Thurrott Daily: September 13

Posted on September 13, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev, iOS, Mobile, Xbox with 0

Thurrott Daily: September 13

Me, five years ago today (at a Microsoft party in Bellevue, WA).

Tech tidbits from around the web.

9/13/2016 7:23:54 PM

Microsoft is quietly laying off dozens of highly-placed employees

This one is a bit weird, but Mary Jo Foley reports that some long-time Microsofties are getting the boot. Is this an ageism thing?

Late summer/early Fall — just after Microsoft’s latest annual review time has ended — is often a time when employees come and go.

This year, a handful of Microsoft veteran employees are retiring and/or moving on. Over the past couple of weeks, here’s who has left or is in the midst of leaving the company:

  • Bill Laing
  • Bob Kelly
  • Rick Rashid
  • Chuck Thacker
  • Dave Campbell

What’s one to make of these departures?

Is it more than just regular churn? Are some of the moves related to the recent Microsoft re-org via which Windows Server engineering has moved from Cloud and Enterprise to Windows and Devices? Are there special stock-vesting perks at play? I don’t know, but I do know around this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see executive moves. And even when it’s your dream job, everyone’s got to call it, at some point.

You should read the post if you don’t recognize those names, but what I can tell you is that most of them have been at Microsoft virtually forever.

Microsoft partners with Huawei … on cybersecurity buyers guide?

I don’t see anything about this from Microsoft, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the software giant is working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei on a curious new venture.

Microsoft and Chinese technology giant Huawei have joined forces in a “buyers guide,” meant to allay fears that each new information-technology contract poses a cybersecurity threat. Aimed at governments and corporations shopping for information- and communications-technology products and services, it was produced in cooperation with the nonprofit EastWest Institute.

Rather than reviews and rankings, this buyers guide offers a discussion of security issues in technology development, manufacturing, distribution and supply-chain management. It is part of a broader effort to shift the global cybersecurity debate away from what trade groups describe as protectionist initiatives triggered by political tensions between governments.

It offers “five principles,” the first being, “Maintain an open market that fosters innovation and competition and creates a level playing field for ICT providers.”

“This is an attempt to create objective criteria for buying technology products and services,” said Bruce McConnell, vice president of the EastWest Institute, which is based in New York.

Microsoft and Huawei are the two principal supporters of the EastWest working group that compiled the guide.


iOS 10 upgrade has a “brief issue” but Apple fixed it

Nice try living up to the exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Apple! The rollout of iOS hit some snags today, but Apple told the Verge that they figured it out.

Apple’s just-launched iOS 10 update got off to a rough start Tuesday afternoon. According to widespread complaints across social media, many iPhone and iPad users ran into installation problems. For some, the update process failed with a subsequent error message asking users to plug their iOS device into a PC or Mac for a complete restore of the operating system. Here’s Apple’s support page with a step-by-step explanation of how to do that.

In a statement to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson said “We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability. The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers.”

The company says users should now be able to safely proceed with installing iOS 10. But the initial bug proved a major headache for people who installed Apple’s big update in the middle of their workday or for away from their personal computer.

Swift Playgrounds is now available for iPad

And speaking of iOS, now that Apple’s latest mobile OS is out, it is also shipping Swift Playgrounds, which you may recall is pretty awesome. If I’m reading this Apple press release right, it actually does require iOS 10, so it’s unclear why they’ve announced it separately.

Swift Playgrounds, an innovative new iPad app from Apple that makes learning to code easy and fun for everyone, is now available on the App Store. With Swift Playgrounds, real coding concepts are brought to life with an interactive interface that allows students and beginners to explore working with Swift, the easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers to create world-class apps.

The Swift Playgrounds app is approachable enough for students with no previous programming experience to begin exploring key coding concepts, but also powerful enough for skilled programmers to experiment and express their creativity using Swift.

It really is cool. You can learn more on the Apple web site.

Sony ships PlayStation 4 System Software Update 4.00

There’s a major system software update shipping now for the PS4. Sony explains:

This update brings a refreshed system UI, Folder organization, updates to the Quick Menu and Share Menu, Library improvements, and much more!

We detailed a number of the new features making their way to PS4 prior to the beta program last month, but we wanted to share some additional information on other changes that you’ll see after updating your system.

New feature include Spotify control from the Quick Menu, new high-resolution video content support for the PS4 Pro, HDR support (which will work on all PS4 consoles), redesigns for the What’s New and Content Info interfaces, and the ability to transfer data from a PS4 to a new console (ideal for upgraders).