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.
Microsoft has announced that Microsoft’s Bing Pulse is changing its product name and brand identity to Microsoft Pulse. Microsoft Pulse has also become a multi-platform service, integrating with several products within the Microsoft family, including: Azure Media Services (video), Skype for Business (meetings), OneNote (sharing), Yammer (enterprise communications), and Power BI (analytics). In addition to a new and upgraded producer app, the brand now offers new features to the current services line-up, which include Pulse for Broadcast, Events & Conferences, Market Research and Pulse in the Classroom.
Microsoft has launched a new round of Wearable Productivity apps. These include Outlook for Apple Watch, Wunderlist for Apple Watch, Yammer for Apple Watch (announced, but not yet released), Microsoft Translator for Apple Watch and Android Wear, OneDrive for Android Wear (updated) as well as OneNote for Android Wear (updated).
Tesco, a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, has been using Office 365 with Yammer to share ideas, build communities and improve efficiency. There are 48,500 people using the communication and collaboration tools in a wide variety of scenarios – from Yammer for including non-technical staff in development initiatives and improving customer service to SharePoint Online to streamline and orchestrate business processes.
Microsoft has released updates to Yammer for iOS and Android. iOS 8 updates includes a handoff feature that allows transition from Mac to iPhone or iPad and vice versa. Android Wear support is included in the new update. The update also includes interactive notifications and the ability to share links and photos.
Microsoft makes the Office 365 ProPlus Benefit available to all students and educators on a worldwide basis. Eligible organisations can provide Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions at no extra cost for all students, faculty and staff. Yammer Enterprise is now included in the Office 365 kiosk plan.
Microsoft will be providing Dynamics CRM services in Japan from local datacentres and are planning to offer Office 365 Dynamics CRM Online from datacentres in Australia by the end of March 2015. Microsoft has also announced the U.S. general availability of Azure Government and upcoming availability of Dynamics CRM Online for Government.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been getting Microsoft’s attention. The company has been offering half-day IoT Quick Start workshops in partnership with Aditi, CGI, Cognizant, Rockwell and Tata to help galvanize industry activity that utilises Microsoft’s Azure IoT Services.
January will see changes to Visual Studio Online pricing and licensing. From 1 January, Visual Studio Online users will no longer have to pay any per-processor (or any other per deployment environment) charge for Release Management.
Microsoft has said that that there over 1.5 million registered Windows Insiders and have hinted that the next preview release of Windows 10 in 2015 will include a range of new features.
In with the new and out with the old – Windows Server 2003 extended support ends on 14 July 2015 and extended support for SQL Server 2005 will end on 12 April 2016.
The Windows Store now enables carrier billing for app purchases in China through China Mobile, India with Idea and Brazil via Claro. U.S, Verizon Wireless, has also added Windows Phone to the platforms it supports with carrier billing.
Bitcoins gain Microsoft’s support. You can exchange bitcoins to buy apps and games for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. In the U.S. you can use BitPay to trade-in bitcoin (at current market value) and add it to your Microsoft account. Those funds can then be used to purchase content in the Windows Store, or in stores that house Xbox Games, Xbox Music or Xbox Video.
Microsoft has released Office 365 sign-in for Yammer, a feature that allows users to access Yammer with their Office 365 credentials. This will be a phased release schedule between December and March 2015.
As Microsoft celebrates Bing’s fifth anniversary with a blog entry highlighting milestones over the last five years, Adobe Digital Report (ADI) shows that Google Chrome has surpassed Microsoft in terms of browser popularity for overall mobile and desktop software by a small margin.
Microsoft announced that developers can pre-order the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, which will be shipped in July along with a public beta of the software development kit (SDK). This will happen a few months ahead of general availability of sensors and the SDK. The v2 sensor’s features include increased depth-sensing capabilities, full 1080p video, improved skeletal tracking and enhanced infrared technology.
Microsoft Interoperability teams hosted a five-day Interoperability Plugfest at the company’s Redmond campus. The event covered topics such as Windows file sharing, SharePoint, Exchange and SQL protocols. It was intended to provide hands-on help to developers and quality assurance engineers from a range of companies including Apple, Oracle and Google.
June saw Microsoft match Google’s offering with an increase in OneDrive’s free storage as well as price reductions for additional storage. Office 365 users also benefit from the changes with 1 TB of bundled storage.
Skype has had a busy month with releases and updates for the Mac and Linux as well as two releases for the iPhone during June.
Yammer on the Web now supports 28 languages and Yammer mobile apps support 12 languages. Microsoft also released document conversations by embedding Yammer into Office apps.
On the devices front, more than 40 new Windows and Windows Phone devices were unveiled at Computex 2014; Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 went on sale in retail stores (US and Canada, UK in August) and the Nokia X2 (an Android phone) was unveiled, which will go on sale during July. The latter highlights Microsoft commitment to services regardless of the platform – a new era has dawned.
Microsoft has published a web page showing its Office 365 roadmap. The page categorises what has been launched, what is being rolled out, what is in Development and what has been cancelled.
Using inductive charging, a British designer has created the first-ever pair of wireless charging trousers for Lumia smartphones. The designer used technology from the new Nokia DC-50 wireless charging plate, in collaboration with Microsoft Mobile in the U.K. and Ireland.
Microsoft has announced the release of document conversations, which embeds the social collaboration capabilities of Yammer into Office apps. The capability applies to content produced with Office Online and stored in SharePoint Online or OneDrive for business. Conversation view and participation is supported on mobile devices, in Dynamics CRM or any app where a Yammer feed is embedded.
A busy month for Microsoft as it prepares for its BUILD conference, the traditional forum for significant product disclosures. The new CEO, Satya Nadella, has already set the theme for the event: “A cloud for everyone, on every device”.
Microsoft held its SharePoint Conference and Dynamics Convergence Conference. Some strong messaging about the importance of Social and the role that Yammer will play going forward – Service Pack 1 for SharePoint includes support for Yammer as the chosen social network.
The Office team have been unusually prolific and their release of Office for the iPad demonstrates a new direction for the team as it ends its Windows first tradition – perhaps stimulated by Google’s threat to Microsoft’s crown jewels. Oslo, an integrated personal search based on Office activities and relationships, looks impressive.
Microsoft and Oracle announce their pricing for Oracle on Azure – a partnership to fend off their AWS mutual adversary.
The Nokia acquisition has taken longer than expected, but is due to be finalised at the end of April. Satya has named Stephen Elop as the Executive Vice President of Microsoft Devices Group.
SQL 2014 was released to manufacture and will be generally available in April. Key area of focus is in-memory technology and hybrid cloud scenarios.
For gamers, Titanfall was released on Xbox One with the usual flamboyant launch campaign. March also saw Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, as well as Microsoft Studios combined under Phil Spencer’s leadership.
Microsoft has been running a “demise of Windows XP” campaign with promotional offers to migrate to the latest versions of its operating system as well as dire warnings about threat exposure when security patches stop being produced.
Of note, is How to get free Microsoft Office 365 resources, training, virtual courses, and more, which has some very useful links and resources.
On sustainability, Microsoft’s supply chain for hardware and packaging (Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Information Services (MSCIS)) has been ISO 14001 certified.
The source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows has been made public with the help of the Computer History Museum – shows our age when code we used to use becomes history 😉