31 Oct 2017

Grow your small business with business apps from Office 365

Author: the Office 365 team
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Today, we announced that Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Invoicing, and the Office 365 Business center are now generally available as part of Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium. The new apps are rolling out to customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

These apps—together with Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ—bring you seven new ways to manage your customer relationships and build your business. We’re also announcing new intelligence features for MileIQ that automatically classify drives as business or personal on your behalf.

Let’s take a closer look at how the apps can help you grow your business by acquiring new customers and nurturing existing ones, and help you run your business with simple ways to invoice, schedule appointments, and track mileage—all from one location.

Tools to grow your business

Nurture customer relationships, create email marketing campaigns, and help new customers discover you more easily with Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Connections, and Outlook Customer Manager.

Three devices show Microsoft Listings, Connections, and Outlook Customer Manager.

Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Connections, and Outlook Customer Manager help you connect with customers to grow your business.

Microsoft Listings—Bring in new customers by getting your business listed on Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp from one place. Ensure your business information and brand—including name, address, phone number, website, hours, and logo—are consistent across these sites. Also, easily monitor views and reviews of your business in one view.

Microsoft Connections—Send professional-looking marketing emails that showcase your brand and drive sales. Engage current customers with newsletters and announcements that remind them to make a visit. Easily set up incentives like refer-a-friend discounts to reward current customers for referrals so you can bring more business through the door.

Outlook Customer Manager—Grow your relationships with a simple, smart customer management solution. Get quick access to all customer information—emails, meetings, calls, notes, tasks, deals, reminders, and deadlines—right next to your inbox so you spend less time managing data and navigating multiple screens and more time growing customer relationships.

Tools to help run your business

Send invoices and estimates, manage customer appointments, and track your mileage with Microsoft Invoicing, Bookings, and MileIQ.

Three devices show Microsoft Invoicing, Bookings, and MileIQ.

Microsoft Invoicing, Bookings, and MileIQ help you run your business more efficiently.

Microsoft Invoicing—Generate estimates and invoices that look professional. Get paid fast with online payments, track pending and partial payments, find draft estimates and past invoices, set sales tax and discounts, and quickly transform estimates into invoices—all in a few clicks.

Bookings—Easily manage your customers’ appointments. Enable your customers to choose the time slot they want through a simple-to-set-up booking webpage with built-in Facebook integration. Bookings also automatically adds appointments to your staff’s calendars that are updated automatically upon rescheduling or canceling.

MileIQ—Track your miles in a simpler, smarter way with automatic drive detection, mileage logging, and comprehensive reporting. Classify the trip as business or personal in one swipe. We also added new intelligence features that save you valuable time by automatically classifying trips as business or personal based on your work hours and drives you frequently take.

Track business activities

The Business center serves as a central access point and dashboard for the apps, bringing together the tools that help you provide excellent service to your current and potential customers—including Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Invoicing, and Bookings. You can track key business metrics like total and outstanding invoices, email subscribers, online impressions, and total bookings to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, so you can get the most out of your time.

A smart device displays the Office 365 Business center.

The Business center helps you stay on top of activities across the business apps to save you time.

Getting started

Because these business apps are part of Office 365, getting started is as easy as clicking a button in Outlook or exploring a new tile from your Office.com home page. There’s no need to manage multiple sign-ins or transfer data between different tools—your Office 365 sign-in gives you access across the apps. The apps use data already present in Office 365, such as email data and calendar free/busy information, to power a simple and integrated experience. Best of all, the business apps are included at no additional cost in Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions.

You may already have seen the Business center show up in your Office.com home page—this means that the apps are ready for you to use. If not, expect to get access in the next few weeks. If you are eager to get started, you can join First Release, which will get you fastest access to the apps, and also give you early access to new features as we add them in the coming months.

Not a current subscriber? Just purchase or start a trial of Microsoft 365 Business or Office 365 Business Premium and start using all the business apps.

Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Invoicing, Business center, and MileIQ are currently available in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Bookings and Outlook Customer Manager are available worldwide.

We’re eager for you to start using these tools, and we’re confident they will help you bring in new customers and more easily manage your business, so you can do more of the work you love.

An infographic shows seven ways to power your small business with Office 365 apps.

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Invoicing, MileIQ, and the Business center be available in additional countries?

A. We are working to expand our offering to other countries and regions and will share timelines as we get closer to those dates.

Q. Can I control which users in my organization access these apps?

A. Yes, the Office 365 global admin role controls who has access to these apps, except for MileIQ. By default, standard users have access to Bookings and Outlook Customer Manager, but not Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, and Microsoft Invoicing. They can request access directly from the Business center. Global admins can accept or decline their request from Admin center > Settings > Services & add-ins > Business center.

Q. Will additional Office 365 subscription plans such as E3 and E5 include business apps?

A. We know that many small businesses subscribe to E3 and E5 plans for advanced capabilities and are working to bring the apps to these plans.

Q. How do I activate the MileIQ benefit of my Office 365 Business Premium or Microsoft 365 Business subscription?

A. Visit www.mileiq.com/office365 to create a new MileIQ account or sign in using your existing one, and then enter your Office 365 credentials so we can activate your subscription benefit.


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31 Oct 2017

Empower your team and safeguard your business with Microsoft 365 Business

Author: the Microsoft 365 team
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Today we’re announcing general availability of new solutions purpose-built for small and medium-sized businesses with up to 300 employees. Available worldwide today, Microsoft 365 Business includes the Office 365 suite of productivity and collaboration tools, as well as device management and security tools to safeguard company information across Windows 10 PCs, mobile devices, and apps. It is an integrated solution designed to simplify IT for small and medium-sized businesses.

We’re also announcing general availability of three new business apps—Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, and Microsoft Invoicing—which join Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ to create a suite of capabilities to help small businesses grow and thrive. These new apps are now available in Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium for customers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

In addition, Microsoft StaffHub, an app to help Firstline Workers manage their workday, is now included in Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions.

Become a modern workplace

Today’s modern, global workplace is changing, which brings tremendous opportunities and challenges for businesses of all sizes. Businesses must meet the needs of a five-generation workforce, contend with an increasingly complex cyberthreat landscape, and innovate quickly to meet evolving customer expectations.

At the same time, small and medium-sized customers tell us they want solutions that are easy to manage and maintain. Often small business owners find technology options to be complex and costly, leading many to make do with a patchwork of services or defer investments altogether. Such approaches compromise business productivity and introduce security vulnerabilities, which may be one reason why 43 percent of all cyber-attacks last year targeted companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Safeguard your business

Microsoft 365 Business is built to deliver the productivity tools and security services businesses need in a single, simple-to-manage product. It safeguards company information, extending security across users, apps, and devices. It helps ensure PCs are up to date and secure, helping prevent security vulnerabilities that cyber-thieves often exploit. It also provides protection for company information across devices, with the ability to remove company data from lost or stolen devices.

A smart device displays the Microsoft Admin center.

Empower your people

Microsoft 365 Business delivers the productivity and collaboration tools businesses need to help their people be their most productive. It includes the suite of Office 365 productivity and collaboration apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Outlook for email; SharePoint and OneDrive for sharing files with customers, co-workers, and suppliers; and Microsoft Teams for chat-based teamwork.

Two smart devices display Microsoft Teams.

Simplify your IT management

Microsoft 365 Business is designed to reduce the complexity and costs of managing technology for businesses and their IT partners. It offers simple setup and management, so business owners and their teams can put more of their time and energy toward building their businesses. From a single console, you can quickly set up new employees, configure device security policies, and manage user identity and access, as well as ensure all your people are on the most up-to-date versions of Windows 10 and Office. And the single per-user, per-month subscription streamlines costs and simplifies management.

A smart device displays the Microsoft Admin center.

Microsoft is committed to helping empower and safeguard small and medium-sized businesses across the globe. To learn more about Microsoft 365 Business, contact your Microsoft Partner or visit a Microsoft Store.

Acquire customers and nurture business growth with three new apps

Today, we are also making available three new apps to help small businesses acquire new customers, increase revenue, and accelerate billing and receivables.

  • Microsoft Connections lets businesses send professional-looking marketing emails that showcase their brand and drive sales.
  • Microsoft Listings helps businesses acquire new customers and build their brand by getting their business listed on Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp.
  • Microsoft Invoicing provides estimate and invoicing tools that help accelerate payment and manage cash flow.

These new business apps can be managed centrally from the Business center. They build upon three business apps from Office 365 already available:

  • Bookings simplifies the process of scheduling and managing customer appointments.
  • Outlook Customer Manager provides simple customer management for small businesses, right within Outlook.
  • MileIQ offers a smarter way to track mileage, with automatic mileage logging, easy classification as business or personal, and comprehensive reporting.

Together, these apps form a toolkit for small business owners to run and grow their businesses. You can learn more about these apps in today’s business apps from Office 365 announcement.

Give Firstline Workers the tools they need to do their best work with StaffHub

Firstline Workers make up much of the global workforce and are the heart of many small and medium-sized businesses. StaffHub is a purpose-built app to help Firstline Workers manage their workday, allowing business owners and employees to easily create and manage schedules, assign and complete tasks, and communicate with each other.

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31 Oct 2017

sonar: Linting the web forward

Author: Anton Molleda
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In addition to building a great browser and dependable web platform for Windows, we’re passionate about empowering developers to build great websites. With that goal in mind, we launched modern.IE in 2013 featuring a static scan tool to detect optimizations for old versions of IE, outdated libraries, missing prefixes, and more. The web has moved on since then, and it’s time to update our tools accordingly!

Introducing sonar

Today, we are excited to announce the next evolution of the static scan tool: sonar, a new linting tool and site scanner for the modern web.

Sonar logo

sonar brings many improvements compared to previous scanners: execution of website code instead of static analysis, a more flexible and modernized set of rules, parallel test execution, integration with other services, a completely open source code base from day one, and more. Additionally, sonar can also be used as a command line tool (CLI) that you can integrate directly into your local web development workflows.

Web development is more than HTML, JavaScript, and CSS: developers are expected to have a grasp of accessibility, performance, security, emerging standards, and more, all while refreshing this knowledge every few months as the web evolves.

Illustration of Nellie (the sonar mascot) next to a stack of books labelled with various areas of web developer knowledge: Accessibility, performance, security, etc.

Web development can be complex.

Linting the web forward

Simply put, the web is complex, and we want sonar to make it a bit easier for you to write great websites. To make sure that sonar can be helpful not only now, but in the future, we started with a set of guiding principles before we wrote a single line of code.

Put the user at the center

Rather than just telling developers what was wrong, sonar had to also say why. It is important to know the reason for an issue so developers can decide if that really applies to their work. The requirements from website to website can change a lot―for example, an intranet website and an online shopping experience will have vastly different needs. Therefore, sonar should also be easy to use, configure, and expand.

Build for the community’s best interests

The web belongs to everyone, and this project should too. Everything had to be open sourced since the beginning, but that wasn’t enough―we wanted to go even further and make it easier for the web community to get involved, and remove any possible doubt that this project has the community’s best interest in mind. For that reason, we decided to donate the project to the JS Foundation early during the summer.

Collaborate with existing tools and services

sonar should avoid reinventing the wheel, instead leveraging and integrating existing tools and services that help developers build for the web. We are happy to say that sonar now integrates with aXe Core, AMP validator, snyk.io, SSL Labs, and Cloudinary.

You can hear more about sonar’s history and guiding principles in our session at Microsoft Edge Web Summit.

sonar today, and what’s next

We’ve come a long way since we wrote down those principles a few months ago: sonar is now available as an open sourced command line utility, built on node, that you can install via npm. Additionally, it has an open-source online service, deployed on top of Azure, using docker containers, that can scan any publicly available website. sonar’s rules are backed by a collection of best practices for the web, with links to more detailed documentation that keeps growing with each new rule.

But this is just the beginning. We’re hard at work on a backlog of exciting features for future releases, such as:

  • A plug-in for Visual Studio Code: We want sonar to help you write better websites, and what better moment than when you are in your editor.
  • Configuration options for the online service: As we fine tune the infrastructure, the rule configuration for our scanner is locked, but we look forward to adding customization options here in the near future.
  • New rules for a variety of areas like performance, accessibility, security, Progressive Web Apps, and more.

If you are excited about sonar, making a better web, and want to contribute, we have a few issues where you might be able to help. Also, don’t forget to check the rest of the sonarwhal GitHub organization. PRs are always welcome and appreciated!

Take a few moments to try the sonar scanner and the CLI, and let us know what you think at @narwhallnellie on Twitter or in the comments below!

Antón Molleda, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge


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31 Oct 2017

Mixed Reality Capture Studios now open

Author: Liz Hamren
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Earlier this month we talked about Microsoft’s vision for mixed reality and demonstrated Windows Mixed Reality experiences available this holiday. Our backdrop that day was the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, a community hub for creators and developers to come together, learn, collaborate, and help fuel the era of mixed reality.

I am excited to announce the official launch of the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco and the opening of Mixed Reality Capture Studios and the San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy.

Create pioneering mixed reality experiences

We are at the threshold of the next revolution in computing. Microsoft is passionately committed to mixed reality. The possibilities are limitless, and the future will unfold with the energy, ingenuity, and passion of the community. Together, we are on a once in a lifetime journey.

To help fuel this opportunity, we are expanding our investment in technologies that enable the broader ecosystem to create for mixed reality worldwide. Our goal is to reach and support partners, creative agencies, studios, application developers, and others to help them create the most immersive mixed reality content possible.

The Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, located at 680 Folsom in SOMA, will serve as the flagship location for two very important initiatives – Mixed Reality Capture Studio and our Mixed Reality Academy. We want to help MR experts become even more expert. We want to bring together the vibrant and unique perspective of our Bay Area developers. We want to help creators invent cutting-edge experiences that dazzle us in imaginative new ways.

Mixed Reality Capture Studios open to empower new forms of creativity

At our Mixed Reality Capture Studio in Redmond, we’ve captured thousands of performances over the past seven years, from all types of creators — musicians, athletes, actors, educators, dancers, and even animals. A few notable ones include Buzz AldrinGeorge TakeiReggie Watts, and Max Frost.

Today, we announced the opening of our Mixed Reality Capture Studio in San Francisco. These studios enable customers to create holograms that can be used for mixed reality experiences from 2D screens to fully immersive VR. Our goal is to make high-quality holographic captures accessible for mixed reality creators everywhere.

In addition, we’re expanding our studios globally with our first licensed studio opening in London with our partners Hammerhead and Digital Catapult, forming Dimension. We expect to license studios in other major markets worldwide. More details about the Mixed Reality Capture Studios can be found here.

San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy offers developers the tools they need to create in mixed reality

Since opening the Mixed Reality Academy in Redmond two years ago, we have seen the transformational impact a mixed reality learning environment can have. We are now bringing the popular courses we offer in Redmond to San Francisco based mixed reality developers.

The San Francisco Mixed Reality Academy will offer a range of on-site courses and workshops, including:

  • Discovery Program: Where you begin your journey. Introduction to building mixed reality experiences, and how to further engage with the Mixed Reality Academy.
  • Expert Program: A multi-week course that kick-starts the ability for partners to join our Mixed Reality Partner Program (MRPP). Find out more about the MRPP here.
  • Workshops: Tailored courses where developers can learn and get expert advice from our team on topics such as adding spectator view to their app, improving performance, adding shared experience, or supporting the latest hardware.
  • Hackathons: We look forward to offering a robust calendar of hacking and porting events.

You can learn more about Mixed Reality Academy offerings here.

This truly is an exciting time for us and everyone who is on the mixed reality journey with us. We look forward to sharing more and seeing what everyone creates in the months ahead.


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31 Oct 2017

Analytic reports improvements within Dev Center

Author: Dev Center Team
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As part of our continuous effort to deliver insights to you that help make key business decisions about your apps easier, the Dev Center team is excited to announce a few updates to analytic reports.

Review insight categories

On your Reviews report, the new Review insights feature uses machine learning to classify new app reviews, including non-English reviews, into one of 12 pre-defined categories. Now you can quickly identify themes and understand customer sentiment by filtering your app’s reviews by category. You can also apply additional filters, such as OS version or rating, that allows you to further isolate issues and find actionable feedback.

Near real time health data

Understanding your app or game’s stability as quickly as possible after launching helps you make key decisions in that critical launch window. That’s why we’ve worked hard to bring near real time health reporting to Dev Center. We’re happy to announce we are flighting this capability within our Dev Center Insider Program.

If you’ve joined the Dev Center Insider Program, the Health report’s 72H view in Dev Center now shows data for crashes, hangs, memory failures and JavaScript exceptions within minutes of those events (as compared to taking several hours). This feature will be available to all Dev Center users soon.

If you’re interested in trying out new features like this before they become available to all developers, we encourage you to join the Dev Center Insider Program.  We also encourage you to provide feedback on these and other features by using the feedback tool within Dev Center.

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31 Oct 2017

Shocktober is back! Snag deals on frighteningly great games, terrifying movies and more

Author: Elana Pidgeon
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Here’s a look at some of our Shocktober favorites for Windows:

RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard Deluxe Edition – 50% Off

 RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard Deluxe Edition

The goings-on at this abandoned Southern farmhouse are horrifying, but now they’re on sale at 50% off ($44.99, regularly $89.99). There are serious chills and unsettling twists-of-fate around every corner in RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard Deluxe Edition.

Dead Rising 4 Deluxe Edition – 15% Off

 Dead Rising 4 Deluxe Edition

What’s Halloween without zombies? In the horrifying Dead Rising 4 Deluxe Edition, 15% off during Shocktober, a mysterious outbreak has left the local mall and surrounding town overrun with deadly, undead predators. As Frank West, you explore this world of dangerous new zombies and discover all the creative ways you can kill them.

TellTale Games – Up to 60% Off

TellTale Games

TellTale games put you in the driver’s seat of adventure, and right now you can save up to 60% on thrillers like The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, The Walking Dead: Michonne, Batman: The Enemy Within, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

djay Pro – 30% Off

djay Pro

Hosting a Halloween party this year? Spice up the music with DJ Pro, now 30% off for Shocktober. Djay Pro gives you access to more than 30 million Spotify tracks, along with the tools you need to mix them. Millions of songs, amazing features and effects – you’ll be a ghoulishly good DJ this Halloween!

Halloween Movies & TV

Halloween Movies & TV

Get ready for Halloween and scare yourself senseless with our Shocktober Movies & TV collection of modern horror hits, classic scary movies, spooky TV shows, and more. From Get Out to The Shining to The Walking Dead, you’ll find all your horror your palpitating heart desires.

Halloween Horror in Books

 Halloween Horror in Books

Curling up with a good book is a nice way to relax, unless it’s a title from this terrifying Shocktober collection of Books. You’ll find spine-tinglers, tales that have you listening for strange noises, and others that won’t let you sleep, including It by Stephen King, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Shocktober is back with great deals to spice up Halloween on your Windows 10 PC. And if you’re an Xbox fan, don’t miss out on the great Shocktober deals Xbox has to offer.

Happy Halloween!

*Available 10/24/2017 to 10/31/2017 on select items available through Microsoft Store. Offers and content varies by market and may change at any time. Not valid on prior orders or purchases. May not be combined with other offers. Other exclusions and limits may apply.

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26 Oct 2017

Mixer interactivity now available with the Minecraft 1.2.5 beta

Author: Matt Salsamendi
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Mixer mobile broadcasting, directly in Minecraft  

When we launched Mixer Create on Android and iOS last month, we loved seeing the reaction from our community around the simplicity of mobile broadcasting. We’re now excited to bring the familiar Mixer Create experience directly into Minecraft, making it easier to start and manage a Mixer broadcast while you play. You’ll start to see this feature today in the Minecraft 1.2.5 beta on Android; iOS will come once 1.2.5 exits beta.  

Mixer interactivity in Minecraft  

Our Interactive 2.0 platform enables any game developer to add Mixer interactivity to their game with just a few lines of code; creating unique steaming experiences where viewers have actual impact on the gameplay. With Mixer Interactivity in Minecraft, any Minecraft command can be turned into an interactive button that viewers can use to change your game. Plus, with Mixer’s Faster Than Light (FTL) streaming protocol, you’ll be able to watch and play with less than a second of latency. Starting today, you’ll be able to try out interactivity in the Minecraft 1.2.5 beta on Android and Windows 10. Xbox One will come later this week, and then all versions of Minecraft will get the feature once it exits beta. Also, for Java fans, a separate mod will be coming later this year, as well.

We can’t wait to see what you do with Mixer broadcasting and interactivity in Minecraft. Drop us a line at @WatchMixer and let us know what you think, or just to show off your awesome Minecraft interactivity creations, and head over here to read more about today’s news!

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26 Oct 2017

Microsoft 365 security and management features available in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Author: Rob Lefferts
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Last week, we shared the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has begun rolling out to customers and we highlighted some of our favorite features for people who love and use Windows every day.

Windows 10 is running on more than 500 million monthly active devices and continues to gain momentum in enterprises, small businesses and education organizations with 90% growth in commercial devices year over year. In a recent Forrester survey of 482 enterprise global decision makers, they reported that 34% of company-issued PCs are running Windows 10.*

Today, we’re excited to share more about the security and management enhancements we’ve made that empower our commercial customers on their journey to digitally transform and support their Modern Workplace with Microsoft 365. We’re also providing more detail and guidance to IT administrators about how the Fall Creators Update will roll out to our customers in the coming weeks.

Top 10 Security & Management Features in the Fall Creators Update

The cyber threat landscape today requires an ongoing and relentless focus on security, and IT administrators need tools that help them prevent, protect, defend and respond to threats as well as modernize their workplace to empower employee creativity and productivity. Here are a few of our top enhancements for IT in the Fall Creators Update.

  1. Windows AutoPilot is a new cloud service that makes it possible for any PC to be enterprise-ready, with a simple self-service out of box user experience that IT can personalize for their organization and eliminate the need for IT to reimage, touch or manually provision Windows 10. Starting in January 2018, OEM partners Lenovo, HP, Panasonic, Toshiba and Fujitsu will join Microsoft Surface in supporting Windows AutoPilot. Read more about Windows AutoPilot.
  2. Windows Defender Application Guard makes Microsoft Edge the most secure browser for enterprise by hardware isolating the browser away from your apps, data, network and even Windows itself. WDAG protects your Microsoft Edge browsing sessions so if users encounter malware or hacking attempts while online they won’t impact the rest of your PC. Read more about Windows Defender Application Guard.
  3. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection now provides a ‘single pane of glass’ view across the Windows preventative protection security stack, for better and more manageable protection, detection, investigation and response. The new security analytics dashboard provides recommendations to improve your security posture. In addition, a set of new APIs give you intuitive access to pull data or perform response actions. Read more about Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
  4. Windows Defender Application Control is a new solution that leverages the same application control technology from Windows Defender Device Guard, while removing the steep hardware, driver, and kernel mode software requirements. WDAC can run on any Windows 10 capable device with Windows 10 Enterprise and uses the power of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph (ISG) to automate the application control list making management easy. Read more about Windows Defender Application Control.
  5. Windows Defender Exploit Guard protects devices from intrusion, contacting malicious locations on the internet, and fileless-based attacks using seemingly innocuous content types, like documents. WDEG includes a rich set of vulnerability mitigation built in to Windows 10 that was previously available in the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, reducing potential exploits of vulnerabilities in the platform and apps. Read more about Windows Defender Exploit Guard.
  6. Controlled Folder Access in Windows Defender Exploit Guard helps protect against viruses and ransomware by only allowing trusted applications to access protected folders and documents. If an unauthorized application, even a new unknown malware variant, attempts to access protected data, it will be denied access even if it manages to get past other defenses. Read more about controlled folder access.
  7. Windows Defender Antivirus enhancements, like new instant protection technology, use the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence built on top of the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph (ISG) to provide next generation antivirus support to protect customers from quickly evolving polymorphic malware. Read more about Windows Defender Antivirus.
  8. Windows Assigned Access improvements provide the ability to customize and lock down Windows devices to specific tasks or experiences for Firstline Workers and kiosks; and cloud-based tools enable IT to maintain these devices remotely. Organizations can now quickly set up and maintain locked down single purpose devices with improved tools, enabling single app and multi-app uses. Read more about Windows Assigned Access multi-app support.
  9. Windows Hello improvements including new factors such as proximity, location, dynamic lock and Intel Authenticate support make it easier to deploy and more secure. With stolen credentials being one of the leading causes for breaches, moving away from passwords should be a top priority for every organization. Read more about Windows Hello.
  10. Windows 10 Subscription Activation uses AAD entitlement from the cloud making it easier for customers to activate and use all these great features in Windows 10 Enterprise. It enables Windows 10 Pro devices to seamlessly step up to Windows 10 Enterprise without on-premise infrastructure, product keys or reboots based simply on an entitled user logging on. Read more about Windows 10 Subscription Activation.

We’re also helping our enterprise customers with new tools and resources to aid deployments, servicing and compliance.

  • We shared new Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) resources to help our customers accelerate their GDPR compliance with details on security features and capabilities built into Windows 10.
  • We added Device Health to the Windows Analytics suite to help reduce support costs by proactively identifying and remediating top employee-impacting device issues. We also provided enterprise customers with a new diagnostic setting specifically to enable Windows Analytics to provide critical business insights for the maintenance of their device ecosystem.

Now is a great time to get started running pilots within your organization and begin rolling out the Fall Creators Update to stay up to date and current with the latest security protections and management tools.

– Rob

*Forrester: “Windows 10 Finally Delivers On Microsoft’s Security Promises” October 20, 2017

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25 Oct 2017

Hey Cortana, set a reminder: Harman Kardon Invoke voice-activated speaker available October 22

Author: Andrew Shuman
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Product shot of two Harman Kardon Invoke speakers on a white background side by side, one is black in color and the other is white.

If you’re like me, you use Cortana to regularly add reminders, so you don’t miss anything at work or home. Which is why I’ve asked Cortana to remind me to check out the new voice-activated speaker our partners at Harman Kardon are releasing on Sunday, October 22 – the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana. Invoke will be available in-store and online at Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and online at HarmanKardon.com. Invoke comes in two color options, Pearl Silver (White) and Graphite (Black) and retails for $199.95 USD.

With more than 60 years of sound expertise, Harman is renowned for blending rich audio with best-in-class design. Crafted from premium materials, Invoke delivers powerful 360-degree sound from three direct-radiating woofers, three direct-radiating tweeters and two passive radiators. Invoke also features Harman’s Sonique far-field voice recognition technology with seven-microphones, ensuring that Cortana can hear you from any direction. Music services available at launch include Spotify Premium, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and we are working with Pandora to add their service in the near future.

At the heart of Invoke is Cortana, your personal digital assistant, helping you manage the competing demands of work and home so you can focus on what matters most to you. Microsoft has been on a long journey with Cortana, first on Windows 10 PC, then on Android and iOS, as well as embedding the Cortana experience in Skype on Xbox, spanning 148 million active users. We believe that your digital assistant should be available wherever you are, across your devices, and that’s why we are thrilled to bring the Cortana experience to an ambient speaker.

With Cortana on Invoke, you can voice control your music, as well as get answers to questions and connect to your Office 365 information. Invoke utilizes Microsoft’s speech recognition technology for commands and music controls, and integrates Office 365 productivity services so you can do things like, manage your schedule, check your calendar, set reminders, and more. For instance, if I have a partner meeting downtown I could ask Cortana on my Invoke where their office is, and she’d not only tell me but could send the directions to my phone in the Cortana mobile app. Or maybe I remember something I need to do when I get into work – a simple, “Hey Cortana, remind me to finish the budget report when I get to work,” will result in the reminder alerting me when I get to the office.

And it’s not just for work. I could do the same with a time-based reminder, such as, “Hey Cortana, remind me to watch the Knicks game tonight at 7pm,” and this reminder would chime on my Invoke speaker when I’m home.

With Cortana’s intelligence on Invoke, supported by the Bing knowledge graph, you can also hear the latest news and tweets, and get answers to questions; which happens a lot when I’m helping my kids with their homework – like finding out when George Washington was born.

Plus, with Skype on Invoke, you can easily stay connected with hands-free calling to your Skype and phone contacts, as well as local businesses. In addition to Skype to Skype calling, which will always be free, Invoke also features unlimited free outbound calling from the United States to mobile phones and landlines in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

You’ll also be able to control your smart home devices, including those from SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon. And with the Cortana Skills Kit announced this past spring, a growing list of partners and developers are creating intelligent, personalized experiences for Cortana, including Capital One, Expedia, Fitbit, OpenTable, and others.

We’re excited to partner with Harman Kardon and bring Cortana to Invoke; adding to Cortana’s cross-device integration across Windows 10 PC, iPhone and Android, so you can stay on top of things wherever you need assistance.

This is an important step forward for Cortana, and we’ll be delivering more productivity features, such as managing your email hands-free (Office 365, Outlook.com and Gmail accounts) coming soon, as well as working with many more music, home automation, and skills partners to integrate their services with Cortana.

Make sure you ask Cortana to set a reminder for Invoke, available on October 22.

*Cortana voice activation works with select music services and home automation providers. Set up requires Cortana app for Windows 10 PC or phone (with the Windows 10 Creators Update), Android or iPhone (requires Android version 4.1.2 or higher, or iPhone 4 with iOS 8.0 or higher). 

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25 Oct 2017

This Week on Windows: The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Surface Book 2 and more

Author: Elana Pidgeon
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of This Week on Windows, where we’re talking about the new Surface Book 2 and everything in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update! Head over here to read more about this week’s news, check out the Surface Book 2, or, find out what’s new in the Fall Creators Update.

In case you missed it:

Fujitsu announces their first Windows Mixed Reality headset

 Fujitsu headset

This week at an event, Fujitsu announced their first Windows Mixed Reality headset with Motion Controllers, as well as the new LIFEBOOK AH-MR/B3 PC, both designed to bring new immersive entertainment experiences to customers in Japan. The Fujitsu Windows Mixed Reality headset is designed to run Windows Mixed Reality in either 60 Hz or 90 Hz. The headset includes two 2.9 inch LCD panels with a resolution of 1440 x 1440 per eye and refresh rate of up to 90Hz and also offers a 100 degree field of view and the visor can flipped upwards to provide quick access to the real world. We’re excited to welcome Fujitsu to the Windows Mixed Reality family! To learn more about this announcement, visit Fujitsu’s Facebook page.

Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store:

 Happy Hallowdays

 Happy Hallowdays

Spook up your Halloween with this Collection of terrifying games, chilling entertainment, and haunting apps – on sale now through Oct. 31, 2017.

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

The fate of worlds lies with the last Gunslinger (Idris Elba), the only one who can defend the Dark Tower – which holds the universe together – from the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). Watch good and evil collide in The Dark Tower ($14.99 HD/SD), based on the best-selling book series by Stephen King. Get it now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store, two full weeks before it comes to Blu-ray!



For a shattering combo of racing and rhythm games, Thumper ($19.99) sets a new bar, with classic rhythm action, blistering speed and brutal physicality. You are a space beetle, screaming down an endless track and crashing through punishing obstacles with simple, airtight controls.

Have a great weekend!

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