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Microsoft News & Analysis

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The latest in connecting, publishing, managing, chatting, targeting, offering and backing up from the Evergreen State, the Knickerbocker State, Don’t Call it Frisco, Tree City USA, Climate Best By Government Test, Bharat, the Baked Bean State and that Toddling Town.

Microsoft Shops Again: Buys LiveLoop, an Office Collaboration Start-Up

Installing software to collaborate on PowerPoint slides is a drag. Signing into web-hosting services like GoToMeeting, for the same reason, isn’t much better.

Microsoft knows this, so it set out to solve the problem — but not by assigning a team of engineers and UX experts to come up with a remedy. Instead it decided to buy a startup that had already found an answer.

Late yesterday a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the company had acquired Office productivity tool maker LiveLoop. Here’s what the statement said:

“Microsoft is excited to welcome the talented team from LiveLoop to help build great collaboration across Office applications, as part of our strategy and vision to reinvent productivity.”

LiveLoop will be permanently shuttered on April 24, the site acknowledges.

The terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

Microsoft Elbows Its Way Onto Android Devices

Microsoft has forged several new partnerships with tablet makers using the Android operating system, including Samsung and Dell.

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president for business development at Microsoft, said the deals extend Microsoft’s reach in the mobile world and extend its Mobile First, Cloud First strategy.

Microsoft to Host Next-Generation BizTalk Server on Azure

Microsoft is deploying a new, Azure-based platform for applications designed to handle business transactions on mobile devices – apps that can be both designed and deployed in the cloud, by non-professional developers.  Azure App Service will be a web apps platform for the business process management (BPM) market.

As the business world moves away from the monolithic client/server model to a cloud infrastructure based on microservices, the transactional system upon which the world’s financial structure is based, must move with it.

The brains of the world are relocating.  Now it’s time to move its cardiovascular system.

Endangered Species: The Corporate Intranet

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The very idea that we’re still doing old-fashioned, browser-based, news-publishing intranets in the mobile era is downright antiquated. They’re no different than rotary-dial phones. And they’re going the same direction as your old olive-drab rotary phone did -- and as a result of the same technologies.

The question facing intranets should be how internal collaboration and communication tools are going to evolve in the world of social, cloud and mobile -- and whether there’s any place left for the traditional intranet down the line. We shouldn’t be asking if enterprise social will replace the intranet, but rather how long the whole idea of a browser-based intranet portal really has left in the face of mobile apps and form factors (of which social is only one example).

You may not like the message. You may care a great deal for your intranet. You may be tied to it for professional, emotional or financial reasons. You may not see how your company could live without it. And I get it. Believe it or not, I envision, plan and build intranets in my day job. I’m close to this patient. But I know where it’s going.

Think Digital Marketing Technology: Think ... Microsoft?

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When the topic of conversation turns to digital marketing technology, would you expect Microsoft to come up as a leading vendor?

The latest survey by ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, gives some insight into this, as well as other interesting business software spending tidbits – and some of the data might surprise you.

For starters, 28 percent of the 1,044 software buyers surveyed identified Microsoft as a digital marketing technology vendor they currently use or plan to use in the next six months – a finding unchanged from the previous survey taken last July.

Matt Mullen, senior analyst for social business at 451 Research, told us why.

Make Room for Gartner's BI and Analytics Platforms MQ Leaders

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Twenty four is a crowd -- yet that’s how many vendors made it into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics circa 2015.

For enterprises that are shopping for BI and Analytics solutions, choice may seem like a good thing until you consider what evaluating that many vendors might look like -- most of us wouldn’t even consider trying on 24 pairs of jeans.

Skip Your Vacation: Windows 10 Is Coming This Summer

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Just when you thought it was safe to escape from the office, Microsoft is trying to pull you back.

OK, not everyone is interested in skipping the beach to immerse themselves in bright and shiny Windows 10. 

But odds are some are so eager for the long-promised operating system from the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant that they may at least be willing to skip a cookout or two. 

Just today, Microsoft announced Windows 10 will be made generally available this summer in 190 countries. The word came from Windows EVP Terry Myerson during a speech at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China.

In a blog post, Myerson steers clear of an actual date (don't cancel those travel plans yet, please). All we know for sure is that the product will hit the market between June and September.

How You Can Smooth the Road to the Hybrid Cloud

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Companies interested in a hybrid cloud model have more and more options.

In January, Google and VMware announced a partnership to offer hybrid cloud computing.

In February, IBM announced plans to move at least half of its cloud development team into its hybrid cloud computing business.

Last year, EMC developed its own storage cloud play. In addition, Accenture and Microsoft extended their partnership with the introduction of Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure.

With the plethora of platforms, services and products, however, companies still hit more than a few bumps in the road as they move to adopt this tech strategy.

Is Internet Explorer Still IE - Even If You Call It Spartan? #Conv15

It’s not official. But it’s just about certain that Microsoft plans to kill Internet Explorer (IE).

At the Convergence conference in Atlanta yesterday, Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela acknowledged the company is researching a new brand or new name for its browser.

This is not the first time Microsoft has hinted the end is near for IE. But it is the first time that anyone from Microsoft has addressed the subject directly.

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite: Will It Speed Your Journey? #Conv15

Microsoft is releasing the Azure IoT Suite. Coupled with two new programs, it is intended to take users to the Internet of Things (IoT) quicker.

The new suite and programs dovetail with the development of the new Windows 10 IoT operating system, as well as a number of Azure services. All of it is intended to help business that use digital technologies transform to digital businesses.

While that distinction appears subtle, it is actually pretty significant one. It flags a new business environment that will be driven by the IoT, with other applications feeding into it.

The announcements were made at this week's Convergence conference in Atlanta.

You Called? Lync Is Out, Skype for Business Is In #Conv15

The Skype communications platform officially became part of Microsoft Office today At the Convergence conference in Atlanta, the company announced the end of the Lync era with the launch of the Skype for Business technical preview.

It is indeed Skype.

With this new edition, the directory scheme is effectively flattened, making traditional Skype users available on calls placed through the Skype for Business client — formerly the Lync client.

The traditional Skype calling system, which uses P2P protocol over the Internet and the SILK codec for call clarity, is now bolted onto the Business edition as well.

But with a few other feature exceptions, the client remains quite similar.

From Build It and Go, to Ready to Go with SharePoint

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For many years, businesses viewed SharePoint as a framework on which to build solutions. The combination of flexibility and editing tools provided allowed them to design customized solutions which met business requirements.   

But technology is changing. And so is how we use and want to consume it. We hunger for solutions that can be quickly acquired and implemented, not ones that require building out complex and robust solutions.  The world around us is changing fast and it's exciting to see how productivity tools are beginning to encompass almost every area of our lives.

Microsoft Reveals Office 2016 for the Enterprise #Conv15

Microsoft has finally put Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer into technical preview.

To be clear about this, this is not the first time glimpse of Office 2016. It was in private preview, so we knew quite a bit about it already.

But now we have the definitive word. At the Convergence conference in Atlanta today, Microsoft gave a clear outline of where it stands with Office 2016 and where it wants to go with it.

Office Delve Wants You to Work Like a Network #Conv15

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Office Delve can surface data in email and social feeds.

Julia White, general manager for the Office 365 team, made the announcement at Microsoft's Convergence 2015 in Atlanta today.

During the next two months, Delve will be made available to all users on Office 365 business plans, she explained.

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