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  • The artificial intelligence technology developed by Canadian firm Maluuba may help usher in products and services from Microsoft that answer questions and provide insights as a human would.

  • Microsoft is making a number of changes to the operating system's privacy controls, including the elimination of the Enhanced data-collection setting.

  • Microsoft Teams, the software giant's new collaborate chat app, is poised to overtake industry darling Slack within the next two years, if the findings of a Spiceworks survey hold true.

  • Instead of juggling multiple dashboards in Office 365, administrators will soon be able to set and monitor their Data Loss Prevention policies in one place.

  • The latest Windows Insider build includes Microsoft's battery life-extending tech, a new nighttime viewing mode and a rapid Hyper-V virtual machine creation option.

  • Neural Chat Assistant is built on Genpact's Neural Intelligence Platform, which combines human experience with machine intelligence.

  • The Dynamics 365 Portal now includes new entity filters that allow users to refine their searches to obtain the most relevant information.

  • Salesforce’s second annual State of Service report reveals changes in how companies value and implement customer service.

  • There are multiple signs that Microsoft's Windows 10 Creator's Update won't arrive until the 2017 second quarter.

  • Commonly held beliefs about AI are usually more science fiction than reality--at least for the time being.

  • In 2016 Microsoft achieved levels of success it hadn't seen since the dotcom boom of the late 1990s. Its revenue and earnings have been on a roll this year, and its stock price is hitting new highs as the year comes to an end. It has taken eight years for the company to fully recover from its low points during the last recession that started in 2008. But the company now is as rich and powerful that it has ever been in the IT industry. The Redmond, Washington, software giant now offers enterprises a sprawling suite of Azure services, from basic cloud storage and virtual machine deployments to its promising artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions. Although Amazon Web Service (AWS) continues to dominate the cloud computing market, Microsoft is making strong progress in building out its cloud services portfolio. Rival cloud providers let out a big sigh of relief this year after Microsoft scored a major legal victory against the U.S. government that, at least for now, strengthens the data privacy and residency assurances provided by American cloud companies. Also this year, the Anniversary Update breathed new life into Windows 10 for power users and regular folks alike and signaled an ambitious new approach to developing system software that keeps up with the times.

  • Slack or Microsoft Teams? The software giant is hosting online "test drives" to help customers get up to speed on its new group collaboration offering.

  • Flock is built entirely upon chat as its underlying foundation, and developers can build bots, widgets and even entire apps on the framework.

  • An update is coming with the New Year. The browser-based version of Microsoft's Office software suite is getting a new productivity-enhancing look and feel going into 2017.

  • Over its long history, IBM has acquired many companies to continuously expand its product portfolio and IT capabilities. In 2016, Big Blue was once again very active in the corporate acquisition market, closing big deals first announced in 2015 and adding new ones to the list. Among the most interesting acquisitions closed by IBM in 2016 is that of The Weather Company's Product and Technology business, which officially closed on Jan. 29. Also in January, IBM announced that it was acquiring video streaming vendor Ustream, to become the backbone of a new IBM Cloud Video Services unit. In 2016, IBM also added to it health-care technology portfolio by acquiring Truven Health Analytics in a $2.6 billion deal announced on Feb. 18. February proved to be a busy acquisition month for IBM as the company expanded its security capabilities with the acquisition of incident-response technology vendor Resilient Systems. On Oct. 27, IBM announced its intention to acquire Sanovi Technologies, which provides disaster recovery services for hybrid cloud deployments. In this slideshow, eWEEK looks back at the companies IBM acquired in 2016.

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