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The company announced Microsoft 365 Personal and Family, new subscription options for household use, as well as updates to Teams aimed at organizing one's personal life.

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31 Mar, 2020 / 00:10

While it's no secret that quite a few online services and cloud apps have seen big activity spikes over the last few weeks, the growth rates can still be pretty jarring. On Sunday, Microsoft claimed that it has seen a 775% total usage increase for its cloud services "in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders." The software giant also reported that usage for Microsoft Azure's Windows Virtual Desktop service -- it provides cloud-based access to PC resources and apps -- has grown more than 200%.

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31 Mar, 2020 / 00:06

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The U.S. is finally starting to take a sensible and proactive approach toward the Covid-19 pandemic. After a disastrous initial failure, coronavirus testing has now risen to levels similar to or higher than South Korea. Meanwhile, although he almost succumbed to the temptation to reopen the economy before shutdowns had time to quell the epidemic, President Donald Trump has wisely decided to recommend that social distancing continue through the end of April. And Congress, showing rare unanimity and boldness, passed a huge relief package that will sustain most households and many businesses throughout the next couple of months.But these are all simply holding actions, temporary measures to stop the virus from spreading out of control. Even the harshest lockdown will never eliminate the virus, and if restrictions are lifted without a regime in place to suppress new outbreaks, the epidemic will simply come roaring back. Meanwhile, every day the economy remains shutdown generates more losses and creates a larger backlog of un-serviced debt. That won’t work forever; an escape plan is urgently needed.A team of experts at the American Enterprise Institute has come up with exactly such a plan, and it looks like a good one. Those experts include Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, both former commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration; Lauren Silvis, who previously held several high positions at the FDA; and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security professors Caitlin Rivers and Crystal Watson.The first and most essential part of the AEI plan is to create a system that can suppress coronavirus outbreaks without lockdowns. This will require extensive testing; the plan’s authors estimate about 750,000 tests per week. Fortunately, that sort of number is now possible:Meanwhile, new rapid tests like the one from Abbott Laboratories will reduce turnaround times so that that cases can be identified in minutes instead of days. People who test positive can immediately isolate themselves.But testing and isolating isn’t enough to halt the virus because Covid-19 becomes contagious before many infected people start showing symptoms. To really halt the spread, therefore, public health authorities will need to use an approach called contact tracing. This means finding out who an infected person has had contact with in the past few days and notifying those people that they need to get tested even if  they don't show symptoms.Traditionally, as in the fight against HIV/AIDS, contact tracing was done by hand. Coronavirus moves so quickly, however, that technological solutions may be needed to speed things up. Singapore, for example, has recently made its own contact-tracing app publicly available. This app relies on Bluetooth signals to tell who has been in close physical proximity to whom.Of course, that raises privacy concerns. That has tech leaders working on alternate solutions that do contact tracing while preserving anonymity. It’s possible that Apple and Google already have the data to do this. Meanwhile, any contact-tracing app will also have to quickly notify people that they’ve been in contact with an infected person, and (ideally) route them to the nearest testing center. Those who test positive can immediately quarantine themselves at home to prevent spreading the disease.Establishing robust test-and-trace systems can start at the local and state level. However, implementing these systems will take both money and wise policy changes. The federal government should provide generous funding to help local and state governments implement test-and-trace systems. Local governments and public-health authorities, meanwhile, must loosen their testing criteria to allow for people to be tested before they show symptoms. The AEI authors also call for a national surveillance system to tie local systems together and enable contact tracing throughout the country, as well as to help infected people quarantine themselves quickly and safely.In addition to the test-and-trace approach, governments can use antibody tests to identify individuals who have already had the virus, and thus may be able to return to work safely. Germany is already experimenting with this approach.After test-and-trace systems are in place, and new cases have fallen for 14 days or more in a row, the AEI team suggest lifting shutdowns -- but not all at once. They recommend a phased reopening of businesses, with telework, distance learning and personal social distancing continuing as much as possible, while maintaining indefinite bans on gatherings of more than 50 people. Only once a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed -- probably in mid-2021 -- can all restrictions be lifted. And if outbreaks do spiral out of control in a city or state, the AEI team recommends a swift but temporary return to shutdown.The battle against coronavirus will thus be a long one. But in a few weeks the tide may turn. The AEI plan provides a great road map for coming out of hiding and going on the offensive.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 23:30

Companies receiving central bank aid are more likely to make quick comebacks Continue reading...

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30 Mar, 2020 / 23:02

Now the one thing you need to worry about with MSFT, as you have to do with all of the techies, is the GDP.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 23:01

S&P; 500 up 3.35% Continue reading...

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30 Mar, 2020 / 22:47

Stocks making another attempt at the most recent high which is also our gravity point.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 22:40

Apple (AAPL), the world’s most successful company, was in the midst of preparations for one of its most anticipated launches ever the unleashing of the iPhone 12, the first Apple model to boast 5G capabilities.At investment firm Wedbush, however, there is growing concern regarding the planned launch date. Wedbush's Daniel Ives lays out 3 different scenarios regarding Apple’s flagship product’s new release.Worst case scenario, Ives says, involves the supply chain up and running to full capacity by June, with key 5G iPhone product launches pushed back past holiday season until mid FY21. This indicates consumer demand in the US and Europe is back to normal by December while “demand across China rebounds, but demand destruction (no 5G phone) is clear throughout this key region.”On the other end of the scale, the best-case scenario involves the supply chain revving back to full capacity by late April, the launch goes ahead as planned in the fall,  and demand across China rebounds by the June and September quarters, therefore, containing any demand destruction.Ives believes the most likely scenario to play out involves the middle ground; the launch is pushed back to the holiday season and Apple incurs some damage, but at manageable levels. The analyst estimates this situation will involve “mostly timing issues as iPhone super-cycle shifts into FY21, some but no major demand destruction, and flagship iPhone launches delayed into holiday timeframe, with lower cost iPhones hitting shelves in June (instead of March).”All considered, Ives maintains an Outperform rating on Apple shares and keeps the price target as is, at $335. The figure implies potential upside of 35% from current levels. (To watch Ives’ track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street think? Apple currently holds a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 24 Buys, 9 Holds and 2 Sell ratings. At $316, the average price target is set to provide investors with gains in the shape of of 24%. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks) More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Challenging Times Ahead for Boeing Stock; 5-Star Analyst Slashes Price Target * Don’t Buy Roku Stock, Says Analyst; The 'Coming Recession' Is a Risk * Cytosorbents's Blood Purification Technology Could Play Important Role in Fighting COVID-19; Analyst Says 'Buy' * 2 "Strong Buy" Stocks with Solid Long-Term Upside

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30 Mar, 2020 / 22:27

Shares of Microsoft closed up 7% on Monday, beating out other major technology stocks on the day and launching some ETFs higher after the company disclosed a surge in the use of its cloud services on the 365 platform. The tech behemoth implemented some significant changes to its Office software...

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30 Mar, 2020 / 21:59

Lightning Labs has unveiled a new authentification protocol, the Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT) protocol, that would allow businesses to offer paid APIs on the Lightning Network. The post Lightning Labs unveils authentication protocol that lets providers offer paid, metered APIs on the Lightning Network appeared first on The Block.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 21:55

Microsoft (MSFT) recently announced that it will divest its stake in AnyVision startup, which is focused on facial recognition technology.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 21:36

Facebook Inc. on Monday announced it has reached a commercial agreement with Plessey to "support the development, design, and manufacturing of new display technologies for potential use in future AR/VR products," a Facebook spokesperson told MarketWatch. Financial terms were not disclosed. Apple Inc. , which reportedly was also seeking an arrangement with Plessey, was not immediately available for comment.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 20:32

* Abbott jumps on U.S. approval for coronavirus diagnostic test

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30 Mar, 2020 / 20:25

As Covid-19 continues to ripple through the global economy, we're starting to see its effects on businesses and consumer behavior ...

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30 Mar, 2020 / 19:56

DOW UPDATE The Dow Jones Industrial Average is soaring Monday afternoon with shares of Johnson & Johnson and Merck delivering strong returns for the index. Shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Merck (MRK) have contributed to the blue-chip gauge's intraday rally, as the Dow (DJIA) is trading 720 points, or 3.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 19:55

The audacious Nasdaq-listed upstart came out of nowhere in 2017 and has used technology and breakneck expansion to remake the country’s coffee market

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30 Mar, 2020 / 19:21

(Bloomberg) -- With its 175-acre campus in Cupertino, California, and several dozen more offices across the rest of the world, Apple Inc. wasn’t designed as a work-at-home company. That all changed about three weeks ago in the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in March, Apple shuttered many facets of its Apple Park and older Infinite Loop campuses as San Francisco Bay Area officials put in place stay-at-home orders. Later, the company told employees that specific approval is needed to gain access to an office, but identification badges remain functional. The shift from office culture to remote work has been challenging for the hardware-focused company with a passion for secrecy. In the past, Apple has gone to great lengths to keep its new products shielded from the public until the company is ready to unveil them. Employees work behind secure doors with blacked-out windows, lock products in cabinets and are barred from discussing their assignments even with spouses. Now, working from home, some are finding it hard to adjust and there have been minor hardware development setbacks, according to Apple employees who asked not to be named talking about company matters.The majority of Apple’s hardware products are engineered at Apple Park or surrounding buildings in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. For some work that requires hands-on development, some hardware engineers in Silicon Valley are allowed into the office, the people said. Apple also has hardware engineers in San Diego, California, and global coronavirus hotspots like Italy, Germany and Asia. But the company’s restrictions in those regions are far stronger. Apple has extended its remote work policy until at least April 5, depending on an office’s location. In a notice to staff, Apple said that “whether you’re working at home or at the office, it’s always critical to keep confidential work confidential. While working remotely, use the same care and always securely store confidential items and documents when not in use.”Still, Apple hasn’t paused its efforts to build future devices. The company is working on new versions of the HomePod speaker, Apple TV set-top box, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch and iMac for as early as later this year. The next round of flagship iPhones are targeting release in their normal fall window, Bloomberg News recently reported.Bay Area counties announced Monday they were extending stay-at-home orders until May 1, meaning these restrictions will be in place for at least another month, a key period when Apple finalizes products for later this year and next year.Read more: Apple’s Supply Chain Woes Linger Even as China Recovers“Apple has struck the balance between recognizing that much of the world runs on their products and that they need to keep them functioning and advancing, and they are balancing that with employee safety,” said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and co-founder of Loup Ventures. “They are reminding us with these small products they’ve recently announced that they’re going to keep working.”In early March, in a contrast to its normal practices, Apple started allowing engineers to take home early versions of future devices to continue work during the lockdown period. Previously, the company allowed select employees to take home nearly complete devices such as iPhones for real world testing. Typically, Apple is a company built on in-person meetings. Designers, for example, gather around kitchen-like tables to dream up future products. Hardware experts engineer and test devices together — things that simply are either more difficult or impossible over the internet.Taking home a future product requires the green light from the vice president of an employee’s organization. That list of staff with future devices at their homes also is sometimes reviewed by Apple’s senior vice presidents, the management team run by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. As part of the work-from-home order, Apple has clamped down on which employees are allowed to take home future versions of software, including the next release of iOS, the platform that runs the iPhone and iPad. Like with hardware, employees working on unreleased software, such as the upcoming iOS 14, require approval from the highest levels of the organization, the people said. Some Apple software engineers have privately complained about the difficulties of working from home, including distractions and concern about the on-going health crisis. But Apple’s software releases for later this year are currently on track and the company said it will announce the new versions in June at an online version of its annual developer conference.  Meetings have continued by phone and video conferencing. Apple requires employees to communicate via its own FaceTime service, Slack Technologies Inc.’s app and Cisco Systems Inc.’s Jabber or WebEx in order to maintain secrecy. For file sharing, Apple limits working to its suite of productivity apps, Salesforce.com Inc.’s Quip and Box. As part of its shift to working at home, Apple has also sent employees tips on ergonomic work setups, offered to reimburse staff for purchases of desks and computer monitors and has published responses to workers’ concerns about Covid-19.  Apple shut all 458 of its stores outside of mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong earlier this month, and the company is holding store employee meetings, known as “Daily Downloads” virtually and on a less regular basis. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of people and retail, has also been sending employees messages recorded from her home. Last week, she told employees that some workers and their family members were ill with Covid-19. She also re-iterated that stores would reopen on a case by case basis depending on local conditions possibly as soon as the first half of April.To lighten the mood in an otherwise traumatic period, Apple started a contest for employees to share photos of their work from home setup. The last guideline reads: “If you’re working on anything confidential, please keep it out of the shot.” (Updates with area stay-at-home order extended until May 1 in the seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 19:20

New data points bear out that digital tools like Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s teleconferencing software and Microsoft Corp.’s cloud-computing offering are seeing huge spikes in usage as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps workers housebound.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 19:09

DOW UPDATE Shares of Johnson & Johnson and Merck are trading higher Monday afternoon, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring. The Dow (DJIA) was most recently trading 571 points (2.6%) higher, as shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Merck (MRK) are contributing to the index's intraday rally.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:54

Aiming to get more recurring revenue and not have to encourage people to upgrade their OS every few years, Microsoft is launching new subscription packages for consumers.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:43

Proposed legislation to create a digital dollar is a major step forward in the digitization of money and commerce

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:24

(AAPL) shares got a boost on Monday from BofA Global Research analyst Wamsi Mohan, who repeated his Buy rating and added the stock to the firm’s best ideas list. Mohan pointed out in a research note that Apple (AAPL) has a stellar balance sheet, with about $200 billion in gross cash, and about $100 billion in net cash, or about $22 a share. Mohan noted that the company has committed to reaching a net cash neutral position, and he has written previously that it is likely to announce a new round of share repurchases when it reports its March quarter earnings in April.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:23

It’s hard to wrap your brain around $2 trillion. That’s where this visual from cost-estimating website HowMuch.net comes in.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:05

Foxconn, Apple's key supplier, also reportedly is planning to move forward with production of 5G iPhones this summer.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 18:03

DOW UPDATE Shares of Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson are posting positive growth Monday afternoon, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring. The Dow (DJIA) is trading 438 points higher (2.0%), as shares of Microsoft (MSFT) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) have contributed to the index's intraday rally.

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30 Mar, 2020 / 17:52