Tag Archives: Microsoft
Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Microsoft logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking.
Microsoft had recently detected attacks, which occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said here in a blog post.
The attacks, which targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia, are believed to have originated from a group called Strontium, the company added.
The AccountGuard service will also be available in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.
Ahead of a critical European Parliament election in May, German officials are trying to bolster cyber security after a far-reaching data breach by a 20-year-old student laid bare the vulnerability of Europe’s largest economy.
Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips
When the Internet became popular in early 1990s, Microsoft was late to the partly. In a desperate catch-up move, Microsoft decided to drive Netscape (the most popular browser of the time) out of business by grafting Internet Explorer onto Windows.
The U.S. government slapped Microsoft with an anti-monopoly lawsuit, which hung around in court for about a decade, by which time Netscape had become an historical footnote, rendering the issue moot.
By that time, though, Microsoft no longer dominated high tech. Industry growth was shifting to up-and-comers like Google and Facebook, as well as a resurgent Apple. And so it remains today: Microsoft is too big to ignore but, frankly, about as exciting as IBM.
All that might change in the next few years, though, according to a recent article in Business Insider. Turns out that Microsoft is quietly testing a product, code-named “Bali,” that would completely disrupt and even destroy the business models of its chief rivals.
Today, online firms gather information about us, and use that information to increase the effectiveness of the ads they display by better targeting them to prospective buyers. Under this business model, Facebook and Google get 90% of the world’s online ad revenue.
Microsoft’s Bali turns that equation around. With Bali, you own your personal online data, which you can (if you choose) sell to the companies that want to target you with ads. Facebook and Google would only know what you want them to know.
Everything about you would, by default, be private. If you wanted it to remain so, fine. But you’d also have the choice to tell Facebook, Google and other online firms that “you can track me and sell ads to me but only if I get a piece of the action.”
In short, you’d get paid to use the Internet.
Will it work? Well, in the wake of multiple privacy scandals, this seems like an idea whose time has definitely come. And there’s no question whatsoever that Microsoft has the technical chops to develop and bulletproof the environment.
On the downside, though, Microsoft’s most successful products (Windows, Xbox, Azure, etc.) are imitations of innovations from other firms. The company’s track record launching something completely new is spotty, at best.
Still, if Microsoft pulls this off and Bali catches on, Microsoft might easily find itself in the same enviable position of massive market dominance it had back before the Internet upended their erstwhile Windows monopoly.
Frankly, I’m not sure I want Microsoft to have that kind of power. I am sure of this, though: if a single company is destined to dominate the future of the Web, I’d damn sight rather it be Microsoft than Facebook.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is investing in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as part of a partnership that the two companies said will allow them to collaborate on technology projects, including big data and artificial intelligence.
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
The companies did not disclose the deal value.
Grab had earlier said it planned to raise roughly $ 3 billion by year-end, of which it has already raised $ 2 billion.
Last week, Reuters reported that existing backer SoftBank Group Corp was closing in on a deal to invest about $ 500 million in Grab as part of the funding round.
Sources told Reuters that Grab is likely to tap strategic and financial firms for the remainder of the funding.
Before Tuesday’s deal, it raised $ 2 billion in 2018, led by Toyota Motor Corp and financial firms, including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital.
Singapore-headquartered Grab has taken its ride-hailing business to 235 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia in the past six years.
It is looking to transform itself into a leading consumer technology group, offering services such as food and parcel deliveries, electronic money transfers, micro-loans and mobile payments, besides ride-hailing.
Grab will work with Microsoft to explore mobile facial recognition, image recognition and computer vision technologies to improve the pick-up experience, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
For example, passengers will be able to take a photo of their current location and have it translated into an actual address for the driver.
Other areas of the five year-agreement include Grab adopting Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred cloud platform and using it for data analytics and fraud detection services.
Southeast Asia, home to some 640 million people, is shaping up as a battleground for global technology giants such as Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd, JD.com, Alphabet Inc’s Google and SoftBank, particularly in ride-hailing, online payments and e-commerce.
Competition for Grab is heating up with Indonesian rival Go-Jek also expanding in the region.
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Stephen Coates
(Reuters) – Retail giant Walmart Inc said on Tuesday it entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp for wider use of cloud and artificial intelligence technology, in a sign of major rivals of Amazon.com Inc coming together.
The five-year agreement will leverage the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, to make shopping faster and easier for customers, the Bentonville Arkansas-based company said.
As part of the partnership, Walmart and Microsoft engineers will collaborate to migrate a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure, Walmart added.
While Walmart is doubling down on its e-commerce presence to better compete with Amazon, Microsoft has been working on a technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, Reuters reported last month.
Microsoft’s technology aims to help retailers keep pace with Amazon Go, the ecommerce giant’s highly automated store format.
The Windows software maker has also shown the sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration, Reuters reported.
Through the partnership, Walmart plans to defend itself from Amazon’s retail ambitions and expertise in data, and boost its online presence.
Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier
North Korea has been cited by several governments and organizations for its hacking activities. Now, a new study of network data shows much of the technology North Korea employs for hacking comes from the U.S.
Despite trade sanctions, North Korea’s government has found a way to obtain products from Apple, Microsoft, and Korea-based Samsung to carry out cyberattacks around the world, researchers at cybersecurity intelligence company Recorded Future revealed on Wednesday. The company found that North Korea is using Windows 10, Apple’s iPhone X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus, among other technologies, to conduct operations. However, most of the technology North Korea is using is older. For instance, Recorded Future found an iPhone 4S and Windows 7, among other products, still in use.
North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades. During that time, the country’s economy has suffered and the U.S., among others, has imposed sanctions that limit a company’s ability to export to and sell in North Korea.
To circumvent those sanctions, according to Recorded Future, North Korea has engaged in a variety of activities to obtain access to U.S. and Korean technologies.
In its report, Recorded Future said that North Korea has created fake addresses and names to sidestep sanctions — and also used shell companies and aliases outside of its borders to obtain equipment and bring it back. North Koreans living in countries where equipment from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung can be obtained legally also play a role in the effort, according to the report.
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“Technology resellers, North Koreans abroad, and the Kim regime’s extensive criminal networks all facilitate the transfer of American technology for daily use by one of the world’s most repressive governments,” Recorded Future wrote in its report.
In other cases, however, North Korea has obtained equipment legally. Since 2002, in fact, the U.S. has exported nearly $ 484,000 in computers and electronics to North Korea.
But, since that’s hardly enough for all of the ruling party, hacking efforts, and “elites” in the country who need the technology, North Korea has employed the other schemes, Recorded Future said.
The data sheds some light on the secretive country and could explain to some degree how it’s been able to pull off some major cyberattacks. North Korea’s hackers have previously been linked to the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers around the world. North Korea was also accused of hacking Sony in 2014.
“Unless there’s a globally unified effort to impose comprehensive sanctions on the DPRK, and multilateral cooperation to ensure that these sanctions cannot be thwarted by a web of shell companies,” Recorded Future wrote, “North Korea will be able to continue its cyberwarfare operations unabated with the aid of Western technology.”
(Reuters) – Mapping startup Mapbox Inc said on Wednesday it is teaming up with Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and Softbank Group Corp’s ARM Holdings chip unit to deepen its push into providing maps for self-driving cars.
Mapbox does not make a mapping app itself. It instead competes against Alphabet Inc’s Google Maps and HERE Technologies, the map firm owned by a group of companies, to provide the underlying maps inside of other apps. Mapbox maps are found in Snap Inc’s messaging app and the Instacart grocery delivery app.
But the Washington, D.C.-founded startup, which has raised about $ 228 million from Softbank’s Vision Fund, DFJ Growth and others, has been pushing into providing tools for software developers who are making the software for self-driving cars.
“Our main focus has been in making maps for humans,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Gundersen told Reuters in an interview. But maps for self-driving cars are read by the cars’ computers and need more detailed data, he said.
At an event it held for software developers in San Francisco on Wednesday, Mapbox announced a handful of partnerships designed to make its technology more useful for self-driving cars.
One of Mapbox’s products is software that lets either a mobile phone or a car’s computer see the road as the car drives, picking out things like lanes or speed-limit signs. The company said it will weave that software together with an offering from Microsoft.
The combination will let drivers in the car see real-time events like speed limit changes but then split off some of the camera data and send it to Microsoft’s cloud computer service, Azure. Once there, the data can be processed later by powerful servers to help improve the algorithms that help self-driving cars navigate.
Separately, Mapbox is also working with chipmaker ARM to optimize its self-driving vision software so features detected by ARM’s chips can be recognized as lanes, pedestrians and road signs even faster. In one form or another, ARM’s chips power the majority of mobile phones, tablets and other mobile computers that are making their way into cars.
Mapbox is also pairing with Intel’s Mobileye self-driving unit, which the chipmaker purchased last year for $ 15.3 billion.
Mobileye is building its own detailed database of road features that is stored in the cloud. Mapbox has built software that will live in cars to beam down Mobileye’s data without hogging up mobile data bandwidth. Cars that use the system will get a constant map ahead of about 200 meters (660 ft), providing a key backup to the car’s onboard sensors, the companies said.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Marguerita Choy
The U.S. government’s Supreme Court battle with Microsoft Corp over whether technology companies can be forced to hand over data stored overseas could be nearing its end, after federal prosecutors asked that the case be dismissed.
President Donald Trump on March 22 signed a provision into law making it clear that U.S. judges can issue warrants for such data, while giving companies an avenue to object if the request conflicts with foreign law.
“This case is now moot,” the U.S. Department of Justice said, citing the newly passed legislation, in a 16-page court filing on Friday that requested the dismissal.
The Supreme Court on Feb. 27 heard arguments in the case, which had been one of the most closely watched of the high court’s current term. Some justices urged Congress to pass a law to resolve the matter.
Microsoft and the Justice Department had been locked in a dispute over how U.S. prosecutors seek access to data held on overseas computer servers owned by American companies. The case involved Microsoft’s challenge to a domestic warrant issued by a U.S. judge for emails stored on a Microsoft server in Dublin relating to a drug-trafficking investigation.
The bipartisan new law, known as the Cloud Act, was supported by Microsoft, other major technology companies and the Trump administration. But civil liberties groups opposed it, saying it lacked sufficient privacy protections.
Microsoft, which has 100 data centers in 40 countries, was the first American company to challenge a domestic search warrant seeking data held outside the United States. The Microsoft customer whose emails were sought told the company he was based in Ireland when he signed up for his account.
A representative for Microsoft did not immediately return requests for comment on the Justice Department’s filing.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Alex Dobuzinskis; Additional reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis
The race to become the first public U.S. company valued at $ 1 trillion has largely been seen as Apple versus Google, with a recent surge by Amazon putting the e-commerce giant in the conversation as well. But on Monday, analysts at Morgan Stanley made the case that Microsoft has a good chance of reaching the $ 1 trillion mark.
With the company’s shares trading around $ 87 at Friday’s close, Microsoft had a stock market value of $ 680 billion. To reach $ 1 trillion, with some stock buybacks in the mix, its shares would have to hit almost $ 130. That’s plausible within the next three years, Morgan Stanley analysts Keith Weiss and Melissa Franchi wrote on Monday in a detailed report on Microsoft’s various lines of business called “Plotting the Path to $ 1 Trillion.”
“With Public Cloud adoption expected to grow from 21% of workloads today to 44% in the next three years, Microsoft looks poised to maintain a dominant position in a public cloud market we expect to more than double in size to (more than) $ 250 billion dollars,” the analysts wrote.
Microsoft shares jumped 5% to $ 91.90 in midday trading on Monday after the report came out. With a midday market cap of $ 707 billion, Microsoft almost exactly tied Google (goog) and trailed only Apple (aapl) at almost $ 849 billion and Amazon (amzn) at $ 733 billion.
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The software company run by Satya Nadella could impress investors enough to reach a $ 1 trillion value within three years by increasing revenue to $ 136 billion in its fiscal year 2020, up 41% from $ 97 billion last year, and operating income to $ 46 billion, up 58% from $ 29 billion, the Morgan Stanley analysts forecast. Nadella took over for CEO Steve Ballmer in 2014 and immediately prioritized the company’s cloud businesses, while getting out of distracting sidelines like making phones. It has worked so far, with Microsoft’s stock price nearly tripling since Nadella assumed the top job.
The key to reaching the needed level of additional growth would be Microsoft’s booming cloud business, both via its Office 365 subscription software and its Azure cloud platform for businesses, analysts Weiss and Franchi wrote. At the same time, shrinking sales of traditional Windows PCs and servers would need to stabilize.
That could happen as the number of corporate users of Office 365 could almost double from 105 million at the end of 2017 to 204 million at the end of 2020, the analysts said, with revenue from the popular software subscription package increasing from $ 10.7 billion to $ 25.6 billion. Revenue will compound even more quickly at Azure, growing from $ 3.9 billion last year to $ 21.6 billion in 2020. Altogether, total cloud revenue at Microsoft—which includes Office 365, Azure, search ad revenue and a few other items—should grow from $ 22.3 billion last year to $ 58.5 billion in 2020.
The analysts warned that they could also be underestimating Microsoft’s (msft) growth if its Xbox gaming business expands faster than expected, the company’s tax rate drops more than Microsoft forecast, or the company increases purchases of its own stock.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Women at Microsoft Corp working in U.S.-based technical jobs filed 238 internal complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, according to court filings made public on Monday.
The figure was cited by plaintiffs suing Microsoft for systematically denying pay raises or promotions to women at the world’s largest software company. Microsoft denies it had any such policy.
The lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys are pushing to proceed as a class action lawsuit, which could cover more than 8,000 women.
More details about Microsoft’s human resources practices were made public on Monday in legal filings submitted as part of that process.
The two sides are exchanging documents ahead of trial, which has not been scheduled.
Out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women at Microsoft, only one was deemed“founded” by the company, according to the unsealed court filings.
Attorneys for the women described the number of complaints as“shocking” in the court filings, and said the response by Microsoft’s investigations team was“lackluster.”
Companies generally keep information about internal discrimination complaints private, making it unclear how the number of complaints at Microsoft compares to those at its competitors.
In a statement on Tuesday, Microsoft said it had a robust system to investigate concerns raised by its employees, and that it wanted them to speak up.
Microsoft budgets more than $ 55 million a year to promote diversity and inclusion, it said in court filings. The company had about 74,000 U.S. employees at the end of 2017.
Microsoft said the plaintiffs cannot cite one example of a pay or promotion problem in which Microsoft’s investigations team should have found a violation of company policy but did not.
U.S. District Judge James Robart has not yet ruled on the plaintiffs’ request for class action status.
A Reuters review of federal lawsuits filed between 2006 and 2016 revealed hundreds containing sexual harassment allegations where companies used common civil litigation tactics to keep potentially damning information under wraps.
Microsoft had argued that the number of womens’ human resources complaints should be secret because publicizing the outcomes could deter employees from reporting future abuses.
A court-appointed official found that scenario“far too remote a competitive or business harm” to justify keeping the information sealed.
Reporting by Dan Levine; Additional reporting by Salvador Rodriguez; Editing by Bill Rigby, Edwina Gibbs and Bernadette Baum
Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.
The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.
News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.
Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.
Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.
Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.
Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.
Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.