Google Publishes Windows 8.1 Exploit After Giving Microsoft 90 days to fix Issue

Microsoft is facing a fair amount of backlash after Google released an exploit that is related to Windows 8.1. From what we understand, Google via its Project Zero team, found the exploit and gave Microsoft 90 days to fix it before releasing it to the public.

Unfortunately, Microsoft did not fix the issue in time, and thus Google was forced to release it to the public. This should force the software giant to make haste in publishing a fix as soon as possible, not to mention; it looks bad on the company right now.

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What’s the exploit all about?

Well, it allows a local user of a machine to gain administrator privileges, and after that, they can do whatever they want. While this doesn’t mean hackers would be able to use the exploit to take over a person’s machine, it should be viewed as an enormous problem nonetheless, for anyone with access locally can get administrator rights, and from there they do pretty much anything to the user’s computer.

As expected, Microsoft did not sit idly by and recently released a statement on the matter. From what we can tell, the company isn’t taking the exploit very seriously, hence the reason it is taking the software giant so long to release a fix to the public domain.

“We are working to release a security update to address an Elevation of Privilege issue. It is important to note that for a would-be attacker to potentially exploit a system, they would first need to have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to a targeted machine,” says Microsoft in a statement. “We encourage customers to keep their anti-virus software up to date, install all available Security Updates and enable the firewall on their computer.”

We have tested the exploit and can confirm that it works, so hopefully Microsoft releases a fix as soon as possible.

Interestingly enough, many person’s are going against Google for releasing the exploit to the public since Windows 8.1 is used by millions around the world. They view the move is irresponsible while some sees it as a ploy by the search giant to rattle Microsoft.

EU permits to remove 5 years old Microsoft browser ballot From Windows

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) — Back in 2009, the European Commission ruled against Microsoft in a bit for better competition in the web browser space. This forced the software giant to create a hub to allow users to choose which browser they want to use apart from Internet Explorer.

Yesterday, the obligation ended, which means Microsoft may one day release an update to remove the browser ballot box from all Windows operating systems. Chances are, company might launch Windows 10 without the ballot box, unless the European Commission plans on reintroducing the ruling.

“Microsoft provided the Browser Choice update in accordance with a decision issued by the European Commission in December 2009,” says Microsoft. “The obligations imposed by that decision have expired and as a result the Browser Choice Update will no longer be delivered to new users.”

Since the Commission went ahead with the plan, browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox have all gained market share. Although, the market share gains were small, and Internet Explorer still commands the lion share. Interestingly enough, Opera Browser was very vocal about the change.

The browser ballot box in Windows might not have caused for a huge change in which browser folks use to browse the web, but it did cause Microsoft to place more focus and effort in creating a usable web browser. Before the ruling, Internet Explorer was terrible in almost every way, however things have changed since.

It is still not on the same level as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, but it is in a far better state when compared to 2009.

At the moment, the company is working on Internet Explorer 12, and for the first time, company has made available a preview program for future releases. This can only mean great things for the Internet now that Microsoft is humbled.

Source: [Microsoft]

Predictions say Android sales will exceed 1 Billion devices

Gartner, a market research company estimates that 1.1 billion Android devices would reach the market this year with the improved sales of Windows and huge sales of Apple devices.

According to the market analysis of Gartner, shipments of desktop PCs, tablets, laptops and mobile phones of different shapes and dimensions would boost by 7.6 percent in this year and reach about 2.47 billion units following the increasing global interest of users. And every year, Android device-shipments would leap by 25.6 percent; whereas iOS and Mac OS are estimated to face 29 percent growth and Windows would face 10 percent increase. Ranjit Atwal, the research director of Gartner says, “So far, Android hasn’t had tremendous success beyond its core product categories, but consumers’ familiarity with the OS helps vendors like Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, which are using the OS on new PCs.”

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Google’s Android is expected to maintain it’s remarkable popularity for OS. Adding to this, the low-cost smartphones would attract a wide range of customers. International CES trade show of the current week has indicated towards the pervasive reputation of Google’s OS in tablets, all-in-one PCs, smartphones, cars, TVs, etc. Gartner further estimated that in 2014, the high demand of smartphones would facilitate the huge supply of Android devices in the market accounting 1 billion units, which would be the highest in the history of Android. The analysis of Garner also reveals that about 75 percent or more Android device-shipments would be delivered from the emerging markets by 2017.

Though Microsoft has been experiencing reduced sales of PCs in the recent years due to deluge of smartphones, the company is expected to deliver 359.9 million units of Android mobile phones in 2014, which would exceed previous year’s record of 328 million devices and 346.3 million shipment record of 2012. Additionally, though Nokia had been experiencing low sales record for several years, last year the company did better that is expected to continue in 2014.

Microsoft Surface 2 May Be Huge Failure Like Its Predessor

Microsoft Surface 2 may be a huge flop like its predecessor the original Microsoft Surface.

The original Surface from Microsoft was a big flop in the retail market, leaving the company in $900 million loss. The first tablet of the company focused on offering a list of items that iPad did not, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft offers a nice keyboard and some fascinating multitasking features too, but failed to compel users from buying it. However, most of the individuals did not observe it as the way that the company wanted to show.

In recent years, the sequel Microsoft Surface 2 has been available as the company launch this tablet for having a second chance. Microsoft has improved the screen, slimmed down the tablet, created a host of tweaks to the windows and doubled the battery life for addressing the primary frustrations and this all has been done for $449. It has also developed the companion Type Cover Keyboards for $150 and Touch Cover for $100. Now for this time, the company is assuring the most industrious tablet and one of the only devices you require in your pocket and bag.

surface 2 tablets

But is it? Perform those secures places the surface on a reliable footing in the crowded market of the tablets, or is the company seeking at another failed try for thwarting the competition? You can make such things clear by taking a look at its review:

A new screen and color

In spite of the some cosmetic modifications, the Surface 2 still appears as a Surface. With the presence of the new Surface logo available on the kickstand back everyone can inform that it is actually what it is. But it is not unavoidably a bad thing. As the original one, the VaporMg or the magnesium structure and the screen made up of the Gorilla Glass technology, offer it a tremendously solid foundation. These are the things that could notice by the users in order to distinguish between the new and old Surface but they will tell the difference only in that case when they stare at the screen.

Touch and Type Covers

It is not just a sort of tablet or the one device that is everything in one’s life. Every advertisement for this characterizes the Touch or Type keyboard covers with only such a tagline. Though, what the company has not revealed in those ads is that the cover is not contained and it may cost at least more than $100 for turning the tablet into a kind of tablet.

Windows 8.1 RT

Without some improvements in the software, the hardware improvement would be for nothing. Windows 8.1, latest update to Windows 8, comprises of the some much required usability advancements and at least includes easy on screen instructions to guide new users through features that includes putting 2 apps side by side.

The Surface 2 is a vastly advanced tablet. It acts what the Surface must have been like a light, thin and long lasting machine with a fine display screen. This device is a convincing option for those who are making investments in the Microsoft ecosystem. This device would a flop at the box office again, but it is even not strike sequel the company was expecting for.

Microsoft should start focus on one – Either Android or iOS!

Android and iOS were once the only operating mobile OS platforms which together accounted for 90% of the devices. However with the entry of the Windows Phone OS, the stakes have increased substantially. However it is interesting to debate which of the two OS does Microsoft considers its immediate rival and competitor?

Both Android OS and iOS have dominated the Smartphone scene for the last two years. Android platform has almost increased 4 times the number of smartphones under its wings. Today it accounts nearly 79.3% of the total smartphone market.

On the other hand Apple has also held to a significant portion of the Smartphone segment. Since the second half of 2008, the iOS has managed to hold to 10 to 20% of the Smartphone market. With the decline of the BlackBerry OS platform, the talks of who would come third in the list have assumed importance.

windows phone 8

There were many suitors who were vying to fill in the void which has been left by BlackBerry like Sailfish OS, webOS, Tizen, or MeeGo. However it was Windows Phone which was the most serious and persistent contender who slowly but surely clawed itself to the third slot.

Windows Phone has been steadily gaining traction around the globe during the last few months. Looking at figures it seems that Windows Phone has grown only from 3.1 to 3.7 percent in global market share, but it has grown in other ways at the same time. Applications support have slowly increased and today all the major game developers are giving it a closer and serious look. Windows Phone is today turning out to be a viable alternative to both iOS and the Android OS platform.

The Windows Phone has become the second largest mobile OS used in India and many other Asian countries and has captured a 5.6% share of the market. In Germany also Windows Phone trail the iOS by a whisker at 1%. Again in France Windows Phone has nearly doubled its share from a 5.6% in Q2 last year to 10.8% this year in the same period. Windows is also slowly prevailing on the iOS in other European quarters like Italy, Spain and the UK.

The story repeats itself in other locations also and in March this year Windows Phone has outclassed the iPhone in Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine. Experts have started to ask the question if Windows Phone will pose a direct threat to the iOS. Windows Phone is steadily getting wider acceptance. Remember skeptics had written off the Android OS in 2008.

Android OS platform was also once written off and it was predicted that it will be years before it can get some foothold in the Mobile segment. Many experts which included the most optimistic had predicted that Android will come second in the global Smartphone market by 2012. However things happened much more quickly than the wildest prediction.

It cannot be that the same story cannot be repeated with Windows Phone OS. The Windows Phone is cheaper than the iOS and Android smartphones in a number of versions. With a smooth and polished performance combined with Nokia’s innovation has turned the platform into something desirable vis a vis Android OS and iOS.

However the Android platform isn’t stagnant and is a much more dynamic platform. When Android was launched, the Symbian platform was a dead duck while Android platform continued to grow and mature. The situation is similar today and Android platform is one of the most dynamic platforms, ever changing according to changing environment. Windows Phone will find the Android OS a hard nut to crack.

If Microsoft wants to compete with iOS before going for Android, they must stop licensing Windows Phone 8 OS to other manufacturers and start in-house production of some really good innovative smartphones with the help their recently owned Nokia. They should kill the Nokia and Nokia Lumia brand name, and must start production of some real good smartphones with proprietary software and hardware of their own.

And if they want to focus on Android, the deal is pretty simple! Microsoft should tie-up with cheap and low-cost Chinese smartphone manufacturers like ZTE, Gfive, Huawei etc. and flood market with low-cost Windows Phone smartphone options. The most selling Windows Phone device is $199 Nokia Lumia 520, which again is an entry level smartphone. And also, Microsoft have to make strategies to force big brands like Samsung, HTC, Lenovo etc. to launch their Android flagships models with a Windows Phone 8 variant as well. Also, Microsoft should keep running the Nokia and Nokia Lumia as a separate brand to take benefit of goodwill developed by Lumia brand in smartphone market.

The similarity of the Android OS and the Microsoft Windows Phone OS is refreshingly clear while the situation between iOS and the Blackberry OS platform is also chillingly similar. Are we to see a repeat of the story of the Android and the Symbian OS platform fate? It is a billion dollar question.

Threshold: The codename for Microsoft Windows’ next big wave revealed

While the tech gurus are speculating about Microsoft’s plans on operating system following Windows 8.1, with people expecting a major release of Windows in the Spring of 2015, there seems to be a small breakthrough in these speculations. We call it small because there seem to be only a confirmation of Microsoft’s codename for the wave of deliverable as ‘Threshold’.

Sources have authenticated that the Microsoft Executive Vice-President Terry Myerson has very recently mentioned the ‘Threshold’ codename in one of his emails regarding plans about unified operating system engineering group.

It’s interesting to note that the name ‘Threshold’ is derived from the planet around which the first halo orbited in the first Halo game that was launched in the year 2001. With that, Threshold joins the league of Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri, as another new codename having origin in the Xbox franchise.

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From the rumors it seems Threshold does not refer to a single Windows operating system, or to a compound hybrid consisting of Windows Phone OS and Windows RT. Instead, it indicates the entire wave of operating systems across Windows-based phones, devices, as well as gaming consoles.

Till now, Windows platforms like Xbox One OS, Windows 8.x OS and Windows Phone 8 OS share the common Windows NT core. As goes the news, Microsoft is working towards coming up with one common app store across its diverse Windows platforms. It’s also believed that the company s trying hard to create very similar developer toolset for all the three platforms.

However, with the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to take a step further that would support the identical core set of ‘high value activities’ (including expressions/documents, decision-making/task completion, IT management, and ‘serious fun’) across all platforms.

The concept of ‘high value activities’ cropped up when the Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer mentioned it back in July while announcing Microsoft’s cross-company reorganization in order to make the company concentrates more around its new ‘One Microsoft’ mission.

If things go the way they seem to go at present, then Threshold is likely to include updates for all the three OS platforms, viz., Xbox One, Windows, and Windows Phone, that will upgrade them to a level where they would share even more common elements.

MediaFire unveils Desktop App for Windows and OS X

A desktop version for the Windows and Mac OSX users has been launched by the online storage service MediaFire. The desktop version by MediaFire enables the users to upload, collaborate, and share media instantly from the computer to the cloud.

CEO Derek Labian said in a statement, “With MediaFire Desktop, we looked to create an intuitive, easy to use application that extends your operating system into the cloud, while giving you complete control over your online storage”.

The new interface incorporates directly into the users existing OSX Finder or Windows Explorer, making the conversion flawlessly and naturally. Automatic file synchronization users are spared the bother of updating documents or adding digital pictures of a family gathering.

Once the picture has been uploaded, it is easy for it to be sent to anyone. One can share pictures or share a recipe with your near and dear ones through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or an embedded link. Additionally the user also gets 50 GB of free storage. MediaFire offers a lot of complements and a concern will be oversharing.

There are a number of extras thrown in like the activity feed with updates to files and new documents received from contacts. Also included is an automatic file version tracking which arranges the files by date, edit history and type? MediaFire also ensures that there is no duplication of files to occupy space and promptly removes such files when it detects it.

Sharing, editing and viewing MediaFire files have also been given a facelift and the interface is now amply complimented with automatic audio and video transcoding, and streaming support for more than 200 viewable file formats.

Labian said that MediaFire is surely the safest and most economical online storage service available today. The MediaFire Desktop and the refurbished User Interface is the first step in the creation of the seamless cloud designed specifically for media.

Plans start at $4.99 per month for 100GB to $24.99 per month for 500GB. Both plans offer complete data backup support, sharing of all file types, superfluous backups, bulk downloads, and right to use MediaFire’s premiere support line.

Microsoft updates Skype for Windows 8.1 App

Skype for Windows 8 was around for a while until Skype for Windows 8.1 was rolled out. Different people have different taste and so different experience. That’s what happened when Skype for Windows 8.1 was rolled out. Windows 8.1 users reported certain issues with Skype when they first downloaded the application for the updated version of Windows OS.

Users posted on Microsoft’s support forums to reveal that Skype no longer works after making the switch to Windows 8.1. “I upgraded my system to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 yesterday. Since then I could not log on to Skype. Few seconds after Skype tries to connect, the system returns to the Start screen with other tiles,” one of the affected users posted.

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Fortunately, the company was quick to act and resolve the issue. One of the most important things that professionals seek today is multitasking and they will be glad to know that Microsoft has made the app capable of carrying out multiple tasks. This means you do not need to hold a task for performing another. You can chat with a friend and search for a contact simultaneously.

The service which facilitates video conferencing over a Wi-Fi, 3G or LTE connection would now also let users share and receive files of any size at any time. The process of navigating through the list of favourite friends too has been simplified. There’s also free Skype-to-Skype video and voice calling and low rates for calling mobiles and landlines worldwide, sending text messages or making group video calls with up to 10 people.

Skype lets you connect to others via instant message, audio conferencing and video phone. It can also call regular phone lines from anywhere. The service is already big on mobile devices and is currently busy working on a number of secret projects that we could see transported to Skype in the near future.

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer bids a tearful adieu

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer is due to retire next year. It was an occasion to remember and Steve did not contain himself and danced his heart fill at his farewell.

It was the last company meeting for the Microsoft Boss, a company in which he had worked for 33 years. Steve Ballmer bid a tearful farewell to all his former employees who he had known during his illustrious career in the company.

The departing boss danced to Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, and declared that Microsoft will once again rule the world or even better change the world again. It was a companywide event and more than 13,000 employees of Microsoft who queued to be a part of the event. The company has not announced till date the replacement of the chief executive.

Mr. Ballmer is due to retire next year and the company is in a troubled state. The Surface range has not clicked and the Windows 8 OS is also not creating ripples as before. The falling Desktop sales have also hurt the company worldwide. Microsoft had to even write off more than 900 million losses it faced due to the failure of Surface Tablet. Steve is leaving the company at its most vulnerable stage and the company will have to struggle really hard to claw back into the smartphone and tablet segment.

When Steve was in the driving seat of the company, he became known more for his noisy and boisterous presentations which underlined the fact that he had a deep sense of love and loyalty towards Microsoft and its products.

Microsoft employees took to the social media to describe the event and Mr. Ballmer’s last appearance and described the scene to be more like a Rock Concert. The event was held at 17,000-capacity Key Arena in Seattle, a venue which is known more for it ice hockey and basketball matches. Mr. Ballmer for the first time accepted the fact that right through the decade starting from 2000 to 2010, the company had given too much emphasis on the Windows software and less on devices. This proved to be the biggest undoing of the software giant.

Report: Windows 8.1 to feature new Photo Loop app and more for general availability launch

The launch of the Windows 8 was not a happy occasion for Microsoft. Microsoft had tried to develop different platforms for different utilities. Microsoft had released the Windows Phone 8 OS for smartphones, Windows 8 RT for tablets and Windows 8 for the regular desktops. However the move did not click and Microsoft had to face a lot of flak for its moves. Microsoft is trying to make amends with the launch of its Windows 8.1.

Microsoft has just released an RTM build of the latest iteration of its operating system, the Windows 8.1 for Original Equipment Manufacturers. Microsoft has been releasing the RTM build for developers. Microsoft has been updating its OS for its general ability launch on October 18th. The latest rumor which has been making rounds of the Web is a new feature which is known as Photo Loop for the Windows 8.1 GA and also some tweaks in its Bing Apps.

According to the report, the Photo Loop will commence taking the images from the tablet’s camera as soon as the app is launched and the user can later buffer the photo and find the right images. The article further reveals that the Photo Loop will not work with any Windows 8.1 device but would require customized camera hardware. The Surface 2 from Microsoft will support the Photo Loop along with the other upcoming Windows 8.1 products.

Microsoft is in the process of updating a number of its in house Bing applications for Windows 8.1. Just to understand the applications, take the example of Finance Application which will enable persons to make stock trades from within the application. This app is particularly handy for people who love to play stock market while on the move.  Another important application is the Food and Drink app which was seen for the first time in the Windows 8.1 preview build. It will feature video tutorials from all the well known chefs for its GA update.