In this edition of Weekend Reading, learn about Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, Gaming for Everyone, new Xboxes that are on their way and university students taking Microsoft’s global Data Science Student Challenge and the Data Science Summer School.
Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn: Microsoft and LinkedIn announced on Monday they entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “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.” Microsoft also announced it acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs. The acquisition accelerates Microsoft’s vision and strategy for Conversation as a Platform, which Nadella introduced at the Build 2016 conference in March.
Xbox, beyond boundaries and consoles: New Xbox One devices, including the sleek and slim Xbox One S (coming in August) and “Project Scorpio” (coming holiday 2017) with 6 teraflops of GPU, 4K gaming and high-fidelity virtual reality, were announced this week at E3. Also coming, new Xbox Live features and a huge lineup of games. The new Xbox Play Anywhere program lets gamers buy a game once and play it on both their Windows 10 PC and Xbox One console with shared progress, game saves and achievements. Every new Microsoft Studios title shown at the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing will support Xbox Play Anywhere, with more titles on the way.
Gaming for Everyone. “We believe gaming should be fun for everyone,” wrote Xbox head Phil Spencer this week. Gaming for Everyone means giving you the choice of who you play with through Clubs and Looking For Group on Xbox Live, so you can better connect with people who share your interests, Spencer said. Gaming for Everyone means that with Xbox Online Safety features, “you choose your level of exposure to violence, language or interactions with other people so your gaming experience is as controlled as you want it to be.” It also means inclusive design, something that Xbox is embracing as part of Gaming for Everyone. “In this ongoing initiative, every single person on Team Xbox is working together to try to make gaming accessible, equitable and sustainable for all,” said Spencer.
Enter a new realm for “Minecraft”: The “Minecraft” Realms service for “Minecraft: Pocket Edition,” “Minecraft: Gear VR Edition” and “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta” started rolling out. Realms makes it easier to play with your friends on a dedicated server that’s always available. You can also host worlds in the cloud, which can only be accessed by those who you invite. And up to 11 players can play simultaneously, more than twice what was previously available.
University students show their data science chops. With a global shortage of data science talent, Microsoft’s global Data Science Student Challenge and Data Science Summer School are providing tools and opportunities to empower universities and students to apply new algorithms, ideas and solutions to real-world problems. The Challenge supports events at Columbia University, ENSAE ParisTech, University College London (UCL), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), National University of Singapore and University of Melbourne. Students get access to large datasets and cloud computing, and are given the freedom to tackle real problems, such as identifying buildings at risk of under-heating in New York City and helping France’s Red Cross maximize the effectiveness of their programs.
New apps include Starbucks app add-in for Outlook. Now you can schedule a face-to-face meeting with Joe over some joe at Starbucks using the new Starbucks app add-in for Outlook to book meetings at Starbucks locations. The app also lets users send gift cards via Outlook. With the MyUSPS app for Windows 10, you can add a tracking number and the Live Tile will update you with its progress through the U.S. Postal Service. You can also ask Cortana to open the dashboard and check its status for you. The Weather Channel for Windows 10 has improved radar animation, which will adapt easily to your screen size, whether you’re on a Windows Phone, tablet or PC. And, coming soon: the new Expedia app.
This week on the Microsoft social channels, we met Kris Woolery, who believes gaming is for everyone. As a senior design strategist at Microsoft, she’s helping to build the future for gaming technology, and making sure it is fun for all players. Learn more about Kris’ inclusive approach to gaming on Facebook and Instagram.
That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. And dad or not, give your loved ones an extra hug this weekend, and come back and see us next Friday.
Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff