Tag Archives: President

The beauty that comes from nuance: to help their daughter, a Microsoft employee and a filmmaker became transgender allies – Microsoft Life

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Chadd Knowlton and filmmaker Vlada Knowlton underwent a “radical transformation” and then made a documentary to tell stories of families like theirs

By Natalie Singer-Velush

Chadd and Vlada Knowlton will never forget the day they most feared for their youngest child.

They were driving to school and from the back seat of the car piped a little voice, asking where babies came from. Vlada Knowlton, a filmmaker and former Microsoft employee, explained to her 4-year-old that babies grew in moms’ bellies and came out when they were ready.

“I want you to put me back in,” said the trembling voice. “I know I’m a girl. It’s not fair.”

The parents worried immediately that this was their preschooler’s way of saying that life didn’t feel worth living.

“I kept the car straight. I tried to keep driving. But it was terrifying,” Vlada Knowlton said.

The Knowltons’ youngest child had always been artistic, creative, curious, and intelligent—but also, lately, very unhappy.

“She was born with the body of a boy. Everybody assumed she was a boy. [In the beginning] we never in a million years imagined anything different,” Vlada Knowlton said. “But . . . from about the age of 2, she seemed frustrated, unsatisfied with her life.”

At home, the Knowltons, who also have an older son and daughter, had been allowing their youngest to wear dresses and play with more stereotypically girly toys, and things seemed better during those times. But in public, their preschooler was frustrated and angry when presenting as a boy, which was leading to depression and withdrawal.

“She couldn’t express herself the way she felt she wanted to,” Vlada Knowlton said.

The day in the car was the turning point for the parents. Their daughter felt she was a girl, and so she should be able to live that way, they decided.

“We had to go through a radical transformation to learn, to understand, and to accept. Our daughter didn’t really transition—she was the same before. We transitioned as parents.”

“It was a great moment of clarity,” said Chadd Knowlton, a corporate vice president at Microsoft. “We were coming from a place of total unknown. Once we did the research and we understood how gender is formed in the brain, we could accept it. Gender is what it is.

“We had to go through a radical transformation to learn, to understand, and to accept. Our daughter didn’t really transition—she was the same before. We transitioned as parents. And then we moved ahead into a new kind of personal activism that we had never had to call upon in our lives before.”

That activism includes making a documentary about LGBTQ+ rights and the movements that threaten them. The film, “The Most Dangerous Year,” recently had its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival. It tracks a wave of antitransgender legislation, including bathroom bills, and tells the story of a coalition of Washington State families who have transgender children who join together to fight it. Vlada Knowlton directed, wrote, edited, and produced the film; Chadd Knowlton served as the supervising sound editor and composed the score.

As they navigated their daughter’s and family’s journey, the Knowltons have been supported by many of their communities, including Microsoft.

“The environment is inclusive, accepting, and empowering for people to express themselves and to be allies,” Chadd Knowlton said of the company’s culture. “One of the first things I thought about was hey, maybe my daughter could get a job at Microsoft one day because I know it’ll be a great place for her to work.”

Their family’s journey has broadened their perspective in a way that now empowers them to be advocates and allies.

“We were new people after this, and honestly we’re thankful for that,” Chadd Knowlton said. “Gender is not binary. You could be anywhere on that spectrum. It’s one of the things I think people struggle with in our society. They really want things to be easily categorized and named. But the world is all nuance—and that’s the beauty of it.”

Meet more Microsoft employees who are changing hearts and minds and advancing human rights.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/topic/pride/

See how Microsoft is celebrating Pride 2018 and how you can be an ally.
https://www.microsoft.com/pride/

Learn how Microsoft and its LGBTQ+ employees push for change across borders.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/pride/

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:

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Mastercard disrupts payment industry with innovation driven by Microsoft 365


Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

Disruption in the payment industry is all about simplification, expedience, and secure global connections. Mastercard is leading the charge to a “world beyond cash,” creating products and services such as the company’s new digital wallet, Masterpass, and tokenization solutions that improve the security of digital payments. These advances continue the company’s long history of innovation, rooted firmly in its culture and people. That’s why it’s so exciting that Mastercard uses Microsoft 365 to incentivize and engage its employees through highly secure, modern workplaces—where creative collaboration happens as quickly and seamlessly as any Mastercard payment.

Here’s what Ed McLaughlin, president of Mastercard Operations and Technology, has to say about the company’s adoption of Microsoft Cloud solutions:

“Mastercard connects people, financial institutions, merchants, and businesses across the globe. As one of the largest technology companies in the payments space, we give our employees the tools they need to deliver continual innovation to our customers and do it securely. We selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace for our 11,900 employees, giving them the capability to collaborate on the fly and deliver their best work.”

I like to think of how we are amplifying the ingenuity and creative thinking that goes on every day at Mastercard through continuous improvements to the Office 365 platform. For example, we are weaving Microsoft machine learning and AI capabilities throughout Office 365 apps. One new feature, Insights in Excel, automatically highlights patterns, outliers, and trends in data, so employees see different perspectives on their business information to spark new ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing the next iteration of Mastercard’s take on disruption in the global payment ecosystem!

—Ron Markezich

New to Office 365 in January—enriching teamwork across devices

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

We’re launching into 2018 by bringing great new value to Office 365 subscribers, with updates that enhance how teams work together and unlock new ways to create and manage content across devices. Read on for details.

Get more done in Microsoft Teams

New features for Microsoft Teams enable you to interact with apps in new ways, customize your personal workspace, and take quick actions.

Find and use apps in new ways—Now you can include interactive cards from apps in conversations the same way you would add an emoji or GIF. With one click, you can bring important information, like a task from Trello, into a channel conversation or chat. Finding new apps and services in Teams is now easier with the new Store, where you can search for apps by name or category, such as “Project management” or “Analytics & BI.”

Command apps and take quick actions across Teams—We also introduced the new command box in Microsoft Teams, a single point of entry that integrates your search and command experiences. Now you can quickly interact with apps, perform tasks, and navigate throughout Teams directly from the command box, in addition to searching across people, messages, files, and apps.

A view of the apps available for Microsoft Teams from the Store dash.

Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac

New Office 365 capabilities for iOS and Mac enhance how teams create content together, make it easier to produce advanced documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from anywhere, and introduce new ways to search, preview, and interact with files.

Co-authoring for iOS and Mac—We made it easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac. Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you’ll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online. Learn more at the Microsoft Tech Community.

Automatically save your work on Mac—Today also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you’re working alone or with others, your latest changes are now automatically stored in the cloud, so you never need to worry about hitting the Save button again. You can also view and restore content from earlier versions of the document at any time with support for version history.

Image of a laptop open, displaying a financial report in Excel.

Drag and drop content and files on iOS—The Office and OneDrive iOS apps now support drag and drop for content and files. One of the most common and powerful tasks when creating content is integrating photos, graphs, and other objects from a variety of sources. Now Office 365 subscribers on iPad and iPhone can easily drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive. Support for drag and drop for iOS also enables you to move files to and from OneDrive and other sources—such as SharePoint or iMessage—making it easier to organize content scattered across different apps and services.

Animated image shows the drag and drop capabilities in Office and OneDrive for iOS.

Access OneDrive files from more iOS apps—OneDrive for iOS now natively supports the new iOS 11 Files app. This means iPhone and iPad users can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from any iOS app that supports File app integration—a top requested feature. Users can also tag their favorite OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app, making it easier to find and use the content that matters to you.

Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOS—We redesigned the OneDrive for iOS app with a more detailed list view, making it easier to scan file names, see relevant information, and sort files by specific attributes. The updated OneDrive for iOS app also creates crisp thumbnails and supports previews for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and 3D objects, so you can open, view, and share the right content without leaving the app.

Search across your organization with Outlook for iOS—The new search experience in 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, personalized results that enable you to discover information from across your organization faster.

Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for Mac—Word for Mac now supports Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, tools previously available in Word for Windows and mobile apps. These tools enable content to be viewed in ways that are optimized for learning differences and allow documents to be read back with simultaneous highlighting. These features make it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone—especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additional updates

  • New ways to share on YammerEarlier this month, we introduced new ways for users to share engaging company-wide content from wherever they are with the Yammer mobile app. Users can now post announcements to groups, add animated GIFs, and more.
  • Powerful inclusive learning tools—Last week at Bett, we introduced a range of powerful new tools that make teaching and learning in schools more inclusive and collaborative, including built-in dictation across Office 365 and the expansion of Learning Tools to Mac and iPhone.

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office for Windows desktops | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office for Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Monthly Channel and Semi-Annual Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through Targeted Release (Clients, Services). All updates in this blog have reached general availability and are beginning to roll out to Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft Teams updates are rolling out automatically and you can expect to see them in your Teams desktop client soon. For iOS and Mac updates, check for updates on your device. Some devices may receive these updates later than others.

Digital transformation on a global scale—Accenture runs its business on Microsoft – Office Blogs

Logo for Accenture.

Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

I have known Andrew Wilson since he became Accenture CIO more than four years ago, and I continue to be impressed by what a strong IT organization he has built. Andrew not only motivates the IT organization, but he also takes a strong leadership role across the company, encouraging everyone to adopt new technology to transform the business. Just look at the stats. More than 420,000 Accenture employees in 120 countries embody the digital transformation experience. One of the first global corporations to migrate to Office 365, Accenture has 484,000 Exchange Online mailboxes. Consultants work in creative teams and stay engaged with the company through 20,000 SharePoint Online sites, and more than 25,000 employees are enthusiastic early adopters of Microsoft Teams. Cloud-first file storage is the norm, with employees enjoying mobile access to 900 million files or 2.2 petabytes of corporate data in OneDrive. And with employees racking up more than 309 million minutes of Skype for Business Online conferencing every month, it’s clear that they’re empowered to communicate on any device, when and where they need to. Mobility at this level does not come at the expense of security, because Accenture has the world’s largest deployment of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security to manage approximately 450,000 identities and 104,000 mobile devices.

At Microsoft Ignite 2017, Brad Nyers, managing director at Accenture, walked us through the company’s global rollout of Windows 10. This will be the world’s largest Windows 10 deployment—comprising 450,000 users by the end of 2018—and it also includes Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive. It was fascinating to hear about this latest example of Accenture using Microsoft technology to boost its own agility and productivity, so it can help drive its customers’ digital transformation stories.

To streamline the Windows 10 deployment, Accenture built the In-Place Upgrade Tool (IPU), which checks for adequate disk space and whether security tools are up to date. Employees with Windows 10–ready computers are notified via email. They follow a link to get the IPU package from OneDrive and perform the installation themselves. For employees whose devices are not ready, Accenture automatically generates remediation lists and points people to documentation that explains how to migrate their files to the cloud.

Storing data in OneDrive also helps employees who receive a new Windows 10 device. Because their data is in the cloud, when they get a new device, all they have to do is authenticate to access their information and get back to being productive. Accenture created a streamlined imaging process that layers its security tools and Office 365 ProPlus to achieve huge time savings for the company.

I’m excited to hear about the value that Microsoft technologies provide Accenture as it leads the way with a digital transformation that’s truly changing how its workforce—now 75 percent millennial—enacts the company’s mission. For a deeper dive into how “Accenture runs on Microsoft,” read the full story.

—Ron Markezich

The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society

Welcome to 2018, the year of AI – Asia News Center

By Ralph Haupter, President, Microsoft Asia. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

If the history of human advancement has taught us one thing it is this: genuine step-change progress does not occur because of a single technology breakthrough, but a combination of multiple complementary factors coming together at the same time.

The Industrial Revolution, which began in the UK around 1760, was driven by an amalgamation of steam power, improvements in iron production and the development of the first machine tools.

Similarly, the PC revolution of the early 1970’s was the outcome of simultaneous advancements in micro-processing, memory storage, software programming and other factors.

Now, as we enter 2018, we are at the cusp of a new revolution, one that will ultimately transform every organisation, every industry and every public service across the world.

I’m referring, of course, to Artificial Intelligence – or AI – and I believe 2018 is the year that this will start to become mainstream, to begin to impact many aspects of our lives in a truly ubiquitous and meaningful way.

AI: Over 65 Years In The Making
The concept of AI is not new. In fact, it stretches back to 1950 when early computing pioneer Alan Turing famously posed the question “Can Machines Think?” and it would be another 6 years, in 1956, before the term “artificial intelligence” was first used.

So it has taken nearly 70 years for the right combination of factors to come together to move AI from concept to an increasingly ubiquitous reality. And there are three innovation trends driving its acceleration and adoption right now.

  • The first is Big Data. The explosion of Internet-connected devices, sensors and objects has expanded exponentially the amount of data the world is now producing. In this increasingly digital era, data is the “new oil”– a source of value and sustainable competitive advantage.
  • The second factor is ubiquitous and powerful Cloud computing. Today, anyone with an idea and a credit card can access the same computing power that, traditionally, only global multinationals or governments have possessed. Cloud computing is democratizing technology and accelerating innovation on a global scale.
  • The third factor driving AI capabilities is breakthroughs in software algorithms and Machine Learning that can identify sophisticated patterns implicit within the data itself. If data is the new oil, Machine Learning is, perhaps, the new combustion engine.

So, it is this combination of powerful industry trends, all maturing at the same time, that is accelerating – and democratizing – AI today.

AI Everywhere
My colleague Harry Shum, who leads our AI & Research Group, refers to the way in which AI will impact our lives as an “invisible revolution”. What he means is that, increasingly, AI will be everywhere—powering your online recommendation engine, acting as a virtual assistant chatbot for your bank account or travel agent, personalizing your newsfeed or guarding your credit card against fraud. AI will be more pervasive – and yet less invasive – than any previous technology revolution.

In particular, AI will be embedded seamlessly into existing, well-established products and services to enhance their capabilities. Let me share a simple example of how AI is helping me work more effectively today. I travel frequently and am often required to present to multinational, multilingual audiences during business trips across Asia Pacific. Now, with a small piece of AI technology called Microsoft Presentation Translator, I can help overcome any language barriers as PowerPoint can show real-time subtitles in more than 60 languages, simultaneously as I speak, during my presentations.

In business, AI will be used by most companies for at least some part of the value chain either in research and development, design, logistics, manufacturing, servicing or customer engagement. In fact, leading IT industry analyst IDC believes that by next year, 40% of digital transformation initiatives globally will be supported by AI capabilities[1].

And you do not need to be a start-up or hi-tech company to embrace the possibilities of AI, just have the vision and commitment to make it happen. Take, for example, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), an 85-year-old Japanese auto manufacturer, which has given itself just two years to become a “100% digital operation” – complete with cloud-based capabilities in AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Mixed Reality (MR).

One of the initiatives they have recently implemented is an AI-powered chatbot where all its 10,000 employees can access information and assistance they need in a faster, more intuitive and reliable way. This significantly reduces the time employees spend on learning the Intranet site navigation, searching for information or calling each other for help. The company is now planning to extend chatbot technology to boost customer services, productivity, and maintenance across the whole company.

AI in 2018
As we stand at the cusp of the new year, I see four key AI developments happening over the next 12 months:

  1. Mass adoption of AI starts from 2018:AI adoption is set to soar in 2018 and beyond when organizations start to see clear benefits being reaped by AI innovators such as MFTBC. IDC forecast that worldwide AI revenues will surge past US$46 billion in 2020[2]. Closer to home, AI investment in Asia Pacific is predicted to grow to US$6.9 billion by 2021, expanding rapidly by 73% (CAGR)
  2. Ubiquitous Virtual Assistants: We will begin to see the adoption of broad-scale AI in the form of conversational AI chatbots in both consumer and business scenarios. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions with the enterprise will be managed without a human interaction and AI will be the key technology deployed for customer service[3].
  3. Democratizing data and decision-making: In a world where more data exists than ever before, the ability to deliver meaningful business insights from that data to the maximum number of relevant employees becomes of paramount importance. AI will be the key technology for making that happen by bringing together data from employees, business apps, and the world.
  4. Building trusted foundations for AI:There will be increasingly more discussions at governmental and industrial levels to create formal governance and regulations in the usage of AI. We saw these discussions with the onset of eCommerce and the advent of cloud technologies. It is critical for transparent public-private conversations to take place as they will shape how AI can benefit economies and societies in a fair, transparent and trusted way.

The future of AI burns brightly and I see 2018 as the year that will establish a solid foundation for the mass adoption of this exciting and vital technology.


[1] IDC Reveals Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions, Nov 2017

[2] IDC, Worldwide Spending on Cognitive and Artificial Intelligence Systems Forecast to Reach $12.5 Billion This Year, According to New IDC Spending Guide, April 2017

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2011/09/27/customers-dont-want-to-talk-to-you-either/#ff504bc70dcd