Microsoft ‘Productivity Score’ monitors employees email, camera usage

  • Microsoft this month launched an analytics tool for employers called “Productivity Score.”
  • The tool collects detailed data about how employees are using Microsoft’s tools, including how much they use email and whether they turn their camera on during meetings.
  • Privacy experts have voiced concerns that the Microsoft tool is a serious invasion of privacy, as employers are able to view employees’ activity individually.
  • Data privacy researcher Wolfie Christl said it “turns Microsoft 365 into an full-fledged workplace surveillance tool.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft has a new tool that lets companies break down how much time employees are spending on work tools like email, Microsoft Teams, and Word — and privacy experts say it amounts to “workplace surveillance.”

The tool, called Productivity Score, was first announced by the company in October and launched on November 17. It allows employers to gather granular data about how their employees

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Microsoft could bring Android apps to Windows 10 in 2021

Windows logo

  • Microsoft is reportedly thinking about adding Android app support to Windows 10.
  • This could potentially come to Windows 10 in 2021 via the Microsoft Store.

It’s already possible to run Android apps on Windows 10 computers thanks to emulators like Bluestacks, but it sounds like Microsoft might cut out the middle man and bring Android app support directly to the platform.

Windows Central journalist Zac Bowden reports that the firm is considering bringing Android apps to Windows in 2021. More specifically, Bowden says it could be coming to the Microsoft Store.

Zac Bowden Windows 10 Android apps

There’s no word on exactly how Microsoft would implement this, and whether it would come to Windows on Arm. The latter certainly makes sense given that the vast majority of Android apps are made with Arm devices in mind.

Many apps such as Gmail, Uber, and others require Google Play Services support though, but it isn’t clear if Microsoft

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New Seattle Metro Chamber CEO; Salesforce’s data chief joins Microsoft; and more

— The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce announced Rachel Smith as the business association’s new CEO. She starts in January.



a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Rachel Smith. (Seattle Metro Chamber Photo)


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Rachel Smith. (Seattle Metro Chamber Photo)

“The jobs, prosperity, and community solutions that our region’s employers bring are more important than ever as we focus on post-pandemic economic recovery,” said Smith.

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Smith is currently King County’s deputy executive and chief of staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine. Following Smith’s appointment, Constantine named April Putney as his new chief of staff.

Prior to joining the King County administration, Smith was the government and community relations officer for Sound Transit and Climate Action Now coordinator for City of Seattle.

Smith succeeds Marilyn Strickland, former mayor of Tacoma, who stepped down in January to run for Congress. Strickland won Washington’s 10th Congressional District seat in November.

— Microsoft hired Hernán Asorey as corporate vice president and

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Microsoft Cloud Provider AvePoint Going Public Via Apex Technology SPAC

Leading Microsoft cloud partner AvePoint is set to go public with a SPAC deal announced Monday.

AvePoint will go public via Apex Technology Acquisition. The deal values the company at $2 billion.

AvePoint co-founder and CEO Dr. Tiaryi Jiang and co-founder Kai Gong will remain with the company. AvePoint is expected to trade under the symbol AVPT when the deal is closed in the first quarter of 2021.

Apex Technology shareholders will own 17.6% of the new company.

AvePoint sells directly to large and mid-market enterprises. The company is the largest Microsoft 365 data management solutions provider. It has more than 7 million cloud users from Microsoft. The customer base includes around 25% of the Fortune 500 companies.

“The impact of COVID-19 and the growth of Microsoft’s cloud solutions, including Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, have accelerated demands for our products. We have achieved eight quarters of impressive growth,” said

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Microsoft Fixes Xbox Series X 4K Blu-Ray Brightness Bug

As I reported back on November 9, the 4K Blu-ray movie player built into the Xbox Series X has a problem. Actually, as I further reported in this deeper review of the player, it has a number of problems. But the worst one is that it outputs video with a raised brightness level that can cause dark scenes to look grey – at least on some TVs. Including high-end models such as the LG CX OLEDs, and the Sony X90H/XH90. 

In fact, on the LG model the Series X’s raised brightness during 4K Blu-ray movie playback can also cause some distracting brightness instability in the picture during very dark scenes, as the TV struggles (at least when using its punchier picture presets) either to control near-black playback, or to settle on the best image settings for a dark HDR scene.

Happily, Microsoft has already gone public to say that it

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Apple’s Craig Federighi and Johny Srouji Describe the Genesis of the M1 Chip while Microsoft Reveals their own ‘Pluton’ Processor

 

Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple goes on a Media Blitz to Defend their coming iOS 14 Privacy App that is currently under attack by Advertisers & Facebook.” Both Apple’s Jane C. Horvath, Senior Director, Global Privacy and Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering took their stance on privacy public big time as they begin to prepare for an antitrust lawsuit filed by the very ad forces want to kill Apple’s iOS 14 “App Tracking Transparency,” feature set to launch in early 2021.

 

Hours after our report, an article by Ars Technica surfaced focusing on the story behind Apple’s new M1 processor that caused a stir when Apple’s SVP Software Craig Federighi caused a bit of a stir about the possibility of Windows running natively on the M1. How realistic is that is that possibility? We briefly touch on that later in the report. 

 

To be sure

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Microsoft Adds New Free Features for Teams as It Battles Zoom

Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Report continues adding new features to its Teams collaboration platform at a breakneck pace, as it tries to gain more ground against the likes of Zoom  (ZM) – Get Report and Slack  (WORK) – Get Report.

On Friday, the software giant expanded support for personal (non-business) Teams accounts to its PC and web browser apps. And notably — with the holiday season on the way — Microsoft will now let personal account users host up to 24-hour video calls featuring up to 300 people.

In addition, chats on Teams’ mobile apps now support non-Teams users via SMS integration, and (provided that both parties consent) Teams users can get notifications when a friend or relative arrives at a designated location.

The new features arrive two months after Microsoft revealed several features for Teams that are aimed at business users. These

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Bill Gates Is Great, But Does Anyone Else Really Think Microsoft Teams And Zoom Will Replace Business Travel?

On Tuesday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates forecast that business travel will decline by 50%, even after the coronavirus crisis ends. He predicted a “very high threshold” for business trips as people work from home and use social media to meet.

“My prediction would be that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away,” Gates told Andrew Ross Sorkin during The New York Times’ Dealbook conference.

In other news, my computer keeps asking me to sign in to Microsoft Teams – which, I just learned, can be integrated to work with Zoom.

Gates is a widely admired philanthropist and leader of the fight against coronavirus, but let’s acknowledge that his view of the airline industry

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Microsoft: These are the new privacy steps we’re taking to protect your data

Microsoft says it is the first company in the world to respond to recommendations by Europe’s privacy watchdogs following a decision by Europe’s top court over data being shipped to the US. 

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in July struck down the EU-US Data Privacy Shield, throwing into question how companies – in particular US tech giants, but also thousands of European businesses – would send data across to the US without contravening Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, boasts that the maker of Windows 10, Office, and Azure is the first entity in the world to meet recommendations outlined by Europe’s data-protection heads last week. 

“Today, we’re announcing new protections for our public sector and enterprise customers who need to move their data from the European Union, including a contractual commitment to challenge government requests for data and a

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Aisera’s Conservational AI for Microsoft Teams Will Change the Future of Work

PALO ALTO, Calif. – November 18, 2020 – ( Newswire.com )

​Aisera, the leader in artificial intelligence innovation and customer service, announced today the integration of its AI Service Desk with Microsoft Teams. This integration will speed up and simplify Microsoft’s resolution of internal support tickets for IT with self-service resolutions through Aisera’s platform based on conversational AI, natural learning understanding search (NLU Search), and unsupervised natural language processing (NLP).

Previously employees had to wait an average of three days to resolve their internal IT issues, as support desks were stretched thin and unable to meet Business Service-Level Agreements (SLA). This problem amplified during the pandemic, leaving many internal support organizations unprepared.

“With the emergence of work from anywhere, the integration of Aisera within Microsoft Teams propels employee productivity to levels not seen before and dramatically improves the employee experience, as users’ IT or HR support requests

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