Microsoft Releases PowerApps and Flow for General Availability

Today's topics include Microsoft's release of its PowerApps and Flow app building tools on Nov. 1, Microsoft's $650 in trade-in offer for eligible Macs models, CenturyLink's $34 billion offer to acquire Level 3 and Broadsoft's move to purchase VoIP Logic.

Continuing the company's mission to create a unified, cloud-enabled productivity and business application ecosystem, Microsoft announced on Oct. 31 that PowerApps and Flow will be generally available Nov. 1. PowerApps is a tool for building mobile and web business apps without code. Flow is the company's workflow automation technology. Together, they help unlock new, productivity-enhancing capabilities for organizations that have already invested in Microsoft's other business software offerings, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

The Mac-Windows competition is heating up with the long-awaited debut of Apple's new MacBook models on Oct. 27. Microsoft quickly announced a trade-in program directed at owners of eligible Apple hardware in the United States. Should they take Microsoft up on its offer, they can score a deal on select Surface devices.

"Starting today, anyone in the U.S. can trade in their MacBook Pro or MacBook Air at a Microsoft Store or online for up to $650 off a Surface Book or Surface Pro," wrote Brian Hall, corporate vice president at Microsoft Devices Marketing, in a blog post. The promotion runs through Nov. 10.

CenturyLink is buying Level 3 Communications for $34 billion, a move that officials with both companies said will create a significantly larger player in the global telecommunications space. Bringing Level 3 into the fold will enable CenturyLink to expand its fiber optics and data services to enterprises and extend its reach with small businesses and consumers. With the acquisition of the Level 3, CenturyLink will be better positioned to compete with telecommunications giants like AT&T and Verizon in a rapidly changing space in which businesses are demanding more network speed and capacity.

BroadSoft is building out its cloud communications portfolio by acquiring VoIP Logic, a company that delivers cloud services based on BroadSoft's BroadWorks to service providers in the United States. Officials with BroadSoft said that VoIP Logic's cloud-based wholesale business model will be added to their BroadCloud managed services lineup and will enable service providers to take advantage of the company's capabilities within its BroadWorks and UC-One family of offerings while they migrate to a cloud model. No financial details regarding the acquisition were announced. For the entire year, BroadSoft officials said they expect VoIP Logic to contribute about $800,000 in revenue.

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