It was a very busy week here at Microsoft.

Here are eight stories from around the company you may have missed.

Listen, kids. It DOES get better. In her Jan. 19th Boomtown column on AllThingsD, Kara Swisher writes about the It Gets Better Project, which was “created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.” In her piece, which was  written in the wake of a rash of suicides by LGBT teenagers, Swisher highlights videos from a number of technology companies, including Microsoft. Last November, Microsoft’s Jacqueline Beauchere blogged about Microsoft’s efforts to fight to stop cyberbullying. Here’s the It Gets Better video from Microsoft:

Ballmer visits the White House. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer joined President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and a number of business executives at the White House on Jan. 19th where he spoke about the importance of intellectual property. In a joint news conference with the Chinese president, Obama noted that “Steve Ballmer of Microsoft pointed out that their estimate is that only one customer in every 10 of their products is actually paying for it in China.”

“Glee,” “American Dad” and others on Windows Phone 7. A brand new app for Windows Phone 7 just landed in the Marketplace – Bitbop. According to Windows Phone blogger Michael Stroh, Bitbop is an “on-demand subscription service that lets you stream or download commercial-free, full-length episodes of your favorite TV shows directly to your Windows Phone.” Other shows available through Bitbop include “30 Rock,” “The Daily Show” and “The Office.” Stroh recently kicked off a new column on the Windows Phone Blog called Pinworthy. The column, which will appear every Friday, has Stroh going through “the newest gems and stinkers in the Marketplace.”

Kinect the surgical tool? In this Jan. 18th story in the UW Daily, reporter Ryan Dunn writes about a group of graduate engineering students at the University of Washington that have “adapted Microsoft’s new Kinect technology for a surprising purpose: surgical robotics.”

Dirty work in The Garage. Ever wonder how Microsoft comes up with innovative technologies like Kinect? In this Jan. 20th post on the Next at Microsoft Blog, Microsoft Storyteller Steve Clayton writes about The Garage, a company-wide initiative launched to incubate new ideas for next-generation technologies. According to Clayton, The Garage “is where ideas at Microsoft can go when they’re a bit messy, a bit not-quite-figured-out and in need of a few people to roll up their sleeves and get to work.” Also new on the Next at Microsoft Blog – a new blog post series called Tools of the Trade. Check it out.

MSN Money gets a new look. MSN Money Managing Editor Christopher Oster blogs about a new streamlined site design for MSN Money. The site was “rebuilt to make it easier to find all the news, stock data and expert commentary you need to make your financial decisions,” Oster writes.

Thought leaders in the cloud. In this Jan. 18th post on the Windows Azure Blog, blogger Robert Duffner interviews Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news technologies at the New York Times. Duffner covers the lack of technology in newsrooms, and how the cloud is making information more attainable and process-able by journalists, among other topics.

Microsoft & The United Way of King County: Nearly 30 Years Together. In this Jan. 17th Unlimited Potential post, guest blogger Jon Fine – CEO of the United Way of King County – reflects upon a partnership with Microsoft that goes back to 1983. Back then, Microsoft had less than 500 employees and had just introduced the first version of Microsoft Word and the Microsoft Mouse. It was also the first giving campaign the company ran for the United Way of King County.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next Friday!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs