Category Archives: Microsoft News

Microsoft News

Microsoft and American Family Insurance launch startup accelerator for home automation

The following post is from Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer Experience & Evangelism and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft.


On Tuesday, we hosted a number startups at Microsoft’s Global Startup Day in San Francisco, all of which were from Microsoft accelerator and incubation programs. This event wasn’t just an excuse to celebrate the successful startups that we’ve nurtured – it was an affirmation that startups from anywhere in the world can find success, on their terms, working with Microsoft. Most of these startups were participants in our Microsoft Ventures Accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

We chose San Francisco for this event to highlight these startups against the backdrop of the Bay Area, the gold standard for startup success. The startups highlighted during this day have witnessed market successes through their strong efforts and support from our accelerators, and we wanted to share their stories. It also provided the perfect opportunity to announce Microsoft Ventures’ first Accelerator inside the United States.

In partnership with American Family Insurance, we are launching our next Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle, to be hosted on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Together, Microsoft and American Family Insurance will focus upon accelerating startups working on the next wave of services in home automation.

Every day, technology becomes a more integral part of our daily lives. Looking beyond the current wave of mobile and social companies, we are on the verge of a new wave of innovative companies that will go far beyond phones, creating a new wave of smart devices. With advances in sensor technology, cloud services and analytics tools, the homestead is the next frontier for startup innovation. Combining Microsoft’s deep technical expertise with American Family Insurance industry expertise, we are creating unique opportunities for startups building smarter, safer homes.

To help these startups grow, Microsoft is providing in-kind support in the form of space, access to dedicated mentorship and connections to its top customers, among many other resources…without taking any equity. American Family Insurance is also offering unique expertise, in addition to a minimum, optional $25,000 equity investment in each startup accepted into the program.

This will be an immersive experience, focused on launching world-class companies with an eye on the global marketplace.

Startups can find more information and apply at: www.microsoftventures.com/accelerators/seattle.

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning combines power of comprehensive machine learning with benefits of cloud

The following post is from Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of Machine Learning at Microsoft.


Maybe you haven’t noticed it, but machine learning – a way of applying historical data to a problem by creating a model and using it to successfully predict future behavior or trends – is touching more and more lives every day. For example, search engines, online product recommendations, credit card fraud prevention systems, GPS traffic directions and mobile phone personal assistants like Cortana all use the power of machine learning. But we’ve barely scratched the surface of its potential to change the world. Soon machine learning will help to drastically reduce wait times in emergency rooms, predict disease outbreaks and predict and prevent crime. To realize that future, we need to make machine learning more accessible – to every enterprise and, over time, every one.

Machine learning today is usually self-managed and on premises, requiring the training and expertise of data scientists. However, data scientists are in short supply, commercial software licenses can be expensive and popular programming languages for statistical computing have a steep learning curve. Even if a business could overcome these hurdles, deploying new machine learning models in production systems often requires months of engineering investment. Scaling, managing and monitoring these production systems requires the capabilities of a very sophisticated engineering organization, which few enterprises have today.

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, a fully-managed cloud service for building predictive analytics solutions, helps overcome the challenges most businesses have in deploying and using machine learning. How? By delivering a comprehensive machine learning service that has all the benefits of the cloud. In mere hours, with Azure ML, customers and partners can build data-driven applications to predict, forecast and change future outcomes – a process that previously took weeks and months.

Azure ML, which previews next month, will bring together the capabilities of new analytics tools, powerful algorithms developed for Microsoft products like Xbox and Bing, and years of machine learning experience into one simple and easy-to-use cloud service. For customers, this means virtually none of the startup costs associated with authoring, developing and scaling machine learning solutions. Visual workflows and startup templates will make common machine learning tasks simple and easy. And the ability to publish APIs and Web services in minutes and collaborate with others will quickly turn analytic assets into enterprise-grade production cloud services.

Today, partners are using an early preview of Azure ML to build machine learning solutions for our customers. For example, MAX451 is helping a large retail customer determine what products a customer is most likely to purchase next, based on ecommerce data as well as brick and mortar store data. OSISoft is working with Carnegie Mellon University on real time fault detection and the diagnosis of energy output variations across campus buildings. Machine learning is helping to mitigate issues in real time and to predictively optimize energy usage and cost.

In July, we will release the Azure ML public preview and begin our journey to deliver machine learning with all the benefits of cloud computing for every organization. Azure ML is helping us realize that vision and, together with Microsoft’s data platform, customers will be able to create entirely new solutions that bring together big data insights, the Internet of things and predictive analytics. Visit our machine learning blog to learn more.

Weekend Reading: June 13 Edition — Xbox brings the big guns to E3, Bing maps favelas, soccer tournament mania

It’s been a long four years for soccer fans everywhere, but the wait is over. The world’s premiere fútbol tournament is finally here! To celebrate, we’ve got a Weekend Reading guaranteed to make you shout “GOOOAAAAAL!”

Also, on the list of big events this week, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, where Xbox made a splash with the announcement of a spectacular lineup of games, including the following, planned for a fall or holiday season launch: “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Fable Legends,” “Dance Central Spotlight” and “Forza Horizon 2.”

Feel like you need a crystal ball to compete in your soccer tournament office pool? Bing Predicts has you covered. That’s right. Your favorite search engine just got even smarter. And Bing has intel on more than fútbol. Since its launch this spring, Bing Predicts has accurately called the outcome of every week of “American Idol,” while also proving nearly perfect in predicting the results of “The Voice” and “Dancing with the Stars.”

This week, we also met the brains behind Cortana, your new personal assistant for Windows Phone 8.1., a.k.a. your gatekeeper, your mobile brain. Two years in the making and modelled on real-life personal assistants, Cortana was created by a team of scientists, software engineers and writers led by Marcus Ash.

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As visitors from around the world descend on Brazil for the world’s premier soccer tournament, they will be able to find previously unmapped tourist attractions in Rio’s densely populated, informal settlements called favelas, thanks to Bing’s Na Área. The project, which used Nokia Lumia phones to capture the corresponding images, is a collaboration with residents as well as public and private partners.

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Can’t make it to Rio? Xbox, Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, Skype and Bing have the next best thing: a bevy of ways to help enhance these weeks of soccer mania everyone’s been waiting for. Check out the Destination Brazil portal on Xbox One, a one-stop shop for all things fútbol. The Bing Sports app in the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store has been updated to include the tournament’s top stories, scores, standings, leading players and teams. And Internet Explorer is working with ESPN FC to bring the ESPN FC World Cup Essentials sports hub to the Web.

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And because we can’t get enough of “the beautiful game,” check out the Onefootball Brasil app for Windows Phone, which provides up-to-date play-by-play match commentary, the latest news of the tournament, and match schedules, results and statistics, all through personalized push notifications. Also in apps this week, lots of practical stuff: Use the Hhonors app to book a room; manage your car’s maintenance with the Jiffy Lube app; catch up on the day’s headlines with The Seattle Times News. Or, if you just want to terrorize some swine, Angry Birds has gone Epic, with more worlds, more battles, more awesome, now available on Windows Phone.

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In this week’s installment of Snaps, Microsoft Stories’ digital photo album, local kids play soccer in a favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where many of the world’s best professional soccer players will compete in the weeks ahead. Photo taken by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez using a Nokia Lumia 1520.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to a group of graduating high school seniors planning their road ahead.

Here’s wishing your team multiple shots on goal this weekend. We’ll see you back here for more action, fútbol and otherwise, next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

E3: Lots of holiday Xbox One exclusives, including ‘Halo: The Master Chief Collection’ and ‘Sunset Overdrive,’ are on their way

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, at E3 2014 in Los Angeles on Monday.

Lots of great games are coming to put under the tree this holiday season with new, exclusive Xbox One titles including “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Forza Horizon 2,” “Fable Legends” and “Dance Central Spotlight.”

The games were announced at E3 Monday, and also include: “Destiny,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Assassin’s Creed Unity” as well as a “vibrant catalog of games from independent developers,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.

To learn more, read the press release and head over to Xbox Wire.

You might also be interested in:

· Here’s how to stay in sync with Xbox news at E3 2014
· Find out about the future of Kinect
· Choices abound with new Windows devices unveiled at Computex 2014

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: June 6th Edition — Nearly 40 Windows devices and phones unveiled at Computex, and the Houston school district adopts Office 365

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about the new Windows devices and phones introduced at Computex in Taiwan, and how students in Houston, the seventh-largest school district in the U.S., will use Office 365 to help in their education.

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Nick Parker, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division, at Computex 2014.

Windows and Windows Phone devices of all shapes, sizes and prices were announced this week by manufacturers at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, the second-largest technology exhibition in the world. From all-in-one PCs that are thinner, lighter and more portable, to tablets of all sizes and configurations, to personalized mobile phones, Microsoft’s “expanding ecosystem of partners is helping us deliver a broad range of Windows devices with new designs across more price points and in new markets,” said Nick Parker, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division.

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ASUS introduces the All-in-One PT2001 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
ASUS All-in-One PT2001
June 03, 2014
ASUS introduces the All-in-One PT2001 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Meet the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Dell Latitude 13 Education Series
June 03, 2014
Meet the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Acer presents the new Aspire V11 Windows-based laptop with touch screen, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Acer Aspire V11
June 03, 2014
Acer presents the new Aspire V11 Windows-based laptop with touch screen, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Acer introduces the Aspire Switch 10 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Acer Aspire Switch 10
June 03, 2014
Acer introduces the Aspire Switch 10 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Presenting the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series
June 03, 2014
Presenting the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

The HP Pro x2 612 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
HP Pro x2 612
June 03, 2014
The HP Pro x2 612 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Meet the all-new ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi 2-in-1, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi
June 03, 2014
Meet the all-new ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi 2-in-1, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Lenovo recently introduced the ThinkPad 10 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Lenovo ThinkPad 10
June 03, 2014
Lenovo recently introduced the ThinkPad 10 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Toshiba presents the Encore 2, a 10-inch Windows-based tablet, which appeared on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Toshiba Encore 2, 10-inch
June 03, 2014
Toshiba presents the Encore 2, a 10-inch Windows-based tablet, which appeared on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Introducing the Toshiba Encore 7 Windows-based tablet, unveiled for the first time publicly on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Toshiba Encore 7
June 03, 2014
Introducing the Toshiba Encore 7 Windows-based tablet, unveiled for the first time publicly on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Panasonic recently introduced its latest rugged device, the Toughpad FZ-M1 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1
June 03, 2014
Panasonic recently introduced its latest rugged device, the Toughpad FZ-M1 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.

Introducint the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO
June 03, 2014
Introducint the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Also from Prestigio, the new MultiPhone 8400 DUO announced at Computex Taipei 2014.
Prestigio MultiPhone 8400 DUO
June 03, 2014
Also from Prestigio, the new MultiPhone 8400 DUO announced at Computex Taipei 2014.

Meet the new YEZZ Billy 4.7 Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
YEZZ Billy 4.7
June 03, 2014
Meet the new YEZZ Billy 4.7 Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Presenting the new BLU 5
BLU 5″ Windows Phone
June 03, 2014
Presenting the new BLU 5″ Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Presenting the new BLU 4
BLU 4″ Windows Phone
June 03, 2014
Presenting the new BLU 4″ Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web


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The Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest in the U.S., chose Office 365 for its 14,000 students and 1,200 teachers, along with HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks running Windows, as part the district’s PowerUp initiative. The initiative aims to create transformative learning using digital tools. With a majority of the district’s students from low-income families, “Educating our kids is important, but having our parents and community understand digital awareness is imperative to their success,” says Lenny Schad, the district’s chief information technology officer.

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There are several secret places on the Microsoft campus where Kinect is tried and tested; among them, there’s a room called “The Holodeck.” We took you on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour to show you what goes into creating and developing this amazing motion sensor. While the latest version of Kinect has been available since the launch of Xbox One, the preorder of the Kinect for Windows version became available for all developers on Thursday.

The Microsoft Azure cloud platform became generally available in the company’s Brazil South region, where customers such as credit rating company Boa Vista Servicos, business management software provider Totvs, computing systems provider SiplanControl-M and e-commerce website platform Shop Delivery are benefiting from the power of the cloud.

Microsoft welcomes Preston McAfee as the company’s chief economist. McAfee, most recently director of Google strategic technologies, will lead a team of economists who will work closely with Microsoft CFO Amy Hood and business and engineering groups across the company on developing new business models and metrics, designing marketplaces for advertising and apps, assisting with government relations and policy and developing an economic strategy for the company.

It was an app-tastic week, with apps that make travel easier, help you monitor your home when you’re away and let you check possible physical injuries. Interactive Athlete, a staff pick for Windows and Windows Phone, has interactive diagrams to pinpoint which parts of your body may have suffered injury and whether those injuries are related to damage to soft tissue or bones and joints. Other staff app picks included LiveATC for Windows Phone, which you use to listen in on live conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers from nearby airports; and the new INSTEON for Hub app, for Windows and Windows Phone, which gives you “unprecedented remote control of your INSTEON home automation network.” If you suddenly find yourself on the road and without a place to stay, you can use the Hotel Tonight app for Windows Phone to quickly book a room. For entertainment, the new VH1 app is now available for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. And the new Files app for Windows Phone 8.1 – something many of you requested for better organizing your phone files – became available, for free, in the Windows Phone Store.

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Hotel Tonight app for Windows Phone.

In this week’s installment of Snaps, the recently launched digital photo album from Microsoft Storiesphotographer Rob Wolf gives us a hand – a 3D printed hand, an example of how Windows 8 can bring 3D printing capabilities to any PC.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to Bryan Roper, who was discovered as a cruise ship lounge singer and recruited by Microsoft. His story is anything but the same old song.

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Thanks for starting your weekend with Weekend Reading. Enjoy the rest of it, and we’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft Azure now generally available in Brazil South region

The following post is from Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Microsoft.


A few weeks ago, we announced that Microsoft Azure was in public preview in Brazil. Today, I am pleased to share that Microsoft Azure is now generally available in our Brazil South region.

In Brazil, and our other regions around the world, we’ve seen incredible demand for a global enterprise public cloud offering. Globally, more than 1,000 new customers join Azure every day, and revenue grew more than 150 percent in the last quarter. With Microsoft Azure now generally available in the new Brazil South region, even more customers can take advantage of the cloud.

Already, customers such as credit rating company Boa Vista Servicos, business management software provider Totvs, computing systems provider SiplanControl-M and e-commerce website platform Shop Delivery are benefiting from the power of the cloud. Along with our other customers in the region, they will also benefit from increased network redundancy, lower latency and increased durability.

This exciting milestone builds on our recent general availability announcements in both China and Japan, and reflects our rapid global expansion and incredible growth. With compute capacity doubling every six months and more than 8,000 customers signing up weekly, we are helping customers get the power of the cloud delivered by world-class cloud technologies, services and infrastructure. Today, we are excited to help our customers in Brazil harness that power so they can transform their businesses.

A soulful singer’s ship comes in

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


Here we go again with another one of those “a guy goes to Web design school, becomes a blues musician instead, takes a job in a cruise ship piano lounge, and is discovered on the high seas and recruited by Microsoft” stories.

Yawn. Cliché. Tale as old as time, right? No? Let’s try that again.

A guy walks into a bar. The guy is Bryan Roper, and the bar is Egg Bar in Davos, Switzerland.

“You see that a lot in Europe – places with names like ‘Sports Land Restaurant,’” Roper said.

It’s January, and after a long day of technological show-and-tell at World Economic Forum, the Microsoft marketing manager ducked into Egg Bar looking for an ATM. That’s when he spotted it – a piano.

“I’d been working a lot, and away from my piano. I asked the bartender there if she would mind if I played a bit,” Roper said. “She looked at me like I might play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’”

She hesitated. “Umm …”

“It used to be my job,” Roper told her reassuringly. “And if it bothers anybody, I’ll stop.”

Roper sat down on the piano bench and put his hands on the keys. He started playing his soul, which sounds a lot like the blues, and prepared to hear groans from the room.

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

New ecosystem opportunity for Windows devices

The following post is from Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturer Division at Microsoft.


Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Original Equipment Manufacturer Division Nick Parker unveiled nearly 40 new Windows and Windows Phone devices Wednesday at Computex 2014

It’s great to be back in Taipei for Microsoft’s 12th year of participating in Computex, the second largest technology exhibition in the world. More than 130,000 attendees are expected, along with thousands of industry analysts and technology journalists from various countries. And most importantly, many of our hardware manufacturing partners are participating with us at Computex, many of them from Taiwan and also some global and some newer partners who are building phones and tablets from Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai.

Our expanding ecosystem of partners is helping us deliver a broad range of Windows devices with new designs across more price points and in new markets. These devices span from the most personalized mobile phones to the most mission critical of Internet scale datacenters, and we continue to invest and drive growth with our partners through innovation in our business model and software and services platforms.

We were honored to once again host a keynote at Computex, where we talked about our view of computing in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, how we’re delivering on our vision today with rapid delivery of enhancements in Windows, new licensing and programs for an expanded set of partners, and how we see computing evolving into the future to become more human-centric. We showcased nearly 40 new Windows and Windows Phone devices from our partners around the world. We shared momentum on Microsoft services and apps, including an announcement that Kabam, a leader in free-to-play games, will deliver its lineup of hit games to Windows tablets and phones over the next year and their future games will be available on Windows in the same timeframe as other platforms. You can find more detail about our keynote in the press release.

On stage, we had a wall of new devices to unveil with our partners. We started with traditional PCs, where we continue to invest with our partners and see incredible innovation. For example, all-in-one PCs are becoming thinner, lighter and more portable. We showed the ASUS All-in-One PT2001, which provides five hours of battery life and a handle to easily move the 7-pound device from room to room, and at a very affordable $699. We showed several new laptops across a range of prices including the Acer Aspire V11, which provides style at a very affordable price; the HP Pavilion 10 Touchsmart, which features the AMD A4 Processor and is Miracast compatible for just $299; the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series, which is optimized for the classroom; and a few premium laptops, including the Acer Aspire S7, which is coming soon with Intel’s newest Core chipset, Broadwell.

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ASUS introduces the All-in-One PT2001 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
ASUS All-in-One PT2001
June 03, 2014
ASUS introduces the All-in-One PT2001 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Meet the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Dell Latitude 13 Education Series
June 03, 2014
Meet the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Acer presents the new Aspire V11 Windows-based laptop with touch screen, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Acer Aspire V11
June 03, 2014
Acer presents the new Aspire V11 Windows-based laptop with touch screen, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Acer introduces the Aspire Switch 10 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Acer Aspire Switch 10
June 03, 2014
Acer introduces the Aspire Switch 10 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Presenting the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series
June 03, 2014
Presenting the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

The HP Pro x2 612 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
HP Pro x2 612
June 03, 2014
The HP Pro x2 612 2-in-1 Windows-based PC, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Meet the all-new ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi 2-in-1, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi
June 03, 2014
Meet the all-new ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi 2-in-1, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Lenovo recently introduced the ThinkPad 10 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Lenovo ThinkPad 10
June 03, 2014
Lenovo recently introduced the ThinkPad 10 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.

Toshiba presents the Encore 2, a 10-inch Windows-based tablet, which appeared on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Toshiba Encore 2, 10-inch
June 03, 2014
Toshiba presents the Encore 2, a 10-inch Windows-based tablet, which appeared on stage at the Microsoft Computex keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Introducing the Toshiba Encore 7 Windows-based tablet, unveiled for the first time publicly on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Toshiba Encore 7
June 03, 2014
Introducing the Toshiba Encore 7 Windows-based tablet, unveiled for the first time publicly on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Panasonic recently introduced its latest rugged device, the Toughpad FZ-M1 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1
June 03, 2014
Panasonic recently introduced its latest rugged device, the Toughpad FZ-M1 Windows-based tablet, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.

Introducint the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO
June 03, 2014
Introducint the Prestigio MultiPhone 8500 DUO Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Also from Prestigio, the new MultiPhone 8400 DUO announced at Computex Taipei 2014.
Prestigio MultiPhone 8400 DUO
June 03, 2014
Also from Prestigio, the new MultiPhone 8400 DUO announced at Computex Taipei 2014.

Meet the new YEZZ Billy 4.7 Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
YEZZ Billy 4.7
June 03, 2014
Meet the new YEZZ Billy 4.7 Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Presenting the new BLU 5
BLU 5″ Windows Phone
June 03, 2014
Presenting the new BLU 5″ Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web

Presenting the new BLU 4
BLU 4″ Windows Phone
June 03, 2014
Presenting the new BLU 4″ Windows Phone, seen on stage at the Microsoft Computex Keynote 2014.
Image: Web


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Another category of Broadwell devices that we’ve been collaborating on closely with Intel and our hardware partners is 2-in-1s – the fastest, lightest and sleekest PC designs coming to market. Two-in-ones are a great option for customers that want a tablet, but can’t give up their laptop; it’s a no-compromise solution with the best of both. We showed the Acer Switch 10, launched recently with its unique SnapHinge, which enables easy transition into four different modes; the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series announced last week with a unique hinge that rotates 360 degrees; unveiled the ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi, which is a 12.5” evolution of the successful T100 detachable. We also unveiled with HP their new Pro x2 612, which is packed with business-ready capabilities, including security, a Wacom stylus and dual batteries in the tablet and the power keyboard.

We had a broad range of tablets on stage, with different screen sizes, prices, capabilities and manufacturers. Starting with larger tablets at 10”, we showed several Windows Embedded-based tablets that extend the Windows platform and enable innovation optimized for vertical industries. These include the Arbor Gladius G1052 for retail, which is rugged and includes a barcode and dual battery pack; the IEI IceRock 3, which is high performance, with support for barcode and smartcard reader and includes GPS; and the Winmate M101B, which is both water and dust proof and includes a battery that is hot-swappable.

Our global partners continue to drive innovation with 10” Windows tablets, optimizing for business customers. Just to name a few of the newest, Lenovo brings their trusted ThinkPad brand and reliability to the ThinkPad 10” and, last week, Toshiba launched the new Encore 10” (and 8”) tablet, which beautifully balances business performance and value.

Moving to smaller tablets, we showed for the first time Toshiba new 7” tablet being co-developed by Microsoft and Toshiba and in close collaboration with Intel, Goodix and AMI. It will be available in the coming months at a value-driven price point that is very competitive with any other 7” class device. We showed the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1, which is both rugged and optimized for business in a small size. We unveiled the KUPA V8 Tablet that provides great accessories, supports a pen input and optional 3G/4G, TPM and Miracast; and the Advantech MIT-M101, a ruggedized tablet. These Windows tablets offer Office and other Microsoft services that provide the best possible experience for customers, for both work and play.

We also showcased new tablets from our partners in the China Technology Ecosystem that primarily ship devices locally. These are low-cost consumer tablets that take advantage of the $0 Windows that Microsoft announced last month at our BUILD developer conference. We started by showing several tablets from Luckystar, and then showcased the Emdoor EM 8280, Haier W81, South Digital W110A and the VIDO W11C just launched last week in Beijing. This is an area in which we expect to see tremendous growth, and it’s great to see Windows devices coming to market with the full Windows experience at such low prices.

Finally, we unveiled for the first time new Windows Phone 8.1 devices from several partners across different markets and price points. Devices I showed for the first time include Prestigio’s Multiphone 8500 DUO device, coming to market in Europe from next month onwards; a sneak peek of two BLU devices coming to the U.S. and LATAM soon, and a device from InFocus, which is the first of a family of affordable LTE phones in varying sizes. We also showed the Yezz Billy 4.7 (named after Bill Gates), coming this month to the U.S. on Amazon, plus Europe and Latin America. Many of the top ODMs including BYD, Compal, Pegatron, Quanta and Wistron had prototype phones showcased on stage that they are working to bring to market with partners. This new breadth of Windows Phone 8.1 devices is a result of the announcement we made in February at Mobile World Congress in cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies Inc., which enables device manufacturers to quickly and efficiently broaden their portfolio with Windows Phones and now with $0 Windows.

Congratulations to all of our hardware partners that announced new Windows devices at Computex this week! We look forward to bringing them to market together and continuing to develop and support the broad Windows ecosystem to deliver amazing experiences for customers.

Click here to learn more about Microsoft and our partners here at Computex 2014.

Microsoft Office 365 coming to 14,000 Houston students, 1,200 teachers

Texas’ largest school district is transitioning 14,000 students and 1,200 teachers to Microsoft Office 365 and HP Elitebook Folio 9470m Ultrabooks running Windows as part its PowerUp initiative, an effort to create transformative learning using digital tools.

The Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest in the U.S, has a large majority of students from low-income families. The goal is to increase access to technology.

“Educating our kids is important, but having our parents and community understand digital awareness is imperative to their success,” says Lenny Schad, Chief Technology Information Officer for the district.

Also, as part of the initiative, 65,000 high school students will receive HP laptops running Windows over the next three years.

“You can’t help but feel good when you see students’ faces as they open their laptops, or when you hear from parents and grandparents how grateful they are that this technology – something they’d never be able to afford on their own – has been provided, because it’s so important to their students’ futures and education,” Schad said.

Other districts in the Houston area using Microsoft solutions to improve student outcomes include Clear Creek Independent School District, Cyprus Fairbanks Independent School District and Klein Independent School District.

For more on who this initiative and how Microsoft technology is changing learning and teaching in Texas, check out the press release.

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Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft helps FBI in GameOver Zeus botnet cleanup

The following post is from Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.


Following Monday’s multi-national action against the GameOver Zeus botnet, we’re pleased to announce that Microsoft, working closely with the FBI and industry partners, has taken action to remove malware, so that infected computers can no longer be used for harm.

GameOver Zeus, a variant of the Zeus (or Zbot) family of malware, is a highly prevalent password-stealing trojan, according to research by the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit reports that it was the most active banking trojan of 2013. However, the impact of GameOver Zeus is not limited to the financial industry – nearly all major business and public sector organizations are impacted. Security researchers estimate that between 500,000 and 1 million computers worldwide are infected, and the FBI estimates that Gameover Zeus is responsible for more than $100 million in losses.

The FBI-led legal action and private-sector-led technical action against GameOver Zeus has taken down a portion of the command-and-control (C&C) infrastructure linked to domains generated by the malware and registered by the cyber-criminals. In this operation, codenamed b157, the FBI seized the registered domains. Microsoft did not file a civil action in this matter, unlike some of its previous actions. Unlike most botnet centralized C&C servers, GameOver Zeus uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, making its C&C decentralized, more elusive and more resilient than its predecessors.

Microsoft’s role in this technical action was to conduct analysis on the P2P network and develop a cleaning solution. Also, through an additional feed from Shadow Server, we are able to augment our visibility into the number of impacted IP addresses that feed into Microsoft’s Cyber-Threat Intelligence Program (C-TIP), and work closely with global Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and Internet service providers (ISPs) to help owners of compromised computers regain control of their systems. Based upon these actions, it is anticipated that the cybercriminals’ business model will be disrupted, and they will be forced to rebuild their criminal infrastructure. More importantly, victims of GameOver Zeus have been, and will continue to be, notified and their infected computers cleaned to prevent future harm.

This is the second botnet operation by Microsoft since the Nov. 14 unveiling of the new Microsoft Cybercrime Center – a center of excellence for advancing the global fight against cybercrime – and marks Microsoft’s ninth involvement in a botnet operation. Similar to Microsoft’s December 2013 ZeroAccess botnet case, GameOver Zeus is part of a cooperative effort with industry partners and law enforcement to take out cybercriminal networks to ensure that people worldwide can use their computing devices and services with confidence.

sampleemailGOZ

About GameOver Zeus

GameOver Zeus is spread through drive-by downloads, where the cybercriminals create a website that downloads malware onto any unprotected computer that visits that site. It is also distributed through the Cutwail spam botnet via phishing, where cybercriminals send counterfeit emails that appear to be legitimate communications from well-known businesses and organizations. These deceptive emails contain realistic language that could entice the recipient to click on a link or attachment, which ultimately deploys the GameOver Zeus malware onto the victim’s computer. The botnet automatically begins key logging when a user of an infected computer types into the Web browser, unwittingly giving cybercriminals access to passwords and private account information. The infected computer sends stolen data to the botnet’s C&C server, and stores it there for later use by the criminal.

GameOver Zeus has many similar properties to Zeus, such as logging keystrokes to steal banking credentials, but it also comes packaged with malicious functions that allow it to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against financial institutions. Variants have allowed GameOver Zeus to circumvent perimeter security including firewalls, webfilters and network intrusion detection systems, by disguising itself as an encrypted .EXE file. GameOver Zeus also deploys a process known as “web injects,” which provide the ability to modify the HTML of a target website, and inject additional form fields to dupe a victim into entering sensitive information beyond standard banking credentials. In addition to targeting financial institutions, GameOver Zeus has deployed web injects targeting department stores, social networking sites and webmail services. Most recently, a variant is targeting job seekers and recruiters by attempting to steal log-in credentials for popular job search sites. Unlike some of the earlier versions of Zeus, such as ICE IX, Spy Eye and Citadel, GameOver Zeus has not been marketed and offered for sale in the public domain.

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.

Visit http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cu_sc_virsec_master for detailed instructions on how to remove the GameOver Zeus trojan using malware removal or anti-virus software as quickly as possible.