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Microsoft News & Analysis

Microsoft Strikes Google by Slashing Office 365 Prices #WPC14

Microsoft announced a few weeks ago that it was going to provide transparency around its Office 365 business. — and also said it would be shaking up the price plans. It did just that at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) and the good news is that prices are going down August 1.

Before popping the champagne corks though. read on. The cheaper edition will be available to new midsize business customers next month. But existing customers will have to wait to the beginning of October 2015 before the full impact of the changes kick-in. So much for rewarding customer loyalty.

Box Takes Storage Limits Off the Table

The file storage wars are over, at least for businesses leveraging Box’s Enterprise Content Collaboration platform.

“It’s no longer about how much content you can store, but what you can do with it,” says Aaron Levie, Box’s co-founder and CEO.

Truth be told, it was always about that, but file storage wasn’t always dirt cheap. Now it is. Levie says that the price has dropped by a factor of over 20,000 over the past two decades.
 

Microsoft Makes It Easier to Move to the Cloud #WPC14

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Much of what's going to be announced this week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington, DC, is already known. 

Satya Nadella underlined Microsoft’s commitment to cloud and mobile computing almost as soon as he took over the reins as CEO, so his message to partners yesterday about pushing cloud computing was not unexpected.

Microsoft is a cloud company and partners need to get on board. The whole focus of Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner's keynote, for example, was cloud, mobile and more cloud. The cloud isn’t the future, he said, it’s the present.

Can You Name the Top 10 IoT Companies?

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The companies that are leading the Internet of Things (IoT) — now and in the future — are beginning to make themselves known. Appinions, in a recently published report, identified the most influential companies and what is driving them.

It probably comes as no surprise that Apple is at the top of the list, followed by Nest and Google. But there are a number of less expected companies in the mix, including — wait for it — BlackBerry.

Are You Running Out of Microsoft Support?

We all remember the warnings and confusion around the end-of-support for Windows XP in April. But support is ending or changing for other Microsoft products, too.

By the end of the year, you will have to pay for support for a whole list of products — and  support for other products will end completely.

Why Microsoft's Cortana is 14 for 14 Calling World Cup Matches

2014-11-July-Paul-the-Octopus-Hat.jpgUpdate: Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in extra time to win the 2014 World Cup at Estadio do Maracana in Rio De Janeiro yesterday — boosting Cortana's record to 15 for 15.

Celebrity data scientist Nate Silver, take a seat. You too Google, machine learning gods.

Microsoft’s Cortana, the Siri equivalent on the Windows phone, has called every FIFA World Cup elimination round match correctly. That’s right, she’s 14 for 14.

On Wednesday she correctly predicted that Argentina would beat the Netherlands. In Tuesday’s game she said that Germany would beat Brazil. And as you keep going back through each game in the elimination round, you’ll see that she was right over and over again.

Amazon Wants In on the Enterprise Sync and Share Action Too

Just yesterday we wrote that the file storage, synching and sharing market may be as big as one trillion dollars. When Amazon found out about it, they went and built their own EFSS offering.

OK, maybe it wasn’t our article that inspired AWS, but they did introduce an Enterprise Storage and Sharing service today. Its name? Zocalo.

Available in limited preview starting now, its primary functions seem to be primitive versions of what the Leaders and Challengers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EFSS have to offer.

Microsoft Offers Feds Secured Dynamics CRM #WPC14

It always happens this time of year. Microsoft, which spends most of the time locked tighter than a clam, suddenly opens up and starts giving out news bites like a leaky cauldron. It’s the prologue to the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft can’t seem to stop giving.

Yesterday it announced a whole bunch of productivity and synching releases for the private sector. It also announced a bunch of public sector releases that nearly slipped under the radar, including the fact that as of the beginning of next year, Dynamics CRM Online will be available as a separate instance for US federal, state and local governments.

The new Dynamics CRM instances will also comply with the FedRAMP standard. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

Microsoft Moves to Win Cloud, EFSS and Other Markets

Storing, synching, editing and/or sharing files in the cloud has suddenly become big business. Startups like Box, Dropbox, and Syncplicity (now owned by EMC) sensed this long ago because their founders rightly predicted that the knowledge workers of the future wouldn’t want to be emailing files to themselves and keeping track of various versions any more than they did. Ditto for carrying thumb drives around.

Fast forward a few years and the market cap for enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) services may be as big as a trillion dollars. It’s no wonder giants like Citrix, EMC, Google and Microsoft all want part (or all) of that action. Winning is critical to their ability to gain, or even retain, Enterprise market share.

As we’ve written before, Microsoft isn’t sitting back and watching as Google and Amazon race to the bottom on the price of cost storage. And while part of the reason they are doing this is to sell the Azure platform, the other part is retaining Microsoft Office, Office 365 and SharePoint market share. After all, as Enterprises map their cloud strategies, they’ll likely look at all of their options versus simply lobbing what they have on the ground to the sky.

TinderBox Extends Dynamics CRM With Sales Automation

Think you’re missing something in Microsoft Dynamics CRM? TinderBox says you are.

In fact, according to TinderBox, Dynamics CRM users may have a lot of technology to provide customer insights and engagement, but its sales automation processes are just not up to scratch.

Oslo and Office Graph: Welcome to the Enterprise of Things

2014-09-July-Spiderwebs.jpgIf Microsoft has its way, big data is coming to your Office 365 environment very soon.

In March of this year Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, introduced Office Graph and challenged us to “work like a network.” Office Graph -- which derived from Yammer’s Enterprise Graph concept -- analyzes user metadata from the Office 365 environment (Yammer, SharePoint Online, Lync and Office Online) to identify signals, trends, relationships, social connections and content that relate to each other to form patterns that can be used to deliver a more relevant and rich contextual end user experience.

This rich set of metadata is meant to provide a more comprehensive picture of who you are connected to, who you interact with and how you interact within the enterprise. This is a new frontier for Microsoft and this technology will significantly change how you collaborate, work, connect and engage within the online enterprise going forward.

Microsoft Pushes Yammer into SMBs

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer ... again. The focus now is on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). 

Microsoft underlined its enterprise ambitions for Yammer in November by making it available with all Office 365 enterprise plans. Now it's also added Yammer to Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans.

Showdown at the Mobile Enterprise Corral

2014-07-July-Cowboy-Graffiti.jpgWhy have so many mobile enterprise companies made financial announcements within the last few weeks? In the mobile device management (MDM) space, Good Technology has filed an S1 to go public and MobileIron successfully executed an IPO. In the File Sync and Share (FSS) space, Dropbox announced a $500M line of credit after having raised $325M in funding only months earlier, and Box just announced another $100M investment.

Why these companies … and why now?

Big Data Bits: MongoDB Edition + There's a Prize Inside

2014-03-July-Prize-Inside.jpgSmall pieces loosely joined in a non-zero sum world.

Write that phrase down and wrap your brain around it because that’s how the vendors who are shaping computing’s next platform are thinking. It’s not about “I win, you lose,” but about how well we can play and build something together.

And though that idea was verbalized by Cloudera founder Mike Olson (who borrowed from David Weinbereger’s book "Small Pieces Loosely Joined") at MongoDB World this week, we got an idea of how it might play out in computing’s third era as we watched MongoDB’s customers talk about game-changing solutions they built leveraging the world’s leading NoSQL database and other leading and emerging technologies.

Microsoft Transforms Customers to Beta Testers

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Two weeks ago Microsoft promised a whole new approach to roadmaps and future releases when it announced that it would be posting regular, publicly accessible updates to the Office 365 roadmap. Transparency is the new black at Microsoft, it seems.

Today it has taken one step further and has made a public call for beta testers of it is new Office products. Not exactly what you want to be doing over the summer, you might think, but there is a couple of interesting new products in the offing that you could end up testing.

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