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As Windows 10 approaches its third birthday, it's maturing steadily. A worldwide installed base of more than 700 million active users is impressive, but what will it take to convince Windows 7 users to switch? Here's my report card. Microsoft released Windows 10 three years ago this month. That three-year anniversary used to be a very big deal for Microsoft's OEM partners and for its corporate customers running Windows, because it signaled the expected arrival of a new Windows version. With Windows 10, that calendar is no longer relevant. Instead of a "big bang" release every three years, Microsoft has been trickling out new features for its flagship desktop operating system, releasing a total of five feature updates in the past three years. The most recent release, the April 2018 Update, might not seem like that big of an upgrade compared to the version that came out a mere six months earlier. But compare it to the original Windows 10 release from July 2015 and the contrast is striking. The Windows 10 you see today is the equivalent of one of those big-bang releases, and perhaps even more impressive because Microsoft's customers have been able to provide real-time feedback as new features have evolved in the intervening three years. Read the full report on OUR FORUM.

The flagship will sell all Surface products, Xbox consoles, and gaming accessories. Microsoft opened a flagship store in Taipei on July 6, showcasing its Surface range and as part of Microsoft's strategy to target Taiwanese consumers, reported CNA. The flagship store will also sell Microsoft's range of gaming products and is the U.S. company's 14th flagship store. The Xinyi District (信義區) store reflects Microsoft's targeting of the Taiwan market and is set to cater to Taiwanese consumers according to Chang Chia-hao (張家豪), a Senior Product Marketing Associate. Microsoft recently expanded its Surface range of personal computers and the flagship will allow these new products to be available to Taiwanese consumers in the shortest possible time, according to Chang. The flagship store will be the platform through which new Microsoft products will be brought to Taiwan, Chang added. Microsoft's Surface range has become popular in Taiwan, with sales increasing by between 10 and 20 percent every year since the product launched five years ago according to Hsueh Wei-hung, deputy head of Microsoft's Consumer Channel Group. Further details are posted on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a new Surface-branded Windows 10-powered tablet that won’t cost more than $400 and it would compete with Apple iPad in the education market. The rumored Surface tablet will feature rounded corners and it may still borrow some design cues from the existing models of Surface Pro lineup. The software maker is rumored to launch the Surface Tablet to compete with the iPad this year, according to Bloomberg’s sources. The key capabilities of the Surface lineup such as Type Cover, note-taking would be retained. The tablet will feature much less powerful chips than the current Core i5 and i7 models offered on expensive Surface Pro. It’s a low-cost model and it won’t come with high-end specifications. It’s likely that the device will look decent look, just like the Surface Pro models. Microsoft won’t go for Intel Core i5 or i7 processor but instead will pick Pentium processors to keep the price below $400. In terms of graphics and processors, Intel is on tap to supply both. The report suggests that the low-cost Surface will use Pentium Silver N5000 and Pentium Gold Y-series processors. It would be considerably faster than the Atom-powered Surface 3, and the top-of-the-range model will be equipped with Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y or the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y. Configurations may include 64GB of storage and 128GB of storage, coupled up 4GB of RAM and 8GB of RAM respectively. It’s expected that the new lower-cost model will weigh less and also have a shorter battery life. More details are posted on OUR FORUM.

Back in May, Microsoft revealed that it is blocking the installation of Windows 10 April 2018 Update on a few Alienware computers. Due to compatibility issues, Microsoft was blocking Windows 10 April 2018 Update on the Alienware 13 R3, Alienware 15 R3, Alienware 15 R4, Alienware 17 R4, and Alienware 17 R5. It appears that Microsoft has lifted the ban and Windows 10 April 2018 Update is now ready for all Alienware computers. An Alienware employee confirmed to us that Windows 10 April 2018 Update should install on Alienware PCs automatically and there will be no issues. “Microsoft update 1803 is now ready for Alienware computer. This one should run automatically already if no feel free to run it. It works now,” the company told us in a tweet embedded below. Back in May, a moderator on Microsoft’s support forum, Jess Can, had confirmed the compatibility issues with Alienware. “Microsoft is currently blocking these models from installing the update due to a known incompatibility that may cause these devices to display a black screen after resuming from battery saver mode,” the moderator explained. It’s worth noting that the page on Microsoft forum hasn’t been updated with new information as of yet. We have the model numbers listed on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft’s low-cost Surface has passed through the FCC recently, and now more information about the $400 Surface tablet has been revealed. Via WinFuture.de we hear the device will be powered by Intel Pentium Gold and Pentium Silver chipsets. The cheaper models will most likely come with the Intel Pentium Silver N5000, a four-core x86 SoC from the “Gemini Lake” family running at 1.1 gigahertz base clock, and up to 2 when needed, 2.7 GHz can clock up. The more expensive versions will likely feature the Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y and the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, both based on the “Kaby Lake” architecture. The chips are based on 14 nm process and can be fanless. The device shows up on Geekbench with OEMTX EV1 or OEMTX EV1 LTE codenames, confirming the presence of an LTE version. There the devices run Windows 10 Pro 64bit with 4 to 8 GB of RAM. The cheaper Surfaces are expected to hit the market in the second half of 2018 and Bloomberg reports will have 10-inch screens and more rounded edges. The tablet is expected to drop the Surface Connector in favor of standard USB-C. They will also be lighter with around 9 hours of battery life. It will retain the iconic built-in kickstand. This is continued on OUR FORUM.

In a 747-page document provided to the US House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, Facebook admitted that it granted special access to users' data to 61 tech companies. According to the document, these 61 companies received a "one-time" extension so they could update their apps in order to comply with a Terms of Service change the company applied in May 2015. The six-month extension was applied from May 2015, onward, when Facebook restricted its API so apps could not access too much data on its users, and especially the data of users' friends. The API change came in a period when apps like the one developed by Cambridge Analytica were using the Facebook API to mass-harvest the data of Facebook users. In May 2015, Facebook realized that apps were abusing this loophole in its permission system to trick one user into granting permission to the personal data of hundreds of his friends, and restricted the Facebook API to prevent indirect data harvesting. But these 61 tech companies, because they ran popular apps, received an exemption to this API change, during which, theoretically, they could have abused the Facebook API to collect data on Facebook users and their friends. Data that could have been collected included name, gender, birthdate, location, photos, and page likes. The 61 companies are listed on OUR FORUM.