The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

April, 2011

  • 'Amazing Experiences': Kinect for Xbox 360 Moves to Windows with upcoming SDK

    Kinect for Xbox 360 was launched in November 2010. In a few short months, it has become the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history . The device has captured the hearts and minds of millions. It has also sparked the imagination of creators...
  • Xbox 360 still the No. 1 console in the U.S.

    Xbox 360 was the highest-selling video game console in March, according to NPD Group, an independent market research firm. Xbox 360 has been the number one selling console in the United States for nine out of the last 10 months.

    Xbox 360’s success last month and over the last several months was driven by strong console and software sales, as well as ongoing consumer demand for Kinect, the fastest selling consumer electronics device, according to Guinness World Records.

  • One Step Closer to the First Nokia Device built on Windows Phone

    After 10 weeks of intense collaboration, we are pleased to report that Nokia and Microsoft have signed the definitive agreement for our strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem that is unlike any other. It’s a bold claim. But collectively we’ve moved from intent to agreement in such a short period. Actually, it’s even faster than we expected which makes this a perfect example of our commitment to our partnership and the speed at which we plan to move together.

    As a result of our negotiations and discussions, we’ve aligned our teams and assets, and clearly see the potential to change the way people use their mobile devices for the better. Hundreds of our team members are already working together toward a multi-year product roadmap and are on-schedule to deliver volume shipments in 2012 although the pressure is on for first delivery in 2011. In the coming years we will aggressively work to take Nokia products using Windows Phone to new geographies, at new price points and sharing new experiences for customers around the world to enjoy.

  • Weekend Reading: April 29th Edition – Hulu Plus goes live on Xbox and IE9’s malware protection gets praise from ZDNet

    MSN’s five-day forecast gives Redmond a glimmer of sunshine, but if the sun fails to make an appearance, here is a little Weekend Reading to fill up the time.

    Hulu Plus goes live on Xbox Live. Hulu Plus is now available on Xbox Live. The online video service will be available to all Xbox Live members (Free or Gold) from today until May 6th, so be sure to try it out. Read this post on Major Nelson’s blog for more information.

    IE9 versus Chrome: which one blocks malware better? In this April 25th story, ZDNet writer Ed Bott compares the way IE9 and Google’s Chrome Web browser handle a “widespread and extremely persistent” form of malware.

  • Weekend Reading: April 8th Edition – Gartner predicts Windows Phone will overtake iPhone by 2015

    Lots of great Microsoft news from all across the company this week, including yet another prediction from an independent research firm that Windows Phone will continue to grab a bigger piece of the worldwide market for smartphones. Also, Microsoft announced a new deal with Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and the Digital Crimes Unit gave an update on the Rustock botnet takedown.

    Gartner: Windows Phone will overtake iPhone by 2015. Independent technology research firm Gartner predicted in a new report Thursday that the Windows Phone platform will control 19.5 percent of the worldwide smartphone market by 2015, overtaking Apple’s iPhone. According to Gartner, Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia will drive wider adoption of a variety of Windows Phone models over the next several years. Gartner isn’t the only independent market research firm predicting higher market share for Windows Phone. In late March, IDC predicted that Windows Phone will vault into the number two spot worldwide by 2015 with nearly 21 percent of the market.

  • The Midweek Download: April 13th Edition – Get a glimpse of Internet Explorer 10 and the new Windows Phone dev tools at MIX

    Microsoft is making big news at the MIX 2011 Web developers show in Las Vegas this week. On Monday, the company gave developers their first glimpse of Internet Explorer 10 as well as a new set of developers’ tools for the Windows Phone platform.

    Raising the curtains on IE10. Just four weeks after the release of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at MIX11. In his keynote, Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, outlined how the next version of Microsoft’s industry-leading Web browser builds on the performance breakthroughs and the deep native HTML5 support delivered in Internet Explorer 9. Read this press release and watch this video demo of the IE10 platform preview on the Microsoft News Center for more detail. If that isn’t enough for you, read this post on the Exploring IE Blog.

  • The Midweek Download: April 20th Edition – Office 365 public beta released and Microsoft’s quest for greener data centers

    This week’s Midweek Download covers the release of the Office 365 public beta, Microsoft’s efforts toward creating a greener data center and a few other news tidbits.

    Office 365 hits public beta. Microsoft announced Sunday that the public beta of Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes, is now available. Office 365 was recently introduced in limited beta, bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public beta allows millions of people in more countries and more languages — a total of 38 markets and 17 languages in all — to try Office 365 for the first time. For more detail on Office 365, check out this post on the Microsoft Office Blog and this post on the Windows Live Blog.

    The quest for a greener data center. In this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, Christian Belady, general manager of Microsoft’s Datacenter Advanced Development, talks about his quest for a greener data center. “My goal in life is to make the datacenter disappear,” he said.

  • Weekend Reading: April 22nd Edition – Microsoft & Nokia finalize a mobile partnership and Bing helps you sift through those daily deals

    Lots of news coming out of Microsoft this week, including the signing of the Microsoft-Nokia deal first announced on Feb. 11th and a new feature in the fast-growing Bing search engine designed to help people sift through and find the best daily deals available.

    Microsoft and Nokia cement new partnership. Microsoft and Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia announced on Thursday the signing of a definitive agreement on a partnership that will result in a new global mobile ecosystem, utilizing the very complementary assets of both companies. Completed ahead of schedule, the definitive agreement is consistent with the joint announcement made on February 11. For more detail, read this post on the Official Microsoft Blog and watch this video with Waldemar Sakalus from Nokia and Matt Bencke from Microsoft.

    Find the right daily deals with Bing. Groupon. LivingSocial. Tippr. With all these daily deal sites, it’s hard for people to keep up. Never fear, Bing is here! Bing now provides a service that makes it easier to make local deal decisions, helping people to save time and money.

  • The Midweek Download: April 27th Edition – A glimpse at the Kinect for Windows SDK and 10 tips on moving from XP to Windows 7

    Microsoft made big news this week when it showed off a glimpse of the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). Also new this past week – how to kick that pesky Windows XP habit and a cool behind-the-scenes story on the Kinect’s audio capabilities.

    The power and potential of Kinect. Later this spring, Microsoft will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) from Microsoft Research to encourage the freedom to dream and create amazing experiences with natural user interfaces (NUI). We believe the combined creativity of Microsoft and the academic research and enthusiast communities will lead to new experiences that will transform our relationship with computers. At MIX11, an annual developer conference hosted by Microsoft, the power and potential of Kinect was center stage.

    Being productive at work with Windows 7. In this April 25th post on the Windows Experience Blog, blogger Brandon LeBlanc gives readers five videos that demo some of the features in Windows 7 designed to make you more productive at work. Check them out.

  • Students Seek to Change the World with Technology at Imagine Cup 2011

    Some of America’s top young minds are tackling the world’s most pressing problems through the use of technology at this year’s Imagine Cup.

    The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition that challenges students to build life-changing projects that can ultimately transform the world. Microsoft created the competition nine years ago as a way to highlight and recognize student innovation around the globe, as well as inspire more young minds to study technology.

  • Microsoft CIO Tony Scott: How to avoid “cloud paralysis”

    I spend about one-third of my time speaking to chief information officers from a variety of industries and regions of the world on a myriad of issues, but the topic they most often want to discuss is cloud computing. On Monday, I had the privilege to attend a Forbes and Microsoft CIO network event in New York and, along with Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, offered some advice to CIOs on how to avoid what I’ll call ‘cloud paralysis’ and start realizing the benefits of this technology opportunity.

    CIOs have heard about cloud computing and know the benefits, yet they remain uncertain on how and where to begin to bring their business into the cloud. As Microsoft CIO, my top priority is to transform our IT organization to meet the company’s ever-evolving business and technical needs. This vision brings agility to our IT services while lowering the cost structure of delivering IT services to the more than 150,000 people our organization serves each day around the world. Cloud computing is one of the most important tools on this journey.

  • The Midweek Download: April 6th Edition – Silverlight 5 beta to debut at MIX and a few Windows Phone numbers that matter

    This week for the Midweek Download, we’ve got news about a Silverlight 5 beta that will be unveiled at MIX 2011, a few bits and pieces on progress in Windows Phone and a great speech from Bing chief Qi Lu.

    Silverlight 5 beta in the MIX. The Silverlight team announced via a blog post on Monday that it will introduce a beta version of Silverlight 5 – complete with demos – at the MIX show in Las Vegas. MIX runs from April 12 to April 14. The team also fleshed out its thoughts on the future of both Silverlight and HTML5. Check it out.

    One year in: A few numbers for Windows Phone developers. It was around this time at MIX 2010 that Microsoft unveiled the application platform and tools developers would use to create compelling Windows Phone 7 apps.

  • Weekend Reading: April 1st Edition – ESPN ScoreCenter goes live on Windows Phone and Hotmail goes interactive with NetFlix and LinkedIn

    This week at Microsoft, the Windows Phone team announced the availability of the ESPN ScoreCenter app for sports fans just in time for the return of the boys of summer. Also this week, Microsoft held the Imagine 2011 advertising summit and introduced a bevy of new features for Hotmail.

    ESPN ScoreCenter app comes to Windows Phone. Sports fans, your time has come! The highly anticipated ESPN ScoreCenter app is now available on Windows Phone. Windows Phone Blog writer Michael Stroh reports, “The app offers scores and news for hundreds of sports leagues around the world, so you’ll never miss another goal, pitch, basket, try, touchdown, or wicket. It also boasts one of the slickest designs of any Windows Phone app to date.”

  • Weekend Reading: April 15th Edition – Kinect for Windows SDK unveiled at MIX and Xbox 360 stays in the pole position

    Microsoft made lots of news at the MIX 2011 show in Las Vegas this week, including announcements regarding the Kinect for Windows beta SDK, the next version of Windows Phone – codenamed Mango – and a mind-bending prototype that combines the Kinect and WorldWide Telescope technologies.

    Kinect for Windows beta SDK. Yet another big piece of news out of MIX was the introduction of more details on the Kinect for Windows beta Software Development Kit. Some of the SDK’s features – due out later this spring – include Robust Skeletal Tracking for high-performance capabilities that track the skeleton image of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view and XYZ depth camera for standard color camera stream access and depth data that indicates the distance of the object from the Kinect camera. Read this press release on the Microsoft News Center and this post on the Next at Microsoft Blog for more details.

    Xbox 360 is still No. 1! Just in case you missed the news Thursday, Xbox 360 remains the top-selling video-game console in the United States, according to NPD Group, an independent market research firm.

  • Meet Microsoft’s Next Generation of Innovators

    From creating an online platform through Azure that helps ease the devastation caused by floods in Australia, to using Windows Live to create a band, to helping develop the next generation of teachers in the Middle East, to charting the future of advertising across multiple screens, people are doing amazing things with Microsoft technology.

    Microsoft Next is an internal competition created to showcase how Microsoft people and technology are helping individuals and communities around the world and to offer the creators a chance to showcase their projects on a global scale.

  • U.S. Imagine Cup 2011 Finalists Revealed

    Four students from Arizona State University were named the Imagine Cup U.S. winners in the Software Design category on Monday and will go on to the Imagine Cup 2011 worldwide finals in New York City this coming summer, competing against student teams from more than 70 countries and regions around the world.

    The students - Michael Astrauskas, David Hayden, Shashank Srinivas and Qian Yan – won with a project that enables low-vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed, portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC and Microsoft OneNote.

  • Microsoft Announces Record Third-Quarter Results

    Today, Microsoft announced record third-quarter revenue of $16.43 billion for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 2011, a 13 percent increase over the same period of the previous year.

    Earnings per share were $0.61 per share, including a $0.05 tax benefit primarily related to a partial settlement of an IRS audit of tax years 2004 to 2006.

    Other highlights from the third quarter include:

    • Twenty-one percent year-over-year revenue growth in the Microsoft Business Division, driven by the ongoing momentum of Office 2010, as well as double-digit growth in SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Dynamics.

  • Microsoft and Toyota Partner on Ultimate ‘Mobile Device,’ Forge Cloud Alliance on Telematics

    Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. today announced they have forged a partnership to build a global cloud platform to support telematics in Toyota hybrids and plug-in vehicles, starting in 2012. As the car increasingly becomes the ultimate “mobile device” for consumers, telematics technologies can allow drivers to start their cars remotely, turn on their AC from a cell phone, check systems within the car and much more.