Thurrott Daily: April 26

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft-Band, Mobile, Xbox with 0

Tech tidbits from around the web.

4/26/2016 1:59:37 PM

Surface Book and Pro 4 are now Solid Edge certified

Microsoft announced today that Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have been certified by Siemens for use with Solid Edge, one of the world’s leading CAD programs.

To achieve this certification, Siemens put Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 through a rigorous testing process to ensure that Solid Edge runs optimally. Engineers worldwide rely on Solid Edge to bring their ideas to life, and Surface’s certification gives them confidence that they can use this powerful software and rely on the performance of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to do their work anywhere—the response has already been exciting to see.

Taking Surface device along to a client means engineers can review a 3D rotatable image of a piece in real time with no need to go back to base to redesign it. Aside from its lighter weight and versatility, Surface’s pressure-sensitive Surface Pen, touchscreen and long battery life are key advantages to both Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.

Windows Health UWP app is coming to Windows 10

WindowsBlogItalia has a nice video showing off the UWP app version of Microsoft Health running on Windows 10. The translated app description:

Set the wellness goals and get the recommended programs useful to implement a healthier life through graphics and color diagrams and easy to understand in the convenient app for phones or robust Web dashboard.

Reach your fitness goals with the custom tracking when running, cycle, play golf or do exercise. Record a map of the race or lap with GPS or follow the requests of the exercises led directly from the band.

Stay connected with email, documents, calendar, call alerts, and social updates. You acknowledge that the data health and fitness are stored and processed in Microsoft data centers that can be located outside of your country. Please refer to the Privacy Policy of Microsoft Health for more information.

The mobile app is available for Android and iPhone.

And Windows phones, yes. I assume this Windows 10 version will ship soon.

Google takes on Microsoft’s mid-sized business customers

Microsoft divides its business customers into three groups: Small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and the enterprise. And on the competitive front, Google has done an effective job wooing away small businesses, especially new businesses, with its Google Apps services. It’s also had some big commercial wins with schools systems, local governments, and the like. But now Google is starting a push at the sweet spot, so to speak, the small but lucrative mid-sized business market.

Back in October, we made it easy for companies locked into an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to switch to Google Apps by providing our productivity suite for free until their existing contracts expired … Today, we’re excited to announce we’re extending the global program until the end of 2016. Companies between 250 and 3,000 that currently have an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with another vendor can qualify for zero-cost Google Apps licenses for the term of their existing EA. And now, companies with 100 users (previously 250) to as many as 3,000 can qualify for a Deployment Voucher. This greatly expands the number of companies that can take advantage of the Deployment Voucher.

In addition to saving money and improving business productivity, the security benefits of Google Apps are especially valuable to mid-market businesses. For mid-market customers that sign up for this promotion, Google will pay for a Security Workshop, to the value of $750USD, through our trained Partners, to help them maximize the security and data protections Google Apps offers.

They just keep chipping away.

Nokia buys Withings, maker of digital health products

Seriously, could Nokia be more confused? Nokia, inexplicably, is buying Withings, which makes personal health gadgets like smart scales. For some reason.

Nokia has announced plans to acquire Withings S.A., a pioneer and leader in the connected health revolution with a family of award-winning digital health products and services to help people all over the world lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. Withings will be part of our Nokia Technologies business.

“We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” said Rajeev Suri, president & CEO of Nokia. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”

The planned transaction values Withings at EUR 170 million and would be settled in cash and is expected to close in early Q3, 2016 subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Just in case it’s not obvious, Microsoft in effect paid for Withings, since virtually all of Nokia’s on-hand cash came from the sale of the firm’s devices and services businesses to Microsoft. So for the software giant, this must be like giving a kid money to buy a used car and watching him waste it on all-weekend Bacchanal: Wasting money on something that has nothing to do with what they really need.

Put another way: Stupid.

“Gears of War Creator: ‘I Hope Microsoft Doesn’t Screw It Up'”

They can’t do any worse than you did, bud. Well, I guess they could pull a Gabe Newell.

Ubisoft hands over rights of 1666: Amsterdam to game’s creator

This is interesting: Former Assassin’s Creed creative director Patrice Desilets spent two years developing a game called “1666: Amsterdam” but was then fired by Ubisoft when the game was put on hold. So Desilets sued Ubisoft for $500,000 and the rights to the game. But as Polygon reports, all’s well that ends well.

Ubisoft has agreed to hand over the rights of 1666: Amsterdam to former Assassin’s Creed creative director Patrice Desilets.

“Putting aside our past differences, Patrice and I are above all interested in the creation of video games and the evolution of this medium of entertainment,” said Yannis Mallat, Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Montréal and Toronto, in a prepared statement. “This agreement is good news for everyone. Ubisoft’s creative teams are currently working on innovative projects that will mark our industry for years to come. This is precisely where we want to focus our energy, on our teams, to continue what we have been building in Quebec for nearly 20 years. As we have always said, Patrice is a talented designer and we wish him all the best in the development of his future endeavors.”

Desilets wrote in a statement that he was happy with the agreement.

“I will now devote myself entirely to the development of Ancestors: the Humankind Odyssey, my next game with Panache Digital Games,” he wrote. “This is what matters most to me today: making the best games and showing the world the creative talent of Quebecers. I also wish every success to the Ubisoft teams.”

Um. So you’re not going to make”1666: Amsterdam” now? Really?


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