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The Zues botnet, which controlled around 3.6 million PCs in the US and many more around the world, is taking a bit longer than Microsoft thought to clean up. Microsoft sized control of the botnet in earlier this year by attacking its Command and Control servers in Pennsylvania and Illinois. The botnet was being used primarily to steal banking details of infected users so their accounts could be emptied, and was also sending Facebook spam. Now Microsoft has won a court order on the 28th November to allow the company and its financial-services partners to continue to administer command-and-control servers for two Zeus botnets. "This additional time will allow Microsoft to continue to work with Internet service providers and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to clean those computers that are still infected with the malware," Richard Boscovich, senior attorney for Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit said. Besides the Zues botnet, over ...

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LiveSide.net has been rooting through the HTML of the current SkyDrive web app, and has found interesting references and also resources which point very strongly to a web-based music player which would be able to play music, including Playlists, from SkyDrive. Currently single tracks can be played from SkyDrive, but the experience is obviously far from optimal. The resources discovered by LiveSide suggests the service will gain a much more full-featured pop-out player, which means users will be able to access their music from their work PC and hotel as easily as from home, which is rather good news. Read more at LiveSide.net here. ...

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It seems the browser mark has been reset a year, with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer hitting its highest market share since August 2011, and Google Chrome its lowest since October 2011. As the graph above shows, the last 3 months have been particularly good for Microsoft and bad for Google, with IE gaining month on month for the last 3 months in a row, while Google’s Chrome’s market share slipped by 1.3% over the same period. The news does suggest that Microsoft’s efforts to improve Internet Explorer, especially with IE9 and now IE10, is bearing fruits, something which has not been clear given the intense competition from Google Chrome, which was previously one of the fastest growing browsers. Google’s Chrome however appears to be losing favour with many. The browser has been experiencing intense stability problems recently, related mainly to Flash-heavy websites. Firefox has in fact re-established itself as the alternative ...

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In a shareholder meeting the new Windows CFO Tami Reller maintained the party line that OEMs are not supporting Windows 8 enough. When asked about the relatively low amounts of new Windows 8 PCs in retail with touch screens Reller said: So, I would describe it this way, which is if you go into retail today, you will see some great touch devices, whether it’s touch laptops, or whether it’s a tablet or two with Windows 8 or Windows RT. It’s not enough in our opinion. I mean, we think the pipeline is great, and we’re excited to see that pipeline come into retail. And they are coming. And so our OEMs are doing great work, and we’ll see that come in over the next several months. Some you’ll see in December, some it will take longer. But I think it’s good, but not great in terms of the full ...

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Readers may recall an episode of Modern Family which rotated around acquiring an iPad. Microsoft appears to have purchased a similar level of marketing and product placement for the Microsoft Surface, which not only starred prominently in the show in multiple scenes, but also managed to get a nice feature run down during the show also. Are our readers impressed at Microsoft’s level of spending? Let us know below. Thanks Bugbog for the tip. ...

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Major Nelson and Gear Box Software have just made a free Golden Key available for Borderlands 2 on the Xbox 360. The SHiFT code will only last a few hours, so it would be a good idea to use it pretty snappily. To redeem a code, select "Extras" on the main menu of Borderlands 2 and choose "SHiFT Codes" then follow the on-screen instructions. SHiFT requires Xbox LIVE Gold and the account user must be at least 18 years of age. For further details about what a Golden Key is and how/where to redeem is, hit the Gearbox forums Read more at MajorNelson.com here. ...

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Microsoft is offering a free trial of Xbox Live Gold this weekend. The Gold subscription level is required to play multi-player console games, and access features such as Netflix and IE9 on Xbox 360. The free trial will be available from now till the 2nd December for players in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. The free trial was announced by Major Nelson, who said “All Xbox owners in these regions, regardless of their current subscription, will have access to online multiplayer gaming, Internet Explorer, Video Kinect and our entire catalogue of entertainment apps, during that time period. Have fun.” Via Cinemablend.com ...

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Microsoft has updated the SmartGlass Xbox 360 app for Android to officially support 7 inch tablets like the Google Nexus 7. The app will now be officially available in the Google Play store for these devices. The update also offers fixes for specific crashes tied to the achievements and settings screens. The app can be found in Google Play Store here. Via Engadget.com ...

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MSNerd, well known leaker of Microsoft secrets, has posted the following tip: MSFT switch to Snapdragon for 8.6" Surface RT2, Temash for 11.6" Pro 2 & Haswell for 14.6" Surface Book. The Snapdragon processor for the next Surface RT of course makes a lot of sense, given that it is generally felt Qualcomm’s processors are more performant than NVidia’s. The Temash processor for the Surface Pro 2 however does not make as much sense. The chip is an X86 unit by AMD with two cores and a GPU cut at 28 nm and therefore very low power.  The issue is of course not the processor specs, but whether Microsoft would further jeopardize their relationship with Intel by using an AMD processor in their own-branded device. Lastly we do have an Intel chip for the intriguingly named Surface book, which has a 14.6 inch screen and is powered by an Intel ...

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The Windows 8 Store is one of the fastest growing app stores, but one of the reasons behind this is an issue which the Windows Phone marketplace had long struggled with – Developers publishing hundreds of spam applications which are often simply RSS readers for specific websites with only the name and the feed changed. This issue is well illustrated by Win App Update, who note only 12% of developers are responsible for 61% of the apps in the app store, giving an average of more than 16 apps each for developers who have more than 5 apps in the store. Of course an argument can be made that the best applications will still float to the top, and that at this early stage quantity is more important than quality, at least until we get to 6 figures, but it does take some of the shine of the growth in ...

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Citing the usual “people familiar with the company’s plans”, Bloomberg has confirmed Microsoft is planning to release a follow-up to the popular Xbox 360 console by Black Friday next year. They did not expand on the features of the new console, but earlier leaks suggests the device will have a newer version of the Kinect sensor and the ability to play Blu-ray disks. Apparently Microsoft is still deciding between whether to announce the console at E3 or in a separate event. Bloomberg did not comment on rumours of the so-called Xbox Mini, which would be more streaming media and less games orientated. Read more at Bloomberg here. Via the Verge.com ...

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While we have reports from the NPD and elsewhere of slow Windows 8 sales, it seems Black Friday (23rd November) had a pretty distinct effect on the installed base of Windows 8 PCs, as can be seen from the above StatCounter data shows. While the days leading up to Black Friday had Windows 8 running below 1% US net usage, Thanks Giving and Black Friday saw a large number of new Windows 8 PCs hitting the market, taking its US share above 2%. While the number reduced over the next week,indicating that Windows 8 users are mainly at home rather than at work, it returned to 2.12% yesterday, indicating the new level was real and not just an artefact of increased usage over the holiday break. The stats mean that for every 25 Windows 7 users there is one Windows 8 user, and similarly for every 7 Windows XP and ...

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Microsoft have posted a new promotional video for Windows 8, which, while it is titled all about Apps, seems to be focussing on OS features such as Search across apps, IE10 and the People Hub. When an app does actually gets show it is Kayak, which is not the highest profile app in the store. What do our readers think of this new video? Let us know below. ...

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Asus’s Chief Financial Officer David Chang has complained of poor demand for their Windows 8 laptops. “Demand for Windows 8 is not that good right now,” said he said, noting that demand ramp-up for Windows 8 touch notebooks was slow. Asus has been less vocal in their criticism of Windows 8 than Acer, and has produced a number of low-cost Windows 8 touch devices, so their statement should likely be taken seriously. Their delay of the high-end Asus Taichi may be a consequence of this experience. Microsoft is however in the midst of a $1.5 billion marketing campaign for the OS, which will hopefully educate the public as to the advantages of the OS and stimulate sales, and increased penetration after Christmas should also help normalize the new UI and help ameliorate concerns the general public has about the OS. Read more at the WSJ here. Via Neowin.net ...

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During Microsoft’s shareholder meeting today CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged to shareholders that Microsoft should have moved quicker into hardware. “Sometimes getting the innovation right across the seam between hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them,” he said, noting it was  something “maybe we should have done” earlier. “Bill did hold up a tablet many years ago,” when it was observed that Microsoft called tablets the future in 2001. “Maybe if we had started innovating then, which is what we really did with Surface,” Mr. Ballmer said, “maybe we should have done that earlier. Maybe that tablet shift would have been sooner.” “But we are building a big business working with those partners and serving a lot of needs,” he added. “What we say now is there is no boundary between hardware and software.” Steve said Microsoft is now determined to propel change, even suggesting there could ...

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Microsoft has already revealed some interesting Windows 8 news this week, including that they have already sold 40 million licenses of the new OS. Now Steve Ballmer in a Microsoft Share Holder Meeting has revealed that Windows 8 buyers " … are using the features and downloading new applications. In fact, several apps have reached already 1 million downloads." The news is significant, as it indicates that Windows 8 users are doing more than simply making use of their old desktop apps, but are actively using the Metro environment and its associated store, which should draw in new developers and applications. He also confirmed that “new devices will really start to hit the shelves worldwide in the coming weeks and coming months", which is good news for those frustrated by the lack of exciting windows 8 devices on shelves. Via Neowin.net ...

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