Windows 10 support ending could be an environmental disaster that puts 240 million PCs on the scrapheap

Windows 10 running out of road for support is going to be something of an environmental disaster in terms of old PCs going into landfills, an analyst firm has warned.

Canalys wrote an article on the state of the PC market and Windows 10’s end-of-support date, which rolls around in October 2025 – still some way off, of course, but getting closer all the time.

The core issue here is not just support coming to an end for Windows 10 in just under two years, but that the hardware requirements for Windows 11 – ruling out PCs with older CPUs, and machines that lack Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 security functionality – mean that those computers likely won’t be recycled either.

As Canalys puts it: “Despite the channel’s growing capabilities to support circularity, partners will not be able to refurbish and resell PCs unsupported by Windows 11.”

The end result will be an estimated 240 million PCs becoming e-waste, which is around a fifth of all Windows 10 devices. Canalys underlines this by saying: “If these were all folded laptops, stacked one on top of another, they would make a pile 600km taller than the moon.”

It’s a stark, bleak image, though Canalys also observes that Microsoft does offer ways to extend support for Windows 10 – at a cost, naturally. You’ll be able to pay for updates to continue to be piped through, as was the case with Windows 7 when its support expired. In fact, you’ll be able to keep on going for another three years this way.

The trouble is that with Windows 7, Microsoft cranked up the costs of this scheme considerably with every additional year. Given that, Canalys argues that it likely won’t be a cost-effective way for most businesses and individual users to proceed – and upgrading to a Windows 11 system will be the sensible path to take from a cost perspective.

This will be good news for PC manufacturers, but not so great news for the environment. Indeed, Canalys expects the PC market to grow again next year – by 8% in 2024, in fact – in contrast to this year, during which a sales slump hit vendors hard (Apple in particular struggled with Mac sales).

Analysis: Growing pressure on Microsoft

This isn’t the first warning of this nature about how Windows 11’s system requirements are bad news.

In October, PIRG, the Public Interest Research Group in the US, made an even gloomier forecast of 400 million Windows 10 PCs ending up on the scrapheap, and that the end of support for the old OS could usher in the biggest rise ever seen with junked computers.

Of course, you could argue that Windows 10 has been around since 2015, and in 2025, that’ll be a full decade of its existence – and you can’t expect an operating system to last forever. We’d agree with that, but the catch is, as mentioned, that Windows 11’s requirements (in particular the need for TPM 2.0) are a concrete wall blocking upgrades for many users or businesses – something that has not been the case before.

After several high-profile calls for action on this front, how will Microsoft respond? Maybe we can hope that the pricing for extended support for Windows 10 is reined in, compared to what was charged for Windows 7 (with an escalating scale as time went on, going up a lot in the final year).

We shall see, but a lot of noise is now being made about dire e-waste concerns here, and this is a topic Microsoft has been keen to be proactive with of late (in terms of more sustainable and easily repaired hardware, for example).

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OpenAI’s CEO to get $100 million to scan everyone’s eyes for new crypto project

After going mainstream with ChatGPT, OpenAI's CEO is now embarking on a new challenge online.

Sam Altman actually co-founded Worldcoin in 2019 with the mission of “building the world’s largest identity and financial network.” Now, he seems to be close to securing $ 100 million of funds to kickstart the next step of the project: scanning everyone's eyeball to grant them free access to the new global cryptocurrency.

Some commentators have already expressed concerns about the ethical and privacy issues that could arise from it. So, will this end up being another privacy nightmare very much like his AI-powered bot?  

Iris-scanning ID verification system

According to the official website, Worldcoin is a new global cryptocurrency that aims to “create universal access to the global economy regardless of country or background, accelerating the transition to an economic future that welcomes and benefits every person on the planet.”

Quite an ambitious mission, but how do its founders plan to do that?

The key to the whole project seems to be what they refer to as the Orb. This is software that “uses iris biometrics to establish an individual’s unique personhood.” Once users have been verified, they can create their digital World ID and start receiving the crypto tokens. 

The company ensures that the World ID, which was released last week in Beta together with the World App, “can be used pseudonymously in a wide variety of everyday applications without revealing the user’s identity.”

This technology, the so-called proof of personhood protocol, is also believed to tackle some of the biggest issues raised by the quick development of AI-powered tools. It will discern between a real person and a bot, for example. Developers even believe that it could help provide a universal basic income to those affected by job cuts caused by AI.

Not everyone seems to be thrilled by the idea, though. Famous US whistleblower Edward Snowden raised concerns about the practice back in 2021. At the time, he pointed out how Worldcoin would de-facto build a global database of people's iris scans, keeping them in the form of hashes able to “match with future scans.”

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The company ensures that it will not store eye scans. It also says that the device is safe to use and will not hurt people's irises. 

Three people with knowledge of the deal have said to the Financial Times that Wordlcoin is now in “advanced talks to raise fresh cash as it prepares to launch in the next few weeks.”

The startup seems to be attracting new investors, too, alongside previous names like FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman.

Despite still operating on Beta, Worldcoin counts over 1.7 million sign-ups across the world so far, but the numbers are very likely to get higher soon.  

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ChatGPT-fueled Bing now has 100 million users – but will they stick around?

Microsoft tells us that its Bing search engine has hit new highs, now boasting 100 million daily active users.

The news came via a post on the Microsoft Bing blog site observing the difference that the ChatGPT-powered AI has made to Bing traffic in its first month of existence, pushing numbers up over 100 million for the first time ever.

The company notes that there are over a million users of the new Bing AI (in preview), and that this helped boost the figures of the search engine to realize the fresh milestone.

Microsoft then goes on to say that a third of the “millions of active users” of the Bing AI are new to Bing, which shows that the chatbot is driving folks to the search engine, although there seems to be an element of confusion here.

Is it a ‘million plus’ users of the AI, or ‘millions’? While technically those aren’t contradictory statements, we don’t see why Microsoft didn’t just call it ‘millions’ in both cases as that clearly sounds like more. Like a couple of million, or a few, even? Insert shoulder shrug here.

At any rate, Microsoft also acknowledged the obvious truth that Bing is still a long old way off the pace compared to Google: “This [100 million] is a surprisingly notable figure, and yet we are fully aware we remain a small, low, single digit share player. That said, it feels good to be at the dance!”

Analysis: Can this growth be sustained?

Let’s face it: Bing AI isn’t just a chatbot. It’s a vehicle to help Bing challenge Google, and one that Microsoft hopes will be swiftly moving up through the gears to gain momentum.

This isn’t just about pushing for market share with the Bing search engine either, it’s also a line of attack for the Edge browser, as we’ve already seen with the taskbar implementation of the Bing AI in Windows 11: an icon that linked through to the Bing page, opening it up in Edge.

(Note that after the disappointment around this, and the way Microsoft made it seem like the AI was integrated into the taskbar, rather than just being a link, the Bing icon has vanished from the search box for now, though we’re told it will be returning periodically).

Anyway, we can see that Microsoft’s plan is working thus far, with the Bing AI preview successfully recruiting regular users to add to the ranks of Bing searchers – and a good dollop of them – but will this state of affairs last?

A laptop screen showing the new ChatGPT-powered Bing search engine

(Image credit: Microsoft)

We’re doubtful. You see, the Bing chatbot is all shiny, new, and still very much an object of curiosity right now. It had a serious pull to begin with, as you’d expect from new tech, and that interest has been carried through with measures like the recent introduction of a trio of personalities to experiment with, as well as various limits Microsoft had previously imposed on chats being lifted.

And doubtless there’s still entertainment to be had prodding the AI, trying to engage with it using different angles – humor inevitably being one of them – and generally messing with the chatbot. That won’t last, though.

Don’t get us wrong, there will be serious users of the Bing bot out there, of course, but we’d imagine a sizeable chunk of the early attraction comes from the curious or mischievous.

And in that respect, initial figures are not really a yardstick of how much impact the ‘new Bing’ as Microsoft calls it will make. If growth is sustained, and the AI is meaningfully honed and improved over the next few months, we can come back and talk about a new wave of adoption for Bing.

Until then, we remain skeptical, and our overall feeling is that Microsoft has opened the doors too early on this one. We’re not sure the AI is going to be well tuned enough to seriously impress in the way it should for some time yet, but it’s easy to see why Microsoft was keen to launch. It needs all the weaponry it can muster in the battle against Google (and Chrome for that matter), and the latter company is forging ahead with its own AI tech (Bard).

Via MS Power User

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Cloud giant Blackbaud acquires social SaaS company Everfi for $750 million

Cloud software giant Blackbaud has announced its intent to acquire “impact-as-a-service” company Everfi for $ 750 million. 

Based in Washington, DC, Everfi offers cloud-based online learning tools to private, public, and social sector organisations. Alongside this, Everfi works with a range of groups on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental goals. 

The synergies between the two businesses are clear: Blackbaud, working with everyone from non-profits to K-12 schools to faith communities and arts organisations, gains another feather in its cap, one that will generate around $ 120 million in revenue during 2022, rising 20% over 2021, and reaches 45 million learners globally. 

Fiscally smart, socially good

The deal makes a lot of sense. Both companies offer each other extra reach and generate revenue that will help them grow symbiotically. 

“As companies continue to invest further in ESG and CSR programs to both give back and meet regulatory demands, they need a partner who can help connect their philanthropic goals to meaningful social impact opportunities,” said Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni. “Blackbaud and Everfi will work together to realize a shared vision of measurable social impact through world-class technology.” 

Under the terms, Blackbaud will pay $ 450 million in cash and a further $ 300 million in common stock. According to Crunchbase, Everfi has raised over $ 250 million. 

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Sage snaps up retail management company Brightpearl for £225 million

Software giant Sage has announced it will acquire Brightpearl, which makes an operating system for retail management, for £225 million. 

The deal for Brightpearl offers Sage an extra set of services to bundle with its existing accounting, financial, HR, and payroll tools for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The SaaS model used by Brightpearl also fits in easily, helping Sage expand its relationships with existing customers in the retail space. 

Sage Brightpearl deal

Sage already owned 17% of Brightpearl and the acquisition will be funded by cash. 

According to Sage, Brightpearl is expected to generate £20 million in revenue for 2021, up around 50% compared to the previous year, and will break even. 

The ultimate goal for the combined companies is to offer a suite of tools encompassing financial management, inventory planning, sales, supplier relations, CRM, fulfilment and warehousing, and logistics in one place. 

“Sage’s purpose is to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive,” says CEO Steve Hare.” Together, Sage and Brightpearl will remove the barriers that hold back retailers and wholesalers, streamlining their systems and enabling them to focus on growth.”

“We are thrilled to be joining Sage,” says Brightpearl CEO Derek O’Carroll. “Bringing our two teams together will combine the retail strength of Brightpearl and the scale, brand and financial expertise of Sage, enabling us to offer customers the most innovative financial and retail operating solutions so they can grow fearlessly, save time and deliver outstanding experiences.”

The deal is expected to close in January 2022.

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