Dark Mode on iOS. (Microsoft Photo) Microsoft is doubling down on Dark Mode, bringing the popular option to switch from a white background to a black or grey one to more of its core services. The company says it plans to bring Dark Mode to its entire Microsoft 365 product suite — a combination of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. The push begins with an initial rollout today of Dark Mode on Outlook for iOS and Android, as well as Office.com. When the latest update of iOS launches, Microsoft will roll out Dark Mode for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, and To-Do on mobile. The addition of Dark Mode across more of the company’s products is all about choice, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Research & Design Jon Friedman wrote in a blog post. “It’s an apt metaphor for why we love Dark Mode: human needs unfold across an equally broad spectrum,” Friedman wrote. “Whether you want to reduce eye strain, improve battery life, or it just has aesthetic appeal, Dark Mode exemplifies our ability to craft simple and powerful Microsoft 365 experiences that give you choice and flexibility.” Welcome to the dark side. in is here. Learn more: — Microsoft 365 (@Microsoft365) Microsoft says it first introduced darker backgrounds back in 2010. It has steadily added Dark Mode to more programs, including major services such as Windows 10, Edge and Office. Jon Friendman. (Microsoft Photo) Dark backgrounds have become popular in recent years, with tech giants promoting the mode as an of new releases. The black backgrounds often look sleeker, and experts have touted health benefits of the setting as well. It’s become common knowledge that . For people who put in late hours, using a dark background instead of a light one reduces the amount of blue light they’re exposed to, leading to a better sleep after work is done, , a partially-sighted computer scientist at Cambridge University in the U.K. There are disadvantages too. It can be tough to see the backgrounds in well-lit rooms or when light reflects off the screen. In the blog post, Microsoft’s Friedman pointed to the 24/7 nature of work and the spread of productivity tools to everyday life as reasons dark backgrounds have become popular. People aren’t just using Microsoft products on their desktop from 9 to 5 anymore. “Our tools are used to keep up to speed on everything from work communication, to personal events that include friends and family, to changes in shared documents,” Friedman wrote. “This often means viewing email, calendars, or files in places where the default white mode may be less suitable, like darkened airplanes, movie theaters, or in bed at night.”
Amazon’s Day 1 tower on the company’s Seattle headquarters. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Amazon is souping up its lobbying engine, as its business becomes more sprawling and ambition draws regulatory scrutiny. Lobbyists for the Seattle tech giant approached more government entities than any other tech company in 2018, according to compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and . Amazon’s lobbying budget has also reached new heights; the company to influence the federal government last year, more than double what it spent in 2014. The Amazon lobbying team contacted more than 40 different government agencies in 2018, including Congress, the White House, the Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security, and others. A number of factors are driving Amazon’s increased spending in D.C. A far cry from the online bookseller it once was, Amazon’s business interests now include cloud computing, grocery retail, entertainment media, and more. In 2018, Amazon stepped into the political limelight. The company over the past year during its search for a second headquarters as cities and states offered juicy government incentive packages to lure the project. Amazon is and developing facial recognition software that is attractive to law enforcement agencies. The company’s aggressive growth strategy and increasing efforts to influence policy are getting attention from big names in politics, particularly progressives vying for the White House in 2020. Last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders shined a spotlight on working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, eventually compelling the company to to $15 an hour. And last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren to break up big tech companies, like Amazon, that would dramatically impact the company’s business.