Windows 8 to Windows 10
Microsoft announced the successor to Windows 8 this week – Windows 10. Given Microsoft previously followed up the Xbox 360 with the XBox One, perhaps the oddly numbered product launch shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Neither should Microsoft’s attempt to win back the enterprise customers it once alienated with Windows 8, by creating a hybrid Windows 10 mixing the most missed elements of Windows 7 with the modern upgrades of Windows 8.
Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating system group, addressed the confusion by saying “Windows 10 will be our most comprehensive platform ever. It wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9.” Perhaps the exclusion symbolizes something of a complete fresh start for the tech giant. Other reports suggest it could be more to do with old programming code, where it would be hard to distinguish between Windows 9 and the old Windows 95 and 98 systems.
Sometimes a fresh start requires a reversion back to what once worked – hence, Microsoft has re-introduced the Start Menu that features a conventional list of tasks and programs. Animated and customizable tiles still exist for those who feel inclined to use them, but the overall feel of the new operating system is aimed at bringing back a sense of comfort and familiarity to loyal Windows users.
According to research firm NetMarketshare, only 13.4% of current desktop PCs run Windows 8. In stark contrast, 51.2% are powered by Windows 7 and 23.9% by the even older Windows XP, showing that the majority of enterprises did not make the abrupt jump into modernity envisaged by Microsoft’s Windows 8.
Perhaps the most standout feature of Windows 10, assuming there are no problems with execution, is the concept of One Windows. The new operating software will unify PC desktops, Windows phones, and Windows tablets with one user interface and one account. For example, Windows will aim to create universal apps that can be used and synced between all devices running that Windows software.
David Johnson, a Forrester consultant who watches Microsoft, claimed in a note that only one in five enterprises are offering Windows 8 to employees right now. Microsoft’s profits are almost two-thirds comprised from sales to enterprises, and the company will hope that Windows 10 can regain a foothold in the business world. However, the OS won’t be available to users until after Microsoft’s April 2015 Build developer conference, while businesses likely won’t fully adopt the system until the end of 2015.
JP Morgan breached
JP Morgan, America’s largest bank, revealed on Thursday that it had been subjected to a cyberattack that could affect 76 million private customers and 7 million businesses. The news was reported through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“User contact information — name, address, phone number and email address — and internal JPMorgan Chase information relating to such users have been compromised,” the SEC filing stated. However, the danger could have been worse; JP Morgan confidently believes that no information regarding account and social security numbers was affected and that customers do not need to take protective measures at this time.
While the situation seems contained and exposed, previous reports shed an ominous light on the breach. In August, Bloomberg reported a potential Russian cyber invasion on JPMorgan, while the New York Times reported at one point that checking and savings account information had been breached. Whether such reports are credible or not, the uncertainty surrounding cyber attacks will concern many consumers. The news comes on the back of breaches earlier in the year at retail giants Target and Home Depot, the nude celebrity photo hacking scandal, and the viral Bash Bug that could be exploited to breach operating systems everywhere.
In an effort to keep customers calm, the company said “The Firm continues to vigilantly monitor the situation and is continuing to investigate the matter.” Still, the lingering cyber vulnerability shown by some of the world’s most notable names, whether in finance, retail, or other sectors, is cause for significant alarm.
Angry Birds, unemployed people
Whether it is during downtime, a long commute to work, or just out of sheer boredom, millions of people have picked up their smartphone and slingshotted round, animated, exploding birds into piles of wood and pigs to try to win points. It sounds slightly barbaric, but it is the foundation for Rovio Entertainment’s continued success over the past four years.
Rovio, a mobile game developer based in Finland, created the Angry Birds phenomenon in 2009 and has since ridden the game’s wave of success, peaking at 263 million active users at the end of 2012 and eventually reaching the one billion download mark.
However, Rovio announced this week that it would skin its workforce by 16%, making 130 people out of a job. The decision is a move towards simplicity, according to Rovio’s CEO Mikael Hed.
In a blogpost, Hed said Rovio had been “building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialized.” In other words, the Angry Birds fad is slowing down despite the company’s attempts to extract maximum value from the brand (a TV series, stuffed angry bird toys, an educational platform, a cookbook, and even a motion picture set to be released in 2016) and without another viral game to take its place, Rovio is being forced to downsize.
This is not the first example of the fickle nature of mobile gaming. Developer Zynga laid off 250 workers last year after the success of its most notable games, Farmville and Draw Something, faded. King.com, creator of the global hit Candy Crush Saga, saw a slip in profit and revenue that coincided directly with a fall in the games popularity in the app store. King.com recently went public, and now hovers at $12 price, nearly half of the IPO pricing.
Creating the next blockbuster game is ridiculously lucrative, but Rovio’s CMO Peter Vesterbacka admits that it is “very tough to produce consistent hits.”
With game developers like Kabam and Supercell now in the mix, the latter’s flagship game being Clash of Clans, the creators of Angry Birds need to find the next new thing, pronto, or else fade from relevancy in the mobile gaming sector.
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