Bill Gates Regrets Microsoft Losing to Android as Dominant Platform Beyond iPhone

At a recent event hosted by venture capital firm Village Global, highlighted by TechCrunch, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates lamented on losing to Android, calling it "one of the greatest mistakes of all time."

Skip to the 11:40 mark:


Transcript:
In the software world, it's very predictable for platforms. These are winner-take-all markets. The greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. Android is the standard phone platform — non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you're there with half as many apps, or 90 percent as many apps, you're on your way to complete doom. There's room for exactly one non-Apple operating system.

It's amazing to me having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time… our other assets, Windows, Office, are still very strong… we are a leading company. If we'd gotten that right, we'd be the leading company.
In fairness, it was Steve Ballmer who served as Microsoft's CEO between 2000 and 2014. Ballmer is infamous for laughing off the iPhone, but Apple and Google had the last laugh, as Windows Phone failed to ever gain any significant market share among mobile operating systems and is ultimately being abandoned.


Gates added that there is room for exactly one non-Apple mobile operating system, which is certainly the case as of today. Together, Android and iOS have an estimated 99.9 percent market share, according to research firm Gartner, having squeezed out former heavyweights like BlackBerry and Nokia.


Simply put, Apple upended the industry when it launched the iPhone in 2007, and Microsoft failed to respond. Windows Phone could have been the commoditized mobile platform, as Windows is to Mac, but Android won the battle.


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Microsoft Prepping Foldable Dual-Screen Surface Tablet That Runs Android Apps

Microsoft plans to launch a small foldable Surface tablet in the first half of 2020, according to Jeff Lin, an analyst at research firm IHS Markit.

Microsoft Surface Go

In an email shared with Forbes citing supply chain information, Lin said he expects Microsoft to debut a Surface with dual 9-inch screens featuring a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Perhaps more interestingly, Lin also claims Microsoft's forthcoming next-gen Windows operating system, Windows Core OS, will be able to run Android apps natively. The new Surface will also apparently support Apple's iCloud services in Windows 10.

The device will also reportedly adopt an Intel 10nm Lakefield system-on-a-chip (SOC). Lin believes the dual-screen Surface could arrive as early as the first quarter of 2020, or by the first half of 2020.

Bearing in mind the problems that foldable displays have already presented for Samsung, it will be intriguing to see how Microsoft intends to implement a dynamic dual-display in a foldable tablet design.

Additionally, it's unclear how Microsoft plans to host its own Android App Store separate from the Google Play store, and how that would align with the company's existing Universal Windows Platform, which provides developers with a common app platform on every device that runs Windows 10.

Earlier this year reports began appearing that Microsoft is planning to launch a dual-screen mobile device, codenamed "Centaurus." The company even teased dual-screen Surface hardware in an all hands event for its devices team earlier this month, according to The Verge.

IHS Markit analyst Lin on Sunday also predicted Apple's MacBook plans for later this year, which are said to include a 16-inch MacBook Pro and refreshes for its 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar and MacBook Air.


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Microsoft To-Do App Now Available on the Mac App Store

Microsoft has released a native Mac version of its To-Do app for the first time, meaning macOS users will no longer have to rely on company's the web app to access the to-do list service.


Microsoft To-Do is free on the Mac App Store, and offers users a personalized daily planner called My Day with suggested tasks, including tasks pulled from Outlook.
Got something on your mind? Get Microsoft To-Do. Whether you want to increase your productivity, decrease your stress levels or just clear up some mental space, Microsoft To-Do makes it easy to plan your day and manage your life.
The app features the ability to sync tasks across devices, attach files up to 25MB, create color-coded lists, break tasks into manageable steps, add notes to tasks, share tasks and lists, and set reminders,

The release of the Mac app on the Mac App Store [Direct Link] completes Microsoft's aim to bring native versions of the software to all platforms, including iOS, Windows, and Android.

(Via Thurrott.com)


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Apple Launches New iCloud for Windows App in Microsoft Store

Apple today introduced a new iCloud for Windows app designed for PCs, according to a blog post shared by Microsoft. The new app is designed to allow Apple users to access their iCloud content on their Windows 10 PCs.

The iCloud app for Windows includes iCloud Drive, iCloud Photos, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Safari Bookmarks, and more.

What you can do with iCloud for Windows

- Safely store your photos and videos in iCloud. With iCloud Photos, any new photos and videos that you take on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch automatically download to your PC. And you can upload new photos and videos from your PC so that you can access them from your other devices too.
- Use Shared Albums to share photos and videos with just the people you choose. Then invite friends to add their own photos, videos, and comments.
- Get your documents on every device you use with iCloud Drive. Simply drag your documents into the iCloud Drive folder on your PC and access them at any time, on any device.
- Keep your iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders up to date automatically between your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC.
- Keep your Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome bookmarks on Windows the same as your Safari bookmarks.
- Update your iCloud preferences, see how much iCloud storage you're using, delete items to free up storage, and update your storage plan whenever you want.
According to Microsoft, the iCloud Drive feature on Windows is powered by the same Windows technology behind the OneDrive Files On-Demand Feature, which lets users be more productive offline on mobile devices and quickly share files on iOS.


Apple has a support document for getting started with iCloud for Windows, which basically requires having an existing iCloud setup on an Apple device.


Windows users can download iCloud for Windows from the Microsoft Store starting today.


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Microsoft Brings ‘Insert Data From Picture’ Excel Feature to iOS Devices

Microsoft today announced that the Excel app for iOS is gaining the Insert Data from Picture feature that was previously made available on Android devices.

Insert Data from Picture lets you take a photo of data in a table format and convert it to a digital format in Excel. You can capture financial spreadsheets, work schedules, task lists, time tables, and more, so long as it's in a table format to begin with.


According to Microsoft, Insert Data from Picture combines optical character recognition technology, layout understanding techniques, and machine learning to convert information written on paper into digital data.

As of today, the Insert Data from Picture feature also supports 21 languages on both iOS and Android.

The Excel iOS app from Microsoft can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Microsoft Launches First Microsoft Edge Preview Builds for Mac Users

Microsoft today announced the launch of a preview or canary build of its Microsoft Edge browser designed for the macOS operating system.

Microsoft Edge for macOS can be installed from the Microsoft Edge Insider site on compatible Macs.


Microsoft first unveiled plans to bring the Microsoft Edge browser to the Mac at its annual Build developer conference in Seattle, held on May 6. Shortly after, a canary version of the browser appeared on Microsoft's site, but it was not made officially available until today.

According to Microsoft, Edge on the Mac will be quite similar to the Edge experience on Windows, but with "user experience optimizations" to make it "feel at home on a Mac." The overall look and feel of the browser will be tailored to match "what macOS users expect" from Mac apps.

Microsoft says that the initial build available today includes several interface changes to meld the Microsoft design language with the design language of macOS.
Examples of this include a number of tweaks to match macOS conventions for fonts, menus, keyboard shortcuts, title casing, and other areas. You will continue to see the look and feel of the browser evolve in future releases as we continue to experiment, iterate and listen to customer feedback. We encourage you to share your feedback with us using the "Send feedback" smiley.
Exclusive user experiences for macOS are also coming in the future, such as "useful and contextual actions" for the Touch Bar on Touch Bar-compatible Macs. Trackpad gestures will also be supported.

To use the new macOS version of Microsoft Edge, a Mac running macOS 10.12 or later is required.


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Microsoft Provides Sneak Peek of Edge on Mac, 16 Years After Safari Replaced Internet Explorer

Microsoft has kicked off its annual Build developer conference in Seattle with a preview of its upcoming Edge web browser for Mac.


In a blog post detailing new features coming to Edge, which is being rebuilt with the same open source Chromium rendering engine as used by Google Chrome, Microsoft provided a sneak peek at how the browser will look on macOS. While only a brief glimpse, the browser looks somewhat similar to Chrome.


Microsoft shipped its first preview builds of its revamped Edge browser for Windows last month, but the browser remains listed as "coming soon" for macOS. The Verge believes the Mac version will be available "very soon," likely including both the Canary and Dev channel builds as on Windows.

Edge will be Microsoft's first web browser on the Mac since Internet Explorer received its last feature update nearly 16 years ago. Internet Explorer was the default web browser on the Mac between 1998 and 2003, when Apple released Safari on Mac OS X Panther, which has been the default ever since.

Edge succeeded Internet Explorer as the default web browser on Windows in 2015 and is also available for iOS and Android.


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PSA: Microsoft Outlook Breach Worse Than Expected, Hackers Could Read Emails of 6% of Affected Users

Microsoft has revealed that one of its support agent's credentials were compromised, enabling unauthorized parties to access information from a "limited subset" of users, including e-mail addresses, folder names, subject lines, and the names of recent recipients, between January 1 and March 28 of 2019.


It gets worse, unfortunately. In a statement issued to The Verge, Microsoft said that the unauthorized parties had access to the actual content of roughly six percent of affected email accounts, as exposed by Motherboard.

In an email to affected users shared by TechCrunch, Microsoft said it has now blocked this unauthorized access, disabled the passwords of compromised accounts, and increased detection and monitoring to further protect users. Microsoft recommends users change their passwords out of an abundance of caution.

The breach affected a "limited subset" of Microsoft-managed email accounts, including Outlook, MSN, and Hotmail email addresses. No enterprise customers are believed to be affected, according to TechCrunch.

Microsoft told affected users that it has no indication why the information was viewed or how it may have been used. The company has yet to reveal how it discovered the breach, how the support agent's credentials were compromised, or if the agent was a Microsoft employee, according to TechCrunch.


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Microsoft Working on Wireless In-Ear ‘Surface Buds’ to Rival AirPods

Microsoft is planning to launch a pair of wireless earbuds under the Surface brand that will be a direct competitor to Apple's AirPods, according to sources familiar with the company's plans who spoke to Thurrott. The earbuds are currently in development under the code name "Morrison."


These are described to be in-ear wireless headphones, just like the AirPods. This isn't the first time Microsoft has created and sold its own headphones, as it currently sells the $349.99 Surface Headphones on its website.

The Surface Headphones are large, over-ear headphones with advanced features like noise cancellation. The new device would likely carry over a few features seen in the Surface Headphones, however, like Cortana integration and "a way to improve interactions between a phone and the earbuds to make reading content easier on the phone."

At this time, the name of the earbuds is not yet confirmed, but the simple moniker of "Surface Buds" is said to have been tossed around within the company.

Apple just updated the AirPods to version 2, which includes "Hey Siri" functionality and wireless charging. The full lineup now includes the AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case ($199), AirPods 2 with standard Charging Case ($159), and the standalone Wireless Charging Case ($79) that adds wireless charging capabilities to your existing AirPods.


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Microsoft Opens Up Xbox Live Data Syncing to All iOS and Android Apps

Last month, a post from the GDC 2019 scheduling website hinted that Microsoft was preparing to launch a new software development kit that would sync your Xbox Live data to any compatible iOS app. This week, Microsoft confirmed the launch of the cross-platform mobile SDK, enabling developers to build achievements, Gamerscore, friend lists, clubs, and more into iOS and Android apps (via The Verge).


Game developers will be able to "pick and choose" the parts of Xbox Live they want to integrate into their apps, and all of the features will be enabled on the consumer side through a single sign-in to their Microsoft account. The company is using Minecraft as a template for what other developers can do in this space.
“We believe so strongly in community, and Xbox Live really being at the heart of our gaming community,” explains Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s gaming cloud chief in a media briefing this week.

“If you watch what we’ve done, especially with Minecraft, over the past few years we’ve taken Xbox Live to as many platforms as Minecraft is on as possible. Really uniting all those communities together with a consistent singular experience for those gamers.”
The new SDK is part of the "Microsoft Game Stack" initiative, which has the goal of bringing together Microsoft's tools and services to help both indie and AAA developers create games.

At the moment, there are a few iOS games with Xbox Live features like achievements, but they're only available in games that were released by Microsoft Studios. With the new SDK, these features will greatly expand to any developer willing to implement them into their iOS and Android apps, and progress made on mobile (like the player's gamerscore) will sync back to Xbox consoles.

Earlier news suggested the same abilities would be coming to Nintendo Switch, but at this time Microsoft said that it doesn't have "any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today." With the new SDK, Microsoft will have a chance to greatly expand its reach in the smartphone gaming market, which has boomed in recent years thanks to games like Fortnite and a renewed interest in mobile gaming from companies like Nintendo.


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