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This month, Microsoft honors the “Giving Heroes” among us – the nonprofits helping the next generation of innovators, inventors, mountain movers and game changers. Throughout our employee giving campaign, we asked employees to share the organizations that inspired them. We then worked with a number of artists to interpret those stories to create their own interpretation of these Giving Heroes. Every day this month, we’ll post one of their creations to the Microsoft Facebook page. You’ll meet Microsoft employees working with a super-powered nonprofit to encourage and support young people in our communities.
In this extra-spooky edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on what went into creating the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, the introduction of Microsoft Stories and OneNote celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Since the Oct. 21 launch of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, they’ve been getting a lot of attention in the press. Each day this week, the Surface Blog posted a video from the Sept. 23 Surface 2 announce event in New York City to give you deeper dives into what went into making these next-gen tablets. In the one shown below, Stevie Bathiche, Microsoft distinguished scientist and head of the Applied Sciences team at Microsoft, talks about the refinements to Touch Cover 2 – the much-talked-about accessory for Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Also interesting was finding out why Ralf Groene, who leads the industrial and interaction design teams for Surface devices, compared the creation of Surface 2 to a ping pong game. Finally, we saw how artists are taking advantage of the Surface Pen, which comes pre-installed with the new devices.
On Thursday, Microsoft announced an agreement with the Sao Paolo State Department of Education (SEE) to offer Office 365 free of charge to more than 4 million students from the state education network through the Student Advantage program. This joint initiative with the SEE represents an investment of almost $900 million, based on the individual subscription costs for Office 365.
Student Advantage will be available as of December 1 for all educational institutions with an Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus license for its administrative and faculty staff. In Brazil, the Sao Paolo State Department of Education will be the first to reap the benefits of Student Advantage, offering its students access to the complete version of Office 365 ProPlus at no additional cost. Students from the state education network will be able to use Office 365 tools on up to five devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Office 365 ProPlus includes all of the applications from the traditional Office suite, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook, among others, which can be installed locally on up to five devices and offer offline availability. When a school combines Student Advantage with Microsoft’s other cloud services, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, all available free through Office 365 Education, students have access to the same set of gold-standard productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies all over the world.
“We are thrilled to offer Student Advantage to Brazilian schools so students can access the latest, most up-to-date version of the world’s leading set of productivity tools in order to give them a competitive advantage when entering the workforce,” said Mariano de Beer, Managing Director of Microsoft Brazil. “Nearly 98 percent of students using productivity software currently use Office.”
"Our commitment is to take permanent actions to ensure that our students have access to technological resources that are a fundamental part of their preparation. The agreement announced today is part of the initiatives being implemented by the SEE to offer digital tools linked to the state curriculum,” said the Secretary of State, Herman Voorwald.
On Friday Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems became generally available.
“We think this is going to become the product for purpose-built, next-generation, enterprise class server appliances,” said Partha Srinivasan, product manager, Windows Embedded Server and SQL Products in a post on the Windows Embedded Blog. “With this edition, enterprises and OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] now have a lot more capabilities and a host of improvements they can leverage to enhance performance, save space and ensure nearly constant uptime.”
For one thing, he noted, the Windows Embedded team has substantially improved the product’s virtualization capabilities. This is good news for OEMs in particular, which have been utilizing virtualization to consolidate the physical architecture of their solutions and improve the return on investment of their products.
A common remark when people first see a Surface 2 device up close is how great the display looks. That’s especially pleasing to the Surface team because so much effort went into screen performance. As Stevie Bathiche, Microsoft distinguished scientist and head of the Applied Science team, explains in the Surface Blog and video above, delivering an impressive display requires focus on far more than just pixel count – things like size and aspect ratio, contrast ratio, viewing angles, color depth, grayscale, color reproduction, luminance, backlight uniformity… The list goes on. Oh, did we mention optically bonding the display to the cover glass in order to reduce reflection?
Both Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 feature 10.6-inch ClearType HD displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio (the most popular for TVs – the screen a lot of HD content is designed for) that offer up stunning 1080p video and awesome gaming, as well as crisp text.
The following post is from Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft.
Earlier this year, Staff Sgt. Adam Citterbart, a member of the elite U.S. Green Berets, found himself in the most intense firefight of his career. His unit, a Special Forces mountaineering team, faced an 11-hour engagement in Afghanistan. During the battle, Citterbart, a sniper, maintained communications with five aircraft and the four truck-based communications systems on which his unit depended, all while tactically positioning Afghanistan National Army soldiers on the battlefield.
During the engagement, Citterbart was forced to repair a truck antenna that had been shot in half, while maintaining accurate suppressive fire. The battle was a success, reducing attacks on coalition forces in the area by 95 percent. And fortunately, no one in his unit was injured.
RES Americas developed and constructed the 343 megawatt Lower Snake River Wind Farm. The project, which began operating in 2012, is owned by Puget Sound Energy and is Washington State’s largest wind farm.
From the time you wake up in the morning until you rest your weary eyes at night, you do things that consume power.
BZZZZ. Turn off the alarm. Turn on the lights. Brew some coffee. Turn on the TV. Recharge your phone. Turn on the computer. Turn on the AC or heat. Surf the Internet. Heat some leftovers in the microwave. Watch more TV. Do laundry. Run the dishwasher. Or watch more TV. Turn off the lights -- except for the one on the porch. ZZZZ.
All those things add up.
Luckily, if your appliances, coffeemakers and lights depend on the Texas power grid, there’s going to be 110 megawatts (MW) more clean, renewable energy flowing into that grid by the end of 2015, generated by 55 brand-new wind turbines that will make up the Keechi Wind Farm project. That’s enough to juice up 55,000 homes at peak production.
Microsoft has committed to a 20-year power purchase agreement with RES Americas to buy 100 percent of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-built Keechi Wind Farm Project. It’s Microsoft’s latest investment in renewable energy and is just one of several innovative projects and approaches the company has pursued in the past few years.
The following post is from Kirill Tatarinov, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions.
This is an amazing week celebrating great milestones in our Microsoft Dynamics business solutions family.
On Monday at our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Global Premier launch event, digitally attended by more than 70,000 people, we displayed what we truly mean when we say we are changing the game in CRM. Three innovative and successful companies – Metro Bank, Pandora and Servcorp – all shared with us how important it is for businesses to better engage with and nurture their customers. Moreover, they all stressed how a uniquely differentiated Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will help them win the hearts and minds of their customers.
On Tuesday at the Convergence EMEA event in Barcelona, more than 2,700 customers and partners attending live, and some 50,000 more virtually, heard directly from senior leaders at major global companies on how they are using Microsoft Dynamics to transform their businesses. We also announced new breakthrough capabilities in the next update of our ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 (with details in today’s press release).
The following post is from Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft.
On Wednesday at Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) event in New York, I joined Cisco CEO John Chambers to announce an expanded partnership between our two companies.
Microsoft and Cisco have a long history of collaborating to help customers address business and technology challenges. Together, we helped customers embrace IP-based client server computing and, most recently, with our pre-validated solutions, we’ve helped customers like ING Direct, nGenx, and the City of Barcelona embrace the private cloud.
The pace of change in our industry continues to accelerate and customers are facing new challenges, including the growth of Internet-connected devices and the explosion of the applications and data that light those devices up. This growth is straining today’s infrastructure as IT struggles to keep up with the demands of new applications. All of this leads to increased complexity and rising costs.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a unified registration experience for both Windows Store and Windows Phone developers.
“As a result of these changes, Windows Store developers are now also Windows Phone developers, and Windows Phone developers are also Windows Store developers,” writes Todd Brix over on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.
Here’s what developers should expect with the unified registration experience, according to the Windows Phone Developer Blog:
· Registered Windows Store developers can now submit apps to the Windows Phone Store, using the same Microsoft account. · Registered Windows Phone developers can now submit apps to the Windows Store at no additional cost, using the same Microsoft account.
On Thursday, share your stories about how technology helps you accomplish life’s tasks and be part of the aptly-named Get It Done Day.
No matter where you are — the office, airport or the gym — the need to get things done away from the office has never been greater.
As the lines between life and work blur, more than half (55 percent) of office workers say they need to be able to get work done no matter where they are, and more than one-third (37 percent) said they do their best thinking outside the office, according to a recent study conducted online of 1,000 U.S. office workers by Harris Interactive Inc. on behalf of Microsoft.
BNSF Railway Co., one of the oldest and largest freight railroad networks in North America, has chosen Microsoft Office 365 so that more than 40,000 workers can share ideas and information via computers, kiosks and personal devices.
On Friday, Xbox One showcased the all-in-one capabilities of Xbox One in a video in which Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy Yusuf Mehdi and Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten show off the best of Xbox One.
Since Xbox One was unveiled in May as the all-in-one games and entertainment system, we’ve been highlighting all the kickass games coming at launch and beyond, from award-winning “Titanfall” to “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to “Forza Motorsport 5” to “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.” We’ve shared how Xbox One was designed for gamers, with the most active multiplayer community around, and new features like Smart Match, Game DVR and Upload Studio. We’ve also told you about how we’re partnering with key gaming entertainment powerhouses like Twitch and Machinima to take your gaming experience to a whole new level.
And on Friday, Microsoft wants to show you how Xbox One is as good at TV and entertainment as it is at gaming – because we know gamers love both.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, how you can now use Office 365 Web Apps to collaborate with colleagues in real time and Microsoft’s huge commitment to green energy by using wind power.
At its annual Convergence event in Barcelona this week, Microsoft announced the broad availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 was also introduced. Microsoft also announced a set of 18 new predefined and configurable process templates that include sports management, healthcare, government and nonprofits, as well as some specialized areas such as prison offender management. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the availability of new touch-optimized experiences on Windows Phones, iPhones and Android phones that give customers powerful functionality and analytics on the go, without a separate license fee. We told you how Pandora Jewelry, ranked among the three largest jewelers in the world, polishes their own customer experiences by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Can’t wait to experience Xbox One when it launches Nov. 22? Well, you don’t need to wait that long – Microsoft retail stores will be giving visitors an advance opportunity to dive into the experience all day, every day, leading up to launch.
“We love to play and have fun with our customers and local communities, and an advance preview of Xbox One is one additional way we are bringing amazing Microsoft experiences directly to you,” says David McAughan, chief operating officer, Microsoft Retail Stores, in an Xbox Wire post on Friday.
Having more entertainment options has always been important to Xbox fans, and we’re stepping it up with Xbox One. In addition to delivering live TV in every market where Xbox One is sold, we’re also bringing premium, voice- and gesture-controlled TV and entertainment apps specifically designed for your living room – apps that have been built from the ground up uniquely for Xbox One to bring media achievements and exclusive Snap experiences.
On Monday, the Xbox and SkyDrive teams announced that your videos and photos will be available to you through Xbox One when it launches Nov. 22. The app takes advantage of some exclusive Xbox One features: Open photo albums from channels in OneGuide, play music with your slideshows using Xbox Music and control everything with gestures and voice using Kinect. The verbal command “Xbox: Go to SkyDrive” is all you need to get started with these experiences.
SkyDrive is the best way to see your photos and videos on the big screen via Xbox One – you’ll see what we mean when you watch the video demo above!
Get ready to party before the party: Major global launch events are slated in the hours leading up to the Xbox One’s release at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 22 around the world, and you are invited.
Marquee events are planned in major cities including New York City, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Toronto and Sydney, reports Lisa Gurry, editor of Xbox Wire.
The following post is from Michael Donlan, Vice President, U.S. State and Local Government, Microsoft.
State and local governments are on the leading edge of progress, emerging as the drivers of not only a national, but global economy. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the National League of Cities “Congress of Cities” event in Seattle this week. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to engage with leaders from around the country and one thing has been consistent: Our state and local leaders are challenged to deliver more services with less resources at the very time that they are stepping up to big societal challenges.
This is an incredibly challenging position to be in, but new advances in technology are helping government agencies across the U.S. transform cities to drive economic development, better serve citizens and improve a range of efficiencies.
To help these government agencies apply technology in support of their unique needs, our Microsoft CityNext initiative places people-first to enable governments, businesses and citizens to create more sustainable, prosperous and economically competitive cities.
Call them “the zombies next door.”
With terrifying speed and stealth, cybercriminals can infect millions of PCs with malware, turning them into a vicious zombie army mobilized to commit crimes like identity theft, financial fraud, and worse.
The following post is from Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer Platform Evangelism, Microsoft.
More than one billion people use Facebook to connect and share. Increasingly, they also rely on their Facebook identity to access apps, play games with friends, share playlists or comment in a forum. Many developers also rely on Facebook Login to tap into the Facebook social graph, which in turn can be used to enhance their applications’ experience, enable new scenarios and open up the app to new customers, which results in better revenue opportunities.
Today, as part of our ongoing partnership with Facebook to support rich development scenarios, we are very pleased to announce Facebook Login APIs on Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8. Developers can get access to documentation and the APIs through Microsoft’s Windows App Builder blog and Windows Phone Developer blog as well as Facebook’s detailed documentation for Facebook Login for Windows and Facebook Login for Windows Phone. Facebook Login for Windows 8 is ready to use in production applications, and for Windows Phone 8, Facebook Login is being launched today as a beta. We expect the beta period to last 60 days or less, and encourage developers to try it out and give us feedback.
In Denmark, where an increasingly aging population is straining the government’s health care resources, preventive care is becoming a must, not just a catch phrase on a white board in a meeting or in a binder on a bureaucrat’s desk.
How do you get seniors to make sure they take care of themselves to minimize ambulance calls? Or to monitor their physical rehabilitation after a surgery so the chance of setbacks – and costly additional doctor’s visits -- are reduced? The solutions – including remote health care monitoring and using Kinect to help guide physical therapy at home -- are being forged by the people and partners taking part in Microsoft’s CityNext initiative.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s digital detectives, the all-in-one Xbox One and Windows 8.1 updates on the Windows Store.
You got an exclusive look inside Microsoft’s new high-tech headquarters for the fight against cybercrime. Using speed and stealth, cybercriminals can infect millions of PCs with malware, turning them into a vicious zombie army mobilized to commit crimes like identity theft, financial fraud and worse. For years, Microsoft has helped lead the fight against cybercrime. Last summer, the company worked in parallel with the FBI to take down the massive Citadel botnet, which had infected 5 million PCs and stole about a half billion dollars from people and businesses. The company’s new Cybercrime Center in Redmond, Wash., which opened Thursday, will act as a new headquarters for similar collaborative efforts between Microsoft, law enforcement, customers and partners.
In October, Xbox 360 was the No. 1 selling console in the U.S. market and maintained its lead as the No. 1 console in 2013, selling 166,000 units.
On Thursday, market research firm NPD released new statistics for the video game console market. NPD highlights from October include:
he following post is from Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.
Mobile technology first took off in the consumer market, and it wasn’t too long before IT managers were being asked to handle an influx of personal devices in the workplace. Mobile strategies often focused only on BYOD (or “bring your own device”), and this meant supporting employee-owned smartphones and other personal devices.
Flash forward to today, as some innovative companies understand that mobility isn’t just about rolling out devices en masse; it’s about allowing mobile devices to disrupt and – ultimately – transform their businesses with new revenue models, new ways of communicating with customers and new ways of inspiring employees.