Update to Windows includes new Start menu, Cortana, Edge browser
Microsoft has finally made Windows 10 available to download for all users. The latest operating system from the software giant is out in 190 countries simultaneously, allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to start upgrading their systems to Windows 10, with Microsoft also commencing sales of full installations of the software via its own Microsoft Store as well as through Amazon and other traditional outlets.
Users report Windows 10 upgrade files starting to download to systems
Microsoft is allegedly preparing for tomorrow's launch of Windows 10, by preloading the operating system on computers that have been booked in for the upgrade. According to WinBeta, users that have already reserved their free upgrade from Windows 7 or later will start to see the files being preloaded ahead of a release after midnight tonight. The report also warns upgraders they can also expect to download a day one patch for Windows 10, weighing in at over 1GB in size.
Feature will allegedly allow Cortana voice commands to be always on in Parallels
Users of Windows 10 on OS X may be able to use Microsoft's digital assistant, if they are using Parallels' Desktop for Mac. A leaked product page for version 11 of the virtualization software allegedly suggests that Cortana's voice commands will continue to be usable by Mac users running the Microsoft operating system on their desktop, even if Windows 10 is not the foremost application at that time.
Gaming news summary for July 27, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's later-than-scheduled edition, China lifts its console sales ban, Nintendo prepares to remove TVii from the Wii U in the United States, and Steam suffers a rare security lapse via its own support system.
When email just isn't curt enough
Microsoft Send 1.2.4 is more an experiment than an app: designed by the company's Garage team, it's an attempt to see what email would be like if you turn it into text messages. The answer is ... text messages. Maybe you like text messages and for some reason can't send them to someone. If so, then Microsoft Send is for you.
Microsoft Send turns work emails into IM-style conversation
Microsoft Garage, an experimental testing team, has released an app that aims to make email easier to deal with. Send, initially released for iOS as a free download, is a lightweight email client that tries to turn work-related emails into an instant messaging-style conversation that can be used for "brief, snappy conversations," instead of longer messages that do not encourage a response, or eat into the employee's working time.
Gaming news summary for July 21, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Star Wars KOTOR II: The Sith Lords makes its way to Mac ten years after launch, Microsoft faces a class action suit over an Xbox 360 flaw, and an interim patch for Batman: Arkham Knight on PC will be coming next month.
Operating loss of $2.1B caused through $7.5B Nokia acquisition, other charges
Microsoft endured an operating loss of $2.1 billion for the most recent quarter, the software giant has revealed in its last financial results before the launch of Windows 10. The heavy loss, which works out to be a loss per share of $0.40, is largely accounted for by the $7.5 billion impairment charge relating to its acquisition of Nokia, and a restructuring charges of $780 million and $160 million, though the rest of the financials appears to be more positive for the company.
Gaming news summary for July 19, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Shenmue 3 completes its Kickstarter campaign, a settlement is reached over athlete representations in NCAA games, more Windows 10 gaming features are detailed, and an unauthorized animation based on the Legend of Zelda lore ends its crowdfunding project prematurely.
The new version of Word for OS X is very, very good -- but so what?
If you have to use Microsoft Word at work, go get this now and be delighted with it. If you don't have to, if you're looking for a great word processor, it's just a little harder to recommend Word quite so readily. It's harder, and it's also very unfair, as 30 years of using various versions of Word have left us with biases against it. Word earned those biases, it's just difficult to think about going back to relying on it, even though Microsoft Word 2016 is the best and the shiniest version ever.
Windows 10 will be sold on USB drives in stores shortly after launch
Microsoft has reportedly completed its Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 10, in preparation for the operating system's July 29 launch. The RTM launch is one of a few items surfacing as Microsoft gets closer to the launch, with the company also making it easier for customers to use and install Windows 10, by making it available on USB drives in stores shortly after the launch takes place.
Thousands of Macs can be managed from central software server
Parallels today unveiled Parallels Mac Management 4.0 for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which extends Microsoft SCCM functionality to manage and control Mac computers. The new version of Parallels Mac Management adds the capability for IT administrators to create OS X images which can be customized via Microsoft SCCM, or deploy a single OS X image to all users universally.
Lightweight word processor does what it says
Back when Microsoft Word was king, you could do well selling a different word processor if it could open and save documents in Office format. You also needed to be cheaper, and it would help if you were easier to use -- neither of which, to be fair, were hard to pull off. Lastly, if you're in an App Store, finding a way to get the name Word in your title helped people find you. TinyWord 2.0 wants to tick every one of those boxes.
Standalone version will be available this fall, boasts many improvements
Following a four-month public beta period, Microsoft on Thursday released Office 2016 for Mac, now available for immediate download to existing Office 365 subscribers. The new release, strongly modeled on the existing design changes seen in the iPad version of the productivity suite, is the first new full version of Office for Mac since 2010, and adds features such as the Ribbon interface, sandboxing support, Retina screen optimization, and support for fullscreen view.
Xbox Music for iOS, Android can stream music from OneDrive storage
Microsoft has updated both of its Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android, increasing the app's integration with the OneDrive cloud storage service. The latest update allows users to be able to stream their own music collection stored on OneDrive directly to their device, in a similar way to music locker services, with the functionality being added to the app without the need to have a subscription to the Xbox Music Pass.
Loss of 7,800 Microsoft jobs, $7.8B impairment charge confirmed
Microsoft has revealed it is planning to majorly restructure its phone hardware business, in order to "better focus and align resources." An email sent out to staff by CEO Satya Nadella advises that the restructuring effort will also mean layoffs, with up to 7,800 positions at risk in its phone business in the coming months, as well as recording an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion in its next set of financial results.
Xbox brand removed from apps in preparation for Windows 10 launch
Microsoft is updating its desktop media apps in preparation for the Windows 10 launch at the end of this month, by removing the Xbox name among other alterations. Xbox Video is going to be rebranded to Movies & TV in Windows 10, with Microsoft's Xbox Music service receiving the new name Groove, with both services also going through a visual upgrade as part of the changes.
Up to $100,000, two HoloLens units offered to five research projects
Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."
Windows 10 RTM build could arrive this week
Microsoft is allegedly close to finalizing software included in the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 10, one that it will be providing to manufacturers to install on their computers, notebooks, and tablets. Sources of The Verge claim the RTM build of Windows 10 will be ready sometime this week, ahead of the new operating system's final release to consumers that is scheduled to take place on July 29.
Gaming news summary for July 5, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, Microsoft is bringing Minecraft to Windows 10, Club Nintendo ends in North America, Sales are halted and refunds offered for Final Fantasy XIV for Mac, and the revelation that Destiny could have been a funnier game.
Share of iPhone increases by 1.8 percent for second quarter in a row
Matching its performance in the previous quarter, Apple's iPhone again gained nearly two percent market share in the US in the last three months, according to ComScore, widening its lead as the dominant smartphone maker. While Android as a platform continued to hold the top platform position at 52.1 percent, it again suffered an overall decline of 0.7 percent, while iOS surged to 43.5, a 1.8 percent gain matched exactly by losses from Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
Windows 10 to be released to users in waves, following Windows Insiders
Prospective users of Windows 10 may have to wait before being able to use the next version of Microsoft's operating system, the software company has revealed. A blog post advises that it will be rolling out Windows 10 to Windows Insiders first on July 29, then reserved systems will be notified that they can upgrade in waves after the launch date, with subsequent waves increasing in size.
Sixth Surface Pro 3 includes Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
Microsoft has quietly extended its Surface Pro 3 lineup, adding one more option to the existing collection of five tablets, as part of a few changes to its overall Surface range. The sixth tablet adds an extra Core i7 selection to the roster, and while it has the same core specifications as its high-end stablemates, Microsoft has shrunk the storage capacity down from 512GB and 256GB to just 128GB.
Microsoft hands technology licenses, collected data to Uber
Uber is significantly bolstering its mapping operations and research, by acquiring technology and staff from Microsoft for an as-yet undisclosed amount. Map-related assets from Bing are being passed on to the app-based taxi firm, reports TechCrunch, with approximately 100 employees also being transferred over as part of the purchase, in yet another navigation-related acquisition from the transport company.
New Samsung notebooks have Windows Update-disabling software installed
Samsung is preventing some of its customers from performing Windows Updates automatically, it has been discovered. A small app going by the name of Disable_Windowsupdate.exe has been found to be installed on some new Samsung notebooks, with the app's sole purpose being denying the computer from downloading any important security updates or drivers from Microsoft's service, so that Samsung's own driver-updating software can work instead.
Blog post on Friday mistakenly said Windows Insiders would gain full Windows 10 free
Microsoft has been forced to clarify the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, after a blog post on Friday suggested that anyone within the Windows Insider program would get it as well. The software giant's original post has been corrected, removing text about the activation, while also explaining how users could still use a final build of Windows 10 without upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Augmented reality HoloLens hardware may change, but likely to offer same display range
Microsoft's HoloLens is unlikely to have a wider field of view for its augmented reality display when it eventually reaches consumers, an executive has confirmed. The smaller section of the helmet where the AR content is visible, leaving a large peripheral area where there isn't any overlay, will most likely remain the same in terms of size and position, despite receiving complaints and comments from people who have tried out the device in tests and at major events.
The giants have spoken, but who's going to take the 2015-2016 sales crown?
The triumvirate of console gaming, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, have shown what they're going to show to launch the 2015 E3 expo, and as with all things, we've got opinions. Join MacNN and Electronista staffers Mike, Malcolm, and Jordan with special commentary from HammerCast's Duane Sibilly as they discuss the surprises, let-downs, reveals, and presentations that we've suffered through so you don't have to!
Doom, Gears of War 4, Mass Effect Andromeda shown at E3 events
Welcome to a special Game Replay, our regular gaming column, which will be daily for a few days this week to cover the main stories coming out of E3. For today's edition, we're covering Bethesda's first major E3 event, the non-hardware shown off by Microsoft's event, and EA's major announcements, including more of the multiplayer from Star Wars: Battlefront.
Over 100 Xbox 360 games will be playable on Xbox One by end of this year
[strong]Updated with pricing on new Xbox One Pro controller[/strong] Owners of the Xbox One will be able to see their game library expand, with the introduction of backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 titles coming to the console in the near future. The hardware announcements at Microsoft's E3 event also include a new controller for the Xbox One that includes a number of customizable elements to allow gamers to get the most out of the games they play, as well as some Windows 10 and VR items.
Xbox One with 1TB drive, controller with extra headset options shipping June 16
Microsoft has formally unveiled its upgraded Xbox One game console and controller, following a pair of earlier leaks for each device. Aside from confirming the new hardware's existence, Microsoft has also revealed its price cut for the existing version of the console will stay in place, as well as upcoming availability for an adaptor that will allow the Xbox One controller to be used on PCs and tablets wirelessly.
Gaming news summary for June 7, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, an upgraded Xbox One leaks on Amazon, Harmonix reveals why it isn't making Rock Band 4 for the PC, and Destiny players have raised over $1 million in Bungie's Nepal earthquake charity effort.
Browser-based version of Skype widens beta reach, global availability expected in weeks
Microsoft has opened up Skype for Web to more users, pulling it out of the closed beta and making it available to all current Skype users based in the United States or the United Kingdom. The widening of beta access follows after another web-based Skype change, namely a redesign of how Skype for Outlook.com appears and works for users of the browser-based webmail client.
Latest Microsoft acquisition follows recent pattern of productivity app purchases
Microsoft is continuing its productivity app acquisition spree, with yet another purchase. 6Wunderkinder, the Berlin-based development team behind to-do list app Wunderlist, has been acquired by the software giant, in what is potentially a move for Microsoft to either add features from the app to its own Office productivity suite or simply rebrand it, in a similar manner to two previous app purchases in the last six months.
Microsoft continues hard sell on Windows 10 with device reveals
Electronista was on hand at Computex today, where Microsoft continued its push for Windows 10. With the official announcement last week that Windows 10 will begin shipping from the end of July, Microsoft Senior VP, OEM Division Nick Parker took the opportunity at today's keynote to highlight the wide range of devices that will support Windows 10 at launch. This includes existing devices built for Windows 8, as well as several previously-unannounced devices from Asus, HP, Dell and Toshiba that will arrive when Windows 10 goes on sale.
Upgrade reservation notices sent to Windows 7, 8, 8.1 users
Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 upgrade on July 29, the software giant has confirmed. It is also revealed that users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 will find they will have a slightly different process for the free upgrade this time around compared to the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, with Microsoft offering an upgrade prompt to "reserve" the upgrade download instead of forcing users to go through the Windows Store.
Gaming news summary for May 31, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, Twitch bans AO-rated titles from streaming, NCsoft is making MMO WildStar a free-to-play title, and leaks suggest Microsoft is adding a headphone jack to the Xbox One controller.
Microsoft virtual assistant app will head to iPhones, Android this year
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 more useful to smartphone owners, by making it easier to set up their desktop and mobile device to connect together and share files. The added mobile support is also supported by a second announcement that the Cortana virtual assistant will be available to download and use on other platforms than Windows Phone, with both iOS and Android set to receive access in the future.
Gaming news summary for May 20, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stores in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, more characters invade Lego Dimensions, the digital TV tuner for Xbox One goes on sale in the US and Canada, and a request for cheaters to apologize on YouTube in order to reinstate their banned accounts.
Filemaker Pro 14, Cox Cable's cap testing, Xbox bricking, and more
Episode 15 of The MacNN Podcast is on the air! Regular shenanigans ensue, even if not perpetrated by the regular crowd. This week, we talk about Microsoft up to its old tricks with six versions of Windows 10 at retail, Xbox consoles bricked by Microsoft (or not), Cox Cable's cap testing, and much more!
Carriers will be unable to delay Windows 10 for Mobile update releases
Microsoft will be attempting to make Windows 10 for mobile devices more secure than Windows Phone has been previously, by excluding device manufacturers and carriers from the process entirely. The software giant will be directly applying patches to smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile, potentially eliminating some of the operating system fragmentation that occurs when carriers delay the release of upgrades produced by manufacturers.
Ad blocking plans could result in request by carriers for advertising revenue cut
European carriers are allegedly working on blocking mobile advertising from major advertising networks, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. A report claims the current plans to remove the online advertising from smartphone browsers in order to save on bandwidth costs, though it will also apparently have the ulterior motive of trying to force the advertising networks to share some of their revenue with the carriers themselves.
Gaming news summary for May 17, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that have developed over the last few days. In today's edition, Blizzard brings back Diablo's "Cow Level" secret, Ubisoft gives up on previous-generation consoles, and Candy Crush Saga will be heading to Windows 10.
Microsoft clarifies stance on free Windows 10 upgrade qualification
Microsoft will not be providing the free Windows 10 upgrade to owners of pirated operating systems, the software giant has clarified. A blog post by operating systems vice president Terry Myerson doubles back from earlier comments suggesting users of pirated software would receive the update, with the affected users now being required to pay for a full Windows license before receiving Windows 10.
Xbox Live ban for game testers leaking early details of Microsoft remake
Microsoft's rumored remake of the Gears of War franchise is being marred form accusations that it is being overprotective of its intellectual property. A game testing company has alleged that Microsoft is making some of its staff's Xbox One consoles unusable as a punishment for the leaks, a claim that Microsoft has refuted, denying it has 'bricked' the consoles in question.
Still not revealed are specifics of free upgrade program, fate of virtualization users
Microsoft has taken the wraps off of some more of its plans for Windows. In a blog post heralding the imminent arrival of the new version of the operating system, Microsoft has revealed no less than six versions of the operating system, including versions for mobile.
Real-time voice-based Skype translation available in English, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin
Microsoft is making its Skype Translator available to all users of the video messaging service. Open to everyone, instead of being available to people signing up to take part in the preview, the tool provides near real-time translation of spoken languages, allowing participants to easily speak to each other with little in the way of additional conversational gaps between participants.
x86-powered Surface 3 offers more possibilities
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the launch of the Microsoft Surface 3 is the apparent death of Microsoft's Windows on ARM for tablets experiment, otherwise known as Windows RT. Instead of being powered by an ARM-based chip design like the iPad and most Android tablets, the Surface 3 is now powered by an Intel x86-based Atom chip. The main benefit of this change in approach is that, unlike the original Surface and Surface 2, the Surface 3 runs the standard and full version of Windows 8.1. This means that desktop applications like Apple's own iTunes for Windows PCs can be installed on the Surface 3, along with any other applications compatible with Windows 8.1 and the specifications of the machine. So does this finally make the Surface 3 seriously warrant your attention?
Amazon adds Prime Stations to Echo wireless speaker
Amazon has updated the Echo portable wireless speaker to work with Prime Stations. An email sent to Prime subscribers owning the device advises that the Alexa digital assistant can be commanded to play a personalized ad-free station from Prime Music. The verbal command "Alexa, play the Bruno Mars Prime Station" will start streaming the relevant station through the speaker, with "Alexa, thumbs up/thumbs down" rating the track for further personalization, and "Alexa, what song is this?" to receive more track details.
Comments suggest regular updates instead of milestone Windows releases in future
Windows 10 will be the "last" version of the operating system, a Microsoft developer evangelist has claimed. Speaking at the Ignite conference earlier this week, Jerry Nixon told attendees "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10," suggesting Microsoft will be taking an alternative path to upgrading the operating system.