Searches on Bing returned five times more links to malicious websites than Google searches, according to an 18-month study from German independent testing lab AV-Test.
The study concluded that while all the search engines the lab evaluated delivered malware, Google delivered the least. It was followed by Bing, which returned five times as many malware sites than Google. Yandex, the Russian website, delivered 10 times as many malicious sites.
To move their malware-ridden spawn to the top of Google’s search results, the bad guys are using tried and true search engine optimization tactics—the very same used by corporations and bloggers. According to AV-Test, the attackers use a very simple trick, “they first create a multitude of small websites and blogs before selecting the most frequently used search terms from top news stories and using backlinks to optimise these terms for search engines.”
The study went on to say that users “are the least suspicious” when they see a search result attached to a hot news story. More troublingly, AV-Test reports that sites with Trojans or other malware are returned as “top” results.
[Microsoft's Death Spiral Continues, being pulled down more by Windows 8 and the Surface Tablet. Craig]
The upstream supply chain for Microsoft’s flagship tablet, the Surface RT, had orders from Microsoft cut by half, reported Taipei Taiwan-based Digitimes. This, in a word, is bad. The company originally hoped to ship four million Surface RT tablets in the fourth quarter of 2012, but now it may ship only two million. We’ve reached out to Microsoft but have yet to receive comment.
Other Windows RT-based tablets from Asustek, Samsung and Dell are also seeing weak performance. It’s worth noting that “RT” is different from conventional Windows, in that it runs on the kind of power-sipping, but generally slower chips usually found in smartphones and tablets (made by ARM) rather than the conventional brains of a PC, which have always been made by Intel and AMD. In December, Microsoft’s “full” version of Windows will come out on a Surface Pro tablet. Microsoft may be forced to move up introduction of the Surface Pro or reduce its price if demand for RT devices stays weak.
This situation was not unanticipated: Reviews of the Surface RT tablet have been middling or worse, and prospects for the company’s new Windows 8 OS are uncertain. As a result, pundits are already declaring this the beginning of (or an important milestone in) Microsoft’s death spiral.
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Microsoft and Intel have been so inter-twined for decades that there’s been a special name for them: WinTel. The “WinTel Monopoly” has required you to run Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office and the rest of their core software on Intel hardware only, with few exceptions.
There have been a couple of attempts to move away from Intel x86 architecture toward better processors (such as Digital’s Alpha and the Itanium), but this is Microsoft’s first real shot at running its core product on an inexpensive, low-power processor architecture — the ARM family.
Hitting two birds with one stone, Microsoft Windows 8 is also aiming squarely at tablet computers, and is hoping to be able to employ the power-sipping ARM family to give it a big advantage over past attempts at running Windows on a tablet. Toward that effort of taking over the tablet world, Microsoft has adopted larger icons and a different work-flow which should make it easier to use your fingers to run your tablet.
Will it be enough? Steve Ballmer has said that Windows is their core product family for future revenue enhancement, and there are obviously hopes that the new Windows 8 will provide them a universal platform that will sell by the millions. Given their history of attempts at tablets over the years, it will be at least another two or three years before we’ll be able to tell if they made a dent.
And then there’s the built-in advertising platform. Windows 8 provides a complete platform to be able to show you ads no matter what you’re doing. No more waiting to go to a web site to see an ad Now you’ll be able to see ads anytime. Now there’s a feature that will attract users!
Image via CrunchBase
Google‘s $12.5 Billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility gives it the opportunity to truly own two markets that it’s been pursuing heavily, Cell Phones and set-top Boxes.
After the failure of its Nexus phones to build a real market, Google will be able to build on one of the best cell phone hardware platforms on the market. And they already run Android. Of course, other cell phone hardware manufacturers might not be so willing to use Android as a platform with Google competing against them on the hardware side. It could push HTC and others away from Android and onto another platform.
The set-top boxes are going to allow Google further inroads into the television business. Ultimately, this gives them unprecedented strength in content-to-TV delivery, email and even web browsing. Think Microsoft’s WebTV which can actually work.
Although the deal still has to be approved, the Patents that will be acquired could make Google an impossible-to-beat handset manufacturer. Good for them, bad for everybody else.
Image via CrunchBase
It’s been more than 30 years since the IBM PC stared to unify the rough-and-tumble personal computer market place of the 1970′s. Its design sparked decades worth of copycats and also-rans which have completely dominated the desktop market. Things are starting to change, and we’re starting to see the decline of the Desktop “PC”. But its demise is going to take a while, and it isn’t getting directly replaced.
Today, Tablet computers are many people’s primary computers. Although tablet technology has existed for more than a decade, and Microsoft was its first promoter, they just haven’t taken off until Apple introduced its tablet “iPad” computer is 2010. Since then the popularity of tablets has expanded into the millions of units and dozens of operating systems.
When will the PC go away? For many people it already has. One of the primary inventors of the ubiquitous PC, Mark Dean, already is using a tablet as his primary computer.
The PC isn’t being replaced with a new PC-killer device. Its being replaced with more application-specific vertical devices such as smart phones, the computing “cloud” and of course the tablet.
30 years is a pretty good run in the technology world. Goodbye PC. Hello ease-of-use and ease-of-access.
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Microsoft‘s latest quarterly earnings report indicate a huge deficit problem at the world’s top PC software company. Turns out that they’ve lost more than 8.5 billion US dollars over the last nine years on what Bill Gates had classified as the company’s highest priority — capturing the Internet marketplace.
Last year, Microsoft faced a record $2.56 billion dollar loss in their Online Services Division (OSD for short). The division which built and sponsors their Bing product.
Way back on May 26th, 1995, Bill Gates sent the “Internet Tidal Wave” memorandum to Microsoft executives. In it he outlined the problems Microsoft was facing due to upstart Internet browsers and other companies who would inevitably take millions of users away from Microsoft and their PC-bound products. If they didn’t change their direction quickly, they’d be in big trouble. They started trying to dominate the online world and they’ve received heavy competition at every turn.
From MSN and Hotmail to MSNBC and Slate things haven’t been going their way. 17 years after Mr. Gates memo they’re still in big trouble. They’re under heavy scrutiny by investors and by users of their software.
They just spent $8.5 billion to purchase UK-based Skype. Why? Skype actually lost money last year, and its the second time they’ve been purchased.
Maybe that’s why their stock isn’t doing so well.
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I guess it’s good news for Canada, who owns some 50% of Skype, but it’s hard to envision what Microsoft intends to do with Skype for corporate IT. It has security weaknesses, puts a heavy load on some user’s machines and networks and is generally quite the hack.
Perhaps Microsoft is continuing to play defense. It’s been hit hard in the search engine business, smartphone business, the server operating system business and even the embedded computing space. Perhaps this is its chance to regain some form of credibility.
Perhaps its a future add-on to Windows Lice Messenger and Lync?
But $8.5 billion? Come on.