Microsoft’s quiet Windows 10 Creators Update launch, AMD’s wireless VR investment, and a processor that makes computers as happy about good news as their owners are all among the stories we didn’t find time for this week.By Rich Freeman
Wow, Sergio Garcia. One minute he’s the most hated golfer in America and the next he’s getting a roaring ovation from a delighted gallery at the 2017 Masters tournament. It’s the kind of thing that could give a fella emotional whiplash. And emotional whiplash, it goes without saying, can be just as disabling as the real thing.
Yup, you guessed it. We’re blaming Sergio Garcia for all the stories we didn’t report this week. Jerk. Here’s what he kept us from telling you about.
Those were the days. Remember the launch of Windows 95? Microsoft spent a reported $200 million on it, including $3 million just for the right to make the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up the new operating system’s anthem. And who knows what Jay Leno pocketed to serve as master of ceremonies.
In retrospect, we probably should have realized Microsoft launch events were on a downward slope when Regis Philbin replaced Leno at Windows XP’s coming out party just a few short years later. In any case, that long, slow decline reached its inevitable conclusion with this week’s launch event for Windows 10 Creators Update, which not only didn’t have a celebrity host but didn’t actually happen in the first place.
Instead, with relatively little fanfare and no ceremonies for anyone to master, Microsoft began rolling out its newest client OS in judicious, unflashy phases to a massive army of oblivious Windows 7 huggers. Those of you who install it, however, are in for 3D graphics, a bunch of cool stuff for gamers, a speedy, power-efficient new version of the Edge browser with some interesting tab preview and management capabilities, and plenty more. Though frankly not all that much for business users, with the exception of some new security capabilities.
On the other hand, based on the hashtag at least, this tantalizingly teased event could prove to be more interesting for those of you with clients in the education vertical. If we weren’t going to be busy at a way cooler event that day, we might even pay attention.
Bet hedging? A somewhat less heralded but still noteworthy story out of Microsoft this week was its acquisition of Deis, which makes software for building and managing containers based on the open source, Google-designed Kubernetes standard. And we say noteworthy because it sure looked like Microsoft was all-in on Docker Swarm as its container platform of choice. The folks in Redmond are hardly backing away from Docker, but they do appear to be making sure they don’t get left high and dry if evidence that Kubernetes is winning the container wars turns out be more than anecdotal.
Elsewhere in Microsoft news:
- The Microsoft Forms quiz tool for educators picked up some new features.
- The Sway presentation app now offers audio recording, closed captioning, and autoplay functionality for unattended use cases.
- Azure AD now lets businesses securely share directory listings with one another.
And as long as we’re sampling product stories...Lets nibble on these too:
- Aerohive introduced a new managed Wi-Fi service (management dashboard pictured) that MSPs can deliver themselves or resell on a turnkey basis via SYNNEX.
- Fortinet extended its Security Fabric to cover Internet of Things devices.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise released containerized versions of its IT operations management solutions.
- Red Hat shipped a new version of its Kubernetes-based OpenShift Container Platform.
- WPS Office added a new online document storage and management service that integrates with its productivity suite for PC, mobile, and cloud users.
- ZeroStack and Nexenta unveiled a jointly-developed converged infrastructure solution combining ZeroStack’s private cloud platform with Nexenta’s software-defined storage solution.
Now let’s nosh on a few more vendor stories without products in them. Like these:
- AMD bought wireless virtual reality technology from Nitero that can power cable-less VR headsets.
- Epson rolled out a 3-year limited warranty and next business day replacement program for its commercial document scanners.
- HPE completed the acquisition of Nimble Storage it announced last month.
- Intel promoted Diane Bryant, Murthy Renduchintala, and Stacy Smith to group presidents, and made Renduchintala its chief engineering officer to boot.
- Ivanti acquired SaaS software asset management vendor Concorde Solutions.
- Neustar introduced a new partner program for its cloud security solutions.
- SentinelOne appointed Proofpoint veteran Dee Dee Acquista its vice president of worldwide channels.
- Just in case announcing a new partner program wasn’t enough for one week, RingCentral also inked a master agent agreement with PlanetOne.
- Just in case announcing a new IoT solution and partnership with Brocade wasn’t enough for one week, Tech Data also introduced new training programs for folks looking to earn the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems credential.
- SD-WAN vendor Viptela became the newest member of value-added distributor Westcon-Comstor’s Accelerate program for distribution newcomers.
- VMware augmented its metrics monitoring capabilities for virtual environments with metrics monitoring capabilities for cloud environments by acquiring Wavefront.
- Webroot named Gary Hayslip its new chief information security officer.
- Just in case you haven’t heard enough about Tech Data and Brocade for one week, Pete Peterson (pictured), who has worked for both companies, is now senior vice president of global channel strategy at Xerox.
This week’s stats ticker:
- IT spending will grow 1.4 percent this year but IT services spending will grow 2.3 percent, according to Gartner.
- MacOS malware instances grew 744 percent last year, according to McAfee.
- Public clouds will account for 60.5 percent of the $41.7 billion spent on IT infrastructure products this year, versus just 14.9 percent for private clouds, according to IDC.
- Worldwide PC shipments declined 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to Gartner...unless, of course, they increased 0.6 percent, per the folks at IDC.
And from our Some People Are Hard to Please department:
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says 60 percent of small businesses expect to make more money this year than last.
- The National Federation of Independent Business says small business optimism is declining just the same.
Artificial emo. The PU club (as in CPU, GPU, and APU) gained a new member this week when Emoshape shipped its EPU, or Emotion Processing Unit, a hardware-based “emotion synthesis engine” that helps robots and artificial intelligence platforms spontaneously react to input the way humans do.
First thought: Do we really want to make it easier for machines we force to do heavy lifting and then shove around with big sticks to get angry?
Second thought: Though we’ll artfully dodge any political debates potentially sparked by the EPU’s reaction to the name “Barack Obama" in this demonstration video, we’ll note that there’s a better way to elicit a disgusted response than saying “Adolf Hitler.” Just say “United Airlines” instead.