear to have outgrown Windows PC shipments for the 25th consecutive quarter in Q2 2012, reports Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt. Following the release of Gartner’s second-quarter PC market estimates, Fortune has published the results of a survey that polled 61 different analysts in search of a consensus. The results are in: Wall Street analysts see Apple having shipped 4.41 million Macs last quarter, and independent analysts put the figure at 4.49 million. In either case, Apple, which shipped 3.95 million Macs in the second calendar quarter last year, would have enjoyed growth that handily tops the decline the global Windows PC market saw in the June quarter. Of course, it’s comparatively easy to grow when you have nowhere to go but up — as of the end of June, Net Applications estimates Microsoft’s share of the desktop operating system market to be 92.23% compared to just 6.72% for the Mac platform. More →
For people who want super-thin computers and who don’t feel like paying more than $2,000 for a Retina MacBook Pro, ultrabooks are a blessing. And according to the NPD Group, ultrabooks are helping to keep the U.S. notebook market afloat as they “are off to a fast start capturing nearly 11 percent of all $700+ Windows notebooks sales at U.S. retail through the first five months of 2012.” What’s more, ultrabooks’ share of Windows notebooks costing at least $700 has steadily climbed month by month this year, going from just over 6% in January to more than 15% in May. NPD says strong ultrabook sales are welcome news for the Windows notebook industry, which has seen overall sales of laptops costing $700 or more fall 3% through the first five months of 2012. Full press release after the jump. More →