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Posts Tagged ‘ Microsoft ’

Office for iPad: key information

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Word for iPadMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella, in his first appearance since taking over the top job, has confirmed that the company will shortly release a native version of its Office suite for the iPad, as well as updating Office for Mac. Some have called the decision a gamble for Microsoft, while others have seen it as a positive step. Here’s what you need to know. (more…)

Windows XP end of life: key information

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Windows Updates will be ending soon

Windows XP support will end on 8 April. After that date, Microsoft won’t provide any more updates. Yet many millions of people are still using the veteran OS: recent figures suggest that it’s still running on around 30% of PCs worldwide, many of them in businesses.

Understandably, there’s a lot of doubt and concern over what’s going to happen next. If you’re still running XP, here are the straightforward answers to the key questions.

(more…)

AmIRunningXP.com: not as daft as it sounds

Friday, March 14th, 2014

AMIrunningXP

A cap doffed in the direction of The Register for spotting this website: AmIRunningXP.com.

The reporter used a WHOIS lookup to discover that the website was actually registered by Kristina Libby, a member of Microsoft’s PR team.

Although The Reg concludes that the website is “a little tongue-in-cheek humour”, I wouldn’t be so sure.

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Meet the next CEO of Microsoft: Bill Gates

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Gates blur

There are not many people who step down from a major role to spend more time with a company. But then Bill Gates is, or was, no ordinary company chairman.

Many commentators claim that by resigning as chairman, Gates has given the new CEO, Satya Nadella, more room to breathe. I’m not buying that. If Gates truly wanted to give Nadella the space to reorganise Microsoft free from interference, he could have taken a non-executive role on the board and gone to spend more time with his charity.

Instead, I suspect Gates is positioning himself for a Jobs-like second coming.

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Windows 9: what changes would you make to Windows 8?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Windows81

Windows 8 has been much criticised — with a lot of the complaining coming from our podcast. While some of the grievances levelled at the OS, such as the focus on Metro at the expense of desktop users, are fair, suggestions that Windows 8 is the new Vista may be taking it a bit too far.

Microsoft has made a few improvements in Windows 8.1, with more planned for its next update, and Windows 9 is widely expected to be discussed at Build in April — and to arrive as early as next year, as Microsoft hopes to ditch the 8 brand and get a fresh start. (So maybe it is the new Vista, then?)

(more…)

How to cancel recurring PayPal payments

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Coins and notes

On almost exactly the first working day after Christmas, I was irritated by £39.99 being spirited out of my bank account by PayPal, sent on my behalf to Microsoft – with absolutely no trackback or narrative to the transaction at all.

This type of transaction is a modern plague and whole lifetimes of reading material on ultimately frustrating and self-indulgent Adventures in Billing stories can easily be found on this subject, starring pretty much every major brand you can think of: Microsoft, PayPal, Google and more. The most commonly cited bad guy in this field is Netflix, whose free startup offer collects your payment details and then seamlessly slides into charging you, by way of PayPal’s repeat-payment system. The email notifying you of the transfer only ever comes after the money’s been sent, not before.

(more…)

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Windows Server 2012 R2: what businesses have been waiting for

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Microsoft cloud computing briefing

Apparently it rains a lot in Seattle. I wouldn’t really be able to verify that, because I was inside a training suite for the entirety of my visit last week, sitting with the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 development & marketing teams, working through the new features in Server 2012 R2 which, as you will see in Satya Nadella’s blog post qualifies as the Swiss Army Knife of business server operating systems.

It’s worth a read, because Nadella is the head of the Enterprise and Cloud division at Microsoft. In the past everyone’s been used to thinking “Gates said” or “Ballmer announced”, but this is the new Microsoft, and the degree of autonomy in the Server group is easily measurable by the increased confidence of their presentation.

As always, the weight of the tutorial sessions wasn’t quite the same as the emphasis of the press releases. You may be unsurprised to hear that we didn’t spend very long looking at the new Azure US Government Cloud. Conversely, we spent plenty of time discovering how the new features in Windows Intune combine with non-Microsoft devices to let corporate administrators set up their own, tame App Store-like lists of applications, remote desktop sessions and approved resources.

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My manifesto for Microsoft

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Windows 8.1

Since the board hasn’t yet seen fit to call me, I thought I’d just put out my manifesto for what I’d do with Microsoft if the company was sensible enough to offer me the job.

Microsoft keeps burning money on things that don’t make money, and can only get away with doing so because a few cash cows make all the profit. The core truth is that Microsoft is an enterprise software and services company, and it has never succeeded in really engaging with the home market. Of course, it had huge success with early versions of Windows in the home, if only by making the assumption that a home computer is a workstation without a domain controller.

It has built up a huge management structure at enormous cost. Name the wackiest thing you can imagine, and Microsoft probably has a department for it. So the first thing I’d do is reduce the headcount by 30%. I know that will make people gasp, but it has to be done.

(more…)

What exactly is the point of Surface RT?

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Surface RT

The ongoing story of Windows 8, and in particular the Microsoft Surface hardware, keeps rumbling onwards. Hot on the heels of news that Microsoft was holding a Surface RT firesale for developers, and setting a “get one in a packet of breakfast cereal” price for academic institutions, comes the news that Microsoft has a warehouses full of unsold stock that has an unpleasant tendency to depreciate. And your auditors have an unhelpful requirement that things are valued correctly.

So the news that there is a near billion dollar writedown on the value of the Surface RT stockpile held by Microsoft comes as no great surprise, although the scale and size of the loss is substantial. Some are claiming it points to Microsoft having ordered some six million units of the thing, which, although somewhat higher than I would have expected, might turn out to be about right.

One has to ask what would motivate an organisation such as Microsoft to display such strong belief in a product that has real hard costs associated with it? After all, getting the production rate for something like Windows is not an issue — its licenses, bits of paper, and a few DVDs. Building laptops is a different kettle of fish.

(more…)

New hardware: the hidden cost of cloud computing

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Coin stacksOne reason why PCs sales continue to slide year-on-year is that software no longer blackmails us into upgrading our hardware. The system requirements for Windows haven’t been upgraded since the launch of Vista; my five-year-old home laptop is just about capable of running anything I ask of it. Why bother upgrading when there are plenty of other ways to squander what’s left of my disposable income?

That’s not always been the case, of course. When I first rocked up at PC Pro in 1998, barely a week passed without some piece of software pushing the boundaries of what was possible on then-current hardware. Whether it was a new version of Windows, the latest Office suite, or – as was most often the case – the latest games, there was always some justification for an expensive upgrade. Intel and Microsoft even used to publish an annual recommended spec for the next year’s PCs, to give upgraders a target to aim for. (more…)

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