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Submission + - Microsoft is allegedly Selling Nokia to Foxconn

SmartAboutThings writes: It's no secret that Microsoft's phone business isn't going according to plan. Last quarter alone saw a 46% drop in phone revenue, slightly better than the 49% drop the quarter before that.

And now it seems that Microsoft is finally realizing this: according to rumors, the tech giant is considering licensing 50% of its mobile business to Foxconn — in other words, the Nokia brand it had purchased for 10 years, until 2024. It appears that negotiations have reached very advanced stages, with Microsoft and Foxconn currently deliberating the final clauses of the deal.

Submission + - BMW Showcases Self-Driving Concept Car

SmartAboutThings writes: We’ve just been given a glimpse of what the future of motoring could look like, with BMW showing off its latest concept car, and it’s self-driving. The Vision Next 100 was unveiled on Monday, at a ceremony celebrating BMW’s 100th birthday, at Munich’s Olympic Hall. This comes just a few days after BMW made official its intentions of competing with Google to build software for Self-Driving cars.

The Vision Next 100 has two driving modes, a driver mode and an autonomous mode, or ‘ease’ as its known. In driver mode the car operates mostly like cars do now, except the BMW indicates the ideal driving line and speed, but when the car is set to autonomous mode the steering wheel retracts and the two front seats turn to face each other. Perfect for two people to have a chat, and if it’s only you in the car, put your feet up and relax.

Submission + - Microsoft Back on the Offensive with Surface Book ads Targeting Apple

SmartAboutThings writes: Microsoft is taking off the gloves yet again. The computing giant has gone on the offensive again with a commercial campaign touting the advantages of its darling Surface Book compared to Apple’s iPad. Previously, Microsoft attempted to dethrone the iPad in 2013 with a series of ads attacking the iPad and then turning its sights on the MacBook Air in 2014, both of which echoed previous attempts to outrun the ghosts of Apple's legendary "Get a Mac" campaign. Unfortunately, not even the cleverest ads could distract from the debacle that was Windows 8, 8.1, and RT, so these weren't particularly effective outside of making people talk.

Submission + - BMW to Compete with Google to Build the Software for Self-driving Cars

SmartAboutThings writes: Google is about to get some serious competition in the self-driving car race from no other than BMW, one of the most important names in the car industry. Speaking to Reuters, BMW’s Head of Research and Development, Klaus Frohlich, said the following while present at the Geneva auto show.

“For me it is a core competence to have the most intelligent car. Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them.”

BMW believes its competitors in the future will include internet taxi service Uber and sales website Truecar. As the company is approaching its 100th birthday, the company is now on a quest to build the “ultimate driving machine”. The company is ‘preparing for a world in which its customers will be mere passengers, and the cars will do the driving themselves’. This, obviously, puts the company in direct competition against Google.

Submission + - Windows RT Could Make a Comeback

SmartAboutThings writes: Windows RT has been a terrible flop for Microsoft, but it seems the company isn't yet ready to totally abandon the concept. There's now speculation that Microsoft is working on Windows 10 RT, as mentions of the 'new OS' have been spotted inside of Device Guard which is a new security feature for Windows 10 Enterprise that scans a program for a digital signature, and determines whether it's trusted or not. Judging by its name, the OS should not be confused with proper Windows 10 that we see on Microsoft’s mobile devices as Windows 10 RT is a version of the OS that is designed for the desktop class PC and tablets.

Submission + - Microsoft Beefing up Windows Defender to Protect Against Avanced Hack Attacks

SmartAboutThings writes: Microsoft is beefing up Windows Defender, the anti-malware program that ships with Windows 10, as it tries to give companies the information they need after an hack attack has happened. Usually attacks that depend on social engineering or unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities can evade traditional anti-malware software and now Microsoft is announcing Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to detect this kind of attacks.

The announcement was made by Terry Myerson, the Executive Vice President at Windows and Devices Group, who said the following:

"To help protect our enterprise customers, we are developing Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a new service that will help enterprises to detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks on their networks. Building on the existing security defenses Windows 10 offers today, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection provides a new post-breach layer of protection to the Windows 10 security stack. With a combination of client technology built into Windows 10 and a robust cloud service, it will help detect threats that have made it past other defenses, provide enterprises with information to investigate the breach across endpoints, and offer response recommendations."

Submission + - Uber is Expanding its Self-driving Cars Research

SmartAboutThings writes: Uber announced that it is opening a new Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, where its autonomous vehicle research operations are headquartered. The company will renovate an old locomotive roundhouse and will build temporary roadways to test self-driving cars as part of its expansion, as well as housing and park space.

Submission + - Microsoft's Devices are Increasingly Popular in the US Government

SmartAboutThings writes: Recent reports from research firm Govini point out that the adoption of Windows-powered devices, mainly Surface tablets is on the rise in the US government. However, Apple’s devices still hold the majority of the share, but the percentage is constantly changing in favor of Microsoft devices. The Army, Air Force, Justice, Navy, DOI, and DHS are the departments where the adoption of Microsoft is on the highest level (Apple still dominates the share, though). But it won’t be a surprise if we see other departments switching to Microsoft’s tablets in the near future. The Army was the biggest spender last year, as the department spent $22 million on iPads, $2 million on Surface/Windows tablets, and another $2 million on Android-powered devices.

Submission + - Russia's Putin Wants to Ban Windows on Government PCs

SmartAboutThings writes: The Russian government is allegedly looking to ban Microsoft’s Windows operating system, increase taxes on foreign technology companies, develop its homegrown OS and encourage local tech companies to grow.

All these proposals comes from German Klimenko, Vladimir Putin's new 'internet czar, as Bloomberg describes him. In a 90-minute interview, Klimenko said forcing Google and Apple to pay more taxes and banning Microsoft Windows from government computers are necessary measures, as he is trying to raise taxes on U.S. companies, thus helping local Russian competitors such as Yandex and Mail.ru.

Submission + - Microsoft Ending Support for Windows 8, Internet Explorer 7-10

SmartAboutThings writes: Customers who rely on Microsoft's Windows 8 and Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10, will be sad to hear that the operating system and the Web browsers will reach the end of the line for support. The software will no longer receive security updates, thus leaving users open to malware and attackers targeting unpatched vulnerabilities. All Windows 8 users are being asked to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 and all Internet Explorer version need to upgrade to IE 11, except for Windows Vista users, who can stick with IE 9.

Submission + - Vivendi Takes Over Radionomy, Winamp Relaunch now Possible

SmartAboutThings writes: Winamp could once again be brought back to life after Vivendi Group took over the majority stake in Radionomy, the previous owner of the app who purchased it from AOL in early 2014. AOL originally planned to discontinue both Winamp and Shoutcast, but instead the company decided to sell the software to Belgian online radio service, Radionomy. The new owners initially promised that they’ll keep Winamp alive, but no updates have been released since the takeover, which made most people think that Winamp era has ended for good.

Vivendi Group, which owns or is involved in famous companies such as Dailymotion, Ubisoft, and Deezer, could help relaunch Winamp, although the press release announcing the acquisition offers no suggestion in this regard. The company, however, does mention Winamp and Shoutcast as two of the most important assets that will join its portfolio following the takeover.

Submission + - Microsoft Starts its Own Charity Organization, Microsoft Philanthropies

SmartAboutThings writes: Bill Gates is known as a big philanthropist, and now his own company will commit to even more charity work by launching a new organization, Microsoft Philanthropies. Microsoft's president and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith outlined the goals for the new organization, saying the new group will partner with nonprofit organizations to help expand technology projects to people who need it. Mary Snapp, who joined Microsoft as its first female attorney in 1988, will be the leader of Microsoft Philanthropies, and will report directly to Smith.

Submission + - Microsoft Open Sources and Forkes Windows Live Writer into Open Live Writer

SmartAboutThings writes: Windows Live Writer is a blogging tool that Microsoft originally released back in 2006, and it still remains popular today, which has prompted Microsoft to promise that it will make it open source earlier this year. Now the company has officially open-sourced and forked Windows Live Writer into Open Live Writer, having put its repositories on GitHub already.

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