The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

March, 2011

  • The Midweek Download: March 30th Edition – A few pointers for Windows Phone developers and how the IE9 team built an energy-efficient Web browser

    Lots of Microsoft news hit the wires this week for developers and tech enthusiasts. Read on to catch the skinny!

    Designing “hubs” on Windows Phone 7. In this March 24th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, blogger Alfred Astort writes about designing Windows Phone apps that use “hubs” or panoramic control – in essence, apps that allow users to pan left and right with a twitch of their thumb from one hub of content to another. Astort first blogged about panoramic control in this March 15th post.

    Internet Explorer 9 and energy efficiency. Power consumption is an important consideration in building a modern browser and one objective of Internet Explorer 9 is to responsibly lead the industry in power requirements.

  • New Azure Tools Roll Out to Mobile Platforms

    Microsoft and Spanish telecom Telefónica today announced a collaboration to bring Telefónica’s new global developer platform, BlueVia, to Microsoft’s 6 million-strong .NET developer community, to drive application innovation and meet growing user demand for new applications and services across multiple devices.

    The BlueVia Software Development Kit for .NET offers a range of rich developer tools, including .NET, Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010, enhanced specifically for the design and creation of applications that integrate with Telefónica APIs, such as SMS, advertising, mobile billing and contextual user information, all exposed through the BlueVia platform.

  • Weekend Reading: March 25th Edition - Two New Windows Phones, a Big Customer Win and the Rustock Botnet Takedown

    Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Reading for the spring of 2011! The MSN weather forecast for this week tells us to expect more rain showers, but at least that mercury is creeping ever upward to warmer temperatures.

    In this week’s installment, we’ve got an item about two new Windows Phones, a story about Microsoft nabbing Target as a virtualization customer and – just in case you missed it – a fascinating piece on the takedown of the Rustock botnet.

    Aaaaannnndddddd off we go!

    New handsets, new apps for Windows Phone family. And in other Windows Phone news this week, two new handsets have joined the family – the HTC Arrive and the HTC HD7S. That’s the HD7S below. The Arrive is the first Windows Phone for CDMA networks and is available through Sprint. The HD7S – available through AT&T – is aimed at people who love movies and videos. The phone features an eye-popping 4.3-inch super LCD touchscreen and a built-in kickstand that basically turns any tabletop into a mini-movie theater. Also coming soon to the Windows Phone Marketplace, which now has more than 10,000 apps – apps from AccuWeather and the New York Times.

  • Imagine Cup Attracts Student Innovators from Historically Black Colleges for the First Time

    The spring finalists for the U.S. Imagine Cup 2011 competition were announced Wednesday. It is exciting that this year’s competition has featured the most diverse collection of students in its nine-year history.

    While the number of participants in the Imagine Cup grows each year, this year is notable in that it is the first time Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have participated in the competition. Students from Morehouse, Spelman, Tuskegee, Howard, Clark Atlanta and Johnson C. Smith University joined with other student innovators across the U.S. and submitted solutions for the Imagine Cup Spring rounds of competition.

  • Microsoft Announces U.S. Finalists for Imagine Cup 2011

    Today, Microsoft announced the 2011 U.S. Imagine Cup finalists, some of whom will go on to represent the United States in the global competition in July in New York City.

    You can read about all of the U.S. finalists on the Microsoft Tech Student page on Facebook.

    This is the first year the Worldwide Finals will take place in the United States, shedding light on the importance of computer and information-related studies. In fact, by 2014, 1 million jobs in these fields are expected to be added to the U.S. workforce, but only 50 percent of the available jobs will have qualified U.S. graduates to fill them. The Imagine Cup is designed to support and inspire studies in these critical fields.

  • The Midweek Download: March 23rd Edition – News for Windows Phone 7 Developers, a behind-the-scenes look at IE9 and Ben the PC Guy

    Welcome back to the Midweek Download!

    This week, we’ve got Ben the PC Guy, a few bits of news for Windows Phone developers and a few tidbits on LightSwitch and Convergence 2011, among others. Happy reading…

    PC personalization on a whole new level. Want to personalize your laptop beyond desktop backgrounds and screensavers? Ben “the PC Guy” Randolph highlights the new line of Dell Inspiron R with SWITCH by Design Studio laptops on the Windows Experience Blog. “What’s really amazing is the new switchable lid option which gives the SWITCH lineup its name. Just pop off the lid whenever you feel like a change and swap it out with one of 25 eye-catching colors and designs,” Rudolph reports. Also, check out this new video of Rudolph giving his first impressions of the new Samsung 900x.

  • Private Cloud Computing: It’s All About the Apps

    This is a big week for Microsoft and many of our enterprise IT customers. We’re hosting the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) in Las Vegas, a sold-out IT conference where I have the honor of delivering two keynote addresses to approximately 4,000 attendees.

    The theme of MMS is “You. Empowered,” which is particularly relevant to cloud computing – especially private cloud computing. In this new computing paradigm, we see the ability for IT organizations to empower their companies to more effectively deliver the business applications they need to compete and succeed.

  • Microsoft: Springing Forward

    A week ago, we moved our clocks forward here in the U.S., following our “spring forward/fall back” mantra of daylight saving time. We lost an hour, which always makes me grumpy, but it also means spring is near, with longer and brighter days ahead. This is the time of year at Microsoft where we kick into high gear for our next fiscal year planning, which means equal amounts looking back at what’s happened and planning what’s to come. And wow…the past few months have been incredibly productive, and the months ahead look pretty interesting as well. Here’s a quick summary on this first day of spring:

  • Weekend Reading: March 18th Edition – 2.3M downloads of IE9, Windows Phone Apps hit 10,000 and Microsoft Makes the 110 Most Ethical Companies List

    The launch of Internet Explorer 9 may have been the biggest news out of Microsoft this week, but I’ve unearthed a long list of interesting nuggets below, including the news that the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 10,000 apps.
     
    More than 2M IE9 downloads in 24 hours – I think they like it. Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded 2.35 million times in the 24 hours following its March 14th release to the public. As blogger Ryan Gavin reported on the Exploring IE Blog, that’s “over 27 downloads every second, or over 240 downloads every 9 seconds. Wow.” Check out this PC Magazine review of IE9, which gave the new Web browser four out of five stars, and it’s easy to see why so many people downloaded it within hours of public availability.
     
    Windows Phone Marketplace hits 10,000 apps. The torrid pace of Windows Phone app creation continues with the Marketplace now over the 10,000 mark. In his March 15th edition of Pinworthy on the Windows Phone Blog, Michael Stroh notes the milestone and gives readers his latest recommendations on the newest can’t-live-without-‘em apps. Also, check out this story by Geekwire Seattle Editor John Cook about the new MSN Onit app, an app “just for the dudes.”

  • Taking Down Botnets: Microsoft and the Rustock Botnet

    Just over a year ago, we announced that the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), in cooperation with industry and academic experts, had successfully taken down the botnet Waledac in an operation known as “Operation b49”. Today, I’m happy to announce that based on the knowledge gained in that effort, we have successfully taken down a larger, more notorious and complex botnet known as Rustock. This botnet is estimated to have approximately a million infected computers operating under its control and has been known to be capable of sending billions of spam mails every day, including fake U.S. lottery scams and offers for fake – and potentially dangerous – prescription drugs.

  • Lessons from SXSW – Proactive Support Goes Well Beyond Social Media

    I had the chance to tackle the topic of proactive customer support during a panel at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference this week in Austin, Texas with some pretty heavy hitters - Jon Swartz (USA Today tech reporter), Kimarie Matthews (vice president of social Web for Wells Fargo) and Bruce Temkin (customer experience transformist at Temkin Group). It was far more than your typical panel discussion.

    In fact, I left there with some perspectives that have me excited to explore new ways for Microsoft to more deeply engage with our customers and their needs. (Make sure to check back here soon to hear our spirited discussion when we post a link to the entire panel discussion.)

  • The Midweek Download: March 16th Edition – Ben the PC Guy reviews the Dell Vostro v130 and two wicked cool videos from Corning and Silverlight

    Hopefully, the news regarding the launch of Internet Explorer 9 hasn’t satisfied your thirst for technology stories coming out of Microsoft this week, because plenty of other stuff happened at the company.

    Without further ado, here is the latest edition of the Midweek Download:

    New content series for Windows Phone developers. The Windows Phone Developer Blog has launched a new series of posts for Web developers targeting the Windows Phone 7 platform. In the first installment, blogger Jorge Peraza, a program manager on the Windows Phone Browser Team, writes about managing the Windows Phone browser viewport.

  • Explore the Beauty of the Web with Internet Explorer 9

    Microsoft launched the latest version of its immensely popular Internet Explorer Web browser at 9 p.m. PT on Monday. The launch was announced at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas.

    Internet Explorer 9 is now available for download at Beauty of the Web and promises a host of new features, including Pinned Sites and Jump List, which enable people to put their websites directly on the Windows 7 Taskbar, as though they were native applications, and then to quickly and easily perform tasks related to those websites, such as check their inboxes, change the music station, accept friend invitations or see breaking news.

  • Microsoft Supports Relief Efforts in Japan

    We have all been shocked and saddened by the images and reports coming from Japan.

    It is a human tragedy on a massive scale.

    To help support ongoing relief efforts, Microsoft is making an initial commitment of $2 million, which includes $250,000 in cash as well as in-kind contributions such as software.

  • Microsoft Moves to Lend Aid to Japan after Quake

    It is with great concern we are seeing the images from Japan. 

    The scene of the devastation is quite amazing. It will be a while for all of us to get a full sense of the disaster and its impact.

    Our team in Japan was in fact hosting a conversation with 30 NGO representatives from our Community Technology Skills Program partner the National Council of Women who were in the building for a training event. Some of the representatives are from across Japan including some of the worst hit areas of the disaster. This was their annual review of the program. The Japan team has been working hard to supply food, drinks and blankets to all those remaining in the building.

  • Weekend Reading: March 11th Edition – Xbox 360 & Kinect Kick You Know What, a little March Madness and the Beauty of the Web

    Next week marks the start of March Madness, that time of year when productivity falls through the floor as people are glued to the television and Internet to see how their favorite teams are doing. Microsoft has a few offerings to keep college hoops fanatics satisfied – check ‘em out below.

    Meanwhile, here’s the latest roundup of all the stories you may have missed while you were filling out your NCAA brackets:

    Half a million Xbox 360s, give or take. Kinect hits 10 million. February was a blowout month for the Xbox 360 and the Kinect. Microsoft sold 535,000 consoles last month, according to NPD Group, an independent market research firm. That makes February the best non-holiday month ever for the Xbox 360. Oh, and not that we’re bragging or anything, but apparently the Guinness Book of World Records has noted that the 10 million Kinects sold since launch last holiday season is a new world record in the consumer electronics industry. Not that we’re bragging…

  • The Midweek Download: March 9th Edition: Internet Explorer, Women's History, Hackathons and Patent Reform

    Moving on ! With Internet Explorer 9 at the release candidate stage and ready for release to manufacturing, it's a perfect time to commit to get rid of Internet Explorer 6. Internet Explorer 6 is now ten years old and the Internet Explorer team has created...
  • Steve Ballmer Helps Open Philadelphia Microsoft Technology Center

    Earlier today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer joined with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to officially open the Philadelphia Microsoft Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility designed to help companies throughout the mid-Atlantic region improve...
  • Cloud Computing Discussion in Italy

    Microsoft Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner, visited with customers, partners and media in Milan today, to discuss how businesses can benefit from Microsoft’s cloud computing technologies. Joining Turner in the conversation were CIOs from two...
  • Small r, Big D: Microsoft Research TechFest Demonstrates the Future

    We get a lot of questions about what Microsoft does with the more than $9 billion we invest in R&D every year. There’s a lot of research for sure, but most of that investment goes toward development. With 850 Ph.D.-level researchers in Microsoft...
  • Weekend Reading: March 4th Edition. Bing, Bing, the Cloud and Imagine Cup

    Here at Microsoft we definitely do not have tiger blood and Adonis DNA. Instead we aspire to technology blood and innovation DNA. More seriously, if you need a break from celebrity and want a dose of something a little more solid, here is what happened...
  • Imagine Changing the World

    That’s the challenge facing hundreds of thousands of students from all over the globe who are entering the Imagine Cup competition. Open to students worldwide, the Microsoft’s Imagine Cup challenges them to solve real problems that face the...
  • The Midweek Download: March 2nd Edition – Dev Unplugged, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure

    Microsoft announced a bevy of developer-related news this week around Internet Explorer 9, HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure.

    Read on!

    Developers – start your engines! Microsoft announced on March 1st the launch of Dev Unplugged, a contest that challenges web developers to push the limits of a modern browser without the use of plug-ins. “We believe that HTML5 and related technologies, in conjunction with faster and faster browsers, finally give developers the tools they need to create experiences that are as vivid, interactive and compelling as anything you have seen in native applications,” writes Exploring IR blogger Carter Rabasa. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column.

  • Bing Goes Live in France

    Microsoft announced today that Bing is now live in France.

    It’s been a busy year for Bing, which has grown its U.S. search share by 5.6 points – nearly 80 percent growth – since the search engine’s launch in June 2009.

  • President of Microsoft International Pushes Cloud Computing Benefits at CeBIT

    Earlier today, Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, gave a speech regarding the economic benefits of cloud computing at the 2011 CeBit trade show in Hanover, Germany.

    Below are some excerpts from Courtois’ speech. A link to the full speech will be available after the event on the Microsoft News Center.

    On how cloud computing drives national competitiveness: On a grander scale, we believe that the cloud represents an opportunity to drive national competitiveness.