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By Rich Woods
New Surface Pro 7 ad puts it up against Apple's ARM-powered MacBook Pro
by Rich Woods
Over the weekend, Microsoft posted a new Surface Pro 7 with one of its most common themes (behind clicking hinges): comparing it to Apple's products. Obviously, the comparison itself is no surprise since the alternative is comparing it to Microsoft's own partners' products, but this is the first one to compare Surface to Apple's new ARM-powered MacBook Pro.
The first thing that the host of the video says after announcing the two devices is, "The Surface comes with a pen", something that is absolutely untrue. Naturally though, the form factor is something that Microsoft loves to boast over MacBooks, with the touchscreen, pen support (even though the Surface Pen is sold separately), and even the detachable keyboard. The presenter expressed disappointment in being stuck with "what you got" in Apple's MacBook Pro.
Then, the advertisement turned to a segment about power, and how the Surface Pro 7 can run your games. Of course, the Surface Pro 7+ is way better suited for playing games with its Iris Xe graphics, but for some reason, that one is limited to businesses. This segment was also geared toward app compatibility, the biggest issue that's facing Apple's M1 processor, or any new architecture for that matter. The bottom line is that Windows PCs with Intel processors just run the apps that you want.
And the final thing Microsoft pointed out was the price. While it wasn't true that the Surface Pro 7 comes with a pen, the company did show prices that include the tablet, a keyboard, and the pen.
You'll notice that the advertisement doesn't mention Microsoft's own ARM-powered PC, the Surface Pro X. The main reason would be that Microsoft simply wouldn't have as much to brag about. App compatibility is even more of an issue with Windows on ARM than it is with Apple's M1 processor, and on top of that, the Surface Pro X is more expensive than the Surface Pro 7.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft previews new Azure Resource Manager-based deployment model
by Hamza Jawad
Last year at its virtual Build conference, Microsoft introduced new templates for its Azure Resource Manager (ARM) service. Today, the tech giant has released the recently unveiled Cloud Services (extended support) model in the form of a public preview. With this move, the older Azure Service Manager (ASM)-based model will now be referred to as Cloud Services (classic).
The key changes that are brought to users through the newer variant are primarily deployment scripts-based, with no changes being required in the runtime code. For starters, Azure Key Vault will be used for certificate management in Cloud Services (extended support). A virtual network will also be necessary for any resource deployed through the ARM-based model. And finally, the Service Configuration and Service definition file will need to be fully consistent with whatever ARM template is being used to define the configuration for a project.
In terms of benefits that are being introduced, the ARM-based Cloud Services provides region resiliency, alongside all the other features offered through the ASM-based Cloud Services. Some ARM capabilities such as role-based access and control (RBAC), tags, policy, and support for deployment templates are provided as well. Two migration paths from ASM to ARM are to be provided: re-deploy, and in-place migration.
Microsoft has recommended additional Azure services including Virtual Machine Scale Sets, App Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Azure Service Fabric for those customers who are considering migrating to the extended support variant from the classic one. The newer one is suggested for application workloads that are not expected to evolve continuously.
Interested customers can learn more about Cloud Services (extended support) through its documentation. A preview of the re-deploy path is available starting today, while a preview for the in-place migration path is expected to be announced soon.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft updates its rollout plans for Windows 10 Team 2020
by Rich Woods
Back in October, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update, promising that it would begin rolling out the following week. In fact, it had an actual timeline of when it would roll out by region. In December, it partially paused the rollout due to some post-installation issues that some customers had, and today, the firm posted an update.
According to the update back in December, the first two phases had started rolling out, and that includes Surface Hub 2S devices in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, UK, Japan, Switzerland, and Italy. Out of the devices in those two phases, 70% had already completed the update. Phase three was the United States and Germany, and phase four was the rest of the world. Due to the issues that some customers had, it was phases three and four that were held back indefinitely.
Here's the deal if you've got a Surface Hub 2S. The Windows 10 Team 2020 Update is available via Windows Update for Business, and the Bare Metal Recovery image is available now. As for when it will be available through Windows Update, that will be February 2021. For the first-gen Surface Hub, the timeline is similar, although it's getting the update in Windows Update and Windows Update for Business in February 2021. Those users can, however, get it now by using the Surface Hub Recovery Tool.
There are several new features included in the feature update, such as Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser, which is making its way to more and more platforms. There's also support for inking with two pens at the same time, and there's a new Coordinated Meetings feature in Teams that lets you easily switch between Surface Hub and Teams Rooms devices on the fly.
Microsoft also noted that Windows 10 Team version 1703, the previous update for Surface Hub, will no longer be supported after March 16. So basically, the 2020 Update will arrive in late February and you'll have just a few weeks to upgrade before being out of support.
Kurt DelBene becomes third Microsoft executive to leave the company this year
by João Carrasqueira
Image credit: Brian Smale/Microsoft Microsoft is losing yet another key member of its leadership with Kurt DelBene set to leave the company at the end of the fiscal year. The news was announced to employees in a letter from CEO Satya Nadella, which was first reported on by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.
Kurt DelBene is currently serving as Executive Vice President and head of the Corporate Strategy and Core Services Engineering division at the company, where he's been since 2015. DelBene had already worked at Microsoft from 1992 through 2013, working on the Office division and eventually leading it. He left the company to help U.S. President Barack Obama with the Healthcare.gov website, then had a short tenure at Madrona Venture Group before returning to Microsoft. DelBene has been working on Microsoft's COVID-19 response, which he will continue to do through the end of his stay at Microsoft, in June. He's also a member of Microsoft's Senior Leadership Team.
DelBene's role isn't being replaced in a traditional sense. His role will be divided between other divisions, with some parts falling under the Cloud and AI division led by Scott Guthrie. Others will be part of the Business Development organization, and finally, Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood will be responsible for the last part of the role.
This is the third major departure from Microsoft to be announced in 2021, although it's the first by a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President (CVP) for Commercial Management Experiences announced a couple of weeks ago that he'd be leaving to join Qualtrics. Just a few days later, Julia White also announced her departure from her role as CVP of Product marketing for Azure, Development Tools, and Servers, transitioning to a new role at SAP.
By Rich Woods
PWAs installed with Microsoft Edge will now let you switch profiles
by Rich Woods
Microsoft has announced that you can switch profiles in progressive web apps (PWAs) that were installed using its Edge browser. Easy profile switching is something that's been available in the browser for some time, but now it's available for installed apps, and moreover, it's independent from your selection in the browser.
In order to do it, you'll see the profile icon in the title bar of the app. You can click it, and then select the profile you want. A second app will launch with the new profile. The default profile will be the one that you last used, and of course, the available profiles will mirror the ones available in Edge.
Microsoft didn't say which versions of Edge this is available in, but you can bet it's only Dev and Canary, since this is still considered to be an experiment. The company is also asking for feedback on how this works, specifically for three questions:
In order to get started, the feature should just start showing up in your installed PWAs.