Richard Waters

The announcement of a new Windows isn’t what it used to be – even when you skip past little-loved 9 (a number which didn’t test well with focus groups, apparently) and jump straight to Windows 10.

But converging the different Windows operating systems on a single core, with distinct user interfaces suited to each type of device, is still an important step forward for Microsoft. It also represents the sort of evolution that might, in time, allow the Windows 8 debacle to fade into history. Read more

Richard Waters

Ray Ozzie, the man who once filled Bill Gates’ very big shoes as chief software architect at Microsoft, is back.

His latest start-up – a voice-powered collaboration tool for workers – looks like a not-so-subtle snub of his former employer. It is, he says, what Skype (now owned by Microsoft) might have become, had it not given up on “innovation in depth”. Read more

Richard Waters

CEOs love talking about the need for focus. But they’re not so good at picking things they’re not going to do as a result.

Satya Nadella has made a start. Five months after moving into the top job, he has finally admitted that the Xbox is not a core part of Microsoft’s business. What he hasn’t said yet is what he’s going to do with it. Read more

Richard Waters

Until now, Facebook has struggled – and failed – to strike the right note in response to the disquiet over its deliberate alteration of users’ moods for a research study.

On Wednesday it got another chance, as Senator Mark Warner wrote to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate. What Facebook came up with in response still didn’t classify as an actual apology, but at least the company no longer sounded so bemused by all the fuss. Read more

Richard Waters

Venture capitalists are lining up to back bitcoin start-ups. On Monday, Xapo bagged some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names for its latest $20m round: Greylock’s Reid Hoffman and Index Ventures’ Mike Volpi, not to mention personal money from Max Levchin, Yuri Milner and Jerry Yang.

But all of this VC activity raises an interesting question. If these investors truly believe the crypto-currency will one day support a significant new financial services industry, why not just buy the currency and hold it? Read more

Richard Waters

Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com chief

Salesforce.com, the company that did more than any other to invent the software-as-a-service industry, is reaching a turning point.

After years of rapid growth, it has a pressing need for the more evolved infrastructure, processes and rounded management team of the large company it has become. And with growth starting to slow, it is coming closer to a seminal moment: when investors will start expecting it to report real profits, and not just on a pro-forma basis. The appointment of a new chief financial officer on Monday is the latest sign that is preparing for the changes. Read more

Richard Waters

The US Supreme Court has rejected Google’s bid to limit the legal fall-out from the StreetView spying case.

In the process, it has also delivered its second decision in a week that interprets how the country’s privacy laws should apply when it comes to new technologies. Both times, it has come down on the side of stronger legal protections for the individual. Read more

Richard Waters

Is Oculus, the virtual reality company being acquired by Facebook, going to make its own headsets? Or is it going to rely on some of the world’s biggest consumer technology companies to develop products using its software, turning it into the Android of VR?

Yes to both. Read more

Richard Waters

Will the smart home of the future be controlled by a single app to rule them all? Or will it be a more ad hoc affair, as a myriad different gadgets learn to play nicely together without a central “control panel”?

Before it was bought by Google earlier this year, Nest was pursuing the second of these visions. And to judge by the API it has just released so that other developers can write applications that draw on some of the functions of its devices, nothing much has changed since then. Read more

Richard Waters

It’s not every day an Apple executive gets personal.

That makes Angela Ahrendts’ first public comments since starting at the company – posted on LinkedIn – of more than usual interest. It is a sign that she intends to keep her own style, whatever the pressures of running Apple’s retail operations – and also that, under Tim Cook, Apple is evolving further beyond the Steve Jobs era. Read more