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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update phased rollout approach

Earlier this week we began a targeted rollout of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and I shared with you how to get it. Today, I’d like to share more details on how we will roll out this feature update to Windows 10 devices, including PCs, phones and IoT devices.

Our goal is to deliver feature updates to you as quickly as possible, while providing you with the best possible update experience.

Phased Rollout Approach

The Fall Creators Update begins rolling out to newer devices tested by us and our device partners. By starting with machines which we believe will have the best update experience, we are able to get focused feedback on application compatibility and how Windows works with the rich ecosystem of available peripherals like Bluetooth devices or cameras. Additionally, we closely monitor feedback from fans and early adopters, through programs like Windows Insiders and Windows Insider for Business, in addition to feedback from our OEM device partners, and customers like you! This helps us determine when to accelerate the release to additional devices. We repeat this process until all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide are offered the Fall Creators Update.

We believe this approach provides the highest quality update experience for all our customers.

With this feature update we’ve increased the number of Windows 10 devices we’ve tested in advance with our OEM device and ISV app partners. You can view some of these devices here, which includes the newest Windows Mixed Reality-ready PCs enabled by the Fall Creators Update!

Phased rollout approach (Actual rollout will vary based on user feedback)

Phased rollout approach (Actual rollout will vary based on user feedback)

The Fall Creators Update is the most secure version of Windows 10

Being on the latest version of Windows 10, the Fall Creators Update, provides the latest security protections to help keep you safer, and provides you with the latest features and capabilities.

As I outlined in June, Windows 10 continuously improves its built-in protection capabilities to harden its security platform against unwanted threats and malicious malware. In particular, with this update we’ve added protection against ransomware, which holds your files hostage until you pay to get them back. Read here to learn more about other new features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. If you want to know which system your device is running, you can check here.

Given these built-in security protections and the importance of keeping devices secure, being up-to-date is more important than ever. We’re glad to be seeing devices are staying up-to-date with the latest feature update faster than ever, with most devices running the latest feature update within 6 months of the release.

Semi-Annual Channel released

For our commercial customers, the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709) on October 17th marks the start of the Semi-Annual Channel and starts the 18-month servicing timeline. As a reminder, the Semi-Annual Channel is our newly aligned terminology with Office 365 ProPlus for the twice-yearly feature update releases that replaces Windows Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB) concepts.

Just as we’re rolling out the Fall Creators Update in phases, we recommend IT administrators do the same. Start with targeted deployments to validate that apps, devices and infrastructure used by your organization work well with the new release. Then continue your deployment to more and more devices based on the results from your initial targeted deployments. Devices configured to take advantage of Windows Update for Business (WUfB) will be automatically migrated to this Semi-Annual Channel feature update based on your WUfB configurations. For more details on Semi-Annual Channel servicing, see our TechNet blog.

Empowering our enterprise customers to stay up-to-date

We continue to see great momentum as enterprise customers move to Windows 10. Our operating system (OS) is designed with compatibility in mind and with services like Windows Analytics that enable enterprise administrators to reduce IT costs and keep devices up-to-date with confidence.

Windows Analytics provides a suite of free services that analyze the applications and devices in your environment to assess upgrade readiness, identify potential disruptions and provide actionable insights to proactively address them. These services allow IT professionals to build confidence in their upgrade readiness, drastically simplify their validation processes and reduce the effort required to deploy, service and support Windows 10. You can read more about the new security and management enhancements on the Windows for Business blog.

Additionally, I’m happy to announce that we’ve reduced the download size for feature updates. For customers updating from the Windows 10 Creators Update via Windows Update or Windows Update for Business to the Fall Creators Update, it will be approximately 25% smaller thanks to differential downloads!

We hope you enjoy the Fall Creators Update. As always you can tell us about your experience by providing comments or suggestions via the Feedback Hub app.

Microsoft Office 2010
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Apple Pay now in 20 markets, nabs 90% of all mobile contactless transactions where active

 While we are going to have to wait a little longer for Apple to launch payments in iMessage, this weekend, Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s VP of Apple Pay, announced a series of other milestones for the digital wallet and payments service that competes against the likes of Android Pay from Google, Samsung’s wallet and others efforts from retailers and banks. The advances point to how… Read More
Microsoft Office 2010
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‘Pay with Google’ goes live, allowing mobile users to pay with any card on file, not just those in Android Pay

 Google announced today it’s launching a new way to pay on mobile devices, using any card you have on file – including those saved to your Google Account via products like Google Play, YouTube, Chrome, or Android Pay. This “pay with Google” option ties all these saved payment options together in a single interface, which app makers and retailers can then implement using… Read More

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App-only bank Monzo is down for some users

Ozone Monzo

LONDON — App-only bank Monzo has run into technical difficulties, with some users reporting payments are being declined on Monday.

Multiple accounts on social media said that its distinctive orange cards are being rejected in stores, and some online payments are also affected — mine was just rejected for an Amazon payment, for example.

Not all Monzo customers are affected, however: Two Business Insider employees say they were able to buy their lunches with no issues.

It’s not immediately clear whether the technical issues are limited to the pre-paid cards (as mine is), or if current accounts are also affected.

The London firm confirmed the outage on its Status page, writing: “We’re investigating some issues at the moment and your card payments may fail. Topping up your card and sending money may also fail. We’re working hard to investigate this further and will update you as soon as we can. Thanks for your continued patience.”

Monzo has had problems before caused by its technical suppliers — as have a number of other fintech startups. When these suppliers encounter issues, it can leave Monzo unable to process payments.

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An $18 billion fund manager started by Al Gore and a Goldman Sachs exec is setting its sights on Silicon Valley

Al Gore

  • Former vice president Al Gore teamed up with a former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management to create Generation Investment Management, which invests in sustainable companies in both public and private markets.
  • Generation’s ethos is rare on Wall Street. The founders say they can be long-term greedy – and make lots of money – while making the world a better place.
  • The London-based firm had an office in New York which is moving to San Francisco, as the firm focuses on deploying its money in Asia and in the tech industry.
  • Since launching in 2004, Generation’s performance numbers have been strong, beating the competition.

NEW YORK – Generation Investment Management, the sustainably focused boutique co-founded by former US vice president Al Gore and Goldman Sachs Asset Management head David Blood, has launched a new office in San Francisco.

The $18 billion firm, which will keep its London headquarters but shutter its New York unit, expanded to the west coast to better access companies and entrepreneurs that fit Generation’s purview, particularly in Asia, said Colin le Duc, cofounder and partner at Generation.

Generation invests the bulk of its assets in the stocks of sustainable companies, but also plows money – $30 to $50 million at a time – via its two private equity funds, which manage about $1.2 billion and are overseen by le Duc.

While Generation is a relatively small player in asset management – the firm employs only about 100 people, and its competitors manage well into the trillions – its investment picks have performed well. The company’s public equity vehicle returned about 17.5% after fees since September 2014, according to the McKnight Foundation. That’s a hefty gain compared to the MSCI World index, which returned 6.6% over the same period.

Le Duc declined to specify how the private equity funds have performed, but hinted at strong performance: “We wouldn’t be managing $18 billion [firmwide] today if our clients didn’t trust us.”

Generation invests in companies it thinks will be successful in the long-term; the companies must provide products or services that have a low-carbon footprint and, in Generation’s words, lead to a “prosperous, equitable, healthy and safe society.” 

We believe that you can have your cake and eat it, in terms of doing great things for society in how you invest as well as making a lot of money.  

Generation’s investments include bike share operator Motivate, which is behind New York’s Citi Bike, electric bus start up Proterra, and Taiwanese electric scooter maker Gogoro. The firm also backed Toast, a digital platform for restaurants that Generation said would help reduce food waste and digitize paper processes.

The company has also invested in mainstream companies like Microsoft and Qualcomm, the leading chipmaker for mobile phones.

It’s a different approach from most investors, particularly hedge funds, which are known for an obsession with earnings calls and short-term plays.

“It’s the difference between big game hunting and farming,” le Duc said. “Do you spend your time just trying to find that one big win, knock out blow, where you hit the big game, or is it better to have much longer term returns and yield that brings that level of financial reward over a longer period of time?”

“We believe that you can have your cake and eat it, in terms of doing great things for society in how you invest as well as making a lot of money.  We see those things actually are a virtuous circle rather than in competition with each other.”

SEE ALSO: HEDGE FUND PITCH: The company that owns the Knicks, Rangers and Rockettes could pop 40%

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Chinese tech giant Tencent has a two-word pitch to bring Western brands to its platform

This is a portion of an article based on an interview with Tencent’s Steven Chang. To read the full article, sign up for access to BI Intelligence.

bii tencent revenue segments q2 2017

Tencent is staking its claim as the main gateway into China for Western brands. The tech giant recently opened up its advertising tools to marketers in the US — building a bridge between the world’s largest and second-largest advertising markets, and giving brands new abilities to reach Chinese audiences across its marquee messaging apps, WeChat and QQ.

To make its case to global brands and marketers, Tencent attended Advertising Week New York, the ad-industry summit held every fall, for the first time this year. BI Intelligence sat down with Steven Chang, Corporate Vice President at Tencent Online Media Group (OMG), to discuss his company’s strategy for attracting brands to its platforms. 

According to Steven, Tencent’s strategy can be summarized in two words:

1. “Connector” — of people and businesses in China

A self-described platform with “social as its DNA,” Tencent owns China’s top instant messaging and social networks — WeChat (or Weixin, as it’s known locally) and QQ, which have 968 million and 850 million monthly users, respectively. WeChat alone had 877 million daily users in June 2017, and 10 million Official Accounts, which are akin to Facebook business Pages, at the end of 2016.

Each of these apps, but especially WeChat, functions as a nexus of internet activity in China, connecting people with one another, as well as with online and offline services. These apps’ user numbers dwarf the next biggest social platform in the country, Sina Weibo, which counted 367 million monthly users at the end of Q2 2017.

Tencent is also behind China’s second-biggest online payments platform, Tenpay, and is the biggest shareholder in the country’s second-largest online retailer, 

bii user growth on tencent social networks wechat qq qzone

2. “Content” — an ecosystem to draw and retain users

Tencent’s other competitive advantage is the breadth of content and intellectual property (IP) featured across its apps. It’s the largest online gaming company in the world by revenue. Tencent News leads the industry in China in terms of daily users. Tencent Video ranks first in China in terms of mobile video views. And Tencent Literature, its platform for online reading, counted roughly 2.5 million daily paying readers at the end of 2016. 

The company also held 77% of the Chinese music streaming market at the start of 2017 through its three streaming services QQ Music, Kuwo, and Kugou. In the broadcasting space, Tencent NBA reached 370 million unique users in the 2016-2017 season, with over 100 million tuning in for live games. At the end of the season, Tencent’s NBA Finals broadcast attracted more than 175 million people — a world record for live streaming viewership online.

Tencent’s portfolio of content allows it to experiment with IP and create custom and bespoke brand campaigns. The company can take a successful piece of content from any of its categories and spin it off, like taking a popular game and translating into a movie or TV show, for instance. This opens the door for brand integrations, product placements, and other forms of native advertising within Tencent’s content ecosystem.

Reach in China and Beyond

Altogether, Tencent apps reach 98% of Chinese netizens and account for 55% of mobile time spent online. WeChat accounts for 30% of total mobile time spent online in China — the most of any single Chinese tech platform by a long shot — but it would be remiss to not mention the popularity of other Tencent-owned apps. The karaoke app WeSing (Quanmin K Ge) had 460 million registered users in August 2017, 76% of which were monthly users, and the mobile gaming sensation Honor of Kings boasted 200 million players — 55 million played the game daily, and 45% of all players were female.

Tencent can also lead brands toward some 135 million Chinese users outside of China. The company recently began the first phase of its international rollout of Moments ads, which are similar to Facebook News Feed ads, giving global brands the power to target outbound Chinese tourists and expatriates. China has been the world’s largest outbound tourism market since 2012: Last year, its international tourism expenditure increased by $11 billion to reach $261 billion, and the number of outbound travelers increased by 6% to 135 million, per the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

bii digital advertising revenue of tech giants

Because its nucleus is in social networking, Tencent arguably offers the strongest combination of “connection” and “content” among any of the big Chinese tech companies. This is unlike Baidu, whose core product is a search engine, or Alibaba, whose specialty is online retail. Yet, when it comes to advertising revenue, Tencent still trails its local rivals and, further in the distance, global advertising juggernauts Facebook and Google. However, with approximately $188 billion expected to pour into digital advertising globally this year, focusing on attracting international brand spending can help Tencent make up the gap. 

This is a portion of an article based on an interview with Tencent’s Steven Chang. To read the full article, sign up for access to BI Intelligence.

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Google is investigating an issue with the Pixel 2 XL display (GOOG)

Pixel 2 XL

  • Numerous reports over the weekend mentioned issues with the Pixel 2 XL’s display.
  • The issue is seemingly affecting the LG-made POLED display of the larger Pixel 2 XL only, not the smaller, HTC-made Pixel 2’s.
  • Google is “actively investigating” the issue.

Google is “actively investigating” the reports that, over the weekend, mentioned a number of issues with the display of its flagship Pixel 2 XL smartphone, namely screen burn-in, The Verge reports.

Screen burn-in is an issue that organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays encounter, where an image resting for too long on the screen causes it to leave a somewhat permanent “ghost image” underneath.

The Pixel 2 XL, which runs Google’s version of Android, uses software navigation buttons, which stay at the bottom of the screen unless content that requires a full-screen view (such as games, or a video) comes in.

Over the weekend, Pixel 2 XL owners (mostly tech reviewers) started noticing that, by displaying something with a white background, the phone would display a faint — but still visible — outline of the navigation bar.

The burn-in problem is actually fairly typical of all displays (and display types), but it still becomes visible only after months or even years of use; certainly not days or weeks.

When reached out for comment (by The Verge), Google had this to say:

“The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.”

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The Wolf of Wall Street says ICOs will 'blow up in people's faces'

Jordan Belfort, the financier convicted of fraud and the author of the book

  • Jordan Belfort inspired the film ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ after running stock selling boiler room.
  • Belfort says initial coin offerings (ICOs) are ‘far worse than anything I was ever doing.’
  • Over $2 billion raised through the controversial fundraising method so far this year.

LONDON – The former banker who inspired the film the “Wolf of Wall Street” claims that the current craze for selling digital coins online is the “biggest scam ever.”

Jordan Belfort told the Financial Times in an interview that “initial coin offerings” are “such a huge gigantic scam that’s going to blow up in so many people’s faces. It’s far worse than anything I was ever doing.”

Belfort served 22 months in prison for securities fraud and money laundering after running a “pump and dump” stock selling boiler room that illegally sold penny stocks to investors. He turned his story into a book while in jail that was developed into the “Wolf of Wall Street” film, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort.

“Initial coin offerings”, or ICOs, are a new form of online fundraising, where startups issue digital coins or tokens in exchange for real money that can be used to fund their project. These tokens can then be used in some way within the startup’s finished product. The hope is that the startup’s become a success and the tokens increase in value as people use the service.

ICOs have become hugely popular this year, with over $2 billion raised using the method in 2017 so far. However, regulators in China and South Korea have banned them and the UK regulator has warned investors that ICOs are “very high risk.”

Belfort told the Financial Times: “Probably 85% of people out there don’t have bad intentions, but the problem is, if 5 or 10% are trying to scam you, it’s a f**king disaster.”

You can read the full FT piece here.

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Essential Phone gets a $200 price drop, existing customers get credit

 Essential has an offer that’s honestly very hard to refuse: The price of the Essential Phone (PH-1, going by technical model number), is now $200 cheaper, so $499 off-contract and unlocked. That’s an amazing price for their debut smartphone, which remains my favorite in terms of straight up industrial design (and it has one of the best color-tuned displays in devices right now in… Read More

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There is a secret US government airline that flies out of commercial airports

Turns out the US government has a secret passenger airline. Area 51 workers are shuttled in from the Las Vegas airport every day on the passenger jets, which are owned by the US Air Force. The fleet is made up of 11 planes, and is commonly referred to as JANET airlines. While some joke JANET stands for “Just Another Non-Existent-Terminal,” it may actually mean “Joint Air Network for Employee Transportation.”

Don’t expect to be flying JANET anytime soon — even the flight attendants are required to have top-secret clearance.

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