Tag Archives: Consumer

Microsoft brings intelligent cloud, intelligent edge vision to life at Computex Taipei | Stories

Nick Parker and Roanne Sones hold the new HP ProBook x360 on stage
Nick Parker, Microsoft corporate vice president of Consumer and Device Sales, and Roanne Sones, Microsoft corporate vice president of Platforms, unveil the new HP ProBook x360 on stage at Computex 2018.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — June 6, 2018 — Wednesday at Computex Taipei, Microsoft Corp. underscored its commitment to the partner ecosystem and announced new programs and a new category of intelligent devices, designed to take advantage of a digitally connected world and drive new growth and opportunity for the industry. At the event, Microsoft shared how the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will usher in the next phase of innovation and create a broad portfolio of devices that will blend more naturally into people’s lives.

Nick Parker, corporate vice president, Consumer and Device Sales, showcased how Microsoft is bringing the industry together to build the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, delivering new experiences and solutions not previously possible.

“For Microsoft, it’s more than just screens and devices; it’s about creating services and experiences with technology that support ambitions and aspirations,” Parker said. Imagine the devices and experiences we can create with ubiquitous computing, infused with AI and connected to the cloud. This is such an incredible time for the industry.”

Parker was joined on stage by Roanne Sones, corporate vice president, Platforms, who announced a new partner community for the intelligent edge, a new category of Windows 10 devices called Windows Collaboration Displays and a new offering with Windows 10 IoT Core Services.

New programs to help build the intelligent edge

The intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will offer a new world of possibilities for the industry to deliver more flexible and custom experiences for everyone, whether a thermostat in a smart home or an interactive display in a smart office. In addition to modern devices from leading partners, Sones shared news and momentum in areas including these:

  • New intelligent edge partner community: To accelerate innovation in this new era we invite all our partners to join our intelligent edge partner community. The community will help partners connect with one another to identify opportunities to collaborate on technology innovation and achieve shared business goals. In addition, community members will be able to participate in trainings and community events, and can participate in early adopter programs that provide access to documentation, specs, OS builds and certification details. Those wanting to sign up should visit http://microsoft.com/intelligentedge.
  • Windows IoT core services: Microsoft revealed a new service offering that will enable partners to commercialize a secure IoT device, backed by industry-leading support. The service offering helps make it easier to manage updates for the OS, apps, settings and OEM-specific files; includes Device Health Attestation (DHA); and is backed with 10 years of support. More about the service offering can be found on the Windows blog.

A new category of devices: Windows Collaboration Displays

Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security that delivers a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It’s a global productivity platform that enables multisense, multidevice experiences that put people at the center for both work and life. People around the world already use the power of Microsoft 365 across PCs, tablets, phones and other devices from our partners to work how, when and where they want.

Along with its partner ecosystem, Microsoft announced new opportunities to bring Microsoft 365 experiences to life through a new category of devices called Windows Collaboration Displays. These new devices allow users to experience Microsoft 365 collaboration tools, Office, Teams and Whiteboard, at room scale. A variety of Collaboration Displays from Sharp and Avocor will be available later this year.

Microsoft at Computex

Visitors to Computex Taipei can view the new Windows 10 devices and IoT solutions at the Microsoft Booth, on the 4th floor of the NanGang Exhibition Hall, L Area #0110. The show is open June 5–9.

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.

For more information, press only:

Rapid Response Team, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Alexa for Business sounds promising, but security a concern

Virtual assistant technology, popular in the consumer world, is migrating toward businesses with the hopes of enhancing employee productivity and collaboration. Organizations could capitalize on the familiarity of home-based virtual assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, to boost productivity in the office and launch meetings quicker.

Last week, Amazon announced Alexa for Business, a virtual assistant that connects Amazon Echo devices to the enterprise. Alexa for Business allows organizations to equip conference rooms with Echo devices that can turn on video conferencing equipment and dial into a conference via voice commands.

“Virtual assistants, such as Alexa, greatly enhance the user experience and reduce the complexity in joining meetings,” Frost & Sullivan analyst Vaishno Srinivasan said.

Personal Echo devices connected to the Alexa for Business platform can also be used for hands-free calling and messaging, scheduling meetings, managing to-do lists and finding information on business apps, such as Salesforce and Concur.

Overcoming privacy and security hurdles

Before enterprise virtual assistants like Alexa for Business can see widespread adoption, they must overcome security concerns.

“Amazon and other providers will have to do some evangelizing to demonstrate to CIOs and IT leaders that what they’re doing is not going to compromise any security,” Gartner analyst Werner Goertz said.

Amazon is well-positioned to grab this opportunity much ahead of Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.
Vaishno Srinivasananalyst, Frost & Sullivan

Srinivasan said organizations may have concerns about Alexa for Business collecting data and sharing it in a cloud environment. Amazon has started to address these concerns, particularly when connecting personal Alexa accounts and home Echo devices to a business account.

Goertz said accounts are sandboxed, so users’ personal information will not be visible to the organization. The connected accounts must also comply with enterprise authentication standards. The platform also includes administrative controls that offer shared device provisioning and management capabilities, as well as user and skills management.

Another key challenge is ensuring a virtual assistant device, like the Amazon Echo, responds to a user with information that is highly relevant and contextual, Srinivasan said.

“These devices have to be trained to enhance its intelligence to deliver context-sensitive and customized user experience,” she said.

Integrating with enterprise IT systems

End-user spending on virtual assistant devices is expected to reach $3.5 billion by 2021, up from $720 million in 2016, according to Gartner. Enterprise adoption is expected to ramp up by 2019.

Goertz said Amazon had to do a lot of work “under the hood” to enable the integrations with business apps and vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, Polycom and BlueJeans. The deep integrations with enterprise IT systems is required to enable future capabilities, such as dictating and sending emails from an Echo device, he said.

Srinivasan said Alexa for Business can extend beyond conference rooms through APIs provided by Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit for developers.

“Thousands of developers utilize these APIs and have created ‘skills’ that enable automation and increase efficiency within enterprises,” she said.

Taking use cases beyond productivity tools

While enterprise virtual assistants could be deployed in any type of company looking to boost productivity, Alexa for Business has already seen deployments in industries such as hospitality.

Wynn Las Vegas is equipping its rooms with Amazon Echo devices, which are managed with Alexa for Business, Goertz said. Guests of the hotel chain can use voice commands, called skills, to turn on the lights, close the blinds or order room service.

Another industry that could see adoption of virtual assistants is healthcare. Currently, Alexa for Business supports audio-only devices. But the platform could potentially support devices with a camera and display that could add video conferencing and telemedicine capabilities, Goertz said.

Alexa for Business also has the potential to disrupt the huddle room market by turning Echo devices into stand-alone conference phones, Srinivasan said.

Amazon Echo prices range from $50 to $200, and the most recent generation of devices offers improved audio quality. The built-in virtual assistant with Alexa for Business and developer ecosystem fills a gap that exists in the conference phone market, she wrote in a blog post.

“Amazon is well-positioned to grab this opportunity much ahead of Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri,” she said.

Equifax breach exposes 143 million consumers’ personal data

Consumer credit rating agency Equifax disclosed on Thursday a “cybersecurity incident” that could have exposed the personal information of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.

The Equifax breach, which was discovered by the credit bureau on July 29, exposed consumers’ names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and even some driver’s license numbers. The company also acknowledged that additional personally identifiable information (PII) was accessed by intruders, including credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 consumers and dispute documents with PII related to 182,000 consumers.

According to the company, the Equifax breach was the result of an unspecified web application vulnerability, which allowed the attackers to gain entry to the corporate network and obtain sensitive data files. Equifax said the intrusion lasted from mid-May of this year to July, but its investigation showed no evidence of unauthorized activity in the company’s credit reporting database. In other words, there are currently no signs that attackers were able to obtain or manipulate consumer and commercial credit records.

Still, with the Social Security numbers and birth dates of nearly half of all Americans potentially in the wild, the Equifax breach represents one of the worst exposures of personal information to date. The incident dwarfs the 2015 breach of Experian, another one of the “big three” credit bureaus, which exposed the personal data of 15 million consumers.

“This is the biggest fear of any company that collects such intimate and personal data of people come true,” Richard Henderson, global security strategist at Absolute Software, told SearchSecurity. “This is a motherlode of information for cybercriminals looking to commit identity theft. We have to expect that the fallout from this will likely be unprecedented.”

Equifax Chairman and CEO Richard Smith issued a video statement on the incident, though questions remain about key details.

“We acted immediately to stop the intrusion, and we promptly engaged a leading, cybersecurity firm, which has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion,” Smith said. “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.”

However, Smith didn’t say which cybersecurity firm Equifax was working with, what web application vulnerability was used in the attack, or why it took five weeks from the date of the breach discovery to notify consumers. There was also no explanation from the company about why sensitive files with personal data for so many Americans were accessible to the attackers.

In a blog post, Morey Haber, vice president of technology at identity management vendor BeyondTrust, called attention to PCI DSS requirements and questioned whether or not Equifax was compliant at the time of the breach. “PCI DSS requires file integrity monitoring (FIM),” Haber wrote. “Were the sensitive files being monitored? Is that how Equifax discovered the breach? This implies monitoring only and no prevention.”

Equifax’s breach response has also come under scrutiny. While Smith pledged to offer every U.S. consumer free credit monitoring and identity theft protection through its TrustedID service, agreeing to the terms of service for TrustedID requires users to waive their rights to file class action lawsuits against Equifax.

In addition, the credit rating company created a website for consumers to check if their personal data was exposed, but the website is rife with problems. For example, it runs on WordPress, a content management system that has been a favorite target of hackers. More importantly, the site’s TLS certificate doesn’t do the proper revocation checks, and the domain itself isn’t even registered to Equifax.

Code42 CrashPlan for Home ending, Carbonite seeks its users

Code42, which started out selling backup to consumers, will shut down its consumer cloud backup product in 2018 to focus on data protection for the enterprise, small business and education sectors.

Code42 CrashPlan for Home will reach its end of life on Oct. 22, 2018, the company said Tuesday. The vendor will refer CrashPlan for Home customers to online backup rival Carbonite. Code42 will also try to convert small businesses using its Home product to CrashPlan for Small Business.

Code42’s consumer business has dwindled to about 10% of its total customer base.

Code42 ‘sad to move on,’ but ready for next step

Minneapolis-based Code42 originated 16 years ago selling exclusively to consumers, said president and CEO Joe Payne. The vendor’s business mix has shifted over the years, and it now claims 47,000 business and university customers — including Duke, Stanford, Adobe and Samsung — and more than 2.4 million users.

Payne said about 40% of Code42 consumer customers are actually small businesses.

“We’ve been proud to serve all those consumers,” Payne said. “We’re a little bit sad to move on even though we know it’s the right thing.”

Code42’s move to leave the consumer backup business reflects a trend in online backup toward commercial use. Early online backup vendors such as Mozy, Carbonite and Code42 focused on consumer backup, but analyst Phil Goodwin points out growth is much faster in the commercial sector now.

“Thus, it is likely a good move for Code42, while giving Carbonite additional economy of scale in its core business,” Goodwin, IDC research director for data protection, wrote in an email.

All existing CrashPlan for Home subscriptions will be honored and receive a complimentary 60-day extension at the end of their subscription term. For the consumer customers transitioning to Code42’s small business product, Code42 is offering a 75% discount in the first year. For those customers, the small business service will be free while they pay off their old consumer contract, and then the discount kicks in. Code42 has built an instant migration wizard for consumers moving to CrashPlan for Small Business.

We’re a little bit sad to move on even though we know it’s the right thing.
Joe Paynepresident and CEO, Code42

Compared to CrashPlan for Home, the small business product has more administrative control, a compliance capability and no long-term contracts, Payne said. Small businesses pay for the number of devices connected, month to month, while most consumers had an annual subscription.

The needs of consumers were diverging from the needs of businesses, Payne said. He expects the move to allow Code42 to innovate faster for business and education customers.

Code42 recognized that there is a third option for their consumer customers: choosing an entirely different vendor. Payne noted that Twitter had lit up Tuesday with vendors offering their services to Code42 CrashPlan for Home customers. IDrive and Backblaze were among those vendors touting their products in the wake of the news.

“We knew that would happen,” Payne said.

Carbonite: From competitor to partner

Code42 approached Carbonite because of its solid products and a “strong ability to execute,” Payne said.

“We were their first choice,” said Norman Guadagno, Carbonite’s senior vice president of marketing.

The companies were the two largest providers of cloud backup for consumers and small businesses, Guadagno said. Carbonite claims more than 1.5 million customers.

“They’ve been great competition,” Guadagno said.

For each Code42 CrashPlan for Home customer, Carbonite will recommend one of its plans, based on the customer’s information. Carbonite is also providing a 50% discount on its products for the first year for those former Code42 customers, according to Payne.

“It’s not exactly apples to apples, but they do provide an excellent cloud backup service,” Payne said, noting, for example, that all Code42 plans offer unlimited usage, while not all Carbonite plans provide unlimited usage.

If a CrashPlan for Home customer switches to Carbonite, Code42 will securely delete the customer’s data. Then the customer will start fresh with Carbonite.

Guadagno said Carbonite has built a scalable cloud infrastructure that is capable of taking on an influx of new customers. Customers will transition at varied times, as subscriptions run out on different dates spread out over the next 14 months.

Like Code42, Carbonite has also accepted the reality that some customers will move elsewhere, Guadagno said.

Carbonite’s main competition will be Dell EMC’s MozyHome, IDrive and Acronis, Goodwin said.

While Carbonite has a smooth onboarding experience for new customers, Goodwin wrote, “there is really nothing concrete to compel Code42 customers to transition to Carbonite. They can choose any other competitor or do nothing. There is no automatic transfer of data from Code42 to Carbonite; Code42 [customers] will go through the onboarding process just like any other new Carbonite user. Thus, Carbonite’s challenge will be [to] incentivize CrashPlan customers to not only take action at the end of their contract but to do so with Carbonite.”

Carbonite has increased its data protection portfolio in recent years. Earlier this year, it bought Double-Take Software to improve its high availability technology. In 2015, it purchased Seagate’s EVault cloud backup and disaster-recovery-as-a-service business.

Code42 looking to grow

According to Code42, the transition does not affect any existing relationships or technology offerings with business customers, and the company is not selling or transitioning any proprietary technology, software or other intellectual property.

Payne stressed that it’s not a cost-saving measure.

“It’s a way for the business to grow,” he said.

Code42 does not plan to lay off any employees. The team supporting the Code42 CrashPlan for Home customers will transition over to the education, enterprise and small business customers.

“We made a commitment to every one of those people that they will have a job at Code42,” Payne said.

In addition, Code42 has brought in help from a third-party firm for the next 12 months, essentially doubling its support team to aid the transition.

“Nobody likes change. It’s not going to be a walk in the park,” Payne said. “We want people to know we’re trying our best.”

Wix Code Lets Newbies, Developers Build Web Apps



Database programming isn’t usually associated with consumer technology, though many of those consumers may not realize how much database functionality lurks beneath the apps and websites they use every day. But with its announcement of Wix Code today, Wix is attempting to break down the coder-consumer divide for its more than 110 million users.

Wix Code offers templates for data-driven websites, ideal for customers who need capabilities such as bookings and event registrations, which have traditionally been handled by professional web developers. According to Wix product manager Uval Blumenfeld, the new offering consists of five tools—Databases, Forms, Dynamic Pages, Managed JavaScript, and External APIs; the first three require no knowledge of coding.

For Wix users who think this sounds too intimidating, the new tools are completely optional, and won’t show up unless enabled. “We’ve added the Wix touch of making things accessible and democratizing the technology,” Blumenfeld tells PCMag.

The prefab database types are no more demanding that filling in a spreadsheet. Custom forms and user input controls are useful for collecting information from site viewers; a food site could have users submit recipes, for example. Data-driven Dynamic Pages sound like they’re for developers, but really it just means that your site pages are built on the fly depending on table entries. Maybe you have a college course page you designed in Wix, but you can get different pages for each course based on database entries.

The final two new features let true site developers use Wix to design sites and then go under the covers to add functionality via a fully managed JavaScript development environment and by calling external APIs to leverage web services and augment site behavior.

Wix is always pushing the envelope in the DIY site-building service arena. Previously, it came out with the impressive ADI—Artificial Design Intelligence—which powers a site-building option that creates a surprisingly good-looking web presence for you by pulling in existing online information based on contact info you enter. This new Code initiative goes in the other direction, giving site builders more detailed control and professional capabilities.

The service is still in beta, but now anyone can sign up and learn more at www.wix.com/code. Check out the video below for a demo.

[embedded content]

Wix Code Lets Newbies, Developers Build Web Apps



Database programming isn’t usually associated with consumer technology, though many of those consumers may not realize how much database functionality lurks beneath the apps and websites they use every day. But with its announcement of Wix Code today, Wix is attempting to break down the coder-consumer divide for its more than 110 million users.

Wix Code offers templates for data-driven websites, ideal for customers who need capabilities such as bookings and event registrations, which have traditionally been handled by professional web developers. According to Wix product manager Uval Blumenfeld, the new offering consists of five tools—Databases, Forms, Dynamic Pages, Managed JavaScript, and External APIs; the first three require no knowledge of coding.

For Wix users who think this sounds too intimidating, the new tools are completely optional, and won’t show up unless enabled. “We’ve added the Wix touch of making things accessible and democratizing the technology,” Blumenfeld tells PCMag.

The prefab database types are no more demanding that filling in a spreadsheet. Custom forms and user input controls are useful for collecting information from site viewers; a food site could have users submit recipes, for example. Data-driven Dynamic Pages sound like they’re for developers, but really it just means that your site pages are built on the fly depending on table entries. Maybe you have a college course page you designed in Wix, but you can get different pages for each course based on database entries.

The final two new features let true site developers use Wix to design sites and then go under the covers to add functionality via a fully managed JavaScript development environment and by calling external APIs to leverage web services and augment site behavior.

Wix is always pushing the envelope in the DIY site-building service arena. Previously, it came out with the impressive ADI—Artificial Design Intelligence—which powers a site-building option that creates a surprisingly good-looking web presence for you by pulling in existing online information based on contact info you enter. This new Code initiative goes in the other direction, giving site builders more detailed control and professional capabilities.

The service is still in beta, but now anyone can sign up and learn more at www.wix.com/code. Check out the video below for a demo.

[embedded content]

Wix Code Lets Newbies, Developers Build Web Apps



Database programming isn’t usually associated with consumer technology, though many of those consumers may not realize how much database functionality lurks beneath the apps and websites they use every day. But with its announcement of Wix Code today, Wix is attempting to break down the coder-consumer divide for its more than 110 million users.

Wix Code offers templates for data-driven websites, ideal for customers who need capabilities such as bookings and event registrations, which have traditionally been handled by professional web developers. According to Wix product manager Uval Blumenfeld, the new offering consists of five tools—Databases, Forms, Dynamic Pages, Managed JavaScript, and External APIs; the first three require no knowledge of coding.

For Wix users who think this sounds too intimidating, the new tools are completely optional, and won’t show up unless enabled. “We’ve added the Wix touch of making things accessible and democratizing the technology,” Blumenfeld tells PCMag.

The prefab database types are no more demanding that filling in a spreadsheet. Custom forms and user input controls are useful for collecting information from site viewers; a food site could have users submit recipes, for example. Data-driven Dynamic Pages sound like they’re for developers, but really it just means that your site pages are built on the fly depending on table entries. Maybe you have a college course page you designed in Wix, but you can get different pages for each course based on database entries.

The final two new features let true site developers use Wix to design sites and then go under the covers to add functionality via a fully managed JavaScript development environment and by calling external APIs to leverage web services and augment site behavior.

Wix is always pushing the envelope in the DIY site-building service arena. Previously, it came out with the impressive ADI—Artificial Design Intelligence—which powers a site-building option that creates a surprisingly good-looking web presence for you by pulling in existing online information based on contact info you enter. This new Code initiative goes in the other direction, giving site builders more detailed control and professional capabilities.

The service is still in beta, but now anyone can sign up and learn more at www.wix.com/code. Check out the video below for a demo.

[embedded content]

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Microsoft Lumia 435 and Lumia 532: the most affordable Lumia devices to date

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 14, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced the Microsoft Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 smartphones, the most affordable Lumia devices to date. Offering the latest Windows Phone 8.1 capabilities at an incredible price, both Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 deliver smartphone experiences that help people do more on the go.

With many people looking to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone for the first time, Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 provide a balance of features and power, while also bringing Windows Phone 8.1 experiences to new price points. Lumia 435 is the first 400 series Lumia and the most affordable Lumia yet. With core smartphone features, incredible Windows Phone experiences and access to the latest apps, it opens up the Lumia Windows Phone experience to even more people. Lumia 532 is a powerful quad-core smartphone that builds on the success of the Lumia 530. With a premium layered design, Glance Screen, front-facing camera and more memory than the Lumia 530, Lumia 532 enables people to achieve their goals with Microsoft experiences:

  • Switch effortlessly between voice and video calls with built-in Skype integration and a front-facing camera.
  • Read, review, edit and share on the go with the full suite of Microsoft Office on Windows Phone preinstalled.
  • Keep your photos, videos and Office documents safely backed up with 30 GB of free* OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Meet Cortana, the most personal of virtual assistants, who anticipates your needs and makes tailored suggestions as a result.
  • Easily manage work and personal correspondence on the fly, with Microsoft Outlook straight out of the box.
  • Capture photos quickly and easily with Lumia Camera right out of the box, and take, edit and share great selfies with the front-facing camera and Lumia Selfie app.
  • Have your home screen your way with the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim update, complete with one-swipe Action Center, Word Flow and Live Folders.
  • Stay up-to-date with the best new features through regular Windows updates too.

“When we launched the first Lumia devices over three years ago, we said we were committed to bringing devices to as many people and price points as possible,” said Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for Phones at Microsoft. “With the Lumia 435 and Lumia 532, we’ve realized our goal of creating the most affordable Lumia devices to date, opening up the opportunity to reach those people who are buying a smartphone for the very first time. Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 deliver competitive hardware alongside innovative software that will continue to receive the very latest updates and enhancements, keeping users up-to-date with the best new features.”

Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 will begin rolling out to key markets in Europe, APAC and IMEA in February. Both devices will be available in bright green, bright orange, white and black, and will be available in single- and dual-SIM variants, with the latter SIM setup also coming equipped with Smart Dual SIM to easily manage calls and texts to either number in use. Pricing will vary by market and operator, but is estimated to be around 69 euros before taxes and subsidies for Lumia 435 and around 79 euros before taxes and subsidies for Lumia 532.

About Microsoft Devices

The Microsoft Devices Group includes award-winning hardware used by over a billion people around the world, including Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel products, and accessories.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Up to 30GB free when camera backup is activated

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft evolves its customer-centric solutions with new Parature release

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 7, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) on Wednesday announced the Spring ’15 release for Parature from Microsoft, adding new capabilities that empower brands and organizations to deliver engaging customer self-service solutions across applications, channels and devices. This new release emphasizes productivity for customer service professionals by delivering insights “above the service queue” to help agents quickly understand, diagnose and resolve issues that customers may face. With this release, Parature will now be available for purchase through Microsoft Online Services — providing customers with unified purchase and support experiences along with existing Microsoft cloud services. The release of the service will be available in 50 markets worldwide and be offered in 10 languages.

“More and more, people are choosing the brands that give them unique, tailored and fulfilling customer service experiences,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Parature’s customer-centric capabilities enable organizations to deliver personalized customer care and, when combined with the clear business processes and intelligence of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, give our customers the high-quality solutions their businesses demand.”

With its Spring ’15 release, Parature is introducing more than 30 high-priority features that will not only increase the productivity and proactivity of customer service teams but also give agents increasing above-the-queue insights to improve and personalize each customer experience. The service also includes multilingual and translation capabilities, Parature’s knowledge integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and the introduction of Parature’s highly anticipated omni-portal that will enhance enterprise service scenarios.

Since Microsoft acquired Parature in January 2014, Parature’s knowledge management and self-service technology has become a valuable addition to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, with customizable integrations between Parature and Microsoft Dynamics CRM that can be tailored to unique customer needs. This progress and advancement of service capabilities through Parature has helped Microsoft earn top honors in the 2014 CRM Magazine Service Leader Awards. Gartner has also positioned Microsoft as a Leader in its 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center* based on its ability to execute and completeness of vision.

Customers such as Chobani, nTelos Wireless and Microsoft OneDrive are currently using Parature to deliver amazing experiences to their customers.

“Parature’s Spring ’15 is the largest release in the history of Parature in terms of features and functionality,” said Bill Patterson, senior director, customer self-service solutions, Microsoft. “We’re incredibly excited about the capabilities we’re delivering here across all major service channels, including self-service, mobile, social, chat, portal and ticketing. Even more exciting is how Parature’s market expansion, omni-portal, multilingual and translation capabilities now enable it to be deployed in enterprises on a global scale.”

To find out more about this release, the Release Preview Guide can be accessed at http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/D/41D3D09C-1B6F-463C-BAC3-A0C5710A378B/Parature-Spring15-Release-Preview-Guide.pdf. Customers can also request a demo of the service at http://www.parature.com. More information and news is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/dynamics. Those who want to follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics Twitter community can do so at @MSFTDynamics.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Gartner Inc., Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center, Michael Maoz, 24, April, 2014. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

 

Microsoft Lumia 535: “5x5x5” innovation with an affordable price tag

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 10, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday the Microsoft Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM smartphones running the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, bringing the latest Microsoft experiences to more affordable price levels.

Offering five great included Microsoft experiences, a wide-angle 5 megapixel front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch display — all for an affordable price — Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM help people do more of what they want, for less:

  • Make memorable Skype video calls, and seamlessly switch between voice and video with built-in Skype integration.
  • Access, edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and OneNote notebooks wherever you are, with the pre-installed Office suite.
  • Save and sync photos, videos and Office documents securely with 15 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Experience Cortana, a truly personal virtual assistant that anticipates people’s needs and makes tailored suggestions.
  • Connect with work and personal e-mail while on the go, with Microsoft Outlook built in.
  • Showcase photos and videos, or get even more productive with Office on the large, 5-inch qHD display.
  • Fit more memorable backgrounds or add more friends into Skype video calls and selfies with the 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera.
  • Never miss a call or text, and be reachable on both SIM cards at any time with Smart Dual SIM for maximum flexibility.

“Lumia 535 comes with our ‘5x5x5’ proposition,” said Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for Phones at Microsoft. “Innovation should be available to everyone, and we are doing this through the very best integrated Microsoft services included and out of the box, a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch qHD screen — all at an affordable price.”

Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM will begin rolling out to key markets in November and will be available in bright green, bright orange, white, dark grey, cyan and black. Pricing for Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM will vary by market and operator, but the estimated retail price will be around 110 euros before taxes and subsidies.

About Microsoft Devices

The Microsoft Devices Group includes award-winning hardware used by over a billion people around the world, including Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel products, and accessories.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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