As Windows 8 struggles to take off, Microsoft has decided to hire a new ad agency to handle the digital promotion of both the operating system and Microsoft Surface tablets.
The company has awarded the contract to Razorfish, according to an AdvertisingAge story on Adage.com, which says the firm already handles ads for Xbox and Bing, both of which seem to be doing better than Surface.
TABLET SMACKDOWN:iPad vs Surface RT in the enterprise
APPLICATIONS:10 nifty Windows 8 apps - all free
The switch to Razorfish came because of a competitive conflict with the previous agency, R/GA, that recently won a contract with Samsung.
Windows 8 Still better than the iPad
The latest Microsoft video ad pits the Apple iPad against a Windows 8 device, once again to the detriment of the iPad.Microsoft has already released a slew of video ads that compare (unfavorably) the iPad to the Surface tablet, and now it's extending that to other Windows 8 devices.
In this case it's competing against a Windows 8 convertible, a Lenovo touchscreen, used by a student in an English lecture. She's got the device in tablet mode when the teacher starts lecturing, so she flips the screen around to laptop mode and starts typing on the keyboard.
Meanwhile, her iPad-bound classmates struggle to pull out their keyboard add-ons while she placidly takes notes. But she's also multitasking, with one side of the screen displaying the poem being discussed, one side showing her notes and, at the top of the screen, receiving notification of an email. It's apparently from a classmate shown laboriously hammering away at an iPad touchscreen keyboard. The message: "Send me your notes again? :)"
Firefox to the rescue
Relief is in sight for fans of the Firefox browser who miss it when working on Windows 8 touchscreen machines.
More than one report says Mozilla is working toward a mid-December release date for a version of the browser that will be compatible with the Windows 8 Modern user interface.
This means a full screen display of web pages with the address bar hidden off the bottom of the screen and other browser windows hidden off the top.
Skype comes standard
With the release of Windows 8.1 slated for Oct. 18 Microsoft will be adding a Skype client packaged standard with a live tile for the app appearing on the Start Screen.
Until then Windows 8 users that want Skype have to download and install it separately.
Since it's a live tile it will display incoming calls, instant messages and files that are being shared.
Drop XP for Windows 8
The advice from Microsoft is pretty much this: after it stops supporting Windows XP next April, attackers will have a field day if they can find exploits that haven't already been patched because after that date they never will be patched.
It's much safer for that reason alone to switch to something newer like Windows 8 or even Windows 7, according to a Microsoft blog.
While it describes the security features of XP as state-of-the-art when the operating system first came out, that was a long time ago. Meanwhile attackers have been honing their skills to the point that XP's security measures now fall short.
"The data we have on malware infection rates for Windows operating systems indicates that the infection rate for Windows XP is significantly higher than those for modern day operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8," Microsoft says. And so the company recommends upgrading to one of its newer operating systems.
Windows 8 boasts a number of security enhancements lacking in earlier versions of Windows.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications 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.