In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got developer stories on Windows 8, Windows Phone, Internet Explorer and Windows Azure, plus two cool Microsoft Research profiles.

New on Building Windows 8: Acting on file management feedback. Building Windows 8 previously published three blog posts that discussed the new file management experience in Windows 8: one about the new copy experience, one that detailed the design process we went through for the new conflict experience and one about the changes to Windows Explorer, including the introduction of the ribbon. Those posts prompted great discussion and the Windows team read the approximately 2,200 comments you left. This was wonderful feedback, and, along with information from other feedback channels, the team incorporated it into its design process. Read this Monday post on Building Windows 8 for the rest of the story.

And in Windows Phone developer news this week… Back in November, we announced a developer promotion for U.S. students called “Big App on Campus.” Time is running out to enter. Though we think it’s a no brainer, some of you have asked “Why should I enter?” Read this Jan. 27 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog to find out why you should enter. Also devs, don’t miss this Tuesday post on memory profiling for application performance.

Two new profiles of big brains at Microsoft on Next. Last week, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton brought you two more profiles of some of Microsoft’s brightest minds. First, there was this Jan. 26 profile on Steve Hodges, a member of Microsoft Research (MSR) focused on natural user interface (NUI) technologies and projects such as KinectFusion. Then there was this Jan. 27 profile on Donald Brinkman, “polymath, poet, gaming geek and the mastermind behind Project Epiphyte, a plan to ‘overwhelm the world with a green plague of creativity in the form of millions of epiphytes,’ Clayton writes. Don’t miss them!

Three new stories from the Internet Explorer team. The IEBlog team has been extremely busy the last week or so. Don’t miss these three posts on websites and a plug-in free Web, creating files through BlobBuilder and debugging IndexedDB applications.

Windows Azure Community News Roundup. Don’t miss the latest edition of the Windows Azure Blog’s weekly roundup of the latest community-driven news, content and conversations about cloud computing and Windows Azure.

TechStars and Microsoft BizSpark team up to offer startups $60,000 in cloud services. TechStars, recently recognized as the No. 1 startup accelerator in the world, and Microsoft Corp. are working together to help startups fast-track their businesses. TechStars today announced an enhanced relationship with Microsoft through the new BizSpark Plus program for accelerators and incubators. The enhanced program allows TechStars accelerators in Boulder, Colo.; Boston; New York; Seattle; and Texas to offer each of their startups up to $60,000 (U.S.) of Windows Azure compute and storage over a 24-month period, at no cost. For more detail on this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

Microsoft announces 20th anniversary of Microsoft Certifications. Expertise and passion for technology helped fuel the information technology revolution, changing the way people work, communicate and play. On Tuesday, as part of the 20th anniversary of Microsoft Certification celebration, Microsoft recognized the more than 7 million people globally who are certified on Microsoft technology. Want to know more? Check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center.

That’s a wrap for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog