Daily Video: White House Sanctions to Hit Cyber-Crime in Pocketbook

Today's topics include a new government measure to combat cyber-crime, the release of the IBM Verse social messaging system, a new convertible laptop and tablet Chromebook and a change to how customers are billed for Azure Backup.

An Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama on April 1 is the latest in a series of moves by the U.S. government to help impede cyber-crime aimed at the United States.

The order gives the Treasury Department, working with the Attorney General and the State Department, the power to block the transfer of funds between entities inside and outside the U.S. that attack computers or networks to steal money, trade secrets, personal information or other data.

IBM announced the availability of IBM Verse, its new social messaging system that incorporates built-in analytics to give people a new way to connect, communicate and find the right people and information fast.

Verse is a direct result of IBM's $100 million investment in design innovation. It integrates email, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social media and more—all through a single collaborative, cloud-based environment.

Asus introduced the first-ever convertible laptop and tablet Chromebook, as well as an innovative computer dongle that plugs into an HDMI-equipped monitor and transforms it into a basic computer. Google announced both upcoming products in a blog post on March 31.

The all-metal Asus Chromebook Flip, which is just a little more than a half-inch thick and weighs less than 2 pounds, will be available later this spring, starting at $249. Asus describes the Flip as the first Chromebook that can easily convert from a tablet to a laptop with a simple flip.

Microsoft is changing the way customers are billed for Azure Backup, the company's cloud-based data backup offering, in a move that can help lower the cost of protecting their data.

Under the new pricing model, Microsoft charges a monthly fee for Protected Instances, which is based on the number of machines customers backed up and the cost of storage consumed by those backups on Azure, explained Aashish Ramdas, a program manager in Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division.

For example, a small protected instance of up to 50GB can cost $5 plus $0.048 per gigabyte (GB) per month if a customer selects the Geo-Redundant Storage option.

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