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Microsoft Reveals Office 2021 Pricing

Although Microsoft announced Office 2021 last month, the pricing was only announced today. As expected, Microsoft has several different versions of Office 2021 on offer and Microsoft 365 will also be updated to Office 2021 for subscribers to the service. Office 2021 will be available on the 5th of October, alongside Windows 11.

If you're looking to upgrade to Office 11, the bad news is that no upgrade pricing was announced and it's not clear if there even will be an upgrade offer. Office Home and Student, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Microsoft Teams, will set you back US$149.99, whereas Office Home and Business adds Outlook and "the right" to use the various Office packages for commercial usage, for US$249.99. Microsoft 365 remains at the same price levels. If you're planning to upgrade to Windows 11 and are using office 2013, do note that Microsoft is pulling the plug and you'll have to upgrade to a more recent version of Office.

Qualcomm Announces Cristiano Amon Appointed Chief Executive Officer-Elect

Qualcomm Incorporated today announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously selected Cristiano Amon to succeed Steve Mollenkopf as CEO, effective June 30, 2021. Mollenkopf informed the Board of his decision to retire as CEO following 26 years with the Company. Amon, who has worked at Qualcomm since 1995, is currently President of the Company. Mollenkopf will continue his employment with the Company as a strategic advisor for a period of time.

Mollenkopf, 52, became CEO in March of 2014. He began his career as an engineer and, for nearly three decades, has helped define and lead Qualcomm's strategy and technology roadmap. His work helped propel smartphones into the mainstream and made Qualcomm a leader in 3G, 4G and now 5G, and he also oversaw the expansion into new industry segments such as the Internet of Things (IoT), RF Front End and Automotive. He was also instrumental in the Company's rise as a smartphone technology supplier. In addition, Mollenkopf successfully guided the Company through a number of extraordinary circumstances and challenges and begins the CEO transition process with the Company stabilized and well-positioned to continue to grow and drive value.

Activision-Blizzard to Close its Office in France

Activision-Blizzard is one of the largest companies involved in the making of video games and they are accountable for many popular game franchises known to every gamer. Today, according to a report from Bloomberg, we have found out that Activision-Blizzard holding company will close the doors of its office located in Versailles, France. This move puts an end to company operations in that country. The company has informed its employees on Tuesday regarding the office closure, and thus has laid-off about 400 people the office accounted for. Generally speaking, there were no developer roles involved here.

The France office specialized in marketing, localization, and customer support, so no game developers were fired. At the beginning of this year, 1/4 of all France office employees were laid-off already and got their severance packages, while the rest of the employees affected by this move are expecting relocation somewhere else in Europe. A company spokesman corresponding with Bloomberg has said that "Over the past year we have been exploring how we might best integrate our capabilities across the business, enabling us to better leverage talent, expertise and scale as we adapt to the needs of a fast-paced, highly-competitive, digitally focused industry". This is quite a vague answer the spokesman gave; however, it is the only information we have.

QNAP Releases Boxafe - Comprehensive G-Suite and Office 365 NAS Backup Solution

QNAP Systems Inc. today officially released Boxafe, a comprehensive Google G Suite and Microsoft 365 backup solution for enterprises. Boxafe can centrally back up cloud data to a local NAS, which easily safeguards enterprise data.

Many enterprises have adopted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and with constant data growth they not only face challenges with insufficient storage space but also the chance of data loss and data recovery limitations. QNAP Boxafe backs up files, emails, calendars and contacts from Google G Suite and Microsoft 365 to a QNAP NAS. IT staff can centrally backup and manage multiple G Suite and Microsoft 365 data and schedule multi-version backup to reduce the risk of data loss. Boxafe also allows users to preview all backup data before restoring.

QNAP NAS OS Integrates Microsoft Office Online for Efficient Document Editing

QNAP Systems Inc, a leading computing, networking and storage solution innovator, has collaborated with Microsoft to integrate Office for the web into QTS, the QNAP NAS operating system. With this new feature, QTS users can right-click on Office documents and select "Edit with Office Online" to facilitate direct editing of Microsoft Office documents in the web browser, eliminating the complex and time-consuming conventional workflow of download, edit, and re-upload.

Office for the web is Microsoft's free online service that enables viewing and editing of Microsoft Office documents, including Word documents, Excel worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations, in a web interface. QNAP NAS users with proper document access permissions can quickly and easily launch Office for the web in the same browser window, boosting productivity and streamlining workflow.

Microsoft Teams Hits 75 Million Daily Users, Up 70% From March

The demand for Microsoft Teams has skyrocketed in recent months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to working/learning from home. In Microsoft's recent Q3 FY2020 earnings report, they revealed that Microsoft Teams had reached over 75 million daily users up 70% from the 44 million active daily users in mid-March. Total subscribers for Microsoft's Office 365 business plans which include access to Teams hit 258 million paying users. Microsoft expects demand for its Office 365 products to remain strong through Q4 FY2020 as remote working and learning continues.

Samsung Launches T55 Series of Office Monitors with 1000R Curvature

Samsung today introduced the latest T55 series of monitors designed for an office use case. To kick-off the new lineup, Samsung launched three monitors that have similar specifications, but their respective size is the only differentiator. The new models are C24T55, C27T55, and C32T55 which feature 24-inch, 27-inch, and 32-inch display panels respectively. All of them feature 1000R curvature applied to ease the eye strain, making them a very unique choice for an office monitor.

Besides the different screen sizes, all of the monitors feature similar specifications such as a 1080p VA screen clocked at a 75 Hz refresh rate. Besides having support for AMD's FreeSync technology, these monitors have 4 ms GtG response time, so they are not exactly gaming oriented. The displays cover 1.193 of the sRGB color spectrum and 0.884 of Adobe RGB, so despite being a VA panel, it is not bad. The brightness level is a standard 250 nit specification for an office monitor, and the contrast ration is 3000:1. To feed the monitor with image, you can choose anything from HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, or D-Sub connector. While the 24-inch version doesn't include any in-built speaker, the 27-inch and 32-inch versions have a pair of 5 W stereo speakers. There are no VESA mounting points, so to stand the monitor relies on its own stand which can tilt from -3° to 20°.

Microsoft Redesigns Windows 10 Icons

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has been a mix of old and new designs since its launch, however, Microsoft decided to modernize its UI look by providing a fresh set of icons. If you are a user of Microsoft Office suite, then you already know how the new icons look for Office applications like Excel and Word. The material design present on those apps is now transferring to the rest of Windows 10 stock applications like Calendar and Calculator. In the effort to modernize the look of Windows 10 and end the Windows 7 inspired UI, Microsoft will be pushing the updated icon set over few following months. The updates icons are already available for Windows 10 Insiders, and specifically for Preview Build 19569. Regular users can expect to get the update in the coming months.

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U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.

Kaspersky: Most Cyber Attacks Directed at Microsoft Office in Q4 2018

Having the world's most pervasive operating system (or office suite) is sure to leave a big mark on any company when it comes to exploitation attempts from hackers. It's a simple equation: aim your efforts at a software that runs in millions (if not billions) of machines and even a light chink in the armor could be enough to cause a cascading effect through that many users.

This principle applies to almost everything: a small effect across a billion users usually provides greater returns than a large effect on one or two players. Kaspersky labs on its security report, presented at the Security Analyst Summit, reported that the favorite target for cyber attacks was Microsoft's Office suite - a 70% figure suggests an incredible attention given to Office, really. These Office-related cyber attacks don't directly relate to the suite itself; there are other, OS-integrated components that can be targeted, or simply that Office file extensions are used as clever, headache-inducing ways of disguising malware as the second greatest evil in the world - spreadsheets.

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Future Microsoft Office Versions Look to be Subscription Only

A job listing posted by Microsoft is being hailed as sign of subscription-based times to come to the company's Office 365 and Windows products. Honestly, I believe this to be a matter of time - Subscription services have been increasing at an alarming rate, Microsoft has already tasted the advantages of such a model on their bottom line with their Xbox Live and Games Pass systems, and of course, there're always the ever-giant Spotifys and Netflixes of this world.

Windows and Office as a service is nothing out of the ordinary, really. The job listing for a "Product Manager, M365 Consumer Subscription - Modern Life & Devices (MLD)", which has a job description along the lines of "market a great new Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription" doesn't come as a surprise. Going from this Office 365 consumer subscription to a Windows one is a bit of a stretch on the basis of the job posting alone, but it is in the foreseeable future for Microsoft's strategy to safeguard Windows and its updates behind a monthly payment, ensuring that one-off purchases are no longer a thing - and guaranteeing a predictable revenue stream.
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