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:

Last week, the Windows team launched Internet Explorer 9, and the response has been overwhelming. Reviewers have called it the most modern browser, the leading browser for privacy, fast and user friendly and even “pretty.” And who doesn’t want to be pretty? :) More importantly, IE9 drew 2.35 million downloads in the first 24 hours -- and that was after beta and release candidate versions drew more than 40 million downloads.

Also in March, we landed in the Guinness Book of World Records when Kinect for Xbox 360 was named the “Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.” In its first 60 days, 8 million Kinects were sold, helping Xbox have its biggest year ever. Kinect has also sparked an enthusiastic community of developers and researchers, and Microsoft Research is addressing that enthusiasm with a non-commercial software development kit (SDK) for Kinect that we’ll deliver later this spring.

Kinect is just the first incarnation of the next big thing in computing -- natural user interface technologies that will change the way people use computers and what they can do in the future. It’s a key concept we are pursuing through our research and development investments. Over the past two months, we’ve shown the world a few glimpses of what’s next in tech at TechForum and TechFest. And we were honored to be named the #1 most innovative company in the tech industry by TheStreet.com.

In February, we announced a strategic partnership with Nokia to create a new global mobile ecosystem. As Stephen Elop, Nokia’s president and CEO, said at the time, the smartphone market is now a “three horse race.” Engineers at both companies are hard at work on creating new products, and in the meantime we continue to make progress with Windows Phone 7. And we continue to see strong developer momentum, with more than 10,000 apps now available, an average of 100 new apps every day, and a growing recognition of the unique benefits the Windows Phone platform offers developers.

Bing continued to make steady progress over the past few months. The most recent monthly comScore numbers show Bing growing to 13.6 percent from 13.1 percent of U.S. searches, while Google dropped to 65.4 percent from 65.6 percent. We obviously have lots of road to make up, but my favorite search statistic of recent note: According to the analytics firm Hitwise, only 66 percent of Google searches are deemed successful (meaning the user stays at the first site they click on), compared to 82 percent of Bing searches.

This progress comes as we continue to post strong financial results. One of the brightest areas of our most recent financial report was the 24 percent year-over-year growth of our Microsoft Business Division, which includes Office and Dynamics. Office 2010 is the fastest-selling consumer version of Office in history, with license sales up 50 percent over Office 2007 for the equivalent period following launch. Apparently, all those customers didn’t get the message that they’re supposed to have “gone Google”! :)

We started the year at CES, where we showed a glimpse of what we’re working on for next generations of products and services, including how Windows will run on system on a chip (SOC) architectures, as well as many interesting new PCs and form factors.

While we’re passionate about our products and technology at Microsoft, we’re equally passionate about our role in communities worldwide. I’m proud that Microsoft has already pledged $2 million in cash, software and technical support to assist the people of Japan in the wake of the tragic earthquake and tsunami. I’m also proud of our recent work in taking down the Rustock botnet that was capable of sending 30 BILLION spam emails each day. And we’re honored to have been listed among the most ethical and most admired companies by respected outlets.

Great progress. Great results. And the next 3 months look just as busy…this week, we’re hosting a record number of IT professionals at our Microsoft Management Summit, coming to hear more about the tools and technologies which will help them adopt private cloud technologies. In April, we’ll be hosting MIX, where Web developers and designers will learn more about our vision for smart devices connected to services in the cloud. In May, it’s TechEd, where developers and IT alike will learn more about our end-to-end private and public cloud strategy. And in June we’ll be returning to E3, where we’ll be showing more of our vision for gaming and entertainment. And I bet we’ll have a few interesting surprises along the way…as we generally do.

For me, one of the best parts of working at Microsoft is the chance to engage with passionate, committed employees who are joined in a common belief – the idea that technology can improve the lives of billions of people around the world, and that we’ve really only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

And as for that hour I lost to daylight saving time? I bet I’ve already gotten it back, just by using IE9 and Lync this week. ;)

fxs

Posted By Frank Shaw
Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, Microsoft