This Week in Tech 617: Ask for the Camel With TWO Humps

WWDC is tomorrow! What will Apple announce? A Siri Speaker, perhaps? Google will updat Chrome to block annoying ads, but what will count as “annoying?” Where did Microsoft go wrong? One word: Vista. The US Supreme Court decides that patent rights end at sale.


Google dumps Windows Vista support from Google Apps

Google’s policy of discontinuing support for aging versions of Internet Explorer will nearly cut out businesses and consumers who run Google Apps on Windows Vista.

That’s because Google said Tuesday that it will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 9 in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, IE9 is the most modern browser that Microsoft supports with Windows Vista.

Since Microsoft has declined to make IE10 available to Windows Vista users (the minimum OS supported is Windows 7) that means that Vista users may not realize that they’ll be unable to use Google’s Apps services in the near future to full effect.

Windows XP users won’t be able to use Google Apps, because IE10 won’t run on that OS, either. However, users affected by the change can (or will be forced to, depending on your perspective) upgrade to a new, compliant PC, and Apps should run just fine.

And it means users can switch over to Chrome. Google said recently that it would continue to support Windows XP with Chrome through April 2015, so there’s a pretty easy out for those businesses or consumers who are allowed to change browsers on a whim.

Google’s policy is to support Google Chrome, as well as Mozilla’s Firefox, IE, and Apple’s Safari. “Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version,” Google said in a blog post. Google Chrome auto-updates behind the scenes; the other browsers require more explicit updates.

That doesn’t mean that IE9 users will be totally prevented from using Google Apps. However, certain key features won\’t work.

Why the change?

Microsoft pushed IE11 live with the release of Windows 8.1, and that started Google’s clock, the company said. Over the next few weeks, users are going to slowly discover that they need to upgrade.

”End users who access Gmail and other Google Apps services from an unsupported browser will be notified within the next few weeks through an in-product notification message or an interstitial pages with information about modern browsers and how to upgrade to them,” Google said.

A Google support page provides more detail:

Google Apps users with unsupported browsers may find that some features do not function, or the application doesn’t load. For example:

Calendar: Calendars display in read-only mode.

Gmail: Gmail users are redirected to the basic HTML interface of Gmail.

Drive: Drawings and presentations don’t display properly.

Although Microsoft has put most of its emphasis on shifting users away from Windows XP over security concerns, Windows Vista isn’t exactly the platform that users should be residing on. On Tuesday, Microsoft published details of a significant vulnerability that allows attackers to take over a Vista machine—and that doesn’t even take into account the thousands of complaints users had over its design, stability, or frequent and annoying pop-up messsages.

Last year, Google said that more than five million businesses have “gone Google”. Google hasn’t said how many users that entails (although over 425 milliion users use Gmail, so it’s less than that).

A Wired study also reveals that most Google Apps users derive from a small number of domains, implying that major companies lead the charge. It’s hard to believe that those corporations are stuck on Vista.

Nevertheless, if you or your business is one of the few still running a hybrid Vista/Google Apps environment, you need to prepare for change, pronto.

via Google dumps Windows Vista support from Google Apps | PCWorld.

Windows 8 bests Vista as third-most used OS, gains 5.1% of market

According to website traffic data collected by Net Applications, Windows 8 has hit a definite if seemingly unimpressive milestone. Windows 8 has finally managed to surpass its ill-liked ancestor, Windows Vista, in becoming the world’s third-most used operating system.

Windows 8 bests Vista as third-most used OS, gains 5.1% of market - TechSpot

Net Applications’ data shows a significant uptake in Windows 8 systems since May, increasing from 4.27-percent to its current 5.1-percent figure.

Of course, running on just 5.1-percent of the world’s computers, Windows 8 remains a truly distant third though. Currently, Windows 7 resides on 44.7-percent of systems while XP proudly occupies a still whopping 32.17-percent. Behind Windows 8 lie the three most-recent flavors of Mac OS X, which together total just 6.63-percent of the market. Meanwhile, “Other” operating systems account for only 2.11-percent of computers, globally.

Naturally, those numbers still show Windows overall is tops when it comes to total computer market share. With their figures combined, Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 are present on more than 90-percent of the world’s computers; undoubtedly, “Microsoft” and “Windows” will remain household names for some time to come.

Despite Windows’ immense poularity on desktops and laptops, the OS becomes less prolific when tablets and smartphones are taken into consideration. On mobile devices, there’s little question Android and iOS reign supreme. In fact, Ubuntu’s parent company, Canonical, recently marked its tongue-in-cheek “Bug #1” ticket as resolved (i.e. “Microsoft has a majority market share”) thanks to recent estimates which took into account mobile devices and mobile operating systems.

via Windows 8 bests Vista as third-most used OS, gains 5.1% of market – TechSpot.

Vista just beats Windows 8 in latest Steam hardware survey

Last month, Valve’s monthly hardware survey of its Steam users for November 2012 showed that the percentage of its Windows 8 owners had already overtaken Steam’s Mac users. This week, Valve updated its hardware survey for the month of December 2012 and once again showed Windows 8 gaining among its hardcore PC audience.

The stats on the hardware survey page shows that the percentage of Windows 8 owners (combining 32-bit and 64-bit SKUs) stands at 6.93 percent, well above the 4.69 percent of Windows 8 users that Steam recorded in November 2012. Windows Vista users of Steam in December (again combining 32-bit and 64-bit) totaled 6.96 percent of Steam users. Yes, that means Vista outnumbers Windows 8 by just .03 percent.

It’s also clear that the vast majority of Windows 8 users, at least those using Steam, have installed the 64-bit SKU. Just 0.60 percent of Steam users are using the 32-bit version. Windows 8 64-bit users are now the fourth biggest group of Steam users when broken down by individual SKUs.

This is the first month on Steam’s hardware survey that we have seen stats for Linux Ubuntu users, which are currently participating in an open beta test. As you might expect, the total number of Ubuntu users on Steam is still quite small. The combined total percentage stands at 0.80 percent.

Windows 7 users of Steam are now 70.47 percent of all Steam owners, down from 72.56 percent from the month before. Windows XP is still being used by 10.44 percent of Steam owners and the combined number of Mac Steam owners is currently at 3.72 percent.

via Vista just beats Windows 8 in latest Steam hardware survey | Neowin

Windows 8’s uptake falls behind Vista’s pace

With just a week left in the month, Windows 8’s usage uptake has slipped behind Vista’s at the same point in its release, data from a Web measurement company showed.

According to Net Applications, Windows 8’s online usage share through Dec. 22 was 1.6% of all Windows PCs, an uptick from 1.2% of November. Windows 8 publicly launched on Oct. 26.

At the same two-month mark in Vista’s release timetable, that OS accounted for 2.2% of all Windows systems, double the month prior.

Net Applications measures operating system usage by recording the specific operating system and version used by the machines of visitors to approximately 40,000 sites it monitors for clients.

The slowdown in uptake of Windows 8 and its poor performance compared to Vista is a troubling sign for the new operating system. Vista has been labeled a rare Microsoft failure, in part because it was adopted by far fewer customers than either its predecessor, Windows XP, or its successor, Windows 7.

Vista’s online usage share peaked in the fall of 2009 at 20.3% of all Windows systems.

While there are nine days of Windows 8 data for December still to be released by Net Applications—including Christmas, when a substantial number of Windows 8 PCs may have been given as gifts, and thus not included in the online estimates—the new OS would have to record an amazing usage jump during December’s final week to put it on par with Vista’s 2007 pace.

Full Story: Windows 8’s uptake falls behind Vista’s pace | PCWorld.