Microsoft and Google Making Progress in Streaming Games

Streaming games have taken a step forward. Microsoft is tapping its Research division and 54 global regional Azure data centers for Project xCloud, which aims to transform the Xbox from a box into a hub. The company hopes to test it publicly in 2019. Meanwhile, Google is beta-testing Project Stream, which streams games over the Internet via the Chrome browser. Although gaming boasts 2.3 billion players, console makers are now second place to mobile games, which are responsible for more than half of this year’s $138 billion revenue. Continue reading Microsoft and Google Making Progress in Streaming Games

Microsoft Azure Grows to the No. 2 Spot in Cloud Computing

Amazon has thus far dominated the cloud computing business, but Microsoft is now a strong No. 2. The latter, in a quarterly financial report, indicated that its Azure cloud computing unit grew 89 percent over the same period a year ago and demonstrated growth in other cloud offerings. Synergy Research Group reports that the overall “core cloud business” is valued at $60 billion a year, having grown by 50 percent in Q1 2018. Amazon is responsible for a 33 percent share, which had held steady since the end of 2015. Continue reading Microsoft Azure Grows to the No. 2 Spot in Cloud Computing

Microsoft Builds on Existing Tech, Voices Moral Conscience

At its Build developer conference this week, Microsoft is showing products that highlight its changed direction under the aegis of chief executive Satya Nadella. Among them is a DJI drone loaded with Microsoft software to identify oil pipeline faults without an Internet connection. Although Microsoft is helping customers enhance their existing gear, the company promised “big things ahead” to those entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem. Uninvolved in recent data scandals, some deem Microsoft to be the tech industry’s moral conscience. Continue reading Microsoft Builds on Existing Tech, Voices Moral Conscience

Microsoft Reaches Out to Developers at its Build Conference

Microsoft revealed interesting news during this week’s Build developer conference in Seattle, Washington. Among the key announcements: a pair of mixed reality enterprise apps for the HoloLens; a partnership with DJI to bring Microsoft’s AI and machine learning tech to commercial drones; a preview launch of deep learning acceleration platform Project Brainwave; prototype hardware designed for the meeting room of the future; and Project Kinect for Azure, which provides developers with the opportunity to experiment with a package of sensors and Microsoft’s next-generation depth camera. Continue reading Microsoft Reaches Out to Developers at its Build Conference

Microsoft and Intel Profits Buoyed by Growth in Cloud Services

Microsoft’s booming Azure business is now Amazon’s chief rival in the cloud. Since the company began reporting its metrics in October 2015, its growth has never dipped below 90 percent. In Microsoft’s latest fiscal Q3, it grew 93 percent, and in the preceding quarter it grew 98 percent. The company’s commercial version of its Office 365 productivity service also grew 42 percent this latest quarter. Amazon began renting cloud-based computing and storage 10 years ago. Meanwhile, Intel also reported quarterly profit increases, including a 45 percent jump in sales of data-center gear to cloud providers. Continue reading Microsoft and Intel Profits Buoyed by Growth in Cloud Services

Microsoft Shifting Its Focus From Windows to Cloud Computing

Microsoft is reportedly downgrading the scope of its Windows franchise to “reorganize its business around its growing Azure cloud-computing operations and its stalwart Office productivity business,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The move is designed to focus Microsoft on its biggest areas of growth. In its latest quarter Azure revenue jumped 98 percent while Office 365 grew 41 percent … In the same period, the More Personal Computing unit, which includes Windows, gained 2 percent to $12.17 billion.” Continue reading Microsoft Shifting Its Focus From Windows to Cloud Computing

Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Microsoft’s Brainwave system, which is “specialized hardware for AI computation,” was able to “get more than 10 times faster performance for a machine learning model that powers functionality of its Bing search engine,” reports VentureBeat. Brainwave is designed to run trained neural networks as quickly as possible with minimal latency and with the goal of providing “roughly real-time artificial intelligence predictions for applications like new Bing features.” This news was shared with a handful of Bing updates announced Monday.

Continue reading Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Google, Microsoft Develop New Ways to Compete with AWS

Amazon currently is the dominant cloud computing service; according to Amazon Web Services chief executive officer Andy Jassy, the company has several times as much business as the industry’s next busiest 14 providers combined. In the No. 2 and No. 3 spots are, respectively, Microsoft and Google, and both of them attempt to leverage their strengths and exploit perceived weaknesses of AWS to boost their own market share. Both companies see some strengths in AWS — its self-service model, for example — as vulnerabilities. Continue reading Google, Microsoft Develop New Ways to Compete with AWS

Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft Dominate With Major Q3 Growth

Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft reported significant Q3 growth: Alphabet’s profits rose 33 percent, Amazon’s 34 percent, and Microsoft’s 12 percent. The higher earnings are a reflection of the dominance of a few big companies that continue to expand into new markets. For example, enjoying the fruits of its flourishing cloud computing sector, Alphabet posted a 40 percent increase in non-advertising revenue, to $3.41 billion. News that Amazon obtained licenses from several state pharmaceutical boards also rocked the market. Continue reading Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft Dominate With Major Q3 Growth

SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

SMPTE kicked off its 2017 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition on Monday with an all-day symposium on artificial intelligence and its emerging role in entertainment production and distribution. Among the day’s presentations, SMPTE’s Richard Welsh presented a compelling primer on AI, Google’s Jeff Kember discussed the differences between supervised and unsupervised systems, Hitachi Vantara’s Jay Yogeshwar addressed using machine learning and AI for production workflow, Yvonne Thomas of Arvato Systems looked at the value of effective data analytics, Greg Taieb of Deluxe addressed language localization for multilingual distribution, and Aspera co-founder Michelle Munson examined next generation network design. Continue reading SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

Microsoft Debuts AI-Powered Software, Customer Service Bot

At the Microsoft Ignite annual IT event in Orlando, Florida this week, Microsoft announced it will soon debut a customer-service virtual assistant as part of its Dynamics 365 product line that will incorporate artificial intelligence. A user will be able to describe a problem in her own words, and the virtual assistant will answer by relying on user manuals, help documents and other materials. The customer can request a human, in which case the bot will assist the human customer service agent; a manager can view the result on a dashboard. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts AI-Powered Software, Customer Service Bot

Facebook, Microsoft, Telxius Transatlantic Cable Is Complete

The new underwater cable between North America and Europe, built through a partnership between Facebook, Microsoft and Telxius (a subsidiary of Telefónica), is now complete. Dubbed Marea (Spanish for “tide”), the new 4,000-mile subsea cable runs at a depth of 17,000 feet under the Atlantic from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and has been under construction since August 2016. Marea will offer a capacity of 160 terabits per second, and will help meet the demand for high-speed Internet and cloud services. Continue reading Facebook, Microsoft, Telxius Transatlantic Cable Is Complete

Microsoft Intros Brainwave, Jumpstarting AI Hardware Speed

Microsoft has debuted Brainwave, a system that improves AI hardware performance, enabling machine learning at speeds beyond what’s available today with CPUs or GPUs. At the Hot Chips symposium in Cupertino, California, researchers showed off a Gated Recurrent Unit model running on Intel’s newly released Stratix 10 FPGA (field programmable gate array chip), at a speed of 39.5 teraflops without batching operations. Brainwave currently supports models constructed with Microsoft’s CNTK framework and Google’s TensorFlow framework. Continue reading Microsoft Intros Brainwave, Jumpstarting AI Hardware Speed

Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Microsoft is rolling out new features to its Beam live-streaming game service, along with a new name: Mixer. With a renewed focus on social interactivity, the company will face competition from Amazon’s Twitch, Alphabet’s YouTube and, now, Facebook, which has signed e-sports streaming deals. Microsoft joins the growing live social streaming sector armed with its popular gaming console, the Xbox. Although Microsoft stopped reporting Xbox sales in 2014, it noted last month that its Xbox Live gaming service had 52 million users in the quarter ending March 31. Continue reading Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Microsoft’s New Cloud Service With AI Tools Targets IoT Use

Microsoft’s Build 2017 conference in Seattle showcased Azure cloud services for the Internet of Things, using multiple sensors and small computing devices to track data analyzed by Microsoft’s combo of cloud and AI tools. The new Azure IoT Edge speeds up the process because computing can now take place on-site. The first use cases will be industrial applications. Among its 29 AI services, Microsoft also now has automatic language translation for PowerPoint and video indexing by sight or tag when a word or phrase is spoken. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Cloud Service With AI Tools Targets IoT Use

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