Continuing coverage of Microsoft's Windows 8
Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
Microsoft will deliver five security updates to customers next week, two tagged as "critical," including one that will quash the open vulnerability in Internet Explorer that hackers have been exploiting since January.
Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
Microsoft has reached a critical milestone for its next update to Windows 8, which is slated to ship early next month, according to reports.
OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
Lowering the price of an operating system upgrade boosts its uptake five-fold, but pushing it out for free speeds uptake as much as 12 times, data from an analytics company shows.
No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
Microsoft today said it has not changed the end-of-support policy for Windows XP users in China, and will still cut off those customers -- as it will others around the world -- from security patches after April 8.
Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
Microsoft delivered the first service pack for Office 2013 on Tuesday, making good on a promise last year to ship the update in early 2014 and synchronizing its release with prior editions' initial service packs.
Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
Analysts were uncertain today whether the recent stretch of "go-low" moves by Microsoft means that the company has tweaked its strategy to emphasize services at the expense of devices.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
More and more for Windows users, there's no OS like an old OS.
Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
Astute Windows users have pointed out the Achilles Heel of Microsoft's plea for help in getting customers to dump Windows XP: The lack of a smooth upgrade path to Microsoft's newest OS, Windows 8.1.
Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
Microsoft on Sunday publicly acknowledged what leaks had shown, that the company will issue an update to Windows 8.1 this spring that provides more tools for owners of traditional PCs controlled by mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft tries to jumpstart cheap Windows devices with license price cut
Microsoft has cut the price of Windows 8.1 by nearly three-fourths to device makers who produce lower-cost laptops and tablets.
Why Apple needs a $700 MacBook Air
Apple has been able to maintain high prices and high margins for its computers even as competitors jumped into a pricing pit. But with computer sales drooping, Apple may use the opportunity to lower prices.
Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch: A lightweight contender
We test Lenovo's latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch ultrabook, which is sleek and powerful, offers an impressive display and comes with an interesting keyboard innovation.
Microsoft delivers stopgap defense against active IE10 attacks
Microsoft on Wednesday issued a stopgap defense that protects IE9 and IE10 against ongoing attacks until the company issues a patch, probably in three weeks.
What if Microsoft threw an iPad Office party, and no one came?
Microsoft will make a killing when it launches Office apps for Apple's iPad and tablets powered by Android. Or will it?
Microsoft claims 200M Windows 8 licenses sold, but how many are in use?
Microsoft last week said that it had sold 200 million licenses of Windows 8 since the operating system launched more than 15 months ago. But how many copies are actually being used?
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: You can keep using XP for another year, but do you really want to?
While clinging to the 11-year-old OS after Microsoft issues its last security patch in April is defensible, the security risks are going to keep mounting.
Microsoft sets Oct. 31 as stop date for Windows 7 consumer PC sales
Microsoft has set Oct. 31 as the end of sales of new consumer-grade Windows 7 PCs, but for now has left open the do-not-sell-after-this-date for business machines.
Perspective: Microsoft hedges on Office for iPad, cites 'thoughtful' decisions
'Thoughtful' was the watchword yesterday for Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief of marketing, when she was asked how the company plans to extend its lucrative Office franchise to mobile platforms other than Windows
IE10 under attack as hackers exploit zero-day bug
FireEye today said it had discovered that attackers are actively exploiting a new, unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer 10.
Windows XP isn't the only software getting the knife in 8 weeks
Microsoft will call it quits not only on Windows XP in less than two months, but will pull the plug on Office 2003 the same day.
Microsoft adds critical IE, XP fixes to Tuesday's patch slate
Microsoft on Monday unexpectedly added two more critical security updates to the list it will deliver tomorrow, including one for all versions of Internet Explorer and another for the soon-to-be-retired Windows XP.
Backlash slaps Microsoft's 'help-a-friend-dump-XP' plea
Microsoft's appeal to its technically-advanced customers to help friends and family ditch Windows XP didn't quite work out like the company had hoped.
Perspective: Microsoft asks for volunteers to join its kill-XP army
Microsoft today implored its technically astute customers to help friends and family who are still running Windows XP get rid of the soon-to-be-retired operating system.
Nadella's rise renews appeals for Office on iPad, Android tablets
The anointment of new CEO Satya Nadella has renewed calls by analysts that Microsoft free its profitable Office franchise from Windows and release full-featured versions for Android and iOS tablets.
Microsoft promises Nadella up to $18M for fiscal year 2015
Microsoft this week set Satya Nadella's annual base salary at $1.2 million, nearly twice his predecessor's but right on the average of CEOs in the tech industry, an executive compensation expert said today.
Humorists strike gold with Nadella's promotion, Gates' job change
Humorists stuck a minor gold mine yesterday when Microsoft anointed Satya Nadella, a veteran company insider, as its new CEO, proving that funny can be found in the most unlikely places.
Bill Gates steps aside as chairman, becomes Nadella's 'consigliere'
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will step down as chairman of the board to spend his time with the company advising the new CEO, Satya Nadella.
Windows 8.1 refresh leaks to the Web
An early build of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 Update 1, a tweaked refresh of last fall's revamp to 2012's original Windows 8, has leaked to pirate websites, according to Web searches.
The ROI of free OS updates: Who wins, Apple or Microsoft?
By offering their latest operating systems for free, Microsoft and Apple have accelerated the adoption pace of their newest OSes, according to data released by analytics firm Net Applications.
Users postpone ditch-XP decision as Windows 8 runs to stay in place
Windows XP's disappearance and Windows 8's march toward some kind of success were both put on hold in January, after a December when the former's user share plunged and the latter's swelled, a Web analytics company said.
Leak hints Microsoft will recant 'make-them-eat-Metro' strategy for Windows 8
Microsoft will renounce its "make-them-eat-Metro" strategy in an update for Windows 8.1 slated to ship this spring, if leaked preliminary builds reflect the final product.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Told you so! Microsoft backs off on Metro
Microsoft appears to be backing off on its biggest user interface fiasco since Microsoft Bob: In the Windows 8.1 update, the desktop rather than Metro reportedly will be the default interface.
Cognoscenti anoint Nadella as next Microsoft CEO
After sustained reports surfaced that Microsoft is close to naming its third-ever CEO, Satya Nadella, a 21-year veteran of the company, is now seen as the heir apparent.
Pwn2Own hack contest puts record $645K on prize table
Hewlett-Packard's Zero Day Initiative has spelled out the rules for its March hacking contest, Pwn2Own, which will put two-thirds of a million dollars in prize money on the table for researchers who can hack the biggest browsers and most popular plug-ins.
Perspective: If Windows 8 = Vista, what's Microsoft's next move?
As Windows 8 struggles to gain traction, you can hear the criticism mounting that Microsoft's latest OS is the new Vista. If that turns out to be true, the company has some big decisions to make.
Microsoft retains weapon to silently scrub XP
Microsoft will be able to silently reach into Windows XP PCs for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS to clean malware-infected machines, sources close to the company confirmed.
Microsoft lost money on each Surface sold last quarter
Microsoft lost $39 million last quarter selling its Surface tablets, the company acknowledged in filings today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
HP sticks thumb in Microsoft's eye, discounts consumer Windows 7 PCs
Hewlett-Packard today launched a new online promotion that discounts several consumer PCs by $150 when equipped with Windows 7, saying the four-year-old OS is "back by popular demand."
Microsoft will furnish malware assassin to XP users until mid-2015
Microsoft will continue to offer its malware scrubbing program to Windows XP users for more than a year after it stops patching the operating system in April.
Windows 8's complexity tax shackles Microsoft
Complexity may be Windows' downfall, and Microsoft has not only failed to address the problem, but exacerbated it by shipping the dual-threat, two-UI Windows 8.
Windows users denounce Chrome scrollbar changes that mimic Chrome OS
Google Chrome users have stormed the company's support forum to complain about a non-standard scrollbar in Chrome 32 that makes it harder for them to navigate pages in Windows.
Steven J. Vaughan Nichols: Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty
Yes, Windows 8's been a failure. It's been worse than Vista. But is the solution really to push out a new operating system in double-quick time?
Microsoft retreats from XP's antivirus kill notice
Microsoft today backpedaled from earlier decisions and said it would extend a limited helping hand to Windows XP users by offering both antivirus signatures and its own Security Essentials software for more than a year after it stops patching the aged OS.
AV vendors buck Microsoft, will deliver Windows XP anti-malware signatures for years
Windows XP owners can expect most antivirus vendors to continue providing up-to-date signatures long after Microsoft pulls its patch plug in April, but that won't keep their machines safe, an expert said today.
Microsoft to +1 its OS, move to Windows 9 in 2015
Microsoft will likely talk up its next iteration of Windows, which some have already dubbed "Windows 9," at the BUILD developers conference in 11 weeks.
Apple's Mac ends up in tablet cannibal pot, too
Tablet cannibals have taken as big a bite out of Mac growth as they have out of PCs in general, showing that Apple is not immune to the seismic shift it triggered with the iPad.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Lessons for IT from Windows 8/Metro
What went wrong? The answer could keep your IT team from a similar design fiasco.
Patch Tuesday preview: Get your Windows XP patches while they last
Microsoft plans to deliver just four security updates next week, none of them marked "critical," to quash vulnerabilities in Windows, Word, SharePoint Server and Dynamics AX.
Analysts blast crappy Chromebooks reporting, defend platform's potential
Media reports two weeks ago that Chromebooks had had a successful 2013 drew criticism from analysts, including one whose data sparked the coverage.
OEMs, Intel making big mistake with two-headed, dual-OS devices
OEMs and Intel risk damaging both the Android and Windows ecosystems if they go through with plans to sell devices able to run software from both worlds, an analyst argued today.
Mozilla resets Metro Firefox ship date to mid-March
Mozilla has again pushed back the release date for a touch-enabled version of Firefox that will run in Windows 8's "Modern" user interface, with the new target in mid-March.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: The Windows killer: Chromebook
Could the Chromebook knock out Windows on the desktop? Don't bet against it.
Windows 8 regains uptake mojo, XP restarts death slide
Windows 8 surged in December to end the year with almost 12% of the user share of all Windows personal computers, while the destined-for-retirement Windows XP restarted its decline after a two-month pause, a Web analytics company Net Applications said Thursday.
Unencrypted Windows crash reports give 'significant advantage' to hackers, spies
Windows' error- and crash-reporting system sends a wealth of data unencrypted and in the clear, information that eavesdropping hackers or state security agencies can use to refine and pinpoint their attacks, a researcher said today.
Chromebooks' success punches Microsoft in the gut
Chromebooks had a very good year, according to retailer Amazon.com and industry analysts. And that's bad news for Microsoft.
Microsoft to face computer makers' rebellion at CES
Microsoft will face a rebellion of long-time partners at next month's CES when OEMs introduce Windows PCs that can also run Android mobile apps.
Balky browsers tick off tablet owners
Browser problems are the most common complaints of iPad Air and Fire HDX tablet owners, an online community of troubleshooters said.
Microsoft warns customers to update to Windows 8.1 final or face ruin
Microsoft today reminded customers that the Windows 8.1 Preview will conk out on Jan.15.
Perspective: Throw Windows XP a lifeline, Microsoft
Microsoft's support for WIndows XP ends in less than four months, and the company has warned users repeatedly that it's time to move on. But a lot of them are sticking with the aged OS. And for Microsoft, that's a problem.
Analyst credits Surface sell-out to Microsoft swinging conservative
Microsoft's Surface tablets were in short supply Monday, with most models out of stock on the company's online store.
Coming in 2014: MacBooks as fast as data center servers
DRAMeXchange expects second-generation PCIe to replace SATA III in servers and higher-end laptops as the interface of choice for manufacturers, including Apple.
Microsoft times BUILD dev conference to fall outside Apple's shadow
Microsoft will return to San Francisco in April to reprise its BUILD developers conference.
Microsoft likely to bring back Start menu in future Windows update
Microsoft is likely to bring back the Start menu to Windows 8 and let users run "Metro" apps inside windows on the desktop, restoring traditional elements to its newest operating system.
Microsoft retracts Windows 7 PC end-of-sales deadline
As quietly as Microsoft defined the dates it would stop selling Windows 7, over the weekend it revised its end-of-sales deadlines again, saying it had made a mistake.
Tablets remain tops in American gift-buying plans
A slightly-smaller percentage of American families plan to buy a tablet during the holiday season than last year, but tablets remain a hot-ticket item, a market research company reported today.
Other browser makers follow Google's lead, revoke rogue certificates
Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software today joined Google in revoking rogue digital certificates that had been issued by a subordinate certificate authority (CA) of France's cybersecurity agency.
Microsoft sells out Dell tablet doorbuster in minutes
Microsoft sold out the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet within minutes of kicking off an online discount Monday morning.
Microsoft exec hints at separate Windows release trains for consumers, business
Microsoft may revert to separate release schedules for consumer and business versions of Windows, the company's top OS executive hinted this week.
Bleak, bleaker, bleakest: Latest PC market forecast projects historic 10% downturn
This year will go down as the PC industry's largest contraction, research firm IDC said, with global shipments dropping by double digits and little relief in sight.
Free Mavericks sets OS X adoption record
Apple's Mavericks operating system set the OS X early-adoption record last month, with a third of all Macs running the new edition within weeks of its introduction.
Windows 8 uptake needle sticks as growth stalls
Windows 8's uptake stalled in November, while the now-aging Windows 7 continued to gain ground, a Web metrics company said Sunday.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Microsoft after Ballmer: Can this company be saved?
Even as he heads to the door, Ballmer is changing how Microsoft will run for years to come.
Malware: War without end
After decades of fighting off viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware and cyberattacks, total victory remains beyond reach.
Microsoft to deliver Office 2013 SP1 in early '14
Microsoft today said it will ship the first service pack for Office 2013 sometime early next year -- most likely in late February -- if it sticks to its usual release cadence.
Retailers to slash prices of Apple, Microsoft tablets on Black Friday
Several of the largest retailers in the U.S. will sell older-generation Apple and Microsoft tablets at cut-rate prices during their Black Friday sales drives.
Windows Store app growth stalls
Developer interest in Windows 8 apps waned from August through October, slowing the growth of Microsoft's Windows Store total app tally.
Perspective: What's Microsoft's Office Web Apps strategy?
Microsoft's addition of real-time collaboration to its free Office Web Apps last week was necessary in the short term to counter Google Docs, analysts said.
Microsoft books critical IE, Windows fixes for next week
Microsoft today released Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) for Windows 7, and announced it would soon start pushing it to customers as an automatic update.
Microsoft ships IE11 for Windows 7
Microsoft today released Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) for Windows 7, and announced it would soon start pushing it to customers as an automatic update.
Google walks away from Microsoft's IE9
As expected, Google today declared that it has ended support for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser for its own Google Apps.
Microsoft's big test: Deciding what stays, what goes in touch-based Office
What Microsoft puts in its upcoming touch-based Office suite will be a huge test for the company, analysts said.
Google escalates offensive against Office with Android 'KitKat'
Google last week again turned the screws on Microsoft and its Office franchise, this time by including Quickoffice with its newest Android mobile operating system, version 4.4 and dubbed "KitKat."
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: From Microsoft, more Windows fail
Is Windows 8.1 better than Windows 8? Yes. Is it any good? No.
Windows 8 uptake slows, ditch-XP movement decelerates
Windows 8's user share in October climbed past the 10% milestone for the first time since the launch of the radically-overhauled OS a year ago, an analytics company said Friday.
Apple's $900 million moment
Apple has put a value on its decision to give away future OS X upgrades to all Mac users and offer the iWork and iLife suites for free to new Mac and iOS device buyers: $900 million.
Apple plays defense and offense with free software, upgrade strategies
Apple's decision to give away OS X upgrades and other software, including the iWork productivity suite, stemmed from both offensive and defensive strategies, analysts said today.
Microsoft masks Windows, Office performance with new reporting format
Microsoft's new financial reporting format makes it much harder to get a grip on how two of its most important software franchises, Windows and Office, are performing, an analyst said.
Toshiba Satellite Click: A large tablet/laptop for $600
Toshiba's new low-cost convertible Satellite Click features a 13-in. Windows 8 tablet that snaps into its own keyboard.
Newest forecast kicks Windows' rebound further down the road
Gartner this week downgraded its Windows device shipment forecast for the second time this year, saying that while Microsoft's platform is still expected to rebound in 2014, its climb out of the PC slump will take longer.
The puzzling Lumia 2520 tablet: Will it disappear when Microsoft buys Nokia?
Nokia's launch today of its first Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520 running Windows RT 8.1, left observers wondering what would happen to the new tablet once Microsoft finalizes its $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia, probably next year.
Perspective: iPad and the keyboard -- getting inside Apple's head
By arming a larger iPad with a 64-bit processor and a keyboard cover, Apple could crack the nascent 2-in-1 device market, noted analyst Tim Bajarin said today.
Microsoft offers help for bricked Surface RT tablets
Microsoft yesterday published instructions for resurrecting a Surface RT that had been bricked by the Windows 8.1 update, along with a recovery image that must be loaded onto a USB flash drive.
Errors stymie Windows 8.1 updates on some devices
Microsoft customers have been plagued with problems that have foiled attempts to install the Windows 8.1 update, according to widespread reports on the company's support forums.
Scot Finnie: Can Microsoft make a comeback after Ballmer?
Whoever becomes Microsoft's new CEO needs to create a culture that encourages employees to voice ideas.
Preston Gralla: Why Ford's CEO is wrong for Microsoft
Alan Mulally is a savvy manager and a smart engineer. But Microsoft's big problem is vision, and that's where Mulally falls short.
Microsoft yanks Windows 8.1 update for Surface RT after 'Blue Screen of Death' reports
Microsoft on Friday yanked the Windows RT 8.1 update from its Windows Store after some Surface RT owners reported their tablets had been crippled.
Small biz admins squawk over Windows 8.1 updates
Small business IT administrators are angry at Microsoft for making them update each Windows 8 machine individually to Windows 8.1, a tedious task that requires them to point each device at the Windows Store and download a 3GB file.
Microsoft fires off Windows 8.1, first round in fast-track updates
Microsoft early today began feeding Windows 8.1 to customers already running Windows 8, making good on a bold promise to speed up the development and release of its flagship client operating system.
HP's Whitman pegs Microsoft as an 'outright competitor' over Surface
HP CEO Meg Whitman yesterday blamed part of her company's problems on competition from long-time partner Microsoft, making HP the U.S.'s largest OEM to publicly find fault with Redmond.
Microsoft ponies up $100K to researcher who figured out new Windows hack in 2 weeks
The security researcher who was awarded $100,000 by Microsoft said he spent about two weeks pondering, then demonstrating a new way to circumvent Windows' defensive technologies.
Our bloggers on Windows 8
Mac users four times more engaged than Windows users
Mac users are almost four times more likely to upgrade to the latest edition of their OS in comparison with Windows users, with nearly a quarter of the most active users of both platforms now using Macs.
Could Windows 9 kill off Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella?
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is just entering the honeymoon phase as Microsoft CEO. But if Windows 9 doesn't right Micrsoft's listing ship, don't be surprised if Nadella gets jettisoned for a new CEO.
Six ways the Windows 8.1 update bridges the Desktop-Start Menu divide
With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has finally realized it has to make its duelling Desktop and Start Menu interfaces play nice together. Based on the latest leaks, here are six ways it does it.
Microsoft cries 'uncle' on Windows 8 -- 8.1 update boots straight to desktop
Microsoft has apparently finally admitted that Windows 8's dueling tablet-PC interface was a mistake, because reports say that in the upcoming 8.1 update Windows will bypass the Start screen and boot straight to the desktop. But will this create an even bigger problem for Microsoft?
Here's how to make your Windows machine run Chrome OS
Want to use Chrome without buying a Chromebook? Here's a simple way to do it on a Windows machine that will take only a few minutes. You won't get all of Chrome's features, but you will get the most important ones.
Windows 9 will mean the revenge of the Desktop
Microsoft tried to kill the Desktop in Windows 8, but with Windows 9 the Desktop may well take center stage again. Reports says that the next Windows release, due possibly in the middle of 2015, may make the Desktop more useful than ever.
Quick guide: OS X Mavericks for Windows switchers
You're a Windows user and you're about to get your very first OS X Mac this Christmas. Now Apple's shipped new models you've taken the decision to buy. Here's a short guide to help Windows users get to grip with OS X Mavericks and their Mac.
Has Microsoft finally admitted Windows 8 was a colossal blunder?
Microsoft's decision to finally bring back a true Start menu to Windows begs the question: Has it finally recognized what a massive mistake it made with Windows 8, or is Microsoft just reluctantly assuaging critics?
Microsoft admits it blew naming the Surface RT, ignores bigger RT woes
Microsoft has finally admitted one part of the problem with its Surface RT strategy: Its naming caused "some confusion" among people who didn't understand the difference between the Surface and Surface RT. But there's a much bigger problem Microsoft refuses to face, one that likely dooms the RT platform to irrelevency.
Windows 8 shines amid shrinking PC sales; Apple gets whacked
Will Windows 8 be the savior for PCs? Reports from both Gartner and IDC show that Windows 8 is showing surprising resilience, while sales of Macs are tanking. Is this a one-time blip or the wave of the future?
Steve Ballmer finally admits Microsoft blew it by focusing too much on Windows
Steve Ballmer is one of the least reflective people in the tech world, and among the least willing to admit errors. So it was startling to hear him say yesterday that his biggest regret as Microsoft CEO was focusing too much on Windows, which harmed the company overall.
Is Bill Gates, not Steve Ballmer, responsible for Microsoft's decline?
Steve Ballmer has long been a whipping boy for those who believe he's responsible for Microsoft's long, slow decline. But there's another train of thought: Bill Gates, not Steve Ballmer, is the guilty party, with Ballmer doing his best to bail out the company after Gates' mistakes. Who's right?
Here's why Ballmer's successor must diss Windows to save Microsoft
Steve Ballmer's successor will have to do plenty to revitalize Microsoft. Here's what should be at the top of his list: Stopping the company's unhealthy reliance on Windows as the centerpiece of almost everything it does.
World's biggest PC maker disses Microsoft, adds real Start menu and app store to Windows 8
Users want a real Start menu on Windows 8, and Lenovo, the world's biggest PC maker, is happy to oblige. It just announced that Lenovo PCs will come with the Pokki app, which includes a real Start button and menu, not the useless Start button that will ship with Windows 8.1. Even worse for Microsoft: It lets users bypass the Windows Store to download apps and games.
Users tell Microsoft: We hate Windows 8 touchscreen PCs
With Windows 8, Microsoft recast Windows as a touchscreen interface, and bet the farm that people would flock to it. Now users have spoken: They hate the devices. New research from IDC shows that as few as 10% of all laptops sold this year will sport a touchscreen.