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Microsoft News & Analysis

Is It Time To Lose Your Windows Phone?

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Microsoft released another build of Windows 10 for the Windows phone this week. And I have to admit: I’m not a big fan of Windows 10 on the Windows phone. 

To be fair, Windows 10 has some stuff I like. Number one, it’s got this expandable menu bar at the top. On a Windows Phone with Windows 8.1, you only get one row. 

If you go into the settings now on Windows Phone 10, you can search for settings and you’ve got headings in here that are really nice. I like that.

When you go into the All Apps view, it’s got your recent apps at the top when you install them. So there’s a bunch of really great things in the OS.

But the killer for me -- the absolute showstopper -- is that in Windows Phone 10 you cannot have separate live tiles for each of your inboxes. 

CRM Is Mature and Growing Nicely, Gartner Claims

The customer relationship management (CRM) market is well-established, mature and growing at a healthy clip. That's Gartner's headline finding in its latest global analysis of this software category.

Specifically, it found that worldwide CRM software investments grew to $23.2 billion in 2014, up 13.3 percent from 20.4 billion in 2013.

And it was the best kind of growth of all: organic expansion into new markets. "Large vendors leveraged their acquisitions to extend their position in new markets and to enrich the depth of their current feature sets in 2014," said Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner. 

10 Ways to Secure Office 365

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Security. If there's one thing that concerns organizations contemplating a move of their data to the cloud, or that are already there, it's security. With new threats being introduced on a regular basis, organizations need to use all the tools they have at their disposal to secure their data.

Brian Reid of NBConsult presented a session at Microsoft Ignite called 10 Ways to Secure Your Office 365 Tenants. In it, Reid explained at length the 10 security features available (or soon to be available) to organizations using Office 365.

Is Microsoft Building an Outlook Chat App?

Apple, under Steve Jobs leadership, was known for its secrecy — very little was known about the iPhone, for example, before it was officially unveiled.

Microsoft, under Satya Nadella’s leadership, may go down in history for its propensity to leak information. There was the acquisition of calendar app Sunrise that TechCrunch uncovered a week before it was announced, the not-so-secret purchase of e-mail app Accompli and ever popular leaks about SharePoint 2016.

Now it seems Microsoft is building something called Flow, a chat app that works with Outlook.

Goodbye Outlook.com, Hello Office 365?

Microsoft is making good on hints it revealed at its Ignite conference earlier this month: It's moving its email service Outlook.com closer to its other productivity apps, notably Office 365.

Outlook.com will run on Office 365 technology with an Office 365 interface, Microsoft announced today.

Demystifying the New Migration API for SharePoint

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One of the most anticipated presentations of this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference was the “Migration to SharePoint Online Best Practices and New API Investments” session. As surprising as it may seem, this is the first time Microsoft has released an API that is specifically aimed at on-boarding content into SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Because my company began involvement with the new migration API in October 2014, I found the presentation especially interesting. 

Microsoft Beats Amazon in Cloud Storage [Infographic]

Think Microsoft has been making ground in the file storage space? You're right.

Recent research from Nasuni, a cloud storage management company, shows Microsoft Azure beats Amazon Web Services S3 and Google Cloud Storage in the enterprise storage space.

Groups for Office 365 Transforming Collaboration

If I had to pick one word to describe Microsoft's vision for the new workplace that I saw at the recent Ignite conference, it would be that used by CEO Satya Nadella during his keynote: "Transformation."

The ever-increasing complexity of the digital workplace mandates a transformative reliance on technological toolkits that can enable collaboration among and within disparate teams across the enterprise. One such tool that stood out for me at Ignite was Groups for Office 365.

Your Customer: Short Attention Span, Digitally Distracted

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I'd like to tell you everything I learned about Microsoft's latest research on consumer attention spans.

But I keep getting distracted, which is really ironic since I'm allegedly an attention Ninja — capable of "compartmentalizing tasks to control my attention."

Apparently the researchers failed to consider my fascination with things like squirrels jumping on the bird feeder right outside my window, the spec of dust I can see on the table across the room or my obsession to discover the name of the song I think I heard sitting at the bar yesterday. (It was World Cocktail Day, folks. I felt obligated to do my part.)

The good news is that my sagging attention is apparently the result of our digital lifestyle, not some form of contagious ADHD — which means I can now stop blaming several loved ones for my inability to concentrate.

At least that's what Microsoft seems to think.

SQL Server 16 to Hybridize Databases

With a typical hybrid cloud architecture, relational databases that span storage volumes across premises into the public cloud are facilitated — rather delicately — by a cloud management platform (CMP).

But as OpenStack’s own documentation concedes, “there is no single CMP that can address all needs in all scenarios.”

Hadoop’s approach to stretching data across volumes is via a completely separate operating system using a cloud-capable, cross-volume file system (HDFS). But that’s for unstructured data. If relational databases were managed so that individual tables could span volumes, maybe some data warehouses wouldn’t need an entirely separate file system.

That’s the goal Microsoft has set for itself, with the upcoming release this summer of a public preview of SQL Server 2016.

Can Metalogix Speed Data Migration?

Metalogix claims it can boost the speed of data migration to SharePoint Online about 3900 percent over the average speed just 18 months ago.

It's new Content Matrix product, which incorporates Microsoft's migration API, enables users to move 20GB of data or more in just an hour across all workloads. That's a significant improvement over historical migration speeds, which averaged only 0.5GB at the end of 2013.

Has Metalogix found the holy grail of Office 365 migrations?

What We Learned at Microsoft's Ignite

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Most of the world’s business applications depend upon a certain server whose manufacturer can no longer afford to produce it indefinitely and whose users just don’t find exciting any more.

Rather than just raise a giant white flag, Microsoft made genuine efforts over the past two weeks of conferences to signal a change in course.

That’s good news for users who never embraced Windows 8. But it’s scary for system administrators, whose skills could soon become largely irrelevant, as well as for developers, who may soon be faced with having to move decades of business logic from obsolete reporting systems into the cloud.

Windows Server is Going Nano: Is Windows 10 Next?

We no longer live in an era where the ubiquity of an operating system can lend popularity to applications. As evidence, just look at Windows Phone.

But there may be plenty more opportunities for Windows to get in the cloud’s way if its architectural evolution cannot keep pace with the demands of users.

One case in point, which we learned a great deal more about last Friday at the Ignite conference in Chicago, concerns a feature called User Experience Virtualization (UE-V).

What's New with Office 365 Compliance Center

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Litigation is costly, time consuming and a headache -- and chances are your company is involved in it in some way. Compliance is the topic that causes many IT leaders to lose sleep, as they wonder whether they will survive a call from legal.

Microsoft is listening.

You would be forgiven if you missed some of the significant compliance news Microsoft announced last week in the midst of the Ignite conference hullabaloo, but the combined announcements show the company's commitment to addressing lingering concerns with putting data in the cloud.

If Desktops Go Away, Will Admins Follow? #MSIgnite

On the final day of Microsoft’s first Ignite conference in Chicago, a standing-room-only crowd made up entirely of admins listened to independent consultant, author and lecturer Mark Minasi as he led them on a discussion of the forthcoming benefits and near-term headaches (at least hopefully near-term) of administrating users of Windows 10.

The crowd’s interest in the subject appeared at first to prove me wrong about my point earlier this weekthat interest in Nano Server, Microsoft’s forthcoming miniaturized server operating system, was outpacing interest in the Windows 10 client operating system.

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