Microsoft News Center
Anticipation for the Kinect or Windows software development kit beta has been high, and we promised we’d launch before the end of spring.
Well, today is the day - at 10:00 a.m., the SDK will be available for free from Microsoft Research. The SDK includes not only drivers but also APIs, device interfaces, installer documents and resource materials. It’s another exciting milestone for a technology that has captured the imagination of millions, and has become the fastest selling computer electronics device of all time.
Back in February, we announced the intention to release an SDK, and at MIX11, we showed some of the projects that were already underway with the SDK inside and outside of Microsoft.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on some interesting uses of Kinect for Windows and Surface, Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate and Microsoft Research.
Kinect head tracking with a transparent display. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton recently stumbled across the work of Second Story, a creative agency based out of Portland, Ore. that builds interactive experiences. What led him to them is their outstanding work using two Microsoft technologies in particular – Kinect and Surface 2.0. Read this Tuesday post on Next at Microsoft for the full story and don’t forget to check out the video below. Also, be sure not to miss this May 30 post on Next about a French duo that captures the world in 3D with Kinect for Windows.
It’s been a big week for Microsoft on numerous fronts. In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about the Windows 8 consumer preview, Windows Phone and Skype news from Mobile World Congress, plus Bing, MSN and a new Xbox 360 bundle. Check ‘em out!
Microsoft announces Windows 8 consumer preview. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world’s most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year. The Developer Preview received more than 3 million downloads. For more on this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center and this Wednesday post on The Windows Experience Blog. And for a deeper dive on how the Windows 8 consumer preview touches other parts of Microsoft, check out these Wednesday posts on The Bing Search Blog and Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson. Below, Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President, Windows Web Services, shows off new Metro style apps in the Windows Store as part of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview event in Barcelona on Wednesday:
The following is a post by Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Bing.
That Holiday Feeling
Even after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might walk the halls around your office at lunchtime and still find a lot of your colleagues shopping online for the holidays.
And they’ll be in good company. This year, according to shop.org, online sales will jump 12 percent over last year to US$96 billion dollars this holiday season. Because nearly half of all that online shopping will start from search engines, we wanted all consumers to understand exactly what happens when they use search to find those deals.
Specifically, we want to alert you to what Google has done with their shopping site right in time for Christmas. Instead of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for the latest coffee maker you’re looking to buy mom, Google Shopping now decides what to show you – and how prominently to display what product offers they show -- based partially on how much the merchant selling the product has paid them.
Xbox 360 sold more units in May in the U.S. than any other console or handheld gaming device, maintaining its position as the best-selling console in the U.S. for the past 17 months.
May highlights from The NPD Group include:
· Xbox 360 sold 160,000 units, representing a 45 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S. This marks the 15th consecutive month that Xbox 360 has held more than a 40 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S.
The following is a post from Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
In October 2012, I wrote a letter to shareholders outlining how the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a fundamental shift in our business that began several years ago and continues today with the release of Office 365 Home Premium. This is a brand new Office never experienced before.
For the first time, consumers can subscribe to Office as a service instead of purchasing Office as a piece of software to install. The new Office subscription is an entirely new way to think about the productivity experience with entirely new benefits. Over time, the majority of the billion plus people using Office will be using the Office 365 service.
Office 365 Home Premium subscribers receive all the full-featured Office applications they know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits built in.
Greetings from Las Vegas! And what’s not to like about a Microsoft keynote, a surprise host, a non-traditional musical interlude and some great demos? The best way to capture the flavor and fun from the keynote is to watch the replay, but for those looking for highlights, here is my “CliffsNotes” version of what we said and announced.
Tonight, Steve Ballmer took the stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We did it differently this year, surprising the crowd by having Ryan Seacrest interview Steve, host guests onstage for demos, and provide commentary and perspective along the way. Below, Microsoft CES Keynote host Ryan Seacrest checks out Steve's Windows Phone during the company’s opening keynote:
We’ve got an action-packed edition of Weekend Reading for you today, with stories on the return of Master Chief in “Halo 4”, the latest word on Windows 8, a few tips to help you get the most out of your Nokia Lumia 900 and a wicked cool interactive comic book collaboration called "The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator".
Master Chief returns with worldwide launch of “Halo 4” on Nov. 6. The countdown has begun for the landmark entertainment event millions of fans worldwide have been anticipating for more than four years. “Halo 4,” the hotly anticipated sequel to the iconic franchise that has shaped entertainment history, will launch worldwide on Nov. 6. Set four years after the events in “Halo 3,” Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Read more about it on the Microsoft News Center.
Since taking down the Kelihos botnet with our partners Kyrus Inc. and Kaspersky Labs in September, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has continued to actively investigate the case and pursue new leads with the goal of holding the perpetrators behind the botnet accountable for their actions.
In an amended complaint filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Microsoft alleges that Andrey N. Sabelnikov, a citizen of Russia, is responsible for the operations of the Kelihos botnet.
Mr. Sabelnikov is not the first to be named as a defendant in this case, which has already served as the legal foundation for the successful disruption of a global botnet harming thousands of victims worldwide. In the original complaint filed in September, Microsoft alleged that Dominique Alexander Piatti, dotFREE Group SRO and John Does 1-22 owned a domain cz.cc and used cz.cc to register other subdomains such as lewgdooi.cz.cc used to operate and control the Kelihos botnet.
The office hallways are starting to empty out, the kids are out of school for the holiday break and there’s a festive feeling in the air. If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, it can be easy to get a little frantic. But as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says: “Don’t Panic!”
You still have time. You have your sharp intellect and your wit. And you have the power of the Internet at your fingertips.
Just because you’re scrambling to finish up your holiday shopping doesn’t mean you can’t compare prices. Using Windows Phone and Bing, you can comparison shop on the go. Fire up Bing Vision, which allows you to scan a product, a UPC or QR code – and see how much it costs and where to buy it.
The following is a post from Richard Domigues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.
As reported by Reuters earlier today, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, in collaboration with Symantec, has taken down the dangerous Bamital botnet which hijacked people’s search results and took them to potentially dangerous websites that could install malware onto their computer, steal their personal information, or fraudulently charge businesses for online advertisement clicks. Microsoft and Symantec’s research shows that in the last two years, more than eight million computers have been attacked by Bamital, and that the botnet’s search hijacking and click fraud schemes affected many major search engines and browsers, including those offered by Microsoft, Yahoo and Google. Because this threat exploited the search and online advertising platform to harm innocent people, Microsoft and Symantec chose to take action against the Bamital botnet to help protect people and advance cloud security for everyone.
Microsoft and Symantec are proactively informing people that their computers are infected with Bamital through the use of an official webpage that offers victims an easy to use method to remove the infection.
While the Bamital botnet defrauded the entire online advertising platform, which is what allows the Internet and many online services to be free, what’s most concerning is that these cybercriminals made people go to sites that they never intended to go and took control of the computer away from its owner.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on TechFest 2012, the Windows 8 consumer preview, upcoming Xbox 360 games, the hit Windows Phone game Wordament and more.
TechFest 2012. TechFest, the annual Microsoft Research wow-fest at the Microsoft Conference Center, began earlier this week. The tech extravaganza includes 154 demos and displays of the latest work from Microsoft Research (MSR) labs around the world. TechFest also includes more than 24 lectures on key technology topics. For more information, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, which features a cool slideshow. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton covered TechFest with a series of profiles highlighting several of the demos from earlier this week, including the keynote address, FetchClimate, search, Cliplets and a wearable multitouch projector. Don’t miss any of them! Below is a screenshot of a project delivers a new, low-cost technique for instantly polling students in the classroom:
The following is a post by Jared Spataro, senior director, Office Division, on the growing role social media is playing in business and how Yammer, SharePoint and Office 365 are coming together to offer a powerful, secure and integrated approach to social collaboration for businesses large and small.
This week we're hosting the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, and one of the key themes is social. While we had more than ten thousand people attend the keynote, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on social for those who didn't have a chance to join us in person.
Social has clearly rewired the way we communicate in our personal lives, and there are folks out there claiming that it will do the same for business. I've come to believe that it will have a profound impact on the way people get things done at work.
To understand why, consider the basic premise of the technology: open conversations and personal connections. In a world where the pace of innovation has increased dramatically over the last few decades, the name of the game is agility.
If you’re a power user of the Mail, Calendar and People apps on Windows like I am, then you’ll be excited to hear that, starting Tuesday, you’ll be able to download updates for each from the Windows Store.
“…This update will bring improvements to your Windows experience across your whole life - your personal communication and your work. You will see big improvements to performance and additional new features to make it easier to connect with friends and colleagues, manage your inboxes, create and send email, and manage your calendar,” Windows Blogger Brandon LeBlanc reports.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on changes and improvements in the Windows Phone Marketplace, Kinect and Kinect SDK winning the Design of the Year award and a new blog for Windows 8 app developers.
Changes and improvements in the Windows Phone Marketplace. In this Monday post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix lays out in substantial detail the latest steps we’re taking in our ongoing effort to keep the quality bar high in our rapidly growing Marketplace. Todd focuses on four areas – avoiding trademark trouble, keeping the quality bar high, cleaning up key words and refining our approach to content policy enforcement. And don’t miss an earlier post from Todd on two changes to Marketplace and an update on nine new markets.
The start of the Major League Baseball season is a magical time for all fans of America’s pastime. This early in the season, everyone’s team has a chance to make it to the World Series, no matter what happened last year, no matter which home town nine you cheer for.
As a big baseball fan myself, I am excited to report that the MLB.TV App has arrived in the Windows Store. Now, you can watch every out-of-market Major League Baseball game LIVE or on demand in HD with an MLB.TV Premium subscription. (Blackout restrictions apply.)
The Anti-Piracy team at Microsoft launched a global campaign this week to inform small businesses about the risk of counterfeit software creeping into their business when acquiring or downloading software from the Internet. Most business buyers know to avoid questionable street-corner vendors when purchasing software for their business, yet they may not think twice about ordering software from an unfamiliar but professional looking website that offers steep discounts.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Counterfeit software lurks around every corner and can find its way into business settings in a number of different ways - auction websites, peer-to-peer networks, online retailers selling illegal software - there are several common paths. And counterfeiters spend a lot of time and energy making illicit software-purchasing sites look and feel like the real thing.
In 2008, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, the non-profit corporation charged with coordinating the Internet’s naming system and ensuring the stability and security of the Internet), approved a plan to launch new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that will complement the current structure of Internet addresses based on “.com,” “.net,” “.org” and others.
Yesterday in London, ICANN published a list of more than 2,000 applications for new gTLDs from businesses and organizations around the world.
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900, three major entertainment apps coming to Xbox LIVE and Bing and Skype working better together.
AT&T to sell Nokia Lumia 900 for under $100. We’ve got lots of great Windows Phone news for you this week, but perhaps the biggest piece of news is the announcement that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be available on AT&T for $99 on April 8. Read this Monday post on The Windows Phone Blog for the rest of the story. Also, Nokia announced it will sell its first CDMA Windows Phone in China – the 800C – starting in April. Finally, Microsoft also announced earlier this week that Marketplace has now opened in 13 new markets. To the left is a screenshot of the Lumia 900.
Three major entertainment apps launch on Xbox LIVE. Earlier this week, three major entertainment apps are now available for Xbox LIVE Gold members – Comcast XFINITY TV, HBO GO and MLB.TV, all with Kinect integration.
In listening to the developer community, the Channel 9 team at Microsoft has heard the positive feedback about Visual Studio Achievements loud and clear: you want more. More than 80,000 downloads of the extension demonstrated that developers see achievement badges as a fun way to socially share the accomplishments they earn in what can sometimes be the lonely act of writing code.
New badges are available today, so now developers can unlock new achievements when using Visual Studio to write code for Windows Azure. Badges can be earned for proper cloud development usage, mobile+cloud scenarios, social gaming scenarios, or a dozen other developer-related accomplishments.
Microsoft continues to expand its presence with the launch of more than 30 U.S. and Canadian pop-up stores for the holiday season.
First announced at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference, the new stores will expand Microsoft’s footprint to more locations, providing consumers with excellent choice, value, service and an engaging way to experience the best of Microsoft’s products and services.
In January, we shared some thoughts on our approach to developer events, including a commitment to come back with more on our plans for an event this coming fall. Well, here it is: our next developer conference will be this fall, and it's (again) called BUILD. It will be held on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Wash., from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.
Yes, that's right ... it's the week after Windows 8 becomes generally available worldwide. And in addition to Windows 8, we will have lots of other stuff to talk about too: Windows Azure, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 and much more.
At the beginning of each year, many of us assess how we (and our developer community) might want to invest our respective time and resources for the year ahead, and we’ve devoted some of that energy in the past few months toward thinking about the various developer conferences we host.
As part of that reflection, we have decided to merge MIX, our spring web conference for developers and designers, into our next major developer conference, which we will host sometime in the coming year. I know a number of folks were wondering about MIX, given the time of year, so we wanted to make sure there’s no ambiguity, and be very clear… there will be no MIX 2012.
For context, the idea to create MIX was conceived in the fall of 2005, literally as the PDC05 main stage was being disassembled after the final keynote. While we reflected on that PDC, there was a lot of discussion around our engagement with the web community, and how we needed a more focused effort around our upcoming plans for Internet Explorer, the roadmap for our web platform, the work we were starting on web standards (we were shipping IE6 at the time), and so on.