The expression “kids say the darndest things” gets just about anyone under the age of 10 off the hook for bizarre remarks, but Microsoft PR is likely looking for someway to spin Steve Ballmer’s latest comments into this category as well following a recent interview at the Gartner Symposium. During the one-on-one with ZDnet’s Larry Dignan, Ballmer claimed that “the next version of Windows” was Microsoft’s “riskiest bet”. Given that such a large percentage of Microsoft’s revenue comes from Windows, this probably wasn’t the best thing to admit in a public forum, but his honesty certainly does give us lots to write about!
This begs the question, why is Steve so worried about Windows 8? ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley speculated that it could be because Microsoft’s next operating system is rumored to be a radical departure from Windows 7, but since nothing has been officially confirmed by the company, we still have very little to go on. Leaked feature slides claim Windows 8 is going to be faster booting, have more advanced biometric security support, and maybe even an app store. Sure these are interesting features to a select few, but not exactly what most people would consider “risky”.
The more likely explanation is simply the natural fear built into Microsoft after the launch of Windows Vista. In many ways Vista failed because they tried to change core aspects of the operating system too quickly, and the compatibility problems caused a backlash that they are only now starting to recover from.
So should they make radical changes and risk another Vista? Or should they simply continue tweaking the UI and risk not making a compelling case to upgrade in two years time?
When Hewlett-Packard bought Palm earlier this year, it looked like the final nail in the coffin of the Windows 7 tablet it had trotted out in January. The company was now on the horns of a dilemma, torn between WebOS and Windows 7. The world’s leading PC maker eventually chose to accommodate the Windows 7-based Slate 500 in its WebOS-dominated tablet plans, albeit only as a business-oriented product.
The back-from-the-dead Slate 500 is now available for preorder. The 8.9-inch device features a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, a 64GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, a 3MP camera on the back, one front-facing VGA camera, and a Broadcom graphics accelerator. The Slate 500 sports a $799 price tag.
Ahead of the first anniversary of the launch of Windows 7 on Friday, Microsoft has posted some stats about the first year. Writing on The Windows Blog, a perceptibly triumphant Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, revealed that MS has sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses, making it “the fastest selling operating system in history.”
“Six months after launch, 100% (over 18,000) of our OEM partners were selling Windows 7 PCs versus 70% for Windows Vista PCs at a comparable time period. And there is an incredible ecosystem of products – software and hardware – that work great with Windows 7 too,” LeBlanc wrote.
LeBlanc also shared 7 lists of favorite Windows 7 highlights, including favorite Windows 7 features, themes, PCs and products. What do you like or dislike about Windows 7?
If the thought of a dual-booting netbook puts a smile on your face, then you'll be happy to know that Acer's Aspire, um, "Happy" netbook is expanding its reach. Previously seen at Spanish and Hungarian retail sites, the Aspire Happy is now headed to the U.K.
The 10.1-inch dual-booting netbook sports both Windows 7 and Android 2.1 Other than the OSes, it's a fairly standard netbook. Configurations include a single-core Atom N450 or dual-core Atom N550 processor, up to 2GB of memory, up to 250GB of hard drive space, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional 3G, and a variety of color options, including "Candy Pink," "Lavender Purple," "Lime Green," and "Hawaii Blue."
The Aspire Happy runs £250 (just shy of $400 USD). No word yet on when this one is bound for the States.
When Microsoft agreed to add a browser ballot screen to copies of Windows sold in Europe, many questioned just how much of an impact this would have on Internet Explorer’s market share. If you count yourself among the naysayers then feel free to make a triumphant fist pump, because the early feedback would seem to agree with you. According to the New York Times the first six months of data is suggesting that the browser ballot screen is having only a minor influence on the browser decision making process, and has renewed the debate over the effectiveness of mandated antitrust remedies.
According to StatCounter reports, Microsoft’s European share has dropped from 44.9 percent in January to around 39.8 percent today, but it’s almost impossible to tell if the browser ballot screen is to blame. Experts argue that the decline curve seen in the EU matches losses in other markets, with much of the lost IE business moving over to Google Chrome. Google’s share of the European market has doubled to 11.9 percent over the past twelve months, and they even managed to pick up 5.8 percent during the same period in which IE shed 5.1 percent. Is this the result of the browser ballot screen? Or just Google making a more compelling product?
What would you do if you were greeted with a browser ballot screen with your new install? For many people Internet Explorer is the best browser for downloading other browsers, but would you actually want a Windows PC without it at all? Let us know after the jump and help us conduct our own unofficial survey.
Microsoft had a slight breather in September after it delivered a record 14 security bulletins on Patch Tuesday in August. The company was actually preserving its energy for an even more hectic Patch Tuesday in October, which, according to the Security Bulletin Advance Notification, will include 16 updates to patch 49 vulnerabilities – a new record. Out of the 16 security bulletins, four are labeled “critical,” ten “important,” and the remaining two “moderate.” Ten of the security updates address flaws that could allow remote code execution.
At an event in London today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in no uncertain terms, the Windows Slates are coming this year. Ballmer said the devices would be available in time for the holidays. No specific devices were mentioned, and no one can say for sure if the HP Slate will ever actually materialize running Windows. A spokesperson later pointed to devices like the Hanvon Slate and Dell DUO (which is actually a convertible tablet).
It was just back in January that Ballmer stood on stage showing off Windows 7 tablets from Pegatron, HP, and Archos. Here we are all these months later and the iPad has had free run of the market. Even Android has been slow in bringing a competitor. Microsoft has a potentially exciting product in the upcoming Windows Phone 7, but they have made it clear that Windows 7 will be used for tablets.
Have you spent time with a touchscreen Windows 7 device lately? Was it good enough to ditch the keyboard?
It apparently doesn't matter how good Windows 7 is -- and it's really frakking good -- XP users are reluctant to part with the OS that helped them make it through the Vista era unscathed. The usage numbers vary, but the conclusion's the same: most Windows users are still rocking out with XP.
According to new market share data by Net Applications, XP's market share sits at 60.03 percent, down slightly from 60.89 percent one month prior. Vista, meanwhile, fell from 14 percent to 13.35 percent, while Windows 7 moved upwards from 15.85 percent to 17.10 percent.
Going by Net Applications' figures, Windows 7 has only posted a net gain in market share in three months since it was released in October 2009, and actually lost nearly 1.5 percentage points in the past 11 months. During that same time frame, Windows XP dropped around 10.5 percentage points.
StatCounter's data shows a slightly more even playing field with Windows XP claiming 54 percent of the Windows market, Windows 7 at 22 percent, and Vista at just over 16.5 percent.
A few months prior to the launch of Windows 7 Microsoft tried to entice early adopters with a killer deal on a three pack of Home Premium licenses, and as far as we can tell it was a huge success. Windows 7 was the most quickly adopted operating system in the company’s history, but like all good things it came it came to an unfortunate and abrupt end in early December 2009.
Anyone who waited too long was stuck paying nearly the same amount for a single copy, but if you missed the first offer we have good news for you, it’s back! Starting today you can order the Windows 7 Family pack which includes three copies of Home Premium for a mere $149.99. Anyone interested can pick up a copy at the Microsoft Online Store, or from what we can tell just about every common retailer that normally carries the SKU.
If you haven’t jumped over to Windows 7 yet, there has never been a better time to hop on the bandwagon. Still not convinced? I’m guessing that’s because you haven’t checked out our comprehensive review & benchmark comparison. Maybe you’re worried about the obstacles you might face while upgrading? We have a Guide for that too.
The family pack deal is just for US citizens at the moment but dozens of other countries will see the offer go live on October 22nd. Want to see if your homeland made the cut? Hit the jump to check out the list.
A YouTube user who goes by the name "x313xkillax" posted what may end up being the first hands-on look at HP's upcoming Windows 7-based Slate in prototype form.
Naturally there's some chatter that the video could be fake, and we can't say that it isn't. But if it is a ruse, it's a convincing one. The 4-minute video starts off with a tour of the external features, which shows a textured backing, built-in camera, SD card on the side, a keyboard button to bring up the virtual keyboard, volume buttons, USB port, and a few other accoutrement. There's even a CTRL-ALT-DEL key and a home key.
The second half of the video shows the device booting up and browsing the Web, as well as a brief look at the virtual keyboard.
Check it out below and then tell us what you think.