The background to this is that Microsoft is facing a disruptive threat from tablet and smartphone computing platforms. These mobile devices have dramatically different user interfaces optimized for taps and gestures rather than keyboards and mice. With Windows 8, Microsoft tried to create an operating system that could be all things to all people. A new generation of Windows 8 applications were supposed to work well with a keyboard and mouse the way PC software always has. And they were also supposed to work well on a new generation of Windows-based tablets.
But the result was a mess. Old users found the new interface confusing. New users found it clunky. No one was as excited about it as people are about iPads and Android phones.
There is justice in the world on some days…
REDMOND, WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Bill Gates’s first day at work in the newly created role of technology adviser got off to a rocky start yesterday as the Microsoft founder struggled for hours to install the Windows 8.1 upgrade.
A Microsoft spokesman said only that Mr. Gates’s first day in his new job had been “a learning experience” and that, for the immediate future, he would go back to running Windows 7.
There’s more here.
How, exactly, did Microsoft do it? It’s like a magician’s trick. The raw numbers for Windows revenue in Microsoft’s Windows division were very substantially up - from $4.633bn (£3bn) in the first three months of 2012, to $5.7bn in the same period this year.
That’s a 24% increase, at a time when we’ve been hearing that PC sales have slumped. How has Microsoft done this? Has Steve Ballmer invented antigravity?
Sadly, no (though it would make a great new business line).
Make no mistake: Windows is still incredibly important to Microsoft. In this quarter it generated 27% of revenues, and 45% of profits. But how is it doing so well when the PC business is so dismal?
Here’s the first part of what happened. In June, Microsoft offered a scheme where people who bought a Windows 7 PC could update it to Windows 8 for just $15. The scheme ran through to December, and only after that could all the money received in it be cashed in. That gave a $1.1bn boost in “deferred” revenue which was really earned in the preceding six months, but couldn’t be recognised then.
Tacoma police were investigating a possible hate crime Tuesday that happened at Tacoma’s Holy Cross Catholic Church during Christmas Eve Mass.
Six windows were broken and possible hate-related paperwork was left at the scene in the 5500 block of North 44th Street, officers said, and a suspect was seen fleeing.
Some of the papers left appeared to be “anti-church,” police spokesman Naveed Benjamin said.
Holy Cross has a court order against a suspect who has vandalized the building several times, police say, and the Christmas Eve suspect was seen heading in the direction of the suspect’s nearby house.
“It’s no secret that there’s somebody that has some kind of ongoing problem with the church,” Benjamin said, though he added that officers had not confirmed that the latest incident is connected to the previous ones.
Steven Sinofsky, who since 2009 has served as president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live divisions, has left the company less than a month after launching what Steve Ballmer called the most important operating system in Redmond’s history.
“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft,” Sinofsky said in a statement on Monday. “I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”
Stepping up to lead product development for all future versions of Windows will be Julie Larson-Green, who has led various projects at Microsoft since joining the company in 1993. Most recently, she was responsible for program management, UI design and research, and internationalization for Windows 7 and 8.
In addition to heading up the Windows group, Larson-Green’s new role will see her in charge of engineering for future Windows-based hardware products, such as the company’s recently launched Surface fondleslabs.
Not a great few weeks for high level executives in major technology companies.
Psychiatric hospitals have a certain smell. Old urine hits the nostrils first and then the sting of bleach. As I unlock the metal doors, the smell lets me know where and what I am: a pre-doctoral intern at a forensic psychiatric hospital in Boston. As I walk down the white hall, I see a white woman in a Harvard sweatshirt, a Boston red-sox cap covering her curly ponytail. She screams, “If you are not crazy when you get in here, you are crazy when you get out!”
Perhaps I was naïve to think that healing was the intention, but on the ward, I find only its absence. The hospital functions as a holding cell for people not safe on the streets and not safe in jail. People rotate through. One of the regulars, an African-American man who whistles loudly tells me, “I was born in a zoo, and I’ll die in a zoo.” I tell myself otherwise, but it’s hard not to feel like a zookeeper.
Boredom fills the ward, too. An African American woman wears the same pink sweatpants all year. She is obese both from the side effects of the her meds and from her never leaving bed. She develops hypertension and then diabetes. I wonder if boredom can classify as an infectious disease. The staff tries to motivate everyone: Exercise classes! Substance abuse chats! Morning meetings!
Some patients feign interest in order to improve their chances of being discharged. It is the staff, and abiding interns, who make all the decisions. Psychiatric hospitals, by definition, disempower patients. Having a crime plus mental illness on your record means a loss of certain rights. But I do not want a doctorate in disempowerment. As the year wears on, I am having a hard time getting out of bed
Consumers are in for a shock when Microsoft releases the Windows 8 operating system later this week. The interface changes are the most widespread the OS maker has undertaken since the release of Windows 95.
All but one supported edition of IE are affected: 2001’s IE6, 2006’s IE7, 2009’s IE8 and last year’s IE9. Together, those browsers accounted for 53% of all browsers used worldwide in August. The only exception was IE10, the browser bundled with the new Windows 8, which does not contain the bug.
Monday’s advisory was expected, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security. “I think they had to get it out today,” said Storms late Monday in an interview over instant messaging. “Too many people watching and waiting for something official.”
Earlier Monday, Microsoft acknowledged that it was investigating reports of a vulnerability but did not promise a patch.
The bug, when Microsoft gets around to patching it, will be rated “critical,” the company’s highest threat ranking. Exploiting the flaw allows hackers to execute code — in other words, plant malware on a machine — and opens Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 to drive-by attacks that only require getting victims to visit a malicious or compromised website.
Honestly: This is one reason I’m not drawn to boot into 8 each morning (and I have dual boot on the system I’m doing my main work on). I recall once I put 7 beta on a box back in summer 2009, I just kept using it and then figuring out to fund it for all my systems when it came out…not my experience with 8 at all….while “light” and poratable device users may appreciate the simplicity, those with many applications and utilities they are in and out of all day long will not want a tile for every installed program…they’ll have to scroll way too much just to get to the one(s) they need, even when you try to arrange the most used ones closest to the main screen.
I know it’s not 1995 anymore (actually, the statement should have been 1984, but I digress), much of the windowed layout has been time tested, and works. Remember, the Dvorak keyboard never replaced the QWERTY one, even if QWERTY was designed specifically to be the least efficient to prevent typewriter keys from jamming….
Going to be a boom to tablet surface users, for sure, but I’m predicting the corporate world will stand back, not wanting to have to retrain millions of people all at once….just to replace XP on all those desktops without touch screens. Son of Vista, but not because of security? We’ll see….
When Microsoft users launch Windows 8 this fall, they’ll notice getting started with the OS may not be as familiar. The ever-present Start button, a Windows staple since 1995, is going the way of the dodo.
In a report for industry site PC Pro, Microsoft executives reveal that Windows users have already largely abandoned the Start button. An increasing number rely more on pinning favorite apps to their taskbar or simply using keyboard shortcuts to access frequently used applications. As a result, Microsoft will now present a tiled Start screen as part of the new Metro interface.