Dark Mode coming to Microsoft Outlook on Android and iOS as part of broader rollout of popular feature

Dark Mode coming to Microsoft Outlook on Android and iOS as part of broader rollout of popular feature

5:08am, 3rd September, 2019
Dark Mode on iOS. (Microsoft Photo) Microsoft is doubling down on Dark Mode, bringing the popular option to switch from a white background to a black or grey one to more of its core services. The company says it plans to bring Dark Mode to its entire Microsoft 365 product suite — a combination of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. The push begins with an initial rollout today of Dark Mode on Outlook for iOS and Android, as well as Office.com. When the latest update of iOS launches, Microsoft will roll out Dark Mode for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, and To-Do on mobile. The addition of Dark Mode across more of the company’s products is all about choice, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Research & Design Jon Friedman wrote in a blog post. “It’s an apt metaphor for why we love Dark Mode: human needs unfold across an equally broad spectrum,” Friedman wrote. “Whether you want to reduce eye strain, improve battery life, or it just has aesthetic appeal, Dark Mode exemplifies our ability to craft simple and powerful Microsoft 365 experiences that give you choice and flexibility.” Welcome to the dark side. in is here. Learn more: — Microsoft 365 (@Microsoft365) Microsoft says it first introduced darker backgrounds back in 2010. It has steadily added Dark Mode to more programs, including major services such as Windows 10, Edge and Office. Jon Friendman. (Microsoft Photo) Dark backgrounds have become popular in recent years, with tech giants promoting the mode as an of new releases. The black backgrounds often look sleeker, and experts have touted health benefits of the setting as well. It’s become common knowledge that . For people who put in late hours, using a dark background instead of a light one reduces the amount of blue light they’re exposed to, leading to a better sleep after work is done, , a partially-sighted computer scientist at Cambridge University in the U.K. There are disadvantages too. It can be tough to see the backgrounds in well-lit rooms or when light reflects off the screen. In the blog post, Microsoft’s Friedman pointed to the 24/7 nature of work and the spread of productivity tools to everyday life as reasons dark backgrounds have become popular. People aren’t just using Microsoft products on their desktop from 9 to 5 anymore. “Our tools are used to keep up to speed on everything from work communication, to personal events that include friends and family, to changes in shared documents,” Friedman wrote. “This often means viewing email, calendars, or files in places where the default white mode may be less suitable, like darkened airplanes, movie theaters, or in bed at night.”
Windows no longer a ‘cornerstone’ for Microsoft, as company changes how it describes its business

Windows no longer a ‘cornerstone’ for Microsoft, as company changes how it describes its business

11:53am, 2nd August, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks about Windows 10 in Redmond. (GeekWire File Photo) Microsoft marked a major shift in its business with a subtle but significant change in the way it describes one of its most important goals. The company’s 2019 Form 10-K report, made public Thursday in , removes a longstanding reference that described Windows 10 as “the cornerstone” of its ambition to make computing more personal. It’s the latest signal that Microsoft has evolved beyond the flagship operating system that transformed the company into a tech juggernaut and fueled the rise of the personal computer industry. Windows remains one of Microsoft’s biggest products, used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, but more than five years into Satya Nadella’s tenure as CEO, it’s no longer the company’s primary growth engine. Numbers reported elsewhere in the annual filing make this point clear. The filing includes a breakdown of Microsoft revenue by major product lines, which is different from the broader divisional results in the company’s quarterly earnings results. This alternative view of the numbers shows that Windows is growing at a slower pace than any of the company’s other big businesses. Windows posted revenue gain of 4 percent in 2019, to $20.4 billion for the year. That compares to double-digit percentage growth in many past years. By comparison, the company’s booming server and cloud services business grew by 24 percent to $32 billion, surpassing Office to become Microsoft’s largest product line by revenue for the first time. This confirms a milestone that was also reflected . This ability to find a new source of growth is one of the main reasons Microsoft has climbed back to the top as the most valuable company in the world. Appropriately enough, GeekWire identified the change in the boilerplate 10-K language using the “Compare Docs” feature in Microsoft Office, automatically highlighting language that has changed between different versions of documents. (This is also how we discovered last year that .) This is the key sentence that was included in the 10-K for the past several years in some form: “Windows 10 is the cornerstone of our ambition, providing a foundation for the secure, modern workplace, and designed to foster innovation through rich and consistent experiences across the range of existing devices and entirely new device categories.” That strong endorsement of the operating system was replaced with language that puts Windows in the context of a larger strategy. Here’s the section as it reads now. We strive to make computing more personal by putting users at the core of the experience, enabling them to interact with technology in more intuitive, engaging, and dynamic ways. In support of this, we are bringing Office, Windows, and devices together for an enhanced and more cohesive customer experience. Windows 10 continues to gain traction in the enterprise as the most secure and productive operating system. It empowers people with AI-first interfaces ranging from voice-activated commands through Cortana, inking, immersive 3D content storytelling, and mixed reality experiences. Windows also plays a critical role in fueling our cloud business and Microsoft 365 strategy, and it powers the growing range of devices on the “intelligent edge.” Our ambition for Windows 10 monetization opportunities includes gaming, services, subscriptions, and search advertising. Microsoft didn’t provide a comment in response to a GeekWire inquiry. Last year, Microsoft embarked on a of its engineering teams that put Windows on the back burner somewhat by splitting it among two major groups, putting a greater emphasis on cloud computing. The move also coincided with the Microsoft had huge hopes for Windows 10, predicting in 2015 that the operating system would be on within a couple years. That didn’t end up happening, and Microsoft revised its goals downward. However, to keep things in perspective, Windows 10 is still on , per the company’s latest update in March.
‘Mac vs. PC’ is back: New Microsoft ad touts Surface Laptop 2, roasts Apple’s MacBook

‘Mac vs. PC’ is back: New Microsoft ad touts Surface Laptop 2, roasts Apple’s MacBook

7:08pm, 31st July, 2019
Mac vs. PC is alive. The geeky advertising rivalry between Microsoft and Apple reignited Wednesday after Microsoft put out that uses a guy named Mackenzie Book — a.k.a. Mac Book — to talk about why the company’s Surface Pro 2 laptop is better than Apple’s MacBook Air. “So Mac, which laptop lasts longer?” the narrator asks. “Surface laptop lasts longer,” Mac Book responds as “Mac Book says Surface lasts longer” text overlays the scene. Microsoft uses the same formula to tout a “faster” Surface laptop that has a touchscreen. “You should get a Surface — trust me, I’m Mac Book,” Mackenzie says at the end. As notes, maybe Apple will go find “Mike Rosoft” to counter the new ad campaign. spotted two other leaked Microsoft ads that also mock the MacBook. Microsoft and Apple have a history . For a trip down memory lane, here’s a compilation of all the Mac vs. PC ads that Apple made over the years. Microsoft introduced the Surface Laptop 2 this past October. The company is expected to release refreshed Surface Pro and Surface Book models later this year. Microsoft’s Surface revenue came in at $1.35 billion, up 14 percent year-over-year, in the most recent quarter thanks to strong growth in its commercial segment.
Nintendo Switch growth continues as aging rivals Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One stagnate

Nintendo Switch growth continues as aging rivals Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One stagnate

3:39am, 31st July, 2019
Nintendo’s Switch console has now reached nearly 37 million units sold over its lifetime. (Nintendo Photo) Nintendo, the youngster of the video game console market — well, at least the youngster the current console generation — continues to grow steadily as its primary competitors struggle with the inevitable effects of old age. Sales of Nintendo’s hybrid Switch console rose to 2.13 million units in the June quarter, up more than 13 percent from the same period a year ago, Nintendo said in its . The company’s profits fell overall, but that was largely due to the effects of exchange rates rather than any fundamental issues in Nintendo’s business. With the latest results, nearly 37 million Switch consoles have been sold since the March 2017 release. That compares to 13.5 million units over the life of the company’s prior console, the Wii U; and more than 100 million units of the blockbuster Wii console. Sony’s PlayStation 4, originally released in 2013, sold another 3.2 million units in the June quarter, according to Sony’s earnings release. That pushed the PS4’s cumulative total to more than 100 million units, , according to Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at Niko Partners, . This makes PlayStation 4 the fastest home console to reach 100 million unit sell in. Faster than both the PS2 and Wii which were just behind. It took PS2 a total of five years and 9 months. PS4 was just 5 years and 7 months. — Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) However, overall sales of the PS4 were flat compared to the same quarter a year ago. Sony blamed the result on the buzz surrounding This type of lull is a classic sales-and-marketing challenge for consumer electronics makers, as some of those who would otherwise buy an existing console decide to wait to buy the new one, or to buy the existing one at a cheaper price when the new one comes out. “PS4 hardware unit sales in the first quarter were slightly below our expectations primarily due to the news regarding our next generation console,” Sony said . “Taking this into account, we have decided to prioritize profitability going forward, and have revised downward our forecast for hardware unit sales by 1 million units to 15 million units.” The black line in this Sony graphic shows the declining trend in PS4 unit sales in recent years, but the console still reached 100 million units in record time. At the same time, Sony said, “The fact that we plan to sell 15 million units this fiscal year, which is the 7th year since launch, demonstrates that the PS4 platform is still garnering support from many users.” Nintendo , the Switch Lite, but that announcement was after the end of the June quarter. The company has , with numerous users reporting problems with the Switch controller. reported Tuesday that the Switch can now run Android apps, thanks to an unofficial port. Nintendo, based in Japan, has its North American headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Across town, Microsoft’s gaming segment was . This unit, including Xbox hardware, Xbox Live subscriptions and gaming revenue, declined 10 percent year-over-year to $2.05 billion in the quarter, due largely to a 48 percent decrease in Xbox hardware sales. The Xbox One also dates to 2013. Last month, , code-named Project Scarlett, to be released for the 2020 holidays. Across the industry, game console spending in the U.S. is down 20 percent so far this year, according to the NPD research firm. Hardware spending in June dipped 33 percent year-over-year to $235 million, NPD reported.
Microsoft, Amazon, other tech giants forge ahead on healthcare data sharing pledge

Microsoft, Amazon, other tech giants forge ahead on healthcare data sharing pledge

3:39am, 31st July, 2019
Executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM on stage at the CMS Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference in August 2018. From left: Dean Garfield, Alec Chalmers, Mark Dudman, Peter Lee and Greg Moore. (Microsoft Photo) This past August, executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce to promote data sharing in healthcare. Nearly a year later, the world’s largest tech companies aren’t showing any signs of slowing. Today, the tech giants renewed their commitment to healthcare data sharing standards with a new joint statement that highlighted the past year’s progress. They also put their weight behind a to update rules governing health data by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “As a technology community, we believe that a forward-thinking API strategy as outlined in the proposed rules will advance the ability for all organizations to build and deploy novel applications to the benefit of patients, care providers, and administrators alike,” the companies wrote in their shared pledge, which you can read below. But the tech heavyweights aren’t just promoting data sharing standards — they’re helping to define them. “My team is looking at gaps in the interoperability landscape and capabilities that organizations are still missing,” Josh Mandel, chief architect at Microsoft Healthcare, told GeekWire. Once identified, Mandel said the team can start to address those gaps through the development of new standards. As an example, they’re looking at ways to improve how streaming data is captured from medical devices. Update, July 30, 3 p.m. PT: In addition to the pledge, a coalition of big tech companies and healthcare industry names — including Apple, Humana, and the State of Washington — today announced that they would be that give patients access to their claims data. The idea is to let people access their past healthcare information on the app of their choice, which they can use to inform new providers or make decisions related to insurance coverage. The tech giants have much to gain from opening up healthcare data. As proof of this, the joint statement was preceded by news that electronic health record (EHR) vendor Cerner . That’s a major win for AWS, since Cerner more than a quarter of the market for EHR systems, which serve as the nexus for patient data within hospitals. Cerner said that modernizing its platform would clear the way for more APIs that can be built to leverage healthcare data. Microsoft has been to convince developers in the healthcare industry to build on its platforms. The company built an Azure API for FHIR, which is a set of standards that codify how healthcare data should be structured. Last month, , and it has also contributed open-source software that makes it easier to implement these standards. Progress highlights from the other companies include: Google a beta version of its Cloud Healthcare API. Salesforce continues to its Health Cloud offering. Oracle has FHIR standards to collect data for clinical trials. You can read the full text of the renewed pledge below. As healthcare evolves across the globe, so does our ability to improve the health and wellness of communities. Patients, providers, and health plans are striving for more value-based care, more engaging user experiences, and broader application of machine learning to assist clinicians in diagnosis and patient care. Too often, however, patient data are inconsistently formatted, incomplete, unavailable, or missing – which can limit access to the best possible care. Equipping patients and caregivers with information and insights derived from raw data has the potential to yield significantly better outcomes. But without a robust network of clinical information, even the best people and technology may not reach their potential. Interoperability requires the ability to share clinical information across systems, networks, and care providers. Barriers to data interoperability sit at the core of many process problems. We believe that better interoperability will unlock improvements in individual and population-level care coordination, delivery, and management. As such, we support efforts from ONC and CMS to champion greater interoperability and patient access. This year’s proposed rules focus on the use of HL7® FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) as an open standard for electronically exchanging healthcare information. FHIR builds on concepts and best-practices from other standards to define a comprehensive, secure, and semantically-extensible specification for interoperability. The FHIR community features multidisciplinary collaboration and public channels where developers interact and contribute. We’ve been excited to use and contribute to many FHIR-focused, multi-language tools that work to solve real-world implementation challenges. We are especially proud to highlight a set of open-source tools including: Google’s FHIR protocol buffers and Apigee Health APIx, Microsoft’s FHIR Server for Azure, Cerner’s FHIR integration for Apache Spark, a serverless reference architecture for FHIR APIs on AWS, Salesforce/Mulesoft’s Catalyst Accelerator for Healthcare templates, and IBM’s Apache Spark service. Beyond the production of new tools, we have also proudly participated in developing new specifications including the Bulk Data $export operation (and recent work on an $import operation), Subscriptions, and analytical SQL projections. All of these capabilities demonstrate the strength and adaptability of the FHIR specification. Moreover, through connectathons, community events, and developer conferences, our engineering teams are committed to the continued improvement of the FHIR ecosystem. Our engineering organizations have previously supported the maturation of standards in other fields and we believe FHIR version R4 — a normative release — provides an essential and appropriate target for ongoing investments in interoperability. We have seen the early promise of standards-based APIs from market leading Health IT systems, and are excited about a future where such capabilities are universal. Together, we operate some of the largest technical infrastructure across the globe serving many healthcare and non-healthcare systems alike. Through that experience, we recognize the scale and complexity of the task at hand. We believe that the techniques required to meet the objectives of ONC and CMS are available today and can be delivered cost-effectively with well-engineered systems. At Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce, we are fortunate to work with many teams and partners that draw on experiences across industries to support and accelerate the delivery of FHIR APIs in healthcare. Moreover, we are committed to introducing tools for the healthcare developer community. After the proposed rule takes effect, we commit to offering technical guidance based on our work including solution architecture diagrams, system narratives, and reference implementations to accelerate deployments for all industry stakeholders. We will work diligently to ensure these blueprints provide a clear and robust path to achieving the spirit of an API-first strategy for healthcare interoperability. As a technology community, we believe that a forward-thinking API strategy as outlined in the proposed rules will advance the ability for all organizations to build and deploy novel applications to the benefit of patients, care providers, and administrators alike. ONC and CMS’s continued leadership, thoughtful rules, and embrace of open standards help move us decisively in that direction. Signed, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce
Microsoft, Amazon, other tech giants forge ahead on healthcare data sharing pledge

Microsoft, Amazon, other tech giants forge ahead on healthcare data sharing pledge

3:39am, 31st July, 2019
Executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and IBM on stage at the CMS Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference in August 2018. From left: Dean Garfield, Alec Chalmers, Mark Dudman, Peter Lee and Greg Moore. (Microsoft Photo) This past August, executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, Oracle, and Salesforce to promote data sharing in healthcare. Nearly a year later, the world’s largest tech companies aren’t showing any signs of slowing. Today, the tech giants renewed their commitment to healthcare data sharing standards with a new joint statement that highlighted the past year’s progress. They also put their weight behind a to update rules governing health data by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “As a technology community, we believe that a forward-thinking API strategy as outlined in the proposed rules will advance the ability for all organizations to build and deploy novel applications to the benefit of patients, care providers, and administrators alike,” the companies wrote in their shared pledge, which you can read below. But the tech heavyweights aren’t just promoting data sharing standards — they’re helping to define them. “My team is looking at gaps in the interoperability landscape and capabilities that organizations are still missing,” Josh Mandel, chief architect at Microsoft Healthcare, told GeekWire. Once identified, Mandel said the team can start to address those gaps through the development of new standards. As an example, they’re looking at ways to improve how streaming data is captured from medical devices. Update, July 30, 3 p.m. PT: In addition to the pledge, a coalition of big tech companies and healthcare industry names — including Apple, Humana, and the State of Washington — today announced that they would be that give patients access to their claims data. The idea is to let people access their past healthcare information on the app of their choice, which they can use to inform new providers or make decisions related to insurance coverage. The tech giants have much to gain from opening up healthcare data. As proof of this, the joint statement was preceded by news that electronic health record (EHR) vendor Cerner . That’s a major win for AWS, since Cerner more than a quarter of the market for EHR systems, which serve as the nexus for patient data within hospitals. Cerner said that modernizing its platform would clear the way for more APIs that can be built to leverage healthcare data. Microsoft has been to convince developers in the healthcare industry to build on its platforms. The company built an Azure API for FHIR, which is a set of standards that codify how healthcare data should be structured. Last month, , and it has also contributed open-source software that makes it easier to implement these standards. Progress highlights from the other companies include: Google a beta version of its Cloud Healthcare API. Salesforce continues to its Health Cloud offering. Oracle has FHIR standards to collect data for clinical trials. You can read the full text of the renewed pledge below. As healthcare evolves across the globe, so does our ability to improve the health and wellness of communities. Patients, providers, and health plans are striving for more value-based care, more engaging user experiences, and broader application of machine learning to assist clinicians in diagnosis and patient care. Too often, however, patient data are inconsistently formatted, incomplete, unavailable, or missing – which can limit access to the best possible care. Equipping patients and caregivers with information and insights derived from raw data has the potential to yield significantly better outcomes. But without a robust network of clinical information, even the best people and technology may not reach their potential. Interoperability requires the ability to share clinical information across systems, networks, and care providers. Barriers to data interoperability sit at the core of many process problems. We believe that better interoperability will unlock improvements in individual and population-level care coordination, delivery, and management. As such, we support efforts from ONC and CMS to champion greater interoperability and patient access. This year’s proposed rules focus on the use of HL7® FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) as an open standard for electronically exchanging healthcare information. FHIR builds on concepts and best-practices from other standards to define a comprehensive, secure, and semantically-extensible specification for interoperability. The FHIR community features multidisciplinary collaboration and public channels where developers interact and contribute. We’ve been excited to use and contribute to many FHIR-focused, multi-language tools that work to solve real-world implementation challenges. We are especially proud to highlight a set of open-source tools including: Google’s FHIR protocol buffers and Apigee Health APIx, Microsoft’s FHIR Server for Azure, Cerner’s FHIR integration for Apache Spark, a serverless reference architecture for FHIR APIs on AWS, Salesforce/Mulesoft’s Catalyst Accelerator for Healthcare templates, and IBM’s Apache Spark service. Beyond the production of new tools, we have also proudly participated in developing new specifications including the Bulk Data $export operation (and recent work on an $import operation), Subscriptions, and analytical SQL projections. All of these capabilities demonstrate the strength and adaptability of the FHIR specification. Moreover, through connectathons, community events, and developer conferences, our engineering teams are committed to the continued improvement of the FHIR ecosystem. Our engineering organizations have previously supported the maturation of standards in other fields and we believe FHIR version R4 — a normative release — provides an essential and appropriate target for ongoing investments in interoperability. We have seen the early promise of standards-based APIs from market leading Health IT systems, and are excited about a future where such capabilities are universal. Together, we operate some of the largest technical infrastructure across the globe serving many healthcare and non-healthcare systems alike. Through that experience, we recognize the scale and complexity of the task at hand. We believe that the techniques required to meet the objectives of ONC and CMS are available today and can be delivered cost-effectively with well-engineered systems. At Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce, we are fortunate to work with many teams and partners that draw on experiences across industries to support and accelerate the delivery of FHIR APIs in healthcare. Moreover, we are committed to introducing tools for the healthcare developer community. After the proposed rule takes effect, we commit to offering technical guidance based on our work including solution architecture diagrams, system narratives, and reference implementations to accelerate deployments for all industry stakeholders. We will work diligently to ensure these blueprints provide a clear and robust path to achieving the spirit of an API-first strategy for healthcare interoperability. As a technology community, we believe that a forward-thinking API strategy as outlined in the proposed rules will advance the ability for all organizations to build and deploy novel applications to the benefit of patients, care providers, and administrators alike. ONC and CMS’s continued leadership, thoughtful rules, and embrace of open standards help move us decisively in that direction. Signed, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce
Microsoft will spend $100M to open its first development center in Africa

Microsoft will spend $100M to open its first development center in Africa

2:40pm, 13th May, 2019
Nairobi, Kenya. (BigStock Image) Microsoft will spend more than $100 million over the next five years to open and hire 500 people within four years. The Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant Monday that it plans to open initial offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria, hiring 100 total employees by the end of 2019. It will recruit engineers working on technologies such as AI, machine learning, and mixed reality. Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum unique to Africa, with access to the Africa Development Centre provided to graduates. “The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent,” Phil Spencer, executive vice president at Microsoft and executive sponsor of the ADC, said in a statement. “It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.” Microsoft opened its first office in Africa nearly three decades ago. It also runs a program called , which launched in 2013 and is “Microsoft’s business and market development engine on the continent.” Microsoft became the first of the major cloud providers to provide local service to Africa when it its South African data centers online in March. The company said it expects demand for cloud computing services in Africa to triple over the next few years, and local cloud availability could spur a startup boom given the experimental possibilities afforded by cloud computing services. Amazon Web Services plans last October to bring a South African data center online in 2020. There were 442 tech hubs in Africa, up 50 percent from 2016, according to the . Africa accounts for more than half the total number of mobile financial services users worldwide and its smartphone connections are expected to double from 2015 to 2022, according to a recent story titled “The Rapid Growth of Digital Business in Africa.”
Microsoft unveils decentralized identity protocol that works atop the Bitcoin blockchain

Microsoft unveils decentralized identity protocol that works atop the Bitcoin blockchain

12:36pm, 13th May, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Build 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)Microsoft introduced a new open-source protocol Monday that is designed to hurdle performance issues when trying to use blockchain networks to verify identity at scale. ION, or Identify Overlay Network, is based on an earlier blockchain project built by Microsoft and several partners called Sidetree. ION runs on the Bitcoin blockchain and makes it possible to verify a much higher number of identity verification requests than current blockchain systems — valued for their decentralized nature — can handle using current technology, Microsoft’s Daniel Buchner, senior program manager for Microsoft Identity Division, . Ever since the meteoric rise of Bitcoin put the blockchain on the map, tech companies have been looking for ways to use for purposes other than wild currency speculation. The blockchain allows two parties to securely and directly exchange data using cryptographic protocols to verify their identities, rather than relying on a central clearing house to do that verification work. However, this process is pretty slow compared to modern systems — like — that companies use to verify the identity of employees signing onto their corporate networks, for example. “While blockchains unlock the ability to create highly secure, censorship resistant identity systems, their transactional volumes are severely limited when compared to traditional systems,” Buchner wrote in the post. ION was designed to speed up that process without losing any of the decentralized features of the blockchain. It allows anyone to create that they own, manage, and control as part of a identity management system. , which tracks this world far more closely than we do, said this is the first time any major tech company has built something like this over the Bitcoin blockchain. According to its analysis, ION could have major ripple effects across the enterprise tech landscape if it gets integrated into Microsoft cloud services through Azure as an identity-management standard. Microsoft was careful to emphasize that ION was an “early preview” released “rough edges and all,” so it will likely take some time before companies are willing to bet on this technology. Developers interested in kicking the tires or contributing to the ION project .
Which tech giant do you trust? How Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are doing privacy

Which tech giant do you trust? How Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are doing privacy

11:07am, 11th May, 2019
There’s a common theme running through the spring season of developer conferences and tech events: trust and privacy. With the tech industry faceing a backlash from consumers and regulators, tech giants including Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are looking to assure everyone that they’re listening. But each company is approaching the issue in a very different way, and with a very different track record on the topic. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we listen to the CEOs of these companies talk about privacy, and analyze the different approaches. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in : “But we also share a deep responsibility together. It starts with us as platform providers, but we have a collective responsibility. A few years ago when we started talking about it, it felt a bit prosaic to talk about responsibility in tech conferences where it’s all about the glitz of technology, but it’s no longer the case to us really thinking about the trust in everything that we build in the technology we build is so core.” Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Flickr Photo / Maurizio Pesce) Google CEO Sundar Pichai talking about Google Maps : “In addition to finding easy access to your privacy controls, you’ll find a new feature, incognito mode. Incognito mode has been a popular feature in Chrome since it launched, and we are bringing this to maps. While in incognito in Maps, your activity, like the places you search and navigate to, won’t be linked to your account. We want to make it easy to enter in and out of incognito. And maps will soon join chrome and YouTube with support for incognito and we’ll be bringing it to search as well this year.” Apple CEO Tim Cook promotes privacy at the company’s recent product event. Apple CEO Tim Cook discussing Apple News : “We felt we could make a difference in the way that news is experienced and understood. A place where the news would come from trusted sources and be curated by experts.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 developer conference. (Facebook Photo) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg : “Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves. It’s easier to feel like you belong when you’re part of smaller communities and amongst your closest friends. So it’s no surprise that the fastest ways that we’re all communicating online are private messaging in small groups and in stories. As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of, of intimacy more than ever. So that’s why I believe that the future is private.” Zuckerberg’s comments were a radical departure from the company’s recent strategy, but in some ways . But the Facebook CEO is having a hard time convincing the industry and the public that he’s genuine in his sudden concern for the issue. PREVIOUSLY: Microsoft is coming to these issues with the most experience and the least to lose. The company fought its own battles with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy back in the day, and it doesn’t rely on advertising revenue as the main driver of its business, having shifted from traditional software licensing revenue to subscription-based software and services. Apple is in a similar position, making most of its money from devices and paid subscription services, which makes it easier for the company to tout privacy as a competitive advantage. Google’s business is largely based on advertising revenue, and because of that it’s walking a fine line as it introduces new privacy controls. But Pichai went public with a thinly veiled criticism of Apple on this topic in , writing, “Our mission compels us to take the same approach to privacy. For us, that means privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services. Privacy must be equally available to everyone in the world.” Listen to the full podcast for more details and our analysis. You can play the show above, or subscribe to GeekWire in your favorite podcast app. Other stories covered on this episode:
Azure Red Hat OpenShift, a Kubernetes service jointly managed by Microsoft and Red Hat, is now available

Azure Red Hat OpenShift, a Kubernetes service jointly managed by Microsoft and Red Hat, is now available

3:22pm, 7th May, 2019
(Red Hat Photo) Companies interested in using Kubernetes to help manage their containerized applications have a new option from Microsoft and Red Hat that should ease them into the notoriously complex world of Kubernetes. Azure Red Hat OpenShift is now generally available, the two companies plans to announce Tuesday at the in Boston. Fresh off his keynote appearance on Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is expected to join Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst on stage to show off the latest installment in the partnership between the two companies. EARLIER: is Red Hat’s container-management software product based around the open-source Docker and Kubernetes projects, and it’s designed for mainstream to late-adopter enterprise computing customers that want the benefits of containers without the hassle of managing them. It’s available both as a cloud service and for on-premises servers, but the launch of Azure Red Hat OpenShift represents a new direction for Red Hat, said Satish Balakrishnan, vice president of product management, in an interview with GeekWire. “We’re actually creating more choice but also creating a new model, where we’re offering this managed offering via Microsoft Azure. It’s the first of its kind in the world, in terms of a jointly engineered, supported and operated OpenShift platform,” Balakrishnan said. The two companies . OpenShift is available on other public clouds, but Microsoft and Red Hat will jointly manage and support this service on Azure and customers will be able to pay for it through a single unified bill from Azure under a revenue-sharing agreement. “A lot of the customers who we’re talking to that are interested in containers and Kubernetes are coming from a Red Hat background,” said Gabe Monroy, partner program manager at Microsoft. “They’re looking for OpenShift to help them in their journey to a more cloud-native world.” In general, a lot of those customers built applications around Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) a few years back and are looking for ways to modernize their infrastructure. They’re one of the biggest driving forces behind the embrace of hybrid cloud computing strategies by cloud computing providers, who have recognized that lots of companies have applications they can’t or won’t move to the cloud and need products that bridge the gap between their data centers and new applications built on cloud services. Red Hat engineers were given access to some of Microsoft Azure’s internal customer-support technology in order to make sure OpenShift would work as a jointly managed product, Monroy said. Red Hat and Microsoft also plan to jointly manage and support other Red Hat products on Azure, including RHEL, Ansible, and a combination of RHEL and SQL Server. , which should be the last one Red Hat puts on as an independent company while awaiting regulatory approval of . That approval is expected to come through in the second half of the year.