Windows 7 Sels over 150 Million Licenses

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:28 Written by Mire_B Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:28

Windows 7 continues to sell lightening fast, with Microsoft having shipped more than 150 million licenses. From the Windows team blog:

I have a couple of things to tell you about today. First off, we are excited to announce that Windows 7 has sold 150 million licenses to-date. As I’ve said before, Windows 7 is the fastest selling operating system in history with 7 copies of Windows 7 sold every second. Earlier this month, I published a post about Tami Reller’s keynote at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Technology Conference. One of the points that stood out for me was her comment that between companies actively deploying and evaluating it, approximately 75% of enterprises are looking at Windows 7 for their organization. That’s amazing! And of course people continue to be excited about the features and benefits of Windows 7, and the PCs that our partners are delivering for Windows 7. You can read about many of the awesome Windows 7 PCs from my colleague Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) over on the Windows Experience Blog.

One of the things that people love about Windows 7 is how seamlessly it works with Windows Live, our free apps for sharing, photos, movies and communication. Starting tomorrow June 24th, we are releasing the beta versions of the new Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Sync. You can read more about this from the Windows Live Team on Inside Windows Live. Together, the new Windows Live Essentials combine the power of the PC and the reach of the cloud to enhance the Windows 7 experience. The way people connect and share with each other continues to shift toward the cloud and we recognize that. The PC continues to be the hub for important activities such as managing email, organizing photos, watching movies and listening to music. What the new Windows Live Essentials does is blends together the best of the PC with the best of the cloud. I’ll be posting my thoughts about Windows Live Essentials tomorrow.

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Download Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 Beta – Available June 24

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:22 Written by Mire_B Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:22

Later today, Microsoft will start offering the public Beta of Windows Live Essentials Wave 4. From the Windows team blog:

Tomorrow, hot on the heels of the Hotmail roll-out, the new Windows Live Essentials becomes available for public beta testing. Windows Live Essentials beta requires Windows Vista or Windows 7, and is available in English, French, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, or Spanish.  As soon as the beta goes live tomorrow (we’ll update this blog post when it does), you’ll be able to get it from here.

[update: oops! Dutch will be available also!]

 Download Windows Live Essentials Beta
As previously announced, this release of Essentials is focused on two things: connecting Windows 7 to the cloud services you already use, and making everyday tasks simpler, so that you can do more on your PC.

Connecting Windows 7 to the cloud

We’ve designed Essentials to connect your Windows experience to the web services you already use – not just the ones from Microsoft. The new betas of Windows Live Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, and Messenger connect to photo and video sharing (SkyDrive, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, SmugMug), social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin), email (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail), blogging (Spaces, WordPress, Blogger), and document productivity (Office Web Apps) services. And the new Windows Live Sync keeps your files synchronized across multiple PCs and in the cloud.  You can even directly access your PC over the web with Sync’s new remote desktop feature. 

Making everyday tasks simpler and enabling new possibilities

People like to get creative on their PCs as much as they like seeing what everyone else has been up to. Whether it’s Retouch, Panoramic Stitch, or Photo Fuse in Photo Gallery, Auto Movie in Movie Maker, or Photo Mail in the new Windows Live Mail, we think you’ll be excited by the new additions to Essentials that make advanced tasks, well, easy. If you haven’t yet tried PhotoFuse to merge together the best of several photos, it’s a lot of fun.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new Essentials beta. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

- Piero Sierra
   Group Program Manager, Windows Live Essentials

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Windows Internet Explorer Platform Preview 3 Build

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:12 Written by Mire_B Wednesday, 23 June 2010 10:11

Go ahead and download Windows Internet Explorer Platform Preview 3 – here.

From the IB blog

As developers experiment and begin the transition from writing today’s websites to building HTML5 applications, they will test the limits of browsers. For example, the huge difference between hardware accelerated HTML5 video and plain HTML5 video support in a browser was clear in the demo we showed at MIX.

Because some browsers run on many different operating systems, there can be a tendency to use a “least common denominator” approach to implementing HTML5. By using more of the underlying operating system, and taking advantage of the power of the whole PC, IE9 enables developers to do more with HTML5. Running through Windows, instead of just on Windows, makes a big difference; the web runs more like a native application. This is consistent with our approach of architecting HTML5 support in, from the ground up, rather than just grafting in some HTML5 features.

The third Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, available now, continues the deep work around hardware acceleration to enable the same standards-based markup to run faster. This is the latest installment of the rhythm we started in March, delivering platform preview releases approximately every eight weeks and listening to developers. You’ll see more performance, same markup, and hardware accelerated HTML5.

Performance through the power of the whole PC

Today, people expect less from a website than they do from native applications in terms of power, richness, responsiveness, and interactivity. With the third platform preview, we continue to deliver on the promise of a fully hardware accelerated browser where all of the support for text, graphics, and media uses the underlying hardware through Windows, making the full power of the PC available for the Web. Using the power of the whole PC shatters the previous constraints that limited websites.

JavaScript is one component of browser performance, and Webkit Sunspider is one measure of script performance. The latest platform preview shows how IE9’s JavaScript engine continues to get faster. Here’s the chart:

Webkit Sunspider Results

You see the progress with this zoomed-in chart, showing just the IE9 platform previews and the pre-release versions of other browsers:

Webkit Sunspider Results showing just Pre-release browsers

Looking at the differences between the script engines’ performance, you see the performance gaps between the fastest script engines are now less than 50 milliseconds – and that’s executing several million script instructions during the benchmark test. This difference is already under any human perception threshold, and we’re not done yet.

Many sites spend lots of time in subsystems other than JavaScript. If browser performance were entirely attributable to JavaScript, the performance on the test drive site samples would look like the Webkit Sunspider graph; that’s not the case. You can expect that we will continue to focus on real-world performance and not optimize for any specific benchmark.

Introducing hardware accelerated canvas, video and audio

With the third platform preview, we introduce support for the HTML5 Canvas element. As you know our approach for standards support is informed both by developer feedback and real word usage patterns today, along with where we see the web heading. Many web developers have asked us to support this part of HTML5 and we definitely took this feedback into account as we prioritized our work.

Like all of the graphics in IE9, canvas is hardware accelerated through Windows and the GPU. Hardware accelerated canvas support in IE9 illustrates the power of native HTML5 in a browser. We’ve rebuilt the browser to use the power of your whole PC to browse the web. These extensive changes to IE9 mean websites can now take advantage of all the hardware innovation in the PC industry.

Asteriod Belt demo

Try the Asteroid Belt sample and Fish Tank sample on the test drive site to see hardware accelerated Canvas in action. Together with Amazon, we built a book shelf sample showing the potential for bringing the richness of hardware accelerated canvas into an interactive e-commerce experience.

Similarly, we partnered with the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) to build the Video Panorama sample to demonstrate the possibilities for bringing hardware accelerated HTML5 Video and graphics interactivity together to create new applications and experiences. Our focus is on delivering a complete, highly interoperable implementation of canvas, video, and audio that makes the most of the full power of the PC.

To help you better understand how these samples work, we created videos that provide a look “under the hood” for Fish Tank, Amazon Shelf, and Video Panorama. As the browser uses more of the hardware, your experience depends on the hardware you have, just as it always has. With hardware accelerated graphics, the graphics card and driver combination play a significant role in how you experience the various examples and benchmarks.

The PC hardware ecosystem has made huge advances over the last few years. Today’s GPUs provide up to 10 times the computing power of CPUs, a clear trend in GPU processing power compared to CPU over recent years. Given how important the web is, our focus is making that power available to web developers. With IE9 developers can run the same, W3C standards-based markup as in other browsers – just faster, taking advantage of the underlying hardware. The result of using the power of the whole PC to browse is a new class of web application without many of the limits on today’s sites.

The first two platform previews demonstrated hardware acceleration of text, images, and vector graphics. Preview 3 completes the media landscape for modern websites with hardware accelerated video, audio, and canvas. Developers now have a comprehensive platform to build hardware accelerated HTML5 applications. This is the first browser that uses hardware acceleration for everything on the web page, on by default, available today for developers to start using for their modern site development.

Same Markup

As we have said before, web browsers should render the same markup – the same HTML, same CSS, and same script – in the same way. That’s simply not the case today across many browsers and many elements of markup. Enabling the same markup to work the same across different browsers is as crucial for HTML5’s success as performance. Our investments in standards and interoperability are all about enabling the same markup to just work.  When developers spend less time re-writing their sites to work across browsers they have more time to create amazing experiences on the web.

The third platform preview continues to support more of DOM and CSS3 standards that developers want. Examples here include DOM Traversal, full DOM L2 and L3 events, getComputedStyle from DOM Style, CSS3 Values and Units, and CSS3 multiple backgrounds.  And as with each previous Platform Preview, the Developer Guide includes a list of all available features. We continue to work with the standards bodies and the browser web community to deliver same markup.

Same Markup: Video, Audio, and WOFF

At MIX we showed the potential for hardware accelerated video on the web. On the test drive site you can try out several examples of IE9’s support for HTML5 video and audio tag support. You can see for yourself how sites like YouTube for HTML5 works with video playing through the GPU. Here’s an example:

Youtube video

Note that while the video element in the HTML5 standard does not detail support for specific codecs, developers can still use the same markup to achieve the results they want. Coding practices should focus on testing for capabilities, not browsers, and providing the right fall backs for older browsers.

Also included in the third platform preview is support for using the Web Open Font Format (WOFF) through CSS3 font face. We were excited to work with Mozilla and Opera to submit the WOFF file format to the W3C, and in IE9 to bring high quality font support to the web in a way that is friendly to web designers, font foundries, and end users. As an industry we still have work to do for same markup with same results for font support.

Like all of the text rendered in IE9, the support for WOFF makes the most of the underlying hardware and Windows DirectWrite for high quality rendering with sub-pixel precision, resulting in smooth, crisp text across font sizes and browser zoom levels. In a recent article, Richard Fink from A List Apart wrote how, “The font rendering in IE9 is worlds apart from what we’ve all come to expect.”

Of course, the importance of WOFF support is having the same markup provide the same results for text and typography – results developers and designers can depend on. Here’s an example from the test drive site that shows a selection of WOFF fonts in IE9 and in latest shipping versions Firefox and Chrome. Some of the differences you’ll see if you try this example yourself are more precise layout of text and sharper characters at large font sizes and when zoomed.

Fonts demo in IE9 - correct fonts are applied Fonts demo in Firefox - correct fonts are applied

Fonts demo in chrome - fonts are not applied correctly

Same Markup: JavaScript and ES5

Same markup includes running the same JavaScript code with the same results. The Chakra JavaScript engine in IE9 significantly improves support for ECMA-262: ECMAScript Language Specification standard, including features new to the recently finalized Fifth Edition of ECMA-262 (often called ES5 for short). This support for ES5 includes new array and object methods, as well as other language enhancements for working with strings and dates. The test drive site includes samples where you can try new array methods and play a game built with new ES5 capabilities. You can learn more about how we used ES5 arrays with a video look “under the hood” for the Tile Switch game.

Following through on having same markup across the web requires comprehensive and consistent tests. Unlike the standards body behind CSS and HTML, the JavaScript standards body has never had a place where the community could contribute tests. We’re working as part of the “TC-39” community with Ecma to create an official test suite for ECMAScript, sponsored by Ecma. In anticipation of this site, we’re making tests available on the IE Testing Center now for feedback via Connect.

Same markup: IE Testing Center and other tests

Some people use Acid3 as a shorthand for standards. Acid3 tests about 100 fragments of a dozen different technologies. Some are still in “under construction.” Some of the patterns, like SMIL animations, are inconsistent with others, like CSS3 animations, and need to be reconciled. As we continue to implement the standards that developers have told us they value most, the Acid3 score continues to rise, and we’re not done. Here’s a screenshot of how today’s IE9 Platform Preview runs today’s Acid3 test, going from 68 in the last platform preview to 83:

Acid3 - 83/100

With today’s update to the platform preview, we have also updated the IE Testing Center, adding another 118 test cases which we are contributing to the appropriate web standards working groups at the W3C. In addition, we have written 1309 JavaScript test cases and are making those all available to the web development community. Another blog post provides details about them.

Performance measurement in web pages

Enabling developers to accurately measure website performance is important to delivering great HTML5 applications. Today, developers can measure different aspects of performance on their own machines with the Developer Tools; they can’t, however, measure the performance their users actually experience. Today, many sites develop their own libraries that try to measure live performance on web pages. The problem is that these libraries actually slow down the pages for consumers and measure inaccurately, driving the wrong behavior for developers.

We believe that the WebTiming specification is a good conceptual foundation for solving this problem. We’re in conversations with the W3C HTML5 standards body and folks at Google and Mozilla about this, and how we can all work together to make WebTiming happen in an interoperable and standardized way, sooner rather than later.  We will work closely with the W3C and its members over the coming months to get this into an official working group and build consensus for a proposed specification while continuing to work together to ensure that the same markup works across browsers.

In order to keep making progress in the interim, we’ve included early support for these ideas in the IE9 preview. This is early work for sure, and following convention, IE uses a vendor prefix (-ms) on the namespace because the spec is genuinely under active construction. You can take a closer look at how this works in the WebTiming sample on the test drive site. We’ll talk more about this topic in a future blog post.

Test Drive IE9 Platform Preview Today

We appreciate the continued feedback about what we need to fix (at Connect, on the HTML5 testing listserv) as well as the feedback about what we’ve done right.

Our continued ask, is that you download the latest preview, try the samples on the test drive site, and try your own sites. Send IE9 the same markup that you give to other browsers. The IE7 compatibility view built into IE9, which some sites may run in, does not offer the best performance possible. If you still have sites that run in IE7 compatibility mode we recommend that you move those to IE9 standards mode. We want sites to get the full performance benefits of IE9 that come with running in IE9 standards mode. We also want your feedback from handing IE9 the same markup you hand other browsers.

The platform preview installs side by side with Internet Explorer 8 so that you can try it without replacing the full version of Internet Explorer that comes with Windows. This third release of the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview will install over the prior versions. There is no need to uninstall the earlier builds before installing the third.  You’ll also find more information on what’s included in this release of the Platform Preview in the Release Notes, including known and resolved issues.


Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

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