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The following post is from Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft.
Today, Microsoft introduced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. This announcement represents important progress against our goals and strategy for Cloud OS. More importantly, it is great news for enterprise customers across the globe.
The following is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism.
It seems like we were just gathered in San Francisco for Build 2013 and yet a lot has happened since that time. Windows 8.1 is in the hands of consumers and there is a great selection of new devices at all sizes and price points coming in time for the holidays. Last month, we released Xbox One and sold more than two million units in the first 18 days. And we continue to see the addition of great new apps, with differentiated user experiences, coming to the platform from top names such as Flipboard, Instagram, Waze, Vine and Mint alongside thousands of local apps growing every day.
The momentum just keeps building and that is why I’m so excited to announce our next developer conference, Build 2014, which will take place April 2 to April 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Save the date and mark your calendar for registration, which opens at 9 a.m. PT on Jan. 14 at www.buildwindows.com.
The following post is from John W. Thompson, a member of Microsoft’s board of directors.
On Aug. 23, we announced that Steve Ballmer would be retiring from Microsoft within 12 months, and the Board of Directors was launching a search for a replacement, looking both externally and internally. Since then, we’ve been focused on finding the best possible person to lead the company. As we approach the end of the calendar year, there has been natural interest in getting an update on where we are in the process. I’m writing to share this with you here.
As the chair of the Board’s search committee, I’m pleased with our progress. The Board has taken the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expect and deserve. After defining our criteria, we initially cast a wide net across a number of different industries and skill sets. We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen, and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals, all extremely impressive in their own right. As you would expect, as this group has narrowed, we’ve done deeper research and investigation, including with the full Board. We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014.
The following post is from Bill Laing, Corporate Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft.
On Tuesday, I will deliver a keynote address to 3,000 attendees at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, Calif. where I will announce that Microsoft is joining the OCP, a community focused on engineering the most efficient hardware for cloud and high-scale computing via open collaboration. I will also announce that we are contributing to the OCP what we call the Microsoft cloud server specification: the designs for the most advanced server hardware in Microsoft datacenters delivering global cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Bing and others. We are excited to participate in the OCP community and share our cloud innovation with the industry in order to foster more efficient datacenters and the adoption of cloud computing.
The Microsoft cloud server specification essentially provides the blueprints for the datacenter servers we have designed to deliver the world’s most diverse portfolio of cloud services. These servers are optimized for Windows Server software and built to handle the enormous availability, scalability and efficiency requirements of Windows Azure, our global cloud platform. They offer dramatic improvements over traditional enterprise server designs: up to 40 percent server cost savings, 15 percent power efficiency gains and 50 percent reduction in deployment and service times. We also expect this server design to contribute to our environmental sustainability efforts by reducing network cabling by 1,100 miles and metal by 10,000 tons across our base of 1 million servers.
The following post is from Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.
Many of our customers have serious concerns about government surveillance of the Internet.
We share their concerns. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure governments use legal process rather than technological brute force to access customer data.
Like many others, we are especially alarmed by recent allegations in the press of a broader and concerted effort by some governments to circumvent online security measures – and in our view, legal processes and protections – in order to surreptitiously collect private customer data. In particular, recent press stories have reported allegations of governmental interception and collection – without search warrants or legal subpoenas – of customer data as it travels between customers and servers or between company data centers in our industry.
If true, these efforts threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications. Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an “advanced persistent threat,” alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks.
The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications, Microsoft.
As is common during the holiday and New Year season, I find myself in a reflective mood. But oddly enough, I’m not drawn to reflecting on the past 365 days, but simply one of them. The day I’m thinking of was a normal one, not that unlike the other 364 that surrounded it. In fact, the only remarkable thing that happened was that I happened to pause at the end of it and take note of how the extraordinary has become ordinary.
I woke up, scanned the headlines, checked the sports scores, and looked for Tweets that would enrage me. Did some mail, went for a jog, commuted to work, had some meetings. Drove to the airport, flew to San Francisco, had some more meetings and grabbed dinner. Then I checked into my hotel, called home, said goodnight to my daughter and did some work before going to bed. Like I said, pretty standard stuff.
But what I took note of at the end of that day was how the technology I used kept up with me, enabling me to make the most of any moment I was in. It didn’t matter whether the moment was personal, professional, at home or in a hotel, driving a car or riding in a plane, working alone, or with a team.
The following post is from Mark Penn, Executive Vice President, Advertising and Strategy
As Microsoft undergoes transformation in our organization, our products, and our relationship with consumers, it's important to state that our values of using technology to change lives and empower people around the globe remain unchanged -- and are even reaffirmed.
That's why this year we decided to tell the story of how peoples’ lives are changed through our technology with a Super Bowl ad. This one-minute ad celebrates what technology can do, and is narrated by Steve Gleason, former NFL player and post-Katrina hero of the New Orleans Saints, now living with ALS. Steve narrates the spot in the same way he communicates daily -- using his Surface Pro to speak, via eye tracking technology.
The following post is from Quentin Clark, Corporate Vice President, Data Platform Group.
On Monday we announced that Power BI for Office 365 – our self-service business intelligence solution designed for everyone – is generally available. Power BI empowers all kinds of business users to find relevant information, pull data from Windows Azure and other sources, and prepare compelling business intelligence models for analysis, visualization, and collaboration.
Modernizing business intelligence
Today business intelligence is only used by a fraction of the people that could derive value from it. What we all need is modernized business intelligence which will help everyone get the information they need to understand their job or personal life better. Not just the type of information gained from an Internet search, but also information from expert sources. Now imagine you could bring together these different information sources, discover relationships between facets of information, create new insights and understand your world better. And that you could get others to see what you see, and enable them to collaborate and build on one another’s ideas. And imagine that available on any scale of data and any kinds of computation you might need. Now imagine it’s not just you – but that anyone can access this kind of data-driven discovery and learning.
Power BI brings together many key aspects of the modernization of business intelligence: a public and corporate catalog of data sets and BI models, a way to search for data, a modern app and a Web-first experience, rich interactive visualizations, collaboration capabilities, tools for IT to govern data and models, and a groundbreaking natural language experience for exploring insights. Together, these capabilities will not just change the kinds of insights we can gain from data, but change the reach of those insights as well.
New Olympic events in snowboarding, freestyle skiing and figure skating in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games start Thursday and when NBC’s viewers want to see those competitions and others streamed live or on demand on their smartphones, tablets, computers or Internet-connected TVs, it will be Windows Azure Media Services making it possible, from behind the scenes.
NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, and Microsoft announced that Windows Azure Media Services will be used to publish and stream all 98 events of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, through Feb. 23. It’s a massive undertaking, one that involves managing more than 1,000 hours of streaming coverage and serving millions of viewers who are using different devices and operating systems.
The following post is from Mark Penn, Executive Vice President, Advertising & Strategy, Microsoft.
This week I am in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, where I am releasing the results of a Microsoft survey of 10,000 Internet users in 10 countries. As someone who listens carefully to consumers in order to ensure Microsoft communicates about its products and services as effectively as possible, I wanted to understand how personal technology is being viewed today around the globe.
In both the developed and the developing economies we surveyed, people overwhelmingly told us that personal technology is transforming their lives in a variety of sectors, including business, education, transportation, social bonds, arts and culture and other areas. Each country may prioritize differently the sector they feel has benefited most, but all agree that personal technology has made important changes possible.
Chinese citizens, for example, say that personal technology has positively impacted personal freedom more than people in any other country surveyed. Developing countries – especially India – say that personal technology is improving education and health as well as healthcare. Brazil says that personal technology has had a strong impact on arts and culture. China and India say that their quality of life has improved due to personal technology.
Many records were broken at the Winter Games, but Microsoft can claim credit for helping to break at least one more: The largest-ever audience on an authenticated stream for any sporting event in history. More than 2.1 million people tuned in to watch NBC Sports Digital’s coverage of Team USA versus Canada in the semifinal hockey game, thanks in part to Microsoft’s public cloud platform - Windows Azure.
Like the elite athletes who competed, the Windows Azure cloud platform stepped up to deliver rapid and cost-effective development and operation of a dynamic, high-performance site at scale. During the 18 days of one of the biggest sporting events in the world Windows Azure provided information on the Games to more than 100 million fans and guests through sochi2014.com and delivered more than 6,000 hours of high-definition streaming from Windows Azure Media Services, to 5 broadcasters across 22 countries in 4 continents. This included 204 live streaming channels, more than 100 TB of storage and around 500 billion storage transactions. None of this would have been feasible without a globally distributed public cloud platform like Windows Azure.
The following post is from Kathleen Hall, General Manager – Global Advertising, Microsoft.
New Year's Eve brings with it some fun, some reflection and often resolutions to do better next year. It's a time when we recall everything from the top stories that changed the world to the top chatter that lit up our social networks. No one event dominated 2013, as a mix of trials, international conflicts and health care were among the top stories and most searched events of 2013. We also lost some dear people. That said, in many ways, 2013 was a year of important progress. In technology for example, more people than ever used personal technology to improve and empower their lives in new ways.
At Microsoft this year, as part of our "Honestly" marketing campaign, we had the privilege of showcasing a very special song, Sara Bareilles's "Brave." The ads featured how people make decisions in technology as part of their everyday life, whether they be a teacher, an accountant or a paramedic.
The following post is from Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.
This week, we are onsite at the Singapore Airshow to announce the latest in airline innovation in collaboration with our partners. Airlines around the world face tough competition, thin margins, increased passenger expectations and, as a result, are seeking new ways to achieve efficiencies while delivering great customer experiences.
Cloud technologies enable greater agility while reducing IT inefficiencies, giving businesses in the aviation industry an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to save costs, increase revenue growth and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Microsoft partners attending the show are delivering solutions that truly embody how cloud innovation is transforming the aviation industry and providing real benefits today.
The following post is from Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.
The past year has been a busy one at Microsoft – and not just because of new products, a new acquisition and a new CEO. It has also been a busy time for our employees and their support of the nonprofit community.
In fact, 2013 was a record-breaking year! Microsoft’s employees raised $113 million for 19,123 nonprofit organizations worldwide. Amidst Microsoft’s transformation, the value of community involvement continues to define us as employees.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the momentum building behind Windows Store and Windows Phone Store app downloads, how Bing broke out of the (search) box in 2013 and a Microsoft researcher who uses data to power his predictions.
Buoyed by new gift cards and other promotions, as well as the “biggest holiday season yet,” app development for the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store is going strong. “We’re already seeing momentum build with the (Windows) Store surpassing 12 million transactions per day and Windows Phone Store surpassing 200,000 apps,” writes Todd Brix on the Windows Phone Developers Blog, who encouraged developers to finish and update apps to meet these demands. “Taking into consideration the Microsoft and partner promotions and consumer purchase of Microsoft and Xbox gift cards in retail locations, we are forecasting over $100 million to be available for consumers to buy apps and games this holiday season across 100 retailers in 41 markets.” Some apps and games we highlighted this week include the NORAD Tracks Santa apps, the Staff App Pick: American Airlines and LiveATC, the Amtrak app, Phriz.be, the Gameloft Games collection, “Girls Like Robots,” “Subway Surfers,” “Nemo’s Reef,” Zinio, “Avengers Alliance,” Viber, “Catan” and “Riptide GP2.” To show that you don’t have to be a professional developer to get in on the action, small business owner Holly Shore created her mobile app within hours with Windows Phone App Studio.
The following post is from Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.
Next week at the National Retail Federation Big Show (NRF), Microsoft will show how technology is changing the retail industry and outline three things retailers need to do to take advantage of those technological innovations. While at NRF, we will also showcase a number of customers making big bets on the Microsoft platform as well as a number of new product offerings aimed at transforming the way retailers engage with their customers. A number of our partners will also unveil new applications and services built using Microsoft technologies.
Never before have there been such dramatic shifts in consumer shopping behavior, preferences and expectations. Technology is influencing these changes and enabling consumers to access information through online channels, apps and mobile devices. Here are three things the world’s leading retailers need to do to transform their businesses using technology:
Create unified experiences across connected devices. The proliferation of devices creates opportunities for retailers to think about their use in a different way. For example, we have retailers who are changing the fitting room experience and others who are enabling customers to buy online, while in the store – all through the use of devices.
The following is a post from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.
Two weeks after Microsoft filed its civil case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against the notorious Sirefef botnet, also known ZeroAccess, I am pleased to report that our disruption effort has been successful, and it appears that the criminals have abandoned their botnet. As a result, last week Microsoft requested that the court close the civil case in order to allow law enforcement to continue their investigative efforts in the matter.
As stated at the outset of this disruption effort, Microsoft and its partners did not expect to fully eliminate the ZeroAccess botnet because of the complexity of the threat. Rather, our focus was to protect people by cleaning the computers infected with the malware so they could no longer be used for harm. As we expected, less than 24 hours after our disruptive action, the cybercriminals pushed out new instructions to the ZeroAccess-infected computers in order to continue their fraud schemes. However, because we were monitoring their actions and able to identify new Internet Protocol (IP) addresses the criminals were using to commit their crimes, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) took immediate action to coordinate with member country law enforcement agencies, led by Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt’s (BKA) Cyber Intelligence Unit, to quickly track down those new fraud IP addresses.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s new Cloud OS Network, Xbox One sales and a gift guide for goodies under 100 bucks to help you get through the holidays.
On Thursday, Microsoft introduced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. To get the rest of the story, read this post on The Official Microsoft Blog from Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, and watch the video below.
The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft.
Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona this week, one of the biggest events of the year for the mobile industry. I love Barcelona, and am sad to miss MWC this year. There is something about the combination of the history and tradition of Barcelona past and the energy and innovation of Barcelona present, with all the attendees of MWC a punctuation mark. And there is always something new, companies with something to say.
Microsoft is no exception. On Sunday afternoon, we hosted a press conference where we reinforced the momentum we’re seeing for Windows Phone – the fastest growing mobile OS with 91 percent year-over-year growth. We announced we’re working with nine new Windows Phone hardware partners , including Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE as well as a collaboration with Qualcomm to help more manufacturers build Windows Phones faster. You can read Joe Belfiore’s blog post from yesterday for more details.
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.
Kurt DelBene, a former Microsoft executive, has been named senior advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and will lead and manage HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s health insurance website, in his new role.
DelBene recently retired from Microsoft after two decades of leading large, technical teams at the company, including being president of the Microsoft Business Division, general manager of Microsoft Outlook and group manager of Microsoft Exchange.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s presence at the National Retail Federation convention, the company’s partnership with GoDaddy and how Office 365 is among the services companies such as RCS MediaGroup and Coles are using to modernize communications infrastructures and keep mobile employees plugged in.
More than 30,000 retailers from around the world recently packed New York City’s Javits Center for the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo (aka “Retail’s Big Show”). To stand out amongst 500 vendors in an exhibit space covering nearly four football fields, it helps if your demo includes the Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK. The NRF was prime ground to show how Windows devices can engage customers and open new doors for retailers. NEC Corporation of America, Razorfish and FaceCake gave attendees Kinect experiences that stood out on the exhibit floor. Microsoft and Accenture demonstrated the “Connected Fitting Room”; while a point-of-service solution based on Windows Embedded showed how businesses can use off-the-shelf-hardware to simplify customer service and business operations. New Microsoft partners AnywhereCommerce and MagTek offer suites of hardware, software and gateway solutions for secure online and mobile transactions for retailers using Surface.
The following post is from Eric Doerr, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Account.
We’re excited to announce that over the next couple of days we’re rolling out a few new capabilities – based on your ongoing feedback – that give you more visibility and control of your Microsoft account.
Last April we announced the release of two-step verification to the more than 700 million people around the world who use a Microsoft account.
This is an important capability that allows any of our customers – whether they use a Windows PC or Windows Phone device, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox and more services – to add an additional layer of access control to their account. In the eight months since we released this feature, we’ve seen impressive adoption. Every day, thousands more users enable this extra protection for their account. We’re also delighted to see that customers who have turned on two-step verification are less likely to experience illegal activities with their accounts. If you have not yet activated two-step verification, we highly recommend you do.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Kinect for Windows helping stroke victims, Microsoft’s Data Center plant project in Wyoming looking to bring a power plant inside the datacenter, and historic company Zippo Manufacturing Co. planning for the future using Microsoft Dynamics AX.
Kinect for Windows, already used in physical rehabilitation, is being used by different research teams to help stroke victims. One team in Canada, the other a collaborative team of Microsoft and academic researchers in Asia, are working on separate projects to help stroke victims accelerate recovery and increase adherence to rehab with interactive, game-like exercises that use Kinect for Windows motion capture technology. A key benefit of the approach is that patients are more likely to do their prescribed exercises, since 65 percent fail to follow their rehabilitation regimens, writes Shawn Errunza of Jintronix, a Montreal-based medical technology startup.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, Windows Azure being used to provide live streaming and on-demand video of the 2014 Winter Games on NBC, and the fourth-largest school district in the U.S. planning to have 100,000 Windows 8 devices in students’ hands by 2015.
Satya Nadella says he is “honored and humbled” to succeed Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as only the third CEO of Microsoft in nearly four decades. “Our industry does not respect tradition -- it only respects innovation,” he says. “I see a big part of my job as accelerating our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.” The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is “vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform,” he said in a press release. Nadella, 46, was born in India, and was most recently executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Married with three children, he’s an enthusiastic fan of cricket and also enjoys reading poetry. “It’s like code,” he says, adding that the best code is poetry.