April 2020: Around Microsoft

A monthly wrap-up on what’s happening around the company for Microsoft News readers

AI divide to conquer. The economic shutdowns have clearly highlighted the technological divide. Kevin Scott, Microsoft CTO and EVP of AI and Research, delves into the differing impact of AI and technology on the rural and urban workforce in his newest book, Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley, Making AI Serve Us All, released on April 7. Scott argues that AI has the potential to create opportunity where none may have been, and help solve some of society’s most perplexing problems.  Hear Scott and author JD Vance (Hillbilly Elegy) talk about AI and the American Dream in the Microsoft Research YouTube channel. (Scott also regularly hosts a podcast, Behind the Tech.)

M365 training and resources. April has been a busy month for M365 (M is for Microsoft, natch), the new umbrella term for Office, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive. M365 remains the same suite used by more than a half billion people around the world.

  • With the pandemic-enforced closure of Microsoft Stores, its retail employees have moved quickly to virtual trainings.  Nearly 80% chose to work from home to serve small and medium-sized businesses and education customers; train enterprise customers; and deliver virtual community workshops.
  • Microsoft News and M365 have been offering tailored training to newsrooms on how to use the collaboration suite for end-to-end workflow operations and editorial assignments. Interested newsrooms can check out more here.

More than a grammar check. Built on Chromium, the new Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10 has just released Microsoft Editor: It goes beyond spelling and grammar correction, and doubles down by offering up AI-powered writing suggestions. The free extension is available for both Microsoft Edge and Chrome; Microsoft 365 subscription required to access premium Editor features.

COVID-19 response. A New Yorker article analyzing the responses of Seattle and New York City explained how tech companies like Microsoft were leveraged to model behavior in response to the outbreak. Microsoft details its corporate citizen partnerships in its HQ state of Washington, from data collection with the department of health to remote learning with the state education agency.

There can never be too much screen time: Microsoft News launched its video-centric hub Spark to showcase on-demand contributors and live streams. Spanning themes of connection, creativity, mind and body, the hub features everything from quarantine parodies and exercise classes to LinkedIn Editors Live‘s #BusinessUnusual interviews and Billboard behind-the-scenes artist Q&As.