Microsoft made lots of headlines this year as it rolled out several compelling new products, including Windows Phone 7, the Kinect for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Office 2010.

However, not all the innovation at a company this big lands on the front page or makes the evening news. A lot of stuff happens behind the scenes – like Microsoft’s successful crackdown on botnets or some of the innovations coming out of FUSE Labs.

I’d like to take you back over the course of the past 12 months and revisit some of the most widely read installments in the ongoing Microsoft story. Below are the top 10 blog posts of 2010:

Microsoft by the Numbers – Far and away the most widely read blog post of the past year. In it, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications Frank Shaw provided readers with a run down on some of the more impressive numbers coming out of Microsoft. A few highlights include:

• 150 million – the number of Windows 7 licenses sold, making it the fastest-growing operating system in history.
• 21.4 million – the number of new Bing search users in one year.
• Nine – the number of years it took Salesforce.com to reach the 1 million paid user milestone.
• Six – the number of years it took Microsoft Dynamics CRM to reach the 1 million paid user milestone.
• 100 percent – percent chance that Salesforce.com CEO (Mark Benioff) will mention Microsoft in a speech, panel, interview or blog post.

Measuring Our Work by its Broad Impact – Microsoft operates in a variety of markets, all of which contain cut-throat competition. Lately, some have suggested that Microsoft’s most competitive days are behind the company. Obviously, we disagree. In this installment, Frank Shaw provided readers with some insight regarding how Microsoft thinks about competition in the fast-evolving technology market.

Anti-piracy and NGOs – Last September, the New York Times published a story that described instances in which authorities in Russia used piracy charges concerning Microsoft software to confiscate computers and harass non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others engaged in public advocacy. In this post by Senior Vice President and Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, Microsoft made it clear it wouldn’t stand idly by while governments used intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy.

“If you want to change the world with technology…” – By its very nature, Microsoft attracts ambitious people with heads fit to burst with big ideas. In many cases, these are people with restless spirits, and their restlessness is what drives their intense creativity. The challenge in the tech business is keeping those people around long term. Earlier this year, Microsoft lost two such people – Robbie Bach and J Allard – both of whom helped drive the Entertainment and Devices Division to the great success it is today. In this blog post, Frank Shaw includes a departing e-mail from Allard, who explains why he came to Microsoft in the first place back in 1991.

Cracking Down on Botnets – Some worry that the proliferation of botnets has rendered the security problems they represent unsolvable, but Microsoft doesn’t accept botnets as a fact of life. In this blog post, which features a four-minute video with T.J. Campana of Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, Associate General Counsel Tim Cranton outlines the lengths to which Microsoft is willing to go to stop botnets in their tracks.

Microsoft Office 2010 Gets More Social – In this installment, Microsoft Outlook Product Manager Dev Balasubramanian blogs about new integrations with social networking giants Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Check out the five-minute Channel 9 video that highlights some of the new features for Outlook Social Connector.

Microsoft and Internet Freedom – It’s not every day that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the time to write for the Official Microsoft Blog, so when he does, you know it’s something important. In late January, he weighed in on Microsoft’s policy regarding security, privacy and censorship on the Internet with regards to foreign governments.

R.I.P. Waledac: Undoing the Damage of a Botnet – The final chapter in the story of how the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit helped bring down the Waledac botnet.

Introducing Spindex – the Latest Exploration from Microsoft’s Labs – In May, Microsoft debuted Spindex, an application created at FUSE Labs that allows you to access and interact with your social networks, see trends from your friends and see related info from Bing on literally everything you click on.

Windows Azure General Availability – Microsoft kicked off what would turn out to be a big year with the release of the Windows Azure cloud computing platform in 21 countries.

Without a doubt, Microsoft’s story is ongoing. If you promise to keep coming back to this blog, I promise to keep you up to date on the latest developments and news at Microsoft. It only gets better from here.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs