The power of ‘and’

The following post is from Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft.


A little over a year ago, we announced the general availability of Azure Infrastructure Services. Since that time, we helped customers realize the power of “and” with Infrastructure Services and Platform Services, Windows and Linux, Oracle, SQL and soon SAP – all in one cloud – so customers get the speed, scale and economic benefits of the cloud no matter what they want to do. Today, I’m excited to share that Gartner has named Microsoft as a Leader in its 2014 Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant report. This comes on the heels of Gartner recognizing Microsoft as a Leader in the Enterprise Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) market in its 2014 Enterprise aPaaS Magic Quadrant – making Microsoft the only public cloud vendor to be named a Leader for both PaaS and IaaS.

We have long maintained that customers need choice and flexibility to navigate this mobile-first, cloud-first world and that Microsoft is uniquely equipped to deliver on that by enabling customers to use public, hybrid or private clouds for maximum flexibility and business benefit. For example, they can instantly provision Virtual Machines, apps and services within Microsoft-managed datacenters around the world. Or, they can develop apps using the languages and frameworks they already use without giving a second thought to the underlying infrastructure. Our commitment is to make it easy for customers to take advantage of the cloud on their terms, not ours.

This approach is important because organizations have different needs. Offering only one piece of the cloud puzzle isn’t enough to satisfy all the different scenarios in today’s environments and workloads. Being named a Leader in both the IaaS and PaaS Magic Quadrants is incredibly important to us: We believe it validates that a hybrid approach is right and that our offerings today are among the best in both of these important markets.

But even more important than today is tomorrow. The world is always changing, and the cloud is no exception. We are committed to helping our customers navigate the evolving demands of tomorrow by simplifying the increasingly complex demands of cloud computing. We took a key step toward the future last month at Build, where we announced a first-of-its-kind portal within Microsoft Azure that blends IaaS and PaaS seamlessly so that customers no longer have to work in multiple, disparate environments, or sacrifice speed, efficiency or choice – bringing the power of ‘and’ to the next level.

More than 57 percent of the Fortune 500, including Toyota, NBC Sports and Avanade, and startups like Mural.ly, Fuphie LLC and LiquidSpace are discovering ‘the power of and’. If you haven’t tried Microsoft Azure yet, we invite you to discover what ‘and’ can do for you.

*The above graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Weekend Reading: May 30th Edition—Skype Translator introduced at inaugural Code Conference, Microsoft and salesforce.com announce strategic partnership

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Skype Translator app revealed at the first-ever Code Conference, a new strategic partnership between Microsoft and salesforce.com and how businesses like the Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Coca-Cola Company have chosen the Surface Pro 3 as their go-to choice to replace laptops.

Soon, you won’t have to know a foreign language to speak to someone in another country in real time. A new breakthrough app, Skype Translator, developed by Microsoft researchers and engineers, was demonstrated Tuesday during a talk by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The app will be available in beta for Windows 8.1 before the end of the year.

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Microsoft and salesforce.com announced a strategic partnership Thursday to connect salesforce.com’s customer relationship management apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows. Together, the two companies will deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows. Among those solutions is Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, which will give customers access to Salesforce and run their businesses from Windows devices. A preview is planned in fall 2014, with general availability in 2015.

Big companies – such as BMW Group, The Coca-Cola Company and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy – have committed to buying and deploying Surface Pro 3. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, Surface Pro 3 will replace laptops for doctors and officials for many reasons, among them the Surface Pro 3 pen and the ability to take notes on the device’s 12-inch screen. Its weight, battery life and application compatibility also helped make the decision a “no-brainer,” says hospital CIO Wes Wright.

It was a big week over at Bing, with updates to the Bing Maps Apps for Windows 8.1 that include new features and cities; and Bing Brazil officially kicked off the “Na área” project. It aims to bring communities in that country together to document tourist attractions, landmarks, hotels and other points of interest, starting with pilot programs in the Vidigal, Complexo de Maré and Manguinhos favelas – informal settlements that combined are home to 200,000 people. 

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The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee buzzed with surprises from Microsoft Tuesday. Microsoft is a technology partner of this year’s Bee and each of the Bee’s 281 participants received a brand new Surface device, Skype gift card and Office 365. As part of the Bing in the Classroom program, special digital literacy-focused Spelling Bee lessons can be found alongside the Bing home page lesson plans. You can also try out the free Spelling Bees app, exclusively for Windows 8. The Bing Search Blog also had some fun with previous Bee winning words autochthonous, prospicience and insouciant.

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In the world of apps, we saw action heroes, emergency lifelines and indie games galore. Get in on the web-slinging action with App of the Week “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for Windows Phone. Or if ancient Rome is more your bag, try the Staff App Pick “Glorious Maximus” for Windows. Another staff app pick, BuluBox for Windows, helps deliver the latest nutrition supplements to your door. Because a smartphone is handier than ever, you’ll find the updated Microsoft HelpBridge app for smartphones could be a lifeline during disasters. For lighter fare, Disney reimagines the Sega Genesis classic “Castle of Illusion” for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. Finally, the Windows Phone Blog wrote about the Windows Phone Store’s Indie Game Spotlight Collection.

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Last week, Microsoft Stories launched Snaps, a digital photo album of must-see Microsoft images from around the world.We’ll show you a new Snap in every Weekend Reading. In this week’s installment, Brian Smale captures Stories reporter Jennifer Warnick singing an impromptu duet with tuneful marketing manager Bryan Roper while interviewing him for an upcoming profile.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to James Whittaker, who went from Microsoft to Google and back to Microsoft again.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Enjoy the last weekend of May and first weekend of June! See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft and salesforce.com announce strategic partnership

Microsoft and salesforce.com announced a strategic partnership Thursday to connect salesforce.com’s customer relationship management apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows.

“We are excited to partner with salesforce.com and help customers thrive in a mobile and cloud-first world,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a press release. “Working together we’ll deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows, so our customers can do more.”

Among the solutions the two companies will deliver is Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, which will let customers access Salesforce and run their businesses from their Windows devices. A preview is planned in fall 2014, with general availability in 2015.

To learn more, read the press release.

You might also be interested in:

· New water utilities app for Windows 8 lets workers quickly respond to customer complaints, critical events
· Big businesses are already choosing Surface Pro 3
· Updated Microsoft HelpBridge app for smartphones can be a lifeline during disasters

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

James Whittaker on the art of making truly killer presentations

Editor’s note: The following is a post from Jennifer Warnick, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.


It’s a Friday afternoon, and James Whittaker is sitting at Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond. Laptop open, pint to the side, he’s working on his latest brainchild, a manuscript called “The Art of Stage Presence.”

After spending his career leading various deeply technical charges, Whittaker has spent the last year tucking his metaphorical soap box into countless overhead compartments as he travels the globe speaking about Microsoft. Stage presence, he said, is his super power.

“I’m convincing the world that Microsoft is a force to be reckoned with, that we do interesting work, that we’re thinking about the future, that we have great ideas,” Whittaker said. “I’ve spoken at all of the major developer conferences on every continent. Except Antarctica.”

Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” begins playing overhead. “And I will totally teach penguins to code if you give me an opportunity,” he continues in his Kentuckian drawl. “Anyone who has ever sat through a technology conference can confirm that brilliance is not always bestowed in equal measures with stage presence and public speaking skills,” Whittaker said. “See, there are four parts to every talk …”

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

Spell e-d-u-c-a-t-i-o-n: Each spelling bee participant receives new Surface, Office 365 and Skype gift card

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Yan Zhong, Skype program manager at Microsoft, far left, when she competed in the national spelling bee during her middle school years.

Each of the 281 participants in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee got an extra boost from Microsoft Tuesday night to help them with their education, and to make sure the bonds they create with other competitors around the world can continue.

The spellers, who range in age from 8 to 15, each received a brand new Surface device and Office 365. They also got a Skype gift card that can be used with the Skype app on their new Surface devices. “That way, everyone will be able to maintain the new friendships they’ve formed, no matter where their friends are located around the globe,” writes Yan Zhong, Skype program manager at Microsoft. Zhong was a spelling bee competitor in the late 1990s, when she was in middle school.

Microsoft is sponsoring the event as the first-ever technology champion. To read more, head over to the Microsoft in Education blog.

You might also be interested in:

· Winners, finalists of 2014 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards announced
· Workshop discusses big data’s role in responding to catastrophic events
· Visual Studio’s new Productivity Power Tools 2013 feature lets you make better use of your vertical real estate

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft demos breakthrough in real-time translated conversations

The following post is from Gurdeep Pall, Corporate Vice President of Skype and Lync at Microsoft.


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It’s been an interesting evening here in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. at the inaugural Code Conference (#CodeCon) where @karaswisher and @waltmossberg are engaging Microsoft CEO @satyanadella in a more than hour-long onstage conversation.  

During his conversation with Walt and Kara, Satya discussed his views on how we’re evolving to a more personal, more human era of computing, and I had the good fortune to join Satya on stage to demo – for the the first time publicly – an exciting new capability we’re developing for Skype.

On Tuesday at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sat down to talk with Re/code’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Photo credit: Asa Mathat – Re/code.

Imagine in the very near future technology allowing humans to bridge geographic and language boundaries to connect mind to mind and heart to heart in ways never before possible.

For more than a decade, Skype has brought people together to make progress on what matters to them. Today, we have more than 300 million connected users each month, and more than 2 billion minutes of conversation a day as Skype breaks down communications barriers by delivering voice and video across a number of devices, from PCs and tablets, to smartphones and TVs. But language barriers have been a blocker to productivity and human connection; Skype Translator helps us overcome this barrier.

On Tuesday at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft corporate vice president of Skype and Lync, demoed the new Skype Translator app while Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher looked on. Video of the demo will be available on The Official Microsoft Blog shortly. Photo credit: Asa Mathat – Re/code.

Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition. Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era. You can learn more about the research behind this initiative here.

As you saw from my conversation with Diana, it is early days for this technology, but the Star Trek™ vision for a Universal Translator isn’t a galaxy away, and its potential is every bit as exciting as those Star Trek examples. Skype Translator opens up so many possibilities to make meaningful connections in ways you never could before in education, diplomacy, multilingual families and in business. 

Skype Translator first will be available as a Windows 8 beta app before the end of 2014. Skype itself is available across a number of devices and computing platforms. If you aren’t already using Skype for voice and video calls, I encourage you to download Skype and create your account. 

In our industry, we often talk about pursuing big, bold dreams, and of how we’re limited only by the power of our imaginations. Skype Translator is one of those endeavors, and I look forward to keeping you apprised of our journey to break down another barrier to human productivity and connection.