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Microsoft is betting the farm on AI apathy not hitting before it makes a return on its investments. This is positive and negative news for PC makers and points to what might be Microsoft's next major Windows release. Windows 11 continues to be a less-than-stellar success for Microsoft. The most recent set of figures it reported were uninspiring. Despite a looming end of support for Windows 10 - although customers can pay for an extension - the OS remains dominant, and Windows 11 trails behind its predecessor in terms of installations at the same point in its lifecycle. One reason for this could be Windows 11's hardware requirements, which mean that decent spec PCs are incapable of running it. Microsoft and OEMs' clearly hoped affected customers would buy new computers to make the upgrade – but instead many have chosen to stick with Windows 10. At this point, it is difficult to see Windows 11 as much more than a self-inflicted wound. Microsoft alienated customers and, in an attempt to force a hardware refresh, ended up further fracturing the Wintel alliance. The tragedy here is that there's nothing particularly wrong with Windows 11. Yet the threat of artificially high hardware requirements won't go away. So, how do Microsoft and its hardware partners move on from here? Redmond HQ hopes that where the stick of Windows 11 hardware requirements failed, the carrot of AI-enabled PCs might win the day. Companies including HP and Lenovo are working on machines dubbed "AI PCs" but remain tightlipped on the specifics. Then there is the specter of Arm, which continues to nibble at the PC marketplace formerly dominated by Intel. In October, Nvidia was said to be developing an Arm-based CPU for the PC market – one specifically designed to run on Windows. This is despite Microsoft's past attempts that left customers yearning for more conventional hardware. Ask us about the Project Volterra box – complete with Neural Processing Unit and "purpose-built with everything you need to develop, debug, and test native Windows apps for Arm" – that we'll have at Vulture Central one day. All of this gives us some clues about what Microsoft might – or might not – do with Windows 12. The consensus seems to be that Windows 12 will arrive sometime next year. Microsoft's hardware partners are expecting it. And some might see it as a savior, given the relatively low uptake of Windows 11. As for when it will happen, history teaches us that the update will likely reach users around October 2024. Reports have emerged of Windows 11 24H2 being sighted in logs, which would seem to confirm this – Windows 11 itself initially showed up as a "Windows 10" build. Other factors to consider regarding the timing is that Microsoft has said it will ship a version of Windows 11 in March 2024, shorn of Edge and Bing for European users. The next major release of Windows in 2024 would, therefore, turn up towards the end of the year. What would be in this release? For one, Microsoft needs to crack Windows on Arm as manufacturers want to build hardware using Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Elite – Apple has ably demonstrated that it is possible to move on from Intel-based chips, however, some serious work is needed in Windows to fully take advantage of the new hardware. For more please visit OUR FORUM.

I was not surprised when Microsoft sent Neowin an email about the Extended Security Program for Windows 10, which will grant the operating system three more years of support after the end of its mainstream support in late 2025. After all, the program is not a new concept—it is a solid tool for organizations that are not ready to upgrade to a more recent release. Pay Microsoft money, get updates, and you are golden. That was the case with Windows XP and Windows 7, two legendary operating systems (Windows 7's ESU program ended in January 2023). What was surprising is that Microsoft was about to let "regular customers" join the Extended Security Updates program for a currently undisclosed fee. For context, Windows 10 is an extremely popular desktop operating system with more than one billion monthly active devices. For comparison, Windows 11, after two years on the market, is installed on only 400 million+ computers. A solid chunk of Windows 10's market share sticks to the old OS only because Microsoft is not force-upgrading them. And even though Microsoft has not made its plans clear, you can safely assume the company will start upgrading eligible Windows 10 users to Windows 11 somewhere in mid-2025, if not earlier. With Windows 11 having steep hardware requirements, millions of computers, if not hundreds of millions, will remain forever on Windows 10 unless their owners opt for experiments with installing an unsupported OS or Linux. Microsoft knows how big of a problem the situation is. To mitigate it, the company decided to let customers pay for the extended support, a privilege previously available only to enterprise customers. That might become an issue.  If you are a PC or tech enthusiast, you know how important it is to use supported software in the modern world. You are most likely running the latest Windows version with Windows Update left untouched. Sadly, not every Windows user is like you. To be fair, most "regular consumers" rarely pay attention to Windows updates unless they break things.  Microsoft understands the situation, and you will be excused for imagining the final Windows 10 updates delivering a payload of banners and notifications warning users about the inevitable end of support and Extended Security Updates program ads. Microsoft is not shying away from ads in Windows 11, Edge, and other products, so there is no reason to believe it will not fill Windows 10 with more banners. Most likely, Windows 10's final months of mainstream support will turn into a constant fight with ads and notifications. Do not get me wrong. I understand that Microsoft has no other choice. After all, the company has to notify its customers, who are often stubborn or completely indifferent. Still, we are talking about a company that is not shy of injecting ads into the Chrome website just to make people stick to Edge. Do you expect it to be "gentle?" I can only imagine scammers reading the news on December 5, 2023, and shouting in joy. It will soon become much easier to scam inexperienced people. Paid Windows 10 support, what a gift from Microsoft. Just buy me ten Amazon gift cards to continue receiving updates and keeping your computer free from viruses. Sure, sure, bad people will always find a way to make one willingly give their money. But that will be much easier in 2025 and onward (I can bet someone somewhere is already getting scammed). Therefore, get ready to upgrade your grandma's laptop or read a lecture about digital hygiene. I guess the silver lining is that we will get more good content on YouTube, where clever content makers annoy scammers and waste their time. For more detailed information visit OUR FORUM.

A year on from the initial launch of ChatGPT, it's fair to say that advanced AI technology has had a significant impact on the business world. Microsoft has played a huge role in helping forward the development of workplace AI, spearheading a wide range of launches and initiatives aimed at helping businesses of all sizes maximize their use of the technology in several ways. But with the potential of the technology still far from being realized, how much more can businesses benefit from AI? We spoke to Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Azure + Industry, Microsoft to find out. A year ago, when OpenAI first introduced ChatGPT to the public in November 2022, the response was simply phenomenal. Within two months of its launch, ChatGPT had amassed an astonishing 100 million monthly users, making it one of the fastest-growing consumer applications in history. Fast forward to today and the momentum has only accelerated, with ChatGPT now boasting 100 million active weekly users, as of November 2023. This overwhelming public reception signals that there is an incredible appetite for this new form of AI technology. Over the last year, we've witnessed remarkable advancement of large language models which are evolving at an unprecedented pace. In collaboration with OpenAI, in February we launched the new AI-powered Bing Chat - reinventing the way we search and how we engage with the incredible wealth of resources on the internet. Subsequently, in March, we introduced Copilot for Microsoft 365 – embedding the generative AI-powered chatbot into our everyday work productivity software. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to empower every organization to harness the power of generative AI by embedding Copilot solutions into different workstreams, from Copilot in Dynamics 365 and Copilot in Microsoft Sales, to launching Copilot for Azure, Copilot for Security, and Copilot for GitHub – shifting what success looks like for every role and function. Further, as we accelerate into the era of generative AI, Microsoft is also investing the groundwork in cloud infrastructure to ensure optimization across both hardware and software support. At Microsoft Ignite 2023, we unveiled two new Microsoft-designed chips, Azure Maia – an AI Accelerator chip to run cloud-based training workloads, and Azure Cobalt – a cloud-native chip for general-purpose workloads. On top of this, Azure Boost, our new system designed to improve the performance of virtual machines is also generally available. The speed of innovation, paired with the demonstrated business value we are starting to see from AI investments in every industry, is evidence that we are witnessing the next great paradigm shift. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the potential of AI emerging for both individuals and organizations as everyone looks for the use cases that will enable a step-change in the ways that they operate. I think we are all seeing first-hand how generative AI has immense potential. Even in a short period, organizations are tackling some of their biggest challenges, from helping physician burnout in healthcare, combating cybercrime, and connecting with customers in new ways – AI is becoming woven into the fabric of society and the economic impact will be significant. While top use cases vary by industry, we see organizations around the globe tackling a range of opportunities. One of the most pertinent examples of AI’s potential is in healthcare. Healthcare workers around the world are facing increased pressure. In the UK, especially, as we enter the winter months, the NHS is facing rising pressure. AI can unlock predictive insights that help to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services. Our strategic partnership with Epic exemplifies our commitment to bringing AI to the forefront of healthcare at a significant scale. This collaboration involves the integration of conversational, ambient, and generative AI technologies across the Epic electronic health record (EHR) ecosystem. Additionally, in March this year, we embedded GPT-4 into Nuance’s Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) Express model - a workflow-integrated, fully automated clinical documentation application. Using a unique combination of conversational, ambient, and generative AI, it helps clinicians with consultation note-taking, by automatically creating draft notes after a patient visit, within seconds. Nuance Dax is currently deployed by hundreds of Epic customers to support thousands of physicians, significantly reducing their administrative workload and freeing up time they can then spend on delivering a better quality of care. Looking across industries, we announced Security Copilot in March, which enables organizations to use AI as they combat the increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape and help bridge the global security talent shortage. We’ve received positive feedback from our early preview customers, who say that using natural language, Security Copilot can automatically and proactively write up complex queries and security flags, saving up to 40% of time spent on core security operation tasks. Read this interview on OUR FORUM.