As you navigate big box retailers like Best Buy this holiday shopping season, you're going to notice a uniform marketing drive when it comes to pushing Windows 8 PCs to the masses. In the U.S., you'll find Windows 8 systems configured to show emails, photos, and personal contacts from Allison Brown, a fictional character Microsoft created as part of an effort to humanize Windows 8 and to put the "personal" back into personal computers. In essence, Microsoft is flipping the script and telling retailers how to run their operations.
Bill Gates doesn't often talk about Microsoft products ever since riding off in the sunset as a retired billionaire. Sure, he remains a fixture of the company he co-founded, both as the Microsoft's iconic face and serving as a chairman, but these days he's much more interested in his philanthropy efforts via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Perhaps recognizing all that's at stake with Windows 8, Gates recently sat down for an interview where he talked about the touch friendly OS, Surface, and other Windows-related topics.
Canonical on Thursday announced that the final version of Ubuntu 12.10 (codenamed "Quntal Quetzal") is all polished up and ready for mass consumption. It's "the perfect alternative for anyone considering a move to Windows 8," says Canonical, which points out that Ubuntu 12.10 works naturally across devices. Unlike previous versions of the open source OS, the latest release puts a heavy emphasis on the cloud.
Much has been made about the Metro makeover Microsoft applied to Windows 8, and there are a number of ways you can see what all the fuss is about. For one, you can read detailed reviews, like the one we posted last month, or you can install the Release Preview, which is still available to download from Microsoft in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. Yet another way to experience Windows 8 before it's made available to the general public is to head down to your local Best Buy.
How will consumers react to the radical design changes Microsoft made to Windows in Windows 8? We're about to get our first glimpse. Starting today, you can pre-order the upgrade version Windows 8 Pro, as well as order Windows 8-based PCs, which will ship when the OS launches on October 26, 2012. You can also find OEM copies of Windows 8 being sold on a pre-order basis.
An extra step has been added to the Ubuntu download process, one which Canonical hopes will urge users to open up their wallets and contribute to the open source operating system's future development. Now when you go to download Ubuntu, a donation screen appears where you can not only flip a few funds at Canonical, but also tell them where exactly you think your cash would be best utilized.
In just over three weeks from now, Windows 8 will launch to the public, and thus will begin the court of public opinion. Until then, there are plenty of reviews to digest (including our very own), and one of the newest is from Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft who, like Bill Gates, is no longer directly involved with the Redmond company. Still, it's interesting to read what he has to say about Windows 8, considering all that's at stake.
Time and again, European Union regulators have proven they're not the least bit bashful about slapping mega corporations like Microsoft and Intel with gargantuan fines for violating antitrust laws. In fact, Microsoft has already been assessed around $1.28 billion in the last decade for various dealings in the EU, and if EU officials are feeling particularly ornery, they could penalize Microsoft up to $7.4 billion, or up to 10 percent of its revenues, for what amounts to an unfortunate "technical error."
Only time and sales figures will ultimately determine if Windows 8 is a success or not, and in the meantime, all we can do on the consumer side is speculate. Microsoft, however, is in a position to do more. The Redmond software giant could, for example, come up with a Plan B in case Windows 8 and its radically redesigned interface doesn't catch on with consumers. Interestingly, it doesn't appear Microsoft is too worried about that scenario playing out.
If you think dealing with bloatware on a new OEM system is a pain in the backside, imagine buying a PC only to find out that it's infected with malware...straight from the factory! Apparently that's something PC shoppers need to be worried about these days, according to an investigation conducted by Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). The investigation and subsequent sting operation, codenamed "Operation b70," found that several new systems sold in China had malicious software pre-installed.