The U.S. Department of Defense awards $1 contract to Microsoft

The Pentagon has shelled out more than $11 billion over the past couple of years to develop it’s cloud strategy, and it’s not done yet.

The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to enter into additional contracts planned for cloud services and migration and integration solutions.

On Friday Microsoft entered the picture, the latest beneficiary in the multi-billion dollar enterprise.

The tech giant has been awarded an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract.

Adding Microsoft to the chain, the Pentagon says, furthers the strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment. Defense maintains the department’s needs are diverse and cannot be met by any single supplier.

The U.S. Department of Defense.jpg

This latest contract, the Pentagon says, “will address critical and urgent unmet warfighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge.”

“This award is the conclusion of a process that began with the release of the first RFI to industry nearly two years ago. Throughout that time, the department’s focus never wavered from the need to support our warfighters with this essential capability,” the Pentagon adds in a statement released on Friday.

Microsoft was one of four bidders short-listed for the contract, the others being Amazon, IMB and Oracle. “All offerors were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria. Prior to the award, the department conferred with the DOD Inspector General, which informed the decision to proceed,” the statement said.

The base contract period is two years. It is understood there will be four renewable options, each of two years, taking the contract to 10 years. The department projects that user adoption will drive an estimated $210 million of spending during the two year base period. Defense says it will rigorously review contract performance prior to the exercise of any options, which could see that number blow out to more than $1 billion by the contract’s end.

“The National Defense Strategy dictates that we must improve the speed and effectiveness with which we develop and deploy modernized technical capabilities to our women and men in uniform,” DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said Friday. “The DOD Digital Modernization Strategy was created to support this imperative. This award is an important step in execution of the Digital Modernization Strategy.”

Bill Gates reclaims ‘world’s richest person’ title from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is taking a fall from his perch as the world’s richest person, mostly because Amazon’s stock price has fallen. That cut into Bezos’ wealth, Bloomberg reports, though not so you’d notice.

Bezos is at $107.1 billion at the moment, about $300 million less than Gates, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It’s the first time Microsoft’s co-founder has topped the list since October 2017.

Microsoft’s stock has shot up this year, and Gates still has 1% of its shares.

Forbes also documented the new order, putting Gates back on top; he headed the Forbes 400 for 24 years, until 2018.

The stock slide isn’t the whole story on Bezos’ slippage. One-fourth of Amazon’s ownership went to MacKenzie Bezos in their divorce settlement this year. She’s now worth $32.7 billion. And then there’s philanthropy.

Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.jpg

Gates would easily reign atop the wealth lists if he hadn’t given so much away, including much of his Microsoft stock. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation now is the largest private charitable foundation in the world.

Bezos has long been criticized for not doing more, and that started to change last year, when his contributions were estimated at $2 billion, per CNBC, much more than Gates in 2018.

Microsoft boss responds to allegations of sexual harassment

Microsoft is revamping its practices for investigating workplace allegations after a group of women shared stories of discrimination and sexual harassment.

CEO Satya Nadella sent a letter to employees about the changes Monday.

Nadella says the company is increasing support services for workers who say they’ve experienced misbehavior, including a new “Employee Advocacy Team” to help guide employees through investigations.

He says Microsoft will also require inclusivity training for all its roughly 16,000 managers, set new and more consistent disciplinary guidelines and create more transparency about the outcome of investigations.

The changes follow a large internal email chain started last month by employees sharing personal stories of experiencing misconduct. That caught the attention of top executives.

Nadella’s letter to employees was first reported by news site Quartz.

Microsoft to retire its Wallet App in February, 2019

Microsoft Wallet app, the company’s cashless mobile payment app, will be discontinued at the end of February, the company said on its website.

“Starting on Feb. 28, 2019, the Microsoft Wallet app will be officially retired,” the company said.

The wallet app let users load debit or credit card info into the app on their phones and tap POS terminals that accepted them for payment.

Although Microsoft has not announced an official replacement, last year, the company said it was going to integrate the app with Masterpass by Mastercard. The move helped both companies’ shared goal of optimizing a payment experience for both customers and merchants.

“We are deeply committed to powering a secure and optimized shopping experience that consumers and merchants deserve. Integrating technologies like Microsoft Pay with Masterpass will help the industry move to standards-based payments. Microsoft is a great partner and we will continue to collaborate with Microsoft to make shopping a better experience on all devices,” Raj Dhamodharan, senior vice president of Digital Solutions at Mastercard, said at the time.

In other Microsoft news, the company recently announced that it was taking its digital assistant Cortana in a new direction as it has fallen behind Google Assistant and Alexa in the past year.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, while speaking to a group of journalists earlier this week, said that the hardware giant no longer views Cortana as a direct competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant.

“Cortana needs to be that skill for anybody who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber,” he said, in reference to Microsoft’s recent push for consumer subscriptions.

“You should be able to use it on Google Assistant, you should be able to use it on Alexa, just like how you use our apps on Android and iOS, so that’s at least how we want to think about where it’ll go.”

Microsoft breaks record with latest stock market value

 

Microsoft.jpg

For the first time in eight years, Microsoft Corp‘s stock market value overtook that of Apple’s, with shares of the Windows maker rising 0.6 percent to end the week at $110.89.

On Friday, Microsoft managed to not only become the world’s most valuable listed company, but also succeeded at reclaiming the number one spot after over 15 years.

The software giant led by Satya Nadella ended Friday with a market value of $851.2 billion, compared to Apple’s $847.4 billion.

While Apple’s shares fell 0.5 percent to $178.58 on the day, Microsoft clearly benefited from the growth in cloud computing and from the losses that Apple suffered after investors expressed concerns regarding iPhone demand.

Ever since this summer, when Apple became the first trillion dollar company in the U.S., both the firms have been aiming to outdo each other.

However, Apple has managed to remain ahead of Microsoft at the end of each trading day.

Then, on Friday, Microsoft shares gained even as Apple’s shares continued to plunge, dropping 0.5 percent to finding the day at $178.60.

After being ranked as the world’s most valuable company in the early 2000s, Microsoft lost its crown to Apple, in 2010 – when the iPhone maker first became the most valuable technology firm.

However, since October, Apple’s shares have fallen almost 25 percent as concerns about slowing demand for iPhone and the possibility of additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made goods rise.

The concerns have triggered a sell-off, that has wiped out over $200 billion from Apple’s market value.

While Apple continues to remain the bigger company in terms of annual revenue and profit, the growing cloud services unit at Microsoft, along with its other promising businesses, have continued to give hopes to investors that the Windows maker has brighter future prospects.

Probe LinkedIn and Microsoft antitrust issues, Salesforce begs EU

Earlier in June, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for a reported $26.2 billion, reasserting itself as one of the biggest players in the world’s technology market. The business deal between these two companies in different sectors was one of the smartest mergers today.

Image shows Jeff Weiner, chief of LinkedIn, left, Satya Nadella, chief of Microsoft, and Reid Hoffman, executive chairman of LinkedIn during a dinner meeting where they discussed details of how the LinkedIn-Microsoft deal would work, earlier this year.

While Microsoft is a popular software tools maker, LinkedIn has been the largest business-oriented social networking site with hundreds of millions as registered members globally.

“This deal is all about bringing together the professional cloud and professional network,” NY Post quoted Mr. Nadella as saying in a telephone interview at that time.

Though the acquisition has been proceeding smoothly, a recent report from Reuters say Salesforce, a U.S. software company, has beckoned on the European Union (EU) “to investigate antitrust issues related to Microsoft’s $26 billion bid for social network LinkedIn”.

Read: WHY MICROSOFT WANTED LINKEDIN.

The business deal which is Microsoft’s biggest ever is expected to be completed by the end of this year but this could be their one last huddle.

As the software company is seeking EU’s antitrust approval on the merger, Salesforce, which lost out in their bid for LinkedIn has asked authorities in the sector to conduct a thorough review on the take-over deal.

Salesforce claims the acquisition poses a threat on innovation and competition.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks during the 2014 DreamForce conference on October 14, 2014 in San Francisco, California. The annual Dreamforce conference runs through October 16. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Image shows Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“By gaining ownership of LinkedIn’s unique dataset of over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries, Microsoft will be able to deny competitors access to that data, and in doing so obtain an unfair competitive advantage,” Burke Norton, Salesforce’s chief legal officer, said in a statement.

“Salesforce believes this raises significant antitrust and data privacy issues that need to be fully scrutinized by competition and data privacy authorities in the United States and in the European Union,” he said.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a statement: “Salesforce may not be aware, but the deal has already been cleared to close in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. We’re committed to continuing to work to bring price competition to a CRM market in which Salesforce is the dominant participant charging customers higher prices today.”

Read: Microsoft To Buy LinkedIn In $26bn Deal.

Microsoft and LinkedIn’s merger hasn’t been officially submitted for European Union approval yet but has already cleared other countries, including the United States, The Mercury News confirms.

The report quotes Margrethe Vestager, the European Union antitrust chief, as saying that the EU will surely carry out investigations on whether “the data purchased in the deal has a very long durability and might constitute a barrier for others, or if they can be replicated so that others stand a chance to enter the market.” She gave the answer in response to a June question from Bloomberg about the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal.

Meanwhile, Daniel Rubinfeld, a law professor at UC Berkeley and New York University, says he expects a tougher stance from the European Union, adding that the regulators pay serious attention to user privacy matters.

In his words: “The EU has shown somewhat different legal standards and much more interest in privacy concerns than U.S. agencies.”

WHY MICROSOFT WANTED LINKEDIN.

Microsoft’s announcement, on Monday, that it would purchase LinkedIn—its biggest acquisition ever, at more than $26b—brought to mind an earlier takeover attempt, almost a decade ago.

Back in the mid-aughts, Microsoft’s C.E.O. at the time, Steve Ballmer, flew to Palo Alto to try to convince Mark Zuckerberg, the young C.E.O. of Facebook, to let Microsoft buy his company.

Image: Microsoft to buy LinkedIn.

During Facebook’s first couple of years, bigger companies had dismissed it, and social networking in general, as a fad for college kids; Zuckerberg had even admitted that he didn’t care how Facebook would eventually make money. But Ballmer, who wanted to catch up to Google in the online-advertising business, was beginning to see Facebook’s power. People were signing up for accounts in extraordinary numbers.

If Microsoft could acquire Facebook, it would gain a user base that could eventually rival Google’s—just what advertisers wanted. For this, according to the journalist David Kirkpatrick, Ballmer was willing to pay fifteen billion dollars, far more than Microsoft had ever paid for an acquisition.  Continue reading “WHY MICROSOFT WANTED LINKEDIN.”

Microsoft To Buy LinkedIn In $26bn Deal.

Microsoft is set to buy LinkedIn in a deal worth $26bn and the new entity will employ over 2,000 people in Ireland, Independent reports. The offer of $196 per share represents a premium of 49.5 percent to LinkedIn’s Friday closing price.

LinkedIn

Image: LinkedIn

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” Reid Hoffman, chairman of LinkedIn’s board, said in a statement.

Jeff Weiner will remain chief executive of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

The deal is expected to close in 2016.

LinkedIn shares soared 49pc before the stock market opened in US while Microsoft’s fell 3pc.

Despite the rich premium paid by Microsoft, LinkedIn is selling for well below its peak of more than $270 per share in 2015, but a weak forecast earlier this year sent its shares tumbling amid slowing online ad revenue.

LinkedIn went public in 2011 at $45.

“I think, first of all, (LinkedIn) is a great business, even though the company stubbed their toe back in February,” said Ivan Feinseth, analyst at Tigress Financial Partners. “It’s apremium company and it deserves a premium valuation.”

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft said LinkedIn boss Jeff Weiner would stay in charge and report to Satya Nadella.

Satya Nadella said: “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,”

“Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

Continue reading “Microsoft To Buy LinkedIn In $26bn Deal.”

How Microsoft’s “Impossible” Interview Question Mystify Candidates.

Interviews can be nerve-wrecking enough for every candidate, but how would an interviewer expect job-seekers to cope when a near-impossible question is thrown at them right at the end of the process?

Technology giant Microsoft has allegedly done just that to hopeful jobseekers looking to secure a role at the company.

According to a comment on sharing site Quora, Microsoft has a habit of asking candidates interviewing for a prestigious place on their campus site how to solve a mind-bending algebraic puzzle – the Metro reports.

Continue reading “How Microsoft’s “Impossible” Interview Question Mystify Candidates.”

Why Models Love Modellounge.

Do you wonder what Modellounge means or why beautiful models love thing? Wait a moment.

That’s just a name, a joint, a relaxation center or you can call it a work space where models relax when they are off duty.

Continue reading “Why Models Love Modellounge.”