Report: Sony employees caught off guard by Microsoft cloud partnership

Report: Sony employees caught off guard by Microsoft cloud partnership

Enlarge / The kinds of Azure server racks that could soon play host to Sony content, under a recent cooperation deal.

Following on Microsoft and Sony’s surprising announcement of a cloud gaming partnership last week, Bloomberg has a bit of behind-the-scenes analysis that uses unnamed insider sources to discuss how the deal came about.

Though Sony confirmed to Bloomberg that talks between the two console giants had been going on since last year, the announcement still caught rank-and-file employees at the company off guard, according to Bloomberg’s sources. “Managers had to calm workers and assure them that plans for the company’s next-generation console weren’t affected,” as Bloomberg summarizes the view from inside the company.

Sony has already spun its 2012 purchase of streaming gaming company Gaikai into over 700,000 subscribers for its cloud-based PlayStation Now service, which launched in 2015. But Sony’s server and network infrastructure has proven insufficient

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What Microsoft and Sony’s streaming partnership means for gaming’s future

What Microsoft and Sony’s streaming partnership means for gaming’s future

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty / Hanna-Barbera)

In a rare move, console rivals Microsoft and Sony announced a major collaboration on Thursday to join forces on a potentially huge new gaming sector: the cloud. The companies announced today that they have entered into a “memorandum of understanding” to “explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services.”

The surprise move is the closest sign of collaboration between two fierce competitors in the console-gaming space, but it is probably not a sign that they will stop being competitors any time soon.

As part of the agreement, Sony will still use Microsoft’s Azure servers and data centers for its own game and content-streaming services. That presumably includes PlayStation Now—the Sony game-streaming service launched in 2014 after Sony’s 2012 acquisition of streaming company Gaikai—and PlayStation Vue, the company’s Internet-based cable TV

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Blockchain, zero-code machine learning coming to Azure

Blockchain, zero-code machine learning coming to Azure

Enlarge (credit: Caetano Candal Sato / Flickr)

Microsoft’s annual developer conference kicks off on Monday, and the company will no doubt have all manner of things to announce for Azure and, if we’re lucky, Windows. To whet our appetites, the company has unveiled a crop of new Azure and Internet-of-Things services with, as we should no doubt expect these days, a focus on machine learning and blockchain.

First up are some new capabilities under the cognitive-services banner. These are the services that are most similar to human cognition: image recognition, speech-to-text, translation, and so on. Microsoft is adding a new category of service that it’s calling “Decision.” In this category are services that make recommendations to aid decision-making. Microsoft is putting some existing services into this category: Content Moderator (which tries to automatically detect offensive or undesirable text, images, and video) and Anomaly Detector (which examines time series data

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