The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

January, 2012

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 27th Edition–Bill Gates Says Youth Will Change the World & Other News from the World Economic Forum, plus the Kelihos Botnet, Hotmail, Windows Phone & Office 365

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got a blog post from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on opportunity for youth and other news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as well as stories on Data Privacy Day, the Kelihos botnet, Windows Phone and Office 365. Don’t miss any of them!

    Bill Gates says young people will change the world. At the World Economic Forum today, Bill Gates participated in a roundtable focused on opportunity for youth, a subject about which he is deeply passionate. To get the rest of this story, read today’s post from Bill on The Official Microsoft Blog. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith also participated in the roundtable, and you can read his thoughts on youth and the Opportunity Divide in this post on Microsoft on the Issues.

    Microsoft names new defendant in Kelihos case. In an amended complaint filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Microsoft alleged that Andrey N. Sabelnikov, a citizen of Russia, is responsible for the operations of the Kelihos botnet. For more detail, read this Monday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

  • Young People Will Change the World

    Editor’s Note: At the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates participated in a roundtable discussion on Opportunity for Youth. It’s a subject Bill is passionate about, because solving the world’s big problems will require energy and creativity of people of all ages, and from future generations. This post also appears on Bill’s personal blog, The Gates Notes.

    In my annual letter for 2012, I invited students globally to write their own annual letters about what we need to do to extend the progress the world has made in improving the lives of its poorest people over the past 50 years. I’ve received some innovative and inspiring letters, which I’ve featured on my website. All the insight and ideas these young people brought forward are amazing.

    I saw this same level of insight and creativity today at the World Economic Forum, when I sat down with young innovators and leaders, including students who’ve received Imagine Cup grants, to discuss how we can help their peers around the world achieve their dreams. Whether young people want to start a business or a nonprofit, or they want to be the first in their family to go to college, it’s critical to make sure they have what they need to succeed.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 25th Edition–Wireless Networking in Windows 8, People Week (v3) on Next, Developer Event News, plus Internet Explorer & Windows Azure

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got two new stories on Windows 8, some developer event news and People Week v3 on Next at Microsoft. Don’t miss ‘em!

    Two more from Building Windows 8. In this Jan. 20 post on Building Windows 8, the Windows team focuses on how it re-engineered the wireless networking stack in the next version of Windows to optimize it for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks. “We’ve done a ton of work to enable mobile broadband providers to make it easy for you to use 3G and 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi in Windows 8,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division. Also, check out this Tuesday post that looks at the details of supporting sensors in Windows 8.

    Thinking about developer events. At the beginning of each year, many of us assess how we (and our developer community) might want to invest our respective time and resources for the year ahead, and we’ve devoted some of that energy in the past few months toward thinking about the various developer conferences we host. As part of that reflection, we have decided to merge MIX, our spring web conference for developers and designers, into our next major developer conference, which we will host sometime in the coming year. For the rest of this story, read this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

  • Thinking About Developer Events

    At the beginning of each year, many of us assess how we (and our developer community) might want to invest our respective time and resources for the year ahead, and we’ve devoted some of that energy in the past few months toward thinking about the various developer conferences we host.

    As part of that reflection, we have decided to merge MIX, our spring web conference for developers and designers, into our next major developer conference, which we will host sometime in the coming year. I know a number of folks were wondering about MIX, given the time of year, so we wanted to make sure there’s no ambiguity, and be very clear… there will be no MIX 2012.

    For context, the idea to create MIX was conceived in the fall of 2005, literally as the PDC05 main stage was being disassembled after the final keynote. While we reflected on that PDC, there was a lot of discussion around our engagement with the web community, and how we needed a more focused effort around our upcoming plans for Internet Explorer, the roadmap for our web platform, the work we were starting on web standards (we were shipping IE6 at the time), and so on.

  • Microsoft & Data Privacy Day: Put Your Best Digital Foot Forward

    Jan. 28 is Data Privacy Day. Microsoft observes it by providing guidance to help consumers more safely manage their information online. While 2012 is still new, we recommend that people make a resolution to actively monitor and safeguard their online reputation.

    As technology becomes more integrated into people’s lives and the number of connected devices grows, it is important to evaluate whether your online life mirrors the reputation you want others to see.

    A person’s interactions online – spanning content that you create and share online and content that others post about you – are considered part of an online profile. Different people and organizations are able to see different parts of the overall picture. As you go through your day e-mailing, texting, sharing information and photos online, making purchases and more, all these activities can contribute to the opinions others form about you.

  • Microsoft Names New Defendant in Kelihos Case

    Since taking down the Kelihos botnet with our partners Kyrus Inc. and Kaspersky Labs in September, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has continued to actively investigate the case and pursue new leads with the goal of holding the perpetrators behind the botnet accountable for their actions.

    In an amended complaint filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Microsoft alleges that Andrey N. Sabelnikov, a citizen of Russia, is responsible for the operations of the Kelihos botnet.

    Mr. Sabelnikov is not the first to be named as a defendant in this case, which has already served as the legal foundation for the successful disruption of a global botnet harming thousands of victims worldwide. In the original complaint filed in September, Microsoft alleged that Dominique Alexander Piatti, dotFREE Group SRO and John Does 1-22 owned a domain cz.cc and used cz.cc to register other subdomains such as lewgdooi.cz.cc used to operate and control the Kelihos botnet.

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 20th Edition–Microsoft Reports Record Second-Quarter Revenue, MSN Debuts a New Mobile Experience, plus Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE & SkyDrive

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s second-quarter financial report, a new mobile experience on MSN and a host of others. Don’t miss ‘em!

    Microsoft reports record revenue of $20.9 billion in second quarter. On Thursday, Microsoft announced quarterly revenue of $20.89 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011, a 5 percent increase from the prior year period. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.99 billion, $6.62 billion, and $0.78 per share, compared with $8.17 billion, $6.63 billion and $0.77 per share, respectively, in the prior year period. For more detail, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

    MSN introduces streamlined mobile experience. MSN Mobile has been redesigned to keep you informed, engaged and entertained regardless of where you are. You can now check top news and entertainment stories more quickly when you’re on the go with our latest release of MSN Mobile. Scan MSN videos, photo galleries and lifestyle content, right from the MSN Mobile home page. Need an umbrella? Want a stock quote? Curious about the score of tonight’s game? Simply swipe down to see the updated modules. You can even find new apps. MSN Mobile keeps you in the know, when you’re on the go. For more detail, read this Thursday post on the MSN Blog. Check out the screenshot below of the streamlined mobile experience on MSN:

    MSN Mobile

  • Marriage Equality in Washington State Would Be Good for Business

    Today, Microsoft is joining other Northwest employers Concur, Group Health, Nike, RealNetworks and Vulcan Inc. in support of Washington State legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. We believe that passing this bill would be good for our business and good for the state’s economy. I wanted to take a few moments to explain why.

    At Microsoft, we pride ourselves on our products and services, our brand, and our global reach. But unquestionably, our employees are our greatest asset.

    To be successful, it’s critical that we have a workforce that is as diverse as our customers. Every day, the national and global economies are becoming more diverse. The lifeblood of a business is its ability to understand and connect with its customers. We’re no exception. Now more than ever, the most effective workforce is a diverse workforce.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 18th Edition–Windows 8’s Next-Gen File System, the New Visual Studio Achievements Program for Devs, plus Windows Phone, Internet Explorer & Windows Azure

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on a next-gen file system in Windows 8, the new Visual Studio Achievements program, cloud computing and highlights from the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, among others. Check ‘em out.

    Building the next generation file system for Windows: ReFS. In this Monday post on Building Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, writes, “We wanted to continue our dialog about data storage by talking about the next generation file system being introduced in Windows 8. Today, NTFS is the most widely used, advanced, and feature rich file system in broad use. But when you’re reimagining Windows, as we are for Windows 8, we don’t rest on past successes, and so with Windows 8 we are also introducing a newly engineered file system. ReFS, (which stands for Resilient File System), is built on the foundations of NTFS, so it maintains crucial compatibility while at the same time it has been architected and engineered for a new generation of storage technologies and scenarios. In Windows 8, ReFS will be introduced only as part of Windows Server 8, which is the same approach we have used for each and every file system introduction.” Jump on over to Building Windows 8 to get the rest of the story.

    Visual Studio Achievements program brings gamification to development. Starting today, developers who use Microsoft Visual Studio have a new way to highlight their skills, get recognition for the amazing work they do every day, and add some competitive fun to the development day. Visual Studio Achievements, a Visual Studio plug-in, enables developers to unlock badges and compete against one another for a place on a leader board based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use to do so. For the rest of this story, read today’s post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

  • Visual Studio Achievements Program Brings Gamification to Development

    Starting today, developers who use Microsoft Visual Studio have a new way to highlight their skills, get recognition for the amazing work they do every day, and add some competitive fun to the development day.

    Visual Studio Achievements, a Visual Studio plug-in, enables developers to unlock badges and compete against one another for a place on a leader board based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use to do so. Developers finally have the ability to actually show their friends, colleagues, project managers, spouses and customers how good they are at what they do all day and sometimes into the night.

    Visual Studio Achievements is both playful and pragmatic. Built on ideas from the developers themselves, it is intended to be a humorous community-building game as well as a path to the many, and, to some, unknown features offered in Visual Studio. This is one of several initiatives Microsoft is undertaking to recognize developers for their tireless and indispensable work.

  • System Center 2012: Where Public and Private Clouds Meet

    As the executive in charge of building System Center – and we have great news on that today, with the release candidate now available – one great part of my job is meeting with CIOs and CTOs, touring their datacenters and hearing about their experiences and plans. A common theme I hear in these discussions is that they have realized a great deal of value and savings through virtualization, but now they are ready to take the next step to cloud computing. Not just to save money, but to move faster and help their businesses grow with new applications and capabilities.

    Something I often ask these customers about is the ratio of IT employees to servers in their datacenters. This gives me a good idea of the maturity and efficiency of the organization. It is pretty common to hear a ratio of one full time employee to 30 to 40 servers in a typical enterprise datacenter. By contrast, when we look at the Microsoft datacenters that host our cloud services (Bing, Windows Update, Hotmail, Windows Azure) we see a ratio of one employee to four or five thousand servers.

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 13th Edition–Xbox Has a Mammoth Year, a Final Look at CES, Trustworthy Computing Turns 10, plus Microsoft Research & Windows Phone

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on a stellar year for Xbox 360 and Kinect, a CES wrap-up, Trustworthy Computing’s 10th anniversary and more. Check ‘em out!

    Xbox 360 extends win streak to 12 straight months with banner holiday sales. With a strong holiday sales period finishing a banner year, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 ended 2011 as the best-selling current-generation console in the U.S., outselling the second-place console by more than 2.7 million units, according to The NPD Group. The strong December capped an impressive year during which Xbox 360 was the fastest-growing console. It also captured 49 percent of consumer retail spending, with an industry-leading $6.7 billion in sales in the U.S. for the calendar year—more than $2.1 billion on consoles and $4.6 billion on games and accessories, NPD data shows. For more on this story, read this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

    Big week for Microsoft at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. Just in case you missed it, Microsoft made a big splash at CES this week with a number of significant announcements, including news that Kinect for Windows will be coming Feb 1., the introduction of the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone on AT&T, a bevy of new Windows 7 devices, several new “must-have” Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone and more. Below is an image of the Nokia Lumia 900, which has the technology press excited:

    nokia-lumia-900-blue_page

  • Xbox 360 Extends Win Streak to 12 Straight Months with Banner Holiday Sales

    With a strong holiday sales period finishing a banner year, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 ended 2011 as the best-selling current-generation console in the U.S., outselling the second-place console by more than 2.7 million units, according to The NPD Group.

    The strong December capped an impressive year during which Xbox 360 was the fastest-growing console. It also captured 49 percent of consumer retail spending, with an industry-leading $6.7 billion in sales in the U.S. for the calendar year—more than $2.1 billion on consoles and $4.6 billion on games and accessories, NPD data shows.

    Xbox 360 was the must-have gift this holiday season with about half of December’s retail spend on games, consoles and accessories going toward Xbox 360 products, totaling more than $1.5 billion, NPD data shows. According to internal Microsoft figures, the company has now sold more than 66 million Xbox 360 consoles and more than 18 million Kinect sensors worldwide, and has nearly 40 million Xbox LIVE members. Below is a screenshot of a bundle inspired by one of this year's most popular games, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:

  • Trustworthy Computing at 10: Marking a Milestone, Continuing Our Commitment

    Ten years ago this week, during a time when security problems were threatening trust in software products, Chairman Bill Gates sent out a company-wide memo communicating that the company must make trustworthy computing the highest priority for the company and for the industry over the next decade.

    Bill Gates’ directive set into motion a series of fundamental changes at Microsoft that changed its culture and still resonates a decade later. The most visible response was the creation of Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) to ensure that security issues were caught early during the software product development cycle, and that security was not retrofitted into products at the end of that process. The SDL became mandatory at Microsoft and then publicly available so that developers everywhere could embrace the SDL process.

    While a focus on security dominated the early days of TwC, we have also raised the bar on reliability and privacy. Better instrumentation such as Windows Error Reporting has led to fewer system disruptions, increasing productivity and alleviating user frustration.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 11th–Kinect for Windows Coming Feb. 1, New Markets for Windows Phone Devs, plus Windows 8, Windows Azure and Internet Explorer

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, the first of 2012, we’ve got stories about Kinect for Windows, new markets for Windows Phone developers and a few new posts from Building Windows 8. Check ‘em out!

    Kinect for Windows coming Feb. 1. Earlier this week at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on Feb. 1 in 12 countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users. For the rest of this story, read this Monday post on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

    New markets for Windows Phone developers. We’re pleased to start off the New Year with an update to App Hub that will enable you to distribute apps and games to even more customers in more markets. App Hub now allows you to submit apps for distribution in 6 new markets; Argentina, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines.

  • That’s a Wrap: Microsoft 2012 CES Keynote Recap

    Greetings from Las Vegas! And what’s not to like about a Microsoft keynote, a surprise host, a non-traditional musical interlude and some great demos? The best way to capture the flavor and fun from the keynote is to watch the replay, but for those looking for highlights, here is my “CliffsNotes” version of what we said and announced.

    Tonight, Steve Ballmer took the stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We did it differently this year, surprising the crowd by having Ryan Seacrest interview Steve, host guests onstage for demos, and provide commentary and perspective along the way. Below, Microsoft CES Keynote host Ryan Seacrest checks out Steve's Windows Phone during the company’s opening keynote:

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 6th Edition–CES 2012 is Almost Here, Microsoft Flight Will Come to Windows in the Spring & the Story of CodeFlow

    Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of Weekend Reading for 2012. In this edition, we’ve got stories on the upcoming 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft Flight, CodeFlow, Bing and a few others.

    Catch Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote at CES. You can watch Steve Ballmer’s keynote speech live from Las Vegas at 6:30 p.m. PT on Jan. 9 on the Microsoft News Center. CES is an international trade show that showcases the innovative products and technologies shaping consumer technology today. The show runs from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13. Don’t miss it!

    Editor’s picks: Turning futuristic visions into reality. From revolutionizing the way we interact with computers to developing tools to speed development of cures for crippling diseases, 2011 was a year of forward-thinking breakthroughs at Microsoft. See this feature story and slide show on the Microsoft News Center for some of the innovations introduced in 2011 and how Microsoft is working to take new technologies from the lab to the living room. Below is a screenshot of Avatar Kinect, the facial recognition technology introduced for Kinect for Xbox 360 in July 2011:

    Avatar_Kinect_Tailgate_06_web

  • Microsoft Wraps up 2011 With Several Silicon Valley Events

    As we gear up for the year ahead, now is a good time to look back at a few signature events that took place in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. Many of the latest tech trends emanate from the Silicon Valley, and while Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Wash., it is important to keep in mind the level and length of our presence and involvement in the area.

    From our retail store opening at Valley Fair and events for startups to a preview of the Windows Store and a discussion on Microsoft’s cloud strategy, the company supports a broad range of initiatives in the industry and community. Microsoft has been in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years and has more than 2,400 employees in the area.

    Mobile Acceleration Week for Startups

    Startups in the mobile space are a driving force of innovation and are part of the reason the tech industry is thriving.