In this edition of Weekend Reading, we start out with some big news about Microsoft’s deal involving Nokia’s devices and services business. Then we take you to the IFA 2013 consumer electronics show in Germany, where new devices from Microsoft’s hardware partners keep rolling out fast and furious; and then back to the U.S., where the Xbox One is on track to be the biggest Xbox launch ever.

Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, license Nokia’s patents and mapping services. For more information on the acquisition, including the press release, slide deck, Webcast and more, head on over to the new Nokia newsroom on the Microsoft News Center. You can also read more about the transaction in an open letter from Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop in a Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

At IFA 2013, we saw a multitude of new and updated devices, including: the world’s first 20-inch 4K tablet from Panasonic, new Yoga models and the Flex line from Lenovo, the Sony VAIO | Flip PC (part laptop, part tablet, part viewer), a new generation of ASUS Ultrabooks with the Zenbook UX301 and UX302, Toshiba’s new laptops, 2-in-1s, and 8-inch tablet and Acer’s Aspire R7 – a unique 15.6-inch laptop that comes with a unique “Ezel Hinge” that allows you to move its HD display forward and into four different modes.

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Xbox One is on track to be the biggest launch of any Xbox ever when it debuts in 13 markets on Nov. 22, said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Marketing, Xbox Strategy and Business, on Wednesday. Medhi added,“We have sold out of our pre-order supply in the U.S. faster than at any other time in our history,” but luckily, more Day One pre-orders are available now.

Just in time for Thursday’s season kickoff, NFL.com Fantasy Football 2013 arrived in the Windows Store. It was one of a couple of big developments since Tuesday, when Microsoft shared more details about the multi-year, landmark partnership with the NFL sealed in May, with game-changing NFL experiences for Xbox One and Surface. Also as of Tuesday, NFL.com Fantasy Football is available on Xbox 360. (The NFL Mobile app for Windows Phone 8 devices has been out since Aug.16.)

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Players who are interested in other games besides football also got a lot of good news this week. You can now watch the “Halo 4” Global Championship video anytime you want, and see the evolution of “Ryse: Son of Rome” from an Xbox 360 exclusive built around Kinect-controlled combat to a controller-operated Xbox One launch title. In September, Xbox Live Gold members receive some fantastic freebies: “Magic 2013” and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas.” And, for fans of the movie, the “Wreck-It Ralph” game is now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

Also over in the Windows Phone world, a Skype update gives you the ability to send video messages, and “Six-Guns” came out with guns ablaze, giving players a Wild West filled with supernatural twists.

Though by no means comprehensive, we also put together a toolkit featuring a smattering of resources that should help journalists, bloggers and anyone who publishes online do their jobs better. Tools such as the Surface RT, OneNote, Bing, Windows Live Writer, Skype and SkyDrive all come in handy for daily tasks such as crowdsourcing, interviews, writing and editing.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we learned how to find the mouse and keyboard that’s right for you.

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And that’s game over for this edition of Weekend Reading. We hope you’re enjoying summer’s final days, and that you have a great weekend!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff