Microsoft News Center
Tech News Blogs
Microsoft announced today that the rollout of Surface will continue beginning in late March, bringing Surface RT with Windows RT to Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan, and Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro to Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Read the press release to learn more.
Also today, enterprise social network Yammer announced plans to add message translation capabilities, which will allow users to instantly translate Yammer conversations into their native languages.
“Removing language as a barrier to cross-company collaboration can be a competitive game changer for multinational organizations. It opens a world of possibilities,” said Adam Pisoni, Yammer co-founder and general manager of Engineering, Microsoft Office Division, in a press release this morning.
The following is a post from Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist at Bing.
Earlier this week, members of the Bing team wrote about our TEDActive activation this year, which uses technology developed as part of Microsoft Research’s So.Cl project and created at FUSE Labs. We discussed the way it allows TEDActive attendees to act as citizen reporters, but perhaps more interesting from a scientific angle is the way in which it allows people to express their reactions not by responding directly, but by making mashups of their associations in reaction to each TED Talk.
Imagine, for example, reacting to the TED Talk by Bono. Using TED.so.cl, I can put together a video of U2’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” alongside a Wikipedia article of the Good Friday Agreement. Throw in pictures of the Egyptian revolution, a video of John Lennon singing “Working Class Hero” and a scholarly essay on poverty and you’re starting to tap into my associations with how we address global issues. And while I could link all those ideas together in an essay to try to explain all the connections that I see between them, it would take far more than the few seconds it takes to create a collage of those sources using the tools at TED.so.cl.
Conference-goers can assemble online content into collages that express their reactions and associations.
To understand why I think that is important, let me back up a little. Though many people under the age of thirty might not remember it, there was a time when the web was entirely words. The transmission of images via the internet wasn’t yet commonplace, and when it happened, it was usually about sending a file which people then imported into another program to view. Connection speeds meant that it took hours to complete even that process, so the majority of what people made for the web was text-based. It may not have felt natural, but it was the best technology we had.
The following is a post from Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division.
Today we are celebrating a significant milestone with our latest release of Microsoft Office 365.
When we first set out to build this release of Office, we knew it would be the boldest yet. We wanted to create that “over-the-shoulder envy” that makes your friend or the guy sitting next to you on the plane ask what you’re using. In a recent survey, 96 percent of people who were asked said they’d recommend Office to a friend. With the new Office 365 services we know that customers will enjoy entirely new benefits and unique scenarios that only come alive in the cloud.
This ambitious release comes at an exciting time. Ongoing feedback from customers helps us deeply understand the role we can play in delivering new technology and innovations that will transform the modern workplace and help people manage increasingly busy lives.
One thing we see is that workplaces must be increasingly dynamic, helping people quickly make connections to information and each other. That’s why the new Office has social at its core — with Yammer, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn and SharePoint. It’s why we’ve unlocked new communications scenarios with Lync HD multiparty videoconferencing today, and we can imagine a world in the not-too-distant future where Office makes working remotely feel as natural as being in the same room with someone.
People are also flooded with information — and it’s only getting worse. They need help making sense of it all. That’s why the new Office includes data analysis and visualization tools in Excel, such as Flash Fill PowerPivot, and Power View — so you can quickly illustrate the business insight from the sea of business data. It’s why we envision a world where Office uses contextual computing to gather, prioritize and put the information you need right at your fingertips.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on open source Apache Hadoop coming to Windows, the accelerating momentum of Yammer, plus tools and offers to make building Windows Phone apps faster and easier.
Hortonworks and Microsoft bring the Hortonworks Data Platform to Windows. On Monday, Hortonworks released the beta for the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows, the industry’s first 100% Open Source Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows. With Windows Server holding 73% market share in 2012, HDP for Windows dramatically broadens the accessible market for Hadoop. This release is the result of a deep engineering partnership between Hortonworks and Microsoft with the goal to help accelerate the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise by diversifying the number of platforms that it can run on. Get the rest of the story in Monday’s post on the SQL Server Blog.
Windows Phone developer updates & offers from Mobile World Congress. Windows Phone team member Todd Brix posts from from Barcelona where he had the honor of joining Nokia at its App Developer Conference to help kick-off Mobile World Congress. Nokia shared some great phone and app news that you can read about here. For Microsoft, today is about showing you, our Windows Phone developers, the progress you have made. Brix also announced a few more tools and programs that make it even easier for you to develop for Windows Phone. Read about these tools, including the new Dev Center App (screen shot below), in Monday’s post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Also, the Windows Phone Next App Star contest sweetens the pot – read about the US$15,000 in new prizes added to the contest.
Yammer accelerates momentum following Microsoft acquisition. Yammer, Inc., a best-in-class Enterprise Social Network and part of the Microsoft Office Division, today announced record growth in 2012 and accelerating momentum following the Microsoft acquisition.
The following is a post from Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft.
In today’s world it’s natural to focus on the ever-changing threat landscape, which at times can feel daunting and overwhelming for consumers, businesses and governments alike. There are real and serious concerns that we all continue to play a role in addressing.
In the midst of sometimes provocative headlines, the tangible progress being made to advance the industry is often overlooked. However, as I shared today in my RSA keynote, when I look at the breadth of the good work that industry and government is doing, I’m encouraged.
We are seeing key security industry accomplishments and government activity that will have long-term impact and together form a basis for optimism. Some of these improvements are being felt today, while others are laying a foundation for the future.
When I step back and think about where the security industry has experienced tangible success, I think of three broad areas:
Some of the most interesting stories coming out of this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are all about the magic that happens when app builders’ ingenuity meshes with the unique benefits of Microsoft’s ecosystem.
You can see some great examples of this in a slideshow on the Microsoft News Center today featuring work from app builders around the globe. For more from app developers in their own words, have a look at the videos below from the Windows team.Posted by Steve WiensGuest Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog
Right now, somewhere out at sea, a cruise-liner packed with some of technology’s most creative thinkers and doers is circumnavigating the globe. Over the course of their 106-day voyage, the rotating cast of innovators, investors and commentators on board – including 11 leaders from the Microsoft Xbox team – will roll up their sleeves and put their brains to work developing smart solutions to tough global problems.
This is Unreasonable@Sea, a truly unique experiment in global entrepreneurship designed by Daniel Epstein, founder of the Unreasonable Institute, along with George Kembel, co-founder of Stanford's d.school, and Semester at Sea, in partnership with Xbox and others.Video: What is Unreasonable At Sea?
Alarm clock, stereo, DVD player, thermostat—those are just a few everyday items that Jeff Bradley’s smartphone has replaced.
He expects many more consumer electronics to end up in the recycling bin.
As AT&T’s senior vice president of Device and Developer Services, Bradley spends a lot of time thinking about how smartphones are changing our lives. Powerful yet palm-sized devices, blazing-fast mobile networks and an ever-expanding app ecosystem have converged to change not just the way we communicate but the world around us.
We’re still in the early stages of that wave, he says. Our smartphones will eventually become a control hub to monitor and manage just about everything that has an electronic pulse.
We had the chance to talk with Bradley just before Mobile World Congress about the key trends shaping the industry, their impact on customers and why he plans to say goodbye to his wallet and car keys.
Q: What big trends are you currently looking at in the industry landscape, and why are they important for AT&T and your customers?
A: I think the most obvious trend is this incredible adoption by consumers and businesses of the smartphone as their primary form of communication. Combine these super-powerful devices with very fast networks and the ongoing phenomenon around mobile apps, and you have an unbelievably powerful platform. Now all of a sudden you have this incredibly disruptive event where the smartphone is becoming a replacement for many historical consumer electronics products and services.
Start with your alarm clock, right, by your bedside table; that is completely unnecessary with a smartphone. A standalone individual MP3 player is redundant. And most people now don't even need a DVD on your TV; you beam it from your smartphone.
So what started off as a way for me to be able to stay connected and communicate has now effectively become, for most people, their consumer electronics hub.
The following is a post from Edward Happ, Global CIO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Today marks an important milestone for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Microsoft as we enter into a new partnership to address the digital divide across our Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the globe that touch the lives of more than 150 million people each year.
We are a leading humanitarian organization focused on addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges, including human suffering, disaster relief and preparedness, health, social inclusion and building a culture of peace around the world. We also work to strengthen the capacity of communities through our work in key focus areas such as: promoting human values, disaster preparedness, and health and community care.
Through the partnership, we will look to overcome the challenge of fostering stronger Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies through the use of technology and innovation. Our organization has an internal digital divide where National Societies in poorer countries do not have the same technology tools and access as others. With the support of Microsoft’s cloud computing and other technologies, we can provide universality, which we describe as equal tools and access globally across our organizations. Further, technology will help us to better connect with our stakeholders no matter where they are and improve the process of delivering new programs.
In addition, technology helps to improve outcomes in our emergency response work. Technology helps our team to more quickly assess an emergency situation, share updates easily with large audiences and communicate better with our network of Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers and workers as they provide goods and services and respond to disasters. Through technology we are able to accomplish more tasks at a faster pace after a disaster, meaning we can save more lives.
The following is a post by Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.
Two weeks after Microsoft and Symantec’s collaborative takedown of the Bamital botnet, I’m pleased to report that the Bamital botnet remains offline. Additionally, since Microsoft was able to receive all of the computer traffic that had been connecting to the Bamital botnet, we are also seeing very positive cleanup results firsthand. For instance, our preliminary data shows that as of February 18th, approximately 32 percent of the infected computers we had observed since the February 6th takedown are no longer part of the Bamital botnet. This promising reduction rate is largely due to the takedown of the botnet and victims taking action in response to the proactive notification process and available cleanup tools. We expect that the number of victim notifications and cleaned computers will improve as we fine-tune our process over the course of the next several weeks.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on making winning Oscar predictions, Windows Phone apps for business and for fun, plus a preview of multiplayer mayhem in Gears of War: Judgment.
And the winner is…you! Use the Oscars Ballot Predictor app. Don't have time to watch all the Oscar-nominated movies, but want the inside scoop on the likely winners? Try the new Oscars Ballot Predictor app, which brings a bit of Hollywood fun to Excel 2013 and gives you a competitive edge at your Oscars party. The interactive app lets you see the Oscar nominees, vote for your picks, and check out the predicted winners in each of the 24 categories. How do your predictions stack up? Get details and download links in this Wednesday post on the Office Blog. And learn more about the creator of this app, David Rothschild of Microsoft Research, in yesterday’s post on the Official Microsoft Blog.
Gears of War: Judgment – guts of gears multiplayer video. It’s time to take a look at Gears of War: Judgment multiplayer! Get a preview of some of Gears of War: Judgment’s intense multiplayer mayhem, straight from the mouth of Lt. Damon Baird. This brand new video focuses on showing some of the multiplayer game features that you’ll find in Gears of War: Judgment. Head over to Major Nelson’s post from Tuesday or catch the multiplayer action in the video below.
Updated 24 February 11:54 PM: David Rothschild’s predictions were correct in 19 of 24 categories – nearly 80 percent accuracy.
Can we use big data to predict the future?
In a recent post on Inside Microsoft Research, Rob Knies writes: “Last year, David Rothschild of Microsoft Research New York City used a versatile, data-driven model to predict correctly the results of the U.S. presidential election in 50 of 51 jurisdictions—the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“Given the overwhelming accuracy—better than 98 percent—of those predictions, it’s no wonder that the work of Rothschild and a few other individuals trying to learn how to harness the value of big data gained the attention of the news media. ‘Some things,’ wrote Steven Cherry in IEEE Spectrum, ‘are predictable—if you go to the people who rely on data and not their gut.’”
Now Rothschild is using a similarly data-driven approach to forecast who will take home Oscars at this Sunday’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 85th annual Academy Awards. You can see his picks to win in all 24 categories using the new Oscars Ballot Predictor Office app for Excel, powered by prediction data from Rothschild’s PredictWise blog.
The following is a post by Rane Johnson-Stempson, Education and Scholarly Communication Principal Research Director, Microsoft Research Connections.
According to the Department of Justice, 40 percent of all human trafficking incidents opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for sexual trafficking of a child. The majority of these children who are bought and sold for sex are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. Eighty-three percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens.
The Internet is playing a central role in the rising numbers of American children sold for sex. With the Internet, the trafficker and the buyer have full anonymity and discretion in their sale and purchase of the child.
Given that Internet technology is being used for exploitation and trafficking, how might the tools and opportunities of the Internet also be used for the protection and defense of victims? How might a victim of trafficking be able to access the Internet to find her freedom?
This is one of four questions that students at university campuses around the world—including University of Washington, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, Iowa State University, Colorado School of Mines, University of Sindh in Pakistan, University of Melbourne in Australia and universities in Colombia, Brazil, and Kenya—will have an opportunity to answer when they participate in the first-ever, international women-only hackathon this weekend, February 22–24.
Sponsored by Microsoft Research Connections, Microsoft Imagine Cup, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), the Association for Computing Machinery Committee on Women in Computing (ACM-W), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Women in Engineering (IEEE-W) and Skype, the International Women’s Hackathon is a crowdsourcing event aimed at helping young women feel confident about their computer science capabilities and excited by opportunities to solve global problems. Young women will have the opportunity to create mobile, web, and social media applications as well as games to help support social issues related to women. Young women will be able to be the innovators to support three great nonprofit organizations: FAIR Girls, HumanRights4Girls and the Hindsight Group.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Lync, Skype and the future of communications; big data visionaries talking shop in Silicon Valley, plus tips on making your Windows Phone apps stand out from the crowd.
Announcing the release of ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 update. On Monday, Microsoft announced the final release of the ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 update. This update is a free download for Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5, and adds some great additional features to both ASP.NET and Visual Studio. This update makes no changes to the existing ASP.NET runtime, and so it is fully compatible with your existing projects and development environment. Whether you use Web Forms, MVC, Web API, or any other ASP.NET technology, there is something in this update for you. Get an outline of the new and enhanced features, plus tips and resources in Monday’s post on Scott Guthrie’s Blog.
Rehumanizing communications from the living room to the boardroom. Microsoft Skype Division President Tony Bates gave the inaugural Lync Conference keynote address yesterday in San Diego to a sold-out show with our growing community of customers, partners and Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). In a guest post on the Official Microsoft Blog yesterday, Bates summarizes his keynote as being about “re-humanizing communications ‘from the living room to the boardroom.’” People are at the center of this vision. All day, every day, we are all simultaneously consumers and professionals, friends, family and colleagues – and our communications technologies need to move between these dimensions as seamlessly as we do. To see what’s in store, head over to Bates’ post on the Official Microsoft Blog.
The following is a post from Tony Bates, President, Skype Division at Microsoft.
I’m excited to be in San Diego today giving the inaugural Lync Conference keynote address. We have a sold out show with our growing community of customers, partners and Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). Key industry influencers from the analyst and press communities have joined us as well.
From the living room to the boardroom: Our vision for the future of communicationsI am excited to outline our vision for the future of communications in my keynote today. It’s about re-humanizing communications “from the living room to the boardroom.” People are at the center of this vision. All day, every day, we are all simultaneously consumers and professionals, friends, family and colleagues – and our communications technologies need to move between these dimensions as seamlessly as we do.
Today people adapt to the requirements of technology. Multiple devices, applications and networks each have their own rules and identities and require that we conform to them. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Today, Microsoft announced that its highly popular email service Outlook.com is ready for prime time. Since the release of Outlook.com last summer as a preview, millions of people have already actively started using it, making it the world’s fastest-growing email service, going from 0 to 60 million in just six months.
Starting today, Microsoft will begin to upgrade every Hotmail user to Outlook.com, so they can benefit from new features like smart integration with their social networks and easy sharing of hundreds of photos and videos within a single message.
The upgrade is seamless and instant for Hotmail customers; their @hotmail.com email address, password, contacts, etc., will stay the same.
Today the Internet Explorer team announced the online debut of ‘Thief of Thieves: Experience,’ an interactive online game based on the comic book series from ‘Walking Dead’ creator Robert Kirkman and Skybound, his imprint at Image Comics. The site is a stunning showcase of the new features in Internet Explorer 10, including full multi-touch capabilities and HTML5 support, within an immersive chromeless browsing experience. Learn more over on the Exploring IE blog, then experience Thief of Thieves for yourself.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, check out innovative new ad formats for Windows 8, take a deep dive on big data, and be still our hearts: Contre Jour returns.
Microsoft Advertising and agency partners bring Windows 8 ads in apps concepts to life. This week, Microsoft Advertising announced the launch of four creative new Windows 8 ads developed in close partnership with agency partners for brands including Delta and Paramount Pictures. “As part of the digital industry and through conversations with agencies, brands and publishers, we know that audiences are ready for something new,” wrote Stephen Kim, General Manager of Yarn at Microsoft. “And with Windows 8, we have a rich canvas that allows and inspires us to tell brand stories in a completely new way. That’s why we opened our doors early – before the product launched – to creatives, and invited them to play. As we sat down together waiting for the caffeine to kick in, we had no idea how the day would go, the direction we would take or what we would create. Collectively, we let our creativity push what we thought was possible and leaned on our new technology to make it real. What you see is the fruits of that co-ideation process.” See the ad experience Microsoft, Razorfish and Delta cooked up in the video below, check out Stephen Kim’s post on the Microsoft Advertising blog to see the other 3 concepts, and read Tuesday’s Adweek article to learn more about the new Windows 8 ad formats.
The following is a post from Michael Donlan, Vice President of U.S. State and Local Government at Microsoft.
The Texas Department of Information Resources is adopting Office 365 for more than 100,000 employees in the largest state-wide deployment of email and collaboration services in the U.S.
The state will consolidate multiple systems in an effort to streamline and improve the state’s communication and collaboration capabilities across agencies and to help better serve the needs of its citizens. The move to the cloud offers significant savings in IT spending due to greater efficiencies and increased capacity, while providing employees with web conferencing, real-time collaboration and document and calendar sharing.
Office 365 also will help maintain the state’s compliance posture and high standards for security and privacy. Several agencies, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Alcohol and Beverage Commission, Department of Insurance, Health and Human Services, and many others, require access to data that is subject to complex security and privacy regulations. Microsoft has made a contractual commitment to the Texas Department of Information Resources by signing the CJIS Security Addendum in addition to a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement. As a result of this partnership, jurisdictions at all levels within the State of Texas, including cities and counties, will be able to take advantage of Office 365.
Xbox 360 started the new year as the number one console in the U.S., marking its 25th consecutive month in the top spot with 281,000 units sold in January. Consumers spent over $338 million in January on Xbox games, consoles and accessories. (Source: NPD Group, January 2013)
More highlights from the NPD data:
It’s Valentine’s Day, and to mark the occasion Microsoft and SiSense brought together big data lovers for Big Data Date Night, an event last evening attended by about 300 engineers, analysts and innovators from around Silicon Valley. As Microsoft’s Douglas Crets writes in a guest post on this blog today, attendees engaged in a lively discussion on how businesses of all sizes can get more value and insight from big data.
Want to join the conversation about the power of big data? Many of the same issues will be part of the agenda at the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference happening April 10-12 in Chicago. Registration is open now.
Catch up on more of our Big Data Week coverage over on the Microsoft News Center, and make sure to check back tomorrow for our interview with Microsoft Research’s Eric Horvitz on what the near future holds in advancements for big data and machine learning.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, The Official Microsoft Blo
The following is a post from Douglas Crets, Developer Evangelist, Strategic & Emerging Business Team, Microsoft.
Business folks from farmers in Nebraska to small store retailers in Mumbai to startup developers in Silicon Valley are finding that being able to quickly understand simple data analytics is making life easier and feeding the bottom line.
During Big Data Date Night, an event hosted last night by Microsoft, 300 big data engineers, analysts and innovators from Silicon Valley gathered to talk shop and share how they are helping their customers make sense out of huge sets of structured and unstructured data, while giving glimpses into the tremendous business opportunities available through Big data in all classes of enterprise and consumer verticals.
Today the Illinois Department of Corrections and Microsoft Corp. announced the successful implementation of the Offender-360 project, a cloud-based criminal justice information system built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The solution directly supports legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn that aims to improve Illinois public safety and criminal justice for the future. Check out the press release for more on this story.
Big data has exploded into the mainstream, and very soon it won’t just be a matter of profitability, but of survival. “I think everything’s at stake,” said Eron Kelly, general manager of product marketing for Microsoft SQL Server, in an article today on Microsoft News Center. “Organizations that harness the power of big data will outperform their peers.” Read the full article to learn about how Microsoft’s is helping businesses survive and thrive in the dawning age of big data.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on big data – what it is, how to use it and who’s leading the way, how to build your Windows 8 app to reach a market of 4.5 billion people, and designing your Web sites for mobile phones.
The big bang: how the big data explosion is changing the world. In the battle of the buzzwords, “big data” is about to render “guestimation” obsolete. This is big. “Big data absolutely has the potential to change the way governments, organizations, and academic institutions conduct business and make discoveries, and its likely to change how everyone lives their day-to-day lives,” said Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group. This first story in series for Microsoft News Center’s Big Data Week takes a look at the growing power of data to transform how we live, think and do business. For more on this story, take a look at Monday’s feature story on the News Center. For data on big data, check out this infographic based on a recent study.
Up next: The Weather Channel forecasts the business value of big data. Weather is money. It can be a fickle profit maker or shaker. Weather can propel an upstart skydiving outfit in Argentina, while freezing up national economies in Asia. And the more precisely businesses, nations and people can understand, predict and plan for weather, the more money they can make. So it’s no wonder organizations big and small, across industries and continents, seek the very best weather information to help create their own fortunes. Yesterday, Microsoft News Center shared this Q&A with Bryson Koehler, chief information officer at The Weather Company (The Weather Channel’s parent company). Koehler talks about what big data means to TWC, and how the so-called “data deluge” has become his company’s strategic differentiator. Read about other customers who are setting themselves apart using Microsoft big data solutions in Caching in: How some organizations are using big data to change the way they do business.Pictured here, The Weather Company Chief Information Officer Bryson Koehler.
Big Data Week continues here at Microsoft today with a deep dive from the News Center on the innovative ways our customers are using big data to solve business problems. Read how The Weather Network uses big data to improve their forecasts (and how you can “roll your own” predictions with Windows Azure), how the National Health Index uses big data to keep us healthy and much more. Meanwhile, a guest post on the ShiSh List from Digital Folio Founder/President Patrick Carter explores the growing potential for big data in the retail space.
Paris is known for its broad boulevards, its picturesque side streets and its heavy traffic. Autolib, an innovative car-sharing service, is helping make that traffic more manageable through a fleet of compact electric cars and an array of flexible services designed to help drivers reduce their reliance on privately owned cars — all connected and managed through an intelligent system based on Microsoft technology in the cars and at the points of registration, rental and service. Read the News Center feature to learn more.