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Microsoft News & Analysis

Microsoft is Aggressively Expanding its Office Store

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At the end of a week that saw Microsoft piling on functionality and cash incentives to capture a bigger slice of the enterprise market, including businesses with a mere 150 seats, it also announced an aggressive expansion of its Office store and more languages to capture new markets.

While it's obvious Microsoft is going to push its own products in its own store, it will also highlight third party apps that integrate with Microsoft tools.

Microsoft Cushions Google's Blows with Cash

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Yes, Google is encroaching into Microsoft’s traditional business space in a vicious productivity fight. But Google's rebranding of its Enterprise Business as Google for Work yesterday seems to be a tacit acceptance — for the moment, at least — that Microsoft is the Enterprise Daddy.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has responded to Google's blows with a number of financial incentives that must have many Chief Financial Officers salivating over their ledgers.

Microsoft: Pimp Your Office 365 Ride

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When it comes to customer experience and engagement strategies, everyone knows appearance is everything. If that seems a bit shallow, Microsoft doesn’t seem to care. It just announced that it is allowing enterprises and users pimp their Office 365  — within reason, of course.

Starting this week, the new functionality will enable users to customize and personalize their Office 365 suite. The result: enterprises that deploy the platform will be able to give it a makeover to better reflect their corporate identities.

Are Hortonworks + Hive Community Paving Hadoop's Future?

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Marry a big vision and a vibrant open source community and you’ll get something pretty special. In this case we’re talking about delivery on the Stinger initiative, which teamed engineers from Hadoop distro provider Hortonworks with more than 140 developers to advance interactive SQL querying ability on Apache Hive at scale in pure open source.

The initiative, which was completed in April, brought together over 390,000 lines of code contributed by developers from 44 companies, to provide business analysts and data workers with one powerful engine for SQL queries on big data sets at speed and at petabyte scale.

It does something that other big data solutions like it do not do: it gives users a single, simple tool to use for either interactive or batch processing.

Why Google Is Rebranding Its Enterprise Division

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Here's a riddle for you: Why is Google rebranding of its Enterprise business?

Last night, Google announced the division that sells Google Drive and Gmail, among other services, is changing its name to Google for Work.

The announcement left a large number of observers underwhelmed. But the long-term vision behind the move may cause a lot of vendors concern about their future in a world where Google is seriously targeting the small business space.
 

Is Microsoft the Caped Crusader of Email Privacy?

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Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, Batman! Looks like Microsoft is defending email privacy. This, after it confirmed over the weekend that it would not be handing over email data to US federal regulators.

The decision follows a ruling on Friday by a US judge, which instructed the company to turn over email stored in Ireland to US prosecutors. But Microsoft does not plan to turn over the emails, and plans to appeal, a company spokesperson said.

Building a Hybrid Bridge to the Microsoft Cloud

2014-29-August-Rope-Bridge.jpgWhen Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s new Mobile-First, Cloud-First strategy, he drew a line in the sand with Microsoft employees and set the company on a new course. When Microsoft COO, Kevin Turner reiterated the message at the World Wide Partner Conference in July, he sent partners scrambling to get cloud certified, saying “Selling on-premises software was good for you and us for a long time but the future lies in the cloud and mobility, and Microsoft plans to go in that direction with our partner community intact.”

Customers have felt the shift as well as they ponder what solutions can be cloud based and how to integrate them without significant effort and cost. Some organizations look at Office 365 and feel insecure about moving to a multi-tenant environment. Many organizations have significant investments in on-premises applications and infrastructure so moving to the cloud will not be an easy process.

These critical business systems have kept the wheels of commerce running for some time and have been built up with many layers of complexity and integration. Strict compliance regulations prevent many companies from exposing data in a cloud environment. With these constraints and issues in mind Microsoft has created a number of hybrid options that allow companies to selectively migrate enterprise solutions or build new applications that use cloud services while maintaining an on-prem infrastructure.

Let’s look at the options.

Zocalo + Amazon Web Services Could Be Game Changer

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Things are already pretty messy in the productivity space between Microsoft and Google. But it could get a whole lot messier.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)  just announced that its document storage, sharing and collaboration application for the enterprises is now on general release.

Amazon Zocalo has been in limited preview since July, but is now available to all AWS customers with bargain basement prices, and could be a game changer in the document collaboration and sharing and sync space.

Enterprise File Sync & Share Solutions: What's the Difference?

2014-29-August-Confusion.jpgHey IT Manager: if you don’t think your company has a file sync and share solution, you’re fooling yourself. By some estimates, over one third of your employees are using one as many as four times per day. And if protecting your company’s information is your responsibility that spells trouble. Because whether you want to admit it or not, you've lost control.

Microsoft Secures SharePoint Online Data

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Microsoft has taken another step to secure data in SharePoint Online with the introduction of Data Loss Prevention (DLP). The only thing surprising is that it has taken this long to do it, given that Microsoft already provides DLP for Exchange, Outlook and Outlook Web App (OWA).

However, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to introduce DLP to SharePoint Online without also applying it to OneDrive.

So Microsoft has gone ahead and done that, too.  With it, users will be able to to search for sensitive content in the enterprise eDiscovery Center, but keep the content where it was originally located.

Has Google Delivered a Killer Blow to Microsoft Office Apps?

Google quietly landed what could be a killer blow for Microsoft Apps with the release of a number of upgrades to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The first piece of bad news for Microsoft: Google created a separate iOS app for Slides, its answer to Microsoft PowerPoint.

The rest of the bad news comes in the form of upgrades to the existing Google Docs and Sheets apps for iOS. With them, users can open, create and edit native Microsoft Office files on any iOS device for the first time.

Google Apps are platform and device neutral — and they are also cheaper than Microsoft's offerings.

OpenText, Microsoft Woo Law Firms #ILTA14

This week's International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference drew little interest from anyone but legal professionals.

But as the conference concludes, it is worth noting two new releases that underscore ongoing competition between OpenText and Microsoft in the document management and collaboration space. Both companies released new law-focused collaboration tools that focus on the secure transfer, syncing and sharing of documents.

  • OpenText announced the release of eDOCS10, its specialized document management application for the legal profession
  • Microsoft announced a preview of Office 365 Matter Center that enables file sharing and organization from the comfort of familiar productivity tools

Both solutions tackle the ongoing problem of document chaos in the enterprise.

Microsoft Leaves Ballmer Bleeding as It Moves On

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If Steve Ballmer’s decision to step down from the board of Microsoft was sudden, it wasn’t a surprise. 

Once Satya Nadella stepped in as CEO and started changing Microsoft from a devices and services company to one focused on productivity and platforms, Ballmer had to go. "Cloud first, mobile first," became the new mantra.

In an open letter to Nadella, Ballmer explained that he thinks it would be impractical for him to stay on the board. Ballmer's commitment to Microsoft is clear. “I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will,” he said in the letter. Microsoft, though, doesn’t really care. It's already ancient history.

Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft's Board

Thumbnail image for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.jpgAfter more than a third of a century at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer announced today he'll leave the software giant's board, effective immediately.

Ballmer, who remains the company's biggest shareholder -- he owns more shares than Bill Gates, who has pared his holdings in recent years -- said he's been reflecting on his role at Microsoft since he yielded the CEO job to Satya Nadella almost a half a year ago. Notably, he took on a new challenge during that time as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The transition from Ballmer to Nadella represents a shift in direction for Microsoft from a software company that dominated desktop computing to one that is fighting to find its place in a world where mobile is destined to become the leading computing platform and software will increasingly be sold as a subscription service. Nadella is leading multiple initiatives in that direction by championing Office 365, SharePoint Online and other products.

Microsoft Frees-up Storage For SharePoint Online Sites

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Microsoft just announced a service that will make it easier to manage storage for SharePoint Online within the Office 365 suite.

The move effectively tackles one of the big problems users were having with storage allocation to SharePoint site collections. It also makes the management of entire SharePoint environments easier.

The changes announced last night makes the storage limits associated with each group of sites more flexible. It means storage that is not used with one site collection can be moved to another to facilitate the development of that collection.

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