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Microsoft Acquires Genee App To Make Scheduling Service Much Smarter

Microsoft Corp. made another acquisition designed to make the software and services smarter. The company has announced its new possession of Artificial Intelligence powered scheduling tool Genee. The company will also be incorporating these capabilities in future versions of the office 365 cloud-based productivity suite.

Genee offers virtual personal assistant in two ways, first through email and second through messaging chatbots on Facebook, Twitter, Skype and through traditional SMS. Using natural language processing algorithms, Genee will understand the contents of the conversation. This could come into hands of Microsoft as the company is planning to enhance its virtual assistant Cortana which challenges Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now.

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Microsoft would be performing well at adding the AI capabilities to the Office 365 suite, and would make the Outlook service smarter. This bonds well with the recent Microsoft acquisition of the Sunrise calendar app. Sunrise Calendar app is more powerful and rich in its features which schedule automatically. This gives a significant advantage to Office 365.

Microsoft wants to create a niche in the Google’s Android dominated the market and Apple’s iOS. At this moment Enterprise and productivity apps, as well as services, are necessary for the Microsoft. It is reported that Genee will be shutting down on 1 September, but the existing calendar entries created will remain no change. The app doesn’t allow new users instead.

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“Genee uses natural language processing and optimised decision-making algorithms so that interacting with a virtual assistant is just like interacting with a human one. We consider Microsoft to be the leader in personal and enterprise productivity, AI, and virtual assistant technologies, so we look forward to bringing our passion and expertise to a team that is committed to delivering cutting-edge language and intelligence services,” Microsoft mentioned in a blog post.

However, it is not mentioned on when Genee’s AI algorithms will be added to Microsoft apps. It is expected that the integrating will start with individual apps first.

Microsoft Announces A New Professional Degree Program To Tackle Skills Gap

On Wednesday at the Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 in Toronto, Microsoft Corp. has announced a Professional Degree Program (MPD) with the aim of cutting down the skills gap seen across many industries. This is the first online certification program of its kind to offer employer-endorsed, university-caliber for professionals at any stage of their career.

 “The proliferation of cloud technologies and the delivery of software as a service has opened up tremendous revenue opportunities for our partners,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate VP of Developer Platform and Chief Evangelism at Microsoft at the event.

Steve Guggenheimer also explained that the MPD will be offered via edX, as well as through learning as-a-service offerings provided by partners. The MDP available on the edX.org, a non-profit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT is initially offering a degree in ‘Data Science.’

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The company claims that there is noticeable skill gap in the field of data science, so in response to this gap, the American Multinational Technology company has designed the program with a pilot curriculum that comprises ten data science courses.

The courses are offered for free but on completion of course, professionals need to purchase the certificate. The prices of the certificates are not too high. The first certificate costs $25, and the cost of the successive certificates range between $49 and $99.

Microsoft claims that the others partners of the program include DDLS, Fast Lance and NIIT Ltd. And since May, over 200 partners and 650 employees have been evaluating and validating the data science curriculum. Alison Cunard, General Manager, Microsoft Learning Experiences, explained that the approach and tools used by them “for learning need to continually evolve to meet the demands of our device-centric and data-driven world.”

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The ten courses of the MPD data science program includes - Data Science Orientation, Query Relational Data, Analyze and Visualize Data, Understand Statistics, Explore Data with Code, Understand Core Data Science Concepts, Understand Machine Learning, Use Code to Manipulate and Model Data, Develop Intelligent Solutions, Final Project.

“We see this as a fantastic opportunity to provide what our customers have increasingly been asking for, real-world skills — both conceptual and technical — that prepare people to succeed in 21st century careers,” stated Torsten Poels, CEO and chairperson of the board, Fast Lane.

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Well, it is fascinating that big multinational companies like Microsoft and Google are introducing just certificate courses to train the mid-career professionals who require specific skill sets to grow in their professional life. We hope many such courses are added in the future; that benefits both industry and the employees.

Microsoft unveils Project Scorpio, VR Focused Gaming Console: ‘The Most Powerful Console Ever’

Microsoft Corp. has unveiled an upgraded version of its Xbox one videogame console for virtual-reality and 4K resolution gaming at a media event in Los Angeles before the annual E3 conference on Monday. It is also planning a slimmer version of the Xbox One.

The announced gaming console codenamed as “Project Scorpio,” is expected to come in the 2017 holiday season. Microsoft game chief Phil Spencer at the Galen Center described the developed console as “the most powerful console ever built.”

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Microsoft claims that the Xbox Scorpio console will have a six teraflop GPU, 8 CPU cores and it supports full 4K resolution gaming and high-fidelity virtual reality. So, the new GPU’s power and speed promises a major boost, “I think it’s gonna be magical,” Bethesda’s Todd Howard said. The Tech giant also added that the developers are really excited to make games on Scorpio. Xbox boss Phil Spencer also mentioned that all the future Xbox games will be compatible with all three consoles.

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Storage capabilities of the new gaming consoles are unclear yet. But the giant said that Xbox One S, a limited launch edition which is 40% smaller in size and can sit vertically will come with up to 2 terabytes of space for $399 and a 1 terabyte version for $349. And another one which is available at $299 provides 500 gigabytes.

Microsoft on Monday announced that it would shortly make it possible for fans of “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” to play the block-building game with others using different mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Gear VR. Well, the company also announced a new initiative with an aim at making Xbox live online gaming more comprehensive. And it disclosed that the coming Xbox One titles include “Scalebound” and “State of Decay 2.”

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Now, Scorpio will compete with the Sony’s high end Playstation PS4.5 which is codenamed Neo. Sony has confirmed Neo last Friday. CEO Andrew House said that Sony will not be showing and talking about the new play station at E3 this week.

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