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Windows 10 is being launched globally on July 29 in Microsoft’s attempt to reverse its fortunes in the mobile industry.

Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to most existing Windows users, as well as those buying new PCs.

Analysts say the company is beginning to move away from relying on Windows as a key money-making product.

Microsoft has until now released a new version of Windows every few years.

Windows 10 will be the last launch of this kind, the company said – from here on it will gradually update the software for free over months and years. For those of you who aren’t so ‘tech savvy’, there are companies such as 1E who can help businesses with the upgrade, and overall process.


The developer version of Hololens, which is placed over a user’s eyes and displays graphics in their surroundings, is on course to be released within a year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.

Consumer versions of the software would follow at a later date.Windows 10 launch 2015

While the company is still to make a small number of mobile devices – a couple of smartphones, and its Surface tablet-laptop hybrid – it has significantly lowered its ambitions in the area.

Earlier this month, Microsoft wrote off last year’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Finnish mobile giant Nokia, while laying off thousands of the employees it gained from the phone company.

The write down resulted in the company’s biggest ever quarterly loss.

The deal was made by Satya Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer.

Windows 10 is multi-platform – meaning essentially the same software can power PCs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and wearables.

The previous version of the operating system – Windows 8 – was so badly received the company leapfrogged making Windows 9 altogether in an attempt to distance itself from its previous outlook.

In the run up to launching Windows 10, Microsoft launched its Insider Program – a scheme which allowed millions of users to test out new features and provide feedback which was monitored and acted upon by the team.

Initial reviews of the software have been positive.

Windows 10 will bring Microsoft’s voice-controlled assistant Cortana to PCs, the company has revealed.

Microsoft also unveiled the HoloLens headset that it said would one day project the operating system over views of the real world.

In addition, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be offered free of charge for devices running Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Phone.

The offer, which is limited to the Windows 10’s first year of release, may aid its adoption.

It marks a change in strategy from Microsoft’s previous policy of charging for major updates, and could help avoid a repeat of the relatively slow uptake of Windows 8.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the HoloLens headset represented a “magical moment” of “category creation” that developers lived for.

The wearable tech’s augmented reality see-through lenses represent a major leap forward over Google Glass and other existing eyewear – assuming the machine lives up to its on-stage demo, in which computer-generated elements appeared in the world surrounding the wearer.

Microsoft said that the final version of the machine would not need to be linked to other devices to work, and should be released within Windows 10’s “timeframe”.

It revealed NASA was already working with the kit, and said the US space agency hoped to start controlling its Mars rovers with a prototype version as soon as July.

Other demos involving the machine included the wearer:

  • playing Minecraft with the video game’s graphics appearing over living room furniture
  • seeing a Skype video appear as if it was taking place on a building wall
  • creating a model of a drone, which she saw in front of her face while shaping it by moving her hands and giving voice commands

Windows 10 brings the same operating system to devices of all sizes, rather than having different ones for PCs/tablets, mobile phones and the firm’s Xbox games console.Microsoft Windows 10

One of the key features that consumers will be able to use on PCs from “day one” is Cortana – the voice-controlled tool previously limited to Windows Phone handsets.

Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore demonstrated how the software could be told to:

  • bring up Powerpoint presentation documents
  • locate photos taken during a specific month
  • dictate and send emails
  • tell the user whether or not the weather forecast indicates they should wear a coat later
  • show where their car is parked

In addition, Joe Belfiore showed how the software could be used to respond to requests that had been typed, rather than spoken into a PC.

Windows 8 had been criticized by some for placing so much focus on touch-centric commands rather than the mouse and keyboard.

JoeBelfiore also highlighted one of the core benefits of Windows 10: a single app will run on multiple types of device, with the user interface reformatting itself to suit the machine it is running on, rather than having a different program for phones, tablets and PCs.

He showed how this meant more advanced versions of the firm’s popular Office programs Excel, Powerpoint and Word could be brought to handsets running Windows 10 than were possible under Windows Phone 8. He also demonstrated a new “universal” Photos app that collates and sorts pictures taken with different devices.

Joe Belfiore also confirmed reports that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser was being replaced by a new program codenamed Project Spartan.

This will have Cortana built-in to allow voice commands and provide extra personalized information – such as directions to a restaurant whose website is being looked at.

The software also includes a new “noting mode”, which will let users scribble or type over a page and then share it with others.

The new system also introduces the ability to stream Xbox One video games from the console to any other Windows 10 PC or tablet on the same Wi-Fi network.

This means that users will be able to play any game in their Xbox library on another device in another room of their home if the property’s main TV is being watched by someone else.

The facility is similar to the service Sony offers for its PlayStation 4 games machine that allows it to stream titles to Xperia phones and tablets and the PlayStation TV mini-console.

Offering Windows 10 free for the first year is a huge incentive to kickstart adoption.

Windows 10 is well positioned to capitalize on the resurgence of PCs.

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Xbox and PlayStation online services have been disabled after being attacked by hackers.

Microsoft and Sony – the companies which make the games consoles – have told customers they are aware of issues affecting their online services.

A hacking group called Lizard Squad is claiming to have caused the problems.

Microsoft and Sony have not commented on the claim, but both said they were fixing the issues.Xbox and PlayStation hack attack

Last night, PlayStation’s official Twitter account posted: “We are still looking into the PSN (PlayStation Network) issues reported earlier. Thanks again for your continued patience today.”

A message on Xbox’s website says: “Hi Xbox members. Are you having a rough time signing in to Xbox Live? We’re working to get this figured out right away.

“Keep trying to sign in when you get a chance. We’re grateful for your patience, and we’ll be sure to loop you in on our progress in 30 minutes.”

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Nokia is launching N1 Android-powered tablet, marking the company’s return to consumer electronics.

The surprise launch pits the Finnish company against Microsoft, which completed its takeover of Nokia’s previous mobile-devices business in April.

The N1 tablet is due to go on sale in China towards the start of 2015, ahead of other countries.

Nokia said it was not making the device itself, but had licensed its brand, design and software to a third-party.

Taiwanese manufacture Foxconn is the licensee.

“This is a great product for Nokia fans and everyone who has not found the right Android tablet yet,” said Sebastian Nystrom, head of products at Nokia Technologies, who announced the product at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki.

Microsoft sells Nokia-labeled kit of its own, including the Lumia 2520 Windows RT-powered tablet.

Earlier this month, it unveiled its first Lumia smartphone without the Nokia name. But it indicated that it would continue using the brand on its less powerful “feature phone” line-up, saying it had the right to do so for up to a decade under the terms of its $7.2 billion takeover.

It is not clear whether Nokia’s announcement affects those plans.

The only comment from Microsoft was a brief statement: “This is a Nokia announcement and is not associated in any way with Microsoft.”

The N1 is a 7.9in aluminium-framed tablet, whose design resembles the iPad Mini.

Unlike Apple’s device, however, it is powered by Google’s Android 5.0 operating system, features an Intel Atom processor and has a Micro-USB slot. The planned retail price is $249.

It runs Nokia’s own Z Launcher user interface – known as a skin – on top of Android.

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Microsoft officially stopped selling retail copies of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on October 31.

The date to stop selling the software was set some time ago and should help Microsoft move people on to more recent versions of its operating system.

Separately, statistics suggest people are finally moving away from some very old versions of Windows.

The next version of Windows, called Windows 10, is due to be released in late 2015.

From October 31, consumers could no longer buy copies of the Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. Now, Windows 8 is also no longer available. The change affects both copies bought in shops or loaded on PCs and laptops.

The current version of Windows, 8.1, will be the default version offered on PCs.

Microsoft officially stopped selling retail copies of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on October 31

Microsoft officially stopped selling retail copies of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on October 31

The change will take time to feed through into the market, as many PC makers have large stocks of older versions of Windows and will continue to sell PCs running the software.

Those keen to get a computer running Windows 7 will be able to “downgrade” from 8.1 to Windows 7 Professional but relatively few PC firms offer this option.

The original version of Windows 8 did not prove popular because it did away with some familiar elements of the desktop version of the operating system.

Windows 7 has been available since late 2009 and is still very popular among users. About 53% of Windows users are on the various editions of Version 7 of Windows. The more recently released Windows 8 has only grabbed a 6% market share and has already been surpassed by 8.1.

Separately, market analysis reveals that the numbers of people using the venerable Windows XP operating system has suddenly seen a sharp decline. Data from Netmarketshare suggests that in October this year its share dropped from almost 24% to just over 17%.

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Microsoft has reported a decline in its profits as a result of costs related to job cuts and its purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business earlier this year.

However, the tech giant reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue, helped by stronger sales of its phones, Surface tablets and cloud-computing products for companies, while keeping its profit margins largely intact.

Microsoft made $4.5 billion in Q3 2014, 13% lower than the same time last year.

“Integrations and restructuring expenses” cost $1.1 billion, Microsoft said.

However, the new Nokia business also boosted revenues. They climbed 25% to $23.2 billion, beating expectations and sending shares higher in after-hours trading.

In July Microsoft announced plans to cut 18,000 jobs, including 12,500 in the Nokia unit it bought in April.

On October 22 Microsoft said it would no longer use the Nokia name, selling future Lumia smartphone models as Microsoft-branded phones.

Microsoft made $4.5 billion in Q3 2014, 13 percent lower than the same time last year

Microsoft made $4.5 billion in Q3 2014, 13 percent lower than the same time last year

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company was being “positioned for future growth”.

“Our teams are delivering on our core focus of reinventing productivity and creating platforms that empower every individual and organization,” he said in a statement accompanying earnings.

Microsoft makes most of its money selling software to companies. The results show a strong growth in its business selling cloud computing to companies – an area Satya Nadella has cited as important for the future of Microsoft.

The business has continued to place great importance on its consumer products like the Xbox games console, its Surface range of tablet computers, and smartphones.

Stronger sales of phones and tablets helped boost revenues, with total consumer revenue up 47%.

Microsoft shares, which have climbed 33% over the past year, rose another 3% in after-hours trading to $46.36.

Microsoft has unveiled the first details of its next operating system (OS) – Windows 10.

The new OS’ name is a surprise, bearing in mind it represents a jump from the last version – Windows 8.

The software will run on a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to PCs and Xbox games consoles, with applications sold from a single store.

Windows 10 also marks the return of the Start Menu, which had been removed from Windows 8.

In addition to offering a list of the user’s favorite applications, the menu also brings up resizable tiles – similar to those featured in Windows 8’s touch-centric interface on PCs and tablets.

These provide a quick view of notifications from relevant applications, such as details of new emails, Facebook messages and weather forecast updates.

Microsoft said the facility was intended to make the software seem familiar to both users of Windows 8 and Windows 7.

The behavior of the OS will depend on the type of device with which it is being used. Unlike its predecessor, users will not need to switch between Desktop Mode and the touch-focused alternative.

Windows 10 will run on a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to PCs and Xbox games consoles, with applications sold from a single store

Windows 10 will run on a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to PCs and Xbox games consoles, with applications sold from a single store (photo Microsoft)

However, they can still spread a number of “live tiles” across the screens of two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids to make them easier to use with both a mouse and finger presses.

Windows 8 had been criticized for being too different to the previous version, which deterred some organizations from introducing it.

It initially lacked a Start button altogether, and when one was introduced it only switched to the touch-centric tiled interface or – if a long mouse press was used – provided access to the system’s control panel and other functions.

Businesses typically wait about a year after a new operating system’s release before offering it to workers to give IT staff a chance to get to grips with the new technologies involved.

It has been nearly two years since Windows 8 first went on sale and adoption is still low.

Across desktop PCs as a whole, only 13.4% currently run Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, according to research firm NetMarketshare.

By contrast, it says 51.2% are powered by Windows 7 and 23.9% by Windows XP, a version that is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Microsoft will offer a “technical preview” of Windows 10 to early adopters later this week, which will run on laptops and desktops.

The company said it would provide details about the introduction of “universal apps” – individual programs that tailor their functionality to different types of devices – at its Build conference in April, and would aim to release the completed OS before the end of 2015.

There was no mention of offering Microsoft’s voice-controlled digital assistant Cortana to PCs, or when Windows 10 would supersede the Windows Phone OS.

Microsoft’s smartphone code is designed for ARM-based processors, unlike the main Windows 8 and Xbox operating systems that are built for x86 chips – including those made by Intel and AMD.

While Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 would be released for both types of chip architecture, it did not disclose whether there would be a staggered release.

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Microsoft has become the first major console maker to enter the Chinese market after launching Xbox One.

The first consoles were sold in Shanghai, priced at 4,299 yuan ($699). Sony and Nintendo are yet to launch their respective products.

In January, the Chinese government lifted a 14-year ban on consoles, made because of worries over content.

However, many popular titles, such as Call of Duty, will still be banned.

Only 10 games were available to buy on the Xbox One’s release – but Microsoft has said 70 titles are in the pipeline.

Beating its rivals to the market may give Microsoft a much-needed sales boost. Its console is currently being outsold by Sony’s PlayStation 4 in all major markets.

Microsoft has become the first major console maker to enter the Chinese market after launching Xbox One

Microsoft has become the first major console maker to enter the Chinese market after launching Xbox One (photo Reuters)

Sony has set up business partnerships to launch the PS4 in China, but a date has not yet been set.

Both companies will compete with a thriving black market in illegally imported consoles playing pirated versions of games.

They will also come up against mobile games, which are not banned in China and are extremely popular.

The Xbox One launch was originally set to happen last week but was delayed – Microsoft did not give a reason why.

The company is currently the focus of an anti-monopoly investigation relating to its Office software.

Its chief executive Satya Nadella visited China last week, and pledged to help the government with its investigation.

Getting games to market is likely to require negotiation with regulators, who favor educational games over those with violent themes.

But that could play well for Microsoft thanks to its recent acquisition of Minecraft – a block-building online game that is massively popular in the Western world, particularly with young children.

Microsoft bought Minecraft’s Swedish developer Mojang earlier this month for $2.5 billion.

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Microsoft has bought Minecraft’s maker, the Swedish company Mojang, for $2.5 billion.

Minecraft, which has sold over 54 million copies, allows players to build structures with retro Lego-style blocks, as well as explore a large map and battle others.

The deal was announced by Xbox chief Phil Spencer.

Mojang, whose three founders will leave the company, assured fans that “everything is going to be OK”.

Some analysts have speculated the deal is designed to attract more users to Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices.

The acquisition comes a year after Microsoft bought the Finnish mobile phone company Nokia.

Minecraft is one of the top-selling apps on both Apple’s iOS store and Android’s Google Play, and has recently been released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, further boosting sales.

Last month, it was the third most popular console game, according to market research firm NPD Group, despite being on sale for a while.

Mojang which was founded in 2009, brought in over $100 million in profit in 2013, and employs about 40 people.

Microsoft has bought Minecraft’s maker for $2.5 billion

Microsoft has bought Minecraft’s maker for $2.5 billion

Microsoft said the Mojang team would join its game studio, which is responsible for titles such as Halo, Forza and Fable.

The tech giant’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, said: “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

Mojang’s founder, Markus “Notch” Persson, has previously criticized Microsoft, and commented to Reuters that the market for Windows phones was “tiny” and not worth developing apps for.

Minecraft has a large and enthusiastic cult following, many of whom have reacted angrily to what they see as a corporate takeover of a communally-spirited independent company.

Others expressed concerns about whether fans would be able to exhibit their skills.

However, some enthusiasts made the point that Microsoft could devote larger resources to upgrading and expanding the game.

In a statement, Microsoft said it would maintain Minecraft across all its existing platforms, with a “commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future”.

Microsoft added that the acquisition was expected to be concluded by the end of 2014.

In an announcement confirming the deal on its website, Mojang reassured gamers, saying: “Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that.”

Last month, Amazon bought Twitch, a site which allows users to watch other people play video games, for $970 million.

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Minecraft’s developer, Mojang, is in talks to be taken over by Microsoft, according to reports.

It has been suggested that Mojang might sell for more than $2 billion.

In June, the Swedish studio said it had sold about 54 million copies of its hit world-building game. Since then it has also been released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, further boosting sales.

Mojang’s founder, Markus “Notch” Persson has previously publicly criticized Microsoft.

Ahead of the release of the Windows 8 operating system, Notch Persson had claimed that the company was “trying to ruin the PC as an open platform” because it had wanted to certify third-party titles before their release.

Notch Persson had also been a vocal supporter of independent studios, saying in 2012 that: “The more studios that can remove themselves from the publisher system, the more games that will be made out of love rather than for profit.”

Minecraft's developer, Mojang, is in talks to be taken over by Microsoft

Minecraft’s developer, Mojang, is in talks to be taken over by Microsoft

According to Bloomberg, it was Markus Persson who “reached out” to Microsoft a few months ago.

It said that a source suggested that if the deal went through, Notch Persson would help with the transition, but was unlikely to stay on afterwards.

The New York Times reported that a person briefed on the talks had said that Markus Persson was expected to leave within six months, but added that Mojang was keen to hold on to its younger developers.

A spokesman for Microsoft said: “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation.”

Mojang also declined to comment.

Minecraft was first released in 2011, and has since become the third bestselling game of all time and something of a cultural phenomenon.

Mojang has worked on other titles, but they have either fallen short of Minecraft’s success – such as the role-playing game (RPG) Scrolls.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report negotiations between Mojang and Microsoft, saying that the deal could be finalized this week.

It noted that this would be the first multibillion acquisition by Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, since he took charge of the company.

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Microsoft’s ex-CEO Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from the board with immediate effect.

In a public letter, Steve Ballmer said he had become “very busy” since he quit the top job and that it would be “impractical to continue”.

Steve Ballmer’s decision to leave follows his recent purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.

Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from Microsoft board with immediate effect

Steve Ballmer has announced he is stepping down from Microsoft board with immediate effect (photo AP)

“I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of my time,” he wrote.

Steve Ballmer said his departure would be immediate due to a “hectic” autumn including both the start of the NBA basketball season and his teaching of a new class.

He left the chief executive role in February after more than 14 years at the helm, and has been involved in the company for more than three decades.

Steve Ballmer still holds more Microsoft shares than any other individual, and on Tuesday he pledged to hold onto them for the “foreseeable future”.

“I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years and I always will,” Steve Ballmer wrote.

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Microsoft has reported a 7% fall in profit during Q2 2014.

The tech giant said profit during the March to June period was $4.6 billion, compared with $4.97 billion during the same period last year.

Microsoft said its Nokia division, which it acquired in April, lost $692 million.

Microsoft said its Nokia division lost $692 million

Microsoft said its Nokia division lost $692 million

Last week, Microsoft announced it would cut 18,000 jobs – the biggest round of job cuts in the company’s 39-year history.

“We are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Satya Nadella said Microsoft is choosing to focus on revenues from the company’s cloud division, which he said were set to double to $4.4 billion this year.

Shares in Microsoft were mostly flat in trading after stock market hours.

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Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studio will close by the end of the year, Xbox chief Phil Spencer told employees in an email.

Microsoft’s plan to compete with Netflix and Amazon by producing its own TV shows has come to an early end, as the company announces 18,000 job cuts.

Xbox Entertainment Studio launched to great fanfare in 2012, having secured Steven Spielberg to produce a spin-off of the military-themed sci-fi video game, Halo.

That show will go ahead, despite the studio’s closure, Microsoft said.

Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studio will close by the end of the year

Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studio will close by the end of the year

Five other shows had been given the green light, and a further 11 were in development.

The majority were male-friendly titles, with ties to the company’s major video game franchises, including Gears of War, Age of Empires, Fable and Forza Motorsport.

Only one had made it to air – Every Street United, a football-themed reality show, which debuted last month.

Documentary program Signal to Noise and a second Halo spin-off, Halo: Nightfall, written by Prison Break creator Paul Scheurin, are already in production and will be not be cancelled.

Humans is also expected to go ahead. A remake of a Swedish series about humans living with robot servants, the eight-episode drama is scheduled to debut next year.

“Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like NFL on Xbox, and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates,” said Microsoft in a statement.

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Microsoft will stop developing Android-powered smartphones beyond those already available.

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system, although existing Android handsets will continue to be supported.

The move comes as Microsoft announced 18,000 job cuts across its workforce.

Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset division earlier this year.

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system

Nokia unveiled its first family of Android phones at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in February.

The release of the smartphones, which were priced at the lower end of the market, was described as a “perplexing strategic move” at the time, given that Microsoft had its own mobile operating system, Windows Phone.

In an email to employees on Thursday, Stephen Elop, Microsoft’s executive in charge of mobile devices, announced that Android handsets were being phased out.

“In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest-growing segments of the market, with Lumia.

“In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices.

“We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.”

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Microsoft has announced it will cut up to 18,000 jobs marking the deepest cuts in the company’s 39-year history.

The bulk of the cuts, around 12,500, will be in its phone unit Nokia, which Microsoft bought in April, the tech giant said.

Microsoft pledged to cut $600 million per year in costs within 18 months of closing the acquisition.

The cuts are much more severe than the 6,000 initially expected.

Microsoft employs 127,000 globally.

Microsoft will cut up to 18,000 jobs marking the deepest cuts in the company's 39-year history

Microsoft will cut up to 18,000 jobs marking the deepest cuts in the company’s 39-year history

Chief executive officer Satya Nadella, who took the helm in February, wants the company to shift its focus away from software to online services, apps and devices.

“Making these decisions to change are difficult, but necessary,” Satya Nadella wrote in the announcement to staff.

Microsoft said it also planned to have fewer layers of management “to accelerate the flow of information and decision making.”

The company said staff affected by the job cuts would be notified over the next six months, and they would be “fully completed” by the end of June next year.

In total it said the cuts, including severance pay, would cost it between $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion over the next year.

Last week, Satya Nadella rebranded the company as “the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world”.

The cuts are aimed at helping Microsoft better compete with rivals including Google and Apple.

The last significant job cuts at Microsoft were in early 2009, when previous chief executive Steve Ballmer axed 5,800 staff.

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Windows XP users can still get a Microsoft security update after it has fixed a flaw in the Internet Explorer browser.

Microsoft issued the update on Thursday to fix a bug that let hackers gain access and user rights to computers.

The tech giant ended support for Windows XP earlier this month, ceasing to issue bug fixes or security updates for it.

Microsoft said it decided to make an exception as the flaw was discovered just days after the support ended.

Microsoft has said users of its Windows XP operating system will also get the security update it has issued to fix a flaw in the Internet Explorer browser

Microsoft has said users of its Windows XP operating system will also get the security update it has issued to fix a flaw in the Internet Explorer browser

“Even though Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is past the time we normally provide security updates, we’ve decided to provide an update for all versions of Windows XP,” Adrienne Hall, general manager of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, said in a blog post.

“We made this exception based on the proximity to the end of support for Windows XP.”

The flaw was reported earlier this week and there had been uncertainty over whether XP users would get the update when it was released.

The flaw affected Internet Explorer (IE) versions 6 to 11 and Microsoft said it was aware of “limited, targeted attacks” to exploit it.

According to NetMarket Share, the IE versions account for more than 50% of the global web browser market.

Microsoft said that hackers could exploit the flaw by hosting a “specially crafted website” designed to exploit the vulnerability.

If users visited the website, hackers could use it to gain access to their computer and get the same rights as the machine’s user.

However, hackers would have needed to convince users to view and interact with the website, and would have had “no way to force users” to view the content otherwise.

On Thursday, Microsoft said its security update fixed the flaw.

“This update is fully tested and ready for release for all affected versions of the browser,” the firm said.

“The majority of customers have automatic updates enabled and will not need to take any action because protections will be downloaded and installed automatically.”

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Microsoft has completed Nokia’s mobile phone deal for 5.44 billion euros ($7.5 billion).

The deal between Microsoft and Nokia should have been completed earlier this year but it was delayed by a hold-up in regulatory approvals.

The sale will see the end of production of mobile phones by Nokia.

Microsoft has completed its purchase of Nokia's mobile phone business for 5.44bn euros

Microsoft has completed its purchase of Nokia’s mobile phone business for 5.44bn euros

“Today we welcome the Nokia devices and services business to our family,” said Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

“The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation.”

Noki will now focus on networks, mapping services and technology development and licenses.

Two Nokia plants will remain outside the deal – a manufacturing unit in Chennai, India, subject to an asset freeze by Indian tax authorities, and the Masan plant in South Korea, which it plans to shut down.

Former Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has become executive vice president of the Microsoft devices group, in charge of Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Microsoft Surface, and Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products.

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Support for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system ends today, April 8.

It means that there will be no more official security updates and bug fixes for the operating system.

Some governments have negotiated extended support contracts for the OS in a bid to keep users protected.

Security firms said anyone else using the 13-year-old software would be at increased risk of infection and compromise by cyber-thieves.

Statistics suggest 20-25% of all users have stuck with XP despite the fact that there have been three major releases of Windows since its debut in 2001.

Some of those existing XP users have struck deals to get security fixes from Microsoft while they complete their migration away from the ageing code.

Anyone currently running Windows XP already faced a disproportionate risk of falling victim to malware, said Dave Emm, a senior research analyst at security firm Kaspersky.

“Our data indicates that less than one fifth of our customers run Windows XP but more than a quarter of infections are Windows XP-based,” he said.

Support for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system ends today, April 8

Support for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system ends today, April 8

That exposure ratio was only going to get worse after April 8, he said, once the last security patch for Windows XP had been released.

That final patch will fix a series of bugs, one of which is rated as critical and is already being actively exploited despite only being discovered in late March.

“Effectively, every vulnerability discovered after April 8 will become a zero-day vulnerability – that is, one for which there is not and never will be, a patch,” said Dave Emm.

Windows XP users topped the list of victims cyber-thieves targeted, said Maik Morgenstern and Andreas Marx from the German AV-Test group, which rates and ranks security software.

“Malware writers go for the low hanging fruits because it’s a lot easier to infect systems running on an old Windows XP operating system compared to brand-new Windows 8.1, with all its built-in security features,” they said.

“We think we will see a lot of attacks for Windows XP within the next few months, but attackers will also always add exploits for other Windows systems just to catch those systems as well.”

Orla Cox, a senior manager at cyber-defense firm Symantec’s security response unit, said criminals groups were likely to hoard the XP vulnerabilities they knew about rather than use them to bolster malware being spammed out to millions of people.

“The types of groups sitting on zero-days will tend to use them against high-end targets and for corporate espionage,” she said.

“Some organizations will have particular concerns because they find it so hard to move away from XP.”

However, she added, any zero-day that did get used against a corporate target was likely to be re-used later on.

“Once it’s out there it gets into the malware kits and then gets circulated and there will be no defense,” she said.

Mark O’Neill, a spokesman for data management firm Axway, said organizations were getting better at coping with software that had hit its end-of-life.

“Beyond high-profile programs like XP there are a lot of products that have gone out of support because the company behind them has gone out of business or was acquired,” he said.

In addition many other products were written in old programming languages that made them expensive to maintain and update.

As a result, many IT departments have put such ageing programs in the virtual equivalent of a “black box” and subsequently update the external code if security patches need to be applied.

“You can create a layer above the older application and that gives you a place to patch,” Mark O’Neill said.

“Companies are not defenseless even with the things they cannot patch.”

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Kristoffer Von Hassel, a 5-year-old boy from San Diego who worked out a security vulnerability on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, has been officially thanked by the company.

Kristoffer Von Hassel figured out how to log in to his father’s account without the right password.

Microsoft has fixed the flaw, and added Kristoffer Von Hassel to its list of recognized security researchers.

In an interview with local news station KGTV, Kristoffer Von Hassel said: “I was like yea!”

Kristoffer Von Hassel figured out how to log in to his father'sXbox account without the right password

Kristoffer Von Hassel figured out how to log in to his father’sXbox account without the right password

The boy worked out that entering the wrong password into the log-in screen would bring up a second password verification screen.

Kristoffer Von Hassel discovered that if he simply pressed the space bar to fill up the password field, the system would let him in to his father’s account.

“I got nervous. I thought he was going to find out,” Kristoffer Von Hassel told television station, KGTV.

“I thought someone was going to steal the Xbox.”

His father, Robert Von Hassel – who works in security – sent details of the flaw to Microsoft.

In a statement, Microsoft said: “We’re always listening to our customers and thank them for bringing issues to our attention.

“We take security seriously at Xbox and fixed the issue as soon as we learned about it.”

Kristoffer Von Hassel’s name now appears on a page set up to thank people who have discovered problems with Microsoft products.

Microsoft also gave him four free games, $50, and a year-long subscription to Xbox Live.

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Satya Nadella will be Microsoft’s next chief executive, the technology giant has announced.

Indian-born Satya Nadella is currently Microsoft’s head of Cloud and Enterprise, which builds and runs the firm’s computing platforms and developer tools.

Satya Nadella takes over from Steve Ballmer who announced plans to step down last year.

Company’s founder Bill Gates said there was “no better person to lead Microsoft”.

Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman, it was also announced, but will take up a new role as a technology adviser and will also retain a seat on Microsoft’s board.

Microsoft’s lead independent director John Thompson will take over as chairman.

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” said Satya Nadella.

“The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

Satya Nadella will be Microsoft’s next chief executive

Satya Nadella will be Microsoft’s next chief executive

Satya Nadella, 46, is Microsoft’s third chief executive. The Hyderabad-born executive joined the company in 1992 and has degrees in electronics, computer science and business administration.

He previously led its server and tools business before being put in charge of the unit that built Microsoft’s Cloud OS service, which powers products such as Bing, Skype and Xbox Live.

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates.

“Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”

Bill Gates’ appointment as a technology adviser is seen as significant, suggesting he may again take a more hands-on role in the company he founded nearly 40 years ago.

Satya Nadella’s appointment ends months of speculation over who would succeed Steve Ballmer, who announced his intention to stand down in August last year.

At one stage incoming chairman John Thompson said more than 100 possible candidates had been identified.

Rumored to be among them were the boss of car giant Ford, Alan Mulally, and Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop.

Investors have been calling for new leadership at the Microsoft, saying it needs a significant shakeup in order to become more innovative and profitable.

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Owners of its new Xbox One console are experiencing problems with the disc drive, Microsoft has admitted.

Some users say the drive is making very loud noises when they try to insert a disc and in some cases is not reading discs at all.

Microsoft says only a very small number of users are affected.

The Xbox One was launched on November 22 and sold more than one million units in the first 24 hours.

More than 150 people contacted Kotaku, a gaming news website, claiming their new consoles were faulty. Other users uploaded videos apparently showing the problem to the gaming forum NeoGAF.

Owners of its new Xbox One console are experiencing problems with the disc drive

Owners of its new Xbox One console are experiencing problems with the disc drive

“The issue is affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers,” said Microsoft in a statement.

“We’re working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible through our advance exchange programme.”

The Xbox One is the first new console from Microsoft in eight years and it broke all previous Xbox first-day sales records when it went on sale last week.

Microsoft said it had now sold out at most retailers and it was working to replenish stock as fast as possible.

This is not the first time Microsoft has experienced problems with the launch of an Xbox console. When the Xbox 360 was launched in 2005 some users reported faults with the hardware which led to three red lights flashing on the front of the device and the console becoming unusable. The problem became known as the “red ring of death”.

The launch of the Xbox One came a week after the US launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4. The two consoles are set to go head-to-head in the crucial Christmas season.

The PS4 also experienced technical issues after its launch with users complaining that a blue light continually flashed on the console affecting its operation and others reporting that sometimes the unit suddenly turned itself off.

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2013 Internet & Mobile World  (IMWorld 2013) participants,  the biggest “business to business”event,  dedicated to Romanian digital solutions, mobile and software, to be held Wednesday and Thursday at Romexpo, will receive a free consultation, own “Black Friday”, access to specially designed for networking software, as well as specialized training discounts.

 “Internet & Mobile World was created to respond to two major needs: know-how updated in the most dynamic areas of the moment and facilitate direct contact between the leading business solution providers and potential beneficiaries. Therefore, we thought a series of promotions and tools that facilitate interaction between participants”, said Cristian Hossu, Universum Events Managing Partner, IMWorld organizer.

 

So, the 5,000 participants will receive a free site audit of the company WSI (stands 61-62, Hall C2), while Padicode will give free advice for conversion optimization (Stand 79, Hall C2).

Furthermore, immediately after IMWorld, Thursday to Friday night, Content Speed ​​(stand no. 93) and its partners activates “Black Friday”, under which IMWorld visitors (who visited the stand in question) can order online with 100% product discount for a total value of 20,000 lei (approx. 6,134 USD or 3,815 GBP) – find out more on myblackfriday.ro

Moreover, participants will be able to access the Connector application throughout the event, a special software designed for networking. “Through the online and mobile application, specially developed for the event, every visitor can see the other guests and can send messages and invitations to meetings in the two areas of networking“, said Cristian Hossu.

The application has Selection filters created by company name, industry, turnover or the decision level of the person / persons involved.

Also, 2013 IMWorld visitors will receive up to 50% discounts of in a series of trainings and will participate in a “treasure hunt” organized by Entersoft Romania (stand 45), after which they can earn more many prizes and enjoy dynamic networking.

Also, at 2013 IMWorld those interested can test in “Future Corner” most modern technologies, which include Google Glass, Leap Motion, Oculus Rift or Samsung Galaxy Gear SmartWatch.

 

All event takes place in a futuristic setting, signed by Hansen Office Design – nonconformist workspaces designers- and BUCHAREST DESIGN CENTER – Product Romanian designers platform promotion, in relation to internal audiences and external markets – using sustainable materials and technologies. The design of the object will be highlighted also by Architecture Lab and ZEST Collective proposed works and architectural design offices.

Computer Aided Design is exposed at IMWorld by a borderline series of art and technology installations, which were made by computational design school Parametrica [digi fab school] workshops participants.

 

Access to IMWorld is based on pre-registration and tickets can be purchased online until October 8, 2013, accessing www.imworld.ro.

Additional data on 2013 Internet & Mobile World:

 

IMWorld second edition is divided into three business areas: Marketing Technologies, Mobile and Apps, and Business Software and is organized by Universum Events, who is also the “Innovation Summit” organizer, first exclusive event dedicated to Romanian business innovation.

 

At the event are expected 5,000 visitors and already announced their participation over 25 international speakers and 130 companies providing business solutions. Also on IMWorld 2013 will be launched over 20 applications and business solutions.

The event is supported by Cosmote Romania and Romtelecom Business Solutions, as main partners and sponsors of the Business Software World.

Mobile and Apps World Partner is Microsoft and Marketing Technologies World Partner is Saatchi&Saatchi. 2013 Internet&Mobile World sponsors are: Nokia, S&T Romania, Qualysoft Information Technology, Telcor Communications, Entersoft Romania, Fujitsu, Star Storage, Zitec, MailAgent, Agilio Software, Safetech, Agile Media, MODE360, Transart, BearingPoint, Dynamic Web, Mediapost Hit Mail, Mobixera, SEO monitor, Liberty Technology Park, Cisco, Bittnet Systems, PayPro Global, Carnation Group, White Image, Romanian Business Consult, Like IT and miniPRIX. Metro Online is Office supplies partner, and official Internet service provider in the event is Voxility.

Media partners are Kiss FM, The Money Channel, Getica OOH, Wall-Street.ro, HotNews.ro, AdHugger, Agora, B2B Advertising, Business24.ro, Cariere, Computer world, Comunicatedepresa.ro, Connect, DoingBusiness.ro, Digital Trends, Forbes, Incont.ro, IT Channel, IT TRENDS, Magazinul Progresiv, Market Watch, PC World, Today Software Magazine, Ziare.com and Zona IT.

More information can be found on www.imworld.ro and www.universum.ro.

Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone unit for 5.4 billion euros ($7.2 billion).

Nokia will also license its patents and mapping services to Microsoft. Nokia shares jumped 45% on news of the deal.

The purchase is set to be completed in early 2014, when about 32,000 Nokia employees will transfer to Microsoft.

While Nokia has struggled against competition from Samsung and Apple, Microsoft has been criticized for being slow into the mobile market.

“It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies,” Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said in a statement.

The transaction is subject to approval by Nokia shareholders and regulators.

Microsoft, one of the biggest names in the technology sector, has struggled as consumers have shunned traditional PCs and laptops in favor of smartphones and tablet PCs.

Critics say the firm has been too slow to respond to the booming market for mobile devices. It launched its Surface tablet PCs last year, but sales of the devices have been relatively slow.

Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy Nokia's mobile phone unit for 5.4 billion euros

Microsoft has agreed a deal to buy Nokia’s mobile phone unit for 5.4 billion euros

Analysts said that the company wanted to make sure that it got its strategy right in the mobile phone market.

Nokia was once a leader in mobile phones, but the firm’s sales fell 24% in the three months to the end of June from a year earlier.

It sold 53.7 million mobile phones during the quarter, down 27% on last year.

However, sales of its new Lumia phones, which run a Microsoft operating system, rose during the period.

Microsoft has also agreed a 10-year licensing arrangement with Nokia to use the Nokia brand on current mobile phone products.

Nokia also announced changes to its leadership team as a result of the sale.

Stephen Elop will step down as president and chief executive of Nokia Corporation and resign from the company’s board.

The firm said that he would become the executive vice president of the Devices & Services unit, adding that it expected him to “transfer to Microsoft at the anticipated closing” of the deal.

The transfer of Stephen Elop to Microsoft comes at a time when the company is looking for a new chief executive.

The current head of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, announced last week that he would be retiring and is expected to leave the company within the next 12 months.

Stephen Elop who left Microsoft to join Nokia in 2010, has been cited by some as one of the frontrunners to replace Steve Ballmer.

Nokia said that once the sale is completed, it will concentrate on three key businesses – network equipment manufacturing, mapping and location services, and the development and licensing of technology.

Earlier this year, it agreed to buy Siemens’ 50% stake in their joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which makes telecoms network equipment, for 1.7 billion euros.

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Blackberry and Microsoft have both cut prices on their flagship products in a bid to boost sales.

In the US, Blackberry has cut the price of the Z10 phone to as low as $49 with a contract – down from $199 four months ago.

In the UK, Microsoft dropped the price of the 32GB Surface RT to £279 ($438) from £400 ($628), with the 64GB model’s price down by the same amount to £359 ($564).

Both companies have developed the devices to show off their latest software.

And both have tried to compete with Apple, Google and Samsung on smartphones and tablets – with limited success.

In the US, the cheapest Surface tablet went down to $349 from $499.

Blackberry in particular is battling to revive its share of the smartphone market with the touchscreen-only Z10, which shows off its new BB10 operating system.

Blackberry has cut the price of the Z10 phone to as low as $49 with a contract, down from $199 four months ago

Blackberry has cut the price of the Z10 phone to as low as $49 with a contract, down from $199 four months ago

Users can get the Z10 through US carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless, for $99 with a two-year contract, but the phone costs $49 with a contract at retailers Amazon and Best Buy.

The company reported an $84 million loss for its last quarter and refused to say how many devices running BB10 it sold – but it sold fewer phones in those three months than in the same period the year before.

Blackberry has said it shipped one million Z10s in the first three months of 2013.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet is intended to challenge the iPad and Android-based tablets and runs Windows RT, a slimmed-down version of its latest Windows 8 operating system.

Recent figures from analysts IDC show that 49.2 million tablets shipped in January, February and March – and about 900,000 of those were Surfaces.

Other Windows-powered tablets totaled 1.8 million units sold across all vendors. Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini accounted for 19.5 million of tablets sold.

“We’ve been seeing great success with pricing and cover promotions over the past several months on Surface RT in the US and other markets,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

“People who buy Surface love Surface, and we’re excited about all those additional people out sharing their excitement for Surface with other people.”

Microsoft also offers the Surface Pro, which runs the full version of Windows 8 and starts at $899 for the 64GB model. It has not had its price cut.

Microsoft has officially released Windows 8.1 – an update to its Windows 8 operating system – during a keynote speech at its annual developers conference in San Francisco.

The free test version of the update is available to download now and the full version will be released to Windows 8 users later this year.

The lock screen is being turned into a “cloud-powered photo frame” that will shows photos stored on the device and in SkyDrive.

Microsoft has officially released Windows 8.1

Microsoft has officially released Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 also includes a vastly improved “search” function, which allows a user to search for documents, apps, or items on the Internet from a single search bar.

It also allows users to see all their applications immediately in a grid by swiping down or pressing a button on-screen.

There are new personalization options for tiles including colors and fonts.

Users can also customize the start screen much more easily; changing sizes of app icons or controlling which apps appear.

For the first time, it will be possible to open two windows simultaneously in the new-look interface.

Windows 8.1 includes Microsoft’s latest browser, Internet Explorer 11, and lets the user restore the address bar and tabs to the screen view.

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