Microsoft says that so far the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is twice as popular at this point than its predecessor Windows 7 was based on the number of downloads. The company didn't say how many downloads that is, but claimed it is used by millions of people per day.
Meanwhile, the next prerelease version of Windows 8 will be available in about six weeks, inching closer to a final product that is still expected to launch this fall.
TEST YOURSELF: The Windows 8 Quiz
Microsoft's Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky announced that the Windows 8 Release Preview version will be ready for download the first week of June, with no date specified, according to a tweet on the Building Windows 8 @BuildWindows8 Twitter account.
Sinofsky gave no details about what the difference will be between the Consumer Preview and the Release Preview. He also made no mention of when or if there will be a preview of Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 that will be sold only in combination with hardware that is based on ARM processors.
Is it a toaster? Is it a refrigerator?
Apple CEO Tim Cook came up with a zinger that will have staying power among critics of attempts to put Windows 8 on both laptops and tablets. "Anything can be forced to converge," Cook says, "but the problem is that products are about tradeoffs, and you begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left doesn't please anyone. You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going be pleasing to the user."
He was responding to a question about whether Apple would converge its laptops and tablets, but added a little hip check that seemed aimed at Microsoft: "We are not going to that party, but others might from a defensive point of view."
BYOD less expensive with Windows 8
Windows 8 licensing will charge for non-Windows devices to access Windows devices on corporate networks. If workers use their own Windows laptops and tablets, no extra charge. The arrangement seems like it would penalize BYOD users of, say, iPads, but that's not what Microsoft has in mind, the company's Vice President of Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Jon Roskill tells Customer Relationship News.
Running Microsoft applications on non-Windows devices is a problem for businesses, he is quoted as saying: "This is a direct way to help actually solve that business problem." And that kind of help doesn't come free. "We want to be paid and monetized for our value-add."
Send your apps
Microsoft plans to set up sites in 38 countries for submitting Metro-style apps to Windows Store, the online market for applications that cater to the Windows 8 platform. Along with the 33 new sites comes a further segmenting of categories of applications, from five to 26. The Microsoft blog announcing the changes doesn't specify the locations or the new categories.
No saying whether this is statistically significant, but advertising site Chitika posts an article that says 0.13% of computers that access its ad network are Windows 8 machines and 99.63% of all the hits the network got were from Windows machines of one type or another. The company doesn't break out the number for Apple's OS X Mountain Lion, but says it's about half what Windows 8 tallied. The study was based on hundreds of millions of ad impressions, Chitika says.
PC Advisor asked its readers whether the will upgrade their current PCs to Windows 8 and 44% say no, 30% say yes. The rest will only upgrade when they buy a new PC. Some 18% say when they buy a new PC, it won't be Windows.
Anyone who comes can fill out the publications poll questionnaire.
Windows 8 Beta posts a rumor that Huawei, the Chinese maker of networking and telecom gear, is working on a Windows 8 tablet. That's it for details. The company already makes some tablets, and a lot of other vendors are rumored to be prepping Windows 8 tablets as well, based on the standard Windows 8 desktop version or on Windows RT, the version for ARM processors.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.