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The content you care about, simplified and reinvented. Introducing Microsoft Start

It should be simple to catch up on the things we care about. Yet, I find it can be overwhelming. ​I’m inundated by news, information and on-going alerts across online sources, media channels and devices. It turns out, I’m not alone. In a recent Forrester survey[1] commissioned by Microsoft, we found that on average, people spend…

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It should be simple to catch up on the things we care about. Yet, I find it can be overwhelming. ​I’m inundated by news, information and on-going alerts across online sources, media channels and devices. It turns out, I’m not alone. In a recent Forrester survey[1] commissioned by Microsoft, we found that on average, people spend seven hours a day online, use six different feeds on a regular basis and check their feeds five times a day.

There’s so much to catch up on, but there are only so many hours in a day. I don’t want to lose time navigating notifications, validating sources and switching devices. Instead, I want to start with what matters. I want to start with articles I’m interested in from publishers I trust. I want both breaking headlines and content pertaining to my interests. I want content on a range of topics all in a single destination. I want access to this on my PC and my phone.

To address this need, we’re introducing Microsoft Start. This personalized news feed and collection of informational content provides news from premium publishers, timely updates tailored to your interests, and is available when and where you want it. Microsoft Start will begin rolling out today and is conveniently available:

  • As a standalone website (available on Microsoft Edge and Chrome) – MicrosoftStart.com
  • As a mobile app on both Android and iOS
  • From the News and Interests experience on the Windows 10 taskbar
  • From the Widgets experience in Windows 11
  • From the Microsoft Edge new tab page

Start with personalized news and premium content from your preferred publishers

Microsoft Start builds on Microsoft’s legacy with online and mobile consumer services like MSN and Microsoft News. MSN has been bringing customers news and online content for over 25 years and will remain available. We will continue to build on our commitment to news and our publisher ecosystem, adding value for both partners and customers alike. Microsoft Start brings new technology to content experiences, including Microsoft’s latest advancements in AI and machine learning, coupled with human moderation, to help people stay up to date with information that is personalized for their interests.

I’m tired of sifting through a bunch of articles I’m not interested in. I often find that tracking down quality content requires some effort; regardless of if I’m looking for a specific headline or simply exploring different topics. The feed from Microsoft Start streamlines this process.

I can now start with articles I want to read. The feed curates content – based on my interests – from over a thousand global premium publishing brands. The more I engage with the content, the more refined my feed becomes. When I see an article or publisher I like (or don’t like) I can immediately indicate this to further tailor my experience. I can even jumpstart the personalization process by directly managing my interests. I simply need to click the ‘Personalize’ button to get started.

Start with the information you need. Stay for the content you love.

I no longer need to check 5+ feeds to stay up to date. Instead, I’ve started getting updates on the news and so much more in a single engaging and informative place. Looking for the latest scores? Searching for my next stock pick? Making sure the weather won’t impact my plans? Microsoft Start has me covered.

Sometimes, I just need a quick update. For this, my feed includes information cards on topics like weather, finance, sports and traffic. I can adjust which information cards are included in my experience and solely focus on the information I desire. Unlike in other feeds, a single glance can keep me updated across a range of my interests.

When I want more information on any of these topics, I can dive into an immersive experience for additional details.

  • Now I can start finding hyper-local and up-to-the-minute forecasts that let me know exactly where and when it’s going to rain. Interactive maps on air quality, severe weather and more leave me prepared all year long.
  • Now I can start getting a pulse on the stock market in minutes with up-to-date data and breaking financial news. Having setup my watchlist, I can start my day with information tailored to the companies and currencies I’m interested in.
  • Now I can start to understand local congestion before I leave for a quick errand.
  • Now I can start getting all the latest scores, upcoming schedules, detailed stats and news for my favorite sports teams in one place.

Start with personalized and timely information, when and where you want it

I often jump between my laptop and my phone to stay informed. Yet, each time I switch devices it feels like I’m starting from scratch. Now, I can get started where I left off. When I’m logged in using my Microsoft account, Microsoft Start showcases consistent content regardless of how I access it.

Microsoft Start on the PC – I can now start my day on the PC with information on my news and interests only a click away. I can go directly to the Microsoft Start website from Microsoft Edge or Chrome. Moreover, there are even more convenient ways for me to access the experience from Windows and Edge:

  • News and interests on the Windows 10 taskbar is the fastest way for me to stay up to date on my Windows 10 PC. I can open my feed by clicking the weather icon in my taskbar. Then when I click on any content, I land in Microsoft Start.
  • Windows 11 brings me closer to the news and information I care about faster with Widgets – a new personalized feed powered by AI and best-in-class browser performance from Microsoft Edge.
  • The Microsoft Edge New Tab page helps me stay informed when I’m browsing, by providing personalized news and articles from Microsoft Start.

Regardless of how I like to stay informed, Microsoft Start makes it simple.

Microsoft Start is available as a mobile app on both iOS and Android

Even though I spend quite some time on my PC, I am often on the go. The great news is that I can carry this experience over to mobile with the Microsoft Start app.

  • The mobile app makes it easy for me to stay informed on the go as my personalized experience travels across devices. All my interests and preferences set in the PC are synced to my mobile, just by logging in with my Microsoft account.
  • The mobile app further connects me to the world around me, with location-based services and advanced search that inspires me to be closer to my community. Whether I’m looking for a new business in town or searching through voice or image, it has never been easier to get the information that I need.
  • The mobile app helps improve my productivity and helps save me time. I have one-click access to daily activities like search, weather, finance, news and shopping, allowing me to get things done in a fast and smooth way without leaving the app.

Get started today

Microsoft Start provides personalized news from premium publishers, is tailored to your interests and is available when and where you want it. The rollout starts today.

PC users: Visit MicrosoftStart.com

Mobile users (Android, iOS): Download the Microsoft Start mobile app

It starts today!

[1] Microsoft Digital Distraction Study, a commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, 2021

(Disclaimer): Pre-release software shown. Subject to change.

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Microsoft

Minions DLC update lands on Minecraft

Illumination’s Minions mashup just got an update that Minecraft players can access now. “Playing as Gru, your quest is to become the biggest, baddest super-villain, and to do that you’ll need to gather gadgets, Minions and your courage to take on the Vicious 6: a team of supervillains who aren’t thrilled about your attempts to…

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Illumination’s Minions mashup just got an update that Minecraft players can access now.

“Playing as Gru, your quest is to become the biggest, baddest super-villain, and to do that you’ll need to gather gadgets, Minions and your courage to take on the Vicious 6: a team of supervillains who aren’t thrilled about your attempts to steal their thunder,” writes Sophie Austin on Minecraft.net. “As your devious plans take shape, you’ll need to fill up your villain-o-meter by sneaking, racing and directing your Minions in increasingly crafty ways before facing your foes in a fiery final showdown.”

Also, to celebrate the launch of this update and the new Minions movie, you can get a free in-game Minion hoodie in the Dressing Room.

If you’ve already bought the Minions x Minecraft mash-up, the new update will be available free of charge. If you haven’t, head on over to Minecraft Marketplace, where you can buy the downloadable content.

Visit Minecraft.net to find out more.

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Play Sea of Thieves’ fifth free adventure, ‘The Forsaken Hunter,’ until July 14

Hey Sea of Thieves players: Swap your pirate hat for a detective’s cap as you uncover clues and find out the fate of the missing Merrick in “The Forsaken Hunter,” the game’s latest narrative-driven adventure, from June 30 to July 14. This update is available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have…

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Hey Sea of Thieves players: Swap your pirate hat for a detective’s cap as you uncover clues and find out the fate of the missing Merrick in “The Forsaken Hunter,” the game’s latest narrative-driven adventure, from June 30 to July 14.

This update is available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have bought the game on Windows 10/11 PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One or via Steam, or players who have access to it with Xbox Game Pass. Simply download and install the latest Sea of Thieves update to get access.

Head over to Xbox Wire to watch the trailer and find out more.

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Customers share their stories on migrating to Dynamics 365

At some point, we’ve all experienced regret over not doing something. Opportunity passes us due to our over analysis, indecision, and uncertainty. Even though we’ve all done this, we rarely seek the advice of others, thinking our situation is somehow unique or different. This rationale is common among the on-premises organizations we speak to. They…

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At some point, we’ve all experienced regret over not doing something.

Opportunity passes us due to our over analysis, indecision, and uncertainty. Even though we’ve all done this, we rarely seek the advice of others, thinking our situation is somehow unique or different.

This rationale is common among the on-premises organizations we speak to. They understand the benefits for moving to the cloud but chose to focus on all the reasons not to—aging infrastructure, manual processes, and siloed data notwithstanding.

Hearing how others are approaching this critical technological evolution can be invaluable. Not to mention relatable. Here are a few customer stories we’ve collected; perhaps you might recognize yourself or the circumstances?

Discover other Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM customer stories to learn about migration best practices and the benefits others are seeing in the cloud.

A small company with sizeable goals

Sonee Sports, is a small 28-year-old, family-run retail chain in the Maldives. The company moved its Microsoft Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 in the cloud to streamline its resource planning, point of sale, and relationship management activities. Sonee Sports has grown from a single desk in a hardware store to 10 stores across the Maldives however, this growth didn’t come without challenges, particularly when it came to technology.

Maumoon Abdullah, Sonee Sports’s co-founder, has long advocated for using technology to understand, retain, and engage new customers. “In 2016, we had a customer churn rate of 10 percent—not good. We knew that technology was key to keeping our business afloat,” Abdullah said. However, their previous enterprise resource planning (ERP) took hours to generate reports, the data was inaccurate, so decision makers stopped using it. In time, Sonee Sports realized it had to move its entire business to the cloud.

With help from Mumbai-based CloudFronts, a Microsoft Partner Network partner, Sonee Sports upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics 365, deployed Microsoft Power BI for analytics, and rolled out a cloud-based e-commerce system. “We needed an all-around ERP system that was reliable, easy to use, and mobile-friendly and that offered a host of options for accessing information. Dynamics 365 Retail fits these criteria very well.” Abdullah says. 

With this setup, Sonee Sports has cut its IT maintenance costs by 38 percent and improved customer retention by over 8 percent.

“With Dynamics 365, we finally have the data we need to understand our customers.” Abdullah says. “The value of this is priceless.”

Read more about Sonee Sport’s migration to Dynamics 365.

A growing city with changing needs

It can be easy to forget that cities are a lot like corporations—they provide services to their “customers,” often relying on technology to deliver the goods.

Bristol is a diverse city in southwest England, with more than 90 languages spoken and a population of just over 463,000. Bristol City Council is the unitary authority and is responsible for a wide range of services including taxation, waste management, education, etc. Like many struggling municipalities, Bristol City Council felt it could no longer rely on its IT system to meet day-to-day demands of the city. Its systems weren’t agile or mobile-friendly and lacked a unified platform to support collaboration or leverage data insights.

“The council was historically, deeply dissatisfied with its IT systems and processes.” says Simon Oliver, Director of Digital Transformation at Bristol City Council. 

Bristol City Council realized the only way forward was to modernize its Dynamics CRM 2016 instance to Dynamics 365, which would improve efficiency and collaboration. Moving, however, was a significant undertaking, involving migrating 54 workloads and orchestrating nearly 500 ecosystem partners, and staff.

Built on Microsoft Azure, with Microsoft Power Platform and Office 365, Bristol City Council deployed Dynamics 365 alongside toolsets to increase productivity. “Working with Microsoft has given us an opportunity to look at our entire approach to delivering IT services, to reshape our way of thinking and the culture of the IT department,” explains Oliver. 

Read more about the Bristol City Council transformation.

An industry leader looking to drive purpose

Peet Limited, a leader in Australia’s property industry, believes in helping people gain peace of mind through property ownership. And their commitment to IT innovation has enabled them to remain competitive through market disruptions.

As part of its ongoing mission to offer quality service, the company partnered with Microsoft to upgrade its IT systems and move critical line-of-business applications to the cloud. Justyn Bridge, IT Manager at Peet Limited, explained, “Microsoft 365 is a complete, intelligent solution…it empowers Peet employees to be creative and work together.” Peet Limited had confidence in Microsoft because the organization was already using both Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX, for its customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP, respectively.

Peet Limited designed its cloud strategy around security with the goal of end-to-end protection in mind; for them, security promoted value. Bridge explains that one of the best benefits of using Microsoft 365 is having a “single pane of glass” to view Peet Limited’s security landscape. Using Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Analytics, Peet Limited had a succinct, real-time view of an attack timeline with the ability to analyze and identify normal versus suspicious user or device behavior.

Considering the project, Bridge notes, “We sought better end-to-end protection, and Microsoft 365 gave us that. Our business has gained security in both protection and mindset.”

Read more about Peet Limited’s story.

When you’re ready to migrate, Microsoft is here to help

We all have stories that define us. Organizations are no different. Whether you’re looking to grow your footprint, improve services, or modernize your underlying technology, the Microsoft Cloud can meet your changing needs. While migrating to the cloud should be a business priority, the experiences above illustrate the importance of planning. When you’re ready to migrate your on-premises solution to the cloud, Microsoft is here to support your journey.

Learn from the other Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM migration stories in our library. Visit the Dynamics 365 Migration Community to access partner discovery resources and other assets to help you migrate with confidence.

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