The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

November, 2013

  • Facebook Login comes to Windows and Windows Phone

    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.

  • Gobble gobble! 8 apps you need to make it through Thanksgiving!

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    Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the things we’re thankful for and reconnect with family and friends over a good meal. Here are eight apps for Windows and Windows Phone to help make sure you have a safe, hassle-free and enjoyable holiday.

    Bing Food & Drink

    The Bing Food & Drink app is a must-have on your tablet or laptop for Thanksgiving. The new app makes it easy to explore recipes from all around the world, choose from more than 100,000 wines and cocktails, and learn tips from celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Tom Colicchio to make your next meal a taste-tempting success with family and friends. Not that you have to be a celebrity chef to cook a mean bird or get those garlic mashed potatoes just right.

    Bing Food & Drink provides immaculate photos (as seen in the screenshot above), easy-to-follow instructions and tools such as a shopping list and meal planner to help you prepare your Thanksgiving dinner. You can also use the app to enter notes or upload your own favorite recipes, and then share them with a single tap of your finger – a great way to make the relatives happy when they ask for your sweet potato pie recipe!

  • The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy: A bridge from one great career to another

    The following post is from Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft.


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    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.

  • Microsoft and Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure, hello cloud!

    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.

  • The Microsoft Store on eBay opens!

    The following post is from Kevin Eagan, Vice President Online Commerce, Microsoft.


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    Today, I am thrilled to announce the opening of the Microsoft Store on eBay in the U.S.! We are excited to work with eBay to help expand our retail footprint and give even more customers another complementary, convenient and safe online shopping destination to purchase their favorite Microsoft first-party products - just in time for the busy holiday shopping season.

  • Weekend Reading: Nov 22nd Edition – Xbox One launches worldwide and Windows Phone gets Instagram

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the worldwide launch of the Xbox One, Windows Phone getting Instagram and holiday shopping help galore.

    Photo by Ollie Dale
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Dan Livingstone getting the 1st XBOX ONE in the world SHED 10, Auckland, NEw Zealand

    On Nov. 22, after months of anticipation, Microsoft launched Xbox One with parties around the globe, starting in New Zealand and Australia, and extending to Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris, among other places. In New Zealand, Dan Livingstone was one happy guy, being among the very first to have the console in his hands.

  • It’s official: More than 1 million Xbox One consoles sold in less than 24 hours

    Xbox One Launch_First Consoles

    Xbox One launched Friday to much fanfare and celebrations all over the world. The Xbox team has confirmed that the launch of Xbox One was the biggest in Xbox history, with more than one million consoles sold worldwide in less than 24 hours. The new mark surpasses day one Xbox 360 sales and sets a new record for Microsoft.

  • Meet Microsoft’s master of high-tech showmanship

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    You might have seen Ryan Asdourian in action before. He’s often on stage delivering high-profile demos of Microsoft devices and services at company events. But seeing him in “Blitz Mode” as the green-feathered mascot of the Seattle Seahawks is something else altogether.

  • The future of business in the era of the customer

    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).

  • Gamers around the world party in advance of Xbox One release

    Call it early New Year’s Eve, or even early Christmas: Gamers around the globe are taking part in launch celebrations Thursday for the Xbox One, some at parties and rock concerts in venues from New York to Zealand, others watching a live broadcast on Spike TV, and many by lining up at retail stores to be among the first to buy the new console when it goes on sale at midnight Friday.

    In New York, “Dead Rising 3” zombies, “Ryse: Son of Rome” Roman soldiers and “Forza Motorsport 5” supercars converged on Times Square, along with thousands of gamers. As billboards glowed Xbox green, rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis entertained 1,000 fans at the Best Buy Theater.

  • New generation of games begins with Xbox One launch

    The launch of Xbox One on Friday signals the beginning of a new era for gaming and interactive entertainment. With the deepest and most varied launch lineup in Xbox history, the new games and exclusive titles tap the incredible power of new hardware and the cloud, as well as exclusive features such as Xbox Live, Kinect and Xbox One SmartGlass that bring a new world of gaming to life.

  • Is your business playing to win (or not to lose) with mobility?

    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.

  • You’re invited! Take the Xbox One Sports Star Challenge Nov. 23-24

    Glen Perkins

    To celebrate the launch of Xbox One, Microsoft retail stores are hosting Xbox One Sports Star Challenges in several U.S. cities and in Toronto, Canada this weekend – and you’re invited to participate. Most of the challenges take place on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., but see specific details below for each city.

    Entrants will see if they have what it takes to beat sports celebrities at games played on Xbox One. There will be prizes given out during the event, and guests can pick up a signed autograph from the celebrity.

  • Weekend Reading: Nov. 8th Edition – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 now broadly available

    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.

  • Weekend Reading: Nov. 15th Edition– An exclusive look inside Microsoft’s new cybercrime-fighting HQ

    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.

  • Your photos and videos, your way: SkyDrive comes to Xbox One

    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!

  • NPD Group: Xbox 360 holds the No. 1 US console spot in October

    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:

    • Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in October (hardware, software and accessories) reached $283 million, the most for any console in the U.S.
    • During the month of October, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 console game titles, including: “Batman: Arkham Origins,” “Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag,” “Battlefield 4,” “NBA 2K14,” and “Grand Theft Auto V.”
  • State and local governments reap benefits of technology to transform cities

    The following post is from Michael Donlan, Vice President, U.S. State and Local Government, Microsoft.


    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    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.

  • Microsoft announces unified registration for Windows and Windows Phone app developers

    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.

  • Microsoft CityNext transforms the ‘digital architecture’ of residents’ everyday lives

    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.

  • BNSF Railway Co. on track to move its mobile workforce to Office 365

    BNSF / Port of Vancouver USA windmill shoot.

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    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.

  • Unveiled: First wave of TV and entertainment apps coming to Xbox One

    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.

  • YouTube and its millions of videos come to Xbox One

    On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that a dedicated YouTube app is officially coming to Xbox One. Whether you use YouTube to get hints on how to pass a particularly difficult level of your favorite game, watch music videos, learn the fishtail braid or view upcoming movie trailers, it’ll all be available for you right on Xbox One.

    You’ll have the same great content and the same great experience, such as the ability to stream vids in 1080p, just as you would on your PC. You’ll be able to find and watch whatever you want, and best of all, be able to do that in new, cool ways. You’ll be able to control the app with your voice, including playing, pausing and fast forwarding. You’ll be able to grab the screen to scroll through vid selections. You’ll also be able to stay up-to-date with all your favorite channels with Subscriptions.

  • Get an exclusive look inside Microsoft’s new high-tech headquarters for the fight against cybercrime

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    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.

  • Get a load of what it took to create Surface 2’s stunning display

    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.