Microsoft has announced aggressive upgrade pricing for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system: anyone running a copy of Windows from the last decade can upgrade for $40, making this potentially the cheapest Windows ever.
The upgrade is a bit of a Hail Mary move: selling the OS is a profitable business, but it's possible that at the familar $100-$200 price, uptake of the risky new OS might be less than enthusiastic and the next phase of Microsoft's business may not take off. After all, many businesses and individuals just recently updated to Windows 7, and many are still running the venerable XP. The cost of upgrading again could be a significant deterrent. If Microsoft can't capture a big audience for Windows 8, its whole strategy for the next few years falls apart.
But if Microsoft offers this one-time "pardon" to its many legacy users, it could spur the kind of sales it needs to make Windows 8 the most popular OS they support, albeit at the cost of many millions of dollars. Notably, this is the "Pro" version, not the cheaper "RT" version that is aimed strictly at tablets.
:source: Source: bbc.co.ukMEPs on a key European parliamentary committee have voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) by 19 votes to 12.
Many regard it as the deathblow for the controversial treaty because the trade committee formally recommends how to vote to the wider parliament.
The European Parliament vote is due to take place in July.
Acta aims to tighten rules on both online and offline piracy but has attracted many critics.
One of its harshest detractors has been UK MEP David Martin, the lead member of the committee.
Speaking after the Inta vote, he said: "This was not an anti-intellectual property vote. This group believes Europe does have to protect its intellectual property but Acta was too vague a document," he said.
He said that it "left many questions unanswered", including the role of ISPs in policing the internet. He also said that many on the committee felt that the sanctions for breaches of copyright were "disproportionate".
Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an in-depth interview during the All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Tuesday. Cook discussed where Apple's been and — more importantly — where it's going. He also slipped in some hints about the future of Siri, the doom of Ping, and a potential relationship between Apple and Facebook.
Cook started his conversation with his hosts, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, by declaring that he has never been as amazed by "all the things [he] cannot talk about" right now. "The juices are flowing and we have some incredible things coming out," he explained.
While Cook touched on a range of topics, including Apple's manufacturing plans, during the interview, my ears twitched when he mentioned good ol' Ping.
Ping — iTunes Ping, to use its proper name — is a social network of sorts that's baked into Apple's desktop media player software. The feature was not received particularly well by most users, who criticized its limited availability, the prevalence of fake celebrity accounts, the removal of Facebook integration, and initial waves of spam.
When asked about what happened to Ping, Cook explained that it seems as if the average customer is saying that it "isn’t something that [he or she wants] to put a lot of energy into."
Three key EU committees have voted against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).
The treaty, which aims to curb piracy, was rejected by committees tasked with assessing its legality and impact on civil liberties and industry.
To date 22 member states, including the UK, have signed the treaty - but it is yet to be formally ratified.
The European Parliament will make its final decision on Acta in July.
If it passes, the agreement will then come into force across the EU. If rejected, Acta will be scrapped entirely.
While the agreement covers the counterfeiting of physical items, such as pharmaceuticals, it is the measures relating to pirated material on the internet that have caused most concern among campaigners.
The agreement suggests setting international standards over how copyright infringements are dealt with. Preventive measures include possible imprisonment and fines.
However, critics say it is a potential threat to freedom of speech online.
The latest round of voting involved the Committee on Legal Affairs (Juri), Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). All three voted to express "opinions against Acta".