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APPLE’S STOCK SOURS, MICROSOFT’S SOARS. SAY WHAT?!

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Wall Street investors are enamoured with a newly emergent tech company.

It has nothing to do with posting selfies or finding a soul mate. The company is instead making billions of dollars selling cloud-computing and other technical services to offices around the world.

Say hello to Microsoft, the 1990s home-computing powerhouse that is having a renaissance moment – eclipsing Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other tech darlings of the late decade.

And now it is close to surpassing Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

Yes, that Microsoft. As other tech giants stumble, its steady resilience is paying off.

That Microsoft is even close to eclipsing Apple – and did so briefly a few times this week – would have been unheard of just a few years ago.

But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by moving away from its flagship Windows operating system and focusing on cloud-computing services with long-term business contracts.

“They’ve finally turned the corner and have become a viable cloud player,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager for Synovus Trust. “They’ve made a very strong transition away from the desktop.”

A brief period of trading Nov 26 was the first time in more than eight years that Microsoft was worth more than Apple. Microsoft surpassed Apple again briefly Nov 27, before Apple closed on top with a market value of US$827bil (RM3.46tril), just 0.5% ahead of Microsoft’s US$822bil (RM3.44tril).

Apple has been the world’s most prosperous firm since claiming the top spot from Exxon Mobil earlier this decade. Microsoft hasn’t been at the top since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.

Microsoft became a contender again in large part because Apple’s stock has fallen 25% since early October, while Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market. But the fact that it hasn’t done poorly is a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years.

Just a few years ago, Microsoft’s prospects looked bleak. The company was dependent on licensing fees from the Windows operating system used in personal computers, but people were spending money instead on the latest smartphones. In 2013, PC sales plunged 10% to about 315 million, the worst year-to-year drop ever, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. It didn’t help that Microsoft’s effort to make PCs more like phones, Windows 8, was widely panned.

But a turnaround began when the Redmond, Washington, company promoted Nadella as CEO in 2014. He succeeded Microsoft’s longtime CEO, Steve Ballmer, who initially scoffed at the notion that people would be willing to pay US$500 (RM2,093) or more for Apple’s iPhones.

That bet paid off. Windows is now a dwindling fraction of Microsoft’s business. While the company still runs consumer-focused businesses such as Bing search and Xbox gaming, it has prioritised business-oriented services such as its Office line of email and other workplace software, as well as newer additions such as LinkedIn and Skype. But its biggest growth has happened in the cloud, particularly the cloud platform it calls Azure. Cloud computing now accounts for more than a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, and Microsoft rivals Amazon as a leading provider of such services.

Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and US-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies.

US President Donald Trump amplified those tariff concerns when he told The Wall Street Journal in a story published late Monday that new tariffs could affect iPhones and laptops imported from China.

The iPhone maker had already seen its stock fall after reporting a mixed bag of quarterly results earlier this month amid fears about how the technology industry will fare in the face of such threats as rising interest rates, increased government regulation and Trump’s escalating trade war with China.

Apple also spooked investors with an unexpected decision to stop disclosing how many iPhones it sells each quarter. That move has been widely interpreted as a sign that Apple foresees further declines in iPhone sales and is trying to mask that.

While smartphones caused the downturn in personal computers years ago, sales of smartphones themselves have now stalled. That’s partly because with fewer innovations from previous models, more people choose to hold on to the devices for longer periods before upgrading.

Morgan said Microsoft is outperforming its tech rivals in part because of what it’s not. It doesn’t face as much regulatory scrutiny as advertising-hungry Google and Facebook, which have attracted controversy over their data-harvesting practices. Unlike Netflix, it’s not on a hunt for a diminishing number of international subscribers. And while Amazon also has a strong cloud business, it’s still more dependent on online retail. – AP

 

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Samsung confirms the Galaxy S10 5G release date is April 5

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Samsung has confirmed the Galaxy S10 5G release date today. It was initially supposed to release the device by the end of this month. The release had to be delayed due to ongoing discussions between carrier partners and the South Korean government. The company today confirmed that it will release the first 5G-enabled device on April 5 in South Korea.

There will not be any pre-order program for the device, Yonhap News reports. The Galaxy S10 5G is also expected to release in the United States in April. It will initially be exclusive to Verizon in the country. The carrier has confirmed that its mobile 5G network will launch on April 11.

Samsung once again aims for the world’s first title

After launching the world’s first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, Samsung is now eyeing the title of putting the world’s first 5G smartphone on the market. Verizon is gearing up for the launch of its mobile 5G service on Motorola’s Moto Z3 in Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11. That device doesn’t have an integrated 5G modem like the Galaxy S10 5G. Customers will be required to purchase the 5G Moto Mod if they want to use the phone on a 5G network.

Samsung will comfortably beat it to market when its 5G flagship launches on April 5. The device has already passed the signal verification test from South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency. It was reported yesterday that the South Korean government was hastening the launch of 5G services in the country after Verizon announced the April 11 date. It really wants South Korea to be the first country in the world to have commercial mobile 5G.

Although Samsung hasn’t yet revealed the pricing of the Galaxy S10 5G, industry watchers expect it to cost around 1.5 million won ($1,332) in South Korea. Launch offers include free Galaxy Buds and a wireless charger for the customers who register the phone from April 5-16. Samsung is also offering a 50% discount on one-time screen replacement with the validity of 1 year.

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Mobile Platforms

Windows Virtual Desktop is now in public preview

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Last year, Microsoft  announced the launch of its Windows Virtual Desktop service. At the time, this was a private preview, but starting today, any enterprise user who wants to try out what using a virtual Windows 10 desktop that’s hosted in the Azure cloud looks like will be able to give it a try.

It’s worth noting that this is very much a product for businesses. You’re not going to use this to play Apex Legends on a virtual machine somewhere in the cloud. The idea here is that a service like this, which also includes access to Office 365 ProPlus, makes managing machines and the software that runs on them easier for enterprises. It also allows employers in regulated industries to provide their mobile workers with a virtual desktop that ensures that all of their precious data remains secure.

One stand-out feature here is that businesses can run multiple Windows 10 sessions on a single virtual machine.

It’s also worth noting that many of the features of this service are powered by technology from FSLogix, which Microsoft acquired last year. Specifically, these technologies allow Microsoft to give the non-persistent users relatively fast access to applications like their Outlook and OneDrive applications, for example.

For most Microsoft 365 enterprise customers, access to this service is simply part of the subscription cost they already pay — though they will need an Azure subscription and pay for the virtual machines that run in the cloud.

Right now, the service is only available in the US East 2 and US Central Azure regions. Over time, and once the preview is over, Microsoft will expand it to all of its cloud regions.

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How to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to a Mac or other Apple devices

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  • Hands down, AirDrop is the easiest way to send files like photos, documents, and even web pages from an iPhone to a Mac (or to another Apple device).
  • AirDrop is automatically available on your iPhone ‘s sharing option whenever there’s another AirDrop-compatible device in range.
  • You may need to set up AirDrop on your Mac before being able to AirDrop a file from an iPhone to that computer.

Compared to the ancient days of floppy disks, it’s like we’re living in a science fiction future today. After all, it’s easy to share large files via email or on cloud services like Dropbox.

But Apple offers an even easier option: AirDrop. Armed with AirDrop, you can send files even ones too big for email from your iPhone to a Mac with just a tap, as long as the Mac is in range to receive them.

What’s “in range”? AirDrop uses a combination of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to transmit files, so your Mac or other Apple device has to be within about 30 feet of the phone, according to Apple .

To successfully AirDrop, you’ll need to configure AirDrop on a Mac you only need to do that once and then you can send files from your iPhone quickly and easily.

Activate AirDrop on your Mac or another Apple device

1. Click “Go” in the Finder menu and then click “AirDrop.”

 

airdrop mac
airdrop mac

2. If your Mac’s Bluetooth or Wi-fi is turned off, you will be asked to turn them on.

3. In the AirDrop window, choose who can AirDrop you. Click “Allow me to be discovered by” and choose either “Contacts Only” or “Everyone.”

 

apple airdrop
apple airdrop

For Apple devices other than a Mac, including an iPhone, you can access the same permissions by going into your Settings, clicking General, and then selecting AirDrop to choose whether you can receive an AirDrop from “contacts only” or “everyone.”

Limiting AirDrop only to your contacts is more secure, but choosing “everyone” is more convenient if you frequently have to receive files from a lot of different people.

It’s generally easier to choose “Everyone.” But be aware that if you are working in a public place (like a coffee shop), anyone in your vicinity will be able to try to send you files, so be careful whom you accept AirDrop files from.

Send a file from your iPhone

1. On your iPhone, open the app that you want to AirDrop from. To send a photo, for example, open Photos.

2. Select the file or photo you want to send (you can select more than one at a time).

3. Click the Share button.

4. In the AirDrop section of the Share screen, you should see icons for all of the AirDrop-compatible devices in range (it might take a moment for them to appear). Tap the icon for the Mac you want to send the file to.

 

airdrop 3
airdrop 3

If you’re in range, you should see a button for your Mac (and other AirDrop-compatible devices).

That’s all you need to do on the iPhone; now the Mac or other device needs to accept the file.

Receive a file on your Mac or another Apple device

1. You should see a notification appear on your desktop or device’s screen. Choose “Accept.”

2. On a Mac, choose whether to open the file or save it to the Downloads folder.

 

airdrop 4
airdrop 4

3. Open Downloads in Finder on your Mac. The file should be the most recent.

If you run into trouble

Like any technology, sometimes it doesn’t work the way you expect. If you’re having trouble with AirDrop, there are a few common things to check:

  • Is your Mac AirDrop-compatible? It needs to be running Mac OS X Yosemite or later.
  • Make sure that Bluetooth and Wi-fi are enabled on both your Mac and your iPhone.
  • It’s possible the devices are too far apart, especially if you can’t see the Mac on the iPhone’s AirDrop list. Bring the two devices closer together.
  • Make sure that the iPhone isn’t connecting to the Internet via a personal hotspot. Open Settings and make sure Personal Hotspot is “Off.”

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