The Surface Pro, the newest device in the Surface range, has received a firmware update, its third since being released in mid-June, which officially introduces support for Windows 10 S.
The .NET Framework transformed with the release of .NET Core last year. From a Windows-only affair, the framework has gone cross-platform. What's more, Microsoft also made it open-source, adding support for macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
And now it's taking things a step further by rolling out .NET Core 2.0, which comes with some major improvements to make it "easier to use and much more capable as a platform." Let's take a look at what is new.
A federal judge has told Microsoft to stop preventing "talent management algorithm" hiQ Labs scraping data from public LinkedIn profiles. hiQ Labs has been using information gathered from LinkedIn to predict when people are going to leave their jobs -- information which is incredibly valuable to employers.
Microsoft was not happy at the data that hiQ Labs had been scraping from public profiles, and tried to stop it from happening. The company introduced "various blocking techniques" to prevent the startup from accessing the data and secure user privacy, but the ruling ultimately went in favor of hiQ Labs.
The unrest and violence in Charlottesville, VA was absolutely heartbreaking. Never did I think that in 2017 we would have large amounts of White Nationalists and Nazi sympathizers marching in America. It was very scary. To see that on display was bad enough, but when I saw the video of a man driving his car into innocent people -- killing one person and injuring many others -- I was in shock and deeply affected. I have been haunted by the images and videos of that domestic terrorist attack.
I know what you are thinking -- why does this belong on a technology site? Fair point. Today, an email that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent to employees leaked online. Since Nadella is the leader of the company, his words don't just impact the employees internally, they also signal the status of Microsoft's culture and overall leadership. Below are Satya Nadella's words, dated August 14, 2017, as obtained by Mike Murphy of Quartz Media.
When Consumer Reports announced that it was dropping its "recommended" status from Surface devices, Microsoft was quick to defend itself. While the software giant disagreed with the move, saying it doesn't believe the "findings accurately reflect Surface owners' true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation," a leaked internal memo shows high return rates for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.
While it's certainly true that return rates have dropped over time, the information contained in the memo goes some way to explaining the decision taken by Consumer Reports. The memo also shows that Microsoft is ready to communicate with the ratings group and encourage it to "reverse [its] findings." The company is prepared to go on the offensive to defend its reputation.
Two months ago, Microsoft accidentally pushed out a buggy Windows 10 build to Insiders that caused chaos but also revealed something interesting -- the company's plans for a new version of Windows 10 aimed specifically at power users.
The leak is now official as Microsoft announces Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, a high-end version of its new operating system.
Earlier today, Consumer Reports caused a huge controversy by pulling its "recommended" status from all Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets. While I personally swear by the consumer-focused organization for its coverage of vehicles and appliances, I take its computer coverage with a grain of salt. After all, it infamously panned the 2016 MacBook Pro for poor battery life, even going so far as to say Chrome provided longer usage than Safari -- totally wrong, by the way. It turns out Consumer Reports's testing of the MacBook Pro was flawed and it later reversed course, recommending the Apple laptop after all.
With all of that said, I was obviously a bit dubious of its criticism of some Surface machines. In my experience, the Surface hardware is extremely well made and owners are generally satisfied with the computers. That's not to say they are perfect -- quite the contrary. Actually, they have been prone to bugs that were later fixed (mostly) with firmware and driver updates. Despite those issues, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any Surface product. Obviously Microsoft and Panos Panay -- father of Surface -- would share my disagreement with Consumer Reports. To solidify that, Panay has now penned a response titled "We stand behind Surface."
Microsoft has today announced Coco Framework, a means of simplifying the adoption of blockchain protocol technology. The aim is to speed up the adoption of blockchain-based systems in the enterprise, whilst simultaneously increasing privacy.
Coco -- short for Confidential Consortium -- will be available in 2018, and Microsoft will be making the technology open source to help increase uptake. Intel is working with Microsoft as a hardware and software partner, and Coco Framework features Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) to improve transaction speed at scale.
Poor reliability means Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface -- or any other Microsoft laptop or tablet
Influential reviewer Consumer Reports says that it no longer recommends Microsoft Surface tablets and laptops. The consumer group says that poor predicted reliability for the Surface range means that it is pulling its "recommended" tag.
More than this, Consumer Reports goes on to say that it "cannot recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets." Recent studies suggest that a quarter of laptops and tablets from Microsoft will present problems for users within two years of ownership.
Two months ago, Russian security software firm Kaspersky Labs filed antitrust complaints against Microsoft in Europe, alleging that the software giant was favoring its own Windows Defender over third-party anti-virus software in Windows 10.
In response to that lawsuit, Microsoft has made changes to how the forthcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update works with anti-virus software, and an appeased Kaspersky has dropped its complaint.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced it was rolling out a new beta version for its Outlook.com webmail service. This offers a number of improvements for users, including better performance, a smarter inbox, and greater personalization.
The problem, as with all Microsoft rollouts, is only some users will be able to access the beta. The majority have to wait to be invited, and that could take weeks. Fortunately, there’s a simply trick you can use to access the beta right now.
Outlook.com struggles a bit in the shadow of Google’s Gmail. While the latter is incredibly popular, Microsoft’s webmail service fails to attract users in the same way, which is a shame because it has a lot to offer.
It might be pulling in more users soon though, as Outlook.com is set to receive a big makeover that, in Microsoft's own words, takes advantage of "recent advances in programming, design, and artificial intelligence." Among the promised changes are improved performance, a smarter inbox, and better personalization. If you want to try it out, you can. This is what you need to do.
One of the big complaints people had about Windows 10 when it first launched was how the new operating system spied on its users.
Microsoft has since reigned in this spying and introduced controls to give users greater management over their privacy, and now the software company has issued a lovely piece of spin, with an equally lovely headline -- Your feedback is helping shape Windows privacy -- to convince Windows 10 doubters the problems of the past are rapidly receding.
It has long been expected that the Spotify app would make its way to Xbox One, and evidence supporting this has been mounting for some time. Now a video by Major Nelson -- or Larry Hryb, if you prefer -- confirms the existence of the app.
Earlier in the week, eagle-eyed Xbox One users noticed Hryb was using the app. Later, a screenshot of Microsoft's ExpertZone website showed further evidence in the form of a (now-deleted) page referencing "Spotify goes Platinum" and a note that "Spotify is coming to Windows 10 and Xbox."
It’s a good time to be a Windows Insider. Microsoft is busy cramming in last minute features and changes to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (also known as Redstone 3), including rather unexpected surprises, and the builds are a lot more stable now.
A week ago, Microsoft introduced the option to bypass any future Fall Creators Updates builds and skip ahead to the Redstone 4 branch. If that sounds like something you would have liked to have done, there’s some bad news -- it’s now too late.