Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers

Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers
Microsoft Corp has thought up another way to attract potential customers to its cloud computing service: deterrent against patent trolls.

Companies new to the cloud are vulnerable to non-practicing entities, which do not make any products themselves but use their arsenal of broad technology patents to sue other firms in order to extract royalties or a cash settlement.

The new offering could appeal to companies new to the cloud arena, needing a service such as Microsoft’s Azure to store their data or host their mobile app.

It was not clear that it alone would be enough to draw customers away from the market leader, Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services.

Under a plan unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft said customers of its cloud service could rely on any of 10,000 Microsoft patents free of charge to deter legal threats against them.
The Redmond, Washington-based company also said it would extend its existing promise to defend any customers sued over Azure to include the freely available or ‘open source’ technology incorporated into its cloud service.

The protection is designed to appeal to an automaker, for instance, which may have car-related patents but has no such cover for its mobile apps and other cloud-based products, making it a target.

“They haven’t had years to build up that patent portfolio,” said Julia White, Microsoft corporate vice president, in an interview. “Cloud innovation is far too important to be stifled by lawsuits.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud Services, Cloud Computing, Patent, Azure, Internet, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Microsoft Nokia Acquisition: Good For Small Businesses

Yesterday’s news that Microsoft will acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion is probably good news for both Microsoft and Nokia, and also for small businesses.

Naysayers – and there are a lot of them – use words like it’s “too little too late” and that Nokia “can’t save” Microsoft.  For instance, industry observer Vivek Wadhwa sees lots of problems on the horizon for Microsoft. He says the answer is for Microsoft to break itself up into nimbler pieces.

Others, such as Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, see it as a “smart move” but one not likely to be successful because it’s too much of a Hail Mary pass, in his opinion.  If it works, it can win the game.  But chances are high it won’t work, for a variety of reasons.  For example, he notes that the big party in the mobile space has been tablets, but that Nokia has a nonexistent tablet offering.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has tablet offerings, but they have been high priced and slow to catch on.

The Microsoft viewpoint was aptly put in an announcement sent to members of Microsoft’s Voices for Innovation community, by Jonathan Friebert, Microsoft’s public policy manager, who explained:

“This deal adds to the momentum of Windows Phone and will accelerate growth as the next billion people come online using mobile devices. In addition, the transaction provides Microsoft with leading geospatial and mapping technologies. The integration of hardware and software will strengthen the position of the Microsoft ecosystem and provide a wide range of choice to consumers worldwide.”

Why A Microsoft – Nokia Combo is Good For Businesses

For businesses that are Windows shops, having a range of Windows smartphones and tablets is an attractive thing.  It provides a real alternative for businesses.

Apple and Google’s Android dominate the consumer mobile devices market today.  It would be a hard row to hoe, to try to gain substantial market share there. But for business users … by combining forces Nokia and Microsoft have the potential for a stronger offering for the business market.

Businesses need that.  For business users, there’s real benefit to being able to use a phone and tablet that integrate seamlessly with your desktop or laptop  computers.  It’s efficient.  It puts less burden on businesses that use Windows.  There’s less of a learning curve.

When a device makes it easier to conduct business, then small businesses and enterprises have a real reason to choose a Windows smartphone or a Windows tablet.

That’s especially true with tablets. Until recently there was somewhat of a void in the marketplace.  Yes, iPads and Android tablets are fun.  But for business users they have limited business value.   If my own Google Nexus tablet is any example, it tends to get used mainly for entertainment and occasionally on business trips when I have to write something longer than an email with two or three sentences.  It’s not very functional when it comes to the heavy lifting of business work I do.  My little 4-year old netbook computer is unpleasant to use for entertainment purposes, but far more useful than my tablet when it comes to real work, despite being old and slow.  Consequently, I often carry both on business trips — one for watching movies and catching up on email and social media, and the other for real work.

Some think that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia is as much about tablets as smartphones.  It gives Microsoft access to hardware technology and access to Nokia’s distribution network.

To date, Microsoft has had limited success with tablets.  After the market failed to positively receive its stripped down Windows RT tablet, Microsoft reduced the price.  Its Surface tablet with full Windows 8 was better received, but pricey and so Microsoft also dropped the price of the Surface tablet.

Yes, Microsoft was slow to the tablet and smartphone party.  But there really is a place for good Windows phones and good Windows tablets in the business world.  Those that prefer a unified operating system across all their devices were essentially out of luck before Windows tablets and phones. They were forced to pick one of the big industry leaders, Google or Apple, for the operating systems on their mobile devices instead.  Now they could have more options, if the Microsoft – Nokia acquisition is successful. For the sake of business users, we hope this acquisition will lead to more mobile device choices.

Images: Wikipedia

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Visit India in February for Future Decoded Event

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Visit India in February for Future Decoded Event

Microsoft’s India-born chief Satya Nadella will be in India later this month to address a conference on ‘Future Decoded’ in Mumbai.

While Nadella has visited India a number of times since assuming the leadership role, this visit takes on added significance as the global debate on US’ clampdown on visas and its impact on flow of skilled manpower rages.

Nadella is among the first few technology titans to oppose the restrictions on immigration by the new US administration under President Donald Trump.

ALSO SEETrump Immigration Order: Microsoft Bats for Exception Program

Last month, Trump had signed a sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees and impose tough new controls on travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as part of new measures to “keep radical Islamic terrorists” out of America.

Condemning the move, Nadella, in a post on LinkedIn, had said: “As an immigrant and a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country and for the world. We will continue to advocate this important topic.”

Microsoft President Brad Smith said as many as 76 Microsoft employees are affected by the new executive order.

Executives from Google, Apple, Netflix, Facebook and other top American companies have slammed Trump’s immigration order that sparked widespread protests across the US.

Microsoft’s Future Decoded event, to be held on February 21-22, is expected to see participation of 1,500 business and government officials.

This will include names like Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Lord Jonathan Evans (former director general, MI5), Guenter Butschek, CEO, Tata Motors, and Anil Rai Gupta, Chairman and MD of Havells.

The discussions will revolve around how digital technology is empowering people and organisations across governments, education, banks, hospitals, e-commerce, entertainment, and manufacturing organisations.

Details of Nadella’s itinerary could not be confirmed.

Tags: Satya Nadella, Microsoft, India, Microsoft India, Donald Trump
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Microsoft HoloLens: A Fully Untethered Holographic Computer

Microsoft announced some big things at its Windows 10 preview.

New features offered by Microsoft’s latest operating system and flashy tech were highlights of the preview, but possibly the most eye catching announcement was HoloLens. Microsoft is calling this new product a fully “untethered” holographic computer.

This holographic computer looks nothing like the traditional computer with flat screen and keyboard leashed or connected to it. Instead HoloLens is in the form of goggles worn on the head. Microsoft is saying its new product will have no wires, no external cameras, no markers, and no connections to phones or PCs needed. This is what they mean by “untethered,”

The ‘screen’ is the space around you, seen through transparent glass lenses. Instead of a mouse, HoloLens is controlled by a combination of gestures and voice commands. It’s a new way of looking at computing.

HoloLens will not be displaying holograms in the classic sense. There will be no 3D images popping up in the middle of the room.

Instead, what is does is beam light straight into the user’s pupils. Only the wearer can see what’s being displayed. What makes HoloLens unique is that while the wearer can see what is being displayed, they can also see their natural surroundings.

Microsoft is claiming HoloLens takes technology and makes it more personal and interactive.

To make HoloLens work, Microsoft says it had to go beyond the GPU (graphical processing unit) and CPU (central processing unit). HoloLens has both of these, but it also requires a third processing unit called the HPU. That’s holographic processing unit.

Microsoft boasts that its new HPU processes terabytes of information gathered in real time from HoloLens’ many sensors. Capturing and tracking a user’s eye movement, gestures, and voice, there is no delay in response to commands it receives. It can reportedly spatially map your surroundings to display holograms on real world objects.

It’s debatable whether what HoloLens does can be considered actual holograms. A better way to reference it might be augmented reality. Whatever you choose to call it, HoloLens is a fascinating concept. There is no telling how well the finished product will work or how useful it will be.

Check out Microsoft’s video demo of HoloLens below:

Image: Microsoft

More in: Microsoft

[“source-smallbiztrends”]