Tag: microsoft

HP Enterprise to name Microsoft’s Azure cloud partner

Cloud computing - photo Mike MageeThe former maker of expensive printer ink, HP Enterprise, has selected Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred public cloud partner.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman said HPE will officially unveil the partnership with Microsoft at the HPE Discover Conference in London next week.

She said that Vole shared HP’s view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises, and sees an opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure.

“Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft’s infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings,” she said.

HP said it will shut down its HP Helion Public Cloud offering effective January 21, 2016 and generally “doubling down” on its managed and virtual private cloud offerings in the wake of the public cloud exit. Whitman claimed this move played to HP’s strengths in private and managed cloud.

“We will continue to extend our cloud infrastructure leadership and integrate the public cloud element for our customers through a strategic, partner-based model,” she said.

Whitman did not say what this deal might have on HPE’s relationship with Amazon Web Services.

Word on the street is that HPE will provide support for AWS’ popular public cloud simply because it has to.

Microsoft spends a billion on holistic security

Holistic-Health1-590x400Software king of the world Microsoft has invested a billion dollars to come up with an integrated security approach across its software and services.

According to Dark Reading,  Microsoft has spent the cash coming up with a new “holistic” type of security which apparently does not involve crystals, spangley music or poisons diluted by lots of water.

Vole’s chief information security officer Bret Arsenault wants his company’s strategy to appear in the company’s internal network and across its Windows, Office, and cloud offerings to customers.

To do that Vole will gather threat intelligence from sensors and customers and then uses it for detection, protection, and responding to security events.

Microsoft’s $1 billion in security spending this year includes Microsoft’s “organic” investments and three security firms. These have included behavioural learning and Active Directory security firm Aorato, cloud security firm Adallom, and most recently, data and file protection firm Secure Islands.

Arsenault said that Microsoft had always done a good job in caring about writing secure code and making secure services.

“We needed to do more to protect endpoints and get intelligence from the cloud … so we’re making investments in a number of areas,” he said.

Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group (ECG), focuses on sales and services in “nothing but cyber defence,” he said. This group will work with Microsoft’s security partners and the Office 365 and Azure teams, too, for example, he said.

ECG will provide security assessments, monitoring, threat detection, and incident response to Microsoft customers.

Microsoft has also opened a state-of-the-art Cyber Defence Operations Centre (CDOC) which co-locates members of the company’s internal security team, Microsoft Security Response Centre, security experts in Azure, Windows, Office 365, security analysts, as well as its Digital Crimes Unit and other groups, for detecting and responding to threats in real-time.

The idea is to have all the different bits of the glorious Volish empire working together to  create security features in Windows 10, Office 365, Azure, and Enterprise Mobility Suite work together to prevent password-related attacks, data loss, and malware.

Microsoft rethinks Euro cloud products

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEOMicrosoft thinks it has a cure for its customers’ poor attitude to cloud security.

Vole has a problem in flogging cloud based products because many users are worried that they are effectively giving their data to the US government.

Top Vole Satya Nadella believes he has devised a formula that will hand US internet and cloud computing companies a new lease of life in Europe.

He has announced moves to build new data centres in Germany under a “trustee” model. The new facilities will house Microsoft customer information, but will be operated by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms group.

What this will do is put data beyond the reach of the US government — after all the Germans can be trusted not to hand over anything to the Americans.

Nadella said this means that Microsoft is adopting gold-plated privacy standards, while showing a path forward for other US cloud companies including Google, Oracle and Amazon.

He said he is merely responding to the reality that the original vision of the global “public cloud” is dead. This imagined individuals and companies being able to access their data anywhere in the world from any device, but with big tech groups building the underlying infrastructure wherever they were able to most cheaply and efficiently.

Paul Miller of Forrester Research has warned that many will see the move as proof that American companies cannot be trusted to hold the most sensitive data of European customers.

“That was a mythical way to think about it. In technology, sometimes you over-emphasise the silver bullet….” he says. The cloud “will take a different shape than it has in the past. That’s what we want to shape.”

Microsoft to build Azure UK data centre

Every silver has a cloudy liningSoftware giant Microsoft is building a new UK data centre for its Azure cloud – the announcement follows something similar from AWS.

Vole wants its cloud services based in the UK beginning in 2016 and AWS will have it ready by the by the end of 2016 (or early 2017).

Vole is behind AWS in cloud services but the distance between the pair is huge.

Setting up in the UK makes a lot of sense. London’s status as a financial hub makes it attractive market for cloud vendors, and having a local region (composed of multiple data centres) mimimises latency.

Microsoft is a US corporation there may be circumstances when the US government can demand access to data. This is less likely to be possible if the data is kept in a local data centre.

If the US does succeed in getting court orders for the data stored in Europe chances are the EU would ban American companies running data centres. This would be too much of a political hot potato for the US government which is currently attempting to re-negotiate its safe-harbour status in Europe having lost it due to its spying antics.

Microsoft has the Ministry of Defence signed up as its first customer, which is probably why it has to have the data kept within the UK.

The department will be migrating to a “private instance” of Office 365, hosted partly by HP and in part by the new UK Azure region.

Microsoft teams up with Red Hat

redmondMicrosoft and Red Hat have announced a partnership that will help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility deploying Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Vole is offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Redmond and Red Hat are also working together on common enterprise, ISV and developer needs for building, deploying and managing applications on Red Hat software across private and public clouds.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft Azure will become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider. This will enable customers to run their Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications and workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers will be able to bring their own virtual machine images to run in Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure customers can also take advantage of the full value of Red Hat’s application platform, including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss Web Server, Red Hat Gluster Storage and OpenShift, Red Hat’s platform-as-a-service offering. In the coming months, Microsoft and Red Hat plan to provide Red Hat On-Demand — “pay-as-you-go” Red Hat Enterprise Linux images available in the Azure Marketplace, supported by Red Hat.

Customers will be offered cross-platform, cross-company support spanning the Microsoft and Red Hat offerings in an integrated way, unlike any previous partnership in the public cloud. By co-locating support teams on the same premises, the experience will be simple and seamless, at cloud speed.

Red Hat CloudForms will work with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager, offering Red Hat CloudForms customers the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux on both Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure. Support for managing Azure workloads from Red Hat CloudForms is expected to be added in the next few months, extending the existing System Center capabilities for managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Developers will have access to .NET technologies across Red Hat offerings, including Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, jointly backed by Microsoft and Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the primary development and reference operating system for .NET Core on Linux.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division said the move will be a powerful win for enterprises, ISVs and developers.

“With this partnership, we are expanding our commitment to offering unmatched choice and flexibility in the cloud today, meeting customers where they are so they can do more with their hybrid cloud deployments — all while fulfilling the rigorous security and scalability requirements that enterprises demand.”

 

 

 

HP gets off of its public cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudThe maker of expensive printer ink, HP is calling it quits on its public cloud offering.

The Helion Public Cloud will be abandoned next year as the vendor is more interested in private cloud products and rather scared of its chums Microsoft and Amazon.

HP has been denying that it will close Helion for six months, but the signs were there. In April, HP executive Bill Hilf said that HP no longer saw public cloud as a priority and that it made “no sense” for HP to go head to head with the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

He backtracked on this statement and said that HP would continue running Helion which operates  one of the largest OpenStack-based public clouds. Writing in his bog, Hilf confirmed what he denied six months ago and that Helion Public Cloud is doomed.

Hilf said HP has made the decision to “double down on our private and managed cloud capabilities” and confirmed that HP will “sunset” Helion Public Cloud on 31 January 2016.

Public cloud remains relevant to HP as part of its hybrid cloud strategy, but the vendor will now work with multiple partners such as Amazon to satisfy its customers’ public cloud needs.

“In order to deliver on this demand with best-of-breed public cloud offerings, we will move to a strategic, multiple partner-based model for public cloud capabilities, as a component of how we deliver these hybrid cloud solutions to enterprise customers,” Hilf said.

“Therefore, we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on 31 January 2016.”

HP has been getting closer to Amazon of late as part of its hybrid delivery with HP Helion Eucalyptus. It has also worked with Microsoft to support Office 365 and Azure, he added.

“We also support our PaaS customers wherever they want to run our Cloud Foundry platform – in their own private clouds, in our managed cloud, or in a large-scale public cloud such as AWS or Azure,” Hilf said.

HP invested more than $1bn in its cloud business over two years when it unveiled its Helion range of OpenStack-based cloud products and services last May so it looks half that money was lost.

Microsoft thinks it knows what businesses really really want

surface-rtSoftware king of the world Microsoft has been asking its enterprise customers how it can improve the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Writing in its Bog, Vole said that it had been chatting to customers who made large global footprints and discovered that the service, management and support options were pinching.

“Many told us they wanted to buy Surface from one partner, in one transaction, and have devices deployed all over the world with a single support and warranty SLA,” the blog says.

This is apparently the reason why Vole announced that Dell and HP will now resell Surface tablets and bring their enterprise-grade support offerings to the devices.

Microsoft has added two new additions to the Surface Enterprise Initiative to speed the adoption of Surface tablets and Windows 10.

Starting at the beginning of 2016, Vole will bring in a new “Microsoft Complete for Enterprise” warranty. This has four elements that the firm says its larger enterprise customers have asked for including the ability to pool warranty claims by company versus individual devices.

Microsoft will allow warranty claims against non-bootable devices. It will bring in rapid replace processing and an on-boarding centre to ensure a premium within the first 30 days.

Vole will assist IT staff to get setup with warranty and support processes as well as provide online training for their employees to get productive as fast as possible.

In addition to this there is the Business Device Trade-In Program.

“Many customers have told us that they want to upgrade to Surface and Windows 10, but have invested in devices and need to maximise the value they receive from those assets,” the blog said.

“With the Business Device Trade-in Program we make it simple. This is different from other trade-in offers in that it is a permanent program for business customers, rather than a limited time promotion.”

With 24 hour quotes, prepaid shipping labels and secure data wipe, business customers can trade their used business laptops, tablets, and phones for credit towards the purchase of new Surface devices.

This offer will be available in the coming weeks to business customers in the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Soon it will be rolled out to Australia, France, Germany and the UK.

HP backs AMD to the hilt

AMD in BarcelonaDespite rumours of private equity money, and takeovers by people as diverse as Microsoft and even HP, it appears that AMD is still getting the kind of support it needs from partners in its egosystem (sic).

Here at the Canalys Channel Forum (CCF) conference in Barcelona, HP went out of its way to give AMD express backing and even exclusivity in the way of product launches.

Of course, there is nothing particularly new about this. I am staying at the Princesa Sofia hotel in Barcelona and it was here, now more than 20 years ago, that Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer lit out at Intel for messing with its customers’ minds. Wasn’t this also the venue for ex CEO Jerry Sanders III to declare that “with Microsoft and Intel we make the Holy Trinity?”  I think it was.

Compaq was eventually swallowed up by the HP body corporate in the shape of Winsome Carly Fiorina but it has always given AMD a fair crack of the product whip.

AMD showed off two devices that will be sold into the channel worldwide – a highly dense little jobbie that seems to have more specs than you can shake a fist at and will hang on the back of your HD monitor – and a rather light notebook that is also highly specced and soon to be released as part of the Elite family.

Of course, getting the spinners or the suits to talk about acquisitions and the like is like trying to get a spider out of its web. But, nevertheless, it seems clear that quite a few AMD suits now appear to be HP people out of Grenoble.

An HP source, who declined to be named, suggested to Channel Eye that Intel doesn’t mind these kind of exclusive deals because it will be in deep hot water if it has to go it alone.

More, if it transpires.

Microsoft delivers Surface through Dell

surface-pro-2Software giant Microsoft has unveiled a partnership to allow businesses to buy  Surface Pro tablets and Surface accessories through Dell’s enterprise sales division.

Starting next month, it is part of a cunning plan, which will involve Microsoft working with other companies like HP and Accenture on promoting its tablets for business use. In fact the idea seems similar to the one drafted up between Apple and IBM, only it is more likely to work as Microsoft and the others have more experience in the business market.

Dell will also make Microsoft’s tablets available through its online enterprise sales website later this year. Companies that purchase Surface Pro tablets through this partnership can also purchase Dell services, such as up to four years of a hardware warranty, ProSupport with Accidental Damage Service, and Configuration and Deployment Services.

HP will also be selling Microsoft’s tablet through its enterprise sales force, and will be offering a set of Care Packs to help companies plan, configure, deploy and manage a Surface Pro 3 rollout. In addition, the company plans to release “mobility workflow transformation tools and services” next year.

Businesses already buy services and support from Dell for other computers and servers and it means that Dell and HP will sell Microsoft tablets alongside their own tablets and 2-in-1 convertible PCs.

Microsoft has dubbed all this the Surface Enterprise Initiative. The programme could improve adoption from enterprises that want to purchase their technology products from a partner that can also provide service and support for deploying devices.

Microsoft updates volume licensing use rights

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft has changed the way companies will have to update volume licensing use documents.

In the past, business consumers of Microsoft’s products and services have needed a Product List and the Product Use Rights. These determined the purchasing requirements and licencing rules applicable to those products and services. Both documents were incorporated into Microsoft’s volume licensing agreements and were updated periodically by Redmond on its website.

Now Microsoft has combined the Product List and the Product Use Rights into a unified document with the catchy title “Product Terms.” Users of Microsoft’s subscription-based Online Services like Office 365 still will need to use the Online Services Terms, which define service-specific use rights.

Product Terms come into effect when a volume licensing agreement is signed typically will remain in effect during the term of that agreement.

Upgrades to new product releases during the term will result in the incorporation of the then-current Product Terms for those products. Microsoft’s channel partners and resellers will have to point out the changes made to the incorporated terms to their customers, or there is going to be a pile of legal mess later.

Some changes in the new document already have been the cause of some confusion and concern. So fair most of the problems are about the General Licensing Terms for Developer Tools like Visual Studio.

Machinima in hot water for Xbox campaign

xbox-one-featured-imageThe outfit which helped market Microsoft’s Xbox One, is in trouble with the regulator for paying up to US$30,000 for video endorsements.

The FTC is looking into Machinima’s antics as part of an alleged deceptive advertising investigation.

Machinima paid two Xbox One endorsers a total of US$45,000 for producing YouTube videos. It also promised to pay a larger group of so-called online influencers $1 for every 1,000 page views, up to $25,000, the FTC said.

The company did not ask the influencers to disclose the payments, the agency said.

The failure to disclose payments for what the FTC called “seemingly objective opinions” violated the FTC Act. The agency’s endorsement guides, updated in 2009 to cover online endorsements, require disclosure of paid endorsements.

In a proposed settlement with the FTC Machinima is prohibited from engaging in similar marketing campaigns and would be required to clearly disclose paid endorsements.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said that when people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they are looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch.

Machinima insists that it does not do that sort of thing now. The FTC’s complaint stems from company activity in 2013, before a change in management in March 2014.

“Machinima is actively and deeply committed to ensuring transparency with all of its social influencer campaigns. We hope and expect that the agreement we have reached today will set standards and best practices for the entire industry to follow to ensure the best consumer experience possible.”

Machinima and its online influencers were part of an Xbox One marketing campaign, managed by Starcom MediaVest Group, the ad agency hired by Xbox maker Microsoft, the FTC said in a press release. Machinima guaranteed Starcom that the influencer videos would be viewed more than 19 million times.

A small group of influencers were given access to pre-release versions of the console before its launch in late 2013, the agency said. Two paid endorsers, one receiving $15,000 and the second receiving $30,000, produced YouTube videos that garnered nearly 1 million page views combined.

The FTC has closed its investigation into Microsoft and Starcom, it said. While both companies shared responsibility for the failure to disclose endorsements, the commission’s staff considered the payments to be “isolated incidents” that happened in spite of, not in the absence of, policies designed to prevent them, the agency said.

Both companies also moved quickly to end the Machinima payments, the FTC said.

Windows 10 shatters all records

magritte-windowIn just a month Windows 10 has captured more than five percent  market share.

According to the latest figures from Net Applications, Windows 10 has already been installed on over 75 million PCs. Vole wants a billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years,” though that includes not just PCs, but smartphones, consoles and IoT devices.

Windows 10 had 0.39 percent  market share in July, and gained 4.82 percent age points to hit 5.21 percent  in August.

Windows 8 slipped 0.21 percent age points to 2.56 percent, while Windows 8.1 fell 1.71 points to 11.39 percent. Together, they owned 13.95 percent of the market at the end of August, down from 15.86 percent at the end of July.  Windows 8 and 8.1 never gained more than 20 percent market share mark (they peaked at 16.45 per cent in May), and with Windows 10 now available, they never will.

There’s lots of percents in this story.

Windows 7 passed the 60 percent market share mark in June but in in August dropped 3.08 points to 57.67 percent.

Windows 7 will remain the most popular OS for at least this year. Windows 7 overtook Windows XP in September 2012.

Windows Vista meanwhile slipped 0.02 points to 1.82 percent. Windows XP somehow managed to gain 0.40 points to 12.14 percent. The free upgrade to Windows 10 doesn’t apply to Vista or XP.

Windows gained a bit of share in August, up 0.18 points to 90.84 percent. Mac OS X and Linux in turn suffered minor losses, losing 0.13 points to 7.53 percent  and 0.05 points to 1.63 percent , respectively.

Microsoft expands its Surface channel

tablet Software giant Microsoft has confirmed that more UK Microsoft resellers will get their paws on Surface tablets as it attempts to open up the channel.

Vole has previously worked with just nine authorised device resellers (ADR) since the tablet first appeared in 2013.  It added another six in April.  There were only 150 authorised ADR worldwide, so having so few in the UK was not unusual.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July, Microsoft said it was ready to open up distribution globally and let more resellers in on the action.

Vole said that the channel was going to open to 4,500 resellers worldwide.

It looks like Volish distributers Ingram Micro and Tech Data will have 51 new ADRs on their books from 1 September, pushing the total number in the UK to 65.

Several hundred resellers initially expressed interest in selling the tablet and  Ingram and Tech Data, which then whittled them down to a list of 60. Vole cut the list down to 51. This group of resellers will be able to get the Surface tablet from Ingram Micro or Tech Data from next week.

The new ADRs will have the same Microsoft programme benefits, marketing money, rebates and price points available to them.

Microsoft offers developers “promotional codes”

Microsoft campusIn a move to push its marketing to the grass roots, Microsoft has started offering developers promotional codes

Developers generate codes from the Dev Centre from section found in the Monetisation tab on the sidebar of the app page.

They can select an app or in-app purchase and the number of code they want to generate, and then click Order Codes. The codes are generated and then downloaded in the form of a .tsv file (tab-separate value file). The file has all the codes, expiration dates, and URLs to share the codes with customers.

The developer then provides customers, testers, and reviewers with the promotional code or URL that leads the customer to a code redemption page. If the developer wants to give the customer a code instead of the URL, he or she can inform the customer that he can redeem the code at microsoft.com/redeem.

Once the customer has redeemed the code from the promotional URL code or the microsoft.com/redeem page, the customer will see a link to take them to the app in the Windows Store. If the code is for an app, the customer can click install without getting charged; if the code is for an in-app purchase, the customer can download the app to use the code.

Developers can monitor code usage, unredeemed code quantity, and see exactly when the codes expire.

Vole is asking for people’s opinions about its cunning plan.

 

 

Salesforce should have taken the money

Salesforce logoEarlier this year Microsoft offered $55 billion to acquire Salesforce only to be turned down by CEO Marc Benioff who countered with a $70 billion price tag.

It appears that Microsoft is not taking the snub lying down and is upping the competition against Salesforce’s most important product.

Beancounters at JP Morgan said that Microsoft is Salesforce’s biggest competitive threat in the cloud CRM market.

It surveyed vendors to ask what the biggest change you have seen in the competitive landscape facing Salesforce.com in recent months?

Of the 56 vendors that participated, 23 percent of them said Microsoft. That’s way ahead of number two Oracle, which was only named by 11 percent.

Microsoft becoming more visible and competitive in the Cloud arena while others are stagnating, cited by 23 per cent of partners.

One comment said that Microsoft was closing some ground in terms of retooling their platform to what is now becoming a cloud-dominant computing space.

The survey asked only 56 Salesforce partners, but the survey reflects how Microsoft may indeed be closing in on Salesforce in the CRM space.

Salesforce is seeing much more competition from Microsoft Dynamics, which is going all cloud based and is significantly cheaper. Microsoft was winning some sizable CRM deals.

Microsoft only had 5.8 percent of the CRM market share last year, ranking fourth behind Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle. Salesforce was the leader with 16.3 percent market share.

Gartner has also said in its Magic Quadrant Survey that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is “experiencing renewed investment and focus within Microsoft,” and that it was the second most asked for CRM product in a global survey in the first quarter of 2015.

All this means that Microsoft is putting the thumbscrews on SalesForce by taking away its crown jewels. If it gets away with it, Salesforce might be forced back to the negotiating table. Either way, life is not going to be as good for Benioff as it has been.