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While not the earliest to beat the blockchain drum, Microsoft is starting to embrace the distributed ledger technology, both inside the company and for its customers.

What's new: The company on Thursday announced a new blockchain service for Azure and a partnership with JP Morgan Chase. Amazon's AWS also announced a blockchain service this week.

  • At a lunch with reporters, cloud executive Scott Guthrie said that blockchain use has picked up, especially in areas like tracking products throughout a lifecycle or when multiple entities are working together.
  • "Having a distributed general ledger of just yourself is not that compelling," he said.

Meanwhile: Guthrie took issue with an anonymous former Amazon executive quoted in an otherwise flattering Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover story on Microsoft who said Azure was the Minnesota Twins compared to AWS, which was likened to the New York Yankees.

  • "If they want to claim they are the Yankees, I'd like to claim we are the Red Sox," he said. "Obviously we are the two big cloud competitors."

Go deeper: Why Microsoft is winning the Big Tech backlash

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What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.