Tag: Microsoft

Google poured billions into its business in 2018

By Julie Bort for Business Insider US

Google doubled its capital expenditure spending in 2018 to R344-billion, which included spending on offices and tech infrastructure.

Its cloud unit also got the lion’s share of new hires in the quarter, the CFO of parent company Alphabet said.

Google’s cloud computing efforts were a mixed bag in 2018 but the company on Monday said that it invested heavily in 2018, and will continue do so in 2019, albeit maybe not at the same pace.

During its year-end earnings report on Monday, Google revealed that it doubled its capital expenditures in 2018, to R344-billion, up from R168-billion in 2017. The hefty spending went towards everything from new office facilities to accommodate Google’s growing workforce to bolstering its infrastructure such as datacenters and servers.

It’s tough to say exactly who much of that capex went towards Google’s cloud business specifically, but the company has made it clear that investing in the cloud is a priority. Google said it launched its 18th Google Cloud region in the fourth quarter and pointed to plans for continued expansion in the US and abroad.

In comparison, Amazon spent R151-billion cash on capex in 2018, split between fulfillment operations (like warehouses) and AWS, it said. And Microsoft said it spent R214-billion.

Google also hired madly for its cloud unit, with more than 4 000 new hires in the final three months of the year. “The most sizeable increases were in cloud, for both technical and sales roles,” Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said during the conference call.

Porat noted that spending on talent and equipment will continue in 2029, though the pace will cool off compared to 2018. Capex, she said, will “moderate quite significantly.”

How does Google’s cloud business compare?
Google is spending to catch up. Revenue from its cloud business lags Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, although Google does likely have a multibillion cloud business. It’s a bit tough to tell because Google doesn’t break out cloud revenue. It lumps it in its “other” category which also includes the revenue it makes from its Google play app store and its hardware devices like Google Home.

That “other revenue” category was R8-billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from just under R66=billion for the year-ago quarter and a sizeable portion of that is generated by its app store. Google noted on Monday that the number of Google Cloud Platform deals worth more than R13 million more than doubled in 2018 and that it ended the year with more than 5 million paying customers of its cloud productivity tools, but otherwise offered little new information by which to measure the size of its Cloud business.

For comparison, AWS generated R99 billion in net cloud sales for Amazon in the fourth quarter.

Microsoft also doesn’t disclose specific revenue figures for its cloud, Azure, so a direct comparison here is even harder to noodle out. The unit that includes Azure is called “Intelligent Cloud” and it generated R125 billion in the same quarter. However, despite putting “cloud” in the unit’s name, that unit includes a lot of classic software products, including Microsoft’s popular database and Windows Server, its operating system for servers. Those are both older, massive businesses compared to Azure and are not what anyone would consider a cloud service.

Most market experts believe that AWS is way ahead. One researcher, Synergy, puts AWS at 40% market share in cloud.

Keep an eye on the new boss
Of course the big news for Google’s cloud efforts in 2018 was its change of leadership. Near the end of 2018, Google board member Diane Greene left. Google hired Thomas Kurian to replace her. He left Oracle where he helped build Oracle into a database and applications giant during his decades there, and then lead Oracle’s cloud efforts. Oracle’s cloud is growing quickly by internal metrics as it moves its customers from buying its software to renting its software on its cloud. But Oracle’s cloud is not exactly taking the tech industry’s breath away, so his performance at Google Cloud will be a test for him and the company.

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether Kurian will embark on an acquisition spree to help Google’s Cloud catch up with the competition. Google CEO Sundar Pichai kept mum on Monday when asked about any potential big deals or changes in strategy under Kurian. Pichai spoke of “continuity” and focusing on the parts of the business where the company is seeing good returns.

Even with all the shrouding of investment and financial results, the cloud industry is often considered a three-player race, with Amazon in the lead, Microsoft on its heels, Google in third and a variety of players, from Alibaba to IBM to Oracle, in the chase pack.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died

Source: MyBroadband/Bloomberg

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp. with fellow billionaire Bill Gates and used the fortune he made from the iconic technology company to invest in professional sports teams, cable TV and real estate, has died. He was 65.

Allen died on Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a statement from Vulcan Inc., his investment firm. Allen’s source for his varied investments and sizable charitable donations was his once-major stake in Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft. He had a net worth of $26.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Allen, along with Gates, helped create an entire industry selling software for a new breed of smaller, more affordable and widely accessible computers.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Gates said in a statement. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Allen stepped down as an officer of the company in 1983 because he was grappling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2009, Allen was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which two weeks ago he said had returned.

“A high-tech demigod” is how Sports Illustrated described the man who came up with the name for Microsoft, a company whose ubiquitous products include the Windows operating system and the Office suite of software. “He is one of the richest men in history, a figure of such dizzying wealth and eclectic tastes that he recently donated $100 million to brain research and $25 million to the search for extraterrestrial life,” the magazine wrote in a 2007 profile.

Paul Gardner Allen was born on 21 January, 1953, in Seattle to Kenneth and Faye Allen. His father was a university library executive and his mother was a teacher.

Allen went to the Lakeside School, where he met a younger Gates and the two worked on early computer programs in the school’s lab. In a time when computers were rare, Allen lurked in the University of Washington computer labs, using the machines and aiding students and professors. Finally a professor asked if he was actually a student and Allen was forced to admit he wasn’t. But he was allowed to stay, as long as he continued to be helpful, Allen said in a 2017 interview.

He attended Washington State University but didn’t graduate, dropping out and moving to Massachusetts to be closer to fellow computer aficionado Gates, who was attending Harvard University.

In 1975, they founded a company they called Micro-Soft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after Allen saw a new Altair computer kit on the cover of Popular Electronics magazine and realized computer prices would drop and software would be necessary.

As they struggled to produce operating software for Altair and International Business Machines microcomputers, Allen was regarded as the brains of the partnership, while Gates was the marketing whiz, according to Laura Rich, author of “The Accidental Zillionaire,” an unauthorized biography of Allen.

Allen, a Microsoft general partner, initially held the title of vice president. When he left in 1983 for health reasons, he was executive vice president in charge of research and new product development. He remained on the board until 2000 and was a senior strategy adviser after that.

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said in a statement. “In his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”

Allen was the world’s 27th richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Vulcan, formed in 1986 as the chief investment vehicle for his life after Microsoft, became one of the most prominent family offices globally thanks to its high-profile bets on real estate and space. The billionaire, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, said he planned to dedicate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic endeavors including wildlife conservation and brain-cancer research.

“Paul wasn’t content with starting one company,” Gates said Monday. “He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world.”

Allen also assembled one of the world’s most celebrated art collections. A public exhibition of 28 pieces in 2006 showcased works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein. His mega-yachts were a frequent sight at ports worldwide.

A rabid sports fan, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers, a National Basketball Association franchise, in 1988 for $70 million. That investment was a success — the team repeatedly made the NBA playoffs after his purchase, and by 2018 Forbes estimated the team was worth $1.3 billion.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.”

In 1997, Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks, a National Football League team, and took a minority stake in a professional soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. He also bought The Sporting News.

Among more mainstream businesses, Allen acquired 80 percent of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. in 1993 for $242 million and sold almost half of that company’s stock to Home Shopping Network for $209 million in HSN shares. He bought control of Charter Communications in 1998. Charter’s 2016 purchase and merger with Time Warner Cable made it the second-largest U.S. cable company.

Allen also used his Microsoft fortune to fund scientific endeavors. He was the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Institute for Cell Science. He also financed deep-sea exploration teams that located sunken World War II warships, such as the USS Indianapolis and USS Lexington.

Allen was the sole investor behind SpaceShipOne, a suborbital commercial spacecraft that climbed to an altitude of 377,591 feet in 2004, the first privately funded effort to put a civilian in suborbital space.

An avid Jimi Hendrix fan, Allen taught himself how to play the rock standard “Purple Haze,” winning praise from legendary music producer Quincy Jones for his talent, according to New York magazine. He also recorded a blues album with Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, and used his Vulcan Productions unit to finance films, such as the series “The Blues.”

Allen wrote an autobiography, “Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft,” in 2011. In it, he recounted how Gates tried to buy out Allen’s minority stake in the company in 1983, offering $5 a share. Gates rejected Allen’s counteroffer of a $10 minimum. Allen said that was a lucky break for him because he would have lost billions in value by selling at that point.

When Microsoft went public in 1986, it had a list price of $21. The company, which posted revenue of $110.4 billion in its latest fiscal year, ended Monday with a market capitalization of more than $825 billion.

Allen also made a mark in various Seattle institutions. In addition to his ownership of local sports teams, he supported the arts, made property investments that converted South Lake Union into a booming technology hub that is home to Amazon.com Inc. He contributed significantly to the University of Washington’s computer science program and biomedical research.

“He’s been under-recognized for all the things he’s done for Seattle,” said Tom Alberg, managing director of Madrona Venture Group. “We tend to look at political leaders, and here we have someone not giving speeches, but building things important for Seattle and our future. Not a lot of people do everything from philanthropy to sports to technology to urban development.”

Allen is survived by his sister, Jody Allen, who is a co-founder and executive director of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

By Peter Bright for ARS Technica 

Last week, Microsoft started distributing the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809, to Windows users who manually checked for updates. The company has now halted that rollout after many reports that installing the update is causing serious data loss: specifically, deleting the Documents, and perhaps Pictures, folders. Microsoft is also advising anyone who has downloaded the update but not yet installed it to not install it at all.

The exact circumstances causing data loss aren’t clear; the handful of reports on Microsoft’s forums and Reddit don’t have any obvious commonalities, and people report seeing only one affected system among many when upgraded. There will need to be some amount of investigation before a fix can be developed.

This will be too late for anyone that’s suffered data loss; although file recovery/undelete tools might be able to salvage the deleted files, the only reliable way of recovering them is to restore from a backup.

A data-loss bug is bad. Data-loss bugs are the worst kind of bug that Microsoft could ship; for rarely backed-up home users, at least, they’re worse even than a security flaw—who needs hackers and malware to destroy your data when the operating system does it for you? This bug is sure to raise new doubts about Microsoft’s testing, pace of delivering updates, and dependence on the Insider Program to find and report such problems.

Making this worse is that the bug does appear to have been reported. Numerous reports in Feedback Hub, Microsoft’s bug-reporting tool for Windows 10, complain of data deletion after installing preview releases. None of the bug reports appears to have many upvotes, and the reports generally lack in detail. So just as with the more recent reports, they make it hard to pin down the root cause. But it’s obvious that, at the very least, something was going wrong and that it was important enough that it should have been investigated and addressed.

Compounding this issue is that Microsoft’s rollout of version 1809 was already unusual. For reasons unknown, Microsoft didn’t release this update to the Release Preview ring, so the most realistic installation scenario—someone going from version 1803 to 1809—didn’t receive much testing anyway. And all this is against the longer-term concern that Microsoft laid off many dedicated testers without really replacing the testing that those testers were doing.

Microsoft issues a fix

Microsoft has fixed a bug in its latest Windows 10 October 2018 update that deleted files en masse for some users.

The software giant was forced to pull the update over the weekend due to the data deletion issues.

Now, the update is back online, but Microsoft says it is only releasing it to members of the Windows Insider program before making it available to the general public.

 

By Alison DeNisco Rayome for Tech Republic 

Microsoft Office documents packed with malicious macros are the most common malware loader of the past month, accounting for 45% of all delivery mechanisms analysed, according to a Thursday report from Cofense.

Office Macros were followed in popularity by CVE-2017-11882, malicious batch scripts, malicious PowerShell scripts, and WSC downloaders, the report found.

This demonstrates that threat actors tend to leverage tried-and-tested delivery mechanisms, the report noted. Macros may have a low barrier to entry, but they are not used only by immature or low-impact cybercriminals: Malware delivered via macros is among the worst in today’s threat landscape, including Geodo, Chanitor, AZORult, and GandCrab, according to the report.

Macros remain a popular email attachment method of delivering a malicious payload because they are typically enabled on a machine, or easily allowed with a single mouse click, the report noted—making it very easy to launch the first stage of an attack. When used this way, macros are embedded Visual Basic scripts that are often used to download or directly execute further payloads.

The Microsoft Office Macro feature could be enabled by default in your organisation’s IT environment, according to the report. When this is the case, a user may not receive any warning that something is wrong upon opening a malicious document. Even when an organisation has some kind of protection in place—such as a security warning at the top of the document—it can often be dismissed with just one click, or may be ignored by the user.

IT departments can protect their organisation from macros by disabling them enterprise-wide, the report said. However, many businesses rely on macros for their legitimate usage, in which case IT may want to consider enacting a blanket policy of blocking documents at the gateway, or, perhaps more realistically, combining different policies such as blocking or grey-listing documents coming from unknown senders. Security education is also key, the report said.

The big takeaways for tech leaders

  • Microsoft Office documents packed with malicious macros are the most common malware loader of the past month, accounting for 45% of all delivery mechanisms.
  • Malware delivered via macros is among the worst in today’s threat landscape, including Geodo, Chanitor, AZORult, and GandCrab.

By Tom Warren for The Verge

Microsoft and Walmart are teaming up for a strategic partnership that will take on rival Amazon in both technology and retail. Walmart is announcing today, at Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference, that it’s partnering with Microsoft to use the company’s cloud services. The five-year agreement will see Walmart use Azure and Microsoft 365 across the company, alongside new projects focused on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platforms.

Walmart is Amazon’s biggest retail competitor, and Microsoft is Amazon’s largest cloud services rival. That rivalry isn’t lost on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who hinted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that it’s “absolutely core to this” new partnership. “How do we get more leverage as two organisations that have depth and breadth and investment to be able to outrun our respective competition,” says Nadella.

While the tech partnership will obviously benefit both companies, it also comes just weeks after reports suggested Microsoft is working on rival Amazon Go technology for cashier-free stores. Microsoft is reportedly in talks with Walmart for this technology, and the software maker has hired a computer vision specialist from Amazon. Amazon’s Go store in Seattle uses multiple camera and sensors that use computer vision algorithms to detect what items you’re taking out of the store so you’re automatically charged. Microsoft is reportedly experimenting with attaching cameras to shopping carts to track items.

Both Walmart and Microsoft don’t reference too many of the future-facing parts of this strategic deal, and it’s mostly timed for Microsoft’s big partner conference in Las Vegas this week. However, this new deal could be a unique test ground for Microsoft’s bigger AI ambitions and any future plans it has to push other retailers to use its range of cloud services.

By Alison DeNisco Rayome for Tech Republic

Microsoft is doubling down on its promise to rid the world of passwords and replace them with more convenient and secure options, the company announced in a Tuesday blog post.

“Nobody likes passwords. They are inconvenient, insecure, and expensive,” according to the post. The tech giant wants to deliver on two key promises: That end users “should never have to deal with passwords in their day-to-day lives,” and to replace passwords with “user credentials [that] cannot be cracked, breached, or phished.”

Microsoft first made a move to reduce password use with Windows Hello, introduced in Windows 10, which uses biometric sensors to verify a user’s identity based on a fingerprint or face scan. It has since introduced the Authenticator app, which allows users to log into their Microsoft account on their desktop using their phone. Finally, Microsoft is working with the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) working group to update Windows Hello with physical FIDO2 security keys that allow for more secure authentication.

The Windows Hello FIDO2 Security Key feature is now in limited preview, the post noted.

“At its core, our fundamental philosophy is simple: devalue the password, and replace it with something that eradicates its use for the end user and drains its value for an attacker,” according to the post.

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update includes the ability to do just that, the post noted: Using Windows 10 in S mode, cloud users (with Managed Service Account or Azure Active Directory) can use their PC without ever entering a password. Users can take advantage of this feature by setting up the Microsoft Authenticator App, installing the Windows 10 April 2018 Update with S mode enabled, and setting up Windows Hello.

To achieve a password-less future for all devices, Microsoft laid out a four-step plan:

1. Develop password-replacement offerings. This would involve replacing passwords with a new set of alternatives that retain the positive elements of passwords while also improving their shortcomings.

2. Reduce user visible password-surface area. Microsoft wants to upgrade all elements in the lifecycle of a user’s identity, including provisioning of an account, setting up a new device, and accessing apps and websites, to make sure they work with password replacements.

3. Simulate a password-less world. This means helping end users and IT administrators to transition into a password-less world easily.

4. Eliminate passwords from the identity directory. Deleting passwords from the identity directory represents “the final frontier,” according to the post.

It remains to be seen if other tech giants will follow Microsoft’s lead and eliminate passwords. With the rise of biometric security in a number of fields, the future for businesses could very well be password-less.

The reinvention of Nokia

By Wesley Diphoko for IOL 

Nokia has existed for more than 100 years. Nokia has brought us what we know today as the mobile phone. It has also experienced ups and downs that saw it changing hands from one company to the other. Now that the oldest mobile phone brand is making a full come back it’s worth reflecting on its past as we look at its latest products.

In the year 1865, Fredrik Idestam built a paper manufacturing mill in Southern Finland and followed it up by launching a second mill in the nearby town of Nokia in 1868.
Three years later Idestam transformed his company into a share company and the Nokia company was formed.

Nokia kept growing through the 19th century and it was only in the 1960s that the company branched out into electronics. In the next two years, it developed a host of electronic devices including radio telephones for the army.

In 1979 Nokia took its first steps into telephony by creating Mobira in a Joint Venture (JV) with Finnish TV maker Salora, and they created the Nordic Mobile Telephone
(NMT) service. This was the world’s first international cellular network and in the 80s, Nokia launched its first car phone called the Mobira Senator.

Five years later Nokia launched the Mobira Cityman, the first mobile phone that would run on the company’s NMT network. At 800 grams and priced at $6,308, it may be heavy and pricey by today’s standards, but the device soon hit cult status when Mikhail Gorbachev was photographed using the device.

The ’90s

The ’90s were the glory years for the Finnish company. In 1994, Nokia launched 2100 with the now iconic Nokia ringtone.
Three years later it launched Snake, one of the most widely recognised mobile games of all time. In 1997, Nokia also launched the Communicator, which 11 years before the first iPhone was considered to be much ahead of its time. The device not only looked cool but also offered features like email, fax, calendar and a massive display.

The same year, Nokia also launched the 6110 and the 5110 two more devices, which were way ahead of their time and competition. These devices offered a much sleeker way of text messaging, a beautiful menu system customization options like multiple colour snap-on covers. These devices were followed by the 7110, which offered basic web functions, the 7650, with a built-in camera and the 6650, the company’s first 3G enabled smartphone.

By 1998, Nokia had firmly established itself as the global leader. Where its rivals like Apple, Sony and Siemens had failed to predict the global demand, Nokia sailed through these years with a turnover that increased 500 percent from $ 8.9 billion to $42.8 billion.

After the glorious 90s, in 2007 things began to go downhill — and rapidly. In the year 2009, Nokia posted its first quarterly loss in more than a decade. This was largely due to HTC developing a smartphone running on the yet new Google Android operating system.
With the iPhones and various Android smartphones taking the market by storm, Nokia failed to keep up with them. Instead of joining the horde of Android adopters, Nokia’s new CEO Stephen Elop joined hands with Microsoft to develop smartphones running on the Windows Phone platform.

The Microsoft acquisition

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business brought an end to an era, which has seen plenty of ups and an equal number of downs.
On September 3, 2013, Nokia announced that its hardware department would be acquired by Microsoft in a deal that was worth $7.2 billion. After eight months, the deal was completed.

Nokia , once the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, was wrong-footed by the rise of smartphones and eclipsed by Apple and Samsung.
It sold its entire handset business to Microsoft Corp in 2014 and focused on telecoms network equipment.
Microsoft struggled with phones after the 2014 deal with Nokia, and it decided to write off $7.5 billion from the business.

Nokia brand

Nokia, however, held on to its phone patents with a view to eventually striking a licensing deal, though it had to wait due to a non-compete deal with Microsoft.

Recently, HMD, a company backed by one of its former executives teamed up with manufacturer Foxconn (2354.TW) to buy the rights to the brand for mobile devices.

Microsoft also decided to sell its entry-level phones business to HMD and Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile for $350 million.

Nokia, whose global market share in handsets peaked at around 40% in 2008, believed that its brand remained widely recognised, especially in developing markets.

Nokia also believed that its brand was strong in the feature phone space. The company now has 1% of the global market share and falls just outside the top 10 phone brands.

The Nokia 1 is accessible technology, delivering smartphone essentials for just R999. The legendary Nokia 8110 is a 4G feature phone that comes with the iconic curved slider design. It will be available for purchase from May 2018.

Microsoft keeps hack under wraps

Microsoft’s internal database that it uses to track bugs in its software was reportedly hacked in 2013.

A highly sophisticated hacking group was behind the alleged breach, according to Reuters, which is the second known breach of this kind of corporate database.

Five former employees told the publication about the hack in separate interviews, though Reuters said Microsoft did not disclose the depth of the attack in 2013.

The database in question contained information on critical and unfixed vulnerabilities found in not only the Windows operating system but also some of the most widely used worldwide software, the publication reported.

Microsoft learned of the breach in early 2013 after a hacking group launched a series of attacks against high profile tech companies including Apple, Twitter and Facebook.

The group exploited a flaw in the Java programming language to access employees’ Apple computers, before moving into the company’s network, Reuters said.

Microsoft released a short statement following the attack on 22 February 2013 that said: “As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion.

“We found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations. We have no evidence of customer data being affected, and our investigation is ongoing.”

In an email responding to questions from Reuters, Microsoft said: “Our security teams actively monitor cyber threats to help us prioritize and take appropriate action to keep customers protected.”

A Microsoft spokesperson told IT Pro: “In February 2013 we commented on the discovery of malware, similar to that found by other companies at the time, on a small number of computers including some in our Mac business unit. Our investigation found no evidence of information being stolen that could be used in subsequent attacks.”

This contradicts Reuters’ report, whose sources said that although the bugs in the database had been exploited in hacking attacks, the attackers could have found the information elsewhere.

Reuters said Microsoft didn’t disclose the breach because of this, and because many patches had already been released to customers.

“They absolutely discovered that bugs had been taken,” one source said. “Whether or not those bugs were in use, I don’t think they did a very thorough job of discovering.”

Following the breach, Microsoft improved its security by separating the database from the corporate network and including two authentications to access the information, Reuters reported.

Mozilla had a similar attack in 2015 when an attacker accessed a database which included information on 10 unpatched flaws. One of the flaws was then used to attack Firefox users, which Mozilla told the public about at the time, telling customers to take action.

Mozilla CBO and CLO Denelle Dixon said the foundation released the information about what it knew in 2015 “not only [to] inform and help protect our users, but also to help ourselves and other companies learn, and finally because openness and transparency are core to our mission.”

Reuters wrote that the hacking group has been called Morpho, Butterfly and Wild Neutron but security researchers say it is a proficient and mysterious group and that they cannot determine if it is backed by a state government.

Equifax revelead that a file containing 700,000 UK records was accessed during a data breach in May, giving attackers access to names and contact details. Of that figure, 700,000 accounts had partial credit information and email addresses stolen.

Zach Marzouk for IT Pro 

Microsoft Office 2019 will arrive next year

Over at Ignite, Microsoft has announced that Office 2019 will be released next year, the standalone non-subscription version of the productivity suite for those who don’t yet want to commit to the cloud (i.e. Office 365).

Office 2019 will include new (what Microsoft describes as ‘perpetual’) versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with Outlook, plus server versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business (although the latter is soon to be rolled into Microsoft Teams).

There’s not much detail on the new 2019 spins of these apps just yet, but Microsoft did say to expect better inking features – such as tilt effects and pressure sensitivity – along with new formulae and charts for Excel. PowerPoint will get nifty animation features such as Morph and Zoom.

You can also expect a raft of new features on the IT management front, as well as improvements in overall usability and security, and voice features.

Preview versions of these new Office apps are expected to become available in the middle of next year, with the full release of Office 2019 slated for the second half of 2018.

Outside the cloud

This is something of a surprise given Microsoft’s focus on the cloud (with the famous cloud-first mantra) and the fact that it’s pushing hard with Office 365, but it seems the company is still willing to take into account the needs of traditional Office customers who don’t want to move online.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated: “Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on-premises, and we look forward to sharing more details about the release in the coming months.”

By Darren Allan for Tech Radar 

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