Microsoft highlights future tech

Microsoft opened the doors to its Silicon Valley research center here to show off the latest technologies it has under development. The show, called TechFair 2010 Silicon Valley, is similar to the TechFest events held at Microsoft's main Washington campus.

Microsoft Research is the home to a lot of very smart researchers with PhDs and advanced training in very esoteric technologies who don't worry about selling technology, just how to develop it; the product part comes later.

As Rick Rashid, senior vice president of research at Microsoft noted in his keynote, many key developments have come out of the software giant's research division. He said that "there isn't a product on the...continues on following page...

Microsoft refreshes Dynamics ERP Reporter

As it looks to expand the corporate performance management capabilities in its Dynamic ERP line, Microsoft has begun shipping Management Reporter, an upgrade of its FRx financial analysis application.

With the new tool, Microsoft is promising enhanced reliability and scalability, and direct integration with the general ledger in Dynamics ERP systems already in use.

Datamation takes a look at Microsoft's latest moves on the ERP front.

Microsoft said it has begun shipping Management Reporter for its Dynamics ERP packages, a replacement for its existing Microsoft FRx financial analysis and reporting application for medium-sized businesses.

Microsoft ships new Configuration Manager beta

Microsoft quietly embarked on the next phase of the overhaul of its System Center management suite this week, as the company announced that is has begun shipping the next iteration of its System Center Configuration Manager to beta testers.

The software giant is calling the refresh "v.Next," and bills it as a vehicle for "powerful and flexible user-centric client management." Datamation has the details.

Microsoft quietly announced this week that the next version of System Center Configuration Manager has hit its first beta milestone and has begun shipping to testers.

After two high-profile Microsoft exits

When a massive Microsoft corporate reorganization on September 20, 2005 vaulted Robbie Bach into the role of President of the Entertainment & Devices division, the explanation at the time was to enable the company to focus on devices where the goal was to promote devices, and on platforms where the goal was to promote devices. Xbox was a device, whatever MP3 player the company would decide to produce was a device, and obviously cell phones are devices should Microsoft ever choose to enter that business in earnest.

Obviousness is highly susceptible to changes in perspective, especially over five years' time. Today, with the launch of one of the company's most important gaming initiatives,...continues on following page...

Windows 7: As satisfying as Apple pie

Microsoft has a lot to smile about this week--not least of which is a recent consumer satisfaction study suggesting that Windows 7 has overcome the bad taste in the back of everyone's mouth that Windows Vista caused. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Microsoft's customer satisfaction rating was 74 percent in 2006, right before the company released Windows Vista. After Vista's release, that rating plunged to 70 percent and then, in 2008, to a low of 69 percent. But, finally, Windows 7 shipped in late 2009, selling at almost double the rate of its predecessor. And in the latest survey, Microsoft achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 76 percent. Makes sense, right? I don't...continues on following page...

Office Live Workspace to bow to Office Web Apps, SkyDrive

Late last week, Microsoft began alerting customers of its Office Live Workspace service that they will soon see their online document repositories merged into Windows Live SkyDrive, which provides 25GB of storage space, for free, and offers the ability to edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents from the web via Office Web Apps (OWA). Previously, Microsoft had offered little in the way of information about what would happen to Office Live Workspace once SkyDrive offered OWA integration.

Microsoft previews the next Hotmail

Microsoft this morning unveiled its plans for updating its wildly-popular Hotmail webmail service, which currently serves over 370 million active users, or more than the user base of Gmail and Yahoo! Mail combined. The next Hotmail will integrate with various Windows Live wave 4 products, including Office Web Apps and SkyDrive, and will address email clutter and the changing needs of email users.

"You're getting more email than ever, email that often requires you to leave your inbox to complete an action," Microsoft's Dick Craddock explained in a blog post announcing the new Hotmail. "You're getting bigger and bigger attachments, and you're using smartphones where you want to sync not...continues on following page...

Microsoft files suit against click fraudsters

Click fraud has long been a blight on search engines, but Microsoft says that it's taken on a new form. According to the company, the latest scam disguises the source of bogus ad clicks and navigates unsuspecting users to dead-end Web sites.

In response, Microsoft has filed lawsuits to halt the practice and reassure its advertising partners that they will only pay for legitimate clicks. One suit comes against a firm in Texas, the other against a John Doe defendant as Microsoft attempts to trace the culprit.

Windows Server AppFabric, BizTalk near debut

Two key Microsoft tools for enterprise developers are edging toward completion: the new edition of BizTalk Server 2010 and Windows Server AppFabric. That's big news for developers working with Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation-based composite apps, while BizTalk gives new features to make creating apps simpler and more efficient. CodeGuru takes a look.

Microsoft said it is shipping the long-awaited "release candidate" for Windows Server AppFabric this week, with plans to have the code finalized sometime in June.

Capgemini to sell Microsoft online services

Microsoft has scored itself a potent ally in its move to roll out and sell cloud services in the form of Capgemini. The international services firm will help Microsoft sell and provide support for Microsoft's cloud-based Office productivity services to customers worldwide. Datamation has more information.

Microsoft and consulting powerhouse Capgemini announced an alliance whereby the global solutions provider will sell and support Microsoft's cloud-hosted productivity services.

Microsoft offers cloud-based versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, Exchange Hosted Services, and Office Communications Online for collaboration and communications under the...continues on following page...

Microsoft talks up modeling advancements

Microsoft is unveiling a new initiative aimed at throwing computing power and the cloud behind real-world modeling -- aiming to simplify modeling while making it less resource-intensive.

The idea is to lay the groundwork and promote advancements in improving modeling that could one day benefit everything from combating diseases and making scientific discoveries -- not to mention enhancing modeling in business. CIO Update has the story.

Microsoft executives have a long tradition of sending e-mails to CEOs and other technology influencers to explain how technology change is likely to impact the future -- particularly when that change revolves around Microsoft's technology.

Microsoft shows off redesigned Hotmail

Microsoft has begun dropping hints about what the revamped Windows Live service will look like. First it offered a preview of the next iteration of the Windows Live Messenger IM client, and now the company is offering details about the redesign of Hotmail.

The new Web-based e-mail client will allow users to store documents online through its SkyDrive offering, and will also provide access to Office Web Apps, the cloud-based versions of Microsoft's productivity suite. Datamation takes a look.

Microsoft this week offered a preview of the next release of its Windows Live Hotmail service and client as the company prepares to refresh several of its Windows Live consumer and small business...continues on following page...

Microsoft kills off Response Point IP phone

Although its future had been in doubt for some time, Microsoft has announced the official cancellation of Response Point, a small-business phone system that routed calls over Internet Protocol networks.

In a post on its Web site, Microsoft said it will end sales, development, and support for the phone as of August 31.

"Despite favorable initial response from customers and channel partners since launch, we have not seen the necessary demand materialize to sustain Response Point as a viable standalone business," Microsoft said in the post. "After transitioning Microsoft Response Point to engineering maintenance status a year ago, Microsoft has made the decision to discontinue the...continues on following page...

Microsoft to give governments patch previews

Microsoft has launched a pilot program for governments and critical infrastructure providers to gain access to in-depth technical information about operating system patches before they are released on the second Tuesday of each month.

Senior security program manager lead at the Microsoft Security Response Center, Steve Adegbite, this week launched the Defensive Information Sharing Program (DISP) and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program (CIPP) at the AusCERT 2010 security conference in Queensland.

Ballmer pitches cloud to fellow CEOs

With a high-power crowd in the audience, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer went hard-core with his sales pitch on the role cloud computing will have for businesses in the coming years.

Speaking to about 125 chief executives and other leaders, Ballmer said that truly big shifts in technology actually don't happen all that often.

"The really big ones you have to totally jump on," Ballmer said during a speech at the company's annual CEO Summit, which runs through Thursday at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. "We are, right now, all of us in the midst of a big one."

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