Tag: windows

Delays hinder Microsoft Nokia deal

Nokia has warned that its deal with Microsoft appears to have become bogged down and will be delayed at least until April.

The $7.5 billion sale of most of Nokia’s phone business to Microsoft was expected to close in the first quarter.

Reuters said that Microsoft has also expects the deal to close in April.

The deal has been rubber stamped by the authorities in the US and EU but apparently some antitrust authorities in Asia are still conducting their reviews, it said in a statement.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, said on the company’s bog that Vole was nearing the final stages of our global regulatory approval process.

“Currently we are awaiting approval confirmation in the final markets.”

The company last week was given a new $414 million tax claim by Indian authorities, following a recent Supreme Court decision to order Nokia to give a $571 million guarantee before transferring its Chennai factory to Microsoft.

Nokia said its tax disputes in India would not have an impact on the deal schedule.

Observers are not too stressed at the delays. It took Vole five months to complete its purchase of online chat company Skype in 2011. 

Microsoft employee gave secrets to blogger

A former Vole man is in trouble for leaking details of forthcoming Windows software to a French blogger.

Russian national Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee in Lebanon and Russia, is facing criminal charges after he allegedly passed trade secrets to a blogger in France.

Kibkalo admitted to Microsoft security that he provided confidential company documents and information to the blogger. He was invited to clean out his desk.

So far, the blogger has not been named, but according to court documents, it was well known for posting screenshots of pre-release version of the Windows. The blogger hid his identity stating falsely that he was from Quebec, according to the documents.

Microsoft found unauthorised transmissions of proprietary and confidential trade secrets to the blogger. An email from Kibkalo was found within the blogger’s Hotmail account, establishing that he shared confidential data.

The blogger was not your average tech magazine. He posted the information on Twitter and his websites and selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.

In July and August 2012, Kibkalo uploaded proprietary software including pre-release software updates of Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, as well as the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Washington and subsequently to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account.

Microsoft product teams use the SDK to customise their product code to ensure proper validation in the product key activation process.

It seems that Kibkalo, who worked with Microsoft for seven years, received a poor performance review in 2012. He threatened to resign if the review was not amended.

Kibkalo has since relocated to Russia and is working for another US -based technology company with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

Microsoft, Intel, Google throw weight about again

While big players in the computing market such as Intel, Microsoft and Google love to talk about their “ecosystem” – that is to say the myriad of companies that make computers possible, the truth, as usual is more banal.

That’s demonstrated by Asustek being bullied out of producing a useful tablet that could run both Windows and Android after the Mighty Vole and the all-seeing Google put the squeeze on the plucky little Taiwanese manufacturer.

You can consider a computer as a pie, with the different slices representing the different companies involved.  In this pie, Microsoft and Intel have huge slices while plucky little Taiwanese companies such as ODMs like Compal and manufacturers like Asustek have teeny weeny slices.

Of course, without companies like Acer and Asustek, the behemoths couldn’t bring products to market. And, in the end, it’s all down to marketing money whether it is the now infamous Intel Inside programme or Microsoft levers that force vendors to push Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 whether people want them or not.

So it’s not the cosy little relationship that the big bullying giants push with their ludicrous little marchitectural words like “ecosystem”.  

Try be a David against the Goliath and you’ll find pretty damn quick that the giants won’t hesitate to get out their coshes and bugger the poor plucky Taiwanese maker who tries to pot the behemoths with a slingshot.

Microsoft does some more management shuffling

The shy and retiring Microsoft executive Steve “there’s a kind of hush” Ballmer only just left the building, but someone is already reshuffling his staff.

New broom Satya Nadella has been playing musical chairs at the Volehill.

Tony Bates and Tami Reller, will leave the company while a former Clinton family aide Mark Penn will become its chief strategy officer.

Penn will get a bigger hand in determining which markets Microsoft should be in and where it should be making further investments.

In the Ballmer days, Penn was an executive vice president at Microsoft overseeing advertising and strategy.

Bates is the former Skype CEO who was in charge of Microsoft’s business development, will leave immediately. He was our favourite as a potential CEO candidate to succeed Steve Ballmer because we planned to call him Master Bates throughout his term of office. No word about what his cunning plan is.

Eric Rudder who had the appropriate title of “head of advanced strategy,” will temporarily take up Bates’ duties and marketing executive Chris Capossela will replace Reller, the report said.

Reller, one of the few female executives at the company and co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, will remain with the company for some time to help with the transition.

The plans were leaked by loyal staff at the Redmond Vole Hill. Nadella told staff of the changes on Friday and the company plans to announce them publicly on Tuesday. 

Microsoft rumoured to break Windows price

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth rumour which suggests that Microsoft is going to drop the price of its Windows OS to go for the cheap and cheerful part of the mobile market.

Nokia is already attempting to sell low end smartphones, and was showing off Android-powered devices at MWC this year. But the word is that Microsoft is mulling a licensing fee price cut of up to 70 percent compared to what it currently charges to stick its OS on Nokia’s cheaper phones.

That price drop is coming, according to OEM smartphone maker Infosonics — which deals in low-cost Android devices.

The big idea is to make it possible for OEMs like Infosonics to build affordable Microsoft hardware that can compete with its budget Android devices.

This is not the first time we have heard such rumours. There was one that suggested that Vole was going to get rid of the licensing fee altogether and try to make the cash back from the phones.  However since Vole makes a lot of dosh from licensing its desktop OS it is not give up that revenue stream completely. Licensing fees for Windows Phone were between $20 and $30 so a 70 percent cut would put new fees at roughly between $6 and $10 per unit.

Redmond has been having a quiet word with some low-cost manufacturing partners, including manufacturers in China and India and is working around what some see as prohibitive hardware minimum spec restrictions for Windows Phone.

If it manages to pull this off, then it could end up being a good rival to Android in the low end market in developing countries.

The Nokia X project could continue to survive as a way to get users committed to Microsoft services, and businesses used to integrated Volish projects.

Microsoft cuts Windows 8.1 costs

Software giant Microsoft has cut the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for makers of low-cost computers and tablets.

It would appear that the move is to check the ever marching cheap and cheerful Google Chromebooks.

OEMs will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250. This is instead of the usual fee of $50, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details are not public.

According to Bloomberg  the discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device.

Competition from Google cut revenue last quarter at Microsoft’s devices and consumer licensing division, which includes Windows software.

By offering incentives for PC makers to sell cheaper models, Microsoft may be able to increase its share of the growing $80 billion tablet market.

Microsoft will not require products that use the cheaper licensing to complete logo certification, a process that verifies hardware compatibility. It is also making sure that devices are not required to be touch-screen compatible, it said. 

Microsoft does better than expected

The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street have run gasping from their executive toilets after the software king of the world surprised them by turning in some good results.

The Tame Apple Press was all geared up to claim that Microsoft was dying under competition from mobiles and tablets when Vole appeared to have surprised them too.

Vole posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit boosted by strong sales of its software and services for businesses. In fact it had a rather good Christmas with its new Xbox game console and Surface tablets. Its tax bill was lighter than expected too.

In fact the only thing that did not happen in the results was the announcement about who would replace Steve Ballmer as its new CEO.

Microsoft’s new Xbox One console, launched in November, helped the top line, contributing more than half to the 7.4 million unit sales in the quarter, up from 5.9 million a year ago. This is even while Sony’s cheaper PlayStation 4 appears to be winning the latest video game showdown.

Sales of the second generation of Surface tablets jumped to $893 million in the key holiday shopping quarter, more than the whole of the previous fiscal year. Vole is still not making a profit on them because making and selling the machines cost $932 million.

Overall phone revenues, which include licence fees from Nokia and royalty payments from other handset makers using Google’s Android system, jumped 50 percent to just over $1 billion in the quarter.

Overall, Microsoft reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $6.56 billion compared with $6.38 billion, or 76 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. That easily beat Wall Street’s average estimate of 68 cents.

Overall revenue rose 14 percent to $24.5 billion, also beating Wall Street’s forecast of $23.7 billion, helped by higher sales of Microsoft’s perennially strong business offerings, including server software, the Office suite of applications and quickly growing ‘cloud,’ or Internet-based, computing services. 

Intel designs dual OS chips

Fashion bag maker Intel has been slowly backing away from its old chum Microsoft allowing the forces of darkness to pick it off — now it seems to have gone into actual back stabbing mode.

Buried in the press releases at CES is the news that Chipzilla will start making chips that work with both Windows and Android.

The company confirmed that Intel processors will power computers that can switch between Windows and Android with the press of a button, just like the Asus Transformer Book Duet.

Intel demonstrated the technology on a laptop during the company’s press conference, right after introducing “Intel Device Protection Technology,” an idea that should help Intel-based Android devices meet corporate standards for enterprise security.

While it does make it possible to boot up a new OS just by turning it off and turning it on again it is not yet close to being able to run both Android and Windows at the same time without a virtual machine involved.

It is also a little behind on the technology. AMD announced a partnership with BlueStacks to run a fullscreen and windowed Android apps within Windows itself. This is done by using an ARM processor core inside new AMD chips that can run some Android code natively.

But while AMD has not got a lot to lose by running dual operating system chips, Intel has a bigger interest in keeping people away from Android while it gets its own mobile act together. 

Websense warns of leaky Windows

Websense has found that Windows is leaking information which could be used by a hacker to craft specific attacks and compromise networks. 

According to the outfit, Windows Error Reporting, known as Dr Watson,  sends out its crash logs which can be tracked  by eavesdroppers to map out vulnerable endpoints and gain a foothold within the network for more advanced penetration.

WER is used by 80 percent of all network-connected PCs use it and Dr. Watson reports information that hackers use to find and exploit weak systems such as OS, service pack and update versions

Crashes are especially useful for attackers since they may pinpoint a new exploitable code flaw for a zero-day attack

Alexander Watson (no relation) director of security research, Websense has come up with an attack method which can snoop on Windows leaks and use them for an attack. He will be presenting his research at the 2014 RSA Conference in San Francisco next month.

Microsoft says that administrators can implement fine-grained control over automated error reporting through pushing group policies to computers on the network.

But Websense has discovered that by default many organizations are reporting in clear-text specific information about applications, services, and hardware through Microsoft Error Reporting.

These application reports are not just limited to crashes, but also events such as failed application updates, USB device insertions, and in some cases even TCP Timeouts between computers on the network, a  large percentage of which is sent in HTTP clear text.

Apple press rejoices in Christmas spin

Apple fanboys woke up this morning to the news that Macbooks were cheaper than Windows machines.

After years of having to invent excuses as to why their machines were price inflated, the fanboys were told by Future Looks  that Apple was building the machines at less than cost and was clearly doing it for love.

Futurelooks editor Stephen Fung sat down and added up the cost of all the components in the a nearly top-of-the-line Mac Pro on Apple’s website. He ended up with a machine that included 64GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, two AMD D700 graphics cards and a 2.7GHz 12-core Intel Xeon processor to work out how much it would cost if it were a windows machine. The Macbook Pro is nearly $10,000.

Fung thought that there was nothing remarkable about this list of parts; it’s the way that they are integrated that provides both pros and cons.

The Apple machine was in a cylinder that is less than 10 inches tall and under 7 inches wide, with the power supply inside. Of course this means that it is easy to take it on site or pack with you. So if you are in need of more power, it doesn’t come with the traditional drawbacks of a large tower like the original Mac Pros.

Fung pointed out that you would never be able to upgrade the chip because Apple soldered the lot together.

Thinking that the only real difference was price, Fung looked at all the prices of the bits and came up with a figure that was lower than a compariable Windows machine.

“After tabulating all the major component costs (plus another $99.99 US for Windows 8 Pro), we are at a total of around $11,530.54 US using today’s prices at retailers that actually stock the hardware,” he wrote. “I’m not afraid to admit that compared to the asking price of $9,599 US, the new Mac Pro seems like one heckuva deal for these components.”

He did not even factor in the cost of building the machine once you have the parts.

Fung checked the entry-level version of the Mac Pro. Fung’s match to Apple’s $2,999 Mac Pro ended up costing $3,994.65 in parts, a whopping 33 percent more expensive than the Mac Pro.

The story that Apple machines are actually cheaper than VoleWare has been cut and pasted all over the internet by machines and Apple fanboys.

The only problem with the story is that it is not quite, but almost total bollocks.

Fung built his imaginary PCs using the retail cost of parts from a catalogue. These prices have a huge mark-up which when factored into a build of a machine would inflate the price exponentially.

What is also funny is that his tear down seems to have angered PC and Apple fanboys who noticed that he could not actually buy the comparable spec off the shelf in any case.

In short he did not compare like with like. This has not stopped the story going viral as fanboys everywhere tried to justify their Christmas presents to themselves.