Microsoft Invests $10 Billion in OpenAI, Valued at About $29B

Microsoft is expanding its relationship with OpenAI, entering what it calls “the third phase of our long-term partnership” with a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment to accelerate AI breakthroughs to ensure these benefits are broadly shared with the world.” Although the companies did not disclose financial terms, Microsoft’s investment was previously reported as $10 billion. The New York Times reports OpenAI is also in talks to complete a tender offer for as much as $300 million (contingent on the number of employees selling stock), “which would value the company at around $29 billion.” Continue reading Microsoft Invests $10 Billion in OpenAI, Valued at About $29B

Microsoft Adding ChatGPT to Wide Release of Azure OpenAI

Microsoft plans to add OpenAI’s artificial intelligence app ChatGPT to its Azure OpenAI Service, which is now being made generally available after being offered to select enterprise customers in limited availability since November 2021. ChatGPT’s Azure debut expands on the existing relationship with OpenAI, in which Microsoft in 2019 invested $1 billion, a stake it is considering to expanding by another $10 billion. Microsoft couched the moves as a ”continued commitment to democratizing AI, and ongoing partnership with OpenAI.” Microsoft chief exec Satya Nadella also announced the company plans to eventually include AI tools like ChatGPT into all of its products. Continue reading Microsoft Adding ChatGPT to Wide Release of Azure OpenAI

Soft PC Sales, Currency Exchange Cloud Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft reported revenue up 14 percent year-over-year to $51.9 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended June 30. Net income was up 2 percent, to $16.7 billion for the quarter but down almost 19 percent for the year, to $61.3 billion for the 12 month period. Although the results fell short of expectations, Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella identified the Microsoft Cloud sector as a bright spot, pointing out that it “surpassed $25 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time, up 28 percent and 33 percent in constant currency,” despite the tough macroeconomic environment. Continue reading Soft PC Sales, Currency Exchange Cloud Microsoft Earnings

Netflix Names Microsoft as Sales and Tech Partner for Ad Tier

After much speculation, Netflix has revealed it has chosen Microsoft to help with configuring and launching an ad-supported subscription tier. Netflix announced plans for the new tier in April, explaining that a partner might be brought in to accelerate the effort and fuel innovation. Microsoft will supply ad-placement technology and ads served on Netflix will be exclusively booked through the Microsoft platform. “Microsoft offered the flexibility to innovate over time on both the technology and sales side, as well as strong privacy protections for our members,” Netflix COO Greg Peters explained in a statement. Continue reading Netflix Names Microsoft as Sales and Tech Partner for Ad Tier

Microsoft Takes Its Case for Activision Purchase to Capitol Hill

Microsoft has begun laying the groundwork to gain regulatory approval for its $68 billion Activision Blizzard bid, assuring D.C. decision-makers the purchase will not improperly advantage its own platforms and services. In an effort at transparency, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith say they’re “sharing where we’re going with members of Congress” and meeting with think tank representatives to compile a best-practices road map to ensure lawmakers and stakeholders the deal presents no threat. Microsoft says it wants Activision’s IP not to dominate existing markets but to help stake its claim in the emerging metaverse. Continue reading Microsoft Takes Its Case for Activision Purchase to Capitol Hill

Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks the metaverse will be transformative. “Just like the first wave of the Internet allowed everybody to build a website, I think the next wave of the Internet will be a more open world where people can build their own metaverse worlds, whether they’re organizations or game developers or anyone else,” Nadella told analysts on an earnings call last week. The remarks follow Nadella’s January 18 statement that Microsoft’s $69 billion bid for Activision Blizzard “will provide building blocks for the metaverse.” Microsoft expects the deal to close in fiscal 2023, which begins July 1. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Nadella Details His Vision of Metaverse-for-All

Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter

Microsoft ended Q2 for fiscal year 2022 on a high note, with sales up 20 percent to $51.7 billion, and net income rising 21 percent to $18.8 billion, beating analysts’ predictions. Cloud revenue grew 32 percent year-over-year, hitting $22.1 billion. Revenue in Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business was $18.3 billion, a 26 percent jump propelled largely by a basically flat 46 percent increase from Azure and cloud services. “Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world’s disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life,” Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in the earnings release. Continue reading Lifted by Cloud, Microsoft Sales Jump 20 Percent for Quarter

Microsoft Believes Activision Purchase Is ‘Key’ to Metaverse

Microsoft has made a nearly $70 billion offer to buy Activision Blizzard in a move that will bolster its Game Pass franchise, instantly expand its reach in mobile gaming, and create a content platform for the consumer virtual worlds that are expected to be big business in coming years. Statista estimates the global gaming market generated just over $178 billion in revenue in 2021, more than PwC projections for video streaming (almost $59 billion) and box office ($23 billion) combined. When the transaction closes, Microsoft says it will be the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. Continue reading Microsoft Believes Activision Purchase Is ‘Key’ to Metaverse

Corporate Migration to Metaverse Not Waiting for Zuckerberg

The metaverse, a virtual world where people embody avatars and live their lives online, was largely the purview of gamers and sci-fi movie fans until Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it part of the everyday lexicon, prompting a media assessment of how the metaverse is accessible now. Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a new Mesh app for augmented reality and virtual reality experiences using various goggles, including its own HoloLens. E-commerce platform Shopify has launched a browser-based game, “Shopify Party,” that lets employees appear as avatars for team events. Other companies are also considering a future in the metaverse. Continue reading Corporate Migration to Metaverse Not Waiting for Zuckerberg

Microsoft’s 22 Percent Q1 Growth Outperforms Expectations

Propelled by Azure cloud services, Microsoft reported $45.3 billion in revenue for its first quarter 2022, ending up 22 percent year-over-year for the period ending September 30. “We delivered a strong start to the fiscal year with our Microsoft Cloud generating $20.7 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 36 percent [YOY]”, Microsoft executive vice president and chief financial officer Amy Hood said regarding the announcement. Describing digital technology as “a deflationary force in an inflationary economy,” Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella opined that businesses, small and large, can improve productivity and affordability “by building tech intensity.” Continue reading Microsoft’s 22 Percent Q1 Growth Outperforms Expectations

Microsoft Closing LinkedIn in China, Retooling for Jobs-Only

LinkedIn will shut down its platform in China by the end of the year, the result of “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.” The Microsoft-owned company says it plans to offer a new app for China that focuses exclusively on job postings. Gone will be the social networking features that helped make LinkedIn a success in the U.S. and elsewhere. China’s Internet is monitored by a system of censorship filters called “the Great Firewall,” making it difficult for free expression platforms to do business there. Continue reading Microsoft Closing LinkedIn in China, Retooling for Jobs-Only

White House Cybersecurity Summit Brings Leaders Together

At a White House summit, President Joe Biden asked leaders of Apple, Google, JPMorgan Chase and other major companies to step up their response to cybersecurity threats. The administration, which estimated that about half a million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled, said it would assist in developing new guidelines for secure technology and assess the security of existing technology. Google, Microsoft, and insurance companies Travelers and Coalition have already signed on to the initiative. Microsoft plans to invest $20 billion over the next five years to integrate cybersecurity into its products and Google revealed its own $10 billion commitment. Continue reading White House Cybersecurity Summit Brings Leaders Together

Azure Drives Impressive Quarterly Sales, Profits for Microsoft

Microsoft experienced a successful quarter, due in large part to significant growth in Azure cloud services. The company reported overall Q4 sales of $46.2 billion, up about 21 percent year-over-year, for a $16.5 billion profit, an increase of 47 percent year-over-year. Similar to other Big Tech companies, Microsoft’s numbers exceeded Wall Street expectations. According to chief financial officer Amy Hood, Microsoft expects overall sales of $44.2 billion for the current quarter. Microsoft’s stock is currently up 40 percent over the last year, and its valuation is now $2+ trillion, second only to its rival Apple. Continue reading Azure Drives Impressive Quarterly Sales, Profits for Microsoft

Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

The five-year truce between Google and Microsoft has broken down. Sources say that neither company is interested in renewing the former alliance. Microsoft wants marketers to have equal access to search engines when they build campaigns with Google technology, but Google believes that, in fact, Microsoft sees it as a threat to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing and Office productivity businesses. Both companies are now “handing ammo” against each other to regulators, a strategy that might backfire on both of them. Continue reading Google and Microsoft End Truce as Ad Tech Battle Heats Up

Microsoft’s Q3 Sales Jump, Driving Near $2 Trillion Valuation

Microsoft quarterly numbers exceeded analysts’ expectations and drove stock up 50 percent, bringing the company close to a $2 trillion valuation, second only to Apple’s. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to remote working and remote learning drove strong uptake of the company’s cloud computing services and video game units. Although chip shortages are slowing down hardware sales, chief executive Satya Nadella reported that digital adoption curves “aren’t slowing down … they’re accelerating.” Continue reading Microsoft’s Q3 Sales Jump, Driving Near $2 Trillion Valuation