In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Office 365, SkyDrive, Microsoft Research, Internet Explorer 10 and Silverlight 5. Check ‘em out!

Office 365 gets a major update. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the first major service update for Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes. The service will also be available to try in 22 additional markets today, including Argentina, Iceland, Indonesia, South Africa and Taiwan. Microsoft is also making more than 30 new updates to Office 365 to enhance collaboration and communication, and for SkyDrive, adding simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management and easier uploads with HTML5 based largely on customer feedback. For the rest of this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

New release of SkyDrive now available. Also on Tuesday, Microsoft released an updated version of SkyDrive, featuring a long list of improvements to the cloud service. Some of those new features include app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management, HTML5 uploads and others. For more on this story, read this post on the Inside Windows Live Blog, which has a short video that shows off some of SkyDrive’s new capabilities.

Just Press Play - Microsoft and Rochester Institute of Technology. Interesting news from our Microsoft Research Connections (MSRC) team on a project with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Just Press Play explores the potential to weave gameplay in to academia and social activities. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton has more on Just Press Play in this Tuesday post, which also features a short video introducing the project. Don’t miss it.

Microsoft and AgreeYa Mobility announce protocol licensing agreement. At a joint customer and partner forum Tuesday in Beijing, Microsoft and AgreeYa Mobility announced a protocol licensing agreement that allows AgreeYa Mobility solutions to interoperate with select Microsoft enterprise applications and services. This licensing agreement will enable AgreeYa Mobility to create solutions for non-Microsoft mobile platforms (including iOS, Android, RIM and WebOS) that connect with Microsoft enterprise back-end systems. The goal of the agreement is to expand the reach of Microsoft’s enterprise applications and cloud services across a broad range of heterogeneous mobile devices and tablets. Want more detail? Read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

HTML5 for applications: the fourth IE10 platform preview. An updated platform preview of IE10 for the Windows Developer Preview is now available for download. This IE10 preview adds even more support for HTML5 technologies, enabling richer Web applications with significantly improved performance. IE10’s hardware acceleration of technologies like SVG, CSS3 transforms and animations delivers faster rendering than other browsers. With this fourth Platform Preview, developers can start working with more site-ready HTML5 technologies. You can read the full list here in the IE10 developer guide. Read this Tuesday post on the IEBlog, which features a 3-minute video, for the rest of this story.

Ten laps around Silverlight 5. Earlier this month, the Silverlight team started a 10-part series for developers that explores some of the new features and capabilities in Silverlight 5. Well, the series has almost run its course, so developers interested in learning more about the next version of Silverlight should check it out. Read this Nov. 25th post on the Silverlight Blog to see part seven of the series.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog