Free Windows 10 Upgrade Ends, Mobile Job Cuts: Microsoft Roundup

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Millennials know exactly what they want and expectations are high - very high. They are empowered

Microsoft this week announced new Office features as part of its July update, terminated its Windows 10 free upgrade offer, and cut more jobs in its mobile division.

If you didn't take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade before July 29, it's now too late to do so. Microsoft terminated its one-year offer on the same day it launched the OS one year prior.

On August 2, Microsoft will roll out the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to devices that have been upgraded to the newest system. The upgrade will deliver key features and fixes like the Windows Ink digital inking hub, improvements to Cortana, and Edge browser extensions.

Since Windows 10 launched last year, Microsoft has adopted an aggressive upgrade strategy to drive adoption -- and users are not happy. Redmond recently paid out $10,000 to a woman who filed a lawsuit following a forced upgrade, and more lawsuits have begun to follow, as reported by The Seattle Times.

Microsoft this week announced a series of updates that arrived on Office 365 in July. These improvements use machine learning and natural language processing to deliver smarter capabilities to core apps Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

One of these additions is Researcher for Word, which simplifies the process of researching content online and integrating material into Word documents with the proper citations. It's available to Office 365 subscribers using Word 2016 on Windows desktops.

Editor for Word, another feature coming this fall, uses machine learning to improve proofreading by suggesting alternative words and phrases. Users will notice changes to the color-coded grammar prompts that denote style errors and misspelled words.

PowerPoint 2016 has been upgraded with PowerPoint Zoom, which lets users zoom into different parts of a presentation and jump from one section to another without having to go in sequence.

Two updates to Outlook will roll out in July. One is the option to @mention people; this will identify emails that need immediate attention and flag actions for other users. Another feature, Focused Inbox, will automatically separate inbox emails into two sections: one labeled "Focused" for important messages and another labeled "Other" for less important emails.

Focused Inbox is available in Outlook on iOS and Android. It's coming to the desktop on Windows and Mac, as well as Outlook on the web.

Microsoft this week released an update to the alpha version of its Skype app for Linux client. The company initially rolled out Skype Alpha for Linux and Chrome on July 13 as a brand-new, webRTC version of the Skype for Linux app.

Users can now test the app in its early stages and submit feedback as Microsoft releases updates. The most recent batch of improvements addresses problems including menu logout, the Redo shortcut for Linux, and opening URL links.

As part of its efforts to streamline its dying phone business, Microsoft is planning to cut 2,850 jobs over the next 12 months. The news was originally released in Microsoft's annual report and later reported by Re/code.

Microsoft has been reorganizing its corporate structure and whittling down its mobile division since CEO Satya Nadella stepped into his role. Prior to this announcement, the company slashed 1,850 jobs in May 2016, most of which targeted Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland.

Despite the downsizing, experts don't believe Microsoft will entirely exit the mobile business. Rather, it's expected to target its enterprise audience by emphasizing the smartphone's role in the Windows 10 ecosystem.

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