It has been more than seven months since Microsoft officially ended the support for Windows XP. It was a novel business plan to promote the sales of Windows 8 and 8.1 operating systems, which performed poorly as far as the sales were concerned. However, even after the termination of Windows XP, the touch-centric versions didn’t witness a drastic improvement in the number of users. Many users had migrated to Windows 7 and were content in using the operating system instead of Windows 8 and 8.1.
However, the recent reports state that Windows 8.1 users have increased considerably and the operating system is said to comprise of almost 10.9 percent of the entire Microsoft Windows user share. Upon the failure of Windows 8 to satisfy the users, Microsoft launched a tweaked in version of the OS and included several useful features in the operating system. The most prominent feature of Windows 8.1 was the Start button, to make it easier for the users to perform the basic functions in their systems.
One of the main reasons why Windows 8.1 has witnessed a sudden increase in the number of users is because Microsoft has also announced the end of services for Windows 7 by 2015. According to the information on the Microsoft support site, the software giant is all set to terminate the mainstream support for Windows 7 by January 15, 2015. The extended support however is going to remain until 2020. This has made almost all Windows 7 users to think about upgrading their systems.
The technicians at Microsoft support site and help centre have been insisting that the Windows 7 customers upgraded their systems in order to avoid security issues. Also, the company has announced the launch of Windows 10 by mid-2015. Thus, Microsoft wants its customers to get acclimatized to the touch-centric features at the earliest. This would also play a vital role in making windows 10 a runaway success.
Regarding the sudden increase in the number of Windows 8.1 users, the company had also added certain interesting features such as a Shutdown button on the Start screen. Also, the Windows 8.1 users can now run modern apps from the traditional desktop interface, making the operating system more user-friendly.
In short, it can be said that Microsoft has learnt an important lesson after the Windows 8 debacle i.e. unlike Windows 8, the new operating system should be both a user-friendly and advanced one to gain acceptance from users.
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Microsoft has finally revealed Windows Phone 8.1, codenamed “blue”, to the market. The new features of this new mobile operating system was introduced with much fanfare during Microsoft’s April 2 Build 2014 keynote. These features are similar to the features that have leaked over the past month.
The much-awaited Cortana virtual personal assistant is also an inbuilt feature of this new operating system. Designed to compete with Google Now and Apple Siri, the Beta version of Cortana will be available for public download, tagging along with the next Windows Phone 8.1 update. This new assistant feature will replace the existing Bing search functionality that is inbuilt to the Windows Phone and enhance the mobile experience since it is powered by Bing.
The name Cortana is taken from the famous Microsoft game, Halo, which features a Cortana assistant. As a reference to the game, the assistant feature Cortana is displayed as an Orb, or a ‘halo’ with which users can interact either by typing or by speech. It will feature in Microsoft support phone that can be upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1.
Other improvements in the new operating system include integration of Cortana with Windows Phone applications like Skype and other Microsoft Apps. This will increase the functionality of the feature, also making it extremely futuristic. This way, you can send in voice prompts like “Ask Timmy about his new kitten” while simultaneously engaged in a Skype audio or video conversation with Timmy. However, Microsoft refuses to mention if Cortana virtual assistant will be available for Windows OS and Xbox One as well.
Other improvements in Windows Phone 8.1 update include a new notification center inbuilt to the OS. You can even customize the lock screen once the new updates come into effect. An interesting feature is the user-selectable background image that is visible in the phone Start screen. Once an image is set, it will show through the Live tiles in the Start screen without reducing legibility.
Windows Phone 8.1 operating system has Internet Explorer 11 and VPN support in-built into it. More enterprise-specific features like S/MIME mail support, mobile-device management customizability and certificate management are also supported on the same platform. If this were not enough, existing Apps and features like calendar app, Windows Phone Store, Xbox Music and Skype app have received substantial updates.
Until now, Windows Phone 8.1 which will be released in a short while was not available to the developer community. Once released, many third party Apps will make their way into the App store. Altogether, Microsoft is taking steps in the right direction into bridging the divide it has with its rivals. More Microsoft support phone details about Windows Phone 8.1 is awaited at the moment.
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After the Federal government’s announcement about the Cloud First strategy, Microsoft has come with support saying that they will provide various strategies, which will be aimed at delivering an optimal platform that helps in an agile and open government.
Microsoft’s cloud platform, Microsoft Azure, already provides support for various platforms and languages like Java, Python, Node.js, PHP etc. The cloud platform from Microsoft also works with open source platforms like Linux, Joomla, Drupal, MongoDB and Hadoop. This enables various agencies around the world to quickly initiate works and take advantage of the services.
One of the advantages of Azure is that the developers will be able to use the platform to setup applications and services in the cloud environment and this does not require a specific platform. This means, the applications deployed in the platform can be used by a wide range of browsers, devices etc. irrespective of the platform they run or work with.
It is found that the Cloud First strategy has already helped to save about 20 billon dollars when developers started to depend more on the cloud services. In order to achieve the Cloud First strategy, the government has implemented several plans. A Digital Services Team has been setup and also a group called 18F, which specializes in modernization and development of digital services in collaboration with various agencies.
It is important that those agencies, which are planning to move to the cloud platform, work for a swift development, code reuse, help the government to provide innovations they have build over various government agencies etc. However, Microsoft support services say that this does not mean that they will have to invest in new applications or scale their workforce.
Azure not only supports open source environments and multiple platforms but also provide scalability, which has become very important for the current scenarios. In addition to these advantages, Azure can be considered as a Hybrid cloud platform, which works across the cloud environment, which allows the agencies to choose from a wide variety of open source platforms, distributions, libraries and languages.
The cloud platform from Microsoft also enables the users to reuse different codes with the help of services like CodePlex and GitHub. The software giant is also working with open source communities with the aim of supporting interoperability. By this, it becomes easier for the users to work in mixed IT environments.
If you require any assistance on using Azure, you may contact Microsoft support services or our technical support team.
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of US is paying Microsoft Corporation less than $500,000 (£315,000) to support their 58,000 computers that are powered by Windows XP operating system. This news is as per an April 11 report in Computer World. At less than nine dollars per computer, this figure not only falls well below the estimates of millions of dollars that quickly made the rounds online, but is also much lesser in price comparing the amounts businesses are expected to pay to keep their XP computers away from bugs and to avail Microsoft support services.
Businesses can expect to pay 200 dollars per computer for Windows XP support, as per Sumir Karayi, who is the chief executive of 1E, an IT software and services firm. “This means that from April 2014, a company with 5000 computers still on Windows XP would be looking at a bill from Microsoft of $1 million for support alone,” he told eWEEK.
The IRS had already moved 52,000 workstations over to the Windows 7 OS ahead of the end of support date of Windows XP, as per a report by the Washington Post. The remaining Windows XP computers will not have any impact on the taxpayer’s ability to file their returns. Funding caused the agency to miss the deadline of Microsoft, indicated IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a budget hearing before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. As per the latest reports, the IRS faces an estimated 300 million shortfall on the IT projects. Thirty million of which is necessary to upgrade the remaining Windows XP computers to the Windows 7 operating system.
IRS is having an annual budget of about 11 billion dollars and employs 90,000 workers. Microsoft has stopped supporting the 12 year old desktop operating system on April 8. This has put an end to the monthly security patches and bug fixes for the Windows XP OS. Tim Rains, who is the director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, warned that even surfing the Internet on a Windows XP computer can compromise the security of the computer and the data stored in it.
“New exploits for Windows XP will likely be added to cybersecurity exploit kits that are sold/leased to attackers,” he said in a Microsoft Security Blog post. If you wish to know more on this news, you can contact the Microsoft support services.
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After the launch of Xbox Music, Canadians enjoyed free music streaming on the platform for the past two years. However, it seems that the good days are over as Microsoft has decided to make it a paid service starting from December. The news was announced in the Canadian website, which says the free service would be discontinued from December 1. From this date, those users who wish to stream music through this service would be charged at 9.99 dollars. This is the price charged by Microsoft from its Windows Phone users.
The Microsoft support site says, “Effective December 1, 2014, the free Xbox Music streaming feature currently available on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and over the Internet will be discontinued in all countries where it is offered.” Further, it says, “We are focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers. With Xbox Music Pass, you have access to millions of songs on your PC, tablet, Xbox, phone, and the web.” This certainly means that the service would be greatly improved and users will now have access to millions of songs through the platform.
Now, if you are a new user, you will still have access to the 30 days free trial. If you are satisfied with the service, you may choose the monthly subscription package of 9.99 dollars. Xbox Music was launched on October 16, 2012. This digital music service from Microsoft is intended to offer music through Xbox Music Store. The feature is available on devices like Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, iOS, Android and Windows RT devices. The service was launched as a successor to Microsoft Zune. The service competes with Amazon MP3, Deezer, Apple’s iTunes, Spotify etc. Some of the cool features of the service are listed below.
Xbox Music Pass
You may use the music pass to enjoy music on your Windows devices. This service is currently available in 22 countries.
The cloud collection allows you to create a playlist of your favorite songs. You may add local songs or the songs in the cloud platform to this collection.
The radio feature of Xbox Music allows users to create customized stations. Users can create stations with their favorite songs of any artists and can skip stations as they wish.
Now, with Microsoft’s decision to make the service a paid one, we would have to wait for a few more months to find out how many customers would continue with the service. For further information on Xbox Music, you may access the Microsoft support site.
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