Shipments of devices ran by Apple’s and Microsoft’s operating systems will end 2016 down from the year before. But Apple’s will recover next year, while Microsoft’s will continue with growth challenges, research firm Gartner said this week.
In 2017, Apple’s combination of iOS and macOS — the former powering iPhones, the latter Macs — will have taken second place from Windows on the devices shipped during the year. The gap between the two will widen slightly in 2018.
According to Gartner, which provided Computerworld with its forecast broken out by operating system, Windows will power about 260 million devices shipped in 2016, a 12% decline year-over-year. The 260 million represents 11.2% of the total of 2.3 billion total devices, which overwhelmingly run Google’s Android.
Gartner has progressively downsized its estimates of total devices shipped and Windows’ portion of those shipments, throughout 2015 and 2016. In March 2016, for example, the research firm projected that more than 2.4 billion devices would ship this year, and that Windows would power 283 million, or 11.7% of the total.
Microsoft’s shrinking share of the operating system market has been both ongoing and well documented. This year, however, Windows took a new hit as Microsoft quit the battle with Apple and Google when it walked away from the smartphone business.
But Windows now has company: Gartner also downgraded its 2016 forecast for Apple’s operating systems.
In 2016, iOS and macOS will account for 259 million of the year’s shipped devices, or 11.1% of the total. The 259 million represents a 7% decline from 2015’s 276 million, and is down 14% from the March 2016 forecast. The cause: Soft sales of the iPhone, Apple’s dominant device, by far.
iOS and macOS, however, will recover in 2017, Gartner predicted, climbing 9% to 280 million — admittedly only a few million more than during 2015 — and adding 3% in 2018 to reach 290 million.
Under the latest Gartner forecast, Windows should drop another 3%, to 253 million, in 2017, then claw back a half a percentage point to 254 million in 2018.
Overall, Gartner’s latest forecast was gloomier for almost every device category than earlier estimates.
Software king of the world Microsoft will not support the upcoming Intel Cannonlake and Coffeelake CPU architectures in its current Long-Term Servicing Branch version of Windows 10.
Vole has said that users who want support for the next generation Intel CPUs will require a regular ‘current branch’ Windows 10 version.
The next update of Windows 10 LTSB will appear in 2019, but before that happens Intel will release two new CPU architectures.
The LTSB version of Windows 10 is designed for long term support of hardware and software. It receives security updates but doesn’t get any new features, including no support for newer hardware.
Michael Niehaus, Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft, told Heise.de the company is aware of the problem but, “officially every new CPU and chipset requires a new version of Windows, which is the same for LTSB versions.”
“In the past you only needed new drivers to support new CPUs and chipsets, however nowadays chipsets need specific setting in the operating system to work with reasonable performance and battery life.”
This means that users of the current LTSB build 1607 can’t use any of the new CPUs and Intel Cannonlake and Coffeelake architectures will only be supported by ‘current branch’ Windows 10 versions, such as installed on most computers.
Normally new LTSB versions are released every two or three years, however Microsoft also released an update for together with the Anniversary Update. The first LTSB version saw the light in 2015 together with the RTM version of Windows 10.
The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that the maker of the Thinkpad, Lenovo, is about to swallow up Fujitsu.
Nikkei Asian Review claims Lenovo is in talks with Fujitsu to acquire its PC division, which would make the largest computer maker worldwide even bigger.
The two companies aim to reach a deal this month. One proposal would have the Fujitsu group transfer its PC design, development and manufacturing operations to a Lenovo-led joint venture. Another option involves Lenovo taking a majority stake in Fujitsu’s PC subsidiary. About 2,000 Fujitsu employees likely would shelter under Lenovo’s umbrella.
Japan-based Fujitsu shipped four million PCs worldwide in its last fiscal year, but that division of the company also lost $96.5 million during that time period as well. A proposal to merge Fujitsu’s PC business with Vaio and Toshiba’s computer division fell apart earlier this year.
The company reset the Windows 10 uptake status on the same day it kicked off the 2016 edition of its Ignite conference in Atlanta.
Microsoft’s last Windows 10 update was at the end of June, a month before it halted the free upgrade for consumers and small businesses running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Then Microsoft pegged the number of “active devices” — a metric of those machines that ran the OS at least once in the past four weeks — at 350 million.
The increase of 50 million over more than 12 weeks — or about 17 million every four weeks — was lower than during the free upgrade offer period. For example, in the eight weeks from May 5 to June 29, Microsoft claimed 50 million active users were added to the Windows 10 rolls, or 25 million every four weeks.
Other measurements of Windows 10 have agreed with Microsoft’s assessment: Windows 10’s growth has slowed in the last month and more.
But Microsoft’s claim was in the same ballpark as Computerworld‘s latest calculation, which was based on Net Applications’ measurement of Windows 10’s user share and Microsoft’s oft-cited contention that 1.5 billion machines run Windows. At the end of last month, Computerworld‘s estimate of in-place Windows 10 stood at 380 million systems.
Microsoft has pledged to continue updating its Windows 10 “devices served” number, even though it back-pedaled two months ago from its previous 1-billion-by-mid-2018 goal. The timetable, the company said then, was unrealistic after it bailed out of virtually all the smartphone hardware market.
Figures just in for August show that there has been a spike in the sales of notebooks.
Beancounters at Digitimes research have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that the top-5 notebook vendors and top-3 notebook ODMs saw their shipments rise 27 percent and 31 percent a month in August.
While it could mean that the notebook recession is over, the beancounters think that the spike is due to inventory preparation for the year-end holidays in Europe and North America, Windows 10’s annual upgrade, and mass shipments of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors.
The winner on the notebook front is HP which released some new products in August that successfully widened the vendor’s shipment gap by nearly 700,000 units. The number two was Lenovo. HP stayed firmly as the largest notebook vendor in the month. Dell turned its focus to the consumer sector in August, but its shipments only grew a single-digit percentage on month.
Digitimes Research said that Asustek Computer and Acer both saw boosts of 10 percent on-month growths in August.
With HP’s significant shipment growth in August, the top three ODMs, which are all suppliers of HP, together achieved higher on-month growth than the top five vendors combined, while ODM’s combined on-year shipment growth turned positive for the first time in the past 16 months.
Quanta benefited from HP’s orders the most in the month, growing nearly 40 per cent from July.
Microsoft filed suit against a Wisconsin man for allegedly selling stolen Windows and Office activation codes, claiming in court documents that he is a repeat pirate who still owes the company $1.2 million from an earlier judgment.
In a complaint filed Sept. 8, Microsoft accused Anthony Boldin, of Brookfield, Wisc., of selling software activation codes to company investigators from four different websites he maintained. Two of those websites are now shuttered — only a message stating that the sites are no longer selling software remained Monday — but two others continued to operate.
The 25-character activation codes are a core component of Microsoft’s anti-piracy technology. Although the software can be copied an unlimited number of times, the keys individually lock a license to a device or a specific user. Minus a legitimate key — and thus, activation — Microsoft’s software retreats to a hobbled or even crippled mode.
Although Microsoft did not name the sources for the keys it said Boldin sold illegally, the firm pointed a finger at China. “Over the past several years, criminals in China and elsewhere have created a global black market for decoupled product activation keys that have been stolen from Microsoft’s supply chain,” the complaint stated. “The decoupled product activation keys end up in the hands of downstream distributors, such as Defendants, who then pass off the stolen keys to the general public as licensed software.”
According to that complaint, and other documents Microsoft lawyers submitted to a Wisconsin federal court, company investigators bought activation keys to licenses of Windows 8.1 and several versions of Office, some at significantly reduced prices, from Boldin’s websites. All the keys were illegitimate: Two were issued for use with academic programs in China, one was for Microsoft’s internal use, and four keys were stolen “tokens” assigned to an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for pre-loading software on a new device.
Microsoft also said that Boldin was well known to the company’s legal team.
“Microsoft sued Boldin in this Court on two prior occasions for violating its intellectual property rights (in March 2000 and again in December 2006),” the complaint read. “Notably, this Court entered two separate orders permanently enjoining Boldin from any infringing use or distribution of Microsoft software.”
Not only did Boldin continue to sell stolen or misappropriated activation keys, Microsoft alleged, but a $1.2 million judgment levied in the second case has gone unpaid.
Microsoft asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Boldin from illegally selling Microsoft software, and to expedite discovery so that the company may determine whether there are others in cahoots with Boldin and locate his financial accounts.
The chip maker has raised its revenue guidance for the third quarter to $15.6 billion, plus or minus $300 million, an improvement from $14.9 million, plus or minus $500 million.
That’s due to PC makers replenishing laptop and desktop inventory, which means Intel is shipping out more chips. It’s likely in anticipation of the holiday season, when PC shipments rocket.
“The company is also seeing some signs of improving PC demand,” Intel said in a statement.
In the second quarter of the year, PC makers slowed down chip orders and were clearing out existing stock of laptops and desktops. PC shipments declined by 4.5 percent during that period, according to IDC.
Shipments of gaming PCs, 2-in-1s and Chromebooks are driving PC shipments. Microsoft’s free upgrade offer to Windows 10 has also ended, which means users are more likely to buy new PCs to get Windows 10.
Meanwhile, new laptops with Intel’s Kaby Lake chips are now available. All the top PC makers have announced new 2-in-1s and laptops with Intel’s new chips. New Kaby Lake chips for gaming PCs will be announced in January.
Intel also has started shipping Pentium and Celeron chips, both aimed at low-cost laptops, based on the same architecture and code-named Apollo Lake. Many Chromebooks are based on Apollo Lake chips.
It’s a move powered by Project Centennial, which lets developers take older Windows apps (known in Microsoft parlance as Win32 apps), port them to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and then sell them on the Windows Store.
Making it easier for developers to port those apps to the Windows Store may help grow the catalog of apps available to users at a time when Microsoft is pushing the store as a new and better way to get software for Windows 10 devices. Several companies have Centennial-powered apps rolling out over the next few days, including Evernote, which ported its Windows desktop app to the store.
“We’re excited to bring our full-featured Evernote app to the Windows Store,” Seth Hitchings, Evernote’s vice president of engineering, said in a press release. “The Desktop Bridge vastly simplifies our installer and uninstaller.”
Evernote previously had a Windows Store app, but it didn’t have all of the features of its Win32 desktop app.
Project Centennial was first announced at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in San Francisco earlier this year. At that time, Microsoft executives said that there were 16 million Win32 apps out on the market, so this launch marks a major expansion of what the Universal Windows Platform can do.
To help with that, Microsoft is making its Desktop App Converter available to developers in the Windows Store, so it’s easy for them to stay up to date with changes to Project Centennial.
On top of that news, Microsoft is also working with the companies behind InstallShield, WiX and Advanced Installer to help build in UWP conversion with Project Centennial into their usual development workflow for building Win32 apps. In addition to building an MSI installer for older versions of Windows, those tools will also help developers build a UWP app that can be pushed to the Store.
AMD has been on the blower to point out that figures from Mercury and Jon Peddie Research, show that it has been growing market share for the fourth consecutive quarter.
A spokesman for AMD said that for the last nine months, AMD has got its mojo back through its Radeon Technologies Group. During that time, the company has made significant investments in hardware, marketing, and software for the graphics line-up leading to four straight quarters of market share growth.
Mercury Research said that AMD gained three points of unit volume share in Q1 2016. The Mercury Research and Jon Peddie Research market share data for Q2 2016 shows AMD seeing its fourth consecutive quarter of desktop discrete GPU share growth, driven by AMD’s strongest quarter of channel GPU sales since 2015 and the commencement of shipping of the next generation Polaris GPUs.
In total discrete graphics, AMD gained 4.8 share points to 34.2 per cent of market by unit volume (based on Mercury Research). In desktop discrete sector, AMD saw a 7.3 share point increase, rising to 29.9 per cent market share.
“This is another positive testament AMD’s strategy is working as the company drives forward towards “Vega” offerings for the enthusiast GPU market, which AMD expects to bring to market in 2017 to complement our current generation of “Polaris” products,” the spokesperson said.
“AMD believes it is well positioned to continue this trend in market share gains with the recently launched Radeon RX 480, 470, and 460 GPUs that bring leadership performance and features to the nearly 85 per cent of enthusiasts who buy a GPU priced between $100 and $300,” she added.
The chipmaker previewed its virtual and augmented reality plans last month with Project Alloy, a Microsoft HoloLens-type headset that can mix images from real and virtual worlds. Project Alloy will be available for PC makers to replicate, but Intel may also see a market for mixed reality headset chips.
Project Alloy is a prototype headset running on Microsoft’s Windows Holographic platform, and it could support other VR and AR platforms in the future.
The Alloy design and specifications will be open-sourced early next year. PC makers have expressed interest in making headsets based on the design.
Just like it has done with PCs, Intel is trying to provide guidance to device makers on how to design headsets, integrate hardware, and resolve camera issues, as well as provide ideas on production and productizing, said Venkata Renduchintala, president of the client and internet of things businesses and the Systems Architecture Group at Intel.
Mixed reality can generate a new class of VR/AR products and will probably generate “a custom piece of silicon built on the PC platform to exemplify and amplify the use case,” said Renduchintala, nicknamed Murthy.
The Project Alloy headset has a Skylake laptop chip, but as of now, the company has no dedicated chip for headsets that are also self-contained computers. Intel recently announced new 7th Generation Core PC chips code-named Kaby Lake but has no specific chip for all-in-one headset computers in that lineup.
VR is already catching on quickly, with products like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — which need to be wired to PC with high-end GPUs — getting a lot of attention.
Spurred by HoloLens, there are efforts to develop untethered PC-style VR and AR headsets, but the makers need to address problems related to wireless connectivity and battery life. Mobile VR — in which smartphones are placed in headsets — is taking off with products like Samsung’s GearVR.
Analyst firms are projecting headset shipments to grow, and it makes sense for Intel to have VR-specific chips. IDC is projecting VR/AR headset shipments to reach 9.6 million units this year, and 110 million units by 2020.
Intel is backing more PC-style mixed reality experiences over mobile VR. Project Alloy provides a powerful mixed reality experience, and that’s the kind of market Intel wants to develop, Renduchintala said.
Intel has sold the Intel Security business for $3.5bn less than it paid for it six years ago.
Intel Security, previously and better known as McAfee, has been sold to private equity firm TPG for $4.2bn, despite Intel paying $7.7bn for it in 2010.
The chip firm will receive $3.1bn in cash as part of the transaction and retain a 49 per cent minority stake. TPG will take control with a 51 per cent stake, and will invest $1.1bn in the company.
Intel Security is based on the McAfee business and was renamed two years ago. The company will revert to the better known McAfee brand, despite John McAfee reportedly suing Intel over the use of his name.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, and Chris Young, general manager of Intel Security Group, will become CEO of McAfee.
Young described TPG in an open letter to stakeholders as a “seasoned technology investor” that was “attracted to our current momentum and long-term potential”.
He claimed that McAfee currently protects “more than a quarter of a billion endpoints” and more than 200 million consumers, and is present in two thirds of the world’s 2,000 largest companies.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich claimed that, despite the sale, security “remains important in everything we do at Intel”.
“We will continue to integrate industry-leading security and privacy capabilities in our products from the cloud to billions of smart, connected computing devices,” he added.
Bryan Taylor, a partner at TPG, said that the company had “long identified the cyber security sector, which has experienced strong growth due to the increasing volume and severity of cyber attacks, as one of the most important areas in technology”.
Intel’s acquisition of McAfee Security in 2010 was intended to enable the company to beef up security around PCs and sell McAfee antivirus and other security software around its core business.
However, the combination never worked as the money to be made in the security business became increasingly focused on the data center and cloud computing.
I can’t remember how many times in the last 20 years that I’ve written up rumors that AMD is ripe for a takeover but now it seems it’s time to do it one more time.
This time the speculation is from the guys at Seeking Alpha – in a note to clients it suggests that it’s the magic X86 licences that could be the lure for a company with the financial muscle to make it go somewhere.
There aren’t that many of those around but the rumor mill mentions Qualcomm, Broadcom and Oracle as possible candidates.
There is, of course, the slight matter that Intel would no doubt spin up a legal challenge because it knows where it is with the AMD X86 licenses but might find itself losing that just like it lost it after AMD’s sale of its factories to GloFo.
Even more spectacularly, Seeking Alpha thinks that Intel could take over AMD but we can’t see that one being a goer.
Seeking Alpha doesn’t stop at Qualcomm, Broadcom, Oracle and Intel. It claims Microsoft, Samsung and even TSMC.
Heck, is it really going to happen? We’ve heard the rumors so many times before that perhaps it’s just that time of year.
The United States Air Force has decided to upgrade all of its systems to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system by 31 January 2018 a year after the Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to complete it upgrade.
This is not just sticking the new OS on existing PCs but means replacing hardware. This means buying replacement mobile computers with Windows 10 preloaded, while remaining users will have their existing computers upgraded to the new operating system.
In addition to the basic Windows 10 upgrade, all DOD components will incorporate the Windows 10 “Secure Host Baseline” which includes additional preconfigured secure applications for extra security.
An official statement said that the standard desktop configuration provides a single standard, enterprise-wide managed environment across the Air Force Network. New security features in Windows 10 will allow the Air Force and DOD to install software patches faster and counter a major cyber-intrusion technique called ‘pass the hash.”
“Using this technique, attackers may access remote servers by using a stored hash, or a one-way transformation, of a user’s password rather than the standard plain text password. The new operating system also will increase accountability and transparency across DOD networks, allowing cyber defenders to better detect malicious activity.”
Apaprently the reason the Airforce is keen is because of Windows 10’s improved security. How the AIr Force will cope with all the forced upgrades and phoning home that the system does for ordinarly people is not clear.
However Microsoft’s director of program management at Windows enterprise and security, Rob Lefferts, said that Windows 10’s hardware based isolation with Virtualization Based Security (VBS) was one of the more compelling parts of the added security.
“With Windows 10, this secure execution environment powered some of our most impactful security features, including Virtual TPM, Device Guard and Credential Guard. Credential Guard has proven so impactful that customers have told us that it’s their top-priority security feature and a benefit that is so compelling that it justifies the Windows 10 deployment all by itself.”
Buried in the announcement of the new Kaby Lake (seventh-generation) processors and a rash of incoming notebooks set to use them is the confirmation that it will have a Windows 10 future.
To be fair, Microsoft has been warning people for ages that Kaby Lake will not run on anything older than Windows 10, but Vole is also warning punters that AMD’s incoming Zen chip will be going the same way.
Microsoft said that as new silicon generations are introduced, they need the latest Windows platform for support. This will allow Microsoft to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon.
What is interesting, however, is that Microsoft has secured some agreement with all the main chip makers to follow this line.
AMD said its CPU roadmap was “fully aligned with Microsoft’s software strategy”, and Intel clarified: “No, Intel will not be updating Win 7/8 drivers for 7th Gen Intel Core [Kaby Lake] per Microsoft’s support policy change.”
So the days of you using Windows 7 or 8 and being able to run a cutting edge PC are over. It looks like Vole has made great diplomatic efforts to avoid a reprise of the Windows XP debacle.
Kingston Digital, which is the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company has announced a new range of memory products for data centers.
Dubbed the Data Center 400 (DC400) SSD it is the latest drive is pitched at the entry-level for server use in data centers which use a rip-and-replace strategy. Kingston says that the drive is designed for read-intensive applications such as boot, web servers and lower data rate operational databases and analytics.
Tony Hollingsbee, SSD business manager EMEA Kingston, claimed the DC400 SSD offered superior quality of service for data centre customers whose workload environment calls for sustained IOPS and consistent low latency.
The SSD uses an expanded on-board DRAM acceleration cache enables high, sustained IOPS to increase performance over a wide range of read/write workloads. It also features standard as well as user-adjustable over-provisioning improves random IOPS performance and endurance. Its enterprise firmware improves latency and delivers consistently low data access times under steady-state workloads. Additionally, DC400 SSD features enterprise-class reliability with end-to-end data path protection and firmware-implemented power-loss protection (“pFAIL”).
“DC400 SSD’s combination of high IOPS, low latency and advanced data protection gives server IT managers and decision makers the perfect front-loading server storage option that they can deploy with confidence,” Hollingsbee said.
DC400 SSD is available in 400GB, 480GB, 800GB and 960GB capacities2. The 400GB and 800GB capacities are performance optimized with greater IOPs for faster application performance and reduced storage latency. No mention of price yet.