With July 4 falling at the end of this week, it was a little quieter than normal on the news front. But there was still plenty to talk about, including the revelation that Windows 9 could well be free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. Visually, it's going to be quite a change, and we looked at what the removal of the desktop will mean for users. The rumors about Windows 8.1 Update 2 continue to fly in thick and fast, with the most recent suggesting that we may only have to wait until next month to get our hands on the bits.
Microsoft came under fire for its part in taking down malware site. In taking control of dynamic DNS provider No-IP to thwart malicious websites, numerous legitimate sites were also knocked offline. There was a change of heart about security emails. Microsoft had announced that security notifications would no longer be sent out by email, but then changed its mind. Sticking with online news, Google Docs this week added support for the creation and editing of Microsoft Word files. If you're keen on sticking with Office and want to be involved in its future, you can sign up to take part in future beta tests.
We’ve already heard about the Chinese government banning the installation of Windows 8 on its computer, and it looked as though the ban had been extended to include Office 365 -- but it later transpired that it might not be the case. While this could come as something of a blow to Microsoft, the company can take some solace in the fact that the government in New Zealand is about to upgrade over 2,700 computers to Windows 8.1. And China is being rather more welcoming of the Xbox One -- the console will go on sale later in the year.
Talk of the Surface Mini has been circulating for some time now, and it reached the stage where it was believed the diminutive tablet was on the verge rolling off the production lines. But before you get too excited about buying a new device, the latest rumor suggests that Microsoft has called production to a halt, with a saturated tablet market being cited as the reason. Surface Pro 3 owners who have been experiencing wifi problems can rejoice at the news that a fix is in the pipeline. Continuing to look to the future, it seems as though Microsoft's rumored smartwatch might actually be a fitness band when it sees the light of day.
There are sure to be a series of interesting snippets coming out of TechEd later in the year, and if you fancy popping along to the conference in Barcelona, tickets are now available to reserve. Microsoft was this week recognized as having the Best Corporate Offset Program, but the news is not so good for Microsoft employees who may be looking for new jobs as the company starts to feel the pinch after the Nokia acquisition. A blast from the recent past showed its face when the VAIO name came back from the grave minus the Sony association.
There were quite a few apps of note released this week. There was a tech preview of AutoCAD 360 for designers, and News Live Tiles for news junkies. Shuttersong takes care of photo sharing. Windows Phone users gained the Yo app as well as an unofficial PushBullet app for making data transfers easier. For keeping track of deliveries, there's the UPS app, while important updates came to CloudMesh, and Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview. On the subject of Windows Phone, a leaked image showing the back of what appears to be the Lumia 830 appears to confirm that the "Lumia by Microsoft" label will be used on future handsets.
Another highlight of the week was the arrival of Fahad, who we welcomed to the WinBeta team of writers!