Microsoft adds an extra security layer to its OneDrive storage service

Microsoft today announced OneDrive Personal Vault, a new security layer on top of its OneDrive online file storage service that adds additional security features to keep your files save. The security features ensure that the only way to access these files is with a strong authentication method or two-step verification, which can include a fingerprint or face recognition with a Window Hello-compatible device, PIN code or a one-time code sent by email or SMS (which isn’t necessarily the most secure method, of course), or by using Microsoft Authenticator.

In addition, Microsoft is also doubling the storage plan for its $1.99/month standalone OneDrive subscription from 50GB to 100GB. If you’re on a free plan, you’ll be able to try Personal Vault, too, but Microsoft will limit the number of files you can store in it.

The new Personal Vault will be available to OneDrive users on the web, on Windows 10 and through Microsoft’s mobile apps. It’ll roll out to users in Australia, New Zealand and Canada soon and become available to all OneDrive users by the end of the year.

By default, all OneDrive files are already encrypted at rest and in transit. Personal Vault essentially adds another layer of optional security features on top of this. In that OneDrive app, this is represented by a special Personal Vault folder that you can then use to save your most important files — or those with the largest amount of sensitive information (think financial records etc.).

On Windows 10 PCs, Personal Vault also sets up a Bitlocker-encrypted area on your local hard drive to sync your Personal Vault files.

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Snowflake co-founder and president of product Benoit Dageville is coming to TC Sessions: Enterprise

When it comes to a cloud success story, Snowflake checks all the boxes. It’s a SaaS product going after industry giants. It has raised bushels of cash and grown extremely rapidly — and the story is continuing to develop for the cloud data lake company.

In September, Snowflake’s co-founder and president of product Benoit Dageville will join us at our inaugural TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise event on September 5 in San Francisco.

Dageville founded the company in 2012 with Marcin Zukowski and Thierry Cruanes with a mission to bring the database, a market that had been dominated for decades by Oracle, to the cloud. Later, the company began focusing on data lakes or data warehouses, massive collections of data, which had been previously stored on premises. The idea of moving these elements to the cloud was a pretty radical notion in 2012.

It began by supporting its products on AWS, and more recently expanded to include support for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

The company started raising money shortly after its founding, modestly at first, then much, much faster in huge chunks. Investors included a Silicon Valley who’s who such as Sutter Hill, Redpoint, Altimeter, Iconiq Capital and Sequoia Capital .

Snowflake fund raising by round. Chart: Crunchbase

The most recent rounds came last year, starting with a massive $263 million investment in January. The company went back for more in October with an even larger $450 million round.

It brought on industry veteran Bob Muglia in 2014 to lead it through its initial growth spurt. Muglia left the company earlier this year and was replaced by former ServiceNow chairman and CEO Frank Slootman.

TC Sessions: Enterprise (September 5 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center) will take on the big challenges and promise facing enterprise companies today. TechCrunch’s editors … Read the rest

Kano, the kids-focused coding and hardware startup, inks deal with Microsoft, launches $300 Kano PC

Kano, the London-based startup that builds hardware designed to teach younger people about computing and coding, is taking a significant step forward in its growth strategy today. The startup has inked a partnership with Microsoft that sees Kano launching the Kano PC, a new 11.6-inch touch-enabled, Intel Atom-powered computer, its first to run Windows — Windows 10 S specifically. As part of the deal, Microsoft is also making an investment of an undisclosed amount in Kano.

The Kano PC is up for pre-order now at $299.99 and £299.99 on Kano.me and the Microsoft Store, to ship in October. It will also go on sale at selected retailers in the US, Canada, and the UK starting October 21, 2019.

The shift to building a Windows-powered device is a significant one for Kano.

The startup first made its name with a popular Kickstarter campaign based around a device built using Raspberry Pi, speaking to the DIY ethos that has shaped it over the last several years.

Alex Klein, Kano’s founder and CEO, said in an interview that while Kano will continue to support its Raspberry Pi-powered devices, it has yet to determine what its roadmap will be in terms of launching new hardware on this processor:

“The Raspberry Pi devices remain in the portfolio at good price points, but this machine is designed for a much broader age set. It’s a proper Windows PC” — Klein said, pointing to the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Quad core 1.44 GHz processor, the 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage — “and a powerful machine for the price point.”

While the Kano line up to now has largely been used and tracked by 6-13 year-olds, Klein describes the Kano PC as a “K-12 device,” acknowledging that “branding might take more time to unfold” … Read the rest

China to lose top spot to US in 2019 gaming market

China is losing its global lead in games. By the end of 2019, the U.S. will replace China as the world’s largest gaming market, with an estimated revenue of $36.9 billion, says a new report from research firm Newzoo.

This will mark the first time since 2015 that the U.S. will top the global gaming market, thanks to healthy domestic growth in consoles. Globally, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and other console games are on track to rise 13.4% in revenue this year. Driving the growth is the continued shift toward the games-as-a-service model, Newzoo points out, on top of a solid installed base across the current console generation and spending from new model releases.

China, on the other hand, suffered from a nine-month freeze on game licenses last year that significantly shrank the stream of new titles. Though applications have resumed, industry experts warn of a slower and stricter approval process that will continue to put the squeeze on new titles. Time limits imposed on underage players will also hurt earnings in the sector.

As a result of China’s slowdown, Asia-Pacific is no longer the fastest-growing region. Taking the crown is Latin America, which is enjoying a 10.4% compound annual growth.

Despite China’s licensing blackout, Tencent remained as the largest publicly listed gaming firm in 2018, pocketing $19.73 billion in revenue. Growth slowed to 9% compared to 51% from 2016 to 2017 at Tencent’s gaming division, but the Shenzhen-based company is back on track with new blockbuster Game for Peace (和平精英), a regulator-friendly version of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, ready to monetize.

Trailing behind Tencent in the global ranking is Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Activision Blizzard.

Other key trends of the year:

Rise of instant games: Mini games played inside WeChat without installing another app are becoming mainstream in China. These games, … Read the rest

Microsoft brings its To-Do app to Mac

Microsoft in 2017 said it would eventually shut down Wunderlist, a company it acquired, in order to forge ahead with its own “to do” app. It has since launched To-Do, as the app is called, on Windows, iOS, Android and the web and expanded its feature set. Today, it’s bringing the app to the Mac, as well.

The company announced this morning its To-Do app is live on the Mac App Store, where it will support most of the core features right away, including the ability to create and manage tasks, work offline, share lists, utilize tags and more. It also will integrate with Microsoft Outlook to pull in your “Flagged” email list and will support integration with Planner soon, allowing you to see any items assigned to you.

The Mac version also takes advantage of its new platform to offer a handful of keyboard shortcuts, like 2 to minimize the app so it only displays the list view, and ⌘1 to return to viewing all your lists. You can click on a task’s text to edit it directly from the list view, as well. 

It’s worth noting that Microsoft built this native Mac app using 100% AppKit, it says.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference this month, the company announced a new set of tools — called Project Catalyst — that allow developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac by leveraging their existing codebase. This is expected to bring more Mac apps to Apple’s Mac App Store over time, as it simplifies the process of maintaining multiple apps for various platforms. Twitter, for example, said on Friday that it would leverage Project Catalyst to bring its app back to the Mac.

Microsoft, however, went a different route. We understand the company wanted to ship the … Read the rest