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Microsoft News & Analysis

Psst, Microsoft: Look What Gmail Users Can Do Now

Google and Microsoft are duking it out over the cloud and they’re both pretty sure that providing services around content is key. And while some may think that it’s a foregone conclusion that the Redmond, Wash. Software giant will dominate  because  of its Office franchise, CEO Satya Nadella certainly isn’t acting like it’s a done deal.

Consider all that he’s done to drive traffic to Office 365 and One Drive of late, including its recent acquisition of mobile email app Acompli.

It’s not just that, but Microsoft also seems to want steer crowds away from Google which is probably why it struck a deal with Dropbox for file storage in the cloud. And Dropbox, for its part, isn’t making things any easier for Google Drive product managers. Earlier today it officially opened up its Dropbox for Business API, a move that will make it simple for app developers to build solutions that businesses want on its platform.

What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Last month, Microsoft promised the quick release of Dynamics CRM 2015 for cloud and on-premises. Sure enough, it made good on its promise Dec. 1 with the release of both Dynamics GP 2015 and an update to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Dynamics AX 2012 R3.

For digital marketers. the focus of this announcement will be the CRM release — which brings the Cortana voice-command technology to the CRM software for the first time.

Did Microsoft Buy Acompli?

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UPDATE: It’s now official. Acompli confirms Microsoft has acquired it. Sources say that it sold for around $200 million, though no one we have approached is willing to go on record with a number. While we’re waiting for Microsoft to spell out its reasoning for making the purchase, it’s safe to assume that it’s yet another step up CEO Satya Nadella’s ladder to a mobile first, cloud first world.

Not just that, but it also gives the enterprise yet another reason to move to and stick with the Office 365 platform, with which Acompli is already integrated. It also offers “amazing” support for email and file services from Apple, Dropbox, Google and Box, the company boasts.

In a blog post, Acompli co-founder and CEO Javier Soltero explains that his team sought to create a mobile e-mail product for enterprises that is “Loved by users and trusted  for IT," which is pretty much what every enterprise collaboration vendor promises to do. But based on our quick look at the solution, it has hit the mark and is destined to keep raising the stakes with Microsoft’s ample resources to fuel its growth.

Current Accompli users should note that, according to Soltero, their “app and accounts will continue to work and the team will continue on our fast pace of improving and adding new functionality every couple of weeks.”

Office 365 Digs Deeper Into Lucrative Government Market

2014-24-November-Digging.jpgMicrosoft took a significant step forward late last week in overcoming security concerns related to cloud computing in government agencies. The step came in the form of an announcement that the watchdog body governing the Department of Health has given Office 365 the thumbs up to operate in the department.

Office 365 will be the first cloud based email and collaboration and communication product to obtain a FedRAMP authorization. The authorization could potentially open the doors to a rush of deployments across government services.

Microsoft Adds Office Dropbox Support for Android Devices

Microsoft is rounding off a busy month on the Office front with the release of Dropbox support for Android users.

According to an Office blog post, the updates will enable easier editing, access and sharing of Office files from an Android phone. It is also offers the ability to generate and share links to documents in One Drive and OneDrive for Business directly from inside the app itself.

Outage Outrage As Microsoft's Azure Stumbles

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Microsoft is trying to recover from a widespread outage that affected its Azure cloud platform across multiple regions. The company acknowledged that 11-hour issue, which started last night, affected customers with virtual machines in all regions other than the new Australian data center.

The unanswered question now: What's the long-term impact of the outage, which knocked many third-party sites offline and created problems with Microsoft's Office 365 suite?

Ramp Introduces Native Video For SharePoint #smwest

2014-11-19 ramp native sharepoint video.jpgVideo for SharePoint or Office 365! Before this week, it was a pretty low key affair. Now Microsoft is launching a video service. And just yesterday, video experience provider Ramp released what it says is the first enterprise-class, self-service webcasting solution for SharePoint.

The new native solution, developed by Ramp in partnership with Wowza Media Systems, will provide SharePoint users with a way of broadcasting live events by either Internet or intranet, whether that event is a schoolyard marbles tournament or a large-scale training webinar across different geographies.

Microsoft Adds Video Service to Office 365

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Video and video management is no longer a missing link in Office 365. Microsoft is now offering Office 365 Video to its First Release customers. It will make it available to most Office 365 plans for enterprise early next year.

The development is no real surprise, given the growing enterprise customer base for Office 365 and the increasing importance of video as a means of information and data transmission.

Microsoft Tightens Yammer, Office 365 Integration

Isn’t it just great when vendors keep their promises?

That's just what Microsoft is doing with it's latest move towards deeper integration of Yammer and Office 365. Another step towards transforming Yammer to Microsoft’s social layer, it provides a single sign-on for Yammer and a feature allowing users to access Yammer with their Office 365 credentials. What's more, it will work in all the different applications that come with Office 365.

OpenText Targets Compliant Office 365 Cloud Shift #OTEW2014

ORLANDO, Fla. -- OpenText and Microsoft are friends. They're also competitors.

They are definitely friends when it comes to the relationship between Office 365 and OpenText's Content Server, the foundational repository and information governance layer for OpenText's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) suite. 

The friendship continued this week at Enterprise World 2014 here at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. The 8,200-employee Waterloo, Ontario, ECM provider announced the availability of OpenText Application Governance & Archiving (AGA) 10.7 for Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft SharePoint Services.

It's all about helping the transition into the cloud -- moving from on-premises instances of Microsoft SharePoint to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud. Enterprises will also be able to maintain core information governance and compliance processes and integrate content from other enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle EBS, according to OpenText officials.

Microsoft Wants to De-Clutter Your Inbox

An empty email inbox is apparently a new status symbol in the IT industry — and vendors are lining up to provide products designed to help you manage your mail.

Google has already introduced its Inbox, and now Microsoft is bringing Graph to inboxes to make them smarter.

While the concept of intelligent inboxes is a bit of a contradiction – think of all the trash they attract – Microsoft Graph promises to change that. It will teach inboxes what you want, what you don’t want and dump the rest in a hole called Clutter.

Bye-Bye Microsoft Lync, Here Comes Skype For Business

2014-11-12 skype for business.jpgWhen Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for Skype in 2011, it left some scratching their heads where the product would fit in the Microsoft ecosystem. And while Microsoft has since integrated the software into a number of its products, we now have a better sense of its future. As of next year, the Lync name will disappear and be replaced by Skype for Business.

This is not just a rebranding exercise. It involves joining together the Lync infrastructure with Skype, which includes the ability to use on-premises servers, optional integration with external communications networks and the use of the Skype interface on top of Lync.

Big Data Bits: It's Free, Be Happy Edition

We’re not covering the cloud, containers or the Hadoop wars this week. Instead we’re appealing to your sense of adventure and curiosity by pointing you to some things you might want to check out, in case you missed them. Now you can have fun without spending a dime!

Microsoft Delve is Nice, But are Other Options Better?

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Microsoft has finally announced the release of Delve, a project that had been hidden under the code name Oslo and about which little was known.

When it was unveiled at the SharePoint conference earlier this year, then later as part of Office 365, Microsoft described it as a new way of getting working done. With it, Microsoft said, workers could find any content they needed, anywhere

Exciting as the announcement was — at least for Microsoft users — it doesn’t really extend beyond the Microsoft environment. Yes, it can find a needle in the massive haystack of your enterprise content ... as long as that content is in Microsoft applications. 

Badgeville Offers New SharePoint Gamification

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SharePoint's not pretty. Adoption, therefore, can be slow.

Officials at gamification provider Badgeville believe they can change this by making SharePoint fun. And they're doing so with a new release of their gamification integration specifically for SharePoint.

Badgeville for SharePoint is the Redwood City, Calif., provider's next generation solution to add game, reputation and social mechanics to SharePoint community and collaboration environments. 

"SharePoint has a reputation of being a bit ugly," said Laura Lilyquist, vice president of marketing at Badgeville. "Companies are making transitions to SharePoint 2013 and are wanting to ensure that the migration is going to be worth it, that users are going to adopt it and be happy with SharePoint. So we're adding a gamification layer as part of this migration."

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