Microsoft offered more Windows 8 details, the release of Dynamics AX 2012 and more Android agreements this week. It also suffered a cloud outage.
week involved even more Windows 8 revelations, a cloud outage and a
continuation of its push against Android.
So far this
week, Microsoft's Building Windows 8
blog has offered glimpses of Windows 8's support for Hyper-V and faster boot
In a video
embedded in the blog's Sept. 8 posting, a Windows team member (identified
onscreen as Emily Wilson, program manager for the Kernel Platform Group)
activates a laptop loaded with Windows 8. It takes a little over eight seconds,
from the time she hits the power button, for Windows 8's colorful tiles to
appear. Just to ensure the laptop's starting from a zero-power state, she
inserts the battery before turning on the device.
Gabe Aul, a
director of program management for Windows, suggested in the posting that
Windows 8's "new fast startup mode" will work as "a hybrid of traditional cold
boot and resuming from hibernate." That could appeal to both consumers and
professionals who place a good deal of emphasis on how fast their desktops and
laptops can power up.
developer side of the equation, Microsoft is working to ensure Windows 8
enables Hyper-V, which will give machines the ability to virtually run multiple
32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating systems at the same time-a useful tool for
developers who need to switch between multiple test environments. Hyper-V
originally emerged as technology integrated with Windows Server, from which
it's now trickling down to the client OS level.
Windows 8 is
scheduled to arrive sometime in 2012, but Microsoft is clearly ramping up its
awareness campaign well ahead of the release. At its BUILD conference,
scheduled to kick off Sept. 13 in Anaheim, Calif., Microsoft will reveal even
more details about the operating system. Current rumors suggest that conference
attendees could receive a Samsung-built, quad-core tablet running an early
build of Windows 8, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Microsoft also announced that two new manufacturers, Acer and Viewsonic, have
entered into licensing agreements over Android. Redmond insists that Google's
operating system violates certain key patents, and has pursued a two-pronged
strategy over the past several quarters to those manufacturers producing
Android tablets and smartphones: either enter into a royalty-paying agreement
with us, or risk a significant lawsuit.
between Microsoft and Viewsonic stipulates the latter will pay royalties for
its tablets and mobile phones running Google Android or Chrome. The one with
Acer stipulates payments for tablets and smartphones running Android. No exact
financial terms were disclosed by Microsoft.
pleased that Acer is taking advantage of our industrywide licensing program
established to help companies address Android's IP issues," Horacio Gutierrez,
corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property
and licensing at Microsoft, wrote in a Sept. 8 statement. "This agreement is an
example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements
that address intellectual property."
manufacturers, including Motorola Mobility and Barnes & Noble, have chosen
to fight Microsoft in court rather than enter into licensing agreements. Google
recently agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility for some $12.5 billion, but it
remains to be seen how that will affect the ongoing legal battle with Redmond.
The rest of
Microsoft's week focused on the cloud. On Sept. 8, the company released Microsoft
Dynamics AX 2012, its enterprise resource planning (ERP) application with
integrated cloud offerings-in particular, the Rapid Start, Payment and Commerce
services available via Windows Azure.
In order to
provide a competitive differentiator from its aggressive and well-funded rivals
in the business software arena, including Google and Oracle, Microsoft is
emphasizing how Dynamics AX 2012 interoperates with its existing software, such
as Office. That being said, the cloud aspects could prove as great a
customer draw, particularly for companies interested in layering public cloud
services into a private cloud or on-premises deployment.
Even as it
ramped up a part of its business cloud, the consumer side of Microsoft's online
services experienced a little bit of a hiccup.
been trying to use Hotmail, SkyDrive, or our other Live properties for the last
couple of hours, you may have noticed problems accessing our services," Chris
Jones, senior vice president for Windows Live, wrote in a posting on The Windows Blog. "We're aware of these
issues and actively working to resolve them."
By 11:49 PT,
he provided an update to his posting: "We have completed propagating our DNS [Domain
Name System] configuration changes around the world, and have restored service
for most customers."
spokesperson later told eWEEK that
the downtime was due to a DNS issue "causing service degradation for multiple
Not that it
will likely dissuade consumers' and businesses' slow but steady migration to
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.