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Microsoft announces quarterly dividend increase – Stories

Annual shareholders meeting set for Nov. 28, 2018

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 18, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.46 per share, reflecting a 4 cent or 9.5 percent increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 13, 2018, to shareholders of record on Nov. 15, 2018. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 14, 2018.

In addition, the company announced the date for the 2018 Annual Shareholders Meeting, to be held Nov. 28, 2018. Shareholders at the close of business on Sept. 26, 2018, the record date, will be entitled to vote at the Annual Shareholders Meeting.

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, financial analysts and investors only:

Investor Relations, Microsoft, (425) 706-4400

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, 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://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers, and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/investor.

Tech giants support FHIR standard. Will that make a difference?

During a White House meeting about the new Blue Button 2.0 API for Medicare, six major technology players signed a joint statement pledging to work toward healthcare interoperability with a particular focus on the cloud and artificial intelligence.

The companies — Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce — promised to support the goal of  “frictionless” interoperability using established industry standards, including the HL7 FHIR standard API. They offered a vision of a robust ongoing dialogue that would include every healthcare entity from payers to patients and application developers, according to a statement released by the Information Technology Industry Council.

Pushing the FHIR standard forward

The statement comes at a time when patient demand for easy access to healthcare data has never been greater. Large hospitals have responded with nascent efforts to improve data exchange based on the FHIR standard API, but there is widespread acknowledgement that healthcare lags far behind other industries when it comes to tech innovation and particularly interoperability. The idea of what could effectively be a consortium of mainstream technology companies working on this tricky problem and promoting the FHIR standard was received warmly by some this week and with a healthy dose of skepticism by others.

The fact that the statement called out cloud usage specifically, is telling, because, for reasons ranging from security to cost, a significant portion of healthcare organizations continue to avoid the cloud. A 2017 report from KLAS Research found 31% of hospitals either won’t expand their cloud efforts or won’t move to the cloud. “The cloud really is a double-edged sword,” said Kathy Downing, vice president of information governance,  informatics, standards, privacy and security at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), in an interview. While the cloud might offer a more secure environment than some smaller health organizations could achieve, Downing isn’t convinced the cloud itself is pivotal to interoperability. “I don’t know that the cloud really has a dog in this interoperability hunt,” she said. “You want to think through the safeguards and do all the assessments. That’s more important than whether you’re using a server or the cloud.”

I’m not sure how any of these entities will solve the issue of semantic interoperability.
John Moorefounder and managing partner of Chilmark Research

It’s a positive sign for the healthcare industry that it’s attracted the attention of these major players, said Coray Tate, vice president of clinical research at KLAS, in an email. But the market has to be there for this to work. “We’re at the base of the mountain and early steps are the easiest,” he said. “It remains to be seen if the market will provide a business case that will sustain the long climb.”

And the business case may not be there because this group of tech companies isn’t in most hospitals in any significant way today, said John Moore, founder and managing partner of Chilmark Research, in an email. “As big and influential as these companies are their collective presence in healthcare is quite disparate and at the end of the day it is what a clinician is using in their workflow that matters,” he explained. “These companies are simply not there. I’m not sure how any of these entities will solve the issue of semantic interoperability.” To further complicate matters, most hospitals don’t want to share patient data with competitors, he said. “They have instead opted to let patients themselves take direct responsibility.”

Tech support potentially a good thing

Attention from tech giants, however, should be seen as a good thing as long as everyone is thoughtful about how to proceed, said Stan Huff, M.D., chief medical informatics officer at Intermountain Healthcare and co-chair of the Health Level 7(HL7) Clinical Information Modeling Initiative, which developed the FHIR standard API. “This is significant because it creates faith in HL7 FHIR and will encourage investment in FHIR development,” he said. “The thing I would want to encourage is that this group work with existing organizations like HL7, ONC, HSPC and CIIC to ensure they all implement the FHIR standard the same way so we get to true semantic interoperability at some point.”

The joint statement offered few details on future plans but stressed the need to get everyone involved, including the open source community. “I think we will need to wait a few weeks to hear specific projects to know what additional impact they will have,” Huff said.

GoToMeeting client adds business messaging to chase rivals

LogMeIn has added an instant messaging client and meeting transcriptions to its flagship web conferencing platform, GoToMeeting, as the vendor plays catch-up with rivals Cisco Webex and Zoom.

GoToMeeting’s business messaging supports 1-to-1 and group chats, letting users launch a video meeting with one click. The conversations are persistent, meaning they don’t disappear when the app is closed, and the interface shows when users are online, offline or in a meeting.

The GoToMeeting client adds external collaborators to the messaging channel by inviting them via email. Other messaging clients, such as the team collaboration apps Slack and Microsoft Teams, let users add external participants to meeting channels by creating guest accounts.

The updates released this week bring the GoToMeeting client more in line with Zoom and Cisco Webex, which have supported messaging for some time. But most GoToMeeting users probably already have other messaging clients, such as Microsoft Skype for Business or Cisco Jabber.

“My sense of GoToMeeting is that they have fallen behind their competitors like BlueJeans, Zoom, Cisco, PGi, etc., in terms of features and functionality,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

LogMeIn closed a deal to acquire GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToTraining from Citrix for $1.8 billion in early 2017. The company’s portfolio also includes Join.me, a web conferencing platform for small businesses, and OpenVoice, a conference call service.

Earlier this year, LogMeIn bought unified-communications-as-a-service vendor Jive Communications, which provides hosted VoIP services to small and midsize businesses. LogMeIn has yet to release details about an expected consolidation of Jive’s offerings with GoToMeeting.

GoToMeeting client gets automated transcription, Alexa integration

GoToMeeting will now automatically transcribe meeting recordings for customers subscribed to its upper-tier “pro” and “plus” plans. The vendor will also let customers store recordings in the cloud for the first time.

Automated transcription is quickly becoming a must-have feature for cloud-based web conferencing platforms. Zoom, BlueJeans and Microsoft Teams all announced transcription capabilities of some kind earlier this year.

GoToMeeting’s transcripts will be searchable and include timestamps that hyperlink to specific locations within the video recording. They will also identify speakers by name and provide a breakdown of how many minutes each participant spent talking during the meeting.

New integrations with Amazon Alexa, meanwhile, will let GoToMeeting users schedule, reschedule, join and cancel meetings using Echo voice assistant devices. Users will also be able to check their daily meeting schedule.

A data replication strategy for all your disaster recovery needs

Meeting an organization’s disaster recovery challenges requires addressing problems from several angles based on specific recovery point and recovery time objectives. Today’s tight RTO and RPO expectations mean almost no data gets lost and no downtime.

To meet those expectations, businesses must move beyond backup and consider a data replication strategy. Modern replication products offer more than just a rapid disaster recovery copy of data, though. They can help with cloud migration, using the cloud as a DR site and even solving copy data challenges.

Replication software comes in two forms. One is integrated into a storage system, and the other is bought separately. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

An integrated data replication strategy

The integrated form of replication has a few advantages. It’s often bundled at no charge or is relatively inexpensive. Of course, nothing in life is really free. The customer pays extra for the storage hardware in order to get the “free” software. In addition, at-scale, storage-based replication is relatively easy to manage. Most storage system replication works at a volume level, so one job replicates the entire volume, even if there are a thousand virtual machines on it. And finally, storage system-based replication is often backup-controlled, meaning the replication job can be integrated and managed by backup software.

There are, however, problems with a storage system-based data replication strategy. First, it’s specific to that storage system. Consequently, since most data centers use multiple storage systems from different vendors, they must also manage multiple replication products. Second, the advantage of replicating entire volumes can be a disadvantage, because some data centers may not want to replicate every application on a volume. Third, most storage system replication inadequately supports the cloud.

Stand-alone replication

IT typically installs stand-alone replication software on each host it’s protecting or implements it into the cluster in a hypervisor environment. Flexibility is among software-based replication’s advantages. The same software can replicate from any hardware platform to any other hardware platform, letting IT mix and match source and target storage devices. The second advantage is that software-based replication can be more granular about what’s replicated and how frequently replication occurs. And the third advantage is that most software-based replication offers excellent cloud support.

While backup software has improved significantly, tight RPOs and RTOs mean most organizations will need replication as well.

At a minimum, the cloud is used as a DR target for data, but it’s also used as an entire disaster recovery site, not just a copy. This means there can be instantiate virtual machines, using cloud compute in addition to cloud storage. Some approaches go further with cloud support, allowing replication across multiple clouds or from the cloud back to the original data center.

The primary downside of a stand-alone data replication strategy is it must be purchased, because it isn’t bundled with storage hardware. Its granularity also means dozens, if not hundreds of jobs, must be managed, although several stand-alone data replication products have added the ability to group jobs by type. Finally, there isn’t wide support from backup software vendors for these products, so any integration is a manual process, requiring custom scripts.

Modern replication features

Modern replication software should support the cloud and support it well. This requirement draws a line of suspicion around storage systems with built-in replication, because cloud support is generally so weak. Replication software should have the ability to replicate data to any cloud and use that cloud to keep a DR copy of that data. It should also let IT start up application instances in the cloud, potentially completely replacing an organization’s DR site. Last, the software should support multi-cloud replication to ensure both on-premises and cloud-based applications are protected.

Another feature to look for in modern replication is integration into data protection software. This capability can take two forms: The software can manage the replication process on the storage system, or the data protection software could provide replication. Several leading data protection products can manage snapshots and replication functions on other vendors’ storage systems. Doing so eliminates some of the concern around running several different storage system replication products.

Data protection software that integrates replication can either be traditional backup software with an added replication function or traditional replication software with a file history capability, potentially eliminating the need for backup software. It’s important for IT to make sure the capabilities of any combined product meets all backup and replication needs.

How to make the replication decision

The increased expectation of rapid recovery with almost no data loss is something everyone in IT will have to address. While backup software has improved significantly, tight RPOs and RTOs mean most organizations will need replication as well. The pros and cons of both an integrated and stand-alone data replication strategy hinge on the environment in which they’re deployed.

Each IT shop must decide which type of replication best meets its current needs. At the same time, IT planners must figure out how that new data replication product will integrate with existing storage hardware and future initiatives like the cloud.

Logitech video conferencing kit targets large meeting rooms

Logitech has released a package of video conferencing hardware designed for large meeting spaces and boardrooms. The vendor also previewed a free software patch that will soon give its cameras the ability to frame participants in a meeting automatically.

Logitech Rally is the vendor’s first concerted effort to get its hardware into large conference rooms. The bundle includes a camera, speakers, microphones and control hubs — all new pieces of hardware that Logitech will sell individually.

The Logitech video conferencing kit appears to offer advanced features at an attractive price, said Rob Arnold, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan. Logitech will compete with Cisco and Polycom in the large meeting room market, he said.

“Logitech is finding great success with its video conferencing products, and it makes perfect sense for the company to expand its addressed market,” Arnold said. “Rally’s introduction is part of a natural evolution to fill out Logitech’s product line at the top end of its portfolio.”

Logitech video conferencing kit offers flexibility, affordability

The Logitech Rally USB-connected camera — available now — pans, tilts, zooms and shoots in 4K and 1080p. The microphones and speakers, which will go on sale in the fall of 2018, are separate pieces of hardware, so companies can place the former on a table and install the latter near a video monitor.

The standard Logitech Rally bundles will include one speaker and one microphone, for $1,999, or two speakers and two microphones, for $2,499. Customers will be able to purchase additional microphones for $349 each and piece together up to seven per room. Each microphone covers roughly 150 square feet.

The Logitech video conferencing kit integrates with most web conferencing software, including Microsoft Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans and Google Hangouts Meet. It can also be used in conjunction with digital whiteboards, such as the Microsoft Surface Hub.

Logitech Rally includes the advanced features required in larger conference rooms at a competitive price, said Ira Weinstein, managing partner of Recon Research Inc., based in Coral Springs, Fla. Logitech is also one of the only vendors to package all the necessary audio and video components for larger rooms into one offering, he said.

“Logitech has been battling — and successfully battling — to step up to the next level,” Weinstein said. “They don’t want to be known as the low-cost provider. They want to be known as the performance and value provider.”

Logitech expands its role in software

Logitech plans to release a free software update in the second half of 2018 that will enable some of its newer camera models to identify and frame human figures in a meeting room automatically. The feature will work with Logitech’s Rally, MeetUp and BRIO cameras.

Logitech RightSight adjusts the camera based on how many people are in the room and where they are sitting. If someone on the right side of the table leaves, the camera will pan left. If all but one person leave, the camera will zoom.

Logitech previously released software to enable its cameras to adjust lighting and correct color automatically and to help its microphones suppress background noise and focus on the current speaker.

“When you combine good software engineering with the ability to put out high-performance products at a good price point, that’s a win,” Weinstein said. “They don’t talk about themselves as a software play, but I see them that way.”

Microsoft holds annual shareholders meeting | Stories

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 29, 2017 — Speaking to shareholders at Microsoft Corp.’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella highlighted how digital technology is driving transformation, and the opportunity for Microsoft to help its customers and partners thrive in this evolving world.

“Every customer is looking for both innovative technology to drive new growth, and a strategic partner that can help them build their own digital capability,” Nadella said. “Microsoft will continue to deliver differentiated solutions using new technologies, like cloud, artificial intelligence and mixed reality, to empower our customers to grow and thrive.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood shared highlights of Microsoft’s strong performance over the past fiscal year including continued growth in its commercial cloud business. Hood noted that Microsoft’s innovation road map, disciplined investment and world-class talent position the company well for continued growth and deliver value for shareholders.

President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith discussed Microsoft’s plans to modernize its headquarters in Redmond through new construction and renovations. This investment underscores the company’s continued commitment to create an exceptional place to work and enhance economic opportunity for the entire region.

The following proposals were acted on by the company’s shareholders at the meeting:

  • Re-elected 10 directors and elected four new directors to serve until the next annual meeting of the shareholders: Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo Inc.; Penny S. Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Capital and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; and Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International. All director nominees received a vote of more than 98 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved, on a nonbinding advisory basis, the fiscal year 2017 compensation of the company’s named executive officers. The advisory measure received more than 95 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved a yearly advisory vote on executive compensation. The advisory measure received more than 90 percent of votes cast.
  • Ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company’s independent auditor for fiscal year 2018, with over 98 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved material terms of the performance goals under the Microsoft Corporation Executive Incentive Plan, with a vote of more than 98 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved the Microsoft Corporation 2017 Stock Plan, with a vote of 96 percent of votes cast.

Microsoft’s board of directors consists of John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chairman; William H. Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo Inc.; Teri L. List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap Inc.; Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft; Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW AG; Sandra E. Peterson, group worldwide chair for Johnson & Johnson; Penny S. Pritzker, founder and chairman of PSP Capital and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of The Bank of New York Mellon Corp.; Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer of Marriott International; John W. Stanton, chairman of Trilogy Partnerships; and Padmasree Warrior, chief executive officer of NIO USA Inc.

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.

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 the time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Media Relations Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Outlook for iOS and Android is adding your most requested calendar features – Office Blogs

Whether you’re planning your next dinner date or an upcoming meeting with teammates, the Outlook app is there to help you manage and make the most of your day. Today, we are adding several of your most highly requested calendaring features, including the ability to sync your shared calendars to your phone and manage and RSVP to recurring events.

A big part of our prioritization of new features and enhancements comes from the votes and feedback we receive from you on Outlook UserVoice. We thank you all for your feedback and are excited to hear what you think of our new additions!

Here’s a look at what’s new:

Sync shared calendars to Outlook

You will now be able to view and edit shared Office 365 or Outlook.com calendars, just like you can with your own calendars. Better yet, you can also share your own calendars with others and accept sharing invitations easily right from the app.

If you don’t see your shared calendars right now, don’t worry. We are in the process of upgrading existing shared calendars so that they start syncing to Outlook. However, if you just can’t wait and want the new experience immediately, simply re-accept the sharing invitation from Outlook on iOS or Android. Once you do this, your shared calendar will appear. If you cannot find the original calendar sharing invitation, ask the calendar owner to re-share and accept the new invite from Outlook. And voila!

Manage delegate calendars on the go

For those of you who manage someone else’s calendar at work, you’ll now be able to do this from the palm of your hand. Manage your delegates, accept a delegation request, and fully view and edit the delegated calendar all from Outlook on iOS or Android. And when you receive meeting invitations and responses, we will more clearly indicate if they are for your or your manager’s calendar, so you don’t get them confused.

Get your Meetups added directly to your calendar

Following up on our launch of Facebook and Evernote in Outlook on iOS and Android this year, we are releasing support for Meetup—a new Calendar app in Outlook. Meetup brings people together in thousands of cities to do more of what they want to do in life. Now, when you connect your Meetup account to Outlook, you can see your upcoming Meetups directly on your calendar.

Managing your events is even easier

We are bringing the best of what Outlook has to offer on the web and desktop to your phone, so you can make the most of your busy day while on the go.

These updates are available for both iOS and Android:

  • Create events with daily, weekly, monthly or yearly recurrences.
  • RSVP to a single occurrence of a recurring event series (e.g. decline one instance without removing the entire series from your calendar).
  • See your coworkers’ availability when scheduling meetings (available previously on iOS, now available on Android).

These features are now available on iOS, coming soon to Android:

  • Add a message when responding to a meeting invite (e.g. explain why you are declining a meeting invitation.)
  • Set an event as private, to keep the details to yourself when sharing your calendar.
  • Mark your calendar events as Busy, Free, Out of Office, or Tentative.

And there’s even more to come!

Let us know what you think of our new calendar features! If you have other ideas for what would make the calendar experience even better for you, let us know on UserVoice right from Outlook by going to Settings > Help & FeedbackSuggest a Feature.

—The Outlook team

Frequently asked questions

Q. I don’t see my shared or delegated calendars on in Outlook for iOS and Android yet. What should I do?

A. As noted above if you don’t see your shared or delegated calendars right now, don’t worry. We are in the process of upgrading existing shared calendars so that they start syncing to Outlook. However, if you just can’t wait and want the new experience immediately, simply re-accept the sharing or delegate invitation from Outlook on iOS or Android. Once you do this, your shared calendar will appear. If you cannot find the original calendar sharing invitation, ask the calendar owner to re-share and accept the new invite from Outlook.

Q. How do I add Calendar apps like Meetup to my calendar?

A. To add a Calendar app, such as Meetup, navigate to settings, and then click Calendar Apps in the Connected Apps and Add-ins section. Meetup is available on Android today, coming soon to iOS.

Microsoft announces quarterly dividend and changes to its board of directors – News Center

Annual shareholders meeting set for Nov. 29, 2017

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 19, 2017 — Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.42 per share, reflecting a 3 cent or 7.6 percent increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 14, 2017, to shareholders of record on Nov. 16, 2017. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 15, 2017.

The company also announced the date for the 2017 annual shareholders meeting, to be held Nov. 29, 2017. Shareholders at the close of business on Sept. 29, 2017, the record date, will be entitled to vote at the annual shareholders meeting.

In addition, the company announced the appointment of Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of PepsiCo, to its board of directors and to the board’s audit committee, effective immediately. Johnston brings valuable experience through his nearly 30-year history at PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company whose product portfolio includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Johnston, 56, has served as the chief financial officer since 2010 and became vice chairman in 2015. In his career at PepsiCo, he has served as executive vice president of global operations, president of Pepsi-Cola North America, senior vice president of transformation, and senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Johnston has previously served as a director and audit committee chair for Twitter Inc. and AOL Inc. He currently serves as a director for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, on the University of Chicago’s Booth School CFO Advisory Board, and on Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management Advisory council. Adding Johnston increases Microsoft’s board to 13 members.

“Hugh is an accomplished financial and business leader who brings a depth of experience from his successful career at PepsiCo where he has oversight of finance, IT, e-commerce and the company’s digital transformation,” said John W. Thompson, independent Microsoft board chairman. “He is a great addition to Microsoft’s board of directors, and we look forward to working with him.”Microsoft also announced that G. Mason Morfit, president and chief investment officer of ValueAct Capital, will not seek re-election to the board. His current term expires at the annual shareholders meeting in November.

“Mason has been a valuable adviser at an important time in Microsoft’s transformation, and we are grateful for his contributions,” Thompson said.

Other board members include John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chairman; William H. Gates, Microsoft founder and technology advisor; Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Teri L. List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap Inc.; Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft; Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW AG; Sandra E. Peterson, group worldwide chairman for Johnson & Johnson; Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of The Bank of New York Mellon Corp.; John W. Stanton, chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners; and Padmasree Warrior, CEO and chief development officer of NIO USA Inc.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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.