The ongoing government shutdown could leave desktop and server systems in many federal agencies vulnerable to new threats disclosed Tuesday by Microsoft in its latest round of security updates.
Many federal agencies are operating with skeletal IT staff. All IT systems deemed non-essential have been shut down, making the installation of Microsoft's latest patches, especially on desktop and notebook systems, very difficult for federal agencies, say security analysts.
"The October Windows critical vulnerabilities go across PC and server operating systems," said John Pescatore, director of emerging technologies at the SANS Institute.
"While most of the government security staff was deemed essential, it is likely that many of the employee PCs and laptops were turned off, so it will be hard to patch them," Pescatore noted. So, when the standoff is over and government workers return, a lot of their PCs could be missing critical patches. Read more...
Microsoft has asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a user-selectable option on its Android handsets, according to a recent report.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to the omniscient "people familiar", who reckon Redmond was prepared to sacrifice its licence fee if HTC would include the OS as an option on its flagship hardware.
Microsoft is struggling to match the breadth of Google's offering and needs to work hard to convince the world that Windows Phone isn't just a Nokia thing.
HTC launched its last Windows Phone in June, and is expected to have another Redmond-mobe-OS-running handset on the shelves later this year, but it’s the Android-based HTC One which remains HTC's flagship. It's also the kind of kit which Microsoft execs would like to see running Windows Phone. Read more...
Windows 8 powered almost 10% of all devices running Microsoft's OSes last month, even as its uptake pace slowed, according to analytics company Net Applications today.
Meanwhile, Windows XP's decline continued as customers, prodded by the upcoming April 2014 support deadline, again ditched the veteran operating system in droves.
Windows 8's user share of all computing devices running Windows, a tally that includes Windows 8.1, the update slated to ship in two weeks, jumped to 9.8% in September, Net Applications said. The 1.4-point gain was down from the record one-month increase set in August, but nearly double the OS's 12-month average.
The August-September surge of Windows 8 may have been driven by sharp back-to-school sales of touch-based notebooks, which accounted for a quarter of all sales from June 30 through Sept. 7, the NPD Group said last week. Read more...
Current Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally has moved into second place behind former Nokia chief Stephen Elop in the betting pool as the next Microsoft CEO, according to an Irish bookmaker.
As of Monday, PaddyPower had Elop at odds of 4-to-11 in a listing of potential CEO replacements for outgoing chief Steve Ballmer, meaning someone would have to bet $110 for the chance to take away $40 in profit.
Mulally, whose name resurfaced last week as a serious candidate for the job, was at 3-to-1 odds, good enough for second on PaddyPower's chart: Wagering $100 on Mulally would, if he were named chief executive, return a profit of $300.
Kara Swisher of the AllThingsD blog, an offshoot of the Wall Street Journal, said on Friday that "sources close to the situation" reported Mulally, 68, had gone to the front of the line of potential CEOs.
Mulally has been the president and CEO of Ford Motor for seven years, and had been widely credited with guiding the automobile maker through the 2008-2009 industry crisis when the other two of the Big Three -- General Motors and Chrysler -- went bankrupt and required government bailouts to survive. Read more...
HP is offering an Autonomy-powered escape route for wannabe migrants from the dead-end of Windows XP.
Microsoft will no longer support for XP, and withhold security updates for the ageing operating system, from next April. Business users will need to upgrade their PCs to run a more modern version of Windows; companies face having to migrate hundreds if not thousands of staff. Read more...
Microsoft will release Windows 8.1, a free update for Windows 8, on 18 October. The plan had been for no pre-release code until then, but Microsoft has back-tracked.
The release to manufacturing (RTM) code is now available early to developers and IT professionals via Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet subscription sites.
There are indications, though, the “release” build is not quite what will be released.
Company vice president Stephen "Guggs" Guggenheimer said: “The primary purpose of Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 RC availability is for testing as our engineering teams continue to refine and update the product and tools in preparation for Windows 8.1 general availability on October 18.” Read more...
With Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s mobile business for $7.1bn, the Redmond software giant has finally become a phone and device maker.
The deal gives Microsoft Nokia’s global handset engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution business; the family of Windows-Phone-powered Lumia smartphones; a war chest of 8,500 Lumia and Asha phone patents while licensing 30,000 utility patents; and a standing army of 32,000 Nokia employees. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
Interestingly, it's not Microsoft’s biggest purchase: it’s second to the $8.2bn purchase of loss-making internet chat biz Skype in 2011.
The Nokia acquisition also potentially gives Microsoft its next chief executive officer: Nokia boss Stephen Elop who was once a senior suit in Redmond.
Announcing the deal on Monday night, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called it a “bold step into the future”. Nokia has talent in hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, sales, marketing and distribution, Ballmer told his employees. Read more...
Microsoft wants to build a better mobile phone through its acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business. One way it hopes to do that? By improving its maps applications to better compete against Google's.
"An effective alternative to Google" and "more than one digital map of the world" are needed, Microsoft said in a presentation on the strategic rationale for the deal, which was posted to the company's website.
Microsoft will acquire several new mapping and location services as part of its acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services business, announced Monday.
Chief among them are Nokia's Here Drive, Here Maps and Here Transit. All three were designed to help people travel more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions in the process. Read more...
Steve Ballmer's successor will have to do plenty to revitalize Microsoft. Here's what should be at the top of his list: Stopping the company's unhealthy reliance on Windows as the centerpiece of almost everything it does.
Microsoft has long relied on Windows to bully competitors and push its way into new markets. It was a technique perfected by Bill Gates, and helped the company gain a dominant browser share, as well as put an end to the dominance of competing productivity software including WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Harvard Graphics. Steve Ballmer as CEO simply continued on the path set by Bill Gates. But it's been years since the strategy worked. By relying on it, Microsoft has fallen far behind in Internet search and mobile computing.
That's why Microsoft needs to finally end its reliance on Windows. And with a new CEO coming onboard, now is the perfect time to do that.
The first thing a new CEO should do is release versions of Office for Android tablets and the iPad as quickly as possible. Microsoft is holding out on doing that because it hopes that if Windows tablets can run Office but its competitors can't, that will give Microsoft an edge in tablets. Read more...
Adding insult to injury after Wall Street boosted Microsoft's stock price when CEO Steve Ballmer announced he would retire, now a U.K. bookmaker is taking bets on Ballmer's replacement.
Ladbrokes, a 127-year-old bookmaking conglomerate that runs nearly 3,000 betting shops in the U.K., Ireland, Belgium and Spain, has opened wagers on Microsoft's next CEO with a list of 26 candidates that include current and former Microsoft executives as well as people from rivals such as Apple and Facebook.
"There is always interest in high-profile CEO vacancies and we feel that offering the odds gives our view of the likelihood of the chances various contenders have," said Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes in an email.
Current Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop was the favorite, at odds of 5 to 1. Betting $100 with Ladbrokes on Elop to get the CEO chair would return a profit of $500 if he was, in fact, named to the top spot.
Elop, 49, worked for Microsoft two years, running the group responsible for Office after another former executive, Steven Sinofsky, left that position to head up Windows development. Elop has been the CEO at Nokia since September 2010. Read more...
Can the string of summer bad news for Microsoft get any worse? Yes it can. New research shows that Windows 8 market share has essentially stalled. What can possibly go wrong next?
The most recent report from Net Applications shows that in July, Windows 8 was running on 5.9% of all Windows machines, up only three tenths of a percent compared to June, reports Computerworld. That's only about a third of June's growth, and half of the six-tenths of a point monthly growth rate from November, 2012 through July, 2013. It's also the lowest growth rate in that time period. In essence, growth stalled.
That's very bad news for what is, after all, a relatively new operating system, which should be growing quickly. Windows 8 was broadly released less than 10 months ago, at the end of October. Part of the problem is that PC shipments have been falling -- an estimated 11%, according to IDC. But one of the reasons shipments have been falling is that people don't appear to want Windows 8. Read more...
Microsoft's open source subsidiary is partnering with Java virtual machine technology vendor Azul Systems to deliver a build of OpenJDK, the open source version of Java, that will run on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
The technology will be delivered by the end of the year, with the OpenJDK version to run on Windows Server on top of Azure, said Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of open source communities at Microsoft Open Technologies, which is a business unit of Microsoft A preview is expected before the final release. "The point is making sure that Windows Azure customers can use OpenJDK on our platform in a way that is fully supported and fully backed by Microsoft." Read more...
Microsoft today launched Outlook Web App (OWA) for iOS, a "native" app that reprises -- and amplifies -- the in-browser OWA corporate workers have long used on devices that don't support the full-fledged Outlook client.
The new app, which comes in iPhone and iPad flavors, offers the same functionality as the browser-based OWA, letting users access email, calendars, contacts and other inbox data housed on a company's Exchange server.
But because the apps are iOS-native -- in other words, they're written specifically for Apple's mobile OS, not simply a Web app in disguise -- they can tap the hardware, adding features like gesture support and voice control.
The native app approach also means it can be used when offline, unlike the in-browser OWA which requires an Internet connection. Read more...
Microsoft has updated the mobile version of its OneNote note-taking application for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, creating a consistent look for notes across all computers, smartphones, and tablets in which they're viewed.
This means that OneNote notes will retain all text formatting, layout, tables and other design elements that they were created with, regardless of which device they're rendered on, according to Microsoft.
"Content [created] on one device will render the same on another," a spokeswoman for Microsoft said via email. Read more...
Microsoft is caught in the ultimate good news/bad news syndrome: Windows 8.1 will likely fix Windows 8's woes, but PC sales will still take a nose dive. So says two recent Gartner reports, and they may well be right.
Last week, Gartner issued a report titled "Windows 8.1 Could Become What Windows 8 Should Have Been," which concluded that Windows 8.1 will fix many of the problems with the troubled operating system. The report touted the expected boot-to-the-desktop option and the re-introduction of Start button functions as two key features that will help. Read more...