Today's news: We determine the top skills you'll need to thrive as a Windows IT pro, Microsoft's mobile strategy just took a dramatic new direction, and there's nothing to fear from .ini files.
FRESH ON OUR SITES ...
Gallery: Bing Maps Preview July 2015 — Microsoft announced a significant redesign of Bing Maps with a renewed focus on planning excursions including directions, destination information, street level views and venue reviews from popular sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor.
Q. Are my desktop.ini files really ticking time bombs or does tech support have this wrong? — A reader wonders if the Office Depot techs she talked to know anything about .ini files, because she's got her suspicions.
Microsoft will keep building Windows Phones but comes at a high cost — Satya Nadella has revealed the company will take a $7.6 billion impairment in regards to the Nokia Devices and Services purchase that was initiated by former CEO Steve Ballmer in September 2013 for $7.2 billion.
Band To-Go Keeps your Microsoft Band Me Tile Fresh — The Microsoft Band's innards are customizable for personalization. The Microsoft Health app has theme customization features built in, but the ability is very basic. Other apps like Pimp My Band (which is my current favorite) provide additional customization capabilities, allowing you to create and store your creations so they can be synched back across at any time.
Today's cutting edge is tomorrow's assumed knowledge — Here are five technologies that Windows Server IT Pros should get familiar with as they are likely to become very important in the next five years.
Windows 10 Mobile Build 10149 arrives for Slow Ring Insiders — Some movement on the Windows 10 Mobile front did occur when our Ring Master, Gabe Aul, announced on Twitter that build 10149 for Windows devices moved into the Slow Ring for Windows Insiders.
KB2952664 in an Endless Install Loop for Some — One of the updates this week (KB2952664), an updated version of Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade notification app, continually runs in the Windows System Tray to offer users the Windows 10 upgrade. This update has been revised 10 times already, so eventually Microsoft may get one that works.
UPDATE: Expect a Critical Adobe Flash Update Today (Now Available) — A new Flash vulnerability has surfaced, and Adobe delivered an update today. The vulnerability is rated as critical. No platform is safe, either
New Policies in July's Windows Update Client to Stop Windows 10 Upgrades by Normal Users — A computer that is licensed through an Enterprise SKU will not receive Windows 10 upgrade notifications, nor will the user be able to initiate an upgrade manually.
OTHER NEWS ...
The big news was in Microsoft's planned layoff of 7800 employees. The bulk of the cuts are expected to affect the employees in Windows Phone hardware. More than half of the Microsoft staffers based in Finland — an estimated 2300 people — lose their jobs.
Microsoft's Sales, Marketing and Services Group is also expected to sustain some deep cuts thanks to the one-two punch of the phone-targeted layoffs and Microsoft's recent moves to pull back from the display ad business.
In an email to employees, Nadella wrote:
I am committed to our first-party devices including phones. However, we need to focus our phone efforts in the near term while driving reinvention. We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family.
The long-term effects of these cuts? Microsoft is expected to narrow its hardware models, reduce the number of carriers with which is works, and focus on the geographic regions that are strategically important to the company as a whole.
Or, as our own Richard Hay said to Mashable:
"Windows Phone is not even a blip on [developers'] radar," says Richard Hay, a longtime Microsoft observer and contributor to SuperSite for Windows. "They're not going to start flocking to it, because what's the draw? You're still going to have the app gap."