Microsoft doubles down on cloud data with new products, makes new appeal to Amazon’s rivals

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces the company’s new cloud data products. (Screenshot via webcast)

Microsoft is rolling out new cloud technologies for wrangling, protecting and analyzing large amounts of corporate data, escalating its competition with Google, Snowflake and Amazon in the $25 billion global market for data analytics and business intelligence.

Microsoft said its previously announced Azure Synapse Analytics technology is now generally available, with capabilities including data warehousing, artificial intelligence, security and compliance. The company also announced a preview of a new product, Azure Purview, which automatically discovers data across cloud platforms, on-premises servers and online applications.

Speaking via video at a virtual event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made an apparent appeal to Amazon’s competitors, without mentioning the company by name. Nadella said it’s important to be able to trust not just a vendor’s technology capabilities and but also its “business model alignment” with its customers.

“No customer wants

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Microsoft acquires video-game tournament tool Smash.GG as MSN expands esports footprint

Microsoft has acquired the esports organization tool Smash.GG, according to an announcement by MSN’s new esports hub. Smash.GG confirmed the acquisition with a small blurb on its front page.

Smash.GG bills itself as a self-service esports platform, offered as a free service to the owners and organizers behind gaming tournaments worldwide. It offers an easy way for fans and players to find, enter, and follow gaming competitions, along with software that automatically generates competitive brackets.

While it’s most strongly associated with head-to-head tournament fighters like Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros., as its name would suggest, Smash.GG also provides services for games in other genres, such as Rocket League, Fortnite, Valorant, and the mobile card battler Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links. It’s been used for everything from local get-togethers to major international competitions, and currently claims to support over 6,000 active events.

Founded in 2015, Smash.GG bills itself as the

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Microsoft removes individuals from Productivity Score after backlash

  • Microsoft on Tuesday updated its Productivity Score tool, in response to criticism about a feature that tracked individuals using Microsoft Teams. 
  • Organizations will receive aggregated scores, with individual user activity hidden from view, the company said. 
  • Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog post that no one in the company will now be able to use the tool to access individual user data. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft on Tuesday removed a feature that shared detailed information about how remote employees worked, responding to public backlash about the Productivity Score tool.

The feature was part of a suite of tools in Microsoft Teams that give employers insight into employee behaviour, but some said monitoring individual data was too invasive. 

“We appreciate the feedback we’ve heard over the last few days and are moving quickly to respond by removing user names entirely from

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Marc Benioff and Stewart Butterfield are now united, with a mutual Microsoft grudge

Hello, and welcome to this Wednesday’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech.

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This week: The tech mega-deal that COVID brokered

Marc Benioff standing on a stage: Marc Benioff Reuters/Mike Blake

© Reuters/Mike Blake
Marc Benioff Reuters/Mike Blake

The year of the pandemic is closing with what may be remembered as the era’s signature deal. Salesforce is plunking down $27.7 billion — its largest acquisition ever — to buy Slack, the workplace collaboration platform that’s become as integral to the work-from-home lifestyle as sweatpants.

What a change a few months make: It was only in August that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff insisted that big-ticket M&A was no longer in the cards. 

  • And Salesforce’s recent pattern of high-priced acquisitions, like Tableau and MuleSoft, are very clearly skewed towards assets involving data analytics and back-end cloud systems
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Microsoft Makes Changes To Productivity Score Tool After Privacy Backlash


 Microsoft on Tuesday said employers will no longer have access to data on individual employees through its Productivity Score tool, after privacy experts criticized the feature as invasive workplace monitoring software.  

Key Facts

Launched earlier this month, Productivity Score let companies with a Microsoft 365 business subscription see how individual employees were using Microsoft products, allowing bosses to see how many hours workers spent on Microsoft Teams or the number of times their camera was on in meetings in the last month, for example.

After widespread criticism, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said in a blog post the company will remove individual employee monitoring altogether, saying “no one in the organization will be able to use Productivity Score to access data about

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Windows 10: This is 2020’s last 2004 and 20H2 optional update, says Microsoft

Windows users and admins can expect a Patch Tuesday update on December 8, but Microsoft just snuck in the final optional update for the latest versions of Windows 10 a day ahead of its December 1 cut-off. 

In mid-November Microsoft warned it would stop delivering the optional updates it releases in the latter part of the month that let admins test against systems before it releases its Patch Tuesday updates on the second Tuesday of each month. 

The reason it’s not issuing optional or preview updates is to give admins a break over the holiday period when staffing resources could be stretched. It will resume these updates in January 2021.   

Microsoft tests the newest versions of Windows 10 with users in the Windows Insider program before releasing them to the general public and it did that last week with the Windows 10 20H2 Build 19042.662 to the Beta and Release

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Microsoft Teams will no longer support Internet Explorer 11

Teams is no longer supported by IE11 as Microsoft phases out its legacy web browser.


Breakout rooms are for brainstorming sessions in small teams.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams

will no longer work on Internet Explorer 11 from today as Microsoft begins the sunset of its legacy web browsers.

Microsoft announced in August this year that Microsoft 365 apps would slowly lose support for IE11 and the legacy Microsoft Edge browser to make was for the faster, leaner and more secure Chromium-based Edge.

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)  

As per
its August announcement,

today (November 30) marks the day that Microsoft Teams stops supporting IE11. So, if you’ve not been able to log into Teams today via Internet Explorer, now you know why.

Teams isn’t the only app that will eventually stop working with IE11. As of 17 August 2021, the

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Microsoft Teams no longer works on Internet Explorer

Millions of Internet Explorer users will be locked out of Microsoft Teams unless they upgrade to Microsoft’s Edge browser instead.

Starting today, the web conferencing service will no longer be available on the legacy browser. The move was announced earlier in the year as part of a push by Microsoft to get people to upgrade to its Chromium-based Edge browser before IE reaches end of life in 2021. 

Microsoft warns that if users try and access Teams on the unsupported browser, it will display a message explaining the issue and the session limitations. The message also encourages the user to download and use the Teams desktop client or to upgrade to Microsoft Edge, which has been designed to offer “faster and more responsive web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets like Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, and more”.

In addition to losing Teams, Internet Explorer is also set to

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Microsoft ends support for Teams on Internet Explorer 11

Microsoft Teams will stop working for the users of Internet Explorer 11 from November 30.

The Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support IE 11. Users who have been using IE 11 will have to move to Microsoft Edge to be able to use it on the browser.

This is part of Microsoft’s push to move users to Microsoft Edge from Internet Explorer.

Microsoft had made the announcement earlier this year. Furthermore, beginning August 17, 2021, the remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support IE 11 as well.

“This means that after the above dates, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11. For degraded experiences, new Microsoft 365 features will not be available or certain features may cease to work when accessing the app or service via IE 11,” Microsoft had said

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Cyber Monday laptop deals: Discounts on HP Pavilion, Microsoft Surface, Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and more

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

If you’ve been waiting to buy a new laptop, now’s the time. Black Friday might be officially finished, but we’re moving swiftly into Cyber Monday and there are some amazing laptop deals available right now from nearly every retailer, including Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and Walmart

We’ve found loads of discounted HP laptops, including the HP Pavilion for $610 and HP Envy x360 for $750. We’ve also seen deals from other brands such as Lenovo, Gateway and Microsoft. We’ve gathered the best deals here so you can grab new gear at a great discount.

More Black Friday laptop and PC deals


This 15.6-inch Pavilion model sold direct from HP eases our RAM and SSD concerns. It provides 16GB

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