The cat is out of the bag -- Microsoft will soon release its first update for Windows Phone 8.1, and with it will come support for folders, the company revealed in a post intended for developers. As you can already do on the latest versions of Android and iOS, you'll soon be able to drag Tiles on top of each other on your Windows Phone handset to create a folder for organizing your applications.
Get ready for an influx of $199 to $249 Windows laptops
A big reason why Chromebooks are selling so well is because they offer up basic functionality at dirt cheap prices. However, what would happen if Windows laptops could easily be found at the same price points? It's a question that will get answered within the next few months. That's because Intel, Microsoft, and notebook makers are collaborating on entry-level laptops that will sell for $199 to $249.
Starting with the good news, Microsoft beat Wall Street estimates by reporting a 17 percent bump in revenue, which totaled $23.38 billion for the company's fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, 2014. Unfortunately for Microsoft, that wasn't enough to weather its Nokia Devices and Services acquisition, which contributed to a 7 percent drop in earnings at $0.55 per share.
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella caused a whirlwind of headlines and speculation with a comment he made during his company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call. The way he worded some early rhetoric made it sound like the next version of Windows -- codenamed Threshold and likely to be called Windows 9 -- will ship with but a single SKU rather than multiple versions for smartphones, desktops, gaming consoles, and so forth. However, Nadella wasn't talking about a single OS to rule them all.
The final major update for Windows 8.1 is said to arrive on Patch Tuesday in August
Mark your calenders, folks, and be sure to use pencil instead of ink (unless it's erasable ink) -- a Russian website is reporting that Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 Update 2 on August 12, which is also next month's Patch Tuesday date. This is expected to be the last major update for Windows 8.1 before Microsoft switches gears to Windows 9, or Threshold as it's also been referred to.
We jumped off the hate train for Windows 8 a long time ago, and with the roll out of Windows 8.1, there's a lot to like about the OS. Nevertheless, we're not oblivious to the fact that plenty of people would rather watch Bachelorette marathon than stare at Windows 8.1 on their PCs. If you're one of them, then check out today's top deal for Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-Bit OEM for $125 with free shipping (normally $140 - use coupon code: [EMCPCWC24]). And don't worry about those XP programs -- you can run them in Windows XP Mode.
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Microsoft prepares for the biggest round of layoffs in company history
Satya Nadella is going to make history at Microsoft, though not the kind he'll ever want to brag about. Following up on an open memo sent out to employees last week, the CEO of Microsoft confirmed in another open email to all employees that job cuts are on the horizon as the company looks to reduce its workforce by up to 18,000 workers. No other round of layoffs in Microsoft's history have come close to that figure.
More affordable Windows tablets could be on the horizon
Here's a bit of potentially good news for Microsoft's hardware partners. Word on the web is that Microsoft may expand its free Windows license program to include tablets priced below $250. Up until now, tablets less than 9 inches qualified for the subsidized pricing, though unconfirmed reports suggest the program will cast a wider net in order to get more Windows-based tablets out in the wild.
The voice assistant was spot on with 15 out of 16 knockout match predictions
The quadrennial soccer extravaganza that is the FIFA World Cup just got over in Brazil, with the Germans beating the Argentinians for the title by scoring the only goal of the match in the second half of extra time. But they weren’t the tournament’s only winners. The final also saw Microsoft’s Windows Phone voice assistant Cortana cap off an overall brilliant tournament by once again correctly predicting the winner prior to kick off.
In some ways, you could argue that Microsoft's spinning in circles chasing its tail. So are a lot of companies during this transitional period into mobile, which is one that seemed to catch a number of tech firms off guard. Recognizing that Microsoft could benefit from some new blood, former CEO Steve Ballmer voluntarily stepped down and eventually handed the reins to Satya Nadella. So, what does the future hold? Nadella issued an open email to employees calling for a return to Microsoft's core.