Microsoft Confirms Details of Windows 10 Release on July 29

Today's topics include a release date for Microsoft's Windows 10, top personnel changes at Cisco, an update on provisions to the Patriot Act and the purchase of Altera by Intel.

Microsoft finally ended one of Windows 10's biggest remaining mysteries: its release date. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems group, blogged that as of July 29, PC users can obtain Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer or by purchasing a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer.

Windows 10 is an ambitious effort by the Redmond, Wash., software giant to unify the Windows ecosystem and bring the operating system to the devices that make up the so-called post-PC era.

A shakeup of Cisco System's executive team is shaping up as the giant tech vendor readies itself for the retirement next month of longtime CEO John Chambers.

Rob Lloyd and Gary Moore, Cisco's two presidents, will leave the company July 25, the day before Chuck Robbins, currently senior vice president of worldwide operations, takes the reins from Chambers.

Robbins announced the resignations of Lloyd and Moore June 1 in a post on the company blog, saying the moves were part of a larger effort to streamline the company's organization and management.

As widely predicted, Congressional lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement to renew provisions of the USA Patriot Act before an expiration deadline of midnight on May 31.

As a result of the lapse, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which is the legal authorization that enables U.S. intelligence agencies to collect bulk metadata on U.S. citizens' communications, is no longer valid.

Privacy advocates are cautiously optimistic that the lapse in Patriot Act powers will restore some measure of privacy to citizens' communications.

Intel is finally pulling the trigger on its long-delayed buyout of programmable chip maker Altera for $16.7 billion in a bid to bolster its technology portfolio in the data center and Internet of things sectors.

The buyout is part of an accelerating wave of consolidation in a volatile semiconductor market. After months of speculation and on-and-off negotiations, Intel officials announced June 1 that the giant chip maker will pay $54 per share for Altera, an Intel partner since 2013 that builds field-programmable gate arrays.

FPGAs can be programmed through software and are becoming increasingly important accelerators for cloud and Web-scale environments.

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