Microsoft signage displayed in the exhibition hall during the Microsoft Inspire partner conference Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
"Microsoft Monday" is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about virtual reality headset plans, no more forced Windows upgrades, a Skype and Office Lens update, the Age of Empires IV announcement, GigJam being shut down, Bill Gates’ investment in Memphis Meats, Xbox One X Project Scorpio selling out quickly, the original Xbox One being phased out and much more!
No More Forced Windows Upgrades
Many Windows 7 and 8.1 users were upset to find out that they were forced to upgrade to Windows 10 last year. After a recent court case against the German Baden-Würtenberg consumer rights organization, Microsoft said it would no longer force upgrade files on its users again.
The consumer rights group believed it was wrong that Microsoft Windows 10 added gigabytes of files to a user's computer after the upgrade. "Microsoft will not download install files for new operating systems to a user system’s hard disk without a user's consent," says the Baden-Würtenberg press release via BetaNews.
Microsoft Office Lens For Android Now Allows You To Capture Multiple Images Consecutively
The Microsoft Office Lens app allows users to scan images and convert it into documents. Microsoft has improved the Android version of the app by allowing them to capture multiple pages in one go rather than having to create a new capture per page. It's worth pointing out that this was the top requested feature for the app.
To set up a multiple page scan, you simply have to tap on the plus button after taking the first photo for the additional photos. From there, you can set up the scan as a PDF, Word or PowerPoint files. You can download the update from Google Play now.
Skype For iOS Updated With New Features
Skype has a new set of features on the iPhone. The new Skype features include mood messages to express how you feel during chat sessions. And Microsoft also added a feature that allows you to see when messages were sent in the chat. Microsoft speeded up the login process plus there are some fixed bugs.
Age Of Empires IV Is Announced
Microsoft Studios has officially announced Age Of Empires IV is in development for the PC. This is more than 10 years after Age of Empires III was released. But there isn't an official release date for Age of Empires IV yet. The original Age of Empires was launched in 1997 by Ensemble Studios.
Microsoft Announces Project Brainwave Technology For AI Initiatives
Last year, Google started building Tensor Processing Unit chips to run deep learning algorithms for artificial intelligence technology. Google decided to build its own chips because they believe the time it takes for training deep learning models is longer with modern GPUs. Microsoft is launching a similar initiative called Project Brainwave. According to Forbes technology reporter Aaron Tilley, Microsoft is creating a similar type of chip called field-programmable gate arrays (or FPGAs) -- which can be reprogrammed after manufacturing. The FPGAs that Microsoft will be using are being built by Intel’s Altera subsidiary.
Microsoft said that the FPGAs are more flexible than a dedicated chip, which is used by Google. Plus Microsoft will support multiple deep learning frameworks, including Microsoft CNTK, Google TensorFlow and Facebook Caffe2.
Microsoft’s Project Brainwave will only be available for Microsoft’s internal artificial intelligence services for now, but it may be offered to outside companies through cloud services later on. The technology behind deep learning is necessary for image identification, speech recognition and translation services.
Microsoft To Shut Down GigJam
Microsoft has decided to discontinue GigJam. GigJam is a sharing tool where you grab sources of data from Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Microsoft Office, etc. And then you circle it with your mouse or finger to share it or cross it if you do not want it to be shared. And when you invite someone to the GigJam, they will see what you circled, but not what you crossed out. An example where this can come in handy is if you want to share medical records without having to share your personal details. A preview of GigJam launched in summer 2016, but it did not gain traction. Now it will be shut down on September 22, 2017 so you should export your files from there soon.
An example where this can come in handy is if you want to share medical records without having to share your personal details. A preview of GigJam launched in summer 2016, but it did not gain as much traction as hope. Now it will be shut down on September 22, 2017, so you should export your files from there soon.
Microsoft Said It Is Talking To Sony About Cross-Play
In an interview with GameReactor, Microsoft marketing manager Aaron Greenberg said the company is in talks with Sony about cross platform support between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
"We're talking to Sony (about crossplay),” said Greenberg in the interview. "We do partner with them on Minecraft and of course we would like to enable them to be part of that; one community, to unite gamers. So we're talking to them and we're hopeful that they'll be supportive of it."
Why has Sony been holding off on cross-platform gaming? It comes down to the safety of users. “We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it's something we have to think about very carefully,” said Sony PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan in an interview with Eurogamer earlier this year. Microsoft countered that argument by saying it also offers parental controls on Xbox Live along with other safety measures.
Bill Gates, Richard Branson And Cargill Invest In Memphis Meats
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Cargill have invested in Memphis Meats, a company that develops beef, chicken and duck from self-producing animal cells without slaughtering any animals. This round of funding was $17 million and Memphis Meats has raised a total of $22 million this far. Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) led the round of funding.
"The world loves to eat meat, and it is core to many of our cultures and traditions," said Memphis Meats co-founder and CEO Uma Valeti in a statement. "The way conventional meat is produced today creates challenges for the environment, animal welfare and human health. These are problems that everyone wants to solve."
Minecraft Beta For Xbox One Now Supports A Keyboard And Mouse
Mojang has confirmed that the Minecraft beta for Xbox One will support a keyboard and mouse. This is exciting because I feel that this is the best way to play the game. So now there's are more options than playing with an Xbox One controller. You can download the beta from the Xbox Insider Hub.
That is not the only noteworthy feature in the beta. The Minecraft beta also has Xbox Live multiplayer as part of the “Better Together” update.