Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition to Close Soon

Microsoft announced today that they have received all necessary clearance for their acquisition of LinkedIn, and that the deal is set to close “in the coming days.”

The European Commission was the last to approve the $26.2 billion buyout, after the US, Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

Microsoft said they had the opportunity to review the acquisition with government officials and regulators in “considerable detail,” thus formalizing several commitments regarding Microsoft’s support for third-party professional social networking services.

Why does Microsoft want LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a key tool for professionals. With 433 million members, it’s safe to say that most adults in the US use LinkedIn for finding jobs, and general networking. That said, it’s important to note that Microsoft has more than 1 billion Office users, but has no social graph, or representation of the interconnection of relationships in an online social network, of its own and until now, has had to rely on LinkedIn or Facebook to provide that connection.

In an internal memo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explains, “This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete. As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”  

Read more about Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition here.

Microsoft Joins the Linux Foundation

In an attempt to encourage and drive developers to make more use of the Microsoft Ecosystem, Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation.

The Microsoft Ecosystem is designed to make resources available to a wide variety of technology companies so that they can build solutions around Microsoft technologies. In this case, Microsoft wants to drive more use of Azure, Windows 10, and Office 365.

Linux is an operating system platform that is classified as a free and open-source software. This means that anyone is freely licensed to use and change the software in any way, resulting in an operating system that is widely utilized to power servers, desktops, Android smartphones and other devices.

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By joining the Linux Foundation, Microsoft is allowing developers to use more tools regardless of their preferred platform, making the Microsoft Ecosystem platforms more desirable for building cross-platform applications and solutions. In other words, Microsoft wants developers building apps for its Ecosystem whether they’re working in Linux or in Azure.

This is big news for developers, as Microsoft has built its software empire on close-source proprietary software. The times, they are a-changin’.

What do you think? Is open-source the future of software?

Microsoft Ends Windows 7 & Windows 8 Sales

The lifecycles for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have come to an end, as Microsoft confirmed last week that they’ve discontinued sales of the operating systems.

“End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMs are Dell and Toshiba – PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software,” explains Microsoft.

Looking for a brand new PC with Windows 7 or Windows 8? You’ll likely have to look for an OEM who is selling off existing stock.

Although Microsoft will continue to provide ongoing updates support for Windows 7 until January 2020, and for Windows 8 until January 2023, they are likely ending sales in an effort to boost Windows 10 sales, which have been stagnant since their free upgrade offer ended in July.  

For more information, visit the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet.

Microsoft Launches Teams to Compete with Slack

Microsoft announced last Wednesday that they are bringing together their Office 365 productivity apps, and their strengths, together in a single app: Teams.

As direct competition to Slack, Microsoft Teams is an integrated collaboration app for Office 365 that offers a chat-based approach to communication, along with Office document collaboration and multi-person video chat through Skype.

With Teams, users can add, work, and collaborate in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Meetings, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, OneNote and other Office 365 apps without ever leaving Teams.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes, “No two teams are the same, no two projects are the same. There’s no universal tool for teams, but rather a universal toolkit we call Office 365.”

Currently, Slack offers more apps within its directory, but Teams will soon launch more than 150 partner integrations. Right now though, built-in integrations include Asana, Hootsuite, Intercom, and Zendesk.

Also on Wednesday, Slack bought a full page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Microsoft. Read it here.

To read more about Teams, click here.

Microsoft Office Skills Rated Number Four on Most Required Skills List

A new white paper, Keys to the Future: Align Workforce Readiness Skills to Ensure Student Success, looks at the most widely desired skills in today’s workforce, and the skills and competencies that will be most in-demand by 2024. The research, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) and sponsored by Microsoft, reveals that the top 20 most required job skills include Microsoft Office, which lands at number 4, and Microsoft PowerPoint, landing at number 16.

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IDC analyzed 76.7 million job postings from 2015 to identify the 20 most commonly required skills for these positions, then examined the skills required for 70 positions that are expected to have above average growth and salary potential between 2016 and 2024 – these are called “high opportunity positions.”

This top 20 list represents skills that are most required across all occupations and are considered “cross-functional skills.” IDC categorized these skills into three overlapping buckets:

  • Communication, integration, and presentation skills
  • Entrepreneurialism and related skills
  • Microsoft, Microsoft Office and other software skills

These cross-functional skills suggest that students require “job readiness” and not “job training” for success, as educators should focus on skills with the broadest applicability.

Cengage creates learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. Learn more about our resources for Microsoft Office here.

New Office 365 Creativity Updates

Just in from the Microsoft Windows 10 Event in New York City: Office 365 is getting its own updates for the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, which Microsoft says will arrive in “early 2017.”

With Microsoft’s updates, Windows 10 and Office 365 can be regularly updated with fixes, and new features, too. So what’s the Creators Update? Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President for Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, explained that the Creators Update features will include 3D and mixed reality, 4K gaming, and in-game broadcasting.

How does this affect Office? The features within the Creators Update will enhance the digital pen user-experience, offering new ways to interact with your documents and expands options for creating rich, interactive content – this is called Inking.

Inking in Office 365

  • Ink Editor – Strike through words to delete them, circle text to select it, and automatically snap highlighter ink to text.
  • Ink Replay control with Surface Dial – Set the pace at which you review instructions, reveal lesson ideas, and more with the new integration of Surface Dial and Windows 10.
  • Digital Ruler – Draw straight lines and align objects with the help of a built-in digital ruler in PowerPoint.
  • Segment Eraser in PowerPoint – Use this new eraser to remove excess ink for more precise in shapes.

Read more about the Creators Update for Office, and Inking here.

New Microsoft Office Updates for iOS

THIS JUST IN: Good news for iPhone and iPad users, Microsoft is working to deliver new updates for Office on iOS.

As part of their September updates, Office for iOS will get support for Edmodo and Tencent, which means iPhones and iPads will now be allowed to store and access documents through Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft Word is getting Smart Lookup which will allow users the ability to look up a word instantly. By simply pressing and holding on a word or phrase, users can search image information, word definitions, and more without leaving the document.

PowerPoint is also getting an update in the iOS platform. IPhone users can now use their smartphones as laser pointers by simply pressing and holding in the notes section while in presenter mode.

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The Mac platform of the office suite will be updated as well. PowerPoint Designer will be getting a bit of a face-lift and will have improved color guides as well as new audio and video trim options.  Additionally, Office 365 subscribers will get access to a new “focus mode,” which is designed to “remove distractions and improve concentration at work.” There isn’t a concrete release date for this update, but it should go live early September.

For additional information on Microsoft updates for iOS, visit their website.

Computing Student Advisory Team: We Want YOU

Teachers! Do you have highly motivated Introductory Computing students who might like to get involved with Cengage?

Students! Would you like to get involved with Cengage?

We have an exciting opportunity for students to partner with our Computing group as part of a student advisory team!

We are looking for students who are self-motivated with proven leadership, analytical, and communication skills, and are passionate about making a difference and helping others learn!

We’ll PAY students to…

  • Participate fully from August 2016 through May 2017
  • Develop real-world work experience (which looks great on a resume!)
  • Collaborate with students all across the U.S. in a team environment
  • Directly impact education products

Teachers – Recommend any of your students today! Please send us…

  • Student name
  • Student email
  • Why you think this student would be a valuable contributor to the Computing Student Advisory Team

Please send all recommendations to us by Monday, 8/15:

reed.curry@cengage.com

sarah.marks@cengage.com

amy.savino@cengage.com

Students – Email reed.curry@cengage.com, sarah.marks@cengage.com, and amy.savino@cengage.com for an application!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Cengage Named as Finalist at the Technology Council Leadership Awards

Mass Technology Leadership Council

Cengage has been selected as a finalist in the Mass Technology Leadership Council’s 19th annual Technology Council Leadership Awards for our MindTap platform! MindTap is a digital learning solution that helps instructors engage today’s students and transform them into critical thinkers using the power of personalization, cutting edge content, progress tracking ability, and student empowering tools. Intro Computing instructors and students can also utilize the power of the SAM app delivered within the MindTap platform. MassTLC Technology Leadership Award winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 14 at the MassTLC Leadership Awards Gala.

New Save a Copy Feature for OneNote Class Notebooks

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An important new feature for OneNote Class Notebooks has just been announced: The Save a Copy feature allows students or instructors to copy content and save copies of  Class Notebooks to their own OneDrive accounts. This allows both students and instructors to archive school notes and to access content from Class Notebooks outside of school.

Microsoft has promised that this is just the initial roll out of the Save a Copy feature and in the near future, they will add the ability to choose any notebook type, not just Class Notebooks and roll out the Save a Copy feature to OneDrive for Business.