FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft logo is shown on the Microsoft Theatre at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake
(Reuters) – When Microsoft Corp reports earnings on Wednesday, analysts expect some areas of its business to take a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic, with lower-than-expected sales in areas like advertising on its LinkedIn social network.
But analysts also expect a surge in the use of Microsoft’s cloud computing services and collaboration tools such as the Teams app “as more companies are effectively forced into the cloud” by stay-home orders, as Macquarie Capital analysts Sarah Hindlian-Bowler and Calvin Patel wrote in a research note. Analysts expect those upticks to offset some of declines and position Microsoft as well or better than its peers as the full economic impact of the pandemic becomes clearer.
Analysts expect Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, to report $33.63 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.27 per share for its fiscal third quarter, up from $30.5 billion and $1.14 per share the year before, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of April 27. The biggest drivers will remain Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform, which competes with Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services, and its online software for businesses.
“I don’t think that narrative will take a long-term hit,” Alex Zukin, managing director for software equity research at RBC Capital Markets, said in an interview. “You’re seeing investors more than willing to give a pass to short-term pockets of weakness around certain businesses.”
The Teams app, in particular, has benefited from stay-home orders in many countries, hitting 44 million users last month. While much of the surge was related to the novel coronavirus and could fade as workers return to offices, Macquarie’s Hindlian-Bowler and Patel expect Teams adoption to be permanently higher than it would have been.
In other segments, analysts expect revenues to be weaker than previously anticipated, including the paid use of LinkedIn by job recruiters, software tools designed for computer servers that sit in a company’s own data centers and even sales of Windows for personal computers, which were interrupted as factories in China shut down during the first three months of the calendar year.
Some of those revenue streams could spring back. After hitting supply shortages, for example, laptop orders have rebounded as companies and consumers bought machines to work from home, an impact that could show in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings report.
Sales in other units more reliant on large one-time deals like on-premises server software could be depressed for months as businesses put non-essential spending on the back burner. But much of Microsoft’s revenue has shifted to subscription or consumption-based billing, which should soften the effect.
“The revenue stream for Microsoft is extremely sticky,” Zukin said.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler
Even before certain regions like North America, LATAM and South America got their Valorant servers up and running, Riot Games has already released their first official patch notes for the game.
Valorant Patch Notes 1.0 bring in a lot of changes to the game. From Agent nerfs to buffs, and from bug fixes to a new map, there is a lot to be aware of.
If you want the complete Valorant patch notes in detail, you can always check out Riot’s official website. But for now, let us focus solely on the map changes and how they are going to be affecting Valorant gameplay in the future.
The New Valorant Map: Ascent
Valorant’s official launch comes with a new map called Ascent.
Its aesthetics are set in Italy, and it comes with a ‘large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over.’ It seems that the gameplay around this new Valorant map will rely more on abilities than actual gun battle, and the middle of the map, which is termed ‘playground’, will be the most strategic position.
Ascent will be in heavy rotation during matchmaking, as Valorant officials want players to get familiar with the map as soon as possible.
Changes in Split in Valorant
In Patch Notes 1.0, the Valorant devs have decided to remove the mid choke point on Split.
This will allow for more balanced gameplay for both the attacking and defending sides. Previously, the attacking side had more of an advantage in the map, because the large wall on their side acted as a big flank that gave them a significant boost over the defending side.
This will not let the defending Agents in Valorant be as exposed or as vulnerable as they used to be.
“We felt like Defenders were able to effectively plug up the main choke point in mid for a large percentage of the round. The new layout hopes to alleviate this issue,” Riot said.
“These changes open up the space quite a bit and provides an additional path to get around stalling abilities on the stairs. It also gives Attackers a few different angles to help siege B Tower and Vents.”
Exploits removed in Haven, Blind, Split, and Ascent
These changes are sort of an indirect nerf to Cypher, who made the most out of all the exploit points on the map.
In Patch 1.0, Valorant devs has removed all the exploits, along with blocking off several spy cam points for Cypher. His ability can’t be abused in any of the maps from now on.
Some important HUD and UI changes to the Valorant maps
The Valorant devs have added new VFX to abilities, kills feeds and ceremonies like Ace and Clutch to the player HUD in each of the maps.
The Spike will also have an updated visual in the inventory. Will look more prominent than it did in the closed beta.
Armor icons have now been added to the shop, for visual diversity.
In-game Valorant character portraits have also gotten an update in each of the maps.
Added chat message regulation so that only send one chat message is sent when multiples of the same ping or VO command are used in rapid succession
All Valorant in-game, map, and character bug fixes
Fixed a bug with “rewinding” for Hit Registration that could cause the client to slightly disagree with the server on where a target was when you pulled the trigger. This affected all players slightly, but scaled up in severity at lower FPS.
Fixed an issue where client-side tracers desynced when yaw switching
The server and client would sometimes disagree on where shots were landing when firing extended bursts.
Fixed a bug that let you shred the gnar at supersonic speeds using Viper’s Toxic Screen as a projectile boost
Fixed the ability to activate Viper’s Poison Cloud mid air if it has been picked up.
Removed slow from Viper’s Snakebite tooltip.
Cypher’s Spycam now shows the direction it is looking right when it is possessed.
Fixed more unintended Cypher Spycam locations
Fixed Sova’s arrows sometimes unpredictable bouncing
Fixed Sova arrows from revealing through some walls
Fixed a bug with Jett’s lower body popping out of place during her glide—thanks physical therapy!
Fixed an issue where blood was disabled
Fixed an Observer bug where dead players appeared as Phoenix on the HUD when an entire team was dead
Fixed a spectator issue where Cypher’s tracers would appear inaccurate if the spectator swapped to him after he had entered/exited his camera
Fixed an issue where a team could all disconnect on side swap rounds to surrender, but they would receive a win instead of a loss
Fixed a bug that allowed Bucky’s right click to penetrate through world geography
Fixed a bug for the comms halo above a player’s head, it should now activate with both Party chat and Team chat
Fixed an issue where credits on the HUD appeared to be much higher than the 800 you receive on side swap rounds
Fixed an issue with the scoreboard that would show enemy team above the credit cap
Fixed a bug where players were fully movement inaccurate after being resurrected or respawning
Fixed overruns on interactable objects like orbs or the Spike
Fixed an issue where ally loadouts appeared to show damaged allies at full health
Fixed issues with HUD prompts that would be cut off if the key to activate the prompt was bound to a key with more than one letter
Fixed a bug where the buy phase announcement would always say to press B to buy, even if the key to open the Armory was bound to a different key
Fixed an issue where reconnect messages would spam every round start
Fixed an observer bug where text would overlap in the buy phase announcement
Fixed an observer bug where some abilities were not appearing on the minimap properly
Fixed a bug where the ping wheel on the megamap would not grey out when ping limited
Fixed a bug in the Armory where weapon details would vanish after purchasing a weapon
Fixed a bug where the Equip Last Equipped Weapon hotkey was not functioning properly after using an ability
Fixed overlaps with instability indicators (i.e. High Ping) and the Spectator widget
Fixed overlaps and overruns in the Combat Report
Fixed an issue with dead player models occasionally flickering
Fixed an issue with animations when aiming with the Odin for spectators
Fixed flickering mouse cursor in a few places
The tooltip pointing at Contracts can now be dismissed FOREVER
Fixed a Valorant bug where half the Arsenal page would fade in when clicking on the Collection tab
Fixed a Valorant bug where the personalized Store offers would blink before fading in
Fixed a Valorant bug where various menus could overlap the lobby screen after a queue dodge
Google seems to have given select users access to a beta version of Android 11 even though it canceled the mobile platform’s beta launch on June 3rd. According to XDA Developers’ Mishaal Rahman, some users received an OTA update for the OS on their Pixel 4 devices on the same day (as Droid Life notes) the Android 10 security patch for June came out. Rahman listed some of the features that dropped with the accidental release, including the media player users can display in and control from Android’s Quick Settings menu.
Unfortunately, the rollout seems to be unplanned, so those who haven’t gotten it will probably have to wait until the beta’s official release. Google doesn’t have a new date for its rollout yet, though: when the tech giant canceled its June 3rd launch event, it only said that it will be back with more details on Android 11 “soon.”
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Some Google Pixel owners have received the Android 11 Beta early, revealing yet more details about this year’s version of Android. In a tweet, Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers said that two Pixel 4 XL users reported having received the update, revealing new details about Android 11 features like the power button menu, three new icon shapes, and auto-generated app suggestions in the home screen dock.
Google planned to announce the Android 11 beta on June 3rd but decided to delay the launch. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” the company said without linking it directly to national protests about police violence that have since gone global. The company is yet to set a new date for the announcement, so it’s unclear when this beta software may be more widely available.
The beta software shows off a number of features that are under development for Android 11. There’s a new option for developers to move their app’s media controls from the notifications panel into the Quick Settings menu, freeing up space for other notifications. The playback options appear to the left of the minimized menu, and 9to5Google notes that it expands across the top of the screen when the menu is fully opened.
The Pixel Launcher has also been updated as part of the beta, allowing Google’s software to automatically populate the bottom row of the Pixel’s home screen with app suggestions. These suggestions previously sat at the top of the app drawer, but now you can have them directly on your home screen. App icons are generally getting a bit of a face lift, with three new icon shapes offering more customizability.
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