CES 2021 - Microsoft announces the Surface Pro 7+ 2-in-1 PC and the deployment of its 85 ″ Surface Hub 2S

Microsoft is unveiling the Surface Pro 7+, a 2-in-1 laptop PC for business and education, which benefits from some improvements over version 7. The Surface Hub 2S digital board will ship in February. Rumors are rife that a Surface Pro 8 will be released soon. To be patient and to satisfy professionals, Microsoft unveils its Surface Pro 7+, a revised version of the Surface Pro 7 promised as more efficient.    Among the major evolutions of this new model, we note first of all the passage of the Intel Core processors from the 10th to the 11th generation. Storage will still be capped at 1TB, but a maximum of 32GB of RAM can now be installed, down from just 16GB previously. The SSD will also be removable and a Full HD webcam integrated into the Surface.  4G is now supported with a SIM card slot and eSIM support. Plus, battery life gets a big boost, from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm - on paper anyway - with a fast charge to 80% in an hour. The Surface 7 Pro +

Microsoft Teams enriched with a new Outlook integration

Microsoft has announced the launch of a series of new features to appeal to business customers of its Teams platform. Microsoft ends February with a new set of features for its Teams platform. The chat and collaboration module now includes more efficient and more integrated waypoints, designed to simplify group work for companies and encourage them to adopt the Microsoft platform, which aims to become the chat platform of company par excellence.

Microsoft Teams enriched with a new Outlook integration

Main new feature, the integration of Teams and Outlook, which means that users can now move an email conversation directly from Outlook to a Teams chat by clicking a button, but also also share a conversation from Teams to a email on Outlook. Microsoft has also added the ability to assign a tag to members of an organization, so that users can better target their messages.

Calls and meetings have also received an update in the form of live captioning, which can be activated during meetings on Teams to allow attendees to read what people are saying in real time. Marissa Salazar, Teams product manager, says this tool should improve meeting accessibility and efficiency, for example, if you are calling from a crowded airport terminal - but it should be noted that the company recommends talking clearly, slowly and avoid background noise, in order to get the most out of the service.

Note that this feature is currently only available in English, although other languages ​​should soon appear, without it being possible to know which ones. Additional security measures also allow administrators to more closely monitor content shared in Teams. Microsoft has activated the option of "legal suspension" of discussions on private channels, which are stored in users' mailboxes, in case it is necessary to preserve messages relating to a specific subject or individual. and which are relevant to a case.

Microsoft has also implemented new tools based on machine learning in its platform. These should help administrators to detect, capture and delete inappropriate messages on the Teams platform. Internal and external communications can now be scanned and reviewed by designated administrators to ensure that the content complies with company policy.

A number of other features have also been introduced to simplify navigation. For example, users can pin personal apps to the left bar of the Teams platform; and IT administrators can download, manage, block, or authorize new applications directly from the "Manage Applications" page in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

With the launch of this new set of features, Microsoft should further increase its user base, much to the chagrin of its elder Slack, founded three years before its birth in 2016. If the main difference between the two services previously lay in the presence of a free offer on Slack, Microsoft changed the game with the launch, in July 2018, of a free offer on Teams that does not require a professional version of Office 365 or a Microsoft account.

The free service is limited to 300 people, has 10 GB of file storage, and does not include Office 365 services like OneDrive or SharePoint. Still, that hasn't stopped companies from flocking to Microsoft's platform. Teams now claims more than 13 million users - three million more users than Slack. A survey has estimated that by the end of 2020, 41% of organizations will use Microsoft Teams and 18% Slack.

Some users have noted, however, that Teams is better suited for large companies; Slack, on the contrary, is easier to set up and administer, and can therefore meet different needs. Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, is not too worried about this, and recently spoke of Microsoft's growth, saying he did not "think it was really a threat."