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

For those of you with MSDN subscriptions, here are the pertinent links to download Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Pro Volume License, and European “N” editions: Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQLk Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQMH Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQN3 Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQPY Windows 8.1 Pro N VL (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQRQ Windows 8.1 Pro N VL (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQSJ Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x64) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQTM Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQTk Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x86) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQWT Windows 8.1 Enterprise N (x86) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQZh Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x64) – DVD (English-United Kingdom) http://dlvr.it/3zgQfl Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQhY Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x64) – DVD (English) http://dlvr.it/3zgQjK Windows 8.1 Pro VL (x64) ...

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Enterprise customers now have access to Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM.  There will probably be no deployments as of now, but at least they can start testing the OS for their environment. This is especially important as Windows XP hits end-of-life in seven months. Beginning today, TechNet and MSDN subscribers will now have access to Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM. This also includes access for Volume License (VL) customers with an active Software Assurance (SA) agreement, as you receive a TechNet subscription as part of SA. Preparing Your Organization to Migrate to Windows 8.1 Enterprise As we mentioned when we originally announced RTM back in late August, we talked about how we are moving forward with a rapid release cycle for Windows. If you have not started, begin your Windows 8.1 planning today. We encourage you to evaluate Windows 8.1 RTM bits to get a jump start on your deployment planning, using it ...

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Kinect SDK 1.8 for Windows now available.  It includes a number of improvements: New background removal API. This “turn-key” green screening capability makes it easy to perform background replacement dynamically in your application. This new API should prove to be practical and fun. 3D color capture capabilities with Kinect Fusion. Kinect Fusion enables your app to create 3D mesh models with a Kinect sensor. In the 1.8 Kinect for Windows SDK these capabilities have been augmented with realistic color texture mapping so that you can produce 3D models with realistic color. Since the new 3D printing capabilities in Windows 8.1 are engineered to support surface color, this new color capturing capability is particularly exciting. Improved tracking for Kinect Fusion. Updated algorithms enable more reliable camera tracking as the Kinect sensor moves while scanning a scene. The result: a better Kinect Fusion experience and better 3D models. Multi-sensor Kinect Fusion sample. ...

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Breaking: Microsoft announces quarterly dividend increase of 22% and up to $40 billion share repurchase program. Story is still developing, we’ll update accordingly. Stock is up about 1% currently. This sounds similar to a program Microsoft had in 2008. Update: Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share, reflecting a 5 cent or 22 percent increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 12, 2013, to shareholders of record on Nov. 21, 2013. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 19, 2013. The board of directors also approved a new share repurchase program authorizing up to $40 billion in share repurchases. The new share repurchase program, which has no expiration date, replaces the previous $40 billion share repurchase program that was set to expire Sept. 30, 2013. “These actions reflect a continued commitment to returning cash to our ...

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Artists have released songs as ITunes exclusives for many years now and it looks like Microsoft is starting to play the game too.  For the next 14 days “A LIGHT THAT NEVER COMES,” by Linkin Park will stream exclusively for 14 days on Xbox Music.  Microsoft explained the collaboration in further detail on the Xbox Wire. The catalyst for this relationship was gaming.  Years ago, our band had legendary Xbox tournaments on our tour bus playing “Halo”—competitions which often included fans and other bands.  As our career has progressed, we have always been attached to gaming, and eventually got opportunities to participate in the space.  We’ve enjoyed partnerships with “Medal Of Honor” and EA over the years, and even released games on our own (this month, we’ve released a new free-to-play Facebook game entitled RECHARGE.) Gaming and Xbox, however, were just the introduction; it wasn’t the thing that got me interested ...

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In an unsurprising move Mozilla has decided to delay the release of Metro Firefox to January 2014.  The company cited “slower than expected progress” as the primary reason. “The goal of the Metro Preview Release is to gather feedback and defects from the larger Aurora community,” Mozilla said in notes published on its website from a planning meeting last Wednesday. “Whether or not the Metro Preview Release will graduate from Aurora to Beta and Release channels is still to be determined. At a minimum, it should significantly increase the number of testers and feedback.”  “The decrease in average team velocity over the two previous iterations positions Metro for a Firefox 27 release on January 21, 2014,” the meeting notes stated. The release of Metro Firefox has already been delayed a number of times and has now been in development for over a year.  I suspect I’ll be writing a post ...

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Statcounter’s latest number show Windows XP only has 20.58% marketshare worldwide, while Windows 7 has 52.73% and Windows 8 3.3%.  As Windows XP approaches end-of-life in 7 months, I suspect we’ll see these numbers change somewhat.  While in North America Windows XP only holds ~15% marketshare, there are a number of eight countries where XP is the top used operating system: China – 54.79% Cook Islands – 72.14% Cuba – 52.93% Eritrea – 58.25% North Korea – 61.47% Morocco – 44.66% Norfolk Island – 70.18% Vietnam – 44.33% Here are countries where Windows XP hold over 30% marketshare: •Albania – 44.64% • Algeria – 38.11% • Argentina – 30.9% • Belarus – 37.39% • Benin – 43.37% • Bolivia – 32.71% • Bosnia and Herzegovina – 42.97% • Bulgaria – 36.76% • Cameroon – 42.65% • Cote d’Ivoire – 34.79% • Dominican Republic – 46.29% • Eygpt – 41.68% • ...

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This is a story by the NYDailyNews, I’m simply going to posts some excerpts without any commentary: How do global terrorists keep in touch on the Internet? They use Gmail, just like a lot of other people on the planet. Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, said the free email service offered by Google is the most popular communication method among radical insurgents across the world. “Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” Hayden said Sunday during a speech at St. John’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the White House. “I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is.” Hayden’s comments were in defense of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, under which U.S. intelligence agents spied on private emails and Internet chatter around the world. The ...

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With the Surface 2 launch event only a week away, Microsoft is looking to clear old inventory of the SurfaceRT.  A number of great deals have appeared on ebay, and you can get a SurfaceRT 32GB w/ a Touch Cover for only $250 and the same bundle w/ 64GB for $280.  This is not as great as the $200 deal we saw a few weeks back, but still great savings.  Typically a 32GB SurfaceRT bundle w/ Touch Covers costs $399, so this $150 savings, and even greater $220 savings for the 64GB bundle. Ebay – SurfaceRT 32GB w/ Black Touch Cover – $250 Ebay – SurfaceRT 64GB w/ Black Touch Cover – $280 Please read our previous coverage of Surface leaks including: Surface RT 2 Details Revealed: Tegra 4, Full HD 1080p, White & Black Options, & More Surface 2 Specs Leak: Haswell, New Kickstand, More RAM, Launches Next Month ...

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Information about the Surface and accessories continues to trickle in as we approach the Surface launch event on September 23rd in New York.  This time we learned an interesting fact regarding the type covers.  When Microsoft originally launched the Surface last year, the touch covers were available in five different colors: magenta, white, cyan, red, and black.  There were also limited edition touch covers made available later on which included special designs on the back and some were even specific to certain markets, but in the same five colors.  The type cover was only available in black, however, Microsoft has seen a lot of user demand for type covers in different colors and had stated they would consider making colored type covers at a later time. Well it appears Microsoft will make the Type Cover available in multiple colors.  Sources have not confirmed what colors will be available exactly.  At ...

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After battling Carl Icahn, Michael Dell has successfully been able to buy back his company (with the help of private equity firm Silver Lake) and take it private.  Michael has bet his own fortune on Dell going private and succeeding again. Michael Dell hopes to refocus the company without the pressures of shareholders and make innovate PCs and get more into the mobile business.  Microsoft has invested $2 billion in Dell to help finance this deal. Let’s take a look at Dell’s history: 1984 Michael Dell, 19 years old, starts a computer business, at first called PC’s Limited, as a pre-med freshman at the University of Texas at Austin 1985 The company designs its first computer, the Turbo PC, featuring an Intel 8088 processor running at 8MHz with a 10MB hard drive and a 5.25-inch floppy drive. 1988 The company, now known as Dell, holds an initial public offering, raising $30 million ...

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Little information is known regarding the Surface Mini.  We reported earlier that the 8-inch Surface Mini will not be unveiled at Microsoft’s Surface event later this month.  Previously rumors had emerged that the Surface RT 2 (Surface 2) would run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, this turned out to false, and the Surface 2 will continue to run on the Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset.  However, it appears the Surface Mini will utilize a QUALCOMM processor, which makes sense given the company’s close relation with Windows Phone.  New information has emerged confirming that the Surface Mini will run Windows RT 8.1.  Winsupersite reports: It will ship this year, but a bit later than the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. It utilizes a Qualcomm processor, so it’s an ARM device and will be running Windows RT 8.1, not Windows 8.1. And it will indeed have an 8-inch screen. Source: WinSuperSite ...

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As with every second Tuesday of the month, Microsoft released its regularly scheduled Windows updates yesterday.   Update KB2817630 for Outlook 2013 caused issues for a number of people, and Microsoft has pulled the patch. Microsoft posted an explanation of what went wrong on their Office Blog today: Due to a version incompatibility between outlook.exe and mso.dll, a mismatched reference to a data structure causes the “Minimize” button in the navigation pane to render incorrectly, typically extremely large to the point that the navigation pane is “invisible” to the user.  The issue only manifests when incompatible versions of outlook.exe and mso.dll exist on the system. If both versions are earlier (lower) than 4535.1000, or both versions are later (higher) than 4535.1000, the problem does not manifest.  If one file is updated but the other is not, the problem is evident.  The incompatible state is created by installing either the September Public Update OR the August ...

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I received a significant amount of email, from our readers, on my recent editorial: Why Do Investors Want Alan Mulally? (Hint: He Sold Off Major Ford Assets) While many of you agreed with what I had to say, some accused me of over-analyzing the situation and engaging in conspiracy theories.  Well today our good buddy Paul Thurrott has published an article in which he indicated he would like to see Ford CEO Alan Mulally become CEO of Microsoft and sell or spin-off the Xbox and Online Services Division.  Thurrott writes: Microsoft, let Alan Mulally gut this company and start over. Review the strategy, shed businesses that don’t make sense. Quick sidebar. Which businesses should Microsoft shed? [...] There are two. Kind of like Oldsmobile and Pontiac and you’re a car fan who understands history. They are Online Services and Xbox. Xbox – Several billion dollars lost in R&D on Xbox and Xbox ...

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Microsoft has announced the global availability of Office 365 for Nonprofits for qualifying nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) through its software donation program. The donation is available immediately in 41 countries around the world and for up to 90 countries by July 2014. “Today we are donating to nonprofits and NGOs access to Microsoft’s best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, enabling them to spend fewer resources and time on IT and focus on their missions addressing global issues, such as disease eradication, education and literacy, and environmental sustainability,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president, Microsoft International. “Nonprofits operate in the same way as any other organization or business; however, many lack the resources to implement the latest technology. The donation of Office 365 allows them to be more effective and efficient in the work they do.” “In many of the countries served by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent ...

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Today HP refreshed its workstation hardware lineup including three new HP ZBook Mobile Workstations, two new HP Z Displays and enhancements to the  existing line of HP Z Desktop Workstations. Extreme Windows Blog Reports: New ZBook Notebooks HP will offer three new models: the 14” ZBook 14, the 15” ZBook 15, and the 17” ZBook 17.  HP is calling the ZBook 14 a “workstation Ultrabook” because of its unique blend of workstation capabilities and thin form-factor. Here are some features included in ZBook mobile workstations: 4th Generation Intel Haswell dual and quad-core processor options Next-generation graphics technologies from NVIDIA and AMD Tool-free chassis for easy upgrades and serviceability Touch display (optional with ZBook 14) Super-high-resolution QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 display (optional with ZBook 15) New Displays, Updated Towers The new HP Z27i 27” and HP Z30i 30” IPS Displays offer 100% coverage for both sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces. ...

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