The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week -- December 1 - 7

The tech world seems to be slowling down slightly in the run up to Christmas, but there have still been a lot of stories over the past seven days. There are sure to be a whole new raft of sales to look forward to both before and after Christmas, but if the Thanksgiving sales are anything to go by they may not offer as good a deal as first appearances would have you believe. Whether you bag a bargain or not, it looks as though tech presents are going to be as popular as ever this year -- and if you buy a Windows device, you'll get a free gift card.

After Microsoft tried comparing the Surface to the iPad Air, Amazon decided to follow suit  -- guess which was more popular! Microsoft kept its fire trained on Google, taking a swipe at the Chromebook. Tablet makers may be pushing their product in the run up to Christmas, but PC shipments have suffered the largest decline ever. New computers will have an updated USB connection in the near future. USB type C brings to an end a problem that has plagued anyone who has ever plugged in a USB cable -- this generation can be plugged in either way up!

Microsoft was probably feeling a little upset that Windows 8 and 8.1 are still faring quite poorly in terms of usage. Despite the fact that it is now fairly old, Windows 7 is still growing at a faster rate than its successors. For anyone unhappy with Windows 8.1, there is now Threshold to look forward to. There was better news on the browser front as Internet Explorer managed to retain well over half of the market. The Office 365 Student Advantage program went live meaning that thousands of educational institutions will be able to offer the suite to their students. Microsoft looks set to earn itself a place in more people's good book by promising to do more to protect user data from government spying by implementing new encryption methods and more.

We're approaching the end of the year, so expect to see lots of 'best of' lists and reflections of the past twelve months in the next three weeks or so. In this vein, Bing revealed the most popular search terms from the year -- Beyoncé Knowles was the most searched for person, while Big Bang Theory bagged the title of most searched for TV show.

Dell announced its new 4k monitors--  Brian has one, so expect to see a review soon! On the subject of reviews, I pondered the worthlessness of banning bad reviews. Brian was less than impressed with 'irregular activity' on the PlayStation network and decided to return his PS4.

Online, Apple bought Twitter analytics firm Topsy Labs, although there is no news on how it will be used. Speaking of news, Facebook wants to help deliver more news than memes and is updating News Feeds accordingly. If you have invested in a 4k monitor, you'll want some HD content to view, and if you're a PlayOn or PlayLater user, HD is now available for streaming.

In other news, Google updated searching on Android devices, and the sale of HTC's One mini was blocked in the UK after a judge found the device infringed on Nokia patents.  Another legal wrangling saw the FTC charging an app developer with deceiving users after it was revealed that Brightest Flashlight Free collected user location and device ID data.

That's it for this week. Another -- hopefully busier -- seven days coming up!

Image Credit: vinz89 / Shutterstock

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