Windows, Azure, and Teams tools. The coronavirus did not prevent Microsoft from issuing a stream of news at its annual Build conference this week.
Now in its 10th year, Build is where the company connects with the millions of software developers who create apps for Windows, Azure, and its other platforms.
More than 200,000 people have signed up for the two-day event, company spokesman Frank Shaw said on Twitter.
Microsoft must involve developers so that they continue to build applications for its platforms and on its data center infrastructure. Due to the pandemic, this year’s conference was held entirely online, with several executives and engineers contributing to the live video stream from their homes.
Microsoft used the conference as an opportunity to strengthen key areas, rather than demonstrating next-generation technology or tapping celebrities to attract more attendees, as Facebook and Salesforce did. Areas of interest included its public cloud Azure, the fast-growing Teams communications app, which is increasingly at the center of the very important Office portfolio, and an upcoming app called Lists.
Here are some of the most important announcements:
A cloud for healthcare.
Microsoft is embarking on a specific vertical strategy to maintain the growth of cloud franchises like Azure and Dynamics, starting with healthcare. The offer, which is available for free trial for six months, it will be easier for healthcare systems to quickly take advantage of the industry-centric features that already exist in multiple products, including teams.
Fairer, more private AI.
Microsoft is improving the Azure Machine Learning cloud service with open source tools designed to make artificial intelligence systems behave more fairly for people of different ages and genders, and perform calculations without looking at the underlying information. In recent years, people have criticized AI implementations that lead to errors and embarrassing results, and technology could be of interest to developers concerned with preventing errors like that.
Microsoft said it had built an Azure-based supercomputer for AI research company OpenAI, in which it invested last year. “As we learn more and more about what we need and the different limits of all the components that make up a supercomputer, we could really say,” If we could design our dream system, what would it look like- he? “And then Microsoft was able to build it,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.
The technology could help OpenAI reach research breakthroughs more quickly. Although Microsoft has not yet designed its own AI chips, unlike its cloud and Amazon rivals, it now appears that Microsoft is capable of assembling compelling AI hardware, which could further strengthen its reputation in this area.
The launch of the project shows that Microsoft is prepared to use special equipment to meet the unusual requests of a single customer rather than offering simple IT resources to the lowest denominator. There is, however, no sign that Microsoft intends to expose the supercomputer for wider use; the company said it was exclusively available for OpenAI.
Chat for developers.
Programmers generally work alone when writing code, but they are increasingly teaming up to solve problems. Microsoft has previously released technology for team development in its code editing applications. Now it deploys tools so that programmers can have text chats and voice calls inside the Visual Studio open source code editor, without getting distracted by switching applications.
Faster team development.
Microsoft now extension developers can download for Visual Studio Code to speed up the process of writing and publishing a third-party tool for Teams. Competing communication application Slack has a dynamic ecosystem of integrations, and the extension could increase the supply of integrations available for teams, so that people can always do more in the application. Unlike Microsoft, Slack does not run a popular code editor.
When Microsoft press releases a new standalone app called Microsoft Lists this summer, consumers and businesses will have one more reason to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) productivity pack. It is more customizable than a task management application like Microsoft To-Do or Atlassian’s Trello. Lists can display items in a variety of formats, and the Lists app comes with templates such as an event itinerary and problem tracking. Like the Airtable service, it can display images perfectly. The lists will be available in Teams and it will be possible to transform an Excel spreadsheet into a list.
A new package manager.
It takes time to find and install all the applications you want when you set up a new Windows computer. Windows package manager, available in preview, provides a command line interface for finding, installing, uninstalling and updating programs. Microsoft expects developers to use the product, but anyone can try it, which could help Microsoft satisfy consumers with Windows. Technological news site The edge said on Wednesday that it was “already better than the Windows Store”.
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