Blair Hanley FrankU.S. Correspondent, IDG News Service

Blair Hanley Frank is primarily focused on the public cloud, productivity and operating systems businesses for the IDG News Service, and is based in San Francisco.

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Microsoft delays tools for third-party Cortana integrations

Microsoft has delayed the release of its tools for connecting other services to the Cortana virtual assistant, a decision that could cause it to lose ground in a crowded industry.

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Microsoft expands connected car push with patent licensing

Microsoft’s push into the connected car market continued Wednesday when it unveiled a new patent licensing program aimed at crafting deals for carmakers and other companies.

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LinkedIn's Trending Storylines aims to broaden users' news horizons

LinkedIn wants to be its users’ professional news feed, and the company just launched a new feature aimed at providing them with a broad set of perspectives on relevant business news.

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Google Home stops spouting Disney ads after user outcry

Google Home users got a surprise Thursday when their virtual assistants cheerily mentioned that the live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” is opening in theaters this weekend. The ad has since been pulled.

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Oracle promises IaaS growth as cloud business rises

Oracle’s third quarter financial results continue to show that the company’s future is in the cloud. On Wednesday, the company reported massive growth in its software- and platform-as-a-service businesses, promising further gains as its customers do away with their data centers.

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AWS offers Alexa developers free cloud credits

Developers interested in extending the capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant have some more free tools in their arsenal, thanks to a program the company announced Wednesday.

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Google Hangouts won't disappear for consumers despite enterprise focus

While Google Hangouts is making a shift to serve enterprise users, it won’t be vanishing for consumers.

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AWS follows Google with Reserved Instance flexibility changes

Customers who have Reserved Instance contracts with Amazon Web Services will be able to subdivide some of their Linux and Unix virtual machine instances while maintaining their capacity discounts, thanks to pricing changes announced Monday.

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Microsoft ratchets up group chat competition with Teams launch

Microsoft’s work chat app Teams hit general availability on Tuesday, as part of the company’s push to compete with Slack, HipChat, Google and other players in the group chat market.

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Here’s why Google Cloud support is now priced per person

One of the key messages out of Google Cloud Next last week: The company has gotten serious about serving enterprise customers in a way that meets their needs. A key component of that is a new set of support plans for customers of its cloud platform.

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Microsoft updates Cortana for iOS with a fresh look

Microsoft gave its Cortana app for iOS a facelift Friday, replacing its old black and blue aesthetic with a new look that puts the assistant’s key features at users’ fingertips.

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Google offers new 'Always Free' cloud tier to attract users

Google is letting its customers get a taste of its cloud for free, without a time limited trial. The company quietly launched a new “Always Free” tier on Thursday that lets people use small amounts of its public cloud services without charge, beyond the company’s limited-time trial.

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Google launches official Gmail Add-on program

Google is making it possible for developers to bring their services into Gmail using new integrations called Add-ons.

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Google goes after Slack with Hangouts overhaul

Google’s Hangouts work chat and videoconferencing service is undergoing some major changes to better serve businesses. The company announced Thursday that it’s going after the work group chat market as well as the group videoconferencing market even harder than before by splitting Hangouts’s functions in two.

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Google's Jamboard will cost $5,000 and ship to the US in May

Google is getting ready to put its smart whiteboard on sale. The company announced Thursday that the Jamboard, its big touchscreen that’s designed to serve as a digital collaboration space for business users, will be available in May.