Microsoft Monday: Immigration Order Reply, Starbucks Board Adds Nadella, Defenders Security Center – Forbes

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about how Microsoft is handling the “extreme vetting” order, the Q2 FY17 earnings results, Satya Nadella joining the Starbucks board of directors, the addition of the Defenders Security Center feature in the Windows 10 Creators update, how HoloLens will assist in construction projects and more!

Microsoft Is Offering Legal Advice To Employees Affected By Immigration Order

When President Donald Trump signed the executive order for “extreme vetting” and blocked citizens with visas and green cards from reentering the United States from seven Middle-Eastern countries, Microsoft decided to offer assistant to its employees that were affected. “We share the concerns about the impact of the executive order on our employees from the listed countries, all of whom have been in the United States lawfully, and we’re actively working with them to provide legal advice and assistance,” said a Microsoft spokesperson via BusinessInsiderIn Microsoft’s recently quarterly earnings report, BusinessInsider also pointed out that the Redmond giant warned that it was “limited” in its ability to recruit internationally due to “restrictive domestic immigration laws.”

Microsoft’s Brad Smith said that the company is aware of its 76 employees from the seven countries that are in the U.S. on travel visas. And there are other employees at the company that have green cards who may have been affected as well. Smith said that those employees should reach out for assistance if there are any questions.

Earlier today, Microsoft also said that it would cooperate with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in a lawsuit filed in federal court to stop President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions. In a statement to Reuters, Microsoft spokesman Pete Wootton said that the company would provide information about the impact of the order to be supportive. “And we’d be happy to testify further if needed,” added Wootton.

Microsoft Reports Quarterly Revenues Of $26.06 Billion

Last week, Microsoft announced its Q2 FY17 earnings and it revealed that the cloud services are surging. According to Forbes brand contributor Trefis Team, Microsoft posted a 2% year-over-year in revenue growth at $26.06 billion excluding LinkedIn revenue.

The Commercial Cloud annualized revenue run rate surpassed $14 billion and is expected to hit a $20 billion annual revenue run rate by 2018. Microsoft’s Dynamic cloud division saw a revenue increase of 7% and the Dynamics 365 paid user base more than doubled year-over-year.

Microsoft’s Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 5% as a whole. And Office 365 commercial revenue growth went up 47% and the monthly active users hit 85 million, up 37% year-over-year. The Office 365 consumer subscriber user base increased to 24.9 million, up 8% in Office consumer and cloud services revenue. Microsoft’s More Personal Computing division — which includes the Windows Operating system division — declined 5% to $11.8 billion largely due to lower phone revenues.

For the quarter, Microsoft hit around 55 million Xbox Live users and gaming revenues hit $3.6 billion. However, the overall gaming revenue at the company declined 3% because of lower Xbox console prices and volumes.

The Microsoft Surface division saw revenue decrease 2%, but there are plans to launch new hardware during the holiday season. Microsoft has been periodically dropping the price of its Surface devices over the last few months as it prepares to launch new hardware this year.

Market Capitalization Surpasses $500 Billion Once Again

What happened after Microsoft announced its quarterly earnings is something that the Redmond giant should be celebrating. For the first time since March 2000, Microsoft’s market capitalization surpassed $500 billion once again.

The gains in Microsoft’s stock price was because the company topped the average estimates by analysts for the quarter. In fact, Microsoft beat the average estimates for revenue and profit mainly because of growth in cloud computing reported Reuters.

Microsoft To Launch Defenders Security Center In Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft is going to be launching a new tool called the “Windows Defender Security Center” when the Windows 10 Creators Update launches in April. The Windows Defender Security Center will alert you if Windows detects virus threats or device performance issues. It will also notify you if your Windows Firewall application is disabled.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Joins The Starbucks Board Of Directors

Starbucks has announced that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be added to its board of directors. This news comes about one month after Starbucks revealed former Microsoft executive Kevin Johnson will become CEO at the coffee giant in April 2017. Howard Schultz, the co-founder and current CEO of Starbucks, will remain as the executive chairman.

“I’m honored to have been nominated to join the Board of this world-renowned company,” said Nadella in a statement. “As a regular customer myself, I’ve always admired Starbucks focus and deep passion for its customers and the communities it does business in and hope my years of experience in the technology industry will be of value to the company.”

Other executives that were added to the Starbucks board of directors include Rosalind Brewer and Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. Brewer is the president and CEO of Sam’s Club and Knudstorp is the former CEO of the Lego Group. Former Trinity Ventures General Partner James Shennan will be retiring from the Starbucks board before the shareholder meeting in March 2017.

Microsoft Names Kevin Scott As CTO

Kevin Scott, the SVP of Infrastructure at LinkedIn, has been named the CTO of Microsoft. Interestingly, NetworkWorld pointed out that Scott actually worked as a Microsoft Research intern during the summer of 2001. In this position, Scott will report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Scott worked at Google as an engineer between 2003 and 2007. And he ended up working at Google again after his previous employer AdMob was acquired by the search giant. Scott joined LinkedIn around February 2011 and has also worked as an advisor for other startups and invested in companies as an angel.

Erik Kain: Microsoft ‘Scorpio’ Should Not Be Considered Just An Upgraded Xbox One

Last week, Forbes contributor Erik Kain published an interesting take on “Project Scorpio,” which is a new console that Microsoft will be releasing later this year. “Project Scorpio” has been labeled an Xbox One upgrade for a while now. However, a developer by the name of Thomas Mahler that is working on the Xbox exclusive game Ori and the Blind Forest said “Scorpio isn’t just a half-assed upgrade (which the PS4 Pro kinda is…), but a full blown next-gen machine that’s just backwards-compatible to your current library.” 

Kain said that Microsoft should roll out “Project Scorpio” as a brand new console with a new name rather than marketing it as an Xbox One upgrade. “Adding a third Xbox One [SKU] will be confusing for consumers. Besides, the launch of a brand new console is a big, hype-inducing affair. Couple that launch with some brand new exclusives that really show off the beastly hardware, and Microsoft could suddenly find itself back on top—or at least on the road to recovery,” said Kain when comparing the Xbox to the success of the PlayStation 4 line of consoles.

Microsoft Reportedly Lays Off 700 People

Last week, Microsoft reportedly laid off 700 people. One of the employees that revealed he was laid off by the Redmond giant is Bryan Roper. Roper was a marketing manager at Microsoft that went to a web design school and worked as a cruise ship piano lounge employee after becoming a blues musician. The Verge described Roper as having the ability to get “people excited about minor Windows features” during press events. Here is a tweet that Roper wrote about being laid off:

Bryan Roper's tweet about getting laid off / Screenshot via Twitter

Bryan Roper’s tweet about getting laid off / Screenshot via Twitter

Vivaldi Head Bashes On Microsoft For Constantly Changing The Default Browser

Vivaldi Technologies CEO and co-founder Jon von Tetzchner did not hold back when providing his opinion about the way Microsoft repeatedly changes the settings of Windows 10 users. Vivaldi is known for designing a web browser with the ability to customize tab locations, write notes and stack tabs. The Vivaldi browser is compatible with Windows, Apple Mac OS X and macOS and Linux.

“Every time Windows 10 upgrades, it changes the default browser to Edge,” said von Tetzchner via ComputerWorld. “Same thing tends to happen when a new browser is installed — for some reason, it leads to restoring Edge as the default option. Not the new browser, and not even the browser that was there as a default one previously.” von Tetzchner is calling on Microsoft to “stop stealing the default browser” and “accept user choice.”

Microsoft seems to change the default browser back to Edge following major updates like the August “Anniversary Update.” However, the default browser does not change whenever monthly security updates are applied.

How Microsoft HoloLens Will Assist In Construction Projects

CBR recently reported that the Microsoft HoloLens will soon be used for construction projects. Microsoft is specifically working with the University of Cambridge and Trimble to determine how the mixed reality technology can be applied in the construction sector. One of the examples in which the technology can be used is to potentially identify errors in bridges so that safety inspectors can identify problems from afar.

“Cambridge University is a world-renowned educational institution, and it’s been a fascinating experience to partner with the university and Microsoft, using HoloLens to envision the future of the AEC industry. This initiative has helped us to inform the next frontier of technology within the sector – especially in areas such as construction, where IT has traditionally been [underutilized],” said Trimble’s Director of the Mixed Reality Program Aviad Almagor via CBR.

Microsoft To Invest Over $1 Billion In Cybersecurity Research

Microsoft has plans to invest over $1 billion per year on cybersecurity research and development in the next few years, according to Microsoft senior executive Bharat Shah in an interview with Reuters. And this level of spending on cybersecurity would not include acquisitions.

However, Microsoft has been acquiring cybersecurity companies lately. In the last two years alone, Microsoft acquired Aorato, Adallom and Secure Islands. Microsoft’s venture capital arm also invested in cybersecurity firm Team8 earlier this month.

Plus Microsoft expects the spending to increase as more people use the cloud. For example, the number of cyber attacks was at 20,000 per week as of two or three years ago. Now that figure is up to 600,000-700,000 per week.

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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