TechSummit Rewind 091

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Microsoft Q4 earnings: $22.6B in revenue, $0.69 EPS


Microsoft has reported earnings for its fiscal Q4 2016, which come in at $22.6 billion and $0.69/share profit, reflecting strong growth in the company’s cloud businesses.

According to Microsoft director of investor relations Zack Moxcey, the results from this quarter still reflect the charges taken by the Redmond, Wash.-based company related to its phone business and adjustments for Windows 10 revenue deferrals. Part of the company’s higher earnings are also being attributed to the company’s lower than expected tax rate.

A year ago, Microsoft’s revenue was $22.2 billion, but earnings per share came to a $0.40 loss because of a $7.5 billion charge of its Nokia acquisition.

“This past year was pivotal in both our own transformation and in partnering with our customers who are navigating their own digital transformations. The Microsoft Cloud is seeing significant customer momentum and we’re well positioned to reach new opportunities in the year ahead.”

-Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Revenue in its Intelligent Cloud business hit $6.7 billion, up from $6.1 billion in Q3, and Azure revenue grew 102 percent year-over-year.

Microsoft’s commercial cloud business has hit a run rate of $12.1 billion, up from $9.4 billion in Q3. According to Moxcey, it’s on pace to hit its projected run rate of $20 billion by 2018. The company attributed some of the growth in Azure to Microsoft’s wide geographic footprint on the service’s regions.

According to Moxcey, Intelligent Cloud doubled its customer base for its enterprise mobility solutions year-over-year to 33,000 customers, and the installed base grew nearly 2.5x year-over-year.

Here’s a quick look at how the rest of the company fared:

  • Productivity and Businesses Processes (Office, Dynamic): Revenue of $7.0 billion, compared to $6.3 billion in Q3, due to strong growth across its services and the fact that Office 365 commercial revenue grew 54 percent year-over-year and that its Dynamics CRM paid seats are growing at more than 2.5x year-over-year
  • Personal Computing (Windows, Devices, Gaming, Search): Revenue of $8.9 billion, compared to $12.7 billion in the last quarter. Phone revenue declined 71 percent, but the company’s Surface revenue was up nine percent in the quarter (mostly driven by the Surface Book and Surface 4). Windows OEM consumer revenue grew 27 percent, and two percent commercially. Xbox Live now has 49 million monthly active users, and its search advertising revenue was up 16 percent, largely due to its integration into Windows 10. According to Nadella, Windows 10 users have asked Cortana eight billion questions to date.

For the full year, Microsoft reported $92 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings of $2.10/share. The company’s operating income was $27.9 billion.

Snapchat lets you use Bitmojis in chat, snaps

Snapchat Bitmojis

Snapchat has acknowledged how it’ll integrate Bitmoji after acquiring its parent company Bitstrips in March. Users can now send Bitmoji to each other in chat or snaps.

Bitmoji allows users to create their personal emoji with passing resemblance to their real flesh human face.

Users can now link their Bitmoji account in Snapchat using their credentials and the avatar they created will appear in the app ready to use. If you don’t already have Bitmoji set up, you can log in with Snapchat to set one up. If your friends have Bitmoji linked to their Snapchat, you’ll be able to ‘Friendmoji’ them, which means you can use emojified avatar stickers as well.

Twitter now lets anyone request a verified account

The reception desk at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. (Image: Aaron Durand/Twitter)
The reception desk at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. (Image: Aaron Durand/Twitter)

Twitter has opened up the treasured blue checkmark. Starting today, anyone can request a verified account on its website by filling out a form with a verified phone number and email address, a profile photo, and additional information regarding why verification is helpful. Twitter will verify accounts “if it is determined to be of public interest.”

“We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification. We hope opening up this application process results in more people finding great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for these creators and influencers to connect with a broader audience.”

-Tina Bhatnagar, Twitter vice president of user services

According to Twitter’s support page, the company favors people that use their real name or a recognizable stage name, along with a profile/header photo that accurately represents the person. You can also provide URLs to support the request, and Twitter reserves the right to demand an uploaded scan of a government-issued ID.

Deezer’s $10 music streaming service opens to all in U.S.


Before now, if you wanted to subscribe to Deezer in the U.S., you needed to own Bose or Sonos gear or subscribe to the Cricket cell service. Now, the $10/month streaming plan is open to all Americans. Paying up will get you access to streaming music, Stitcher-driven podcasts, and features like Flow, a personalized tune station based on what you’ve been recently listening to.

Slack pours $2M into 14 Slackbot startups via Slack Fund


Slack has taken major steps to establish itself as a productivity platform. As of today, there are over 600 apps integrated with the service, letting you bring in content from other services and share it with other users with simple short codes.

The company has invested $1.97 million in 14 startups and unveiled the latest 11 bot-style services in that list from the Slack Fund.

The startups announced today are Abacus (expense reporting software that brings report creation and approvals into Slack), Automat (allows for building a bot that passes the Turing Test), Birdly (connects Slack and Salesforce so anyone can access the information they need about an account), (a personal assistant that makes all company knowledge easily accessible), Candor, Inc. (aims to improve working relationships through candid feedback), Growbot (helps encourage and commend teammates for a job well done), Konsus (gives 24/7 access to on-demand freelancers), Lattice (helps establish goals, OKRs weekly check-in and continuous feedback), Myra Labs (helps build amazing bots with API that provides machine learning out of the box), Sudo (manages CRM), and Wade & Wendy (recruiting assistants).

Zenreach raises $30M


Zenreach, an enterprise software startup that provides wi-fi hardware to restaurants and coffee shops on a monthly subscription basis, has raised $30 million in Series B funding and is welcoming Peter Thiel to the board.

The company also helps businesses with email promotions, using the address they signed up for when they logged onto the wi-fi.

NBA creating two TV-style shows exclusively for Twitter

Twitter HQ

Twitter has secured the rights to stream live “original programs” from the NBA starting next season.

The two sides have also agreed to double the number of NBA game highlights posted to Twitter-owned properties with ads that Twitter and the NBA make revenue from.

Skycure lands $16.5M Series B round for mobile cybersecurity platform


Skycure, an Israeli mobile cybersecurity platform, has secured $16.5 million in Series B funding, led by Foundation Capital.

The cash will be used to expand the company’s presence in the Middle East and Asia, broaden customers, and invest in its mobile threat-defense platform.

“We’re in the midst of a massive security revolution driven by tiny devices. Mobile is the biggest challenge to enterprise security today and it requires vastly different considerations than desktop, network, or even cloud security.”

-Adi Sharabani, Skycure CEO & co-founder

“Enterprise mobile security is a burgeoning, multi-billion -dollar market.”

-Paul Holland, Foundation Capital general partner

Mercedes’ autonomous bus makes landmark trip on public roads

Mercedes CityPilot

Mercedes-Benz’s CityPilot autonomous bus technology has gotten a real-world, long-range test drive in the Netherlands. One of the company’s Future Bus vehicles successfully followed a 20km (12.4mi) Bus Rapid Transit route between Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and the town of Haarlem without human input.

CityPilot is based on Daimler’s (Mercedes’ parent company) Highway Pilot autonomous trucking technology built for a city bus. With GPS, radar, and a dozen cameras embedded within the vehicle, the bus can recognize traffic signals, pedestrians, and other obstacles. The bus has a top speed of 70km/h (43mph) and all that data allows the bus to position itself within inches of bus stops or accessibility platforms.

The vehicle is based on Mercedes’ Citaro bus with a redesigned interior that takes design cues from city parks with “designer” benches, expansive windows, and tree-inspired grab rails.

Samsung responds to failed Galaxy S7 Active water-resistance test


Samsung has responded to a failed water-resistance test ran by Consumer Reports on two Galaxy S7 Actives. In a press release, the company is IP68 certified for water resistance and its standard limited warranty still applies.

“Samsung stands behind this water resistance certification, and will replace any Galaxy S7 active under its standard limited warranty, should water damage occur.”

-Samsung, in a statement

Google government requests hit all-time high in second half of 2015


Government requests for Google user data hit an all-time high in the second half of 2015, according to the company.

From July to December 2015, governments made 40,677 requests, impacting as many as 81,311 user accounts, in an 18 percent s=pike from the first half of the year.

The most requests came from the United States, with 12,523 data requests (impacting 27,157 users/accounts) during the period.

“The distinctions that U.S. privacy and surveillance laws make between U.S. and non-U.S. persons are increasingly obsolete in a world where communications primarily take place over a global medium: the Internet.”

-Richard Salgado, Google legal director

Samsung Pay hits Samsung Gear S2 in beta

samsung-gear-s2 samsung-gear-s2

According to Droid-Life, Samsung Pay has come to its Gear S2/Gear S2 Classic smartwatch in beta.

If you own either watch, check inside the Samsung Gear application for the option to enable the Samsung Pay Beta. Once you set your cards up, you should be able to make a purchase by holding your smartwatch up near a NFC reader.




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