R2D2 on God, 42, the Universe and everything else


(via VentureBeat)

Recently a report suggested that Microsoft would perhaps stop fighting public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) when it comes to cutting cloud prices in order to win and retain business. But Microsoft’s latest cloud announcement contrasts that considerably. Today Microsoft said that Azure virtual machine (VM) prices would be going down by up to 50 percent.

To be specific:

  • DV2 VM prices will drop by as much as 15 percent
  • A1 and A2 Basic VM will drop by as much as 50 percent
  • Compute-optimized F-Series VM prices will drop by as much as 11 percent
  • Av2-Series… Continue reading

(via Ars Technica)

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Server administrator kaiju hates user password reset requests.

A couple of decades ago, Microsoft was the kaiju of network computing. First came MS-DOS, and Windows soon followed. Each simply took over business desktops. Before Novell knew what hit it, Windows was then infused with the DNA of OS/2 and became Windows NT and in turn NT Server. Novel had dominated the early PC networking market, but by the end of the 1990s the company was a shadow of its former self.

Like a special breed of kaiju, Microsoft’s server platform… Continue reading

(via Engadget)

Microsoft Research chief Harry Shum will head the new AI division, according to GeekWire. In addition to his old department, the new group will include products like Cortana and Bing with the Ambient Computing and Robotics teams, as well as the company’s Information Platform Group. Collecting them all under one banner suggests how standardized they want their AI tech to be between disparate programs. It’s similar to how Microsoft internally pivoted to collectively harness the Internet in the mid-90s, GeekWire points out.

In a blog post, Shum said that the collaboration will build "an AI stack spanning infrastructure, services, apps and agents." That will permit Microsoft’s mission shift to "democratize AI" by integrating it into more consumer, enterprise and developer projects. Hopefully, byproducts from the AI division’s R&D will produce fewer missteps like last March’s foul-mouthed Twitterbot and more advancements like their pilot project using AI to discover cancer treatments.

Complete story at source: Engadget

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(via VentureBeat)

The artificial intelligence booth on the exhibition floor of Facebook's 2016 F8 developer conference.

Today a new nonprofit organization called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society announced its establishment. Participants include Amazon, Google (and Google’s DeepMind) Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft.

Those companies will put up money and research resources (that could mean talent, open-source code, or data). Company representatives will sit on the organization’s board alongside people from academia, the nonprofit world, and policy and ethics experts, according to a statement. Plans call for discussions, studies, reports, best practices, and public outreach in general.

“The objective of the Partnership on AI is to address opportunities and challenges… Continue reading

(via Slashdot)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin’s call for Russia’s authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe. The city will initially replace Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia’s New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000… Continue reading