I'm going to let you in on a secret. Ever hear of Microsoft Office? Of course you have. Well, learning it is essential for success in a business environment. I'm not just talking about word processing, but spreadsheets, presentations and more -- Microsoft's software is the best. Sure, the average student can get by with Google Docs on a Chromebook or Libreoffice, but guess what? Formal education ends eventually. Software that is "good enough" just won't cut it in the working world.
Today, all New York City Public School students and teachers gain access to this important software, as Microsoft Office 365 is being given to them for free. Yes, you are reading that right -- every teacher and student for free. This is a huge win for Microsoft, the students and the teachers. More importantly, however, it is a win for society, as future members of the workforce will be better prepared for success.
A couple of weeks ago we learned a little about what to expect from Office for Windows 10. Today Microsoft has made the universal apps for Office for Windows 10 available for download. In order to grab yourself the preview software, you need to be running Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9926 as the apps are being made available through the new Windows Store Beta.
For now, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps that make up Office for Windows 10 are available for PCs, laptops and tablets running Windows 10 Technical Preview, but this will open up in due course to phones as well.
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.
Microsoft told us a lot about Windows 10 yesterday (it's free!), as well as the future direction of some other interesting projects such as HoloLens and the Spartan browser. We did get a brief glimpse at the touch-friendly versions of Office apps for Windows 10, but today Microsoft also reveals more about the next desktop release -- Office 2016.
In keeping with Microsoft's latest vision, the focus with Office moving forward is "mobile-first, cloud-first". We'll be able to try out Office for Windows 10 very soon as the universal apps are due for release for Windows 10 Technical Preview very soon, and the final version will be pre-installed -- for free -- on phones and small tablets. Some of this we knew yesterday, but talk of Office 2016 is new!
Dropbox is one of the most familiar, endearing and enduring names in the cloud, and it is continuing its expansion. The lastest addition to the fold is CloudOn, an Israeli startup with a focus on mobile productivity in the cloud that boasts 9 million users who use the service to edit Microsoft Office documents.
More accustomed to providing cloud storage, Dropbox's most recent acquisition sees the company expanding further into Europe. No details have been released about any money that may have exchanged hands, but news of the acquisition comes just days after Microsoft acquired Israeli company Equivio. So what does the acquisition of CloudOn mean?
It seems as though there have been quite a few acquisitions by the big names in tech recently, and the latest addition to Microsoft's portfolio is Equivio. The Israeli company specializes in text analytics, focusing mainly on helping other businesses with legal and compliance issues with data, counting the Department of Justice among its clients.
What Microsoft is particularly interested in is Equivio's machine learning technology and information governance tools, and aims to improve the eDiscover feature of Office 365. For any company managing large quantities of data, this will help to make life a good deal simpler, and help to eliminate the need for manually sifting through documents and emails.
Stanford University is known for turning out some of the big names in the tech business. It's where two guys thought up the idea for a little search engine called Google. However, that doesn't tie the school to the service and Stanford is proving that with its move to a Microsoft platform.
It's certainly not the first educational institute (or business) to adopt Office 365 and Exchange. This latest move is slated to take place in the summer of 2015, though the work has already begun.
Accessibility features in regular applications are now very much par for the course, but it's something of a different matter when it comes to online apps. While a growing number of websites have been designed to better meet the needs of people with sight or hearing problems.
The gradual move to the cloud means there are more and more online apps springing up, but many of them are slow to embrace accessibility options. Today Microsoft announces that Office Online -- the web-based version of its famous office suite -- has gained a number of key accessibility features designed to make it easier to use.
I'm not easily impressed. Lots of tech products see the light of day each year, but only a few I consider to be truly great. And by that I mean technology that I want to have in my life, that brings value, and, last but not least, that makes me feel good. The subjective factor is just as important, I believe, when it comes to the things that I have to look at and interact with on a daily basis. That's just the way it is, and I'm fine with it.
Because of this, a pretty long list can get really, really short in no time. My colleagues have already shared their favorite tech products of 2014 with you, and now the time has come for me to do the same. It's BetaNews tradition, after all. So, without further ado, here they are.
As businesses move their systems to the cloud security becomes a major concern but often applications don't offer the flexibility and ease of access that administrators need.
To address this need for users of Office, cloud security automation company Palerra has announced a partnership with Microsoft to add an extra layer of security to the Office 365 suite.
As more and more data gets moved to the cloud it's easy to forget that it still needs to be protected against corruption and loss.
Cloud backup specialist Spanning has a new solution for Office 365 users with the launch of an enterprise grade cloud-to-cloud backup solution. It's aimed at bringing the same application-centric focus and backup and restore expertise to Office 365 that it already has for Google Apps and Salesforce solutions.
As much as Google would like everyone with word processing, presentation and spreadsheet needs to make exclusive use of Google Docs, the fact is that Office -- particularly the cloud-friendly Office 365 -- remains stubbornly popular. To try to win people over from the dark side, Google has added editing support for an extra 15 Office formats to Docs.
This is not the only change that has been made to try to encourage Office users towards Docs. Google is also making it possible to edit Office documents that arrive in your Gmail inbox as attachments -- no more downloading just to re-upload for editing!
The IT needs of businesses are constantly evolving and technology giant HP has announced a raft of new products aimed at optimizing today's workloads whilst preparing for the future.
Offerings include new servers, faster storage, converged systems and an expanded range of services including combining HP Enterprise Services with Microsoft Office 365.
Web pages can be interesting, transient things; they can be there one minute and gone the next. But while a web page may vanish, that does not mean that all traces of it vanish from the internet. Earlier today an intriguing-looking article popped up in my news reader -- there are many benefits to sticking with RSS feeds: a post on the Microsoft blog with the title "blank post please delete".
Authored by Rajesh Jha, my RSS reader (InoReader) showed that the post's content was very similar to the title -- blank post, please delete. Just a comma added. Interest piqued, I clicked the link to see if there was any more to see. "We're sorry, but we can't find the page you're looking for" announced Chrome. But the URL is curious.
Microsoft is giving Office 365 users an early glimpse of what it hopes will become the future of enterprise video sharing. Office 365 Video harnesses the power of SharePoint and Azure Media Services to create a tool that gives businesses a one-stop-shop for uploading, sharing, delivering and streaming videos.
A number of possible scenarios are set out by Mark Kashman, a senior product manager in the Office 365 group. From providing employees with access to training videos to delivering CEO messages, this is a flexible tool that has been designed with security and simplicity in mind. Office 365 Video is not expected to launch until early next year, but a sneak peak is available right now.