Kantar has released its monthly report on the smartphone market for the three months ending in November 2016, and things continue to look down for Windows Phone. Compared to the same period in 2015, Windows Phone’s share of the market decreased across the board. Perhaps most notably, Windows Phone’s share of the U.S. market in particular dipped below 1%, dropping to a 0.8% share from 2.3% during the same period the year prior.
Kantar reports that the biggest drops occurred in Great Britain and Italy, which saw declines of 7% and 5.2%, respectively. Meanwhile the 5 European countries tallied together ended up seeing an overall decrease of 4.1% compared to the same period a year ago.
Windows Phone has been on a steady decline for a while now, and that’s likely to continue as Microsoft winds down its Lumia production and switches focus to whatever the next big thing could be.
If you’re interested in more, you can check out Kantar’s full report, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!
In theory, app updates are meant to bring bug fixes and performance improvements, as well as new features. Unfortunately, for all the fixes added, updates tend to sneak in at least a few bugs as well. That’s unfortunately what appears to be happening with the latest version of the Oculus app for Samsung devices.
A number of Redditors have been complaining about poor battery life that started around last night, when the new update arrived. I actually noticed this myself, as I left my Galaxy S7 Edge off the charger last night to wake up with it much lower than it typically would be when left off the charger overnight.
From the sounds of it, the problem sorrounds the new Oculus Rooms addition to the app, with the Oculus VR app getting stuck in an installation loop that continuously downloads and reinstalls the app. While a new update is probably not too far off, it is probably not a bad idea to uninstall Oculus VR (or at least disable it) in the meantime.
An investigation by Ed Bott casts doubt on KB3xxxx being the problem, and points instead to an Office update that affected Office 2010, 2013, and 2016; the Windows 10 update still affects Edge, Outlook, and File Explorer. We stand by what we said about the model Microsoft is using. The original article continues below.
Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 cumulative update, KB 3124200, dropped last week, but clearly needed more time to bake. While initial reports suggested that the update would fix some issues with WiFi connections dropping out, the latest cumulative update is causing some significant problems.
Reports indicate that in at least some cases, KB 3124200 nukes all Microsoft Word customizations, including custom templates, AutoText, macros, envelope addresses, autocorrect, and AutoFormat settings. It also reverts any custom spell check options you may have stored. The problem is serious enough that Microsoft has published its own KB on fixing the issue, KB 3129969.
The problem occurs because the latest update accidentally renames the old file where such information was stored (Normal.dotm) to one of several alternatives: “Normal.dotm.old, NormalPre, NormalPre15, NormalOld, or OldNormal.” That’s a direct quote from Microsoft’s article on resolving the problem, which raises a significant question: Why doesn’t Microsoft, which wrote the patch that broke its own software, know what the backup file name is actually called? It would be one thing if the files had version numbers that corresponded to the user’s Office version, like “Normal13.dotm.old”, “Normal10.dotm.old”, etc. Instead, we get word salad.
The problems aren’t limited to wholesale replacement of Word customizations. WindowsReport.com has compiled a list of problems users have encountered with the latest version of Windows 10, including the Edge browser refusing to close, Explorer, Outlook 2016, and Calculator all refusing to start, and the Windows Store, Calendar, and Maps applications all refusing to run.
The new update policy isn’t working
When Satya Nadella took over at Microsoft, one of his changes was to radically overhaul how Microsoft handled QA (Quality Assurance). Previously, Microsoft had roughly twice as many QA testers as developers working in the Operating Systems Group. After the layoffs, that ratio is reportedly 1:1. Developers are now expected to do much of the code testing that was previously outsourced to other groups, even if they don’t have much experience in testing code.
Combine that shift with the new, mandatory update policies and you get the current situation. Because Windows 10 now forces updates by default, the system will continue to download and attempt to apply KB 3124200, even if the update is repeatedly hanging on install or having other problems. Because all updates are now rolled into a single package, there’s no way for a user who wants the WiFi fix KB 3124200 includes butdoesn’t want to risk their Word customizations to install one and not the other.
For all their decades of close cooperation, Microsoft seems to have missed a lesson Intel learned 10 years ago. The entire reason Intel uses a tick-tock model in which it shifts to a new node, then deploys a new architecture, is because it’s extremely difficult to implement a new node and a new architecture at the same time. With Windows 10, Microsoft radically shifted both its software implementation model and its update policies simultaneously.
The nature of these problems is that they affect a minority of people. I have no doubt that the majority of Windows 10 users have had nothing but smooth sailing. While I use Windows 7 for my personal machine, I’ve deployed Windows 10 on multiple testbeds and had no problems with it to-date. But if you’re stuck in the minority that’s having a problem, these changes and the opacity with which they’re made is infuriating. It’s become far more difficult to diagnose the cause of these issues and even harder to prevent the software from reinstalling itself (or simply not installing in the first place).
Microsoft needs to either drastically overhaul its QA, return additional flexibility and customization options to average users, or both. The just-trust-us model isn’t working. And I’d have a great deal more faith in Microsoft’s willingness to fix these issues if the company wasn’t relentlessly pushing holdouts to adopt W10 as opposed to fixing theproblems with its distribution and testing model.
As we live more of our lives online, the companies we trust with our digital secrets are increasingly clashing with authorities who want access to the messages, pictures, financial records and other data we accumulate in electronic form.
Microsoft opened a new front in the battle over digital privacy this week, suing the Justice Department over its use of court orders requiring the company to turn over customer files stored in its computer centers—often without notifying the customer involved.
It’s the latest in a series of legal challenges brought by Microsoft and some of its leading competitors. Apple recently fought a high-profile battle over the FBI’s demand for help unlocking an encrypted iPhone in San Bernardino, California, and it’s continuing to challenge similar demands in other cases.
Other companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, have increased their use of encryption. They’ve also sued for the right to report how often authorities demand customer information under national security laws, after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of government data-gathering efforts.
Privacy advocates have applauded those moves, while authorities complain they could stymie legitimate investigations. But those legal maneuvers may benefit the companies as well as their customers. In the wake of Snowden’s revelations and high-profile hacking attacks, tech firms want to reassure customers their information is safe.
“Privacy is an economic good at this point,” said Jennifer Daskal, a former Justice Department attorney who now teaches law at American University in Washington, D.C. “It’s good for business because consumers care about it. So the companies are competing over being privacy protective.”
Many tech companies make money directly from customer information, of course, by selling advertising targeted to their users’ interests and behavior. While some privacy advocates have criticized those practices, others note that’s different from handing over information to authorities who have the power to put people in jail.
In the latest case, Microsoft Corp. says the U.S. Justice Department is using a decades-old law to obtain court orders for customers’ data, while in some cases prohibiting the company from notifying the customer. Microsoft says those “non-disclosure” orders violate its constitutional right to free speech, as well as its customers’ protection against unreasonable searches.
Microsoft is also fighting a court battle in New York over the government’s demand for emails of a non-U.S. citizen that the company has stored in a data center located in Ireland. Microsoft President Brad Smith has argued the case could open the door to other governments demanding information stored in the United States.
As people and businesses store more information on their electronic gadgets, or online in corporate data centers, “these companies are increasingly the intermediary between the government and our own privacy,” said Daskal.
One former federal official was critical of Microsoft’s latest lawsuit. Daniel “D.J.” Rosenthal, a former Justice Department lawyer, said it could lead to warning “child molesters, domestic abusers, violent criminals and terrorists that they’re being investigated.”
But authorities are required to disclose most search warrants for information stored in filing cabinets, safes or other physical locations, as Microsoft notes in its lawsuit. With more people storing data online, the company contends the government is exploiting that trend “as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations.”
The company understands the need for secrecy in some cases, Smith added in a statement. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”
Microsoft’s business customers “regularly convey to us their strong desire to know when the government is obtaining their data,” Smith said, while adding that individual customers should have the same right.
The Redmond, Washington-based company says authorities used the 1986 law, known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, to demand customer information more than 5,600 times in the last 18 months. In nearly half those cases, a court ordered the company to keep the demand secret and, in about 1,750 cases, those gag orders were indefinite.
In recent years, the tech industry and civil liberties groups have pressed Congress to reform several aspects of the law, which they say is outdated, but previous attempts have stalled.
“Hopefully this litigation will either produce a ruling or it will spur Congress to act,” said Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Microsoft’s move was also praised by Aaron Levie, the CEO of online data storage company Box. In a statement, Levie said his company has been expanding its encrypted storage services to “give customers more control over their data.”
Levie added: “We also fully support Microsoft’s effort to require more transparency in government data requests and the government’s full observance of the protections guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”
For those of you who have been accessing Instagram with 6tag, it might be time to start looking towards the official Windows 10 Instagram app. The app has received a new update recently, improving general stability and repairing a few features that weren’t working as intended. The update also replaced the black-and-white tile with a much better looking blue one, which is an extremely welcome change, considering just how awful the last tile looked.
The Windows Store page for the Instagram app isn’t showing us a proper change log, nor is it giving us a version number, but we’ve gone through the app to find some of the changes that are readily apparent. Here’s what we managed to pick out:
General stability improvements
App startup significantly sped up
Faster video playback
The “shake to report issue” feature now works as intended.
You can now update photos from your gallery
If you discover any more improvements to the app, feel free to list them off in the comments section so we all know how Instagram is being tweaked.
Publisher and developer Bethesda’s latest update for its free-to-play mobile game Fallout Shelter introduces several new rooms, optimization fixes, and much more.
It’s no secret that Fallout Shelter is one of the most popular tap-screen games of all time, especially considering the fact that Bethesda’s creative director Todd Howard recently revealed that it’s the most played game in the post-apocalyptic franchise. With that in mind, the studio decided the best course of action to celebrate the feat would be to reward its legions of fans in the title’s forthcoming Update 1.4 with the biggest batch of materials Fallout Shelter has received yet.
Upon the availability of Fallout Shelter‘s soon-to-be-released patch, fans will be able to take part in building their own items in new weapon and armor rooms — much like with Fallout 4‘s optional crafting system — customizing the appearance of Wasteland settlers with an actual barbershop, providing fresh duds for Vault Dwellers, and more. Fans can find the full rundown of what Bethesda plans to include in Update 1.4 in the bulleted list below.
Turn worthless junk into useful items! Introducing… crafting!
New Rooms! Build the new Weapon and Armor crafting rooms and use them to create your own items in game!
Lunchboxes now contain a bonus 5th card: Junk! Trust us – it’s more useful than it sounds. Lucky wasteland explorers may also find junk on their adventures.
Take the Overseer role to the next level. Build the new Barbershop and customize the look of any Dweller.
Keep up with the latest fashions! Find new Outfits and Weapons straight from Fallout 4in lunchboxes, or craft them yourself!
Because four-legged companions bring overwhelming happiness, we’ve added new Dogs and Cats, and are introducing… Parrots! Plus, new Pet bonuses!
Time of day is now properly reflected. Because authentic Vault simulation is our #1 goal!
Fallout Shelter‘s Update 1.4 will be the developers’ first major contribution to the game with fresh content in 2016, as Bethesda’s last big offering came with its addition of Dogmeat and cats as petsback in December of last year. However, the studio didn’t provide an exact date as to when the new materials will be available, for it said that Update 1.4 is coming “later this week”.
Considering the massive success of Fallout Shelter, Bethesda has proclaimed interest in making even more mobile games down the line, which is great news for fans of the company’s products. With the studio supplying the free-to-play title with plenty of fun additions and content drops since its release in the middle of June last year, there’s no reason for fans to not be excited at the prospect of other Bethesda franchises making their way to mobile devices.
Plus, since Fallout Shelter earned $5.1 million in its first two weeks on Apple products, the studio would easily add buku bucks to its bottom line if it ported the Elder Scrolls series in some way onto Android and iOS platforms.
Even though Fallout Shelter hasn’t received Update 1.4 yet, Bethesda went on to say that it would be issuing “many more” improvements in the long run, which is a good sign we’ll see more holiday-themed add-ons in the future. As it happens, the construction and management simulation game celebrated its fair share of festivals in the past, from having Settlers spruce up the Vault withHalloween decorations to decking the halls with Christmas ornaments.
Nevertheless, in regards to the ingenuity of all that Bethesda has cooked up thus far for the game, it wouldn’t be surprising for the studio to have something much more fulfilling in mind than such cosmetic offerings as holiday-related content.