Breakfast Briefing: Windows Blue to update NT kernel, Dell's profits plunge, "snooping" bill delayed

Breakfast briefing

Today's technology stories include Windows Blue, Dell's profit slide, and delays to the "snooper's charter"

We start Wednesday with more details on Windows Blue, Dell's profit meltdown, delays for the snooper's charter, the EU's Google rival, and Infosec booth babes told to cover up.

Windows Blue to update NT kernel

ZDNet reports how Windows Blue – the next update to Windows 8 - is approaching completion, with the team behind the project finishing the "first milestone build (M1)". It's unclear exactly when the update will be released, although M2 is likely to be the final build and Blue could be released to the world in August.

The story was given added credence by leaked screenshots that The Verge analysed, with the biggest clue to Microsoft's plans coming from the fact that the NT kernel has jumped to 6.3.

"Windows Vista adopted NT kernel 6.0, while Windows 7 jumped to 6.1, and Windows 8 to 6.2," The Verge notes. "A switch to 6.3 with Windows Blue suggests this is a major revision to Windows."

Dell's profit plunges 31%

It's not great news for the team that's agreed to buy Dell and take it back into private hands, but The Wall Street Journal reports that the company's profit fell 31% and revenue 11% in the three months to 1 February. Still, the results were on the high end of the company's earlier forecast, which might appease the backers of the recent $24.4bn buyout.

"Snooper's Charter" delayed until March

Computing reveals that the second draft of the controversial Communications Data Bill – also known as the snooper's charter - won't be published this month as planned, but will instead be pushed back to March. The sources don't explain the reasons behind the delay, but suggest the Home Office is making amendments to the Bill to address concerns raised by ISPs and MPs over the scope of the data-collection plans.

EU plans rival to Google's web analysis

Google Analytics is so big that a rival start-up would have to be mad to try to match it – but an EU project is planning to do just that. The European-funded scheme is called LEADS (Large-scale Elastic Architecture for Data-as-a-Service) and would be made available to businesses to run their own analysis.

"The plan is to build a web analytics platform that stores and indexes the web, including both historical data and real-time updates," Information Age reports. "The platform would allow third parties to run analytical queries on a pay-per use basis, similar to a cloud infrastructure service."

Infosec bans the booth babe

The team behind the Infosec exhibition has effectively banned "booth babes", changing its terms and conditions to stop company reps wearing "inappropriate, revealing and offensive" outfits - taking a very different route than CES organisers on the issue.

In a letter seen by Channel Web, event officials explained the move. "During and after the 2012 event, we experienced an unprecedented volume of negative feedback relating to the apparel (or lack of) worn by some staff on stands and in the aisles," Infosec said. "The feedback came from visitors (your customers/target customers), exhibitors and the press during the event, on blogs and in news articles. This ‘focus' is an unnecessary distraction."

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