Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

All anxiety and excitement will now dry up as Microsoft has finally announced the launch of its new OS, Windows 8. The much awaited operating system would be unveiled on October 26, 2012 almost three years after the launch of Windows 7.

The latest in the Windows series, the new OS would be available from the releasing date onwards for the users of Windows XP, Vista, or 7 as upgradable software. The company would also let the PC makers start selling computers with Windows 8 the same day.

As an upgrade, the OS costs $ 40, much lesser compared to all the previous versions launched by Microsoft. Users who bought Windows 7 PC on or after June 2 can upgrade the OS for $ 15.

The new, touch-friendly Windows 8, as the company claims, would revamp the entire series with its hallmark features. It is designed to run on tablets in addition to the traditional desktops.

Microsoft will also be launching Windows RT, the version exclusively designed to run on tablets alone, along with Windows 8. RT would run on those tablets that are powered by processors similar to that of iPad.

Moreover, Microsoft Corp plans to release its own tablet “Surface”, which would support Windows RT OS. The company has launched the new version of Office and has planned for renewed phone software. It also looks forward for new versions of Windows OS in every three years.

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Microsoft’s famous FUSE labs launched its most hyped product So.cl (pronounced as social) last week. Contradictory to the previous statements, So.cl won’t be a rival to the facebook or google+.

According to Microsoft, So.cl will be an experimental social search project, focused on social search for the purpose of learning. The primary target will be students since it will give them a chance to share and collaborate the ideas from various web pages and other resources.

The main features of So.cl include social search, which is usually public and can be made private on demand. The search interface is made with the help of Bing. Users can create communities with likeminded people around them and post pictures or data. The video chat room facility helps the community members to watch a video together.  It also offers public file sharing, with the most searched topic having the high priority. The interesting feature is that users with a facebook or twitter account can collaborate their account with So.cl and start Searching! But for the time being, new users trying to login to the So.cl are greeted back with the message that the site is overcrowded.

Even though Microsoft says that So.cl won’t be a rival to facebook, we cannot forget the fact that facebook also began its journey as a small community search for a college.

A unique privacy protection feature called ‘Tracking Protection’ in Microsoft’s next-generation Web browser will protect users from being tracked. This recently announced feature will enable users to stop certain websites and tracking companies from gathering information about them.

A list of the web addresses used by tracking companies called “tracking protection lists” can be subscribed by the users and the Internet Explorer would then automatically block those companies from the user’s computer.

The feature is expected to arrive in the first release candidate of IE9 early next year. This will direct the browser which third-party page elements sites can and cannot be blocked from tracking. The new feature will allow users to prevent being tracked by small text files called “cookies” and bits of software known as “beacons.

Dean Hachamovitch, Head of Internet Explorer development, explain its working in detail on the Microsoft’s IE blog. A Tracking Protection List (TPL) contains web addresses (like msdn.com) that the browser will visit (or call’) only if the consumer visits them directly by clicking on a link or typing their address. By limiting the calls to these websites and resources from other web pages, the TPL limits the information these other sites can collect.

The lists will not be created or hosted by Microsoft, but likely by consumer protection organizations or interested enthusiasts. Once downloaded to the user’s PC, they will be automatically updated via a subscription mechanism.

The tracking protection will not be on by default when it arrives, but users will need to opt-in to enable it and will have to seek out lists of sites which will not ship with the browser. Two years back, Microsoft had abandoned a set of similar privacy features planned for Internet Explorer 8.

A week ago Microsoft celebrated the first birthday Windows 7’s release. And now Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows, the blog says in Dutch, but it will be about two years before Windows 8 is on the market. If you look at the journey so far – in early 2008, more than a year after Microsoft launched Windows Vista, Windows users had emphatically rejected that upgrade. Fewer than 10 percent of Windows users had switched, and nearly 5 percent of all Windows PCs in use were running Windows versions older than XP. The Windows 7 story is very different.

Windows 8 in 2 years: Is it justified to wait?

One year after the release of Windows 7, it has made a significant dent in the Windows user base, and those diehards holding on to pre-XP versions have mostly surrendered. XP’s share of actual usage has declined more than 20 percent in two years, and that trend is accelerating.

Microsoft managed to sustain an overwhelming competitive advantage, even after a decade’s worth of antitrust action and now the situation is different. The presence of Apple and Google as direct competitors suggests that maybe Microsoft is overdue to take a tumble. Is Apple really making a dent in Microsoft’s long-standing Windows monopoly? A presentation leaked in June says that the next version of Windows will include, among other things, an app store similar to ones offered by Apple and other mobile device makers. Apple announced this week that it will bring an app store to the Mac within 90 days.

The presentation also said that Microsoft wanted to improve startup times and the time it takes to resume from sleep, improve power efficiency, as well as work more closely with computer makers to better differentiate their respective computers. While these are all needed things, it’s going to be a very long two years for Microsoft if it can’t better addresses Apple’s moves in the tablet and notebook models before Windows 8. In such a situation is it justified to wait for two years?

Trying to make Outlook more users friendly, Microsoft plans to include social networking services into its latest generation Outlook email program, to be released with an Office 2010 set of applications later this year.

In a video posted at the U.S. software firm’s website, Dev Balasubramanian, Outlook Office Group Product Manager said, “It really is about bringing friends, family, and colleagues into you inbox. As you communicate with them you can see their social activities; you can see all of the folks in your social network and it updates as you are reading your email.”

Software that channels LinkedIn updates to Outlook inboxes was available online on Wednesday at linkedin.com/outlook for people dabbling with a test version of the popular email program. Now Microsoft is talking to Facebook and MySpace to do the same with content from those online communities. The LinkedIn connection to Outlook will allow people using the email program to stay in tune with any changes in job status, contact information, or affiliations being shared by friends at the career-focused online community. Elliot Shmukler, Product Management Director, LinkedIn said, “LinkedIn is all about your professional network. Outlook powers the professional inbox so the match is very clear.”

Microsoft’s announcement came shortly after Google fell into trouble with Electronic Privacy Information Center filing a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into whether the original Buzz wrongly disclosed too much information about people. Google Buzz was launched with a feature that automatically created public social networks based on the Gmail contacts people most frequently sent messages to. Electronic Privacy Information Center on Wednesday filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into whether the original Buzz wrongly disclosed too much information about people.