Friday, March 27, 2015
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Adobe Systems is giving Microsoft a hand building new features into its next-generation browser.
Four of the top five browsers -- Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera -- are based on open-source projects to which anybody can contribute. That's been handy when one party wants to add support for a new feature, though writing the necessary code is only a first step in convincing the browser leaders to actually ship with it. But Microsoft's Internet Explorer and its cousin code-named Project Spartan that will ship with Windows 10 are closely guarded proprietary software projects.
A partnership with Adobe opens it up a bit -- and paves the way for similar changes from others, according to a blog post Monday from Bogdan Brinza, Microsoft's Project Spartan program manager.
"We've been making changes internally to allow other major Web entities to contribute to the growth of our platform, as well as to allow our team to give back to the Web," Brinza said. "Adobe improved the Web platform in other browsers, but couldn't bring the same improvements to Microsoft's platform. This changed a few months ago when Microsoft made it possible for the Adobe Web Platform Team to contribute to Project Spartan."
The partnership likely will mean a better Web for everyone, for two reasons. First, millions of Microsoft browser users will get access to new features, notably Adobe's work to bring magazine-like publishing polish to websites. Second, developers will be able to embrace those features sooner, since they'll be more widely supported in browsers.
And that should make the Web a better competitor to native software written to run solely on a particular operating system like Windows, iOS or Android.
Adobe's specific changes to Microsoft's browser technology so far involves formatting and graphics technology called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). To start with, Project Spartan will be able to combine and overlap graphics in a variety of more sophisticated ways, but Microsoft said more changes will come.
Project Spartan is the future of Microsoft's browser technology. It's made major improvements with IE9, IE10, and the current IE11, but with Project Spartan, Microsoft stripped out a lot of technology dating to earlier days of the Web. The resulting browser foundation gives Microsoft "a clean slate" to make it easier to support new Web standards. IE will continue to ship for those who need its old-style modes, but it'll be Spartan that carries Microsoft's ambitions in today's fiercely competitive browser market.
One more implication of the Microsoft-Adobe deal: Adobe should have a slightly easier time moving beyond its Flash programming technology that for years brought fancy features like animations and streaming video to browsers. The Flash Player browser plug-in doesn't exist for iOS and Android, and it poses security and reliability problems for browsers, and Adobe has been moving to embrace Web standards instead. Being able to reach Microsoft's browser better helps the company in its effort to remain relevant in a world without Flash
Microsoft Ventures in India has announced the launch of two new accelerator programs for startups during an event in Bangalore where it unveiled its Summer 2015 batch. The newly announced accelerator programs named Accelerator Plus and Scale Up will focus exclusively on later-stage startups which are craving for higher visibility and traction.
Microsoft Ventures unveiled 11 Companies in Summer 2015 batch which includes AdPushup, Frilp, iReff, DailyRounds, Uninstall, iBot, FortunePay, CustomerXPs, FlamecoTech, WAGmob and UberLabs.
Ravi Narayan of Microsoft, Samir Kumar of Inventus Capital and Phanindra Sama of Redbus were present during the announcement of these programs.
Phanindra Sama, Co-Founder of RedBus.in said,
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the woes of later stage startups – poised on the inflection point – but don’t know whom to turn to for help. When mature startups are ready to pivot, with bigger goals and gameplan, right mentoring at that stage can be that much-needed adrenalin to help them zoom to the next level.
Accelerator Plus and Scale Up programs by Microsoft Ventures
The new programs, Accelerator Plus and Scale Up by Microsoft Ventures, is oriented towards addressing the needs of middle to later stage startups. Every mature startup wants to put themselves in the next fast moving orbit. Programs like these help bring the full potential of the company in terms of scaling or marketing its brand.
Out of 1400+ applicants,11 startups were selected based on on their current customer traction, market potential and funding stage. 5 of these selected startups comes under “Accelerator Plus” program and rest of the companies were enrolled to “Scale Up” program.
The shortlisted companies include 3 international startups namely Uninstall from Singapore and iBot and UberLabs from the US.
Ravi Narayan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ventures in India said,
A key issue we’ve identified at the last All India Accelerators & Incubators Meet was that there was little help available for later-stage startups in India. This concurred with similar observations made during the pilot of Accelerator Plus, where we noticed that the 10 later-stage startups who went through the pilot program benefitted more from the mentoring and showed better results, faster. This prompted us to bring in new accelerator programs to help the later stage startups
The top 200 shortlisted startups who applied for accelerator programs in Summer 2015 would be referred to the next batch of Microsoft Ventures partnered accelerator programs.
The cliche "eat your own dogfood" has become so baked into Silicon Valley's culture that there's a one-word term for it: "dogfooding."
Simply put, it means using the tech you make and/or sell.
And that's Microsoft's latest plan to get the world using Office 365, its online version of Microsoft Office and its competitor to Google Apps.
On Wednesday, Microsoft rolled out a new plan that encourages its massive network of resellers to move their own businesses to Office 365. Microsoft struck up an agreement with a company called SkyKick that lets Microsoft's biggest partners use SkyKick's transfer tool, Office 365 Migration Suite, for free.
Microsoft partners get to use the Microsoft products they sell for free, including Office 365. But it's no small task to transfer people's saved messages, their folders and files, user settings, contacts and so on. SkyKick says that it can take a week to transfer even a small company with 25 employees from regular offline Office to Office 365.
Meanwhile, resellers that use Office 365 themselves are "three times more successful at selling it,” said Gavriella Schuster, general manager of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group.
As we previously reported, Google has a plan to grab 80% of Microsoft's Office customers away from Microsoft and onto Google Apps. Apps is already hugely successful with small and medium companies.
But Microsoft is fighting back tooth and nail.
And it looks like it's working. Office 365 usage is growing like crazy, industry experts say.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Internet Explorer might not be open source, but Microsoft is trying to make its successor a little more flexible to third parties. The software giant is currently building Project Spartan, a new browser that will succeed Internet Explorer in Windows 10. As part of the company’s work, it’s partnering with "major Web entities" to help improve its web platform. This is a first for Microsoft, and it means that companies outside of Redmond will be able to contribute code to Project Spartan.
Take this with a pinch of salt because this is just a rumor and Microsoft hasn’t officially announced anything about Extension support on Spartan.
- Microsoft is building a successor to the Surface 2 (RT)
- It will be ATOM or Intel Core M based, running full-Windows (not Windows RT)
- Will be marketed as an non-pro device
- Pre-loaded with Windows 8.1, upgradable to Windows 10
- Announcement before/at BUILD
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
It has been a week since Windows 10 Preview for phone was released and you've probably realized that it is far from being finished. While you had fun checking out the Preview, you want to go back to a more stable build. If you want to roll back to Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has made it really simple. You'll need a computer, your phone, a USB cable, and the Windows Phone Recovery Tool. Watch our step-by-step instructions on video.