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This latest round-up of news from Microsoft includes the new release of Office 2016 for Mac, why Windows Server is adding SSD enhancements and how the company’s cloud market share is rising.

The major update for Office 2016 for Mac recently released by Microsoft includes a range of new features. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the more important ones:

  • Real time collaborative editing in Word, Excel and PowerPoint – thumbnails in the upper-right corner of the window show who else is working in a shared document, with flag icons indicating where others are working and enabling you to view changes as they type
  • Support for auto-save – changes are saved automatically for documents, worksheets, and presentations and stored in the cloud. It’s also possible to check the version history for a list of changes and to access to earlier versions
  • More charts in Excel – new charts, such as funnel, sunburst and histogram are all available whilst the new Map chart type can be used to transform geographic data into a map in just a few steps
  • Archive or delete in Outlook with just one swipe – the ability to organise your inbox by swiping left with two fingers across the touchpad to archive an email or swiping right to delete it
  • Support for Google Calendar and Contacts in Outlook – meaning that there’s no longer the need to leave Outlook in order to manage these apps

Meanwhile, new enhancements to Storage Spaces Direct (SSD) have been added to the latest test-build preview release of Windows Server, known as ‘build ‘17074’.

SSD is intended to allow organisations to utilise newer and less expensive devices for storage, including NVMe, SATA and SDD disks.

This latest test release of Windows Server sees Microsoft continuing to expand and simplify the hardware for SSD, with the highlights including:

  • Support for Persistent Memory (also known as Storage Class Memory), which helps unlock low-latency storage possibilities
  • Support for ‘Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller’
  • Enabling the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) cache in order to boost virtual machine (VM) performance

And finally, there’s excellent news for Microsoft on the public cloud computing front as a recent report from KeyBanc indicates that Azure’s market share has jumped from 16% to 20% over the past 12 months.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant provider with 62% of the market, though this figure has fallen from 68% last year as Microsoft’s share has risen. Over the same period Google also saw a rise, from 10% to 12%.

The report also compared the big three cloud providers’ artificial intelligence tools and found that Microsoft has more pre-built models than other public cloud vendors and makes them available from more data centres around the world.

And there was further good news for Microsoft in terms of its cloud activities as the company revealed it now has 68,000 cloud partners as part of its Microsoft Partner Network, a whopping increase of 33% on last year’s figures…

Matt Barclay
AWS Business Development Director 

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