The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

October, 2012

  • Daily Update, Oct. 31st – Meet the Team Behind “Halo 4” Infinity Multiplayer

    Two big stories out of Microsoft today:

    Over on the Microsoft News Center, we took some time to talk to Jerry Hook and Tamir Melamed, who lead the engineering team laying the subterranean IT structures that will power every pixel of the multiplayer experience in “Halo 4.” Everything fans experience online – stats, screenshots, the simple joy of blasting a friend or stranger to smithereens – depends on the infrastructure they’ve built over the past year and half. That infrastructure is supported by Windows Azure, which provides the team with the affordable scalability they need to keep a game like “Halo 4” running smoothly for fans. Below is a screenshot from “Halo 4,”which takes the multiplayer experience even further with Spartan Ops, a series of episodic videos coupled with missions that will stream to users every week.


  • Reimagining the “Other” Windows

    The following is a blog post by Satya Nadella, President of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business, discussing how Windows Azure is providing the critical backend capabilities developers need to create amazing new apps for Windows and Windows Phone.

    There has never been a more exciting time to be a developer. Today at Microsoft’s Build conference, I had the opportunity to speak to thousands of developers who are key to Microsoft’s goal of reimagining Windows. These are the people who are writing the applications that will light up Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. Just as we have reimagined Windows and Windows devices from the chip to the developer platform and the user experience, we have also reimagined Windows from the backend.

    Inside Microsoft the cloud momentum and focus is real and palpable. We are building some of the most diverse internet-scale workloads in the industry: Skydrive, Office 365, XBOX Live, Bing, Ad Center, Dynamics…the list goes on. All of this has pushed us to reimagine the Windows backend, to re-examine the core hardware abstraction at the datacenter and multi-datacenter level, as well as building a new modern application platform. We call this the Cloud OS.

  • The Midweek Download: Halloween Edition (boo!) – News from the Build Developer Conference

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories coming out the sold-out Build 2012 conference—including the availability the Windows Phone 8 SDK, the next wave of Windows 8-ready products, and new programs and tools that make it easier to develop great apps.

    The business opportunity with Windows 8. Yesterday, we kicked off Build 2012 and invited the developer community to our Redmond campus to share in the tremendous opportunity with our Windows 8 wave of products. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Kevin Gallo, Director of Program Management, Windows Phone, took the stage to showcase Windows … on the PC, the tablet, the phone, and at work and play. Get more of the story in Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist of Developer & Platform Evangelism Steve Guggenheimer’s post on The Official Microsoft Blog, where he outlines developer opportunity, including the availability of the SDK for Windows Phone 8. Below is a video showing the construction of the Build 2012 keynote tent.

  • Daily Update, Oct. 30th – “Nike+ Kinect Training” Hits Shelves Today

    Two big stories out of Microsoft today – “Nike+ Kinect Training” and Bing Elections:

    Want to get athlete fit? With “Nike+ Kinect Training,” you can just do it in your living room. “Nike+ Kinect Training,” a new personal training program for Xbox 360, hits shelves today. It’s just in time for gift shoppers – or, just in time to buy, open, and use it to help stay in shape during the calorie-laden holidays. The whole experience is designed to emulate the benefits of working out with a world-class Nike trainer – the attention, the motivation, the guidance – but in the privacy of your living room. It’s years of Nike training expertise, normally available to only professional athletes, made affordable and accessible by the magic of Kinect.


  • The Business Opportunity with Windows 8

    Below is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism, announcing details around Build 2012 and the opportunity for developers with Windows 8.

    Today, we kicked off Build 2012, and invited the developer community to our Redmond campus to share in the tremendous opportunity with our Windows 8 wave of products. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Kevin Gallo, Director of Program Management, Windows Phone, took the stage today to showcase Windows … on the PC, the tablet, the phone, and at work and play.

    The developer opportunity on Windows has never been greater. Between expected PC shipment volumes in the coming year and the incredibly flexible terms of the Windows Store, the path to app monetization on Windows represents a huge business opportunity to everyone from the independent developer with a great idea to the world’s biggest companies who develop apps, games and device experiences to reach customers, extend their brands and drive revenue. It’s easy to publish to the Windows Store and Microsoft offers the most developer-friendly revenue sharing terms on the market. Speaking of devices, we’re carrying forward momentum from our recent launch events to showcase the broad array of incredible tablets, notebooks, ultrabooks, desktops, All-in-Ones and phones that our OEM partners are bringing to market, as well as Microsoft Surface, all of which are very much a part of the developer opportunity on Windows.

  • Introducing Windows Phone 8

    At an event in San Francisco earlier today, Microsoft fully took the wraps off of Windows Phone 8 after a brief peek back in June to showcase some of the new platform enhancements.

    As part of the announcement, Microsoft revealed new features, including Kid’s Corner and Rooms, along with details and pricing for a range of beautiful new smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, each with their own differentiated designs, colors and features. Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world. That's a screenshot of the Kid's Corner to the right.

    “We set out to create the most personal smartphone there is, focused on keeping you closer to the people and things that matter most,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division. “It’s also the best phone for Windows, helping you stay connected across devices. And finally, of course, there’s the hardware. We have a killer lineup of new phones featuring big bright screens, awesome audio capabilities and great cameras from HTC, Nokia and Samsung.”

  • Daily Update, Oct. 26th – Bing Apps on Windows 8 Unveiled

    It’s been a big week at Microsoft to say the least, and it’s not over yet.

    With today’s release of Windows 8, people can now experience Bing in a brand new way. We’ve completely re-imagined search for Windows 8, including the Bing app for Web and image search and the new Bing apps designed specifically for Travel, Weather, Maps, News, Finance and Sports. Watch the short video below to see what we mean.

  • Weekend Reading: Oct. 26th Edition – Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface Launch, Windows Phone 8 Press Event is Set for Monday

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got the launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface, gearing up for Monday’s big Windows Phone 8 event, plus Forza Horizon arrives and Halo 4 sweetens the pot.

    Windows 8 arrives. Microsoft yesterday announced the global availability of its popular Windows operating system, Windows 8. Beginning today, consumers and businesses worldwide will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer, including a beautiful new user interface and a wide range of applications with the grand opening of the Windows Store. In her Blogging Windows post, Windows reimagined, Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Windows and Windows Live, talks about events around the world and the “no compromise” experience of Windows 8. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center for the press release, videos and images. Below, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces the availability of Windows 8 at the Windows 8 launch event at Pier 57 in New York.

  • The 2012 Election: Big Bird, Bayonets…and Bing!

    Below is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications, announcing details around some new resources from Microsoft designed to help you stay up to date and informed with the latest news and data for the Nov. 6 presidential election here in the U.S.

    Even though it’s been an especially busy fall for Microsoft, like many people, I’ve followed the U.S. presidential election closely, watching each debate, listening to pundits and keeping up with the latest news. Elections are always noisy things, but this year in particular the sheer volume of information is just incredible – polls, position statements, momentum swings, national and international issues, platoons of fact checkers and counter checkers, economic data, you name it. With so much data, it gets harder and harder to pull signal out of the noise. Luckily, I work for a company that knows a thing or two about handling lots of data :-), so we’ve created some great resources to help everyone make an informed decision on Election Day.

    At this point in the election cycle, most voters (and I put myself in this list!) aren’t just looking for *more* information, instead they’re looking for *trusted information*. With that in mind, we’ve created the following election resources:

    Bing Elections

    In this hotly contested political season, things like binders and bayonets can take on new meaning in a matter of minutes.

  • It’s Here…Windows 8!

    Microsoft today announced the global availability of its popular Windows operating system, Windows 8. Beginning Friday, Oct. 26, consumers and businesses worldwide will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer, including a beautiful new user interface and a wide range of applications with the grand opening of the Windows Store.

    As a result of close work with hardware partners, more than 1,000 certified PCs and tablets, including Microsoft Surface, will be available for the launch of Windows 8 — making it the best lineup of PCs ever across the Windows 8 and Windows RT ecosystem.

    “We have reimagined Windows and the result is a stunning lineup of new PCs,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

  • Daily Update, Oct. 24th – Microsoft Announces New Apache Hadoop Solutions for Windows Azure & Windows Server

    Today at the O’Reilly Strata Conference + Hadoop World, Microsoft announced new previews of Windows Azure HDInsight Service and Microsoft HDInsight Server for Windows, the company’s Apache Hadoop-based solutions for Windows Azure and Windows Server. The new previews, available today at, deliver Apache Hadoop compatibility for the enterprise and simplify deployment of Hadoop-based solutions. In addition, delivering these capabilities on the Windows Server and Azure platforms enables customers to use the familiar tools of Excel, PowerPivot for Excel and Power View to easily extract actionable insights from the data.

    And just in case you missed it, on Tuesday Microsoft announced general availability of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 to be Dec. 1.

  • The Midweek Download: Oct 24th Edition – Custom Tiles and Internet Explorer 10 on Windows Phone 8

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Windows Phone 8 marketing tools for website and app developers, determining your organization’s Windows 8 adoption path, and taking monsters from scary to terrifying using Kinect for Windows.

    Creating a custom Tile to link to your website. This Oct. 18 Windows Phone Developer Blog post guides you through the process of creating a custom pinned Tile that links to your website. This helps you control your brand when users pin your site to their Windows Phone Start screen. This works on phones running Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8. Check it out and start creating your custom Tile in five easy steps. And while you’re at it, grab the refreshed Windows Phone Store badge (see below) to help market your Windows Phone app and help customers find it.

  • Introducing the New Entertainment Experience from Xbox

    Below is a post from Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Marketing Officer for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Division, announcing details about a major new update to the Xbox dashboard and the launch of Xbox SmartGlass, which brings games, music, TV and movie experiences off the console and onto your phone, tablet and PC.

    Steve Ballmer recently stated that 2012 will be “the most epic year in Microsoft’s history.”

    Not only do we have major releases coming to the PC, tablet and phone, but we have worked extremely hard to ensure those screens work together with the other major screen in peoples’ lives, the television. People often call out the role Microsoft design style is playing in this new wave of experiences from the company. Whether you are using a phone, PC, tablet or console that is running our software you have an experience that is distinctively Microsoft, elegant, intuitive and integrated.

    Now, there is another common thread that ties all of these experiences together – Xbox entertainment.

    Today marks the beginning of two major launches for Xbox entertainment.

  • Daily Update, Oct. 22nd – Lifting the Veil on Skype for Windows 8

    Skype announced Skype for Windows 8 today, bringing together popular Skype features and the new design of Windows 8. The release focuses on delivering an experience that is simpler, faster and easier to use. Skype for Windows 8 includes top Skype features like IM, audio and video calls. The Big Blog has the full story, plus a cool video (see below) that introduces Skype for Windows 8. Skype for Windows 8 will be available on Oct. 26.

  • VIDEO: Bill Gates Talks Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 & Surface

    Last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stopped by the Microsoft campus in Redmond to celebrate 30 years of the employee Giving Campaign here at the company.

    While Bill was here, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton had the opportunity to sit down with him and get Bill’s thoughts on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface and the exciting wave of products the company is launching this month.

    Watch the video below for the full interview with Bill.

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

  • Daily Update, Oct. 19th – New Academic Institutions Adopt Office 365 for Education

    Three stories out of Microsoft today:

    Microsoft today announced new academic institutions and medical schools that are adopting Microsoft Office 365 for education, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service, to improve communication and collaboration across campuses while helping meet security, privacy and other regulatory requirements as mandated by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Those institutions include Duke University, Emory University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Iowa and University of Washington. You can read more about it in this Office 365 Blog post and in this post on the Microsoft in Education Blog.

    Also, today we're introducing a new offering for university and college students called Office 365 University. Available in the first quarter of 2013, Office 365 University will be offered online, at retail locations and at Microsoft Stores in 52 markets worldwide. Head on over to the Office Blog to read more about it and see the top 10 reasons why higher education students will love Office 365 University.

  • Microsoft Reaches Settlement with Second Kelihos Defendant

    Last September, I shared that Microsoft, Kaspersky and Kyrus Inc. took action against the Kelihos botnet, the first case in which Microsoft named a defendant in one of its civil cases involving a botnet. In January, based on new evidence in the case, Microsoft amended its original complaint and named Andrey N. Sabelnikov, a Russian software programmer, as a new defendant in the lawsuit. Today, I am pleased to say we have reached an agreement with Mr. Sabelnikov, and have officially settled and closed the Kelihos botnet case.

    Late last week, Microsoft and Andrey Sabelnikov agreed to the following joint statement, which closed the case:

    “Microsoft and St. Petersburg software programmer Andrey Sabelnikov have entered into a Settlement Agreement in the matter of Microsoft v. Sabelnikov. During the negotiations, after reviewing the evidence provided by Microsoft and engaging in discussions, the parties have come to an understanding that Mr. Sabelnikov wrote code that was used in the Kelihos botnet code, but the programmer is not the operator of the botnet or involved in its activities.

  • Weekend Reading: Oct. 19th Edition – Everything You Want to Know About Surface & Microsoft Employee Giving Hits US$1 Billion Mark

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, employees achieve historic giving campaign milestone, the new Microsoft Surface – inside and out, and Xbox news: from Xbox Music to Internet Explorer on Xbox to the presidential elections.

    All about Surface. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton says to check out the updated Surface site. The “learn more” section details the specs, materials, display tech and more. Optical bonding, 22 degree kick stand, device walls that measure just 0.65mm, a Touch Cover that’s just 3mm thin and weighs less than half a pound. Get the scoop and specs in Steve’s Wednesday post, and even more scoop in Some questions, and answers about Surface, plus two great videos to watch: The making of Microsoft Surface, featuring the design team behind Surface, and a Learn more about Surface demo video.

  • A Billion Ways to Make a Difference

    October is a magical month at Microsoft. There’s a sense of something powerful happening. There are clues everywhere, such as the frantic bidding for the (often quirky) items in the online auction and the brochures in the kitchens seeking submissions for the annual cat calendar. Or the thousands of employees and their families who take to the streets around our headquarters to participate in the 5k run.

    The signs are different but the outcome is always the same – millions of dollars raised to help people in real need.

    October is the time when employees on our Redmond campus and in offices across the U.S. unleash their creativity and passion to raise funds for nonprofit and community organizations in their home towns and around the world. This year is our 30th Employee Giving Campaign and today we announced that our U.S. employees have raised $1 billion in cash for more than 31,000 nonprofit and community organizations since the start of the campaign.

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Chairman and Founder Bill Gates commemorated Microsoft’s 30th Employee Giving Campaign during a special town hall event today and announced that Microsoft employees have raised $1 billion in cash since 1983 for more than 31,000 nonprofits and community organizations in the U.S. and around the world. Redmond, Wash. — Oct. 18, 2012.
  • Daily Update, Oct. 17th – Microsoft Acquires MarketingPilot & Launches WOWZAPP 2012 Hackathon

    Two stories out of Microsoft today:

    · Microsoft announced today that it has closed on the acquisition of MarketingPilot. MarketingPilot provides integrated marketing management solutions that allow organizations to better understand their customers, manage and streamline marketing operations and create automated and measurable multi-channel marketing campaigns. This acquisition will accelerate Microsoft’s ability to better meet the needs of CMO's through rich business intelligence, and better enable marketers to successfully plan, execute, monitor and optimize customer interactions across digital, social and traditional channels, and measure ROI.

    · Registration has launched for Microsoft’s WOWZAPP 2012, Worldwide Hackathon for Windows, which will take place Nov. 9–11 in more than 30 locations worldwide. Students and other types of developers across countries such as India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Chile and Greece will work in teams to develop apps that will be published and available for download in the Windows Store.

  • The Midweek Download: Oct. 17th Edition – Windows Phone Adds 13 New Developer Registration Markets

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got Windows Phone Developer news and how-to’s, new tools and tips for a secure and stable cloud environment, plus how we’re delivering the most up-to-date Windows 8 on day one.

    Windows Phone developer registration opens in 13 new markets. In Todd Brix’s last post, he talked about how we’re planning to roll out periodic updates to the Windows Phone Dev Center and Store infrastructure that address issues you report and occasionally include small feature enhancements. Well, it’s that time once again, and in addition to another 100 or so fixes, Microsoft is enabling developer registration in 13 new markets via Dev Center with this release: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Timor-Leste. For the rest of the story, head over to The Windows Phone Developer Blog.

    Updating Windows 8 for general availability. In an Oct. 9 post, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, announced the release of a set of improvements to Windows 8 in broad areas of performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback and compatibility.

  • Daily Update, Oct. 16th – Microsoft Announces Surface Pricing & Availability

    Microsoft today released new details about its highly anticipated Microsoft Surface, a tablet PC designed to be the ultimate stage for Windows. Originally unveiled in June, Surface with Windows RT will initially be available in three SKUs: a 32GB version priced at US$499, a 32GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at US$599 and a 64GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at US$699.


  • Daily Update, Oct. 15th – Bringing Music to the Masses: Xbox Music

    The big news out of Microsoft today is the launch of Xbox Music, a new all-in-one music service, specially designed to let users listen to music in exactly the way they want, begins rolling out to millions of people around the world Oct. 16 on the Xbox 360, then to the masses with Windows 8 on Oct. 26.

    The all-in-one music service combines the best aspects of free-streaming radio, music subscription services and music purchasing options, all in one elegant package, says Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Marketing and Strategy. Watch the video below to find out more.

  • Daily Update, Oct. 12th – Get a Sneak Peek at a New Wave of Windows 8 Devices

    Four big stories out of Microsoft today, including a sneak preview of new Windows 8 tablets, pre-order information for Windows 8 Pro, the second episode of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and an update on the TV White Spaces wireless broadband question.

    · Microsoft’s hardware partners are about to unleash a wave of new Windows 8 devices in all shapes and sizes. For consumers and businesses, that breadth offers the chance to find just the right PC no matter their needs. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center to see a slideshow of these slick new devices. To the left is a screenshot of the Asus VivoTa RT.

    · Starting today, you can reserve a packaged DVD of the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $69.99 USD ERP* (U.S.) at select retailers. You will want to upgrade your PC to Windows 8 Pro sooner rather than later - this upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro both online and at retail runs only through to Jan. 31, 2013.

  • Weekend Reading: Oct 12th Edition – Lenovo PCs Get Flexible With Windows 8 & T-Mobile Adds the Nokia Lumia 810

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got more news on Windows Phone 8 devices, the Halo 4 frenzy continues and a video of two slick Lenovo Windows 8 PCs.

    Windows 8 on Lenovo’s Yoga. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton files this video in the “too good not to share” category. Courtesy of ABC news – Joanna Stern’s post has all the details on Lenovo’s range of Windows 8 PCs including the IdeaPad Yoga and ThinkPad Twist. Check out these impressive devices for yourself in the video over on Next (courtesy of ABC news).

    T-Mobile adds the Nokia Lumia 810 to its Windows Phone 8 lineup. A few weeks ago T-Mobile announced that it’s bringing the Windows Phone 8X by HTC to its portfolio this fall. On Monday, it added the Nokia Lumia 810 to the mix. The Lumia 810 is an exclusive to T-Mobile. Inside you’ll get similar specs as the Lumia 820 – 4.3” ClearBlack display and 8MP Carl Zeiss camera, etc. – but you’ll also get a 1.2MP wide-angle, Skype HD-certified front-facing camera that’s 720p video-capable, a long-lasting 1800mAh battery and optimizations to make it screaming fast on T-Mobile’s 4G network. Catch more on this and other Windows Phone 8 devices from Ben Rudolph on the Windows Phone Blog.