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Microsoft Ending Support For its Smart-band Services

In 2016, its production was discontinued for its often criticised awkward and uncomfortable design

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

Microsoft is ending support for its “Health Dashboard” applications and services for its smart-band fitness tracker. It will refund all users whose devices are still under warranty.

The company is offering $79.99 for Band 1 owners and $175 for Band 2 devices.

“On May 31, the ‘Microsoft Health Dashboard’ site will be shut down and Microsoft Band applications will be removed from the Microsoft Store, Google Play and Apple App store,” the software giant announced via a blog-post on Friday.

Active Microsoft Band users, who have used the band and completed a data sync to the “Health Dashboard” between December 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019 are also eligible for refunds by the company.

It is to be claimed by August 30.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company’s annual conference for software developers. VOA

Although the web connected features will no longer be available, the users can continue to set alarms and track daily health information, activity data, as well as sleep analytics.

“Functionality will be limited to what’s available on the Band device. Resetting the device after the service been discontinued will make it impossible to set up the device again,” the post said.

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Users have been instructed to transfer their data using the export tools on Microsoft’s support site before May 31.

Introduced in 2014, Microsoft Band came with smart-watch and activity-tracker features, developed by the Windows-maker. A second generation was also released.

In 2016, its production was discontinued for its often criticised awkward and uncomfortable design, the media reported. (IANS)

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Women Constitute 29.2% of Microsoft’s Workforce Globally

In technical roles alone, Microsoft has 49 per cent more women, 48 per cent more Hispanic/Latinx, and 67 per cent more African American/Black employees than three years ago

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Women today constitute 29.2 per cent of Microsoft’s workforce globally — an increase of 1.2 percentage points from 2018 — and at leadership levels, they currently represent 37 per cent of the company’s executives responsible for leading a geographic market, the company revealed in its first full “Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019”.

Asians account for 33.3 per cent of employees, up from 31.9 per cent last year.

The data reflects Microsoft family of companies, which includes employees from LinkedIn, GitHub, Compulsion, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, InXile, Obsidian Entertainment, and Undead Labs.

“Taken all together, our broader workforce has grown more than 27 per cent since 2016 before we acquired these companies, and we saw an overall employee population growth of 9.7 per cent from 2018 to 2019,” said the report that came out on Tuesday.

In the US, women earn $1.001 for every $1 earned by their counterparts who are men, and racial and ethnic minorities earn $1.006 for every $1 earned by their white counterparts.

“As we expanded our equal pay data to include data on women and men from the US plus the five largest markets outside the U.S. “collectively representing about 80 per cent of our workforce” we see that women in those combined geographies earn $0.999 for every $1.000 by their counterparts who are men,” explained Lindsay-Rae McIntyre – Chief Diversity Officer, Microsoft.

“At Microsoft, we are committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work for our employees and strive to pay employees equally for substantially similar work,” she added.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

The Microsoft Inclusion Index, shared publicly for the first time, reflects that 88 per cent of employees agree that they experience positive aspects of inclusion at Microsoft.

“With our scale and global reach, this is a positive indicator, but we know we have a responsibility to engage those who are not part of that 88 per cent,” McIntyre added.

Microsoft now have business activity in 190 countries and more than 144,000 employees worldwide.

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“Through acquisitions such as LinkedIn, GitHub, and our game studios, and through the growth of our businesses such as Azure and AI, our broader workforce has grown more than 27 per cent since 2016.

“Without those minimally integrated companies, more than 50 per cent of our Microsoft workforce has been with the company five years or less,” said McIntyre.

In technical roles alone, Microsoft has 49 per cent more women, 48 per cent more Hispanic/Latinx, and 67 per cent more African American/Black employees than three years ago. (IANS)