“Microsoft Monday” is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week “Microsoft Monday” features news about the Walgreens partnership, a $500 million initiative to help the homeless, Windows 10 Mobile end of support and more!
Walgreens Boots Alliance Partnership
Microsoft and Walgreens Boots Alliance have announced a seven-year partnership where the two companies plan to improve health outcomes and lower overall costs through the development of digital and retail experiences. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Through the strategic partnership, the two companies are going to deliver innovative platforms that enable next-generation health networks and integrated digital-physical experiences. And the companies have committed to a multiyear research and development investment to lower the cost of care. The investment will include funding and subject-matter experts and technology.
“Improving health outcomes while lowering the cost of care is a complex challenge that requires broad collaboration and strong partnership between the health care and tech industries,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the announcement. “Together with Walgreens Boots Alliance, we aim to deliver on this promise by putting people at the center of their health and wellness, combining the power of the Azure cloud and AI technology and Microsoft 365 with Walgreens Boots Alliance’s deep expertise and commitment to helping communities around the world lead healthier and happier lives.”
Later this year, Walgreens is going to pilot up to 12 store-in-store “digital health corners” aimed at the merchandising and sale of healthcare-related hardware and devices. And the companies will connect Walgreens stores and health information systems to people through their digital devices so that users can access health care services like virtual care. And Walgreens is also signing up more than 380,000 employees for Microsoft 365 cloud apps and will its information technology to the Azure public cloud.
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This partnership is crucial for Microsoft and Walgreens as the digital healthcare space is becoming increasingly competitive. For example, Amazon acquired an online pharmacy company called Pillpack last year and partnered with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway on healthcare initiatives. And CVS acquired health insurance company Aetna. Walgreens also set up a similar partnership with Verily, a life sciences company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Carlton And Floss Dance Removed From Forza Horizon 4
According to Kotaku, Microsoft decided to remove the Carlton and Floss dance from Forza Horizon 4 as part of the Series 5 update. Microsoft did not say why these emotes were removed, but it is likely because the company wants to avoid potential lawsuits.
Epic Games is being sued by Alfonso Ribeiro (known for the Carlton dance) and Russell Horning (Backpack kid known for the floss dance) for featuring those moves in the game Fortnite. The emotes were originally added in October 2018.
$500 Million To Help The Homeless
GeekWire has reported that Microsoft is committing $500 million to set up affordable housing and address the homeless crisis in the Seattle area. Of the $500 million, $475 million will be set up as loans to affordable housing developers over three years and $25 million will be provided to services for low income and homeless residences.
Microsoft is not the only technology giant in Seattle to address the homeless issue in Seattle. In May 2017, Amazon announced it would be donating more than 47,000 in square feet of space within its newest Seattle headquarters building as a permanent location for housing the homeless.
And last year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos set up a $2 billion fund to create preschools and help homeless families. Plus late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen set up a charity that donated $30 million to a low-income housing development in Seattle, which is still under construction.
Windows 10 Mobile End Of Support
According to a Windows 10 Mobile End of Support: FAQ document spotted by Thurrott, there is a section called “What should Windows 10 Mobile customers do now?”
In response to that question, Microsoft is recommending users to switch to iOS or Android as Windows 10 Mobile support is ending on December 10, 2019. This is when Microsoft will end security patches and updates for Windows 10 Mobile.
“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device,” says the support page. “Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.”
The end of support applies to devices running Windows 10 Mobile version 1709. Lumia 640 and 640XL smartphone owners will no longer receive security updates starting June 11th as those devices run on Windows 10 Mobile version 1703.
Microsoft’s venture capital arm M12 announced last week that it has led a $35 million Series B round in healthcare data company Innovaccer. With this funding round, Innovaccer will continue building on its platform, which is used by hospitals and accountable care organizations (ACOs) to extract actionable insights.
“We look to invest in startups addressing huge markets with best-in-class deep technology,” said M12 partner Rashmi Gopinath in a statement. “Innovaccer’s approach to data aggregation and analytics fundamentally helps healthcare organizations implement value-based care models and improve care delivery.”