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The following is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.
Last week was the official start of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. While some folks were out doing “spring cleaning,” we used the opportunity to look back a bit at what has happened in the past season, and to look ahead at what we have coming. From where I sit, it’s busy both ways. Let’s take a look back.
First, we launched a wave of incredible devices and services to our business and consumer customers around the globe and saw growth across a number of businesses.
While we’re still in early days, the numbers are encouraging. There are new PCs and tablets in market and great apps in the Windows Store, with new ones coming every day. Windows Phone has reached 10 percent market share in a number of countries, and according to IDC’s latest report, has shipped more than Blackberry in 26 markets and more than iPhone in seven.
The following is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism.
Editor's Update: Build 2013 is now sold out; however, we encourage those interested in the conference to join the waitlist. For those who are unable to join us in San Francisco, we will extend the Build experience online with live streams of the keynote, sessions, Channel 9 Live and more. Check out http://buildwindows.com for all the details.
In the past year, we’ve introduced an assortment of new opportunities to build incredible apps and experiences on Windows, and developers all over the world have taken advantage of it. Just look at the last few weeks - we’ve seen great apps like Twitter on Windows 8 and Pandora on Windows Phone 8 as great examples of developers really taking advantage of the platform in a way that users love. But we're also seeing users increasingly expect their experiences on multiple screens, and Skulls of the Shogun is a great example of how Windows is the best place for developers to capitalize on the opportunity.
And the opportunity is big: we saw more than 100 million downloads from the Windows Store in the first two months after GA, we crossed the 1 billion downloads mark in the Windows Phone Store, we saw a doubling of Windows Azure compute usage in just the last six months and much more. And developers are taking notice.
To make sure everyone knows what we’re planning and can participate in this rapidly growing ecosystem, I’m pleased to announce and personally invite you to our next developer conference, Build 2013, which is taking place June 26-28, 2013 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
If you’re a power user of the Mail, Calendar and People apps on Windows like I am, then you’ll be excited to hear that, starting Tuesday, you’ll be able to download updates for each from the Windows Store.
“…This update will bring improvements to your Windows experience across your whole life - your personal communication and your work. You will see big improvements to performance and additional new features to make it easier to connect with friends and colleagues, manage your inboxes, create and send email, and manage your calendar,” Windows Blogger Brandon LeBlanc reports.
Can’t get enough music from the Grunge Era? Is Motown more your style? Or maybe you want to close your eyes, sit back on the couch with a glass of wine and enjoy a little smooth jazz.
Whatever your musical tastes, the Pandora for Windows Phone app has you covered. It’s a music lover’s dream and the Microsoft News Center’s latest App of the Week.
Search for the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a custom "station" that plays similar music. You’ll hear many of your favorite tunes and discover previously undiscovered selections by artists that may be new to you.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the great Windows 8 phones and apps announced this week during Mobile World Congress and some must-see Sunday entertainment – the Gears of War: Judgment premiere arrives.
Windows Phone 8 at Mobile World Congress. Nokia had a busy press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company announced new Windows Phone 8 models, the availability of its popular location apps and services to more Windows Phones and tantalizing details about new partnerships and initiatives in the works. Here’s a rundown of what you missed. Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 portfolio already includes the Lumia 620, 820, and flagship 920. On Monday, in an effort to put more phones into more people’s hands around the globe, the company said it’s adding two new models to its Lumia lineup: the 520 and 720. Pictured below is the Lumia 520. For more on this story, head to Monday’s Windows Phone Blog post.
Xbox LIVE world premiere broadcast for Gears of War: Judgment, Sunday, March 3! Join Major Nelson March 3 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT for the Gears of War: Judgment world premiere live event streamed over Xbox LIVE to your Xbox 360 console. Developers from Epic Games will be on hand to debut brand new, never-before-seen reveals including Aftermath and Survival Mode. Major Nelson will be hosting the event and we will allow viewers to vote live during the show for the gameplay you want to see and get your questions answered during interactive interviews with Epic’s Chris Wynn and Alan Van Slyke by tagging your questions on Twitter with #GearsJudgment. PLUS, we’re giving away a custom Gears of War: Judgment Xbox 360 console as well copies of the game. Get the rules and details in Tuesday’s post on Major Nelson’s blog and check out the preview video below.
Working on group projects has never been easier.
Starting today, college students in the U.S. can get three months of Office 365 University and 20 GB of SkyDrive storage for free. Now, you and your classmates can create and edit full Office documents from just about anywhere and access and store them on SkyDrive.
Check out the video below starring Aubrey Plaza, one of the stars from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, as she walks her fellow students through how easy it is to get your class projects done using Office 365 University and SkyDrive (even if you’re working from a unicorn stable):
Well, it’s been one heck of a busy week here at Microsoft! This week, Windows Phone 8 won the smartphone category in PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, the Xbox 360 kept the top console spot in the U.S., the Duke of York visited the Yammer office in London and the Twitter app for Windows 8 was released. Phew! Read more about it below.
And the winner is… PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are in and Windows Phone 8 won in the smartphone category! “According to our survey respondents, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 clearly bests Apple and Android. In 2012, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 shared the Readers' Choice Award for mobile phone platforms with Apple's iOS. This year, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 stands alone at the top, relegating Apple's iOS to Honorable Mention,” PCMag.com writer Ben Gottesman reports. You can get the full story over on PCMag.com.
Keep better track of favorite bands using Buzz app for Windows Phone. Do concert and album announcements tend to get lost in the noise of Facebook, Farmville, and family? Do you usually find out local shows from reviews the next day. If that’s the case, you can stay more up to date on the music scene with Buzz, a recently-enabled feature of Windows Phone 8 that rolls up info from social media and Bing to provide a snapshot of what your favorite bands are up to. Where available, you’ll find it in the Music+Videos Hub when you tap on an artist. Read this post on The Windows Phone Blog to get the entire story. Below is a trio of screenshots from the Buzz app.
In this week’s edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Build 2013, updates to the Mail, Calendar and People apps on Windows, a musical Skype masterpiece, the first WE Day in American history and more.
Announcing Build 2013. Earlier this week, Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist, Developer Platform Evangelism, announced specifics around Build 2013: “To make sure everyone knows what we’re planning and can participate in this rapidly growing ecosystem, we’re pleased to announce and personally invite you to our next developer conference, Build 2013, which is taking place June 26 to 28 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s been a while since our last developer event in the Bay Area, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic gathering. Save the date and mark your calendar for the opening of registration next week at 9 a.m. PT on April 2 at www.buildwindows.com.” Read more about it in this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.
The Mail, Calendar and People apps are getting better! On Monday, we announced an update for the Mail, Calendar, and People apps from the Windows Store.
In this week’s edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft Research being recognized by Computerworld, the arrival of Pandora on Windows Phone, an update to the Kinect for Windows SDK and a shark with a taste for ducks.
Pandora is here. Let there be rock. And punk, and blues and whatever else you groove to. Because Pandora, one of the world’s most famous Internet radio apps arrived Thursday to Windows Phone 8. The free Pandora app is not only ad-free through Dec. 31, but has features not found on any other smartphone. Pandora for Windows Phone is the only version with a Live Tile showing what’s playing at a glance. It’s also the only version that provides direct, one-tap access from the Start screen to your favorite personalized radio stations. Read the entire story on the Windows Phone Blog.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories from TechFest 2013, new Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps such as Real Soccer 2013 and Next Issue, Office 2013 and more.
From TechFest 2013: Microsoft Research’s FetchClimate helps predict weather patterns and forest fires. One of the stand out projects from TechFest last year was FetchClimate! — a browser-based tool that lets you access and visualize all sorts of climate and atmospheric data from around the world in a Bing Maps interface. It’s an amazing tool for a couple of reasons: it gives you access to actual climate data from sources such as NOAA and the MET at the click of a mouse, and it gives you this really useful and visually engaging interface that helps you drill down into a host of different factors as they relate to weather conditions. It really was an amazing display of how big data could be visualized. This year, Microsoft Researchers Drew Purves and Vassily Lyutsarev went a step further. They developed the prototype for a browser-based probability engine that could use all of that climate data to make predictions about weather patterns, forest fires and other atmospheric conditions. Watch the video below and read this Thursday post on Next at Microsoft to learn more about this exciting MSR project. Also, if you weren’t able to make it to TechFest, you should check out these videos from the event at the TechFest 2013 Video Portal.
Xbox 360 sold 302,000 units in February, marking its 26th consecutive month as the number-one selling console in the U.S., according to data released today by The NPD Group.
February highlights from The NPD Group include:
· Holding 41 percent share of current-generation console sales, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S.
· Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in February (hardware, software and accessories) was the most for any console in the U.S.
· During the month of February, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 console game titles including: “Crysis 3,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines,” “Dead Space 3,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and “NBA 2K13.”
This spring, Xbox 360 continues to bring new offerings to consumers. Available for a limited time, the new Spring Value Bundle includes a 250GB Xbox 360, wireless controller, wired headset, “Darksiders II” and “Batman: Arkham City” for $299.
The following is a feature story from Microsoft News Center Editorial Staff about a new Windows Phone app contest where the public votes one lucky app into a TV ad and gets a chance to win new Windows Phones for themselves in the process.
It’s part March Madness, part American Idol; part showcase and part showdown.
The Windows Phone Next App Star contest enters its first round of head-to-head competition today, pitting Windows Phone apps from developers around the world against each other for a chance to see their app on TV.
Like March Madness, the contest happens during the third month of the year, and its first round involves 64 contestants. Like American Idol, popular vote decides the winner. In this case, ballots can be cast via the contest web site starting today. Customers from every country that Microsoft does business with may vote.
The winner of each head-to-head match gets a prize and moves on to the next round, and the top app at the end of the contest will get featured in a prime-time television ad in the U.S.
The Lync 2013 app for Windows Phone is here!
As someone who is always on the go and can’t always be tied to my desk, I use the Lync 2013 for Windows Phone pretty much every day. The app brings the power of the Lync desktop app to your mobile device – including voice and video over wireless, instant messaging, conferencing and calling features – and all from a sleek, easy-to-use interface.
Here are some of the new app’s key features:
· View colleagues’ availability in real time and select the best way to communicate – initiating an instant message (IM), e-mail, voice or video call.
· Connect to Lync Meetings with a single touch, without requiring long numeric passcodes or conference numbers.
The following is a post from Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft. It was originally published on Microsoft on the Issues.
Today, we are releasing our 2012 Law Enforcement Requests Report. This is our first Law Enforcement Requests Report. It provides data on the number of requests we received from law enforcement agencies around the world relating to Microsoft online and cloud services and how we responded to those requests. All of our major online services are covered in this report, including, for example, Hotmail, Outlook.com; SkyDrive; Xbox LIVE; Microsoft Account; and Office 365. We’re also making available similar data relating to Skype, which Microsoft acquired in October 2011.
We will update this report every six months.
In recent months, there has been broadening public interest in how often law enforcement agencies request customer data from technology companies and how our industry responds to these requests. Google, Twitter and others have made important and helpful contributions to this discussion by publishing some of their data. We’ve benefited from the opportunity to learn from them and their experience, and we seek to build further on the industry’s commitment to transparency by releasing our own data today.
If there’s an equation for creating a virtual musical experience for the ages, then Grammy award winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre may have found it:
· One hundred live choir members made up of singers from choirs at California State University, Long Beach Campus, California State University, Fullerton Campus and Riverside City College +
· Thirty singers from 28 different countries connected via Skype video calls =
· A musical masterpiece.
At TED2013, Whitacre led a live global virtual choir performance of his piece “Cloudburst” that, for the first time, combined live and virtual choirs. Watch the behind-the-scenes documentary below to find out how Whitacre pulled off the performance. Then, head on over to The Big Blog to see the actual performance – it’s a thing of beauty and you won’t want to miss it!
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on TechForum, TechFest, tips for developers who want to market their Windows Phone apps and more.
TechForum demos reveal new world of “Intelligent Technology.” Microsoft’s strategic and technical vision for the future was discussed this week at TechForum, an annual event hosted by Craig Mundie, senior advisor to the CEO, and Eric Rudder, Microsoft’s chief technical strategy officer. To get the full story, check out this slideshow on the Microsoft News Center and read Tuesday’s post on Next at Microsoft. Below is a video featuring Craig Mundie, senior advisor to CEO Steve Ballmer, and Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer, who hosted the sixth annual TechForum gathering here at Microsoft’s brand-new Envisioning Center.
The long wait for hordes of “Gears of War” fans is over. “Gears of War: Judgment” is here! The latest installment of the award-winning franchise hit stores at just after midnight.
Developed exclusively for Xbox 360, “Gears of War: Judgment” immerses fans in the most riveting and challenging “Gears” game yet, with explosive new multiplayer modes and an epic-scale campaign that takes you back to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day – the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe.
Set years prior to the events of the previous “Gears of War” trilogy, “Judgment” follows Kilo Squad, a team of battle-hardened warriors comprised of the fearless Damon Baird, Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole and new characters Sofia Hendrick and Garron Paduk, as they attempt to save the besieged city of Halvo Bay from a terrifying new enemy.
“Judgment” introduces several firsts for the franchise, including a dynamic “Smart Spawn System” that changes enemy types, timing and locations with each encounter, as well as a “Mission Declassification” system that lets players experience more challenging scenarios by uncovering critical information during the course of the campaign.
Windows Phone Blogger Michael Stroh is reporting some news that should make all you game crazy Windows Phone fans out there happy: Temple Run has arrived in the Windows Phone Store.
“Swipe to turn, jump and slide as you race over obstacles and whip around corners on a pathway resembling China’s Great Wall, all on your way to capturing hidden treasure. Collect coins, buy power-ups, and see just how far your feet can take you, with the beat of native drums setting your pace,” Stroh writes.
Today, Microsoft lifted the veil on its reimagined Envisioning Center, the result of collaboration between the company’s Strategic Prototyping team and Office Labs. Visitors can work on interactive desks, talk with colleagues through digital walls, and cook in a Kinect-enabled kitchen. Microsoft expects thousands of customers to explore the new space each year. Watch the short video below to get a look inside the Envisioning Center, and then head on over the Next at Microsoft to get the full story.
Since last summer, more than 60 million customers have signed up for Outlook.com, Microsoft’s new modern email service. And when we say “modern”, we mean “modern”.
Outlook.com helps solve two of the biggest problems email services have faced since people started communicating electronically in massive numbers years ago – outdated contacts lists and attachment space limits.
Twitter for Windows 8 is now available in the Windows Store!
Twitter for Windows 8 brings you all the design, features and functionality of Twitter combined with the fast and fluid technology of Windows 8:
· The Discover (#) icon shows you new topics from people in your network and other information like Trends and Who to Follow suggestions.
· The Share charm makes it easier to tweet links, pictures and opinions to your followers from anywhere in Windows 8.
· Create the ultimate screen with Snap view on Windows 8. Drag Twitter into the narrow side of the screen and slide in another favorite app. You can stream a live video while you watch the conversation about it unfold on Twitter. Then use the Share charm to join the discussion.
It was easy to add compelling new indie games to the Next Big Thing Collection in the Windows Phone Store for March, because this month has a bumper crop of awesome titles from some of our most popular developers.
You can build your own country, find the common element among four pictures (not nearly as easy as it sounds), or even conquer big, bad enemies with your tennis serve. Get ready for some serious March mayhem with these top new indie games for Windows Phone. Above is a screenshot from No Gravity ($1.99), where you’re one of the lone survivors of a deadly plague who must now must find and destroy the enemy responsible for unleashing it.
In a blog post this morning, S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, announced the availability of Office Developer tools for Visual Studio 2012.
“The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 provide broad and deep support, ranging from new templates to new designers to a whole host of integrated lifecycle tools. They enable developers to create, edit, test, debug, package, and deploy apps for Office and SharePoint, across all current Office and SharePoint hosting models and app types,” he wrote.
With the Game Developers Conference going on down in San Francisco, it’s only fitting that a raft of new games just hit the Windows Phone Store today.
“The highlight of the bunch is Gravity Guy 2, the eagerly anticipated sequel to the hugely popular platformer Gravity Guy. For the next month, the sequel is available only on Windows Phone. There’s also a bunch of great titles arriving today that are already proven hits on other platforms, like Chaos Rings, 6th Planet and Orcs Must Survive,” Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh reports.
Earlier this week at the 2013 Game Developer Conference, we announced several cool game titles soon to hit the Windows Store.
Some – like “Bejeweled”, “Samurai v. Zombies” and “Shuffle Party” – will hit the Windows Store this weekend. Others – including “Temple Run Brave” from Disney and “Field & Stream Fishing” – fall under the “coming soon” to the Windows Store category.