The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

September, 2011

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 30th Edition–Windows Phone 7.5 Starts Rolling Out, Microsoft & Samsung Broaden Their Smartphone Partnership and Office Web Apps Launches New Features

    The big news this week out of Microsoft was the start of the roll out of Windows Phone 7.5. However, the company also made significant announcements focused on a new, broader smartphone partnership with Samsung and the release of new features for Office Web Apps. Oh, yeah – Gears of War 3 is also the biggest game of the year after a blockbuster first week with gamers.

    Windows Phone 7.5 now coming to you. Yes, it’s true. The highly anticipated Windows Phone 7.5 is now rolling out. The first major release since Windows Phone 7 launched less than a year ago, the 7.5 release offers hundreds of new features and experiences designed to build on the phone’s intuitive, “people-first” foundation – multitasking, more integrated apps, primo mobile Web browsing, and powerful and personalized tools, like integrated social networking and conversation threads, for connecting with the people in our lives. For more on who will get the update first, how to install it and more, read this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Blog. If you’re looking for some reactions to Windows 7.5, check out this Windows Phone Blog post, which features reactions from Engadget, CNET and assorted other technology press. Also, check out this rundown of five pinworthy Windows 7.5 apps, including eBay, Open Table and more. Below is a screenshot of the ZTE Tania, a Windows Phone 7.5 device that will be available in several European countries later this year:

  • DON’T Turn Back the Clock: Microsoft Provides Resources for Change in Daylight Saving Time in Russia

    Last week, we presented our first public webcast on Microsoft’s activities related to the end of daylight saving time in the Russian Federation, a change we noted earlier this year. For our customers and partners worldwide, this means there are some things to be aware of, and in some cases, work to do to prepare for this change.

    First, a little history: this summer, the Russian government adopted a new law to cancel daylight saving time (DST) in the country. This means that Russia will not “fall back” to the previous Russian Standard Time zones this fall. People in the country will leave their clocks on “Summer Time” (as it’s known in the region) and no longer have to make the twice-a-year changes to their clocks in the future. Such a change requires various adjustments. While the elimination of DST directly affects those living in Russia, given the size and impact of the Russian market, the ramifications are global. At Microsoft, we’re stepping up work with our customers and partners to address the impact on users’ computers and servers.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 28th Edition–Microsoft Research Turns the Big 2-0 plus Windows 8, Windows Phone, Metro Design Style & Internet Explorer

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Research, how Nokia developers can learn Windows Phone even faster and a look at another feature of Windows 8.

    The magic behind the curtain: celebrating MSR’s 20th anniversary. September 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of MSR. To celebrate the occasion, MSR is hosting a day of conversations at many Microsoft research labs around the globe to discuss the key technology trends—like natural user interface, “big data,” and machine learning—that are transforming the way people use computers and what they can do for us. Want to know more? Check out this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

    Signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID. “With Windows 8, we introduce the optional capability to sign in to your PC with a Windows Live ID and, by doing so, gaining the ability to roam a broad range of settings across all of your PCs,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division on Building Windows 8. In this Monday post on Building Windows 8 by Katie Frigon, the group program manager of the You-Centered Experience team, describes the feature and its benefits. Don’t miss it.

  • Microsoft Neutralizes Kelihos Botnet, Names Defendant in Case

    Building on the recent successes of the Rustock and Waledac botnet takedowns, I’m pleased to announce that Microsoft has taken down the Kelihos botnet in an operation codenamed “Operation b79” using similar legal and technical measures that resulted in our previous successful botnet takedowns.

    Kelihos, also known by some as “Waledac 2.0” given its suspected ties to the first botnet Microsoft took down, is not as massive as the Rustock spambot. However, this takedown represents a significant advance in Microsoft’s fight against botnets nonetheless. This takedown will be the first time Microsoft has named a defendant in one of its civil cases involving a botnet and as of approximately 8:15 a.m. Central Europe time on Sept. 26th, the defendants were personally notified of the action.

    The Kelihos takedown is intended to send a strong message to those behind botnets that it’s unwise for them to simply try to update their code and rebuild a botnet once we’ve dismantled it. When Microsoft takes a botnet down, we intend to keep it down – and we will continue to take action to protect our customers and platforms and hold botherders accountable for their actions.

  • The Magic Behind the Curtain: Celebrating Microsoft Research’s 20th Anniversary

    September 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Research (MSR). To celebrate the occasion, MSR is hosting a day of conversations at many Microsoft research labs around the globe to discuss the key technology trends—like natural user interface, “big data,” and machine learning—that are transforming the way people use computers and what they can do for us.

    What better time, then, to pause, reflect on and celebrate the role of MSR at Microsoft, the impact of their work inside and outside the company, and what the future may hold.

    Spurred by Bill Gates’ vision that someday computers will see, listen, speak and learn, Bill, Rick Rashid and Nathan Myhrvold created MSR in 1991 with a mission to advance the state of the art in computing through a combination of basic and applied research. That mission hasn’t changed, but the organization has blossomed to 12 facilities around the world (including Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, U.K.; Beijing; Mountain View, Calif.; Aachen, Germany; Bangalore; Cairo and Cambridge, Mass.), currently supporting more than 850 researchers in over 60 fields of research.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 23rd Edition–Bing Celebrates Fall, Rethinking the Windows Boot Experience and “Gears of War 3” Launches, plus the Rustock Botnet, Windows Live and Windows Phone

    This edition of Weekend Reading is chock full of Microsoft news, including stories on the introduction of video on the Bing home page, re-engineering the boot experience on Windows 8 and the highly anticipated release of “Gears of War 3” for the Xbox 360.

    Bing home page springs to life with fall video. Bing is celebrating the first day of fall with a first for its users: an autumn-hued video on its home page. Visitors to the Bing home page today will be greeted by a time lapse video of the sun slowly rising over fall foliage. The video – visible to people using an HTML5-enabled browser – is the first to appear on the Bing home page, where eye-grabbing images have become an iconic part of the search engine’s brand. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center to see the video and learn more.

    ‘Gears of War 3’ is an action-packed father and son story. “Gears of War 3,” the dramatic, action-packed, much-anticipated conclusion to the blockbuster Xbox 360 trilogy, is now available. Here’s what fans of the series need to know: the final installment of “Gears of War 3” opens quite some time after the conclusion of “Gears of War 2,” and life on the fictional planet Sera is hanging by a thread. Society has all but collapsed, and the troops of Delta Squad are in a desperate fight to save what’s left of humanity from an unyielding subterranean enemy, the Locust Horde. Want to know more? Read this feature story, which features a cool slideshow, on the Microsoft News Center. Below is a screenshot from the game:

    Gears of War

  • Rustock Civil Case Closed: Microsoft Refers Criminal Evidence to FBI

    Six months after I first wrote about how the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Malware Protection Center, Trustworthy Computing and our partners shut down the Rustock botnet, I am pleased to report that we have successfully concluded our civil case against the Rustock botnet operators. We’re now referring the matter, and the discovery gathered during our civil case, to the FBI for criminal review.

    As you may have read in this morning’s edition of CNET, on Sept. 13th, Judge James L. Robart, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that the domain names and Internet protocol addresses used to host the botnet would be effectively removed from the defendants’ control. This case not only enabled the take down of a botnet known to be one of the single largest sources of spam on the Internet, but it is now helping to ensure that this botnet will never be used for cybercrime again. However, we’re not stopping here.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 21st Edition–A Look Back at BUILD, How to Submit Windows Phone Apps and “Metro” Style in Internet Explorer 10

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got a look back at last week’s BUILD conference as well as stories about Windows Phone and Internet Explorer. Check ‘em out.

    Looking back at BUILD. If you’re a developer, you’ve probably heard about this little conference we had last week in Anaheim, Calif. called BUILD. It was a pretty big deal. We unveiled developer previews of Windows 8, Windows Server 8 and Visual Studio 2011 and gave away prototype Samsung PCs featuring the developer preview version of Windows 8, among other things. However, just in case you missed any of the news that came out of BUILD, check out this Tuesday post on the Next at Microsoft Blog, which features a five and a half minute video montage of the keynote highlights from the conference. If that isn’t enough for you, read this Sept. 13th post on Blogging Windows, which also has a three and a half minute video featuring interviews with engineers from the Windows team. Finally, don’t forget to vote in this Official Microsoft Blog poll asking what excited you most about BUILD.

    Developers: Submit your Windows Phone 7.5 apps now, update WP7 apps in October. Last month, the Windows Phone team noted that once you publish the 7.5 version of an application, you will no longer be able to modify the existing 7.0 version. We also acknowledged that some might find this limiting, as several of you have since confirmed. We heard you, and are happy to report that, by the end of October, we will enable functionality in App Hub that will allow you to publish updates to both the 7.0 and 7.5 versions of your apps.

  • Poll: What Excited You Most About BUILD?

    Last week, Microsoft made a series of announcements at the BUILD developer conference in Anaheim, Calif., including developer previews of the next version of the Windows operating system – codenamed Windows 8, as well as Visual Studio 11 and Windows Server 8.

    As Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, put it, “We reimagined Windows. From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise.”

    As you can probably see, we think the news we announced last week is a pretty big deal. That said, we’d really like to get YOUR thoughts on BUILD and what YOU thought was a big deal. That’s what the poll below is for.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 16th Edition–A Quick BUILD Recap, Xbox LIVE Coming to Windows 8, AT&T Debuts a New Windows Phone Lineup and Bing Launches Adaptive Search

    News from the BUILD conference dominated news out of Microsoft this week, including a developer preview of the next version of the Windows operating system – codenamed Windows 8, Visual Studi0 11 and Windows Server 8. That said, Microsoft made plenty of news outside of BUILD this week too. Check out the collection of stories below on Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Bing.

    Yes, it’s true. Xbox LIVE is coming to Windows 8. In this Tuesday post, Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson confirmed the news that the hit online gaming service for the Xbox will indeed be coming to Windows 8. As Major Nelson reports, earlier this week at BUILD, Microsoft showed that it is easy for developers to create games for Windows 8 that take advantage of the power of Xbox LIVE. And in other Xbox news this week, several major announcements were made at the Tokyo Game Show, including updates on Forza Motorsport 4, Dance Central 2, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Gears of War 3 and many other titles. Below is a screenshot that shows Xbox LIVE on Windows 8:

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 14th Edition–Microsoft Shows Off Preview of Windows 8 to Developers at BUILD, plus Windows Phone, Internet Explorer and Windows Live

    Anyone who follows Microsoft knows that this week’s news is mostly focused on BUILD, a new event held in Anaheim, Calif. from Sept. 13th to Sept. 16th that outlines for developers Microsoft’s roadmap for the future. Read on for a round-up of all the news made at BUILD so far.

    Microsoft presents Windows 8 developer preview. At day one of the developer-focused BUILD conference on Tuesday, Microsoft showcased a detailed preview of the next major release of Windows, code-named “Windows 8.” The company also detailed new tools for developers to help write applications for more than 1 billion people around the world who use Windows every day. Read this press release, which features a six-image slide show of Windows 8 images, on the Microsoft News Center to get the full story. Not enough detail for you? Then check out this Tuesday post on Building Windows 8 from Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division and this feature story focused on how BUILD will outline new opportunities for developers.

  • BUILD: New Opportunities for Developers

    You may have heard that this week we’re holding an event for the developer community called BUILD. This is a big week for the company. We’re excited to talk with developers about the future of Windows and other products and tools we’re working on.

    We gave a sneak peek of the next generation of Windows - “Windows 8” - in June at the D9 conference, and this week we’ll be sharing more with developers about the direction we’re taking. We’ll provide more details about how developers can build exciting new apps on Windows with no compromises.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 9th Edition–Xbox 360 Stays No. 1 in the U.S., Microsoft Shows How Twitter Will Work in Windows Phone “Mango”, plus Lync for Mac and Hotmail

    This week’s edition of Weekend Reading has stories on Xbox 360; how Twitter will work in the next version of the Windows Phone mobile platform; two new surveys on science, technology, engineering and math education and more. Check ‘em out!

    Xbox 360 continues to rule the console market. Xbox 360 continued its lead over competing video-game consoles in August and has now sold more units in the U.S. than any other console for 14 of the past 15 months. For the latest numbers out of the NPD Group, an independent market research firm that tracks the video-game industry, read this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

    Microsoft offers tips to U.S. teens and parents on digital citizenship. A new Microsoft study shows that before posting personal information online, more than half of U.S. teens and parents don’t truly consider the potential consequences of their actions. Teens recognize the importance of limiting what they share online, yet they still reveal more personal data than their parents. Six in 10 teens also say they have “friends” in their social networks whom they’ve never met in person. For more on this story, read this Thursday post on the Microsoft on the Issues Blog.

  • Xbox 360 Continues its Reign as Top Console in the U.S.

    Xbox 360 continued its lead over competing video-game consoles in August and has now sold more units in the U.S. than any other console for 14 of the past 15 months.

    August 2011 highlights from the NPD Group, an independent market research firm that tracks the video-game industry, include:

    · Holding 43 percent share of the overall current-generation console market, Xbox 360 sold 308,000 units in August, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S. for 2011. This marks the sixth month Xbox 360 has had more than 40 percent of the current-generation console market share.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 7th Edition–Continuing the Windows 8 Discussion, Devs Get Windows Azure Toolkits for Android & Windows Phone, plus Windows Intune and IE9

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got the latest from Building Windows 8, plus stories on the Windows Azure toolkits for Android and Windows Phone and a new Windows Intune release coming in October. Check it out.

    Reviewing feedback on Building Windows 8. It’s been a few weeks now since the Building Windows 8 Blog went live. Last week, Steve Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, wrote part one of his reflections thus far on the conversation taking place on the blog. He followed it up with part two on Sept. 2nd, which covered the dialogue with regards to the ribbon in Windows Explorer, the new Metro style user interface and Windows Media Center availability. Don’t miss it.

    Microsoft Releases the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android. Last week, Microsoft released Windows Azure Toolkit for Android along with updated toolkits for Windows Phone and iOS platforms. Originally announced in May, the Android toolkit includes native libraries (for storage and authentication), a sample application, and unit tests. Read this Aug. 31st post on The Official Microsoft Blog to get the whole story.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 2nd Edition–Introducing Two New Windows Phones, More Windows 8 News and a Microsoft Researcher Recognized by MIT

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we bring you news of two new Windows Phone models from HTC, a story on the new Metro user interface in Windows 8 and a slew of other news bits from around the company.

    HTC unveils their new global lineup of Windows Phones. HTC just unveiled two new Windows Phones that will be landing in stores around the world later this year, running our latest version of Windows Phone. First up, the HTC TITAN features a big 4.7-inch screen with a slim 9.9mm brushed aluminum shell, and a front facing camera. It’s a great device for working or for playing. The second phone announced was the HTC Radar. The Radar also includes a front facing camera so you can video chat with your favorite people. Read this Thursday post on the Windows Phone Blog by Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows Phone program management, to get the rest of the story. Those are the two phones below – the TITAN on the left and the Radar on the right.

    HTC TITAN HTC Radar