Microsoft is a company in a constant state of evolution, and today this is perfectly demonstrated by a huge shakeup at the top. Satya Nadella wrote to employees to explain a number of changes to the Senior Leadership Team -- including the departure of Stephen Elop.
The former Nokia CEO and Nadella "agreed that now is the right time for him to retire from Microsoft". A question that can be heard echoing through the company is "did he jump, or was he pushed?" Mark Penn is also leaving the company to form a private equity fund. The reorganization additionally sees the company dividing into three distinct teams to "deliver better products and services our customers love at a more rapid pace".
The promise of surface computing for businesses seems to have been around for ages, remember all those cool videos of interactive coffee tables and screens from around three years ago? Yet so far there hasn't been a great deal of practical application.
That could be about to change as Microsoft makes its Surface Hub available for businesses to order in 24 markets -- including Australia, North America, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK -- from July 1.
While Android is the clear leader in the mobile market, in the enterprise space arch-rival iOS is the platform that actually comes out on top. Apple's iPhones and iPads make up 72 percent of all mobile device activations, while handsets running the green droid operating system have to make do with just 26 percent.
Unsurprisingly, it is iPhone 6 which sustains Apple's enterprise dominance, coming out as the most-popular handset in the enterprise thanks to it making up 26 percent of all activations between January and March. Apple's flagship is followed by Samsung's Galaxy S5. Together, the two leading vendors offer 28 out of the 30 most-popular devices in the enterprise.
Believe it or not, I loved Windows RT; hell, I still do. My Surface 2 still gets a good amount of use for gaming and web surfing. Unfortunately, the limited nature of the operating system (a positive from a security standpoint) was a turn-off to consumers, and rightfully so; Windows that can't run legacy programs? Doomed from the start.
While Microsoft has promised to deliver some Windows 10 functionality to Windows RT, the full OS will not be delivered. In other words, for the most part, RT-based machines are obsolete. If you pulled a boner and bought one, I feel your pain; however, Microsoft will pay you cash for that mistake as long as you put it towards the all-new Surface 3 (running real Windows).
Microsoft has confirmed that it is buying "advanced digital pen technology" from stylus manufacturer N-Trig. The company is behind the Surface pen and the acquisition sees Microsoft bringing more of its hardware production in-house.
The acquisition follows on from rumors that surfaced earlier in the year, and Microsoft has already been working closely with the company for several years now.
You've probably heard that size matters, and Microsoft agrees. If you're carrying about a mobile device that measures 10.1 inches or less, the chances are you're not using a "professional" device -- at least this is what Microsoft believes.
10.1 inches, 256.54 millimetres, 25.654 centimetres; this is the new dividing line between what is classed as a personal device, and which is professional. This is interesting to know, but what does it actually mean? For starters, if you fall into the "personal" category, you're entitled to a free copy of Office.
MWC 2015 has seen all manner of exciting smartphones, tablets, wearables and other goodies, but the event is not solely about brand new products. It's also a chance to look back on the past year and reflect on the highlights. Today Microsoft and Apple were among the companies picking up gongs for their products.
Both were to be found in the prestigious Best Mobile Handsets and Devices section. Apple's iPhone 6 shared the best smartphone award with the LG G3, and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 picked up the prize for best mobile tablet. Plenty of other awards were handed out in recognition of innovative technology products.
The Surface Pro 3 is still one of the the best computers you can buy. Sure, there are more powerful and less expensive machines, but the overall Surface experience is unique and versatile. It can be a tablet, laptop, or desktop, while the included pen offers even more added value.
The problem for many, however, is the price. Yes, you can get a core i3 Surface Pro 3 for $799, but once you add in the keyboard attachment -- which is technically optional, but realistically necessary -- you are approaching the $1,000 mark. With that said, it is not overpriced; the price is quite reasonable for what you get, especially when the cost is averaged over the life of ownership. If you want to get one at a discount, today is your lucky day -- sort of. If you have a previous generation Surface -- both ARM and x86_64 -- you can trade it in towards a Surface Pro 3. Believe it or not, you can earn up to $650! However, there is a catch and you shouldn't do it.
If you've dropped a few hundred dollars on a Surface Pro -- or even if you're one of the crazy few to have put your faith in Windows RT -- you want to protect your investment. One of the delights of the Surface Pro is that it is pleasingly svelte, even with the keyboard cover connected. So while you'll undoubtedly want to keep your Surface safe and secure, you probably don’t want to wrap it in armor casing that triples its size and weight.
Filling the gap in the market between full-blown laptop case and simple slip cases comes the Inateck Surface Pro 3 felt sleeve. Described variously as a Surface Case Cover, Laptop Bag, Felt Sleeve, Surface Pro 3 Sleeve Case Protection, and a Surface Pro 3 Sleeve, the felt case provides a surprisingly protective home for your tablet, and packs a few pleasing extras.
We're gradually moving towards the official release of Windows 10, but in the meantime we have the Technical Preview to work with -- Build 9926 specifically. As we're only at the preview stage, it is to be expected that there will be a few issues here and there.
The good news is that Microsoft is working on fixing these problems, not just for the eventual RTM release of Windows 10, but also the preview builds. Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 owners complained about problems with stability when watching videos, and this has been addressed with a driver update.
For too long it was the metaphorical unwanted litter of kittens tied in a sack just waiting for someone to ditch it in the river. Windows RT is dead, having enjoyed a cancer-ridden 'life' for longer than many people expected. Microsoft announced that it is no longer going to manufacture Surface devices, all but signing the death warrant for Windows RT.
Hear that sound? No? That's the sound of everyone caring about it. To be fair, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Windows RT was always the sickly twin sibling of Windows 8 and now Microsoft has done the decent thing. It might not quite have delivered the lethal shot to the brain yet, but the gun has been cocked. And not before time.
Windows 10-powered Surface Hub brings interactive whiteboards kicking and screaming into the 21st century
Surface got off to something of a stuttering start, but Microsoft's sort-of-tablet/sort-of-laptop has gained quite a following as it hit the third generation. With the launch of Windows 10 on the cards, the company is now thinking about not just software, but also new hardware formats. We've seen HoloLens, but the device that could transform both work and education is the Surface Hub.
Announced as an 84-inch Surface, it would be easy to dismiss this as a headline-grabbing gimmick, but it's more than that. Much more than that. It's a tool for the office, a tool for enterprise, and a tool for schools and colleges. This is Microsoft showing how Windows 10 can be used for collaborative work, bringing the interactive whiteboard kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Last year, I was visiting Jacksonville, FL -- an up-and-coming city -- and needed lunch. Rather than being littered with fast food restaurants, food trucks were all the rage there. Now, these are not "roach coaches", as we call them in New York, but high-end gourmet offerings that just happen to be served from a truck. When it came time to pay, I panicked; I did not have cash! Luckily, the owner told me they take credit cards. I swiped my card on an iPad, signed on-screen with my finger, and had the receipt sent to me by SMS text message. Very cool.
While an iPad may meet the needs of a food truck, many businesses will have greater needs. You see, a computer like the Surface Pro 3 has a true desktop operating system -- the venerable Windows -- and can run the best-in-class full version of Microsoft Office. A business-owner would be smart to trust their company to a Windows machine. Well today, Microsoft and PayPal announce a partnership to bring PayPal Here to both the Surface and Lumia devices using software and a credit card reader. Yes, even Microsoft's laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 3, will be a super-cool point-of-sale terminal!
If you're thinking of starting afresh with your Surface or Surface Pro in the New Year, Microsoft just made your life a little easier. The company has just released a series of recovery images for Surface devices that can be downloaded and used to restore the Windows tablet to the state it was in when you first bought it.
As this restore feature is something that's built in by default, you might be wondering what the value of these recovery images is. Well, there's always the possibility that your existing recovery image is corrupt, or you may even have freed up some space by wiping it out. Now you can get it back.
Everybody deserves the opportunity to compete and feel good about themselves. The Special Olympics is a great example of this; people with intellectual disabilities compete against each other in sports to build confidence, and most importantly, have fun. The non-profit organization is essential for many people the world over.
Today, Microsoft announces that it is partnering with the organization to modernize its technology with a big focus on the cloud. The Special Olympics will be getting all kinds of cool stuff, like Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.