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Microsoft announced that as of Jan. 12 it will no longer be providing technical support and security updates for its Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 web browsers. The company is encouraging customers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or to Microsoft Edge, its new web browser that comes with Windows 10.

If customers stick with older versions of the web browser they could be exposing themselves to security vulnerabilities and malware, Microsoft says.

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Two forces in emerging technology are about to transform the way businesses think about CRM: The cloud and data analytics. Microsoft's flagship CRM product Dynamics will tap into its powerful cloud platform Azure and offer the product an artificial intelligence lift through Azure Machine Learning, reports InformationWeek

The inclusion of Azure is intended to provide analytics-driven intelligence and a knowledge management system so businesses can record and access data when resolving issues. Machine learning tech attaches to the business process to receive data from customer-employee interactions. The more employees use it, the more it learns.

Dynamics 2016 is currently going through testing but it's still expected to be released by the end of 2015.

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Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the Surface Book, what it's calling "the ultimate laptop."

Microsoft came to its latest press conference on Tuesday armed with more than a few announcements. But none shook the tech world quite like the news that Windows creator was entering the notebook market.

After concluding the announcement of the new, slimmer and more powerful Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet, Surface creator Panos Panay teased audiences with a new addition to the Surface family — a device performs like a tablet and a notebook computer.

"We made the ultimate laptop," Payan said. "This is the fastest 13-inch laptop ever made, anywhere, on any planet."

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While the iPhone 6S and its new 3D Touch features have just made their way to retail stores, market watchers are already keeping a close eye on a new acquisition Apple has made. Bloomberg News reports that Apple has acquired Perceptio, "a startup developing technology to let companies run advanced artificial intelligence systems on smartphones without needing to share as much user data." We can only speculate on the impact the Perceptio acquisition will have on Apple's mobile platform, but we shouldn't be surprised if Siri gets a serious upgrade by the time the iPhone 7 comes out next year.

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Microsoft made a surprising move this month, announcing that its new cloud software system runs on a Linux-based operating system.

The Windows giant has historically been at odds with Linux and the open-source community, but a Sept. 17 post by Kamala Subramaniam, principal architect for Azure Networking at Microsoft, explained why the company’s adoption of a Linux solution makes sense.

"The Azure Cloud Switch (ACS) is our foray into building our own software for running network devices like switches. It is a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux," wrote Subramaniam. "ACS allows us to debug, fix, and test software bugs much faster. It also allows us the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for our data center and our networking needs."

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As computers become more advanced, their ability to generate data grows exponentially. Storage devices are evolving to accompany that demand.

1975: The 8-inch floppy disk, which holds 800KB of data, is released

1981: Sony introduces the 3.5-inch floppy disk with 1.44MB of storage

1994: Iomega greatly increases storage capacity with its 100MB zip disk

1997: Recordable CDs offer 700MB of storage capacity

2001: Recordable DVDs hit the market, providing 4.7GB of storage

2004: MicroSD cards bring gigabyte storage capabilities in a small package

2013: Kingston announces a 1TB USB flash drive

Source: Experts Exchange, “Community Toolkit,” June 2015

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Though adoption of cloud computing is continuing at a rapid pace among the business community, that doesn't mean that there aren't some potential bumps in the road that have been identified by several business technology leaders.

“Progressive companies can glean greater loyalty through crowdfunding, turn to the crowd for new co-innovation, and launch their own sharing programs to expand how they serve their customers’ new desires.”

Jeremiah Owyang is a founder of Crowd Companies, which helps businesses connect with customers using web technologies. He shares insights on his blog at web-strategist.com/blog.

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Beginning in October, businesses that don’t accept EMV cards (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) will be liable for counterfeit fraud that occurs when customers use the new cards.

NerdWallet, which provides consumer financial advice, offers tips for accepting EMV payments.

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It’s no secret consumers use mobile devices to find what they need, weigh options and make quick purchase decisions. Whether a business fits into that equation depends on a cohesive mobile strategy. Here are a few tips to get started, from America’s SBDC:

Test the website: Explore free tools such as Google Webmaster to test the mobile-friendliness of a site and identify areas for improvement.

Don’t ignore mobile ads: Attract impulse buyers searching for products and services by investing in pop-up mobile ads triggered by search.

Learn about responsive design: Prevent a bad mobile experience by ensuring that websites respond optimally to different device screen sizes.

Source: America’s SBDC, “The Power of Going Mobile for Small Business,” June 2015

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