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Weekend Reading: Dec. 13th Edition – Microsoft introduces the Cloud OS Network

December 13th, 2013 No comments

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s new Cloud OS Network, Xbox One sales and a gift guide for goodies under 100 bucks to help you get through the holidays.

On Thursday, Microsoft introduced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. To get the rest of the story, read this post on The Official Microsoft Blog from Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, and watch the video below.

Xbox One sales totaled more than 2 million in first 18 days. Since its Nov. 22 launch, sales have averaged more than 111,111 units a day, a record-setting pace for Xbox. “We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing, Xbox. “Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers. The Xbox team is continuing to work hard to meet consumer demand, delivering consoles to retailers as fast as possible this holiday season.” To help people find Xbox One, Major Nelson recently shared some tips for consumers this holiday season.

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If you’re feeling the holiday pinch, in terms of time and cash, we’ve got some great gift ideas for under $100. There’s plenty of cool technology options that won’t break the bank, including Microsoft’s Wireless Mouse 3500 Studio Series Artist Edition, Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone device and a 12-month Xbox Live Gold Membership. Check out those ideas and more in the slideshow below, and see other ways people are using technology at Made Possible by Microsoft.


Affordable gifts for tech lovers
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Turn heads wherever you go with this phone’s unique metal design and polycarbonate back. With SkyDrive built in, your photos are automatically backed up to protect your holiday memories. $49 with two-year contract at AT&T; $0 up front with two-year contract at T-Mobile (pricing may vary).
Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone
December 12, 2013
Turn heads wherever you go with this phone’s unique metal design and polycarbonate back. With SkyDrive built in, your photos are automatically backed up to protect your holiday memories. $49 with two-year contract at AT&T; $0 up front with two-year contract at T-Mobile (pricing may vary).
Image: Web | Print

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New security features were being rolled out this week to give Microsoft account users more visibility and control of their accounts. Last spring, we released two-step verification. Since then, many users said they would like to get more insight into activities on their accounts. “So we added a new view that allows you to see your sign-ins and other account activities,” wrote Eric Doerr, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Account. As you can see in the example below, different types of activity are now visible to you, including “successful and unsuccessful sign-ins, the addition and deletion of security information and more.” If you do see something suspicious, “there’s an easy ‘This wasn’t me’ button that will help you take steps to protect your account.”

Security 1682_Activity_thumb_37FA155A

Microsoft joined AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo in calling for reforms in government surveillance. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it,” wrote Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs. While many recent revelations have focused on the U.S. government, he said, “in reality this is a global issue. It requires coordinated steps to ensure the flow of information across borders and avoid conflicts between governments. By definition, the world needs a global discussion.” Microsoft and other industry leaders suggest principles for government reform at a new site, ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com.

It was the week that could change young lives forever, and it involved an “Hour of Code.” Many from Microsoft worldwide participated in the annual “Hour of Code” event, giving an hour – and in many cases, more – of their own time to teach students to code. “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,” wrote Satya Nadella, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise, at Microsoft. “Hour of Code” is sponsored by Code.org, the nonprofit organization that Microsoft is a founding member of, which is dedicated to “growing computer science education by making it available in more schools.” If you missed it, check out these Microsoft sites for some quick coding lessons: Kodu Game Lab and TouchDevelop.

From the “breathtaking” category of the week’s events, a preview version of the new Photosynth was released. On the Bing Search Blog, the Photosynth team wrote that the preview version represents “the next phase of our ground-breaking experience that analyzes digital photographs to generate three-dimensional views of real world spaces.” Combined with the recent release of Bing Maps Preview for Windows 8, the team hopes this will be a “step forward toward our goal of creating a digital replica of the planet with an immersive 3D way to traverse and explore the world.” The New York Times headline put it another way: “Updated Microsoft Photosynth Makes HDTV Look Low-Resolution.”

Ceiling of Palau de la Musica Catalania by David on Photosynth

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we made holiday shopping a little easier with six awesome ultrabooks, four great touchscreen laptops and seven amazing tablets.

Holiday Collage

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you get some time to relax and rest up this weekend, in between all the holiday shopping. We’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

LeWeb’13 and ‘The Next 10 Years’: The digitization of nearly everything

December 10th, 2013 No comments

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.

Over the next 10 years we will reach a point where nearly everything will become digitized. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data and intelligence from machine learning. Developers, with access to these technologies and simplified development frameworks, will create new applications and services that help us transform what we do at work, and life, into digital equivalents.

Historically, there’s been a lot of attention focused on the digitization happening in Silicon Valley, but what’s even more interesting to me is what’s happening around the world. In every corner of the globe, new innovations are bringing this digitization of everything one step closer, and that’s incredibly important as this transformation should be — it must be a global phenomenon for it to reflect the needs of our distributed and diverse world. And below are some great examples of the work that is already underway:

In Israel, AKOL is taking a digital approach to modern food agriculture. Through its new platform, AKOLogic, it will enable local officials to monitor fruit, vegetable, dairy and poultry production in real time. This will increase public safety by allowing for faster identification of the source for spoiled food, significantly increase awareness lead time of potential food supply issues, and allow third-world farmers to cost effectively comply with first-world standards and regulations, thereby helping them gain access to new markets.

In China, Beijing Rendering Company used the cloud to create a new digital world for its action movie, “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon.” With no real-world outdoor or underwater filming, the company saved an estimated 90 percent in production costs and brought in more than $100 million at the box office.

In Paris, Kompass recently moved its worldwide contact database to the cloud. As a result it was able to launch in 69 countries simultaneously, stay focused on user experience and service development, and keep resources flat. Now it’s gaining new insights and value due to an increased ability to segment, analyze, update, maintain and visualize its databases.

Temenos and 91JinRong are changing the face of finance in Africa and China by moving in-person financial options online to improve service, gain access to more customers and enter new markets. Sparsha Learning Technologies is creating customized interactive online solutions for K–12 and higher education that help educators reduce cost, connect with more students and extend their programs globally. askem is turning real-world Q&As into digital pictures. And startups like SkyGiraffe, qunb, SmartNotify, Lokad and Buddy are building new services to help businesses build enterprise mobile apps, create better data visualizations, connect people with the right message at the right time, improve commerce through big data, and provide easy-to-use back-end services for developers.

Ushered in by innovations from startups and investment from the enterprise in this new era, every business will be a digital business, everyone can be a developer and nearly everything analog will be digitized. We’re investing in this new era through programs like Microsoft BizSpark and Microsoft Ventures, and we’re committed to helping our customers get there with our enterprise cloud products and services. Whether you’re just getting started or further along your journey, Microsoft will be here to help.

You can hear my talk with Om here. Many thanks to Om Malik for a great discussion and to Loïc and Geraldine Le Meur for a great conference.

Categories: Cloud Computing, Satya Nadella Tags:

Computer Science Education Week begins Monday – Join us in an ‘Hour of Code’

December 9th, 2013 No comments

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. So why aren’t more students jumping at the opportunity to learn the skills that will lead to great jobs? We’ve found that one of the biggest barriers is simply access to computer science classes.

Of the 42,000 high schools in the U.S., just over 3,000 offer Advanced Placement computer science classes. One of the reasons is the lack of qualified teachers. However, another factor is the fact that only 14 states and our nation’s capital count computer science toward core high school math or science credits required for graduation. To further strengthen access to computer science education, Microsoft is working with state and local education officials to advocate for allowing computer science courses to count toward high school graduation requirements.

As part of the company’s YouthSpark initiative, we run a program called TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), which pairs computer engineers from Microsoft and other tech companies with full-time high school teachers to teach basic and advanced computer science. This school year, the TEALS program is in 70 schools in 12 states, reaching more than 3,300 students with the support of 280 volunteers. It keeps expanding year over year, and it’s clear that students and teachers are eager to learn how to code.

But one company or organization can’t address the need on its own. The good news is that many are collaborating on creative ideas to get kids excited about coding, and to shift public policy related to computer science education so everyone who wants to study it has the option.

This is why initiatives like the “Hour of Code” are so important, and why we are proud to lend our support. One hour is all it takes for a student to get excited about a new hobby or envision a future career. If 10 million students spend an hour coding during CSEdWeek, just imagine what new companies, jobs and ideas they could bring to life.

Categories: education, Satya Nadella Tags: