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Microsoft Becomes The Most Valuable US Company

Microsoft's gaming revenue increased 44 per cent with Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36 per cent while Surface revenue increased 14 per cent

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Microsoft
Microsoft launches e-commerce portal for Telangana's handloom weavers. Pixabay

Microsoft has become the most valuable US company with $753.3 billion in market capitalisation, riding past Apple for the first time since 2010 when it came close to the Cupertino-based tech giant.

Apple, which became the first $1-trillion US company in August, came down to $746.8 billion on Friday, owing to lower-than-expected iPhone sales amid reports of its suppliers cutting cost and workforce.

Amazon with $736.6 billion is currently at third and Alphabet (the parent company of Google) with $725.5 billion is at the fourth spot.

“With Microsoft now overshadowing all three, including Alphabet Inc, the firm now looks to be the most valuable tech company of the Silicon Valley giants,” mspoweruser.com reported.

The investors are now betting big on companies with robust Cloud services and software services which are witnessing an increased demand from big and small enterprises the world over for their digital journey, at a time when giants like Facebook and Google face intense scrutiny for users’ data practices.

Riding on its growing Azure Cloud, gaming and Surface laptop portfolio, Microsoft posted a revenue of $29.1 billion and net income of $8.8 billion for the first quarter of its 2019 financial results.

Revenue was up 19 per cent while net income increased by 34 per cent. Operating income was $10 billion and increased 29 per cent.

“We are off to a great start in fiscal 2019, a result of our innovation and the trust customers are placing in us to power their digital transformation,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

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A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $8.6 billion and increased 24 per cent. Server products and Cloud services revenue increased 28 per cent driven by Azure revenue growth of 76 per cent, Microsoft informed.

Revenue in More Personal Computing was $10.7 billion and increased 15 per cent.

“Windows commercial products and Cloud services revenue increased 12 per cent,” said the company.

Microsoft’s gaming revenue increased 44 per cent with Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36 per cent while Surface revenue increased 14 per cent.

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On the other hand, slower-than-expected demand has reportedly led Apple to direct its top phone assemblers, Foxconn and Pegatron, to halt a planned production boost for iPhone XR, a relatively cost-effective model that hit the shelves late last month.

Foxconn, a Taiwan-based company, would produce around 100,000 fewer units daily to reflect the new demand outlook, down 20-25 per cent from the original optimistic outlook, Japanese financial paper Nikkei reported earlier this week.

The estimates of iPhone XR have been cut by nearly 30 million shipments, according to an Apple analyst.

Ming Chi-Kuo, an Apple analyst working with TF International Securities, said earlier this month that shipment forecast for the iPhone XR has been cut from 100 million units to 70 million units during the product lifecycle. (IANS)

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Microsoft Lays Off News Production Workers; Replace Them With AI

A report suggests that Microsoft has cut off its editorial staff and replaced them with AI

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Microsoft
Microsoft cuts off staff and replaces them with artificial intelligence. Pxabay

Microsoft is reportedly laying off at least 50 news production workers and replacing them with artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to perform their editorial duties.

According to a report in the Seattle Times on Saturday, the roughly 50 employees contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting have been notified “that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30”.

These news production contractors work with Microsoft News, the company’s news content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that like all companies, they evaluate business on a regular basis.

“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.

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All the work, duty and tasks of the workers will be performed by AI. Pixabay

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Some employees told Seattle Times that “MSN will use AI to replace the production work they’d been doing”.

The work includes using algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners, rewrite headlines or adding better photographs or slide shows.

Besides the production work, the contract employees also planned content, maintained the editorial calendars of partner news websites and assigned content to them. (IANS)

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Windows 10: May 2020 Update Features Linux 2, latest Cortana updates

The May 2020 Update of Windows 10 contains feature improvements

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Windows 10
Windows 10 May 2020 update is now live with built-in Linux and Cortana. Pixabay

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update has started to reach customers globally with features like Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 as well as latest Cortana updates.

The biggest under-the-hood change to the May 2020 Update is the inclusion of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), with a custom-built Linux kernel.

The Linux integration in Windows 10 will greatly improve the performance of Microsoft’s Linux subsystem in Windows.

“As the world and people’s routines change, it is important that we focus on meeting the over a billion people around the world relying on Windows where they are now,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The May 2020 Update comes with feature improvements that will help save you time and maybe even be a source of fun,” it added.

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The Cortana assistant has been updated with a new chat-based interface where one can either speak or type your requests. Pixabay

The Cortana assistant has been updated with a new chat-based interface where one can either speak or type your requests. The new and updated interface can be accessed from the Windows 10 taskbar.

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The update brings the popular Your Phone app’s Calls feature to ARM supported PCs from Microsoft and our OEM partners.

One will now place, receive, or text reply to incoming phone calls directly on PC without having Android phone right next to PC.

“With the Your Phone app, one can stay in flow by sending or receiving texts, checking notifications and getting instant access to Android phone’s photos and apps via computer’s large screen and keyboard,” said Microsoft. (IANS)

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Special Olympics Partners Microsoft, Xbox to Organise Online Gaming Tournament

The tournament is scheduled to be held on May 30

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Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30. Pixabay

Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30 and fans can watch livestreamed Forza Motorsport 7 racing on Mixer, Xbox YouTube or Twitch.

There will be a first-ever Special Olympics award ceremony on gaming platform Minecraft.

“We’re partnering with the Special Olympics to keep athletes connected and maintain the joy of sports, using the power of Xbox,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities, providing year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, said it is a great partnership with the amazing team at Special Olympics to bring gaming to the 2020 Special Olympics.

“Incredibly proud of all the teams that are making this possible and can’t wait to see the Olympians running some fast laps,” he said.

Back in 2018, Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event during Special Olympics USA Games held in Seattle, Washington.

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Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event in 2018. Pixabay

“This year, Microsoft and Special Olympics are teaming up for the 2020 Special Olympics Xbox Virtual Gaming Event featuring Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 7,” said the company.

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Eleven US states will be represented in this year’s event with over 35 athletes participating.

Microsoft and Special Olympics have been working together since 2014 with the goal of empowering Special Olympics athletes and programmes through technology.

Throughout the partnership, technologies such as Xbox and Microsoft Teams have been tools to bring adults and children with intellectual disabilities together in the face of a host of obstacles. (IANS)