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Greetings weekend warriors! We’ve got some tasty tidbits to satisfy both the right and the left side of your brain this week. Check it out …
What do some of Microsoft’s brightest minds do in their off time? They tinker. In the Garage. Discover this sanctuary for creativity and problem solving that harkens back to Microsoft’s start-up roots in a highly illustrative, interactive piece, straight from the imagination of the Stories team.
At Mobile World Congress this week, Joe Belfiore noted the steady growth of Windows Phone due to its “highly personal” approach to the smartphone experience. Microsoft also announced new hardware partners as part of the conference as well as plans to evolve Windows 8. Get the skinny on that and the strategy to grow and scale Windows Phone globally, here.
The following post is from Desney Tan, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Tan manages the Computational User Experiences group in Redmond, Wash. He also holds an affiliate faculty appointment in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.
Yesterday, my long-time friends and colleagues Babak Parviz and Brian Otis announced on the Google blog their intent to develop a glucose-sensing contact lens. I’m not usually a blogger, but given that my inbox and voicemail are stuffed with calls for comments and queries about the relationship of this project to the one Microsoft Research worked on with Babak and Brian a few years ago, I thought I’d use this forum to provide my perspective.
The following post is from Jonathan Adashek, General Manager, Communications Strategy, Sales & Marketing Services Group, Microsoft. It was originally published on The Fire Hose.
It’s been another significant year for Microsoft retail stores, and we’re proud to continue to offer our customers the choice, value and service they have come to expect from our stores. Over the past 12 months, we opened 35 stores and now have 83 full-line and specialty stores open across North America. We have welcomed more than 362 million customers to our full-line, specialty and online Microsoft Store properties in more than 200 markets worldwide.
The following is a post from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.
For the third time this year, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit has successfully disrupted a dangerous botnet that has impacted millions of innocent people. Today, we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft, in conjunction with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and technology industry leaders such as A10 Networks, has taken action against the rampant Sirefef botnet, also known as ZeroAccess. The ZeroAccess botnet has infected nearly two million computers all over the world and cost online advertisers upwards of $2.7 million each month.
The following is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism.
Last month, we announced that Build 2014 will be back at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from April 2 to April 4. Hopefully you’ve saved the date on your calendar, because registration is now open at www.buildwindows.com!
Build is our premier developer event, targeted at people who want to create experiences that span PC, tablet, phone, console, server and cloud, and at this year’s event we will share what is coming for Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Windows Server, Xbox, Visual Studio and more.
Today’s launch of Windows Server 2012 puts a spotlight on the transformational shift underway across the entire IT ecosystem. This transformation is being driven by an exponential growth of devices used for smarter, more personalized applications, which in turn create an explosion of data and the need for more computing power. It is a world of connected devices and continuous services, and it’s all powered by servers.
This is leading to dramatic changes in how computing, storage and networking come together in scalable, automated, shared and adaptive platforms that deliver modern applications to power the world’s computing experiences. This is cloud computing.
Microsoft researcher David Rothschild is legendary for his ability to literally predict the future using a unique and rigorous approach to data analysis. He correctly called the results of the 2012 presidential election in every state but one. He nailed 19 of the 24 Oscar categories this past year. And he’s constantly pushing the boundaries of predictive science through experimental live polling, online prediction games and more.
In this interview, David Rothschild tells you what to expect in 2014, breaks down his forecasting philosophy, and explains why you should trust professional gamblers more than cable news pundits.
Steve Wiens: So obviously you’re pretty good at this. What’s your secret sauce?
David Rothschild: I use a lot of publicly available data – gambling markets, polls, social media data and other online data. But I’m also lucky to have access to a large treasure trove of historical data at Microsoft that I use in order to understand the correlation between different inputs and outputs, things that we care about, as well as an infrastructure that allows me to gather that data continuously and continuously update it. I really owe a lot to Microsoft and my colleagues.
The following post is from Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise marketing, Microsoft.
Less than a year ago, we announced Windows Azure services for Japan to support the growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services. I am pleased to share that Windows Azure in Japan East (Saitama Prefecture) and Japan West (Osaka Prefecture), will be generally available later Tuesday.
Japan’s cloud market has grown considerably in the last few years and this growth is only expected to increase, with the projected 2014 forecast estimated at around $1.6 billion, according to IDC. These new regions will help fulfill the current and future needs of our cloud customers with secure and highly available services that help them grow their business. In addition, they provide local customers the ability to achieve data residency and realize data recovery scenarios, as data will be replicated between the two regions.
With the Nobel Prizes awarded Tuesday, the Nobel organization’s website is being inundated with visitors from around the globe who want to read all the details.
Every year, the world is watching when Nobel Prizes are awarded to leading figures that are changing the world for the better. When the prestigious Laureates are announced in October and when they receive their prizes in December, the Nobel Prize website sees a 100 fold increase in visitors – taking traffic up to as many as 3 million hits in just one week.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we look at some of the exciting new PCs and tablets unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Xbox One reaching a 3 million consoles sold milestone and Microsoft announcing its agreement to acquire Parature, a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions.
At CES 2014, Windows tablets, laptops and desktops in every shape and size, including some with 4K resolution, were announced. We heard a lot about 4K TVs at the show, but two companies previewed Windows devices with 4k, in which display resolution is 4,000 pixels, about four times more than HD. Panasonic showed its 20-inch Toughpad 4K tablet, available next month, and the first 4K tablet on the market. At 5.6 pounds, it’s a great mobile choice for pros who deal with computer-aided design and video editing. At the other end of the size spectrum, it showed off its 7-inch Toughpad FZ-M1 with Windows 8.1 Pro. Meanwhile, Toshiba introduced the first 4K laptops, the Tecra W50 and the Satellite P50t, which should be on the market in the second quarter this year. Among Lenovo’s many new offerings: its ThinkPad 8, an 8-inch business tablet made from machine-cut aluminum, and a new X1 Carbon 14-inch Ultrabook, weighing 2.8 pounds with a battery life of up to nine hours. It will be available late this month. HP’s new all-in-one PCs, the ProOne 400 G1 and the HP 205, are great choices for the workplace. ASUS will be releasing a new 8-inch tablet called the VivoTab Note 8 that’s designed for one-handed use and comes with a professional Wacom digitizer stylus. Sony introduced a new member of its VAIO Fit | Flip family, the VAIO Fit 11A | Flip PC, an 11-inch version that weighs 2.82 pounds and is ideal for those who want a highly portable 2-in-1. It will be out at the end of next month.
Xbox has seen record-breaking sales with the recent announcement of Xbox One selling more than 2 million units through to consumers worldwide since its launch. November NPD Group figures released Thursday revealed 909,132 Xbox One units were sold in the U.S. in the console’s first nine days, making it the fastest selling console on the market in the U.S. Xbox One sales averaged a volume of 101,000 consoles per day, significantly outpacing the nearest competitor.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about free cloud storage OneDrive being globally available, Microsoft Dynamics CRM adding more capabilities to deliver even better customer service, and new and updated Bing apps for Windows Phone.
Who knew moving day could be so easy? Microsoft’s free cloud storage, OneDrive, became available this week. Existing SkyDrive customers only need to head over to OneDrive.com and log in to get files moved over. There are some changes we think you’ll like, including automatic camera backup for Android, and the ability to share and view videos just as easily as photos. There’s also some new ways to get more storage, on top of the 7 GB you get for free. And OneDrive is accessible everywhere – on all of Microsoft’s latest devices and services (from Xbox to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to Office), as well as on the Web and other platforms, including iOS and Android.
The following post is from Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp.
Today, I had the pleasure of sitting on a Microsoft YouthSpark Connection panel in Miami with local education, business and city leaders, to discuss a problem facing the city of Miami, and this nation — the unfortunate divide between students who have access to technology, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. While sitting next to Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, we made an exciting announcement that is one step closer to bridging this divide for local students. M-DCPS is moving forward with its 1:1 device initiative, rolling out a total of 100,000 Windows 8 devices by August 2015. This spring, 13,000 elementary school students will get laptops and about 15,000 7th grade civics students and 9th grade world history students will get Windows 8 devices.
The following post is from Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft.
On Tuesday at LeWeb’13 in Paris, I joined Om Malik on stage to talk with thousands of entrepreneurs, startups and large companies about technology and where we’re headed as an industry. The theme of this year’s conference is The Next 10 Years, and we spent our time talking about the new ideas we see from startups around the world and how their work is shaping the future.
Today software intermediates — and digitizes — many of the things we do in business, life and our world. New technologies help businesses engage with customers in more meaningful ways, connect us to our friends and families, and allow us to see, interact with and share our world in ways never before possible. But we’re only at the beginning.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on apps and other ways to get ready for Sunday’s big game, Seattle Gigapixel ArtZoom (an interactive city panorama created by a Microsoft Research team) and an artist who’s found that the Surface 2 hits the sweet spot for work, school and her literacy projects in Cambodia.
The biggest game in U.S. pro football is Sunday, and various apps, promotions and tools are available to help you prepare for it. In a video, “Madden NFL 25” predicted the victor of Sunday’s matchup. The Windows Store has on its roster a collection of apps dedicated to The Big Game, including the Super Bowl XLVIII – NFL Official Program, which has all the content from this year’s official commemorative program, enhanced for tablets: team information, player profiles, stats and much more when it comes to the NFC and AFC champions. Also good resources: Football Pro+, The ESPN App, NFL Connect and the Windows Phone Store’s Big Game collection. Microsoft’s Power BI team showed their 12thMan spirit by creating a video from publicly available data and highlights from each of the Seahawks’ games across the country, a journey that began Sept. 8. Heading into the final days before Sunday’s much anticipated match-up, Bing looked at searches related to the game and we found out about the “Beast Quake” felt 'round world thanks to Windows Azure. If you happen to be in Manhattan this weekend, Xbox is offering free short rides via Uber. And you can also look forward to winning tickets to the next national championship by making your Player Face Off picks now using NFL on Xbox One app.
Since its launch 18 days ago, Xbox One is proving to be the must-have gift this holiday season, with more than 2 million consoles sold through to consumers worldwide, averaging over 111,111 units sold per day – a record-setting pace for Xbox. The millions of fans around the world who have purchased Xbox One have shown incredible engagement with the all-in-one games and entertainment system, spending more than 83 million hours in games, TV and apps on Xbox One since the system launched on Nov. 22.
“We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing for Xbox. “We are thrilled to see sales of Xbox One on a record-setting pace, with over 2 million Xbox One consoles in homes around the world. Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers. We’re also particularly excited to see consumers engaging in a wide range of games and entertainment experiences on the platform, with more than 1 million paid transactions on Xbox Live to date.”
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s role in protecting customer data, how 150,000 students, administrators and staff members in Canada have started using Office 365 and Microsoft Research’s first Artist in Residence.
Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Microsoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs, wrote about how “many of our customers have serious concerns about government surveillance of the Internet.” He added, “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.”
Microsoft today named Satya Nadella its next Chief Executive Officer. Formerly executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, Nadella led the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.
“The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must move faster, push harder and continue to transform,” Nadella said.
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and former chairman of the board of directors, will assume a new role as technology advisor, and devote more time to the direction of the company’s products and technology.
“During this time of transformation and remarkable opportunity for Microsoft, there is no better person to lead the company than Satya,” Gates said.
Meet Microsoft’s new CEO and read the full announcement here.
The following post is from Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft.
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an important moment for everyone, especially youth, to learn how the ability to code can open doors to future careers in unexpected ways. One of the activities I am most excited about is the “Hour of Code” campaign. In partnership with Code.org and other leading tech companies, Microsoft is encouraging 10 million students of all ages to spend an hour this week learning basic coding skills, while hopefully having some fun in the process.
Among many activities to help get kids started this week, everyone is invited to join us at a Microsoft store where employees will be offering free coding lessons on Kodu Game Lab and TouchDevelop. We’re also partnering on and hosting various other coding events across the country from Washington, D.C. to Silicon Valley.
Right now, less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, yet computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average and are among the top paying fields.
The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft.
One of the most interesting things about my job (and by extension, our company) is that I get exposed to a very diverse portfolio of innovations and experiences. One day I might be touring our Garage or getting the inside track on how best to counter “rodeo” attacks in Titanfall (pro tip: electric smoke). Other days, I get to dig in on all the breakthroughs happening to unlock organizational potential and build the workplace of tomorrow. This week, we are staging two conferences that provide a great opportunity to take a moment to look at the latter, and really celebrate some transformational work going on that can streamline the way hundreds of millions of people get things done every day.
Quarterbacks rely on receiving a reliable snap as the first step toward a first down – and eventually a touchdown – every time they run a play. Now with the recently released Xbox One, armchair quarterbacks around the country have a true game-changer: being able to “snap” official NFL highlights, stats, news and scores – along with fantasy football – next to live TV broadcasts of NFL games. And with Surface – the official tablet of the NFL – fans have a device that, at their fingertips, gives lightning fast responses as they blitz through apps like Xbox SmartGlass, NFL Mobile and NFL Game Rewind.
The following post is from Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President for Lync & Skype Engineering, Microsoft.
It’s great to be in Las Vegas today with almost 2,000 customers, partners and industry professionals for the first day of our second annual Lync Conference. This is my first public appearance since taking over responsibility for Microsoft’s communications business, and as someone involved in Lync since its inception, it is awesome to be able to see first-hand the excitement in the room.
When we launched Lync in 2010, we had a vision of using software to unify the various ways that people communicated at work and to make communications easily accessible from Microsoft Office and the other applications people used every day. Today, I look at stories from Lync customers like Telefónica, Cargill, Adventist Healthcare System and others as signs that our vision was right. It is customers believing in our vision that has helped lead to double-digit revenue growth for Lync every quarter for the last five years, enabling Lync to become a $1 billion dollar business and to ship more unified communications voice lines to enterprises than any other technology company in the world.
The following post is from Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp..
Today, President Obama is shining worthy attention on his ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age within five years and to ensure the best use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages. Microsoft heard the President’s call on our industry to step up, and we are privileged to participate in ConnectED by making a significant commitment today.
Microsoft is stepping up to the plate with a significant offer that equates to a billion-dollar response.
Together with our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners we created a new offer to all U.S. K-12 public schools. This not only has the potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system, via the purchase of Windows-based tablets, laptops and devices, which we are providing at substantially lower pricing on devices and services through our partners Dell, Lenovo and others. But this offer is now going to be available to the entire U.S. public schools system. That means our partners will bring to market a multitude of great device offerings, at pre-priced levels, specifically for schools to choose from. Schools are going to have amazing choices to ensure their students have the best products and experiences in their classrooms.
The following post is from Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. It was originally published on Microsoft on the Issues.
Today, we are joining AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo in calling for reforms of government surveillance.
Since Microsoft was founded, we’ve believed technology is a powerful tool that can help people. In that belief we remain steadfast.
But we also recognize another important point. People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.
Last week we announced that we’re taking new steps to reduce the risk of government snooping. Today we’re joining with others across our industry to call on governments to adhere to specific principles with respect to surveillance.
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Xbox strategy and marketing, thanked customers for an “epic 2013,” in an Xbox Wire post on Monday. “2013 was an incredible year for gamers, entertainment fans, our industry and Xbox,” Mehdi said. “With Xbox One we saw the most epic launch for Xbox by all measures. We are humbled and grateful for your loyalty and delighted by the millions of hours of gameplay and entertainment enjoyed on Xbox.”
More than three million Xbox One consoles were sold to consumers in 13 countries before the end of 2013, he noted. “It’s been incredible to see Xbox One selling at a record-setting pace for Xbox, and we were honored to see Xbox One become the fastest-selling console in the U.S. during our launch month in November.”