About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

Windows XP finally hit end-of-life two days ago after 13 years on the market.  While most consumers have moved off Windows XP many enterprises have been dragging their feet in making the upgrade.  Microsoft made it clear it would end support for Windows XP six years ago. Consumers in China are in a more unique situation compared to the rest of world.  It is estimated that nearly 200 millions users in China are still using Windows XP and many of them IE6 too. The Chinese press seem to have taken this as a chance to bad-mouth foreign businesses, while promoting China’s underwhelming domestic software industry. Foreign Policy reports: In an April 8 article published prominently at the top of its website — an area usually dedicated to chronicling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s activities — state-run news agency Xinhua slammed Microsoft’s decision as “extremely irresponsible behavior” that “shows a lack of trustworthiness,” warning ...

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At the Build conference, last week, once piece of technology that we heard very little about was Windows RT (not to be confused with WinRT). Many were left wondering if Microsoft was still committed to Windows RT especially given the new leadership. All OEMs with the exceptions of Microsoft (and Nokia) had abandoned the ARM hardware. The most prominent Windows ARM tablets are the Surface RT, Surface 2, and Nokia 2520.  The Surface mini is also rumored to be based on ARM hardware.  I still maintain that ARM is the future of Windows and the desktop will die, but that is a minority opinion and a lengthier philosophical discussion for another time. Mary-Jo Foley got a chance to interview Terry Myerson who commented, among other things, about Windows RT: ZDNET: What about Windows RT — not WinRT, the API (application programming interface) — but Windows RT, the Windows flavor on ARM? ...

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Microsoft has joined with the Scripps National Spelling Bee to help integrate technology and expand the learning resources available for students and schools today.  The organization named Microsoft as the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee Technology Champion.  “Like the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Microsoft is deeply committed to supporting educators and educational programs. In fact, since 2003, Microsoft has partnered with educators to impact more than 207 million students in 119 countries,” said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. “Through this relationship, both the Bee and Microsoft will be able to better support educators and educational programs.”  As part of this collaboration, there will be innovative tools from Microsoft that will help promote learning, including: A free Windows 8 spelling app for teachers and students available in the next few weeks on the Microsoft in Education download page. For schools enrolled in Bing for Schools ad-free, safer, more private search, there ...

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years I’m sure you are well aware of the popular HBO tv show Game of Thrones.  HBO is typically available as a premium subscription on top of a traditional cable tv subscription. Most subscribers also get access to HBO GO, which allows them to watch content on the web and through HBO GO apps.  Viewer demand caused the service to crash Sunday night during the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones. Over 6.6 million people tuned in, making it the largest viewership for HBO since since The Sopranos series finale in 2007.  Last month, HBO Go was also overwhelmed and became largely unusable during the season finale of True Detective. While there is a HBO GO app for the Xbox 360 there is not one currently not available for the Xbox One. The reason behind this is currently unknown and whether it is ...

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The Office for iPad team held an IAmA (as me anything) on Reddit earlier today.  The team is actually rather small and is the same group that writes the Office for Mac applications.  While there was not anything groundbreaking revealed, there were some interesting questions answered. Q: Hi! Where there any unforeseen complications in the making of these apps? How did you handle it? A: Yes, we ran into a number of complications, most of them involving resource constraints. For example, if you opened a document in Word with a lot of comment bubbles, Word would run out of memory. Fixing some of these required re-architecting some features, which is one of the reasons it took us so long.  –Rick To pile on to what Rick said, PowerPoint ran into similar resource constraints for SlideShow. We wanted to make sure that everything worked as you would expect (transitions, animations, etc.) and as you can ...

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Kirk Glerum was a longtime Microsoft employee who joined the company in 1987 as a software design engineer.  Glerum spent most of his career at the Redmond software working on Office.  Glerum is well known as the father of codename “Watson,” an error reporting system that helped developers fix bugs, which originally debuted in Office.  Glerum is now semi-retired and with Windows XP support ending today he shared the story of how Watson came to Windows: Microsoft officially, finally, and truly, ends support for Windows XP today. Windows XP was the most important OS of my Microsoft days. Really, it was the most important product of my Microsoft days, even though I was an Office guy the whole time. In ’98, while working on Office 2000, I came up with the idea of ‘Watson’, for the forthcoming Office XP. Instead of just having Office apps (Word Excel etc.) crash and ...

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Microsoft has announced that its classic RTS Age of Mythology is being polished up with modern features for a May release on Steam.  The game will included a number of features including: Age of Mythology + The Titans Expansion Pre-Purchase on Steam Early April Improved Water and Lighting Full Steamworks Integration Twitch TV Integration Enhanced Observer Mode Support for Win 7/8 and HD Monitors A trailer for the game has also been released: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I9YFelMWMU The game critically acclaimed when it was released in 2002 and should be a good nostalgic trip for many. Source: Age of Empires ...

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Over the years the UK government consistently chose to continue to stay on Windows XP in an effort to save money.  In fact a study done late last year showed the country’s National Health Service still had 85% of their computer running Windows XP.  Microsoft has been very open about their lifecycle plan to end support for Windows XP and this was announced over six years ago.  In fact Microsoft extended support for Win XP an additional three years to give enterprises and governments the time to make the transition. With end-of-life for Windows XP only 4 days away a deal has been struck with Microsoft.  The government has signed a deal with Microsoft to provide Windows XP support and security updates across the whole UK public sector for 12 months after regular support for the operating system ends on 8 April.  The agreement is worth £5.548m (over $7.6 million), ...

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A number of teams within Microsoft are participating in some April Fools fun.  We have seen the comeback of Clippy from the Office team and the Bing team’s creation of wearable devices for pets.  The OneDrive team has set up a website of what OneDrive may have looked like in 2001.  The site is complete with animated gifs, file sizes in bytes, comic sans, a hit counter, a floating banner and a logo that says “best viewed in internet explorer.”   If you login with your Microsoft account your Onedrive folder structure will appear See the Bing team’s April Fools joke: Bing Unveils Wearable Technology for Pets (April Fools) See the Office team’s April Fools joke: clippy makes a comeback on office online Read our own April Fools story: shocker: former windows chief steven sinofsky to join apple; will work on a “re-imagined” macos Source: 2001drive.com via Tom Warren ...

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The Bing Team at Microsoft is also participating in some April Fools fun.  The post shows off a google glass-like products for pets.  A new Bing service, the “Bing Pet Translator” is also unveiled. Source: Bing See the Office team’s April Fools joke: Clippy Makes a Comeback On Office Online Read our own April Fools story: shocker: former windows chief steven sinofsky to join apple; will work on a “re-imagined” macos ...

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Former Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo has pleaded guilty to stealing the Redmond software giant’s trade secrets yesterday.   Kibkalo infamously leaked Windows 8 builds and the Windows Activation Server SDK to french blogger Canouna.  The Seattle Times reports: Kibkalo and federal prosecutors reached an agreement in which prosecutors are recommending a 3-month prison sentence for Kibkalo, as well as a payment of $22,500 in restitution to Microsoft, according to his plea agreement. Kibkalo’s sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 1.  With this plea agreement Kibkalo avoids a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and will pay 1/10 of the maximum $250,000 fine.  Most likely Kibkalo will not even spend the full 3 months in jail. Source: The Seattle Times ...

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Microsoft is participating in some April Fools humor today.  If you log into Office Online (previously office web apps) and open a word, excel, or powerpoint document, the familiar Clippy will appear asking “Remember when we used to write letters together?”  You have the option to tweet the message out. Here is a screenshot:   Read our own April Fools story: Shocker: Former Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky to Join Apple; Will Work on a “Re-imagined” MacOS ...

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With only a week of support left Windows XP usage is starting to decline but still maintains 27% of OS marketshare.  Data from Net Applications for March shows Windows XP usage declined 1.84% (from 29.53% percent to 27.69%).  Likely many businesses are transitioning from Windows XP to Windows 7.  Windows Vista also fell 0.11% (from 3.10% to 2.99%).  Windows 8.1 & Windows 8 continue to grow have a combined marketshare over 11% for the first time.   Specifically, the combined operating systems gained 0.62 percentage points (from 10.68% to 11.30%).  Windows 8 gained 0.03 percentage points (from 6.38% to 6.41%), while Windows 8.1 grabbed an additional 0.59% (from 4.30% to 4.89 %). Windows 7 made the biggest gain of 1.46% (from 47.31% to 48.77%).  The large gain is most likely businesses moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Source: Net Applications via tnw ...

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In an unexpected move, former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has brokered a deal with Apple for him and some of his former lieutenants to join Apple. George Grant, Jon DeVaan, Antoine Leblond, and Tami Reller will join Sinofsky in the move to Cupertino.  Sinofsky will be working on the next version of Mac OS. Tim Cook commented briefly the acquisition of the high profile talent: “I met Steven at a Yoga class in Palo Alto and we have become great friends ever since.  It turns out we have a lot in common besides yoga.  We had bosses named Steve; we both love secrecy, great taste in sweaters, and support common causes like gay marriage.  I thought Steven would be a great asset for Apple. Given his experience on Office, I initially asked him to come head the iWork team.  But as our talks progressed, Steven said he had some “super ...

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An internal email made public by Microsoft shows CEO Satya Nadella fine tuning his senior leadership team.  In in widely expected move Scott Guthrie has been promoted from acting leader for the Cloud and Enterprise organization to Executive Vice President. Guthrie essentially takes over Nadella’s old position prior to becoming CEO. Following Marc Whitten’s resignation, Phil Spencer has been promoted to take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team.  Interestingly Spencer reports to Terry Myerson.  Yusuf Mehdi retains his position leading business strategy and marketing for Xbox. George Peckham will continue to head up third-party partnerships with Xbox.  And we finally hear of Sinofsky lieutenant Mike Angiulo who will continue leading Xbox hardware. Also as expected Stephen Elop will join Microsoft as Executive Vice President, Microsoft Devices Group, reporting directly to Nadella.  The Nokia deal is now expected to close ...

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Longtime Microsoft executive Antoine Leblond will be leaving the company Monday, after his 9000th day at the company. “After almost 25 years, I’ve decided it’s time for me to go out and see what the non-Microsoft world has to offer,” Leblond said in an e-mail to colleagues. “Every single day I have had here has been amazing in its own way, and I will never look back on all of these years with anything but fondness, pride in what we’ve accomplished together, and a real appreciation for having been lucky enough to be part of so many awesome things,” Leblond said. “I am sad to leave all of you, but also incredibly excited for what comes next.” Leblond came to the public light after replacing Michael Angiulo.  Leblond was a key executive who helped to drive Sinofsky’s strategy.  We reported in September of last year that he been stripped of ...

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