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How do you solve a problem like LibreOffice: From Excel to slab fever

A senior bod behind LibreOffice says the open-source suite's spreadsheet app lags behind much-nippier rival Microsoft Excel - but the hardware acceleration announced this month should close that gap. And that acceleration could give the freely available productivity suite a leg up on tablets, smartphones and other mobile gadgets …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Jul 2013

Microsoft lathers up Windows 8.0 Surface RT for quick price shave

Microsoft is once again slashing the price of its unwanted ARM-based Surface RT fondleslabs. The software giant has shaved 30 per cent off the price of a 32GB RT device now $349 and 25 per cent off the 64GB RT, now $449. A 32GB Surface with a black Touch cover has been cut by 25 per cent to $449 and a 64GB unit with same black …
Gavin Clarke, 15 Jul 2013

Microsoft biz heads slash makes Ballmer look like dead STEVE JOBS

The Microsoft re-organisation unveiled by chief executive Steve Ballmer yesterday is the biggest - and riskiest - in his company's history. Not since Microsoft shifted from a PC software company to a PC-and-server-software-and-internet company have the top brass shifted the reporting lines so thoroughly. Back then, the change …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Jul 2013
Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain

STEVE BALLMER KILLS WINDOWS

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has unveiled plans for a massive restructuring at Redmond. From today, the company’s product groups will be dissolved and resurrected as slimmed-down devices and services teams ready to take on Apple, Amazon, Google and others. Microsoft’s chief executive today announced the death of the mighty five …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Jul 2013

Oh please, PLEASE bring back Xbox One's hated DRM - say Xbox loyalists

Xbox One loyalists want Microsoft to reinstate the new console's tough copy protection controls and mandatory online connection requirement that were axed following a backlash. Thousands of gamers have put their names to a petition piling pressure on Redmond to give them the Xbox One console it promised at gaming conference E3 …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Jul 2013
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

Microsoft: Still using Office installed on a PC? Gosh, you squares

Microsoft has dangled fresh licences for Office 365 - its subscription-based software suite - and beefed up its data-analysis tools to woo more business customers. Opening its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas, Microsoft announced something it's called “upgrade SKUs” that will let IT bosses running on-premises …
Gavin Clarke, 09 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

Zynga's CEO tried to buy game slinger in 2010... while Xbox chief - report

Zynga’s new chief executive Don Mattrick liked the online gaming firm so much, he considered buying it for Xbox while he was a Microsoft bigwig. Mattrick, until last week the head of Microsoft’s entertainment division, negotiated with Zynga founder Mark Pincus to buy Zynga in 2010, "insiders" told Bloomberg. According to the …
Gavin Clarke, 08 Jul 2013
Sir Maurice Wilkes teaser pic

What it was like to grow up around the world's first digital computers

Ever dreamed of taking Saturday morning trips to the computer lab at Cambridge University, playing with the equipment, cannibalizing old computers, and building new machines from the bits? We're not talking metal Meccano minnows run on AA batteries, either. We’re talking actual, operating electro-mechanical machines powered by …
Gavin Clarke, 08 Jul 2013
Sinofsky's Surface skateboard

Win 8 man Sinofsky's 'retirement' deal: $14m shares, oath of silence

Windows 8 architect Steven Sinofsky has officially “retired” from Microsoft having inked a deal in which he cops a share payout worth $14m in exchange for not joining the competition. The agreement comes six months after he unexpectedly left the company. The deal was revealed as Microsoft closed its fiscal year. The company …
Gavin Clarke, 04 Jul 2013
Firefox OS RHS teaser

Firefox OS starts third-place race against Windows Phone

Mozilla has announced that smartphones running Firefox OS have arrived, with Telefonica-owned Spanish mobile phone operator Movistar promising delivery of the first low-priced phones on Tuesday. The Firefox shop announced on Monday that Alcatel's One Touch Fire handset, along with the ZTE Open, which will be distributed by both …
Gavin Clarke, 01 Jul 2013
TNMOC

Rise of the machines, south of Milton Keynes

It’s the sounds that get you: wheels spinning, processors squeaking, the furious hammering of teleprinters, and some 1980s synth. Yes, computers really were this noisy – something you forget in an era when even the benign tap of the keyboard is giving away to the silent swoosh of finger on glass. I’m at The National Museum of …
Gavin Clarke, 29 Jun 2013

Windows 8.1: Here at last, but is it good enough?

The de-cloaking of Windows 8.1 at Microsoft's BUILD conference was greeted with cheers from attendees as the company finally confirmed changes following a major U-turn. Yes, there's a Start Button but it's really no more than an onscreen version of your keyboard's Windows key. Metro loosens the ideological shackles: you can skip …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Jun 2013

Ex-VMware ops chief floats over to Salesforce rival

VMware’s former chief operating officer Tod Nielsen has jumped ship to join Heroku, Salesforce.com’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud operation. Nielsen has been named chief executive of Heroku, assuming the role vacated by Byron Sebastian who left the company in September 2012. Sebastian had been both CEO and executive vice …
Gavin Clarke, 27 Jun 2013
LEO I, credit Leo Computing Society

LEO, the British computer that roared

Just graduated and looking for a career in computers during tough economic times? Try breaking into tech during the 1950s when most people hadn't even heard of a computer. Yet, that's exactly what brothers Frank and Ralph Land did and within a relatively short time from the closing of their studies at the London School of …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Jun 2013
Screenshot of Windows 8.1's revamped Start screen

Windows 8.1 start button appears as Microsoft's Blue wave breaks

Microsoft's Blue wave of Windows, tools and services updates has started breaking complete with an early glimpse of the Windows 8.1 start button. The company revealed on Tuesday the availability of Windows Server and System Center 2012 RT, Windows Intune and SQL Server 2014 and Visual Studio 2013. MSDN subscribers had started …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

SUPERSIZE my CLOUD - Microsoft plans $677m data centre embiggening

Microsoft's throwing $677.6m into an Iowa data centre expansion just as internet rivals Google and Facebook have begun bulking up. State governor Terry Branstad and West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer copped to the news here, extending a hearty Midwest welcome to Microsoft - and its jobs and cash - after Redmond's decision to …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Jun 2013

Tearing a strip off Microsoft's Brazilian: That's no way to attract mates

It would appear that the Not Invented Here philosophy is still going strong inside Microsoft, with Redmond apparently considering unleashing into the market a rival to mega online shopping juggernauts Amazon and eBay. The Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft had been briefing unnamed people about an effort called “Brazil” – …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Jun 2013

RBS Mainframe Meltdown: A year on, the fallout is still coming

A year ago, RBS experienced its Chernobyl moment – an incident when a case of simple human error by those running critical systems resulted in a crisis. IT staff badly botched routine maintenance of the IBM mainframe handling millions of customers' accounts – a system processing 20 million transactions a day. The mistake was …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

Can Microsoft's U-turn stop the Xbox 360 becoming another XP?

It's shaping up to be a summer of U-turns for Microsoft. In May Redmond revealed big changes to Windows 8 that increasingly look like a step-away from the all-or-nothing march into the Metro touch UI. Microsoft's now retreating on Xbox One as Don Mattrick, president of the company's interactive entertainment business, was …
Gavin Clarke, 20 Jun 2013

Microsoft lures buy-curious vixens, corduroys with a cheap fondle

Microsoft is slashing the price on its Windows 8-powered Surface RT tablets to slap the unwanted kit into students' palms. For a limited time, Redmond will knock 60 per cent off the price of a 32GB ARM-driven fondleslab to $199 (£127); a 32GB with Touch Keyboard Cover will be slashed by 58 per cent to $249 (£158); and a 32GB RT …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

Ex-Microsoft man plans brand of consumer marijuana 'fine cigars'

An ex-Microsoft executive plans to establish a chain of retail outlets serving premium marijuana across the US, both to get rich and - apparently - to undermine drugs traffickers. James Shively is reported to buying up medical marijuana dispensaries in the states of Washington and Colorado and boasted the business will produce …
Gavin Clarke, 03 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

Minty fresh Linux: Olivia hits the virtual shelves

The Linux Mint project has released version 15 of the desktop that they’re calling the “most ambitious release since the start of the project.” New features in Linux Mint - based on Ubuntu - include elements designed to make management and use easier and smoother. The distro also features a driver manager for installing and …
Gavin Clarke, 31 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Former Microsoft Windows chief: I was right to kill the Start button

Ex-Windows chief Steven Sinofsky is “happy” with the miserable sales record of tablets and PCs running his Windows 8 baby. Speaking at the Wall St Journal’s D11 conference yesterday, Sinofsky pitched sales of Windows 8 licences as something to be proud of, saying the jury’s out on who will win - Apple, Android/Samsung... …
Gavin Clarke, 31 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Google nuke thyself: Mountain View's H.264 righteous flame-out

Back in 2010, champions of a free web were ecstatic over Google's plan to seed the internet with a patent-free video. VP8 was going to crush the patent-heavy H.264, now celebrating its 10th birthday. Or so we were told. In May of 2010, Google open-sourced VP8, the video compression codec component to the audio-visual WebM format …
Gavin Clarke, 31 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Drupal hacked, resets passwords after millions of accounts exposed

Hackers are believed to have compromised the accounts of millions of users operating or developing the Drupal open-source content management system (CMS). The Drupal Association says an individual or group has gained unauthorised access to the accounts on its Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org sites. Information exposed includes …
Gavin Clarke, 30 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Opera debuts Chromium-luvvin' desktop browser Next 15

The biggest change to Opera's browser in 17 years has debuted, with code for Opera Next released today for Windows and Mac. Opera Software today announced the beta availability of a completely re-engineered version of its browser that rips out the old plumbing in favour of Chromium, the open-source code that's the basis for …
Gavin Clarke, 28 May 2013
Maurice Moss, IT Crowd

SAP in search of autistic software engineers who 'think different'

SAP wants to hire engineers diagnosed with autism - or people who "think differently" in the words of the enterprise software giant. In a big push to fill out its ranks of developers, testers and bods involved in data quality assurance, SAP has turned to Specialisterne, a group dedicated to finding work for those with autism. …
Gavin Clarke, 23 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Yahoo 'won't screw Tumblr'? Then Tumblr will screw its balance sheet

Famously, Yahoo! has promised during its $1.1bn buy of hipster blog site Tumblr not to "screw it up". If I was a Yahoo! shareholder, I should hope not - given the head-spinning number of dollars. But not screwing up is like Google’s promise to “not do Evil” – impossible to comply with, and something people throw back at you. In …
Gavin Clarke, 22 May 2013

Word 2 to Office 365 and beyond: The good, the bad and the Ribbon

Since the pioneering work of Word and Excel daddy Charles Simonyi, Microsoft has set the gold standard on productivity applications on the PC. With the Office software suite, Microsoft built a moneymaker worth billions of dollars that has been further sustained by a network of devs who’ve reinforced the cash machine with add-ons …
Gavin Clarke, 22 May 2013
Windows 8 Metro

Biz bods: Tile-tastic Windows 8? NOOO. We lust after 'mature' Win 7

Windows 8 won't become an enterprise IT standard as customers dump Microsoft's legacy PC operating system XP. Instead, corporate IT departments will stick to what they know and install Windows 7. That’s according to technology analyst Forrester, which reckoned Windows 7 is fast becoming the de-facto PC operating system for big …
Gavin Clarke, 20 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Lonely-heart Maltese techie vs Bonnie Tyler for Eurovision crown

A hopelessly sweet song about a ruthlessly organised techie who gets the girl will fight with the ballad from rock vixen Bonnie Tyler and 24 other acts to lift the Eurovision Song Contest crown Saturday night. Gianluca Bezzina will represent not just his home land of Malta but carry the misty eyed wishes of girl-shy geeks Europe …
Gavin Clarke, 17 May 2013

Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?

Those who upgraded to Windows 8 aren't the only ones unhappy with the new touch-driven operating system - Wall Street is too. Just don't expect any of the criticism hurled at Steve "Teflon" Ballmer, Microsoft's shy and retiring boss, to stick. The chief executive is under fire from money men who responded to tech reporters …
Gavin Clarke, 17 May 2013

Software AG attempts to barge aboard crowded Cloud bandwagon

Software AG is late to the cloud computing party - but Europe’s second largest maker of on-premises enterprise software has vowed to “get it right”. Daren Roos, chief operating officer at the German giant, told The Reg: “We will deliver something that works. We are committed to doing a proper cloud.” And to prove it, he …
Gavin Clarke, 16 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Microsoft: YES! You can have your desktop back again for FREE!

Microsoft has confirmed that it will issue its Blue update to Windows 8 without charge, with first code scheduled at the company’s Build conference starting on June 26. This is in line with Redmond's previous policy in which users have been charged only for an entirely new iteration of the Windows OS, not for service packs and …
Gavin Clarke, 14 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Bill & Jobs' excellent adventure: Steve's tech looked better than mine

“We did tablets – lots of tablets – well before Apple did, but they put these pieces together in a way that succeeded.” Bill Gates had a few kind words for old rival Steve Jobs at the weekend, conceding Apple’s late co-founder had a gift for design and admitting that Microsoft had missed its opportunities on tablets. In an …
Gavin Clarke, 13 May 2013
The Register breaking news

World Web Consortium warms HTML bed for forced DRM snuggle

The World Web Consortium (W3C) is pressing ahead with plans to standardise Digital Rights Management (DRM) in HTML, despite opposition to the proposal. The W3C's chief executive Jeff Jaffe announced imminent publication of a first draft of the specification for Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) on Thursday. The draft is now here …
Gavin Clarke, 10 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Office 365 supremo seizes control of Microsoft's purse strings

Top Microsoft exec Amy Hood, who masterminded the multi-billion-dollar Skype and Yammer deals, is Redmond's new CFO. Hood was named today as the new custodian of the corporate purse. She replaces numbers-man Peter Klein, who announced his exit in April but will stay on until June. She is the first woman to occupy the chief …
Gavin Clarke, 09 May 2013

Coke? Windows 8 is Microsoft's 'Vista moment'. Again

Microsoft has decided to backtrack on Windows 8 and loosen the Metro straitjacket the new OS applies to the traditional desktop. This U-turn is being described by commentators as Microsoft’s ""New Coke Moment" – where a business drops a brand-new flavour and reverts to the trusted and loved old recipe following a backlash from …
Gavin Clarke, 08 May 2013

Microsoft: All RIGHT, you can have your Start button back

Big changes to "key" parts of Windows 8 are coming after Microsoft admitted it “could and should have done more” on its big answer to Apple’s iOS for tablets. “Key aspects” of Windows 8 will be changed, head of marketing and finance for Microsoft’s Windows group Tami Reller has told the Financial Times (log-in needed). Reller …
Gavin Clarke, 07 May 2013

Oracle, SAP under attack: How cloud upstarts steal their lunch

After more than 20 years coining it, the Goliaths of the lucrative enterprise software world are about to meet their Davids: nimble rivals touting technology at a sensible price. And as we shall see, with customers jumping on cheaper services, ultimately the giants could be destroyed by their reliance on expensive support …
Gavin Clarke, 07 May 2013

Google Chrome slips web fix to addicts suffering net withdrawal

A Google engineer has bunged an "offline mode" into the advertising giant's cloud-backed Chrome web browser. It allows users to access previously visited pages if there's suddenly no working internet connection. Chocolate Factory programmer Randy Smith said he's added an initial implementation of the disconnected mode to the …
Gavin Clarke, 03 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Mozilla accuses Gamma of dressing up dictators' spyware as Firefox

Firefox-maker Mozilla claims spook supplier Gamma International disguises its spyware as the popular web browser - and wants it to stop. The non-profit software foundation slapped a cease-and-desist demand on UK-based FinFisher developer Gamma. In the legal letter, Mozilla said its Firefox trademark is being violated and that …
Gavin Clarke, 01 May 2013

'I still get on the phone for a $5k deal' - NetSuite CEO's anti-SAP mission

California-based Salesforce has been an unstoppable force in Software as a Service (SaaS) for 14 years. It pulled in $3.05bn in revenue last year, and just booted rival enterprise tech maker SAP from its slot as the world's number-one customer relationship management software (CRM) company. But there’s another SaaS company that …
Gavin Clarke, 01 May 2013
cloud_channel

Amazon: Hard luck Microsoft, AWS will always be cheaper

Amazon’s struck back at Microsoft camp over its "lowering" of its cloud computing prices by touting Amazon’s track record for saving money. The etailer-turned-cloud-giant’s chief technology officer Werner Vogels yesterday claimed there had been 31 price reductions in AWS since the service went live in 2006 – seven years ago. He …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Feds urged to probe four US cell big boys over Android holes

The four biggest US cell networks could face a government probe, following allegations that security updates for Android smartphones have been held back, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to hackers. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has formally asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct an investigation …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Apr 2013

Google tells Microsoft IE shops: We can help you with those 'legacy apps'

Google is chucking Chrome at businesses whose applications are hardwired to Internet Explorer - and coupled its offer with a snub to Redmond, claiming its once-proud browser has become "legacy". The Chocolate Factory today released the Chrome Legacy Browser Support extension that - with additional fiddling courtesy of your IT …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Foxconn must pay Microsoft for EVERY Android thing it makes

Microsoft will collect a royalty for every device built by Foxconn that runs Google operating systems Android or Chrome OS. Hon Hai, the parent of the Chinese electronics behemoth, confirmed today it has inked a deal to license unspecified Microsoft patents on smartphones, tablets and TVs built by Foxconn that use Google's Linux …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Office 365 - what's in it for you? Speak your brains

Microsoft Office is the planet’s most ubiquitous productivity suite and Word and Excel still set the standard on personal productivity apps. The way the software suite is embedded in each office's day-to-day business means that with each new update, Microsoft finds itself struggling to convince people to upgrade. After all, the …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Apr 2013
Hadoop in the enterprise

Teradata buffs Hadoop for the biz intelligence masses

Teradata has polished Apache’s Hadoop Big Data framework for business intelligence and added new tools for quicker and easier querying of massed data. The data warehousing and BI giant has released Teradata Enterprise Access for Hadoop, which includes two new features: Smart Loader for Hadoop and its trademarked SQL-H. Teradata …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Survey: FOSS biz fans aching for 'enterprise-class' support

The absence of enterprise-grade support for free and open-source software (FOSS) is the single biggest pain point for business customers who are using it. That’s according to a survey by data-centre automation company Univa, which found 64 per cent of respondents were prepared to pay for supported open-source software. The …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Apr 2013