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Microsoft Windows hurt by PC sales slump. Image copyright Getty Images Microsoft's quarterly profit has missed analysts' estimates as a continued slump in personal computer sales hurt the company's core Windows business. The firm's net income fell to $3.76bn (£2.6bn) in the third quarter from $4.99bn a year earlier. Its shares were down more than 4% in after hours trading. Revenue in its cloud business, which includes Azure, rose 3.3% to $6.1bn, but operating profits at the division shrank 14%. "We would have liked to have seen 7% to 9% growth," said Dan Morgan, a portfolio manager at Synovus Trust, which holds Microsoft shares, said of cloud revenue. "We're trying to validate this story that Microsoft is truly becoming a cloud company, and they're not going to be relying on the desktop computer. " 'Gaining momentum' Revenue at the software giant fell to $20.53bn from $21.73bn, lower than the $22.09bn analysts had expected.

Cloud shift. Microsoft pulls plug after chat robot slings slurs, rips Obama and denies Holocaust. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warned us about this. Nobody was harmed — physically —by Microsoft’s MSFT, +0.44% foul-mouthed Twitter chat robot, of course, but what started out as a fun experiment in artificial intelligence turned ugly in a hurry. To some, that doesn’t bode well for the future of robot-human relations: Microsoft initially created “Tay” in an effort to improve the customer service on its voice recognition software. “She” was intended to tweet “like a teen girl” and marketed as having “zero chill.” Not so sure about the first part, but they definitely nailed the second part. Microsoft said Tay was designed to “engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation.” Like this? Those tweets don’t even begin to cover it.

In a statement cited by several news outlets, Microsoft explained what happened: The company also deleted some of the most offensive tweets. Microsoft releases Linux database software. Image copyright EPA Microsoft has produced a version of its database software that runs on the rival Linux operating system. The version of SQL Server software it has made for Linux will be released in mid-2017, it said in a blogpost. The creation of the software is a significant step for Microsoft which has traditionally focused on its core Windows operating system. It is one of several steps it has taken to open up its software to rivals under boss Satya Nadella. Microsoft's SQL Server is one of the company's core products and the Windows version is used by many customers to run and manage databases. Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, said the Linux version was currently being previewed and tested by customers but would be fully available by the middle of next year.

He said Renault's Formula 1 racing team was one of the first test customers for the code. Microsoft has about a 21% share of the database software market, suggest figures from analyst firm Gartner. Microsoft pledges ‘cloud computing for public good' Image copyright Getty Images Computing giant Microsoft has pledged to provide $1bn-worth (£700m) of cloud computing resources to organisations it deems to be working for the "public good".

The resources will be shared out over the next three years to about 70,000 non-profits and 900 university research projects. In simplest terms, cloud computing is the term given to storing data on the internet, rather than on a local computer. As well as making data more easily accessible, the added promise for non-profits is that the resources will provide vast amounts of computing power that would ordinarily be out of reach for all but the biggest businesses. The crunching of so-called "big data" is seen as a major opportunity for non-profits dealing in social issues that pose a cumbersome problem without the kind of processing power cloud computing can provide. Other companies, particularly Facebook, have pursued similar goals. However, initiatives such as this aren't always so well received.

Microsoft's biggest hits, misses and WTF moments of 2015. Windows 10. Surface Book. HoloLens. Office. Microsoft arguably delivered the biggest updates, changes, and surprises of any major tech company this year, most of them positive. While Microsoft deserves credit for the good, it can't escape the bad—and it ends the year with a few notable disappointments. Hit: Windows 10 Windows 10 was the do-or-die makeover for the company's flagship operating system, and in most ways, Microsoft delivered. Some of Windows 10's big changes are less welcome: its forced updates, for example, and its eagerness to watch your online activity so it can help you (or sell you) more. Miss: Microsoft Edge Blair Hanley Frank So far, it’s hard to see what Microsoft accomplished with the release of the new Edge browser. Hits: Surface Pro 4, Surface Book Microsoft has suddenly become a hotshot hardware company. Miss: Windows 10 Mobile OS and hardware Rob Schultz If only Windows 10 Mobile could borrow some of Windows 10's mojo.

Of course, there is that one standout feature… IDC sees 10% decline in Windows Phone, notes slackening smartphone growth. Growth in the global smartphone market is slowing, and will increase by just 9.8% this year -- the first time growth has slowed into the single digits, IDC said Thursday. Earlier IDC forecasts for 2015 had been higher, but a Windows Phone decline of 10.2% for the year will help drag down expected growth. That decline comes despite the launch of Windows 10 this past summer. The forecast of 9.8% growth rate is still healthy, but represents a big change from recent years; smartphone shipments grew by 27.5% in 2014.

IDC's updated forecast for 2015 is down from its 10.4% growth prediction in August, and the even higher forecast of 11.3% growth from last May. Slower growth in smartphones will intensify slightly for the next five years, IDC added. Shipment growth in China will actually reach the low single digits, IDC said. The Windows Phone fall-off means that for 2015, the OS will have just 2.2% market share, compared to 81% for Android and nearly 16% for Apple's iOS. Microsoft finally ties the knot with Red Hat for Linux on Azure. In a move many consider long overdue, Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a new partnership through which Microsoft will offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Azure. Azure will become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider sometime in the next few weeks, making it possible at last for Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers to bring their own virtual machine images to run on Microsoft's cloud platform.

Microsoft has long offered Azure support for other Linux distributions, but Red Hat's key enterprise offering has been conspicuously absent. "When I first heard the news, I wanted the title of the announcement to be, 'Hell has frozen over,'" quipped Gary Chen, a research manager with IDC. "I never thought it would really happen, but it finally did.

" A "pay as you go" service called Red Hat On-Demand will offer RHEL images through the Azure Marketplace with support from Red Hat. That history hasn't always been amicable. Microsoft to kill Zune music service in November. Why Windows 10 Is So Important for Microsoft’s Future | TIME. Windows 8, Microsoft’s last major operating system, was based on flawed logic. Assuming users wanted to adopt its radical new touch-and-tile based interface, Microsoft made it the default option. A vocal number of Windows users hated it. While a tile-based interface may still be the future of Windows, to push that change on users so suddenly was a mistake, and it significantly hurt Microsoft from a competitive standpoint. Microsoft’s effort to right those wrongs arrives this week with Wednesday’s launch of Windows 10 (the company skipped “Windows 9″). Windows 10 lets users easily restore the old Windows interface, while simultaneously gently nudging people to try the new style, too.

The biggest hurdle facing Nadella in reaching his goal, however, is convincing app developers to build native apps for Windows 10, which will run on desktops as well as tablets and phones. There’s another challenge facing Microsoft and Windows 10, too: A PC market that stubbornly continues to decline. Microsoft phones face US import ban over patent issue - BBC News.

Microsoft has lost the first round in a patent battle that could see its handsets banned from import into the US. The country's International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that it used technology developed by InterDigital without permission. Microsoft said that it would challenge the decision. The judge's findings will be subject to a review before any import ban comes into force. "This is one step in the process and we look forward to the full Commission's thorough review," Microsoft said in a statement. "We have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards. " Judge Theodore Essex ruled that Microsoft infringed two wireless cellular patents which relate to technology that powers up phones and connects them to 3G networks without interference. The ruling would cover the majority of its handsets which are manufactured outside the US.

The next step will be a review by the ITC with a decision expected by late August. Opening Windows - Microsoft at 40. Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet runs full version of Windows - BBC News. Microsoft has refreshed its tablet line-up with a new entry-level device that runs more software, but is also more expensive than its predecessor. The Surface 3 is powered by an Intel processor, unlike the ARM-based chip in the Surface 2.

That means it uses the Windows 8 operating system, rather than the more limited Windows RT. Experts suggest the move could help Microsoft replicate the success of its higher-specification Surface Pro 3. The bigger tablet, which was launched 10 months ago, features a 12in (30.5cm) screen, compared with the 10.8in display of the new Surface 3. Shipments of Surface tablets rose from 1.8 million units in the last three months of 2013 to 2.1 million units for the same period in 2014, according to research group Canalys, with the Pro 3 accounting for the bulk of demand since it went on sale. Microsoft's share of the tablet market has grown from 2.3% to 3.2% as a result, while the bestselling brand - Apple's iPad - has seen its sales decline.

Price shift. Microsoft launches machine learning as an Azure service. Microsoft has expanded the data-analysis offerings on its Azure cloud, offering a machine learning service to help organizations derive more insight from mountains of unstructured data. The new service is designed to reduce the amount of work needed to deploy machine learning. “Our focus has been simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” said T. K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, Microsoft’s vice president of engineering for data platform, cloud and enterprise.

Machine-learning systems can be costly and time-consuming to set up and run in-house, due to the complexities of the software and the large amount of hardware required for the task. The cloud provides an easy way for enterprises to ramp up large-scale machine learning jobs, Rengarajan said. Microsoft first launched Machine Learning as a preview in June 2014, though did not state when the service would go live. Machine learning is a type of data analysis that allows computers to draw inferences through large sets of data. All signs point to the demise of Microsoft's Surface tablet. Microsoft seems to be within a whisker of calling it quits on its failed experiment with the Surface tablet, the device powered by the ARM architecture and Windows RT, an offshoot of Windows 8.

Last week, the company's own online store showed all configurations of the Surface 2 -- the lone Windows RT tablet still sold -- as out of stock, and that held as of early Monday. Best Buy, Microsoft's U.S. retail partner, also showed no Wi-Fi models available for online ordering, although spot checks had some stores with inventory for in-store pickup. And while giant e-tailer Amazon listed some Surface 2 tablets for sale, many were refurbished units, not new devices. "It is currently out of stock [and] unfortunately we do not have specific dates on when products are back in stock, [so] you would have to check back on the site regularly," said a Microsoft Store sales representative in an online chat Friday.

Instead, Microsoft will provide an unspecified update at some point in the future. Windows 10 will be free. Microsoft's Windows 10 event is just getting started, and it sounds like the company is eager to make it as easy and cheap as possible for those running older versions of Windows to upgrade. Terry Myerson just announced on stage that, for the first year after Windows 10 launches, any device running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade to the latest version of MIcrosoft's OS — for free. How exactly this program will work isn't clear just yet — it'll certainly be subject to some hardware requirements, particularly for older machines running Windows 7. But a simplified upgrade path will likely do a lot to help Windows 10 adoption — rather than dealing with a number of different versions of Windows and different upgrade costs, most consumers will simply take this free update and enjoy running Microsoft's latest.

Beyond this, Myerson shared Microsoft's vision for Windows as a service, not just an operating system. Microsoft's 'Spartan' browser: More details leak. More rumored details are leaking about Microsoft's new browser, codenamed "Spartan," that will be a key piece of its Windows 10 platform. Spartan, a new Microsoft browser that will use the Trident rendering engine and the Chakra JavaScript engine that are part of Internet Explorer, is not just another new IE release, sources told me a week or so ago. Spartan is expected to look and work more like lightweight browsers such as Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox, sources have said. It allegedly will support extensions, unlike IE. This week, there was a BGR report and alleged Spartan screen shot (the screen shot was likely a fake, my sources say) which claimed Spartan would be integrated with Microsoft's Cortana personal digital assistant technology.

One of my contacts say this is accurate information, and Tom Warren at The Verge is hearing the same as well. Nadella's Mantra for Microsoft: 'Productivity.' Is That Counterproductive? Steve Ballmer hailed from Detroit, the son of an automotive industry exec, and forever carried with him that “Buy American” mentality. It’s why Microsoft’s (MSFT) executives were only allowed to toy around with rivals’ smartphones for a couple of days. You could have a peek and that’s it. Microsoft people used Microsoft phones. Such was the natural order of things.

The order has changed with the arrival of Satya Nadella as chief executive. His top lieutenants can tote whatever devices they want for as long as they want. They can—if you’ll believe it—even use these rival phones in public. Microsoft’s employees now get to experience the pros and cons of rival products and feel firsthand the nuances that emerge over time.

Nadella summoned a handful of reporters to Microsoft’s headquarters in early November to explain his thinking over dinner and several hours of meetings. Productivity is a loaded word, and this isn’t lost on Nadella. Microsoft Azure faults knock websites offline. Microsoft ends retail sales of Windows 7 and 8. Microsoft ditching the Nokia name on smartphones. Microsoft stays committed to ultra-cheap phones. Windows 9: Desktop Resurgence? Win Phone 7 users aghast Microsoft axed Skype for their phones. Microsoft Wins EU Approval for 5.44 Billion-Euro Nokia Deal. Microsoft unveils iPad Office suite. Microsoft’s answer to Google Glass is being testing | Microsoft. Microsoft pushes ahead with Skype-Lync integration. Microsoft backed further into a corner by partners. Microsoft board motivated to hire new CEO before activist joins in early '14.

Microsoft media exec resigns due to company's 'direction' | Microsoft. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Admits He Made A Huge Mistake. Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months. Worries That Microsoft Is Growing Too Tricky to Manage. Microsoft too slow on phones, admits boss Steve Ballmer. Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer dances at tearful send off. Exclusive: Time for Gates to go, some top Microsoft investors tell board. First Take: Why shareholders want Gates out. Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tells WSJ that he was part of the problem. Citing Outside Duties, Steven Ballmer Resigns From Microsoft’s Board -

Microsoft names Satya Nadella to replace Steve Ballmer. Microsoft's Nadella Talks 'Post-Post-PC Era' Windows development set to be 'unified' by Microsoft. Microsoft to buy Nokia's mobile phone unit. Why the Microsoft-Nokia merger is doomed. Behind Microsoft Deal, the Specter of a Nokia Android Phone.

Microsoft calls end to Android Nokia X smartphones. Microsoft releases Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview with VDI, Windows to Go support. Microsoft: Here's why businesses will want Windows 8.1. The top 5 reasons to upgrade to Windows 8.1. Microsoft Looks to Unify Development for Xbox, Windows, and Windows Phone. Gates calls Ctrl+Alt+Del command a mistake. Windows 7 outpacing Windows 8 adoption. Microsoft took a $900 million hit on Surface RT this quarter. Ballmer admits Microsoft built too many Surface RTs, disappointed with Windows sales. Did Microsoft Surface sales sink more than thought?

Lawsuit claims Microsoft misled investors in Surface RT fiasco. Delta equips 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. Why Delta ordered 11,000 tablets from Microsoft, not Apple. Microsoft loses money on each Surface sold. Why Office Mobile For iPhone Matters. Microsoft attacks iPad to unload Surface RT inventory | Microsoft. Windows 8 finally passes Vista in OS market share. Microsoft improves its free online Office. Microsoft: My PC Crashed. Three Reasons The Surface Pro 3 Is Struggling. CIOs Unsold on Windows 8 - The CIO Report. Design guru Nielsen: Windows 8 UI 'smothers usability' | Business Tech.

Windows 8 - the beginning of Microsoft's problems. Microsoft prepares rethink on Windows 8 flagship software. In Blue: Start Experience Changes. Microsoft 'U-turn' sees Start button back on Windows 8. Microsoft's Windows 8.1: What's new for business users. Microsoft CIO Tony Scott has left the company. Sea change in Microsoft's focus may force restructure of leadership. The Flaw in Microsoft’s Windows 8 Logic. Oops, Windows XP gains in January but so does Windows 8.1 | Microsoft. Windows XP market share climbs again as customers dig their heels in. Windows XP: Old Platforms Die Hard, Security Risks Live On. How to Support Windows XP Now That Microsoft Isn't. HP Windows 7 Campaign Sidesteps Windows 8.1. Microsoft Windows 8 Vista comparison made by employees. Windows 8.1 gets global release. China bans Microsoft Windows 8 on government computers.

Microsoft Surface a Year Later: It's Not You, It's Me | Managed Services content from MSPmentor. Microsoft doubles down on 2-in-1, enterprise-first Surface strategy.