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Windows Phone 8.1 update takes Cortana to China, UK, and three other countries
Microsoft's voice-activated digital assistant Cortana is coming to China in a beta version nicknamed 'Xiao Na,' as part of several new functions packed into a Windows Phone 8.1 update.

Chinese officials seize Microsoft PCs, emails, financial info in antitrust probe
Regulators in China today said that they made sudden appearances at several Microsoft offices on Monday to gather evidence for an antitrust probe.

Microsoft, IBM make cloud gains against Amazon
Microsoft and IBM are gaining momentum in the cloud infrastructure services market, putting pressure on Amazon and outpacing rival Google, according to a new study.

Yosemite's traffic share triples after public beta debuts
The preview of Apple's OS X Yosemite public beta last week resulted in a tripling of the upgrade's share of online traffic.

Chinese regulators target Microsoft for office visits
Officials today from the China government appeared at four Microsoft offices, but the purpose of the visits was unclear.

Consumer Office 365 tops a half-billion dollars in annual revenue run-rate
Microsoft's Office 365 'rent-not-buy' subscription service is at an annual revenue run-rate of more than half a billion dollars.

Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella
The percentage of Microsoft current and former employees who approve of CEO Satya Nadella has dropped since the company announced layoffs.

How Microsoft's CEO sees growth for Windows Phone and Lumia
During an earnings call this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella repeatedly promoted Lumia smartphones running on the Windows Phone platform. The call was just five days after the company announced a record 18,000 layoffs that raised concerns about Microsoft's long-term commitment to its phones.

Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8
Unless MIcrosoft radically changes its habits, it will throw Windows 8 down a deep memory hole even before a successor ships.

EU hears Google, Microsoft, Yahoo on 'right to be forgotten'
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are meeting with European data protection authorities Thursday to discuss how to implement a recent ruling that gives people the right to have personal information excluded from search results.

Deep-dive review: The Lumia 635 smartphone -- a study in contrasts
Nokia's new low-cost Lumia 635 smartphone makes some unfortunate hardware compromises, but on the plus side it comes with the excellent Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts
Microsoft again took a hit on its Surface business, the company acknowledged Tuesday.

Microsoft revenue lifted by cloud sales to businesses
Strong sales of cloud products to businesses helped lift Microsoft's revenue by 18 percent last quarter, though its profits declined.

How Nokia both helped and hindered Microsoft's earnings
Microsoft paid more than $7 billion for Nokia's handset and services business, and the jury is still out as to what it means for its future. In the past quarter it boosted Microsoft's revenue but also ate into its profit.

Microsoft brings two open source tools to Azure
Following through on promises from new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft continues to add support for non-Microsoft technologies, allowing them to run well on the company's Azure cloud hosting platform.

Intel releases its most reliable pro SSD
Intel today unveiled its Pro 2500 series of flash drives, which include 2.5-in. drives and M.2 flash cards for mobile devices.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Bye, Nokia, nice knowing you
Nokia, once a great company and the pride of Finland, is shuffling to its grave under Microsoft's leadership.

'Nadella Effect' makes Ballmer $2.8B richer
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's 'devices and services' strategy may be in tatters, discarded by his successor, Satya Nadella, but Ballmer must be smiling all the way to the bank.

Microsoft reveals bankruptcy of devices strategy by dumping Nokia feature phones
Microsoft decision to ax the feature phone business it got when it bought Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion shows the investment 'went for naught.'

Microsoft combines several enterprise IT conferences into one for '15
Microsoft will hold next year a new conference that encompasses its enterprise IT products, including the productivity and server Office software, IT management wares and development tools, and replaces several shows that are narrower in scope.

Lenovo spins 180, says it's still in the 8-in. Windows tablet game
Lenovo on Friday said it would continue selling sub-10-in. Windows tablets in the U.S., backing away from statements it made the day before.

Cloud message resonates with Microsoft partners
Microsoft has been screaming "cloud" in many partners' deaf ears for several years, but the company found a more receptive audience at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference.

Google starts work on Chrome bug that slurps Windows laptop juice
Google engineers have begun working on a fix for a months-old Chrome bug that drains Windows' laptop batteries, a move triggered by a story on Forbes' website.

Microsoft may drag out layoffs for a year
It could take Microsoft a year to lay off the 18,000 workers it plans to cut, resulting in a drawn-out morale-busting process criticized by both labor experts and industry analysts.

Microsoft now leads in tech layoffs
Microsoft's planned 18,000 job cuts, or 14% of its workforce, is the biggest tech layoff announced this year, surpassing Hewlett-Packard's announcement in May that it was cutting 16,000 jobs.

Layoffs raise questions about Nadella's commitment to Nokia deal
Microsoft's 14 percent staff reduction, the largest in its history and focused heavily on employees acquired from Nokia's devices and services business, has some observers thinking Satya Nadella got a bad case of Lumia-induced indigestion.

Surface survives Microsoft cuts, but tablet strategy remains muddled
Microsoft plans to press ahead with its in-house Surface tablets, but the company's strategy remains vague and elusive.

EU privacy watchdogs to quiz Google, Microsoft on 'right to be forgotten'
European privacy authorities have invited Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to discuss the implementation of a landmark ruling by Europe's top court that gives people the right to have personal information excluded from search results.

As it lays off workers, Microsoft also kills its low-end Nokia X smartphones
In addition to announcing its largest job cuts ever, Microsoft today also signaled a retreat from its low-end Nokia X line of Android phones.

Update: Microsoft to lay off 18,000 in next year
Microsoft announced Thursday morning that it will cut its workforce by up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent, in the next year, as part of a broad effort to streamline the company in the wake of its acquisition of phone-maker Nokia.

Microsoft to lay off 18,000 in next year
Microsoft announced this morning that it will cut its workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year.

How Microsoft announces layoffs will show the company's PR IQ
If Microsoft pulls the layoff trigger today, as many expect, the company will face PR problems if it doesn't make smart moves, a crisis communications expert said.

Timeline: How Apple's iOS gained enterprise cred
In the seven years since the first iPhone arrived, iOS has morphed from a consumer-centric OS into one with a wealth of enterprise-worthy features.

Apple and IBM: A winning combo for IT
One thing is clear about the Apple-IBM partnership: It will change the dynamic of the enterprise mobility market in significant ways.

Microsoft offers European Bing users the 'right to be forgotten'
Microsoft has started accepting requests from users in Europe who want to remove search links from Bing under a recent "right-to-be-forgotten" ruling by Europe's top court.

Cheaper Xbox offering without Kinect spikes U.S. sales
Sales of Xbox One gaming consoles more than doubled in the U.S. last month because of the introduction of a cheaper version of the console that doesn't include the Kinect motion sensor.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Who should really worry about Apple/IBM? Microsoft
Sure, the enterprise push by Apple and IBM should worry the Android camp, and business writers should make sure they have an up-to-date obituary ready for BlackBerry. But Microsoft is the company with the most to lose.

Microsoft may announce its biggest layoffs ever on Thursday
Microsoft reportedly will announce the biggest round of layoffs in its history on Thursday as massive changes wrought by new CEO Satya Nadella start to take hold at the struggling IT giant.

Why Microsoft isn't spooked by the Apple-IBM alliance
The Apple-IBM partnership will have little effect on Microsoft's dominance in the enterprise, or drastically change its mutating mobile strategy.

Without the cloud, Microsoft may lose grasp on the enterprise
Microsoft's renewed push into cloud computing, announced this week, doesn't change the fact that it faces unprecedented competition in a business that's critical to its future.

Microsoft's future under Nadella less about Windows, more about mobile and cloud
Microsoft's future will be less devoted to its Windows operating system as it continues to push into mobile and cloud services, CEO Satya Nadella said, using his keynote speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference to talk about where the company is headed.

Microsoft boosts OneDrive storage to free terabyte
Microsoft has begun boosting the free allowance of its OneDrive cloud-based storage service to one terabyte for subscribers to consumer and college student Office 365 plans.

NetApp Private Storage adds an Azure cloud option
Microsoft Azure just became the next cloud connection for NetApp Private Storage, which can already link enterprise storage to Amazon Web Services.

Apple fashions 'brilliant' partnership with IBM for instant enterprise cred
The business-focused deal between Apple and IBM unveiled Tuesday is 'brilliant,' one analyst said, noting that Apple now gets into the enterprise through the front door rather than the back.

Virtual license portability added to Barracuda security products
Barracuda Networks has introduced license portability for the virtual products in its security product line-up.

Microsoft plans price war to stymie Chromebook growth
Microsoft's COO says his company and its army of OEMs will compete on price with Google's Chromebooks, a milestone in Microsoft's battle against the encroaching enemy.

Critical design flaw in Active Directory could allow for a password change
Microsoft's widely used software for brokering network access has a critical design flaw, an Israeli security firm said, but Microsoft contends the issue has been long-known and defenses are in place.

OCZ flash accelerator takes a sharper focus on SQL Server
Storage has always affected how fast software runs, but IT shops now have more tools they can bring to bear on the problem.

Microsoft COO tells partners to get with the cloud program now
Microsoft channel partners need to urgently redefine and evolve their businesses so that they can resell the company's cloud computing products, according to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner.

Microsoft gets real, admits its device share is just 14%
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner acknowledged today that his company's operating systems power only a small fraction of all devices worldwide.

Future Java 7 patches will work on Windows XP despite end of official support
Oracle has dispelled rumors that the upcoming security update for Java 7 and those it will release in the future might not work on Windows XP.

How to sign up for Microsoft's restored security alert email service
Microsoft has restored service to its security advisory mailing list, but it has buried the sign-up form and made it hard to find.

Microsoft to take its 'mobile first, cloud first' mantra to partners
Microsoft shifts its attention cross-country this week, from its Washington state headquarters, overcast with uncertainty, to Washington, D.C., where company leaders will try to make sunny optimism shine at its annual partner conference.

What about Windows, Mr. Nadella?
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demoted Windows to a handful of terse mentions deep in his 3,100 all-hands strategy email of last week.

Big changes and possible cuts prompt Microsoft to publicly air Nadella memo
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella distributed his Thursday memo beyond the halls of his company to signal to everyone that big changes, likely including staffing cuts, are coming.

Microsoft buys InMage to boost Azure Site Recovery
Microsoft plans to enhance its Azure cloud backup and recovery by integrating technology from InMage, a business continuity vendor it just acquired.

QuickPoll: What should Microsoft focus on?
In a 3,100 word email to Microsoft's 130,000 employees, CEO Satya Nadella said the firm's two-year-old "devices and services" strategy is dead. So what should Microsoft's new focus be?

Nadella dumps Ballmer's 'devices and services,' coins his own strategy
The words chosen by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for the long mission statement he issued Thursday show the firm's two-year-old "devices and services" strategy is dead.

Two New Apps That Can Help Save You Money (Seriously)
Looking to spend less dough on stuff you want or need? I've got two new, free apps that can help.

Microsoft slashes SMB Office 365 prices by up to 31%
Microsoft's price cuts for some Office 365 plans was an attempt to keep momentum on its software-by-subscription push, an analyst said.

Nadella on Microsoft's culture change: 'Nothing is off the table'
Microsoft staffers worldwide should buckle their seat belts because a big culture shakeup is in the works at the company.

Microsoft settles with No-IP after seizing its domains in botnet hunt
Microsoft has reached a settlement with domain provider No-IP to disable some of its domains, after taking control of part of its network to shut down a botnet.

Microsoft to strike back at Salesforce.com with CRM cloud for government
Microsoft is continuing its dogfight with Salesforce.com in the customer relationship management software market with a new Dynamics CRM Online cloud service for U.S. government agencies.

Russian Windows leaker denies link to ex-Microsoft worker who stole trade secrets
Notorious Russian leaker Wzor denied any link between the publication of internal Microsoft info and a former employee who stole trade secrets.

Microsoft plans to revamp Office 365's SMB editions
Microsoft will revamp its Office 365 lineup for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), adding features, dropping prices and increasing the flexibility to mix and match them with Office 365 plans for enterprises and with stand-alone applications.

Microsoft's IE steps back from the brink of irrelevance
Microsoft has managed to reverse years of sometimes-sharp decline in Internet Explorer's user share and revive interest in the browser it bundles with Windows.

Patch alert: Update browsers' Flash ASAP to block log-on theft
While Google's Chrome and Microsoft's IE10 and IE11 browsers will automatically update to the latest version of Adobe Flash, anyone using Safari, Firefox, Opera or older versions of IE must do so manually.

Microsoft debugs IE and Windows with Patch Tuesday updates
Another month of security updates from Microsoft means, once again, another round of fixes for the company's Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser, as well as a set of updates for the Windows operating system, for both the server and desktop editions.

Want credit for June's Exchange blackout? File a claim
Microsoft will require companies to file individual claims if they want a service credit for the Exchange Online outage of last month.

Getting started with Microsoft Azure RemoteApp
There are several deployment choices, but none is overly complex to set up.

Microsoft Azure ML -- big data modeling in Azure
Microsoft has jumped in with both feet with the release to Preview of a new Microsoft Azure-based tool that helps organizations do Machine Learning and predictive analysis all from a Web console.

Gartner scales back Windows forecast
Gartner today scaled back its forecast of Windows' near future, saying that while Microsoft's OS will power a growing number of devices this year and next, the gains will be smaller than it projected in January.

Windows will be crucial to a PC market revival in 2015
Microsoft's Windows OS could play a crucial rule in returning worldwide PC shipments to modest growth next year after multiple years of decline, Gartner said on Monday.

Universal Apps: Microsoft's bid to bring mobile developers back to Windows
Microsoft's messy mobile strategy and incompatible platforms have frustrated would-be app developers. Can Universal Apps stop the rot?

Firefox falters, falls to record low in overall browser share
Firefox's user share on all platforms -- desktop and mobile -- has plunged in the last two months as its desktop browser continued to bleed and efforts to capture users on smartphones fell short.

Ruby on Rails patches tackle SQL injection vulnerabilities
Two SQL injection vulnerabilities were patched in Ruby on Rails, a popular open-source Web development framework used by some high-profile websites.

Terabyte boost of OneDrive for Business starts
Microsoft has begun rolling out the one terabyte of storage it promised to users of OneDrive for Business two months ago.

Microsoft slates critical IE, Windows patches for Tuesday
Microsoft plans to ship six security updates to customers next week, patching all versions of Internet Explorer and nearly all supported editions of Windows.

It's Time for IT Pros to Declare Their Technology Freedom?
Here in the U.S. we celebrate the 4th of July our day of independence signifying freedom. But we often seem happier when there is someone telling us what to do -- some person or vendor who takes away the burden of a decision and just makes it for us.

No-IP regains control of some domains wrested by Microsoft
A Nevada-based company has regained control of the majority of domains seized by Microsoft in a legal action aimed at shutting down botnets.

Many employees won't mingle with enterprise social software
In a great IT industry irony, enterprise social networking software, designed to boost interaction and collaboration, is often ignored by users and ends up forgotten like the proverbial ghost town with rolling tumbleweeds.

Microsoft trolls for Office beta testers
Microsoft today put out a call for commercial and consumer beta testers to put upcoming versions of Office through the wringer.

Microsoft backs open source for the Internet of Things
Microsoft has joined what began as a Linux Foundation effort to create an open platform for the Internet of Things. It's a move that may be a telling sign regarding Microsoft's plans for home automation, and even for the Xbox.

Microsoft joins AllSeen Alliance, the Qualcomm-led IoT project
Microsoft has joined the AllSeen Alliance, which is building an open source framework for connecting homes, cars and mobile devices.

Critics blast Microsoft's takedown of No-IP domains
Microsoft's tactics in using a court order to seize nearly two-dozen No-IP.com domains it said were used to distribute Windows malware tools were called ham-handed by several critics.

Windows 8 uptake sags, flirts with flop
Windows 8's uptake stumbled last month, and the perception-plagued operating system flirted with falling behind the tempo of the Windows Vista flop of seven years ago.

Microsoft legal action cramping other hacking campaigns, Kaspersky says
Microsoft's seizure of domains from a DNS service provider has also disrupted some state-sponsored cyberespionage campaigns, according to security vendor Kaspersky Lab.

Microsoft admits technical error in IP takeover, but No-IP still down
Microsoft admitted Tuesday it made a technical error after it commandeered part of an Internet service's network in order to shut down a botnet, but the Nevada-based company says its services are still down.

Microsoft boosts anti-snooping protection in Outlook.com, OneDrive
Microsoft has added encryption safeguards to the Outlook.com webmail service and to the OneDrive cloud storage service, in part to better protect these consumer products from government snoops.

Microsoft to resume email-based security notifications
Microsoft has backtracked on a plan to stop sending email-based notifications about security bulletins starting this month.

Microsoft's crusade against malware advances to Kuwait, Algeria
Microsoft has taken legal action to combat the spread of malware that the company says can be traced to bad actors in Kuwait and Algeria.

Microsoft to shutter security notification service
Microsoft will shut down its email notification service for security warnings on Tuesday, telling IT and security administrators that they should instead subscribe to RSS feeds from the firm.

Microsoft admits communications and tech problems during Office 365 outages
A "unique" breakdown coupled with a previously unknown flaw in Exchange Online caused Tuesday's extensive outage, and to make matters worse, the service disruption alert system also malfunctioned, leaving some affected customers in the dark.

Microsoft botched all aspects of Exchange outage response
Microsoft blew it Tuesday when its Exchange Online hosted email service went dark and the company made no effort to explain what was going on to customers.

Google targets business users with cloud, Docs advances
After focusing on Android during much of today's lengthy keynote, Google officials turned their attention to the enterprise.

Google trumps Microsoft's 1TB of storage with unlimited space
Google today answered Microsoft's boost of cloud storage space by announcing it would give Google Apps for Business customers an unlimited amount of storage for an additional $5 a month per user.

Support clock ticks on Office for Mac 2011, but heir nowhere in sight
The clock is ticking on support for Office for the Mac 2011, and there's still no sign from Microsoft of a replacement.

Microsoft turns cloud storage into Office 365 feature
Microsoft's decision to boost free storage space to one terabyte for Office 365 subscribers is less a game changer for the rent-not-own concept than additional evidence that storage is transforming from a separate service to a feature, analysts argued today.

Microsoft fixes Exchange Online outage after almost 9 hours
Microsoft has finally fixed an Exchange Online outage that left affected users without access to email for almost nine hours on Tuesday, prompting many to vent their frustration online as they struggled to get their work done.

Exchange Online starts to recover from 6-hour-plus outage
Microsoft has started to restore email flow to Exchange Online customers affected by an outage that has lasted more than six hours, affecting a big chunk of the U.S. workday on Tuesday.

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Maybe Nadella isn't God, Microsoft employees say after hearing layoff plans

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella walks on water if you believe his ratings as a boss by Microsoft employees. But after his announced plans for laying off 18,000 employees, Microsoft workers are far cooler to him. Is this the end of his honeymoon?

Will Microsoft's Surface line ever make a profit?

Microsoft's quarterly earnings report this week had a bit of deja vu: The company's bottom line once again took a hit because of woes with the Surface line. This time around, it was cancelling the Surface Mini. Will the Surface line ever make a profit?

Earnings reports show Apple matters to the world, Microsoft doesn't

Yesterday's earnings reports from Microsoft and Apple showed a contrast in corporate strategies: Apple's aimed at consumers, Microsoft's targeted at businesses. Those reports and the press's reaction to them shows why right now Apple matters to the world, and Microsoft doesn't.

New leaked Windows 9 screenshots show an operating system PC users can love

Two new leaked Windows 9 screenshots show good news for users of traditional PCs -- it looks as if the operating system will be actually useful for them, and not just for those with touch-based devices. I've got screenshots and details.

Sounds like a training issue

This medical supply company has a number of older, less tech-savvy users. But how many ways are there to misunderstand "click on the Start button"?

My, what an optimistic view of users you have!

It's been a long, hard effort, but this pilot fish's organization has finally managed to get rid of all its Windows XP computers -- almost. Now how to get rid of that last one-tenth of 1 percent?

FINALLY! Download Google Chrome Beta and fix slow, blurry font 'bug'

Chrome Beta download: You are about to participate in a great adventure.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) brings beta browser, with DirectWrite support. Beta 37 should quell complaints that Windows font rendering is slow and blurry. The ancient Graphics Device Interface (GDI) calls have finally been replaced -- by using the outer limits of DirectWrite.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers initially eulogize: GDI API RIP.

Do Microsoft layoffs mean Windows Phone will be sold off?

Microsoft's plans to lay off 18,000 people in the next year and decision to kill off the Nokia X line of low-cost Android phones may be more than short-term cost-cutting measures -- they could well portend Microsoft's selling off its Windows Phone line. So says at least one analyst. Is he on target?

Apple-IBM deal fallout: The future of innovation is now with Microsoft.

The Apple-IBM blockbuster deal may finally give Apple its long-denied entrée into the enterprise. But it also may signal something even more surprising: That the future of innovation now belongs to Microsoft, not Apple. Here's why.

Microsoft: Lumia 630 and Lumia 930 Windows Phone owners, Google search is banned for you

If you buy a Lumia 630 or 930 Windows Phone and want to use Google as your default search engine, you're out of luck: Microsoft has disabled that capability in those phones. For better or worse, you're stuck with Bing. Will this come back to bite Microsoft?

Is this Windows 9 Start Menu the real thing?

There's a screen shot circulating online that purports to show the new Windows 9 Start Menu in action. Is this really the future of Windows, or just a well-done fake?

Microsoft CEO Nadella pens HUGE staff memo -- oh my!

Nadella memo: Open to interpretation.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella enjoys writing a good memo. His latest tome written to employees -- published online Thursday -- has continued to incite bloggy controversy the entire weekend. After reading the screed, some bloggers predict job cuts or perhaps a flattened organization structure for Microsoft in the near future.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers lie down on a couch.

Expect the big ax to fall at Microsoft. Here's where the cuts might be.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella yesterday hinted that job cuts were coming to Microsoft, and multiple sources are reporting that they're all but a done deal. Where might the cuts be, and how many people will be involved? I've rounded up the best thinking on how it all might shake out.

Microsoft CEO Nadella: Windows is over, the future is mobile and the cloud

In case you were wondering where Windows stood in Microsoft's future, CEO Satya Nadella just made it clear: Windows is the past; mobile and the cloud are the future. Today he laid out his vision for the future of Microsoft tto the company's employees, and Windows barely even rated a mention.

Patch Tuesday for July 2014: Pass the hash for cash

For this July Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has released six updates with two rated as critical, three as important and the final patch rated as moderate. Normally, this would represent an average update from Microsoft for this time of year. We also have seen the release of three advisories from Microsoft, which may relate to more important security vulnerabilities and patching processes than our standard monthly updates.