microsoft

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.

Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more

Richard Waters

Why you would click a button labelled “start” to turn something off has never been entirely clear.

But for hundreds of millions of PC users, the start button in the bottom left corner of the Windows screen has been an invaluable navigation tool – which is why Microsoft looks to be on the verge of reversing course over Windows 8 and bringing it back. Read more

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more

Richard Waters

There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.

Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet is on sale from Saturday, costing 50 per cent more than its equivalent Windows RT forerunner – from $900 rather than $600 in the US for the 64Gb versions.

At first glance, the two look identical in their size and dark titanium design, but Microsoft is providing quite a few more features for the money. Whether they are enough to justify this price for a tablet is debatable. A review after the jump. Read more

If Microsoft isn’t prepared to take a bet on the PC, then who is?

This explains why the world’s biggest software company is now considering dipping into its $67bn of cash reserves to back a buyout of Dell, a casualty of the fierce wars raging in the hardware industry.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.

But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories. Read more

The FT’s latest ebook is about Amazon and its voracious expansion from online book retailer into technological giant.

Is the company a force for good? Can it justify its current stock price? Why does Amazon compete with the companies it provides services to? Will Amazon agree to pay more tax in the UK as Starbucks just agreed to do?

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Q&A. If you have further questions, please post them to Twitter using #FTAmazon. Barney Jopson, the FT’s US retail correspondent, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, global media editor, will answer them here as soon as possible. Read more

Interesting commentary from around the Web on the tech story that made headlines this week.

A mere two weeks after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised many when it announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows. While many tech observers noted a parallel between Sinofsky’s exit and Apple’s recent management shakeup, others pointed out that chief executive Steve Ballmer could be the next target. Read more

Chris Nuttall

In a week of big numbers for a previously slumping video game industry, Activision has come up with the biggest one of all – $500m in sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in its first 24 hours.

On Monday, Microsoft announced $220m in first-day sales for Halo 4 and then revealed, on the 10th anniversary of Xbox Live on Thursday, that a record 442m hours were played on it last week. Meanwhile, Sony announced sales of the PlayStation 3 had passed 70m and Nintendo expects the Wii U to sell out when it goes on sale in the US this weekend. Read more