In a blog post on the Microsoft On The Issues blog on August 7, Brendon Lynch, the Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft announced that during Windows 8 setup, Internet Explorer’s Do Not Track (DNT) feature will be set to ON in the Express Settings option.
Internet Explorer’s DNT default caused a bit of stir recently with companies like Google which make money mostly through their advertisement products, as well as advertisers who want better tracking/metrics/targeting, not wanting this feature turned on by default. The argument from privacy advocates (and Microsoft) was that if it is not turned on by default, there is a very small chance it will be turned on deliberately by the user. Mozilla, makers of Firefox, which has stood tall for consumer privacy, curiously does not turn it on by default. (Could it be because their single-largest source of income is royalty payments from Google for keeping Firefox Start Page to be a custom Google search page, and for keeping Google the default search engine in the browser? Can’t say for sure.)
In any case, now that Windows 8 has RTM-ed, we know what the behavior is going to be. Users who go through the setup with Express Settings will have DNT turned on by default. During the setup, it will be made clear that this setting has been turned on, and to change it they can click on Customize Settings during the setup. If someone cares enough about fine tuning the Windows 8 setup, they can choose Customize Settings and they will be shown the choice to turn it off and a link to “Learn More” about the feature along with a Privacy Statement.
Microsoft should be commended for taking a pro-consumer, privacy-first stand and while this may be a competitive play to blunt Google’s biggest revenue generation area, the fact that consumers benefit as a result of the competitive play, is a huge plus in the end.
Let’s wait and see which organization stands up and speaks against this move – publishers, advertisers, Google or the government.
When Microsoft announced its tablet, the Surface, everyone — including Microsoft itself, obviously — was aware that it would rustle the Jimmies of OEMs, however, they’ve mostly remained tight-lipped about the matter, at least publicly.
Not Acer, though. CEO JT Wang has come out and told the Financial Times that he urged Microsoft to “think twice” about going ahead and making their own hardware. Yes, they’re complaining about this despite the fact that Microsoft’s cooperation and compromise towards partners knows no bounds. He’s the first CEO of a major partner to publicly criticize the company about the Surface. Here’s what he said:
“We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”
They’ve been exceptionally bitchy about Microsoft’s decision to make their own hardware. This is the second time that someone from Acer has publicly expressed negativity towards the device; back in June, Oliver Ahrens, Acer’s senior VP and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa said that Microsoft could not be a hardware player with just two products, among other things.
In terms of shipments, Acer is the world’s fourth largest manufacturer. However, they are notorious for their exceptionally low-quality, subpar hardware. I’m fairly certain that insecurity and envy are at the root of these comments.
Windows 8 — which was released to manufacturing just last week — will be hitting the shelves on October 26, but it looks like we won’t have to wait until then to get a look at what the actual, physical packaging for the OS will look like. The Verge got their hands on PR shots of the packaging for Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, which are the only two SKUs that will be available in stores (yay!).
Both boxes show off the new Windows 8 logo that the company debuted a few months ago, along with a touch of some pretty nice artwork that appears to draw inspiration from Adobe’s packaging. The Windows 8 box sports a white background and blue text, while the Windows 8 Pro packaging has a dark grey (or lighter black) background and white text. As you can see, it’s very clean and simple and shows that Microsoft has been paying more and more attention to design and its importance as of late.
Now, I think that many upcoming Windows 8 users won’t even be getting their hands on the actual boxed copy. Most consumers will be upgrading to Windows 8 by more than likely purchasing a new PC that comes with it preinstalled rather than buying the boxed copy and upgrading their existing machine, and most enthusiasts will upgrade by purchasing the OS digitally and downloading it. Nevertheless, the packaging is still pretty awesome.
Just a brief reminder: No matter how you’ll purchase it, Windows 8 will be generally available on October 26.
Although HP’s investment in Palm went down in glorious flames with the TouchPad, they clearly haven’t given up in the tablet market yet.
At the end of July, HP posted the “Make it Matter” commercial on YouTube. While the video is an entire minute of inspirational crud, at the 35 second mark there is a whitecoat clad chap sporting a tablet. So HP still wants to make tablets? That’s inspirational. A closer shot of the device can be seen right at the end of the video.
He may not have a shadow, or a soul, but he definitely has what might be the HP Slate 8. Oh look at that, so does she…
Given the style of the commercial, and some more recently seen advertisements that include the same device, Hewlett-Packard is very clearly going after both the small enterprising business owner, and large corporate crowd.
HP hasn’t officially talked about the tablet, so no specification are available. Looking at the pictures we can clearly see the 3.5mm auxiliary jack, a power button, and silent switch on the right portion, and what might be a lanyard or lock spot on the left side of the device. It’s a bit thick, looks to be around 10″ and largely uncomfortable to hold. The upper black portion is likely where the WiFi and/or cellular antenna would be housed.
Rumour is that the Slate will be running Windows 8. Well, what are the other options? Let’s see, use their open sourced webOS platform? Nope. License Android? Highly unlikely. They’ll probably ship with Windows 8, which recently hit RTM status. Wait, yes, of course they will ship with Windows 8. Meg Whitman specifically said so. So did these slides.
So there we go. HP Slate 8. Windows 8. Coming soon.
We know that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing, but what about its ARM tablet counterpart? The Next Web has learned through its sources that Windows RT has also been released to manufacturing on Wednesday, so companies who are working on ARM-based Windows tablets have the final bits of the operating system.
Now of course, don’t expect to be able to walk into a store and pick up a boxed copy of Windows RT; this flavor of the OS will be available only to partners/manufacturers.
This is good news; apparently, there were some murmurs of a possible Windows RT RTM delay, which would be disastrous as Microsoft would miss the holiday season sales cycle. However, everything has gone according to plan, and we can expect devices — PCs and tablets alike — to begin going on sale come October 26th, which is when Windows 8 will be generally available.
Yes, this means that the much-anticipated Surface should be coming out around this time as well.
On the heels of the announcement that Windows 8 has officially RTM’d, Microsoft has announced that the Windows Store is now fully open for business. From today onwards, any qualifying business in a supported market will be able to submit Metro apps for Windows 8 to the store.
Microsoft has also announced that today, 54 new markets have been added to the list of distinct catalog offerings, providing developers more opportunities that are specific to their respective markets. 24 new app certification languages have been added, bringing the total up to 38 and more than doubling the amount that was supported with the Release Preview build, which, released 8 weeks ago, was the last public pre-release of Windows 8 before we reached RTM.
The developer dashboard is also now available in an additional 11 languages, meaning that you will be able to select from an even larger plethora of languages for the backend area where you can submit apps, view analytics, and check the certification process.
Transaction support is also now enabled, and the Application Developer Agreement (ADA) has been updated to reflect this. The base Store fee is 30% of revenue for any transactions occurring through the platform, with that fee being reduced to 20% for the lifetime of the app if sales hit $25,000 USD. Microsoft also notes that they’re working hard to continually improve their certification policy, and that they are committed to “provide a level of transparency, consistency, and specificity that helps developers make more informed choices and take best advantage of the Windows platform…”
In conclusion, it’s worth noting that, in order to upload apps to the Store, you will need to have the RTM build of Windows 8 installed. Of course, you won’t have to wait until general availability; the RTM build will be released on MSDN and in trial form on Technet come August 15. Microsoft recommends that, until then, you keep working on your app on the Release Preview and register your company account now, as it takes a bit of time to get a company account verified and registering now ensures that you can “hit the ground running” once the RTM build is released.
As expected, Microsoft has just announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM). As we speak, the final build of the OS is being released to OEMs and manufacturing partners, and will come pre-installed on a slew of PCs (and tablets) which will be released over the next few months.
In the announcement post, Steven Sinofsky notes that they’ve seen an insane level of participation in testing the pre-release version of Windows 8. Over 16 million PCs have participated, including the roughly 7 million PCs that participated in the Release Preview which the company made available for download 8 weeks ago. So, what’s next? We know that general availability will be on October 26th, but when will the build be available through official channels for us early adopters?
Here’s a timeline of when the bits will be released to various marketplaces:
- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
- August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
And yes, for those of you who are keeping track, recent rumors have been spot-on; the RTM build is 9200. So, there you have it. The Windows 8 RTM build is done.
With the Windows 8 RTM right around the corner, Microsoft has unveiled a slew of new hardware products tailored towards Windows 8 PCs and devices.
The first one that was announced is the Wedge Mobile Keyboard. Designed specifically for tablets, it connects via Bluetooth to tablets, and is designed to be as small and portable as possible without compromising the typing experience. Also, a nice touch to it — and the other keyboard that was announced today — is that it comes designed with the new logo on the Windows key. On top of this touch to really indicate that it was built in the Windows 8 era, the keyboard also sports some hotkeys for Windows 8’s Charms. Building a tablet that’s both extremely portable and pleasant to use is quite a challenge, as anyone who has used an average netbook keyboard can attest to.
In order to bring your Wedge Mobile Keyboard with you while on the go, they have also created a pretty nifty cover that’s made of a rubber material. Not only does it protect the keyboard from scratches, but, when kept in a bag next to its accompanying tablet, it helps prevent the tablet from getting scratches as well. Finally, the cover can bend at the middle, forming a tablet kickstand.
Next up, we have the mouse counterpart of the keyboard, which is aptly named the Wedge Touch Mouse. With a peculiar size and shape, it definitely seems portable. However, I’m going to reserve my opinions on its comfort level and ergonomics until I actually get my hands on one. There’s no word on whether any advanced gestures will be available for it, but we do know that it will come with four-way touch scrolling. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard will be available soon for $79.95, and the Wedge Touch Mouse will be available for $69.95.
The next pair of keyboard/mouse siblings announced by the company are the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard. They’re a bit larger in form factor than the Wedge series of peripherals while still remaining relatively mobile. They both connect to your PC via Bluetooth as well, and have been updated for Windows 8. And, like the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, it comes with those very same hotkeys to help make you more productive on Windows 8. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard will be available for $49.95, and the Sculpt Touch Mouse will be available for the same cost as well sometime soon.
And finally, Microsoft announced that a slew of new gestures for Windows 8 are coming to the existing Microsoft Touch Mouse:
- A one finger swipe will allow you to move side to side or up and down, shifting content on your screen.
- Two finger movements manage apps, allowing users to display Windows 8 charms, switch through open apps and show app commands.
- Three finger movements will let you zoom in and out.
- Thumb gestures navigate backward and forward through apps.
As a Hotmail user, everyone got a Live ID. This ID could used with your Zune or Xbox account and was the single identity used across Microsoft’s products. With the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft is retiring the Windows Live brand and going forward, the Live ID will be known as your Microsoft Account. It will also be used for logging into Windows 8 which makes the rebranding critical.
For a while, Microsoft enthusiasts have been waiting for Microsoft to start rolling the web interface for this new identity. As it turns out, Microsoft has flipped the switch. Here are the Metro Microsoft Account screenshots.
First up, the icon:
Now the account pages:
The more interesting Billing section:
Following the news from Microsoft’s Partner Conference last week that Windows 8 will reach the general availability milestone in “late October”, the company has now shared a more specific date. At an annual sales meeting, Steven Sinofsky announced that the Windows 8 general availability date is set for October 26.
During Microsoft’s Partner Conference last week, we also learned that the OS will RTM in the first week of August. This means that the overall milestone/shipping schedule of Windows 8 will be very similar to that of Windows 7, which RTM’d in the third week of July and was generally available on October 22nd.
Speaking of Windows 8, we’ll also have another thing to look forward to here; while no specific launch date was disclosed, we can probably expect the much-anticipated Microsoft Surface tablet to also hit store shelves at around this time.