Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Slack, valued at $7 billion during its last funding round, went public yesterday and closed at $38.62, which is 49 percent higher than the $26 reference price set by the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which provides workplace collaboration tools, said it currently has 10+ million daily users and 88,000 paying customers. While it positions itself as an antidote to overstuffed email boxes, it has heavyweight competition with Google (Hangouts Chat), Facebook (Workplace) and Microsoft (Teams). The latter, which is bundled with Office software, is already in use by 500,000+ organizations according to Microsoft. Continue reading Slack, Other Chat Apps Aim to Supplant Email in Workplace

Samsung Reveals New Galaxy Phones, Including a Foldable

Samsung introduced four new Galaxy phones this week, one of which will work on 5G networks and three of which will have somewhat larger screens and more sophisticated camera systems. The company is also teasing a fifth device that is foldable. With regard to larger sizes, Samsung is offering the S10 and S10 Plus, with 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch displays respectively, compared to the S9 and S9 Plus’ screen sizes of 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches. Larger screen size was achieved without enlarging the devices’ body sizes. Continue reading Samsung Reveals New Galaxy Phones, Including a Foldable

LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

LinkedIn is introducing two new features: the ability to use QR codes for quickly sharing profiles and contact details, and a “See Translation” button that will translate posts into different languages. Currently available for iOS and Android, the QR codes offer users a quick option for accessing someone’s profile or sharing their own code via messaging apps, email, websites or printed materials such as business cards, conference badges and company brochures. The translation tool, available for more than 60 languages, is offered through LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile web versions (and soon via iOS and Android). Continue reading LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

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

Amazon, Microsoft Partner to Connect Their Voice Assistants

In a competitive landscape, Amazon and Microsoft are forming a rare partnership to enable communication between their respective voice assistants, Alexa and Cortana. This will allow users to summon Cortana using Alexa and vice versa, by the end of 2017. Chief executives Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella made the move because of their concern that keeping digital assistants in a walled garden could hold back their progress, and that, by facilitating communication between them, end users could enjoy each one’s unique strengths. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Partner to Connect Their Voice Assistants

With Gains in Cloud Computing, Microsoft Achieves No. 2 Spot

In fiscal Q2, Microsoft posted gains for its Intelligent Cloud segment, which includes Azure, showing an uptick of 8 percent — or 10 percent accounting for currency fluctuations — to $6.9 billion. Azure revenue has increased 93 percent, more than doubling from the same period a year ago. Microsoft is now firmly in second place, behind Amazon, in cloud computing. Microsoft also enjoyed a 5 percent increase in revenue from licensing Windows software to PC manufacturers and another 5 percent uptick from corporate agreements. Continue reading With Gains in Cloud Computing, Microsoft Achieves No. 2 Spot

Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Microsoft will provide a full version of Windows 10, with desktop app support, to ARM chipsets with the expectation that ARM-based laptops will be the first adopters. Microsoft recently demonstrated Windows 10 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, with support for HD video playback, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. With emulation of x86 desktop apps, the consumer experience is unchanged. Although laptops will likely be the first, some believe it’s a harbinger of Microsoft turning a smartphone into a “real PC.” Continue reading Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

Microsoft introduced its first major addition in years to Office 365, the company’s $23 billion/year software, by debuting Microsoft Teams, which allows workers to gather with colleagues in private chat rooms. Similar to Slack, the new feature was brought to fruition by Microsoft co-founder/now technology adviser Bill Gates. Office 365’s suite of tools includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint and is delivered over the Internet. Microsoft Teams will be bundled for free with the business version of Office 365. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Microsoft is reorganizing itself to better address the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. The company says it has opened a new organization, staffed by 5,000 employees, that combines its sizeable research group and AI-enabled products including the Bing search engine and Cortana virtual assistant. The new group’s creation had a setback when computer scientist Qi Lu, who had overseen Bing and Microsoft Office products, suffered a serious bicycling accident and had to temporarily leave the company.   Continue reading New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

Microsoft just paid $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn and its treasure trove of information about the business social network’s 105.5 million monthly active users. That enormous quantity of data will drive machine learning to create and evolve products as well as anticipate customer needs. Microsoft isn’t alone in going after large repositories of data for that very reason. As Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet exploit the possibilities of machine learning, they all are competing for the information necessary to find actionable patterns. Continue reading Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

Apple Envisions iOS as the Future of Business Computing

With the recent introduction of the iPad Pro, Apple is signaling its intent that iOS become the dominant operating system in the enterprise arena. Driven by millennials whose intimate familiarity with iOS comes from growing up with — and spending most of their time with — Apple mobile devices, iOS is poised, believes Apple, to be the operating system that this demographic brings with them as they move into their careers and business lives. Microsoft, among others, is porting hundreds of apps to iOS. Continue reading Apple Envisions iOS as the Future of Business Computing

Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

Quip, a company founded by Google vets Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs, recently released its mobile creation and collaboration tool for desktop computers. The toolset enables users to connect desktops and mobile devices to the cloud for a version of distributed computing, usually the purview of large data centers. Part of an emerging trend to use as much computing as possible, Quip’s solution has similarities to Amazon’s Silk browser in the Kindle, which has features of local and cloud computing. Continue reading Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Microsoft is joining Apple, Fitbit, musician will.i.am and others gearing up to offer new smartwatches. Microsoft’s wearable — a smartwatch that will track your heart rate, work across different mobile platforms, and run for more than two days of regular use before needing a charge — is expected to launch in the next few weeks. A name for the device or its retail cost is not yet known. Microsoft joins a growing field as the wearable tech market is forecasted to be worth $7.1 billion as early as next year. Continue reading Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Positive Review for Radically Changed Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft released its newest version of Office this week with radical changes including a new subscription-based pricing model, automatic year-round updates and close tie-ins to the cloud. Documents can be saved to Microsoft’s SkyDrive, an effort to compete with products like Google Drive, giving users the chance to store and share with remote access. Continue reading Positive Review for Radically Changed Microsoft Office 365