After being rumored for much of this past weekend, Microsoft has confirmed their acquisition of software development platform GitHub. The all stock transaction is estimated to be $7.5 billion with the Redmond, Washington company committing that development platform will remain open source.
And Microsoft is all-in on open source. We have been on a journey with open source, and today we are active in the open source ecosystem, we contribute to open source projects, and some of our most vibrant developer tools and frameworks are open source. When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today, and in the future.
The acquisition puts Microsoft in a strong position when it comes to software development in general and certainly a key player in the open source development community.
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In what could prove to be the clearest sign yet that the personal assistant race is coming down to two horses, Microsoft appears to be set to allow both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the Xbox One. The news, along with a supporting screenshot, came from the team over at Windows Central and points to users having the option to leverage the personal assistant of their choice on their Xbox One for controlling the device from their phone.
The news of this falls in line with other news that Microsoft is fundamentally shifting Cortana, their digital assistant, away from the consumer market and more toward the productivity side of things and not necessarily a personal assistant. It appears that Microsoft is conceding to Alexa and Google Assistant.
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Over the course of the past couple of years it has been clear that Microsoft’s mobile strategy is developing apps for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. This isn’t a bad strategy overall and it is clear from presentations this week at Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, that they are continuing that strategy.
One of the more exciting announcements on the first day of the conference is Windows 10’s new Timeline feature making it to both Android and iOS. For Android users, access to Timeline will come via Microsoft Launcher while iOS users will have access to via Microsoft Edge.
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The Microsoft OneDrive for Android app has been updated with a feature that has long been requested by users: The ability to install the app on a SD card. To this point, if you have an Android phone with a SD Card, OneDrive would not allow itself to be installed on that external storage. It is something that long time users of the cloud storage app have requested of Microsoft as it can save space, especially if you are syncing a lot of content offline from your OneDrive account, on your phone.
With version 5.9 which is now available in the Play Store, that changes. You now have the option to install the app on your SD Card. Further, if you already have the app installed, you can move the app to your card via the Settings in the app.
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Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to the Android and iOS Microsoft OneDrive app that brings a much improved sharing experience. The update now makes it clear which file or folder you are sharing and the extent of that sharing. It is a much cleaner and easier to understand experience.
The update to the mobile apps falls in line with the updates that Microsoft has been doing to OneDrive online as well as the Windows and Mac clients. File sharing from the cloud storage service is a fundamental element of the service which is used widely, especially with OneDrive for Business users.
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The Microsoft OneDrive app for Android has been updated with an important and handy new feature that allows you to recover deleted files on the cloud storage service. Version 5.7 of the OneDrive app is now rolling out in the Play Store which is where this new feature appears.
To this point, you have been able to delete files in OneDrive with no problem from your Android phone. But, if you accidentally deleted a file and need to recover it, you couldn’t. You had to go to the OneDrive site and go to the Trash folder to recover it. Now you can do it all from your phone, making it quicker to recover that accidentally deleted file.
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If you missed out on picking up the beautifully styled Harman Kardon Invoke, powered by Microsoft Cortana, for $99 this past holiday season, now is your time. Right now at the Microsoft Store you can pick one up for that special price, saving $100 in the process.
I posted my review of the Invoke in December and as I put in that review, it is one of the most stylish smart speakers out there with stunning audio quality as you would expect from Harman Kardon. At the heart of the Invoke is Microsoft Cortana which, much like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, is a voice command away to help you with tasks or get information.
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Microsoft’s Skype for Android has hit a rare benchmark. The communications app has hit the 1 billion downloads mark, something that few apps have reached, especially those outside of Google itself. The messaging, calling and video app has been around in various names for years and is one of the linking apps between phones and PCs for Windows users. It may have taken it a while to hit one billion downloads but it did it and many others have never come close. Indeed, even Microsoft’s other apps are mostly in the 100 million download range.
Like many of their other Android apps, Microsoft has continued to update the features of Skype and that continues today. There is a small update that is rolling out in the Play Store that bring messaging improvements. The update is version 188.8.131.52295 for those keeping score at home and should be rolling out to users over the course of the next few days.
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