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Microsoft and KKBOX Group launch global strategic partnership

TAIPEI — December 20, 2019 — Microsoft Taiwan and Asia’s leading media technology company, KKBOX Group, jointly announced today the launch of a global strategic partnership that will migrate the group’s subsidiary KKBOX’s music streaming services to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Additionally, KKBOX Group subsidiary KKStream has joined Microsoft’s global partner network to release BlendVision™, a next-generation commercial video streaming solution that will harness data and AI to effectively reduce operating costs of over-the-top (OTT) platform operators. Microsoft and KKBOX Group will also jointly use data and AI to optimize its music-creation system and explore new music-listening possibilities for consumers. This cooperation is a milestone for KKBOX Group’s internationalization initiative and opens up more possibilities for the digital entertainment industry.

“The media and entertainment industries are going through a transformation as studios, broadcasters and other rich media content creators, such as over-the-top (OTT) service providers, are facing pressure to innovate on how they deliver content to their audiences while getting smarter on using data to their advantage,” said Bob De Haven, general manager, Worldwide Media & Communications Industries, Microsoft. “KKBOX has been at the forefront of the entertainment industry in Asia, providing world-class entertainment to users and continuing to experiment and innovate with technology. We are thrilled that KKBOX has chosen Azure to provide the company with intelligent platforms that unlock creativity and collaboration, bring content to market faster and engage audiences.”

Serving the Asian market for over 15 years, KKBOX Group is now expanding globally. It integrates big data — including music, video, show ticketing and e-commerce — and leverages AI to provide users with better experiences and artists, creators, and concert organizers with business insights.

“KKBOX Group offers consumers a wide range of entertainment experiences in Asia,” said Co-founder and CEO Chris Lin. “We are pleased to partner with Microsoft to migrate KKBOX music to Azure, address streaming technology challenges by co-selling BlendVision globally, and develop AI music creation.”

Key initiatives of the partnership include:

  1. KKBOX music streaming service migrates to Microsoft Azure:

By partnering with Microsoft to fully migrate KKBOX music streaming services onto Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, KKBOX Group is meeting consumer demand for high-speed streaming services and highly differentiated entertainment experiences. The partnership will allow KKBOX to provide faster development, manage resource scheduling and flexibly adjust traffic to develop more meta services, aligned with the digital entertainment industry’s trend of accelerating digital services.

Microsoft Azure has more regions than any other cloud provider, with 55 datacenter regions, to offer the scale needed to deploy services and applications on demand to enterprises around the world. This coverage helps enterprises deploy services on demand. With high-standard information security, KKBOX can rapidly deploy innovative services to international markets while ensuring that data is protected by comprehensive security measures. Microsoft is committed to promoting enterprise digital transformation with front-end technology, assisting customers and partners in various industries to adopt AI and the cloud to optimize enterprise resource deployment and operation processes, and to expand their global business territories through joint sales plans. This strategic cooperation with KKBOX Group is a milestone for Microsoft in the digital entertainment industry.

  1. KKStream launches commercial video streaming technology solution — BlendVision:

BlendVision, launched by KKStream, is a next-generation commercial video streaming solution that empowers global streaming platform operators through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, reducing operating costs and improving user experiences while developing services that create new monetization models. BlendVision will launch “BlendVision Video Streaming” combined with “per-title encoding” (PTE) to effectively reduce operating costs of OTT platform operators by using AI to identify different bitrates for video compression and transcoding, greatly reducing transmission bandwidth and saving storage space.

An independently developed image enhancement technology called Perceptual Streaming Engine (PSE) will be added to enhance the visual performance of the original video and double the quality of low-resolution videos into high definition (HD) for optimal streaming image quality. These two technologies (PTE + PSE) together can further reduce platform operator transmission costs by 80% so users get the highest image quality with the lowest traffic. The cooperation between Microsoft and KKStream will be based on the SaaS model, with BlendVision’s service architecture built on Azure, helping to deliver new services to consumers. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s global sales and service teams will assist in implementation. Microsoft and KKBOX already foresee 10 potential customers in the Asian region, symbolizing proof of endless global business opportunities as a result of this strategic alliance.

  1. Both parties to jointly develop AI-enabled music production system for producers:

KKBOX will leverage Microsoft AI technology to build an AI-assisted music arrangement system and an AI-assisted lyric generator. In addition, the group will create a predictive model that uses data and AI to forecast the commercial success of a song. KKBOX and Microsoft believe that the digital entertainment industry is facing a transformation and must use technology to make content faster and smoother for users and to use a data-driven approach to create personalized services. AI will become the most important advancement in this transformation. KKBOX is one of the world’s earliest legal music streaming platforms, providing services since 2005. It has successfully changed consumer listening behavior, and the music industry’s business model is changing accordingly. KKBOX Group and Microsoft aim to leverage AI to explore new opportunities, create new trends and transform the entertainment market.

About KKBOX

For more information on KKBOX, visit: https://www.kkbox.com/about/zh-tw

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Media contacts

MSFT contact:
angela.chen@microsoft.com

KKBOX contact:
KKBOX Public Relations abbytu@kkbox.com

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Sharing Fedora

After being a Fedora user for a while, you may have come to enjoy it. And in fact you might want to encourage others to try Fedora. You don’t need any special privileges or to become a Fedora Ambassador to do that. As it turns out, anyone can help others get started with Fedora just by sharing information about it.

Having the conversation

For example, if you go out to lunch with a group of colleagues periodically, you might find it natural to talk about Fedora with them. If someone shows interest, you can suggest to get together with them for a Fedora show and tell. There isn’t any need for formal presentations or prepared talks. This is just having lunch and sharing information with people you know.

When you’re with friends, relatives, colleagues, or neighbors, conversation often turns to things computer related, and you can bring up Fedora. There are usually opportunities to point out how Fedora would partially if not completely address their concerns or provide something they want.

These are people you know so talking with them is easy and natural. You probably know the kind of things they use PCs for, so you know the features of Fedora that will be attractive to them. Such conversations can start anytime you see someone you know. You don’t need to steer conversations toward Fedora — that might be impolite, depending on the situation. But if they bring up computer related issues, you might find an opportunity to talk about Fedora.

Taking action

If a friend or colleague has an unused laptop, you could offer to show them how easy it is to load Fedora. You can also point out that there’s no charge and that the licenses are friendly to users. Sharing a USB key or a DVD is almost always helpful.

When you have someone setup to use Fedora, make sure they have the URLs for discussions, questions, and other related websites. Also, from time to time, let them know if you’ve seen an application they might find useful. (Hint: You might want to point them at a certain online magazine, too!)

The next time you’re with someone you know and they start talking about a computer related issue, tell them about Fedora and how it works for you. If they seem interested, give them some ideas on how Fedora could be helpful for them.

Open source may be big business nowadays, but it also remains a strong grassroots movement. You too can help grow open source through awareness and sharing!


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.

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SK Telecom and Microsoft sign MOU for comprehensive cooperation in cutting-edge ICT

The two companies agreed to combine their strengths to jointly promote IoT business, AI technologies and services, media and entertainment services, and new ways of working

Park Jung Ho, CEO of SK Telecom (left), and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (right), at a recent meeting.
Park Jung Ho, CEO of SK Telecom (left), and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (right), at a recent meeting.

SEOUL, KOREA – May 13, 2019 – SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) and Microsoft Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on May 7 for comprehensive cooperation in leading-edge ICT, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud.

Under the MOU, SK Telecom and Microsoft will combine their technological capabilities in areas such as 5G, AI and cloud to jointly promote Internet of Things (IoT) business including smart factory; AI technologies and services; media and entertainment services; and new ways of working for ICT companies under the SK Group umbrella.

To promote smart factory IoT business operations, the two companies established a business strategic partnership in February 2019 to launch Microsoft Azure with Metatron, SK Telecom’s self-developed big data solution. SK Telecom and Microsoft will work together to further upgrade the service and implement joint marketing activities.

By putting together the capabilities of SK Telecom’s AI platform NUGU with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, the two companies will work together to offer new AI-powered products and services, including consumer solutions such as smart speakers and other offerings for the enterprise.

Moreover, the two companies will work together to create a new level of customer experience in the field of media and entertainment.

SK Telecom will adopt Microsoft 365, the company’s intelligent and secure solution to empower employees, to create a modern workplace and promote a new way of working among employees. Eventually, SK Telecom will expand Microsoft 365 to other ICT companies under the SK Group umbrella. In addition, the two companies will provide new value to customers by combining Microsoft’s modern workplace devices and solutions, such as Surface and Office 365, with SK Telecom’s unique products and services.

“SK Telecom is pleased to join hands with Microsoft as collaboration with global leading companies like Microsoft is essential to gain leadership in the 5G market, where competition is already fierce,” said Park Jung-ho, President and CEO of SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will work closely with Microsoft to create an unprecedented value by combining the strengths and capabilities of the two companies.”

“Through the strategic partnership with SK Telecom, we will play a key role in shaping the future and accelerating the digital transformation of the telecommunications industry with our world-class network and technology,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Azure, Microsoft. “This will be a deep and multifaceted partnership that strengthens the power of cloud and AI to deliver innovative new services to customers.”

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea with nearly 50 percent of the market share. As the pioneer of all generations of mobile networks, the company has commercialized the fifth generation (5G) network on December 1, 2018 and announced the first 5G smartphone subscribers on April 3, 2019. With its world’s best 5G, SK Telecom is set to realize the Age of Hyper-Innovation by transforming the way customers work, live and play.

Building on its strength in mobile services, the company is also creating unprecedented value in diverse ICT-related markets including media, security and commerce.

For more information, press only:

SK Telecom Public Relations/Media Contact, skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bm.com

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com