Microsoft Monday: Xbox One Keyboard And Mouse Support, Surface Event Rumors, Guest Support For Teams – Forbes

Microsoft EVP of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson giving a keynote speech at the IFA Consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

“Microsoft Monday” is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about the new LinkedIn Audience Network program, keyboard and mouse support for the Xbox One, the Windows 10 S upgrade extension, Halo backward compatibility, a strategic partnership with Adobe, the new My Workspace menu bar app for the Mac, guest support for Teams and much more!

Microsoft Is Taking Extra Time For Halo Backwards Compatibility In Order To Live Up To Fan Expectations

It is already known that Halo: CE Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo 4 will be available to play on the Xbox One through the backward compatibility program as announced earlier this year. But it was not clear when. Fortunately, 343 Industries provided an update last week. In a blog post, 343 Industries acknowledged that players are eager to play the 4 Halo games on the Xbox One.

“The Xbox back-compat team is hard at work on final polish and we continue to work closely with them to help test and evaluate all four games for launch. We’re taking extra time to ensure the experience lives up to fan expectations but I hear we’re making great progress and release should be getting closer. As soon as we have a final date we’ll be sure to let you know!” said 343 in the blog post.

LinkedIn Announces Audience Network

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Audience Network

LinkedIn, the professional social network owned by Microsoft has announced the LinkedIn Audience Network. The LinkedIn Audience Network is a native ad network that allows professionals to place Sponsored Content on third-party publishers across desktops and mobile devices. The LinkedIn Audience Network essentially enables marketers to extend their footprint beyond the LinkedIn platform.

Over 6,000 LinkedIn advertisers have used the Audience Network during the beta program. And these advertisers saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions through the Audience Network along with an 80% increase in unique clicks. Through the LinkedIn Audience Network, you can download performance reports about the click numbers, impressions and engagement.

Hiscox, a liability insurance company, was able to improve its campaign reach and performance by setting up LinkedIn Sponsored Content on the Audience Network. “When we reviewed campaigns that ran on the LinkedIn Audience Network, we saw a level of engagement that was nearly 4X greater than the benchmark for the financial services industry,” said Hiscox U.S. communications and marketing manager Gyawu Mahama in a statement.

Microsoft To Add Keyboard And Mouse Support To The Xbox One

Usually, people that play games on a PC use keyboard and mouse inputs. And people that play games on a console usually use a game pad. You can use a game pad on a PC, but the Xbox One does not have support for a mouse and keyboard as of yet. However, Microsoft is working on bringing keyboard and mouse input to the Xbox One. You may have noticed that keyboard and mouse support still says coming soon, but Ybarra said the input option will appear when it becomes available. This was confirmed by Microsoft’s corporate VP of the Xbox and Windows Platform Mike Ybarra via Gameguru Mania.

One of the reasons why keyboard and mouse support is coming to the Xbox One is because of “fairness.” People that game with a keyboard and a mouse on the PC against people using a controller have more of an advantage in certain games like first-person shooters. You may have noticed that keyboard and mouse support still says coming soon in the console dashboard and Ybarra said the input option will appear when it becomes available.

Microsoft To Pay Legal Fees For Dreamer Employees Fighting Deportation

Last week, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella spoke against President Trump’s position on immigration. The Trump administration is pushing for the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was established by the Obama administration in June 2012. Microsoft’s response to the policy changes is that it will cover the legal fees for employees that may potentially face deportation if the Dreamers immigration program ends, according to The Verge. Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith announced the legal fee promise in a statement.

Microsoft has 39 employees that could be potentially affected. “If Dreamers who are our employees are in court, we will be by their side.” This includes paid legal counsel, amicus briefs and costs involved for directly intervening. Plus Microsoft will “work as needed with other companies and the broader business community to vigorously defend the legal rights of all Dreamers.” Smith is calling on Congress to pass a DACA replacement before the program shuts down within the next six months.

Minecraft Marketplace Paid Out $1 Million To Creators

Ever since Mojang launched the Minecraft Marketplace, creators have put together some interesting worlds, skins and textures. As a result, Mojang has paid out $1 million to Minecraft Marketplace creators so far. The Minecraft Marketplace was launched during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event in June. And the $1 million figure is the amount that was paid to the creators and not the cut that is paid out to Microsoft, Google (Android) and Apple (iOS).

Report: Microsoft To Unveil The New Surface In London Next Month

At the end of October, Microsoft might be unveiling a new Surface device in London. The annual Future Decoded event will be taking place in London between October 31st and November 1st. Most likely, it will be the successor to the Surface Book laptop. Or it might be possible that Microsoft will announce a Surface Pro with built-in LTE at the event.

The original Surface Book was launched in 2015 followed by the Performance Base model a year later. In the past, Microsoft revealed new Surface devices in New York City in October.

Free Windows 10 S Upgrade Extends Until March

Microsoft is extending the option for Windows 10 S users to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The promotion to upgrade free is now available until March 31, 2018 — which is three months later than originally planned.

Windows 10 S is known for allowing users to install apps just from the Windows Store. And Microsoft believes that this limitation potentially makes Windows more secure and offers better performance. Windows 10 S is also made the default on Surface laptops designed for the education market.

“For those that find they need an application that isn’t yet available in the Store and must be installed from another source, we’re extending the ability to switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro for free until March 31, 2018. We hope this provides increased flexibility for those people searching for the perfect back-to-school or holiday gift,” said Microsoft in a blog post.

Microsoft Expands Upon Strategic Partnership With Adobe

Microsoft and Adobe are expanding their strategic partnership to drive more efficient business processes. As part of the expanded partnership, the Adobe Sign e-signature service is becoming the preferred solution across many Microsoft products such as Office 365. And the Microsoft Teams chat-based workspace is now the preferred collaboration service for the Adobe Experience Cloud, Creative Cloud and Document Cloud. Plus Adobe is going to make Microsoft Azure the preferred cloud platform for Adobe Sign.

“Adobe and Microsoft are working together to redefine what the modern enterprise experience looks like with collaboration, identity, data and intelligence at the core,” said Adobe chief technology officer Abhay Parasnis in a statement. ”Together we will develop integrated cloud services with best-in-class solutions like Adobe Sign and Office 365 that help businesses digitally transform while delivering great experiences to their customers.”

The partnership integration is expected to begin in the coming weeks. However, the integration of Adobe Sign and Microsoft Office 365 is expected to happen quickly. Adobe Sign for Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft SharePoint is already available.

“Together with Adobe, we’re committed to fostering creativity and a culture of teamwork for our shared customers, so they can unlock the opportunities of today’s rapidly evolving workplace,” added Microsoft’s EVP of Business Development Peggy Johnson. “We’re thrilled that our partnership with Adobe has now grown to span our three clouds —Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 — providing customers with the powerful integrations they need to navigate digital transformation.”

Microsoft Garage Launches My Workspace Menu Bar App For Mac

The Microsoft Garage team has released a menu bar app for the Mac called My Workspace. The project was spearheaded by Microsoft’s interns in Vancouver. The My Workspace app shows users a high-level view of their day and a list of shared files. Plus you can quickly launch OneDrive from the My Workspace app. The My Workspace app also integrates with the iCloud Calendar.

Microsoft And Facebook To Open Source AI Resources

Last week, Microsoft and Facebook announced a collaboration in providing open source AI resource repositories called the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX). The ONNX will enable developers to switch between AI engines at different stages of development. This could potentially increase the speed of advancements in technologies like driverless cars and smarter robots.

“We developed ONNX together with Microsoft to bridge this gap and to empower AI developers to choose the framework that fits the current stage of their project and easily switch between frameworks as the project evolves. Caffe2, PyTorch, and Cognitive Toolkit will all be releasing support for ONNX in September, which will allow models trained in one of these frameworks to be exported to another for inference. We invite the community to join the effort and support ONNX in their ecosystem. Enabling interoperability between different frameworks and streamlining the path from research to production will help increase the speed of innovation in the AI community,” said Facebook’s Joaquin Quinonero Candela in a blog post.

Microsoft And The Chainsmokers Design A Custom Light-Up Xbox One

The Chainsmokers is an EDM pop duo that is known for hits like “Roses,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Closer.” And recently, Microsoft partnered with The Chainsmokers to create a special edition Xbox One S that lights up. This is part of a new Microsoft initiative to build custom consoles with celebrities and brands.

“To create the console, the Xbox team used a thumbnail-sized, USB-powered microprocessor that works in real time to convert sound into an ever-changing and dynamic light show. Sixty miniature pixels illuminate the multi-layered acrylic display creating a 3D effect, lighting up this unique Xbox One S,” said the Xbox team in a blog post.

Microsoft Opens Up Teams To Guests

Microsoft is now allowing customers to share Teams channels with guest users from other companies, according to Forbes staff writer Alex Konrad. Konrad also pointed out that 125,000 organizations are now using Teams across 25 languages. The new features were added today, which is a day before Slack is starting its user conference in San Francisco. The guest support feature in teams will work for Office 365 customers that want to add someone who is also an Office customer, Microsoft cloud customer or uses an Azure-supported app. Plus Microsoft also announced support for Botkit, a developer kit to build bots with Teams.

The guest support feature in Teams will work for Office 365 customers that want to add someone who is also an Office customer, Microsoft cloud customer or uses an Azure-supported app. And Microsoft also announced support for Botkit, a developer kit to build bots with Teams.

Microsoft launched Teams in November 2016. One day before Teams was announced, Slack said it was seeing 4 million daily users. And Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield released a full page ad giving advice to Microsoft. Slack does not have a guest access feature as of yet.

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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