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.

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Also, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft received a $9.8 million contract to migrate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based collaboration and communication service. This transition will improve EPA employees’ access to communications and mobility tools and will offer the EPA significant cost savings by reducing the agency’s energy footprint. The new system is expected to save the agency approximately $12 million over the four-year contract period.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog