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Amazon and Microsoft collaborate to help Alexa and Cortana talk to each other

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August 30,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

SEATTLE,  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced today that Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa. You will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa.”

Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”

“The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. “It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”

Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year.

 

 

 

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Social media groups join forces to counter online terror content

big-brother-poster

Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter develop technology to identify extremism

Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter on Monday announced they had joined forces in an attempt to curb explicit terrorist imagery online.

The move follows criticism from Brussels that big US social media groups have made insufficient effort to clamp down on hate speech.

In a statement, the technology groups said they were building new technology that would identify extremist content, including terrorist recruitment videos and images of executions, via a digital fingerprint known as a “hash”, which would then be compiled into a shared global database. Once created, the hash would be attached like a watermark to content, which would then be easy to identify and take down.

https://www.ft.com/content/ff15c750-bafd-11e6-8b45-b8b81dd5d080

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Apple demolished by Microsoft at their respective PC events

Bill gates

Published: Oct 29, 2016 3:50 p.m. ET

Who would have thought that at back-to-back hardware events in the year 2016, Microsoft Corp.’s would prove the much more innovative and exciting one over Apple Inc.? Times are a-changing.

On Wednesday, Microsoft MSFT, -0.38% unveiled the Windows 10 Creators Update that includes 3D imaging tools; new virtual-reality headsets that can be used through a HoloLens platform on Windows PCs; live broadcasting for Xbox; a $2,999 enterprise-grade desktop called Surface Studio that essentially folds into a table-sized tablet; the Surface Dial, which is an input device for Surface products that lets users toggle between different menu items by twisting it like a doorknob; and the Surface Book i7.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-demolished-by-microsoft-at-their-respective-pc-events-2016-10-27

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Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year

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Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year

Microsoft confirmed it will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year, part of the tech titan’s efforts to streamline its business under new CEO Satya Nadella.

In a statement released Thursday, Microsoft says about 12,500 of the professional and factory positions will be cut as part of its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset business, which the company closed in April.

“My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible,” said Nadella in a memo to employees.

Nadella, who replaced Steve Ballmer in February, says the “vast majority” of employees affected by layoffs will be notified within the next six months. They will also earn severance and job transition help in many locations. All cuts will be completed by next June.

The layoffs by Microsoft — which employs 125,000 people — are the company’s largest ever. The acquisition of Nokia’s handset business in April added 25,000 people to Microsoft’s payroll.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/07/17/microsoft-job-cuts/12772901/