Mar 01

View on Microsoft’s February activities

Gartner has positioned Microsoft as the Completeness of Vision leader in BI and Analytics Platforms, although behind Tableau and Qlik in Ability to Execute.

The Power BI mobile apps have been updated to support viewing reports on iPhones and Windows 10 phones. The Power BI Android app is due to be updated in the near future.

Microsoft has released a range of changes across Office clients on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. These include a number of new capabilities in Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In addition, the team released the first cumulative feature update since the initial September release of the Office 2016 apps. See February Office 365 updates for more information.

The Office training team has released tutorials to support Office 365 scenarios that include Get it done from anywhere, Content collaboration, and Run more effective meetings. The tutorials cover Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, Macs and PCs.

Microsoft’s February Cloud Platform Release announcements with additional announcements made on 17 February include a range of services that have been released, some that have moved to public preview as well as price increases (Azure IoT Hub) and reductions (Dv2-Series).

The drive towards non-Microsoft platforms and devices continues unabated and includes rolling out group video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets (interesting that Windows Phone was not mentioned in Microsoft’s announcement).

New Windows 10 devices showcased at the Mobile World Congress included HP’s Elite x3, VAIO’s new Windows 10 phone, ALCATEL’s Fierce XL and Plus 10, Trinity’s NuAns NEO, Microsoft’s Lumia 650, Huawei’s MateBook, Lenovo’s YOGA 510 and 710, Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S, Panasonic’s Toughpad FZ-F1 and Toughbook CF-20 as well as Getac’s RX10, which is designed for the healthcare industry.

Microsoft has joined other industry participants to create the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), which has been established to define industry standards for the Internet of Things. Founding members include Cisco, Electrolux, General Electric, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and a number of other organisations.

Microsoft has announced that developers will be able to purchase the HoloLens Development Edition, which will begin shipping on 30 March.

Microsoft conducted an interesting experiment by deploying a datacentre below the ocean’s surface. The company believes that this approach could solve several problems by using new power sources, reducing cooling costs and the distance to connected populations as well as making it easier and faster to set up datacentres.

Feb 24

Microsoft releases six new Excel functions

Microsoft has announced an update to Excel that includes six new functions to simplify some common calculations. The additions are TEXTJOIN and CONCAT to combine a list or range of text strings, MAXIFS and MINIFS to find the maximum or minimum in a range given one or more conditions and IFS and SWITCH to simplify complex nested IF functions.

View source article.

Feb 03

Microsoft announces Yammer availability in Office 365

Microsoft has announced that it is activating Yammer for new and existing eligible Office 365 tenants. This follows the migration of Yammer into Microsoft managed datacentres and undertaking identity work with Azure Active Directory. Users will be able to access Yammer from the Office 365 app launcher or start Yammer conversations from SharePoint and the Office 365 Video Portal.

View source article.

Feb 01

View on Microsoft’s January activities

Another month of very few newsworthy announcements by Microsoft, who has been publishing articles on how best to use their latest offerings and promoting a variety of games and apps that run on Windows 10.

Microsoft now claims that more than 200 million devices are running Windows 10 and has started to apply its universal app vision for its own products by releasing the Power BI Windows 10 universal app for desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

The company continues to develop and promote its products on non-Windows platforms. These include Microsoft Selfie, a selfie and portrait enhancement app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch as well as updates to Outlook for iOS and Android. In addition, Outlook for Android was updated with new calendaring features and improved navigation.

Office 365 updates included the new Skype for Business for Android, smart rename for the Power Pivot data model in Excel 2016 and availability of the Access 2016 Runtime.

Microsoft’s consolidated list of Cloud Platform Release Announcements for January is worth reviewing. The company has also reduced it Azure pricing in keeping with the latest compute, storage and bandwidth pricing from Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Envision will take place in New Orleans on 4-6 April and is a new event targeted at business leaders.

Jan 21

SharePoint 2016 and Project Server 2016 Release Candidates available

Microsoft has announced the availability of SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 Release Candidates.

SharePoint Server 2016 features built-in Hybrid Cloud capabilities and includes user interface, performance and reliability improvements as well as enhanced deployment options and a standardised set of APIs spanning SharePoint and Office 365.

View source article.

Jan 04

View on Microsoft’s December activities

On a personal note, I hope everyone had a wonderful time during the holiday season and wish you the very best of success for 2016.

Like most companies, Microsoft has been promoting its software and hardware offerings during the holiday season with an occasional announcement worth reporting.

Microsoft continues paying attention to non-Windows platforms and has released Cortana on select iPhone, Android and Cyanogen OS powered devices. The company also released a preview of the Power BI app for iOS with support for SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2, which provides delivery of on-premises data to mobile devices and includes out-of-the-box mobile reports and KPI tracking.

On the Azure front, Microsoft announced that Dynamics CRM Online customers will be able to use Azure ExpressRoute to establish a private, managed connection to CRM Online. Updates to Azure Backup include faster backup times, reduced cache space and an increase in the number of recovery points for cloud backups.

As part of promoting HoloLens, Microsoft has opened the first ongoing HoloLens experience showcase for developers at its store in New York – appointment required.

2015 saw the release of Windows 10 and Office 2016, an extraordinary amount of activity evolving its non-Windows platform offerings, the continued evolution of the Azure platform and the “restructure” of its acquired Nokia phone business.

Dec 04

ABB deploys Office 365 to 125,000 employees

ABB has fully deployed Office 365 to approximately 125,000 employees in 100 countries. All employees use Exchange Online for web-based email and shared calendaring. Yammer and SharePoint Online are fully deployed for enterprise social and team-based collaboration using Sites. OneDrive for Business provides online storage for all employees and everyone connects with each other using Skype for Business Online for instant messaging and presence awareness.

View source article.

Dec 01

View on Microsoft’s November activities

A relatively quiet month for Microsoft with much of its marketing energies focused on promoting Office 365, Windows 10 and associated devices as well as more in-depth information about its latest cloud service offerings.

Microsoft has announced plans to deliver commercial cloud services from datacentre regions in multiple cities within the UK and announced the expansion of regional hubs in Ireland and the Netherlands. General availability of Azure and Office 365 from local UK datacentres is expected in late 2016, with Dynamics CRM Online following shortly thereafter.

Red Hat has recognised Azure as a Certified Cloud and Service Provider, which enables customers to migrate Red Hat subscriptions to Azure and maintain their direct relationship with Red Hat.

FieldOne from Microsoft is available for purchase and can be installed directly within Office 365. FieldOne was acquired by Microsoft and provides field service management capabilities for delivering services to customers in the field.

Microsoft has announced plans to enhance its protection of customer data with a Cyber Defence Operations Centre and the new Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group. The company also revealed that its annual investment in security research and development is more than a billion dollars.

Microsoft has published its Security Intelligence Report Volume 19, which includes threat data from the first half of 2015 as well as longer term trend data on industry vulnerabilities, exploits, malware and malicious websites.

Microsoft HoloLens has partnered with Volvo Cars to explore automotive and technology scenarios in the context of people’s car buying experience. In addition Microsoft HoloLens has announced a partnership with Autodesk Fusion 360 on a solution focused on how industrial designers, mechanical engineers and other product development fields work together.

Microsoft has released 30 feature updates to “Get & Transform” in Excel 2016 and the Power Query add-in for Excel 2013 and 2010. The company has also released a new Bing app for iPhone.

Finally, in the spirit of the forthcoming holiday season, Microsoft’s Halo World Championship starts on 6 December with a $1.7 million prize pool.