Another blinding quarter for Microsoft as they report on their 2021 Q3 Fiscal.
Revenue: $41.7 billion vs $41.05 billion expected
Earnings per share: $2.03 vs $1.78 expected
The biggest winners as above were its Azure Cloud business (Intelligent Cloud) and strong revenue off the back of strong PC sales.
Azure leads the Growth
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s biggest growth, and the areas that has pushed its market capitalisation needle to almost $2 trillion, is its Azure cloud division. For the last quarter, Microsoft saw $15.12 billion in revenue from the segment, a 23% year-over-year increase. Azure growth is up 50% YoY.
Intelligent Cloud: $15.12b vs $14.9b expected
Productivity and Business Process: $13.6b vs $13.2b expected. Increase of 15%
MorePersonal Computing: $13.04 billion versus $12.6 billion expected
“Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down, they’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “We are building the cloud for the next decade, expanding our addressable market and innovating across every layer of the tech stack to help our customers be resilient and transform“.
The other stars of the show
In addition to Azure, Microsoft saw:
19% growth in Personal Computing growth of more than 10% year on year growth of Windows 10 revenue.
35% increase in Xbox and Gaming Revenue
Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 50.2 million
LinkedIn revenue increased 25%
Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 26% driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 45%
Surface revenue increased 12% (up by $1.5 billion). Surface continues to grow at a steady and modest pace despite chip shortages and increased competition.
Well of course this is all part of Offixe 365 but… Some great numbers here too.. Microsoft seem to have consistent teams Daily active usage of 145million daily active users… 100% growth on this time last year as nicely announced by Jeff Teper
As we start to thing about post covid working it’s likely that more us will go back to have at least some physical meetings with our clients and customers and this means travel time!
Outlook will soon be getting some clever new important updates around recognising where meetings are and allowing travel time to be automatically booked.
Coming to the Outlook Web client first, this new feature will allow users to book travel time appointments and also transportation between meetings. “Now when you need to go to a different building or place between meetings, Outlook will enable you to book travel time and way of transportation between the places you need to go,” is the how the feature is explained in the Microsoft 365 roadmap.
Until now there have been numerous third-party add ons available that do similar things but I’ve never found these much good and they don’t work cross platform. Presumably this feature once realised will also makes its way to desktop and mobile too.
I would expect this to enter public preview as part of the #OfficeInsider programme in the next month or so.
What do you think of this addition? .Maybe it’s because people have forgotten how tenuous travel between meetings used to be now that most of our meetings are all online!
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is used by organisations to define and enforce data protection policies that identify and prevent risky or inappropriate sharing, transfer or use of sensitive information across cloud, on-premise and endpoints within an organisation or establishment.
Until now it was possible to configure alerts, as a part of the DLP policy authoring experience which provide an effective way for admins or compliance officers to get notified whenever a DLP policy is breached.
Microsoft has now announced the General Availability (GA) of their Data Loss Prevention “Alerts Dashboard” . This latest enhancement provides organisations with the ability to easily and holistically visualise and then investigate DLP policy violations across their entire infrastructure including:
New Alerts Dashboard enhances DLP experience
On-premises file shares
Exchange / Exchange Online
Other non msft cloud apps and SaaS apps
Devices (where endpoint DLP is used).
The alerts dashboard provides a list view of all of the DLP alerts. The relevant details can then be investigated by simply clicking on an alert. APIs of course exist to allow you to call these alerts from other event management platforms and SEIM products like Azure Sentinel for example.
Microsoft DLP is of course just part of the comprehensive set of Gartner Magic Quadrant leading Information Protection, Compliance and Governance solutions that are part of the Microsoft 365 E5 (and Microsoft 365 Compliance stack).
Customers can easily sign up for a trial of Microsoft 365 E5 via the admin centre, or by speaking to your Microsoft Partner (like the company I work for at https://www.cisilion.com/microsoft) to get more information, arrange a demo or run a PoC.
More information on this with can be found on the Microsoft 365 blogs here.
Today (Tuesday 13th April 2021), Microsoft officially unveiled the 2021 Surface Laptop 4.
Surface Laptop, in my opinion, has always been the best “looking” Surface device since it was first released back in 2017. Not only that but Microsoft say the Surface Laptop has the highest level of customer satisfaction across all its Surface devices.
Speeds and Feeds
Let’s cut to the basics, Microsoft claim that Surface Laptop 4 is up to 70% faster, has significantly longer battery life (with up to 19 hours of battery life on the 13.5” AMD variant), updated colours, 11th Gen Intel Chipsets and Dolby Atmos Audio. Retains USB C and USB-A.
Above all this Surface Laptop and updated/new accessories has been designed for the hybrid worker which seems set to be the default for most post COVID-19.
Oh…new Surface Headphones “for Business” too
Along with the launch of Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft also announced new Surface Headphones 2+ for Business which have been designed for Microsoft Teams. In addition, the Surface Headphones 2+ battery is rated to 15 hours of voice use and includes 13 levels of adjustable noise cancellation. Microsoft have also included a USB dongle which has a LED indicator to show when the microphone is muted.
These ship with a dongle (needed for Teams certification). Pricing is $299. Shipping now.
Oh…and Surface branded Webcam and USB-Speaker.
Yep – you heard it right. If you have your own home office and don’t need to rely on headphones or ear pods, then Microsoft has now launched their very own Surface branded Webcam and USB-C Speaker. Pricing was confirmed at $99.99 and available from June.
Next up, Microsoft announced the Surface webcam which offers true 1080p video resolution video (which beats the built in 720p camera) and provides a 78-degree field of view, support for HDR, and an integrated privacy shutter. Cost is $69 and ships in June.
Both of these are important accessories to ensure calls are crisp and clear when working from home. Many still use cheap headsets or non-Teams certified devices so it’s great to see Microsoft release their own Surface branded accessories for their devices.
Last night, Microsoft released a public preview of the 64-bit version of the OneDrive for Windows sync client.
This upcoming 64-bit version of the app doesn’t have any new/changed features over the current 32-bit version, but being a 64-bit app, should run much more efficiently on PCs running a 64-bit version of Windows 10 – especially where users regularly need to synchronise larger files.
Microsoft’s OneDrive team said that “…the 64-bit version is the right choice if you plan to use large files, if you have a lot of files, and if you have a computer that’s running a 64-bit version of Windows.”.
As of today (it’s in preview after all), the OneDrive 64-bit version can only be installed on AMD64 devices, and for now Windows 10 on ARM PCs only support the 32-bit version of the sync client such as the #SurfaceProX
When officially released – expected later this April, the 64-bit version of OneDrive Sync Client will automatically replace the 32-bit version.
If you like betas and early testing, there is a public preview of the OneDrive 64-bit client available here:
Released at the end of 2020, the Poly Sync 20 and Sync 20 + are personal Bluetooth and USB speakerphones designed for use with Microsoft Teams. Whilst nothing new in terms of form-factor – as other vendors such as Yealink, Jabra, Lenovo etc., all have similar form factor speakers, the quality design and easy to use features make the Sync 20 a great device for home workers, hybrid workers or anyone looking for a stylish, Bluetooth / smart portable speakerphone solution that has been “designed” for Microsoft Teams.
The Poly Sync 20 was the first in Poly’s new Sync range of USB and Bluetooth speakerphones. The Sync 20 has two bigger brothers – the Sync 40 and the Sync 60 which are aimed more for use in huddle spaces and smaller to medium sized meeting rooms – The Sync 20 and Sync 40 are available “now” and the Sync 60 is “coming “soon”. This review just looks at the Sync 20.
These device types are designed for those people that travel or are on the road often (outside of current COVID restrictions of course) and needing to join Teams Meetings / conference calls either alone or with one or two other people – or as a permanent set-up at the home office. These personal speakers are great to ensure you have the best audio experience and that those on the other-end can also hear you well – certainly beats using a phone on “speaker phone” – please don’t do that!!
Speeds and Feeds
The Poly 20 Sync costs circa £160 and measures 34mm x 95mm x 182mm so easily fits in your laptop/Surface bag or pouch. Like many of its competition, it includes a rechargeable battery that gives about 20 hours of talk time (according to Poly – I didn’t test that) between charges and takes just 4 hours to charge using the attached USB A cable. One nifty thing about the Poly Sync 20, compared to most other similar devices in this category, is that it also doubles up as a portable battery charger allowing you to plug your smart phone or headphones into the Sync 20 to keep your other gadgets charged when working remotely.
Bluetooth / USB Speakerphone
Portable Battery Charger
Windows 10 Dongle (Sync 20 + version only)
Look and Feel
The Poly 20 Sync measures 34mm x 95mm x 182mm so easily fits in your laptop/Surface bag or pouch.
As you’d expect from Poly, the Poly Sync 20 is a good-looking device. As you can see from the images above, it has a silver bezel and a high-quality fabric mesh speaker cover. The device is also IP64 rated (meaning it is dust and water-resistant) and comes with its own equally stylish case for storage and protection against scratches etc.
On the front of the device, there are familiar buttons for call controls as well as a programmable button that you can use to open a voice assistant, check status, play / pause music etc., (this requires installing the Poly Customisation Software). Since this is a Teams certified device, there is also a dedicated Teams button on the device for instant access to the Teams app, joining a meeting etc. There’s also a large call status light on the front.
As expected, the Sync 20 is incredibly easy to get going. I chose to plug mine into my Surface via the USB port. The Sync-20 was instantly recognised by Windows 10 and also showed up in Teams along with the recognition that this was a Teams Certified device.
Pairing to my Samsung phone was also quick and easy and by using the PLT Hub app I could then simply configure the device and was even able to change the voice to British English!
Performance and Quality
Sound Quality was tested by using my Surface (wired) and phone (via Bluetooth) to play some Spotify hits and some movie content (yes, Star Wars from Disney Plus!). Sound quality was crisp and clear. There was no distortion even with the volume “pumped” all the way up to maximum. I am no audio expert, but for a portable device – it was loud enough for use in a meeting room, home office / hotel room.
Bluetooth connectivity works as expected on my mobile device (I didn’t bother pairing it to my Surface since I used the USB-A cable for this and “hate” using a dongle which is needed to use the device as a Teams Certified speaker).
USB Charging – is a nice to have and it does mean I don’t have to carry multiple devices about – Using the device as a Bluetooth speaker on my Samsung phone, I was able to charge my phone from 54% to 100% whilst playing music from it in less than an hour.
Summary and Close
In all a great device if you are in the market for a high-quality, Teams certified small portable smart speaker to use with your mobile or laptop/tablet then you won’t be disappointed by the Sync-20. The built-in battery charger is a definite plus point too when working remotely – though there’s not enough power in the USB to charge my Surface Go.
At ~£160 it’s on par with similar devices in its class and has fantastic build quality. Like most devices, firmware is upgradable via the Poly management apps, but the real test will of course be when I finally return to some form of going out and working in different places.