Microsoft Monday: Xbox One X Pre-Order Details, Minecraft Cross-Platform, Phil Spencer Promoted – Forbes
“Microsoft Monday” is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about the Xbox One X pre-orders, Minecraft cross-platform, board of directors changes, the new Transatlantic Internet cable and much more!
New Azure Advancements And Visual Studios Team Services
At the Ignite conference in Orlando, Microsoft announced new Azure integrated management tools to expand upon end-to-end monitoring, alerting and central policy management for all VMs. When this technology is combined with the new PowerShell and Bash support in Azure Cloud Shell, it makes apps in Azure run more efficiently.
Microsoft also unveiled a new cloud-based DevOps toolset Visual Studio Team Services. The Visual Studio Team Services tightly integrates with Azure so you can quickly build and deploy applications.
“Azure has long been committed to enabling the only true consistent cloud experience from identity, to data, to platform, to security and management. We uniquely understand that a distributed hybrid cloud model is the durable cloud model. And, we uniquely understand that hybrid cloud is more than just infrastructure – it must address your entire environment,” said Microsoft EVP of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie in a blog post. “Enabling consistent development across cloud and on-premises, Azure Stack integrated systems are now shipping and available for purchase – with Dell EMC, Lenovo, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) showcasing their solutions here at Ignite. Now developers can build one application and have it run in Azure and Azure Stack, opening up new uses cases such as edge and disconnected solutions and meeting literally every regulatory requirement.”
Guthrie also pointed out in the blog post that he was reviewing a statement of work where an enterprise organization was planning to migrate 1,000+ SQL Server based applications to Amazon Web Services (AWS). And the cost was over $20 million to do so. Microsoft’s fully managed Azure SQL Database service now has 100% SQL Server compatibility for no code changes via managed instance. And Microsoft introduced a new Azure Database Migration Service with near-zero downtime migration. Guthrie said that the customer that received the $20 million migration can move their application data to Azure in less time and 70% less cost.
General Availability Of SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2017 is also now in general availability mode. This is the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux and Docker. SQL Server 2017 also has advanced machine learning with support for scalable Python and R-based analytics.
New Programming Language Optimized For Scalable Quantum Computers
Microsoft has announced the creation of a new programming language for quantum computers and deep integration of the Visual Studio programming languages. This gives developers the ability to run debuggers and simulators locally or on Azure. These tools will be available at the end of the year and developers can sign up at www.microsoft.com/quantum.
Microsoft Expands Microsoft 365 With Two New Solutions
Microsoft is expanding upon Microsoft 365 with two new solutions, which benefits firstline workers and education customers. Microsoft 365 F1 combines Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security for firstline workers to better connect between companies and its customers. And Microsoft 365 Education includes Office 365 for Education, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Minecraft: Education Edition for students and staff to create and collaborate.
Additional Skype, LinkedIn And Bing Changes
Microsoft is going to be rolling Skype for Business Online capabilities into Microsoft Teams, including cognitive and data services. Plus there is a new Bing for business private preview, which will provide unified views of personalized and contextual search results inside and outside of an organization. And there are new LinkedIn in Microsoft profile cards that will pull information from LinkedIn profiles into Microsoft apps and services (Outlook Web Access, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business).
Microsoft Unveils New Windows 10 S Devices
At the Ignite customer conference in Orlando, Microsoft unveiled a new set of Windows 10 S devices. As you may recall, Windows 10 S is a slimmed down version of Windows 10 S that only supports apps from the Microsoft Store.
The new devices include:
HP Stream 14 Pro – 14” Ultraslim – $275 – Available October 2017
Acer Aspire 1 – 14” Ultraslim – $299 – Available Q4 2017
Acer Swift 1 – 13” Ultraslim – $349 – Available Q4 2017
Lenovo V330 – 14” Ultraslim – $349 – Available February 2018
Minecraft Cross-Platform Update Arrives
The Minecraft Better Together update launched last week. This allows players on Windows 10, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. And Mojang plans to bring this version to the Nintendo Switch this winter also.
“Going forward, the Bedrock Engine-based version of Minecraft will be called simply Minecraft on all platforms. Our general rule of thumb is that if a version can play together with the others, it’s called Minecraft. The original Java PC version and all other isolated versions will have ‘Edition’ names, like Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition,” said Mojang in an FAQ.
However, there are no plans to release the Better Together update to the New Nintendo 3DS version of Minecraft yet. Nor does Sony support cross-platform play on Minecraft on its consoles.
The Better Together update also brings Minecraft Marketplace purchases to consoles for the first time. Originally, this content was exclusive to the Pocket Edition and Windows 10 Edition of Minecraft. Items purchased through one of the platforms can be used on the others via Xbox Live.
What about 4K and HDR support? That feature is expected to arrive on Minecraft later this fall.
You can upgrade to the Better Together update if you own a digital copy of the game. If you have the Xbox One version of the game, then you need to have played at least 5 hours of the game in the last 12 months (or must have purchased an add-on for the game) to get the update. Mojang created that rule to ensure that the account is real. Owners of the Minecraft: Xbox One Edition physical copy have until January 30, 2018 to meet those requirements.
Bill Gates Says He Wanted To Make The Ctrl+Alt+Delete Function A Single Button Instead
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he would change the Ctrl+Alt+Delete function to a single button on the keyboard if he could go back in time. Gates talked about this at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum last week in response to a question about why he chose that command to open the Task Manager.
“We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give us our single button,” said Gates via SiliconBeat. “We programmed at a low level — it was a mistake.”
It was IBM engineer David Bradley that decided the Ctrl+Alt+Delete command. But at the time, Bradley did not expect the system to release to the general public. In actuality, the IBM engineers were rushed to finish the first PC to meet certain deadlines.
Microsoft Xbox One X Pre-Order Details
Last week, Microsoft announced the pre-order details for the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X will officially hits the shelves on November 7th at a price of $499. As a quick reminder: the Xbox One X has eight custom x86 cores at 2.3GHz, 12GB GDDR5 RAM and memory bandwidth of 326GB/seconds. Microsoft lists 130 games that will be released with enhancements, including existing titles with updates. You can pre-order the new console from Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Microsoft Store, Newegg and Target now.
Microsoft EVP Of Gaming Phil Spencer Receives Promotion
Phil Spencer was promoted from the head of Xbox to the EVP of Gaming at Microsoft last week. Spencer is now going to directly report to CEO Satya Nadella. Prior to the promotion, Spencer reported to Microsoft’s EVP of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson. Spencer started at Microsoft as an intern in 1988.
Apple Is Resolving iOS 11 Issue That Blocks Microsoft Email Accounts From Sending Messages
When Apple released the iOS 11 update last week, it started preventing Microsoft email accounts from sending messages from the Mail app on the iPhone and iPad. Microsoft email account users might be seeing an error message that says “Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server.”
Fortunately, Apple acknowledged the error and is working on a resolution. “Apple is working closely with Microsoft to resolve the issue and will release a fix soon in an upcoming software update,” says Apple in a support page.
In the meantime, Microsoft is advising email users to download the Microsoft Outlook app from the Apple App Store.
Pepsi CFO And Vice Chairman Hugh Johnston Joins Microsoft Board Of Directors
Pepsi chief financial officer and vice chairman Hugh Johnston has joined the Microsoft board of directors. Johnston left the Twitter board of directors after about a year and a half. ValueAct Capital G. Mason Morfit will not be seeking re-election at the company shareholder meeting. G. Mason Morfit joined the Microsoft board of directors in 2014 when his company started to buy a large stake in the company. Johnston is being succeeded on the Twitter board of director by former Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette.
“Hugh is an accomplished financial and business leader who brings a depth of experience from his successful career at PepsiCo where he has oversight of finance, IT, e-commerce and the company’s digital transformation,” said independent Microsoft board chairman John W. Thompson in a statement. “He is a great addition to Microsoft’s board of directors, and we look forward to working with him.”
Microsoft To Host A Mixed Reality Event On October 3rd
On October 3rd, Microsoft is hosting a Windows Mixed Reality event in San Francisco. At the event, Microsoft will most likely reveal several Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are expected to launch on October 17th, which is the release date of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (also known as Windows 10 Autumn Creators Update). And Microsoft might showcase some new mixed reality games and apps at the event as well.
U.S. Navy To Use Xbox 360 Controllers To Operate Submarine Periscopes
The U.S. Navy is planning to use Xbox 360 controllers to operate its periscopes aboard newer Virginia-class submarines, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The Virginia-class submarines do not have a rotating tube periscope that only one person can use at a time. The rotating tube periscopes have been replaced with two photonics masts that can rotate 360 degrees and features high-resolution cameras that are displayed on large monitors.
The masts are controlled with a helicopter-style stick, but that is clunky and expensive. Between the photonics mast handgrip and the imaging control panel, it costs about $38,000. This can be replaced with an Xbox controller that costs under $30.
After the Navy conducted extensive testing over the pats two years, the decision was made to have the Xbox controller included as part of the integrated imaging system for Virginia-class submarines starting with the future USS Colorado in November. And the Xbox controller will be installed on other Virginia-class submarines like the “John Warner.”
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Donates $20 Million To ‘College Possible’
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie are making a $20 million donation through their philanthropic venture Ballmer Grouo to a non-profit called College Possible. The funds will be donated over the course of ten years. College Possible provides low income students with resources necessary for succeeding in college.
“It’s a really extraordinary gift. I can’t say enough how grateful we are,” College Possible’s senior director of national external relations Beth Giese via Star Tribune. “What’s great about this is, it’s a lot of money and it’s unrestricted. That’s an exceptional and rare gift.”
College Possible has six offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, Philadelphia, Portland and St. Paul — which provide assistance to 30,000 students each year. And the non-profit has an annual budget of about $12 million. College Possible students have attended 400 colleges and universities across the country.
Ballmer is also known for owning the National Basketball League (NBA) team the Los Angeles Clippers. And Ballmer has a net worth of about $33.6 billion.
Microsoft Is Now Part Of The Coalition For Better Ads
Microsoft has joined the Coalition For Better Ads (CBA), which is an organization that supports and collaborates with the online ad industry to create standards that are better for consumers, marketers and publishers.
“Through our advertising platforms, and our multitude of consumer services, we believe we can make an important contribution to improving and safeguarding advertising standards on the web,” said Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Search Advertising Rik van der Kooi in a blog post. “Microsoft is committed to working with our industry partners and the Coalition for Better Ads to continue the development and implementation of standards that will have a positive impact on consumers and the entire online advertising community.”
Powered By Azure, Apttus Launches Contract Management Platform For Automating Tasks
For service-based businesses, it is always a challenge to go from the quote process to driving revenue for the organization. Apttus, a company that specializes in developing Quote-to-Cash software, has made it easier to handle contracts by utilizing artificial intelligence. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Apttus CLM with Applied AI makes life easier for legal professionals. By applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to Apttus’ Contract Management software, it will reduce contact cycle time and provide the automation of third-party paper. In turn, this increases the efficiency of legal departments by enabling them to focus on company goals like accelerated deal velocity and cost saving measures.
Apttus Contract Management with Applied AI offers benefits like agreement risk management (locates key terms that creates financial risks in negotiated agreements), contract cycle time reduction (reduces time required to reach contract signature), clause recommendation (offers alternate word choice and clause suggestions to streamline negotiations and reduce risk exposure), third-party paper automation (maps business terms in a third-party document to your legal playbook so contract managers can swap language, reconcile drafts and send it for approval).
Apttus Contract Management with Applied AI will be demoed at the Microsoft Ignite Conference between September 25th and 29th in Orlando, Florida between September 25th and September 29th on the Expo floor at booth 727. And Apttus’ session will be taking place at Microsoft Envision with a presentation called “Leveraging Applied AI to Accelerate Digital Transformation and Maximize Business Outcomes” on Tuesday, September 26 at 11:00AM.
Spanning Extends Data Protection Services To SharePoint Online
Spanning Cloud Apps LLC, a SaaS data protection company, announced last week that it is extending its enterprise-grade Office 365 data protection to SharePoint Online data. This means you can set up daily automated and on-demand backup and rapid restore for SharePoint Online.
Spanning Cloud Apps has seen its revenue for the Backup for Office 365 service more than triple in the past year. Spanning has backed up over 4 billion objects of critical Office 365 data. SharePoint Online data is at risk of corruption, malicious deletion and accidental events. And it can be rather difficult to recover once that data is lost. That is why Spanning’s extension of Backup for Office 365 to SharePoint Online will be crucial for enterprises.
“Moving to the cloud provides organizations with many benefits, including improved collaboration capabilities, reduced costs and increased security — but it is not without risks,” said Jeff Erramouspe, CEO, Spanning. “SharePoint Online is a vital tool for collaboration across enterprise teams and encompasses sensitive internal data. By extending Spanning’s key benefits to SharePoint Online, we’re protecting the data that’s the most critical—and relevant—to the enterprise.”
Spanning Backup for SharePoint Online is available for new and existing customers that meet the licensing criteria and is included in the per user per year pricing.
Microsoft And Facebook Complete 4,000 Mile Transatlantic Internet Cable Called Marea
As part of a collaboration between Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius (telecommunications subsidiary of Telefónica), a new subsea cable project called Marea (Spanish for “tide”) is now complete, according to VentureBeat. The subsea cable connects North America with mainland Europe to handle the increasing demands of cloud services. The subsea cable can handle a capacity of 160 terabits per second. The subsea cable stretches 4,000 miles (6,600 km) and it is over 17,000 feet below the Atlantic ocean and it runs from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao in Spain. The project was announced in May and then started in August. It was expected to be completed in October so the project is completed ahead of schedule.
Xbox One Now Supports Third-Party Camera Support For Game Streaming
Microsoft has added third-party USB camera support for beta testers in the “Preview Alpha Ring.” However, this feature currently only works with Mixer for broadcasting video. You will need to use a headset or microphone for your commentary though. Mixer used to be known as Beam.
“Starting today, support for USB webcams on Xbox One arrives for Xbox Insiders (Preview Alpha Ring)—including the ability to plug in and use them for broadcasting on Mixer! Those within the Alpha Ring of the Xbox Insider program will see this functionality as early as today, and rolling out to more Insiders in the coming weeks. Help us test this feature and get it ready for prime time by plugging in your USB webcams and giving feedback on your experiences. Don’t forget Xbox Insiders, you’ll need to report your feedback through the console specifically rather than Mixer support channels. We won’t release this feature broadly until we’re confident in the experience, so the more webcams we can get testing on, the better!” said Mixer’s Josh Stein in a blog post.
Ford Is Using Mixed Reality To Design Vehicles With HoloLens
Ford Motor Company is now designing cars with the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset. This virtual environment enables Ford to quickly prototype vehicles rather than having to build physical models.
Windows 10 Creators Update Has A Solid Track Record
In a blog post, Microsoft crunched the Windows 10 Creators Update reliability numbers. According to Microsoft’s results, booting up your device is 13% faster and logging in after boot is up to 18% faster. And unlocking your device using Windows Hello Facial recognition is up to 30% faster. Plus Microsoft Edge is also up to 53% faster in the Creators Update.
“Among users who update to the Creators Update, we’ve seen an 18% reduction in users hitting certain system stability issues versus earlier versions of Windows 10,” said Microsoft’s Director of Program Management of Windows Servicing and Delivery John Cable. “Our close collaboration with our ecosystem partners has resulted in a 39% total reduction in operating system and driver stability issues between the Anniversary Update and Creators Update.”
Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!