Microsoft on Tuesday announced new updates for its Office suite of productivity apps on iOS. New Office capabilities on iOS devices include a real-time co-authoring feature on Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. Office and OneDrive apps on iOS now support drag and drop for files and documents, OneDrive adds support for Files app available in iOS 11, OneDrive gets a UI overhaul, and the Outlook app offers advanced search capabilities.

Starting with the co-authoring feature, users can now see who is viewing their document, what they are editing, and view the edits across platforms including iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and Office Online. The feature is available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

With drag and drop now available on iOS, users can “drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive.” The feature also enables users to transfer content to and from other apps like SharePoint and iMessage on the iOS platform.

Separately, the OneDrive app offers native support for Files app. Files was introduced with the iOS 11 update. With this feature, iPhone and iPad users on iOS 11 can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive and Sharepoint from any other app that offers Files integration. Additionally, users can tag specific files to find content in an easier way. The OneDrive app also gets a redesigned UI with improved file sorting, easier file name scanning, and more. The app now also supports preview for over 130 file types including Photoshop and 3D Objects.

And, finally, an enhanced search feature on Outlook for iOS “leverages the Microsoft Graph to surface results from your top contacts, upcoming travel itineraries, package deliveries, recent attachments, and more. Together with proactive search suggestions and a unified design, it now provides consistent, personalised results.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Wednesday that technology companies need to accept that their design choices help create both the good and bad of artificial intelligence technology.

“I feel like sometimes we in tech, even, abdicate control: ‘[AI] is going to happen tomorrow and our best case is that we’re going to be domesticated cats or whatever.’ But no, it’s a choice. I’m not making fun of that as a consequence. It could happen, but only if we abdicate,” Nadella said.

Nadella spoke on Wednesday at The Economic Club of New York, a nonpartisan organization that offers individual membership to top business thinkers. He said it’s not enough for CEOs to lament the future of robots keeping humans as house cats — parroting comments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former Apple CEO Steve Wozniak.

There are empowering AI tools that help people that are visually impaired, dyslexic and have cerebral palsy, Nadella said.

“But that doesn’t mean the unintended consequences of automation — displacement — are not going to be real as well,” Nadella said. “So therefore, we as a society — starting with Microsoft — have to do some of our very best work at skilling …. students in school or people who are displaced midcareer.”

Nadella said that the most successful companies he partners with don’t see technology as something that’s just on the sidelines. He said that takes more than just opening an office in Silicon Valley.

“The auto industry has gone through a fundamental transformation,” Nadella said. “Computers will look like ancient machines compared to these cars. We have had to show up with that trusted partnership relationship and technology, recognizing that they are going to build technology…. Pick your partners that you can have long-term stable trust, because everyone needs leverage in this world. ”

Nadella alluded to recent widespread security issues Spectre and Meltdown as an example of the integration.

“The environment we live in, where the threat vectors are everywhere, one foundational thing we have to do as — I think of us as first responders — is to build products that are more secure,” Nadella said. “[But] we have to realize that fundamental security does not just come with building secure products, it’s from the operational posture. You can’t be fit by just having fitness equipment, you’ve got to actually exercise.”

Since taking over at Microsoft, Nadella has refocused the company on high-growth cloud services like Azure and Office 365, and has made splashy acquisitions, like LinkedIn and Minecraft. In his book, he calls it rediscovering “Microsoft’s soul.”

But Nadella’s recent calls for more empathy in tech come amid tension between Silicon Valley and the rest of the country. Washington-based Microsoft and Amazon, alongside California’s Apple, Alphabet and Facebook, have all faced criticism for their apparent dominance.

Culture is a “core enabler of a successful company,” allowing Microsoft to invest in innovation and take risks. The challenge he said, was convincing Microsoft’s hardcore, analytic engineers to see culture as more than an extension of the founder, or a poster in a conference room.

Microsoft is out to prove blockchain naysayers wrong. In an effort to show the potential of the technology beyond its applications in cryptocurrency, the Redmond giant has announced plans to use blockchain tech as the foundation for storing and processing digital identity data.

Following a collaboration with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), Microsoft has revealed its plans to rely on blockchain technology to solve some of the challenges we face when managing our identities and personal data digitally, such as improving privacy and security across the physical and digital world.

“We believe it is essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity,” the company said in a blog post. “Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure, encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it.”

To this end, the company is developing an off-chain solution – akin to the Lightning Network – that will allow it to process massive volumes of ID data without congesting the blockchain network.

While the company has yet to demo working prototypes of its solutions, it has shared some findings from its jointly research with the DIF. In addition to its uses for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, the Windows-maker concludes that blockchain tech is well-suited for a number of other applications.

A key takeaway is that – instead of relying on third-party services and solutions – blockchain could prove instrumental in putting control back into the hands of the customer as well as securely storing personal data.

“Today, users grant broad consent to countless apps and services for collection and retention of their data for use beyond their control,” the post reads. “With data breaches and identity theft becoming more sophisticated and frequent, users need a way to take ownership of their identity.”

How it actually works

For this reason, the company has proposed several new services:

  • Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) – a W3C spec that defines a common document format for describing the state of a Decentralized Identifier
  • Identity Hubs – an encrypted identity datastore that features message/intent relay, attestation handling, and identity-specific compute endpoints
  • Universal DID Resolver – a server that resolves DIDs across blockchains
  • Verifiable Credentials – a W3C spec that defines a document format for encoding DID-based attestations

“After examining decentralized storage systems, consensus protocols, blockchains, and a variety of emerging standards, we believe blockchain technology and protocols are well suited for enabling Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs),” the company writes.

According to Microsoft, these solutions “can enable developers to gain access to a more precise set of attestations, while reducing legal and compliance risks (such as, GDPR, KYC/AML) by processing such information instead of controlling it on behalf of the user.”

The legendary software provider is quick to point out that, while blockchains are indeed suitable for such applications, current solutions like Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin still lag behind standard centralized alternatives – especially when it comes to matters of speed, convenience and network stability.

“To overcome these technical barriers, we are collaborating on decentralized Layer 2 protocols that run atop these public blockchains to achieve global scale, while preserving the attributes of a world-class DID system,” Microsoft says.

The Redmond behemoth says it will share more technical details and proof of concept implementations in a series of upcoming posts.

The Decentralized Identity applications are slated to land on the Microsoft Authenticator app, which is already used by millions of people to prove their identity.

“With consent, Microsoft Authenticator will be able to act as your User Agent to manage identity data and sign attestations,” the blog post explains. “In this design, only the ID is rooted on chain. Identity data is stored in an off-chain, encrypted data store that the user has full control over.”

Microsoft has long shown support for blockchain tech on a number of occasions.

Indeed, the technology titan was one among several corporations and banks to show ambition in developing commercial applications on the Ethereum network.

More recently, Microsoft was said to be partnering with the IOTA Foundation over its “next-generation blockchain” solution. The partnership ultimately proved to be nothing more than an informal collaboration between a client and a software provider.

Microsoft Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a service that Windows 10 users can utilise to prevent advanced attacks on a network, will now be available for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users as well. The Windows antivirus tool has essentially been back-ported from Windows 10 to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

The unified endpoint security platform is currently available only for Windows 10 operating system. However, since a lot of users are still on the previous versions of the OS, Microsoft has announced that it is adding Windows Defender ATP down-level support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1. Separately, Microsoft is testing a way users can preview new versions of native apps without being on Windows Insider Preview builds.

Users moving to Windows 10 will be able to add Windows Defender ATP Detection and Response functionality to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 from this summer. Microsoft says that it wants to help its customers “achieve the best security possible on their way to Windows 10 ahead of the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020.” As per an earlier report, Windows 10 is said to finally be the most popular version of Windows out there, edging out 8-year-old Windows 7.

This rollout will enable users holding on to older versions of the Windows OS to get some of the exploit and malware-infection prevention and event reporting features that the company offers on Windows 10. It will also help enterprises where older computers can be brought under a uniform security management and administration tools, that are used for Windows 10 PCs. As mentioned, users must be moving to Windows 10 to add Windows Defender ATP Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) functionality to their devices.

Also, Microsoft has said that it is building a behavioural based EDR solution to “give security teams rich insights into threats on their endpoints.” It added that all detections and events are surfaced in Windows Defender Security Center, which is the cloud-based console for Windows Defender ATP. With this, security teams can benefit from correlated alerts for known and unknown adversaries, additional threat intelligence, and a detailed machine timeline for further investigations and manual response options.

In other news, users interested in all the new features on Windows apps will no longer have to run an Insider build. Microsoft is reportedly developing a process where users will be able to test apps inside retail versions of the Windows. As per a Thurrott report, users will be able to preview Windows Camera, Microsoft Photos, Alarm, and some other apps.

According to the report, several inbox Windows 10 apps now have the option to preview new features, even if the user isn’t part of the Insider Program. In an invite to the Windows Camera preview program, the company reportedly said, “You’ll be one of the first to try out new features in the preview version of Camera, and your feedback will shape the future of the app.”

While Microsoft has not provided details on how this programme will function, Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc, in a tweet, wrote: “This is us just trying to make it easier for those who want to test app updates on both Insider builds or retail.”

REDMOND, Wash. — April 26, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the following results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, as compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year:

  • Revenue was $26.8 billion and increased 16%
  • Operating income was $8.3 billion and increased 23%
  • Net income was $7.4 billion and increased 35%
  • Diluted earnings per share was $0.95 and increased 36%

“Our results this quarter reflect the trust people and organizations are placing in the Microsoft Cloud,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We are innovating across key growth categories of infrastructure, AI, productivity, and business applications to deliver differentiated value to customers.”

Microsoft returned $6.3 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases in the third quarter of fiscal year 2018, an increase of 37%.

“With consistent investment and strong sales execution, this quarter we achieved better than expected performance across all segments,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Microsoft. “We delivered double-digit revenue and operating income growth driven by 58% growth in our commercial cloud revenue.”

Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $9.0 billion and increased 17% (up 14% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 14% (up 12% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 commercial revenue growth of 42% (up 40% in constant currency)
  • Office consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 12% (up 9% in constant currency) and Office 365 consumer subscribers increased to 30.6 million
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 37% (up 33% in constant currency) with continued acceleration in engagement highlighted by LinkedIn sessions growth of over 30%
  • Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 17% (up 14% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 65% (up 62% in constant currency)

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $7.9 billion and increased 17% (up 15% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Server products and cloud services revenue increased 20% (up 17% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 93% (up 89% in constant currency)
  • Enterprise Services revenue increased 8% (5% in constant currency)

Revenue in More Personal Computing was $9.9 billion and increased 13% (up 11% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Windows OEM revenue increased 4% (up 4% in constant currency) driven by OEM Pro revenue growth of 11%
  • Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 21% (up 17% in constant currency) driven by an increased volume of multi-year agreements and the mix of products that carry higher in-quarter revenue recognition
  • Gaming revenue increased 18% (up 16% in constant currency) driven by Xbox software and services revenue growth of 24% (up 21% in constant currency) mainly from third party title strength
  • Surface revenue increased 32% (up 27% in constant currency) against a prior year comparable impacted by product end-of-life-cycle dynamics
  • Search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs increased 16% (up 14% in constant currency) driven by higher revenue per search and search volume

Business Outlook

Microsoft will provide forward-looking guidance in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call and webcast.

Webcast Details

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, Carolyn Frantz, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary, and Michael Spencer, general manager of investor relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time (5:30 p.m. Eastern time) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/investor. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on April 26, 2019.

New Accounting Standards

We adopted new accounting standards related to revenue recognition and leases effective July 1, 2017. The prior periods presented here have been restated to reflect adoption of these new standards.

Constant Currency

Microsoft presents constant currency information to provide a framework for assessing how our underlying businesses performed excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations. To present this information, current and comparative prior period results for entities reporting in currencies other than United States dollars are converted into United States dollars using the average exchange rates from the comparative period rather than the actual exchange rates in effect during the respective periods. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year. Microsoft has provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding our performance. The non-GAAP financial measures presented in this release should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

We all get the same 24 hours. And now, more than ever, it seems like it’s never enough. People feel more overwhelmed than ever before and pretty much all of us would love more time – not necessarily time to do more, but time to do what we love. At Microsoft, we want to help you do just that.

With Windows 10, we’ve focused on delivering the most modern and most secure operating system. Since its initial launch, we delivered two updates with features designed to enable the creator in each of us. With our latest major release – the Windows 10 April 2018 Update – we want to give you back some of your greatest currency, your time. Our hope is that you’ll have more time to do what matters most to you – create, play, work or simply do what you love.

Timeline helps you easily find what matters to you across your devices

The proliferation of devices, combined with the explosion of information, has led to an influx of screen time. In fact, today, practically all free time goes toward screens. Your information is spread across multiple devices – making it increasingly harder to find your stuff. We’ve all had the experience of digging through your email or file folders for the document you know you wrote, but can’t find. Or looking for photos and videos that you know you’ve seen and love, but can no longer locate. Timeline can help you get back this wasted time.

With Timeline, your Windows 10 PC lets you go back in time up to 30 days to find your stuff, whether you were working on it earlier today, last week, or a few weeks ago. Because much of our activity is on the go, you can even pick up what you were doing if signed into your Microsoft account while using Microsoft Edge or Office 365 on your iOS or Android device when you return to your Windows 10 PC. Imagine looking at bathroom vanity options for that home remodel when you’re out and about on your phone, and then finishing that purchase when you’re back at your PC. Or working on a document on the bus during your commute and seamlessly picking it back up when you’re at your desk.

Trivandrum, India, May 16, 2018: UST Global, a leading digital technology services company, in partnership with Microsoft, has embarked on a transformative digital journey that brings anthropology, art and technology together, to generate and transform innovative ideas into breakthrough services for customers. UST Global hosted ‘Future Decoded’ at its Trivandrum campus on 15-16 May, 2018, bringing UST Global and Microsoft Leadership, Digital Experts, Developers and IT Pros together to help expand the capabilities of technologists to create solutions of the future. At the event, Microsoft recognized UST Global with the “Innovation and Leadership in Digital Transformation” award.

The two-day event featured multiple keynotes, demos, panel discussions and hands-on labs where UST Global employees were able to experience the array of possibilities with artificial intelligence, how to apply machine learning to transform various business roles, data driven business innovation models, workplace trends, technology and talent, how to transform lines of business with modern applications and tools and techniques for building a cyber resilient organization.

Speaking at the event, Sunil Kanchi, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President, UST Global said, “As part of our digital transformation journey, Microsoft is our key partner to not only enable and enhance our employees’ capabilities in being future-ready, but also in creating cutting-edge solutions for our global customers. Future Decoded at UST Global is a great amalgamation of Microsoft and our talent and synergies.”

Sashi Sreedharan, Managing Director, Microsoft India, in his keynote address stated, “We are thrilled to partner with UST Global. Both companies have similar DNA. Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to do more. UST Global believes in creating social capital and being involved in something higher than themselves. In this age of artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computing it is imperative to maintain security, trust and compliance, even as we jointly create breakthrough experiences for our customers.”

UST Global has a long-standing, 360-degree relationship with Microsoft. Even before cloud became de facto, UST Global adopted Microsoft 365 and Azure as key components of their digital transformation and Cloud First journey. It enhanced the mobility of its workforce with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security suite which allows UST Global employees to work from anywhere on any device at any time. UST Global has further accelerated its pace of innovation by transforming the application landscape using Azure Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). It has enabled on-demand compute scalability and high availability, thus ensuring improved cost efficiency, productivity plus greater flexibility and autonomy.

Having operations in 25 countries, across its own offices and client locations, it was important for UST Global to have a connected workforce. For this, UST Global worked with Microsoft Azure Bot Framework to develop Smart Bots that have been added to their websites, applications, Skype, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Teams and other Office 365 applications, which see, hear, interpret, and interact in more human ways. The framework also lets users use OpenSource Bot builder SDKs to build simple to sophisticated dialogs.

UST Global invested early with Microsoft on API Economy, Bots and artificial intelligence solutions which has ensured a unique value proposition among its clients, and it continues to make thematic investments in augmented reality, retail pods and other cutting-edge areas.

Whether you’re writing a letter in Word, managing a budget in Excel or sending an email in Outlook, Microsoft Office is the go-to place to get stuff done for people around the world.

Beginning today, millions of people who use Office at home and work will begin to see some welcome changes designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity. These updates are exclusive to Office.com and Office 365 — the always up-to-date versions of our apps and services:

Simplified ribbon. A new, updated version of the ribbon is designed to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. People who prefer to dedicate more screen space to the commands will still be able to expand the ribbon to the classic three-line view.
New icons and color. Across the apps you’ll start to see new icons and colors built as scalable graphics — so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize Office design and make it more inclusive and accessible.
Search. Search will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content and people. With “zero query search” simply placing your cursor in the search box will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.

These design changes are focused on the following:

Customers. We’re using a customer-driven innovation process to co-create the design of the Office apps. That process consists of three phases: initial customer research and analysis; concepting and co-creation; and validation and refinement.
Context. Customers love the power of Office, but they don’t need every feature at the same time. We want our new designs to understand the context that you are working in so that you can focus on your content. That means both surfacing the most relevant commands based on the work you are doing and making it easy to connect and collaborate with others.
Control. We recognize that established skills and routines are powerful — and that the way someone uses the apps often depends on specific parts of the user interface. So we want to give end users control, allowing them to toggle significant changes to the user experience on and off.

Over the last year, Microsoft completed extensive customer research and spent many months working side-by-side with customers to guide design changes. As a result, customers will benefit from a more simplified experience while maintaining the full power of Office and a design ethos that is more inclusive — empowering everyone to create, communicate and collaborate. The team also increased its focus not just on what people think of the product, but how they feel using it.

“Through gathering feedback from thousands of people, we’ve found that people react most positively to feeling in control, productive and secure,” said Trish Miner, principal design researcher, Microsoft.

And to ensure that we continue to listen, learn and respond quickly to customer feedback, the company is including an in-product survey to ascertain how features make people feel. “The good news is that as we better understand these correlations between the design of features and how people feel while using them, we can develop technologies that are more empathetic,” Miner said.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

If you want to see what a movement looks like, search FlipgridFever on Twitter, or walk into any classroom that’s using Flipgrid. The enthusiasm radiating from Flipgrid’s community is a reflection of how the product began – in the classroom.

Back in 2015, Dr. Charlie Miller, Jim Leslie and Phil Soran came together to envision a world where educators could recast the role of video in the classroom, from a passive experience to a tool that empowers and amplifies every student’s voice. Flipgrid does just that, now supporting more than 20 million Pre-K to PhD educators, students and families across 180 countries. But the success isn’t simply in the numbers, it’s in how students tap into Flipgrid to define their voices, share their voices and respect the diverse voices of others.

This is just the beginning of Flipgrid’s inspiring story. Today, I’m thrilled to announce the Flipgrid team will be joining Microsoft and embarking on its next exciting chapter. To bring the power of video-based social learning to everyone, we’ll be making Flipgrid free for all educators and offering prorated refunds to everyone who has purchased a subscription from Flipgrid in the last year.

Just as we’ve seen with products like Teams, social interaction in learning can help deepen students’ understanding of curricula and help build their collaborative, social and emotional skills. The recent Class of 2030 research illustrates how social and emotional skills will be required in 30 to 40 percent of the fastest-growing occupations. With social learning, students are not only more employable, but they are more likely to become responsible, confident digital citizens.

Teachers, like Lucretia Anton (@lantonha) from the Arcadia Unified School District in California, are saying Flipgrid helps their students develop their communication skills, increase self-awareness and grow from failure, setting them up to contribute positively to the world.

Fans of Flipgrid can rest assured the Flipgrid they know and love, in joining Microsoft, will continue to grow and thrive across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems, all while retaining its distinct brand, culture and team. Furthermore, Flipgrid will continue to be a safe, secure place for students and teachers to communicate in alignment with Microsoft’s GDPR, FERPA and COPPA compliant privacy architecture.