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Microsoft

  • Microsoft Azure, data centres coming to Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2018

    Microsoft South Africa today announced its Azure Cloud servers and services are finally heading to the country. Previously, African companies relied on data centres beyond the continent's landmass to use the cloud, but the new servers -- which will be located in Cape Town and Johannesburg -- will be a much shorter digital trip for cloud traffic. "Microsoft will deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365," the company states in a blog post. While the company's marketing towards businesses and economic growth are clear, the company didn't mention gaming in its announcement. Sorry Crackdown fans. Microsoft instead explains that...

  • Windows Vista: Microsoft’s hated but daring OS is shutting down for good

    It's finally here. Today is the final day that Microsoft will support Windows Vista. From 12 April, Windows Vista will effectively be disowned by Microsoft, thrown out of the house by its parents, and forced to get a job of its own. "After April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft," the company writes in an ultimatum. "Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners,...

  • Microsoft’s Skype Lite Android app launches in India

    An interesting counter-trend is emerging among the world's most popular apps. With Facebook launching the likes of Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite last year to cater for emerging markets, Microsoft is following suit debuting Skype Lite this week. Like its Facebook counterparts, Skype Lite will be available for low-cost Android devices, and cater exclusively (at least for now) to the Indian smartphone market. Overall the Hyderabad-developed app is said to be more usable on low-speed networks, use less battery and works with India's Aadhaar identification number system to streamline signups and identification. Skype Lite is a direct competitor to Facebook Messenger Lite...

  • Skype’s new preview beta adds a touch of Snapchat

    Remember Skype? The video conferencing tool is a product we haven't covered in a while, and that's largely because its feature set hasn't changed radically since Microsoft bought it from eBay in 2011. But that's about to change, at least judging by this week's news. Skype's mobile app, available on Android and iOS, is set to receive a number of updates to bring it in line with the other instant messaging apps of this world. Skype Chat will now boast a "Find Panel" which will allow users to "easily find and share links, news, sports results, restaurants, the weather, videos and more...

  • Microsoft to cut 700 jobs this week – report

    Microsoft is expected to cut 700 jobs this week, being part of a group of 2850 cuts announced last year, it has been reported. According to Business Insider, citing "someone familiar with the matter", Microsoft will conduct the layoffs when it reports its quarterly results on 26 January. The website's source said that most of the 2850 cuts have already been made, adding that it won't be limited to any specific group. Cuts are apparently set to affect divisions such as human resources, engineering, finance, marketing and more. Business Insider also reports that the cuts were made to "update skills" rather than with the...

  • Ookla debuts Speedtest desktop app for Windows, Mac OS

    Great news for those of you too lazy to open a web page. Ookla, the company behind popular internet benchmarking tool Speedtest, has this week announced a new Desktop app for Windows and Mac OS users. The company explains that the app's existence is thanks to today's modern world of "text expanders, ordering buttons and digital assistants". The app simply aims to make checking your internet connection speed as quick and easy as this. "By embedding Speedtest on your desktop (and skipping all that typing), we can save you almost all the effort of figuring out your download and upload speeds,"...

  • Microsoft enjoyed ‘best month ever’ for Surface line

    Microsoft made quite a splash when it revealed its Surface Studio desktop a few months ago. But the Surface line in general has been doing fantastic numbers for the firm, the company says. In fact, November was the best month ever for Surface sales, Microsoft wrote on its blog. "November was our best month ever for consumer Surface sales. The Best Buy-exclusive Surface bundle sold out on the first day. The momentum was seen worldwide. In the UK, we had the best single week for Surface ever and in Germany the Surface Pen became the best seller in PC Accessories on Amazon.com...

  • Here’s what Microsoft Zo thinks about Cape Town, social media and Pokemon

    Microsoft is old hat at this artificial intelligence chat bot thing. Remember the drama its teenage bot Tay caused on Twitter? Well, the company has now taken to the less-traversed Kik for some more interesting results. Its new bot on the platform, dubbed Zo, is a little more reserved than her curious, parrot-like sibling, and responds to politics and politically incorrect content and questions with a bat of the eyelids. This makes Zo a less impressionable bot. But is she fun to chat with? And what can she actually do? Taking a few minutes out of my day to talk to an...

  • Microsoft Teams: Redmond joins the funky workplace collab party

    Microsoft has today launched its answer to workplace collaboration tool Slack in the form of Microsoft Teams. The company's announcement comes just weeks after social giant Facebook launched its Slack competitor, Workplace. Like Slack, the chat-based workspace allows groups to collaborate on projects through persistent chat threads and rooms, but also supports video calling by plugging into Skype, and group task completion by using Microsoft's Office program suite. Teams will also boast apps for MacOS, Android and iOS, including the web. "At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the mission of helping people and organizations achieve more—and reinventing productivity for the cloud and...

  • Microsoft Q1 2017: huge cloud growth, big Phone drop

    Microsoft has seemingly hit the purplest of its purple patches this week, after the Redmond-based company announced its Q1 2017 earnings. Shares ballooned to US$60.43 -- at one point, a jump of nearly 6.3% -- adding around US$25-billion to its market cap. The company's CEO Satya Nadella, was pretty happy to say the least. "We are helping to lead a profound digital transformation for customers, infusing intelligence across all of our platforms and experiences," he explains. "We continue to innovate, grow engagement, and build our total addressable market." Microsoft's Windows 10 is flat, its phone business is dying but its cloud portfolio is...

  • Microsoft makes speech recognition more human

    Microsoft has announced a breakthrough for speech recognition, producing a system that recognises words in a conversation as fast as a human. The new speech recognition system, by Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research team, makes either the same or fewer errors than transcriptionists, having a word error rate (WER) of 5.9%. "The 5.9% error rate is about equal to that of people who were asked to transcribe the same conversation, and it's the lowest ever recorded against the industry standard Switchboard speech recognition task," Microsoft explained on its blog. The US tech firm says that the breakthrough marks the first time that a...

  • Microsoft SA talks numbers behind Windows 10 Anniversary Update

    The South African arm of Microsoft recently held a Windows 10 Anniversary event to order to highlight the new update. While the software came packed with a range of changes and upgrade, the numbers behind it were far more interesting. The Anniversary update According to Anthony Doherty, the Windows and Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft SA, the Windows Anniversary Update went through 28 pre-builds before its official launch. The Anniversary Update for Windows 10 Mobile had less of those, coming in at 20 pre-releases before its own launch. During the testing phase, Microsoft received over 5000 feature requests from standard home and in-depth...

  • Microsoft’s new alerts encourage users to ditch Google Chrome

    The browser wars are hotting up again, largely thanks to Microsoft. According to a number of user reports, the company is once again issuing tips in its Windows 10 notifications system alerting users to Google Chrome's battery usage. "Chrome is draining your battery faster. Switch to Microsoft Edge for up to 36 percent more browsing time," it suggests. Remember when I spoke about the anti-@googlechrome pop up? It's come back, here is a screenshot! #windows10 pic.twitter.com/FpOjL27srK — Rudy Huyn (@RudyHuyn) July 18, 2016 The latest move follows Microsoft's published YouTube video and extensive article, highlighting the differences in battery life between Chrome, Mozilla Firefox,...

  • 10 simple Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts worth remembering

    Windows 10 has been out for a while now, but there are still quite a few things to like about the new Microsoft update (although I want my WiFi to work without disconnecting every few hours). The update brings some convenient keyboard shortcuts too, but which ones are worth remembering? We list some of the more useful combinations. Activate task view (Windows + Tab) The task view feature is new in Windows 10, giving you an overview of all your open windows - be it programs, games or file explorer windows. Launching this is a simple case of hitting Windows and Tab, so you don't need to endlessly Alt+Tab...

  • User takes Microsoft to court over Windows 10 upgrade, wins $10 000

    Scores of people have been complaining about the questionable ways Microsoft imposes Windows 10 on them. Now, one woman has won a court battle against the Redmond corporation. According to the Seattle Times, Terri Goldstein's computer tried downloading Windows 10 without her authorisation, but the process failed. Goldstein, who runs a travel agency with the aid of her computer, found that it would crash and "be unusable for days" at a stretch. "I had never heard of Windows 10," she said, claiming that no one asked her to upgrade. Read more: 10 incredibly cool Google Chrome keyboard shortcuts you should know She initially contacted Microsoft's...