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From: Don Green9/26/2017 2:47:15 PM
   of 19150
 
Microsoft Has The Best Competitive Advantage In Cloud
Sep. 26, 2017 2:38 PM ET

Summary
Microsoft possesses an incredibly strong competitive advantage.

Microsoft's Office 365, a predecessor of Office, are the de-facto tools for productivity.

This allows Microsoft to seamlessly approach potential customers as Microsoft's product already is a big part of their lives.

Microsoft will dominate the IaaS cloud space through its SaaS offering.

Thesis
Microsoft ( MSFT) will dominate the IaaS cloud space because it has one unbreakable competitive advantage called Office 365. Its predecessor Office, and now Office 365 – a more enterprise tailored version of Office – are the de-facto tools used for productivity. As such, selling Azure from within an already established infrastructure is only natural. Most importantly, no other IaaS has this advantage. As such, I predict that Azure will become the de-facto IaaS used by enterprises.

Note: Not every cloud is the same. For example, Microsoft Office 365 is a SaaS (Software as a Service) while Azure is IaaS (infrastructure as a Service) and there are other forms of cloud such as PaaS (Platform as a Service).

Introduction
Microsoft has a tremendous competitive advantage in attempting to cement Azure as the go-to enterprise workload infrastructure. It’s so obvious and simple that you’d almost ignore it. It’s called Microsoft Office which is now transitioning to Microsoft Office 365. This article was first typed on Microsoft Office. Now, if I were an enterprise, I would take considerable measure in making sure that all my devices are protected. In an enterprise, this is called enterprise management.

Microsoft can specifically target these enterprises to sell them Azure. If we look at the numbers, they seem to be doing so and doing so successfully. An impressive 90% of Fortune 500 companies run at least one Microsoft cloud. A further 60% use at least three clouds from Microsoft. That is absolutely incredible. If we approach Microsoft’s cloud endeavors from this angle, it becomes very clear how Azure managed to report a staggering 92% growth rate ($98 adjusted for currency).

There is no company that has access to almost every enterprise in such a very natural way. SoftMaker FreeOffice, LibreOffice, WPS Office, iWork, Google Docs. What do almost all of these have in common? The fact that you probably didn’t know these were alternatives to Microsoft Office.

I would bet good money with every eight of 10 persons I meet that these alternatives are completely unknown, except for Google Docs and iWorks and iWorks is probably not even known but rather recognized to be owned by Apple because of the “I.” As for Google Docs, Microsoft has answered with Office Online.

There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft is best positioned to penetrate enterprise infrastructure due to the fact that Microsoft is being used in almost every enterprise. It is also the de-facto suite used in smaller companies. This is an incredible competitive advantage that is unmatched by any other company. I predict that Azure will quickly become the industry IaaS leader.

Here’s how Rajesh Jha, executive vice president, explains the natural advantage and flow of Office 365:

“Dynamics and Office 365 we have integration whether it be on our web launch area, how we integrate, or whether it be an outlook. And if you were trying to extend a business process in Dynamics you would use power apps and flow, that's exactly what you would use to extend Office 365. You can go into Share Point and you can create a business process workflow front-end, good power apps that writes data back to Dynamics. And these are not things that we are contriving, these are things that our customers are naturally asking for as they start to use Office 365 that pulls in EMS. As they start using Dynamics 365 they want better integration with Office. So we do you think and the reason that 60% of Fortune 500 customers use at least three clouds from Microsoft because there's a natural synergy.”
Incredibly hard to beat
Even if another company created a much better version of Azure, they would still have to compete with the fact that Microsoft already is integrated into almost any enterprise that said company wishes to sell its product to. For any company, switching its entire enterprise infrastructure is not something taken lightly and would only be done if the benefits far out way the hassle. For example, often times, a lower price is not enough if it means that certain benefits – like an integrated platform – are lost.

This “natural synergy” as the executive vice president calls it, is definitely worth the additional cost and is something that is going to be very hard to replace. That is exactly the reason why it is such a good base from which the company can upsell Azure. It doesn’t appear like a sell, rather it appears like a natural upgrade.

Conclusion
Azure’s is still young and I expect its growth rate to last for at least the next two years. Quite frankly, as IaaS, there seems to be no competitor for Microsoft’s Azure. Of course, it will be a long way before Azure becomes a substantial part of Microsoft’s revenue but the path seems to be open with no competitor in sight for Azure.

from Seeking Alpha

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From: Don Green10/2/2017 8:43:56 PM
   of 19150
 
OCT 1, 2017

Why Bill Gates Chose Android And Rejected Windows 10 Mobile
Ewan Spence ,
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


As noted earlier this weekend, Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates has revealed he is now using an Android-powered smartphone, but he made sure to subtly reinforce the importance of Microsoft’s cloud-based services in his day-to-day connected life.

Speaking to Fox News, Gates talked about his switch. Laurent Giret for On MSFT has taken a closer look at the statement, putting it into the context of Microsofot’s positioning in 2017:

The former exec made the confession during an interview with Fox News yesterday, saying that he switched to an Android phone with “lots of Microsoft software” on it. This would have been quite a risky statement to make a few years ago when Microsoft was still trying hard to build an alternative to iOS and Android, but at this point, even Satya Nadella admitting he’s an Android user wouldn’t really be bad PR for the Redmond giant.

The interview managed to avoid the more politically dangerous question of which manufacturer the Android handset he used (although The Verge suggests that Gates might like to try Microsoft’s version of the Galaxy S8 which is pre-loaded with the requisite software from Redmond).




Bill Gates speaks at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Although Windows 10 Mobile continues to be supported by Microsoft and new devices have been recently announced ( such as WileyFox’s reveal at IFA), the real focus is on bringing mobile users, no matter the operating system, into Microsoft’s cloud through the use of apps such as Office365, Outlook, OneNote, and To-Do.

The appointment of Sataya Nadella as CEO allowed the Redmond-based company to move on from trying to sell a rival mobile operating system to iOS and Android. Instead Microsoft switched to trying to rule the next step up from the OS. That was the cloud of personal data that people want to access no matter what device they are on… be it Windows 10, macOS, iOS, Android, or elsewhere Microsoft has a single solution for all. While it might not have the usefulness of a ‘home’ operating system on mobile, the use of Windows 10 on the desktop gives the Microsoft Cloud approach the sort of viability that a company starting from scratch would struggle to achieve.

The use of an iPhone or Android device does effectively mean signing up to Apple’s or Google’s cloud, but those choosing to use Microsoft’s cloud are making an active choice, rather than being dragged along by their smartphone.

In that sense it’s obvious why Gates felt comfortable in anointing himself as #TeamAndroid - Microsoft wants to move the battlefield away from OS and on to Apps and user data.

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From: Don Green10/3/2017 7:56:35 AM
   of 19150
 
Windows 10 will overtake Windows 7 before 2017 is out
By Darren Allan Oct 2, 2017

It’s finally going to happen, according to one analyst firm


According to numbers from one analyst firm, Windows 10 is set to overtake Windows 7 before the end of the year, in terms of the amount of PCs these operating systems are installed on across the world.

The latest figures from Statcounter (based on its own website analytics) show that, as of September 2017, Windows 10 is installed on 39.3% of desktop Windows PCs, and Windows 7 is now only just ahead at 43.99%.

Compared to the previous month, Windows 10 gained 1.43% market share (up from 37.87%), whereas Windows 7 dropped 1.11% (down from 45.1%).

If that trend continues and the same gain/loss are made throughout October and November, when the stats are revealed at the start of December, Windows 10 will reach 42.16% compared to Windows 7 on 41.77%.

In other words, before 2017 is over, we’ll likely have a new king of the Windows operating systems, (almost) two and a half years after its release.

Rise after fallThe release of the Fall Creators Update later this month will likely only ensure that Windows 10 has more of a climb, given that new features could tempt some more upgrades.

Meanwhile, rival analytics firm Netmarketshare still has a far greater gap between Windows 10 and Windows 7, with the operating systems at 28.65% and 46.22% market share, respectively.

Although this company’s figures for September appear to have somehow gone awry, considering that Linux has made a massive leap to 4.83%, and is supposedly now more popular than macOS Sierra (10.12), which is on 3.8%. As MS Power User – which spotted these numbers – notes, this certainly appears to be a mistake.

It’s also worth noting that Netmarketshare takes into account all desktop operating systems, whereas Statcounter’s figures are just Windows versions (no Linux or Mac included – although these don’t make a huge impact on the world of PCs, of course, compared to Microsoft’s OS).

The Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 will begin its big rollout two weeks from tomorrow, on October 17.

Windows 10 is pre-installed on most of our best laptops

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From: JakeStraw10/5/2017 12:13:19 PM
   of 19150
 
Microsoft Corporation was upgraded by analysts at Canaccord Genuity from a "hold" rating to a "buy" rating. They now have a $86.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $76.00.

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From: hollyhunter10/5/2017 5:39:07 PM
   of 19150
 
Bullish crossover in MACD and Stochastic oscillator. On watch for clear above 76.12.

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From: ProThinker10/5/2017 11:22:57 PM
1 Recommendation   of 19150
 
With Microsoft trading at high end of all its valuation indicators and revenue growth not being exciting, I think upside is limited for this stock.





















Source: www.ProThinker.com

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From: Don Green10/6/2017 6:07:50 PM
   of 19150
 
Why Microsoft Bid Sayonara To Windows Phones And Windows 10 Mobile
Oct. 6, 2017 6:02 PM ET
|
Motek Moyen


Summary
HP’s announcement that it is discontinuing its Elite x3 Windows 10 Mobile phone further confirmed that Microsoft completely shelved its smartphone ambition.

Nadella himself admitted in his book that he was against Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s old phone business. He wrote off the entire $7.6 billion acquisition.

Nadella never believed that Windows phones can catch up with Android and iOS. Don’t expect a Surface phone to be released as long as Nadella is in charge.

My fearless forecast now is that Microsoft will soon discontinue support for Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 last July.

Shelving Windows 10 Mobile completes a cathartic release for Microsoft from its misadventure in mobile phones.



Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is being quiet, but it is ready to say sayonara to Windows 10 Mobile. It already ended support for Window Phone 8.1 last July. Getting rid of Windows 10 Mobile should complete the detoxification of Microsoft’s failure in mobile. HP, Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) recently announced that it will discontinue its Elite x3 Windows 10 Mobile smartphone.

An unidentified HP executive explained that "Microsoft, as all companies do, decided on a change in strategy and so they are less focused on what they thought they would be focused on today."



(Source: Microsoft)

We did not get the memo but Microsoft made it clear to its OEM partners that Windows 10 Mobile is a walking dead. Microsoft already ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 last July. The culling will continue until Windows 10 Mobile eventually joins the graveyard where Zune and Windows RT were laid to rest.

Nadella’s book also revealed he was against Ballmer’s idea of buying Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) old phone business. It explained why Nadella ended up writing offthe $7.6 billion Lumia phone business that Ballmer acquired. His heart and mind were never for Windows smartphones. He is determined to extricate Microsoft out of its misery in Windows phones.



We can expect that there will never be another phone from Microsoft as long as Nadella is in charge. Consequently, there will be no eulogies, but Windows 10 Mobile’s days are numbered. Sooner than later, Microsoft will completely divorce itself from Windows 10 Mobile like it did with its phone hardware business.

There’s no point developing/maintaining a mobile operating system when Microsoft has thrown the towel on Windows phones.

The only consolation is that Microsoft got a $1.8 billion tax write-down from Ballmer’s ill-fated bet on Windows phones. Windows 10 Mobile also taught us that software developers did not like Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform.

Why Letting Windows 10 Mobile Die Is Cathartic For MicrosoftRaising the white flag and accepting defeat is an act of courage. Accepting the reality that Android and iOS reign supreme on mobile is a back to the future move from Nadella. It allows Microsoft to better adapt to the reality that Android OS devices now outnumber Windows computers/devices.

Without the excess baggage of Lumia and Windows 10 Mobile, Nadella can focus more on his device-agnostic strategy in disseminating Microsoft's software products and services. The prosperity of Microsoft now depends on how effective it can attract (and retain) business and personal users of Android/iOS/MacOS devices to buy/subscribe to Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, and Azure.

Microsoft tried and failed to compete against iPhones. However, its Cellular PC concept which enables Surface hybrid laptops to make phone calls should help it continue disrupting Mac sales.

Cloud Computing, Not Smartphone ComputingA complete retreat from Windows phones and Windows 10 Mobile will let Microsoft focus more on competing better against Amazon ( AMZN) Web Services. Microsoft is the clear leader in SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). However, Azure is still a far-second to Amazon when it comes to cloud computing infrastructure services.

The savings from killing the Lumia phone business and Windows 10 Mobile can go to improving Azure.





(Source: Synergy Research)

Abandoning Windows phones gives Microsoft more leeway to create new cloud computing services like its Coco Framework Enterprise Blockchain-as-a-Service. A stronger focus on cloud computing is very important for Microsoft. Synergy Research predicted last July that global revenue from cloud computing and SaaS will have a CAGR of 23-29% for the next five years. It will reach $200 billion by 2020.

Public IaaS/PaaS, where Amazon Web Services is the runaway leader (with 34% market share), is going to have the fastest CAGR at 29%.



ConclusionMSFT already touts an YTD gain of +21.40%, but I still rate it as a buy. My takeaway is that Nadella is weaning Microsoft away from its dependency on the Windows ecosystem. A Microsoft that can flourish without its dominant Windows operating system becomes a more resilient company.



(Source: Morningstar)

Microsoft doesn’t need its own mobile operating system, mobile app store, and its own brand of phones to benefit from the rise in smartphone usage.

Microsoft’s software products and services are now device agnostic and platform independent. Many Android/iOS device users will still be captured customers of Office 365. Let us also never forget that Microsoft will continue to reap patent licensing fees from Android device manufacturers.


The coming demise of Windows 10 Mobile is therefore just another painful lesson that made Microsoft smarter and stronger.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/14/2017 8:59:35 PM
   of 19150
 
Amazon and Microsoft are teaming up on A.I. -- without Google
  • The new Gluon code will make it easier for developers to use open-source artificial intelligence frameworks, including those that Amazon and Microsoft support.
  • Google, which open-sourced the popular TensorFlow AI framework, is not involved at this point.
Jordan Novet | @jordannovet
Published 1:55 PM ET Thu, 12 Oct 2017
CNBC.com



Source: Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a company conference in London in November 2014.
______________________________

For the second time in recent months, Amazon and Microsoft are teaming up in artificial intelligence, with Google on the sidelines for now.

On Thursday the two companies rolled out new tools that will make it easier for developers to use open-source artificial intelligence software. This follows the companies' move in August to let its virtual assistants Alexa and Cortana talk with each other as needed.

Getting into the technical weeds, developers can use Gluon, a Python-based application programming interface, to more easily work with MXNet, the AI framework backed by public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services. And in the near future Gluon will make it easier for developers to use the Cognitive Toolkit, the framework that Microsoft open-sourced in 2015. The two companies are publishing the specifications for Gluon so that other frameworks can adopt it, too.

Google is the elephant in the room here. Google open-sourced the TensorFlow AI framework in 2015, and it has since become very popular among researchers -- considerably more popular than the Cognitive Toolkit and MXNet:

Notably, Google is not among the companies promoting Gluon at this point. (Google declined to comment.) People who wish to use TensorFlow might find it easier to do that with a Google-backed Python API called Keras.

The announcement comes a few months after Apple introduced the Core ML software that's meant to help developers incorporate AI into iOS apps. Apple also released tools for converting models based on other frameworks into its Core ML format.

"We believe it is important for the industry to work together and pool resources to build technology that benefits the broader community," Eric Boyd, corporate vice president of Microsoft's AI and Research group, is quoted as saying in a statement. "This is why Microsoft has collaborated with AWS to create the Gluon interface and enable an open AI ecosystem where developers have freedom of choice."

cnbc.com

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From: Glenn Petersen10/14/2017 9:05:15 PM
1 Recommendation   of 19150
 
Unlike Alphabet/Google or Amazon, almost all of Microsoft’s business lies in serving enterprise customers. It is the tech giant most focused on converting AI directly into revenue. “Our company’s identity is fundamentally about creating technology so that others can create more technology,” CEO Satya Nadella told Fast Company recently. “And it’s essential that it is being used for empowering more people.”

Artificial intelligence “is at the intersection of our ambitions,” Nadella told an audience of Microsoft partners in September 2016, suggesting that it will let the company “reason over large amounts of data and convert that into intelligence.” A few months later, Microsoft officially closed its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, giving the company a large amount of data about employees, companies, and recruiting to reason over and try to make smarter.

In August, it debuted a real-time AI system for its enterprise cloud customers, which could help the company win business from companies who want to deploy such business initiatives as dynamic pricing and retail personalization. Microsoft’s mission to help companies in a wide range of industries to be more productive and effective means that it is the one company whose AI work is most keenly connected to its future prospects.


How Amazon, Google, Microsoft, And IBM Sell AI As A Service

Message 31303424

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From: Don Green10/17/2017 11:45:48 AM
   of 19150
 
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Top 10 New Features

The latest update to Microsoft's OS adds new app capabilities, sharing features, and helpful tweaks.

By Michael Muchmore
October 17, 2017






The latest version of Microsoft Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, is upon us.

Well, that's not entirely true: Windows no longer really comes in full-stop updates;
it's delivered as a continually updating service. For example, several of the Fall Creators
features have been steadily making their way into Windows, like the video editing and Fluent Design aspects.

pcmag.com

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