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Microsoft announces new partnerships, cloud start-up initiative

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Mumbai: US-based technology major Microsoft on Thursday announced a string of partnerships, programmes and products claimed to help Indian organisations and governments to explore unchartered business areas and enrich customer and citizen experiences.

The newly launched local Microsoft Cloud and new devices will also catalyse digital transformation, the company said.

The tech giant, based in Redmond, California, announced partnerships with three e-commerce players – Justdial, Paytm and Snapdeal – and launched a special cloud initiative for start-ups aligned to smart cities at its first of its kind technology conference being held here.

“At Microsoft, we strive to empower every Indian citizen and every business and government organization to achieve more,” Satya Nadella, the Indian-born chief exevutive of Microsoft, said at the conference.

“With the newly launched Microsoft Cloud and with Surface Pro 4, our customers here in India have the digital technology they need to seize incredible new growth and opportunity on a global scale,” he added.

According to the company, Justdial and Microsoft will explore the use of Bing and cloud-based analytics to provide and enhance customer experience.

“Paytm and Microsoft are working on three core areas of partnership. The companies will integrate the Paytm app and Paytm Wallet into Cortana to enable consumers to pay for their utility bills and carry out mobile transactions easily. Paytm will use Office 365 for their merchants’ inventory and account management,” it said in a statement.

“Lastly, Paytm will facilitate and support Microsoft service sales via their merchant network,” it added.

Justifying the partnerships, Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India, said: “Cloud and mobile technologies are already galvanising Indian industry. We will demonstrate that technology in the hands of brilliant people can create magic.”

Snapdeal will work with Microsoft Cloud platforms to create a digital automotive dealership that is expected to change the way customers make automotive buying decisions.

In addition, Microsoft also said that start-ups can now apply for individual access up to $120,000 (Rs.80 lakh) worth of Azure computing to help India’s smart cities explore solutions and run smart city digital pilots.

“Cities can also apply for access to these services and solutions on Azure through a new portal which connects start-ups with cities and their needs. This initiative is anticipated to impact over 50 smart cities in the next year through a catalogue of over 50 start-ups and ISV solutions,” the company added.

(IANS)

 

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

Also Read- Dell and Alienware to Launch New PC Gaming Devices to India

According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)