Comments made by a Cortana product manager suggest Microsoft is working on a version of the voice assistant for Windows 8 laptops and tablets.
When Microsoft(s msft) announced the Surface Pro 3 on Tuesday, a lot of people were surprised it didn’t announce a Windows RT-based “Surface Mini,” as had been rumored for weeks before the event. Microsoft did in fact have a Surface Mini in development but pulled it recently because CEO Satya Nadella and Executive VP Stephen Elop thought it “wouldn’t be a hit,” according to a report from Bloomberg. Nadella and Elop’s reported concerns echo what my colleague Kevin Tofel said last month when he reviewed the Dell Venue 8, a full Windows 8 tablet at the same likely size and price range as the unreleased Mini.
Another wrinkle arises in Microsoft’s already complicated relationship with China: The government has reportedly banned the use of Windows 8 by its employees.
Microsoft(s msft) will continue to allow PC manufacturers to make and sell Windows 7 business machines beyond the original 31 October cut-off date. The change of plan, spotted by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, suggests Microsoft hasn’t seen sufficient enthusiasm from the business sector for its Windows 8 operating system (although a Microsoft exec denied this interpretation, telling Foley the company just wants to continue catering to businesses that are still deploying Windows 7). However, it should still be impossible to find a new Windows 7 consumer PC soon after the end of October.
Office for iPad is still nowhere to be seen and recent comments from Microsoft’s marketing chief make it sound like that’s not going to change. ZDNet says otherwise and expects Office for iPad in the first half of this year.
With a new CEO will Microsoft become a bigger mobile player? Based Satya Nadella’s first memo to employees, it looks like he’ll bring new ideas, saying the company needs to rethink how things are done in the mobile space.
A leaked, early build of Update 1 for Windows 8.1 appeared online over the weekend and it shows a merger between the Desktop and tiled interfaces of Microsoft’s platform. Mouse and trackpad users should be happy with these changes.
Look for a Windows 8.1 update just one month before Microsoft’s Build event in April says Mary Jo Foley. Update 1 is expected to have changes under the hood and not materially affect the Start button or have other visual changes.
More trouble in paradise? HP continues its love-hate affair with Microsoft, promoting sale of discounted PCs running a four-year-old version of Windows.
More screen shots of the Nokia Normandy software on Android appeared online convincing me even further that Nokia’s Asha line will be based on Android, not S40, as early as Microsoft’s April BUILD conference.