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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.
You’d think after announcing a major new partnership with Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia that Microsoft would take a day off, but that’s just not the case. Big announcements this week continue to pour out of Bing, Internet Explorer, Windows Phone 7 and Dynamics CRM, just to name a few.
So, without further ado…
The new Bing Bar is here! The new Bing Bar gives you easy access to all the things you do on the Web each day – search, e-mail, Facebook, maps, news, finance and games. Check out this Feb. 17th post on the Bing Search Blog for more detail on what went into building the new Bing Bar, which is now available for download.
Developers are at the core of just about everything that happens at Microsoft. Without them, we wouldn’t have much in the way of software products and services to sell to consumers and businesses.
Here in the second edition of the Midweek Download is some of the latest news coming out of Microsoft and what it means for developers and tech enthusiasts. Also included are one or two items that show how to get the most out of Windows 7 and OneNote.
What the Microsoft-Nokia deal means for developers. By now, just about everyone has heard of the deal between Microsoft and Finnish mobile giant Nokia. In this Feb. 11th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, blogger Matt Bencke explains what the deal means for Microsoft developers. And in this Feb. 14th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Phone engineering, describes in detail the critical role developers will play in helping to build a new mobile ecosystem.
Microsoft has launched local news blogs in Silicon Valley, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles to better tailor its company news to local U.S. audiences.
The blogs offer insights into Microsoft’s community efforts, regional news, local leadership and upcoming events, as well as a local perspectives on headlines coming out of the Microsoft News Center.
Just days after announcing a new partnership with Nokia, Microsoft unveiled a series of new features for Windows Phone 7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
The new Windows Phone 7 features announced today include:
• Copy and paste functionality via the first major update, coming in the next month.• Twitter integration directly into the People Hub, coming in 2011.• Support for Office documents in the cloud, coming in 2011.• Dramatically enhanced Web browser experience based on Internet Explorer 9 in 2011.• A new wave of multitasking applications in 2011.• Targeting a significant volume of Nokia Windows Phones in 2012.
Microsoft is just chock full of news this week: the just-announced deal with Nokia, Bing’s grabbing up market share and the release of Microsoft’s new Web browser, Internet Explorer 9.
Dig in and enjoy!
Microsoft and Nokia…So happy together. Just in case you missed it, Microsoft and Finnish cell phone maker Nokia announced plans for a broad strategic partnership that has Nokia adopting the Windows Phone operating system as its primary mobile platform. A joint letter from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop goes into the deal in more detail. As part of the agreement, Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices.
Bing jumps 6 percent. Seattle Times tech reporter Brier Dudley reported in a Feb. 8th blog post that Bing’s share of the U.S. search market rose by 6 percent to 27.44 percent in January while Google fell by 2 percent during the same period. The search market share data came from Experian Hitwise, a global data analytics company. And in this Feb. 10th blog post, ZDNet writer Robin Harris tells us why he switched from Google to Bing.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerSenior Manager, Corporate Blogs
Microsoft is a big place with lots of technology stories to tell.
In a new weekly series dubbed the Midweek Download, this blog will focus on the news coming out of Microsoft’s technology groups, as well as those stories that might not garner the attention of the media and the technology press.
Look for the new series every Wednesday. Fans of the Official Microsoft Blog’s Weekend Reading series will doubtless find the format familiar.
Are you ready for your first download?
Microsoft announced today that Senior Vice President Satya Nadella, 43, has been promoted to president of the Server and Tools Business.
A 19-year veteran of Microsoft, Nadella will oversee the overall strategy, engineering, marketing and product development for Microsoft’s server, tools and cloud platform efforts. This includes developing the technology road map and vision to drive adoption of the company’s products, tools and services, and delivering the company’s next generation of cloud solutions for business customers.
Phew! What a week it’s been at Microsoft! Take a look below to see what I mean.
Bing sets the record straight. Just in case you missed it, Bing and Google had a bit of a dust up this week. In this Feb. 2nd post on the Bing Search Blog, Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft’s online services division, sets the record straight. The long and short of it, as Mehdi says, is this: “We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop.” USA Today, among many others, covered the story with a post on its Technology Live Blog. (Editor's Note: Earlier today, Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan published this report regarding the dispute between Bing and Google, and we thought our readers should know about it.)
The future of search. Given the attention the dispute between Bing and Google has garnered, some might find it hard to believe that there was actually any other significant news where Internet search is concerned, but there was. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton covered the Farsight 2011 – Beyond the Search Box event live on his Twitter feed, and wrote this comprehensive recap of the Bing-sponsored event.
Today, a new Microsoft Technology Center opened in Detroit.
Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) are collaborative environments that provide access to innovative technologies and world-class expertise. Microsoft also has MTCs in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Silicon Valley, among other cities, in the U.S., as well as international MTCs in cities such as Tokyo, Moscow, Paris and Taipei.
In addition, Detroit was recently named a top “cloud friendly” U.S. city in a recent survey sponsored by Microsoft, citing the opportunities for new lines of business, more need for IT services and potential job growth. Microsoft released the results of the study after interviewing more than 2,000 IT decision-makers in 10 U.S. cities.
Below are a few pictures from the Detroit MTC’s launch:
Today, Microsoft celebrates the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Windows Azure platform with an announcement of two big customer wins – wireless operator T-Mobile USA Inc. and tech giant Xerox Corp.
The two companies will use the Windows Azure platform to develop new cloud computing services such as T-Mobile’s “Family Room,” a new mobile software application that helps families share photos and coordinate activities -- like a family movie night -- across multiple devices.