Straight out of the “surprise!” file, Microsoft’s Live search engine is down in usage while Yahoo’s has finally gained some ground. Despite Microsoft’s offering serious perks to the members of Club Internet to use their search engine, they just weren’t able to come through in traffic, as claimed by researcher ComScore Inc.
According to ComScore, Yahoo’s portion of the Internet search engine pie has gone up from 19.6 percent to 20.2 percent. Unfortunately for Microsoft though, their percentage has dropped from an already low 8.9 percent down to 8.5 percent. Not surprisingly, Google took care of 62.9 percent of the searches made, and still has a very demanding lead.
At this rate Microsoft is going to have to cook up some pretty exciting perks to lure users back over to Live. (Try this one out: “Search for a date with Scarlett Johansson.” Thank me later.)
Yesterday we got a first look at some of Windows 7’s new features, care of a pre-beta sneak peek. Today, based on the privacy statement released with that same pre-beta, istartedsomething.com has puzzled out a new batch of upcoming Windows features.
• BitLocker Drive Encryption – encrypts your data, preventing an offline software attacks if your computer is stolen. • Driver Protection – Prevents the OS from starting drivers with known stability problems. • Dynamic Update – Allows the OS to automatically download the latest updates during installation. • Gadgets – Programs that run on the desktop, likely similar to the likes of Rainlender • Games Folder – Adds a right-click option for certain game icons which allows you automatically search for and download updates for the game. • Homegroup – “Allows you to easily link Windows 7 computers on your home network so that you can share pictures, music, videos, documents and devices. It also makes them ready to stream media to devices on your home network such as a media extender.”
So what do you think of the new features? Tell us after the jump.
Among the reasons, Joe mentions the conspicuous lack of Vista sessions at the Professional Developer conference, and the recent lack of advertisements for the OS. He also talks about how reticent Microsoft has been recently regarding Vista license sales numbers and weak client income figures as indicative of diminishing Vista performance.
The post also references the growing popularity of Vista-deficient netbooks as a factor in Microsoft’s desire to give Vista a “quick death.”
Wilcox concludes that “Vista deserved better market reception than it got,” but that a number of small(ish) flaws, like its glacial startup times, have given it a bad image that it simply hasn’t been able to shake.
The article makes a pretty compelling case for Vista being headed for an early death. Check it out and let us know whether you agree after the jump.
Officially, Microsoft pulls the drapes off the Windows 7 pre-beta tomorrow (October 28) at the Professional Developer's Conference. So, what's new and different? ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley's received the inside scoop on what's coming tomorrow. Look for:
A new peripheral management interface called Device Stage (more info about this is coming in the Windows 7 Partner Showcase at November's WinHEC 2008 conference)
A new self-diagnosis feature called Action Center
A new A/V control method called StreamOn
A new animation framework
New task bar and shell integration features
Multi-touch and gesture recognition
Improved Bluetooth support
Ribbon UI akin to Office 2007 for Windows 7's applets
The version PDC attendees will be seeing appears to be build 6801 M3 (Milestone 3), which was finalized on October 20. You can find screen shots of an earlier version of this build at the WinFuture.de website (the site's in German, but the screen shots are in English).
Stay tuned to Maximum PC for more Windows 7 coverage.
The race is still on to see which will come out first - Vista's second Service Pack, or Windows 7 - but when it comes to beta releases, you needn't wait long. In a blog post, Microsoft said Vista's SP2 will begin beta testing this week.
"Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2," writes Mike Nash, corporate VP for Microsoft's Windows Product Management. "As part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29."
Nash goes on to say that SP2 will incorporate both previously released fixes and unreleased updates into a single serviceability model covering both Windows Vista (client) and Windows Server 2008 (server) versions. A big focus on SP2 will be on improving hardware support as well as "adding support for several emerging standards." Some of the changes include:
Adding Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Record data on Blu-ray media natively
Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) for easier WiFi configs
Never ones to shy away from an uphill battle, Microsoft has recently been taking new steps to combat software piracy in China. They’ve launched a program, euphemistically called “Windows Genuine Advantage,” which blacks out users' screens if it discovers that they’re running pirated Microsoft software.
In China, a country where a large majority of computers are running pirated software, this move has, predictably, caused quite an uproar.
The China Daily quoted Dong Zhengwei, a lawyer, as saying “[Microsoft is] the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority … I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but … They should target producers and sellers of fake software, not users.”
The quote references the fact that in China, a lot of the software sold commercially is actually pirated, meaning that users might be at risk of a blackout without even knowing it.
Is Microsoft just protecting their IP, or have they gone too far? Let us know after the jump.
Evidently, software pirates have been passing up on Microsoft’s latest flagship OS, Vista, in order to get their booty plundering hands on a counterfeit version of XP, according to Bonnie MacNaughton, a senior attorney at Microsoft.
“Historically, counterfeiters tend to focus on the 'n-1' version of software," explained MacNaughton. "Because of the more robust antipiracy and security features in Vista, most sophisticated piracy rings still continue to focus on XP. But that's changing over time.” For the very same reasons, counterfeiters are only copying Office 2003, rather than Office 2007.
Given the current future of Windows XP, and the high possibility of its piracy it’s entirely likely that any copy of XP that you get after January 2009 (with the exception of downgrades available through HP and Dell) is pirated. Because of this, Microsoft is planning on rolling out a brand new ad campaign in early 2009 to remind people of XP’s demise, and this possibility. “We're planning [a campaign] in January or February to make sure our customers know what our rules and policies are about Windows XP," stated MacNaughton, "to make sure they understand what may be illegitimate and what may be legitimate. We want to make sure that the XP they might be getting is genuine.”
Most of the buzz surrounding Microsoft has to do with the company's next operating system, Windows 7, and what changes to expect over Vista. But a new OS isn't the only thing the software giant has been working on, as the next version of Office is receiving some attention as well.
At next week's Professional Developer Conference (PDC), Microsoft plans to talk about Office 14 (as the next version of Office has been code-named) with attendees, giving them a sneak peek at some of the features. Sure to be a highlight of the discussion is Office 14's ability to run in different modes, online or offline.
"We will rewrite Office to work in a browser," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with Britain's Computer Weekly.
But while attendees will get a first look at Office 14 - specifically, Office business applications and the software's Open XML file formats, according to the two listed sessions - it doesn't appear they'll be walking home with a copy, so don't fret if you won't be in attendance.
Nvidia owners with an SLI setup who have dreamed of running multiple monitors have been left in the cold for quite some time now. Stretching your real estate out onto a second monitor forced GeForce owners to disable SLI and reconfigure settings from scratch each time. This could take up several minutes and in some extreme cases, even a reboot. ATI owners on the other hand have had the ability to run crossfire on multi monitors for quite some time now and even Nvidia’s Quadro lineup has a fix in place. The day of reckoning is at hand however for GeForce owners and the wait for a fix may soon be over. According to leaked drivers which were previewed by VR-Zone an update from Nvidia may put the issue to bed once and for all. Screen shots and even a download link to the driver shows SLI multi monitor support in action.
Version 180.10 which Nvidia dubs “Big Bang II” could be rolling out soon and these drivers show that significant progress has been made on the issue. The site currently only offers the 64 bit version and this “leaked” copy features a few limitations which are important to know. Currently only clone mode is available for the second monitor, and 3D applications will match the resolutions on both displays regardless of compatibility. Additionally, these features come with roughly a 5% performance hit acording to 3DMark. Additional program specific conflicts are also being discussed in forums, and Nvidia (understandably) isn’t saying much.
The company has not confirmed the authenticity of these drivers or given any official release date on “Big Bang II”. The suggested launch date of September has obviously come and gone and ForceWare version 178.24 debuted just last week. Since driver releases are traditionally a minimum of one month apart, I highly doubt we will see anything new before late November or sometime in December at the earliest.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touched upon virtually all the major issues concerning MS – from Windows 7 to Yahoo - at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando. Unsurprisingly, he was confronted by many questions regarding Vista and Windows 7.He ardently defended Windows Vista. “The adoption rate of Vista is two times faster than XP at two years in,” Ballmer said in Vista’s defense.
However, he tacitly gave the thumbs up to enterprises that have abandoned all plans of upgrading to Vista and are already waiting for Windows 7. Regarding the possibility of a deal with Yahoo, he said that a deal would make sense for the shareholders of both the companies. The price of Yahoo’s shares shot up by 17% after Ballmer’s comment.
Ballmer believes that Google Apps has “very primitive” capabilities. He further derided Google Apps by not even acknowledging it as serious competition.