Microsoft’s signage being displayed at an exhibition hall during the Inspire partner conference in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about Paint being phased out, an upcoming smart thermostat powered by Cortana, a new partnership with Baidu, the LinkedIn app for Windows 10, the financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and much more!
Goodbye Microsoft Paint
It’s the end of an era. Microsoft has added Microsoft Paint as the list of features in the “removed and deprecated” list for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (known as Autumn Creators Update in certain regions) coming this fall. Microsoft first introduced the world to Microsoft Paint 32 years ago in 1985 as part of Windows 1.0.
There is a chance that Microsoft Paint will be in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, but Microsoft will no longer actively update the graphic editing software. And Microsoft has not specified when exactly the graphic editing software would be removed.
As a replacement for the original Microsoft Paint software, Microsoft released Paint 3D in October. Paint 3D allows users to share their work online.
Another application that is being removed in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is Outlook Express.
Microsoft Joins The Smart Thermostat Game Market
Microsoft has partnered with Johnson Controls to launch a smart thermostat product called GLAS. Johnson Controls is known for creating the first electric room thermostat.
The GLAS smart thermostat will run on the Windows 10 IoT core operating system. And the GLAS smart thermostat is going to have a translucent touchscreen that supports Cortana voice commands so you do not have to talk to your phone or a smart speaker to adjust the temperature. Plus the GLAS device will be able to detect the presence of users in the room and detect air quality indoors and outdoors.
Microsoft To Provide Azure Cloud Services At A Global Scale For Baidu’s Self-Driving Project
Microsoft and Baidu have announced a partnership in regards to the adoption of autonomous driving worldwide. Microsoft is already a member of Baidu’s Apollo alliance and will provide a global scale with the Azure cloud outside of China going forward.
Apollo is an open platform that was announced in April with over 50 partners including TomTom, Bosch and Continental. In the announcement, Microsoft cited a study by McKinsey that stated up to 15% of new cars sold in 2030 will be fully autonomous — thus making Apollo essential for the autonomous vehicle industry.
"We’re excited to partner with Baidu to take a giant step in helping automotive manufacturers and suppliers fully realize the promise of autonomous driving," said Microsoft corporate VP Kevin Dallas in a statement. "Today’s vehicles already have an impressive level of sophistication when it comes to their ability to capture data. By applying our global cloud AI, machine learning, and deep neural network capabilities to that data, we can accelerate the work already being done to make autonomous vehicles safer."
And Microsoft is already working with a number of automotive companies to convert large amounts of sensor and usage data into actionable intelligence. BMW, Ford, Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Volvo are using or are planning to utilize Azure for its automotive technologies like driver assist, voice controls and predictive maintenance.
LinkedIn For Windows 10
LinkedIn has launched an app for Windows 10, which shows notifications in the Windows 10 Action Center. Microsoft has been distributing the LinkedIn app in several phases through the Windows Store. But the app should be fully rolled out by the end of July. After it is installed, the LinkedIn app can be launched from the Start Menu or pinned as a Live Tile.
“The LinkedIn app for Windows 10 makes it easier than ever to connect to opportunity, work smarter, and tap into your professional potential. It is easily accessible from your Start menu and taskbar, and you can also pin a Live Tile so that when you click on Start, you never miss important highlights from your connections. With Windows 10 Action Center, LinkedIn for Windows 10 delivers real-time professional updates, including new messages, insights on who’s viewed your profile, trending news in your industry and other timely highlights on your professional network,” said LinkedIn’s Hermes Alvarez in a blog post.
The LinkedIn app will be available in 22 languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (simplified), Arabic, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Swedish, Chinese (traditional), Czech, Indonesian, Thai, Malay, Romanian). To download the app, launch the Windows Store and search for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Launches A Lightweight Version Of The Social Network
LinkedIn has launched a slimmer mobile version of its professional social network designed for slower connections called LinkedIn Lite. LinkedIn Lite will be launching across over 60 emerging markets starting with India first.
As of right now, LinkedIn Lite is only available for Android. And the download size of the app is only 1MB. “The new LinkedIn Lite app is less than 1 MB in size. It can help you find jobs, make useful connections and get professional news even if your phone has limited storage capacity and slower internet conditions. LinkedIn Lite makes it easier for you to succeed in your career. It’s more than just your resume — it shows the world who you are and how you are building your career,” says the app description.
Microsoft Hires GE’s Digital Chief Commercial Officer Kate Johnson For President And CVP of Microsoft US
Microsoft has hired Kate Johnson as its president and corporate vice president (CVP) of Microsoft US. She will be joining Microsoft on September 8, 2017. Johnson is currently working as the chief commercial officer for GE Digital.
Before working as the chief commercial officer, Johnson worked as the CEO of GE’s Intelligent Platforms Software Group and the VP and Chief Commercial Officer of GE Enterprise Solutions. And she also worked in senior positions at Oracle, Red Hat and Deloitte Consulting.
During her time at GE, Johnson worked on several diversity initiatives such as “Balance the Equation,” which led to the hiring of 20,000 women in tech positions. And she also worked on the “Women in Commercial” initiative at GE, which pushed for gender diversity in sales and marketing positions.
Kahoot Raises $20 Million In Funding From Microsoft Ventures And Other Investors
Kahoot is an online learning platform company that has raised $20 million in Series A funding. Of the $20 million, $10 million was an add-on from when the first $10 million was announced in September. Investors in the initial round included Microsoft Ventures, Northzone and Creandum. The $10 million add-on was led by private investors with participation from Microsoft Ventures.
According to VentureBeat, Kahoot was founded in Oslo, Norway in 2011 and recently surpassed one billion players over its lifespan. Kahoot is currently receiving over 50 million monthly active users.
What does Kahoot do? Kahoot allows teachers to create quizzes for their classes. And students can answer the multiple-choice questions from their devices. There is a public library of over 20 million games on the Kahoot platform as of now.
Microsoft Adds “Version History” On OneDrive For All File Types
If you use the “Version History” feature on OneDrive, then you may know that you can restore older versions of the files when needed. Previously, this feature only worked with Microsoft Office files. But Microsoft added “Version History” support for all files last week. This feature is gradually rolling out so you may not see it right away.
“OneDrive is expanding version history to support all file types for your OneDrive personal account—one of our most highly requested features. OneDrive is committed to helping you focus on being more productive and having to worry less about accidental edits by you or others collaborating with you,” said Microsoft in a blog post. “With these improvements to version history, you can see and restore older versions of all your files in your OneDrive. Previously, version history only supported Office files. Now, version history is compatible with all file types, so you no longer need to worry about your PDFs, CAD files or even your photos and videos getting accidentally edited—you’ll always be able to restore or download a previous version.”
You can use the “Version History” feature by going to OneDrive.com, right-clicking on the file that you want to restore (or view a previous version) and click on “Version history.” The “Version History” window will show the date of the revisions and who it was modified by. Then you select your desired revision and click “Open File,” download it or click “Restore” to replace the current version with the revision.
Report: Modeling Agency Genesis Industries Files Lawsuit Against Microsoft
According to The Seattle Times, a Seattle-based modeling agency called Genesis Industries is suing Microsoft due to missed payments. Genesis said it was not paid in full and claims the Microsoft employee that managed the contract decided not to renew after he was confronted for “inappropriate behavior towards its employees.” The modeling agency was hired to promote the HoloLens headset.
The complaint was filed in federal court earlier this month. The complaint says that Genesis founder Jennifer Kelly was contacted by a Microsoft executive in early 2015 for “brand ambassadors” to work at upcoming events promoting the HoloLens. Kelly agreed to the terms of the contract and she was told to sign a contract with CoroWare.
CoroWare is a Microsoft is a preferred Microsoft supplier that was conducting work related to the HoloLens. Genesis was asked to submit invoices for services to CoroWare and then CoroWare would add that to its bill to Microsoft. Genesis said that CoroWare started defaulting on its invoices at the beginning of August 2015. Genesis said the default payments added up to “hundreds of thousands” of dollars.
Microsoft To Extend Support Deadline For Clover Trail PCs
Last week, Microsoft confirmed that PCs with Intel Clover Trail CPUs will continue to receive security updates. This is a huge change from the "Windows as a Service" policy.
Owners of devices with Clover Trail PCs may have noticed that they were unable to upgrade to the Windows 10 Creators Update (released April 2017). However, Microsoft confirmed to ZDNet that a software fix will be coming soon.
And Microsoft agreed to deliver security updates to those devices for another six years. The reason why that is a shift from "Windows as a Service" is because the security updates would have ended in early 2018 under that policy.
The affected devices are PCs that run the Intel Atom Processors Z2760, Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520. Around 10 million of those devices were sold in 2013 and 2014, which was around the time the first Windows 8 devices rolled out.
Microsoft Reports Profits More Than Doubled For Q4
Last week, Microsoft reported their fiscal fourth quarter. Forbes reporter Lauren Gensler reported that Microsoft’s profits more than doubled in its latest quarter, largely driven by cloud business growth. Specifically, Microsoft’s profits grew to $6.5 billion (83 cents per share) compared to $3.1 billion (39 cents per share) from a year earlier. And Microsoft’s revenue increased 13% to $23.31 billion. The cloud business brought in $7.4 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 11% year-over-year. Microsoft Azure saw a 97% increase in revenue.
During the earnings report, Microsoft also provided the numbers of its “More Personal Computing” business — which includes phones and tablets. The "More Personal Computing" division saw a decline as revenues dropped 2% to $8.8 billion. And as part of a major sales and marketing reorganization —- which includes job cuts — Microsoft will see a $306 million charge for the quarter as part of employee severance expenses.
Revenue for the gaming division increased 3% to $1.65 billion. Xbox software and services were able to offset lower hardware revenues. Specifically, Xbox software and services revenue increased 11% thanks to Xbox Live sales. Revenue of Xbox hardware dropped 29% because of lower console sales and prices. Microsoft Xbox Live now has 53 million active users, up from 49 million active users in the last quarter.
Microsoft’s cash pile increased to $133 billion from $126 billion the previous quarter. And Microsoft spent $4.6 billion on dividends and share repurchases during the quarter.
“Innovation across our cloud platforms drove strong results this quarter,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Customers are looking to Microsoft and our thriving partner ecosystem to accelerate their own digital transformations and to unlock new opportunity in this era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”
Microsoft Is Designing An AI Chip For The Next HoloLens
Microsoft has announced that the next version of the HoloLens mixed reality headset (presumably known as the HoloLens 2) will have an AI chip. At the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference, Microsoft’s EVP of Artificial Intelligence and Research Group Harry Shum said that the second version of the Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) will have an AI chip so that data processing can happen locally rather than on the cloud.
“The AI coprocessor is designed to work in the next version of HoloLens, running continuously, off the HoloLens battery. This is just one example of the new capabilities we are developing for HoloLens, and is the kind of thing you can do when you have the willingness and capacity to invest for the long term, as Microsoft has done throughout its history. And this is the kind of thinking you need if you’re going to develop mixed reality devices that are themselves intelligent. Mixed reality and artificial intelligence represent the future of computing, and we’re excited to be advancing this frontier,” said Microsoft’s Director of Science at HoloLens Marc Pollefeys in a blog post.
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!