The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

July, 2013

  • Partners: Want higher profits and faster growth? Sell cloud solutions, new IDC study says

    Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Microsoft released a new study from IDC that shows partners selling cloud-based solutions benefit from higher gross profit, more new customers, higher revenue per employee and faster overall business growth.

    The study also revealed customer buying preferences that highlight the importance of the role of partners in the overall industry cloud transition:

    · Sixty-three percent of customers expect to have a single cloud service provider to meet their needs

    · Sixty-seven percent expect to purchase a wide variety of cloud services from a single vendor

    · Seventy-four percent expect their cloud service provider to be able to move a cloud offering back on-premises if needed

  • Weekend Reading: July 5th Edition—Windows Phone 8 gets Facebook facelift, Redbox and iHeartRadio

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, you’ll hear about big apps that just hit Windows Phone 8, the first version of a Web-based Xbox Music experience and the Xbox exclusive game “Titanfall” setting records at the Game Critics Awards “Best of E3."

    Fans of the big and small-screen and live radio can now find apps like Redbox and iHeartRadio on Windows Phone 8, as well as a major facelift for the Facebook app. For those who need help naming that tune, Bing Audio for Windows Phone rolls out to 14 more countries. Windows Phone app developers who need a recap on Build 2013 or who might have missed some sessions can catch up through the Build 2013 Windows Phone Session Round-Up. Now available for the Windows Phone: video update app Keek and tech news must-have GeekWire; and for Windows 8, a Nook update. SkyDrive Pro apps are now available for Windows 8 and Apple iOS for SharePoint Online users in Office 365.

  • Partners in the cloud for modern business

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

    Today, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), I am excited to announce new programs and services that are designed to help our partners and customers embrace the challenges and opportunities associated with cloud computing and big data.

    The first new program we are announcing is Cloud OS Accelerate. As part of this new program, Microsoft and key partners – Cisco, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and Dell – will invest more than $100 million to help put thousands of new private and hybrid cloud solutions into the hands of customers. We are also announcing a new Windows Intune offer, effective Sept. 1, that will help connect partners and customers with the latest in cloud connected management at a 30 percent discount. These new programs, and others you will hear about throughout the Worldwide Partner Conference, are designed to help our partners realize the opportunities in cloud computing – today.

  • Championing student innovators

    The following is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Platform & Evangelism at Microsoft.

    Many people know Microsoft as a world-leading global corporation. But at its heart, Microsoft is a student startup founded by a couple of passionate young innovators with an idea. Students are often vanguards for the future of technology – and with the right tools and support, they have the potential to create innovations that can redefine our lives. It’s in that spirit that Microsoft launched the Imagine Cup student technology competition in 2003.

    Now in its eleventh year, the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals are underway this week in St. Petersburg, Russia. The finals event is the culmination of a year of hard work, with more than 300 students from 71 countries advancing to the finals from local, regional and online competitions. We are thrilled to see these student technologists and entrepreneurs take center stage as they demonstrate their amazing ideas brought to life through software.

    Today’s students are digital natives who easily see beyond a single technology or app to envision how software, hardware and the cloud can work together in new and inventive ways. More than a third of this year’s Worldwide Finalists are using Windows, Windows Phone and Windows Azure together across platforms and devices. Following on the heels of Build, there are even more ways that developers can use an integrated devices and services platform across Windows.

  • Smartphone or camera? The new Nokia Lumia 1020 is both!

    It’s here and, as usual, it’s beautiful. We’re talking about the new Nokia Lumia 1020, which comes with a 41-megapixel sensor that puts the 1020’s camera on par with most digital SLRs.

    “The phone—which comes in yellow, white, and black—will initially debut at AT&T for $299.99 with a two-year contract. AT&T kicks off online preorders on July 16. The phone, which runs on the carrier’s 4G LTE network, officially goes on sale July 26,” Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh reports in a post today.

  • Weekend Reading: July 12th Edition—Worldwide Partner Conference focuses on cloud solutions and Windows 8

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we take you to Houston for the Worldwide Partner Conference, then introduce the global CityNext initiative and the groundbreaking Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone 8 device.

    The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference showcased cloud computing and big data and updates about Windows 8. At WPC, which kicked off Monday in Houston, Satya Nadella, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, announced Cloud OS Accelerate. As part of this new program, Microsoft and key partners will invest more than $100 million to help put thousands of new private and hybrid cloud solutions into consumers’ hands. He also unveiled: offers for Windows Intune and the Windows Azure SQL Database, as well as a new self-service business intelligence (BI) solution for Office 365. Read more about these and other highlights in Nadella’s blog post. Microsoft also released a new study from IDC that shows the benefits of partners selling cloud-based solutions. WPC also shined the light on Windows 8’s momentum in selling 100 million licenses and added more details about the availability of Windows 8.1. Blogging Windows has the whole story.

    The WPC was the perfect venue to unveil CityNext, a new global initiative that brings together an extensive ecosystem powered by Microsoft partner relationships and their technologies to help urban leaders find solutions to their problems using flexible cloud services, enterprise-grade devices and apps for city employees, and big data platforms. Great examples of CityNext’s potential are in Paris with the Autolib’ car-sharing service and in Seattle, with the High Performance Buildings Pilot Project.


  • Watch Bill Gates deliver the opening keynote at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit live today at 9 a.m.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Microsoft’s Redmond campus, already bursting with brainpower, is about to get another big infusion with the 14th annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit.

    Today and tomorrow, 400 elite academic researchers from 200 institutions and 29 countries will join Microsoft Research to explore hot trends and burning issues in computer science research. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will set the Summit’s tone by addressing how computing can help solve global problems as the event’s opening keynote speaker – the first time he’s been back in that role since 2005. He will also take questions from those attending the talk, as well as from online viewers.

  • ‘On the Whiteboard’ goes deep inside Microsoft’s Reliability Lab

    In the latest episode of “On the Whiteboard,” Editor Pamela Woon goes inside Microsoft’s top secret Reliability Lab, where our products undergo dozens of tests to help ensure what our customers receive is sturdy, strong and resilient. In the video above, the Surface tablet is one of the Reliability Lab’s latest victims.

  • Watch the full Bill Gates keynote from Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013

    Billg came home.

    Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates returned to the Redmond campus Monday, speaking to a packed house of academics at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit. His presence turned some of the world’s top university instructors into eager students who asked Gates about everything from online education to intellectual property to robotics.

  • Weekend Reading: July 19th Edition—Touch-enabled ‘Halo: Spartan Assault’ game app arrives on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

    The latest installment in the Halo franchise is available exclusively on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices. Released yesterday, “Halo: Spartan Assault” is a new top-down shooter designed specifically for touch devices. The highly anticipated game features simple controls and a more casual gaming experience designed to appeal to Halo newbies as well as hardcore gamers. It’s set between “Halo 3” and “Halo 4” in the franchise’s larger storyline, and lets you play as either Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis. Learn more over on Halo Waypoint, then download the app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and enjoy.

    Explore Microsoft’s Reliability Lab in the latest episode of On the Whiteboard.” Host Pamela Woon takes you deep inside Microsoft’s top-secret Reliability Lab, where our products undergo dozens of stress tests designed to ensure that our devices meet the highest standards for durability. In the video above, the Surface tablet is one of the Reliability Lab’s latest “victims.” Take a look and you’ll be amazed at what it can endure. Learn more over on the News Center, and watch more episodes of “On the Whiteboard” here.

  • Xbox 360 hits 30 consecutive months atop 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 with 140,000 units, according to new data from The NPD Group. June marked the 30th consecutive month Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S.

    June highlights from NPD include:

    • Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in June (hardware, software and accessories) reached $197 million, the most for any console in the U.S.
    • During the month of June, Xbox 360 held seven of the top 10 console game titles including: “Minecraft,” “NBA 2K13,” “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” “Deadpool,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” “Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”
  • Meet the Nokia Lumia 625 – a low-cost phone with a BIG screen

    It comes in orange, yellow, bright green, white and black, has a ginormous 4.7-inch LCD display and is 4G LTE ready. It’s the Nokia Lumia 625.

  • Weekend Reading: July 26th Edition–Introducing the Nokia Lumia 625 and its big-screen appeal

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we show off the latest batch of devices available for Windows Phone 8 (including Nokia’s biggest screen yet for Windows Phone), programs from Microsoft that reward bug finders and game developers and a great slideshow of 10 cool tech tools for students.

    Windows Phone 8 continues to roll out on more models, with the Nokia Lumia 625 grabbing attention for its awe inspiring screen. Targeted for international markets, it comes in a rainbow of colors, has a ginormous 4.7-inch LCD display (the biggest one Nokia has for a Windows Phone) and is 4G LTE ready, according to the Windows Phone Blog. But here at home, customers have plenty of choices, too, such as Sprint’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC 8XT, and AT&T’s prepaid Nokia Lumia 520 for $100. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is also drawing shutterbugs like moths to the flame with its 41-megapixels, and they’re getting creative with showing how good it is, such as this footage from a concert atop Seattle’s Space Needle. Below is a screenshot of the Lumia 625.



  • ‘On the Whiteboard’ shows how making 3D objects is as easy as printing a Word doc

    In this episode of “On the Whiteboard,” Editor Pamela Woon goes to Makerhaus and its 10,000-square-feet of fabrication prototyping – a membership workshop that features 3D printing for things such as jewelry, toys and virtually anything you can design with 3D software.

    While 3D printing isn’t mainstream – yet – it’s only a matter of time before it is, with the potential to crank out increasingly complex creations as easily as printing a Word document. In fact, customers can buy a 3D printer at Microsoft retail stores this fall and at Staples for $1,299.

  • The Nokia Lumia 1020 with its groundbreaking 41-megapixel camera is now available on AT&T


    The Nokia Lumia 1020 – already receiving impressive reviews due to its 41-megapixel camera – is now available at AT&T’s online and retail stores. The 4G LTE phone, which costs $299 with a standard contract, comes in yellow, white and black.

  • Microsoft’s new programs attract ‘bounty hunters’ who help make safer products

    Company challenges security researchers to yank powerful techniques out of attackers’ toolboxes, with $100,000 on the line.

  • New enterprise preview lets companies kick the tires on Windows 8.1

    Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview is now available for download so customers can start testing the operating system in their environments. Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview builds on the Window 8.1 Preview, adding premium features designed to address the mobility, security, management and virtualization needs of today’s companies.

    Premium features that will be offered in the Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition include Windows To Go Creator, Start Screen Control, DirectAccess, BranchCache, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, AppLocker and Windows Enterprise Side-Loading. These features add to the broader range of new business capabilities in Windows 8.1 that Microsoft shared at TechEd North America back in June. Here’s a more extended list of features.