Christmas is almost upon us, but Microsoft still managed to stuff the stockings with a flurry of activity this week on a number of fronts. I know most people are busy tearing open those gifts Santa left under the Christmas tree right now, so, without further ado, here’s a little weekend reading to tide you over the holidays.

Windows Phone 7. On Tuesday, Microsoft revealed that Windows Phone 7 is off to a very fast start. Achim Berg, Microsoft’s vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, said in a Q&A that phone manufacturers sold more than 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks since Windows Phone 7’s launch.

The climate counts at Microsoft. Microsoft was recognized for its efforts in energy efficiency by Climate Counts, a nonprofit that works to raise consumer and corporate awareness of climate impact and corporate responsibility. Read about it in this blog post on Software Enabled Earth, the official blog of Microsoft's Environmental Sustainability team.

HTML5. Microsoft announced the launch of HTML5 Labs on Tuesday. The labs’ main mission is to help Web developers test websites using specifications for HTML5. Read more about Microsoft’s involvement in HTML5 on this Internet Explorer Blog post and this post on the Interoperability @ Microsoft Blog.

Net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission handed down a decision Tuesday that will affect everyone who uses the Internet for years to come. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, among others, both wrote comprehensive stories on what the decision means for consumers and businesses alike.

Mary Jane “MJ” Bear, (1962 – 2010). Though Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, it’s important to remember those who have passed on. Microsoft lost a valued member of its team, MJ Bear, to leukemia on Dec. 7. A former journalist and one of MSN’s most influential leaders, MJ was remembered in this MSN Blog post as a “great friend, colleague and mentor for many people.” Prior to her career at Microsoft, she was director of programming at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty based in Prague, launching new language-specific websites in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Iran.

Online advertising on the rise. In this Microsoft Advertising blog post, blogger Michael Mostert predicts that online advertising will grow again in 2011. Why does he think so? Citing stories in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times as well as research from eMarketer Inc., Mostert writes that spending on online advertising has now eclipsed spending on print advertising.

Time to step away from the computer. Work-life balance is something that most people struggle with, regardless of the industry they work in. In this Microsoft Next blog post, Microsoft Storyteller Steve Clayton blogs about the importance of unplugging and whether technology – and social networking technology in particular – has made us all less human.

With that thought in mind, this Christmas Eve edition of Weekend Reading is now concluded. I’ll be back next Friday with another round of new stories from all corners of Microsoft.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs