The Official Microsoft Blog

News & Perspectives

The Official Microsoft Blog

  • Microsoft delivers updates, innovations and expansions to meet cloud demand

    The following post is from Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Channel, Microsoft.


    Building on some of the incredible innovation already delivered by our engineering groups this year, I’m thrilled to announce some of the new technologies and services that we will highlight at the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference and over the next few months, including:

    Cloud-first storage and machine learning solutions

    · Microsoft Azure StorSimple is a hybrid cloud storage solution that dramatically cuts the cost and inefficiency out of managing a company’s ever-growing volume of data.

  • Weekend Reading: July 4th Edition—ISTE conference shows off Office Mix, OneNote and partner apps

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on The International Society for Technology in Education conference, the latest schools to use Surface and profiles on Office exec Julia White and Tyler Schrenk, who overcame a life-changing injury with help from Surface Pro and Xbox.

    At the recent ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta, Microsoft shared how teachers are using Office Mix and OneNote. Since the customer preview for Office Mix became available in May, teachers have been using the tool in unexpected ways that are influencing how Microsoft will continue to evolve it. For Cary Academy in North Carolina, OneNote helps bridge devices with students’ learning objectives. Microsoft’s partners also unveiled transformational tools that support 21st-century learning: the AssistX TestPolicy app and the Sebit Global Education Cloud, VCloud.

  • Microsoft joins key industry groups to deliver on promise of the Internet of Things

    The following post is from Kevin Dallas, General Manager, IoT, Microsoft.


    The Internet of Things (IoT) represents an undeniable opportunity across a range of industries, a topic many of my colleagues have covered at length over the past few months. We believe that there is a critical set of work our industry must undertake in order to make sure we deliver the right set of platforms and services to realize the IoT opportunity.

    Microsoft is committed to being an active participant in these discussions, and today I am pleased to share that we are joining two key industry efforts to help drive the right set of industry outcomes for IoT:

    · Microsoft has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and its founding members AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel in a collaboration that extends across industry, academia and government. The IIC’s goal is to reduce customers’ required time and complexity for building intelligent systems through open interoperability standards and common architectures to connect smart devices, machines, people, processes and data.

    · Microsoft has joined the AllSeen Alliance, which was established in December 2013 to address a major challenge facing IoT, enabling smart, connected devices and objects to work together regardless of brand, operating system and other infrastructure considerations.

  • Is Office exec Julia White the face of a new Microsoft?

    Editor’s note: The following is a post from Thomas Kohnstamm, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.


    To say that a lot was at stake would be an understatement.

    The San Francisco launch event for Office for iPad was Satya Nadella’s first appearance as the CEO of Microsoft in the Bay Area tech industry and media epicenter. And Office for iPad represents Nadella’s determination to create a mobile first, cloud first Microsoft that is committed to making cloud services like Office available on every device, no matter the platform.

    As Nadella’s co-presenter, Julia White, general manager of product marketing for Office, was praised for her energetic hands-on demo – but also her sense of style.

  • Microsoft takes on global cybercrime epidemic in tenth malware disruption

    Editor's Note: This blog post was updated with the following new information at 8 a.m. on July 9:

    On Monday, June 30, Microsoft filed a civil suit in a Nevada federal court to disrupt Bladabindi-Jenxcus, a pervasive family of malware that put millions of customers at risk.

    Today both Microsoft Corporation and Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC announce they have reached a settlement in the matter of Microsoft Corporation v. Mutairi, et al.

    Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not knowingly involved with the subdomains used to support malware. Those spreading the malware abused Vitalwerks’ services.

    Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.

    In the process of redirecting traffic to its servers for malware detection, Microsoft acknowledges that a number of Vitalwerks customers were impacted by service outages as a result of a technical error. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience these customers may have experienced.

  • Weekend Reading: June 27th Edition – More free storage is on the way with OneDrive

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    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the greatly increased OneDrive storage space coming in the next month for those who have free or subscription accounts, Xbox One’s holiday lineup of exclusive games winning awards and nominations, and how you can now use Bing to search for tweets from your favorite folks and celebs.

    Office 365 subscribers are going to get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, way up from the current 20 GB. That’s great news for a service that works across Windows, iOS, OS X and Android, and for those of us who need to securely offload our stuff from our computers and other devices. Individuals who use OneDrive only will also get a nice storage bump, for free, from 7 GB to 15 GB. If you don’t need an Office 365 subscription, but do need more storage space, there are monthly subscription options, which will see price cuts.

  • Welcome, Cortana, part of Skype 2.19 update for Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8!

    A Skype update now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 integrates Cortana, Microsoft’s new digital personal assistant.

    Now you can start Skype video and audio calls by simply asking Cortana something like “Skype, get Mom on the screen.” Cortana is currently available in the U.S. on Windows Phone 8.1.

  • Xbox One holiday lineup: Already more than 25 awards, 60 nominations

    Xbox One’s 2014 holiday lineup of nine exclusive games, announced at E3 2014 earlier this month, has already received more than 60 nominations and 25 awards. Seven of the nominations are for the prestigious Game Critics Best of E3 2014 Awards, leading the industry for 2014 games.

    “Congratulations to the creators who are receiving broad acclaim for the games shown at E3,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We saw an incredible display of games at E3 from across the industry and we’re thrilled gamers will have such a wide selection available this year on Xbox One, including ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection,’ ‘Sunset Overdrive,’ ‘Forza Horizon 2,’ ‘Ori and the Blind Forest.’ Xbox One is the only place you can play these games along with creative independent titles and blockbusters such as ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity,’ ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,’ ‘Destiny,’ ‘Evolve,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto V,’ and dozens more – making gaming on Xbox One unmatched this holiday.”

  • Mining for digital gold with Amir Netz

    Editor’s note: The following is a post from Geoff Carter, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.


    When you watch the video, you think, wow, the man is cool. Amir Netz is cool.

    The video in question, which is easily found on YouTube, shows Netz introducing Power BI for Office 365 to an audience of thousands at the 2013 World Partner Conference. Watch it and you’ll see a TED-quality speaker who pretty much owns the room. He’s effusive, upbeat and genuinely funny, even giving a sort of stand-up routine: Using Power BI’s data visualization features, Netz analyzes some 50-plus years of number-one pop songs, from Elvis Presley to Rihanna, with a breathless, dizzying flair. With rapid-fire delivery, he describes Mariah Carey’s 1990s run of number one hits as if she were a soccer player advancing on goal (“she faking to the left!”), offhandedly dismisses Paula Abdul (“what’s she doing here?”) and sums up Nelly’s music as “songs my kids love but I cannot stand.”

  • Launch day: Surface Pro 3 is now available in the US and Canada

    The Surface Pro 3 is now available at retail stores, online and through authorized resellers in the U.S. and Canada.

    “Many of you have placed pre-orders for the new Surface, and those who ordered the Intel Core i5 versions will be receiving them directly,” writes Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface, in a blog post. Also, it was previously announced that the Core i3 and Core i7 versions would ship sometime in August. But Panay says the date is now Aug. 1 for those versions to be in stores and at commercial resellers in the U.S. and Canada.

  • Weekend Reading: June 20th Edition—LA County moves 100,000 employees to Office 365

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the impact of Office 365 on the L.A. County Fire Department and the city of Chicago, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and news coming from the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity 2014.

    Los Angeles County, the largest in the nation, is migrating more than 100,000 employees in more than 30 departments to Office 365. The fire department, which responded to more than 300,000 incidents, is included, as well as the county’s social workers, district attorneys, assessors, field investigators, animal control and coroners. Half a country away, the city of Chicago and The Walsh Group used Office 365 to handle the details and the coordination of transforming Logan Square into an open recreational space – while still keeping the rail line intact.

  • LA County brings its 100,000 employees together with Office 365

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    On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Los Angeles County is moving more than 100,000 employees working in more than 30 departments to Office 365. The county is the largest in the nation, and it’s decided to go with Office 365 to get all employees on the same platform and “on an even playing field,” said Richard Sanchez, Los Angeles County's chief information officer.

    This move gives L.A. County workers access to the tools that come standard in Office 365, such as email; productivity apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint; voice and video conferencing and other collaboration tools; the ability to work from anywhere and virtually any device; and built-in security and privacy compliance. It also allows the county to simplify and unify all of its employees.

  • Microsoft and American Family Insurance launch startup accelerator for home automation

    The following post is from Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Experience & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft.


    On Tuesday, we hosted a number startups at Microsoft’s Global Startup Day in San Francisco, all of which were from Microsoft accelerator and incubation programs. This event wasn’t just an excuse to celebrate the successful startups that we’ve nurtured – it was an affirmation that startups from anywhere in the world can find success, on their terms, working with Microsoft. Most of these startups were participants in our Microsoft Ventures Accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

    We chose San Francisco for this event to highlight these startups against the backdrop of the Bay Area, the gold standard for startup success. The startups highlighted during this day have witnessed market successes through their strong efforts and support from our accelerators, and we wanted to share their stories. It also provided the perfect opportunity to announce Microsoft Ventures’ first Accelerator inside the United States.

    In partnership with American Family Insurance, we are launching our next Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle, to be hosted on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Together, Microsoft and American Family Insurance will focus upon accelerating startups working on the next wave of services in home automation.

  • Microsoft Azure Machine Learning combines power of comprehensive machine learning with benefits of cloud

    The following post is from Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of Machine Learning at Microsoft.


    Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but machine learning – a way of applying historical data to a problem by creating a model and using it to successfully predict future behavior or trends – is touching more and more lives every day. For example, search engines, online product recommendations, credit card fraud prevention systems, GPS traffic directions and mobile phone personal assistants like Cortana all use the power of machine learning. But we’ve barely scratched the surface of its potential to change the world. Soon machine learning will help to drastically reduce wait times in emergency rooms, predict disease outbreaks and predict and prevent crime. To realize that future, we need to make machine learning more accessible – to every enterprise and, over time, every one.

  • Weekend Reading: June 13 Edition — Xbox brings the big guns to E3, Bing maps favelas, soccer tournament mania

    It’s been a long four years for soccer fans everywhere, but the wait is over. The world’s premiere fútbol tournament is finally here! To celebrate, we’ve got a Weekend Reading guaranteed to make you shout “GOOOAAAAAL!”

    Also, on the list of big events this week, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, where Xbox made a splash with the announcement of a spectacular lineup of games, including the following, planned for a fall or holiday season launch: “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Fable Legends,” “Dance Central Spotlight” and “Forza Horizon 2.”

  • E3: Lots of holiday Xbox One exclusives, including ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ and ‘Sunset Overdrive,’ are on their way

    Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, at E3 2014 in Los Angeles on Monday.

    Lots of great games are coming to put under the tree this holiday season with new, exclusive Xbox One titles including “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Forza Horizon 2,” “Fable Legends” and “Dance Central Spotlight.”

    The games were announced at E3 Monday, and also include: “Destiny,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Assassin’s Creed Unity” as well as a “vibrant catalog of games from independent developers,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.

  • Weekend Reading: June 6th Edition — Nearly 40 Windows devices and phones unveiled at Computex, and the Houston school district adopts Office 365

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    Nick Parker, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division, at Computex 2014.

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about the new Windows devices and phones introduced at Computex in Taiwan, and how students in Houston, the seventh-largest school district in the U.S., will use Office 365 to help in their education.

  • Microsoft Azure now generally available in Brazil South region

    The following post is from Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft.


    A few weeks ago, we announced that Microsoft Azure was in public preview in Brazil. Today, I am pleased to share that Microsoft Azure is now generally available in our Brazil South region.

    In Brazil, and our other regions around the world, we’ve seen incredible demand for a global enterprise public cloud offering. Globally, more than 1,000 new customers join Azure every day, and revenue grew more than 150 percent in the last quarter. With Microsoft Azure now generally available in the new Brazil South region, even more customers can take advantage of the cloud.

  • A soulful singer’s ship comes in

    Editor's note: The following is a post from Jennifer Warnick, a writer for microsoft.com/stories


    Here we go again with another one of those “a guy goes to Web design school, becomes a blues musician instead, takes a job in a cruise ship piano lounge, and is discovered on the high seas and recruited by Microsoft” stories.

    Yawn. Cliché. Tale as old as time, right? No? Let’s try that again.

  • New ecosystem opportunity for Windows devices

    The following post is from Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division at Microsoft.


    Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division Nick Parker unveiled nearly 40 new Windows and Windows Phone devices Wednesday at Computex 2014

    It’s great to be back in Taipei for Microsoft’s 12th year of participating in Computex, the second largest technology exhibition in the world. More than 130,000 attendees are expected, along with thousands of industry analysts and technology journalists from various countries. And most importantly, many of our hardware manufacturing partners are participating with us at Computex, many of them from Taiwan and also some global and some newer partners who are building phones and tablets from Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai.

    Our expanding ecosystem of partners is helping us deliver a broad range of Windows devices with new designs across more price points and in new markets. These devices span from the most personalized mobile phones to the most mission critical of Internet scale datacenters, and we continue to invest and drive growth with our partners through innovation in our business model and software and services platforms.

  • Microsoft Office 365 coming to 14,000 Houston students, 1,200 teachers

    Texas’ largest school district is transitioning 14,000 students and 1,200 teachers to Microsoft Office 365 and HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks running Windows as part its PowerUp initiative, an effort to create transformative learning using digital tools.

    The Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest in the U.S, has a large majority of students from low-income families. The goal is to increase access to technology.

  • Microsoft helps FBI in GameOver Zeus botnet cleanup

    The following post is from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.


    Following Monday’s multi-national action against the GameOver Zeus botnet, we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft, working closely with the FBI and industry partners, has taken action to remove malware, so that infected computers can no longer be used for harm.

    GameOver Zeus, a variant of the Zeus (or Zbot) family of malware, is a highly prevalent password-stealing trojan, according to research by the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit reports that it was the most active banking trojan of 2013. However, the impact of GameOver Zeus is not limited to the financial industry – nearly all major business and public sector organizations are impacted. Security researchers estimate that between 500,000 and 1 million computers worldwide are infected, and the FBI estimates that Gameover Zeus is responsible for more than $100 million in losses.

  • Microsoft hires Preston McAfee as chief economist

    The following post is from Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Technology and Research, at Microsoft.


    Data is a precious resource, and as a company we need to make fewer decisions on intuition and more based on market and other data. In a post last month, Satya discussed the need for companies to create a data-driven culture, and we want to be leaders as we explore creative, diverse strategies to create greater value for our customers and greater value from our product/service data exhaust.

    One demonstration of our intent to lead is the hiring of Preston McAfee as chief economist, reporting to me. Preston, most recently director of Google strategic technologies, will be responsible for leading a team of economists who will work closely with Amy Hood, our chief financial officer, and business and engineering groups across the company on developing new business models and metrics, designing marketplaces for advertising and apps, assisting with government relations and policy, and developing an economic strategy for the company.

  • The power of ‘and’

    The following post is from Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft.


    A little over a year ago, we announced the general availability of Azure Infrastructure Services. Since that time, we helped customers realize the power of “and” with Infrastructure Services and Platform Services, Windows and Linux, Oracle, SQL and soon SAP – all in one cloud – so customers get the speed, scale and economic benefits of the cloud no matter what they want to do. Today, I’m excited to share that Gartner has named Microsoft as a Leader in its 2014 Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant report. This comes on the heels of Gartner recognizing Microsoft as a Leader in the Enterprise Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) market in its 2014 Enterprise aPaaS Magic Quadrant – making Microsoft the only public cloud vendor to be named a Leader for both PaaS and IaaS.

  • Weekend Reading: May 30th Edition—Skype Translator introduced at inaugural Code Conference, Microsoft and salesforce.com announce strategic partnership

    In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Skype Translator app revealed at the first-ever Code Conference, a new strategic partnership between Microsoft and salesforce.com and how businesses like the Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Coca-Cola Company have chosen the Surface Pro 3 as their go-to choice to replace laptops.

    Soon, you won’t have to know a foreign language to speak to someone in another country in real time. A new breakthrough app, Skype Translator, developed by Microsoft researchers and engineers, was demonstrated Tuesday during a talk by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The app will be available in beta for Windows 8.1 before the end of the year.