Category Archives: Microsoft Blog

Microsoft Blog

Office Sway re-imagines how you create and share interactive content

The introduction of Office Sway provides an easy way to make and share interactive creations using the cloud and adapting to whatever device people use to view your creations.

A “Sway” is the canvas you create using Sway. Drop in your content from your cloud storage, your devices or social networks. Built-in content sources include OneDrive, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Sway’s built-in design engine takes the hassle out of formatting your content, integrating it all  into a cohesive layout as you create. As you add more content, Sway continues to analyze and arrange it based on algorithms and design styles incorporated into Sway.

With today’s announcement and Sway Preview, we are just starting our journey with Sway. We want you to help us shape its future by working closely with us during Preview while we continue building Sway.

Request an invite to join Sway Preview at Sway.com and read more about it on Office Blogs.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Windows 10: ‘The first step of a whole new generation of Windows’

Windows 10

Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president, Operating Systems, says Windows 10 will be “built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

Windows 10 “represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows,” writes Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Operating Systems, in a blog post. “Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.”

Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. “Some of these devices have 4-inch screens – some have 80-inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all,” he writes. “Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are 10 feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types.”

We’re not talking about one user interface to rule them all, he writes. “We’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.”

Windows 10 will be “built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This new Windows must help our customers be productive in both their digital work and their digital life. This new Windows must empower people and organizations to do great things.”

Windows 10 will “deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time. It will be our most comprehensive platform ever.”

To read Myerson’s post, head over to Blogging Windows, and to learn more read the press release.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

The new MSN arrives

Earlier this month, we unveiled a first look at the new MSN. Over the past 3 weeks, nearly 10 million of you took the opportunity to test out the new site and more than 80,000 of you even took the time to tell us what you thought. Based on your feedback, we have made numerous changes to the site. From everyone here, a sincere thank you.

Over the next 72 hours, we will roll out the new MSN to the more than 425 million people in over 50 countries around the world that come to the site each month. In addition, people using Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 will have the option to update their devices to the new MSN apps starting today. At the top of the homepage, you will see easy one-click access to all of your favorite services including Outlook.com, Office, OneNote, OneDrive, Skype, Facebook and Twitter.

The new MSN is here

The new MSN is completely built from the ground up on Azure to provide massive, cost-effective scale (with more than 30,000 Azure cores for serving and 100 Terabytes of storage), reliability, and ongoing agility for a cloud-first, mobile-first world. Every single line of code was re-written to ensure that you have one consistent experience regardless of whether you are accessing your stocks in MSN Money, your favorite sports teams in MSN Sports, or your recipe collections in MSN Food & Drink. All of those experiences will always be with you across your devices.

The new MSN provides a global, comprehensive perspective from thousands of worldwide, authoritative sources across 11 categories. It’s simple to personalize what you want to see based on your interests. In the coming months, we will release a suite of MSN apps across iOS and Android to complement today’s release of the Windows and Windows Phone apps. You only need to set your favorites once, and your preferences will be connected across MSN, Cortana, Bing and other Microsoft experiences.

MSN app updates arrive on Windows 8.1

In Windows 8, we introduced Bing Apps to help you explore your world with a set of immersive vertical experiences. With today’s release, we now have one unified, consistent Azure-powered experience that spans the apps on your Windows 8.1 device to MSN in the cloud. While Bing will continue to provide search and intelligent experiences, now the apps will be branded to reflect their alignment with MSN as a premium experience for content, combined with personal productivity features. Aside from Bing Finance, which will now be MSN Money, all of the apps retain their existing names.

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We are also rolling out updates to the Health & Fitness and Weather apps, making it easier to access what’s happening from the lock screen of your phone. Now at a glance, you will see up-to-the-minute weather statuses from the Weather app. If you’re running the Nokia 1520, 630 or 635, you can keep track of steps taken via the pedometer and GPS tracker in the Health and Fitness App directly from the lock screen. No need to launch the individual apps.

MSN apps

World class content

With the new MSN, we focused on bringing the best-in-class content from the leaders in both content and data from around the world. In the U.S., some of our premier partners include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, AOL (including TechCrunch and Huffington Post) and Condé Nast (including Vanity Fair, Epicurious, Bon Appétit).

Worldwide, we’re excited to showcase The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun in Japan; Sky News, The Guardian and the Telegraph in the United Kingdom, NDTV and Hindustan Times in India, Le Figaro and Le Monde in France, and many more.

As autumn has just arrived, we urge people to go check out the site and customize the Sports experience to showcase your favorite NFL team or peruse the Food & Drink section to find that perfect recipe for fall.

Look out New York City! Microsoft to open flagship retail store on Fifth Avenue

Excited store associates celebrate the grand opening of a Microsoft retail store as they prepare to welcome customers in Boston.

Excited store associates celebrate the grand opening of a Microsoft retail store as they prepare to welcome customers in Boston.

When we opened the first Microsoft retail store back on Oct. 22, 2009, our intention was simple: deliver outstanding choice, value and service for everyone who walks into our stores. Microsoft Stores were designed to create a meaningful, direct connection to our customers and give them the best place to experience and purchase Microsoft technology. Nearly five years after our first store in Scottsdale, Arizona opened, our footprint has reached a scale where 80 percent of Americans are within 20 miles of a Microsoft Store and includes 104 Microsoft retail store physical locations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, online stores in 189 countries and an expanding physical presence through our store-in-store locations in China.

Today, I am pleased to confirm we have signed a lease to open a flagship store at 677 Fifth Avenue in New York City. As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience. This is a goal we’ve had since day one – we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it. Our Fifth Avenue location will be much more than just a Microsoft Store. In addition to retail, there will be experiential space for Microsoft as a company to further engage with our customers and partners in new and innovative ways. This is an important milestone for Microsoft overall, our Stores team and millions of our current customers, as well as the millions to come. We could not be more excited to join one of the most visited streets in America.

Our New York City flagship location is coming at the right time. We are proud of the progress we’ve made to make Microsoft Stores the best place to go for Microsoft products like Surface Pro 3, Windows Phones, Xbox One and more, as well as a full lineup of accessories. Our passionate and knowledgeable store associates are building individual relationships with our customers and making sure each store is part of the fabric of the community that it operates in. Our Answer Desk experts can help you with all of your tech needs – with numerous services for free. And with the Community Theaters in many of our stores, anyone can come and discover how to get the most out of Microsoft products – for example, kids can learn about science and technology, how to program and more; and small businesses can take classes on how to be more productive – all at no cost.

Microsoft Stores will play a key role in our strategy as we continue to deliver the outstanding choice, value and service for customers everywhere. While we build out the Fifth Avenue location, we will continue to open more stores – in fact, we’re opening 10 more locations in time for this holiday season. But our New York flagship store – five years in the making – will be worth the wait. 

We look forward to sharing more details as we get closer to the opening, and look forward to inviting everyone out to come celebrate with us in NYC!

 

New apps and services from Microsoft customers and partners on display at Sibos financial services conference in Boston

At Sibos this week, Microsoft customers and partners are showcasing new technology to help financial institutions become digital banks. This includes a host of new Windows 8 apps, demonstrations on how the cloud can help banks do business in underserved and emerging markets, and a new partnership with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis center to help banks fight cybercrime.

Working in partnership with Microsoft, companies such as Citi, Fidelity Information Systems (FIS), Pershing (a part of BNY Mellon) and Temenos will show off their latest and greatest apps and services at the conference.

The need for banks to become digital businesses is more acute now than ever. New competition in the financial services industry, regulatory pressures and the growing percentage of millennials (75 percent of the workforce by 2025) who expect digital experiences whether as a consumer, employee or corporate customer are creating massive pressure for banks to change.

Building loyalty with engaging customer experiences 

Financial institutions are creating new, engaging customer experiences with help from Microsoft. From giant PPI screens and digital signage that help illustrate key information to apps that help deliver real-time information to customers on-the-go, technology is able to deliver new ways to bank.

Today, for example, we’re announcing CitiDirect BE Tablet for Windows 8.1, an app designed specifically for the senior-level corporate treasury professional. CitiDirect BE Tablet provides on-the-go visibility into financial information through an easy-to-use, tablet-optimized experience. Citi is the leading provider of global transaction and trade solutions and offering this service now on Windows 8.1 gives its customers the security businesses require, across a range of devices.

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With the CitiDirect BE Tablet for Windows 8.1 app, execs can manage and see how much they have in their accounts around the world from any Windows 8.1 device.

Another example of a new app engaging customers is the FIS TouchPoint Suite built on Windows 8.1. A successful digital bank needs to be able to monitor all customer interactions no matter where they happen. To help banks do this, FIS, the world’s largest provider of banking and payments technology, announced the TouchPoint Suite. TouchPoint helps improve every stage of the customer relationship life cycle across all delivery channels: the branch, ATMs, call centers, online banking and mobile.

Empowering employees 

Another key factor in becoming a digital bank is the ability to use technology to engage employees. Relationship managers need to work from anywhere and meet and collaborate more easily and effectively. To help their wealth managers, BNY Pershing is announcing the availability of its NetX360 App for Windows 8.1 tablets. The app provides investment professionals the tools needed to manage client accounts, provide great customer service and help develop new sales and revenue opportunities.

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The NetX360 App for Windows 8.1 from Pershing provides investment professionals the tools needed to manage client accounts, provide great customer service, and helps develop new sales and revenue opportunities.

A number of leading banking institutions – RBS-Natwest, Saudi Investment Bank, Maybank, Group Finance Strategy and Systems and Citi Private Bank are modernizing their business operations with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps banks to become customer-centric organizations through solutions that allow them to deliver great experiences while safeguarding data and meeting regulatory requirements. Additionally, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is adding a layer of support and control through the Microsoft Financial Service Compliance Program for banks who are focused on security and privacy of customer data and regulatory compliance. See the Dynamics CRM press release for details.

Another important way banks are empowering employees is by creating a data culture, where insights and decisions are formed through a sound understanding of the data available to financial institutions. The Royal Bank of Scotland, the leading provider of corporate banking services in the U.K., now gains near-real-time insight into customers’ business needs within the context of relevant, emerging economic trends. This was recently implemented on the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analytics Platform System to handle multiple terabytes of data more efficiently. As a result, the bank gained near-real-time insight into customers’ business needs and emerging economic trends. It cut a typical four-hour query to less than 15 seconds, and simplified deployment.

Building on the cloud

The cloud is a pivotal platform for digital banking. Employee engagement and new customer experiences are powered by a strong, cost saving back-end cloud infrastructure that provides financial institutions flexibility in how they deliver services. Microsoft’s cloud platform helps customers embrace the big trends and challenges of the new era of information technology.

A great example of where the cloud can help banks embrace new challenges is in serving traditionally unbanked populations. Microfinancing and banking services are essential to the growth of emerging economies, but it has been difficult for financial institutions to provide such services through systems operated in traditional ways.

Temenos is taking advantage of the Microsoft Cloud with its T24 core banking and micro-financing solution run on the Azure cloud. With this solution, Microsoft and Temenos provide access to financing for poor and rural populations in Mexico, Africa and, as of Sept. 1, Myanmar, at a very low cost. This is an important community service and also opens doors to new markets and future customer acquisition for banks – helping them compete with non-traditional competitors. It’s good business to give everyone access to banking, and the Azure cloud makes that possible.

Leaders in the digital bank transformation are not leaving it to new market entrants to own the future of banking. They’re becoming digital information businesses. They are securely creating more engaging customer experiences, delivering the products, tools and services demanded by consumer and corporate customers, and leveraging the cloud to build new business models that were previously unattainable. They’re bringing together the cloud, mobile technology and data as the first step to a future of truly digital banking where computing is ubiquitous and makes it possible for financial institutions to be present in the financial lives of their corporate and consumer customers anytime, anyplace, across any channel and device.

For more information about the digital transformation in banking, check out the Sibos Newsroom for links to relevant content and images. You can also find out more about how Microsoft’s own Treasury department has created a data culture to get things done more efficiently and with greater accuracy.

New wireless display adapter revealed and the Microsoft Cube unveiled – Weekend Reading: Sept. 26th Edition

The rain has returned to Seattle, but it didn’t dampen the news this week. Read on to see how Microsoft is helping to evolve business — and the digital dance party.

No more huddling around the small screen to share photos! Microsoft introduced its Wireless Display Adapter this week, which connects to an HDTV, monitor or projector, so you can share content from PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1.

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What is 4-foot square and powered by four Kinects and five computers? The Microsoft Cube, which made its debut with a one-of-a-kind digital dance party at Seattle’s Decibel Festival this week.

Perhaps the only thing better than a giant, interactive art installation, is news that Office 365 ProPlus will be available free to eligible students in the U.S., who are 13 and older, beginning Sept. 29. An update to the Student Advantage program, the Office ProPlus benefit includes Word, PowerPoint and OneNote and comes with 1TB of storage on OneDrive.

Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company reports broad success using a Windows 8.1 app to streamline tasks for their Beer Rangers, ultimately giving them more time to sell beer. The app, Rangerland, has enabled New Belgium to increase sales volume 20 percent from 2011 to 2014.

In other business news this week, Sutherland Global Services, a leader in process and technology management services, announced its selection of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The platform was chosen based on its flexibility, customization capabilities and ease of use.

Let the laughs roll. Comedy Central is now available on Xbox One, which means access to all of your favorites including: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and “Tosh.0.” Also on Xbox One this week, “FIFA 15: UT,” which lets you build a dream squad of footballers from more than 10,000 players and more than 500 teams to play in more than 30 real leagues and stadiums. The game is also available via the Windows Phone and Windows Store. In other apps, “Age of Empires: Castle Siege,” is now available for Windows and Windows Phone. Check it out and discover whether you’re an empire-building prodigy, a siege genius or a tactical mastermind. If finding patterns and racking up points is more your style, two updates this week are sure to please: “Maleficent Free Fall” has 225 new levels and “Frozen Free Fall” introduces Olaf’s new sneeze power-up. Finally, Halo fans, are you sitting down? “Halo: Spartan Assault” is part of this week’s Red Stripe Deals.

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This week on the Microsoft Twitter page, we saw how the NFL uses Surface through the lens of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

Donning our rubber boots and rain slickers out here, but the forecast for news is anything but soggy. See you next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Meet the Microsoft Cube

What do you get when you have a giant square sculpture, made from a continuous projection surface, powered by five computers and four Kinects, all working in concert?

The Microsoft Cube: an interactive art installation, unveiled this week at Seattle’s Decibel Festival.

“The Cube is a canvas for a new kind of creative expression,” explains Michael Megalli, senior director of brand strategy at Microsoft. “It’s an appliance that creates public space.”

Microsoft created the Cube with the help of Stimulant, a Seattle-based digital design firm. At Decibel, the Cube will be a vehicle for a uniquely connected digital dance party, on display tonight through Monday in the Seattle Center between the Trimpin sculpture and Sky Church.

What the Cube can become in the future is limited only by the imagination.

For the full story behind this unique digital canvas, including a video showing it in motion, check out Next at Microsoft.

Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft acquires ‘Minecraft’ maker Mojang and Microsoft Dynamics 2015 is due out in fourth quarter – Weekend Reading: Sept. 19th Edition

This week, Microsoft announced it is buying Mojang, developer of block-building game sensation “Minecraft,” and that Microsoft Dynamics 2015 is coming soon.

“Minecraft’s” Mojang team will join Microsoft Studios, which is behind the blockbuster franchises “Halo,” “Forza,” “Fable” and more. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, talked about “Minecraft’s” widespread appeal to gamers of all ages and abilities, on all kinds of devices. “This is a game that has bound its audience on touch devices, on phones, on iPads, on console,” he said in a video. “Whether you’re playing on an Xbox, whether you’re playing on a PlayStation, an Android (or) an iOS device – our goal is to continue to evolve and innovate with ‘Minecraft’ across all those platforms.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 will be out in the fourth quarter, with the new release designed to address ongoing needs for businesses to collaborate among different divisions and groups to better take advantage of opportunities and to meet the evolving needs of their customers. There will also be updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing services as well.

The Carlsberg Group, based in Denmark and the fourth-largest brewer of beer worldwide, chose cloud-based Office 365 for its more than 20,000 employees to use to connect with each other, and also to streamline the company’s global supply chain. “No matter what device or distance, the cloud is breaking down traditional barriers so we’re better able to focus on brewing the best beer in the world,” said Etienne Dock, vice president of IT architecture and sourcing at Carlsberg.

A Feldschlosschen driver in front of a truck on his way to deliver beer to local restaurants in Zurich.

Microsoft’s newly announced Universal Mobile Keyboard makes it the only keyboard you’ll need when you’re on the go. It works with the iPad, iPhone, Android devices and Windows tablets. The keyboard has an OS switch that lets you change from one operating system to another while maintaining a fully functional keyboard. And with the physical “chiclet” style keyset on this keyboard, you’ll feel like you’re typing on your laptop without lugging around the extra weight or bulk. The keyboard will be generally available in October for the estimated retail price of $79.95 at the Microsoft Store and at various other retailers.

Two new members will join Microsoft’s board of directors on Oct. 1, Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of Visa Inc. Two other members,  Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon, have decided not to seek reelection and will retire from the board at the end of their current term, following the annual shareholders meeting in December.

Microsoft Azure HDInsight became available in China as a public preview, making it the first global cloud provider to have a publicly available cloud Hadoop offering in China. Hadoop is an open-source platform for storing and processing massive amounts of data. And with the launch, “Microsoft is bringing Azure HDInsight’s ability to process big data volumes from unstructured and semi-structured sources to China,” according to the SQL Server Team.

There were lots of apps, many of them perfect for fall entertainment and indoor activity, from “Spider-Man Unlimited” for Windows Phone to “Age of Empires: Castle Siege” for Windows and Windows Phone. Fans of 3D creations can now use the updated 3D Builder app to print their creations from the cloud, thanks to a printing partnership with 3D Systems. A new TV Central collection in the Windows Phone Store brings you Netflix, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, A&E, SyFy, USA Now, Comedy Central, Simple. TV and MTV Shows all under one roof so you can decide how to best go about being a couch potato on the weekends. If it’s time to pay attention to your car, you’ll want to check out these free and useful Windows Phone apps, including My Car, Park It and Car Dash.

"Spider-Man Unlimited" for Windows Phone.

“Spider-Man Unlimited” for Windows Phone.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced the Universal Mobile Keyboard that works on iOS, Android and Windows tablets.

keyboard, universal, mobile

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard.

Thanks for joining us for this week’s edition of Weekend Reading. Have a great weekend, and maybe we’ll see you around the blocks – in “Minecraft.”

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

 

New directors named to Microsoft board, quarterly dividend increase announced

Microsoft announced Tuesday that Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of Visa Inc., have been appointed to the company’s board of directors, effective Oct. 1.

The company also announced that the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.31 per share, reflecting a 3 cent or 11 percent, increase over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 11 to shareholders of record on Nov. 20, 2014.

To learn more, read the press release.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 to be made available in the fourth quarter

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, as well as updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing services, will be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2014, it was announced Tuesday.

The new release is designed to address ongoing needs for businesses to collaborate among different divisions and groups to better take advantage of opportunities and to meet the evolving needs of their customers, the company said in a press release.

The updates will let marketers more effectively plan and execute marketing campaigns and better track their impacts. Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to deepen its interoperability with Microsoft’s leading productivity applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Yammer, Lync, Skype, SharePoint and Power BI for Office 365.

To learn more, read the press release.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff