From its humble beginnings on prototype boards to a splashy developer debut on a host of Intel- and ARM-based slates, Microsoft's Consumer Preview version of Windows 8 is around the corner. Here's where you'll find the play-by-play of what's included and where Microsoft is heading.
May 10, 2013
Windows 8 has had its share of detractors since its launch, and today Microsoft's vice president of corporate communications responded to recent reports that paint the operating system as a failure. In a blog post Frank X. Shaw points to two pieces in particular — one by the Financial Times and the other by The Economist — that use the likely return of the Start button as evidence that the company is backtracking on its initial vision. Stating that the articles are examples of "sensationalism" and "hyperbole" intended to drive traffic rather than provide "nuanced analysis," Shaw writes that Microsoft's reaction to user complaints is actually a positive for the company.Read Article >
He goes on to tout that Microsoft has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses, and while those numbers are in line with what Microsoft saw with Windows 7 the company itself has admitted it hasn't seen the surge of touch-enabled Windows 8 devices it had hoped for. With some of Microsoft's hardware partners already expecting that Windows 8.1 will be the return to form they're looking for, there seems to be little doubt that Microsoft is responding to user feedback. However, that doesn't negate criticism that the Windows 8 bet itself hasn't quite paid off as Redmond had hoped.
Mar 15, 2013
JK Shin, the Samsung Mobile Communications president who just received a promotion to co-CEO of Samsung Electronics, had some harsh words for Microsoft tonight as his company launched the Galaxy S4. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Shin downplayed a question about Samsung's relationship with Microsoft, instead highlighting the poor performance of the company's Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Windows RT devices next to Android.Read Article >
Earlier this year, Samsung decided not to launch its Windows RT-based tablets in the US and some parts of Europe, citing customer confusion and a lack of demand. While Windows 8 has gotten off to a "solid start" according to Microsoft, it seems the software maker has more work to do if it's to convince its hardware partners of the new operating system's benefits.
Mar 8, 2013
There's plenty of evidence that Windows 8 isn't the rousing success that Microsoft might have hoped for, but a Samsung executive has taken his criticism a step further than that. "I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform," Dong-Soo Jun, head of Samsung's memory business, told The Korea Times today. While Fujitsu had previously blamed Windows 8 for its own declining PC sales, this may be the first time a Microsoft partner has dared to compare Windows 8 to Vista — well known as one of Microsoft's failures.Read Article >
However, if you take Dong-Soo's statement in context, the memory executive may not be speaking out of turn. The quote recorded by The Korea Times came as part of a conversation about the general decline in traditional PC sales, and how Samsung's memory division will cut production of PC memory chips in favor of ones designed to be used in smartphones. Samsung's executive is likely simply saying what we've already heard before: that — not unlike Windows Vista — the new Windows 8 operating system isn't helping the industry to sell more computers. From the perspective of a memory chip vendor, Windows 8 isn't doing much good for the bottom line. Still, his comment may inspire others to more closely consider how Windows 8 compares to previous versions of the operating system.
Feb 4, 2013
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system launched back on October 26th to a lavish ceremony in Times Square and a marketing effort worth millions. After months of sales, Microsoft's Windows CFO, Tami Reller, sat down with The Verge to reflect on the launch and reveal what the company has learned in the 100 days Windows 8 has been available.Read Article >
Thus far, Microsoft has revealed 60 million Windows 8 license sales for its new operating system, which is broadly in line with similar stats around the launch Windows 7. The figure doesn't tell the whole story though, as the Windows 8 upgrade cost is significantly lower and it's not clear how many are simply licenses sold to OEMs and businesses that aren't actively in use. However, Reller feels that Microsoft has had "a really solid start" to the launch of Windows 8.
Jan 31, 2013
All good things have to come to an end, and today marks the last opportunity for Windows users to upgrade to Windows 8 at a discounted rate. Since Microsoft's next-generation OS released back in October, a Windows 8 Pro upgrade has been available for $39.99, but from tomorrow onwards the same upgrade will set you back $199.99. If you've been dithering over whether to upgrade, now would be a good time to make a decision.Read Article >
Assuming you're interested in Windows 8 at all, it's worth noting that you wouldn't have to install it right away. As long as you have enough hard drive space, you can buy it, download the image file, and save it for a later date.
Jan 26, 2013
Is Windows 8 succeeding? We still don't know for sure, but at least part-time Microsoft chairman Bill Gates seems pleased with the progress of the new operating system. When CNBC asked him whether he'd ever return to Microsoft as CEO — not so subtly implying that the company could use more of his help — Gates said that both Windows 8 and the Surface tablet were doing "well," and without his full-time input.Read Article >
Microsoft says it's sold 60 million licenses for Windows 8 so far, but it's not clear whether that translates to human beings actually buying the OS. Market research firm NPD suggests that Windows 8 isn't helping a declining trend in PC sales, at least one partner (Fujitsu) isn't happy with its performance, and sales are reportedly south of Microsoft's internal projections.
Dec 20, 2012
It's an interesting time to buy an all-in-one PC, that's for sure. The iMac is thinner and more powerful than ever, and Windows machines finally have touchscreens that appeal to an average user. Now that Windows 8 is on the market, all-in-one computers aren't just a way to save space: now, you can theoretically have a giant touchscreen tablet in your office, kitchen, bedroom or dorm that doubles as a desktop computer... and with high-definition screens, HDMI inputs and optical drives, many of them can triple as a small TV.Read Article >
Are any of these new Windows 8 touchscreen all-on-ones any good, though? We decided to find out by trying them for ourselves. Today, you'll find reviews of the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart, the Dell XPS 27, the Sony VAIO L, the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, the Toshiba LX835, and the Asus ET2300.
Dec 14, 2012
In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Microsoft's new head of Windows, Julie Larson-Green, has shared some thoughts on Windows 8 after her early experiences leading a post-Sinofsky Windows team. Larson-Green reveals that she first saw an iPad after Microsoft had its Windows 8 design "ready to go." After starting work on Windows 8 in June 2009, ahead of the Windows 7 release, Larson-Green admits Microsoft was excited by Apple's approach to the iPad. "A lot of things they were doing about mobile and touch were similar to what we’d been thinking."Read Article >
It's fair to say that Windows 8 has split opinions for end users. "We’re going for the over time impression rather than the first 20 minutes out of the box," says Larson-Green. Admitting that the company has found that people invested in the old Windows approach find it more difficult to transition, Larson-Green believes it takes two days to two weeks to adjust fully. Despite this, Larson-Green believes the majority of future PCs will have touch support and that computers with touch are selling the fastest at the moment. "You’ll use the mouse and keyboard, but even on the regular desktop you’ll find yourself reaching up doing the things that are faster than moving the mouse and moving the mouse around."
Nov 30, 2012
With Windows 8, touchscreens are more relevant than ever before. However, some pundits have long believed that a touchscreen simply doesn't belong on a laptop. Sometimes, they quote Steve Jobs. "Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical." That's Jobs in 2010, telling the world why Apple notebooks wouldn't feature the technology.Read Article >
"You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not gonna be pleasing to the user." That one's from Tim Cook earlier this year, explaining the company's stance on convertible tablet PCs.
Nov 27, 2012
Microsoft revealed today that the company has sold 40 million licences of Windows 8 to date. Tami Reller, the Windows Chief Marketing and Financial Officer, revealed the figure during a speech at Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference. The sales numbers come shortly after Microsoft revealed it had sold four million upgrade copies of Windows 8 in the first few days of sales in October. Microsoft claims "Windows 8 is outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades."Read Article >
Recent reports have suggested that Windows 8 PC sales are "well below Microsoft's internal projections," but these latest figures appear to suggest that Windows 8 licences are fairing ok. Promotions on Windows 8 upgrade copies appear to be helping along early sales. In comparison, Microsoft sold 60 million licences of Windows 7 after just over two months of sales. Microsoft did not discuss Microsoft's Windows RT sales or any figures for the company's recently launched Surface RT tablet.
Nov 21, 2012
Microsoft's final copy of Windows 8 leaked online back in early August and pirates have been battling to work around Microsoft's activation technology ever since. Early attempts involved the use of third-party Key Management Services (KMS) servers that would activate a copy for 180 days, requiring a re-activation every six months. This work around has allowed Windows 8 pirates to use the operating system free of charge temporarily, but the software maker has now made it even easier to avoid paying for a key.Read Article >
Microsoft is giving away a Media Center upgrade to Windows 8 Pro users until January 31st, and pirates have discovered that the key provided will fully activate a copy of Windows 8 that was previously temporarily activated through the KMS workaround. The blunder means pirates can download an illegitimate copy of Windows 8, temporarily activate it through KMS and then upgrade it fully to an activated copy of Windows 8 thanks to Microsoft's own Media Center upgrade offer. The Verge has confirmed the procedure works on a test machine and we have reached out to Microsoft for a comment on the method.
Nov 20, 2012
Microsoft's Windows 8 Start screen UI wasn't shown off fully until mid-2011, but the company is now starting to show off mockups of how the software maker envisioned it back in 2010. Jensen Harris, part of Microsoft's Windows design team, shared some of the concepts in an hour-long presentation on Windows 8 for UX Week recently.Read Article >
Spotted by Long Zheng, the mockups offer an early look at how Microsoft approached the design of Windows 8. A Start screen mockup shows off a cluttered looking Live Tile interface, with the time, date, and network / battery status shown clearly at the top of the display. Other mockups include a charms bar with additional icons for favorites, snap view, and a media player.
Nov 16, 2012Read Article >
No matter the trustworthiness of Thurrott's source, the report does leave something to be desired when it comes to hard stats. The only number we've received from Microsoft to-date is that it sold four million Windows 8 upgrades in just a few days. It's difficult to know for sure why sales of new PCs are disappointing, but it does mean that consumers and businesses are likely comfortable keeping on with their Windows 7 or earlier hardware — not a wholly unexpected result. Still, we're sure rumors will be flying considering the timing of former Windows head Steven Sinofsky's departure earlier this week.
Microsoft's build developer conference has kicked off in Seattle today, and the company is using it to showcase some new Windows 8 apps. PayPal will supply an API for Windows 8 developers that allows them to use the PayPal payment system within any Windows Store app. Microsoft also announced a new Dropbox app for Windows 8 that is simply "coming soon."Read Article >
A new ESPN app will aggregate scores and video alongside photo galleries and podcasts with pin support for Windows 8's new Start screen. Microsoft is also demonstrating new apps from Disney and Lego which are due in the Windows Store soon.
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Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system went on sale on October 26th, and the company has just announced it has already sold four million upgrade copies. At a keynote address in Seattle today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the first Windows 8 statistics — four million upgrade copies over the first weekend of sales. Ballmer mentioned the launch of Surface, but did not reveal any specific sales figures for that particular device.
Oct 29, 2012
With less than 24 hours to go until Microsoft takes the covers off Windows Phone 8 once and for all, the company has released a companion app in the Windows Store that'll work in tandem with the new devices. The Windows Phone app works on both Windows 8 and RT devices like the recently-released Surface and replaces much of the functionality found in the Zune desktop client; it'll let you copy music, photos, and other media to and from each device, among other features.Read Article >
Details of the Windows Phone companion app were leaked to The Verge nearly two months ago. At that time, we heard that the app would automatically install to your computer upon connecting a Windows Phone 8 device, but we're unable to check this without having one of the new phones in hand. However, we can confirm that it doesn't work with handsets running Windows Phone 7. You won't be able to do very much with the app right now, then, but you can check it out anyway by downloading from the Windows Store.
Oct 28, 2012
Congratulations, you've installed Windows 8. Now what? Now, you have to figure out how to actually use Microsoft's new operating system before your boss, friends, or family expect you to do something productive. That's just what this guide is for. We'll show you how to find your desktop again, how to change Windows settings, and what those fancy new touchscreen gestures are all about. We'll explain how to do the same things with a mouse and keyboard, in the rather likely event that you aren't using touchscreen hardware.Read Article >
In other words, we'll show you how to get where you're going in Windows 8, so that you can get back to work.
Oct 26, 2012
With over 100 million iPads sold, the one thing everyone can agree on about Surface is that Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up in the tablet and mobile market. That's not entirely the company's fault, however, argues one executive in an interview with the Spiegel. According to Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, the company's huge volume in desktop computing made it "basically the only target" for hackers and cybercriminals, and the time spent fighting these off delayed an entry into the mobile space.Read Article >
While Mundie is correct to point out the success of Windows Mobile before the rise of the iPhone and Android, Microsoft's early touch-enabled versions of Windows never took off with consumers, and the company launched its Zune music player some five years after the first iPod.
Oct 25, 2012Read Article >
When word came down that Windows Media Center and DVD playback would be a paid upgrade to Windows 8, there were definitely some home theater users that were disappointed. Thankfully, it looks like Microsoft has decided to pay attention to those complaints. For early adopters, at least, the Windows 8 Media Center Pack will be available for free, meaning you'll be able to record TV, watch DVDs, and take advantage of other functionality that used to be bundled in with Windows 7. To get the free copy you'll need to purchase Windows 8 Pro and enter your product key into Microsoft's website by January 31, 2013 — the same date that all of the other promotional pricing for the new operating system ends. We never heard how much the Media Center Pack was going to cost users, but keep in mind that if you are running WIndows 8 you'll still need to purchase the $69.99 Pro Pack to get Media Center. It's all a bit confusing, so be sure to check our Windows 8 upgrade guide if you're looking for the full rundown.
Oct 25, 2012
So you want a computer with Windows 8? Welcome to Decision City, population you. On October 26th, the day Microsoft launches its new operating system, you'll be able to choose from a tremendous array of laptops, desktops, tablets and even some computers that defy traditional form factors. You'll be able to pick from no fewer than five different types of processors and three versions of the operating system in all. Or, you can simply upgrade your existing computer to Windows 8 without a lot of trouble. Here are a number of the questions you'll probably be asking yourself:Read Article >
How much does Windows 8 cost? When can I get it? Where can it be found? What's that "Windows RT" thing I keep hearing about?
Oct 24, 2012Read Article >
HP has served up pricing and availability for its full range of Windows 8 launch machines today, a list inevitably highlighted by the company's all-new hybrid PC, the Envy x2. The 11.6-inch tablet that can just as easily operate as a laptop will start at $849.99, which will get you some fancier extras like Beats Audio, NFC, and an 8-megapixel camera. Still, even with that brushed aluminum finish, the Envy x2's price doesn't seem terribly competitive with the current tablet market. It should be available in the US on November 14th, says HP, while most of the rest of the company's Windows 8 lineup will be ready to buy just as soon as Windows 8 is released.
Oct 24, 2012
The Microsoft Surface is no minor thing to review, especially when you consider the stakes for this product. The tablet / laptop hybrid — which was announced at a surprise event in Los Angeles back in June — is not just a unique product in the market, it's also the first of its kind for Microsoft. The company's foray into designing and building its own hardware is not exactly unheard of, but competing directly with partners on PCs certainly is. Adding fuel to an already-crackling fire, Microsoft is making two distinct versions of the Surface available: the $499 (and up) Surface with Windows RT, which runs a scaled back version of Windows for ARM chipsets, and the yet-to-be-released Surface with Windows 8 Pro, a full-on, Intel-based Windows machine with all the power you'd expect from a modern laptop. I've been tasked with reviewing the former, a product which competes in both price and functionality with the iPad and higher-end Android tablets.Read Article >
The device itself is an interesting new addition to a crowded market. Though Windows RT touts a desktop environment which looks and feels very similar to Windows 7, the OS doesn't allow for legacy Windows applications to be run or installed, save for the Office suite and a desktop version of Internet Explorer 10. Furthermore, new apps must be written for the tiled environment of Windows 8 — the new Windows Phone-influenced interface which seemingly defines Microsoft's future.
Apple may have refreshed its Mac lineup and introduced a new iPad mini today, but that's not stopping Microsoft from promoting Windows 8. The software giant has just published four new ads today that will be shown globally. Advertising agency Crispin, Porter and Bogusky created the ads for Microsoft, with certain features localized in particular regions.Read Article >
"We didn’t get too literal," says Rob Reilly of Crispin, Porter and Bogusky. "It’s not about landing features and scenarios." The latest round of ads follow on from Microsoft's initial Windows 8 ad that started airing in the US earlier this month. All the ads will go live in 42 countries, with additional print ads, online, and outdoor posters to form part of Microsoft's massive advertizing blitz.
Windows 8 is a rebirth, a "reimagining" of Windows and the entire Microsoft brand. It's also the single riskiest project that Microsoft has ever embarked upon â a bet from Redmond that users can adapt to a new way of computing. With mobile alternatives from Google and Apple eating into sales of traditional PCs, Microsoft needed to act quickly to protect its Windows revenue. A short testing phase of under a year from Developer Preview to a finished product in stores shows that Microsoft is serious this time around. The result? An entirely new Windows user interface designed for touch and a new generation of Windows apps. This isn't the Windows you're familiar with, but is that a good thing?Read Article >
The most striking changes to Microsoft’s new operating system are evident as soon as you first switch on a Windows 8 PC. The boot process is surprisingly fast for Windows: gone are the days of staring at an ugly splash screen or waiting for Windows to apply computer settings before you can log in and progress with your day. In fact, the boot process is so fast on new hardware that you barely see the redesigned Windows logo that greets you ahead of an entirely new OS.