The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

January, 2013

  • The Windy City Teams with Microsoft on Cloud Strategy

    The following is a post from Michael Donlan, Vice President of U.S. State and Local Government at Microsoft.

    As part of a new cloud computing strategy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the City of Chicago will move 30,000 employees to Microsoft Office 365 for cloud-based e-mail and productivity.

    The City will consolidate its three disparate e-mail systems into one Microsoft Office 365 environment in an effort to improve collaboration, enhance security, and provide both mobile and desktop access for anytime, anywhere productivity. This new strategy will deliver more than $1.3 million in cost savings over the next four years – a whopping 80 percent decrease in cost per employee – while ensuring City workers have access to Web-based versions of the Microsoft tools they rely upon every day, including Microsoft Outlook, Word, OneNote, Excel, Lync and PowerPoint.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 3rd – Building a State-of-the-Art Speller for Bing

    Is it Swarzinegar, Swarneger, Scwarznagger or Schwartiznegar? These are just a few of more than 2,000 different ways users on Bing have typed their queries in hope of searching for “Schwarzenegger.” The aim of the Bing Speller is to correct these queries so users receive relevant web results that match their intent even when their query is misspelt. A great speller makes a search engine feel like magic to the users. In this Bing Search Blog post, Jim Kleban provides an overview of Bing Speller technology with some examples of recent improvements we just shipped in December.


  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 4th Edition – MSN’s Top Stories of 2012 & the Windy City Adopts Office 365

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on MSN’s top news stories of 2012, the City of Chicago adopting Office 365 for 30,000 employees, great Windows Phone apps for the new year and more.

    MSN’s top news stories of 2012. What would happen if Honey Boo-Boo entered a room Gangnam Style and Kim Kardashian tweeted about it? It’d sound a lot like the MSN 2012 Year in Review! Covering everything from super-storm Sandy to the year’s top baby names, 2012’s most influential cats, the greatest photo-bombs of the year, and the year’s top tweets, the Year in Review on MSN has something for everyone. Showcased in one beautiful hub that brings all the top stories of the year together in a dynamic, image-rich format, Year in Review highlights the plethora of most clicked, shared, searched and tweeted topics of 2012. Check it out over on MSN.

    MSN 2012

  • Daily Update, Jan. 4th – Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Defense Ink Comprehensive Technology Agreement

    In an effort to modernize technology infrastructure, reduce costs and foster new levels of cross-agency collaboration, the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) are expanding access to Microsoft solutions by entering into a transformative three-year Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreement for enterprise licenses and software assurance. The agreement provides all three organizations with a single vehicle for accessing the latest Microsoft technologies in support of top IT priorities around datacenter consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data.

    This is the most comprehensive licensing agreement Microsoft has ever established with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), covering nearly 75 percent of all DoD personnel.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 7th – Xbox NUads Makes Traditional TV Advertising More Engaging

    Two stories out of Microsoft today (so far):

    First, Microsoft today announced the double-digit engagement results of the first NUads experience, interactive polling, which it rolled out earlier in the fall of 2012 on Xbox LIVE in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The first wave of NUads was provided by a lineup of top advertisers, including SUBWAY® Restaurants and Toyota. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center to find out more about the results.

    Also, Microsoft and GOOD have teamed up to give you the opportunity to help your favorite youth-focused nonprofit.

  • Microsoft Showcases New Windows 8 Hardware at CES

    As many of you know, the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will soon be under way.

    Over on Blogging Windows, Nick Parker, corporate vice president of worldwide OEM, penned a piece about how “touch and other new capabilities in Windows 8 are powering the latest hardware innovations coming from our OEM partners.” To the right is a screenshot of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 8th – Helly Hansen Adopts Office 365 for Communications and Social Platform

    Two stories out of Microsoft this morning:

    First, Scandinavian outdoor brand, Helly Hansen, best known for apparel that is the optimal combination of purposeful design, protection and style, has chosen Microsoft Office 365 as its communication and social platform. A globally recognized brand, Helly Hansen sells its products on five continents. In addition, Helly Hansen operates 39 retail outlets in Europe and North America. The company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and its 350 full-time employees collaborate across offices in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, China, Canada and the United States. Read more about it over on the Microsoft News Center.

    And second, at Microsoft, we want to help parents create a healthy computing environment for their kids. That’s why we set out to hear from parents about what matters most to them in helping young people stay safer online.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 9th Edition – 60M Windows 8 Licenses Sold

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Windows 8 momentum, Windows Phone 8 app development and NUI. Check ‘em out!

    Windows 8 – 60M licenses sold. On Tuesday at the 11th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech Forum at CES 2013, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller announced that Windows 8 has sold 60 million licenses to date. This represents the cumulative sales of Windows 8 including both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new devices. This is a similar sales trajectory that we saw with Windows 7. Head on over to Blogging Windows for the whole story.

    How to detect that your app is running in Kid’s Corner. In Windows Phone 8, Microsoft introduced the Kid’s Corner feature that lets parents configure a separate Start screen for their children and populate it with only the apps, games, and content that they feel is appropriate.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 9th – Retailer Tesco Gets Social With Office 365 and Microsoft Releases Skype for Windows Phone 8 Preview 2.1

    Tesco, one of the world’s leading retailers, has chosen Microsoft Office 365 for its companywide collaboration and social platform. The United Kingdom-based retailer is committed to deploying Office 365 to its employees working at the company’s headquarters, in the field and in stores, across all its locations in Europe and Asia. The Microsoft News Center has the whole story.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 10th – Microsoft Hires Tech Entrepreneur Blake Krikorian, Introduces Skype 6.1 for Windows and More

    This morning, Microsoft announced the appointment of longtime technology entrepreneur Blake Krikorian as corporate vice president for its Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), which includes the Xbox team. Krikorian will report to Marc Whitten, chief product officer for IEB. This announcement follows the acquisition of Krikorian’s company, id8 Group R2 Studios.

    Today also brings the launch of Skype 6.1 for Windows Desktop, now with Outlook integration and a visual update to the toolbar.

  • Xbox 360 Holds Top Console Spot for 24th Straight Month

    Xbox 360 ended 2012 as the best-selling console in the U.S. in 2013, selling 1.4 million units in December, according to the NPD Group.

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 11th Edition – Huawei Introduces Windows Phone 8 Device at CES & ‘Indie’ Game App Developers Light Up Windows Phone

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Huawei joining the Windows Phone 8 family, great Windows Phone apps for gamers and snow junkies, plus some Oscar-worthy apps to help you get through awards season.

    Natural User Interfaces part 4: what’s next? Yesterday, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton shared his final post on NUI. It goes beyond Kinect and explains why NUI is much more than touch and gesture. You can watch some future scenarios play out in the Office Vision video below. To see some really facinating stuff, take a look at the post on Next at Microsoft and be sure to check out the first three parts of Clayton’s NUI series.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 14th – Microsoft Showcases ‘The Future of Retail Today’ at National Retail Federation Annual Convention & EXPO

    This week brings the National Retail Federation (NRF) 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO to New York City, where Microsoft is highlighting how its technologies and broad ecosystem of partner solutions help retailers deliver personalized, seamless and differentiated shopping experiences for their customers.

    A post today on the Next at Microsoft blog features exciting examples like Swivel, a 3-D dressing room from FaceCake Marketing Technologies that uses Windows Embedded and Kinect for Windows to allow shoppers to try on clothes virtually.

  • What is the Cloud OS?

    The following is a post from Michael Park, Corporate Vice President of Marketing in the Server & Tools Business at Microsoft.

    We all know change is constant, especially in technology. Managing through change is always a challenge, but over the past 20 years I’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my career in the tech industry.

    During the past six months I’ve been talking to IT executives and partners about the big changes and trends in enterprise IT, such as the various cloud computing models, the consumerization of IT, the new generation of connected applications and big data. I’ve shared with them our vision of what we call the Cloud OS and the feedback has been very positive. They see it as a differentiated approach from Microsoft that will help them embrace the transformational changes happening now. Today, Microsoft announced several new products and services that deliver against the Cloud OS, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to further explain it to readers of this blog.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 15th – Office 365 Helps Retailers Take Care of Business

    The National Retail Foundation (NRF) Annual Convention & EXPO continues today in New York City, where Microsoft is showcasing how its technology helps retailers enhance and personalize the shopping experience while operating more efficiently and effectively.

    Matthew Gaines, director of technology at sandwich company ‘wichcraft, shares an excellent example in his guest post on the Office 365 blog today.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 16th Edition – Delivering on the Cloud OS & the ‘Next App Star’ Contest Kicks Off

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the Cloud OS and the opportunity it brings enterprise customers and IT managers, retailers connecting with customers using Windows 8 apps, plus a shot at seeing your app featured in a Windows Phone TV ad through the Next App Star contest.

    What is the Cloud OS? “We all know change is constant, especially in technology,” says Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Server & Tools Michael Park in his guest post on The Official Microsoft Blog. “Managing through change is always a challenge, but over the past 20 years I’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my career in the tech industry,” Park adds. During the past six months Parks has been talking to IT executives and partners about the big changes and trends in enterprise IT, such as the various cloud computing models, the consumerization of IT, the new generation of connected applications and big data. Yesterday, Microsoft announced several new products and services that deliver against the Cloud OS. Read all about them in yesterday’s edition of The Official Microsoft Blog and in this Microsoft News Center press release.

    Retailers reach more customers with Windows 8. This week, Microsoft is at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual conference in New York City demonstrating how Windows 8 apps and devices are helping transform the way retailers do business.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 16th – New Mobile App Helps You Stay Connected During a Natural Disaster

    Today Microsoft announced the launch of HelpBridge, a new mobile app that enables you to get help, give help and stay connected with loved ones in the event of a natural disaster.

    HelpBridge simplifies the process of contacting your family and friends in an emergency by simultaneously sending an e-mail and SMS to the communities you select as well as posting a message to your Facebook wall. You can even include your GPS coordinates so that message recipients will know where you are and the circumstances surrounding you.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 17th – Bing Expands Social Search & Lady Gaga Chats With Fans on Skype

    One of the advantages of searching with Bing is the ability to tap into the wisdom of friends and experts in the social sidebar, and starting today you will see an average of five times more Facebook content in the sidebar, including status updates, shared links, comments and photos from your friends. Bing is the only search engine where you can find relevant search results along with the people who can help you make a decision — so you can spend more time doing and less time searching.

    To learn more about Bing’s social updates, read today’s Search Blog post from Bing Corporate Vice President Derrick O’Connell, check out the video demo below and head over to to experience the benefits of social search.

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 18th Edition – 'Spartan Ops' Continues, Bing Dials Up the Social in Search & More

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Bing bringing your friends’ two cents to search results, the highly anticipated return of Spartan Ops Season 1 and the new Priceline Express Deals app for Windows Phone.

    The second half of Spartan Ops Season 1 returns on Jan. 21! That’s Monday, for those of you that don’t have a calendar in your immediate line of sight. To make sure you’re ready for the awesomeness that is episodes 6-10, the Halo team made a few different recap options of episodes 1-5. So press play on the (brand new!) video below if you prefer electronically captured information, and check out the Spartan Ops Season 1 stats in Wednesday’s release of The Halo Bulletin if you have a thing for numbers. Here’s a teaser stat for you: 8,125,908 games were played in Spartan Ops Matchmaking in the first two months.

  • Growing the Surface Family: Surface Windows 8 Pro Availability Confirmed

    The following is a post from Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface.

    Ever since we launched Surface Windows RT late last year, it’s been exciting to see the ongoing customer response to this amazing device. We are also pumped about all the anticipation and excitement in regards to Surface Windows 8 Pro. There have been a tremendous amount of questions to date, and today, I am pleased that we are formally announcing the date of availability. Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting on Feb. 9 through all Microsoft retail stores, and at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada. Not only has it been fun watching the anticipation, it has been great working with such an amazing team to bring these products to life.

    Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, Surface Windows 8 Pro provides the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet package and will run all Windows 8 applications as well as current Windows 7 desktop applications. Last month, we announced Surface Windows 8 Pro pricing starting at $899 and that it will be available in 64 GB and 128 GB models. A Surface Pen is included and makes for an amazing experience for writers, graphic designers or even engineers, and with Palm Block technology writing and drawing is fun for everyone on Surface Windows 8 Pro.


  • Daily Update, Jan. 22nd – Learn How to Program in F#

    Today, we are excited to announce the latest release of Try F#, a set of resources that makes it easy to learn and program with F# in your browser. It’s available over a wide range of platforms and doesn’t require a download of Microsoft Visual Studio. Try F# quickly reveals the value of the versatile F# programming language.

    Read more about it over on the Microsoft Research Connections Blog.

  • The Midweek Download: Jan. 23rd Edition – Eight Tips for Designing Windows Phone Apps

    In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the latest release of Try F#, the Windows Startup Challenge, plus how to design, optimize and submit your Windows Phone apps – tools and tips you’ll want to use.

    Eight tips for designing Windows Phone apps. As part of the "App to the future" challenge, we’ve conducted Lightning Design Review sessions for a few weeks, and one thing struck Windows Phone Product Marketing Director JC Cimetiere as he was watching: review after review, he could clearly identify some recurring patterns. So Cimetiere asked Senior Interactive Designer, Lincoln Anderson, who hosts the reviews, to analyze common issues he sees and write down the top eight design tips for Windows Phone. To see what they came up with, head over to the Jan. 18 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. While you’re there, learn how to make your apps battery-friendly in this Jan. 17 post on Optimizing Battery Consumption of Windows Phone Applications.

    Try F#—data console to big and broad data. Yesterday, we announced the latest release of Try F#, a set of resources that makes it easy to learn and program with F# in your browser. It’s available over a wide range of platforms and doesn’t require a download of Microsoft Visual Studio. Try F# quickly reveals the value of the versatile F# programming language. Try F# enables users to learn F# through new tutorials that focus on solving real-world problems, including analytical programming quandaries of the sort that are encountered in finance and data science.

  • Microsoft and Data Privacy Day: Helping You Take Control

    The following is a post from Brendon Lynch, Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft.

    Privacy is increasingly top of mind for people around the world as online activities have become a central part of daily life.

    To mark Data Privacy Day 2013, Microsoft commissioned research to better understand people’s online privacy perceptions and expectations. The results of this new research show:

    • 45 percent of respondents said they feel they have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming.
    • Only four in 10 said they feel they totally or mostly understand how to protect their online privacy.
    • An equal number of people (39 percent) said they are turning to friends and family, as well as privacy statements, as their top source for privacy information.
    • A third of those surveyed (32 percent) said they are paying attention to companies’ privacy reputations, track records, and policies when choosing which websites to visit or services to use.

    What exactly do these findings mean and how can they be put to use? We already know our customers want and expect strong privacy protections to be built into our products, devices and services, and for companies to be responsible stewards of consumers’ data. We’ve been focused on this area for more than 10 years as part of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft.

  • Daily Update, Jan. 23rd – Bing Sports App for Windows 8 Adds College Football & Basketball, MotoGP & More Soccer

    Bringing you the best content from world of sports including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, Formula 1 and more, The Sports app for Windows 8 is your personal sports companion. Today, we are pleased to add NCAA Men’s Basketball, NCAA Football, MotoGP and 17 global additional soccer leagues to the app. With the additions, you can easily personalize the experience so you can track your favorite teams and leagues with the tap of a finger. Head on over to the Bing Search Blog for the whole story.

    Windows 8 Sports App

  • Weekend Reading: Jan. 25th Edition – The Samsung ATIV Odyssey & Nokia Lumia 822 Arrive at Verizon

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the Samsung ATIV Odyssey and red-hot Nokia Lumia 822 from Verizon, the Feb. 9 arrival of Surface Windows 8 Pro, plus photography apps that will make you love your Windows Phone even more.

    Samsung ATIV Odyssey arrives at Verizon. Plus: A Lumia for Valentine’s Day. Sweet news for Verizon Wireless subscribers: As of yesterday, you have two more great and affordable Windows Phones to choose from. As promised, the Samsung ATIV Odyssey made its much-awaited debut. Buy it here. The third Windows Phone 8 model in the company’s 4G LTE lineup runs $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and new two-year contact. It features a 4-inch 800x480 Super AMOLED display, 5-megapixel rear camera with full 1080p recording and playback capability, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 2100mAh battery. And to further sweeten the pot, Verizon also started selling a flashy red Nokia Lumia 822, pictured at right below. Get all the details in yesterday’s post on the Windows Phone Blog and watch the video below.