Microsoft News Center
This is a big week for Microsoft and many of our enterprise IT customers. We’re hosting the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) in Las Vegas, a sold-out IT conference where I have the honor of delivering two keynote addresses to approximately 4,000 attendees.
The theme of MMS is “You. Empowered,” which is particularly relevant to cloud computing – especially private cloud computing. In this new computing paradigm, we see the ability for IT organizations to empower their companies to more effectively deliver the business applications they need to compete and succeed.
A week ago, we moved our clocks forward here in the U.S., following our “spring forward/fall back” mantra of daylight saving time. We lost an hour, which always makes me grumpy, but it also means spring is near, with longer and brighter days ahead. This is the time of year at Microsoft where we kick into high gear for our next fiscal year planning, which means equal amounts looking back at what’s happened and planning what’s to come. And wow…the past few months have been incredibly productive, and the months ahead look pretty interesting as well. Here’s a quick summary on this first day of spring:
The launch of Internet Explorer 9 may have been the biggest news out of Microsoft this week, but I’ve unearthed a long list of interesting nuggets below, including the news that the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 10,000 apps. More than 2M IE9 downloads in 24 hours – I think they like it. Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded 2.35 million times in the 24 hours following its March 14th release to the public. As blogger Ryan Gavin reported on the Exploring IE Blog, that’s “over 27 downloads every second, or over 240 downloads every 9 seconds. Wow.” Check out this PC Magazine review of IE9, which gave the new Web browser four out of five stars, and it’s easy to see why so many people downloaded it within hours of public availability. Windows Phone Marketplace hits 10,000 apps. The torrid pace of Windows Phone app creation continues with the Marketplace now over the 10,000 mark. In his March 15th edition of Pinworthy on the Windows Phone Blog, Michael Stroh notes the milestone and gives readers his latest recommendations on the newest can’t-live-without-‘em apps. Also, check out this story by Geekwire Seattle Editor John Cook about the new MSN Onit app, an app “just for the dudes.”
Just over a year ago, we announced that the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), in cooperation with industry and academic experts, had successfully taken down the botnet Waledac in an operation known as “Operation b49”. Today, I’m happy to announce that based on the knowledge gained in that effort, we have successfully taken down a larger, more notorious and complex botnet known as Rustock. This botnet is estimated to have approximately a million infected computers operating under its control and has been known to be capable of sending billions of spam mails every day, including fake U.S. lottery scams and offers for fake – and potentially dangerous – prescription drugs.
I had the chance to tackle the topic of proactive customer support during a panel at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference this week in Austin, Texas with some pretty heavy hitters - Jon Swartz (USA Today tech reporter), Kimarie Matthews (vice president of social Web for Wells Fargo) and Bruce Temkin (customer experience transformist at Temkin Group). It was far more than your typical panel discussion.
In fact, I left there with some perspectives that have me excited to explore new ways for Microsoft to more deeply engage with our customers and their needs. (Make sure to check back here soon to hear our spirited discussion when we post a link to the entire panel discussion.)
Hopefully, the news regarding the launch of Internet Explorer 9 hasn’t satisfied your thirst for technology stories coming out of Microsoft this week, because plenty of other stuff happened at the company.
Without further ado, here is the latest edition of the Midweek Download:
New content series for Windows Phone developers. The Windows Phone Developer Blog has launched a new series of posts for Web developers targeting the Windows Phone 7 platform. In the first installment, blogger Jorge Peraza, a program manager on the Windows Phone Browser Team, writes about managing the Windows Phone browser viewport.
Microsoft launched the latest version of its immensely popular Internet Explorer Web browser at 9 p.m. PT on Monday. The launch was announced at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas.
Internet Explorer 9 is now available for download at Beauty of the Web and promises a host of new features, including Pinned Sites and Jump List, which enable people to put their websites directly on the Windows 7 Taskbar, as though they were native applications, and then to quickly and easily perform tasks related to those websites, such as check their inboxes, change the music station, accept friend invitations or see breaking news.
We have all been shocked and saddened by the images and reports coming from Japan.
It is a human tragedy on a massive scale.
To help support ongoing relief efforts, Microsoft is making an initial commitment of $2 million, which includes $250,000 in cash as well as in-kind contributions such as software.
It is with great concern we are seeing the images from Japan.
The scene of the devastation is quite amazing. It will be a while for all of us to get a full sense of the disaster and its impact.
Our team in Japan was in fact hosting a conversation with 30 NGO representatives from our Community Technology Skills Program partner the National Council of Women who were in the building for a training event. Some of the representatives are from across Japan including some of the worst hit areas of the disaster. This was their annual review of the program. The Japan team has been working hard to supply food, drinks and blankets to all those remaining in the building.
Next week marks the start of March Madness, that time of year when productivity falls through the floor as people are glued to the television and Internet to see how their favorite teams are doing. Microsoft has a few offerings to keep college hoops fanatics satisfied – check ‘em out below.
Meanwhile, here’s the latest roundup of all the stories you may have missed while you were filling out your NCAA brackets:
Half a million Xbox 360s, give or take. Kinect hits 10 million. February was a blowout month for the Xbox 360 and the Kinect. Microsoft sold 535,000 consoles last month, according to NPD Group, an independent market research firm. That makes February the best non-holiday month ever for the Xbox 360. Oh, and not that we’re bragging or anything, but apparently the Guinness Book of World Records has noted that the 10 million Kinects sold since launch last holiday season is a new world record in the consumer electronics industry. Not that we’re bragging…
Microsoft announced a bevy of developer-related news this week around Internet Explorer 9, HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure.
Developers – start your engines! Microsoft announced on March 1st the launch of Dev Unplugged, a contest that challenges web developers to push the limits of a modern browser without the use of plug-ins. “We believe that HTML5 and related technologies, in conjunction with faster and faster browsers, finally give developers the tools they need to create experiences that are as vivid, interactive and compelling as anything you have seen in native applications,” writes Exploring IR blogger Carter Rabasa. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column.
Microsoft announced today that Bing is now live in France.
It’s been a busy year for Bing, which has grown its U.S. search share by 5.6 points – nearly 80 percent growth – since the search engine’s launch in June 2009.
Earlier today, Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, gave a speech regarding the economic benefits of cloud computing at the 2011 CeBit trade show in Hanover, Germany.
Below are some excerpts from Courtois’ speech. A link to the full speech will be available after the event on the Microsoft News Center.
On how cloud computing drives national competitiveness: On a grander scale, we believe that the cloud represents an opportunity to drive national competitiveness.
Today marks the kick-off of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Global Summit, the largest customer event each year on Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond. It’s something I look forward to all year long. Why?
In short, it’s a jam-packed week. Each year, I’m amazed at all that we learn in such a short amount of time from hundreds of the globe’s best and brightest technical experts – the MVPs. We welcome the opportunity to host MVPs who come to the summit to deepen relationships, participate in feedback sessions with Microsoft product teams and share their valuable insights about how Microsoft products perform in their communities. And you better believe we are listening.
MSN’s five-day weather forecast for the Seattle area isn’t pretty, so I’ve done my best to dig up the most compelling stories coming out of Microsoft for today’s edition of Weekend Reading.
For those who have decided not to brave the elements, grab a cup of coffee or tea and catch up on what happened at the company this week. Read on!
The future of computing. Where computing will go next was a red hot topic this week at Microsoft, with Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer, showing off a variety of next-generation natural user interface technologies to the technology and business press. Check out this image slideshow, which provides a glimpse into computing’s future at the Microsoft Home, and this video gallery on the Rethinking Computing pressroom. TechFlash Managing Editor Todd Bishop wrote an in-depth recap of the week’s future of computing news, including a few pieces of video of Mundie and others from Microsoft Research.
Microsoft announced today that Portland Public Schools, the largest school district in Oregon, plans to first move faculty and staff to Microsoft's Live@edu cloud computing platform, followed by their high school students.
So far, more than a third of the state of Oregon has enrolled in Live@edu. Along with Portland Public Schools, the following school districts are also reaping the benefits of Live@edu: Ashland Public Schools, Columbia Gorge, Coos Bay School District, Phoenix Talent School District, McMinnville School District, Redmond School District, St. Cecilia School and Sisters School District. You can read more about how the Coos Bay Public School District is using Live@edu’s Web-based tools to enhance its IT instruction and learning environments, and to help students improve their study skills.
By far, the biggest news out of Microsoft for developers this week is the announcement of the forthcoming Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit. However, a number of other important technology stories are percolating just below the surface of the big news.
Kinect for Windows SDK. Microsoft announced on Feb. 21st that a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK will be available as a free download in the spring. The Kinect for Windows SDK is being developed and released by Microsoft Research (MSR) in collaboration with the Interactive Entertainment Business and will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system – such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column, as did TechFlash Managing Editor Todd Bishop with this story.
Yesterday, Craig Mundie hosted TechForum, an annual event where Craig showcases the latest inventive ideas and prototypes that have not yet been shown outside the halls of Microsoft Research and the Applied Sciences group, gathering individuals from across the company to share Microsoft’s vision for the future of technology with select media participants.
This year, Craig spoke about the emerging transformative shift in how we will use computers, what they can do for us, and who is able to use them. Computers will enable new abilities and enhance the human experience, more closely merging our digital and physical lives. Microsoft products such as Kinect for Xbox 360, Avatar Kinect and Microsoft Surface are examples of how this is already becoming a reality.
You may have seen me blog about this revolution in natural user interfaces (NUI) here and on the Next at Microsoft project, or in my last blog post, where we announced that the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit will be released this spring. It’s safe to say that this is a captivating concept for me, so I was excited to see this at the center of yesterday’s event.
Every year about this time, Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, holds an intimate gathering to discuss the company’s vision for the future: just Craig, a handful of Microsoft thinkers and select media convening for a lively show-and-tell discussion called TechForum.
I’ll have more to share here tomorrow about the prototypes shown and topics discussed during the course of the day.
This morning, Craig and Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), announced plans to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit, or SDK, this spring.