The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

May, 2012

  • The Midweek Download: May 30th Edition–Kinect Gets Accelerated and Herbalife Chooses Windows Azure

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about the Kinect Accelerator, Herbalife’s decision to host its global distributors’ websites on Windows Azure and the impacts of Windows XP migration.

    Kinect for Windows get accelerated in Seattle. The Kinect Accelerator has been getting a lot press in the last few weeks and rightly so as the 11 startups housed at our Westlake, Seattle office are cranking out some impressive work using the Kinect for Windows hardware and SDK. On June 28, the program culminates with the entrepreneurs meeting potential investors. Along the way they have been gathering mentorship on all aspects of operating a startup – everything from how to make that final pitch to how to tweak their code. Check out this Tuesday post on Next at Microsoft for the rest of the story. The video below shows the program in action. Also, don’t miss this Tuesday post on how Ubi-Interactive uses Kinect to make any surface interactive.

  • Xbox Beyond the Box

    Next week, the Xbox team heads to Los Angeles for E3. Having recently joined the team, I have the benefit of fresh perspective, and one of the things that has struck me is the amount of opportunities we have ahead.

    Before joining Xbox, I had the fortune of being a part of some incredible periods of innovation and incubation such as in the early days of Windows and Internet Explorer and more recently with the creation of Bing. I have also had a great passion for gaming and entertainment, and watched the growth of MSN into one of the world’s largest media sites on the Internet.

  • Weekend Reading: May 25th Edition–Catching Up With Steve Ballmer in Asia, plus Office 365, Windows Phone, Skype and More

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s trip to Asia, a new agreement between Microsoft and the Vatican that will bring Office 365 to millions of students and the new Facebook app for Windows Phone now in Marketplace.

    Steve Ballmer highlights opportunities in Asia. Steve Ballmer was in Asia this week, speaking at events in Japan, China, Korea and India. Developers, customers, partners and students told Ballmer how excited they are about Microsoft’s coming products and services in Asia, including Windows 8. "Windows 8 is at the forefront of what we're doing and I think at the forefront of the ways in which we can create real opportunity for us and for our partners," Ballmer said at a Windows Partner Executive Summit in Tokyo. "No matter what you do, Windows 8 should unlock for all of us new opportunities." See more photos from Ballmer’s tour in this slide show. Below are two images from the slide show:


  • More than 4.5 million Catholic School Students to Receive Microsoft Office 365 for Education

    Today, the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) took an exciting step toward delivering a brighter future for Catholic students around the world, demonstrating there is no greater resource to invest in than that of youth. Recognizing changes were needed to provide their students with the 21st century skills they’ll need in their future careers, OIEC is partnering with Microsoft to bring Office 365 and other resources to more than 200,000 Catholic schools all over the world with the potential to reach 43 million students.

    The partnership between OIEC and Microsoft deploys some of the newest technologies, including more than 4.5 million subscriptions to Office 365 for education – a free tool for educators and students worldwide, which will be made available this summer during the first wave of deployment.

  • The Midweek Download: May 23rd Edition–Kinect for Windows 1.5 Released, Microsoft Research Breaks a Data Speed Record plus Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Bing

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the release of Kinect for Windows 1.5, Microsoft Research, some gorgeous ultra-thin laptops from HP and Lenovo and more.

    Kinect for Windows 1.5 released with face tracking SDK and more. Since the Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK arrived, the team has been adding more features and countries in which the product is available at a fair old clip. On Monday, they released version 1.5 of the Kinect for Windows runtime and SDK. Kinect for Windows hardware is now available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan and beginning next month it will arrive in 15 additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. Head on over to Next at Microsoft for the full story. Also, check out this May 18 post on Next about a new book by Razorfish entitled, “Beginning Kinect Programming with the Microsoft Kinect SDK”. Below is a screen shot of the book:

    Kinect Programming Book

  • Weekend Reading: May 18th Edition–IE9 Powers “Prometheus” and “Brandon Generator” Experiences, Three Hot Windows Phone Apps & Skype Rolls Out on Xfinity in 10 Markets

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on two awesome HTML5 experiences powered by Internet Explorer, three gorgeous new apps for Windows Phone, Skype rolling out on Xfinity in 10 markets and much, much more. Don’t miss any of them!

    “Prometheus” and Brandon Generator – two HTML5 experiences powered by Internet Explorer. In preparation for the upcoming film Prometheus (in theaters on June 8), Weyland Industries is accepting applicants to join the crew of the Project Prometheus spaceship. Now, the Internet Explorer team is proud to announce our partnership with Fox Studios to create the Project Prometheus Training Center — designed entirely in HTML5 — giving fans the chance to demonstrate they are capable of being a crew member on the Prometheus ship. Read this Wednesday post on the Exploring IE Blog for the rest of the story. Mashable also covered the story. And don’t miss this feature story and slide show on the Microsoft News Center focused on The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator, the brainchild of filmmaker Edgar Wright, comic book artist Tommy Lee Edwards, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team – and you. The audience is being invited to help shape the four-episode series of animated shorts by suggesting characters, plots, nemeses and entire scenes. The site received thousands of submissions after the first episode premiered in mid-April, which ended with a plea to help Brandon overcome his writer’s block. Below is a screen shot from the Project Prometheus Training Center.


  • Midweek Download, May 16: Bing Updates Begin Rolling out, New Apps/SDKs for Windows Phone and Deep Dives on Windows 8 Features

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on big updates for Bing, some new apps for Windows Phone and some previews of what you'll see from Windows 8 and IE10.

    Bing Updates Available for Test Drive. You may have heard last week about some big updates coming to Bing that we think will provide you a new and exciting way to search. The new features began to roll-out Tuesday here in the U.S. You can check out some of the new features at

    You can also learn more about the updates from the video below, which provides a nice overview of what you'll find in the new Bing some and background on the new features. With a refreshed design, the new snapshot feature for instant access to action-oriented information, or get advice and recommendations from friends and experts with the new social sidebar, it's a big release for the Bing team, and we hope you like it.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight
  • Weekend Reading, May 11 Edition: ‘New’ Bing Unveiled, App/Device News from Windows Phone and Tell Mom She Rocks with Skype

    It was a busy week for the company, as Bing announced some exciting new features in their most significant update since they launched three years ago. We heard about a great new Windows Phone from Samsung and a very cool new augmented reality app from Nokia. And, of course, Mother’s Day approaches, so some advice from Skype on how to make the day special for mom.

    The “New” Bing Unveiled: Transforming Search from Finding to Doing. On Thursday, the Bing team held an event in San Francisco to showcase the “new” Bing, a major update to the Bing Search engine, which includes a revamped UI and deeper integration with social media to help people spend less time searching and more time doing. The team introduced three major updates to Bing. Below is a screenshot of the new Bing.

  • Xbox 360: Number One Selling Console in U.S. for 16th Consecutive Month

    Xbox 360 continues to hold the number one spot in the U.S., selling more units in April than any other console. This marks the 16th consecutive month that XBox 360 has been the best-selling console in the U.S. Below is a screen shot of Kinect Star Wars, the number one game title in the U.S. in April, according to NPD Group.

  • The Midweek Download: May 9th Edition–Microsoft Research on Display at CHI 2012, More Windows 8 News, a Windows Phone Case Study, plus Metro Style Apps in Windows 8 & More

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Microsoft Research at CHI 2012, the future of Windows Media Center on Windows 8, and creating rich mobile Web experiences on Windows Phone 7.5, just to name a few. Check ‘em out.

    Microsoft Research at CHI 2012. The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is taking place this week in Austin, Texas. It’s more well known as CHI and is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction. CHI is always a highlight of Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton’s tech year as the event attracts a wide discipline of skills from the world of design, engineering, management and user experience professionals – and Microsoft Research (MSR) is always there in force. Check out this Monday post on Next that rounds up some of the MSR projects being shown off at CHI, as well as this post on a project that shows dual views on existing LCD displays. Finally, the MIT Technology Review profiled an MSR project known as Soundwave on Monday. Below is a video of the Soundwave project:

  • Making Carbon Neutrality Everyone’s Responsibility at Microsoft

    Microsoft has a long tradition of tackling tough challenges at a global scale. We have always focused on how our technology can enrich people’s lives, build businesses, and inspire and change the world.

    Working on the issues of energy use and environmental change provides another opportunity to make a difference in the world. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s also an opportunity to promote positive change, as the world transitions to new ways of using energy and managing natural resources. That’s why today, Microsoft is taking a significant step to further reduce our environmental footprint.

    Beginning in fiscal year 2013 (which starts this July 1), Microsoft will be carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings.

  • Weekend Reading: May 4th Edition–Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Team Up on E-Reading, Microsoft Research Opens a Lab in New York City and Marketplace Launches in 22 New Countries

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Barnes & Noble and Microsoft announcing a new strategic partnership, Microsoft Research opening a lab in New York City and the new web Marketplace. Check ‘em out.

    Barnes & Noble, Microsoft form strategic partnership. Barnes & Noble and Microsoft announced on Monday the formation of a strategic partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, which will build upon the history of strong innovation in digital reading technologies from both companies. The partnership will accelerate the transition to e-reading, which is revolutionizing the way people consume, create, share and enjoy digital content. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center to get the full story.

    Microsoft Research opens lab in New York City. In the two decades since the formation of Microsoft Research, the organization has grown from its beginnings on Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash., into a global research force with 12 labs across four continents — all devoted to advancing the state of the art in computing research and contributing cutting-edge advancements to Microsoft products.

  • The Midweek Download: May 2nd Edition–Windows Phone Marketplace News, Kinect Wins a Design Award, a New Blog for Windows 8 App Developers plus Visual Studio Achievements & More

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on changes and improvements in the Windows Phone Marketplace, Kinect and Kinect SDK winning the Design of the Year award and a new blog for Windows 8 app developers.

    Changes and improvements in the Windows Phone Marketplace. In this Monday post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix lays out in substantial detail the latest steps we’re taking in our ongoing effort to keep the quality bar high in our rapidly growing Marketplace. Todd focuses on four areas – avoiding trademark trouble, keeping the quality bar high, cleaning up key words and refining our approach to content policy enforcement. And don’t miss an earlier post from Todd on two changes to Marketplace and an update on nine new markets.