Odds and Ends 

Microsoft Teams gets Yammer integration, secure private channels and more

You’re forgiven if you thought Yammer — Microsoft’s proto-Slack, not quite real-time chat application — was dead. It’s actually still alive (and well) — and still serves a purpose as a slower-moving social network-like channel for company and team-wide announcements. Today, Microsoft announced that, among other updates, it will offer a Yammer integration in Teams, its Slack competitor. Yammer in Teams will live in the left-hand sidebar. With this, Microsoft’s two main enterprise communications platforms are finally growing together and will give users the option to use Teams for fast-moving…

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Odds and Ends 

In latest $10B JEDI contract twist, Defense secretary recuses himself

The JEDI drama never stops. The $10 billion, decade-long cloud contract has produced a series of twists and turns since the project was announced in 2018. These include everything from court challenges to the president getting involved to accusations of bias and conflict of interest. It has had all this and more. Today, in the latest plot twist, the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper recused himself from the selection process because one of his kids works at a company that was involved earlier in the process. Several reports name his…

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Odds and Ends 

Amazons Climate Pledges Didnt Stop Employees From Taking to the Streets

Hundreds of Amazon employees were joined by staffers from Google and Microsoft on Friday in a walkout protesting inaction on climate change. The demonstration saw about 1,500 employees take to the streets near Amazons downtown Seattle headquarters. To all the tech workers who can no longer sit at our desks and be silent as we speed toward global ecological disaster, Weston Fribley, a software developer at Amazon, said to the crowd Friday. We are tech workers with a common purpose, acting together to push our companies to take responsibility for…

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Odds and Ends 

Startups Weekly: SoftBanks second act

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I noted some challenges plaguing mental health tech startups. Before that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. accelerating its IPO plans and targeting a September listing. We don’t…

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Odds and Ends 

Microsoft and Oracle link up their clouds

Microsoft and Oracle announced a new alliance today that will see the two companies directly connect their clouds over a direct network connection so that their users can then move workloads and data seamlessly between the two. This alliance goes a bit beyond just basic direct connectivity and also includes identity interoperability. This kind of alliance is relatively unusual between what are essentially competing clouds, but while Oracle wants to be seen as a major player in this space, it also realizes that it isn’t likely to get to the…

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Odds and Ends 

Announcing TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise this September in San Francisco

Last year alone, the and included IBM’s acquiring Red Hat for $34 billion, SAP paying $8 billion for Qualtrics, Microsoft landing GitHub for $7.5 billion, Salesforce acquiring MuleSoft for $6.5 billion and Adobe grabbing Marketo for $4.75 billion. No startup category has made more VCs and founders wildly wealthy, and none has seen more mighty companies rise faster or fall harder. That technology and business thrill ride makes enterprise a category TechCrunch has long wanted to tackle head on. We’ll enlist proven enterprise-focused VCs to reveal where they are directing…

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Qualcomm expands its PC bet with its new 7nm 8cx platform

Qualcomm wants to become a major player in the PC/laptop market. Now that there is Windows 10 on ARM, that’s more than a pipe dream, but in its earliest iterations, those Qualcomm-based Windows 10 laptops used the Snapdragon 850 system on a chip that was specifically designed for PCs but still very much a direct descendant of its smartphone platform. Today, the company announced its Snapdragon 8cx platform, “the most extreme Snapdragon ever,” in Qualcomm’s parlance, which still leverages some of the company’s mobile expertise and building blocks, but which…

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Odds and Ends 

In venture capital, its still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance…

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Headlines 

Microsoft’s Project xCloud is basically Netflix for Xbox games

Image: microsoft At the annual E3 trade show in June, Microsoft hinted at some kind of streaming service. Now it has a name (albeit a seemingly temporary one): Project xCloud. The service is pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve been following all the chatter around game streaming. With xCloud, Xbox people will be able to play their games on a variety of different screens, from PC monitors to smartphones. SEE ALSO: This greaseproof Xbox One controller needs to become the standard It’s a streaming thing, to be clear. Don’t…

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Headlines 

Will Others Follow Microsoft’s Lead on Paid Parental Leave?

An objectively good thing happened in big tech Thursday: Microsoft said it will require companies that supply it with subcontractors—think cafeteria and custodial staff—to give those workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave. In doing so, Microsoft is once again taking the lead in ensuring contractors get benefits that other big companies reserve for full-time employees. Back in 2015, Microsoft began requiring its suppliers to give their employees 15 days of paid vacation and sick leave annually. That prompted other tech companies like Facebook to follow suit. Labor advocates hope…

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Microsoft stands up Azure Stack for government as JEDI contract looms

Microsoft announced today that it’s released Azure Stack for Azure Government at a time when it’s battling rivals at Amazon and other cloud companies for the massive winner-take-all $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract known as JEDI. Azure Stack provides customers with a similar set of cloud services that they would get in the public cloud, but inside the cozy confines of the customer data center. For Azure cloud customers who are looking to manage across public and private environments, often referred to as a hybrid approach, it gives a common…

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Headlines 

The Elite Microsoft Hacker Team That Keeps Windows PCs Safe

“Windows is still the central repository of malware and exploits. Practically, there’s so much business done around the world on Windows. The attacker mentality is to get the biggest return on investment in what you develop in terms of code and exploits,” says Aaron Lint, who regularly works with red teams in his role as chief scientist at application protection provider Arxan. “Windows is the obvious target.” “In most browser attacks, you first need to compromise what’s called the browser sandbox, and then you need a way out of that…

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Headlines 

Microsoft is switching from a gun emoji to a water pistol, too

Finally, consistency, and safety.Image: emojipedia Cross-platform consistency, and gun sense, has taken hold in the emoji universe. Microsoft announced on Friday that it will be switching its gun emoji to a water pistol. The change came two days after Google rolled out an update that replaced its gun emoji with the colorful water pistol toy. Facebook also confirmed to Emojipedia on the day of the Google update that it was in the process of making the switch, too.  SEE ALSO: Everyone (except Microsoft) is using the water pistol emoji now…

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Odds and Ends 

Microsoft built its own custom Linux kernel for its new IoT service

At a small press event in San Francisco, Microsoft today announced the launch of a secure end-to-end IoT product that focuses on microcontroller-based devices — the kind of devices that use tiny and relatively low-powered microcontrollers (MCUs) for basic control or connectivity features. Typically, these kinds of devices, which could be anything from a toy to a household gadget or an industrial application, don’t often get updated and hence, security often suffers. At the core of Azure Sphere is a new class of certified MCUs. As Microsoft president and chief…

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Headlines 

The Young and the Reckless

I. The Bumper The trip to Delaware was only supposed to last a day. David Pokora, a bespectacled University of Toronto senior with scraggly blond hair down to his shoulders, needed to travel south to fetch a bumper that he’d bought for his souped-up Volks­wagen Golf R. The American seller had balked at shipping to Canada, so Pokora arranged to have the part sent to a buddy, Justin May, who lived in Wilmington. The young men, both ardent gamers, shared a fascination with the inner workings of the Xbox; though…

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