“Microsoft Monday” takes a look back at the past week of news related to Microsoft. This week, “Microsoft Monday” includes details about Windows 10 hitting 400 million active machines, the Nokia 216, the first wet laboratory for cancer research, a $40 billion stock repurchase program, a renewable energy initiative, LinkedIn Learning and more!
Windows 10 Hits 400 Million Active Machines
Microsoft has announced that it has hit 400 million active Windows 10 machines. That means that 50 million more Windows 10 devices were activated in the last three months. And Microsoft said that the adoption of Windows 10 is 115% faster than Windows 7. Microsoft has a goal of hitting 1 billion active machines by 2018.
Last week, Microsoft updated the OneDrive app for iOS with a new user interface and the ability to share links using work accounts. You will notice that the user interface is much more intuitive and there is more of a focus on files management. And OneDrive for iOS now allows users to share links to folders from work and school accounts. The app update also includes bug fixes and minor improvements.
Microsoft Nokia 216 Feature Phone Is Headed To India
Microsoft unveiled the Nokia 216 feature phone last week, which could potentially be the last Nokia phone brand released under the Redmond giant. According to USA Today, the Nokia 216 specifications includes two SIM cards, two cameras with an LED flash, Bluetooth and an FM radio. The Nokia 216 is expected to launch in India on October 24th.
Earlier this year, Microsoft said its feature phone division would be sold to a Foxconn subsidiary. After the deal is completed, Nokia would be able to build and sell more phones independently from Microsoft. This deal is expected to be closed by the second half of the year.
Microsoft Opens First Wet Laboratory For Cancer Research
Microsoft wants to help “solve” cancer within the next decade by potentially learning how to reprogram diseased cells back to a healthy state, according to Telegraph UK. Earlier this summer, Microsoft opened its first wet laboratory — which includes engineers and biologists that are working on attacking cancer cells similar to the way viruses infect computers.
“I think it’s a very natural thing for Microsoft to be looking at because we have tremendous expertise in computer science and what is going on in cancer is a computational problem,” said Microsoft Research laboratory director Chris Bishop via Telegraph. “It’s not just an analogy, it’s a deep mathematical insight. Biology and computing are disciplines which seem like chalk and cheese but which have very deep connections on the most fundamental level.”
Microsoft researchers are also working on a computer made from DNA that could live inside cells to detect any irregularities in the system. This computer would even be able to reboot the system and clear the diseased cells.
Research head Andrew Philips told The Telegraph that the plans are long term, but it may be “technically possible” to put a smart molecular system that can detect diseases in five to ten years. Software that mimics the healthy behavior of cells has already been developed so it can be compared to diseased cells to determine how the problem occurred and how it can be fixed.
Gears of War 4 Trailer Has Been Released
Last week, Microsoft has released a full length trailer for Gears of War 4. The trailer is narrated John DiMaggio (voice of Marcus Fenix in the game). Gears of War 4 will be released on October 11th, but the price is unknown.
Gears of War 4 is also an Xbox Play Anywhere game so you can play it on the Xbox One and on Windows 10 PCs. And your game progress, Gamerscore and Achievements will be synced across both platforms.
Microsoft Board Authorizes $40 Billion Of Stock Repurchase
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s board of directors approved a $40 billion stock buyback program in addition to an already existing $40 billion stock repurchase program — which was announced in 2013. The existing $40 billion stock repurchase program is expected to conclude by the end of the year. Microsoft also increased its quarterly dividend by 8.3% to 39 cents a share. As of June 30th, Microsoft had $113.2 billion in cash and short-term investments.
Meet The Microsoft Xbox One S Minecraft Favorites Bundle
Last week, Microsoft launched the Xbox One S Minecraft Favorites bundle. The cost of this bundle is $300 and it includes a 500GB Xbox One S, the new wireless controller, download codes for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial membership.
According to PCMag, the download codes for the Favorites Pack and Builder’s Pack are also included in the bundle. The Favorites Pack includes the Festive Mash-up Pack, Halo Mash-up, Fantasy Texture Pack, Natural Texture Pack, City Texture Pack, Battle & Beasts Skin Pack, and Battle & Beasts 2 Skin Pack. And the Builder’s Pack includes Biome Settlers Skin Pack, Cartoon Texture Pack, Candy Texture Pack, Plastic Texture Pack, Pattern Texture Pack, and the Greek Mythology Mash-up. The bundle has over 230 character skins, 3 texture packs and 7 mash-up packs.
Your Minecraft worlds can be transferred from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One Edition. And those worlds can be made up to 16 times bigger. You can order the bundle from Amazon.com AMZN +0.48% and the Microsoft Store now. It is currently available in the U.S. and Canada. Microsoft will be rolling out the bundle to the U.K. and Europe on October 11th. And then it will be rolled out to Australia and New Zealand on November 1st. The rollout for Asia and Latin America is not yet known.
Microsoft Exec Says PS4 Pro 4.2 Teraflops Is Not Enough To Do True 4K
Microsoft’s senior director of product management and planning Albert Penello recently conducted an interview with Eurogamer where he said the 4.2 teraflops in the PS4 Pro is not enough to do true 4K.
“I think there are a lot of caveats they’re giving customers right now around 4K,” said Penello via Eurogamer. “They’re talking about checkerboard rendering and up-scaling and things like that. There are just a lot of asterisks in their marketing around 4K, which is interesting because when we thought about what spec we wanted for Scorpio, we were very clear we wanted developers to take their Xbox One engines and render them in native, true 4K. That was why we picked the number, that’s why we have the memory bandwidth we have, that’s why we have the teraflops we have, because it’s what we heard from game developers was required to achieve native 4K.”
Now Xbox Scorpio games will be rendered at native 4K. And the “majority” of PS4 Pro games will be upscaled to 4K. The PS4 Pro will be available for purchase in November for $400. And the Xbox Scorpio is launching during the holiday season next year for an unknown price.
Xbox Live Games With Gold For October
Last week, Microsoft announced the four Games with Gold for the month of October: two dedicated Xbox One titles and two through the Xbox One Backward Compatibility program.
“For Xbox One, October brings two exciting [email protected] titles to Games with Gold with the hit (literally) title Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings and the insanely popular release from Team17, The Escapists. On the Xbox 360 (and Xbox One through Backward Compatibility), Xbox Live Gold members start the month with the post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Alive, and then follow that with some hardcore racing in MX vs ATV Reflex,” said Microsoft in a news post.
- Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings will be available between October 1-October 31 (Xbox One)
- The Escapists will be available from October 16-November 15 (Xbox One)
- MX vs ATV Reflex will be available from October 1-October 15th (Xbox 360 and Xbox One) and
- I Am Alive will be available from October 16-October 31 (Xbox 360 and Xbox One)
Microsoft And Adobe Form Cloud Partnership
Microsoft and Adobe have formed a partnership where the two companies will sell each others’ cloud products to mutual customers, according to Business Insider. Adobe will be integrating its products like Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud to Microsoft Azure. And Microsoft is making the Adobe Marketing Cloud the preferred marketing service for Dynamics 365. Essentially this partnership would make Microsoft and Adobe more competitive against companies like Oracle and Salesforce.com.
Microsoft Edge To Become More Secure
Today at the Ignite conference, Microsoft said that the Edge browser will become more secure. Specifically, the Windows Defender Application Guard protects Windows 10 from risky browser sessions. Microsoft said that containers used within other browsers leaves enterprises vulnerable to 90% of prevalent attacks because of the lack of hardware-based protection, reported TechCrunch.
So Windows Defender Application Guard prevents malware from affecting the rest of the network. And the malware code will run within a container. Unfortunately, Windows Defender Application Guard will not be available for enterprises until early 2017. And that will be followed by a broader rollout in late 2017.
This is not the only container initiative Microsoft is focused on. According to Business Insider, Microsoft has partnered with a container startup called Docker. Microsoft will bring Docker’s CS Docker Engine to Windows Server 2016. So Microsoft is able to provide additional services to its customers and Docker is able to reach more customers.
U.K. Watchdog Wants Microsoft To Pay For Windows 10 Machine Issues
Which, a U.K. based consumer watchdog company, is asking Microsoft to pay for damages caused by the Windows 10 upgrades. Which received “well over” 1,000 complaints in regards to the Windows 10 upgrade.
When users upgraded from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10, many people encountered hardware issues due to driver conflicts. And that caused printers, speakers and Wi-Fi malfunctions. Which pointed out that many of those users ended up having to pay for technical support to third party companies to fix their PCs. And Microsoft did not make this issue any easier when it aggressively forced the Windows 10 upgrade.
Which said that many people complained that when they contacted Microsoft, the Redmond giant offered poor customer service. That is why Which is asking Microsoft to “honor the rights of consumers adversely affected by the Windows 10 update.” TechnoBuffalo said that Which is asking Microsoft to pay compensation to people eligible for it under the U.K. Consumer Rights Act of 2015.
Microsoft Is Going Green In A Big Way
Microsoft has big plans to make its data centers more sustainable. At a green technology event, Microsoft’s chief environmentalist Rob Bernard said that the software giant is planning to expand the use of renewable energy and its accountability in regards to carbon footprints.
“Tremendous amounts of energy will be required to power this data-driven revolution. The leading cloud companies have a responsibility to address this energy usage. And Microsoft believes that, as large energy consumers, we have the opportunity to drive change that will benefit not only our company but the world,” said Bernard via The Register UK.
Microsoft will become more transparent about its energy consumption across regions. And Microsoft will be investing in research and development to improve IT efficiencies. Microsoft also has a goal of achieving 50% renewable energy in the next two years. The company is currently operating with about 44% renewable energy.
Here is what Microsoft said in a statement:
“We also committed to improving our energy mix, setting a goal to grow the percent of wind, solar and hydropower energy we purchase directly and through the grid to 50 percent by 2018, 60 percent early in the next decade and to an ongoing and higher percentage in years beyond that. Already, we are at 44 percent and signed a new deal to bring 20 megawatts of new solar energy onto the grid in Virginia earlier this year.”
Microsoft Reportedly Gives An Offer To Buy Twitter
According to TechCrunch, Microsoft has made an offer to acquire Twitter. That means Microsoft is one out of several potential buyers including Disney, Google, Verizon and Salesforce.com. TechCrunch suggested that Microsoft may simply be driving up the price by making a bid to keep Twitter away from Salesforce.com. It’s worth mentioning that when Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion, the software giant reportedly outbid Salesforce.com.
LinkedIn Launches Learning Training Class Service
Last week, LinkedIn launched a new service called LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn Learning is based off of Lynda.com, an online training platform that LinkedIn acquired for $1.5 billion last year.
“LinkedIn Learning combines the industry-leading content from Lynda.com with LinkedIn’s professional data and network. With more than 450 million member profiles and billions of engagements, we have a unique view of how jobs, industries, organizations and skills evolve over time. From this, we can identify the skills you need and deliver expert-led courses to help you obtain those skills. We’re taking the guesswork out of learning,” said LinkedIn in a blog post. “The pressure on individuals and organizations to adapt to change has never been greater. The skills that got you to where you are today are not the skills to prepare you for tomorrow. In fact, the shelf-life of skills is less than five years, and many of today’s fastest growing job categories didn’t even exist five years ago.”
In other LinkedIn news, the professional social network also launched a new LinkedIn Messages chatbot feature. What does the LinkedIn chatbot do? The LinkedIn chatbot makes it easier to schedule meetings.