Fresh Technology Insights

Category: Microsoft (Page 1 of 2)

Windows 10 is now powering the world with 1 billion monthly devices

Paul Thurrott »

“We’re delighted to announce that over one billion people have chosen Windows 10 across 200 countries resulting in more than one billion active Windows 10 devices,” Microsoft corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi writes in the announcement. “We couldn’t be more grateful to our customers, partners, and employees for helping us get here.”

One billion is a big number—as Microsoft notes, that’s one out of every seven people on the planet—but the bigger news here, perhaps, is that the company is for the first time literally describing users and not just devices/PCs. In all of its previous usage milestone announcements, Microsoft only talked up how many active devices on which Windows 10 was installed. (The most recent figures were 600 million in November 2017, 800 million in March 2019, and then 900 million in late September 2019.)

More » Microsoft’s Windows Blog, PC World, Business Insider, Windows Central » @panos_panay

[Updated] Apple to close all retail stores worldwide – except those in China – to reduce the risk of Coronavirus

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple »

One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance.

Reuters »

Apple Inc said late on Friday it will close all its retail stores, except those in Greater China, for the next two weeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter apple.co/2w768jZ posted on the company’s website.

“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China,” he added. “That means team members should work remotely if their job allows.”

Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday.

More retail outlets are likely to follow Apple’s lead.

More » Apple News Release, MacRumors, Mercury News, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, The Next Web, Thurrott, NY Times (paywall)


Updated March 17, 2020

Apple now states stores will remain closed until further notice.

Microsoft has closed all it’s retail stores. Others are doing so as well.

Online ordering remains available. Amazon is hoping to hire an addition 100,000 employees in the U.S. to meet the demand.

Microsoft coordinated worldwide effort across 35 countries to take down the Necurs botnet, one of the largest known to date, which had infecting 9 million computers

Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet »

After Microsoft has taken control of existing Necurs infrastructure, the company and its industry partners have been able to sinkhole the botnet and receive information about all the bots located across the world.

As a final step part of this effort, Microsoft says it’s now working with ISPs and CERT teams to notify users who have been infected so that they can remove the malware from their computers.

More » Microsoft, The Hacker News, SecurityWeek

Mac malware outpaced Windows PCs threats for first time

That’s a distinction Apple most probably doesn’t want.

Mikey Campbell, Apple Insider »

In its annual State of Malware Report (PDF link), antivirus software maker Malwarebytes tracked a more than 400% increase in detected Mac malware on a year-over-year basis.

Tallying up threat detections on a per endpoint basis, calculus applied to account for growth in the number of Macs running Malwarebytes software, the firm found 11 threats per Mac endpoint in 2019, up from 4.8 in 2018. By comparison, results show an average of 5.8 threats detected per Windows endpoint over the same period.

The report speculates Macs are quickly becoming a sweet target for cybercriminals due to increased marketshare, though recent industry estimates show Apple’s slice of market shrank over the past two quarters.

Malwarebytes

Mac threats increased exponentially in comparison to those against Windows PCs. While overall volume of Mac threats increased year-over-year by more than 400 percent, that number is somewhat impacted by a larger Malwarebytes for Mac userbase in 2019. However, when calculated in threats per endpoint, Macs still outpaced Windows by nearly 2:1.

More » The Register

Gaia-X » Europe’s plan to avoid an over-reliance on US-based cloud providers Google, Amazon, and others

The EU is putting together a consortium to build a new, non-US, based cloud platform. It’s called Gaia-X.

Will Bedingfield, Wired »

The project is a collaboration between the European Commission, Germany, France, and according to an email from a spokesperson for Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy “some 100 companies and organisations”. (Firms confirmed include SAP SE, Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Siemens and Bosch.) The first proofs of concept for the European cloud are set to be ready towards the end of this year.

The driving motivation behind the project is “data sovereignty”, or, more accurately “data governance” – an ambition to bring the flow and storage and data under greater European control. “Data sovereignty is the key to GAIA-X,” says Harald Summa, the CEO of DE-CIX Group AG, a group involved in the project. “Especially given that our society is relying more and more heavily on digital services, it is in the interest of a state or a region to enable a certain level of independence from external service providers.”

The project is a direct response to the dominance of American and Chinese service providers. The European Commission has already locked horns with Google, fining the company €4.34 billion for antitrust violations back in 2018. The US Cloud Act requires American firms to provide law enforcement with customers’ personal data on request, even when the servers containing the information are abroad.

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Apple commits US$2.5 billion to help combat housing crisis in California

Google and Microsoft have recently made similar announcements.

Apple’s US$2.5 billion commitment will include a US$1 billon affordable housing investment fund, a US$1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund, US$300 million in Apple-owned and available land for housing, a US$150 million Bay Area housing fund, and US$50 million earmarked for supporting “vulnerable populations.”

Apple Press Release »

Apple today announced a comprehensive $2.5 billion plan to help address the housing availability and affordability crisis in California. As costs skyrocket for renters and potential homebuyers — and as the availability of affordable housing fails to keep pace with the region’s growth — community members like teachers, firefighters, first responders and service workers are increasingly having to make the difficult choice to leave behind the community they have long called home. Nearly 30,000 people left San Francisco between April and June of this year and homeownership in the Bay Area is at a seven-year low.

Read the whole press release »

With these announcements, these tech companies are recognizing they have contributed to the housing problems.

More » NY Times, Reuters, WSJ, Axios, Engadget, The Mac Observer, MacRumors, Apple Insider

Tech companies will now have to pay taxes in each country they sell products and services in

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) made the announcement today in Paris.

As is usual with large internet companies, they brought the change upon themselves as they have gone too far pushing international tax rules to the limit. Countries want their fair share. Large corporations will  no longer be able to park assets in tax havens and low taxing countries.

Leigh Thomas, writing for Reuters »

Companies affected would be big multinational firms operating across borders with the OECD suggesting they should have revenue of over 750 million euros ($821 million).

They would also have to have a “sustained and significant” interaction with customers in a country’s market, regardless of whether they have a physical presence there or not.

Not only would big internet companies be covered, but also big consumer firms that sell retail products in a market through a distribution network, which they may or may not own.

Companies meeting those conditions would then be liable for taxes in a given country, according to a formula based on set percentages of profitability that remain to be negotiated.

Read more at Reuters »

More » Reuters Fact Box, The Mac Observer

Microsoft President Brad Smith warns AI needs a kill switch

Monica Mickelsburg, writing in GeekWire »

Microsoft President Brad Smith who stumped the crowd at the GeekWire Summit — our annual technology conference in Seattle — with a simple question. “What is the biggest software-related issue to impact the economy in Puget Sound in 2019?”

“Software in the cockpit of an airplane, software that the pilots couldn’t turn off,” Smith said.

Smith was referring to the multi-billion dollar fallout from Boeing’s faulty 737 Max software that resulted in two crashes killing 346 people. Boeing’s manufacturing center is based in Renton, Wash. The company has announced more than $8 billion in costs related to the accidents and the damage to airlines and suppliers extends far beyond that.

The flights reportedly crashed because software tried to push the noses of the aircrafts down repeatedly, due to inaccurate flight data, and the pilots were not able to address the problem in time.

Read more at GeekWire »

Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop 3 in US$1000 13.5-inch and US$1,200 15-inch variants with USB-C, fast charging, new colours

No word yet from Microsoft Canada on Canadian pricing.

Microsoft made announcements for several pieces of hardware in New York this morning.

» Surface Laptop 3 – Available Oct 22nd

» Surface Pro 7 – Available Oct 22nd

» Surface Pro X – Available Oct 22nd

» Surface Neo – Available next year

» Surface Duo – Available next year

» Surface Earbuds – Available Oct 22nd

Read what Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, had to say on the Microsoft Blog »

» AMD scores a big marketing win with Ryzen-powered Microsoft Surface » Ars Technica

More at PCWorld, Windows Central, TechCrunch, Thurrott, SlashGear, TechSpot, Tech Republic

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