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2015 technology industry graveyard

2015 technology industry graveyard

Cisco, Microsoft, Google and others bury outdated technologies to move ahead with new ones.

The Technology Industry Graveyard is pretty darn full in 2015, and we’re not even including the near-dead such as RadioShack and Microsoft’s IE browser. Pay your respects here…

The self-described “World’s Music Library” is no more after shutting down in April in the wake of serious legal pressure by music companies whose songs GrooveShark allowed to be shared but had never licensed. Apple and Google had each kicked GrooveShark out of their app stores years ago due to complaints from music labels. Much more sadly than the 9-year-old company’s demise, however, was the death of co-founder Josh Greenberg in July at the age of just 28.

Typo iPhone keyboard
Not even the glamor of being co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest could help Typo Innovations save its iPhone keyboard, which BlackBerry said infringed on its patents. So instead, Typo bailed on the iPhone model and settled for selling ones for devices with screens 7.9-inches or larger (like iPads).

Amazon Fire Phone
With a product name like Fire, you’re just asking for colorful headlines if it bombs. And indeed, Amazon has stopped making its Fire Phone about a year after introducing it and media outlets were quick to highlight the company “extinguishing” it or remarking on the phone being “burnt out.” Amazon has had some success on the hardware front, namely with its Kindle line, but the Fire just didn’t distinguish itself and was going for free with a carrier contract by the end.

Interop New York
Interop Las Vegas carries on as one of the network industry’s top trade shows next May, but little sibling Interop New York is no more this year. The Fall show, traditionally held at the Javits Center since 2005, was always smaller and was discontinued for 2015 despite lively marketing material last year touting “More Than 30 Interop New York Exhibitors and Sponsors to Make Announcements in Anticipation of the Event.”

Google ditched so many things in 2015 that we devoted an entire slideshow to Google’s Graveyard. So to choose just one representative item here, we remember Google Talk, which had a good run, starting up in 2005. But it’s never good when Google pulls out the term “deprecated” as it did in February in reference to this chat service’s Windows App. Google said it was pulling the plug on GTalk in part to focus on Google Hangouts in a world where people have plenty of other ways to chat online. However, Google Talk does live on via third-party apps.

Cisco Invicta storage products
Cisco has a good touch when it comes to acquisitions, but its $415 mlllion WHIPTAIL buyout from 2013 didn’t work out. The company in July revealed it had pulled the plug on its Invicta flash storage appliances acquired via that deal. It’s not unthinkable though that Cisco could go after another storage company, especially in light of the Dell-EMC union.

The once-popular file hosting system, begun in 2002, couldn’t withstand the onslaught of competition from all sides, including Google and Dropbox. Back in 2009, the Switzerland-based operation ran one of the Internet’s 20 most visited websites, according to Wikipedia. It shut down on March 31, and users’ leftover files went away with it.

Windows RT devices
This locked-down Microsoft OS for tablets and convertible laptops fared about as well as Windows 8, after being introduced as a prototype in 2011 at the big CES event in Las Vegas. Microsoft’s software for the 32-bit ARM architecture was intended to enable devices to exploit that architecture’s power efficiency, but overall, the offering proved to be a funky fit with existing Windows software. Production of RT devices stopped earlier in 2015 as Microsoft focuses on Win10 and more professional-focused Surface devices.

OpenStack vendor Nebula
As Network World’s Brandon Butler wrote in April, Nebula became one of the first casualties of the open source OpenStack cloud computing movement when it shuttered its doors. The company, whose founder was CIO for IT at NASA before starting Nebula in 2011, suggested in its farewell letter that it was a bit ahead of its time, unable to convert its $38 million in funding and hardware/software appliances into a sustainable business.

Facebook bought this social news and information feed aggregator in 2009, two years after the smaller business started, and then killed it off in April. People have moved on to other means of gathering and discovering info online, so FriendFeed died from lack of use. It did inspire the very singular website, Is FriendFeed Dead Yet, however, so its legacy lives on.

Apple Aperture
Apple put the final nails in its Aperture photo editing app in 2015, ending the professional-quality post-production app’s 10-year run at Version 3.6. In its place, Apple introduced its Photos app for users of both its OS X Mac and iOS devices.

One of the co-founders of anonymous sharing app shared this in April: The company was shutting down and returning whatever part of its $35 million in funding was left. The company’s reality was just not going to meet up with his vision for it, said co-founder David Byttow. The company faced criticism that it, like other anonymous apps such as Yik Yak, allowed for cyberbullying.

Amazon Wallet
Amazon started the year by announcing its Wallet app, the company’s 6-month-old attempt to get into mobile payments, was a bust. The app, which had been in beta, allowed users to store their gift/loyalty/rewards cards, but not debit or credit cards as they can with Apple and Google mobile payment services.

Circa News app
Expired apps could easily fill an entire tech graveyard, so we won’t document all of their deaths here. But among them not making it through 2015 was Circa, which reportedly garnered some $4 million in venture funding since starting in 2012 but didn’t get enough takers for its app-y brand of journalism.


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70-354 Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI (beta)

Exam 70-354

Published: October 5, 2015
Languages: English
Audiences: Developers
Technology Windows 10
Credit toward certification: MCP, MCSD

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

Create the design specification for a mobile line-of-business (LOB) app
Specify the app development and business requirements
Specify the tools and technologies that will be required during the development of the app, specify the method of source control that will be used during the development of the app, specify the quality attributes of the app that must be achieved, specify cross-cutting concerns that exist within the project space (related apps and data ecosystems), specify the deployment scenarios for the release of the app, specify the code maintenance requirements (post-release) for the app, specify the globalization and localization requirements for the app
Specify the architecture of the app based on environment, infrastructure, business, and usage criteria
Specify the layers of the app, specify the data sources for the app, specify the external services that the app will access, specify the cross-cutting concerns within the app, specify the components of the app
Design the app in association with user-experience (UX) criteria
Design and evaluate the app with respect to Windows 10 design principles (keep it simple, think universal, design as one, make it personal, create delight); design and evaluate the app with respect to personality and branding, including composition, typography, color, and motion; design and evaluate the app with respect to UX patterns and platforms, including user interface (UI) controls, navigation, commanding, and presentation; design and evaluate the app with respect to cross-platform support, including app and platform types
Develop quality and testing requirements Evaluate where cross-cutting concerns exist for the given app, and ensure that the design encompasses appropriate cross-cutting opportunities (or explain why not)
Establish performance requirements, establish security requirements, establish concurrency requirements, establish globalization and localization requirements, establish testing requirements, establish use cases

Implement application lifecycle management processes

Implement version control
Implement version control using Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), implement version control using Git
Implement team collaboration
Work with a development team to complete app development sprints, implement storyboarding, implement code reviews, implement (peer review) feedback, implement backlog management, implement automated team builds
Implement automated testing and progress tracking
Implement automated tests, implement exploratory tests, track progress against milestones

Develop an LOB app that supports windowing, adaptive layout, and in-app navigation
Create a layout for use within an app UI
Select the appropriate XAML control based on the UI requirement, including control categories: basic, text, scenario, and presentation; implement a XAML control within a layout; create a fixed layout; create an adaptive layout
Develop the code required to implement data binding within the app UI
Implement data binding; implement data templates
Develop code to support scaling and windowing
Develop code to support various screen sizes and resolutions, including window size, screen dpi, and window shape; develop code to support changing window size, including adaptive layout and content flow; use emulators to evaluate windowing implementations
Implement styles and themes
Implement a style as a resource for the app, implement a theme for an app, implement resource templates, implement resource dictionaries
Implement UI animations, transitions, and transformations
Implement animations within an app; implement transitions and transformations within an app
Create reusable controls and components
Create custom controls, create Windows runtime components
Implement app navigation patterns
Implement on-page navigation; implement panning, implement semantic zoom; single-page navigation (Frame.Navigate); implement an appropriate navigation structure; implement system-level navigation
Implement globalization and localization of presented UI content
Implement app resources, localize text resources, localize graphical resources

Develop an LOB app that supports user input and user interactions
Develop code to implement traditional input devices
Support touch input (for example, custom gestures); support mouse input (for example, specialized handling of the input device events, such as mouse wheel); support keyboard and virtual keyboard input; (for example, specialized handling of the input device events, such as keyup and keydown)
Develop code to implement speech and voice commands
Support speech synthesis; support speech recognition; support Cortana integration; support voice commands, including control of apps and devices
Develop code to implement natural user interface input (user input)
Implement support for touch gestures, implement support for digital pen input (inking), implement support for gaze tracking, implement support for facial expressions recognition
Develop code to implement command bars, flyouts, and dialogs
Implement standard app or command bars; implement command buttons; implement context menus; implement content dialogs; implement pickers, including file and contact
Implement localization of user input

Test and deploy an LOB app
Implement general diagnostics and testing code
Perform testing versus defined use cases, perform testing for cross-platform support, perform end-user testing
Implement profiling
Memory profiling, performance profiling, Windows Performance Toolkit
Integrate monetization techniques
Implementing in-app purchases and freemium models, implementing the Advertising SDK, implementing free trials
Prepare package for publication
Preparing the app manifest, packaging the app, completing the submission process

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70-341 Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

You need to prepare the environment for the implementation of phase 1.
What changes must be made to the environment before you can install Exchange Server 2013?

A. The operating system or service pack level of TexDC1 needs to be upgraded.
B. The Windows 2008 R2 domain controllers in Washington and Boston need to be upgraded.
C. A server running Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2010 needs to be installed in Texas.
D. The PDC emulator role needs to be transferred to a domain controller in Washington or Boston.

Answer: A


You are evaluating whether the proposed Exchange solution will meet the current and future
capacity requirements.
You want to gather statistics about the current Exchange environment.
Which of the following tools would you use to determine the number of emails sent to and received
by the current users?

A. Remote Server Administration Tools.
B. Microsoft Exchange Server Profile Analyzer.
C. Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant.
D. ESEUtil.exe.
E. Microsoft Exchange Server Jetstress.

Answer: B


You need to apply the required size restriction to the mailboxes in the new environment.
Which of the following commands should you run?

A. Get-MailboxDatabase | Set-MailboxDatabase –ProhibitSendReceiveQuota
B. Get-MailboxDatabase | Set-Mailbox –ProhibitSendReceiveQuota
C. Get-Mailbox | Set-Mailbox –ProhibitSendReceiveQuota
D. Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-Mailbox | Set-Mailbox –ProhibitSendReceiveQuota

Answer: A


You are evaluating whether the proposed Exchange solution will meet the current and future
capacity requirements.
You want to gather statistics about the current Exchange environment.
Which of the following tools would you use to determine the number of IOPS (Input/Output
Operations Per Second) required for the mailbox database storage?

A. ESEUtil.exe.
B. Microsoft Exchange Server Jetstress.
C. Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant.
D. Exchange Mailbox Server Role Requirements Calculator.
E. SQL Server Analysis Services.

Answer: D


You need to install and configure anti-spam and antimalware filtering.
Which servers should you install the anti-spam agents and enable the anti-spam and antimalware
filtering? (Choose two).

A. You should install the anti-spam agents on the Client Access Servers only.
B. You should install the anti-spam agents on the Mailbox serversonly.
C. You should install the anti-spam agents on the Client Access Servers and the Mailbox Servers.
D. You should enable antimalware filtering on the Client Access Serversonly.
E. You should enable antimalware filtering on the Mailbox serversonly.
F. You enable antimalware filtering on the Client Access Servers and the Mailbox Servers.

Answer: B,E




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70-342 Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

You have been informed of upcoming maintenance on the internet connection in’s New
York office. You have been instructed to make sure that, for the duration of the maintenance,
outgoing e-mails are forwarded via the Los Angeles office.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider configuring the centralized mail transport option.
B. You should consider installing a send connector in the Los Angeles office, and configuring it to
make use of ABCSMTPA as a smart host.
C. You should consider configuring the ABCNYSMTP send connector to make use of ABCSMTPB
as its smart host.
D. You should consider running a non-owner mailbox access report.

Answer: C


You have been instructed to devise a strategy for handling the Human Resources voice mail
messages in such a way that it satisfies the prerequisites.
You start by generating and linking a UM mailbox policy to ABCUM.
Which of the following is the action you should take NEXT?

A. You should consider creating an auto attendant.
B. You should consider assigning the UM mailbox policy to all mailboxes.
C. You should consider assigning the UM mailbox policy to the Human Resources mailbox.
D. You should consider configuring the voice mail protection settings of the UM mailbox policy.

Answer: D


You have been given the task of making sure that users are unable to forward e-mails from’s Legal Department.
You have already configured a new Outlook protection rule to filter the rule using the
FromDepartment property. The new rule also has the Apply the Do Not Forward protection
template configured.
Which of the following is the setting that should set to False?

A. The SentTo property.
B. The UserCanOverride property.
C. The Priority property.
D. The SentToScope property.

Answer: B


You have been instructed configure an archiving policy in keeping with the prerequisites.
You are, therefore, generating two retention tags.
Which of the following is the type of retention tags you should generate?

A. Two retention tags set to All.
B. Two retention tags set to Inbox.
C. Two retention tags set to Personal.
D. One retention tag set to All, and another set to Inbox.
E. One retention tag set to All, and another set to Personal.

Answer: D


You are required to make sure that the prerequisites with regards to the ABCHumanResources
group are suitably met.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider making the ABCHumanResources group a member of the Organization
Management Microsoft Exchange Security Group.
B. You should consider making the ABCHumanResources group a member of the Compliance
Management Microsoft Exchange Security Group.
C. You should consider making the ABCHumanResources group a member of the Discovery
Management Microsoft Exchange Security Group.
D. You should consider making the ABCHumanResources group a member of the Recipient
Management Microsoft Exchange Security Group.

Answer: C




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Microsoft has built software, but not a Linux distribution, for its software switches

A Microsoft Linux distribution would be remarkable, but Redmond says it doesn’t have one.

Late last week, hell had apparently frozen over with the news that Microsoft had developed a Linux distribution of its own. The work was done as part of the company’s Azure cloud platform, which uses Linux-based network switches as part of its software-defined networking infrastructure.

While the software is real, Microsoft isn’t characterizing it as a Linux distribution, telling us that it’s an internal project. That’s an important distinction, and we suspect that we’re not going to see a Microsoft Linux any time soon.

The Open Compute Project (OCP), of which Microsoft is a member, is an industry group that is working together to define hardware and software standards for data center equipment. This includes designs for high-density compute nodes, storage, and networking equipment. One part that Microsoft has been working on is network hardware, in particular, software-defined networking (SDN). SDN adds a layer of software-based programmability, configuration, and centralized management to hardware that is traditionally awkward to manage. Traditional network switches, even managed ones, aren’t designed to enable new policies—alterations to quality-of-service or VLANs, say—to be deployed to hundreds or thousands of devices simultaneously. And to the extent that such capabilities are present, they vary from vendor to vendor.

Earlier this year, Microsoft, Dell, Mellanox, Facebook, Broadcom, and Intel contributed a specification, the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI), that provides a common API that can span the wide range of ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits—chips tailored to handle very specific workloads, in this case, handling Ethernet frames) used in software-defined switch hardware. The SAI API is, in principle, cross-platform, defined for both Windows and Linux, but much of the switch hardware is supported best, or even exclusively, in Linux. A Linux distribution to support these applications, Open Network Linux, has even been developed.

The Azure Cloud Switch, which is what Microsoft announced on Friday, is Redmond’s software-defined switch. It builds on the SAI API to enable it to work with switch hardware from many different vendors; in August, an ACS switch using six different vendors’ switch ASICs was demonstrated. ACS is built on top of a Linux SAI implementation, and it uses Linux drivers for the switch ASICs.

Given Linux’s dominance in this area, it’s at once both surprising and unsurprising that ACS uses Linux. Unsurprising because there’s little practical alternative for this situation; surprising because Microsoft is still assumed to have some degree of hostility toward Linux. The company today would tell you that this hostility is a thing of the past. Microsoft would say today it’s willing to use the best tool for the job and work to ensure that its software is available on the platforms that people need it on. With this new, more pragmatic Microsoft, the use of Linux should be expected. And accordingly, Microsoft says that it is using this software in its own datacenters. Microsoft has publicly used non-Windows infrastructure before—some Skype infrastructure initially used Linux, for example, and Hotmail ran on FreeBSD when it was bought—but this is nonetheless unusual, as it’s new Microsoft development, not a bought-in project.

So why isn’t the company calling this new endeavor a distribution? The big reason is that the company doesn’t intend to distribute it. Again, it’s an internal development that showcases the OCP approach, but it isn’t a package that will be given to third parties.

Microsoft’s diagram describing ACS might also be significant; the Microsoft components are a set of applications and services that sit above SAI; that’s a chunk of software, but everything else could be taken from an off-the-shelf Linux distribution (Microsoft hasn’t specified). Another confounding factor could be the various switch ASIC components. Each vendor’s ASICs have their own drivers and SDKs, and at least some of these are not open source. This would make it difficult to build a Linux distribution around them.

As such, hell likely remains toasty and warm, and Microsoft won’t be in the Linux distribution business any time soon. But equally, it’s clearer than ever that this isn’t the Microsoft of the 2000s. If Linux is the best tool for the job, Microsoft is willing not only to use it, but to tell the world that it’s doing so.


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Microsoft, U.S. face off again over emails stored in Ireland

The company has refused to turn over to the government the emails stored in Ireland

A dispute between Microsoft and the U.S. government over turning over emails stored in a data center in Ireland comes up for oral arguments in an appeals court in New York on Wednesday.

Microsoft holds that an outcome against it could affect the trust of its cloud customers abroad as well as affect relationships between the U.S. and other governments which have their own data protection and privacy laws.

Customers outside the U.S. would be concerned about extra-territorial access to their user information, the company has said. A decision against Microsoft could also establish a norm that could allow foreign governments to reach into computers in the U.S. of companies over which they assert jurisdiction, to seize the private correspondence of U.S. citizens.

The U.S. government has a warrant for access to emails held by Microsoft of a person involved in an investigation, but the company holds that nowhere did the U.S. Congress say that the Electronics Communications Privacy Act “should reach private emails stored on providers’ computers in foreign countries.”

It prefers that the government use “mutual legal assistance” treaties it has in place with other countries including Ireland. In an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed in December in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Ireland said it “would be pleased to consider, as expeditiously as possible, a request under the treaty, should one be made.”

A number of technology companies, civil rights groups and computer scientists have filed briefs supporting Microsoft.

In a recent filing in the Second Circuit court, Microsoft said “Congress can and should grapple with the question whether, and when, law enforcement should be able to compel providers like Microsoft to help it seize customer emails stored in foreign countries.”

“We hope the U.S. government will work with Congress and with other governments to reform the laws, rather than simply seek to reinterpret them, which risks happening in this case,” Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith wrote in a post in April.

Lower courts have disagreed with Microsoft’s point of view. U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York had in April last year refused to quash a warrant that authorized the search and seizure of information linked with a specific Web-based email account stored on Microsoft’s premises.

Microsoft complied with the search warrant by providing non-content information held on its U.S. servers but filed to quash the warrant after it concluded that the account was hosted in Dublin and the content was also stored there.

If the territorial restrictions on conventional warrants applied to warrants issued under section 2703 (a) of the Stored Communications Act, a part of the ECPA, the burden on the government would be substantial, and law enforcement efforts would be seriously impeded, the magistrate judge wrote in his order. The act covers required disclosure of wire or electronic communications in electronic storage.

While the company held that courts in the U.S. are not authorized to issue warrants for extraterritorial search and seizure, Judge Francis held that a warrant under the Stored Communications Act, was “a hybrid: part search warrant and part subpoena.” It is executed like a subpoena in that it is served on the Internet service provider who is required to provide the information from its servers wherever located, and does not involve government officials entering the premises, he noted.

Judge Loretta Preska of the District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Microsoft’s appeal of the ruling, and the company thereafter appealed to the Second Circuit.



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Microsoft’s rollout of Windows 10 gets B+ grade

General vibe of the new OS remains positive, say analysts

Microsoft has done a good job rolling out Windows 10 in the first two weeks, analysts said today, and the general vibe for Windows 8’s replacement has been positive, even though glitches have dampened some enthusiasm.

“If I had to give Microsoft a letter grade, it would be a B or a B+,” said Steve Kleynhans of Gartner. “It’s not an A because it hasn’t gone perfectly. They’ve stubbed their toe over privacy issues, for example.”

Microsoft began serving up the free Windows 10 upgrade late on July 28, giving participants in the firm’s Insider preview program first shot at the production code. It then slowly began triggering upgrade notices on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines whose owners had earlier “reserved” copies through an on-device app planted on their devices this spring.

The Redmond, Wash. company has said little of the rollout’s performance other than to tout that 14 million systems were running Windows 10 within 24 hours of its debut.

Estimates based on user share data from U.S. analytics company Net Applications, however, suggests that by Aug. 8, some 45 million PCs were powered by Windows 10.

Analysts largely applauded the launch. “As far as the roll-out, it’s not any worse than any other Windows,” said Kleynhans. “But it’s all happening at this compressed timetable.

“And social media now amplifies any problems,” he continued, much more so than three years ago when Windows 8 released, much less in 2009, when Microsoft last had a hit on its hands.

Others were more bullish on Microsoft’s performance. “Windows 10’s go-to-market was really quite good,” said Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft, a research firm that specializes in tracking the company’s moves.

Miller was especially impressed with Microsoft’s ability to make customers covet the upgrade. “Something Microsoft has not always done a great job of is creating a sense of exclusivity,” said Miller. “But they’re withholding [the upgrade] just enough that there’s a sense of excitement. People are saying, ‘I want it, I’m not getting the upgrade yet.’ Arguably, that exactly what Microsoft wants.”

Windows 10’s rollout has departed from those of past editions in significant ways.
Historically, Microsoft released a new Windows to its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners first, who were given months to prepare new devices pre-loaded with the operating system. Only when the computer makers were ready did Microsoft deliver paid upgrades to customers who wanted to refresh their current hardware. Relatively few users paid for the upgrades; most preferred to purchase a new PC with the new OS already installed.

This cycle, Microsoft gave away the Windows 10 upgrade to hundreds of millions of customers — those running a Home or Pro/Professional edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 — to jumpstart the new OS’s adoption. With some exceptions, the upgrade hit before OEMs had prepared new devices or seeded them to retail.

Because of the large number of customers eligible for the free upgrade, Microsoft announced it would distribute the code in several waves that would take weeks (according to Microsoft) or months (the consensus of analysts) to complete. While some had predicted that the upgrade’s massive audience would stress the delivery system Microsoft had built, or even affect the Internet at large, neither happened.

The “Get Windows 10” app — which was silently placed on PCs beginning in March — not only served as a way to queue customers for the upgrade, but also ran compatibility checks to ensure the hardware and software would support the new operating system, another slick move by Microsoft.

“Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 to the audience that would be most receptive,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, referring to the Insiders-get-it-first tactic. “Then they rolled it out to those who weren’t Insiders, but who had expressed a desire to get the upgrade. And only those [whose devices] passed all of its tests got it. That was a smart thing to do.”

The latter was designed to limit upgrade snafus, something Microsoft has chiefly, although not entirely, accomplished. “While the rollout was pretty clean, there have been glitchy issues here and there,” said Kleynhans, who cited post-Windows-10-upgrade updates that crippled some consumers’ machines.

Moorhead echoed that, highlighting the out-the-gate problem many had keeping Nvidia’s graphic drivers up-to-date as Microsoft’s and Nvidia’s update services tussled over which got to install a driver. “Problems have been more anecdotal than system-wide,” Moorhead said. “And they seem to get remedied very quickly.”

The bungles haven’t been widespread enough to taint the generally favorable impression of Windows 10 generated by social media, news reports and Microsoft’s PR machine, the analysts argued.

“Overall, I’d say Windows 10 has received a much more positive reception than other [editions of] Windows,” said Moorhead, who said the reaction was justified, since the developing consensus is that Windows 10 is a big improvement over its flop-of-a-predecessor, Windows 8.

“The vibe is positive, but it’s much more about consumers now than businesses,” said Directions’ Miller. Enterprises, he said, will take a wait-and-see approach — as they always do — before jumping onto Windows 10, as they must if they’re to stick with Microsoft, a given since there isn’t a viable alternative.

A credible reaction from corporate customers, Miller continued, won’t be visible until Microsoft finishes unveiling its update tracks, called “branches,” particularly the “Long-term servicing branch” (LTSB). That branch will mimic the traditional servicing model where new features and functionality will be blocked from reaching systems that businesses don’t want to see constantly changing.

“People are liking what they are getting out of the other end” of the upgrade, added Kleynhans. “From what I’ve heard, they’re happy, surprisingly happy, and generally pretty positive about the OS. But I’d expect the new shine to wear off after the first couple of weeks.”

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Microsoft buys sales-gamification startup with eye to CRM combo

Microsoft has acquired Incent Games and plans to integrate the Texas startup’s FantasySalesTeam sales-gamification software into Dynamics CRM.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Adding the fantasy sports component to its CRM offering will give companies a tool to make incentive programs for sales staff more engaging, according to Bob Stutz, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a who discussed the news in a blog post.

Microsoft will integrate the platform into its own Dynamics CRM software in the coming months, Stutz said. It will also continue to support customers using FantasySalesTeam with other CRM products.

However, the move drew some derisive commentary from at least one analyst.

“Are they kidding?” said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group, via email. “Let’s see, for many years and even centuries, we have incentivized sales people with money (the carrot) and job loss (the stick). That wasn’t enough? Really?”

The real problem with incentives is the difficulty in individualizing and applying them across a product line that contains more than one product, and that can’t be solved with gamification, Pombriant said.

Rather, it’s a big data problem, he suggested, and it can be solved by comprehensive compensation-management systems such as what’s offered by companies like Xactly and Callidus.

“We spend all kinds of effort and resources trying to squeeze more productivity out of sales reps,” Pombriant said. “It makes little sense to me to introduce a game system that takes their attention away from the business at hand rather than pursuing results.”

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Windows revenue takes another bad beating

Third consecutive quarter of double-digit declines, but CEO is confident Windows 10 will ‘restore growth’

Microsoft on Tuesday said that Windows revenue again declined by double digits, the third straight such quarter, with sales of licenses to computer makers down 22% from the same period last year.

For the June quarter, Windows revenue from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) was off $683 million relative to the same three-month span in 2014, making the decline for the fiscal year — Microsoft’s ended on June 30 — approximately $1.9 billion.

The bulk of Windows’ revenue comes from sales to OEMs, which pre-load the operating system on PCs, 2-in-1s, tablets and a few smartphone models. In the past, Microsoft has said 65% to 72% of Windows revenue stemmed from OEM sales.

Second quarter revenue from OEMs was down 27% for what Microsoft calls the “non-Pro” category and off 21% for the “Pro” class. The terms refer to the kind of Windows license, with non-Pro indicating the OS for consumer PCs and tablets, and Pro for devices targeting businesses. In Windows 10, for instance, the former will be Windows 10 Home while the latter will be Windows 10 Pro.

The declines of both non-Pro and Pro were both slightly larger than for the first quarter of 2015.
Microsoft blamed the consumer licensing downturn on slack in the sales channel as OEMs prepared devices for Windows 10, a 180-degree turn from the prior quarter, when it said the channel was still stuffed with PCs left over from the holidays.

“OEMs tightly managed PC inventory ahead of the Windows 10 launch, particularly in developed markets,” said CFO Amy Hood in prepared remarks during the front end of an earnings call with Wall Street Tuesday. “In our view, this is a healthy state for the channel as we head into a transformational launch that starts next week,” she added, referring to the July 29 debut of Windows 10.

Hood returned to the scaled-back OEM inventories when she responded to a question about whether Windows 10 would make up some of its second-quarter declines caused by the emptying retail sales channel. “Before every launch, we tend to have a tightening in the channel as they prepare and run reasonably lean,” Hood answered. “This is a healthy state. It’s within the range of normal.”

Meanwhile, Hood said Pro license revenue was still hamstrung by the tough comparisons in 2014 when sales of business PCs jumped as companies purged Windows XP — which was retired in April of that year — from their organizations. Microsoft has used XP as the whipping boy for the last several reporting periods, and gave the 2001 OS a few more licks Tuesday.

Also in play, although not stressed much by Microsoft, perhaps because it’s a broken record: The underlying problems of the PC industry, which continued a 14-quarters-and-counting contraction, and seems destined to be almost entirely a replacement market, with little signs of any meaningful growth down the line.

Both Hood and CEO Satya Nadella, who was also on the call, spun the Windows declines as less about the loss of revenue in the quarter just past and more about the opportunities ahead with Windows 10.

“With Windows 10, we expect momentum to build throughout the year, as we and our partners bring new devices, applications, and services to market,” said Hood. “We expect this to benefit our business results in the second half of the fiscal year.” Microsoft’s fiscal year runs from July to the following June, so Hood was referring to the first half of 2016.

Nadella pitched in as well. “Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows,” he said, repeating remarks he made earlier this year.

Not surprising — because it’s part of every CEO’s job description, no matter what industry or under what circumstances — Nadella was confident Windows 10 would turn around the company’s OS fortunes, if not in direct licensing revenue then in sales of after-market services and software, and advertising opportunities in its Bing search site.

“While the PC ecosystem has been under pressure recently, I do believe that Windows 10 will broaden our economic opportunity and return Windows to growth,” Nadella said. He touted the large number of devices and configurations in the testing process for Windows 10 certification, most of which won’t be available until later this year, as well as some revenue and gross margin growth possibilities from Microsoft’s own hardware, primarily the Surface Pro portfolio.

“Third, we will grow monetization opportunities across the commercial and consumer space,” Nadella pledged. “For consumers, Windows 10 creates monetization opportunities with store, search, and gaming.”

The three money-makers Nadella ticked off were the same ones Hood outlined to financial analysts in May, when she fleshed out the firm’s “Windows as a service” monetization strategy. Microsoft intends to shift revenue generation from its decades-long practice of licensing Windows to one more reliant on revenue from search ads within Bing results, gaming and apps sold through the Windows Store.

That strategy has led Microsoft to a number of radical decisions, including giving away Windows licenses to smartphone and small tablet makers — a move that hasn’t done much for the OS’s share in those categories — subsidizing Windows to makers of cut-rate notebooks, and most importantly for Windows 10, giving away upgrades to the new OS from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

The biggest contributor to that money-making strategy in the June quarter was clearly Bing. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Microsoft said that Bing search advertising revenue had increased 21%, or $160 million, in the second quarter compared to the same period the year prior. Adding Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant and prognosticator, to Windows 10 was also part of the plan to increase Bing’s importance to the OS — which features strong links to the search engine in multiple components, including the new Edge browser — and use Windows 10 to drive the search service’s revenues.

While the growth in Bing ad revenue was less than a fourth of the decline in Windows revenue during the quarter, it was something.
Microsoft said nothing in the SEC filing about app revenue — perhaps because it remains minuscule — but it did boast of a $205 million increase, representing a 58% boost, from Xbox Live, its subscription-based multi-player network. Xbox Live is baked into Windows 10, and Microsoft has pinned significant revenue hope on the OS and Xbox Live reinvigorating the company’s PC gaming business, with the monetization angle coming from the ties between the two platforms — console and PC — and sales of and on the former since the service will be free on PCs and tablets running Windows 10.

“Gaming is an important scenario for Windows 10, and our success with Xbox this quarter gives us a strong starting position heading into launch,” said Nadella Tuesday.

And he remained glass-half-full. “We are confident that these are the right levers to revitalize Windows and restore growth,” Nadella said.

In general, Microsoft’s second quarter was a mess because of $8.4 billion in charges and layoffs in its phone division, resulting in the biggest-ever single-quarter loss and the first since 2012.

Microsoft took a $3.2 billion net loss for the quarter, compared to a $4.6 billion net profit for the second quarter of 2014, a $7.8 billion flip.

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Exam 77-419 Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Exam 77-419 Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Published: 28 June 2014
Languages: English
Audiences: Information workers
Technology: Microsoft Office 2013 suites
Credit towards certification: MOS

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area in the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area in the exam.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Create and format content (25–30%)

Navigate the SharePoint hierarchy
Use Quick Launch, use All Site Content, use breadcrumb trails, add content to Quick Launch, use Content and Structure for navigation

Manage lists and libraries
Create lists or libraries, edit properties for new items, enable email notifications on lists or libraries, provide shortcuts to a mobile site URL, manage document templates, manage list views, create alerts on lists or libraries, use ratings, add columns, add content validation, manage column properties

Manage list items
Create new list items, edit content, delete list items or documents, version list items, publish assets, manage existing workflows, upload documents, create and manage announcements, collaborate with Microsoft Office assets (calendars, spreadsheets, web apps)

Manage document sets
Add documents to document sets, create document sets, activate and deactivate document sets

Preparation resources
Manage lists and libraries with many items
Introduction to document sets

Manage SharePoint sites (30–35%)

Manage pages

Create new site pages, use templates, edit and delete existing site pages

Perform administrative tasks on sites and workspaces
Create new sites or workspaces using templates, configure site or workspace structures, configure the Content Organizer, display a list of all user alerts, modify Look and Feel, recover assets (lists, libraries, documents, list items), use document and meeting workspaces, view site web analytics, view detailed reports

Manage Web Parts on a page
Add Web Parts, configure Web Parts, hide or remove Web Parts, export or import Web Parts

Manage content types
Associate content types to lists, extend the columns of content types, create custom content types

Manage users and groups
Create groups, manage groups, manage user access, manage group permissions

Preparation resources
How to: Create a page layout in SharePoint 2013
Configure and deploy Web Parts in SharePoint 2013
Determine permission levels and groups in SharePoint 2013

Participate in user communities (15–20%)

Configure My Site
Add keywords, add colleagues, select themes, configure the Colleague Tracker Web Part, configure RSS feeds, configure My Profile

Collaborate through My Site
Update profile status, share pictures in My Site, manage personal documents, share documents in My Site, browse the organisation hierarchy, add Web Parts to My Site

Add tags and notes to content
Add notes to the Note Board for lists or libraries, add tags for lists or libraries, rate items, use tag clouds, review tags on My Site

Preparation resources
Configure My Sites in SharePoint Server 2013
Social and collaboration features in SharePoint 2013

Configure and consume site search results (15–20%)

Perform search administration at the site level

Configure searchable columns, configure list searches, configure site search visibility

View search results

Browse search results, use Best Bet results, use the Refinement Panel, use alerts and RSS feeds with search results, preview documents

Perform advanced searches
Use Boolean operators in searches, use wild cards in searches, use property searches, use phonetic searches, use People Search, use advanced searches

Preparation resources
Manage the search schema in SharePoint Server 2013
Search in SharePoint Server 2013
Plan to transform queries and order results in SharePoint 2013

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