The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

March, 2012

  • Weekend Reading: March 30th Edition–The Nokia Lumia 900 is Coming April 8, Three Major Entertainment Apps are Live on Xbox LIVE, plus Bing, Skype and Another Botnet Disrupted

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900, three major entertainment apps coming to Xbox LIVE and Bing and Skype working better together.

    AT&T to sell Nokia Lumia 900 for under $100. We’ve got lots of great Windows Phone news for you this week, but perhaps the biggest piece of news is the announcement that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be available on AT&T for $99 on April 8. Read this Monday post on The Windows Phone Blog for the rest of the story. Also, Nokia announced it will sell its first CDMA Windows Phone in China – the 800C – starting in April. Finally, Microsoft also announced earlier this week that Marketplace has now opened in 13 new markets. To the left is a screenshot of the Lumia 900.

    Three major entertainment apps launch on Xbox LIVE. Earlier this week, three major entertainment apps are now available for Xbox LIVE Gold members – Comcast XFINITY TV, HBO GO and MLB.TV, all with Kinect integration.

  • The Midweek Download: March 28th Edition–Kinect for Windows 1.5 Coming in Late May, Windows Phone SDK Gets an Update, a New Microsoft Research Blog plus Windows 8, IE10 & Windows Azure

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about the impending arrival of Kinect for Windows 1.5, a Windows Phone SDK update, scaling to different screens in Windows 8 and a new Windows Theory Blog. Check ‘em out!

    Kinect for Windows 1.5 on its way. Microsoft is hard at work on its Kinect for Windows 1.5 release, which will be available at the end of May. Among the most exciting new capabilities is Kinect Studio, an application that will allow developers to record, playback and debug clips of users engaging with their applications. Also coming is what we call “seated” or “10-joint” skeletal tracking, which provides the capability to track the head, neck and arms of either a seated or standing user. Also included in the 1.5 release will be four new languages for speech recognition – French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. To get the rest of the story, read this Monday post on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 update now available. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 Update is now available for your download.

  • Knock-off or Real? Counterfeit Software Alert

    The Anti-Piracy team at Microsoft launched a global campaign this week to inform small businesses about the risk of counterfeit software creeping into their business when acquiring or downloading software from the Internet. Most business buyers know to avoid questionable street-corner vendors when purchasing software for their business, yet they may not think twice about ordering software from an unfamiliar but professional looking website that offers steep discounts.

    Hidden in Plain Sight

    Counterfeit software lurks around every corner and can find its way into business settings in a number of different ways - auction websites, peer-to-peer networks, online retailers selling illegal software - there are several common paths. And counterfeiters spend a lot of time and energy making illicit software-purchasing sites look and feel like the real thing.

  • Microsoft and Financial Services Industry Leaders Target Cybercriminal Operations from Zeus Botnets

    In our most complex effort to disrupt botnets to date, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit – in collaboration with Financial Services – Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association, as well as Kyrus Tech Inc. – has executed a coordinated global action against some of the worst known cybercrime operations fueling online fraud and identity theft today. With this legal and technical action, a number of the most harmful botnets using the Zeus family of malware worldwide have been disrupted in an unprecedented, proactive cross-industry operation against this cybercriminal organization.

  • Weekend Reading: March 23rd Edition–A New “Hunger Games” Web Experience, Windows Phone Arrives in China, plus Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, Skype & More

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on a “Hunger Games” Web experience, Windows Phone arriving in China, Microsoft making PhotoDNA technology available to law enforcement and more. Read on!

    Go inside “The Hunger Games.” Everybody’s talking about it. The Hunger Games. The pages of the bestselling trilogy introduced readers to a captivating set of characters living in a post-apocalyptic world, and on Friday the movie adaptation of the first book brought that world to life. Thanks to a partnership between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team and Lionsgate, fans of The Hunger Games can dive in and experience the world of Panem and its opulent and oppressive Capitol city today. Earlier this week, Lionsgate and Microsoft launched a “game-changing” Web experience that pulls visitors into the world of The Hunger Games from the moment they step off their train in the Capitol city. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this March 20 post on the Exploring IE Blog to get the rest of the scoop. Check out the screenshot below of Panem:


  • The Midweek Download: March 21st Edition–Get the Lowdown on Convergence 2012, an Update on New Markets in the Windows Phone Marketplace & Minnesota Moves to Office 365

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’re got stories on Convergence 2012, the Windows Phone Marketplace accepting submissions for new markets, the State of Minnesota moving to Office 365 and more.

    Convergence 2012. This week at the Convergence conference in Houston, Microsoft Business Solutions will lay out our roadmap for delivering Microsoft Dynamics ERP offerings in the cloud, delivering on the promise made at last year’s event. The roadmap reflects Microsoft’s customer focused approach, targeting two key market segments — the first wave will target small and mid-market companies, with the second wave expanding those offerings to enterprise customers. For more on Convergence, read this Monday post on The Official Microsoft Blog and this feature story and this press release on the Microsoft News Center. Below is a photo of fans cheering on the New York Jets. The storied NFL franchise uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage a wealth of information.


  • Microsoft Dynamics Maps a Path to the Cloud at Convergence 2012

    This week at the Convergence conference in Houston, Microsoft Business Solutions will lay out our roadmap for delivering Microsoft Dynamics ERP offerings in the cloud, delivering on the promise made at last year’s event. The roadmap reflects Microsoft’s customer focused approach, targeting two key market segments — the first wave will target small and mid-market companies, with the second wave expanding those offerings to enterprise customers.

    Our cloud work is informed by multiple influences:

    · Experience. Microsoft builds and operates some of the largest cloud services at scale from Bing to Hotmail and Xbox Live and beyond.

  • Microsoft Makes PhotoDNA Available to Law Enforcement

    The scale of the online child pornography problem and the amount of data associated with these types of investigations is massive. This is why we are proud to announce that we are partnering with NetClean to make our Microsoft PhotoDNA image matching technology available to law enforcement at no cost to help enhance their child sex abuse investigations – empowering them to more efficiently identify and rescue victims and bring abusers to justice.

    Since 2002, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has reviewed more than 65 million images and videos of child sexual exploitation reported by law enforcement.

  • Weekend Reading: March 16th Edition–Learn the Ways of the Force with Kinect Star Wars, Explore the Galaxy with NUIverse, plus Internet Explorer & Bing

    This edition of Weekend Reading is a sci-fi fan’s dream. We’ve got stories on the upcoming “Kinect Star Wars” game, a really cool Microsoft Technology Center project called NUIverse and a humorous look at the burgeoning popularity of Internet Explorer 9. Don’t miss ‘em!

    “I find your lack of faith disturbing…” If this commercial for the April 3 release of “Kinect Star Wars” doesn’t get you pumped up to learn The Ways of the Force, nothing will. And don’t mess with this kid. She’s fierce. Oh, and Clint Howard is hilarious.

  • The Midweek Download: March 14th Edition–More on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, an Inside Look at Beamatron, plus Microsoft Research, IE10 & Windows Phone

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the Windows 8 consumer preview, Microsoft Research, Internet Explorer 10, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. Don’t miss any of them!

    Web browsing in Windows 8 Consumer Preview with IE10. “We have considerably improved the underlying browsing engine with performance, standards, and features as we have previously blogged about. IE10 designed for a Metro style experience is a new and improved way of browsing, where you can truly focus on the information you want to browse rather than the task of browsing – a fully immersive experience. At the same time it provides all of the safety and controls you are used to – tabs, keyboard shortcuts, InPrivate browsing, and more,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division in this Tuesday post on Building Windows 8. And be sure to check out this March 6 post focused on going behind the scenes building Windows 8.

    Beamatron: Kinect enabled augmented reality concept. Beamatron is an example of the trend we’re exploring that blends the physical world with the virtual world. It’s augmented reality concept that combines a projector and Kinect sensor on a pan tilt moving head – of the kind you may find in a nightclub. The setup utilizes KinectFusion to build a 3D model of a space and enables projected graphics to react in physically appropriate ways. For example a virtual car can be driven around the floor of the room bumping into actual obstacles and running over real ramps. Read this Tuesday post on Next at Microsoft, which features the 2-minute video below, for the entire story.

  • Weekend Reading: March 9th Edition–Demos Galore from TechFest 2012, More on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, plus Wordament, Windows Phone and Upcoming Xbox 360 Games

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on TechFest 2012, the Windows 8 consumer preview, upcoming Xbox 360 games, the hit Windows Phone game Wordament and more.

    TechFest 2012. TechFest, the annual Microsoft Research wow-fest at the Microsoft Conference Center, began earlier this week. The tech extravaganza includes 154 demos and displays of the latest work from Microsoft Research (MSR) labs around the world. TechFest also includes more than 24 lectures on key technology topics. For more information, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, which features a cool slideshow. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton covered TechFest with a series of profiles highlighting several of the demos from earlier this week, including the keynote address, FetchClimate, search, Cliplets and a wearable multitouch projector. Don’t miss any of them! Below is a screenshot of a project delivers a new, low-cost technique for instantly polling students in the classroom:


  • Xbox 360 Continues as Number One Selling Console in the U.S. in February

    Xbox 360 continues to hold the number one spot in the U.S., selling more units than any other console for 14 consecutive months. Sustained consumer demand for Xbox 360 and Kinect have helped maintain its top position, even in the seventh year on the market.

    Below is a screenshot of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 bundle. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was one of the top 10 console games last month.

  • The Data Explosion – Making Sense of it All

    The rapid growth of data volume presents a real opportunity. It’s also a challenge that most organizations are either wrestling with now, or soon will be. As the cost of storing data continues to fall and cloud-hosted storage is increasingly adopted, more IT organizations are transitioning to a “save everything” or ”save more” approach. Accordingly, the question of what to do with all this “big data” comes up frequently in IT conversations.

    However, big data by itself glosses over the real story. While most industry talk today focuses on the mechanics of data collection and storage, the opportunity lies in deriving actionable insights from the data you have. Data is an incredibly valuable asset whose value grows and grows as you’re able to gain insight from it.

  • The Cloud’s Role in Creating U.S. Jobs

    I have been in the technology industry for more than 30 years, so you can imagine the many technological changes I have seen during my career. One reason I have stayed in this industry is because I get to experience the major impact that technological advancements can have on small businesses, large corporations, educational institutions and consumers. Improvements in technology open new opportunities that were once almost unimaginable. We witnessed it when Bill Gates transformed the industry into what at the time seemed unthinkable – a PC on every desk and in every home.

    Perhaps the biggest transformation affecting technology today is the transition to the cloud from the previous client-server computing model. The cloud gives businesses efficient ways to reduce IT costs and invest in broad innovation, creating economic growth and new job opportunities. In fact, an IDC study commissioned by Microsoft and released today discovered that cloud computing will help create nearly 1.1 million U.S. jobs by 2015 and that the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year.

  • Weekend Reading: March 2nd Edition–The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is Here, Windows Phone and Skype News from Mobile World Congress, plus MSN Editions & Xbox 360

    It’s been a big week for Microsoft on numerous fronts. In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about the Windows 8 consumer preview, Windows Phone and Skype news from Mobile World Congress, plus Bing, MSN and a new Xbox 360 bundle. Check ‘em out!

    Microsoft announces Windows 8 consumer preview. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world’s most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year. The Developer Preview received more than 3 million downloads. For more on this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center and this Wednesday post on The Windows Experience Blog. And for a deeper dive on how the Windows 8 consumer preview touches other parts of Microsoft, check out these Wednesday posts on The Bing Search Blog and Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson. Below, Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Web Services, shows off new Metro style apps in the Windows Store as part of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview event in Barcelona on Wednesday: