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Apple Confirms It’s Deal With Oprah Winfrey For Digital Entertainment

Winfrey and Apple will create original programs

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Actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London, March 13, 2018.
Actress Oprah Winfrey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Wrinkle In Time' in London, March 13, 2018. VOA

Apple Inc on Friday announced a multiyear deal with Oprah Winfrey to create original programming, a coup in the battle for A-list talent and projects in the booming digital entertainment market.

“Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple gave no details of the type of programming that Winfrey would create, the value of the deal, or when it might be released. Winfrey had no immediate comment.

Winfrey, 64, an influential movie and TV producer who also publishes a magazine, is expected to appear on screen, a source familiar with the deal said.

Apple has not said how it plans to distribute its programming, to which it has committed an initial $1 billion. The partnership is the biggest original content deal struck by Apple so far as it aims to compete with Netflix Inc,

Amazon.com Inc and Time Warner Inc’s HBO. Netflix, which has said it will spend up to $8 billion on programming this year, in May struck a multiyear deal with former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to produce films, documentaries and other content.

Harpo Inc. Chairman Oprah Winfrey
Harpo Inc. Chairman Oprah Winfrey, flickr

Netflix, the world’s leading streaming entertainment provider, has also lured prolific television producers Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes away from broadcast television.

Amazon said in November it had bought the global television rights to “The Lord of the Rings” and would produce a multi-season series that explores new storylines preceding author J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Earlier this week, Amazon also announced a development deal with
Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman’s production company for movies and television.

For its part, Apple in November ordered two seasons of a dramatic series with Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, looking at the lives of people working on a morning television show.

Other projects Apple has announced include a remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s science fiction anthology series “Amazing Stories,” based on Isaac Asimov’s influential “Foundation” science fiction novels, and a drama from “La La Land” movie director Damian Chazelle.

Under the deal with Winfrey, she will remain chief executive of cable channel OWN, which she launched in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Inc. Winfrey in December extended her contract with OWN through 2025, OWN and Apple said.

Under her contract with OWN, Winfrey can appear on camera on other platforms on a limited basis.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey, flickr

Known in the United States by millions on a first-name basis, Winfrey rose to fame as the host of her own television talk show, using it to build a media empire that spans magazine publishing, movie and television production, cable TV and satellite radio.

Born into poverty, she is one of the world’s wealthiest women and has been nominated for two Academy Awards.

A rousing speech by Winfrey at the Golden Globes awards ceremony in January triggered an online campaign to persuade her to run for U.S. president in 2020.

Also read:“The Oprah Winfrey Show” was my greatest Therapy: Oprah Winfrey

She dismissed the notion, telling InStyle magazine in an interview, “It’s not something that interests me.” (VOA)

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Digital Transformation To Be Accelerated In The North West By Microsoft

Microsoft is the only provider of services across all three clouds in the country - private, public and hybrid cloud.

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Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

To accelerate the digital transformation drive in the North-East, Microsoft on Thursday announced its plans on investing in the education transportation and utilities sectors in the region.

By leveraging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and data, the tech giant aims to enable better citizen service s in North East India, Microsoft India said in a statement.

As part of the initiative, the software giant has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Sikkim promising help to build new age tech capacity among students and faculty in government schools of the state.

Microsoft,
Microsoft currently has 54 Azure Cloud regions — more than AWS and Google combined.

Under the MoU, Microsoft will integrate IT content in the state board curriculum, conduct whole school reforms, grow digital literacy and build teacher capacity through the company programmes like Innovative Schools Programme, Educator Network and Innovative Educator Programme.

“E-governance is the best way to get the benefits of technology to all the residents of North East India and we believe the next step of growth will be to leverage the power of the Cloud, AI IoT and data,” said Manish Prakash, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft India.

Also Read: Commercial Cloud Helps Microsoft Log $32.5 bn in Revenue

Microsoft has been deploying AI and Cloud computing solutions to transform services in different areas including education, agriculture and healthcare in India.

Microsoft is the only provider of services across all three clouds in the country – private, public and hybrid cloud and close to 150 government departments in India are powered by the Microsoft Cloud, the company added. (IANS)