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Microsoft News & Analysis

Microsoft's Big Data Steps Boost Customer Insights #Strataconf

Microsoft hasn’t been shy about its goals for the data-driven age. It plans to bring business intelligence to a billion screens and to remove the barriers that are preventing broad adoption of advanced analytics.

These are lofty ambitions, perhaps, but there is no company on the planet that’s in a better position to deliver on them.

Put aside, for a moment, that Excel is a default tool for data crowd, that Office 365 is a next logical step for workers, and that so many enterprises inherently trust the Azure Cloud. The company is also rolling out big data solutions that are, at once, as powerful and compelling as those that scrappy start-ups are delivering today.

Microsoft Gives Office 365 More Social Love

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Microsoft wants to make it easier to search and collaborate. 

Last week it improved the social collaboration abilities of Office 365 by upgrading Outlook Web App (OWA). This week, it's giving OWA more love by improving the OWA interface and navigation tree to make it easier to use, especially on tablets.

Real Bedfellows? Salesforce, Office 365, OneDrive & Power BI #DF14

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff knew the conversation would be special, so on the opening day of Dreamforce, Salesforce’s user conference in San Francisco this week, he brought Microsoft Windows Vice President Tony Prophet on stage for a fireside chat.

After some genuine, inspirational, heart-to-heart talk about their mutual charitable work at Benioff’s Children’s Hospital at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), among other things, Benioff dropped his jaw.

"A year ago at Dreamforce we would not have thought Microsoft would have been here, on stage,” he said. “It's a shock."

And to him it certainly seemed to be, and for good reason. But are things always what they seem? 

London Firm Bets Money on the Internet of Things

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Gartner expects the Internet of Things (IoT) will be driven by small entrepreneurs rather than big tech companies. And that means funding for those entrepreneurs is going to be crucial.

So far, compared with the funds available for start-ups in other areas like social or information management, there is relatively little investment in IoT start-ups. However, Reply, a London-based consulting, systems integration and digital services company, is taking up the torch and setting up a new trans-Atlantic initiative called Breed Reply.

Personalizing Your Office 365 Content with Graph and Delve

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Last month, Microsoft introduced Delve, built on top of Microsoft Graph. Graph joined people across the enterprise in a single, unified… well graph. But Delve offered those connected users a way to find each other.

There is a lot of reason to be excited about it, especially for those who have been following the Microsoft One strategy.

That strategy was further clarified by CEO Satya Nadella’s Mobile First, Cloud First mantra. But it wasn’t entirely clear for those outside the loop what Delve is and where it came from.

To clarify this we asked Cem Aykan, senior product manager for Office Graph and Delve.

Microsoft Sweetens Office 365 Collaboration Options

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Think collaboration and you think Google. Maybe. Or Box or Dropbox. You don’t think Office 365 really, even though its enterprise collaboration abilities have greatly improved in the past two years. However, that could change. Microsoft has just made it a lot easier to collaborate using Outlook Web App (OWA).

It is doing that by making it easier to share files using OneDrive for Business. Specifically, it is targeting email attachments and email threads that can lead to all kinds of unpleasant problems around versioning.

Google Counters Office 365 Price Cuts With New Partnership

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Google has responded to Microsoft's price cuts of Office 365 for SMBs by launching a new partnership with Rackspace.

Rackspace is offering US customers fully managed IT services for the Google Apps for Work suite, which includes Gmail, Drive and Hangouts. It will also offer Rackspace's migration, deployment and account management services. 

Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cheap Enough That You Can Ignore Google

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Keeping a schedule set at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft has finally released service plans that will make it cheaper for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to use Office 365.

There is a small sting in the program, which went into effect last week. New customers can access the new and cheaper plans straight away, but those already signed up to Office 365 SMB plans will have to wait until late next year before they will transitioned to the new plans.

Come on, 7! Microsoft Banks on Old Success

The time for change was apparent. And not just the kind of changes Microsoft announced in August. Windows was due for something big, especially for businesses, where Microsoft promises to make things better in the Windows world.

Microsoft debuted Windows 10 yesterday, jumping from Windows 8.1 and skipping over the rumored release of Windows 9.

Why make such a jump? Who knows?

In reality, this may have been kinda like a step-back in time. Al Gillen, program vice president of servers and system software for the IDC, told CMSWire he was very happy to see in Windows 10 the integration between the modern UI and the Windows 7 shell.

"I think this was a reflection of the magnitude of change that is going into the produce," Gillen told CMSWire of the move to "10". "Microsoft also realizes that it needs to clearly differentiate from Windows 8."

Forget 9! Microsoft Goes With Version 10 for Windows

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Maybe it was the fear of the single digits. Maybe nine just had a bad vibe.

Where everyone -- including us -- predicted the release of Windows 9 today in a press briefing by Microsoft, the Redmond, Wash. giant pulled a fast one and skipped up a version to Windows 10.

Of course, there's little shock in the announcement because it is, in fact, an announcement regarding Windows. Speculation pretty much included nothing by Windows talk. Although we did ponder the idea of an Office update.

But Microsoft even told us last week, "On September 30, we will be providing an update on what’s next for Windows and the enterprise.”

Alfresco Aims Higher as it Launches v5 #AlfrescoSummit

When you say open source and enterprise content management in the same breath, most practitioners probably think of small and medium businesses rather than global enterprises. With today's launch of version 5 of its core ECM product, it appears Alfresco is out to change that.

Or maybe it's better to say it's already started. The open source vendor is cashing in, quite literally, with the growing complexity, rising costs and cloud-centricity of some of the biggest players in the field, notably Microsoft's SharePoint, which has frustrated many of its users with its seemingly unrelenting push to the cloud

Parlez-Vous Windows 9? Microsoft French Exec Leaks Update

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The Microsoft rumor mill became reality in France.

Reports are blowing up on the Web that a French Microsoft executive revealed Microsoft will unveil Windows 9 next Tuesday.

"Last year we had Windows 8. In the next few minutes, the next few days, we'll be releasing Windows 9," Alain Crozier, president of Microsoft France and a vice president of Microsoft International, said during a company presentation.

Ever since Microsoft sent out invitations to a secret press event for Sept. 30 in San Francisco, rumors have been circulating that it would mark the next major release of Windows.

But no one wants to have the thunder of a secret press conference spontaneously dashed by the mutterings of an international VP. So naturally, the Redmond, Wa. software giant went into backtrack mode immediately, telling ZDNet in a statement, "We look forward to seeing you in late September in San Francisco for the future of Windows, which actually at this stage does not have a name as such."

Microsoft: Get 'Em While They're Young

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What's the best way to make a lifelong customer? Microsoft apparently believes in getting them while they are young. In its latest assault on the productivity suite market, it is offering Office 365 to students for free.

Yes, yes. They were getting it free already through the Student Advantage program, but that wasn’t quick enough.

Microsoft wants all students signed up lickety-split and that means enabling them to sign-up themselves, for free and without all the rough stuff around licenses and school-based IT departments.

Can Akumina Make SharePoint a Web CMS Contender?

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In the age of digital experience, not all companies are rushing into relationships with superpower providers like Adobe, Sitecore and Oracle.

Most, however, already have SharePoint, and many of those are trying to figure out how to extend its use to public-facing websites.

Enter Akumina, a three-year-old company whose founders have extensive experience in building and deploying such websites. It's led by CEO Ed Rogers and COO Steve Sherkanowski, who worked for years managing technical, operations and marketing activities at Ektron.

The Nashua, N.H.-based company recently introduced InterChange, a suite of role-based authoring and site management tools designed to give marketing teams control over SharePoint sites.

SharePoint Users Stick with Older Versions, Eye Hybrid Cloud #SPTechCon

When we caught up in Boston a year ago with SharePoint Technology Conference Chair David Rubinstein, SharePoint 2013, Office 365 capabilities and mobile were all the rage.  

Same conference, next year at the Boston Park Plaza hotel? The cloud. SharePoint Online. When's the big move coming?

The truth is, for most organizations -- at least those among the 1,000 at the conference this week -- they're still flying in 2010 and even 2007 air space when it comes to SharePoint technology.

"The majority of our attendees still sit on 2010 and 2007 versions of SharePoint," said Rubinstein, whose Melville, NY-based media organization, BZ Media, has put on 12 SPTechCons over the last six years. "There's where we're going to be until things change."

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