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Windows

Windows 8 Killing PC Sales 1010

yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
Microsoft

Microsoft Makes Direct X 11.1 a Windows 8 Exclusive 553

BluPhenix316 writes "Microsoft has made Direct X 11.1 a Windows 8 Exclusive. I think this is merely an update to make Direct X more integrated with Windows 8. Is this going to be the trend? To lock you into the OS updates so Windows 7 doesn't last as long as Windows XP has?" The update is pretty minor, but it does add Stereoscopic rendering, and there seemed to be an implication that no new DirectX updates after this will be made for Windows 7.
Microsoft

Microsoft Unveils First New Company Logo In 25 Years 378

Barence writes "For the first time in 25 years, Microsoft has issued a new company logo to usher in the Windows 8 era. Made up of a newly square Windows symbol alongside grey Microsoft logo type, it's been designed to closely match the logos for other products in Microsoft's portfolio, including Office and Xbox. The logo takes pride of place on Microsoft.com from today, and will be used in Microsoft's retail stores and on all future TV ads."
Microsoft

Windows 7 Is the Next Windows XP 504

snydeq writes "Windows XP's most beloved factors are also driving business organizations to Windows 7 in the face of Windows 8. 'We love Windows 7: That's the message loud and clear from people this week at the TechMentor Conference held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. With Windows XP reaching end of life for support in April 2014, the plan for most organizations is to upgrade — to Windows 7,' indicating 'a repeat of history for what we've seen with Windows releases, the original-cast Star Trek movie pattern where every other version was beloved and the ones in between decidedly not so.'"
GUI

Former Xerox PARC Researcher: Windows 8 Is a Cognitive Burden 404

New submitter LiroXIV writes "You know you've messed up big time when someone related to the development of one of the first graphical interfaces for computers thinks you've messed up. Usability expert Raluca Budiu has shared the common conclusion for many about Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8; it's definitely not as user-friendly as past versions. Quoting: 'The advantage of the overlaid menu is that it preserves context. Cognitively, there’s more of a burden when you have to switch context twice (desktop->start screen; start screen -> desktop). There are reasons to force users to switch contexts, especially in the tablet or phone environment, where screen real-estate is a lot more expensive and a menu is forced to use only part of the (already-small) screen. In that situation, a separate page makes better use of the small screen space. There are fewer reasons for a separate page on a desktop – the start menu is a cheaper interaction than the start page.'"
Operating Systems

Windows 8 Gets Personal Use License For Homebuilt PCs 330

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Geek.com: "Microsoft has never really acknowledged or supported those among us who choose to build their own PCs. Windows licensing is usually offered in three forms: full retail product license, retail upgrade license, and OEM license. If you want to build your own machine at the moment, Microsoft expects you to buy a full retail copy of Windows. With Windows 8 that all changes and Microsoft has decided to actively support individuals who want to build their own machines or run Windows 8 as a virtual machine. That support comes in the form of a new license option called the Personal Use License for System Builder (PULSB). With PULSB, Microsoft is dumping the full retail license used in previous versions. Instead it is offering a version of Windows 8 to be installed as the main operating system on a single system meant for personal use, or in a virtual machine running on an existing PC (running any legal OS such as Windows 7, Mac OS X, or your favorite flavor of Linux)."
The Internet

Windows 8 Changes Host File Blocking 1030

An anonymous reader writes "Windows 8 has been confirmed to not only ignore, but also modify the hosts file. As soon as a website that should be blocked is accessed, the corresponding entry in the hosts file is removed, even if the hosts file is read-only. The hosts file is a popular, cross-platform way of blocking access to certain domains, such as ad-serving websites."
Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Release Date Confirmed 175

twoheadedboy writes "Microsoft is going to release its Surface tablet on the same day Windows 8 goes on general availability, Oct. 26. The news was disclosed in a filing made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which also revealed that the company expects launch and the accompanying marketing to harm its profits. We'll soon find out whether Microsoft has what it takes to take on the seemingly indomitable iPad."
Linux Business

Why Valve Wants To Port Games To Linux: Because Windows 8 Is a Catastrophe 880

An anonymous reader writes "Gabe Newell wants to support Linux because he think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in PC space. He wants to move away from a closed ecosystem of Microsoft Windows 8. He recently made a rare appearance at Casual Connect, an annual videogame conference in Seattle. From the allthingsd article: 'The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don't realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior. We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It's a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we'll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that's true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.' Some Linux users think that this is a win-win situation for Linux users as it will brings good game titles on the Linux system that haven't been there and it will protect steam business model from both Apple and Microsoft."
Windows

Windows 8 Graphics: Microsoft Has Hardware-Accelerated Everything 563

MrSeb writes "Microsoft has detailed the extensive changes made to the Windows 8 graphics subsystem and DirectX 11.1. In short, everything in Windows 8 is hardware accelerated, and as a result its text, 2D, and 3D performance will blow Windows 7 away. DirectX 11.1 has also received a significant overhaul that should result in faster and more efficient games and applications. The bulk of the graphics changes in Windows 8 pertain to hardware acceleration for simple, typographically-rich Metro-style apps. In Windows 8, the rendering speed of text and simple shapes has been massively increased across the board: Title and heading text renders 336% faster than Windows 7; Lines render 184% faster; Rectangles render 438% faster; and so on. The rendering of JPEG, PNG, and GIF image files has also been improved in Windows 8, mostly by expanding SIMD usage. In one demo, Windows 8 decodes and renders 64 JPEGs in 4.38 seconds, while Windows 7 performs the same task in 7.28 seconds. Amongst a few changes to DirectX, the most significant feature in DX 11.1 is the new, simplified, unified Direct3D 11.1 API, which finally brings together the many API offshoots that MS has implemented in recent years."
Microsoft

Gartner Analyst Retracts "Windows 8 Is Bad" Claim 306

nk497 writes "A Gartner analyst made headlines after describing Windows 8 desktop as: 'in a word: bad.' After web reaction, including one story asking why anyone bothers to listen to the consultancy firm anymore, Gunnar Berger has now yanked the offending sentence from his blog post, saying it was taken out of context and only applied to using the desktop with a mouse and keyboard, and that overall Windows 8 is a good thing. 'If you look at my blog, I've gotten rid of it,' he said. 'It's upsetting me that it's being taken completely out of context.'"
Microsoft

Windows 8 Release Date: October 26th 172

Several readers sent word that Microsoft has selected a release date for Windows 8: October 26th. Steven Sinofsky made the announcement today at the company's annual sales meeting. The new version of the operating system will be sent to manufacturers next month, giving them plenty of time to prepare for general availability.
Windows

Microsoft Trying To Woo Businesses To Windows 8 442

jfruh writes "Windows 8 is the most radical rewrite of Microsoft's operating system in decades — and most of the changes are aimed at consumers and new tablet form-factors. Meanwhile, corporate IT is deeply suspicious. Over at Microsoft TechEd Europe, the company is gamely trying to explain to enterprises why they should switch, with easy-to-write enterprise apps and the ability to stream server-side x86 apps to Windows RT. Not everyone is convinced."
Cloud

Microsoft Announces 'Surface' Tablet 712

MrSeb was one of several submitters to write in about Microsoft's foray into the tablet hardware market. From the article: "At its much-discussed 'big unveil' this evening, Microsoft did indeed launch a tablet — but rumors that the device would showcase a Barnes & Noble partnership were misplaced. Instead, Microsoft showed a ... device that integrates a better keyboard option than typing on the screen without adding size or weight. That's where the new keyboard — which doubles as a screen cover — kicks in. At 3mm thick, it adds virtually nothing to the device's size, but it opens up a world of inputs. There are two covers available — the Touch Cover (very thin) and the Type Cover (with proper, tactile keys). Microsoft is touting the device's magnesium body, vapor-deposited construction, full PC functionality, and additional features like being the first tablet to showcase a 2×2 MIMO wireless antenna. Windows RT (ARM) and x86 versions are both in the works, with the x86 version apparently having a higher quality screen. No word on hardware specs yet; Microsoft is claiming it 'rivals the best ultrabooks' and uses less power than the Core i5." Microsoft has a launch site with a few pictures. There is a vague spec sheet: the x86 version is slightly thicker and has a larger battery (and comes with a pen) than the ARM tablet, but that's about all it reveals. Update: 06/19 16:06 GMT by T : Nick Kolakowski at GeekNet's SlashCloud says this may be Microsoft's best chance to compete in a cloud-centric mobile computing world.
Windows

Can Windows 8 Succeed In a Cloud-Based World? 213

New submitter Nerval's Lobster writes "To say that Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8 is a bit of an understatement. The upcoming OS needs to prove that Windows can stay relevant in a world where desktop-based programs are increasingly giving way to cloud apps, and mobile devices are eclipsing PCs as the center of people's computing lives. Can Windows 8 succeed in that mission? The real answer will have to wait, but in the meantime I've laid out some potential success-or-failure factors over at SlashCloud."

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