It’s always interesting to look back at the end of each year and see all of the amazing accomplishments made in the past 12 months. Microsoft has had an incredible year! As we begin the next one, we take a look back at some of the stories that have made big news in 2011.

Xbox LIVE

Microsoft rolled out an update for Xbox LIVE that lets people control their Xbox using voice or hand gestures, in December. At the same time we introduced the first group of new, custom applications from leading TV and entertainment content providers. The update was released with rave reviews; James McQuivey from Forrester Research said that the new entertainment experiences on Xbox LIVE served as the benchmark against which all other living-room initiatives should be compared.


 

Windows Phone 7.5

In October, Microsoft announced the availability of the new Windows Phone 7.5, with features and design based on a “people first” mentality. The update release used integrated social networking and conversational threads, to make it easier to connect with the people in our lives. In November, Microsoft celebrated the availability of new Windows Phones by building a six-story phone in New York City demonstrating how the new devices put people back at the center of the smartphone experience.

Imagine Cup 2011

Students from all across the world submitted projects to this year’s Imagine Cup. The Worldwide Finals took place in New York City in July, with 124 teams from 70 different countries competing to make the world a better place. Congratulations to our 2011 winners!

Office 365

In June, Microsoft announced the global availability of Office 365, the next generation of productivity service, at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles(?). Office 365 made updates to Microsoft Exchange Online, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Microsoft Lync Online.


Kinect for Xbox 360

Following its introduction in 2010, this year Kinect became the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history according to Guinness World Records. The device opened the door to new experiences with technology. 2011 brought continued advancements for Kinect, specifically in educational experiences for children, enabling learning to be fun and interactive.

Bing on the Homepage

Bing consistently gained query share in 2011, with the development of several industry-leading improvements to the service, including the introduction of a video homepage for those using HTML-5 enabled browsers. Bing also further established itself as a strategic asset that makes many products and services across Microsoft stronger.


Microsoft Named One of the Best Places to Work

Microsoft is committed to hiring the best people and providing them with the best tools and the best environment, so that they can do amazing work that brings the transformative power of technology to billions of people around the world. On October 27, at an event in New York City, the Great Places to Work Institute honored Microsoft as the number one Global Workplace. We’re proud of this recognition, and we’ll continue to rely on the input from our employees to make Microsoft as an even greater place to work and change the world.

We are excited to see what 2012 will bring to Boston and the world. Thanks for such a great year!