Microsoft thanks #Windows10 Insiders with #ninjacat wallpaper, mashups, and campaign

In just eight days, Microsoft is gearing up for what is certainly their largest release to date: Windows 10 for PCs. For many months now, a cadre of volunteers aka Insiders have helped Microsoft deliver an OS that you want through feedback, votes, and data usage.

Even though making an OS is srs bsns it does not mean we cannot all have a little fun too. Case in point: Ninja Cat riding on a unicorn. If you are not familiar with the bold, proud and ludicrous emblem of Windows Insiders insiders, then you can read my expertly crafted history of the unintentional Microsoft meme.


For those of you already in the club, you just need to know Microsoft has you covered. Today, they are releasing Ninjacat riding on various new steeds, including the classic unicorn and the new T-Rex and narwhal versions. From Gabriel Aul's post:

"So here are some fun background/lock screen images of the ninja cat and her steeds to help celebrate the upcoming launch of Windows 10 upgrades for PCs. You can download either the background images themselves (sized for the most common resolutions for PCs, tablets, phones and the Microsoft Band) or the individual images and make your own."

The form is in wallpaper for your PC, tablets, phones and yes, even the Microsoft Band.

Microsoft formatted each of the images in different resolutions for different device form factors, from a massive 3840 x 2160 down to the 310 x 102 format used as a background for the Microsoft Band (in attach).

Windows_Insider_Ninjacat_PC.zip (4MB)

Here the wallpaper for Windows Phone.

Apple Pay Has Officially Launched In The U.K.

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The Eagle has landed. An accidental tweet told us that the U.K. wouldn’t have to wait for Apple Pay much longer, and that tweet was right. Apple Pay has officially launched in the U.K.

Finally! It has been available to customers here in the US since last October, so your time has finally come, U.K.

Hopefully your bank is one of the launch participants: American Express, First Direct, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank. I use Simple as my bank and had to wait until like a month ago to try Apple Pay out. It was worth the wait.

As far as where you can do your shopping? Here’s a partial list of stores that kinda sound familiar to me, but not really: Boots, BP, Costa, Liberty, Lidl, M&S, McDonalds, Starbucks and my fav, Wagamama.

According to Apple, the service will be available in 250,000 locations.

Microsoft shows off new GigJam service for 'getting work done'

projectgigjamMicrosoft execs are showing off on the opening day of the company's Worldwide Partner Conference a new service aimed at helping users on any device get work done.

The service and associated light-weight apps, known as "Project GigJam," have been years in the making inside the CEO's Chief Technology Office. The service will be available in preview in the coming months, officials said today.

GigJam breaks down tasks into a set of discrete steps and sets of information. Those involved in a particular task can converse (online or offline), get information from their internal business and/or software-as-a-service apps and keep track of the processes involved -- all in the name of accomplishing tasks more quickly.

GigJam isn't a new instant messaging, screen-sharing or document-collaboration/sharing application or service. It's a new and different kind of productivity offering, says Vijay Mital, Microsoft General Manager of Ambient Computing and Robotics and one of the principals involved in developing the product.

"We turn every task in an application into a multi-person app, all at the speed of communication" said Mital. What's under the covers that makes GigaJam work?

GigJam consists of a set of new Azure services plus a lightweight client for every major operating system. The services are node.js, the clients are HTML/JavasScript with a Cordova wrapper. GigJam talks to line of business apps, SaaS, communications services and more using standard REST application programming interfaces (APIs). No other integration technology is needed, officials said.

The backbone is just plain old http://. That's how the clients talk to the GigaJam cloud services. All calls to line-of-business apps, SaaS apps, Skype, Office 365 and other applications and services are just REST calls.

GigJam makes all calls using OAuth 1 and 2, so all service calls are fully credentialed. The device OS manages the credentials. The use of Azure Active Directory or any another ID broker is transparent to GigJam. GigJam doesn't hold credentials. When something is sent to another person, the information is streamed from the sender's device, boosted by a temporary cloud proxy and sandbox.

"GigJam is doing something unprecedented," said Mital. "It's an entirely new system. it's ultra-light weight and follows standard protocols of HTTP, OAuth, REST, HTML/JavaScript, and more."

To sign up for more information on GigJam when it gets closer to preview, interested parties should go to the GigJam site and follow @GigJamApp on Twitter.

The earliest you can receive a PC with Windows 10 pre-installed is July 30

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Microsoft has yet to offer a RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of Windows 10 to PC makers, and it looks like it will be waiting until the last minute to do so. Microsoft's head of Windows marketing has confirmed that PC buyers won't be able to get one with Windows 10 pre-installed on that launch date.

Bloomberg spoke with Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's vice president of Windows and device marketing:

"You will see computers running with Windows 10 installed very soon after the 29th and then in the fall a whole new class of machines for the holidays," he said."

In this case, "very soon" is in fact the day after the Windows 10 launch, July 30, at least for one OEM. As we have previously reported, Dell started taking pre-orders for a number of their PCs with Windows 10 pre-installed a few weeks ago. The company has said that any Windows 10 PC pre-orders in the US made by 1:00 p.m. Eastern time (10 a.am Pacific time) on July 29, and your system will ship the same day. Those pre-orders will all get free next-business-day shipping, which means those PCs will be delivered to customers on July 30.

Microsoft may be interested in buying struggling chip vendor AMD

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Microsoft may be interested in buying AMD, according to a new report citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Microsoft has a lot to gain by acquiring AMD's APU business, given the Redmond giant's ambitions in the console gaming segment. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 use AMD's Jaguar-architecture APU, and if Microsoft were to buy AMD, Sony will have to shell out a significant amount of money to Microsoft on each PlayStation sold. The vendor can side with other chip manufacturers, but that will mean designing a new APU from scratch.

Microsoft isn't the only company rumored to be mulling an acquisition of AMD. Qualcomm's name has also been suggested, with the mobile chip vendor said to be interested in AMD's server business. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf recently stated that the vendor was looking to bolster its efforts in the server segment through a merger or acquisition, with AMD the only likely contender that Qualcomm can acquire at this stage.

Samsung was also mentioned as a vendor that would be interested in leveraging AMD's CPU and GPU IP to challenge the likes of Qualcomm and Intel. AMD's current market valuation of $2 billion is low enough that all three organizations listed above can acquire it using their cash reserves. Microsoft has $93 billion in cash, Qualcomm has over $12 billion and Samsung has $66 billion in its cash reserves. However, given the nature of AMD's licensing portfolio, there will be significant regulatory hurdles before any deal goes through.

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