To drive consumers' interest in Windows 10 from the get-go, Microsoft announced earlier this year that its upcoming operating system will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. This surprising move is expected to have a major impact on the immediate consumer adoption, as well as convince developers to embrace Windows 10 early on.
What is interesting is that, while it is publicly touted as a free upgrade, formally Microsoft is calling it a "marketing and promotional activity". And it certainly seems to fit the bill.
Many people -- let's call them 'haters' -- like to make fun of Microsoft's mobile market share with Windows Phone. True, the platform is a failure in this regard, but many users of the OS like it. Quite frankly, besides the lack of apps, Windows Phone is a rather smart and well-designed operating system.
If you choose to laugh at Microsoft over its mobile presence, feel free, but please know that Microsoft is laughing too; all the way to the bank. What you may not know is, Microsoft makes money from Android handset sales thanks to its patent portfolio. In fact, it also collects money from Chromebooks too. In other words, Microsoft is profiting from Linux, since both operating systems are based on the kernel. Today, Microsoft increases its number of patent licensing agreements, by making a deal with Qisda Corp.
Microsoft has released its Q3 FY2015 (corresponding to Q1 CY2015) financial report, revealing revenue of $21.72 billion, gross margin of $14.56 billion, operating income of $6.59 billion, and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.61. The software giant has beaten analyst expectations, which had placed revenue and the diluted EPS at $21.06 billion and $0.51, respectively. In after-hours trading, shares have risen from $43.34, at closing time, to $44.59.
A strong US dollar had influenced Microsoft's earnings, with the software giant estimating that "on a constant currency basis" it could have revealed stronger results across the board. For reference, in Q3 FY2014, Microsoft posted revenue, gross margin, operating income and diluted EPS of $20.40 billion, $14.42 billion, $6.97 billion and $0.68. As you can see, revenue and gross margin are higher, by 6 percent and 1 percent respectively, while operating income and diluted EPS are down by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Let's take a look at the highlights of the quarter.
Microsoft is continuing its crusade to wean customers off earlier versions of Internet Explorer before the Support Lifecycle changes kick in in January 2016.
The company has announced changes in its April update to Enterprise Mode and Enterprise Site Discovery in IE11 to provide enhanced backwards compatibility for sites designed to run in earlier versions of the browser.
The new Start menu included in the latest build of Windows 10 -- available to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring -- is a marked improvement over previous versions. It’s resizable, and customizable. It’s also, like the build itself, rather buggy. It’s a bit like a fair-weather friend -- sometimes it’s there for me, other times it’s nowhere to be seen. Hopefully the issues with the menu will be sorted shortly.
If you’re running the new build, or planning to, then it’s worth customizing the Start menu to suit your tastes. There’s quite a lot you can do.
Microsoft has dropped the "preview" tag from its free Outlook for Android app, following a host of recent updates and improvements.
The interface has received a colorful revamp, and been redesigned to better follow Android design principles. The app now supports IMAP accounts, as well as Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
I’ve been playing around with the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview that was released yesterday, and I have to say I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.
I have been critical of previous Windows 10 releases, opining that the OS wasn’t going to be what I was hoping for, and calling the previous build, 10049, dull, boring and bland. Fortunately, with Build 10061 Microsoft addresses a lot of my concerns and you can now see the operating system’s true potential. Here’s what I like about the new build.
It's not unknown for technology companies to run bounty programs that reward bug hunters for unearthing problems with software. Discover a security vulnerability and you could be in line for a nice cash bonus. Microsoft is one firm that runs such a program, and today the Microsoft Bounty Program is being expanded -- with a particular focus on Azure and Project Spartan.
Microsoft has already been asking for feedback about Windows 10 Technical Preview, but this is the first time a financial reward has been offered for pointing out security issues with any of its components. The maximum pay-out has been increased to $15,000 USD, so there's more incentive than ever to seek out problems and report them to Microsoft.
Microsoft has launched a question and answer section for Windows Holographic and the HoloLens headset, sent in an email to Windows 10 'Insiders' currently testing the new updates to the operating system.
The FAQ answers ten of the most popular questions on HoloLens, before Microsoft’s annual BUILD conference on April 29th to May 1st. Amongst the answers, Microsoft details that HoloLens will be able to run Windows 10 universal apps.
Back in November we told you about Office 365 Video, although at the time it was only available for First Release customers. The service, if you recall, brings video sharing to the enterprise, allowing customers to manage and post, as well as making it available across all devices -- PC, tablet and phone. Microsoft also claims that it will be automatically optimized for each device.
Now the service is rolling out worldwide, so everyone can begin putting it to use for training videos, company messages and the like. Microsoft's Claire Tutill states that "Video is fast becoming one of the most powerful forms of communication, so this is a very exciting development for Office 365 users".
What do we want? Windows 10! When do we want it? Probably sooner than the development cycle permits! With Windows 10, Microsoft has painted itself to be a benevolent god, ready to bestow gifts from the future on those willing to put up with the 'quirks' of the preview testing process. But the fact that something is free, does not mean that people are not going to complain -- far from it, in fact.
Aside from complaints about the features of Windows 10 itself, one thing that Windows Insiders (an 'exclusive' club has to have a name, after all) cite as a major bugbear is the speed at which new builds are pumped out. Despite the existence of a fast ring, builds are still trickling out painfully slowly. The new 'all-ears' Microsoft listens to its customers. As such the latest email from Gabe Aul promising -- yet again -- that "we're going to send out builds more frequently" comes as little surprise, but is pressure from the Windows 10 fanboys causing Microsoft to rush, and what effect will this have on the final product?
Background monitor Sysmon 3.0 now reports remote thread creation events, perhaps improving the chance of detecting code injection attempts. Process names have been added to process terminate events, and filters are more flexible and easier to use.
Microsoft has been quick on the ball when it comes to supporting other platforms, adding OneNote with an experimental keyboard to Android Wear a few weeks after the launch, and now OneDrive on Apple Watch before the device even launches.
It is part of the new Microsoft goals, to have services on all platforms to keep customers loyal. Microsoft doesn’t have a lot of mobile market share, meaning it needs to focus on iOS and Android in order to keep Office and other services relevant against competition.
Microsoft made it pretty clear: Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones is still only meant for serious technical testers only. Of anything I've learned after one full week using my daily Lumia 925 on the preview release, it's that this OS is far from ready for primetime. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, per se.
I decided to write up some of my thoughts about Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones 10051 before I rolled back my phone to Windows Phone 8.1. Yes, willingly, I spent the last work week using my daily Lumia 925 on preview build 10051, the latest and only second release Microsoft has publicly doled out for the community.
Cloud computing has stepped up the pace of app development, with many businesses coming under pressure to deliver new services fast.