Microsoft Releases 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

By Susan Hauser as written on
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
We care deeply about how we achieve that mission and our lasting impact on the world. Across the company, we are working to apply the power of technology to ensure corporate responsibility, safeguard human rights and protect our planet. This commitment is central to why many of our employees come to work every day, and it impacts the type of products and services we develop.
In our 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, which we published today, you will find information about our policies and business practices which reflect our commitment to making the planet a better place.
During fiscal year 2016, Microsoft made progress on a number of fronts:
·       Expanding our commitment to sustainability by establishing new energy goals, including having our data centers rely on a larger percentage of wind, solar and hydro power electricity over time.
·       Prioritizing inclusive design and accessibility in the development of our products and services to empower everyone, while deepening our inclusive culture at Microsoft.
·       Enhancing our companywide privacy principles and the Microsoft Privacy Statement to protect our customers’ personal data and their right to privacy.
·       Holding our suppliers accountable to human rights, labor, health and safety, environmental, and business ethics practices prescribed in our Supplier Code of Conduct.
·       Expanding economic opportunity to every corner of the planet through Microsoft Philanthropies’ three-year commitment to donate $1 billion in public cloud computing for nonprofits around the world.
·       Contributing to public policy discussions with a new book, “A Cloud for Global Good,” which lays out a roadmap of 78 specific policy recommendations to help ensure cloud computing is trusted, responsible and inclusive.
 As part of our commitment to transparency, this report builds on Microsoft’s prior annual citizenship reporting, but is now designed to be a living reporting website where we can offer both the year-over-year data we traditionally provide as well as ongoing updates throughout the year on important developments on our efforts.
We take seriously our responsibilities to help the world achieve more and are committed to meeting our responsibility to address economic, social and environmental issues. We also recognize the importance of partnerships and value the opportunity to work with nonprofits, advocates, governments, academics, customers and employees to advance progress. Together, we can strengthen communities and ensure greater outcomes for all.
We will continue to dedicate ourselves to the challenges humankind faces, the role technology can play and the unique contributions Microsoft can make in cooperation with others around the world.

Configuration Manager: a progress update on the current branch and a new servicing branch

As written on
Today, 101 years ago, the Ford Motor Company manufactured its 1 millionth Model T automobile. Thanks to our customers, we also have a reason to celebrate today as we are continuing to see an incredible adoption of our own model, the current branch of Configuration Manager. Our current branch model was designed to provide our customers with ongoing product improvements, faster updates, and timely support for new Windows releases.
Since the release of the current branch in December of 2015, over 21,000 organizations managing more than 43 million devices have transformed client management for their organizations by upgrading to Configuration Manager 1511 or later, allowing them to  keep their management tools up to date at an unprecedented rate and scale. With three current branch releases to date, the move to later versions is accelerating: more than half of these organizations have already updated to the latest version 1606. In the wake of this strong customer adoption, we are including the latest version of Configuration Manager in newly released System Center 2016 for server management, and at the same time we are introducing a new branch type.
In short, System Center Configuration Manager (version 1606) is now included with System Center 2016. Our customers can now upgrade Configuration Manager 2012/R2 directly to version 1606 of the current branch and start taking advantage of new management features, faster and easier updates, support for new Windows releases, and more. For the overwhelming majority of our customers, the current branch of Configuration Manager will be their preferred installation option, and we have seen this further validated by the upgrade momentum we noted above.
Today, we are also making available the Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) of Configuration Manager. Up until this point, if Software Assurance or equivalent subscription rights (most normally from Intune or EMS) became expired, customers, per product terms, would have to move back to the most recent release they owned perpetual rights to, e.g., System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. The LTSB of Configuration Manager now delivers an alternative option that will be supported on a fixed 10-year lifecycle, although it is important to understand the limitations inherent in a long-term serviced management product vs. the easily updatable current branch model our customers have been rapidly moving to.
While the LTSB is derived from the current branch of Configuration Manager (version 1606), it is scaled back and reduced in functionality to permit the extended support model. LTSB of Configuration Manager will not receive new functionality or support for new Windows 10 and Windows Server releases. It will continue to receive security updates only. By design, LTSB of Configuration Manager is intended to be fixed in functionality and very infrequently updated, so any features or components that require continuous updating or are tied to a cloud service have been removed. These removed features include:
  • Support for Windows 10 Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB)
  • Support for the future releases of Windows 10 LTSB and Windows Server
  • Windows 10 Servicing Dashboard and Servicing Plans
  • The ability to add a Microsoft Intune Subscription, which prevents the use of Hybrid MDM and on-premises MDM
  • Asset Intelligence
  • Cloud-based Distribution Point
  • Support for Exchange Online as an Exchange Connector
  • Any pre-release features available in the current branch of Configuration Manager
Based on the strong adoption of the current branch of Configuration Manager, positive feedback from our customers, and the future of Windows and the industry in general shifting to more frequent and smaller updates, we highly recommend our customers continue upgrading to the current branch of Configuration Manager. We expect that for the overwhelming majority of you this is the best model and approach of delivering an up to date management offering.
Configuration Manager (version 1606) can be downloaded from Volume Licensing Service Center (search for “System Center Config”). It can also be downloaded from Microsoft Evaluation Center and MSDN. The setup process of Configuration Manager (version 1606) allows you to choose to install either the current branch or LTSB.

kroton-managed-solutionKroton does its homework and chooses Office 365 over Google Apps for Work

As written on
When Kroton merged with another company to become the largest private educator in Brazil, it embraced the enormous responsibility of providing the best possible education to more than a million students across a large and vastly diverse country.
With the merger, Kroton found itself divided between two cloud environments, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work. It had to choose just one, to help unify the company, reduce costs, and provide students with the very best experience.
So, Kroton did its homework. Its IT team spent three months evaluating the Microsoft and Google cloud offerings, resulting in a 50-page report of findings. In the end, Office 365 made the grade. “We performed a very deep analysis,” says Mauricio Oliveira, the IT Infrastructure and Technology Manager at Kroton. “It was clear that Office 365 met all our requirements and in many cases delivered far beyond them.”
With the start of the 2015–2016 school year, 1.4 million Kroton students, teachers, and staff throughout Brazil are using Office 365, and the company has ambitious plans for things like an innovative job placement service, virtual team assignments and projects, and new operational efficiencies—all to make Kroton the best it can be for its students.

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