Microsoft has just unveiled Microsoft 365, which bundles together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, giving “a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees.”
Microsoft Announces New Office 365 Plans For Businesses
Essentially, Microsoft 365 is a new way for enterprises to purchase Office and Windows together, bundling the company’s mainline software into a single subscription. In addition, it’ll also offer users Microsoft 365 Business, debuting via public preview come Aug. 2. It includes Office 365 Business Premium and security and management features for Office software and devices running Windows 10.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella unveiled both types of bundles at its Inspire partner conference, attended by 17,000 people, who were there to hear about Microsoft’s partnerships and other plans.
Microsoft says the workplace is changing, especially by virtue of teams often being distributed globally. From such trends, the company observes a new culture that’s emerging. Its new plans are a reflection of those.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise And 365 Business Plans And Release Date
Microsoft 365 Enterprise will be offered in two plans: Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. Both will launch on Aug. 1. Microsoft hasn’t laid the details on pricing yet, but says it’ll depend on the specific plan and “other factors.”
Microsoft 365 Business, meanwhile, will launch its full stable release later this fall following the public preview on Aug. 2. It will cost each user $20 a month.
Ahead of both release dates, Microsoft will let users try three applications coming to both Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business. These applications include Microsoft Connections, an email marketing service; Microsoft Listings, a publishing tool for business information; and Microsoft Invoicing, which is pretty self-explanatory.
The company has also included MileIQ, its mileage tracking app, into Office 365 Business Premium. In addition, Microsoft has also launched Azure Stack, which allows businesses to host their own hybrid cloud. Several companies including HP, Lenovo, and Dell are all building systems to run Azure Stack, the first shipments of which launches September.
Microsoft’s cloud business has been one of its most profitable units in recent years, a sort of saving grace from the tumble of its Windows Phone venture and other less alluring products and services. As the company treads the way of the cloud further, we might see Microsoft approach cloud-based services more extensively going forward.
“We are incredibly enthusiastic about Microsoft 365 and how it will help customers and partners drive growth and innovation,” said Microsoft.
Thoughts about Microsoft new Office 365 bundles? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!
So Windows Phone is well and truly dead (excepting a tiny handful of Windows 10 devices). There it lies, buried in the graveyard of failed smartphone platforms. Cause of death: Android. Yes, really.
Apple changed everything in mobile, but in the chaotic years after its release, there was a massive opportunity to be the alternative that would ultimately dominate marketshare. It was Microsoft’s for the taking, but Google got there first.
I started reflecting on what happened to these smartphones as the 10th anniversary of the iPhone came and went. And the thought that kept occurring to me is how little everybody knew about what was about to happen to the smartphone industry before the iPhone came along. Nobody knew what they didn’t know.
That led to some hilarious quotes from competitors that are easy to mock now. BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie’s “in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that’s overstating it.” Palm CEO Ed Colligan’s “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s “It doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard.”
After they said those things, all of those CEOs tried (and failed) to adequately respond to the iPhone. BlackBerry duct-taped extra software on its aging platform and tried to make the whole screen a giant button. Palm made a go of it with webOS but couldn’t get carrier support, nor make products good enough for consumers to go out and buy their devices.
Microsoft’s response was Windows 6.5, a hack on an old OS that wasn’t designed for full touchscreen devices. Then Windows Phone 7, which was an admirable reboot with genuinely new design ideas. It came too late, though, and floundered. Windows Phone 8 took a bad situation and made it worse by angering Microsoft’s surprisingly passionate fanbase when they learned existing devices wouldn’t get software upgrades. (The same thing happened with Windows Phone 10, though by then it hardly mattered.)
Oh yeah, one more thing: somewhere in there Microsoft bought Nokia and frittered away the most storied and trusted phone brand in history. Cool job.
So while Microsoft didn’t do itself any favors, I’d argue strongly that all these machinations and flailings weren’t a response (or weren’t only a response) to the iPhone. The real enemy was the company that had set its sights on Microsoft’s phone ambitions since before the iPhone was released.
That company was Google, of course, and it only tangentially wanted to take on the iPhone. Google’s real target was always Microsoft, and it hit the bullseye.
The best window into what Google was thinking about when it was creating Android is the 2012 legal fight it had with Oracle about Java. The deeply nerdy API details of that case don’t really matter now, but the process of a public, protracted court battle gives us a special and unique gift: testimony and documents.
Here’s some of what then-CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, had to say about the creation of Android:
Q. And once Android came aboard and Mr. Rubin came aboard, was there a business strategy formed about what Android would be and how it worked?
Q. Can you tell the jurors about that? What was it?
A. My recollection was that the the strategy that evolved over the first year, which would be roughly 2000 and — 2006, was to build a platform — which, again, we previously discussed — that would be free and clear of some of the other licensing restrictions that were slowing down the industry, and that would, in fact, create a viable alternative to the then key players at the time. As you’ve earlier seen in the documents.
So our idea was that if we made something that was generally available, it would provide a lot of customer value; it could be a very large platform; and it would grow very quickly. All of which has, indeed, occurred.
Q: When you say open or alternative to what was out there, tell our jurors what you mean by that.
A. Well, at the time, we were quite concerned about Microsoft’s products. It’s hard to relate to that now, but at the time we were very concerned that Microsoft’s mobile strategy would be successful.
It’s also true at the time that the primary player in the industry was Nokia, who had an operating system called Symbian, which we were also concerned about.
This was before the iPhone was announced and before the whole iPhone revolution occurred.
This all sounds awfully precious now, with the benefit of hindsight. The very idea that Google was terrified of Windows Mobile is hard to wrap your head around. After all, we all know that was the iPhone that changed everything in mobile, it was the iPhone that made all those other companies launch half-cocked jerry-rigged products as a stopgap before remaking their platforms later on.
Indeed, that happened with Android, too. Andy Rubin famously revamped Android’s launch plan when we saw the original iPhone presentation:
Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast.
“Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”
But go back to Schmidt in that trial for a second. The thing he and Google’s other executives were worried about was ensuring that mobile users continued to have access to Google search. He saw clearly that there would end up being a software platform that lots of different manufacturers would license and use to make phones, and he wanted Google to be on it.
Rather than trust Microsoft and Nokia and everybody else to keep their platforms open to them, Google just went ahead and made the open platform itself. And then it released it to anybody to use for free, undercutting Microsoft’s licensing fee for Windows Mobile.
What killed Windows Phone was getting beat to market by Android. It took way too long for Microsoft to release a viable competitor to the iPhone – it didn’t really land until 2010. By then, Android had already been around for two years and Verizon was selling the Droid for a year.
Back then, despite the disruption in the market that the iPhone brought, US carriers still had the power to determine winners and losers. And since only AT&T had the iPhone, the other three in the US were casting about for their competitive product. Verizon, in particular, was going to be the kingmaker.
In 2008, Verizon tapped BlackBerry’s Storm, which was a colossal failure. In 2009, Verizon looked at what else was around. Palm hadn’t been able to convince Verizon to pick up the Palm Pre and Windows Phone 7 was still a year off. So Verizon went all in on Droid and the rest is history.
This is obviously an oversimplified timeline. Nokia woulda-coulda-shoulda made a move, for example. Palm and BlackBerry and everybody else made enough mistakes to fill books.
But in mobile, there’s no greater woulda-coulda-shoulda than Windows Phone. Everything that made Android successful was stuff that Microsoft was basically already trying to do. It’s just that Microsoft did it not quite as well, not quite as free, and way too late.
Google’s Backup and Sync desktop app is now available for download for Mac and Windows after a delay last month. Users now have the power to sync up anything, including photos and videos from cameras, SD cards, and USB devices, instead of their files remaining stuck in one place.
It’s a way to protect files and photos by backing them up, as long as they’re in Google Drive and Google Photos, primarily for consumer users. Business users of G Suite are recommended to keep using Google Drive until a business-focused solution called Drive File Stream comes out later this year. People can sign up for Drive File Stream’s early adopter program though.
Google wrote on its blog, “Just choose the folders you want to back up, and we’ll take care of the rest.” Backup and Sync is available through Google Drive and Google Photos for download.
Microsoft is announcing Microsoft 365 today, a new way for businesses to purchase Office and Windows together. While the software giant has sold Office 365 and Windows 10 to businesses in many different ways, Microsoft 365 Enterprise combines Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security features into a single subscription.
Microsoft is also offering Microsoft 365 Business, which will debut in public preview on August 2nd and includes Office 365 Business Premium alongside security and management features for Office apps and Windows 10 devices. Both bundles are being announced today Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference today, which hosts 17,000 attendees together to discuss Microsoft’s many partnerships.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise will be available for purchase on August 1st, with pricing dependent on the specific plan and “other factors.” Microsoft 365 Business will be available in public preview on August 2nd, with a full release set for later this fall. Microsoft 365 Business will cost $20 per user, per month.
Microsoft is also launching its Azure Stack today, allowing businesses to host their own hybrid cloud. Dell, HP, and Lenovo are all creating integrated systems to run Azure Stack and host apps and services on hardware that’s located alongside a business’ current infrastructure. The first systems will start shipping in September.
Today’s Microsoft Inspire conference will also see CEO Satya Nadella on stage to discuss the company’s work with partners, and its plans for the future as Microsoft shakes up its internal sales force. Microsoft is travelling to Washington DC this year with 17,000 attendees, and boasts of more cloud partners than AWS, Google, and Salesforce combined. Microsoft’s impressive cloud growth has already boosted the company’s revenue in recent years. As the software maker focuses more of its efforts on the cloud we’ll see more hints of the direction that Microsoft is heading in over the next year during Inspire this week.
Microsoft revealed its new Timeline feature of Windows 10 earlier this year, noting it would arrive in the upcoming Fall Creators Update. Timeline is designed to allow Windows 10 users to switch between multiple devices, including Android and iOS phones. While Windows 10 testers had expected to be trying out the feature in time for the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has confirmed it has delayed Timeline to its next major Windows 10 update.
“Timeline won’t be in the Fall Creators Update,” says Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore. “We’re planning for it to be in early insider builds shortly after Fall Creators Update is out.” Microsoft is expected to release its Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in September, and the company is currently testing final features with Windows Insiders. The next major Windows 10 update after that should arrive in March 2018.
Timeline will effectively let you pick up where you left off, across Windows 10 devices and iOS and Android phones. It’s really designed to be a quick way to move from one machine to another, much like Apple’s continuity feature in iOS and macOS. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has delayed a significant feature to Windows 10. Microsoft was planning to ship its people integration in the Creators Update earlier this year, but the company delayed it to the Fall Creators Update due later this year.
Two months ago, in an effort to fightback against the WannaCry ransomware, Microsoft took the ‘highly unusual’ step of releasing a patch for Windows XP, the ancient operating system it stopped supporting back in 2014 (even though, as it turned out, it was really Windows 7, not XP, that was to blame for the spread of the devastating malware).
Then just two weeks ago, Microsoft included Windows XP and Vista — another operating system it no longer supports — in June’s Patch Tuesday updates. Despite these recent actions, neither XP nor Vista are going to receive regular security updates from Microsoft, meaning users still running either OS remain at serious risk. However, the good news is there are a couple of tricks you can use to continue receiving security updates for both XP and Vista.
In the case of XP, the trick is to make use of updates for Windows Embedded Industry (formerly known as Windows Embedded POSReady). This is based on Windows XP Service Pack 3, and the security updates which are being released for it are essentially the same ones Microsoft would have pushed out for XP, if it was still doing so.
You can’t simply install the updates — that would be too easy — and you’ll receive a version mismatch error if you try. But a simple registry tweak is enough to fix that.
Create a text document, and call it XP.reg. You’ll need to make sure .reg is the proper extension — so not “XP.reg.txt”. If it’s not showing up as a registry file, open any folder, go to Tools > Folder Options, select View and uncheck ‘Show hidden files and folders’. That should fix the problem.
Right-click the file, and select Edit. Paste in the following:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Save it, and then double-click the file. That will make that change to the registry. That’s all you need to do. Windows should now automatically fetch updates designed for Windows Embedded Industry, ensuring XP remains protected until 2019.
This trick only works for 32-bit editions of XP, but there’s a workaround for 64-bit versions here.
As for Vista, the trick to getting updates is similar, except it uses Windows Server 2008’s patches as that OS architecture is very close to Vista’s and Microsoft plans to keep supporting it until 2020.
To use this, you need to make use of the Microsoft Update Catalog.
The steps to follow are:
Look for any Windows Server 2008 updates mentioned by Microsoft, and make a note of the relevant Knowledge Base ID, or browse the regularly updated list at BeepingComputer.
Open the Microsoft Update Catalog and search for the ID, or click the BeepingComputer update link.
Locate the Windows Server 2008 version of the patch.
Download and install it.
Naturally there are risks associated with both these methods — you are, after all, installing patches on an operating system they aren’t intended for — so it’s worth making sure you’ve backed up all your important personal files or settings before proceeding.
Microsoft has confirmed that a portion of the source code for Windows 10 has leaked online. The leak, containing software elements not normally visible to the public, may represent an opportunity for hackers to uncover and exploit security weaknesses.
The leak was originally reported by U.K. tech site The Register, which described the leaked files as “a massive trove” including both code for USB and Wi-Fi modules, and full unreleased builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. The Register claimed the trove was stolen from Microsoft as recently as March.
Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.
However, The Verge has contradicted part of that assessment, claiming that the leak is “relatively minor.” Much of the leaked material has already circulated outside of Microsoft, as part of code packages regularly shared with development partners and other customers.
However, there is worrisome evidence that the content came from hacks of Microsoft’s network. The Verge points to the arrest this week of two men in England accused of hacking Microsoft, and Ars Technica received unconfirmed reports of a hack on Microsoft in March.
The files have since been removed from Beta Archive, a collection of abandoned or incomplete software, where they originally surfaced.
We already knew that the next version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, will feature a large number of new tools for consumers. While it was always clear that business users would also get their fair share of updates, Microsoft remained pretty quiet about what those would look like. That’s changing this week, as the company today announced a number of new security features for Windows 10 that will launch with the Fall Creators Updates later this year.
Rob Lefferts, the director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security, told me that the company is obviously aware of the changing security landscape, which now often includes well-funded and supported hackers. To stay ahead of these threats, the company is doubling down on its existing security efforts, but in addition, it’s now also pushing ahead with new initiatives that emphasize cloud intelligence with AI and machine learning.
So while the team is hardening the Windows 10 platform with this new release — just like it has done with all the previous releases — it’s also building up its efforts to use the cloud to analyze security threats and prevent attacks.
As Lefferts noted, 96 percent of the attacks that Microsoft is seeing are distinct attacks. That’s partly because malware is now often polymorphic but also because the company is seeing more custom attacks.
One of the main vectors for attacking any desktop operating system is the browser. Back in 2016, Microsoft announced that it was working on a sandboxing technique — the Windows Defender Application Guard — that would allow it to stop attackers from ever getting a foothold on the machine, even if they were able to penetrate the browser’s defenses. It took the company quite a while to get this to market, but the next version of Windows 10 will now ship with support for this feature. Lefferts told me that it took the team a while to figure out the right user experience to enable this feature, which is hard when you start every browser session from zero. The team also had to ensure that it could quickly spin up these micro-containers with the Edge browser fast enough.
In addition, Microsoft is also improving the Windows Defender Exploit Guard with data it gathers from across its users. The Exploit Guard features a large set of intrusion rules and policies and Microsoft says that this feature should now help protect organizations better against quite a few advanced threats, including zero day exploits.
The company has now also built the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which was previously available as a stand-alone tool, right into Windows 10. Lefferts stressed that this was something that Microsoft’s users had asked for.
Microsoft is also extending the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) feature that allows enterprise security teams to detect and respond to threats to include the Windows Server OS for protection across platforms. What’s more interesting, though, is that ATP is now linked to Microsoft’s cloud-based security services that use advanced analytics and machine learning to understand threats based on the huge number of signals Microsoft receives from across its users. The company is also using this cloud-based protection model to improve Windows Defender Antivirus.
Other new features include an improved version of Device Guard, the company’s service for managing which applications an enterprise user can run on a company-issued machine. Device Guard is now also integrated into Windows Defender ATP, which should make it easier to manage for IT and security teams. In addition, companies that want to opt into this can now use data from the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, which combines billions of data points to analyze threats, to automatically allow users to install applications that are most likely safe to install (thing Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.).
Lefferts noted that Microsoft’s goal is to bring together all of its compute, big data and machine learning smarts — combined with data it gathers from its users around the globe and traditional signature-based approaches — to protect its customer’s machines. “We think the Fall Creators update takes full advantage of Windows threat protection and we are pushing forward,” he said.
Earlier this month we reported on the disappearance of the LinkedIn app for Windows 10 Mobile from the Windows Store.
Microsoft never made an official announcement regarding the disappearance of the app, but we assumed Microsoft intended Windows Phone users to use the Edge browser to access their own enterprise social network.
It seems this was not far off the mark, even when the app has recently been updated.
We have received a number of messages today, and there have also been other posts on various web forums, that the app, which can still not be found in the Windows Store, has been updated.
The new app has a whole new look, and closer scrutiny reveals the old app has been replaced with a link to the LinkedIn Mobile website, still prominently displaying a banner linking to the Google Play Store urging users on more vibrant platforms to download “a faster” mobile app.
Beggars can of course not be choosers, and we assume after paying $26.2 billion for LinkedIn Microsoft did not have any spare change left to develop a proper UWP app.
The LinkedIn app for Windows 10 Mobile can not be found (but may make a reappearance) at the link below.
Companies today find it difficult to score the right balance when it comes to customer support. Microsoft is no exception, and we want to hear about your experiences with the company related to mobile product support, good or bad. Community member 73blazer experienced an issue with Windows 10 Mobile and the official Mail app from Microsoft. After updating it to the latest version, it ceased to work in Continuum mode.
As expected, 73blazer decided to hit up Microsoft for some assistance. What wasn’t expected was the bad experience. First off, Microsoft Office support was involved, and they were unable to offer assistance and eventually redirected our poor member over to B2x, an outsourced support platform Microsoft uses for hardware and other support. After providing the IMEI number of an HP Elite X3, 73blazer was informed that only Lumia phones are covered for support through this particular channel.
Do they even have it? I tried desperately Friday to get some insight into an issue that is clearly a bug, to no avail. Basically, the issue is the new version of the mail app that came out earlier this week, won’t launch in continuum mode. Elite x3 had it. I pull out my 950xl which hadn’t updated in a while mail launches there in continuum mode, update the mail app, mail won’t launch in…
After supplying the same information for a Lumia 950, both soft and hard resets were recommended (clearly we’re looking at someone reading from a list of instructions to hand to consumers). It got worse from there, and so our forum member contacted HP support. They were more helpful and offered to take the problem up with Microsoft directly, supplying 73blazer with a case number to reference.How have your past experiences gone down when you got in touch with Microsoft for support? Do you have any tips when it comes to Windows 10 Mobile and specifically Lumia devices? Hit the link below and sound off in our community forum.