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Microsoft News & Analysis

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."

Office 365 Dominance Grows with New Markets

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Microsoft is releasing Office 365 into another nine countries, bringing its total market penetration to 140 of 196 countries worldwide.

The fact that you can now get Office 365 just about anywhere there is a business culture is not surprising. But the pace at which it has developed is startling.

When it launched just over two years ago, it was available in around 40 markets. A year later it was in 88 markets. By the end of 2013, it was up to 127 markets and now ... well, just about everywhere.

Lose the Fat, Embrace Lean Portals

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In its recently published Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, Gartner identified a number of trends.

Among the most important: the convergence of web content management (WCM) customer demands with lean portal functionality and social technologies. The concept of lean (as opposed to bloated) portals has gained traction recently, with lean portal vendors starting to work their way further up the Magic Quadrant.

Large vendors claim they can offer all the functionality an enterprise could want and more — what smaller vendors describe as "bloat." Lean vendors claim they can respond rapidly to changing business conditions and have enough functionality for any office or mobile worker.

Microsoft One-Ups Apple and Gets a Big(ger) Data Game

2014-31-October-Rollerblader.jpgYou have to love Satya Nadella’s Microsoft. He announces a vision and the company delivers, Bada Bing, Bada Band.

Nope, “Band” isn’t a typo -- we’re talking about the Microsoft Band. It went on sale yesterday and, get this, it sold out online almost immediately. A few Microsoft retail stores (that no one knows about) may still have one, at least until the mall rats start telling everyone that a new store just opened.

For now the Band is being branded as a fitness tool (we’ll get to features in a moment) but it’s really about productivity, machine learning, Cortana and data.

This baby is going to have your number(s) and has the potential to run your life.

Free the Web From Google, Cage the IT Gorillas #OWF14

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PARIS — The final note for today from Paris and the Open World Forum (OWF): Let’s de-Google the Internet. If that didn’t catch your attention, then this will: It can be done.

It’s almost a given that at any gathering of open source workers there’s going to be a lot of shouting about taking the web back, and putting Microsoft, Google, IBM, Apple and all the other IT gorillas back in their cages.

From previous experience, this usually takes place after about the fifth glass of wine, beer or whatever your particular poison happens to be (OK, after the second glass, if you don’t do it often).

OWF is no different, except the call to free the web from Google came during one of the sessions this afternoon. Pierre-Yves Gosset of Framasoft, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of free, libre and open source software and culture, pointed out that not only should the web be freed of control by the big companies, but that it should also be decentralized.

In the City of Love, Microsoft Courts Open Source #OWF14

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PARIS — Let’s face it. One of the things you don’t expect at an open source party is Microsoft. However, Microsoft is here at the Paris Open World Forum (OWF) and outlined its position on open source through the offices of Frederic Aatz, Director of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft.

What does that title mean in English? You could describe him as the guy that gets things to work together — which was reflected in his message: Microsoft and open source need to get along.

Open Source, the US and French Pastries #OWF14

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The seventh Paris Open World Forum (OWF) opened today in … well, where you might expect — Paris. And this year it’s all about reclaiming data. Not just about the data you use to carry out everyday business tasks, but about the kind of data that gets lost when IT companies close down the source.

Interestingly, even the password for access to the Wi-Fi system here underscores the drive of this conference, which is, according to Florent Zara, OWF president, is about demonstrating how enterprises and users can regain control of their data.

Office 365 Strengthens Mobile Device Management #TEE14

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Cloud first, mobile first. Remember that one? If you don’t, let us remind you that it’s the new Microsoft mantra that was chanted first by Satya Nadella on his first public outing as the company's new CEO.

Earlier this week at TechEd Europe, Microsoft talked a lot about securing social business in the cloud through Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Yesterday it talked about managing mobile data.

But this wasn’t just about managing mobile data and devices in a general sense, with a doff of the hat to Microsoft’s work on Windows Phone. This was about managing mobile devices and data specifically for Office 365.

WordPress, Squarespace Offer Content Management To Google

When Google rebranded its Enterprise Business as Google for Work, it signaled a return to the small business space. Now WordPress and Squarespace have announced they have joined the Google for Work Partner Program — a logical step in this refocus.

The partnerships give Google for Work users access to two of what are arguably the most agile small business content management systems (CMS) on the market.

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