Tag: windows 7

Windows RT prices plummet

Prices of Windows RT devices have started falling and according to Techworld it is because suppliers are trying desperately to ditch them.

Vole released Windows RT for ARM-based devices and Windows 8 for Intel-based devices in October last year. Normally prices would not be expected to fall at this point, but Windows RT devices were not in demand, and prices fell.

Currently the starting price for Dell’s XPS 10 is now US$449 for a 32GB model, which is $50 off the original launch price. The 64GB model is $499, which is a drop from the original $599 price. By comparison, the price of the Latitude 10 tablet with Intel processors and Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS remained stable at $499.

Asus‘ VivoTab RT has been seen on Amazon.com for $382 with 32GB of storage, which is a heavy discount from the $599 launch price. Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot have also dropped the price of the tablet by $50.

Newegg has discontinued the VivoTab RT and Lenovo is offering the IdeaPad Yoga 11 for $599 as part of a seven-day deal, which is a drop from the original $799 price. Amazon is flogging a model for $499.99.

Samsung did not even bother shipping the Ativ Tab to the US and saved cash on the stamp.

Even Microsoft stopped offering tablets like the VivoTab RT on its website. The company last month said it stocks its store with RT devices based on availability and demand.

So far the Vole has not admitted that Windows RT has tanked, this is despite IDC warning  that Windows RT tablet shipments have been rubbish.

Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates said that the discounting was due to poor demand. He is content that he did warn everyone that RT was going to be poor.

Devices had no chance to compete with the more established Apple iPad and Android tablets, Gold said.

David Daoud, research director at IDC thinks the price drop might be pre-positioning for the summer season as it could help clear out inventory ahead of the back-to-school season.

But one of the problems is whether Vole did enough to spread awareness of Windows RT. It seemed largely pointless issuing an OS which was incompatible with existing Windows. 

Windows 8 tablets to find their home in enterprise

While the rest of the world is not saying much about Windows 8 on tablets, it seems that it has found a loyal supporter in the analyst community.

So far Microsoft’s Surface tablets have missed sales expectations among average consumers, and Samsung pulled the plug on some of its Windows RT tablets.

But according to a white paper by Patrick Moorhead, former AMD executive and current analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, Volish tablets will find their footing in the enterprise.

Moorhead wrote that tablets first penetrated the enterprise even though iPads were not ideal for the workplace. iPads were too expensive and only had limited enterprise features.

According to HotHardware this made them the rounded rectangle in a round hole.

Now there are shedloads of lower-power tablets that run full versions of Windows 8 instead of a mobile OS hitting the market, and so options for companies are better.

He said that there were lots of advantages of Windows 8-based tablets over iPads. Firstly the batteries can be configured to last up to twice as long, and HP in particular lets enterprise customers replace the battery and PCB quickly.

Windows 8 tablets are compatible with Windows 7 and all of the applications and features that go along with it, and they offer “the same comprehensive PC enterprise features deployed and already in use by enterprises”.

iPads and Windows tablets cost the same although some of the Windows devices cost more up front. But companies save big bucks on the software management tools they need to buy versus iPads.

Moorhead wrote that Apple was in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features.

He recommends that enterprises “re-evaluate” their iPad pilots and deployments.

Moorhead said that Windows 8 tablets from the likes of HP, Dell, and Lenovo appear to be clearly better options in the enterprise.

One thing that is missing from the report is a recommendation for Microsoft’s own Surface machine, but Redmond, it seems, can’t have everything. 

Next Windows OS rumoured to arrive next year

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured another hell on earth yarn which suggests that Microsoft plans to release another version of Windows next year.

The word on the street is that the Voles are beavering away on Windows 9 which will hit the streets a year from November next.

It is not clear why anyone will feel the need to upgrade to Windows 9 before Windows 8 takes off. Many users are in the same boat as us deciding that Windows 7 is good enough. Others even think that a line should be drawn at Windows XP.

The source of the rumours is Win8China, which has provided several good Windows leaks in the past. It said that Redmond is working on Windows 9 for a tentative November 2014 product launch, and it would be as early as next January where we will be able to check out a beta.

This is around the time of year that we would be expecting a Windows yearly operating system update. All up, this does make it possible that Windows 9 could have a November 2014 release.

It is also possible that Steve “there is a kind of hush” Ballmer has worked out that making people pay for regular short term upgrades, like Apple, is a better business model than making them pay for a bigger one every three or four years. 

Microsoft comes up with Windows 8 cunning plan

While many think that Microsoft has a slow burning product with its Windows 8 software, it appears that Vole has a cunning plan to make it sell faster.

Steve Ballmer believes that the reason that Windows 8 is not selling well is because the operating system is too cheap.

According to the company blog, at the end of this month Windows 8 will increase in price by more than four times.

From February, the update on Windows 8 Pro will go up to $200 from the current $40. Prices will be increasing across the entire product line at the same time.

Beneath the announcement is a string of invective which generally seems to suggest that Steve Ballmer is doing his best to kill off the Windows 8 operating system completely.

As one user pointed out, Microsoft should have learnt something from Apple which has been selling its upgrades for $15-$30 for a while now. While Windows 8 is more of a significant upgrade, it is probably not worth $50, the user reasons.

It is a fair point. There is absolutely no reason to upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7 at that price, as there are will be few people who are going to benefit from a $200 upgrade. 

Windows RT jailbroken

Microsoft’s attempts to mirror Apple’s success by releasing a locked in Surface tablet have gone exactly the same way as any Cupertino plan. Someone has jailbroken the tablet and made the effort pointless.

Windows RT has been hacked to allow non-Microsoft applications to run in desktop. When Vole shipped the tablet you could only run Metro apps, a special, touch-oriented version of Office… er that was it.

A hacker called Clokr managed to exploit a vulnerability in the Windows kernel to free the Surface from Microsoft’s walled garden.

What is embarrassing for Microsoft is that not only has its Surface been jailbroken, but it was taken down by an ancient vulnerability in Windows.

The Windows kernel can only execute files that meet one of four levels of authentication: Unsigned (0), Authenticode (4), Microsoft (8), and Windows (12). On your x86 Windows the default setting is Unsigned and you can run anything.

But Windows RT, the default, hard-coded setting is set to Microsoft (8) which means that only apps signed by Microsoft, or parts of Windows itself, can be executed. Secure Boot detects any altered code and locks the system.

But Secure Boot doesn’t stop you from changing the memory settings and that is what Clokr did by using some reverse engineering.

Clokr discovered the location of this setting in memory used Microsoft’s remote debugger to execute some code that altered the value stored in memory.

The downside is that you need to run the “jailbreak” every time you reboot and you will need some developer tools. But it is only a matter of time before someone releases a standalone tool to do the job.

Extreme Tech points out that it was silly that Microsoft engineers slaved over Windows RT to make it a perfect port of x86 Windows, and yet the Microsoft bigwigs decided to artificially lock the operating system down.

The jailbreak is proof that the only thing stopping Windows RT from running third-party Desktop apps is that single digit setting; otherwise, Windows RT is a clean port of Windows 8. 

Windows 8 sales are rubbish

While Microsoft has claimed that it has sold more than 40 million Windows 8 licences in the month since launching, a new report suggests that figure is garbage.

Beancounters at research firm NPD say that this figure is not helping sales of actual Windows devices, which are down 21 percent from last year.

It said that desktop sales dropped nine percent over the last year and notebooks fell 24 percent.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said that after just four weeks on the market, it’s still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market.

Things could get better during the holiday selling season but it is starting to look like Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.

More than 58 percent of Windows devices sold in the last month are running Windows 8. However Windows 7 had a figure of 83 percent of devices four weeks after launch.

Tablets running the operating system represent a mere one percent of sales to date, which means that Microsoft’s hopes to do well in that market are also looking dashed.

To make matters worse, the average selling price of a Windows machine has also jumped “significantly” this year, in the firm’s estimation, from $433 to $477.

This could be due in part to touch-screen laptops, which are more expensive. However, increased prices are never a good idea during a recession.

In the long term, Baker thought the move to touch-screens will pay off, particularly as that is the area where Windows 8 truly shines.

He said that these products accounted for six percent of Windows 8 notebook sales at an average price of $867, helping to re-establish a premium segment to the Windows consumer notebook market.

Microsoft's security software fails certification

German antivirus lab AV-Test has failed to give Microsoft’s free security software any certification.

The group, which tests security suites against real world threats and reports the results every two months, looks at the software’s ability to protect, repair, systems and general usability.

To receive certification, the product needs a total of 11 out of the 18 possible points.

Of the 23 products tested, 16 scored worse this time and Microsoft Security Essentials failed completely.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, VIPRE Internet Security, and Microsoft Security Essentials all scored three full points lower than their previous test. Microsoft scored 10.7 and failed and the other two just managed to scrape a pass.

Microsoft scored just 1.5 points for protection which makes it about as good at defence as the English football team. It was nearly useless at zero-day threats, with a protection rate below 70 percent where top products managed 100 percent.

The best out of the box was Bitdefender Internet Security with 17 of 18 possible points.

F-Secure Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security both had 16.5 points last time and in the current test they dropped to 15.5 and 15.0 respectively. Norton Internet Security also stands at 15.0, down from 15.5.

AV-Test ran a parallel test on business security products from F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos, Symantec, Trend Micro, and Webroot.

The results were quite similar. F-Secure Client Security topped this group, with 16.5 points, while Microsoft’s Forefront Endpoint Protection bombed, earning just 9.5 points.

The message appears to be that if you are relying on Microsoft Security Essentials you could have your machine packed full of viruses.

You can see the test here.

Microsoft claims to have sold 40 million Windows 8 licences

A Microsoft executive claims that the company has sold more than 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since the launch.

Tami Reller, finance and marketing head of the Windows business, who is one of the new co-heads of the Windows unit, claims that the operating system is setting a faster pace than Windows 7 three years ago.

According to the International Business Times, if the figures are correct, then the sales number represents a solid start for the touch-friendly operating system.

Windows 7 sold just over 60 million units in the first 10 weeks on sale at the end of 2009.

Reller did not give any breakdowns for his figures, but suggested much of the growth was coming from upgrades.

What he did not point out was that most of the sales at this point are to PC manufacturers, who in turn sell a large number of machines to companies. Few companies are actually using the new operating system.

StatCounter recently claimed that 15 million PCs are actually running Windows 8.

Reller also did not say how sales of Microsoft’s new Surface tablet were going.

Microsoft said it had sold more than 750,000 Xbox game consoles in the United States. This is down from 960,000 sales in the same week a year ago. 

Windows 8 sales slow

Windows sales are slower than an asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping and the word on the street is that Microsoft’s business plan might be a bit cracked.

When the new Windows operating system launched at the end of October, Redmond claimed it sold 4 million copies in the first three days of launch. But figures from web analytic company NetApplications said that as of 11 November, Windows 8 has captured 1.04 percent of the global desktop market share.

To put this in perspective, this is the same market share as Linux on the desktop. Even Apple’s OS X at nine percent has a bigger share of the market.

According to The Next WebWindows 7 has 45 percent, Windows XP 39 percent and Windows Vista takes up another 5.4 percent.

To be fair it is early days, but it should be doing a little better.

Numbers are not good for the Windows 8 Touch either. It has only 0.02 percent of the tablet space, slightly better than Windows 8 RT Touch which, statistically, has captured zero percent so far.

This backs up a survey from security firm Avast. According to the survey, 70 percent said they don’t plan to upgrade to Windows 8.

While all this suggests that on its first month out the OS is not doing horribly, it is still not doing as well as Microsoft would like. If things do not pick up in the Christmas rush then there could be much soul searching in Redmond. 

AMD contemplates selling itself off

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that AMD is thinking of selling itself off to the highest bidder.

According to Reuters, AMD has hired JPMorgan Chase to explore options, which could include a sale.

Apparently the news agency found three people inside AMD to stand up the story.

It says that the outright sale of the company is not a priority, it might just flog some of its patents.

Officially AMD said that its board and management believe that the strategy the company is currently pursuing to drive long-term growth by “leveraging AMD’s highly-differentiated technology assets” is the right approach to “enhance shareholder value”. We shoved this statement through our universal translator and was told that AMD is thinking of selling the family silver but had not decided if it was going to get rid of the keys to the CEO’s drinks cabinet, which is always the last asset to be transferred in any sale.

AMD added that it was “not actively” pursuing a sale of the company or significant assets at this time. Passively pursuing a sale means that you stick out a decent rumour that you are interested in selling something and hope that someone with a cheque book knocks on your door.

Meanwhile AMD is laying off engineers and some analysts are concerned it may not find new markets for its chips in time to reverse a declining cash reserve.

Its shares have fallen more than 60 percent this year, giving it a market value of about $1.4 billion. It owes about $2 billion.

Reuters report quoted an unnamed analyst as saying that AMD could be bought by a technology company that might want to emulate Apple’s tight control of software and components, a strategy credited in part for the success of the iPad and iPhone.

Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Intel and even Facebook have been suggested by Wall Street analysts as potential suitors that could benefit from some of AMD’s chip business. Jerry Sanders III is not dead, otherwise he would be turning in his grove, sorry grave.