Best of the Web for Windows Users – 15 - 21 June 2014

This week Surface Pro 3 was launched in North America and, as a result, prices were slashed for the previous edition of Surface tablets. Lots of exciting articles were published about Windows Phone and a new Internet Explorer Developer Channel has been made available for anyone interested in the upcoming features of Internet Explorer. For the complete overview of this week's news related to Microsoft's ecosystem, read our recap:

The Best Tech Related News

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Microsoft is on the hunt for home automation startups - Microsoft is opening an accelerator program for home automation startups because it wants to get in on the ground early with new companies in this area.

Microsoft Cuts The Price Of Its Now-Dated Surface Pro 2 Tablet Hybrid - Now that Surface Pro 3 is launched, Microsoft has cut the prices on Surface Pro 2 tablets. Learn more details from this news article.

Microsoft accidentally confirms existence of Surface Mini - It turns out that the Surface Mini did exist and it was planned for launch until Microsoft decided to kill it at the very last minute. Proof for this is in the user manual for the newly launched Surface Pro 3. It turns out that it has many references to the Surface Mini. We assume that Microsoft killed this tablet so late in the process that they did not have the time required to update the user manual for the Surface Pro 3.

Announcing Internet Explorer Developer Channel - Microsoft released the Internet Explorer Developer Channel - which offers preview versions of forthcoming features and capabilities.The Developer Channel is compatible with both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 11.
Microsoft Announces Azure ML, Cloud-based Machine Learning Platform That Can Predict Future Events - Microsoft will soon launch the preview version of a cloud-based machine learning platform called Azure ML, which helps companies to use the cloud to build applications and APIs based on big data and predict future events.

Windows Phone OS to dominate B2B by mid-2015 - It appears that Microsoft has set its eyes on the business to business sector with Windows Phone and it wants it to become the most used mobile operating system in this section, in the next year or so. It is an ambitious goal that is worth pursuing and we are very curious to learn if Microsoft will pull this off.

Nokia Lumia "Cyan" Firmware Update to Improve Imaging - Paul Thurrott shares what's to be expected from the upcoming Nokia Lumia "Cyan" firmware update, which focuses on improving the quality of your pictures and video recordings.

Microsoft developing activation lock to render stolen Windows Phones useless - Microsoft will soon update Windows Phone to include anti-theft features that will prevent thieves from using devices after they're stolen. Such features have already been implemented in iOS 7 and they have contributed to a decreased in the number of stolen iPhones.

This is how Cortana got started and why more countries will get Microsoft's assistant soon - Windows Phone Central summarizes a Q&A session with Marcus Ash, the group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone. He speaks about Cortana, how it got started and the surprising feedback received by Microsoft which convinced them focus more on launching Cortana in as many regions as possible.

Former Microsoft employee gets 3 months in jail for leaking Windows 8 secrets - Sometime ago there was news about a Microsoft employee sealing trade secrets from Microsoft and handing them to a French blogger. His trial is now finished and he was sentenced to three months in jail and a $100 fine.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

At the end of this roundup, we would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

5 New Features of DuckDuckGo That Might Finally Make You Use It - We love seeing the DuckDuckGo search engine growing with new features. Have you used it? What do you think about it?

SSDReady calculates how long your Solid State Drive will last - A brief review for an interesting little application.

Is WiFi safe for your health, children and at home - An interesting discussion about the possible health implications of wireless networks and devices.