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2/11/2014
12:46 PM
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Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update Takes Shape

Details about upgrades to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 emerge, as Microsoft urges customers to dump Windows XP.

for a software design engineer to build a "groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics." Windows 8.1 already features a somewhat basic reader app, but the employment listing suggests a more robust and interactive version is in the cards. Microsoft is also reportedly working on a separate Office Reader app, which is thought to be a cross-platform tool that will support a range of content, including textbooks. An early version of the Office app was allegedly demonstrated last fall at an internal meeting.

A new Microsoft campaign demonstrates why the company is evidently working so hard on updates to make its Live Tile ecosystem more attractive. In a blog post published Friday, Microsoft senior marketing communications manager Brandon LeBlanc encouraged people who have already moved on from Windows XP to help their friends and family do the same.

It's easy to see why Microsoft feels compelled to push users along. According to Net Applications, Windows XP (which will lose support in April) still accounted for more than 29% of desktop users in January. Windows 8 and 8.1 combined to encompass only 10.58%. The new OS has achieved modest inroads among tablet users but has been mostly ignored by Microsoft's traditional customers, such as businesses.

"Windows 8 and the enterprise aren't things you usually hear in the same sentence," IDC analyst Al Gillen told us late last month. Most enterprises don't rely on Modern UI applications, and Windows 8.1 doesn't help most employees complete their jobs any faster.

LeBlanc's blog post hit a sour note with some Microsoft customers, who voiced their frustration in the post's comment section. "It's not that Windows 8 is non-intuitive or challenging to learn, it is that it literally cripples a non-touch device," said one of several commenters to decry the challenge of running Windows 8.1 on nontouch hardware. "Installing it on a computer makes that computer essentially non-usable."

Other bemoaned Windows 8 and 8.1 in general, while others took umbrage with LeBlanc's assertion that most of his readers had already moved on from Windows XP. LeBlanc defended the statement in a comment of his own; he said that Microsoft's analytics data "shows very few people are visiting our blog on PCs running Windows XP."

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 3:05:09 PM
Windows 8.1 Update this Spring
Ok, so it makes sense for Microsoft to help consumers move away from Windows XP. Security reasons alone would dictate that. All those Windows XP boxes will be ripe for malware takeovers for denial of service attacks and perhaps worse. So how about making Windows 8.1 (with its fixes for desktop users) be had for the $39 that Windows 8 was offered originally. Or even better, give consumers a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Now that the time is fast approaching (April 8th) many people who were hedging their bets on upgrading an older PC would be more likely to bite on an offer than they were 15 months ago.

To hedge my own bets I've already installed Ubuntu on my older lap top and my Dell Dimension E520 that is still going strong. I mean, why throw perfectly usuable hardware in the landfill? Makes no sense. I just wish Apple would write iTunes for Ubuntu...rats! so I guess I'll be moving my music library, which is on an external drive, to my new but not much loved Windows 8.1 box.

 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2014 | 10:32:34 PM
Re: Moving on from XP
@TerryB

You're right, of course. But when I consider that almost all of what I do involves producing documents that can be read by MS Word, spreadsheets that can be read by Excel, communicating by cloud-based email such as Yahoo, and posting to boards such as this, Ubuntu will work for a backup machine. I still spend most of my time on my Windows 7 machine. I learned last week, on this forum actually, that you can run some apps on a Chromebook, so it's not dead in the water when the internet is temporarily down. And, speaking of Chrombooks and Ubuntu, I also just found out that it is possible to install Ubuntu on Chrombooks, so you'll have a lot of capability even when the internet isn't available
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2014 | 3:16:07 PM
Support 25 years of Microsoft.
Linux can do your Network, and your security.  It can do your Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and many other functions needed by business.  Linux Servers are used throughout the web.  If they were not secure, they would not have a huge presence.  Networking Linux is also Cheaper. Not all those CALS, and per user racking.  Tell me how fun Microsoft is when you install a new Server, and have to sit there with 85 updates before you can get to work. We have Linux at the desktop, and never touch the Susie V11 box.  It never needs a reboot because of a crash, hang or update.  Ouch!  no insult intended.   
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2014 | 3:04:12 PM
Re: Moving on from XP
Microsoft has dominated the desktop for decades, but now faces new technological changes that may be the writing on the wall for its doom if it does not change.  The decline of Microsoft has begun with its arrogance in forcing the consumer away from the desktop. It will take time because of the power and presence of Microsoft.

  In all its glory, it Hurriedly pushed out a new OS that is not friendly to the desktop, and only to a new tablet / Laptop touch market which it serves fairly well.  Sure, the Windows 8 can be customized to start the Desktop, but it is difficult to stay away from the GUI touch screen.  After all, that is the "New" start screen.

 With the Advent of Chrome, android, cloud services, improved Linux available and easy to use ( Also very cost effective) ,  and others are on the horizon.   Microsoft cannot afford to lose the Business desktop base of customers.  It also has upset many home users because of the drastic change. Windows 8 is just not easy to use!   With murmurs of Windows 9 being ahead, we wonder if there will be any back peddling by Microsoft to save it's self, and give users at the desktop what they really want?   Simplicity, Security, performance, and affordability.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2014 | 1:07:57 PM
Re: Moving on from XP
All about the apps, Gary. If all you do is use browser, smart move. But good luck joining that Ubuntu to an Active Directory domain or a RADIUS WiFi access point.

Leaving that stuff out of mix, did you hear Google Chrome passed the latest hacker contest without anyone earning a reward for finding a flaw?  Linux has some new competition in the non Windows arena.
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2014 | 12:18:32 PM
M$ is learning a well known truth....
Businesses tend to hang on to what works for them (mainly because they're trying to save money however they can).  If XP is running well for them, and they know that 8.1 won't run well on the hardware they have, a business will keep using XP until they can't any more (yes, it's a broad brush stroke, but it's true often enough that it's worth pointing out).
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2014 | 10:01:11 PM
Moving on from XP
I've moved on from XP, alright. This comment is written on my new backup laptop, which runs Ubuntu.

 
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