Microsoft Archive

Satya Nadella teases Microsoft 365 subscription for consumers

Microsoft first unveiled its Microsoft 365 bundle of Windows 10 and Office for businesses and schools back in 2017. While a bundle of buying Office and Windows licenses makes sense for commercial customers, Microsoft is also looking to launch a similar bundle for consumers. Speaking to journalists at a media event earlier this week, attended by The Verge, CEO Satya Nadella gave some hints that Microsoft 365 will appear for consumers. I already have an Office 365 subscription, and the idea of adding Windows to that certainly seems appealing to me. It’s easy, straightforward, and doesn’t require any periodic large purchases either.

A dive into the world of MS-DOS viruses

But sometimes life using DOS was not so great, sometimes you would be using DOS and all of a sudden things like this would happen. This sample also plays a small tune on the PC speaker while it’s printing, so this could be really embarrassing in a office environment. Those bootsector viruses were incredibly resilient – your computer would be just fine, until you put in an older floppy that apparently still had a virus on it. Good times.

Microsoft announces switch to Chromium for Edge

It's official.

For the past few years, Microsoft has meaningfully increased participation in the open source software (OSS) community, becoming one of the world's largest supporters of OSS projects. Today we're announcing that we intend to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

As part of this, we intend to become a significant contributor to the Chromium project, in a way that can make not just Microsoft Edge - but other browsers as well - better on both PCs and other devices. The new Edge

Microsoft also has plans to bring Edge to other platforms, such as macOS. In addition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the new Edge will not be a UWP application - it will be a Win32 application that will also be available to Windows 7 and 8 users.

Visual Studio 2019 preview released

Today, in the Microsoft Connect(); 2018 keynote, Scott Guthrie announced the availability of Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1. This is the first preview of the next major version of Visual Studio. In this Preview, we've focused on a few key areas, such as making it faster to open and work with projects stored in git repositories, improving IntelliSense with Artificial Intelligence (AI) (a feature we call Visual Studio IntelliCode), and making it easier to collaborate with your teammates by integrating Live Share. With each preview, we'll be adding capabilities, improving performance, and refining the user experience, and we absolutely want your feedback.

It seems like we have a lot of developer-oriented news today. As I've repeatedly said, I'm not a programmer in any way, shape, or form, so I tend to stick to just shutting up entirely (and there was much rejoicing). Luckily, knowledgeable folk usually step up in the comments.

Announcing open source of WPF, Windows Forms, and WinUI

At Build 2018, I outlined our approach to helping you be more productive when developing apps, including the introduction of .NET Core 3.0. We also started decoupling many parts of the Windows development platform, so you can adopt technologies incrementally. Today at Microsoft Connect(); 2018 Conference we shared the next steps - specifically to support innovations in UI:

  1. .NET Core 3.0 Preview 1 adds support for building client apps using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and XAML Islands.
  2. WPF, Windows Forms, and Windows UI XAML Library (WinUI) are now open source, so you can create experiences with the freedom you want.

Surface ‘Centaurus’ is another dual-screen Microsoft PC

Microsoft is working closely with Intel on a new dual-screen Surface device powered by Windows Core OS that's similar to Intel's Copper Harbor prototype that was revealed earlier this year. Codenamed "Centaurus", this device is akin to Microsoft's canceled Courier project, which saw the company conceptualize the idea of a digital journal in 2010. Centaurus marks the second dual-screen device we believe Microsoft is currently working on internally, the first of which is codenamed "Andromeda."

Next year could be the year of dual-screen or even bendable screen devices. Microsoft has been exploring this for years now.

Microsoft joins Open Invention Network

I'm pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the Open Invention Network ("OIN"), a community dedicated to protecting Linux and other open source software programs from patent risk.

We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents. For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs.

Chalk this one up to the "good news, no ifs and buts about it" section.

Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows

The Android app mirroring will be part of Microsoft's new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This app debuts this week as part of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, but the app mirroring part won't likely appear until next year. Microsoft briefly demonstrated how it will work, though; you'll be able to simply mirror your phone screen straight onto Windows 10 through the Your Phone app, which will have a list of your Android apps. You can tap to access them and have them appear in the remote session of your phone.

We've seen a variety of ways of bringing Android apps to Windows in recent years, including Bluestacks and even Dell's Mobile Connect software. This app mirroring is certainly easier to do with Android, as it's less restricted than iOS. Still, Microsoft's welcoming embrace of Android in Windows 10 with this app mirroring is just the latest in a number of steps the company has taken recently to really help align Android as the mobile equivalent of Windows.

Microsoft has its own Android application launcher, e-mail client (Outlook on both Android and iOS is actually quite good), browser (Edge is available on Android), Cortana, this application mirroring, and other things.

At this point, one has to wonder why Microsoft simply doesn't just release an Android phone altogether. Imagine a Surface phone, with a similar industrial design, but running Android with Microsoft's applications on top. I have no idea if such a product would be popular with consumers, and I personally would still really actually want Windows Phone to come back from the dead and magically become successful, but I'd definitely be intrigued by such a Microsoft Android phone.

Re-open-sourcing MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0

In March 2014, Microsoft released the source code to MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0 via the Computer History Museum. The announcement also contains a brief history of how MS-DOS came to be for those new to the subject, and ends with many links to related articles and resources for those interested in learning more.

Today, we're re-open-sourcing MS-DOS on GitHub. Why? Because it's much easier to find, read, and refer to MS-DOS source files if they're in a GitHub repo than in the original downloadable compressed archive file.

Good move.

Microsoft puts its mobile Office apps for Windows 10 on hold

Microsoft first started work on its touch-friendly Office apps for Windows 8.1 more than five years ago. Designed for tablets or laptops with touchscreens, the apps are lightweight and speedy versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft has updated them regularly for Windows 10, but now that the company has halted work on Windows 10 Mobile, it's also halting work on these Office apps.

The apps aren’t fully dead yet, but Microsoft is no longer developing new features for them. "We are currently prioritizing development for the iOS and Android versions of our apps; and on Windows, we are prioritizing Win32 and web versions of our apps," explains a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge.

Typical Microsoft. They develop this entirely new way of writing and building applications, they want everyone to switch to it, but then fail at the dogfooding stage because the Office team is incapable of moving beyond its slow and bloated existing codebase. They got farther than ever before this time - the UWP Office apps are quite full-featured and much faster and more pleasant to use than their traditional counterparts - but still never even got in sight of the finish line.

Microsoft Search will search across Office, Windows, more

Microsoft is unveiling an ambitious effort to overhaul its search experience in Office, Windows, Bing and more today. Dubbed Microsoft Search, the new search experience will first start appearing on Bing and Office.com today. Bing isn't going away, but Microsoft Search is the new name for a combination of Bing and the search results you might expect to find in Windows applications. It's designed to combine traditional search results with commands, app features, and personalized results. Search is being moved to a central area in Office apps, allowing Excel users to find commands and features in results alongside documents and other search results.

I've never been a fan of combining web and local search results on my operating system's search tool - the two are clearly separated in my mind and I regard them as two entirely different and distinct entities. I'm sure I'm revealing my age here, and that younger generations don't perceive this distinction at all, but I'm just hoping I can turn this off.

FrontPage 98: elegant and exquisite

How about a throwback to 1997?

I've used and tinkered with every HTML Editor out there and I can say without qualification or pause that Microsoft FrontPage 98 is the easiest and most powerful suite of Web Design and Management tools available today -- and the fact that it's presently only in a beta state must make the competition shiver -- for the bar of excellence has not just gently risen with the debut of FrontPage 98.

That bar of excellence has been crushed through to the uppermost level by FrontPage 98 and few website HTML programs have the means or inspiration to meet that new watermark of exquisite elegance in creating websites.

Microsoft FrontPage 98 proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Web Creation and Site Manipulation can, finally and without excuse or caveat, be friendly while providing hardcore functionality in the same brilliant stroke.

Those were the days.

Microsoft will require suppliers to offer paid parental leave

In a move that could prompt more companies to offer paid parental leave, Microsoft is announcing today that it will require all of its U.S.-based suppliers and vendors with more than 50 employees to offer such benefits.

Having your health and healthcare benefits tied to your employer is an incredibly stupid system - it keeps unhappy people tied to your company because they're too dependent to leave, and it raises healthcare costs for everybody else. No wonder the US healthcare system is a complete and utter disaster.

What the hell was The Microsoft Network?

I've got kinda sidetracked here waffling on about the history of dial-up BBS systems. What I really want to be concerned with is what made The Microsoft Network unique and interesting: the interface.

The big thing in Windows 95 was their new shell. They wanted everything to go through this. They had this vision of every object in the computer being represented as a shell object, so there would be a seamless intermix between files, documents, system components, you name it. They had this project called Cairo that was supposed to throw out that scruffy old file-based filesystem and bring in a shiny new Object Based File System instead. It never happened, so we'll never know exactly how it might have turned out. But the brave lads at MS didn't give up that easily and so the idea stayed on, admittedly without the tech to back it up, and the principles wormed their way into such glorious developments as The Microsoft Network.

And so The Microsoft Network wasn't a program you loaded like CompuServe. It was part of the OS, with folder icons that looked just like real folders. It was a kind of version of the Web where you could browse online data the same way you browsed your file system. This is what made it cool.

I vaguely remember something about this project - and of course, the whole concept of integrating literally everything into the Windows 95 shell did see some adoption here and there in the early days of Windows 95. Looking at it from today's perspective, I still kind of like it - Microsoft would try the concept again with Windows Phone 7, where services like Twitter and Facebook were supposed to be integrated into the operating system, without having to use crappy applications to access them.

That is still a good idea today.

Intel convinced Microsoft not to choose ARM for Surface Go

Microsoft launched its new Surface Go device earlier this month with an Intel Pentium Gold processor inside. It's been one of the main focus points for discussions around performance and mobility for this 10-inch Surface, and lots of people have wondered why Microsoft didn't opt for Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors and Windows on ARM. Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft wanted to use an ARM processor for the Surface Go, but that Intel intervened.

Intel reportedly "petitioned Microsoft heavily" to use its Pentium Gold processors instead of ARM ones. It's not clear why Microsoft didn't push ahead with its ARM plans for Surface Go, but in my own experience the latest Snapdragon chips simply don't have the performance and compatibility to match Intel on laptops just yet. Microsoft has been working hard to improve this though, despite Intel's threats it would sue competitors like Qualcomm if they attempt to emulate Intel's x86 instruction set architecture.

The chip world is in serious disarray - not only is ARM making inroads into traditional x86 strongholds, RISC-V is putting the thumb screws on ARM as well.

Microsoft’s vision: Hard- and software should conform to the user

Microsoft, Apple and Google are three of the world's most influential tech companies. Billions of people use personal computing platforms, tools, or devices they supply or inspire.

From cloud, AI, smartphones, PCs, apps and more they've created a multi-ecosystem personal computing world that supports an increasingly-interconnected, and overlapping range of computing scenarios.

Personal computing is no longer restricted to desks as a sedentary experience. Nor are users completely liberated from that setting and capable of existing fully in the mobile space. They regularly transition from desktop to mobile and across ecosystems and devices because no single platform and device moves seamlessly with them across contexts. Microsoft, through Windows 10 and Surface, has embraced a platform and hardware philosophy that drives devices that conform to users' contexts. Despite the smartphones success as mobile computing's focus, Microsoft's rivals may be missing an important industry shift.

Their platforms are not mutually exclusive, though - I use Google, Apple, and Microsoft platforms every single day. Take what suits you best from each of the platforms.

Microsoft kills Win32 Skype client in favour of UWP version

Coming over the summer, Microsoft is going to add integrated call recording (something that previously required third-party applications and a deprecated API), read receipts to show when a message recipient has read a message, and end-to-end encryption of text and audio chat using the Signal protocol.

Microsoft is also making Skype audio and video calls easier to integrate into streams such as those used on Mixer and Twitch. Support for the NDI API means that streaming applications such as Xsplit and OBS can use a Skype call as an audio/video source. That means they can be overlaid on games or other content, just as is already done with webcam input.

There is, however, a price to pay for this: the traditional Win32 Skype client is being end-of-lifed and will not be supported beyond the end of August this year. Users of the Win32 client will have to upgrade to Skype 8.0 (the desktop version of the new unified app) in order to be able to continue to use the network.

Another staple Win32 application bites the dust. Don't read anything into it though, since people still seem convinced Win32 has a future.

Microsoft really shouldn’t cancel Surface Andromeda

After a lot of news recently about Microsoft's rumoured Andromeda device, Mary Jo Foley poured cold water on my hope by publishing a story based on her usually well-informed Microsoft sources that Andromeda's future is hanging by a thread, that the software is far, far from ready, and that Andromeda could very well be cancelled. In response, Neowin's Rich Woods published a passionate plea for Microsoft to make Andromeda a reality.

Microsoft talks about innovating and exploring new device types and form factors a lot. It clearly doesn't want to miss out on the next big thing, in the same way that it missed out on phones and it's now missing out on smart speakers.

But the only way to do that is to actually experiment with new things. It's also important to iterate on these things until they actually work, taking feedback from customers and implementing it into a better product. Few new products are an immediate success, but they can be with some work.

Andromeda is one of these things. It's an exciting product, whether it's successful or not.

The Surface Book 2 is everything the MacBook Pro should be

I'm back to say I was wrong, and I've found a machine that not only matches Apple's standard of hardware quality, but goes far beyond it to demonstrate how a laptop of the future should work.

That machine is the 15-inch Surface Book 2 and somehow Microsoft has made the 2-in-1 that Apple should've been building all along, to the same level of quality I'd expect from anyone other than Microsoft.

I've used the Surface Book 2 as my daily computer for three months now and it's consistently blown me away with how well considered it is across the board, how great the software works and has completely converted me into the touchscreen laptop camp.

That's what happens when Apple ignores its Mac product line - people start looking at alternatives, only to realize that Apple's laptops weren't nearly as far ahead of the rest - if at all - as they once thought.