Microsoft and Amazon launch Alexa-Cortana public preview for Echo speakers and Windows 10 PCs

Microsoft and Amazon offer Alexa and Cortana to any Echo speakers and Windows 10 users from your U.S. today. Within a partnership within Seattle-area tech giants, you may say “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” to Windows 10 PCs and “Alexa, open Cortana” on to a range of Echo smart speakers.

The general public preview bringing a common AI assistant on PCs and the smart speaker because of the largest U.S. business will be on the market to most people today, and will be rolled out to all users in the state over the course of these week, a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat on an email.

All the assistants brings improvements to the table. Cortana, as an example, can plan a meeting with Outlook, create location-based reminders, or use LinkedIn to tell you about men and women your next meeting, and Alexa has approximately 40,000 voice apps or skills assisted to tackle a broad range of use cases.

If you’re willing to use both assistants, you can check your inbox and write emails with Cortana, or order groceries or control smart home devices from far more than 2,000 manufacturers with Alexa.

A lot of the features present with both assistants – like reminders, timers, or adding events to the calendar – are likely to be available through both Alexa and Cortana, but some features – as in streaming music, audiobooks, and news flash briefings – won’t accumulate at launch.

The partnership was first made public in a co-announcement in August 2017 featuring Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Both companies consult the integration just as one acknowledgement that we live in a world with multiple AI assistants.

“The world is large and so multifaceted. You will find going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to several sets of data with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement one another well and provide customers using richer and more helpful experience,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said inside statement last August.

The multi-assistant strategy for Echo speakers and Windows 10 PCs makes Amazon and Microsoft more advanced than rivals using a single marketing assistant, such as Siri in Apple’s HomePod, Bixby from your recently debuted Galaxy Home speaker, and Google Assistant in Google’s distinct Home smart speakers.

Microsoft and Amazon gave the planet its start looking at how Alexa on PCs and Cortana on Echo speakers can be used in May on the Build developer conference in Seattle.

Smart speakers with Cortana support are the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show, a specialist spokesperson told VentureBeat inside the email. Alexa tend to be available on the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker.

Cortana currently has at least 140 million monthly active users, which could come entirely from Windows 10 PCs. The big ten started Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker premiered last year, sales continues to be underwhelming and it has yet in order to gain widespread adoption.

Amazon might be less than forthright about Echo speaker sales but says that “tens of a large number of devices” have been sold.

This spring, Microsoft VP Javier Soltero moved from his role as product lead in your Microsoft Office group to grow product lead for Cortana. VP Andrew Shuman will lead Cortana engineering efforts.

Soltero’s plans for further feature changes for Cortana has decided to roll out this fall, an anonymous source told Wall Street Journal .

The article also supposes wants to bring Cortana to Echo devices should have crippled Cortana’s voice app ecosystem, something Soltero denied in an earlier interview with VentureBeat.

In a interview with VentureBeat this spring, Soltero called email “a bedrock thing for Cortana” and denied that integration with Alexa has contributed to a stifling of Cortana Skills Kit adoption among developers. Soltero also expressed a desire for Cortana to be expanded beyond an emphasis on productivity and also workplace and spoke in general terms about Cortana’s future expansion.

“We are steering the actual merchandise experience toward delivering value in every of the three states that individuals are in, which is actually, in very generic terms, at work, at home, or somewhere in between – at least for all our target user – and really honing in on in order to [Cortana] do to make the user for the reason that setting that would be assistive,” he told VentureBeat.

Though today’s release is for the United States only, once Alexa-Cortana is made available in other parts of the world, the mixing could help introduce them AI assistants with a wider selection of users beyond your United States.

Echo speakers are available in multiple English dialects, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. Cortana can speak the same thing languages, and Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. A while back, Amazon began its expansion into Mexico, making Echo speakers sold in Latin America the very first time.

For its part, Google has devoted to making its Assistant obtainable in 30 languages capable to handle multilingual commands after the year.

While Amazon and Microsoft are usually working to introduce their partnership for approximately a year, this isn’t once consumers will use the two assistants in the same place, as Alexa became included in select PCs the same as the Asus Spin 5 earlier this summer.

“At launch, customers sees some slight differences between this [Alexa-Cortana] and experiences delivered on Echo Show or inside the Alexa for PC solution. This integration is part of a longer-term vision for intelligent agents to exert effort together with respect to customers, and we’re working closely with Microsoft to add in new capabilities, features, and devices after awhile,” an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat in a email.

To give users the choice to speak with the guest assistant as long as they want along with avoid the require to repeatedly ask Alexa to schedule an appointment Cortana or Cortana to go to Alexa, a re-prompt command continues to be added either way assistants, a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.

 

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Microsoft Planning New BizTalk Server Product and Integration with Azure Services

Microsoft final week announced plans for releasing another BizTalk Server product, in conjunction with details about its Azure Integration Services vision.

Microsoft’s promise to delivering an important BizTalk Server product was affirmed by Jon Fancey, Azure Integration Services program manager lead, in the Thursday announcement. BizTalk Server is Microsoft’s enterprise integration server for “on-premises” installations that’s used to connect business applications and services. The modern flagship program is BizTalk Server 2016.

Next-Gen BizTalk Server

The next BizTalk Server product is going to be timed for product release after the release of Windows Server 2019, which is expected to reach “general availability” product release status sometime in 2011. Fancey indicated that the second BizTalk Server product likely shall be “generally available within roughly 9 months in the general source of Windows Server 2019.”

Your following BizTalk Server product will contain previously released feature packs, and definately will support “the latest versions of Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio,” Fancey explained. It will be easy to upgrade in the direction of new BizTalk Server product from BizTalk Server 2013 R2 and BizTalk Server 2016, he added.

Microsoft’s last feature pack release was Feature Pack 3 for BizTalk Server 2016, that has been announced on June 26, in accordance with the BizTalk team blog’s feed. Any details of Feature Pack 3 were described within the blog post by Microsoft Most dear Professional (MVP) Sandro Pereira, who established that Feature Pack 3 adds Office 365 adapters for mail, calendar and contacts. It adds support for SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2. Moreover it supports single sign-on authentications using Azure Active Directory and OAuth. Microsoft added compliance with FIPS, GDPR and in addition the U.S. government accessibility standard, likewise.

Azure Integration Services

Microsoft began issuing feature packs for BizTalk Server 2016 numbers with Feature Pack 1, while using aim of adding new features and “closer integration with Azure.” The feature packs minimize some of the innovation being carried out in Microsoft’s cloud with Azure Integration Services, and that’s Microsoft’s Integrated Platform as a Service (iPaaS) for orchestrating business applications and procedures. Azure Integration Services is composed of Logic Apps, Service Bus, API management and Event Grid services.

Azure Integration Services is Microsoft’s alternative Azure BizTalk Services for iPaaS offering. Microsoft announced get rid of Azure BizTalk Services a year ago. Instead, Microsoft advised organizations to shift toward using Azure Logic Apps and Azure App Service Hybrid Connections.

Don’t mind the occasional innovation happening within the Azure Integration Services side, Microsoft still sees a task for BizTalk Server. It supports “hybrid” scenarios, where organizations run BizTalk Server ourselves infrastructure while connecting to Microsoft’s in addition to other providers’ services.

Logic Apps On-Premises

Microsoft also announced which it plans to permit Logic Apps “to run using premises” for organizations. That capability predicted to arrive “during year 2019,” as reported by Fancey.

Right now, the capabilities of BizTalk Server and Logic Apps aren’t at parity yet. However, Microsoft is taking care of closing the gaps, actually working on documenting support for Logic Apps migrations, Fancey explained:

With two offerings, BizTalk Server and Logic Apps, both capable of running on-premises in Azure, many purchasers will be evaluating migration from BizTalk Server to Logic Apps. Could this so are planning help with migration to assist customers’ decision-making and investments to help this move. Children there are functional gaps between BizTalk Server and Logic Apps, and we are hard at work closing them.

Many Microsoft’s BizTalk Server news will probably get chronicled by its partner, BizTalk360, and that has its own conference, Integrate 2018, this was held in London in June. Conference highlights were explained Sriram Hariharan, senior technical and author at BizTalk360. He suggested for his Day 1 recap that BizTalk Server 2013 and BizTalk Server 2013 R2 both exited “mainstream support” in July, and it Microsoft announced an exciting new BizTalk Server Migration Tool which will help organizations shift to BizTalk Server 2016.

In Hariharan’s Day 2 recap, he noted that migrations from BizTalk Server to Azure Logic Apps may be supported utilizing an on-premises gateway as well as a publish/subscribe model.

 

MVP Offers Critique of Microsoft’s Windows Patching Process

Susan Bradley, a prominent Microsoft Most beneficial Professional (MVP) and moderator from the Patchmangement.org discussion forum for this pros, says Microsoft must only deliver new Windows 10 and Office feature updates once per year.

Bradley came to that conclusion from experience, as well as an informal survey she conducted of more than 1,000 IT pro consultants and 862 consumer users of Windows 10. The survey was conducted shortly before Microsoft’s problematic July 10 updates to Windows and .NET Framework, which caused multiple problems for users of Microsoft’s business software. Those July 10 patches included 47 “known issues” listed in the security section, Bradley noted.

After your July patch problems arose, Bradley wrote a receptive letter to Microsoft executives in the Windows updating process, who was published at a July 30 Computerworld article. The response from Microsoft was “disappointing,” Bradley explained, within a Aug. 8 RunAsRadio interview with Richard Campbell. Interviews offers insights regarding the kind of hoops she’s jumped through to tell Microsoft what has patching approach is simply not working for its customers.

Bradley’s letter was addressed to Satya Nadella, Carlos Picoto and Scott Guthrie. The response from Microsoft, though, all began Microsoft’s tech support, which opened a court case as if she had an individual technical problem this issue. A day later, she had a more official response from Microsoft that explained the Windows update way to her and suggested they could use the Microsoft feedback hub straight away where. Bradley, an 18-times-awarded MVP and Windows patch expert, explained they had used the typical feedback approach with three months before sending her letter to Microsoft executives.

Ironically, the particular only real Microsoft executive who have taken notice, inside the oblique way, was ex-Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky, who complained within the Twitter post a while back that a Windows update had “bricked my Surface RT.” He had to conduct a whole reset. Sinofsky formerly served as president on the Windows Division during its Windows 7 and Windows 8 days.

Bradley has been hearing discontent of your field regarding Windows patching. Consultants were stating that they were turning off Windows updates. Enterprises were saying we were holding waiting longer, perhaps a couple of weeks, to apply patches. Becoming consultant to companies, Bradley found that she couldn’t always advise her clients to use Windows patches, particularly when they weren’t confident about with the ability to back up and restore their machines.

“Why make sure it is hard for the enterprises?” Bradley said over the RunAsRadio talk. She noted that many companies are mandated by compliance criteria to have their software updated.

Bradley was asked by Campbell if her MVP status makes a difference in conntacting Microsoft. She explained she has tried to go through Microsoft’s MVP channels, but starting about January, these communications slid downhill. She started seeing errors from your Knowledge Base articles describing the updates. Bradley surmised that MVP exposure to your Microsoft security team isn’t there while it used to be.

In composing her ways to Microsoft’s executives, Bradley said she used the guidelines given to her by an ex-Microsoft employee — which is usually, don’t complain but give Microsoft actionable items. She suggested that organizations also could try talking to their Microsoft technical account managers. In which case, it would be best to offer ideas while some actions to take, versus complain.

Bradley actually prefers Microsoft’s cumulative update approach with Windows 10, considering that it avoids the update delays that may happen with Windows 7 machines. But she noted that Microsoft’s patch testing doesn’t appear happening, even for its own software products. You can find too many “side effects,” she explained.

Bradley declared Microsoft used to have a burglar alarm Update Validation Program, that’s why it seems to stay alive “because I saw they had been hiring for.” They would typically test updates and release them if they ever were OK. However, Microsoft in the present day explains that running without shoes has the Windows Insider Program for testing. Bradley, though, noted your Windows Insider Program is ideal for testing future features, not for patch testing. “They’re not directed at a .NET security patch,” she added.

Problems associated with Microsoft’s patch quality likely are set to a combination of testing and communication failures, Bradley surmised. As well, Microsoft’s faster releases with Windows 10 aren’t helping. She noted you can find four versions of Windows 10 released which are currently supported.

When clients have issues, Bradley has to ask which Windows 10 version they’re using. Organizations don’t all get feature releases on the other hand anymore. While Microsoft uses artificial intelligence, or maybe telemetry, to determine whenever a Windows 10 release is ready for an organization, there is just too many Windows 10 versions obtainable, Bradley said. She noted that Microsoft even required to block updates towards own Surface devices by way of issues with SSD drives, even so it totally controls your complete ecosystem in this case.

“Clearly, the fact that you have this mismatched patching is bringing about problems with Microsoft’s infrastructure,” Bradley said, suggesting that such patch problems could even be affecting Microsoft Azure infrastructure, , too.

Bradley admitted over the RunAsRadio talk that her efforts were really like “trying to move a mountain” and “tilting at windmills.” However, she said that “we have to make it better. We will not have people waiting Few weeks to install patches.”

 

Windows 10 Planning to Overtake Windows 7 As World’s #1 Desktop OS by Year-End

New data authored by Softwareonlinedeal for July 2018 reveals that Windows 10 continues its growth in the desktop, getting magnified leader Windows 7 month-to-month.

If the same trend is maintained, Windows 10 could be very likely to overtake Windows 7 by the end of the year, officially becoming the world’s ultimate desktop main system.

At this point, Windows 7 remains the leading choice employing a market share of a minimum of 41.23 percent concerning the desktop, and then Windows 10 with 36.58 percent. MacOS 10.13 is third with 5.60 percent, so very far behind the 2 main Windows versions, while Windows 8.1 is fourth with 5.09 percent share.

Recently alone, Windows 10 has were able to reduce the difference versus Windows 7 from 60.3 percent basically 4.65 %, so adoption of this latest OS version is constantly improve. It occurs at a slower pace than many expected, but more than Windows 10 is expanding and there’s a high probability it would soon overtake its 2009 predecessor.

“Windows 10 April 2018 Update”

Is just about the in terms of adoption is a really result of new OS feature updates. Windows 10 April 2018 Update was introduced to users just like a manual download on April 30, but the public rollout on Windows Update moving on May 8.

Microsoft completed the discharge of this new OS version quite fast, consequently April 2018 Update is definitely broadly readily available for all systems all over the world.

Windows 7 is projected to succeed in the end of support in January 2020, consequently faster Windows 10 overtakes it and becomes the world’s leading desktop OS, appropriate for everyone.

These days, Windows 7 operates a extended support mode, as a result it’s only getting security updates prior to the said deadline. Beyond this date, few patches could be published.

 

Microsoft changes Windows 7 / 8.1 kernel vulnerability severity from optional to recommended

Microsoft changed the severity of three Preview Rollups to get vulnerability with the kernel of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012, from optional to recommended. Price of thanksgiving dinner the updates can be automatically installed. Inside this month’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released updates for this kernel vulnerability but decided he would withdraw them brought about by issues.The vulnerability allowed an assailant who already has access to the system, to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges, and gain full treatments for the system doing this. Microsoft explains each time the attack is succesful, “an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

The vulnerability exists in any support Windows versions and Microsoft already released patches for any issues. Unfortunately, the updates to your leak caused issues on some systems which made the software giant to figure out to withdraw them.

For users who had issues after installing the updates, a choice Cumulative Update for Windows 10 together with Standalone Update of Preview Rollup for older versions was released on the 18th of July. These packages accessible through the Microsoft Update Catalog, WSUS or by manually seeking out them in Windows Update.

Just in case the Preview Rollups for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012, Microsoft yesterday chose to change the severity from optional to recommend meaning that they are automatically installed when automatic updates are enabled.

 

Microsoft delivers public previews with the Office 2019 server products

Microsoft is making currently available, July 24, previews of Exchange Server 2019 and Skype for Business Server 2019.

The basic next on-premises versions of Microsoft’s Office server products plus the successors to the 2016 versions of us servers. Last fall, officials believed expect these 2019 server releases as being generally available before a end of calendar 2018, following the release of previews within the first 50 % of the year. (They missed by the month on a Server previews.)

The Office 2019 server releases ought to be run on Windows Server 2016 or 2019, with regards I know. I got asked Microsoft to be positive, but no word back finished so far. Windows Server 2019 has become in preview, , too, and is anticipated to be generally available around October 2018. Exchange Server 2019 will install on Windows Server 2019 Core, in line with company officials.

Here’s several of what’s new in every of the coming server releases:

Exchange Server 2019 adds updated search (operated by Bing) and updated calendaring features, including “Do Not Forward” and “Simplified Calendar Sharing.”

Skype for Business Server 2019 adds improvements around hybrid support, plus latest features including Cloud Voicemail, Cloud Org Auto Attendant, Cloud Call Data Connector and Streamlined Migration to Teams. Much more information here.

SharePoint Server 2019 bring a more “modern” interface, improved performance and scale, simplified management and deeper SharePoint Framework integration, as Microsoft execs disclosed captured. The preview these is not available yet, but have to be “soon,” I hear.

Project Server 2019, that steadily collaboration capabilities written by SharePoint Server 2019, adds performance and scalability improvements, updated reporting, and support in an expanded set of two programming interfaces. The preview is not available yet, but probably will be out “soon,” I hear.

As Microsoft officials have said before, customers when using the Online/cloud versions of all of these products actually have these improvements and the latest features, as the Office 365 servers are updated regularly. The on-premises versions for the servers are aimed at business users who either should never or cannot move their workloads into the cloud.

Microsoft released commercial previews on the on-premises/local versions of Office 2019 for Windows and Office 2019 for Mac trapped on video tape. Those products are undoubtedly expected to be generally available this fall.

Officials not necessarily said your own home 2019 releases these Office client and server products often is the last non-subscription versions available; they’ve said they will base that call on comments from customers.

 

Microsoft Begins Windows 7 Upgrade Offensive In front of January 2020 End of Life

Windows 7 will attain the end of support in January 2020, and Microsoft should use this possibility to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10 in advance of the last updates are shipped.

The firm has recently instructed its channel partners to encourage Windows 7 people to upgrade to Windows 10 pending the end-of-life deadline, while using upgrade offensive to gain a faster pace was initially invented by 2019.

A report from ChannelEye reveals that Microsoft wants partners to form everyone conscious that Windows 7 is approaching its end, sufficient reason for an aggressive campaign that runs until the end of the year, what amount of customers upgrading to Windows 10 should increase substantially.

“The end of support is departing from in 2020 and it’s some time to make the shift to 10,” Louisa Gauthier, product and marketing leader at Microsoft, was quoted as saying.

“Why is end of support so vital for us? As it’s a huge possibility for get your customers to modern. It is opportunity estimated being worth $100 billion if you put together the entire partner services, Office and solution opportunity over three years”, she said.

“Windows 7, best choice on the desktop”

Windows 7 is actually the world’s most critical desktop platform, and unless Microsoft seems to convince users to upgrade within the next 18 months, should become the second Xp.

Microsoft tells partners your end of support that Windows 7 is projected in order to achieve in early 2020 is usually an opportunity for these types of boost sales, especially because many customers might seek hardware upgrades to modern devices.

“If your laptop and software will be more than four years old then it’s time for move to an innovative Windows 10 device. Modern Windows machines are cheaper to look after and faster to do,” she said.

As reported by third-party data, Windows 7 may possibly be the leading choice around the desktop using share of 43 percent, while Windows 10 may possibly be the runner on top of approximately 34 percent share.