Microsoft (MSFT) news recap: Xbox at E3, HoloLens, enterprise security, and more

Michael Cottuli

Microsoft news recap is a new weekly feature highlighting the top Microsoft news stories of the past week. Sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy the read!

Microsoft doesn’t necessarily need to be recognized by third parties as a visionary company, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. In their latest “magic quadrant” regarding Enterprise Mobility Management, Gartner decided to rank Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite as a “visionary” among its peers, showing an exemplary completeness of vision paired with a fair competence in its ability to execute. While it showed room for improvement, the placement on Gartner’s quadrant definitely served as a strong pat on the back for Microsoft.

Speaking of the Enterprise Mobility Suite, cyber security company Lookout has announced this past week that it has partnered with Microsoft to integrate its Lookout Mobile Threat Protection with the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. According to Lookout SVP Worldwide Field Operations Michael McBride, this partnership is set to “enhance enterprise mobile security and enable enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation.”

E3 is coming, and Microsoft is getting ready to blow all of our minds. Between new consoles, new peripherals, and new games, we know that the Xbox brand is going to be doing some amazing things this year, and it’s all going to kick off with a strong showing at E3 2016. If you’re anywhere near as excited as we are, you should check out our overview of everything that you can expect from Microsoft gets on stage for their E3 keynote. In short, we are expecting a new Xbox One model and perhaps other surprises.

HoloLens is making its way into the hands of eager developers, slowly but surely. The third wave of HoloLens developer kits has been shipped out, making yet another group of happy app developers waiting for its arrival like kids on Christmas. With the public release of HoloLens still seeming somewhat far on the horizon, it’s especially encouraging to see that Microsoft is stepping up their production and distribution of these developer kits.

Keeping in theme with its name as a generally green and progressive company, Microsoft is partnering up with The Nature Conservancy – a company that specializes in the study of the ocean, and analyzes that data to see just how it affects our lives. Microsoft has contributed $500,000 in cash and technological investments to the Conservancy’s Mapping Ocean Wealth project, which aims to figure out just how underwater habitats benefit people.

In collaboration with the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT), Microsoft is enabling the tax authority in Mexico to bring simplified taxes and increased government revenue to the country. Taxpayers in Mexico automatically have their wages reported to the SAT, collected via the Azure Cloud. Even their deductible business purchases are automatically routed to the collection of information that inevitably comes back around during tax season.

Microsoft has just launched a series of new payment plans to encourage businesses to incorporate their Surface line of devices into their day-to-day operations. The plans appear to be open to both large companies and individual business owners, however, approval for each plan will come down to the financial agency, LiftForward.

In addition to Sprightly, there’s another Microsoft Garage app available for iOS called Kaizala. Back in February 2016, Kaizala was released on Android and now it is available for iOS. According to Prabhakar Mangina, Kaizala roughly translates to “What’s Up?” inMarathi, a language in western India. Kaizala is an app that allows business owners to assign jobs to employees or outside contractors, track and manage bills, and get updates on job status and be notified when jobs are complete.

You’ve heard it before from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s mouth, Microsoft is now a “mobile first, cloud first” company. While this shift to the cloud as been great to the company’s business, it also means that the Redmond giant has to dedicate more and more resources to cybersecurity. Indeed, over the last few months we’ve seen Microsoft introducing the Cyber Defense Operations Center to aid in protecting user data in the workplace as well as the Microsoft Digital Crime Unit to make the Internet safer for all. But according to a new report from Gadgets360, the company is pursuing its cybersecurity efforts with the opening of a new Cyber Security Engagement Centre (CSEC) in Gurgaon, India. This new centre will be one of seven in the world and will serve as the company’s own cyber security hub in the country. It will bring together the attorneys, investigators and security experts from the Microsoft Digital Crime Unit as well as a local response team from the Microsoft Consultancy Services (MCS). According to the report, the CSEC experts will “offer cyber monitoring, use machine learning-based detection technology and ensure rapid response to cyber threats to customers in the country.”