Tag: microsoft

Gemalto teams up with Microsoft


Security outfit Gemalto i
s teaming up with Microsoft to release of its On Demand Connectivity and eSIM technology for Windows 10 devices.

Gemalto’s works with the release GSM Association (GSMA) new specifications and guidelines for remote SIM provisioning.

Based around a subscription system, Gemalto’s On-Demand Connectivity works with Windows 10 native eSIM support. It is designed to be remotely provisioned by mobile network operators with subscription information and is globally interoperable across all carriers, device makers and technology providers implementing the specification.

This technology will serve as the framework devices of all shapes and sizes use to connect to operator networks. The first wave of devices with this technology is expected to be available to consumers by Christmas.

Roanne Sones, General Manager, Strategy and Ecosystem for Windows and Devices, Microsoft said that eSIM technology remains an important investment for Microsoft as it looks to create even more mobile computing opportunities

“As a key component for the Always Connected Windows experience, we worked closely with Gemalto to develop a solution that meets the new GSMA guidelines.”

Rodrigo Serna, Senior Vice President of Mobile Services and IoT Americas at Gemalto said that Gemalto has created a complete range of subscription management software and services to manage the eSIM life cycle in mobile devices.

“We will continue to work closely with Microsoft and the GSMA to further these advances while protecting the security of end users, who rely on their mobile devices to make everyday life easier.”

Microsoft does car deal with Tata

It appears that while tech companies are trying to make alliances with car companies, Microsoft has spied an opportunity in India.

Vole India has signed a deal with Tata Motors for a strategic collaboration on the technology front to make driving a more personalised experiences for customers.

The first car showcasing the vision of the enhanced driving experiences will be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor show on March 7, it said.

“Using IoT (internet of things), AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies, we will provide vehicle owners in India and across the world a safe, productive and fun driving experience,” Anant Maheshwari, President at Microsoft India, said.

Tata Motors CEO Guenter Butschek said at a press conference that he saw the tie-up creating new revenue opportunities for the company as car buyers increasingly look for value-added services.

If Microsoft’s deal works with Tata, then it will be putting its products under the bonnet of an outfit which has a sales track to millions of Indian car drivers.

Digital “Geneva Convention” is Smith’s dream

Software king of the world Microsoft has called for a digital Geneva Convention which would see tech companies remaining neutral if any country goes to war in cyberspace.

Microsoft president Brad Smith is alarmed at the rising tide of nationalism and said tech companies must declare themselves neutral when nations go up against nations in cyberspace.

Talking to the RSA computer security conference, Smith said cyberspace is the new battlefield and Tech must be committed to “100% defence and zero percent offense.”

Smith called for a “digital Geneva Convention,” like the one created in the aftermath of World War II which set ground rules for how conduct during wartime, defining basic rights for civilians caught up armed conflicts.

The speech was echoed in a blog post on Microsoft’s site that went up yesterday.

The world’s governments need to pledge that “they will not engage in cyberattacks that target civilian infrastructure, whether it’s the electric grid or the political system,” Smith said.

The  digital Geneva Convention would establish protocols, norms and international processes for how tech companies would deal with cyber aggression and attacks of nations aimed at civilian targets, which appears to effectively mean anything but military servers.

Smith listed a string of increasingly threatening cross-border cyber incidents, beginning with the North Korean attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 to thefts of intellectual property by China in 2015, ending with last year’s Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

“We suddenly find ourselves living in a world where nothing seems off limits to nation-state attacks,” Smith said.

Technology companies, not armies, are the first responders when cyber-attacks occur, he noted. But they cannot and must not, respond in kind, or aid governments in going on the offensive, Smith said.

Smith wants an autonomous organisation, something like the International Atomic Energy Agency that polices nuclear non-proliferation.

“Even in a world of growing nationalism, when it comes to cybersecurity the global tech sector needs to operate as a neutral Digital Switzerland,” Smith said.

“We will not aid in attacking customers anywhere. We need to retain the world’s trust.”

This would mean that tech companies should refuse to aid governments, even the government of the country they are based in, in attacking other nations. That could mean not building backdoors into programs sold in other countries and not taking part in work to create cyberweapons.

Microsoft does not have to share foreign email but Google does

POSTMANPATA US judge has decided that while Microsoft does not have to share email stored on its foreign servers with police and spies, Google will still have to.

A US judge has ordered Google to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored outside the United States.

US Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter ruled that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.

The judge said this was because there was “no meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought.

“Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centres abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” Rueter wrote.

Google said that the magistrate had departed from precedent, and it will appeal the decision.

The ruling came less than seven months after the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said Microsoft Vole could not be forced to turn over emails stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland that U.S. investigators sought in a narcotics case.

The case was watched closely by the EU which was spoiling for a reason to shut the US out of the European cloud business.

 

Microsoft’s cunning anti-Apple plan is working

microsoft-surface-3-02Software King of the World Microsoft claims that its cunning plan to remove Apple’s from the high-end computer market, is working.

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that Microsoft’s business of licensing Windows out to PC manufacturers was up five percent last quarter,  accounting for both business and consumer PCs.

The outfit’s business of licensing Windows for the “non-pro” (as in, consumer) market had its own five percent growth last quarter, beating the overall shrinkage of the PC industry, “as our partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category”.

These “premium devices” are computers in the $900-plus price range which in the consumer market are those with more money than sense – Apple’s turf.

Microsoft’s PC partners spent the last several years focusing on low- to medium-priced computers and let Apple have that ground. After all it was not really worth the effort.

Microsoft changed all that with the Surface Book laptop in 2015, the company explicitly declared that those days were over, pitching it as a more powerful and versatile alternative to Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro.

There was also a market for laptop/tablet hybrids like the Surface Pro 4. Meanwhile there had been a slow rise of virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift – which requires a powerful gaming PC for the best results.

And what was the fruity tax-dodging cargo cult doing while Microsoft was staging its come-back? Well nothing really. In fact, it did not upgrade its hardware for four years.

When it did it stripped a lot of the functionality out of the MacPro making it useless for professionals.

Now Volehas  introduced the Surface Studio PC, a unique blend of tablet and desktop computer, competing with the Apple iMac. It is not cheap at $2,999, it’s reported to be selling better than even Microsoft’s most optimistic projections.

Microsoft waking from its Ballmer inspired snooze

alainhippoSoftware King of the World, Microsoft has emerged from its 17-year snooze where it has been doing well but not as good as it should have been.

Vole has announced that its market capitalisation topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 after the technology giant’s stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Shares of the world’s biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion.

The last time Microsoft was worth that was in March 2000, during the dotcom bubble when it had a market value of a little above $550 billion.

The Tame Apple Press has been reassuring everyone that Microsoft is still not as valuable as  its favourite company. Apple’s market capitalisation is $642 billion and Google’s is more than $570 billion.

Vole’s second quarter results last Thursday beat analysts’ average estimate for both revenue and profit, mainly due to its fast-growing cloud computing business.

The company’s profit and revenue have now topped Wall Street’s expectations in seven of the last eight quarters.

Chief Executive Satya Nadella has been trying to spruce up Microsoft since taking over the snoozing giant nearly three years ago, from the shy and retiring Steve Ballmer. He appears to have built more credibility around the company’s efforts in areas such as cloud-based services.

When he started work in February 2014, you could pick up a share in Vole for $34 and the company value was $315 billion.

At least 11 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, boosting the median price target to $68.50 from $68.

 

Office 365 subscriptions stall

 

Microsoft campusSoftware King of the world Microsoft said subscriptions to the productivity software had reached nearly 25 million but additions were down 62 percent compared to the year before.

This seems to indicate that Microsoft is finding it difficult to get new sign ups for the subscription based office service.

Satya Nadella touted revenue increases for the Office products aimed at consumers — which include Office 365 — and of the latter said that the company had, “continued to see an increase in … subscriber base.”

But in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Microsoft pegged the number of consumer Office 365 subscriptions in the December quarter at 24.9 million, an increase of 900,000 from the September quarter and 4.3 million more than a year earlier.

Microsoft’s Office 365 started with “Home Premium” — was a five-user deal that cost $100 annually or $10 monthly. Fifteen months later, Microsoft unveiled a one-user subscription called “Personal” for $70 a year or $7 a month. Since then, Microsoft shortened the original subscription’s name to just “Home;” prices have not changed.

Vole has always wanted to shift much of its software business model toward recurring payments rather than one-time purchases of “perpetual” licences.

During the last nine months Office 365 grew by about 900,000 subscribers, the smallest quarterly increase since early 2014. Before that subscribers were signing up at rates two to three times larger per quarter.

Subscriber additions peaked in the first quarter of 2015, at 3.2 million, followed by 3 million in the third quarter, providing a foundation for a record 11.4 million new subscribers during the year.

After Q4 2015, however, the trailing 12-month numbers fell, a decline fuelled by the plateau of 0.9 million each quarter from the second onward. That resulted in a gain of just 4.3 million subscribers throughout 2016, a reduction of 62 percent from the year before.

It does not really mean much to Vole’s bottom line. In fact, revenue from the consumer side of Office with the perpetual licenses sold at retail — was up 22 percent in the December quarter. But it does indicate that there is a pain threshold in the subscriber model. It seems that most people who want Office 365 using this model have it already.

 

Silicon Valley gears up to fight Trump

Donald-Trump-funnySilicon Valley is leading the corporate resistance to President Donald (Prince of Orange)Trump’s clampdown on immigration.

Apparently Big Tech is spending a fortune on financing legal opposition, criticising the plan, as well as helping employees ensnared by his executive order.

It had long been expected that Silicon Valley would fight back against Trump. The industry has depended on immigrants and championed liberal causes such as gay rights.

At the moment, it looks like they are still in the organisation stage. Over the weekend, as Trump tried to shut out immigrants from countries which he does not do business with, most in the tech industry stopped short of directly criticising the new Republican president.

Apple, Google and Microsoft offered legal aid to employees affected by the order. Several Silicon Valley executives donated to legal efforts to support immigrants facing the ban.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Uber head Travis Kalanick both said on Twitter that they would take industry concerns about immigration to Trump’s business advisory council, where they serve.

Kalanick has faced opposition on social media for agreeing to be part of the advisory group. Kalanick in a Facebook post on Sunday called the immigration ban “wrong and unjust” and said that Uber would create a $3 million fund to help drivers with immigration issues.

Khash Sajadi, the British-Iranian chief executive of San Francisco-based tech company Cloud 66, was stuck in London because of the ban.

Sajadi is hoping that bigger tech companies like Google and Facebook would take legal action to protect affected employees. That could help set a precedent for people in similar situations.

He warned that it is going to take legal action as people speaking up is not going to be enough.

The tech industry also has other matters where it may find itself opposed to Trump, including trade policy and cyber security.

Over the weekend startup incubator Y Combinator president, Sam Altman, wrote a widely read blog post urging tech leaders to band together against the immigration order. He said he has spoken with a variety of people about organising but remains unsure about the best course of action.

“The honest answer is we don’t know yet. We are talking with legal groups and tech groups, but this is so unprecedented that I don’t think anyone has a manual.”

At Lyft, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green pledged on the company’s blog to donate a million dollars over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which won a temporary stay of part of Trump’s executive order on Saturday night.

Dave McClure, the founding partner of 500 Startups and an outspoken critic of Trump, said his venture capital firm will soon open its first fund in the Middle East and will shift its attention to supporting entrepreneurs in their native countries, if bringing them to the United States proves impossible.

Ironically this will help countries identified by Trump as “enemies” develop their technology base.

 

Microsoft sees profit rise thanks to cloud

Ary Pleysier - Beach View with Boats - Wikimedia CommonsSoftware King of the World Microsoft reported some mixed results with a 3.6 percent rise in fiscal second-quarter profit but a decline in margins in its cloud operations.

The cloud was Microsoft’s shining star in the results, but it seems that was due to reduced margins in in the unit that includes its flagship cloud platform Azure.

Chris Suh, head of Microsoft’s investor relations said that gross margins for Microsoft’s so-called “commercial cloud” business, which includes Azure and versions of its online Office 365 product sold to businesses, were 48 percent.

That is down from last quarter’s 49 percent but up from 46 percent a year ago. The figure is important because it is a sign of the actual profit made of Microsoft’s cloud products, which the company does not publish.

Vole’s Azure competes with cloudy products from Amazon.com, Google, IBM and Oracle Corp.

Suh admitted that Vole was no longer at Amazon’s margin.

“Their infrastructure business is much larger. They have the benefit of scale. We track more like what Amazon was when they were closer to our size.”

Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said there was a “material improvement” in Azure margins since last quarter.

Nadella said the company thinks of its cloud offerings as comprehensive lineup of software and infrastructure, as it did with its historical business as a combination of products with different margins, like Office and Windows Server.

“We have a cloud strategy that is not just about infrastructure,” Nadella said, pointing out differences with Amazon Web Services.

Revenue from Microsoft’s ‘Intelligent Cloud’ business, which includes Azure, along with other data center software, rose 8.0 percent to $6.9 billion in the quarter. That beat analysts’ average estimate of $6.73 billion. Microsoft’s estimates for next quarter were $6.45 billion to $6.65 billion, only slightly higher than FactSet’s $6.61 billion estimate.

Azure’s revenue grew 94 percent year over year which is the lowest growth rate since Microsoft began disclosing the number in 2015, and down from 121 percent the previous quarter.

Sales of Office 365 to businesses rose 49 percent, down from 54 percent in the previous quarter.

Sales in Microsoft’s personal computing business, which includes its Windows software, once the bedrock of the company, fell 5.0 percent to $11.8 billion, slightly beating the rate at which personal computer sales fell in the quarter.

The company’s net income rose to $5.20 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $5.02 billion a year earlier. Its adjusted revenue was $25.838 billion, ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $25.298 billion.

Microsoft wins in mail sharing case

POSTMANPATSoftware king of the world Microsoft will not have to share email which is stored on foreign servers.

A federal appeals court refused to reconsider its landmark decision forbidding the US government from forcing Vole and other companies to turn over customer emails stored on servers outside the United States.

It was a close vote by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, but it let stand a July 14 decision that was a victory for privacy advocates, and for technology companies offering cloud computing and other services worldwide.

The dissenting judges said that decision by a three judge panel could hamstring law enforcement, and called on the US Supreme Court or Congress to reverse it.

Peter Carr, a US Department of Justice spokesman, said: “We are reviewing the decision and its multiple dissenting opinions and considering our options.”

Circuit Judge Susan Carney ruled that Microsoft could not be forced to turn over emails sought for a narcotics case, but stored on a server in Dublin.

Carney said the emails were beyond the reach of domestic search warrants issued under the federal Stored Communications Act, a 1986 law.

Microsoft was thought to be the first US company to challenge a domestic search warrant seeking data held outside the country.

The case attracted significant attention from technology and media companies concerned that a ruling for the government could jeopardize the privacy of customers, and make them less likely to use cloud services if they thought data could be seized.

Dozens of technology and media companies backed Vole including Amazon.com, Apple, CNN, Fox News Network and Verizon Communications, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Judges opposed to the ruling said it should not matter where the emails were stored because Microsoft was a US company. They also said the panel did not properly address the challenges that electronic data storage poses for law enforcement.

The judge expressed hope that the panel’s view of the 1986 law “can be rectified as soon as possible by a higher judicial authority or by the Congress.”