Microsoft Brings Cortana to Nissan, Amazon Signs Ford Deal

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn delivered a CES keynote that addressed the company’s goal to integrate Microsoft tech into its automobiles. Nissan’s connected vehicles will use Microsoft programs including the Cortana voice assistant, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business. Microsoft is launching a new Connected Vehicle Platform based on its Azure cloud platform, and the Renault-Nissan alliance will be the first automotive partner for the tech giant’s new initiative. The move comes during increased competition in automotive tech; Amazon, for example, is looking to get its virtual assistant Alexa into cars and just announced a deal with Ford. Continue reading Microsoft Brings Cortana to Nissan, Amazon Signs Ford Deal

Group Chat, Chatbots Gain Traction as Business Applications

Chat is the latest significant tool in enterprise, as evidenced by Facebook’s introduction of Workplace by Facebook, a version of its social network for organizations, and Microsoft’s new Office 365 productivity tool Microsoft Teams. More such chat tools come from HipChat and Slack Technologies, the latter of which counts four million daily active users and is valued at $3.8 billion. Facebook also opened Messenger for businesses to build virtual assistants, and developers have already built more than 33,000 so-called chatbots. Continue reading Group Chat, Chatbots Gain Traction as Business Applications

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

Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

After two years of development and testing in London, Facebook rolled out Workplace by Facebook, modeled after the company’s internal network and aimed at the corporate environment. Workplace by Facebook (formerly Facebook at Work) allows workers, even in different companies, to communicate and collaborate, for a monthly fee of $1 to $3 per user. By entering the enterprise communication space, Facebook will compete with Slack, Microsoft’s Yammer (accessible via Office 365), and Jive Software’s Jive among other solutions. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

In 2012, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and computer chip researcher Doug Burger believed they had found the future of computing: chips that could be programmed for specific tasks, dubbed field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Project Catapult, as it was called, was intended to shift the underlying technology of all Microsoft servers in that direction. FPGAs now form the basis of Bing. Soon, the specialized chips will be capable of artificial intelligence at a tremendous speed — 23 milliseconds versus four seconds. Continue reading Microsoft Speeds Up AI with New Programmable FPGA Chips

Apple Rolls Out 2TB iCloud Storage Tier Ahead of New iPhone

Apple fans now have more choice when it comes to storing their photos, videos and documents. One week before the company is expected to unveil its new iPhone, Apple is introducing a new top-tier option for iCloud, offering up to 2 terabytes of cloud storage for $20/month. The new “macOS Sierra is about to be released with iCloud Drive support built in, so it’s entirely possible that the new 2TB tier was released in anticipation of users wanting more than the previous 1TB option,” notes Digital Trends. In addition, the company is reportedly planning “to unveil a 256GB iPhone option, an amount of storage that might previously have been a little too much for those with 1TB limits, especially when all of a computer’s files are added into the mix.” Continue reading Apple Rolls Out 2TB iCloud Storage Tier Ahead of New iPhone

With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Microsoft acquired Genee, a smart scheduling app that can help improve the company’s virtual assistant Cortana. Currently, Cortana can track packages and set reminders based on location among other tasks but, with Genee, it could also automatically set business meetings simply by recognizing key phrases in emails. That’s just one of the many tasks that an AI-enhanced Cortana would be able to do, all based on Genee’s ability to interpret language. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Continue reading With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Microsoft Stream Offers Familiar Video Tools for Businesses

Microsoft introduced Stream, a service that will allow businesses the ability to share internal video easily and securely. Now available as a free preview, Stream offers the same easy-to-use, flexible tools as YouTube, but with security tools for enterprise content. Office 365 already has a Video tool, and Microsoft’s idea is to eventually and seamlessly merge the two services. Unlike Office 365, Stream will make use of tools — including likes, comments, and recommendations — found in consumer platforms such as Vimeo and YouTube. Continue reading Microsoft Stream Offers Familiar Video Tools for Businesses

Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Microsoft just announced that it plans to acquire professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion ($196 per share) in an all-cash deal expected to close this year. The merger will enable Microsoft to offer services to LinkedIn’s 433 million users. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is slated to remain head of the LinkedIn unit and join the new parent company’s senior leadership team. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the deal will be “key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes” as the tech giant continues its push toward becoming a vital enterprise hub. Continue reading Microsoft Announces Deal to Purchase LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

As big companies such as General Electric and Netflix close down their data centers and move operations to the cloud, Amazon and Microsoft are enjoying rising revenues in their cloud operations — and increasing competition between each other. In the process, they’re also gaining dominance over rivals including Google and IBM. Recently, GE has reported whittling down its reliance on data centers from 34 to four. Netflix closed its last data center at the end of last summer. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

The Public Cloud is Inevitable, and Amazon Stands to Win Big

The public cloud for software-as-a-service offerings, including back-end business services is catching fire, and Amazon and Google, which already run extensive public clouds, are well positioned to dominate in the arena. That’s despite Dell’s recent purchase of EMC, say the experts, because the two companies under EMC — VMware and Pivotal — although they are cloud computing companies, are not big players in the public cloud. Cloud platform services are expected to become a $44 billion market by 2020. Continue reading The Public Cloud is Inevitable, and Amazon Stands to Win Big

Microsoft is Developing New Streaming Game and App Service

A team that is part of Microsoft’s Systems Group is reportedly developing a new technology called Arcadia that will stream games and apps on Windows devices. On separate occasions, Microsoft has posted job openings looking for candidates to join the Operating Systems Group (OSG) Arcadia team. Arcadia is to be built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and is expected to be a replacement to an ongoing OSG game-stream project called Rio, announced back in 2013.  Continue reading Microsoft is Developing New Streaming Game and App Service

New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

Microsoft announced that it will offer the mobile version of its Office suite featuring Word, Excel and Powerpoint for free. This is a major departure for Microsoft, which usually charges a premium for its software. However, with people doing less on their desktops and more on their smartphones, Microsoft is finally focusing on today’s push into cloud computing. The company hopes that the free mobile apps will entice new users to buy the desktop software, too. Continue reading New Direction: Microsoft Offers Office Suite Free for Mobile

The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is adapting his company to address the challenges of a changing market. The software company is now working on improving Microsoft products across all platforms, such as Android and iOS. Also, Microsoft is about to release a search tool, Delve, that can peruse emails, social networks and corporate documents to find information for work-related inquiries. Microsoft is placing emphasis on Delve’s machine learning and artificial intelligence. Continue reading The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

Steve Ballmer is retiring as CEO of Microsoft, leaving many to question what the next CEO will need to do in order to invigorate the company, boost morale and emphasize innovation. Ballmer is said to have focused more on sales and revenue, rather than experimentation, and did not fully develop many technologies the company began, some of which competitors would later turn into blockbusters. However, innovation under Ballmer is evidenced by departures such as the Kinect motion sensor and the interface of Windows 8. Continue reading Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

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