You’d think after announcing a major new partnership with Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia that Microsoft would take a day off, but that’s just not the case. Big announcements this week continue to pour out of Bing, Internet Explorer, Windows Phone 7 and Dynamics CRM, just to name a few.

So, without further ado…

The new Bing Bar is here! The new Bing Bar gives you easy access to all the things you do on the Web each day – search, e-mail, Facebook, maps, news, finance and games. Check out this Feb. 17th post on the Bing Search Blog for more detail on what went into building the new Bing Bar, which is now available for download.

MSN Video for Windows Phone 7 is rolling. Earlier this week, Microsoft rolled out MSN Video for Windows Phone 7. Now available for free in the Marketplace, the new app offers a massive selection of “video covering entertainment, news, sports, comedy, how-to and other popular categories,” according to MSN Blog writer Eva Corets, executive producer of MSN Mobile. Also, check out this video gallery on the Microsoft News Center of people playing Kinect for Xbox 360 with their Windows Phone 7 phones. In related news, don’t miss the Feb. 11th edition of Pinworthy, where Windows Phone Blog writer Michael Stroh highlights the latest and greatest WP7 apps in the Marketplace.

PC Magazine gives the new Hotmail rave reviews (4.5 out of 5 stars!) For those who don’t know, Windows Live Hotmail was updated recently. According to Dharmesh Meta, director of Windows Live product management, some of those updates include “helping you remove clutter in your inbox, making it easier to share photos, bringing the power of Office into your inbox and making e-mail more interactive.” PC Magazine writer Michael Muchmore describes the new Hotmail service as “fast, clean, easy on the eyes and easy to use” in his Feb. 14th story.

That’s a lot of IE downloads. The Internet Explorer 9 release candidate has already been downloaded 2 million times just a few days after becoming publicly available, according to Exploring IE Blog writer Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer product marketing. Also, on Feb. 14th, IE9 became available via Windows Update to users who previously downloaded the beta version. The Internet Explorer team will celebrate the hard work of all the developers who help create the beauty of the Web on March 14th at the South by Southwest show in Austin, Texas.

Update on Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will be available via the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update on Feb. 22nd. On Blogging Windows, blogger Brandon LeBlanc provides a few tips on the best way to install Windows 7 SP 1, such as backing up your PC before starting installation and checking your system for malware.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM released. Microsoft announced on Feb. 16th that the on-premises and partner-hosted deployments of Microsoft Dynamics CRM are now available to customers. The news follows closely on the heels of the January release of CRM Online 2011. ZDNet reporter Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column.

More thoughts on the need for collective defense. In this Feb. 15th post on the Microsoft on the Issues Blog, Trustworthy Computing chief Scott Charney advanced his ideas on the best way to protect Internet-connected devices from malware attacks. The post was made in conjunction with Charney’s remarks at the RSA 2011 conference in San Francisco on Feb. 15th, and followed up his original Microsoft on the Issues Blog post introducing the idea of a collective defense.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next Friday, and thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Senior Manager, Corporate Blogs