Posts with tag microsoft

It's still Trident, though

Microsoft working on new, lightweight web browser for Windows 10


The ever reliable Mary Jo Foley of All About Microsoft on ZDNet is reporting that, despite expectations that Microsoft is working on developing Internet Explorer 12, Microsoft is in fact working on an entirely new web browser developed from the ground up using the existing Trident core. The new web browser, which is expected to ship alongside Windows 10 and is codenamed Spartan, sticking with Microsoft’s Halo inspired codenames for the next version of Windows, will feature versions both native to the “Modern” tablet experience as well as the desktop.

Microsoft will reportedly ship Windows 10 with both the new Spartan web browser alongside the existing version of Internet Explorer 11 found on Windows 8.1 devices for backwards compatibility purposes. According to Jo’s sources, “Spartan” will feature a brand new, streamlined, user experience that more closely resembles other modern web browsers, including Google’s Chrome and newer versions of Mozilla Firefox.

Despite the new name and the new look, “Spartan” will still very much remain a traditional Microsoft web browser. Microsoft is reportedly using an updated version of the Trident core that has been found in every version of Internet Explorer since its inception, and it will continue to use the impressive Chakra JavaScript engine for fast performance. As a bonus for both users and developers, Spartan will also include a new Extensions engine similar to those found in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Microsoft may not be on track to ship a beta version of “Spartan” in time for the official Windows 10 Consumer Preview in January, however it will likely ship with a future build pushed to Windows Insiders not long after.

Source: All About Microsoft

Unveiling at 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern

Windows 9 is coming – here’s what to realistically expect at today’s event


Windows 9 is coming. Sure, Microsoft may not call it that – not today, and perhaps not ever – but whatever Microsoft announces at their “future of Windows” event today, it is the next major release of Windows, one that will stand just as tall as the Windows 8’s, 7’s, Vista’s, and XP’s before it. Despite remaining relatively secretive about the future of Windows beyond what little of a next generation Start Menu that was revealed at BUILD 2014, we know a surprising number of details about what the future of Windows will look like and how it’ll work. Let’s get started.

What to realistically expect…” is a series of posts which we use to temper expectations concerning upcoming industry events. All entries thus far have focused on Apple events, however a big new version of Windows doesn’t come along every day, so we think it’s important to take an in-depth look.

Well, there goes one defining feature

Microsoft has apparently abandoned plans to make every Xbox One a developer kit

Xbox One_Console and ControllerIt was almost a year ago that Microsoft announced that every Xbox One would double as a developer kit for inexpensive game development for independent game developers and hardcore professionals alike, but it seems as though today that dream – or, promise, rather – has died. Microsoft’s Xbox Advanced Technology Group’s Martin Fuller has, unfortunately, confirmed to popular UK technology magazine DigitalSpy that “there are no plans” at the moment to implement the promised functionality.

Fuller continued, “We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa… in the end, although that was a very admirable goal, it hasn’t happened unfortunately. Can’t tell you the specifics of exactly why not.”

So there you have it, one stand out feature of the Xbox One dead before it even got off the ground. We should have known there was trouble in paradise when there hadn’t been a single word on the functionality for almost a year, but there were some of us who had held out hope. As developer Steven Troughton-Smith put it on Twitter this afternoon, “…that settles the ‘will I get an Xbox One?’ question.”

We can only guess the decision has just been made for more than just a couple of people, Steven.

Via: EuroGamer
Source: DigitalSpy

Generation 2

Microsoft unveils the Nokia X2

Nokia-X2_multitaskingIt seems as if the Nokia X was so popular that it demanded a new version – and here it is, the Nokia X2. While still aimed at the low-end, off-contract market, the X2 has been vastly upgraded and improves just about everything that was present in the Nokia X.

While the X2 still comes with a custom fork of Android that isn’t Play-certified, the hardware has been massively upgraded and even trumps the low-end Windows Phone market. Specs-wise, you get a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a front facing camera and even a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 32GB cards.

On the software side of things, the Metro-esque custom launcher comes with a few improvements like an apps list similar to that of Windows Phone, new screens, and the ability to set the color of the tiles pinned to your Start Screen, also a feature straight out of Windows Phone. Pre-loaded apps include Skype, Outlook and OneDrive with a generous 15GB of online storage (though this was given to every non-paying OneDrive user recently). And being Android, apps aren’t a worry even if it’s not Play-certified.

As mentioned before, the device will sell for about $135 and will be available immediately in “select countries”. As ever, they come in a wide variety of colors; green, orange and black are the launch colors and they’ll later introduce yellow, white and grey colors.

Source: Nokia
Via: BGR

The fallout continues

Microsoft changes policies following Outlook snooping aftermath


The other day we noted that there appears to be a large amount of fallout following the revelation that Microsoft snooped on a users’ Hotmail account in order to confirm allegations that a company employee leaked confidential trade secrets. While the case itself is undoubtably a win for Microsoft, the thought of Microsoft snooping through their users’ Hotmail accounts on the drop of a hat has raised new questions surrounding what rights we have to privacy online.

Microsoft has finally responded the situation, and it’s done so in a big way. Company representative John Frank, VP and deputy general counsel, admits that “even we should not conduct a search of our own email and other customer services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available,” and as a result the company will now adhere to strict set of guidelines before invading a user’s privacy and checking their inboxes and data (thank goodness).

A new legal team entirely separate from the internal investigations team will be instituted that will determine whether any case could justify a court order. If the team determines that a court order would be allowed, the company will then be allowed to continue to browse throw the users’ data.

This will also result in a new “bi-annual transparency report” that will detail the number of searches conducted since the last report. Any current investigations have been stopped immediately barring approval from Microsoft’s new legal team to assure that a situation like this doesn’t happen again.

Check after the break to read Microsoft’s full statement on the matter.

Source: The Verge

New Microsoft investigation sparks debate

Should we, and our e-mail inboxes, have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

privacy1You may have heard that earlier this week, a Senior Architect named Alex Kibkalo at Microsoft has just been nailed by Microsoft and law enforcement as the source of numerous Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 leaks provided by an unnamed French blogger, one who likely goes by the name canouna. But the question on everyone’s mind today isn’t whether or not Microsoft had a right to nail this guy as hard as they did, or what it means for internal practices at Microsoft or the beta community. Rather, today what we’re all talking about is what the potential privacy implications of this is. Namely, should we, and our -email inboxes, have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

According to reports, Microsoft managed to catch Mr. Kibkalo after discovering that he uploaded trade secrets, including information, screenshots, and software, onto Microsoft’s own SkyDrive cloud storage service. Mr. Kibkalo also is accused of discussing the sensitive information with the French blogger via Microsoft’s own Hotmail e-mail system. Of course, the only way for Microsoft to really know this is simple and obvious – Microsoft must have secretly snooped through Mr. Kibkalo’s private Hotmail and SkyDrive accounts, an allegation that the tech giant has yet to confirm or deny.

The problem here, of course, should be plainly obvious to anyone accustomed to using any web service available to the general public – to what extent should we have an expectation of privacy over our data? Microsoft may have snooped on a pretty clear-cut-and-dry criminal here, but given that they were actually willing to do that, under what other circumstances will they do it? Then you start to go further down the rabbit hole, and you start to realize, my goodness – does Google spy on us on Gmail? Does Apple on iCloud? What about Dropbox?

We live so much of our lives online, we put so much faith into these companies and services, that it’s nothing if not alarming to think that our private data might actually be all that private. Google was recently accused of snooping through students’ personal Gmail data using automated data-mining software, an issue that is currently being dealt with in American courts. Some may argue that there’s a difference between what Microsoft did and what Google did – that, for some reason, the fact that Google’s searches are automated and Microsoft’s done by humans somehow makes Microsoft’s more invasive – but the fact remain is that somewhere, someone or something is snooping through every piece of email you send and receive – whether it be that piece of junk mail advertising Viagra or the conversation with your Professor about a late homework assignment.

Are you comfortable with that?

Image Source: Syracuse University

Wzor no more?

The Microsoft beta “scene” goes into hiding as Microsoft leaker gets cuffed


If you’re not familiar with the Microsoft beta “scene” – or community – it is a crazy, insane, and sometimes scary place.

But today the community has gone quiet as a Microsoft employee by the name Alex Kibkalo has been arrested. Originally working as a Senior Architect at Microsoft, Mr. Kibbalo is charged with stealing trade secrets from Microsoft and leaking them onto the web. In other words? He’s the one responsible for much of the Windows 8 – and by extension, Windows 8.1, also known as Windows “Blue” – leaks.

Mr. Kibbalo reportedly fed information, screenshots, and builds of Windows 8 to an unnamed “French blogger” – though if you’re at all familiar with the beta community, you likely remember that the figure behind the now defunct site was French, bringing that site’s involvement in the case into suspicion. The individual behind was responsible for leaking copious amounts of information about Windows 8 throughout various stages of development, including the early pre-beta builds.

Interestingly, popular Russian leaker group Wzor has taken down their website and put their Twitter account on private, suggesting that Alex Kibbalo was could have been involved with that group as well. Wzor has been involved in leaking information and builds of numerous releases of Windows, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 – and much more.

Our first giveaway

Giveaway: Win a Project Spark Beta key

Project_Spark_BKThis giveaway is now closed.

Project Spark has recently hit the Beta stage and Microsoft has been sending out keys for it. Project Spark is Microsoft’s latest tool for people to make, share and play their own games using a simple set of tools. We’ve received five of these keys and want to give them away to anyone who hasn’t gotten access to Project Spark yet. How can you enter to win one of these keys? Read on past the break.

A phablet by any other name

Nokia announces Nokia XL large screen Android smartphone

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Not only has Nokia announced the Android smartphone we’ve all been expecting with the Nokia X lineup of smartphones, it has also announced a new Nokia XL device – also running Android – that features a large 5″ display running the same customized version of Android as the Nokia X.

The Nokia XL comes with a free one month subscription to Skype’s unlimited world subscription, as well as 10GB of free cloud storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive service. The Nokia XL will be available in Q2 2014 for 109 euros ($150), compared to 89 euros for the Nokia X and 99 euros for the Nokia X+.

AT&T exclusive likely

Microsoft Surface 2 with LTE incoming, gets FCC approval


Good news, Microsoft fans – it appears as though Microsoft is getting ready to launch the often hinted, but never officially confirmed Microsoft Surface 2 tablet with built in LTE networking capabilities. The tablet, which is expected to launch as a Surface 2 Windows RT variant rather than the Surface 2 Pro – at least initially – will contain AT&T compatible LTE bands, meaning that this will likely ship as an AT&T exclusive, at least for now.

Not much else is really known about the device at this point, but with the tablet passing through the FCC and gaining approval already, it seems likely that we’ll be hearing more in the coming days and weeks – perhaps Mobile World conference or BUILD are two likely venues for the eagerly awaited tablet to make its debut? Stay tuned.

Source: FCC

The times, they are a'changing

Microsoft names Satya Nadella CEO, Gates steps it up in new Technology Adviser role


At long last, the search is over – Microsoft has finally confirmed that Satya Nadella, former head of Microsoft’s own cloud and enterprise division, has been named as CEO of Microsoft, replacing outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer effective immediately. Nadella has been known in recent days as one of the leading candidates for the position, alongside former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and a long line of other candidates.

Microsoft hopes that Nadella will invigorate fresh life into the technology giant, which has been hit with a string of big budget failures under the command of Ballmer over the last decade, as well as Windows 7 – the company’s highly successful and best selling operating system. Reports indicate that Microsoft likely ousted Ballmer as CEO after the company lost confidence in his ability to leave – many signs indicate that Ballmer was not planning on leaving before the retirement announcement was made those couple of months ago.

On top of the news that Satya Nadella has been named CEO of Microsoft, the company has also announced that Bill Gates has stepped down in his role as Chairman of the Board at Microsoft, and has instead signed on in a new position as Technology Adviser to the CEO. Bill Gates says his time at Microsoft will increase to make up about 1/3 of his time, reducing the role of his Philanthropic efforts to focus on bringing the company he founded to health.

Source: Microsoft

A much needed boost

Wii U outsold the Xbox One in week leading up to Christmas

Wii-U-Deluxe-Set-BlackCould the Wii U be getting a much needed boost? That’s the question that analysts must now be asking themselves, as popular video game tracking site VGChartz is now reporting that sales of Nintendo’s latest and greatest console has not only dramatically picked up in the last couple of weeks, but have actually exceeded that of the Xbox One – at least for a little while. According to the site, the Wii U fairly significantly outsold the Xbox One during the week leading up to Christmas, with the Wii U selling 319,860 consoles versus the Xbox One’s 307,366 consoles globally.

Of course, there are some some caveats – the Xbox One has yet to go on sale in Japan whereas the Wii U’s already on sale in all key markets having had a whole year’s worth of head start. That said, the Japanese market has never been kind to Microsoft, greatly preferring Nintendo and Sony for years now, so the absence of Japanese sales is unlikely to have greatly affected the numbers.

Nintendo has been ramping up marketing for the Wii U console as of late, as well as introducing many big budget titles for the faltering platform. Both The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World are said to have boosted console sales for the Wii U, and with more big titles such as Hyrule Warriors, the untitled Zelda Wii U, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U on their way in 2014, things are certainly looking up for Nintendo.

Source: VGChartz