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Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

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With this year’s CES now at an end, we have a good idea where manufacturers and designers see the future. Success will be found in all things that fold. All across the Las Vegas Convention Center were the concept laptops which flexed and folded like Optimus Prime in Transformers.

Which puts a huge amount of pressure on Microsoft. It needs to deliver a version of Windows that will allow the hardware to live up to all the gambles made in Vegas by the end of 2020.

Let’s take a look at the CES successes powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10.

Intel produced a concept device, obviously to show what its chips can do with new laptop forms, but the fact that it was showing off the new form as a foldable laptop with a single screen taking up the screen, bending round the inside hinge, and then down over the space normally associated with the keyboard is a clear indication that this is a route it is comfortable with.

How about two of Dell’s examples; the ‘Concept Duet’ which shows a twin screen no physical keyboard design, and the ‘Concept Ori’ which is closer to a tablet design that can hinge upwards into a laptop style angle.

While Asus didn’t go for a flexing screen, the Asus ZenBook Duo also works on two screens, although here the second screen shares the bottom half of the laptop design with a physical keyboard.

The there’s Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Fold, which does go with the full screen that curves into thing when closed just as a normal laptop.

But there’s a literal twist to all of these innovative laptops. At CES they were all running Windows 10 Pro, a workmanlike solution at this early stage but not refined to make a seamless foldable or dual screen device feel like magic.

Luckily Microsoft has an answer in Windows 10X.

Windows 10X was announced in October 2019 alongside the dual screened Surface Neo as the operating system that would power this device – and it would allow for an ecosystem of devices from Microsoft’s partners. I suspect this is one of the key reasons that the announcement of Windows 10X happened in Q4 2019… it placed Microsoft publicly in the driving seat of foldable laptops it used the Surface brand to continue pushing innovative form factors and software, and its announcement created a tacit agreement to its partners that it would be ready by the end of 2020,.

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All this amounts to pressure. The early announcement of Windows 10X, coupled with the Surface Neo release window of Q4 2020 has created a hard deadline for the OS team to deliver not just to the Surface team at the Redmond Campus, but to Microsoft’s key hardware partners who have shown their hand at CES.

Microsoft has always looked forwards into the future but it usually remains behind closed doors until everything is cooked. With multi- and folding-screen technology, it has decided to share that future vision today. Let’s hope that Microsoft has thought carefully about delivering to that timetable.

Now read how the Surface team have beaten Apple’s iPad team in one key area…

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I am known for my strong views on mobile technology, online media, and the effect this has on the public conscious and existing businesses. I’ve been following this space for over ten years, working with a number of publishers, publications and media companies, some for long periods of time, others for commissions, one-off pieces or a series of articles or shows. As Scotland’s first podcaster, I continue to be a prominent voice in the rise of podcasting and new media online, and picked up a British Academy (BAFTA) nomination for my annual coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, alongside contributions to Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, presenting Edinburgh local radio’s coverage of the General Election. You’ll find me on Twitter (@Ewan), Facebook, and Google Plus.

Source: Microsoft Faces Immense Pressure After CES Success

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Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

Newly unsealed court documents have revealed a secret legal battle between Microsoft and one of America’s leading prosecutors focused on chasing Chinese technology companies breaking U.S. law.

U.S. attorney Alexander Solomon—who also happens to be the lead prosecutor on two criminal cases involving Huawei—just scored a big victory in that tussle, forcing Microsoft to keep quiet about a demand to hand over customer emails.

That request was originally filed in August 2018 and was followed by a gag order. Both were kept secret until Wednesday, when it emerged Microsoft was told to hand over emails, text messages and voicemails belonging to two employees at one of its unnamed enterprise customers. Microsoft said that while it could provide the data, it should be allowed to inform executives at that unnamed company. It asked the government to lift a gag order that had prevented it from informing anyone. As revealed in a Microsoft blog post and court documents unsealed Wednesday, the software giant lost that fight, though it will appeal.

Nothing was said about why the government wanted those emails. But there are numerous indications the data grab is related to America’s fight against Chinese businesses’ breaches of U.S. law.

Today In: Innovation

To start, the prosecutors in the case are both leading high-profile cases into various offenses committed by Chinese nationals and businesses against the U.S. And one, Alexander Solomon, is the lead prosecutor in two cases in which Huawei is at the center.

The biggest is the one in which Huawei stands accused of illegally exporting equipment to Iran from the U.S. via a subsidiary called Skycom, and then repeatedly lying about the deals. Not only were Huawei, its U.S. business and Skycom charged, so was the daughter of the Huawei CEO and the current CFO, Wanzhou Meng, who is currently fighting extradition from Canada. Huawei has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Huawei entities were, in January this year, charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (lEEPA), a law that Trump recently used to enforce sanctions on Iran. As per court documents detailing the order on Microsoft, the two employees of the unnamed customer are suspected of similar crimes, namely wire fraud, money laundering and breaches of lEEPA.

Going deeper, those staff at the Microsoft customer are being investigated for working for one multinational corporation and conspiring with another to violate the lEEPA. They did so “by sending and attempting to send U.S. origin goods to [a company] in [a foreign country], in contravention of U.S. sanctions,” according to a court filing.

The name of the customer remains a mystery. It’s unlikely to be Huawei, though. That’s because Microsoft was asked to hand over the emails of two “low-level employees in one business unit of a multinational, publicly listed Microsoft customer.” Huawei is not publicly listed; its private ownership has, in fact, been the subject of much speculation. Though it claims to be owned by its employees, academics have suggested that’s misleading.

The prosecutor, Solomon, is also leading a case against Chinese professor Bo Mao, who has been accused of stealing technology from a California company for a Chinese company, reportedly Huawei. Mao has pleaded not guilty on a single charge of wire fraud.

Huawei hadn’t responded to a request for comment on the above cases. Microsoft also hadn’t provided comment. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Microsoft’s fight with the U.S.

But Microsoft had a lot to say in court filings and a blog post about the government’s attempts to completely silence the maker of the Windows operating system.

It argued that 20 years ago, the government would go directly to the company that controlled the data, not its cloud-based tech supplier. Microsoft said it was “disturbing” that governments were now going to tech companies instead. And it therefore should be allowed to at least tell employees at an affected company about a government data grab, as long as it wouldn’t jeopardize an investigation. “The government cannot justify such a total ban on Microsoft’s speech,” the company’s lawyers said.

Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel, said the company would “continue to stand up for the principle that our customers are entitled to know when the government obtains their data.”

“Absent extraordinary circumstances, government agents should seek data directly from our enterprise customers, and if they seek our customers’ data from us, they should allow us to tell our customers when demands are made,” Stahlkopf added.

“We believe strongly that these fundamental protections should not disappear just because customers store their data in the cloud rather than in file cabinets or desk drawers.”

Microsoft has also been vocal about restrictions on American companies doing business with Huawei. Company president Brad Smith recently said the U.S. should revisit the ban preventing Microsoft and others from letting Huawei run American software.

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I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and BBC.com, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at TBrewster@forbes.com, or tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com.

Source: Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to British Columbia Supreme Court on September 23, 2019 to fend off her extradition case. At the hearing, attorney Richard Peck alleged that Canadian authorities delayed Meng’s arrest in an effort to collect evidence for U.S. authorities, conducting a “covert criminal investigation” in the process. Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://goo.gl/lP12gA Download our APP on Apple Store (iOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cctvn… Download our APP on Google Play (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… Follow us on: Website: https://www.cgtn.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaGlobalT… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cgtn/?hl=zh-cn Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGTNOfficial Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CGTNOfficial/ Tumblr: http://cctvnews.tumblr.com/ Weibo: http://weibo.com/cctvnewsbeijing Douyin: http://v.douyin.com/aBbmNQ/

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