Microsoft is set to unveil a lot of news at its annual Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. The event is intended for IT professionals and developers, so don’t expect to see much (if any) hardware news. However, there should be updates about Microsoft’s software and services, including Cortana, Edge, Office, Teams, and more. The event takes place from November 4th to November 8th. Below, find all of the news from Ignite 2019’s opening day and updates as the week goes on.
Microsoft has changed its mind on killing off the OneNote 2016 desktop app. The software maker released Office 2019 without any updates to the desktop version of OneNote, instead relying on the separate Universal Windows App for Windows 10. “We are continuing mainstream support for OneNote 2016 beyond October 2020, so that you can continue using the version of OneNote that works best for you,” explains a blog post from the OneNote team.Read Article >
This means OneNote 2016 will be supported until October 14th 2025 (in extended support). Microsoft is even changing the way OneNote is installed as a result. Starting in March, Office 365 installs that include desktop apps will install the desktop OneNote 2016 version. You can also manually download OneNote 2016 from Microsoft’s site.
Microsoft has created a proof of concept for storing data on glass. The software maker has teamed up with Warner Bros. to store an entire copy of the original 1978 Superman movie on glass that’s the size of a coaster (75 x 75 x 2 mm). Microsoft Research is at the heart of this new glass storage, and it’s part of a big investment from Microsoft to develop storage tech built for the future of its Azure platform.Read Article >
“We built this entire system that’s essentially a new cold storage system,” revealed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella onstage at the company’s Ignite conference today. Microsoft is using regular quartz glass, and the company has boiled, baked, and scratched it to test its resilience. The research project, Project Silica, is designed for storing and preserving data.
Microsoft is revealing a lot of improvements to its Teams software today, furthering its competition with rival Slack. While Microsoft’s new Teams improvements include Outlook integration, the consolidation of tasks, and more Microsoft-focused changes, the company seems less focused on third-party app integrations. That’s something that Slack, Microsoft’s main rival, is really relying on to fend off Microsoft’s Teams growth. Slack is making its app support more functional and interactive, and it already has more than 1,800 apps available.Read Article >
Slack needs these integration points, whereas Microsoft can simply build in its own powerful Office software. It brings us to an interesting point in the ongoing battle between Microsoft Teams and Slack and whether businesses will opt for the integration points of Google’s G Suite, Slack, Zoom, and Dropbox, or Microsoft’s Office integration into Teams. I sat down with Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, recently to really understand Microsoft’s vision for Teams and his thoughts on the Slack competition and the future of productivity and Office.
Microsoft is unveiling a new Office app for iOS and Android today. While the software giant has had separate versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint available on both iOS and Android for years, this new Office app is designed to combine them into a single download. You’ll be able to access recent documents in the app or even create new ones using the ability to scan text or tables from your phone.Read Article >
I’ve been testing the new Office app on iOS for a few days, and it really feels like Microsoft has done a good job of combining all of the functionality from the separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps into a single Office app. The apps are identical, but they’re now in a single app that’s significantly smaller than the separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps.
Microsoft is planning to release its Edge Chromium browser early next year with a new logo. The software maker is targeting January 15th as the release date for Edge Chromium, with availability for Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, and macOS. Microsoft is releasing what it calls a “release candidate” today, which should demonstrate most of the final work that will make it into the stable release in January.Read Article >
It comes only a few months after Microsoft released the beta version of Edge, with a promise of a full release in early 2020. This new release candidate build will include sync support for passwords, history, favorites, and settings across Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It also includes Microsoft’s new built-in tracking protection, which is enabled by default.
Microsoft is bringing Cortana to its Outlook for iOS and Android apps. It’s something we’ve been expecting for almost two years, and it’s arriving initially in iOS with Android to follow in spring 2020. A new “Play My Emails” feature will allow Cortana to read out emails and even calendar invites when you’re driving to work, cooking, or commuting.Read Article >
You’ll be able to archive or flag emails while you’re listening to them. It will be limited to the US at first, and you’ll need to use headphones to hear emails and a summary of meetings unless you want them blasting our of your phone’s speakers. This new feature is part of some broader changes that Microsoft is making to Cortana, repositioning the assistant as a “personal productivity assistant.”
Microsoft is bringing some much-needed improvements to its Outlook for Mac app. Starting this week, Outlook for Mac beta testers (in the Fast Ring) will be able to access a new design that comes with some significant performance improvements. Microsoft is bringing its sync technology that’s used on Outlook for iOS and Android and Windows Mail to Outlook for Mac. It means Office 365, Outlook.com, and even Google accounts will sync faster thanks to Microsoft’s cloud services.Read Article >
Microsoft is also tweaking the design of Outlook for Mac, and adding a lot of features that have been available on the web and mobile versions of Outlook. Reading and writing emails has been improved with single line views, a new mail compose UI, and even features like the ability to ignore emails. Collapsible panels have been added so you can customize the main view of mail and tweak the toolbar accordingly.
Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its Teams client today. The software maker has been building out Microsoft Teams to rival Slack in recent months, and it’s now going a step further in its efforts to differentiate and offer unique Office integrations. The first big new feature is Outlook integration into Microsoft Teams.Read Article >
This will allow Teams users to move and share an email (and all of its attachments) into a chat channel. A new “Share to Teams” button will be made available inside Outlook early next year, and it simply moves an email into Microsoft Teams. It will allow employees using Teams to have a private conversation about an email thread or simply bridge the gap between the systems a little easier. It’s not exactly the same as the full bridge that Slack is attempting as you won’t be able to reply to emails and have them show up in Slack. It’s simply a static move of an email into Teams.
Microsoft first unveiled its Fluid Framework earlier this year as the future of web collaboration and shared or interactive services. The company is now launching a preview of this work today and offering some more information about exactly what Fluid Framework is. Fluid will power the future of collaborative experiences for Office on the web, but it’s also designed to be far much more, thanks to a new componentized document model.Read Article >
“We do believe we have to do really core technological innovation in key areas,” explains Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365, in an interview with The Verge. “Fluid is a way for us to innovate in collaboration, but also in the future of a document in content creation.” This new document model allows authors to tear apart content and use it across apps and flexible documents.