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      Bowing to pressure, Microsoft unbundles Teams from Microsoft 365 worldwide / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 14:38

    Teams is being decoupled from the other Office apps worldwide, six months after Microsoft did the same thing for the EU.

    Enlarge / Teams is being decoupled from the other Office apps worldwide, six months after Microsoft did the same thing for the EU. (credit: Microsoft/Andrew Cunningham)

    Months after unbundling the apps in the European Union, Microsoft is taking the Office and Teams breakup worldwide. Reuters reports that Microsoft will begin selling Teams and the other Microsoft 365 apps to new commercial customers as separate products with separate price tags beginning today.

    This is a win for other team communication apps like Slack and videoconferencing apps like Zoom, both of which predate Teams but haven't had the benefits of the Office apps' huge established user base.

    The separation follows an EU regulatory investigation that started in July of 2023 , almost exactly three years after Slack initially filed a complaint alleging that Microsoft was "abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law."

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      Microsoft 365’s AI-powered Copilot is like an omniscient version of Clippy / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 16 March, 2023 - 17:38

    Microsoft 365 Copilot will attempt to automate content generation and analysis in all of the former Microsoft Office apps.

    Enlarge / Microsoft 365 Copilot will attempt to automate content generation and analysis in all of the former Microsoft Office apps. (credit: Microsoft)

    Today Microsoft took the wraps off of Microsoft 365 Copilot , its rumored effort to build automated AI-powered content-generation features into all of the Microsoft 365 apps .

    The capabilities Microsoft demonstrated make Copilot seem like a juiced-up version of Clippy , the oft-parodied and arguably beloved assistant from older versions of Microsoft Office. Copilot can automatically generate Outlook emails, Word documents, and PowerPoint decks, can automate data analysis in Excel, and can pull relevant points from the transcript of a Microsoft Teams meeting, among other features.

    Microsoft is currently testing Copilot "with 20 customers, including eight in Fortune 500 enterprises." The preview will be expanded to other organizations "in the coming months," but the company didn't mention when individual Microsoft 365 subscribers would be able to use the features. The company will "share more on pricing and licensing soon," suggesting the feature may be a paid add-on in addition to the cost of a Microsoft 365 subscription.

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      Microsoft Office 2021 is on its way

      Jim Salter · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 18 February, 2021 - 21:25 · 1 minute

    A screenshot of Microsoft Office.

    Enlarge / The new version of Office will offer easy-toggle Dark Mode settings in many if not all applications. (credit: Microsoft )

    If Microsoft had its way, Office 2021 probably wouldn't be news at all—the Redmond giant would almost certainly prefer that everyone simply subscribe to Microsoft 365 , pay a small monthly or annual fee, and get new features and fixes as they're rolled out. For many if not most Office users, the subscription-based service is the most convenient way to get Office, even when they want to use it as locally installed software rather than doing their work in-browser and on the cloud.

    For the rest of us—and for those environments which Microsoft 365 fat clients inexplicably refuse to support, such as Remote Desktop Servers —there's Office 2019 now, and there will be Office 2021 later this year. There will also be a new Office LTSC (Long Term Service Channel), which trades a 10 percent price hike for a guarantee of longer support periods... longer than the consumer version of Office 2021, that is.

    In reality, the "Long Term Service Channel" version of Office 2021 will still have a shorter support life cycle than that enjoyed by previous versions of Office. Office 2019 had a seven-year support window—Office 2021 LTSC will only offer five. There's no official word yet on the support life cycle of the presumably shorter-lived consumer version of Office 2021.

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      Microsoft earnings: Xbox hardware sales shot up 86% with Series X/S

      Samuel Axon · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 27 January, 2021 - 19:40 · 1 minute

    The Xbox Series X, which launched in November.

    Enlarge / The Xbox Series X, which launched in November. (credit: Sam Machkovech )

    Microsoft delivered its earnings report for Q2 2021 yesterday, and the company has continued its sprint of very strong quarters, again driven primarily by Azure and the cloud. But that same old story isn't the only one here: the report also tells us a thing or two about the new Xbox's performance, as well as Windows and Office.

    Overall, Microsoft beat analyst expectations. The company's top-level revenue grew 17 percent year over year, reaching $43.08 billion. Analysts had expected $40.18 billion. $14.6 billion of that was from the business segment Microsoft calls "Intelligent Cloud," which most notably includes Azure but also some other professional services like GitHub.

    Cloud wasn't the only positive story, though. Personal Computing including Windows, Xbox, and Surface grew 15 percent compared to the previous year to just over $15 billion. That included an 86 percent increase in Xbox hardware sales, as well as a 40 percent increase in Xbox content and surfaces—the former of those includes the launch of the Xbox Series X/S consoles in November, and the latter includes Game Pass, which Microsoft has been pushing hard as a core value proposition for the Xbox game platform.

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      Big tech companies want to help get you back in the office

      WIRED · / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 6 September, 2020 - 10:05

    Masked co-workers discuss in an open office.

    Enlarge / Office staff respecting social distancing during a meeting. Group of business men and women having a meeting in office during corona virus pandemic. (credit: Getty Images )

    Many things about Matt Bruinooge’s senior year at Brown are different from his previous college life. One is that he logs on to a website from tech giant Alphabet twice a week to schedule nasal swabs.

    Brown is one of the first customers of a pandemic safety service from Alphabet subsidiary Verily Life Sciences called Healthy at Work , or Healthy at School at colleges. It offers a website and software for surveying workers or students for symptoms, scheduling coronavirus tests, and managing the results.

    The site Bruinooge uses to schedule his tests has similar styling to Google’s office suite. When a test comes back negative, he sees a graphic of something like a COVID -era hall pass, with a big check mark in soothing green. “The testing process is streamlined,” Bruinooge says—although he wonders where his data may end up.

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