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      Microsoft Teams + Office bundle leads to official EU antitrust probe

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 27 July, 2023 - 16:49

    Microsoft Teams + Office bundle leads to official EU antitrust probe

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    European Union regulators have opened a formal investigation into claims that Microsoft is unfairly bundling its Teams video conferencing app with its popular Office software as Brussels intensifies its scrutiny of big technology groups.

    The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, said on Thursday that it feared Microsoft “may be abusing and defending” its market dominance in productivity software “by restricting competition.”

    It was concerned the US tech giant may grant Teams “distribution advantages by not giving customers the choice” over access to the product, the statement said.

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      Windows, hardware, Xbox sales are dim spots in a solid Microsoft earnings report

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 26 July, 2023 - 18:21 · 1 minute

    Windows, hardware, Xbox sales are dim spots in a solid Microsoft earnings report

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    It has been a tough year for PC companies and companies that make PC components. Companies like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia have all reported big drops in revenue from the hardware that they sell to consumers (though the hardware they sell to other businesses is often doing better).

    Microsoft contributed another data point to that trend today , with fourth-quarter 2023 financial results that showed modest growth (revenue up 8 percent year over year, from $51.9 billion to $56.2 billion), but no thanks to its consumer software and hardware businesses.

    Revenue from the company's More Personal Computing division, which encompasses Windows licenses, Surface PCs and other accessories, Xbox hardware and software and services, and ad revenue, was down 4 percent year over year. This decrease was driven mostly by a drop in sales of Windows licenses to PC makers (down 12 percent because of "PC market weakness") and by reduced hardware sales (down 20 percent, though the company didn't say how much of this drop came from its accessory business and how much came from Surface PCs). Microsoft makes its own PCs and PC accessories and sells the software that most other PC makers use on their hardware, so when the entire PC ecosystem is doing poorly, Microsoft gets hit twice.

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      Microsoft Teams is adding 3D avatars for people who want to turn their webcams off

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 14 March, 2023 - 19:29 · 1 minute

    Customizing a Mesh for Teams avatar. Like many people on real-life video calls, the avatars only feature business attire from the waist up.

    Enlarge / Customizing a Mesh for Teams avatar. Like many people on real-life video calls, the avatars only feature business attire from the waist up. (credit: Microsoft)

    There are plenty of reasons to turn your camera off during a Zoom or Teams meeting—maybe you're cleaning your office and you don't want to look like you're not paying attention, or your kid is climbing all over you, or you just haven't managed to shower yet and you don't want to show your coworkers how disheveled you are.

    For people who want to split the difference between appearing on camera and switching it off, Microsoft will be adding animated 3D avatars to Microsoft Teams in May, according to Microsoft's product roadmap . The 3D avatars are a component of " Mesh ," an initiative Microsoft announced back in late 2021 when the "metaverse" hype had reached a fever pitch. As originally envisioned, Mesh will include not just 3D Teams avatars, but virtual workspaces accessible via VR, so that people working remotely can experience the joy of sitting in a meeting room while someone drones on in front of a PowerPoint deck.

    The roadmap update doesn't include a complete list of features, but previous announcements about Mesh for Teams have shown avatars with customizable body types, skin tones, hair colors and hairstyles, clothes, and facial features. Microsoft said in late 2021 that the initial versions of these avatars would only animate when users were speaking, but eventually the company wants them to be able to mimic users' real-world facial expressions and movements as captured by their webcams.

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      Salesforce acquires Slack for $27.7 billion

      Samuel Axon · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 1 December, 2020 - 22:37

    Slack is evaporating into the Salesforce cloud, you could say.

    Enlarge / Slack is evaporating into the Salesforce cloud, you could say. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

    Salesforce, a cloud-services company that targets businesses, has announced that it will acquire workplace communication service Slack for $27.7 billion. The announcement follows a week of rumors and a steep bump in Slack's value on the stock market in anticipation of the deal being made official.

    Neither company has yet announced in any detail what this will mean for users and customers. Salesforce is sure to include Slack in some of its broader bundles an to more tightly integrate it with its other software services "Slack will be deeply integrated into every Salesforce Cloud," and will become "the new interface for Salesforce Customer 360," the press release says.

    But anything else beyond that is speculation at this point. New features and development priorities or adjusted pricing models are possibilities, but we also don't yet know when any user-relevant changes related to this acquisition will actually take place, either.

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      Microsoft’s romance with open source software is on display at Build 2020

      Jim Salter · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 21 May, 2020 - 10:45

    An absolute ton of new announcements has been coming out of this week's Microsoft Build 2020 virtual conference for Windows developers. While cool, most of them are a little thin for individual reports—so we'll get you up to speed on them in this roundup, with links out to each topic if you're interested in more.

    Windows Terminal goes 1.0

    As Windows 10—and Server 2019—pack in more and better command-line functionality, one of the parts of the overall experience that began looking shabby by comparison is the terminal itself.

    Windows Terminal seeks to change that, and it's just gone 1.0. The terminal itself is open source and is available for perusal and/or hacking at Github under the MIT license . Microsoft's own announcement makes a point of individually crediting 14 contributors by name and acknowledging hundreds more, which is a more-than-welcome sea change for those of us old enough to have lived through the Halloween Documents era.

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