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Microsoft takes on global cybercrime epidemic in tenth malware disruption

Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated with the following new information at 8 a.m. on July 9:

On Monday, June 30, Microsoft filed a civil suit in a Nevada federal court to disrupt Bladabindi-Jenxcus, a pervasive family of malware that put millions of customers at risk.

Today both Microsoft Corporation and Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC announce they have reached a settlement in the matter of Microsoft Corporation v. Mutairi, et al.

Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not knowingly involved with the subdomains used to support malware. Those spreading the malware abused Vitalwerks’ services.

Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.

In the process of redirecting traffic to its servers for malware detection, Microsoft acknowledges that a number of Vitalwerks customers were impacted by service outages as a result of a technical error. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience these customers may have experienced.

The following post from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, was originally published on June 30:


Playing offense against cybercriminals is what drives me and everyone here at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. Today, Microsoft has upped the ante against global cybercrime, taking legal action to clean up malware and help ensure customers stay safer online. In a civil case filed on June 19, Microsoft named two foreign nationals, Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi, and a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing business as No-IP.com), for their roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software—harming Microsoft, its customers and the public at large.

We’re taking No-IP to task as the owner of infrastructure frequently exploited by cybercriminals to infect innocent victims with the Bladabindi (NJrat) and Jenxcus (NJw0rm) family of malware. In the past, we’ve predominately seen botnets originating in Eastern Europe; however, the authors, owners and distributors of this malware are Kuwaiti and Algerian nationals. The social media-savvy cybercriminals have promoted their wares across the Internet, offering step-by-step instructions to completely control millions of unsuspecting victims’ computers to conduct illicit crimes—demonstrating that cybercrime is indeed a global epidemic.

Free Dynamic DNS is an easy target for cybercriminals

Dynamic Domain Name Service (DNS) is essentially a method of automatically updating a listing in the Internet’s address book, and is a vital part of the Internet. However, if not properly managed, a free Dynamic DNS service like No-IP can hold top-rank among abused domains. Of the 10 global malware disruptions in which we’ve been involved, this action has the potential to be the largest in terms of infection cleanup. Our research revealed that out of all Dynamic DNS providers, No-IP domains are used 93 percent of the time for Bladabindi-Jenxcus infections, which are the most prevalent among the 245 different types of malware currently exploiting No-IP domains. Microsoft has seen more than 7.4 million Bladabindi-Jenxcus detections over the past 12 months, which doesn’t account for detections by other anti-virus providers. Despite numerous reports by the security community on No-IP domain abuse, the company has not taken sufficient steps to correct, remedy, prevent or control the abuse or help keep its domains safe from malicious activity.

For a look at how cybercriminals leverage services like No-IP, and advice for customers to help ensure a safer online experience, please see the graphic below.

Microsoft legal and technical actions

On June 19, Microsoft filed for an ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO) from the U.S. District Court for Nevada against No-IP. On June 26, the court granted our request and made Microsoft the DNS authority for the company’s 23 free No-IP domains, allowing us to identify and route all known bad traffic to the Microsoft sinkhole and classify the identified threats. The new threat information will be added to Microsoft’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP) and provided to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and global Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to help repair the damage caused by Bladabindi-Jenxcus and other types of malware. The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit worked closely with Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center to identify, reverse engineer and develop a remedy for the threat to clean infected computers. We also worked with A10 Networks, leveraging Microsoft Azure, to configure a sophisticated system to manage the high volume of computer connections generated by botnets such as Bladabindi-Jenxcus.

As malware authors continue to pollute the Internet, domain owners must act responsibly by monitoring for and defending against cybercrime on their infrastructure. If free Dynamic DNS providers like No-IP exercise care and follow industry best practices, it will be more difficult for cybercriminals to operate anonymously and harder to victimize people online. Meanwhile, we will continue to take proactive measures to help protect our customers and hold malicious actors accountable for their actions.

This is the third malware disruption by Microsoft since the November unveiling of the Microsoft Cybercrime Center—a center of excellence for advancing the global fight against cybercrime. This case and operation are ongoing, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available. To stay up to date on the latest developments on the fight against cybercrime, follow the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit on Facebook and Twitter. Microsoft provides free tools and information to help customers clean and regain control of their computers at www.microsoft.com/security.

Microsoft takes on global cybercrime epidemic in tenth malware disruption

Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated with the following new information at 8 a.m. on July 9:

On Monday, June 30, Microsoft filed a civil suit in a Nevada federal court to disrupt Bladabindi-Jenxcus, a pervasive family of malware that put millions of customers at risk.

Today both Microsoft Corporation and Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC announce they have reached a settlement in the matter of Microsoft Corporation v. Mutairi, et al.

Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not knowingly involved with the subdomains used to support malware. Those spreading the malware abused Vitalwerks’ services.

Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.

In the process of redirecting traffic to its servers for malware detection, Microsoft acknowledges that a number of Vitalwerks customers were impacted by service outages as a result of a technical error. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience these customers may have experienced.

The following post from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, was originally published on June 30:


Playing offense against cybercriminals is what drives me and everyone here at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. Today, Microsoft has upped the ante against global cybercrime, taking legal action to clean up malware and help ensure customers stay safer online. In a civil case filed on June 19, Microsoft named two foreign nationals, Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi, and a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing business as No-IP.com), for their roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software—harming Microsoft, its customers and the public at large.

We’re taking No-IP to task as the owner of infrastructure frequently exploited by cybercriminals to infect innocent victims with the Bladabindi (NJrat) and Jenxcus (NJw0rm) family of malware. In the past, we’ve predominately seen botnets originating in Eastern Europe; however, the authors, owners and distributors of this malware are Kuwaiti and Algerian nationals. The social media-savvy cybercriminals have promoted their wares across the Internet, offering step-by-step instructions to completely control millions of unsuspecting victims’ computers to conduct illicit crimes—demonstrating that cybercrime is indeed a global epidemic.

Free Dynamic DNS is an easy target for cybercriminals

Dynamic Domain Name Service (DNS) is essentially a method of automatically updating a listing in the Internet’s address book, and is a vital part of the Internet. However, if not properly managed, a free Dynamic DNS service like No-IP can hold top-rank among abused domains. Of the 10 global malware disruptions in which we’ve been involved, this action has the potential to be the largest in terms of infection cleanup. Our research revealed that out of all Dynamic DNS providers, No-IP domains are used 93 percent of the time for Bladabindi-Jenxcus infections, which are the most prevalent among the 245 different types of malware currently exploiting No-IP domains. Microsoft has seen more than 7.4 million Bladabindi-Jenxcus detections over the past 12 months, which doesn’t account for detections by other anti-virus providers. Despite numerous reports by the security community on No-IP domain abuse, the company has not taken sufficient steps to correct, remedy, prevent or control the abuse or help keep its domains safe from malicious activity.

For a look at how cybercriminals leverage services like No-IP, and advice for customers to help ensure a safer online experience, please see the graphic below.

Microsoft legal and technical actions

On June 19, Microsoft filed for an ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO) from the U.S. District Court for Nevada against No-IP. On June 26, the court granted our request and made Microsoft the DNS authority for the company’s 23 free No-IP domains, allowing us to identify and route all known bad traffic to the Microsoft sinkhole and classify the identified threats. The new threat information will be added to Microsoft’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP) and provided to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and global Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to help repair the damage caused by Bladabindi-Jenxcus and other types of malware. The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit worked closely with Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center to identify, reverse engineer and develop a remedy for the threat to clean infected computers. We also worked with A10 Networks, leveraging Microsoft Azure, to configure a sophisticated system to manage the high volume of computer connections generated by botnets such as Bladabindi-Jenxcus.

As malware authors continue to pollute the Internet, domain owners must act responsibly by monitoring for and defending against cybercrime on their infrastructure. If free Dynamic DNS providers like No-IP exercise care and follow industry best practices, it will be more difficult for cybercriminals to operate anonymously and harder to victimize people online. Meanwhile, we will continue to take proactive measures to help protect our customers and hold malicious actors accountable for their actions.

This is the third malware disruption by Microsoft since the November unveiling of the Microsoft Cybercrime Center—a center of excellence for advancing the global fight against cybercrime. This case and operation are ongoing, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available. To stay up to date on the latest developments on the fight against cybercrime, follow the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit on Facebook and Twitter. Microsoft provides free tools and information to help customers clean and regain control of their computers at www.microsoft.com/security.

Schools choosing Microsoft to help bring the digital transition to life

REDMOND, Wash.

June 29,
201
4

On Sunday, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, Microsoft Corp. announced that the Pasadena Independent School District (ISD) in Texas is adding to the growing momentum of schools choosing Microsoft technology and resources to help transform the student learning experience in the classroom. After a two-year pilot at schools around the district, Pasadena ISD will give students and teachers 12,900 Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablets with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365 with OneNote. A primary consideration in the district’s decision was the innovative digital inking technology available in Windows 8.1 that is brought to life with OneNote and a touchscreen device like the Dell notebook.

“There is a massive transition to digital happening across the country and around the world in education, and schools looking to prepare their students for the world beyond the classroom are empowering their students and teachers by providing devices, services, training and other elements needed for improved student outcomes,” said Margo Day, vice president of U.S. education at Microsoft. “At Microsoft, we are proud to be a partner with so many great schools that are leading the way forward for education and in preparing our youth for tomorrow’s workforce.”

After carefully evaluating its device options, Pasadena ISD concluded that the inking capabilities in Windows 8.1, combined with the power of OneNote, gave students and teachers the most engaging experience possible. The district originally looked at a Windows 7-based netbook, but when it saw how digital inking on a tablet can duplicate the pen-and-paper experience, it captured peoples’ imaginations. The district saw the possibilities for things like real-time note taking, art projects and annotations, and determined that was the best option for students.

Pasadena joins a growing list of schools around the country that have recently chosen Microsoft devices and services to help bring technology and Microsoft YouthSpark resources into the classroom to improve student outcomes and opportunities, including the following:

  • Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). As part of Baltimore County Public Schools’ Students & Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.) initiative, the district is rolling out 150,000 HP Elitebook 810 Revolve devices running Windows 8.1 to all students and teachers over the next four years. The initiative is aimed at fundamentally shifting teaching and learning in the district. Also, through the Microsoft Student Advantage offer, the district, which is already providing Microsoft Office to faculty and staff, will also offer the productivity suite to students at no additional cost. BCPS has developed a thoughtful approach to all the critical components to an effective one-to-one computing (1:1) initiative that also includes ongoing training for educators. Its curriculum offices are currently developing a framework and template for use in BCPS One, the new digital portal for curriculum and instruction, assessments, student data, reporting, and analysis.

  • Bureau of Indian Education: In support of President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative and to accelerate the speed at which students in Bureau of Indian Education schools in the U.S. experience the benefits of a move to digital environments, Microsoft is working with Verizon Wireless to bring 10 tribal K–12 schools to digital 1:1 environments, which will include digital textbooks, content filtering and device management. The devices provided as part of the initiative are Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets. Data plans, network build-out, and appropriate educator and student training are included in the agreement. Build out of the network and implementation will take place in the coming months.

  • Chester County School District. This South Carolina district is in a close-knit, rural community, yet the school district also wanted to ensure that its young people had a global perspective. The district worked with local Internet providers to create Wi-Fi hotspots in strategically placed locations, such as parks and libraries, and provided students with Windows 8 devices. The devices were selected based on the district’s education priorities, a long battery life and durability.

  • Cincinnati Country Day School (CCDS). One of the first schools in the nation to go 1:1 in 1996, CCDS has been on the cutting edge of the digital transition for a long time. The school is now deploying Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices for its students in grades 5–12 and faculty. According to the school, these devices meet all three critical elements for technology in the classroom: the importance and value of reading and writing to the way students learn; the school’s focus on the creative process; and tools that are versatile enough to support a variety of projects and experiments, regardless of subject.

  • Fresno Unified School District (FUSD). The fourth-largest district in California with 75,000 students is currently rolling out 15,000 ASUS Transformer T100 devices running Windows 8.1 to third through eighth graders. The district chose the Windows platform to meet Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s requirements for testing and the district’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) vision.

  • Houston Independent School District (HISD). The largest school district in Texas and seventh-largest in the U.S., HISD purchased Microsoft solutions to help it improve student outcomes, solve privacy concerns and amend manageability worries that plague many other education technology implementations. Microsoft Office 365 and HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks running Windows are helping to support HISD’s more than 14,000 students and 1,200 teachers in the first phase of its PowerUp initiative to transform how teachers teach and how students learn.

  • Leon County Schools. The Florida district has been deploying Windows 8.1 devices to its 34,000 students, allowing them to keep the business-class tools already in use today and provide maximum flexibility for both elementary and high school levels.

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DPS). The nation’s fourth-largest school district, initiated its digital convergence project, rolling out 150,000 HP devices running Windows 8.1, with tablets for seventh-grade civics and ninth-grade world history classes, and laptops at the elementary level. In addition, more than 10,000 interactive boards will be added to classrooms across the district, and all 350,000 students will receive Microsoft Office Professional Plus for free as part of Microsoft Student Advantage. One-third of MDCPS schools will also be Microsoft IT Academy schools, receiving specific IT skills training and certification testing. Finally, the first wave of M-DPS teachers have begun training with Microsoft Expert Educators.

  • West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Education, as part of a statewide agreement is allowing all its public schools to upgrade to Windows 8.1, as well as providing Office 365 and Office 365 ProPlus to students, teachers and staff, resulting in lower costs and broader access for schools and families in the state.

This digital transition is not just happening in the U.S., but also in schools around the world where technology is empowering students. In Thailand, for example, the Office of the Basic Education Commission recently signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide all 8 million students and 400,000 teachers in the country with access to Microsoft Office 365 for Education.

About Microsoft in Education

Microsoft is deeply committed to working with governments, communities, schools and educators to use the power of information technology to deliver technology, services and programs that provide anytime, anywhere learning for all. Since 2003, Microsoft has partnered with educators to impact more than 207 million students in 119 countries. Through TEACH.Org, Microsoft and other partners, candidates are provided with free access to the online tools and resources necessary to pursue a career in teaching. For more information: http://www.microsoft.com/education.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft announces quarterly earnings release date and upcoming event for the financial community

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 3, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. will publish fiscal year 2014 second-quarter financial results after the close of the market on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 on the Microsoft Investor Relations Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/. A live webcast of the earnings conference call will be made available at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on the Microsoft Investor Relations Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.

The company will also participate in the following event for the financial community:

JP Morgan Tech Forum at CES 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
12:45 p.m. PT
Bill Duff, chief financial officer, Operating Systems

Interested parties can listen to a webcast of these events on the Microsoft Investor Relations Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, financial analysts and investors only:

Investor Relations, Microsoft, (425) 706-4400

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/news/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.

Microsoft acquires Parature to add leading customer self-service suite to Microsoft Dynamics CRM

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 7, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Parature, a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions. The acquisition will add world-class customer self-service capabilities to further accelerate the Microsoft Dynamics vision of helping organizations deliver amazing customer experiences.

“Customers are more connected and better informed than ever before. Organizations are looking for business solutions that can strengthen their ability to connect with customers on their own terms, using whatever device and whatever channel they prefer,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “Parature is a perfect fit for every business and will enable us to offer customers one of the best cloud-based solutions for customer self-service. This is a compelling combination for organizations committed to delivering the best service experience that consistently exceeds their customers’ expectations.”

As a provider of cloud-based customer service software to midsize and enterprise organizations, Parature has a well-earned reputation for outstanding customer service with 70 million users worldwide and more than 500 well-known brands, including Ask.com, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, IBM, Saba Software Inc., Tagged Inc. and Threadless. The company also received the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Customer Value Enhancement Award for using social media to help organizations deliver outstanding customer service.

Parature’s approach to its solutions enables organizations to take advantage of an extendable knowledge base available through self-service portals on the Web and Facebook, support ticketing, mobile customer care on virtually any device the customer chooses to use, social customer support, and chat for both traditional customer service scenarios and proactive sales engagement to create new, revenue-generating opportunities for the business. These capabilities complement the existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer-care solution with core strengths in workflow, extensibility and process-driven user experiences that allow contact center agents to do their best work.

Microsoft will continue to offer Parature solutions and support all new and existing customers as the company works to further enhance these offerings.

The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed. More information on this announcement, including product integration plans and timeline, will be shared at Parafest 2014 (Feb. 24–25) in Las Vegas and Convergence 2014 (March 4–7) in Atlanta. A blog by Bob Stutz speaking about this announcement Tuesday can be found at https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/crmconnection/archive/2014/01/07/microsoft-dynamics-crm-and-parature-a-match-made-for-you.aspx.

More information about Parature is available at http://www.parature.com, and more on Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm.aspx.

Those interested can follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics community on Twitter at @MSDynamicsCRM, hashtags #MSDynCRM and #CRM2013, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/msftdynamics.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft all in for retail; extends leadership in end-to-end customer interactions and omni-channel operations

NEW YORK

Jan. 13
,
2014
At the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Annual Convention on Monday, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) showcased the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail. The release features innovation in modern, mobile commerce, catalog and call center sales, as well as advanced operations for warehousing and transportation and logistics management. Managed by a true omni-channel commerce engine, these new capabilities further enhance the unique end-to-end value proposition of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail to help businesses such as Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Jean Coutu Group Inc. deliver amazing experiences that make happy customers.

Building on its commitment to deliver complete shopping experiences, Microsoft announced new alliances with Vantiv Inc. and Sitecore, as well as an expanded relationship with IBM. In addition, the company highlighted solution innovations on Windows Mobile devices and Microsoft Surface 2, reinforcing the company’s unique position as a retailer and developer of enterprise hardware and business applications. All of this helps ensure that customers get industry-leading solutions that help them reduce costs and complexity and enable them to always be ready for what’s next.

“Success in a retail environment that is modern, mobile, global and ‘always on’ requires businesses to create the personal and highly differentiated customer interactions,” said Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions. “Microsoft is committed to helping businesses deliver amazing retail experiences today. It is at the core of our vision for the retail industry to help businesses connect without compromise across channels, on any device, anywhere.”

Industry-leading

mobile commerce options
and

complete end-to-e
nd
e

c
ommerce
solution

As part of Microsoft’s alliance with Vantiv, a leading provider of payment processing services and related technology solutions, Microsoft Dynamics for Retail will deliver a new range of solutions for mobile POS and cloud-connected payments that can help businesses maximize their customer reach at any scale, end-to-end. From simple mobile payment collection in the field and individual direct-sales transactions to retail store operations and more, the combination of Microsoft’s technology with Vantiv’s scalable, integrated payment processing services and technology will make it easy for businesses to take advantage of their most important asset, people, to offer seamless, best-in-class experiences.

“Our alliance with Microsoft is a great example of how Vantiv is extending payment and POS innovation to our merchant partners,” said Elizabeth Rector, senior vice president of e-commerce and mobile at Vantiv. “Microsoft Dynamic’s POS leadership and reseller network combined with Vantiv’s omni-channel payments platform and vast distribution channels enable an entirely new scale of mobile payment solutions, delivering a true 360-degree experience to mid-market and enterprise merchants across any vertical.”

Offering customers the first end-to-end, enterprise e-commerce solution based entirely on Microsoft technology, the company also announced an alliance with Sitecore, a global leader in customer experience management software, to integrate its leading customer experience platform with the leading omni-channel commerce capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics. This combined solution will give businesses the ability to design completely connected online experiences optimized for the behaviors, devices and preferences of visitors with complete, real-time, omni-channel order management.

“This alliance is a game-changer for the retail industry. The integration of Sitecore’s best-in-class experience platform with Microsoft’s powerful, proven commerce solution will allow organizations to harness the power of real-time data insights to personalize and deliver compelling, consistent brand experiences — online, in-store and across any channel,” said Darren Guarnaccia, chief strategy officer for Sitecore. “Sitecore and Microsoft both offer trusted enterprise solutions globally and have a strong foundation of exceptional technology and joint customer success to build from.”

Microsoft and IBM
team
to deliver
innovation and
value to retailers

Microsoft also announced an expanded relationship with IBM, combining the powerful capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 in retail and distribution with IBM’s proven global leadership in delivering integrated, enterprise retail solutions. The relationship also includes plans for IBM to develop and deploy differentiated intellectual property to offer unique, enhanced value to customers around world.

“IBM’s expanded collaboration with Microsoft will deliver innovative technology solutions that will help retailers seamlessly connect to their customers while delivering an exceptional brand experience,” said Brian Minnix, partner, Worldwide Retail Competency Center Lead, IBM. “We look forward to teaming with Microsoft to design differentiated retail solutions and services for today’s connected customers.”

More information on the new capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/retail.aspx.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft and GoDaddy announce strategic partnership to help small businesses

REDMOND, Wash.
,
and
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.

— Jan. 13, 2014 —

GoDaddy
, the Web’s top platform for small business, and Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday a long-term strategic partnership to offer Office 365 as GoDaddy’s exclusive core business-class email and productivity service to its small-business customers. This partnership supports GoDaddy’s ongoing push to deliver premium small-business management solutions. Serving 12 million customers worldwide, GoDaddy has created a simple experience for small businesses with industry-leading productivity tools backed by best-in-class customer support at an affordable price.

“Combining our small-business expertise together with Microsoft’s productivity offerings opens new doors for small businesses to easily get the tools they need to get more done in their day,” said Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of Business Applications, GoDaddy. “We’ve created a simple way to attach Office 365 to a domain name, helping small-business owners look professional and work anywhere, making the business of running their business easier.”


The strategic agreement between Microsoft and GoDaddy provides small businesses with seamless access to professional email connected to their domain names, cloud storage and a full suite of Microsoft productivity solutions. Plus, with GoDaddy, users receive around-the-clock live customer service, helping save time best spent focusing on their business. Also as part of the agreement, Microsoft created a unique offering of domain-based email and storage especially built with GoDaddy’s very small businesses in mind.

Office 365 offers business-class email, shared calendars, instant messaging, online conferencing and access to the most up-to-date documents. These capabilities are delivered as a cloud service available to users wherever they are, online or offline and across a variety of devices, offering access to the most up-to-date versions of the files and tools they need to get things done. Unlike some offerings designed for consumers or small businesses, Office 365 includes built-in security features that help deflect malware, spam, phishing attacks and other threats.

“We’re excited that GoDaddy has chosen to exclusively offer Office 365 to its small- business customers, giving them easy and supported access to productivity tools being used by some of the most successful businesses in the world,” said John Case, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office. “GoDaddy’s relationship with small businesses combined with Office 365, the fastest-growing Microsoft product in history, will help bring the benefits of Office 365 and modern cloud services to even more companies, whether they’re seeking to modernize how they do business or simply starting up.”

There are an estimated 28 million small businesses in the U.S. alone[1] and 125 million worldwide.[2] Of those 28 million, 92 percent of businesses have fewer than four employees. According to a Boston Consulting Group global study commissioned by Microsoft, if more small and medium-sized businesses adopted the latest in IT tools, it could potentially boost their revenues by a combined $770 billion and create more than 6 million jobs.[2]

Office 365 from GoDaddy is currently available in the U.S. and Canada and will expand globally within the next three months.

About GoDaddy

GoDaddy now serves more than 12 million paying customers worldwide and is the largest Web hosting and domain name registrar on the planet. GoDaddy leverages its award-winning talent and personalized approach to help small business owners create their digital identity, build websites and grow online. To learn more about the company, visit GoDaddy.com/PR.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

[1] GoDaddy research; U.S. Census Bureau, Longitudinal Business Database 1977–2010, 2009 County Business Patterns, 2010, http://censtats.census.gov/cgi-bin/nonemployer/nonsect.pl, http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/849/12162

[2] Source: International Finance Corp., member of the World Bank Group, “Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises

Around the World: How Many Are There, and What Affects the Count?” 2010

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

RCS MediaGroup uses Microsoft technology to modernize communication and collaboration, and foster mobile workforce

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 16, 2014 — RCS MediaGroup, the leading Italian multimedia publishing company, primarily operating in Italy and Spain, has modernized and unified its communications infrastructure and enabled flexible, cloud-based collaboration through a comprehensive Microsoft technology solution that includes Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure, Microsoft Lync 2013, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint 2013.

“With the benefits of a consistent approach for the end user, complete transparency for the delivery and the availability of Office applications, there will be more and more opportunities for our employees to continue to deliver new, innovative ideas,” said Umberto Tonelli, chief information officer of RCS MediaGroup. “For the IT department, this is a win-win situation; we are protecting our investments in technology, diminishing the risk of a massive deployment and finding new space to introduce innovation.”

RCS, longtime partner with Microsoft, turned to Microsoft Corp. because it needed to modernize its existing infrastructure while maintaining the security and quality of its business data and systems. With Microsoft cloud solutions, RCS has benefited from security-enhanced cloud storage, improved its disaster preparedness through the protection of relevant assets such as digitized historical archives of newspapers, simplified its communications infrastructure, and provided agile project management offerings for a mobile, distributed workforce that is using these solutions to manage more than 200 projects within its Digital Product Development Department. Moreover, using modern Windows apps and storage in the cloud, RCS has developed a solution for the sales force of its book publishing company, RCS Libri, that allows sales agents to retrieve the new books catalogue while on the go and present it interactively to their customers. Using the modern Windows app, they can directly place orders from the catalogue in front of the customer, dramatically reducing the selling cycle. After an agent’s visit, the modern Windows app allows the customer to review the catalog through a Web interface and place additional orders. The sales agents benefit as well from using Office 365 and Lync to communicate with their network, within and outside RCS.

Moreover, the new platform provides the marketing teams with a new collaborative environment, based on Office 365, where they can invite selected customers to focus groups to discuss and vote on the new digital products that RCS is planning to release.

Using a combination of Office 365 cloud environment and SharePoint 2013 on-premises, RCS will transform its intranet from a pure top-down communications tool to an interactive self-service feature for virtual desk. In addition to company information and self-service features for administrative tasks, it provides all employees with tools that support their business activities, allow them to collaborate with their network, contribute to and search the enterprise knowledge base, access their personal productivity tools (email, calendar, tasks, etc.), and manage their personal profile, information and files. The integrated solution enables RCS employees to share documents and images, manage projects, and communicate from virtually any location with mobile technology tools that support access from smartphones, tablets and other devices. Employees located in Italy can use Lync to quickly and easily connect with fellow employees in other locations around the world, such as the U.S., Spain, Mexico and China, as well as with vendors and partners. Ultimately, the company has been able to create a better and more productive working environment for its employees.

More information about how organizations are turning to Microsoft technology is available on the Microsoft Customer Spotlight newsroom.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft Open Technologies expands presence to China


Editor’s note – Jan. 16, 2014 –

The quote from Ya-Qin Zhang in the press release below was updated post-publication.

SHANGHAI



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Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech), a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. dedicated to bridging Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies, on Thursday announced the opening of a subsidiary in China, Microsoft Open Technologies (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. (MS Open Tech Shanghai).



January 15, 2014
Jean Paoli, President of Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., during his keynote at the launch of Microsoft Open Technologies in Shanghai, China on Jan. 16, 2014.
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MS Open Tech Shanghai will have a robust team of engineers, standards professionals and technical evangelists with roots in open source and open standards. The Chinese subsidiary will focus on facilitating interactions between Microsoft proprietary development processes and the company’s open innovation efforts on services and devices by advancing the investments in interoperability, open standards and open source.

A July 26, 2013, Gartner Research report, titled “Global Data Point: Gartner, Hype Cycle for ICT in China, 2013,” states, “There is growing interest in China in the evolution of cloud technologies, open-source software, shared services, data center technologies such as the software-defined network, smart cities and green IT/sustainability.”[1]

As interest in cloud computing and open source technologies increases in China, Microsoft is focused on providing local customers with greater choice and opportunity to work successfully in heterogeneous IT environments. Through its operations in Shanghai, MS Open Tech will play a pivotal role by driving investments in interoperability and standards in Microsoft products, contributing to the open source community, and enabling open source software on Microsoft platforms, such as Windows Azure.

Jean Paoli, president of MS Open Tech, said, “We are committed to fostering Chinese innovation. Our new subsidiary will offer more flexibility to iterate and release open source software created in China, participate in existing open source and open standards efforts, and collaborate with the community of open source developers in China.”

Mr. Zhao Zhuping, Governor of the Minhang District of Shanghai, extended his congratulations to MS Open Tech Shanghai and said, “The development of open source software and the open source community requires long-term commitment. We are delighted to see the investments and efforts that Microsoft has made to advance the local open source ecosystem, which will enhance interactions between the local and global open source communities and help cultivate local talents.”



January 15, 2014
Government officials, industry leaders and Microsoft executives celebrate the launch of Microsoft Open Technologies in Shanghai, China on Jan. 16, 2014. From left: Samuel Shen, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft China; Yang Genxing, Chairman, Shanghai Software Industry Association; S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation; Mr. Zhao Zhuping, Governor of Minhang District; Jean Paoli, President, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.; Lu Shouqun, Honorary Chairman, China Open Source Software Promotion Union (COPU); Lang Sheng Yun, Managing Director, Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai; Shen Wen, President, Shanghai Zizhu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone.
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Qiu Shanqin, chairman of China Open Source Software Promotion Union (COPU), said, “MS Open Tech China will enhance the collaboration between Microsoft and China technology companies in the area of open technologies. It will elevate technology innovation, promote the development of software industry in China and become a driver of economic development. MS Open Tech will also help attract more talent, which is the foundation of any community. I hope MS Open Tech will participate in and become an active member of the open source community in China and cultivate the Chinese open source community into a leading community in the world.”

Ya-Qin Zhang, corporate vice president, Microsoft China, said, “China is a strategic market for Microsoft. Over the past few years, Microsoft has significantly expanded the scope of R&D in China to not only help build global products but also help address the needs of China customers, partners and government. The establishment of Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai is another key milestone in this journey, providing more choices for customers and developers, and more technology innovation for businesses, governments, and consumers, in particular in the era of cloud, big data, mobility and social.”

MS Open Tech works globally with many Microsoft product groups to ensure that open source technologies work well with Microsoft products and open standards are supported. MS Open Tech is helping developers reach more people in more ways across multiple devices by engaging with a variety of standards organizations, such as DMTF, ECMA, IETF, OASIS, W3C, ISO/IEC, and open source communities, including Apache Cordova, Apache Qpid, Blink, Cocos2D, Doctrine, Drupal, Joomla, JQuery, MongoDB, Mozilla, Node.js, Ogre3D, Outercurve, Redis, Symfony, WebKit and WordPress.

MS Open Tech plays an active role among standards-setting organizations, including initiatives for interoperable cloud services and the future of the open Web. In many cases, the subsidiary submits open source prototypes to test a potential standard’s use and interoperability.

More information and updates about MS Open Tech Shanghai are available by subscribing to the MS Open Tech Blog or visiting the MS Open Tech Chinese subsidiary website.

About Microsoft Open Technologies

Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. dedicated to advancing the company’s investment in openness including interoperability, open standards and open source. MS Open Tech is focused on providing our customers with even greater choice and opportunity to bridge Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies together in heterogeneous environments, because we’re convinced that openness is good for our customers, good for the community and good for our business. For additional information on MS Open Tech, visit www.msopentech.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

[1]
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
.



Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Microsoft reports record revenue of $24.52 billion in second quarter

REDMOND, Wash. — January 23, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $24.52 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2013. Gross margin, operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $16.24 billion, $7.97 billion, $6.56 billion, and $0.78 per share, respectively.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance.

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“Our Commercial segment continues to outpace the overall market, and our Devices and Consumer segment had a great holiday quarter,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “The investments we are making in devices and services that deliver high-value experiences to our customers, and the work we are doing with our partners, are driving strong results and positioning us well for long-term growth.”

“We delivered record revenue as demand for our business offerings remains high and we made strong progress in our Devices and Consumer segment,” said Amy Hood, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “These results reflect our focus on execution, cost discipline, and long-term shareholder value as we continue to drive the strategic transformation of the company.”

Devices and Consumer revenue grew 13% to $11.91 billion.

  • Windows OEM revenue declined 3%, reflecting strong 12% growth in Windows OEM Pro revenue, offset by continued softness in the consumer PC market.

  • Surface revenue more than doubled sequentially, from $400 million in the first quarter to $893 million in the second quarter.

  • The company sold 7.4 million Xbox console units into the retail channel, including 3.9 million Xbox One consoles and 3.5 million Xbox 360 consoles.

  • Bing search share grew to 18.2% and search advertising revenue grew 34%.

Commercial revenue grew 10% to $12.67 billion.

  • SQL Server continued to gain market share with revenue growing double-digits.

  • System Center showed continued strength with double-digit revenue growth.

  • Commercial cloud services revenue more than doubled.

  • Office 365 commercial seats and Azure customers both grew triple-digits.

“We significantly outpaced enterprise IT spend as we continue to take share from our competitors by delivering the devices and services our customers need as they transition to the cloud,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “Our commercial cloud services revenue grew more than 100% year-over-year, as customers are embracing Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online, and making long-term commitments to the Microsoft platform.”

Business Outlook

Microsoft will provide forward-looking guidance in connection with this quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call and webcast detailed below.

Webcast Details

Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, and Chris Suh, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on January 23, 2015.

Adjusted Financial Results and Non-GAAP Measures

During the second quarter of fiscal year 2013, GAAP revenue, operating income, and diluted earnings per share included the net deferral of $1.3 billion of revenue for the Windows Upgrade Offer, the Office Upgrade Offer and Pre-sales, and the Video Game Deferral, and the recognition of previously deferred revenue of $783 million for Windows 8 Pre-sales. These items are defined below. In addition to these financial results reported in accordance with GAAP, we have provided certain non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company’s performance. Presenting these measures without the impact of these items gives additional insight into operational performance and helps clarify trends affecting the company’s business. For comparability of reporting, management considers this information in conjunction with GAAP amounts in evaluating business performance. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Non-GAAP Definitions

Revenue deferred on sales of Windows 7 with an option to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro at a discounted price (“Windows Upgrade Offer”).

Revenue deferred on pre-sales of Windows 8 to OEMs and retailers before general availability (“Windows 8 Pre-sales”).

Revenue deferred on sales of the previous version of the Microsoft Office system with a guarantee to be upgraded to the new Office at minimal or no cost and pre-sales of the new Office to OEMs and retailers before general availability (collectively, the “Office Deferral”).

Revenue deferred on sales of video games with the right to receive specified software upgrades/enhancements (“Video Game Deferral”).

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially because of factors such as:

  • intense competition in all of Microsoft’s markets;

  • increasing focus on services presents execution and competitive risks;

  • significant investments in new products and services that may not be profitable;

  • acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances, including our acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, may have an adverse effect on our business;

  • Microsoft’s continued ability to protect its intellectual property rights;

  • claims that Microsoft has infringed the intellectual property rights of others;

  • the possibility of unauthorized disclosure of significant portions of Microsoft’s source code;

  • cyber-attacks and security vulnerabilities in Microsoft products that could reduce revenue or lead to liability;

  • disclosure of personal data that could result in liability and harm to Microsoft’s reputation;

  • outages, data losses, and disruptions of our online services if we fail to maintain an adequate operations infrastructure;

  • government litigation and regulation that may limit how Microsoft designs and markets its products;

  • Microsoft’s ability to attract and retain talented employees;

  • delays in product development and related product release schedules;

  • adverse economic or market conditions may harm our business;

  • adverse results in legal disputes;

  • unanticipated tax liabilities;

  • our hardware and software products may experience quality or supply problems;

  • impairment of goodwill or amortizable intangible assets causing a charge to earnings;

  • exposure to increased economic and regulatory uncertainties from operating a global business; and

  • catastrophic events or geo-political conditions may disrupt our business.

For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with Microsoft’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of Microsoft’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which may be obtained by contacting Microsoft’s Investor Relations department at (800) 285-7772 or at Microsoft’s Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.

All information in this release is as of January 23, 2014. The company undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the company’s expectations.

For more information, financial analysts and investors only:

Chris Suh, general manager, Investor Relations, (425) 706-4400

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news/. Web links, telephone numbers, and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information, as well as today’s 2:30 p.m. PST conference call with investors and analysts, is available at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/.