The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

May, 2013

  • Microsoft announces major expansion of Windows Azure services in Asia

    The following is a post from Satya Nadella, President of the Server & Tools Business at Microsoft.


    As the worldwide demand for cloud computing continues to grow, so does Windows Azure. Microsoft is the only at-scale global public cloud provider to deliver a hybrid cloud advantage and we’re excited to announce plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Windows Azure footprint in Asia – specifically in China, Japan and Australia.

  • The future is killer devices connected to amazing cloud services

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


    I’m at the 11th edition of All Things Digital, one of my favorite events. Smart people, interesting interviews on the main stage, great conversations outside the interviews. Tim Cook kicked things off last night, and in keeping with the theme of the event, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher discussed what it means to be in a “Post PC” era. How much do I love this topic :)

    On one hand, looking around the conference, there were iPads and other tablets as far as the eye could see. On the other hand, (as I noted in a tweet), most of the people around me were using their iPads exactly as they would a laptop – physical keyboard attached, typing away, connected to a network of some kind, creating a document or tweet or blog or article. In that context, it’s hard to distinguish between a tablet and a notebook or laptop. The form factors are different, but let’s be clear, each is a PC.

    Later after dinner, a group of us (including Walt) were talking, and I was trying to make the point that we’re getting hung up on semantics in an unnecessary way and probably are more in agreement than not. I actually think the PC is alive and well and thriving, it just comes in tons of different form factors.

  • Staying centered

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


    There are many advantages to living in a world that is mostly connected. Feedback is immediate. Weak signals are easily amplified. Voices can be heard.

    Of course, every benefit has a drawback.

    In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme – where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis. In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light. Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality.

    It’s been a week like that, from a couple of unlikely sources. :)

    So let’s pause for a moment and consider the center.

  • The best in devices and services, together as Xbox One

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


    Yesterday was a lot of fun. Watching the Xbox team put the new Xbox One through its paces, hearing the reaction in the room and on Twitter, seeing all the work that people put in come to life = just wow.

    For some time now, we’ve been talking about Microsoft’s transformation to a devices and services company. Make no mistake, we’re still a software company at our core, but increasingly the value of that software is expressed through the devices and services we deliver to consumers and businesses.

    That transformation came to 1080p HD life yesterday with our introduction of Xbox One. And it wasn’t just the fantastic device on center stage, it was the amazing content from our partners, the other Microsoft services lighting it up, and the other Microsoft devices making it work as one.

  • Weekend Reading: May 24th Edition – The world meets Xbox One, and Windows Azure heads to Asia

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the unveiling of Xbox One, Microsoft expanding Windows Azure across Asia, new HP Windows 8 PCs coming soon, plus Windows Phone apps for work and play.

    Xbox One, unveiled. On Tuesday, in an event live-streamed across the globe, Microsoft lifted the veil on Xbox One – the all-in-one games and entertainment system that’s designed to put you at the center of all your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype. The event also revealed games for Xbox One, an exclusive agreement with the NFL, and Skype for Xbox One, which will let you play your Xbox games, apps and live TV with friends and family using Skype. Keep watching the Xbox Wire blog for details, images and video, and check out the making of Xbox One – an architect panel hosted by Major Nelson.

  • Weekend Reading: May 31st Edition–A first glimpse of Windows 8.1 and the design behind Xbox One

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Windows 8.1, Office 365 Home Premium surpassing 1 million subscribers, the design behind Xbox One and more.

    A first glimpse of Windows 8.1. Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows Program Management, on Thursday provided a "first look" at Windows 8.1 on the Windows blog. In his post, Leblond underscored that Windows 8.1 is an update to Windows 8. He gave a high-level look at the improvements and enhancements in Windows 8.1 in key areas like personalization, search, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. Read Leblond's blog post for more details. In addition, one of the many enhancements in Windows 8.1 is a reimagined search experience that’s faster, more fluid and more powerful than ever. The Search Charm in Windows 8 already gives you a single place to search apps for answers, letting you, for example, ask your News app for the latest on E3. The Windows 8.1 modern search experience makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for, enabling you to search your own PC, the Web and your apps. Learn more over on the Bing Search Blog.

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  • Free Windows 8.1 update will be unveiled June 26

    The following post was originally published on The Fire Hose.


    The Windows 8 update formerly known as “Windows Blue” will be called Windows 8.1, and consumers will be able to get it as a free update to Windows from the Windows Store, Tami Reller said at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston today.

  • Xbox One, Azure and the creative power of the cloud

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


    It’s been another one of those weeks here in Redmond – equal parts exhausting and exhilarating, and one where I have to remind myself just how privileged I am to work with such amazing people.

    If you haven’t had the opportunity, I encourage you to set aside some time this weekend to watch this great discussion about the making of Xbox One that Major Nelson hosted with Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president of IEB hardware; Boyd Multerer, partner director of development for the Xbox; Nick Baker, distinguished engineer, Xbox; and Dan Greenawalt, creative director of Xbox Turn 10 Studios, the team that brings you Forza Motorsport.

  • Xbox 360 continues its roll at the top of the U.S. console market

    Xbox 360 maintained its position as the top console in the U.S. last month, selling more units than any other platform, according to new data from The NPD Group.

    April also marked the 28th consecutive month that the Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S.

    April highlights from NPD include:

    · Holding 42 percent share of current-generation console sales, Xbox 360 sold 130,000 units in April, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S.

    · Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in April (hardware, software and accessories) reached $208 million, the most for any console in the U.S.

    · During the month of April, Xbox 360 held six of the top 10 console game titles including: “NBA 2K13,” “Dead Island: Riptide,” “BioShock Infinite,” Defiance,” Injustice: Gods Among Us” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.”

  • New blog ‘The Fire Hose’ gives inside look at latest Microsoft news

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    Microsoft is home to amazing people who come to work every day determined to change the world with technology. And we have the awesome job of telling their stories. Whether showing off the Microsoft Envisioning Center or explaining how Microsoft technology is being used to fight tuberculosis in India or not letting our colleagues be so quiet about building the City of the Future, we have an incredibly rich topic to mine – our company.

    Our goal is to tell stories big and small. And as the Microsoft News Center moves forward, we want to continue to become more responsive to the day’s news and tell those stories when people are interested – not after the news cycle has moved on. We want to be more aggressive about finding and breaking news, and more aggressive about lending our voice to the news of the day. We want to be seekers of information, not just receivers of it.

    With that aim, News Center is launching a new blog called The Fire Hose. The purpose of the blog is to cover the latest developments across the company. We will leverage the great content on the vast number of company blogs by curating and linking to the best stuff of the day. This means short, iterative posts combined with a mix of solid, in-depth storytelling.

  • Foursquare, YouTube apps get major updates for Windows Phone 8

    Freshly enhanced versions of both Foursquare and YouTube arrived in the Windows Phone Store today, bringing additional Windows Phone 8 features to the two popular apps.

  • Get your first look at Windows 8.1

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    Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president of Windows Program Management, today provided a "first look" at Windows 8.1 on the Windows blog.

    In his post, Leblond underscored that Windows 8.1 is an update to Windows 8. He gave a high-level look at the improvements and enhancements in Windows 8.1 in key areas like personalization, search, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity.

    Windows 8.1 will be available later this year as a free update to Windows 8 through the Windows Store, the same way customers are getting app updates today, Leblond said.

  • Is your team properly ‘socialized’? New research shows the potential and power of social technologies in the workplace

    Today, tens of millions of people use social technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp in their personal lives to stay in touch with friends, expand their personal networks and share ideas and information.

    So, it should come as no surprise that a similar trend is sweeping through the workplace, with social business technologies such as Yammer, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Dynamics CRM playing a greater role in the office and beyond.

    According to new global research from Microsoft, employees at all levels have become increasingly aware of the value social technologies can bring to their organizations and make them more productive and collaborative across both teams and geographies (because let’s face it, many companies operate in numerous areas of the world in real time.) Nearly half of employees report that social tools at work help increase their productivity, but more than 30 percent of companies underestimate the value of these tools and often restrict their use.

  • Weekend Reading: May 17th Edition–The Nokia Lumia 925 is a thing of beauty

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Nokia Lumia 925, Telefónica choosing Office 365 and Yammer for its 130,000 employees, an update on "WindowsBlue" (now known as Windows 8.1) and a cross-company partnership with Paramount Pictures around the highly anticipated “Star Trek Into Darkness” film.

    Something to behold: The Nokia Lumia 925. The folks at Nokia are not messing around. Less than a week after unveiling the Lumia 928 – the Windows Phone 8 device that became available on Verizon on Thursday – the Finnish phone maker on Tuesday lifted the curtain on the Lumia 925. The Lumia 925 makes its debut in June on Europe’s Vodafone network, then heads to China Mobile and China Unicom. It’s scheduled to launch on T-Mobile in the U.S. later this year, according to Nokia. The phone will cost around 469 euros before taxes and subsidies in Europe. Head on over to the Windows Phone Blog to get the rest of this story and to learn more about an update coming to Windows Phone 8 later this summer. Also, check out the video below that shows off some of the Lumia 925’s finer points. On the app front, we’d like to draw your attention to two new apps hit the Windows Phone Store this week - Angry Birds Rio and Zinio. Check ‘em out.

  • One month only: get a free Touch or Type Cover with Surface RT

    If you live in the U.S. or Canada, from now to June 30 is a great time to buy a Surface RT, because you’ll get a free Touch Cover, Touch Cover Limited Edition, or Type Cover in the bargain.

    Touch and Type Cover do a lot more than just protect and personalize your Surface RT. By providing a keyboard that goes everywhere with you, they let you get real work done. With Office Home & Student 2013 RT pre-installed - which includes versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote - a Touch Cover or Type Cover is the perfect accessory for your Surface.

  • Silicon Valley’s technorati raise money for charity with Microsoft fashion hijinks

    The following is a post from Douglas Crets, Developer Evangelist, Strategic & Emerging Business Team, Microsoft.


    More than 200 of San Francisco’s techies and startup founders put aside their work on mobile apps and the cloud last night and joined Microsoft, Bloomingdale’s and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship for an epic fashion party that raised thousands of dollars for a good cause. Below is a photo of Microsoft's Dr. Mark Drapeau, founder of Geek2Chic, speaking with Colleen Taylor, Silicon Valley reporter for TechCrunch TV.

    A star-studded evening of catwalks, storm trooper masks and breakdancing started in the Bloomingdale’s on Market Street and continued on till the early hours at Bubble Lounge.

    It was all for a good cause.

  • Weekend Reading: May 3rd Edition–Outlook.com hits 400M active accounts, adds new features

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on new features in Outlook.com, the release of the “Star Trek Into Darkness” app for Windows Phone (among a bevy of new apps made available this week), Bing Rewards expanding to MSN and a hilarious new Windows Phone ad. Check ‘em out!

    Outlook.com: 400 million active accounts. On Thursday, we announced that we've completed upgrading all Hotmail customers to Outlook.com. Coupled with the growing organic excitement for Outlook.com, this has pushed us to more than 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, including 125 million that are accessing email, calendar and contacts on a mobile device using Exchange ActiveSync. We're also pleased to announce that we're adding two new features to Outlook.com: SMTP send, so it's easier to send mail from different email addresses, and deeper integration with SkyDrive. Read this post over on the Outlook Blog for the full story.

    Outlook.com Screenshot

  • Weekend Reading: May 10th Edition–YouTube and Foursquare apps for Windows Phone get major updates

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the YouTube and Foursquare apps for Windows Phone getting major updates, the  release of the Nokia Lumia 928 for Verizon Wireless customers, Microsoft naming corporate vice president Amy Hood the company’s chief financial officer and more.

    Microsoft names Corporate Vice President Amy Hood as new Microsoft chief financial officer. Microsoft announced on Wednesday that Amy Hood was named Microsoft chief financial officer, succeeding outgoing CFO Peter Klein who will remain at Microsoft through the end of June to ensure a smooth transition. Hood becomes CFO effective immediately. Hood, 41, joined Microsoft in December 2002 and currently serves as CFO of MBD, overseeing all financial strategy, management and reporting for the $24.1 billion business. For the rest of this story, head on over to the Microsoft News Center.

    YouTube and Foursquare apps for Windows Phone get major updates. Freshly enhanced versions of both Foursquare and YouTube arrived in the Windows Phone Store on Tuesday, bringing additional Windows Phone 8 features to the two popular apps. The updated YouTube app lets you pin channels, playlists and results directly to your Start Screen, redesigns the playlist experience as a touch-friendly filmstrip and allows you to limit what videos little ones can watch by pinning the app to Kid’s Corner and configuring your YouTube Safety Settings. Location-based social app Foursquare now incorporates voice commands, so you can use your voice to find and check-in at points of interest, and also brings notifications to your lock screen and lets you pin your favorite people and places on your Start screen. Below are screenshots from the updated YouTube app.

  • Hulu Plus for Windows Phone 8 hits the Windows Phone Store

    If you’re a fan of shows like “Modern Family,” “Family Guy” or “Community,” you’ll be happy to know that the Hulu Plus for Windows Phone 8 app is now available in the Windows Phone Store.

    Hulu Plus for Windows Phone 8

    The app is free, but as Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh notes in his blog post today, “a Hulu Plus subscription will run you $8 a month.”

  • Microsoft names Amy Hood as new Microsoft chief financial officer

    Microsoft today announced that Amy Hood, who currently serves as chief financial officer of the Microsoft Business Division, was named Microsoft chief financial officer, succeeding outgoing CFO Peter Klein, who will remain at Microsoft through the end of June to ensure a smooth transition. Hood becomes CFO effective immediately.

    “Amy brings the right talents and experiences to the role as we continue to strengthen our focus on devices and services,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer. “She has been an instrumental leader in the Microsoft Business Division (MBD), helping lead the transition to services with Office 365 and delivering strong financial and operational management throughout her time on the business.”

  • Microsoft, brands envision the future of online advertising at Creative Week

    The following is a post by Shari Weisenberg, Marketing Brand Strategist, Microsoft Advertising.


     If you find yourself at a SoHo bar this week, and you spot a discarded napkin with scribbles on it, you might want to take a second look: The odds are slightly better than usual that those scribbles will be Madison Avenue’s next winning idea.

    That’s because an eclectic group of creative professionals are meeting up in the New York City neighborhood for the 5th annual Creative Week, a wide-ranging 5-day conversation about creativity in advertising, design, digital media and the arts. More pop-up think tank than standard conference, the event brings together creative types of all stripes, including some of Microsoft Advertising’s leading creative and marketing minds.

  • Tami Reller talks Windows 8 sales, apps and the future of the PC

    Microsoft sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses in the products first six months, announced Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of Windows, in an interview on the Windows Blog posted Monday evening.

  • Microsoft and the NFL kick off new interactive in-game and fantasy experiences for Xbox One

    Microsoft and the National Football League have changed the way you will watch the most popular sport in North America through a new multi-year partnership that will deliver interactive television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One.

  • Microsoft unveils Xbox One

    A new vision for the future was revealed today when Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One, an all-in-one gaming and entertainment system. The new system brings together games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype. Use your voice to launch your personalized Xbox One Home screen, see what’s popular on TV or check out your friends’ latest gaming achievements.