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Microsoft News & Analysis

Microsoft Gives Apple Users OneDrive For Business Access

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Last year, Microsoft promised OneDrive for Business for Mac would be ready by the end of the year. It wasn't. However this week Microsoft finally released the first public preview.

The comes only two weeks after Microsoft announced that it was pulling the OneDrive consumer storage service and the OneDrive for Business storage together so that users will be able to sync shared folders across the entire system or selectively chose files to sync, just like products like Dropbox.

Google, VMware Partner for Hybrid Cloud Computing

Google announced today that it has inked a new partnership deal with VMware that should give its public cloud services a considerable boost in the enterprise.

According to a statement issued by the two companies, VMware is making four Google cloud services available to enterprise customers through its vCloud Air hybrid cloud. The services include Big Query analytics, Google Cloud Storage, as well as Google Datastore and DNS services.

Microsoft Offers New Outlook Apps for iOS, Android

In less than two months, Microsoft has capitalized on technology from its Acompli buy to create new Outlook apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft, which acquired the San Francisco-based provider of mobile email apps for $200 million in early December, boasted today that "Acompli is now Outlook."

Both apps will work with Microsoft products like Office 365, Exchange and Outlook.com as well as Gmail, Yahoo Mail and other services. Acompli is now available on the App Store and Google Play for smartphones and tablets.

According to Microsoft they will replace existing Outlook Web Apps (OWA), although not right away. Microsoft plans to leave the OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android apps on the market until it fully integrates all of their advanced features, which it expects to do by summer.

Office 365 Shines, But What About Microsoft Windows?

You’d have to be a forensic accountant to understand Microsoft’s financials. However, a few things are clear from this week's second quarter earnings release.

The first is that the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant is starting to make serious ground in the cloud space. The second is that CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy of revamping and remarketing Windows is needed more than ever. The third: there's no beating Office 365, at least for the moment.

While the numbers triggered only tepid enthusiasm from the financial markets, from an IT perspective there are a lot of positives that show Nadella’s strategy of moving Microsoft from packaged software company to cloud-based software provider is beginning to pay off.

Microsoft's Play to Rule Analytics' 3rd Wave

One billion Excel users may not sleep tonight. It won’t be a problem that keeps them awake, but a new toy. And, get this -- it’s free.

Today Microsoft introduces a new Power BI -- a service that helps users bring data in, wring value out and visualize the results. It’s geared toward line of business users, not data geeks, and may be pivotal in helping enterprises usher in a “data culture.”

Some may see this new data culture as Microsoft’s birthright (sort of) given that 1 billion workers use Excel today and that analytics is a natural progression. But Microsoft certainly isn’t taking anything for granted. “We’re lowering the barriers to entry by removing the friction and greasing the gears,” said James Phillips, general manager, data experiences at Microsoft. 

Will Microsoft HoloLens Change the Future of Virtual Reality?

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The concept of virtual reality (VR) has been fueling imaginations for decades — at least as far back as 1956 when an American filmmaker turned inventor named Morton Heilig began designing multisensory virtual experiences.

But even the most promising applications of VR to date have had limited commercial success — raising doubts about the real world potential for computer-simulated environments that replicate a presence in real or imagined worlds.

Office For Windows 10 Optimizes Mobile, Touchscreen

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During this week's Windows 10 reveal event, Microsoft gave a glimpse of the future. And yesterday Microsoft’s Julia White, general manager for Office Product Management, provided a few more details.

Here's what we know. In addition to the soon to be released Windows 10 Technical Preview, look for a touchscreen version of Office as well as Office for Windows 10, a suite of apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Calendar.

MegaChat Is No Skype Killer, But It's Not MegaUpload Either

Controversial entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, the guy behind the now-shuttered MegaUpload, is at it again. He's got a new product, MegaChat, and a new boast: he claims MegaChat, an end-to-end encrypted voice and video chat service his company launched in beta yesterday, is a “Skype killer."

It’s unlikely Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will see it that way — and frankly we don't either. But MegaChat is targeted at people who are wary of Skype’s security, so it may have a future.

Dotcom claims MegaChat offer users completely private video and voice calling with text and video conferencing slated to follow. And it proves something else, Dotcom tweeted:

Office 365 Extends Email Security to Address Spammers, Phishers

Microsoft is tightening up the security of its email offerings on Office 365 through the extension of features.

The goal here is to provide a “safer client experience” that will authenticate senders and help identify untrusted senders, helping to protect your system from spam and phishing campaigns, the tech giant explained.

While Office 365 is already pretty secure, Microsoft maintains the only way to beat hackers and other Internet nuisances is to keep one step ahead.

Office 365 Gains Text Analytics With Equivio Buy

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Microsoft has bought text analytics provider Equivio — an acquisition that should both add another piece to the Office 365 puzzle and give Microsoft considerable traction in document-heavy enterprises like legal or financial firms.

While neither company would confirm the sales price, there is speculation the deal closed for about $200 million. If that's correct, Microsoft snapped up some pretty impressive text analytics for a relatively reasonable sum. In fact, the technology could end as a premium layer to Office 365 once Microsoft starts pulling it into its wider portfolio.

M-Files Eases Hybrid Cloud Computing With Metadata

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The only things everyone seems to agree about when it comes to hybrid cloud computing is that it’s going to be around for a long time to come — and many vendors have many ways of approaching it. For M-Files, the unique selling point is a system that can manage all your content without repositories.

That sounds like a big claim … and maybe it is. However, M-Files has been developing this for years, first in Europe and now in the US, and the proof of its claims are clear in its continued and staggering growth rates.

Microsoft's Tangled E-Commerce Future #nrf15

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Sitecore's announcement on Tuesday of its new e-commerce offering, Sitecore Commerce 8 powered by Microsoft Dynamics, at the NRF Big Show made waves in the e-commerce world for a number of reasons. The launch integrates the Sitecore Experience Platform, its highly regarded content management system, with Microsoft Dynamics to more effectively merge content management with commerce systems.

A little background is in order: Sitecore took over Microsoft’s Commerce Server in Q4 of 2013. Now called Sitecore Commerce, the initial integration with the Sitecore Experience Platform was announced in fall of 2014. Let's try to shed some light on what this release signifies for the future direction of both companies.

Office 365: 2014 Highlights, Preparing for 2015

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We've heard a lot about the "new" Microsoft over the last few years, complete with promises of fast innovation and the impact this would have on existing products. Microsoft delivered on these promises in 2014, with the addition of many new features and products within Office 365. It was a year of open communication filled with Roadmaps, Yam Jams and User Voice sites. In many ways, 2014 was a fulfillment of the promises made by Microsoft at the last SharePoint Conference.

Microsoft Ends Windows 7 Support: Are You Scared?

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If you're a PC user and you woke up this morning with an undefined fear, maybe you're subconsciously recalling that today is the day Microsoft stops offering free support for Windows 7.

It’s not quite the same as the panic attacks many people experienced last April when Microsoft announced the XP show was finally over. But today is still likely to create some discomfort for Windows 7 users who refuse to move forward. In fact, this is the beginning of the end.

Sitecore, Microsoft Partner to Bridge Physical-Digital Divide #nrf15

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Omnichannel is the new black. That’s the buzz we’re hearing from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show in the BIG Apple this week.

But the chatter is not just about omnichannel. It’s also about the wins that integrating brick and mortar and digital can create, like guiding a customer to the store that has — in stock — the exact product (even the right size) he has been checking out online. In other words, it’s getting the right products and the right offers to the right people before they abandon their virtual and/or physical shopping carts, change their minds or look for something else to buy someplace else.

To do this you need to know what a customer is doing on each channel. And not just that: You also need to know what’s happening with your goods and services. This kind of data is best gleaned from customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Without the latter, you may not be able to deliver what the customer wants to buy and is willing to pay for. And when that happens, you not only miss a sale, but risk losing a customer as well.

It’s to avoid these kinds of problems and to create experiences that engage customers that Sitecore introduced Sitecore Commerce 8 powered by Microsoft Dynamics yesterday. The new solution bridges the gap between in-store and digital experiences.

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