The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

August, 2013

  • Save the date: Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Intune update coming Oct. 18

    The R2 wave is upon us!

    Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the latest update to Windows Intune on Oct. 18, the same day Windows 8.1 will be released.

    According to Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Server and System Center Brad Anderson, it’s no coincidence that all four updates will be available on the same day.

    “Just a few weeks ago I wrote about the common planning efforts and engineering milestones we shared during the development of this R2 wave – and seeing these products and services become generally available on the same day (with all their integrated scenarios!) is the ultimate benefit!” he wrote in a post over on the In the Cloud blog.

  • Delta Air Lines soars with more than 19,000 new Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft Dynamics for Retail devices

    The following is a post from Wayne Morris, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Business Solutions Marketing.


    The next time you purchase a meal while 30,000 feet in the air, take a closer look at the device being used by the flight attendant. If you’re flying with Delta Air Lines, chances are you’ll notice your transaction has been completed on a Windows Phone.

    Delta Air Lines announced today that its global team of more than 19,000 flight attendants has started using Nokia Lumia 820 handsets powered by Windows Phone 8 to interact with customers. These in-flight, Wi-Fi connected devices will leverage an Avanade point of sale (POS) experience on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of-sale platform.

  • On Dickens, Rashomon and Twitter

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


    Since I’ve chosen a career in communications, it’s safe to assume that I love to write. But it also means I love to study stories, in all their forms and formats. Not just the disposable ones that pop up on my feed every 90 seconds (and yes, you can tell stories via Twitter), but the older ones too, the classics that have stood the test of time.

    In the last few days, as I’ve read some of the quick-twitch stories, they’ve made me think of the lessons I’ve learned from some of the longer form stories over time.

    For example, the variability in the coverage we received this weekend put me in mind of the opening paragraph from Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.

    It’s puzzling how this could be, how the same set of facts could possibly lead to such radically divergent conclusions on the part of so many writers, pundits and self-promoters.

  • New York to move 120,000 state employees to Office 365

    New York State is the latest state government that has chosen Office 365 to consolidate their email systems, provide access to familiar Office applications, and place shared calendars in a cloud-based system for more than 120,000 employees who work for state executive agencies.

    “I’m continually impressed by the forward-looking nature of our state customers when it comes to maximizing their available resources,” said Michael Donlan, vice president of state and local government for Microsoft. “In this move to the cloud, Governor Cuomo’s administration is equally focused on ensuring the productivity and efficiency of its employees along with the security and privacy of its citizens across New York.”

  • Weekend Reading: August 23rd Edition–gamescom reveals Xbox exclusive titles and features

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ll show you how Xbox wowed Europe at gamescom with a bevy of games and features, share the latest “On the Whiteboard” about an Oscar-winning visual effects company, and bring you a great development for Outlook.com – the worldwide availability of Skype video to take your conversations to the next level.

    The Xbox team unveiled a plethora of announcements Tuesday at gamescom in Cologne, Germany – the world’s biggest gaming show – and gave countless reasons why this console is on the cutting edge. Here are a few exclusives: the “FIFA 14” Ultimate Team offering for Xbox fans, content on Xbox One from “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” and the next installment in the epic “Fable” saga – “Fable Legends.” Gamescom also revealed two “Forza Motorsport 5” race tracks, the addition of new tanks to “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition” and Ryse: Son of Rome” multiplayer and combat features. “Dead Rising 3” and “Killer Instinct” fans also have something to look forward to! For the full list of Xbox One’s lineup of announced games, head on over to Xbox Wire. (And if you’re dying to see the Xbox One in person, you can, at Microsoft retail stores across the U.S. Xbox Wire tells you all about it.)

  • Here’s what’s new in the latest Windows Phone 8 update

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    The latest update for Windows Phone 8 devices started rolling out a few weeks back and has recently started to pick up momentum.

    Last week, the HTC Windows Phone 8X on AT&T and the Nokia Lumia 928 on Verizon Wireless started receiving it and on Tuesday, Lumia 822 owners on Verizon started seeing update notifications. In addition, some Lumia models are also getting a companion upgrade from Nokia called “Amber.” You can find out more about that update over on Nokia Conversations.

  • Weekend Reading: August 16th Edition–Windows 8.1 rolls out Oct. 18

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, the big buzz was the announcement of the Oct. 18 worldwide release of Windows 8.1. In New York, there’s great anticipation about the upcoming migration of 120,000 state employees to Office 365. And Sprint added a new smartphone to its lineup: the Samsung ATIV S Neo, the first Windows Phone 8 device from Sprint with international roaming capabilities.

    Oct. 18 is turning out to be an auspicious date for much anticipated releases, such as Windows 8.1 and the R2 wave. Windows 8.1 will roll out as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. See how more than 20 new and improved Microsoft apps and services come as part of Windows 8.1. Also on that date, Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the latest update to Windows Intune.

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  • Telling the Microsoft story by the numbers

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


    I’m a words guy. My business revolves around words, how they’re written and how they’re interpreted.

    But sometimes numbers are more effective at telling a story than words.

    That’s why today we’re introducing a new site at microsoft.com/bythenumbers that uses a familiar interface to highlight some of the important (and not-so-important) facts about our business and our company.

  • Weekend Reading: August 30th Edition–Windows 8.1 releases to hardware partners

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we cover the release of Windows 8.1 to manufacturers, bring you lots of back to school excitement through Windows Phone specials and look ahead to this weekend’s PAX Prime 2013 gaming show in Seattle.

    Windows 8.1 continued its momentum with the release of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to hardware partners on Tuesday. It also includes Windows Embedded 8.1, marking Microsoft’s first simultaneous release of Windows across devices. While our partners are preparing new devices, the Windows team will collaborate with them leading up to general availability on October 18. Tuesday also saw the RTM of Windows Server 2012 R2, explains Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of the Windows Server & System Center.

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  • The limits of Google’s openness

    The following is a post from David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust, Microsoft. It was originally published on Microsoft on the Issues.


    You may be wondering what happened to the YouTube app for Windows Phone. Last May, after we launched a much improved app on our platform, Google objected on a number of grounds. We took our app down and agreed to work with Google to solve their issues. This week, after we addressed each of Google’s points, we re-launched the app, only to have Google technically block it.

    We know that this has been frustrating, to say the least, for our customers. We have always had one goal: to provide our users a YouTube experience on Windows Phone that’s on par with the YouTube experience available to Android and iPhone users. Google’s objections to our app are not only inconsistent with Google’s own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn’t impose on its own platform or Apple’s (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course).

    When we first built a YouTube app for Windows Phone, we did so with the understanding that Google claimed to grow its business based on open access to its platforms and content, a point it reiterated last year. As antitrust enforcers have launched investigations against Google – some of which are still ongoing – the company has reiterated its commitment to openness and its ability to stick to its openness commitments voluntarily.

  • ‘On the Whiteboard’ explores the modern movie magic of visual effects

    You may not know it, but Microsoft has played a role in some of the spectacular visual effects seen in “Avatar” and provided story guidance about the future for “The Island”.

  • Tweets from Last Night: Windows Store Only at Best Buy LA opening

    Last night in West Los Angeles, Microsoft teamed up with Best Buy and Major League Soccer to celebrate the grand opening of the Windows Store Only at Best Buy. Hundreds of customers and fans were treated to clinics and drills on a custom-built soccer field in the Best Buy parking lot, with a special appearance from U.S. National Men’s soccer star and LA Galaxy legend Cobi Jones, as well as hands-on demos of fitness and nutrition apps like Daily Workouts, Endomondo and BallStrike on Windows 8 devices.

    Later that night, lucky fans were able to meet former U.S. Men’s National Team player Clint Mathis and legendary Galaxy star Mauricio Cienfuegos. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about their experience, via Twitter:

    LA radio personality @ChueyMartinez turned up the excitement at the event:

  • Catch the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” reveal Wednesday on Xbox Live

    Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) and Kate Yeager host the “Call of Duty: Ghosts Global Multiplayer Reveal” today on Xbox Live.

    Xbox Live is the only place to see an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary filmed at Infinity Ward that’s part of the live broadcast. Check it out, and join the conversation on Twitter with #XboxGhosts.

  • Weekend Reading: August 9th Edition–Windows Store Only at Best Buy kickoff spotlights fitness apps

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we take you to Los Angeles for the nationwide opening of Microsoft’s new store-within-a-store (Windows Store Only at Best Buy), give insights on a couple of international customers who chose Office 365 and Windows 8 for tens of thousands of employees, and show you how Microsoft is making it easier for developers to create Windows Phone apps.

    In the City of Angels, the Windows Store Only at Best Buy launch Wednesday kicked off with Major League Soccer star Clint Mathis participating in on-site activities focused on healthier living. These dedicated spaces, which average about 1,900 square feet, can be found inside 600 Best Buy stores in North America (500 in the United States and more than 100 in Canada). This will be the place for consumers to check out and buy Windows tablets and PCs, Windows Phone devices, Microsoft Office, and Xbox, especially for those without a Microsoft retail store nearby. The Windows Experience Blog shared information about the opening, which featured soccer drills on a full-size field in a parking lot and healthy food tips. The integration of technology into a more active lifestyle can be seen with the latest Windows 8 fitness and nutrition apps (BallStrike, Daily Workouts, Endomondo, LIVESTRONG.com MyPlate Calorie Tracker, Fitbit), and sports-specific apps such as MLS MatchDay.

    Check out this slideshow to see how the event played out.

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  • ‘2007 called. It wants its camera phone back!’

    That’s one of the better lines from the newest Windows Phone commercial entitled “The Recital,” our latest irreverent take on the smartphone wars.

  • Preparing students for the 21st century workforce: A new model of collaboration in New York City

    The following is a post from Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft.


    As educators grapple with the kind of disruptive change that is prompting businesses in every sector to redefine “workforce-ready,” creative new approaches to public education are gaining momentum. Governments, corporations and non-profits are working together in the spirit of true 21st century collaboration in communities around the world. And these coalitions are making a difference in ways traditional approaches to public education simply can’t.

    Today, I’m proud to share that Microsoft is taking part in one such effort, the creation of a “9-14” education model in New York City. Working together with the NYC Department of Education, City University of New York and New York Presbyterian Hospital, we are developing a school, scheduled to open in fall 2014, which will specialize in preparing students for a job in information technology. The program enables students to earn associate degrees while still in high school, ensuring they enter the workforce -- or go on to earn a bachelor’s degree -- with the right set of skills to succeed in their chosen field.

  • TWC TV comes to Xbox

    The TWC TV app launched on Xbox 360 on Tuesday, delivering up to 300 of the most popular TV channels to Xbox Live Gold members in the U.S. who are also TWC subscribers.

    With Xbox 360 being the best-selling gaming console in the U.S. for 31 consecutive months, and millions of Xbox consoles in TWC territories, it’s easy to see why TWC TV on Xbox 360 was one of the most requested experiences by TWC customers. With the new app, your Xbox 360 becomes a voice-enabled entertainment console, instantly extending your TWC subscription to other TVs and rooms in your house.

  • Touchdown for NFL Mobile, newly redesigned and rebuilt for Windows Phone 8

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    It’s only preseason but football fans are already revving up for the regular season, and just in time for that, NFL Mobile is here for Windows Phone 8 devices!

    This re-designed app, like some kind of bionic football player, comes back stronger than ever, with all the bells and whistles that help you follow your favorite teams, receive real-time NFL game scores, watch highlight clips and keep up with the latest news. Fans can also listen to game audio broadcasts and NFL podcasts, manage their fantasy football squads, and more. And since this free app is no longer a Verizon exclusive, all Windows Phone 8 users across America are on the field, no longer on the sidelines.

  • Xbox 360 hits 31 consecutive months as the no. 1 console in the U.S.

    Xbox 360 maintained its position as the top console in the U.S. last month, selling more units than any other platform with 107,000 units, according to new data from The NPD Group. July marked the 31st consecutive month Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S.

    July 2013 NPD highlights include:

    • Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in July (hardware, software and accessories) reached $178 million, the most for any console in the U.S.
    • During the month of July, Xbox 360 held eight of the top 10 console game titles including: “NCAA Football 14,” “Minecraft,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2,” “Far Cry 3,” “Borderlands 2,” “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” and “Grand Theft Auto IV.”
  • Outlook.com with Skype offers a delicious pairing

    For a lot of people today, email is a constant companion. First thing in the morning or late at night, in the office, at the library or on the beach, email keeps us connected to friends, family and contacts.

    But sometimes, you just want to talk face to face. Now, users of Outlook.com can do that too, with the announcement that the service’s integration with Skype is rolling out worldwide. Outlook.com users just need to install the Skype Web plug-in and they can begin using Skype to video call with their contacts today — right from their Outlook.com inbox. Once updated, the user’s Skype contacts are always just a click away.

    “Email is an inherently personal thing,” says Dawn Martynuik, group product marketing manager for Outlook.com. “So we work hard to make sure that Outlook.com works with the things you already use, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and now Skype. If you love Skype, you’re going to love using Outlook.com for your email and having the ability to video chat with your friends any time.”

  • AT&T to add another Windows Phone 8 device to its lineup – the Nokia Lumia 925

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    AT&T will soon add another beautiful Windows Phone 8 device from Nokia to its lineup – the Lumia 925.

  • Mark your calendars: Windows 8.1 begins rolling out Oct. 18

    Starting at midnight on October 18 in New Zealand (that’s 4 a.m.PT on October 17), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and...
  • Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 head to manufacturing partners

    Just 10 months after delivering on a bold, generational change with Windows 8, the Windows team has started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to hardware partners.

    With the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone, hardware partners are now in a position to prepare the wide array of innovative devices that customers can expect later this fall – just in time for the holidays. Over the next several months, expect to see beautiful, powerful devices, from the smallest tablets to the most lightweight notebooks to versatile 2-in-1s, as well as industry devices designed for business.

  • Foursquare app checks in at the Windows Store

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    The first-ever Foursquare app designed for large-screen devices is now available exclusively on Windows 8, and it's our News Center App of the Week. The popular social app, which has over 35 million users worldwide, lets you find and “check in” at interesting places around you, as well as share photos, reviews and tips about your personal favorite spots. The new Windows 8 version sports a gorgeous design, uses OS features like the Search charm, and is a great way to discover cool spots whether you're on the road or looking for adventures near home.

  • Samsung ATIV S Neo available from Sprint starting Friday

    Sprint has announced that it will add the Samsung ATIV S Neo to its lineup of phones starting Friday. The phone will cost $150 with a two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate.

    According to Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh, the Samsung ATIV S Neo is “the first Windows Phone 8 device from Sprint with international roaming capabilities.”

    The ATIV S Neo boasts a 4.8-inch high-def display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD memory card slot and a 2,000mAh lithium-ion removable battery. The phone also features ATIV Beam, which uses NFC for sharing photos, music and videos with other Windows Phone 8 smartphones and some Android devices.