• Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 tools for customer service and financial planning, are becoming an increasingly important part of its business, particularly its customer data platform.
  • Microsoft’s customer data platform is meant to help companies collect customer information in one central place, so that they can use it to improve customer service. 
  • Dynamics 365 as a whole has the potential to become a much bigger and stronger competitor to Salesforce in the customer data space, Futurum Research analyst Dan Newman told Business Insider. 
  • Microsoft’s product is designed to connect to any data collection tool, whether Microsoft owns it or not, which gives customers more flexibility than Salesforce does, he said. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 tools for customer service and financial planning are becoming an increasingly important part of its business and seeing healthy growth, too: Last quarter the product’s revenue jumped 38% year-over-year.

The centerpiece of

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Microsoft Corp.

has relied on the National Football League’s mass audiences since it became a sponsor in 2013. This year, the coronavirus pandemic left the company wondering whether there would be an NFL season at all.

Now that the season is under way even as the pandemic continues, Microsoft is coming out with a humorous ad campaign tied to the NFL that it hopes will offer consumers a sense of normalcy.

A new commercial shows New Orleans Saints players using Microsoft Teams and Surface products to remotely give rookies advice on their fashion choices and touchdown dances.

Microsoft Chief Brand Officer Kathleen Hall talked to The Wall Street Journal about working with the NFL in the early days of the pandemic and the challenge of striking the right tone at a highly fraught time. The interview has been condensed and edited.

WSJ: When the pandemic struck, how did the NFL

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TikTok has reached an agreement to partner with software giant Oracle, a landmark deal that could redefine how the U.S. and China square off over the reach of their homegrown technology companies.

The deal, which was confirmed Sunday by a source with direct knowledge, comes after the Trump administration pressured TikTok to sell its U.S. business over concerns about the threat to national security. The administration alleged that the company’s ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance, meant it would have to hand over data about Americans if asked by China’s government. TikTok has denied that it would hand over data, which it stressed is stored outside China.

The source would not detail which parts of the technology were being taken over by Oracle, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. Microsoft had been considered a front-runner to buy TikTok US until this weekend. Microsoft

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It’s still unclear whether the deal will satisfy President Trump. Oracle’s executives have close ties to the president and the company may be well-positioned to meet Trump’s expectations after the president took an active role in raising concerns about TikTok.

TikTok executives believe the deal will take care of worries from the Trump Administration and others that its Chinese ownership could open the door for Beijing to obtain U.S. consumer data, according to the person familiar with the talks. The deal would likely involve Oracle taking a stake in the company.

It’s also unclear whether the Trump Administration will approve the deal with Oracle. President Trump previously issued an order that would ban the app in the U.S. beginning Sept. 20. He followed it with a second order that would essentially require TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to divest from its operations in the U.S.

Both Microsoft and Oracle were

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  • Microsoft is launching the Surface Duo, a $1,400 foldable Android smartphone that has two screens, on September 10.
  • After getting a closer look at the Duo’s design, I came away impressed with the phone’s premium glass build and flexible hinge.
  • Microsoft’s approach differs from that of rivals like Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola, indicating that major tech companies are still figuring out what the next major evolution of the smartphone looks like.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Microsoft is the latest tech giant to enter the foldable phone race with its Surface Duo, a $1,400 smartphone that comes with two screens joined together with a 360-degree hinge.

The phone launches on September 10, coming just after Samsung unveiled its third foldable phone and major phone makers like Huawei and Motorola have launched devices with bendable screens.

The Surface Duo runs on Google’s Android software, and the company is positioning

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Microsoft on Tuesday introduced a new tool for transcription on Microsoft Word’s web app called Transcribe in Word.

Transcribe in Word lets users transcribe audio directly from Microsoft Word and edit it. The feature is currently available for Microsft 365 users using the Microsoft Word web app.

Users can record audio directly on to the web app for transcription or upload an audio file. The AI tool will then transcribe the audio automatically.

“Transcribe detects different speakers so after you finish recording, you can easily follow the flow of the transcript. After your conversation, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the time-stamped audio and you can even edit the transcript,” Microsoft explained in a blog post announcing the feature.

Once the transcription is complete, users can edit the speaker label as well as the content of a section to correct any issues in transcription.

The tool

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  • The data science platform Pachyderm raised $16 million in Series B funding led by Microsoft’s venture fund M12, it announced Wednesday. 
  • Pachyderm offers a free, community version of its software that anyone can use and download for free, as well as a paid business version.
  • Pachyderm cofounder Joey Zwicker says the company saw an uptick in sales during the coronavirus pandemic as companies needed to collaborate remotely on data sets: It’s been a “massive benefit.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When the data science platform Pachyderm first launched in 2014, open source project Hadoop was the only major big data player on the market (the startup’s name is actually an early jab at Hadoop, which has an elephant in its logo). 

Pachyderm’s business didn’t really take off until 2017, says cofounder Joey Zwicker, when the demand for data science skyrocketed. From there, the startup started attracting the attention

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 Last month was an odd sort of anniversary at Microsoft. In the summer of 2015, Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood and Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again topped the charts while speculation about the iPhone 6S was running wild. 

And that July, Microsoft announced one of its most spectacular fails — ever.

Satya Nadella, just a year into his tenure as Microsoft CEO, announced a $7.6 billion financial loss for Microsoft because of the company’s failed acquisition of phone giant Nokia, announced in 2013. Worse, 7,800 workers would lose their jobs. Nadella pretty much said they’d step back from the smartphone market in the near future.

“We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family,” Nadella said in an email to Microsoft employees at the time. “I am committed to our first-party devices,

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