The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

April, 2013

  • Microsoft Account Gets More Secure

    Over the next couple days we will roll out a major upgrade to Microsoft account, including optional two-step verification to help keep your account more secure.

    Microsoft has increasingly focused on delivering connected devices and services that are currently used by more than 700 million people around the world. A Microsoft account is the key that unlocks your experience across these products—from your Windows PC to your Windows Phone, from Xbox to, from SkyDrive and Skype to Office and much more.

    Given this critical role for Microsoft account, we remain vigilant in working hard to protect your account, which is why we’re adding an option so you can enable two-step verification to further protect yourself. You should see this option show up in your account in the next few days. You can enable this capability at

  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 Now Available

    The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2013 for Software Assurance is now available for download. MDOP helps manage and deploy important Windows features like BitLocker and Group Policy, and saves time by helping to make desktop repair planning proactive instead of reactive.

    In addition to general quality improvements, we’ve also updated many of the other technologies in MDOP 2013, with enhanced features and benefits ideal for businesses using Windows 8.

  • Welcome to the People Party

    The following is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.

    I tuned into the coverage of the Facebook Home event yesterday and actually had to check my calendar a few times.

    Not to see if it was still April Fools Day, but to see if it was somehow still 2011.

    Because the content of the presentation was remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago.

    When we sat down with a blank sheet of paper and designed Windows Phone, we put three words on the wall to guide the team: “Put People First”.

    Those three words were chosen around a pretty powerful but simple insight: People are more important than apps, so phones should be designed around you and the people you care about, not the apps you might use to reach them.

  • Mediaroom and Our TV Journey

    The following is a post from Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing, Strategy and Business for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

    Today, Microsoft and Ericsson announced a definitive agreement for Ericsson to acquire Mediaroom, the number one IPTV platform deployed by TV operators around the world. This acquisition is mutually beneficial and strategically aligned for both parties. Ericsson will continue to invest in the growth and success of Mediaroom to the benefit of customers, employees, and the industry. It allows Microsoft to commit 100 percent of its focus on consumer TV strategy with Xbox.


  • Latest Security Intelligence Report Shows 24 Percent of PCs are Unprotected

    The following is a post by Tim Rains, Director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft.

    Today, Microsoft released new research as part of its Security Intelligence Report, volume 14, which takes a close look at the importance of running up-to-date antivirus software on your computer. The research showed that, on average, computers without antivirus software are 5.5 times more likely to be infected.

    Antivirus software from Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec and others helps to guard against viruses, remove infections and protect your privacy. It can help protect your computer from malware trying to steal your credit card information, e-mail address book or even the files you’ve saved to your computer. It is one of the most crucial defenses computer users have to help protect against cybercriminals.

  • Weekend Reading: April 26th Edition–The #XboxReveal countdown begins!

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on major Xbox news, new apps (Tumblr and Fidelity Investments) coming to Windows Phone, expanding Surface Pro and Surface RT availability and more. Don’t miss any of them!

    #XboxReveal. Lots of Xbox news to talk about this week. First and foremost, we revealed that on May 21, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus, and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on, Xbox LIVE and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the U.S. or Canada. On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Read this post over on Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson to get the full story. Also, on Tuesday, it was announced that Pizza Hut is launching the first-of-a-kind ordering app, allowing Xbox LIVE members in the U.S. to purchase pizza, wings, pasta and more from Xbox 360. The full menu, including new products, can be ordered from the Xbox LIVE dashboard and operated using an Xbox 360 controller or hand gestures and voices commands via Kinect for Xbox 360. And, last but not least, don’t miss this Tuesday announcement on the CW app coming to Xbox.

    Pizza Hut

  • Support for Windows XP Set to End in April 2014

    A year from now will mark the final milestone for Windows XP – that of its end of support date.

    Starting April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide support for Windows XP users. This means that customers and partners will no longer receive security updates to the operating system or be able to leverage tech support from Microsoft after this time.

    Moving away from Windows XP to a more modern platform in Windows 7 and Windows 8 will ready your IT infrastructure for future technology solutions and growth of your company.

  • Xbox 360 Remains the No. 1 Selling Console in U.S. in March

    In March, Xbox 360 maintained its position as the number one console in the U.S., selling more units than any other console and marking the 27th consecutive month as the best-selling console.

    March highlights from The NPD Group include:

    · Xbox 360 sold 261,000 units, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S.

    · Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform reached $402 million, (hardware, software and accessories), the most for any console in the U.S.

    · During the month of March, Xbox 360 held six of the top 10 console game titles including: “Bioshock Infinite,” “NBA 2K13,” “Gears of War: Judgment,” “Tomb Raider,” “The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”

  • Fast Track to Fashion

    The following is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.

    One of the best parts of my job is getting the chance to see up close and personal some of the cool things moving from idea to reality. During one of our recent “underground tours” we showed off one project that I think has huge potential, and is super relevant today. This is a little different for us because when it goes on sale, you won’t find it in the electronics aisle, but on the runway. :)

    Why runway? Well unlike most of Microsoft’s traditional products, this one is actually an item of clothing, so when it ships, you’ll probably see it at Nordstrom’s, not Fry’s. Now you’re probably thinking, “Clothing, from Microsoft? Really?” Yes, really. And no, this isn’t a line of designer pocket protectors.

    The engineers that created it describe it as “a wearable computing appliance that enforces context specific privacy preferences in real world environments.” Let me translate into a better name – The Do Not Tracksuit.

    Simply put, it blocks the wearer from being tagged, checked in, scanned, filmed, recorded, hashtagged or poked, in the real world and the virtual world. Because in today’s social media obsessed landscape, too often people can unwittingly become “content” in other people’s lifecasting schemes.

  • Project Codename GeoFlow Unveiled

    The Office team has unveiled something really special today – a Microsoft Research project codenamed GeoFlow that lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive "tours" to share with others.

  • Weekend Reading: April 12th Edition – New Games Arrive in the Windows Phone Store

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got a great roundup of new Windows Phone apps and games, our agreement with Ericsson to acquire Mediaroom, two big Cloud customer wins and a cool Microsoft Research project codenamed GeoFlow.

    Windows Phone app roundup. The Windows Phone Store continues to stock up on cool games and apps. Earlier this week, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, a first-person shooter from Xbox and Gameloft that pushes the boundaries of mobile gaming, arrived in the Windows Phone Store. The game puts you in the boots of an elite soldier helping his unit to avert global devastation in the wake of a nuclear disaster. Gameloft pulled out all the stops on this one. Check out the video below to get a look at the game and read this post on The Windows Phone Blog. Also, Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh reported that four games are on sale until Monday, including Monster Island, Gravity Guy, Fragger and iStunt 2. Finally, Windows Phone blogger Casey McGee wrote this roundup of Windows Phone apps he used while on a 33-mile backcountry adventure.

  • Calendar Gets a New Look

    Today, we released a fresh new interface for the Calendar service that is faster than ever, puts the focus on events, appointments and tasks and lets you take your Calendar with you on any device. Below is a screenshot of the new Calendar service.

    Outlook.copm Calendar Refresh

  • Windows 8 Shows off Silicon Scale at DEMO Mobile in San Francisco

    Four very cool apps for Windows 8 made their debut at DEMO Mobile2013 today as teams from as far away as Poland and Australia competed for attention in front of Silicon Valley’s leading mobile investors, developers and designers in San Francisco.

    Two Windows 8 apps launched on stage. They were TouchMail, a modern, touch-first e-mail app that inspired tweets marveling at how easy it made visual e-mail look, and KinectHealth, a mobile-ready exercise solution created by Bob Summers. KinectHealth was demonstrated by his founding partner Amanda Russell, a fitness entrepreneur who has used the opportunity working with Microsoft and Summers to get her very own TV show.

    Her workout videos currently run in the app, but the attention the app is receiving and the high quality she delivers have created a perfect collaboration between KinectHealth and a major TV network, she said.

    Summers, who ­used KinectHealth to shed 30 pounds and 18 percent of his body mass in preparation for a marathon, says the app utilizes cameras and accelerometers to deliver fun workouts to the phone. It also makes fitness social, by using the camera to port in fitness fanatics with other members of the lifestyle community around the world.

  • Internet Explorer & Lionsgate Team Up on “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Web Experience

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will hit theaters on Nov. 22.

    To make sure fans have the latest news and developments on the much-anticipated sequel, Internet Explorer has teamed up with Lionsgate Films to create The Hunger Games Explorer. Check out the screenshot of the new site below.

    Catching Fire

  • The Power of Patents in Humanitarian Applications

    The following is a post from Horacio Gutierrez, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft.

    Every day, Microsoft researchers push the envelope of computer science in research labs around the world. Their inventions tackle complex questions such as “How do we make uncertain information useful and infer valuable insights from shifting and expanding data as it streams in from devices, sensors and new technology?” We are proud that Infer.NET, one such invention developed in our research labs, has today been recognized with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s first ever Patents for Humanity Award in the information technology category.

    Microsoft researchers have been working on Infer.NET over the last 10 years to provide a framework that makes it much easier to apply advanced machine learning techniques to solve challenging problems. Microsoft provides Infer.NET free of charge for non-commercial purposes, such as scientific or medical research.

  • Weekend Reading: April 19th Edition–Microsoft’s City of the Future

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got some great stories for you, including an in-depth and visually rich look at Microsoft’s 500-acre, 125-building campus and the small team of Microsoft facilities engineers that runs it.

    How a scrappy team of Microsoft engineers quietly built the city of the future. In 1986, Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. campus was still a grass- and forest-covered 88-acre plot of land in a sleepy, one-stoplight suburb of Seattle. Today, the campus spans 500 acres and 125 buildings. There’s a soccer field and cricket pitch, miles of wooded walking paths – and 14.9 million square feet of office space and labs that function as an interconnected “smart city” thanks to an “Internet of Things meets Big Data” software solution developed by a small team of Microsoft facilities engineers. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center and check out this visual piece of storytelling.


  • Bing Apps for Windows 8 Get Refreshed

    It’s spring time now – a time of rebirth and renewal and new beginnings.

    In that spirit, the Bing team today announced the rollout of several significant updates to six Bing Apps for Windows 8 – News, Finance, Sports, Weather, Maps and Travel. Below is a screenshot of the Travel app.

    Bing Travel

  • Now Available on Xbox LIVE: Flixster

    Movie fans rejoice! The popular movie app Flixster is now available to Xbox LIVE subscribers in the U.S.!


  • #XboxReveal

    On May 21, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus, and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on, Xbox LIVE and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the U.S. or Canada.

    On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19 days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.

  • Earth Day at Microsoft–Looking forward, looking back

    Though concern for the environment is always top of mind at Microsoft, Earth Day is a good moment in time for taking a step back and reflecting on environmental initiatives and activities across the entire company.

    To that end, I’ve put together a roundup of environmentally themed stories from across several different groups here at Microsoft.

    New LiveANDES app helps citizens give endangered species a fighting chance. It’s easy to feel helpless when we hear about species falling into extinction in far-away lands. But now, thanks to a new app that Microsoft Research developed in partnership with researchers from two organizations in Latin America, hikers and other nature enthusiasts can play an important role in keeping endangered species alive. The app is called LiveANDES and is part of a system designed to collect, house and analyze data about Latin America’s wildlife. Watch the video below and then head on over to the Microsoft Research Connections Blog to get the rest of this great story.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

  • Federal Agencies Adopt Microsoft Dynamics CRM

    Today, we announced several new customers who have adopted Microsoft Dynamics CRM to achieve cost savings, help preserve safety and security and streamline service delivery to improve constituent experiences.

    Tomorrow, at the Microsoft Federal Forum event in Washington, D.C., customers like the Department of Veterans Affairs will showcase the way they have used Dynamics to transform their Veterans Relationship Management programs, driving immediate benefit to the time and way in which veterans receive healthcare, claims and business information.

  • Microsoft & NBC Sports Team Up on Digital Programming

    Big news out of the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas today.

    Microsoft and NBC Sports Group announced they are partnering to use Windows Azure Media Services across NBC Sports’ digital platforms, including, and

    Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at NBC Sports Group discusses how they use Windows Azure across their digital platforms.

  • LinkedIn for Windows Phone Gets a Major Update

    The Windows Phone Blog reported Monday that a major update for the LinkedIn app hit the Windows Phone Store.

  • Global Power Company ABB to Deploy Office 365 & Yammer

    Microsoft today announced that the power and automation technology company ABB will deploy Microsoft Office 365 and Yammer to its employees worldwide.

    With about 145,000 employees in 100 countries, ABB is transitioning from multiple IT collaboration and messaging solutions to Office 365 to provide a single platform for productivity, communication, collaboration and enterprise social in the cloud.

  • Windows Azure Infrastructure Services Now Available

    The following is a post from Bill Hilf, General Manager of Windows Azure Product Marketing at Microsoft.

    I’m excited to announce that today Microsoft released Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. 

    Windows Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud platform and Windows Azure Infrastructure Services is a new Windows Azure service that lets customer easily migrate existing applications and infrastructure to the cloud. We have been working hard on this service for some time now, and I wanted to thank our customers for their patience while we worked to get it right and deliver an enterprise grade offering.