Towards the end of last year, Microsoft launched Clutter. It's a tool designed to make it easier to focus on the email that matter by moving the less important ones into a separate folder. It works in a similar way to decluttering tools offered by Yahoo and Gmail, and now it's being rolled out to everyone.
Starting in June, there will be no need to manually activate the feature as it will be enabled by default. If you're not keen on having your emails tinkered with, you can disable it, but Microsoft explains that the aim is to save you time by reducing the amount of chaff you have to sort through to get to the wheaty content that matters.
Many tech pundits put down Windows nowadays, but there is a big problem with that; pundits aren't always a good representation of the working world. Every time I read a review from a tech writer about how they can get all of their work done with a Chromebook, I just laugh. Why? Most of the world isn't writing for a living. No disrespect for writers, but hardware and software needs for that profession are not demanding.
For the rest of the world, getting work done often involves Microsoft solutions -- including Windows and Office -- and for good reason; those solutions work well. Today at Ignite, the company underlined its commitment to the Enterprise with a deluge of announcements; Windows Update for Business, Office 2016, Skype for Business broadcasting -- phew! In other words, Microsoft is Igniting the Enterprise.
Add-ons are a common feature of traditional, offline applications, but they're becoming increasingly popular in online services. Microsoft is the latest to get in on the action, announcing a batch of new add-ons for Outlook.com, including one from PayPal that makes it easy to make payments via email.
Microsoft comes under fire quite often for seeming to favor Android and iOS over its own mobile platforms. Apple and Google's mobile operating system have been first in line for all manner of Microsoft apps and services, and it was much the same story with the mobile versions of Office.
Today Microsoft is taking steps to allay the concerns of Windows Phone users -- you have not been forgotten! Specifically, the company says that the preview version of Office Universal apps will, or at least should, be made available for Windows 10 for phones by the end of the month.
Back in November, Microsoft and Dropbox joined forces to bring Office editing capabilities to iOS and Android users. Now the two companies have taken things to the next level, bringing the same capabilities to the web.
New integration between the ever-expanding Office Online and Dropbox means that it is now possible to create files in Microsoft's cloud-based office suite and save them directly to Dropbox. There's also the option of adding your Dropbox account to Office Online to allow for easy access to files ready for editing.
Windows Phone is Microsoft's mobile offering to the world, and some people love it. Unfortunately, the operating system's market share is extremely low, meaning many of the cool features and exclusives do not receive wide exposure. Slowly but surely, benefits that Windows Phone users pointed to as exclusives to the OS are being brought to competing platforms.
Today, Microsoft brings another Windows Phone exclusive to Android and iPhone -- Office Lens. Yes, the super-cool scanning feature is finally available to the large majority of mobile devices. Will you try it?
Four years in the making, LibreOffice is working towards moving online. LibreOffice Online is due to spring from a partnership between IceWarp and Collabora with the aim of competing directly with Google Docs and Office 365. Upon launch, it will be the first cloud-based office suite to offer support for the Open Document Format (ODF) standard.
Based on HTML 5, there's not currently a launch date for LibreOffice Online but IceWarp and Collabora hope to drive competition and innovation by entering the market. The suite is already available for just about every mobile and desktop platform, so the move to the cloud was all but inevitable.
Hot on the heels of Office 2016 Mac Preview, Microsoft today launched Office 2016 Preview for developers and IT professionals. We've already heard a little about the direction in which the office suite is heading but -- leaks aside -- this is the first time most of the suite has been seen outside of private testing.
Microsoft is a company that is all about previews nowadays; the days of not having a clue what will appear in the next version of apps are gone. There's the disclaimer that "this early build doesn’t yet contain all the features we're planning to ship in the final product", but it's still an intriguing taster of what's to come.
While malware for Microsoft's Office platform has been around just about as long as the suite, we've heard less about it in recent times. That is changing though as new threats surface, altering the landscape a bit. The latest problems are really just a new iteration of the older ones, utilizing a tried and true attack vector.
That line of attack comes from the code itself, using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Security firm Sophos is reporting a rise in incidents of this across various parts of the suite. The code is unfortunately open to these flaws.
After a five-year gap, Microsoft has unveiled the first public beta of its forthcoming Office 2016 for Mac with the release of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 Preview. The new release is free for all Yosemite users during the remainder of the product’s pre-release phase, with the final version slated for release later this year.
Office for Mac 2016 Preview ships with five components: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. It boasts a refreshed and optimized codebase, Retina-friendly visuals and support for full-screen mode.
Microsoft is all about software previews these days. We've seen various preview builds of Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phones, and now it's time for the next version of Office for Mac. Today Microsoft released Office 2016 Mac Preview, giving Mac users a chance to try out the next version of the office suite ahead of its full launch.
As with the Windows version of Office, and in keeping with the new focus of Microsoft, there's a strong emphasis on the cloud. OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint can be used to sync documents between devices, and Microsoft is keen to point out that this is more than just a straight port of PC Office -- the suite has been Mac-ified.
Microsoft has been a tireless proponent of education -- the company has many schools on its operating system and Office suite, sometimes at very big discounts. But the best discount of all is always "free", which is exactly what some students will pay for Office. The software giant has even instituted a way for students to check their eligibility.
This comes on the heels of New York City announcing that its students and teachers will be running Microsoft's Office programs. The city isn't alone either, as many other educational bastions move to the platform.
Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first strategy continues. In something of a surprise announcement the company reveals that it is launching a new cloud storage partner program meaning that any cloud storage provider will be able to integrate with Office for iOS and Office Online.
The news follows on from Microsoft's partnership with Dropbox in November and while it is just iOS users who will benefit from the new mobile options for now, Office for Android and Office for Windows 10 will also get the same treatment in due course. It's a recognition of the fact that integration with OneDrive is not enough so it shouldn't be long before we see iCloud and Google Drive working with Office.
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.
Windows 10-powered Surface Hub brings interactive whiteboards kicking and screaming into the 21st century
Surface got off to something of a stuttering start, but Microsoft's sort-of-tablet/sort-of-laptop has gained quite a following as it hit the third generation. With the launch of Windows 10 on the cards, the company is now thinking about not just software, but also new hardware formats. We've seen HoloLens, but the device that could transform both work and education is the Surface Hub.
Announced as an 84-inch Surface, it would be easy to dismiss this as a headline-grabbing gimmick, but it's more than that. Much more than that. It's a tool for the office, a tool for enterprise, and a tool for schools and colleges. This is Microsoft showing how Windows 10 can be used for collaborative work, bringing the interactive whiteboard kicking and screaming into the 21st century.