It’s expected that Microsoft’s search engine rebrand will soon make its official debut.
The official announcement for Kumo is expected to come at the D: All Things Digital Conference next week, where CEO Steve Ballmer is currently scheduled to appear onstage.
With the rebranding Microsoft hopes to gain a new foothold in the search engine market that they currently only have an 8.2 percent market share in. They’ve got some pretty stiff competition as well, considering that Google’s search engine market share is a whopping 64.2 percent.
Originally filed in 2005, Microsoft has now been granted US Patent No. 7,536,726. More specifically, the software giant now owns the patent for intentionally crippling your PC until you cough up the cash for that pirated OS.
Navigating through the legalese, the patent paves the way for "making selected portions and functionality of the operating system unavailable to the user or by limiting the user's ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer. Additionally, various techniques can be used to remove or reduce the functional limitations of the computer."
The snarky side in us says not to worry, because Microsoft will only hold your system ransom until you pay an "agreed upon sum of money." And the rational side says, really, don't worry, because this should only effect pirates anyway, and even then, Microsoft appears to be softening its stance.
Reports have claimed that Microsoft is currently in the developmental process of creating a mobile platform that mixes many elements of the Xbox and Zune – earning it the nickname “xYz.”
The rumored handheld is reported to be “unlike anything on the market today … think of a mashup of the Sony Mylo, the PSP, and the iPhone… errr, the iPod touch; [the MS handheld] doesn’t need access to a phone network. Although the Microsoft handheld is definitely a converged device, this is not a Zune Phone. Microsoft won’t compete with its Windows Mobile customers.”
The device will supposedly be based off of Live Anywhere, for the most part. “There will be a single online marketplace; the lines between the Zune, Xbox Live and Sky marketplaces will blur when the handheld launches.”
Given that both Nintendo and Sony have strong footholds in the handheld gaming sector, it seems like a natural progression for Microsoft to move here as well. Let’s just hope that this rumored handheld takes less pages from the book of Zune and more pages from the book of Xbox.
Fast, stable (so far), and nearing release, it seems everyone is looking forward to Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming operating system that looks to be superior to Vista in almost every way. But there's one area in which Vista has the upper hand, and it could prove to be an important one, Dell says.
"If there's one thing that may influence adoption, make things slower, or cause customers to pause, it's that generally the ASPs (average selling price) of the operating systems are higher than they were for Vista and XP," Darrel Ward, director of product management for Dell's business client product group, said in a phone interview with CNet.
Ward was referring to the multiple flavors of Windows 7 that are sure to appear, and in light of the tough economic times, he said it's "naive" for Microsoft increase its prices on average and still see higher sales.
"I can tell you that the licensing tiers at retail are more expensive than they were for Vista," Ward added.
Ward did note that the momentum behind Windows 7 is noticeably bigger than it was with Vista, and save for a few hiccups, driver readiness looks "pretty healthy." But will it be enough to justify higher price points?
Bit Torrent user’s who scored pre-released versions of the Windows 7 RC may have gotten more then they bargained for. Malware-laced copies of Microsoft’s newest OS were seeded to torrents in late April, and security researchers are warning users who may have downloaded Windows 7 from non-Microsoft sources, to format, and reinstall their OS.
Adoption rate of the pirated version has slowed since the official release, but as many as 27,000 machines were estimated to be compromised when the command and control center for the bot net was located and finally shut down on May 10th by authorities. Currently, researchers at Damballa are monitoring installations of the infected version, and estimate that approximately 1,600 new machines are added per day. The good news here is that new installations won’t be drafted into the bot net, but it’s still not a good idea to run software from non-trusted sources.
Blocking this type of infection is difficult researchers confess since the Trojan was integrated into the OS installer, and it became active immediately following setup. The situation is also compounded by the reality that Windows 7 still has very limited anti virus options. Operating systems however aren’t the only attack vector for those looking to poison torrents. Similar malware infested Trojans were found in other popular torrented applications including iWork 09 and even Photoshop CS4.
Hackers have targeted everyone from QuickTime users to epilepsy patients, so is anyone really suprised to see them now going after PowerPoint users?
That's the latest word from Microsoft, who noted that Mac users running PowerPoint are also vulnerable (no matter what Justin Long says), although there has been no evidence that hackers have tried to attack the platform. The "critical" vulnerability relies on the intended victim opening an infected PowerPoint file either downloaded from the web or received as an email attachment.
"At that point, the attacker would then have complete control over everything the user's account has permission to do on the system," said Alfred Huger, a senior researcher with Symantec.
Patches have been released for Windows users, but not for Mac computers. However, Microsoft did say it was working on one.
This week, Microsoft is releasing another series of test (aka "fake") updates for Windows 7 (Redmond released test updates for Windows 7 Beta 1 back in February). As with the test updates for Windows 7 Beta 1, the test updates for Windows 7 RC are designed to make sure that the Windows 7 update mechanism is working properly.
The release started Tuesday, so you may already have some test updates set to arrive on your system. Most will install automatically, but KB970420 must be installed manually through Windows Update. According to PC World, as many as ten test updates may be sent. Look for the phrase "Test Update" when you review Windows Update history.
Speaking of Windows Update and Windows 7 RC, 32-bit users should make sure they've installed the update referred to in KB970789, released late last week. This fixes a major show-stopping bug affecting folders created under the root folder and the applications that try to access them.
The latest rumors and inside information regarding Microsoft's bid to enter the smartphone market continues to raise questions on what Microsoft has planned, including whether 'Project Pink' refers to a set of mobile services or actual hardware. Those questions remain, but ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley, citing a "trustworthy source," divulges potential details on Microsoft's upcoming smartphone.
According to Foley, the new device will come with an ARM v6+ processor, 256MB of DRAM and 1GB+ of flash memory, a 3.5-inch or bigger WVGA display, multi-touch support, and a battery that's "sufficient to meet Days of Use LTK requirements."
Possible peripherals include GPS, high-speed USGB, WiFi, and a 3MP camera, and optional features will include an FM tuner, haptic feedback, SD card slot, and a QWERTY keyboard.
You knew it was coming sooner or later. Microsoft's Laptop Hunters commercials have hit a sore spot with Apple after attempting to expose the MacBook as an overpriced, underpowered (but pretty) platform, so it was only a matter of time before Apple fired back.
Starring Justin Long and John Hodgman (who else?), the latter stands in front of a long line of suited PCs. Two by two, a handful of of PCs are disqualified as an actress lists what's she's looking for (big screen, fast processor), until she lobs and oft-used Apple bomb.
"I just need something that works without crashing or viruses or a ton of headaches," the actress demands.
Disgusted, Hodgman and the remaining PCs march off-screen, leaving Justin Long (Mac) as the remaining option. You can check it out here, then hit the jump and post tell us what you think.
Oh snap, it's on like Donkey Kong, or at least like an intense level of Galaga. More specifically, Microsoft continues its advertising offensive against Apple with yet another commercial pointing out the cost of being hip, only this one targets iTunes and not MacBooks.
In the latest ad, financial planner (certified, of course) Wes Moss points out it would take $30,000 to fill the latest iPod using iTunes at a buck a pop.
"I don't know about you, but I don't have thirty grand laying around for music," Moss says.
His solution? A subscription service like Zune Pass, of course! "One costs a lot, and one costs a little," Moss adds, referring to the iPod with $30,000 worth of music and Zune Pass's unlimited subscription plan for $14.99/month. For those of you doing the math at home, $30,000 buys almost 167 years of Zune Pass.
There are obvious flaws in Microsoft's latest pitch, but the goal here isn't necessarily to discredit Apple's iPod/iTunes combination as a viable music platform (too late for that) as much as it is to promote Zune Pass. The question is, will it work?