Breakfast Briefing: Windows 8 hits 60m sales, Intel fudges Ivy Bridge figures, Twitter's meagre UK profits

9 Jan 2013
Breakfast Briefing

In today's tech round-up: Microsoft delivers an update on Windows 8 sales and much more

This morning's tech highlights include added sharing functions for online storage at SkyDrive, the latest Windows 8 sales figures, a look inside Twitter's meagre UK earnings and how hackers' language could land them in trouble.

Microsoft: 60m copies of Windows 8 sold

Another day, another insight into Microsoft's Windows 8 sales, with the company claiming during an analysts' briefing that it has now sold 60 million copies of the operating system. According to The Verge, the company said the figures included both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new PCs, which means it's higher than the number of copies actually in use. The numbers put Windows 8 on track with Windows 7's early sales, although the latest version is considerably cheaper for upgraders.

Intel's 7W processors aren't quite 7W processors

Intel used its CES 2013 keynote to announce, among other things, that an impending update to Ivy Bridge will reduce the TDP as low as 7W - down from 15W to 17W at the moment. Sounds impressive, except it’s not quite true.

Ars Technica did some digging, and discovered that Intel isn’t using the same test as the previous figures. Instead of peak power consumption, "the 7 watt number advertised during Intel's keynote yesterday is actually from a new metric, 'scenario design power' (SDP), which purports to measure how much power the CPU is using during average use".

The actual TDP of the new Ivy Bridge parts will be 13W - lower than before, but not dramatically so. Looks like we’re back to waiting for Haswell for real progress.

Twitter's meagre UK earnings

Tech firms and their tax regimes have been under scrutiny recently and Twitter is the latest company to post the sort of UK earnings that make you wonder why it bothers doing business in Britain, with annual profits of only £16,500 for its maiden figures, posted for 2011.

With Twitter expected to float for some $11bn in the near future, The Guardian does an admirable job of trying to portray Twitter as the latest errant tax-minimising tech company, but admits it can't be sure if the company is employing the same kind of tactics as Amazon and Google, which last year drew politicians' ire.

Microsoft revamps SkyDrive

Microsoft has given its cloud storage service, SkyDrive, a lick of paint, with improved HTML5 support for touch devices, improvements to drag-and-drop file management and a more thorough set of features for sharing content from users' online collections.

"As more and more SkyDrive files are being shared, people are often using more than one of these at a time," Microsoft said in a blog explaining the changes. "To make this easier, we’ve unified all sharing-related info and tasks into a single screen. So now when you select a document and click 'Share' in the command bar, you’ll see all the different ways to share the item as well as who has access." More pictures of cats, incoming.

Momentum for 3D flat-lining

The Verge observes how - after years when it's been impossible to avoid 3D objects popping out of posters and movie screens - 3D marketing seems to have died a death. The CES conference has previously been awash with bespectacled advocates of textured material, but this year has seen a shift in momentum.

"It's a weird and ironic dichotomy," The Verge argues. "On the one hand, 3D has become ubiquitous enough in televisions that people are unwittingly buying it when opting for a high-end new HDTV to fill their living room void — yet on the other, every big TV maker at CES has waved a clear white flag on trying to sell 3D TV as an important feature."

Busted – in your own words

SC Magazine reveals how researchers have developed language recognition technology that can guess anonymous forums users' identities. The technology could be used to identify botnet owners and hackers, the analysts argue, because tell-tale language strings used in one arena can be matched in another.

"If our dataset contains 100 users we can at least identify 80 of them," researcher Sadia Afroz said. "Function words are very specific to the writer. Even if you are writing a thesis, you'll probably use the same function words in chat messages. Even if your text is not clean, your writing style can give you away."

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