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Microsoft Announces New OneDrive Features: 100GB File Upload Limit, Dark Mode and More

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

Microsoft is also rolling out in public preview a new feature called ‘Add to OneDrive’ for business users that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to OneDrive.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 2, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

Microsoft has announced new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 for a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to users at home. The tech giant has increased upload file size limit from 15GB to 100GB for all OneDrive and SharePoint users that will help business users with large file types like 3D, CAD and media files.

“Previously released differential sync will help expedite the upload process for large files by only syncing the parts that changed instead of the entire file,” Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365, said in a statement on Wednesday. OneDrive for Business users will also get better Teams sharing integration for remote work.

Microsoft is rolling out the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users have access to in other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook or Office. Users, when going to share a file from within Teams, would have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone – people within an organization, people with existing access or specific people, including those in a private or group chat.

Later this month, the company is rolling out in public preview a new feature called ‘Add to OneDrive’ for business users that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to OneDrive. Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.

Microsoft said for consumers, it is introducing family and group sharing later this month. “This new consumer feature, available on OneDrive for the web, will let people predefine a group of people from your personal life and then easily share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group,” said Patton.

Family and group sharing is included in all free and paid OneDrive consumer plans and will begin rolling out soon on OneDrive for the web, with general availability expected by the end of July. It will become available on the mobile app, sync client, Mac, and directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by the end of this year. Following its releases for iOS and Android, Microsoft said it will soon bring Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts.


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Tech

Microsoft Launches New Digital Skills Initiative to Help 25 Million People Worldwide

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, GitHub Learning Lab and more.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 1, 2020, 11:58 AM IST

Microsoft announced a new global skills initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills by the end of the year. The announcement comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Covid-19 has created both public health and an economic crisis, and as the world recovers, we need to ensure no one is left behind,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during a digital event.

“Today, we’re bringing together resources from Microsoft inclusive of LinkedIn and GitHub to reimagine how people learn and apply new skills — and help 25 million people facing unemployment due to COVID-19 prepare for the jobs of the future.” Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses.

This initiative includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job and brings together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft. This includes the use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them, free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require, and low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology, Microsoft said. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools.

These resources can all be accessed at a central location, opportunity.linkedin.com, and will be broadly available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. In addition, Microsoft is backing the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

One-quarter of this total, or $5 million, will be provided in cash grants to community-based nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve communities of colour in the United States. Microsoft also pledged to make stronger data and analytics — including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph — available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs. Microsoft will use its voice to advocate for public policy innovations that will advance skilling opportunities needed in the changed economy.

The tech giant also announced it is creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs. “The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Unemployment rates are spiking for people of colour and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities and individuals with less formal education. Our goal is to combine the best in technology with stronger partnerships with governments and nonprofits to help people develop the skills needed to secure a new job.”


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Tech

Microsoft to Open New Campus in Uttar Pradesh, Will Employ 4,000 People

Representative Image. 
(Reuters)

Representative Image.
(Reuters)

Microsoft currently has two campuses, with capacities of 5,000 and 2,000 each, in its headquarters in Hyderabad and in Bengaluru.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:45 AM IST

Microsoft India will set up its campus in Uttar Pradesh, giving a major boost to the state’s efforts to bring in investments. This will ensure employment to about 4,000 persons in the state. An agreement through a virtual discussion has been reached between Microsoft India managing director, Rajiv Kumar, and UP MSME minister Sidharth Nath Singh.

The Microsoft team will soon make a site visit. According to the minister, “The government had earlier said that it will make it simpler for investors willing to acquire land within 1 km distance on each side of the state’s expressways. The company has said that they want to move their North India campus to Greater Noida. The next step will be a site inspection by the team both in Greater Noida and along the Yamuna Expressway and this will be followed by their proposal which the state government will examine.”

The software major currently has two campuses, with capacities of 5,000 and 2,000 each, in its headquarters in Hyderabad and in Bengaluru. Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, plans to develop an electronics manufacturing park near the Jewar International Airport.


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Tech

Microsoft Joins Growing Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott Over Concerns of Inappropriate Content

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Microsoft, however, has not announced its participation in the broader advertisement boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:44 AM IST

Microsoft which spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads last year is reportedly pausing advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. According to a report in Axios on Tuesday, the Windows maker is concerned about ads running alongside “inappropriate content” such as hate speech and pornography.

The software giant, however, has not announced its participation in the broader ad boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands. Microsoft had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in May. “Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook’s policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now,” said the report citing internal Microsoft posts. Microsoft was yet to make the move official.

“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela reportedly said in an internal post on enterprise social network Yammer. “The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August,” Capossela added. Microsoft earlier paused spending on Google’s YouTube over similar concerns.


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Tech

Microsoft to Permanently Close All 83 Retail Sites to Invest in Digital Storefronts

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows, reaching more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 27, 2020, 10:23 AM IST

Microsoft on Friday announced to permanently close its 83 retail stores and will now focus on its online store and retail team members will continue to serve customers from Microsoft corporate facilities and remotely providing sales, training, and support. Microsoft will continue to invest in its digital storefronts on Microsoft.com, and stores in Xbox and Windows, reaching more than 1.2 billion people every month in 190 markets.

The company will also reimagine spaces that serve all customers, including operating Microsoft Experience Centers in London, NYC, Sydney, and Redmond campus locations. The closing of Microsoft Store physical locations will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450 million, or $0.05 per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020.

“Our sales have grown online as our product portfolio has evolved to largely digital offerings, and our talented team has proven success serving customers beyond any physical location,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Porter. Shares of Microsoft were down about 1.5 per cent on Friday.

“We are grateful to our Microsoft Store customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them online and with our retail sales team at Microsoft corporate locations.” Since the Microsoft Store locations closed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail team has helped small businesses and education customers digitally transform; virtually trained hundreds of thousands of enterprise and education customers on remote work and learning software, and helped customers with support calls.

The team supported communities by hosting more than 14,000 online workshops and summer camps and more than 3,000 virtual graduations. Microsoft said that the retail team members will serve consumers, small-business, education, and enterprise customers while building a pipeline of talent with transferable skills. “The Microsoft Store team has long been celebrated at Microsoft and embodies our culture,” said Microsoft Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan.


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Tech

Microsoft is Pulling The Plug From Video Game Streaming Service Mixer to Team Up with Facebook

Microsoft has announced it has discontinued its game streaming service Mixer from July 22. In a statement, the tech giant said that it plans to move over to Facebook Gaming and also encouraged people who watch and create content to move there as well. It is worth noting that Microsoft acquired the Seattle-based video game live streaming platform Beam in 2016 and renamed the platform to Mixer in 2017.

“It became clear that the time needed to grow our own live streaming community to scale was out of measure with the vision and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox want to deliver for gamers now, so we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer and help the community transition to a new platform,” Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said in

a blog post.

To recall, Facebook’s first foray into gaming was in 2016 when it launched Instant Gaming services that allowed developers to build mobile-friendly games using HTML5 that would work on both Facebook and Messenger. Two years later, the tech giant launched Facebook Gaming, to take on its rival Twitch, making it possible for users to find and follow gaming content and live stream their gameplay on the social network. Microsoft claims that gamers will be encouraged to switch to Facebook Gaming that sees the participation of over 700 million people every month.

“The Facebook Gaming team and Creators will help expand the vision that Mixer has always held around the community and building a platform that is inclusive and supportive of each other. For Mixer’s streamers, this opens up the opportunity to reach the vast audience of one of the world’s fastest-growing streaming platforms,” Spencer added.

“Imagine a scenario where people can instantly move from watching a Facebook Gaming creator’s live stream to jumping in and playing the game with their closest friends, all in one click,” Vivek Sharma, head of Facebook Gaming, wrote in a blog post.


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Tech

Microsoft Acquires CyberX, to Ramp Up Security in Its IoT Ecosystem

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

With CyberX, customers can discover their existing IoT assets, and both manage and improve the security posture of those devices, Microsoft said.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 23, 2020, 10:51 AM IST

Microsoft has acquired a security startup called CyberX to accelerate and secure customers Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but media reports said the acquisition could be around $165 million. “CyberX will complement the existing Azure IoT security capabilities, and extends to existing devices including those used in industrial IoT, Operational Technology and infrastructure scenarios,” the tech giant said in a statement on Monday.

With CyberX, customers can discover their existing IoT assets, and both manage and improve the security posture of those devices. “With CyberX, customers can see a digital map of thousands of devices across a factory floor or within a building and gather information about their asset profile and vulnerabilities,” said Microsoft. Security researchers this month discovered serious vulnerabilities that could expose IoT devices worldwide to hackers.

The vulnerability affects hundreds of millions of IoT devices that could potentially allow nefarious actors, including nation-states, to remote take-over of these devices, according to JSOF, a boutique cybersecurity organization. Microsoft said that gaining this visibility is not only critical for understanding where security risks may exist and then mitigating those risks, “but it is also a fundamental step to securely enable smart manufacturing, smart grid and other digitization use cases across production facilities and the supply chain”.

IoT today provides real-time insights into assets, enabling businesses to reduce operational expenses, unplanned downtime and unnecessary servicing. Two years ago, Microsoft announced a $5 billion investment in IoT to further its commitment to build a trusted, easy-to-use platform for its customers and partners. “We will continue to deliver more value to our customers as CyberX is further integrated with Microsoft’s broad portfolio of IoT security offerings in threat protection that span users, endpoints, applications, data and more,” said the company.


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Microsoft Teams Finally Available For Personal Use, as it Battles Google Meet, WhatsApp Video Calls And Zoom

Microsoft has rolled out in preview the personal version of its video calling app Teams for consumers on mobile for both Android and iOS, where the users can perform text chat and video calls, share lists, documents, calendars and location sharing. The new features start to roll out in preview to the Teams mobile app today and will be fully rolled out in the coming weeks, the tech giant said in a statement on Monday.

“Just like you do with Teams at work, you can stay connected with friends and loved ones through messaging and video calling. Create groups to chat and call, so you can stay connected with your family, your book club, your virtual Friday happy hour group, or whoever your group may be,” informed Microsoft. You can also chat or call one-on-one.

“Teams will become the messaging hub for all your personal chats and video and voice calls, with fun features like sharing GIFs, photos, videos, documents, and even location already integrated”. Once you create your groups or one-on-one chats, you will be able to stay organised by sharing lists, documents, and calendars all within the group dashboard. The user can share the reading list and schedule the next virtual meet-up with his or her book club group or stay on top of grocery lists and assign chores in your family group. The user can then easily go back and see the chats, tasks, pictures, videos, and group calendars he or she have shared within the dashboard.

Teams also integrates with your other Microsoft 365 apps so the consumers can easily share from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint right from within the Teams app. Location sharing is also available as part of new personal features. General availability of the new features, as well as expanding features to the desktop and web versions of Teams, is expected later this year, said Microsoft.


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Microsoft's Surface Duo Folding Smartphone Will Reportedly Get Android 11 Update

Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch its foldable smartphone Surface Duo in late July with Android 10 and would later update it to Android 11. Microsoft has started working on Android 11 for its dual-screen device and that it would be rolled out within a few months of the launch, reports Windows Latest. The next version of Android will probably be made official in September and that’s when potential Surface Duo owners can expect it on the device. As per a report, the tech giant is also working hard to make its Edge and Outlook apps natively compatible with the Duo’s two-screen setup.

The Surface Duo is expected to come with mid-range specs, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, 6GB RAM, and either 64GB or 256GB of storage. The device will also feature a single 11MP camera sensor above the right display that will be used for both front and rear-facing photos and videos and will be powered by Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB RAM/64GB or 256GB storage options.

The smartphone houses two equal-sized 5.6-inch AMOLED displays. Each screen offers a 4:3 aspect ratio, 1800 x 1350 pixels resolution and 401ppi pixel density. Surface Duo will ship with a 3460mAh battery and feature USB-C fast charging. It won’t support 5G, maxing out at 4G LTE speeds instead. It is also speculated that the device lacks support for wireless charging and NFC.


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Microsoft Teams Sees Significant Usage Growth in India During Covid-19 Crisis

Microsoft on Saturday revealed that people in India are using video in 22 per cent of meetings and there has been a considerable increase in Microsoft Teams usage on mobile devices in the country as organisations redefine productivity in the pandemic times. The video meet usages can grow even further in India as there is still less access to devices and stable internet in parts of the country, said Samik Roy, Country Head, Modern Workplace, Microsoft India.

“The number of people turning on video in Microsoft Teams meetings had doubled from before working from home became mainstream. In fact, total video calls in Teams grew by over 1,000 percent in March 2020,” Roy said in a statement on the occasion of World Productivity Day. In India, productivity at work has often been equated to one element-time and many organisations across the country are seeing the benefits of adopting Microsoft Teams.

Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare said that they had this tool even before the current situation, but the usage was very low.

“What we are realizing is that we’re able to function more than the normal level because none of us are spending time in commuting or waiting for people to join meetings physically. We are also using Teams for our internal meetings, for teleconsultations with the patients, and for our learning and development needs,” informed Raghuvanshi.

In sectors like manufacturing, there was initial apprehension around remote work. “Work from home will not be a taboo anymore, even for manufacturing companies like Mahindra and Mahindra. Having more digital connect, virtual meetings, people not travelling will become a very comfortable thing,” said Dr Pawan Kumar Goenka, CEO and Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said the last month that this one solution has taught people to actually work together and create together. The nationwide lockdown has made CEOs and CXOs, who were earlier against video calling, comfortable with Microsoft Teams in not just conferencing with customers but also doing actual collaborations and integrating business processes within the solution, Maheshwari stressed.

In the month of March, the average time between a person’s first and last use of Microsoft Teams each day increased by over one hour. “This data does not necessarily mean people were working more hours per day, rather that they are breaking up the day in a way that works for their personal productivity or makes space for obligations outside of work,” said Roy.

“Employees need to be empowered by technology – from cloud-enabled solutions and mobile apps to integrative collaboration hubs such as Microsoft Teams – allowing them to communicate and collaborate in a secured environment and in the way that works best for them,” he emphasized.


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