Microsoft and IDC Forecast Cloud Computing To Create 14 Million Jobs By 2015

A study conducted by IDC — and commissioned by Microsoft — forecasts that spending on cloud computing will generate roughly 14 million new jobs by the year 2015, along with an additional $1.1 trillion per year in business revenues produced by “IT innovation”.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” says Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation, and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe.”

To visually present the information of the study, Microsoft also released an infographic that depicts cloud computing’s role in job creation in the U.S. along with the press release, as you can see above.

With an array of both consumer-focused — such as SkyDrive — and enterprise-focused cloud technologies — such as Office 365, Azure, and its upcoming Windows Server 8 release — Microsoft is certainly no stranger to the industry. And by the looks of things, they have plenty to look forward to in the coming years and cloud computing becomes more and more utilized.

Nokia Confirms PureView Technology Is Headed To Windows Phone

Last week, during the Mobile World Congress, Nokia announced the PureView 808; a phone whose prime selling point was a camera packing — wait for it — a 41MP camera sensor. Now of course, megapixels aren’t everything; they are only one ingredient in the mixture that results in a great camera that takes great photos, and an 8MP phone is perfectly capable of taking better photos than a 41MP phone.

However, there’s more to PureView than the megapixels, and you can read all about that here. It is definitely cool that they packed such a large megapixel count in a phone.

Moving on, however, something that’s unfortunate about this cool technology is that it was implemented on a phone that runs the Symbian OS. No need to fear, however; Nokia have officially confirmed that PureView is headed to Windows Phone — a real OS — sometime in the near future. Jo Harlow, Nokia’s Senior VP of Smartphones recently told Finnish newspaper Aamulethi when asked about when we can expect Nokia Windows Phone handsets to pack PureView, “I can’t say precisely when, but it will not take very long.” This is a rough translation of course; the original answer is in Finnish.

Perhaps we can expect the inevitable new lineup of Nokia devices that run Windows Phone Apollo to pack PureView.

HTC To Launch China’s First Windows Phone

In the race to bring the first Windows Phone device to China, it looks like we have a winner: Engadget reports that HTC has just began accepting pre-orders for the Triumph, which is essentially the HTC Titan that we have come to know and love re-branded.

Running Windows Phone 7.5 Tango, the 4.7″ behemoth will be priced sans-contract at ¥4,399, which is roughly $700 US. That’s quite expensive, and we can only hope that subsidized, contract pricing options as we have in the West are available to allow more people to purchase the device. So, how is the Triumph different from its Western counterpart? It isn’t, for the most part; one thing to note is that local social services Sina Weibo and Tencent Weixin will replace the Facebook and Twitter integration of Tango. SkyDrive is available, but it will be forced to conform to the regulations of the Great Firewall of China.

Nokia, LG, and ZTE — interestingly enough, Samsung isn’t joining the party just yet — are all poised to release handsets in China sometime this month as well. Throughout the rest of this year onwards, we’ll definitely have to keep an eye out on Windows Phone competition and traction in the Chinese market.

On top of bringing Windows Phones to China, Microsoft has also struck a deal that will bring devices to the Middle East and North Africa, through regional carrier Zain.

Windows Phone Headed To The Middle East, North Africa

During the Mobile World Congress last week, Microsoft managed to secure a deal with MENA (Middle East and North Africa) carrier Zain Group that is set to bring Windows Phone devices to Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan later this year. Commenting on the deal, Nabeel Bin Salamah said this:

“The smartphone has become a necessary item in today’s society, and this agreement with Microsoft, one of the world’s leading technology companies, is just the beginning of yet another example of Zain delivering on its brand promise to achieve our vision of ‘A Wonderful World’. We have the utmost confidence in the capabilities of Windows smartphone technology and believe such an appealing offering will further attract, empower and enhance the lifestyles of our customers.”

Guastavo Fuchs — Microsoft Mobility Director, Middle East and Africa — mentioned that the region is projected to see smartphone growth of 38% in the year 2012. While the specific devices that will be available in the region are currently unknown, it’s safe to say that we can expect to see lower-cost handsets such as the Lumia 610 or ZTE Orbit hit the shelves. Tailored towards emerging markets, the lower price point of these Windows Phones are sure to get smartphones in the hands of many users. That isn’t to say, though, that a higher-end smartphone market is nonexistent; I think that such devices will thrive here as well.

It definitely will be interesting to see how well Windows Phone performs here. Perhaps the platform will see great success in these emerging markets.

Possible Windows 8 SKUs Found In Consumer Preview Registry

While sniffing around the registry in Windows 8, the guys at Windows 8 Beta seem to have stumbled upon what appear to be references to Windows 8 SKUs. Here’s the list of every SKU — a total of nine — that was in the registry file:

  • Windows 8 Enterprise Edition
  • Windows 8 Enterprise Eval edition
  • Windows 8 Home Basic Edition
  • Windows 8 Home Premium edition
  • Windows 8 ARM edition
  • Windows 8 Professional edition
  • Windows 8 Professional Plus edition
  • Windows 8 Starter edition
  • Windows 8 Ultimate edition

As you can see, compared to Windows 7, there are two additional SKUs that are mentioned: Windows 8 ARM edition (which we knew would exist), and, interestingly enough, a Professional Plus edition SKU. There are also what appear to be placeholder “pre-release” SKUs that are in the list, pictured above (though this entire list could possibly be inaccurate placeholder content).

Below is a screenshot that Windows 8 Beta took of this very registry file, but in Windows 7.
Should this list prove to be correct, I cannot think of any reasons as to why there needs to be a Professional Plus SKU; if anything, Microsoft should work towards simplifying their editions of Windows 8 instead of adding to their abundance. But again, it is also likely that this content is inaccurate. An obscure registry key in a pre-release version of Windows is hardly confirmation of anything, so this one should be taken with a grain of salt. If you have an additional grain of salt at hand, let me point out a similar list of alleged SKUs that recently cropped up that is likely also placeholder content.

Xbox Goes Black, Successfully Goes Back

Microsoft’s Steve Clayton is right; there certainly is something alluring about white technology. The color is clean, sleek, pure, and, when executed in an industrial design correctly, it can look stunning. That being said, for those of you who are fans of white gadgetry, Microsoft have announced the Xbox 360 Special Edition 4GB Kinect Bundle.

Priced at $299, here’s what you get: A white Xbox 360 4GB console, a glossy white Kinect sensor, a white Xbox 360 wireless controller, two popular Kinect titles — Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures — and finally a three month subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold. This special edition console is available in the US and in some parts of the world starting today, and it will be hitting the shelves in Europe and Brazil sometime in the next few months.

Should you require a few additional controllers to play with friends, a special edition white controller will be available as well.

Microsoft has sold a over 65.8 million Xbox 360s and 18 million Kinect units worldwide since their respective launch dates. Recent data also suggests that the Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in 2011. With the console’s additional entertainment capabilities beyond gaming in mind, it’s no wonder that the Xbox 360 has been heralded as the king of the living room.

Major Nelson has posted up a gallery of photos on Flickr showcasing the bundle.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Surpasses One Million Downloads In 24 Hours

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has hit the 1 million download milestone in only a day since its release yesterday, according to this tweet from the @BuildWindows8 account a few hours ago: “One day later…one million downloads of the consumer preview”.

Now, we must keep in mind that this isn’t a unique count of people that have downloaded the build; if an individual downloaded the ISO several times, these downloads would also be factored into the count. Nevertheless, that’s still an impressive figure, and there’s likely still a good amount of people using the build as we speak.

The Windows 8 Developer Preview — released last September at BUILD — was downloaded 500,000 times in a day, so by this metric, we can say that the Consumer Preview build is experiencing twice the traction. How does the traction of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview compare to that of the Windows 7 Beta? Unfortunately, Microsoft never disclosed the download milestones of it. However, we do know that the Windows 7 beta download was initially restricted to 2.5 million downloads, which Microsoft quickly lifted.

There have been 100,000 changes made in the CP build since the Developer Preview in September, according to Sinofsky. We recently wrote a post that outlines a few of the major improvements in the build, such as system-wide spellcheck and Microsoft Account.

Bing Metro Apps Hit The Windows Store

The Bing Team have announced that they have released three apps to the Windows Store  — which has opened its doors to submissions from developers on top of yesterday’s release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview — are three apps that are powered by Bing: Finance, Weather, and Maps. All three of these apps are, of course, Metro apps, and thus display information in a very clean and minimal fashion.

Weather, for example, displays the current temperature, weather conditions, and a forecast of the coming days in the form of clean text that’s laid out against a beautiful background that’s relevant to the current weather.

The Finance app allows you to quickly glance at market prices. You can add individual stocks and market indices as live tiles, in which their current price is displayed. You can also quickly glance at a chart, and read relevant news to stay informed.

And finally, the Maps app uses, well, Bing Maps to display a map that you can interact, search, and retrieve driving directions with.

“We think these apps help showcase the endless new possibilities with Windows 8 and Bing”, writes Brian MacDonald, Corporate VP of the Bing Application Experiences Team. That they do.

Microsoft Release Fifth Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview

On top of Wednesday’s onslaught of Microsoft pre-release software — specifically, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows Server 8 Beta, and Visual Studio 11 Beta — it’s worth noting that Microsoft has bundled the fifth Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview in the Windows 8 CP build (so unfortunately, those of you on Windows 7 who are eager to test this out are still stuck on the second IE10 Platform Preview.)

As expected, one of the main things on the agenda for Internet Explorer 10 is increased HTML5 support. As of the fifth Platform Preview, Internet Explorer 10 has improved its support for the following HTML5 features: Asynchronous script execution, AppCache, drag-and-drop APIs, the file API, forms, history, parsing, sandbox, spellcheck, video, web workers, channel messaging, and WebSockets.

There have also been a number of improvements made to CSS3 support for visual effects — such as 3-D transforms, animations, fonts, gradients, transitions, text, dropshadows — and layout bits like exclusions, regions, grid alignment, multi-column layout, and device adaptation. If you’re a fellow developer interested in Internet Explorer’s upcoming scope of support for the many new HTML5 features, head on over to the developer guide here for a full rundown.

HBO Go Headed To The Xbox 360 On April 1st

At an HBO press conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, HBO announced that it will be bringing its popular HBO GO streaming service to the Xbox 360 on April 1st, right on time for the season two premier of Game of Thrones.

Now, before we begin to prepare a funeral for cable, it is worth noting that HBO is not a standalone service — you will still need a cable subscription with AT&T, Brighthouse, Charter, Comcast, COX, DIRECTV, Dish, RCN, Suddenlink, Time Warner, Verizon, or WOW! — but there are still many practical uses of this. For example, in a household with a cable subscription where a bedroom has an Xbox 360, that lucky Xbox owner would be able to watch HBO’s assortment of quality shows.

It would also be useful if, should some HBO “on-demand” content becomes unavailable, you will still be able to stream it to your TV easily through the Xbox. HBO GO is currently available on iOS, Android, ROKU, and Samsung Internet TVs, on top of the website (which is quite painless to use; when I needed to catch up on Boardwalk Empire, I did use HBO GO quite extensively for a while.)