I was one of the many that were upset when Microsoft dropped Pearson Vue in favor of Prometric for their IT certification exams. Now, Microsoft is dropping the contract with Prometric, and is renewing with Pearson Vue. This is excellent news for many, as the nearest Prometric test center for me was 4 hours away (similar to many others). Pearson Vue has more centers available. Now, I can say that I am going to finish my CCNA: Security and then move on to many more Microsoft exams (Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, etc..). A FAQ for details is available here (PDF).
The partnership officially ends on December 31, 2014, however on September 4, 2014,Pearson VUE will renew its authorization as an exam delivery provider. Microsoft certification exams will continue to be available through both exam delivery providers through December 31, 2014.
Microsoft has declared that it no longer has 90% of the market share. However, the 90% is still true for PC’s, but it does only have 14% in the total device market. This includes all devices with an OS – PC’s, laptops, phones, tablets… Kevin Turner of Microsoft has a good outlook on the situation. Basically, it comes down to “Challenge Accepted.”.
But the rise of computing on tablets and smartphones has turned the PC market into one slice of a much larger pie, and Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner this morning told the company’s partners that they have to look at the world differently. Even though Microsoft still has 90 percent of the PC market, he said, the important figure is 14 percent, taking into account the entire world of devices.
Take this with a grain of salt, but a leaked image of the new Windows 9 start menu has appeared on the web. A rough and dirty combination of the classic start menu alongside the Modern UI, all in a single menu.
The watermark present in the screenshots says that the new start menu is part of Windows Build 9788, which may be an early build of Windows 9. While the screenshot watermark is labeled as Windows 8.1, ExtremeTech noted that it’s not uncommon to see alpha builds of a new Windows operating system using current version numbers.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s has a way with words. The guy can really deliver some inspiration and motivation for the employees of Microsoft. He has delivered a large memo to the employees (and public to read) that really makes me love the “new” Microsoft.
The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation. I also said that in order to accelerate our innovation, we must rediscover our soul – our unique core. We must all understand and embrace what only Microsoft can contribute to the world and how we can once again change the world. I consider the job before us to be bolder and more ambitious than anything we have ever done.
Microsoft backtracked on the announcement and release of the Surface Mini (rumored, then somewhat ‘official’ with mentioning it in current Surface manuals). But, a new rumor is that Microsoft will again announce the smaller, iPad mini competitor running Windows RT.
Well-known gadget leaker @evleaks takes a break from posting marketing renders from time to time to share information about upcoming device launches, and he did just that on Monday. According to a post on his blog, Microsoft’s Surface mini is currently back in production ahead of a possible launch sometime this summer.
With all the shouting at Microsoft for taking away the Start Menu from desktop users, it seems that Microsoft has caved in. Starting with Windows Threshold, possibly to be named Windows 9, they are going to be making changes to satisfy the desktop users. Those that typically use a mouse and keyboard versus a touch screen device. This should appease many users, including the many enterprises holding out on Windows 8 due to the huge UI changes.
The Desktop/laptop SKU of Threshold will include, as previously rumored, the Mini-Start menu — a new version of the traditional Microsoft Start menu, an early concept of which Microsoft showed off at the company’s Build developers conference in April. It also will include the ability to run Metro-Style/Windows Store apps in windows on the Desktop. Will it turn off completely the Metro-Style Start screen with its live-tile interface, as Neowin is reporting, and make the tiled Start screen a toggleable option from the Mini Start menu? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
For those nearby, there are some new Microsoft Store’s opening. As part of their opening ceremonies, they are offering Dell Venue 8 Pro for $129, while supplies last (which usually isn’t long). Stores are opening in Lynnwood, WA; Seattle, WA; Staten Island, NY; and Towson, MD. Stores are set to open on Saturday, June 28th.
Microsoft is looking to invest in some home automation technology. Home automation is a hobby of mine, and I’d love to see Microsoft get more into it (without the BSOD when opening my Windows…). With programmable and learning thermostats like Nest becoming more common, as well as home security, lawn irrigation, door locks and others automated functions, it is about time a big player comes into the game.
Today, that strategy is taking a turn towards Microsoft’s home market, down the corporate route and stopping at the Internet of Things: Microsoft is launching a new accelerator in Seattle in partnership with American Family Insurance focusing on the home automation market. Applications are open from now until July 28, and the accelerator will run August through December.
Finally on the new server, so I can actually post news and articles again!
For those on Windows 8, make sure to keep your system updated, and update to Windows 8.1 Update 1. Microsoft has made the decision to make Update 1 required in order to obtain new Internet Explorer 11 security updates.
When Microsoft released the Windows 8.1 Update, IT feathers were ruffled by Microsoft’s decision to make it a compulsory update: without it, Windows 8.1 systems would no longer receive security fixes. As spotted by Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer, Microsoft is applying the same rules, at least in part, to Windows 7.
Following rumors and speculation that Microsoft would spin off or sell their XBox division, Satya Nadella has squashed those rumors. The XBox isn’t going anywhere, and it staying with Microsoft management. Also, Skype is testing a on the fly translator for Skype, allowing people that speak different languages to communicate effectively.
"I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today," Nadella told interviewers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg.