Microsoft brings the focus back to users with Windows 10

Windows_10_Product_Family

Last week at a private event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the next version of their desktop OS (operating system).  The name, catching all off guard is skipping 9 and going straight to Windows 10.  Not only will 10 be the next version of Windows for PCs and tablets – but also their phones too, currently running the separate OS Windows Phone.

Windows 8 attempted to bring PCs and tablets together with a unified touch-friendly design which was met with severe criticism amongst traditional keyboard and mouse users.  With Windows 10, Microsoft has rethought this approach.  The same system will run across their devices with the user interface changing depending on what control inputs are available.  On a non-touch laptop, an updated version of the old Start menu will help you navigate.  On tablets you will still have the full Start screen which Windows 8 introduced and on hybrid devices when the keyboard/mouse is accessible, you will get a smaller Start menu and when in touch mode the more finger friendly Start screen appears in its place.

Microsoft is also promising a single store that all Windows 10 devices will be able to access, regardless if you have a PC, tablet or Phone.  In theory you would only have to purchase the one app that will run on all these devices instead of having separate apps for phones, tablets and PCs.

Windows 10 is also boasting better multi-tasking chops for its power users. The snap feature has been expanded so when a window is snapped to one side of the screen, suggestions appear as to what you can snap to next to it.   In addition multiple virtual desktops will now be available as standard so you can switch between different desktop layouts for heavy multi-tasking.

The reasoning for the name Windows 10 may be to distance it from Windows 8 in the public eye, which was not the success Microsoft must have been hoping for. The interesting thing here is that from what we have seen of 10 so far, it has a lot in common with what 8 is and what that version was trying to achieve; one OS and interface across different types of devices.  Perhaps the naming then suggests Microsoft believes that what let Windows 8 down was not its premise but the delivery and marketing, believing their original intentions were good but very much misunderstood.

Feedback coming out of the announcement of Windows 10 has been very positive, so perhaps there was method to the naming madness? Naming aside, Windows 10 does look to deliver a much more intuitive desktop experience and even brings more options to power users without losing the touch friendly advantages and the new Microsoft ecosystem Windows 8 established. Windows 10 launches late 2015 and we will learn a lot more of its new features coming up to the time of release.  So far, Microsoft has put its best foot forwards – its aim here is to convince the 100 million+ Windows 7 owners that Windows 10 is the upgrade they have been waiting for.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 7th June 2013

Private Cloud in a box
Microsoft is finally ready to deliver a private cloud in a box, with the Windows Azure Pack. This lets you take advantage of Windows Azure technologies inside your own datacentre, providing self-service, multi-tenant services. Traditionally to use Azure services you would be reliant on Microsoft’s own hardware. This will enable MSPs more flexibility in providing different Cloud services to customers in addition to satisfying dataflow transparency needs.

Microsoft details Windows 8.1
Although many rumours have been spun about Windows Blue or 8.1 as we now know it, Microsoft for the first time has confirmed certain details and functionality Windows 8.1 will bring. By popular demand the Start button is back, however the old menu is still not. Microsoft is focusing on their Start screen with more personalisation options, and improving the consistency from Desktop mode to the new Start screen. In addition to OS tweaks, all the main built in apps are getting updates and some like the Music app are getting a complete overhaul. Microsoft is betting on these updates to give users another excuse to check out Windows 8 and by listening to customer feedback they should be able to convert back some previously alienated fans.

Motorola looking into future password replacements
Motorola who is now owned by Google has been tasked with looking into future alternatives to the traditional password. Motorola have shown off two concepts in trials. The first is an electronic sticker that is worn on your body, a circuit inside will be able to confirm your identity to nearby devices. The second is a ‘password pill’, a pill the user will swallow which is then powered by your stomach, the pill notifies nearby devices on who you are. Will we see either of these security methods take off one day or even become the de facto method of signing in to your devices?

Foxconn developing 5 Firefox OS devices
Mozilla is setting up partners to get phones running its new mobile operating system Firefox OS out into the market. Mozilla has signed a deal with Foxconn the world’s largest smart phone manufacturer to produce 5 different mobile devices running Firefox OS. With incredible competition from Google, Apple, Microsoft and even BlackBerry, Mozilla has a long and uphill battle on their hands. If they can convince their 20% desktop browser market share to go out and buy a Mozilla device, they may stand a chance yet.

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This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 24th May 2013

MSP concerns as SolarWinds buyout N-able
This week SolarWinds acquired N-able Technologies. What does it mean for MSP’s relying on N-Able products? Will they be forcibly swapped for SolarWinds own cloud services?
N-Able’s CEO assured the press they would continue to offer their existing on-premises and cloud solution. But with Garbutt’s retirement scheduled once the acquisition is complete, the future is uncertain and N-able’s customers will be looking for a transparent roadmap to decrease disturbance on their own business.

Is the bird out of the cage?
When US President Barack Obama’s Twitter account was hi-jacked, the world raised its eyebrows in surprise. Twitter was ordered to come up with a 20 year information security policy in response. Some of the results of that policy in the form of automated security tools are being rolled out now. Twitter is now enabling 2-factor authentication which will prevent this scenario happening if used, but just how secure are companies’ policies? With the array of mobile devices in business, there is increased urgency for companies to review governance procedures.

World wireless speed record
A world record was set this week in wireless data transmission. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology were able to achieve 40Gbit/sec at 240GHz over 1 kilometer (essentially matching the capacity of optical fibre). In economic terms, it is a positive signal that rural communities across the globe currently without broadband, will in future enjoy the same benefits as we do, of this remarkable technology.

Welcome to the post-PC world
The day, predicted by Steve Jobs, has finally come: more tablets are now sold in the UK than laptops and desktops combined. Q1 of 2013 saw 2.8 million tablets sold, overtaking 2.3 from PCs in the same period. Looking forward we are only likely to see the market share of tablets grow further as traditional laptops powered by Windows 8 turn into tablet hybrid devices. As technology advances, so do users computing habits. Now the business world needs to start treating tablets as equals to PCs, instead of pushing them to the sidelines in strategy and security.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 10th May 2013

What is Big Data?
Small data – is single-source, often batch-processed, and locally managed. So what is big data? It is multi-source, requires connecting between data sources, multi-structured, real time, and uses information in aggregate. This is a huge difference from traditional business intelligence (BI). So what are some of the interesting things found in healthcare from big data analysis? People with higher pain scores tend to crash more. Credit scores, of all things, tell you whether patients will take their medicine.

Windows 8 hits 100 million sales
Microsoft report passing the 100 million mark in licence sales for Windows 8 since its launch in October 2012. Despite doubters casting aspersions in the early days of release, Windows 8 seems to have greater staying power, given the sheer weight of sales now. This may be spurred on by news of the expiry of earlier versions of XP in April 2014. Businesses who have not reviewed their OS platforms should discuss the various options sooner rather than later, or find themselves in deep water.

It’s official – we’re up in the clouds!
In an effort to expedite government cloud (G-Cloud) progress, the U.K. government plans to formally adopt a “cloud-first” procurement policy. And it would like to see the entire British public sector follow suit. US federal agencies adopted cloud last December and two thirds of SMBs in the UK already use and invest in cloud storage solutions. This is a clear indicator of widespread confidence in cloud as the future storage solution.

Smart Phones for Emerging Markets, the key to phone supremacy?
Nokia have unveiled their latest Asha phones designed for emerging markets (low on price, high on feature), ideal to those unable to purchase high end brands such as iPhones, Galaxys and Lumias. With a brand new OS, Asha phones make the big and all-important jump from feature phone to smart phones. This could see them leap over Samsung’s current No1 position in shipment numbers, but crucially smartphone market share.

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Your first stop for this week’s MSP news in technology

MDM? Not without MSP’s help  

Even though the BYOD trend is gaining significant momentum, some organisations are still refraining from implementation.  Adopting MDM requires investment in technology, training, staffing and policy creation, meaning organisations can’t justify the funding.  However we believe there is a solution to this problem; introducing MDM through a managed service provider.  MSP’s can offer all the MDM benefits including 24×7 managed support, but save customers time as well as costs.  This will allow even small businesses to work more mobile.

Looking into the future in the Tablet market

The big three: Microsoft, Google and Apple are now all runners in the tablet market share race.  In recent months Apple has seen its sales decrease due to the increased popularity of cheaper Google devices. At this pace we may see Android over take Apple in Q2 2013. As Microsoft’s devices have only been on the market for less than a quarter, we are expecting a slow and steady uptake.  As more devices and apps come over to Microsoft’s new platform next year, we predict the market will shift.

‘Appy’ Christmas

Microsoft has announced that their Windows Phone app developers will be hard at work this festive season.  Since the launch of Windows Phone 8, mobile app requests have increased by 40%, seeing a recent surge in the last couple of weeks.  However, some companies refuse to jump on the bandwagon. Google have declared they have no plans to develop apps for either Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8. We believe that Google might be missing a trick.  As Windows 8 adoption grows momentum in 2013, we are predicting Microsoft’s app store will take off in a big way, enabling both a consumer and a corporate environment.

Microsoft release Cloud Deployment programme

Microsoft has released a new Cloud Deployment programme designed at educating partners as to how they can get the most out of Office 365.  Organisations have currently been viewing the Cloud as a threat to their security rather than an instrument for success.  With Microsoft’s latest partner programme, MSP’s will be able to offer management tools and expertise to help consumers understand the Cloud.  We believe that this will give MSP’s the opportunity to add value to the Cloud, helping customers with its set up and running.

This week’s news from the MD of Amicus ITS

Let’s end the confusion on Windows 8  

Since the launch of Windows 8, consumers have been primarily focused on the impact Microsoft’s latest OS will have on mobility. Although this plays an important role, the other key components of Windows 8 must also be explored.  Next week Amicus ITS are holding a Windows 8 event at Microsoft’s HQ in Reading, to demonstrate all of its offerings.  The event will feature what Windows 8 can offer to the corporate world through demonstrations, as well as explaining how to effectively manage a mobile work environment. 

Top Malware trends of 2013

With the recent increase in global security breaches, MSP mentor have revealed the top malware trends of 2013.  Trends for 2013 include; increased attacks on Google Chrome, malware that has the capability to invade virtual machines, and the introduction of native 64-bit Windows malware.  We believe organisations need to take a good look at what procedures are currently implemented and what they need to change.  

Mobility brings big changes to the market

The release of Microsoft’s latest device, the Surface Pro, is just around the corner.  As more and more users are taking advantage of mobility and connectivity on-the-go, we think the market is set to change.  Consumers now want to accomplish more with their tablet, performing the same tasks (including Word and Excel) that they could in the office. However, this doesn’t just refer to devices; applications play a large part too.  As users turn to alternative online communications tools, such as free messaging and email, SMS messaging has seen its first decline since mobile phones began.

 SME’s need to embrace the Cloud  

Gartner have recently suggested that Cloud Computing is set to be one of the biggest trends of 2013, and with a vast amount of SME’s yet to embrace the cloud, there is still great opportunity for growth.  The Cloud offers numerous benefits for SME’s, including cost effectiveness, operational efficiencies and scalability.  We believe that with clear education and a protected security procedure put in place, Cloud Computing can change not only large corporations but SME’s as well.

Amicus ITS – Our views on this week’s new

Apple’s profits – The Bigger Picture

Research firm, Statisa have announced Apple’s profits amount to more than Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, eBay and Yahoo combined.  Their $47.1 billion profits are primarily thanks to the popularity of their well-designed, fashionable, mobile devices and the growing impact on the work environment.  Whilst we love the iPad and the iPhone, can Apple maintain this lead by using their design and phenomenal budgets to drive consumers to the next big thing?

The end of XP

This week saw the start of the 500 day countdown for the end of XP support, giving Windows 8 a fighting chance in gaining significant sales figures.  Although Windows 8 has so far seen a slow start, we think Microsoft’s big gamble will pay off.  As mobility grows, organisations will look to the best solution to meet their OS needs and we think Windows 8 will come up trumps.

Windows Phone anyone?

Microsoft is placing all bets on the new Windows 8 ecosystem to push sales of its phone division.  The new device comes with a similar look and feel to its desktops, tablets, Xbox and phones, in the hope that users will enjoy the experience on one device and try another. We think this is a smart move for Microsoft and predict that by the end of 2014, we may see the market share spilt between Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Security breaches enhance corporation’s awareness

In recent months, hacking has increased.  Many big names are currently in the firing line; Google, Yahoo and Microsoft becoming the latest.  As industry leaders succumb to security breaches, the rest of the world becomes increasingly concerned as to how secure their IT infrastructure really is.  Organisations need to step up their game and will look to managed service providers for help.