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's budget Windows VR headsets roll out to developers soon

A lucky few developers will be able to get their hands on the low-cost Acer Mixed Reality Developer Edition headset starting this month.

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Microsoft's Windows VR headset shows promise, but needs polish

Microsoft unveiled the first Windows Mixed Reality headset Wednesday, and an early look at a prototype version of the hardware shows promise, along with room for improvement.

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Azure Stack's third technical preview arrives

Azure Stack, Microsoft’s hybrid cloud system, is getting close to release. On Wednesday, the tech giant unveiled the third major public beta for customers that want to test it out.

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'Meet' Google's new videoconferencing service for the enterprise

Google appears to have accidentally revealed its new group videoconferencing service for businesses on Tuesday, a week before a big user conference.

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HTC Vive’s Netflix-esque VR subscription costs $6.99 per month

HTC is giving users of its Vive virtual reality headset access to a Netflix-like subscription service. Everyone who currently owns a Vive will get a free trial for a month, and the service will cost $6.99 a month thereafter.

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AI scheduling startup launches subscription for businesses

Setting up meetings can be a pain, since they often require folks to send emails back and forth figuring out a time before finally sending off a calendar invitation to block everyone’s schedule. A New York startup called x.ai wants to simplify that with a helpful bot, and they just launched a product aimed at serving businesses.

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Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'

Google and Jigsaw (an early stage incubator at Google parent company Alphabet) are working on a project called Perspective that aims to curb online abuse through Artificial Intelligence

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Microsoft seeks Indian customers with exclusive Skype Lite app

There’s a growing population of Skype users in India, and Microsoft wants to capitalize on that with the launch of Skype Lite, a new app that’s designed to be more useful in that market.

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Redfin CTO says machine learning needs human help

Machine learning can automate the handling of huge troves of data to help companies make and save money. However, they’re not without pitfalls, as the real estate tech company Redfin learned.

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Kubernetes is now generally available on Azure Container Service

Kubernetes is generally available for use with Azure Container Service, Microsoft’s managed cloud container hosting offering, as of Tuesday. ACS support for Kubernetes comes along with the service’s preexisting support for the Apache Mesos-based DC/OS and Docker Swarm.

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Microsoft expands developer features for its Teams chat app

Third-party developers have new tools to play with when it comes to building integrations with Microsoft’s Teams group chat app. The company announced a pair of new developer-oriented features on Thursday, aimed at giving greater utility to services that work with Teams.

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Amazon Echo gains support for Outlook calendars

Users of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant can now ask her questions about the contents of their Microsoft-hosted calendars. On Wednesday, the assistant gained the ability to interact with calendars from Outlook.com and Office 365, similar to how it works with Google Calendar.

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AWS Roundup: IoT buttons hit the enterprise, Directory launch and more

Amazon Web Services got off to a slow start in January, taking its time to sleep off the New Year’s festivities. But the cloud provider got up to speed by the end of the month, launching a handful of new products for its customers to work with.

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Google’s new cloud service is a unique take on a database

On Tuesday, Google launched Cloud Spanner, a new, fully managed database that’s supposed to provide the transactional consistency of a traditional database plus the scalability and performance of a NoSQL database.

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Microsoft's president wants a Geneva Convention for cyberwar

Microsoft is calling for a “Digital Geneva Convention,” as global tensions over digital attacks continue to rise.