The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: February 2 -- February 8

The biggest news of the week has to be the appointment of Satya Nadella as CEO at Microsoft, which brought to an end weeks of speculation and rumor. Bill Gates also stepped down as chairman. A leaked version of Windows 8.1 Update 1 appeared online giving us all a sneak peek of what we can expect to see in the upcoming release -- including context menus on the Start screen, a new enterprise mode in Internet Explorer, and different ways of working with modern apps. Ahead of this big release, it was Windows XP that was showing growth rather than Microsoft's latest operating system.

In other Microsoft news, Xbox One's first big update was revealed to be coming up on 11 February. Sony announced that it was selling its VAIO business to enable it to focus its attention on mobile devices. Business and individuals who rely on 37signals' products found that the company was not only changing its name, but also dropping all of its services apart from Basecamp. There was another blow for Bitcoin as the online currency was effectively banned in Russia.

It was another big week for security news as eBay and PayPal came under attack from the Syrian Electronic Army. HP released a report into enterprise security threats, showing that applications are often incredibly insecure. Orange customers in France discovered that their personal data had been stolen from the company's website, and Google and various other web-based companies released additional information about government data requests that had been received, although there was still very little given away. Twitter took a stand, saying that the new rules on transparency just are not enough.

A new service called Forgotify launched, helping music fans to discover new tracks that had never been listened to by anyone on Spotify. If videos are more your thing than audio, I showed you how to enabled the center-aligned version of YouTube with a quick cookie hack. As news of the UK launch of Google's Chromecast crept out, developers were finally able to get their hands on the Chromecast SDK which should lead to an increase in the number of apps available -- but none that are porn-related. Google also released the red Nexus 5 into the wild.

Google announced Chromebox for Meetings, making it easier for companies to hold video conference calls. Super Bowl Sunday was part of a big weekend for sports fans, and many big companies took it as an opportunity to show off their products and services with big-budget commercials. Among them was Microsoft's offering which showed how technology has empowered people. Facebook celebrated its tenth birthday, and Google started the process of trying to improve user trust by vetting  YouTube views to weed out artificially inflated figures.

That's it for this week!

Image Credit: vinz89 / Shutterstock


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