Microsoft ends support for Office & Outlook 2007, users encouraged to upgrade

Starting this week on October 10th, Microsoft’s Office 2007 suite of programs have begun to transition out of support and users are being encouraged to migrate to either the Office 365 service or Office 2016.

One of the major reasons for users to upgrade is the discontinuation of support for the RPC over HTTP (Outlook Anywhere) protocol which is currently used in Outlook 2007 to communicate between Outlook for Windows and Exchange. The reason for the discontinuation of support for this protocol is because its successor, MAPI over HTTP, boasts significantly higher levels of security and allows for multi-factor authentication in Office 365.

“MAPI over HTTP was not backported to Outlook 2007 or earlier versions. If you’re using Outlook 2007, you will be in an unsupported state on October 31, 2017. If you want to continue to access Exchange Online mailboxes through the Office 365 portal (, we recommend that you move to a current version of Outlook that is under mainstream support, or use Outlook on the web,” the official Microsoft faq recommends. “Additionally, make sure that you don’t have any Outlook add-ins or third-party apps that rely on the RPC over HTTP protocol to connect to Office 365 data.”

Facebook, Microsoft build open standard for different AI frameworks

With the swift increase in artificial intelligence (AI) developments, Facebook and Microsoft have finally decided to unify their efforts by building an open standard called Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX). The new format provides a shared model for interoperability in the AI framework ecosystem and initially brings Cognitive Toolkit, Caffe2 and PyTorch under one roof.

The primary aim behind the launch of the ONNX standard is to help developers with the ability to switch between different tools and even pick a combination to build their neural network solutions and machine learning developments. Facebook has already released the new versions of its Caffe2 and PyTorch to support ONNX, while Microsoft is set to upgrade its Cognitive Toolkit with native support for ONNX in the coming future. Further, both the companies are seeking community efforts to enhance the ecosystem with required advancements.

“With ONNX, we are focused on bringing the worlds of AI research and product closer together so that we can innovate and deploy faster,” said Joaquin Quiñonero Candela. director of applied machine learning, Facebook, in a detailed note.

Facebook’s developer team has unified operators between Caffe2 and PyTorch frameworks. PyTorch has also added a tracer that records the execution of the program as it runs to eliminate complexity and translate the neural networks into a graph representation.

The new standard enables Facebook to export a trained AI model developed using PyTorch into Caffe2 for inference. Similarly, it would soon allow developers to leverage Microsoft’s Cognitive Toolkit to enhance their machine learning models built through any of the two Facebook frameworks.

No initial support for third-party frameworks

However, the format doesn’t include support for third-party solutions such as Google’s TensorFlow or Apache MxNet. This means that the new move can only be leveraged if a project is particularly designed with a Facebook or Microsoft framework.

“ONNX provides a definition of an extensible computation graph model as well as definitions of built-in operators and standard data types,” writes Eric Boyd, chief vice president of AI data and infrastructure, Microsoft, in a separate blog post.

The initial ONNX code and documentation are available on GitHub. Powered by Python and C++, the project is licensed under MIT License.