Three weeks ago Microsoft unveiled its new Cybercrime Center. Housed in a unit on the tech giant’s campus in Redmond, Wash. the center was created to tackle a wide range of internet crimes including malware, botnets, intellectual property theft and online child exploitation.
Working with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the FBI, and A10 Networks, Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit has just claimed a major victory, successfully disrupting the Sirefef botnet, also known as ZeroAccess.
Microsoft took a huge gamble with Windows 8, reinventing its operating system for tablets and touch screen PCs. Unfortunately, when it was first released there really weren’t many touch devices for it to run on, and the majority of desktop users (myself included) hated the bolted on full screen Modern UI that replaced the traditional Start menu.
With Windows 8.1, a lot of the complaints aimed at the tiled OS have been addressed. Desktop users can pretty much avoid the Modern UI altogether, and overall 8.1 is a much more polished affair. Despite the improvements and near ubiquity on new hardware, Windows 8/8.1 is still struggling to find an audience. Last month, Windows 7’s growth was four times that of the newer OS. So where does Microsoft go from here? Mary Jo Foley of the All About Microsoft blog reports the answer is "Threshold".
There are several explanations as to why PC sales are so dire. Users have few compelling reasons to upgrade -- existing systems can still run all the latest software, and touch really isn’t the major selling point that manufacturers believe it to be. The rise of the tablet has played a major role in the PC’s demise too, providing casual users with a more flexible alternative.
While tablets have enjoyed rapid growth over the past couple of years, and phenomenal sales numbers will surely be racked up this holiday season, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has sounded a word of caution, lowering its tablet shipment forecasts, and predicting growth to start slowing by as soon as next year.
It seems like we’re forever posting stories about the decline of the PC, and here’s another one. This time, IDC is delivering the bad news, and make no mistake, it is bad news. Catastrophic news in fact, because IDC says worldwide PC shipments are experiencing the "most severe yearly contraction on record".
Shipments were expected to fall by 9.7 percent in 2013, but IDC has revised that estimate to a worse 10.1 percent. Next year the outlook isn't expected to be quite as bad, but things are still going to be very bleak, even in emerging markets, the traditional primary growth area for the PC.
We must be edging towards a new year as Bing has just released a roundup of the top search trends for 2013. It seems a bit weird to push out the results before December has even had a chance to make its presence felt, but clearly Bing wanted to get in there first.
The roundup is the result of billions of searches across 12 countries, and the full results can be explored on bingtrends.com. Bing also has blog posts covering results from the different countries.
November was not a good month for Microsoft’s tiled operating system. While Windows 8.1’s market share grew, Windows 8’s share dropped (to be expected as users upgrade). But the real kicker for Microsoft was Windows 7’s growth which saw the older OS easily besting Windows 8.x’s gains.
I really like Windows 8.1 and when people ask me if they should upgrade to the new operating system I say yes, and reel off a list of reasons. But I feel deep down like I’m championing a presidential candidate who no one is ever going to vote for.
It’s Thanksgiving in the US today (as if you didn’t know) so I’m using that as a feeble excuse to give thanks to Microsoft for some of the best features found in its new operating system. As someone who pretty much detested the turkey that was Windows 8 from the moment I installed it to the moment I updated it, I’m constantly surprised by how much I like the new incarnation.
I appreciate Windows 8.1 is not for everyone, but if you persevere with it for a while, and can let go of the old ways, you’ll find it’s actually a great operating system. Controversially, I’d have to say it’s maybe my favorite OS of all time. Sure, as a desktop user there are some things I hate about it, but the pluses easily outweigh the minuses -- for me anyway. Here are five of the features I like best.
There’s been a lot of talk in the press over the past few days that Microsoft is planning to kill off RT, its ARM version of Windows. Speculation about the future of the tablet OS has been rife for ages. Five months ago I declared, "Stick a fork in it, Windows RT is done" and although the OS is still with us -- thanks mostly to its inclusion in Surface and Surface 2 -- its days look to remain numbered.
The cause of this latest round of death knells for RT is something Julie Larson-Green, executive vice-president of Devices and Studios at Microsoft, said at a UBS seminar in Sausalito, California, last week. When asked about RT, and whether there was a future for it, Larson-Green replied:
If my colleague Mark Wilson’s list of five reasons to choose Surface 2 over iPad Air has you considering purchasing one of Microsoft’s slates, you’d better get your wallet ready.
There are always bargains to be found on Black Friday (and the days surrounding it) but you can never guarantee that the tech you’ve got your eye on will be discounted. The good news for would-be Surface owners is Microsoft has confirmed it will be offering "awesome deals" on its tablet PC.
Bitcoin is rarely out of the news these days. There have been stories about Bitcoin thefts, its use by cybercriminals, the first Bitcoin ATM, and most recently the virtual currency’s value soared to over $900 after the FBI told a US Senate committee hearing that it offers "legitimate financial services".
If you’re a bitcoin miner or collector, and are wondering what to do with your stockpiled virtual currency, you’ll soon be able to add "buy a trip into space" to the list of possibilities.
One of the great British icons, Doctor Who, is celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend -- it’s 50 years since the eccentric Time Lord first took television viewers across space and time in his battered blue police box.
To mark the Doctor’s half a century of adventures, Google has created a special playable homepage doodle which will keep you busy for a while. To begin with it was only available on the New Zealand search page, but has since materialized (with a wheezing sound) everywhere.
One year ago, Apple was awarded a whopping $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung after the South Korean company was found guilty in a US court of copying elements from the iPhone and using them in some of its own handsets. Infringed features included how the devices displayed text and icons, the bounce-back response found in iOS, and the tap-to-zoom, one-finger-to-scroll, two-to-pinch, and zoom navigation features. The award was so high because the jury found that Samsung had willfully stolen design elements from Apple.
Earlier this year the US District Judge who presided over the trial, Lucy Koh, upheld close to $640 million of the damages that Apple had been awarded, but said that calculations made by the original jury had errors in it and ordered a retrial for the remaining amount.
Windows 8.1, like its predecessor, is designed to run on a multitude of different devices -- desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and hybrids. When Microsoft first unveiled Windows 8 last year, there weren’t many products which really took advantage of the new Modern UI.
Fast forward to present day, and that’s all changed, with loads of touch screen devices available from all the major manufacturers including ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Nokia, and Samsung.
I like a joke as much as the next person -- maybe more, seeing as I’ve had a couple of humor books published in the UK -- but I prefer my jokes to be funny, rather than pathetic, which is why I’m not laughing at the news that Microsoft is now selling anti-Google clothing and other merchandise.
If it was April 1, and the Scroogled product line -- comprising of a mug, hat, T-shirts, and a hoodie -- had appeared on the web, I would have smiled at the silliness of it. Maybe even applauded the gag. But the fact that it’s a real thing, just makes me shrug in an unsurprised fashion at the new low to which the software giant has sunk.
I use, and love Windows 8.1. Although I was never a huge fan of Windows 8, the changes in the upgraded OS have won me over and I could never imagine going back to an older version of Windows. For that reason, tablets like Surface really appeal to me, but I can’t see myself replacing my iPad with Microsoft’s slate any time soon.
The 4th gen iPad I own is a constant companion that I use for everything -- work, entertainment, social networking, and so on. There are some areas where I know using a Surface would be better (by "some areas" I really just mean "work"), but when I do upgrade, I’ll be going for an iPad Air (sorry Microsoft). This is why: