Like many people, I’ve been enjoying the Olympics so far. Great opening ceremony, great competition… And watching the swimming, football, gymnastics is all a blast. But I have to say that as a runner, I’m looking forward to track and field getting started. And as a runner, it was inspiring the other day to hear about the great Kenyans in this wonderful NPR story.

Iten, Kenya produces some of the world’s fastest runners. Runners there train at 8,000 feet above sea level, and the valley is six miles down. Kenya’s elite runners run up and down these hills every day. And they keep it simple. If these runners want to build their leg strength, they run up more hills. We've been doing our own bit of hard core training here at Microsoft, and our engineers across the company have been setting a blistering pace. Let’s go to a tale of the tape.

  • Thursday, May 31, we announced the availability of Windows 8 Release Preview. Early reviews suggest it’s got a pretty good kick.
  • Friday, June 1, our Bing team launched its new social search experience, and kicked off its “summer of doing” campaign. Summer of doing, indeed.
  • The following Monday, June 4, our interactive entertainment team wowed ‘em at the E3 gaming show in Los Angeles, showing how we’re going to make entertainment more amazing across PCs, tablets, phones and the TV. If you haven’t seen our SmartGlass demo, you definitely want to check this out. We also showed some amazing games, including Halo 4. Note to self: Want to run like a Kenyan Olympian? Get a copy of Nike+ Kinect Training.
  • Late the following day (Pacific Time), in Taipei, Taiwan, we showed off some of the wave of innovation coming from our OEM partners this fall.
  • Then one day later, June 6, we announced new Windows Azure services that simplify how businesses can build applications that span cloud and on premises datacenters. The following day, Scott Guthrie demonstrated the new Windows Azure capabilities at a developer event in San Francisco.
  • The following week we were in Orlando, where Satya Nadella talked about the industry’s transformation to the cloud and ushered in a new era of the cloud OS for infrastructure, and Antoine Leblond detailed the value of Windows 8 to businesses.
  • Fast forward a week, and head back to the West Coast – Los Angeles, in fact – where we showed off some new hardware muscle with the introduction of Surface, our new family of PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows. That event was certainly a kick…
  • Two days later, further north in San Francisco we unveiled Windows Phone 8 to rave reviews. You definitely want to check out Joe Belfiore’s demo of some of the great new capabilities coming to phones this fall. Lots of new apps coming, too ...
  • The next week our run got a little more social with the announcement of our intent to acquire Yammer, a leading provider of enterprise social networks, for $1.2 billion.
  • We closed out the month with a celebration of the one-year anniversary of Office 365, announcing that it will be free to students, teachers and faculty with the launch of Office 365 for education.

And that was just June. July had more hills!

  • On July 9, we checked into Toronto where we met with nearly 16,000 partners at our Worldwide Partners Conference. At this event, Steve Ballmer told them this will be the biggest product and services launch year in our company’s history, creating significant opportunities for them to grow their businesses. It’s here where we announced that more than 1 billion people now use Microsoft Office, our intent to acquire Perceptive Pixel Inc. (check out the demo during Steve’s keynote; it’s awesome!), and some Windows milestones, which we reached this week.
  • That same week, down In Sydney, Australia, we held our 10th annual Imagine Cup, where a team from Ukraine won the top software design prize with its solution that allows deaf individuals to communicate verbally using custom-designed sensory gloves and a smartphone application to translate sign language gestures into speech. Amazing. More than 350 students from 75 countries traveled to Sydney for the competition. LOTS of hill climbers in that crowd…
  • One week later, we traveled to San Francisco where we unveiled the customer preview of the new Microsoft Office. As Steve Ballmer said, “We’re taking some bold steps…”
  • Later that week, we reported record quarterly and annual revenue. The results for the year: record revenue, record operating income and record earnings per share (excluding a Goodwill write down).
  • This week’s launch of Outlook.com and our news that Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 say boom, boom, boom. That’s the way to close out a two-month run.

Of course, the best part of running is that there is always more road ahead. We see it. There are more experiences to talk about, more ways our products, devices and services can light up for our customers. More ways developers can create wicked cool applications that will amaze and delight the world. More ways to have fun, more ways to be more productive, more ways to read, to browse, to communicate, solve the biggest problems the world has.

So stand by. We’re just taking a breath or two. Then it’s off the races again!

Posted by Frank X. Shaw
Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, Microsoft