The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

September, 2012

  • Daily Update, Sept. 28th – Behind the Scenes VIDEO of Upcoming Forza Horizon for Xbox 360

    In today’s edition of the Daily Update, we’ve got two items: one for gamers and one for developers.

    Check ‘em out:

    · Anyone who reads Next at Microsoft knows that blog editor Steve Clayton is a HUGE fan of Forza Motorsport. Head on over to Next to see a slick new video that takes you behind the scenes of Forza Horizon, which is due to be released on Oct. 23 for the Xbox 360. You can also see the first video in the series in this Sept. 14 post on Next. That's a screenshot from Forza Horizon below.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 28th Edition – Nokia’s Bloomberg App Comes to Windows Phone & Bing Teams Up With Klout

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Bloomberg app for Windows Phone from Nokia, helping the next generation of Americans compete and Bing partnering with Klout.

    Bloomberg arrives on Windows Phone with Nokia. Last Wednesday, Steve Clayton highlighted the new Bloomberg app for Windows Phone he’s been enjoying. “It’s exclusively for Nokia Lumia phones and is free to users of those phones,” Clayton said, “That’s impressive given the amount of work that appears to have gone in to this app. It’s a comprehensive tool for the business professional on the go but also the savvy consumer who wants to keep up with the latest news and track the markets. Though I haven’t had chance to explore, the app also includes audio and video content from Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio – which means Charlie Rose on the go!” Check out the rest of Steve’s summary on Next at Microsoft. Below is a screenshot of the Bloomberg app.

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    Microsoft expands New England campus, unveils state-of-the-art Tech Center. On Thursday, Microsoft announced the expansion of its New England campus in Cambridge, Mass., including a new, state-of-the-art Microsoft Technology Center (MTC), during an event featuring Governor Deval L. Patrick, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis, Microsoft Northeast General Manager Craig Hodges, partners, customers and employees. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center to take a look at a slideshow of the new Tech Center. Below, Massachusetts Gov. Deval plays with the “Skeleton” app, which displays a virtual wire model of the person in front of the Kinect.

  • Daily Update, Sept. 27th – Bing & Klout Team Up on Social Search and Online Influence

    It’s a busy, busy day here at Microsoft. Here are the stories for this edition of Daily Update:

    · We’ve worked hard to make Bing the best search experience on the Web, introducing the sidebar in May and expanding our social data to include Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and Quora. Today, we added another great partner to the mix – Klout. In addition to our new partnership, we also announced we’ve made a strategic investment in Klout. Read more about it over on the Bing Search Blog.

  • Daily Update, Sept. 26th – A Microsoft Research Economist Exudes a Passion for Politics

    We have two stories for you in today’s edition of the Daily Update:

    · Microsoft Research puts the spotlight on David Rothschild, an economist at Microsoft Research New York City. Trained during an academic career that culminated with a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Rothschild is also an avid follower of the political scene. He has gained lots of renown this year for his work using prediction markets to harness big data in its many and varied forms to calculate and disseminate his prediction for who will be elected president. Head on over to Microsoft Research and check out this profile of David, pictured left.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 26th Edition – Tips & Tricks for Windows 8 App and Windows Phone 8 App Developers

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on tips and suggestions for developers creating Windows Phone apps and Windows 8 apps, how the Cincinnati Reds are using cutting edge technology to enhance the fan experience at the Great American Ballpark and more.

    Windows Phone tips from MSDN Magazine. We have a team of talented programming writers here who are always eager to help you build Windows Phone apps faster and better. Besides the developer documentation work they do for the Windows Phone Dev Center, they also occasionally write about Windows Phone in other notable outlets, including MSDN Magazine. This Sept. 20 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog has a great list of articles for developers.

  • Daily Update, Sept. 25th – Cincinnati Reds Stay on the Cutting Edge of IT

    Today, we’re kicking off a new feature on The Official Microsoft Blog called Daily Update, which is designed to keep readers of the blog up to speed on selected stories and news of the day here at Microsoft.

    For this, the inaugural edition of Daily Update, we have two cool stories for you:

    · Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds were founded in 1869, but that hasn’t stopped the team from using the latest and greatest technologies to keep their business on the cutting edge and enhance the fan experience.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 21st Edition – HTC Unveils Windows Phone 8 Lineup & Microsoft YouthSpark Launches

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we take a look at HTC’s masterfully designed Windows Phone 8X and 8S, Microsoft YouthSpark creating opportunities for youth across the globe, and Microsoft Hardware announcing new ergonomic, Windows 8-enabled keyboards.

    Photos & Video: The Windows Phone 8X and 8S by HTC. First Samsung unveiled the ATIV S. Then Nokia lifted the curtain on the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. On Wednesday, HTC introduced their flagship Windows Phone, the 4.3-inch, brightly colored unibody Windows Phone 8X and the 4-inch, uniquely two toned Windows Phone 8S, both of which come with Beats Audio. HTC did an incredible job of building devices that are beautiful, packed with killer specs, and feel great to use. Read about the HTC event in Terry Myerson’s post on the Windows Phone Blog and then head over to Ben Rudolph’s post for loads of photos and video of the new phones.

  • Creating Opportunities for 300 Million Young People in the Next Three Years

    Today we are announcing Microsoft YouthSpark, a new company-wide initiative designed to help create new opportunities for 300 million youth in 100 countries over the next three years.

    We’re launching this initiative because we’re seeing the emergence of an opportunity divide among young people: a gap between those who are prospering and others who are struggling because they lack the education, skills and opportunities they need to succeed. The evidence is clear. We have more young people on the planet than ever before, but they are experiencing a rate of unemployment that is double that of the rest of the population - in some countries youth unemployment has reached 50 percent.

  • New Windows Phone 8 Devices Unveiled by HTC

    Today in New York City, HTC unveiled two new additions to the fast-growing lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices: the Windows Phone 8X and 8S.

    Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division, wrote in a blog post this morning, “As you might have noticed, these are the first devices with 'Windows Phone' right in the name. HTC CEO Peter Chou said on stage this morning that after seeing our plans for Windows Phone 8, he asked his designers to go big and create phones to match our software’s design and personality. I think they achieved that and more. These phones have eye-catching designs, Beats Audio technology for studio-quality sound, and an impressive set of front and back cameras."

    And eye-catching they are, as you can see in this slideshow on the Microsoft News Center, which features full specs and photos of the new HTC devices.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 19th Edition – Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview Program Opens

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the Windows Phone 8 SDK, the naming of former CBS president Nancy Tellem as Entertainment & Digital Media president and more.

    Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview program is now open. On Sept. 12, we began accepting requests for access to the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview program. The objective is to let developers of our most-downloaded apps start optimizing them for Windows Phone 8, and we expect the majority of published developers in this situation to qualify for access. To apply, please visit the Microsoft Connect site and complete a short application. Be sure to have your Developer ID and Application’s Product ID on hand, as well as the name of your local Phone Champ (if you don’t know your local Phone Champ, you can always get in touch via the Find My Champ app). Developers can read more about it on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Also, don’t miss this Sept. 12 post on future proofing your Windows Pone apps.

    Microsoft names longtime entertainment executive Nancy Tellem Entertainment & Digital Media President. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that Nancy Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, has joined Microsoft as Entertainment & Digital Media president.

  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 14th Edition – Nitol Botnet Disrupted & The Xbox 360 Essentials Pack Unveiled

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s disruption of more than 500 strains of malware, a look at Xbox 360 Essentials Pack and the Halo 4 LE Controller and Skype’s new audio codec.

    Microsoft disrupts the emerging Nitol botnet being spread through an unsecure supply chain. Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people. Codenamed “Operation b70,” this legal action and technical disruption was our second botnet disruption in the last six months. Head over to this Official Microsoft Blog post to learn more, including how botnets work and how to protect your computer and personal information.

    A look at the Xbox 360 Essentials Pack and the Halo 4 LE Controller. In this video, Major Nelson presents the Xbox 360 Essentials Pack, which goes on sale next month for US$79.99, and the gorgeous Halo 4 Limited Edition Controller, also available in October. Major Nelson will be giving these away on a future podcast, so be sure to head over to the blog post for more info.

  • Microsoft Disrupts the Emerging Nitol Botnet Being Spread through an Unsecure Supply Chain

    Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people. Codenamed “Operation b70,” this legal action and technical disruption proceeded from a Microsoft study which found that cybercriminals infiltrate unsecure supply chains to introduce counterfeit software embedded with malware for the purpose of secretly infecting people’s computers. In disrupting these malware strains, we helped significantly limit the spread of the developing Nitol botnet, our second botnet disruption in the last six months.

  • Hey, Developers! Microsoft Has Launched Visual Studio 2012 & .Net 4.5

    Today, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2012 and .Net 4.5, a new solution for developers that will enable them to build modern applications "that span connected devices and continuous services, from the client to the cloud," S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Developer Division, writes on his blog this morning.

    Microsoft has a big line-up of platform releases this year, including Windows, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. All of those platforms represent great opportunities for developers to create new and compelling apps, and Visual Studio 2012 is at the center of that effort.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 12th Edition – 10 Advantages of the New Office

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the new Office, Kinect for Windows, Windows 8 apps and more. Check ‘em out.

    Ten things you’ll never have to say with the new Office. Since the new Office launched on July 16, millions of people have downloaded the Customer Preview and likely updated their vocabulary to match the new things they’re doing, such as sharing links instead of attachments, moving documents from USB drives into the cloud and using a stylus that can’t run out of ink. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center and check out this slideshow on 10 things you’ll never have to say with the new Office. That’s one of them below.

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  • Microsoft Unveils Markets for New Holiday ‘Pop-Up’ Stores

    Microsoft continues to expand its presence with the launch of more than 30 U.S. and Canadian pop-up stores for the holiday season.

    First announced at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference, the new stores will expand Microsoft’s footprint to more locations, providing consumers with excellent choice, value, service and an engaging way to experience the best of Microsoft’s products and services.

    Microsoft Store at The Shops at Prudential Center in Boston

    Excited store associates celebrate the grand opening of Microsoft at The Shops at Prudential Center, as they prepare to welcome customers in Boston, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012.
  • Weekend Reading: Sept. 7th Edition – A First Look at Two Windows Phone 8 Devices from Nokia & Bing Invites You to Break the Google Habit

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 devices for Windows Phone 8, the Bing It On Challenge – a dare to compare Bing search results head-to-head with Google’s and Xbox 360 keeping its top spot in the U.S. console market.

    Announcing the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920. These are exciting times for Windows Phone. In June we showed the first glimpses of Windows Phone 8, our most ambitious release ever. Then Samsung last week unveiled its first Windows Phone 8 device, the sleek ATIV S. Wednesday, everyone here was glued to their screens watching Nokia show off its two gorgeous next-generation Lumias with some great accessories and apps at their press event in New York City. Take a look at just how stunning these new phones are on the Windows Phone Blog announcement and get Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 specs plus an introductory video on Ben Rudolph’s Windows Phone Blog post. Below is a screenshot of the Lumia 820 and 920.

  • Microsoft, Fashion and Technology

    One of the most fun parts of my role at Microsoft is exploring trends in technology and the role Microsoft is playing. In the past on this blog I have talked about trends such as Natural User Interface. Over the past year, the convergence of fashion and technology is a trend on the rise.

    There are a lot of examples of this, especially in the sports industry — such as LeBron James’ new Nike sneakers featuring sensors that tell you how high you’re jumping, or UnderArmour’s Biometric Compression shirt that tracks performance indicators like heart rate and body position. As technology has become more natural, intuitive and woven in to many aspects of our daily lives, we’ve become more comfortable with it – all of which is helping this trend explode across brands, continents and inside Microsoft. We have researchers exploring the field of wearable computing, technologies that enable retailers to offer new ways for customers to experience apparel, and have long been in the business of designing products that help our customers reflect their personal style.

    It’s fitting then that for New York Fashion Week, Microsoft is teaming up with Bloomingdale’s — a brand synonymous with fashion — to bring the intersection of fashion and technology to life for consumers.

  • That’s 20 - Xbox 360 is No. 1 Selling Console in the U.S. for 20th Consecutive Month

    Xbox 360 maintained its lead in the U.S. console market again last month, marking its 20th consecutive month as the top-selling current-generation console in the U.S., according to The NPD Group.

    August 2012 U.S. NPD highlights include:

    · Xbox 360 sold 193,000 units in August, more units than any other current generation console, and held 48 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S. This marks the 18th consecutive month that Xbox 360 has held more than a 40 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S.

  • Break the Google Habit Today and Bing it On

    Today, we’re inviting consumers to break the Google habit and take part in the Bing it On Challenge.

    Based on research that indicates people prefer Bing web search results over Google, the Bing it On Challenge is a fun, non-scientific online test designed to show that the quality of Bing’s web search results has surpassed Google’s.

    Here’s how it works – go to Bingiton.com and conduct five search queries of your choice and compare unbranded web search results from Bing and Google side by side. For each search result, you choose a winner or declare it a “draw.” Next the test shows you which search engine came out on top and lets you share the Bing It On Challenge with others via Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

  • First Windows Phone 8 Devices from Nokia Unveiled in New York City Today

    At a press event in New York City this morning, Nokia lifted the veil on two new Windows Phone 8 devices – the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920.

    “As Steve Ballmer noted on stage today, this year is shaping up to be something historic for all of Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 is part of a reimagined Windows, with a unified experience spanning phones, tablets and PCs. Whether you’re looking at Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, you’ll experience our unique look and feel with Live Tiles and will have the same built-in access to Microsoft cloud services like SkyDrive and Xbox Music,” Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division, wrote in a blog post this morning.

  • The Midweek Download: Sept. 5th Edition – Windows Server 2012 Launches & Kinect for Windows Heads to China

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the launch of Windows Server 2012, Kinect for Windows coming to China, new Windows 8 devices and the first wave of Xbox LIVE games coming to Windows 8.

    Windows Server 2012 is here...And so is the Cloud OS. Tuesday’s launch of Windows Server 2012 puts a spotlight on the transformational shift underway across the entire IT ecosystem. This transformation is being driven by an exponential growth of devices used for smarter, more personalized applications, which in turn create an explosion of data and the need for more computing power. It is a world of connected devices and continuous services, and it’s all powered by servers. For more on this story, read this post from Server & Tools Business President Satya Nadella on The Official Microsoft Blog and this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

    Kinect for Windows coming to China. On Oct. 8, Kinect for Windows is coming to China. China is a leader in business and technology innovation. We are very excited to make Kinect for Windows available in China so that developers and businesses there can innovate with Kinect for Windows and transform experiences through touch-free solutions. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available in six additional markets later this fall: Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Poland. Get the rest of this story over on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

    Kinect for Windows Roadmap Graphic

  • Windows Server 2012 is Here...And so is the Cloud OS

    Today’s launch of Windows Server 2012 puts a spotlight on the transformational shift underway across the entire IT ecosystem. This transformation is being driven by an exponential growth of devices used for smarter, more personalized applications, which in turn create an explosion of data and the need for more computing power. It is a world of connected devices and continuous services, and it’s all powered by servers. 

    This is leading to dramatic changes in how computing, storage and networking come together in scalable, automated, shared and adaptive platforms that deliver modern applications to power the world’s computing experiences. This is cloud computing.