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VentureBeat

Microsoft reports $35.7 billion in Q1 2021 revenue: Azure up 48%, Surface up 37%, and LinkedIn up 16%

Microsoft today reported earnings for its first fiscal quarter of 2021, including revenue up 12% to $37.2 billion, net income of $13.9 billion, and earnings per share of $1.82 (compared to revenue of $33.1 billion, net income of $10.7 billion, and earnings per share of $1.14 in Q1 2020). All three of the company’s operating groups saw year-over-year growth. Analysts had expected Microsoft to earn $35.7 billion in revenue and report earnings per share of $1.54. The company thus easily beat expectations, suggesting some (but not all) units are benefiting from the effects of the pandemic. The company’s stock was up 1.5% in regular trading and flat in after-hours trading. Microsoft returned $9.5 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends during the quarter. COVID-19 impact on the quarter Microsoft is the first of the tech giants to report results for a second full quarter during the coronavirus pandemic. In the past two quarters, Microsoft said COVID-19 had minimal net impact on the total company revenue. This time, Microsoft merely said its “focus remains on ensuring the safety of our employees, striving to protect the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate, and providing technology and resources to our customers and partners to help them do their best work while remote.” Indeed, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about “digital transformation” and didn’t even mention the virus. “The next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of their digital…Continue readingMicrosoft reports $35.7 billion in Q1 2021 revenue: Azure up 48%, Surface up 37%, and LinkedIn up 16%

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The Verge

Microsoft Internet Explorer users may be surprised when they get redirected to Edge next month

Microsoft has been slowly weaning users off its legacy Internet Explorer browser for a very long time, recently going so far as to use a forced Windows update to install its new Chromium Edge browser on your Windows PC. But next month, Microsoft’s planning to force your computer to automatically launch some 1,156 websites in Edge, too — if you try to launch an “incompatible” site in IE. That’s the report from ZDNet, which also recorded a video showing how it works: There’s a lot of big-name sites on the automatically-launch-in-Edge list, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, a number of Google products, Microsoft Teams, and quite a few banks and other big brands. According to a Microsoft FAQ, the change will roll out in Microsoft Edge version 87, which is set to arrive the week of November 19th, and that Edge will automatically try to migrate your browsing data from IE unless you uncheck a box (see the image below). Given that older versions of Internet Explorer have been the bane of web developers for a very long time, and given that even generous estimates suggest Internet Explorer counts for no more than 5 percent of today’s web traffic, this isn’t a particularly frustrating move. I personally haven’t touched IE in years, and I’m happy to hear it might become less of a security risk. But I also understand that some people still use the browser, and those people might be confused when their computer suddenly launches Edge instead. This…Continue readingMicrosoft Internet Explorer users may be surprised when they get redirected to Edge next month

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VentureBeat

Microsoft Teams passes 115 million daily active users

Microsoft Teams is continuing to ride the remote work and learning wave kicked off by the coronavirus pandemic. During Microsoft’s Q1 2021 earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella shared that Microsoft Teams has passed 115 million daily active users. That’s up 53% from the 75 million daily active users in April. Some 15 months ago, Microsoft Teams had just 13 million daily active users. “Teams now has more than 115 million daily active users,” Nadella said. “We are seeing increased usage and intensity as people communicate, collaborate, and coauthor content across work, life, and learning. Microsoft 365 users generated more than 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day this quarter.” Microsoft Teams is the company’s Office 365 chat-based collaboration tool that competes with Slack, Facebook’s Workplace, Google Chat/Meet, and even Zoom. Indeed, Microsoft is in a virtual meeting war with Google and Zoom. Google Meet has seen 100 million meeting participants in a single day, Teams has seen more than 200 million meeting participants, and Zoom has seen 300 million daily meeting participants. (Unlike daily active users, “meeting participants” can count the same user more than once.) Since 2018, Microsoft Teams has been the company’s fastest-growing business app ever, long before lockdowns started juicing up remote work and learning numbers. In May, Microsoft’s Jeff Teper told VentureBeat Teams “will be even bigger than Windows.” Slew of new features Microsoft has been moving quickly to capitalize on the new remote work normal. At its Build 2020 developers conference in May, the…Continue readingMicrosoft Teams passes 115 million daily active users

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Tech Radar

Nitro PDF suffers massive data breach, exposing Microsoft, Google, Amazon documents

The Australian company behind the popular PDF software Nitro PDF has suffered a data breach that also impacts many other well-known organizations including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Case and Citibank. As reported by BleepingComputer, Nitro PDF is used by over 10 thousand business customers and 1.8m licensed users. However, the company also offers a cloud service that can be used by customers to share documents with coworkers as well as with employees at other organizations. In an advisory published on the investor relations section of its site, Nitro Software informed its customers that it had suffered a “low impact security incident” though no sensitive financial data was impacted, saying: “Nitro’s investigation into the incident remains ongoing. There is no evidence currently that any sensitive or financial data relating to customers has been impacted or that any information has been misused. Nitro has elevated its monitoring and security protocols and has not identified any further malicious activity connected to the incident.” Nitro Software data breach Although Nitro Software claims that no sensitive financial data was lost as a result of the breach, the cybersecurity firm Cyble has revealed to BleepingComputer that the company’s user and document databases as well as 1TB of documents allegedly stolen from the company are being sold online in a private auction starting at $80,000. According to Cyble, the user credential database table contains 70m user records which contain the email addresses, full names, bcrypt hashed passwords, titles, company names, IP addresses and other system data from Nitro…Continue readingNitro PDF suffers massive data breach, exposing Microsoft, Google, Amazon documents

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The Next Web

Microsoft unveils free app to create AI models without writing any code

Microsoft has released a public preview of a free app lets helps people train machine learning models without writing any code. The Lobe desktop app for Windows and Mac currently only supports image classification, but Microsoft plans to expand it to other models and data types in the future. “Just show it examples of what you want it to learn, and it automatically trains a custom machine learning model that can be shipped in your app,” the Lobe website explains. Users first need to import and label images of what they want Lobe to recognize. The app will then select a suitable open-source machine learning architecture for the dataset and start training the model on the user’s device. [Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election] You can also review the model’s performance through real-time visual results, offer feedback on its predictions, and correct inaccurate labels. Credit: Mike Matas, MicrosoftMicrosoft acquired Lobe in 2018 to make AI development more accessible. After training, the models can be exported to a variety of industry-standard formats and shipped on a platform of the user’s choice. Microsoft says early customers have used Lobe to build apps that identify harmful plants, detect beehive invaders such as wasps, or send people alerts when they’ve accidentally left their garage door open. If you want to join them, you can download Lobe here and view a video tutorial for the app here. Published October 27, 2020 — 13:12 UTC Source linkContinue readingMicrosoft unveils free app to create AI models without writing any code

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Tech Radar

Emotet urges users to upgrade Microsoft Word in latest spam campaign

After disguising itself as a Windows 10 update earlier this month, the Emotet malware has now adopted a new template in which it pretends to be a message from Microsoft Office urging users to update Word in order to add a new feature. The cybercriminals behind Emotet use a variety of different lures to trick unsuspecting users into opening their malicious attachments. In the past, Emotet spam campaigns have pretended to be invoices, shipping notices, purchase orders and even information about Covid-19. All of these spam emails contain malicious Word documents that are either attached to the email itself or are downloaded by clicking on a link inside the email. Once a user opens one of these documents, they are prompted to “Enable Content” so that the malicious macros contained in the Word file will run and install the Emotet malware on a victim’s computer. To help trick unsuspecting users into enabling macros, Emotet spam campaigns use a number of different templates to create a sense of urgency. For instance, a spam email may request that a user sign off on an invoice or that they need to update their software, as is the case in this latest template. Microsoft Word upgrade In an effort to try and trick even more users, Emotet recently switched to a new template that pretends to be a message from Microsoft Office urging users to update Word in order to add a new feature. The subject of these new emails is “Upgrade your edition…Continue readingEmotet urges users to upgrade Microsoft Word in latest spam campaign

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Tech Radar

This free Microsoft tool will take any Zoom quiz to the next level

Microsoft has announced that its tool to create surveys and quizzes is now available to all users after previously only being available to business and education users. Microsoft Forms enables users to create a survey or quiz on any topic and the tool works on any device via the web and through the Office mobile app. In a blog post announcing that Forms is now available to all users, the software giant suggests that it can be used to gather input and make plans for a variety of events from group exercise sessions to holiday gatherings or even to host a virtual trivia night with friends from any location. At the same time though, Microsoft Forms can even be used in virtual classrooms to engage with students or to create fun and interactive quizzes with the option to add video. Microsoft Forms While Microsoft Forms is now available for free for anyone with a Microsoft account, Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers can add more respondents to their surveys or quizzes and make use of additional templates. As Forms leverages built-in AI intelligence, the tool does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating surveys or quizzes by making smart template suggestions as users work including recommending themes as well as adding extra questions and answer options based on what users type in the title. Even free users of Microsoft Forms have a dozen templates available to work with for invitations from holiday and birthday parties, feedback surveys…Continue readingThis free Microsoft tool will take any Zoom quiz to the next level

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Tech Radar

Microsoft wants to make sure we don’t fall victim to murderous AI

Anyone worried about the threat of a Skynet-esque rise of the machines may be able to rest a little easier after the release of new protective measures designed to avoid a potential AI uprising. The nonprofit MITRE Corporation has teamed up with 12 top technology companies, including the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Nvidia to launch the Adversarial ML Threat Matrix.  The group says the system is an open framework created to help security analysts spot, alert, respond to and address threats targeting machine learning (ML) systems. ML Matrix Microsoft says the release was motivated by a continuing growth in the number of attacks against commercial ML sytems around the world. The company surveyed a selection of 28 major businesses, finding that almost all are still unaware of the threat that adversarial machine learning can pose, with twenty-five out of the 28 saying that they don’t have the right tools in place to secure their ML systems. In order to help reassure and advise such organizations, the Adversarial ML Threat Matrix looks to help empower security teams to defend against attacks on ML systems. The Matrix contains a number of past vulnerabilities and adversary behaviours spotted by Microsoft and MITRE over the years, as well as a whole host of Microsoft’s expertise in the security sector. “We also found that when attacking an ML system, attackers use a combination of “traditional techniques” like phishing and lateral movement alongside adversarial ML techniques,” Microsoft said in a blog post. The Adversarial ML…Continue readingMicrosoft wants to make sure we don’t fall victim to murderous AI

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Engadget

Microsoft is putting Skype’s seamless ‘Meet Now’ calls in the taskbar

In the pandemic, video calling has exploded but one of the original names in the space has been slow to capitalize. While Zoom is now a household name, Skype is not seeing the same bump in reputation and use. Microsoft’s internet calling service tried to rectify that earlier this year by activating Meet Now, a Zoom-like feature that lets hosts set up and share a free meeting with just three clicks — no one has to install anything or sign up for an account. Now, in the new Windows 10 beta, Microsoft says it will soon begin testing Meet Now in the taskbar. Just click the button in the notification area and you’ll be able to set up a call and contact people. It’s unclear whether or not this icon will pop up only for people who normally see Skype already, or if it will be another nag button for us to disable, but testers will be able to try it “in the coming weeks.” Source linkContinue readingMicrosoft is putting Skype’s seamless ‘Meet Now’ calls in the taskbar

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Engadget

Microsoft partners with SpaceX on a cloud computing business for space

In addition, Microsoft is teaming up with space companies under the initiative to provide services to the industry here on Earth. One of its most notable partners is SpaceX, which will provide the tech giant access to its Starlink satellite network for the Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC). The MDC is a self-contained datacenter unit that can be transported anywhere it’s needed for clients’ cloud computing and storage needs. It can operate in harsh conditions and in challenging environments, including remote locations. Microsoft concluded its announcement with a promise to help customers in the space industry with projects off and on the planet: “Our approach helps to address the some of the toughest technology challenges that our customers face in space: dealing with the vast amount of data generated from satellites, bringing cloud services and bandwidth to the most remote locations, and designing highly complex space systems. Coupled with our ecosystem of partners than can help bring this data to ground faster, we’re making it easier to find insights and make connections that weren’t possible before. We are ready to support customers on their space missions off and on the planet, and to use the power of cloud and space technology to help business across industries re-imagine solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems.” Source linkContinue readingMicrosoft partners with SpaceX on a cloud computing business for space