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On Tuesday morning, the Studio D building at Microsoft resembled a mini-version of Seattle’s Century Link Field, as hundreds of Microsoft employees swarmed around a small stage and craned their necks over three floors of balconies and stairwells, raising voices and clapping hands to welcome the company’s third CEO, Satya Nadella – and to honor the previous two CEOs, Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud file storage program, will be getting a name change to OneDrive, reports Ryan Gavin, Consumer Apps & Services general manager.
The new name “conveys the value we can deliver for you and best represents our vision for the future,” he wrote in a blog post. “That vision reflects the fact that you will have many devices in your life, but you really want only one place for your most important stuff. One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents. One place that is seamlessly connected across the devices you love.”
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.
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.
On a frigid Thursday evening last November, writer Jennifer Warnick lined up at the Microsoft Store in Seattle for the midnight launch of Xbox One. Consumers would buy over a million consoles in the next 24 hours – but Warnick was among the lucky few to share the moment with Carl Ledbetter, the guy who designed it.
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.
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.
December NPD Group figures released Thursday revealed Xbox One was the No. 1 selling console in the market in the U.S., selling 908,000 units in December. Additionally, Xbox 360 continued to see strong momentum with 643,000 units sold in December, putting it in the No. 3 spot overall, and lead for last-generation hardware. Together, Xbox One and Xbox 360 held 46 percent of the hardware market share in the U.S. and showed a 10 percent year over year growth from December 2012.
“We’re grateful for the excitement and support of our fans – many purchasing their next Xbox console and many joining the Xbox family for the first time,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing, strategy and business for Xbox. “Our journey is just starting, with more innovation, games and entertainment coming in 2014 and far beyond.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.