Gregg Keizer

About the Author Gregg Keizer


Microsoft previews ‘Near Share,’ an AirDrop clone for nimble Windows 10 file transfers

Microsoft last week rolled out another Windows 10 preview, a regular occurrence in its Insider program, that featured a handful of additions to the under-construction OS. One of those, called “Near Share,” is a simple wireless service meant for impromptu file transfer between devices.

The easiest way to pigeonhole Near Share is to think of it as Microsoft’s belated doppelgänger of Apple’s “AirDrop,” the share service that debuted on Macs, iPhones and iPads six years ago.

Although AirDrop is one of the most under-used tools in macOS and iOS, there’s no reason Near Share has to follow suit on Windows 10. That’s why Computerworld dug up information on the feature now, rather than wait for its debut next year.

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Mac sales jump highlights purchasing pattern change

Apple last week said it sold a record number of Macs for a September quarter.

“The Mac…had its best year ever, with the highest annual Mac revenue in Apple’s history,” said CEO Tim Cook in prepared remarks during a Nov. 2 call with Wall Street analysts. Apple recorded revenue of $25.8 billion from Mac sales in its fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30.

Mac unit sales of nearly 5.4 million bested both industry and financial analysts’ expectations. Before Apple released its data, research firm IDC had pegged Apple’s number at 4.9 million, while rival Gartner offered an even lower estimate: 4.6 million. And according to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, who regularly polls Wall Street for quarterly forecasts, every analyst from a group of more than two dozen undershot Mac sales, some by over half a million machines.

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Top web browsers 2017: Microsoft Edge flounders

Microsoft’s Edge last month sank to its lowest-ever user share, with less than 16% of Windows 10 users running the browser during October.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of Edge — an estimate of the world’s personal computer owners who ran that browser — fell by six-tenths of a percentage point, ending October at 4.6%. The decline was the largest ever for Edge, and set the browser back to the user share spot it last occupied in April 2016.

More notable was Edge’s usage when calculated as a percentage of Windows 10. (Edge is the default browser for Microsoft’s OS; likewise, Edge only runs on Windows 10.) Of all Windows 10 users, just 15.7%, a record low, ran Edge in October. As recently as March, Edge’s share of Windows 10 had been around 22%.

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Top web browsers 2017: Microsoft takes another thrashing

Microsoft’s browsers suffered another big setback last month, losing so much user share that they fell beneath the 20% bar.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge — an estimate of the world’s personal computer owners who ran those browsers — plummeted by 1.9 percentage points, ending at a combined 19.3%. The downturn was the largest since October 2016.

September’s decline was previewed the previous month, when IE+Edge lost nearly a full percentage point after a five-month stretch when the browsers’ slump had been relatively small.

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Windows by the numbers: Windows 7 acts like it will live forever

If Windows 7 were an actor, it would be a past-prime stage star who overstayed his curtain call and refused to acknowledge his understudy who, just the night before, had wowed the critics and charmed the audience.

Last month, though, Windows 7 ceded a tiny pool of the limelight to that understudy, Windows 10, giving the crowd hope that the aging actor would finally figure out he should exit, stage left, before the theater’s manager got the hook and dragged him off the boards.

According to metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 7’s user share in September was 48.4%, a decline of 1.2 percentage points. More importantly, the operating system ran 52.1% of all Windows machines during the same stretch, a month-over-month drop of 1.3 points. (The second percentage is larger because Windows was detected on 90.6% of the world’s PCs, not 100%; the remainder ran macOS or some kind of Linux.) This was the largest decline of Windows 7’s <i>user share</i> — an estimate of the percentage of the world’s personal computers powered by the OS — since July 2016.

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Microsoft defends sluggish ramp up of extensions for Edge browser

Microsoft last week reminded everyone of at least one reason why Windows 10 users have not gravitated to the company’s Edge, pointing out that developers had published just 70 extensions for the browser over the past 12 months.

“It has been a little more than a year since Microsoft first shipped the number one requested feature for Microsoft Edge — extensions,” wrote Colleen Williams, a senior program manager with the Edge team, in a post to a company blog. “We are excited to share a few updates on the progress we have made since then.”

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