Category Archives: Microsoft Press Releases

Microsoft Press Releases

Microsoft empowers new development opportunities in mixed reality, gaming and cellular PCs

SHENZHEN, China — Dec. 8, 2016 Thursday, at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft Corp. announced new opportunities for global partners to innovate with Windows 10. Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft, was joined on stage in Shenzhen by Navin Shenoy, senior vice president and general manager for the Client Computing Group, Intel Corporation, and Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. Together, the companies showcased new ways for partners to build modern devices that will empower the next generation of creators.

“I feel energized to be among this community of hardware engineering creators at WinHEC, who are building the next generation of modern, secure PCs that support innovative mixed-reality, gaming and mobile experiences,” Myerson said. “With the Windows 10 Creators Update and our partnerships with Qualcomm and Intel, we can build technology that serves all of us by ensuring there are devices for the creator in each of us.”

A new wave of modern PCs

Microsoft announced its latest collaboration with Intel, code-named “Project Evo.” With “Project Evo,” Microsoft and Intel will deliver all-new ways for devices to light up with the latest in advanced security, artificial intelligence and Cortana, mixed reality, and gaming. Through this collaboration, devices of the future will leverage Microsoft and Intel innovations, including the following:

  • Far-field speech communications so you can ask Cortana a question or play a song from across the room.
  • The latest security capabilities to protect devices from malware and hacking threats, advances in biometric authentication with Windows Hello, sophisticated insights from Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph, and additional world-class security intelligence and analytics from Intel.
  • Mixed-reality experiences for everyone through affordable PCs and head-mounted displays (HMDs) that blend the physical and virtual realities in ways no other platform can.
  • Gaming innovations like eSports, game broadcasting, and support for 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Wide Color Gamut (WCG), spatial audio, and Xbox controllers with native Bluetooth.

Together, our work will extend these experiences to hundreds of millions of PC and HMD customers and raise the bar for what’s possible with Windows PCs.

Making mixed reality mainstream

  • Submitted Microsoft HoloLens for government approval in China for availability to developers and commercial customers here in the first half of 2017.
  • Shared the specifications that we co-developed with Intel for PCs that will power the first headsets capable of mixed reality. HMDs from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo will be available next year.
  • Joining these partners, 3Glasses, the leading China-based hardware developer for HMDs, will bring the Windows 10 experience to its S1 device in the first half of 2017, reaching more than 5 million monthly active customers in China.
  • Customers will gain access to mixed-reality content:
    • More than 20,000 universal Windows apps in the catalog
    • 3-D objects from the web using Microsoft Edge to drag and drop into their physical world
    • Immersive WebVR content via Microsoft Edge
    • 360-degree videos available for the first time in the Microsoft Movies & TV app
  • As well, HMD developer kits will become available to developers at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Windows with cellular connectivity

In future Windows 10 updates, Microsoft will enable connectivity that is always within reach. Customers will be able to easily buy data directly from the Windows Store and be in control of how they use Wi-Fi and cellular networks, consume data, and manage costs. Partners will be able to build always-connected devices without hindering form-factor design.  Specifically, partners can take advantage of eSIM technology to build devices without an exposed SIM slot, making it easier for people to activate a data plan right on their device.

To deliver on customers’ growing need to create on the go, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 is coming to ARM architecture through a partnership with Qualcomm. For the first time, customers will be able to experience the Windows they know with the apps, peripherals and enterprise capabilities they require, on a truly mobile, power-efficient, always-connected cellular PC.

Hardware partners will be able to build a range of new Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 PCs that run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and popular Windows games.

These new devices are expected to be in market as early as next year.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft offers grants to organizations working to improve affordable internet access

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 1, 2016 — On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. renewed its Affordable Access Initiative grant fund for a second year. The fund assists companies working to bring internet access and new technologies, services and models to underserved markets. The application process is now open for a new set of partners.

“The social enterprises we support have inspired us with practical, high-impact and scalable approaches to help close the digital divide,” said Microsoft Affordable Access Initiatives Director Paul Garnett, writing in NextBillion. “It’s a privilege to see these solutions take shape, and to play a role in helping local entrepreneurs spur job creation and economic growth.”

In the fund’s first round of investments, Microsoft awarded grants to 12 businesses offering affordable internet access or cloud-based services in fields such as power generation, health, education, finance and agriculture.

AirJaldi, a 2016 grant recipient, provides high-quality Wi-Fi broadband connectivity at reasonable rates to more than 90,000 public- and private-sector clients in rural India. Vista Africa, another recipient from last year, is a cloud-based software platform that helps healthcare providers more easily screen, track and treat patients’ health in areas where connectivity is limited.

In addition to receiving funding and software to help power and develop their businesses, grant recipients will join a growing ecosystem of other grantees and funders to further increase their impact.

This initiative is also connected to the work of Microsoft Philanthropies, which is helping to bring technology’s benefits to those who need them most. Microsoft Philanthropies is making its digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs available to grant recipients and the communities they serve.

“Too many people around the world lack internet connectivity and the educational, commercial and economic benefits of cloud-based services,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “Affordable Access Initiative grants, and the technology ecosystems they help support, empower entrepreneurs to provide connectivity, which then enables the creation of critical services for those who need it most.”

How to apply

Applicants must be commercial organizations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and preferably paying customers. Such products and business models might combine new cloud services and applications, low-cost forms of internet connectivity, and new payment mechanisms designed for consumers and smaller businesses in underserved markets. A list of criteria, and the application, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home. Applications will be accepted until midnight PST on Jan. 31, 2017.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com.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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft announces quarterly dividend

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 30, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.39 per share. The dividend is payable March 9, 2017, to shareholders of record on Feb. 16, 2017. The ex-dividend date will be Feb. 14, 2017.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com.Web links titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Shareholder and financial information is available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/investor/.

Microsoft holds annual shareholder meeting

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 30, 2016 — Speaking to shareholders at Microsoft Corp.’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella highlighted how digital technology is transforming people and organizations across the world, and the opportunity for Microsoft.

“Digital technology is impacting and transforming every human endeavor in every industry,” Nadella said. “Microsoft empowers our customers who want to harness new technology, like artificial intelligence, to transform their organizations and find solutions to the biggest challenges in healthcare, agriculture, finance, government — every sector.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood reported that Microsoft executed well in fiscal year 2016 and reported a strong start to the current fiscal year. Hood noted that Microsoft’s innovation road map and disciplined investment expand addressable market opportunities and position the company for growth — an investment in the future that will deliver value for shareholders.

The following proposals were acted on by the company’s shareholders at the meeting:

  • Re-elected all 11 directors to serve until the next annual meeting of shareholders. All director nominees received a vote of 98 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved, on a nonbinding advisory basis, the fiscal year 2016 compensation of the company’s named executive officers. The advisory measure received 95 percent of votes cast.
  • Ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company’s independent auditor for fiscal year 2017, with a vote of 98 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved an amendment to Microsoft’s Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation, with a vote of 99 percent of votes cast.
  • Approved a French Sub Plan under the 2001 Stock Plan, with a vote of 96 percent of votes cast.
  • Rejected a shareholder proposal to make amendments to the current Proxy Access for Director Nominations bylaw; the proposal received approximately 26 percent of votes cast.

Microsoft’s board of directors consists of John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chairman; William H. Gates, Microsoft founder and technology advisor; Teri List-Stoll, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of DICK’S Sporting Goods Inc.; G. Mason Morfit, president, ValueAct Capital; Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Microsoft; Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management, BMW AG; Sandra E. Peterson, group worldwide chairman, Johnson & Johnson; Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer, Visa Inc.; John W. Stanton, chairman, Trilogy Equity Partners; and Padmasree Warrior, chief development officer and U.S. chief executive officer, NextEV. Nine of the 11 board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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

Microsoft HoloLens is coming to Japan

TOKYO — Nov. 29, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10, will be available for preorder in Japan starting Dec. 2. Devices will begin to ship in early 2017.

Today’s news comes just six weeks after Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition and Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite expanded globally to six new markets. With this milestone HoloLens is now available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States (including Puerto Rico).

“Our mission at Microsoft is to bring mixed reality to every person and organization on the planet,” said Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. “Since January 2015 we have been hard at work to bring the vision of mixed reality to life. It has been inspiring to see what has been created by our partners, and the team remains in awe of the way developers are using HoloLens. We can’t wait to see what everyone in Japan creates when they get their hands on HoloLens.”

Commercial customers breaking new ground with Microsoft HoloLens

HoloLens has transformed how companies work with their three-dimensional data, delivering new ways to design, create, collaborate and explore. More information about how companies are changing the way they work is available here.

One of the companies innovating with HoloLens is Japan Airlines. Using Microsoft HoloLens, Japan Airlines has developed two proof-of-concept programs to provide supplemental training for engine mechanics, and for flight crew trainees who want to be promoted to co-pilot status. Microsoft is very excited to have Japan Airlines on this holographic journey.

Microsoft’s mixed-reality movement is just beginning

Today, HoloLens customers are developing innovative solutions that are already having a positive impact on their business. These customers are the early adopters of the kind of mixed-reality solutions that are poised for exponential growth in the years to come. According to IDC, “worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.”* Windows 10 will be updated in 2017 to include Windows Holographic, the platform that powers the mixed-reality experiences enabling people to perceive the world differently, break down barriers, and bring the virtual and the physical worlds together.

Microsoft HoloLens available to preorder in Japan now

Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the United States on March 31, 2016. Microsoft HoloLens is available for preorder Dec. 2, exclusively from the Microsoft Store in Japan, with devices starting to ship in early 2017.

More about the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition and Commercial Suite, and Windows Holographic, can be found here.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

* IDC press release, “Worldwide Revenues for Augmented and Virtual Reality Forecast to Reach $162 Billion in 2020, According to IDC,” Aug. 15, 2016

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft contributes to open ecosystem by joining Linux Foundation and welcoming Google to the .NET community

NEW YORK — Nov. 16, 2016 — On Wednesday, during its annual Connect(); developer event, Microsoft Corp. unveiled a series of products and partnerships that strengthen the company’s Azure cloud platform for building intelligent, cross-platform apps and services. Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie detailed significant steps Microsoft is taking to empower the ecosystem by giving developers greater choice in the tools they use — including joining the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member to better collaborate with the open source community, welcoming Google to the independent .NET Foundation, and working with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to enable .NET developers to build apps for more than 50 million Samsung devices worldwide.

Guthrie also demonstrated a preview of Visual Studio for Mac, which enables developers to write cloud, mobile and macOS apps on Apple’s Mac operating system using the popular development environment; a preview of the next version of the company’s flagship SQL Server database with support for Linux, Linux-based Docker containers and Windows-based environments; and a preview of Azure App Service on Linux with support for containers.

“We want to help developers achieve more and capitalize on the industry’s shift toward cloud-first and mobile-first experiences using the tools and platforms of their choice,” Guthrie said. “By collaborating with the community to provide open, flexible and intelligent tools and cloud services, we’re helping every developer deliver unprecedented levels of innovation.”

Collaborating with the community

As part of its effort to work more closely with the open source community, Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member. Microsoft’s membership in the Linux Foundation will benefit customers through increased collaboration and innovation among a diverse ecosystem.

“By becoming a Linux Foundation Platinum member, Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “Microsoft has been a key contributor to many projects, and we see the company intensifying its involvement and commitment to open development.”

Microsoft has become an active member of the open source community in part through the popularity of its open source and cross-platform application framework .NET Core. Wednesday’s addition of Google to the .NET Foundation’s Technical Steering Group further reinforces the vibrancy of the .NET developer community as well as Google’s commitment to fostering an open platform that supports businesses and developers who have standardized on .NET.

Other industry leaders are also betting on .NET Core for their own commercial products. On Wednesday Samsung is releasing a preview of its Visual Studio Tools for Tizen. Developers can use the tools to build .NET apps for the Tizen operating system that runs on millions of Samsung TVs, wearables, mobile devices and many IoT devices around the world.

Tools for any developer on any platform

Microsoft highlighted several announcements Wednesday aimed at helping developers use the tools of their choice to create Android, iOS and Windows apps powered by Linux or Windows Server, including the following:

  • The SQL Server on Linux public preview released Wednesday is the first preview of the next version of SQL Server and brings the power of SQL Server to Linux and Linux-based Docker containers, in addition to Windows.
  • A new Visual Studio for Mac preview provides a macOS-based integrated development environment designed for building mobile, cloud and macOS apps.
  • The availability of Azure App Service on Linux with support for Containers in preview provides native Linux support for Node.js and PHP stacks on Azure App Service and now enables developers to bring their own Docker-formatted container image.

Enabling better apps through the intelligent cloud

Today’s most impactful apps are using data to delight users and drive business outcomes. Microsoft today unveiled unique capabilities and services that make it easier for more developers to turn massive amounts of data into deeply personal, intelligent and predictive applications.

  • SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 availability makes database innovations accessible to more applications across product editions.
  • The availability of Azure Data Lake services, Azure Data Lake Analytics and Data Lake Store means developers and data scientists now have the capabilities required to easily store and process data at petabyte size files, with massively parallel analytics and enterprise-grade security for insights on data of any size, shape and speed.

Improving the end-to-end developer experience

Microsoft’s solutions evolve with changing developer needs. Through the Visual Studio family, SQL Server, Windows, Office and Azure, Microsoft is working to provide the most complete platform for application innovation, spanning mobile and cloud.

  • The Visual Studio Mobile Center preview announced Wednesday brings together the cloud and life-cycle services that help developers build, test, distribute and monitor apps built in Objective-C, Swift, Java, Xamarin and React Native for Android-, iOS- and Windows-based devices.
  • The Visual Studio 2017 release candidate released Wednesday includes new capabilities to help any developer be more productive than ever for any application and any platform.
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2017 and Azure Application Insights are now available, providing an enhanced collaboration and DevOps platform for cloud- first, mobile-first scenarios.

“Microsoft is transforming the nature of its appeal to developers by broadening its supported platforms,” said Al Hilwa, research director for Software Development research at IDC. “The new partnerships and commitments allow Microsoft to meet developers where they are and multiply its reach and impact with mobile and cloud developers as well as become established in emerging areas such as IoT, data science and cognitive computing.”

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft and Code.org announce free Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial for Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5–11

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 15, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. and Code.org on Tuesday unveiled the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer, a coding tutorial for students and educators created for Hour of Code, an annual, global campaign held during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 511. The new web-based tutorial available for free at http://code.org/minecraft — enables beginner coders to create and share their own simple “Minecraft” game, and is designed to empower anyone to begin learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required in today’s tech-fueled world.

mchoc2016Created by “Minecraft” game designers at Mojang and Microsoft, in partnership with Code.org, the fun and easy-to-learn one-hour experience builds on the success of last year’s record-breaking “Minecraft” tutorial, which reached more than 30 million students worldwide. With the goal of inspiring millions more to try coding for the first time — and to keep going on their journey of learning computer science — as of today’s launch, the tutorial is available in 10 languages, including Spanish. It is scheduled to be available in 50 languages by Dec. 5.

With the immense popularity of “Minecraft” around the world, Microsoft and Code.org believe the tutorial has the potential to reach people of all ages and likeness. Women and girls already compose nearly half of the game’s global fan base. The tutorial also underscores Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring all young people have the opportunity to learn computer science, an economic and social imperative in this era of digital transformation, which is expected to generate 1.4 million computing jobs in the U.S. alone by 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the U.S., 40 percent of schools do not teach computer science, and Microsoft aims to reach students most likely to be among those without access, particularly girls and minorities.

“We are partnering with Code.org again this year to make computer science more accessible to millions of youth around the world with ‘Minecraft’ and Hour of Code,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “I am inspired by the ‘Minecraft’ generation who view themselves not as players of a game, but as creators of the new worlds they dream up. This is the generation that will imagine, build and create our future, and together we can equip them with the computational thinking and problem-solving skills to seize the opportunities ahead.”

Designed for ages 6 and up, the Minecraft Hour of Code Designer teaches students to create their own “Minecraft” experience where they can program the rules. They can make chickens that drop gold, or zombies that run away instead of attacking. Along the way, students use Code.org’s familiar drag-and-drop coding interface to learn computer science concepts such as object-oriented programming, event handlers and repeat loops. Players face a series of 12 challenges, culminating in creating their own simple game, which they can share with friends.

bts-1080-copy-07-00_00_31_23-still001“The 2016 Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial builds on the success of the original in a great way,” said Mike Harvey, technology teacher from Falmouth, Maine. “By programming familiar game events themselves, learners will be able to experience computer science in a way that is authentic as well as fun. The open-ended challenges help to show that our favorite games (like ‘Minecraft’) are ultimately created with code.”

“Code.org was founded with the vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science — not only because it’s foundational for any career, but because students love it,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO, Code.org. “‘Minecraft’ is a special game that appeals to a diverse global community. We’re delighted to have the chance to teach students coding with the fun familiarity of ‘Minecraft,’ to engage students of all backgrounds and skill levels.”

In support of Code.org and the global Hour of Code campaign, Microsoft will also lead thousands of youth coding events in more than 60 countries. During Computer Science Education Week, this includes hundreds of free workshops hosted by Microsoft Stores across the globe. Students can reserve a spot in a store workshop by visiting microsoft.com/youthsparkprograms and also visit their local Microsoft Store to learn more.

In addition to the latest tutorial and coding events, Microsoft has also been receiving rave reviews from educators on the newly launched “Minecraft: Education Edition” title, a fully featured title that brings the magic of “Minecraft” to the classroom for more immersive, long- term lesson plans.

About Code.org

Code.org® is a 501c3 public non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Its vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. Code.org is the organizer of the annual Hour of Code campaign, which has engaged 10% of all K-12 students in the world, and the leading provider of curriculum for K-12 computer science in all of the largest school districts in the United States. Code.org is supported by philanthropic donations from corporations, foundations, and generous individuals, including Microsoft, Facebook, the Infosys Foundation, Google, Omidyar Network, Ballmer Family Giving, and others.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information about Code.org, visit https://www.Code.org.

For more information about Minecraft’s use in education, visit http://education.minecraft.net.

For more information about Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring access to computer science education for all youth, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/philanthropies/youthspark.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft announces largest wind energy purchase to date

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 14, 2016 — On Monday, Microsoft Corp. announced its largest purchase of wind energy to date with the signing of two agreements. Combined, these agreements represent 237 megawatts of wind energy, which brings Microsoft’s total investment in wind energy projects in the U.S. to more than 500 megawatts.

“Microsoft is committed to building a responsible cloud, and these agreements represent progress toward our goal of improving the energy mix at our datacenters,” said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft. “Our commitment extends beyond greening our own operations because these projects help create a greener, more reliable grid in the communities in which we operate.”

Microsoft has contracted with Allianz Risk Transfer (ART) to fix its long-term energy costs and purchase the environmental attributes connected with the new, 178-megawatt Bloom Wind project in Kansas. The project is the first to use a novel structure developed by ART and designed to offset high upfront costs associated with the creation of large-scale wind projects. Microsoft is the first buyer to participate in this structure, which has the potential to bring clean energy projects online at a faster pace.

“It is important for investors in renewable energy projects to secure long-term, stable revenues, and our structure does just that,” said Karsten Berlage, managing director of ART. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Microsoft on this groundbreaking project.”

In addition, Microsoft has contracted with Black Hills Corp. subsidiary Black Hills Energy, under a long-term agreement, to purchase 59 megawatts of renewable energy certificates from the Happy Jack and Silver Sage wind projects, which are adjacent to Microsoft’s Cheyenne, Wyoming, datacenter. The combined output of the Bloom and Happy Jack/Silver Sage projects will produce enough energy on an annual basis to cover the annual energy used at the datacenter.

“Our longstanding partnership with Microsoft productively led to this landmark collaboration. This collaboration provided them the opportunity to utilize significantly more renewable energy while still ensuring the reliability they’ve come to expect through our energy infrastructure and generation resources,” said David R. Emery, chairman and CEO of Black Hills Corp. “We are proud to be a strong supporter and partner in their mission to power their datacenters with increased renewable energy resources, and look forward to our continued collaboration in the years ahead.”

Microsoft and Black Hills Energy also worked together to create a new tariff, available to all eligible customers, that allows the utility to tap the local datacenter’s backup generators, thereby eliminating the need for Black Hills Energy to construct a new power plant. The tariff received approval from the Wyoming Public Service Commission in July.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to approach energy challenges and avenues of engagement with our utility partners,” said Christian Belady, general manager of cloud infrastructure strategy and architecture at Microsoft. “The team worked closely with ART to come up with a completely new model to enable faster adoption of renewables. Likewise, the tight engagement with Black Hills created the opportunity for Microsoft’s datacenter to become an asset for the local grid, maintaining reliability and reducing costs for ratepayers. This kind of deep collaboration with utilities has great potential to accelerate the pace of clean energy, benefitting all customers — not just Microsoft.”

These are Microsoft’s third and fourth wind energy agreements, joining the 175-megawatt Pilot Hill wind project in Illinois and 110-megawatt Keechi wind project in Texas. In March, Microsoft also signed an agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Dominion Energy Inc. to bring 20 megawatts of solar energy onto the grid in Virginia. These projects are in addition to the renewable and carbon-free energy Microsoft purchases from the grid mix in the markets in which it operates.

More information about this announcement is in the Microsoft on the Issues blog post by Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith.

About Allianz Risk Transfer

Allianz Risk Transfer (ART) is the center of competence for alternative risk transfer business within the Allianz Group offering tailor-made insurance, reinsurance and other non-traditional risk management solutions to industrial and financial clients worldwide. Founded in June 1997, the company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE. ART operates through affiliated companies with offices in Amsterdam, Bermuda, Dubai, Liechtenstein, London, New York and Zurich. Its client base spans across all industry sectors and its solutions are most effective for clients facing unusual or complex risks, where traditional (re)insurance or financial products are inadequate. As of today, ART AG is rated AA- by Standard & Poor’s and A+ by A.M. Best. www.art.allianz.com

About Black Hills Corp.

Black Hills Corp. (NYSE: BKH) is a customer-focused, growth-oriented utility company with a tradition of improving life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, the company serves 1.2 million natural gas and electric utility customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company also generates wholesale electricity and produces natural gas, oil and coal. More information is available at www.blackhillscorp.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft unveils Microsoft Teams

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 2, 2016 Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled Microsoft Teams, a new chat-based workspace that further enhances the collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Office 365, the cloud-based productivity offering with more than 85 million monthly active commercial users. Microsoft Teams brings together people, conversations, content and the tools teams need to collaborate.

“At Microsoft we aim to empower every person and organization with the technology to be more productive as individuals and in groups,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Office 365 is the broadest toolkit and platform for creation, communication and collaboration. Microsoft Teams adds a new experience to Office 365 as the chat-based workspace designed to empower the art of teams.”

Microsoft Teams is built on four core promises:

  • Chat for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams provides persistent, threaded chat to keep everyone engaged and informed. Team conversations are visible to the entire team by default, and the experience also offers private chat capabilities. A library of emojis, GIFs, custom stickers and memes gives people a fun way to express personality within their digital workspace.
  • A hub for teamwork. Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365. People can start voice and video meetings, as well as work with Microsoft Office documents, directly within the Microsoft Teams experience. The Microsoft Graph enables intelligence to help with information relevance, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups, the cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.
  • Customizable for each team. Because every team is unique, Microsoft Teams offers the ability for teams to customize the experience to meet their specific needs. Team members can create channels to organize conversations by topic. They can customize channels with a feature called Tabs, which provide quick access to frequently used documents and applications. Tabs can be created for Office 365 services like OneNote, SharePoint and Planner, or third-party solutions, such as Zendesk and Asana coming soon. Microsoft Teams supports the same Connector model as Exchange to bring notifications and updates from third-party services, such as Twitter or GitHub available Wednesday, directly into the experience. In addition, it supports the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into the team environment. The preview of the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview, also announced today, gives developers the opportunity to start building integrations with Microsoft Teams right away.
  • Security that teams trust. As part of Office 365, Microsoft Teams offers the global scale and advanced security and compliance capabilities provided by the Microsoft Cloud. Data is encrypted at all times and covered by a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Multifactor authentication provides enhanced identity protection to help ensure data stays safe within the team. In addition, Microsoft Teams will support key compliance and data protection standards, such as the data processing terms with European Union Model Clauses, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act business associate agreement (HIPAA BAA), ISO 27001, ISO 27018, and SSAE 16 SOC 1 and 2 report.

“We’ve designed Office 365 to meet the unique needs of every group, with purpose-built applications — like Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer — that all naturally work together. And now with Microsoft Teams, Office 365 accommodates all workstyles,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Office.

Preview available starting Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, the preview of Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans. The preview is available in 181 countries and 18 languages. Office 365 IT administrators can enable Microsoft Teams for their organization from the Office 365 admin center.

For more information, visit the Microsoft News Center. Readers can also follow and engage with the Microsoft Twitter community at @OfficeNews and @MSFTNews using #MicrosoftTeams.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft introduces Surface Studio and the Windows 10 Creators Update

NEW YORK — Oct. 26, 2016 Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a broad vision to empower a new wave of creativity with a major update coming to more than 400 million Windows 10 devices and the introduction of Surface Studio, Surface Dial and a more powerful Surface Book.

Expanding the Surface family, Surface Studio is a new class of device that transforms from a workstation into a powerful digital canvas, unlocking a more natural and immersive way to create on the thinnest LCD monitor ever built.1 With a stunning ultra-HD 4.5K screen, Surface Studio delivers 63 percent more pixels than a state-of-the-art 4K TV. Surface Studio works beautifully with pen, touch and Surface Dial — a new input device designed for the creative process that lets you use two hands on the screen to compose and create in all new ways.

Launching as a free update in early 2017, the Windows 10 Creators Update will enable anyone to create, share and experience in 3-D and mixed reality, connect people faster to those they care about most, and empower every gamer to be a broadcaster. And with the Creators Update, Microsoft Edge will be the first browser to fully embrace 3-D.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “With Windows 10, Microsoft Surface and the medium of Mixed Reality, we aim to empower the builders, the makers and the creators with the tools to create, collaborate and express themselves in new ways.”

Surface Studio turns your desk into a creative studio

Surface Studio is a new class of device designed for how people naturally create and bring ideas to life. The 28-inch PixelSense™ Display immerses the user in 13.5 million pixels of pure, true-to-life color, and the Zero Gravity Hinge allows the screen to effortlessly adjust to each stage of the creative process. When the screen transitions from Desktop Mode to Studio Mode, it sits at a 20-degree angle, the same angle as a standard drafting board, making it ideal for sketching, writing and designing.

The 6th Generation Intel® Core™ processors accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU deliver smooth and immersive graphics performance and the power to run professional programs such as Siemens’ NX™ software,2 taking people through their workflow from end to end. Now architects can sketch their ideas with the Surface Pen, put them into production using powerful 3-D modeling software, and review and mark up plans with a client, all on one device.

Surface Studio starts at $2,999 estimated retail price (ERP) USD. It is available for pre-order today in the U.S. through Microsoft Stores, MicrosoftStore.com and BestBuy.com, and will begin shipping in limited quantities this holiday with broader availability in early 2017.

Surface Dial — a new spin on creativity

Surface Dial is a new peripheral designed for the creative process. It integrates with Windows 10 to work with Surface for a faster and more intuitive way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Dial also enables a set of unique experiences exclusive to Surface Studio. When you place the Dial directly on the screen, it brings up a set of digital tools specific to the app that is open, allowing people to more seamlessly move through their workflow. For example, with Surface Dial, artists can change the color or the size of their brush tip as they paint without ever moving the pen away from the screen. The combination of Dial, pen and touch creates a more immersive and tactile way for people to create in digital environments. Partners like BlueBeam Inc.,2 Drawboard,2 Mental Canvas,2 Siemens PLM Software,2 Silicon Benders,2 Smith Micro Software, Inc.2 and StaffPad have already optimized their software to take advantage of the new experiences Surface Dial provides.

Surface Dial is available for pre-order today in the U.S. through Microsoft Stores, MicrosoftStore.com, select Best Buy locations and at BestBuy.com, and will be available for $99 ERP USD starting Nov. 10.

The most powerful Surface Book yet

Microsoft also introduced Surface Book with Performance Base, making the most powerful laptop in its class even better. The three new Surface Book models feature 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors and pack more than twice the graphics processing power as the original Surface Book. Plus Surface Book with Performance Base brings 16 hours of battery life3 into the same sleek, versatile design people love. With Surface Book with Performance Base, engineers can spin 3-D CAD models with thousands of parts, designers and developers can render large files quickly, and gamers can play more of their favorite games. No other laptop combines similar battery life, performance and pixels in as lightweight a package.

Surface Book with Performance Base starts at $2,399 ERP USD. It is available for preorder today at Microsoft Stores,4MicrosoftStore.com and select retailers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and is available starting Nov. 10.

The Windows 10 Creators Update

Empowering everyone to create, share and experience in 3-D

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft unveiled a comprehensive vision across hardware and software to bring 3-D to everyone.

Microsoft introduced a new way to bring your ideas to life with Paint 3D. Building on the popularity of Microsoft Paint, with more than 100 million monthly users on Windows, Paint 3D will be your all-new, easy-to-use 3-D art studio. The company also introduced the new online community Remix3D.com, connecting creators and creations around the world. Remix 3D will enable all-new scenarios for creators, including the ability for Minecraft players to share their 3-D creations broadly with the Remix 3D community.

To inspire a new wave of creativity, Microsoft is partnering with Trimble to bring the 3-D modeling program Sketchup — and its millions of creators and creations from 3D Warehouse — to Remix3D.com.

To further demonstrate the possibilities of 3-D in Windows 10, Microsoft showed how easy it is to use your phone to capture a real-world object in 3-D — like a sand castle from your family vacation — to save, personalize and share as a 3-D memory or photo. To bring your ideas to life, Microsoft is also adding support for 3-D in Word, Excel and PowerPoint over the next year, which means with the Windows 10 Creators Update, Office features will work seamlessly with 3-D models.

Everyone is welcome to start creating and sharing in Paint 3D today by joining the Windows Insider Program at insider.Windows.com. To learn more about 3-D in Windows 10, go to http://www.Remix3D.com.

Empowering everyone to experience mixed reality

Mixed reality blends the virtual world with the real world to change the way people create, communicate, learn and play across virtual reality, augmented reality and everything in between. To demonstrate the possibilities of mixed reality, the company showed a proof of concept together with Houzz — a leader in home renovation and design. Using the Microsoft Edge browser on HoloLens, Houzz users could preview products in their own home before they buy. Microsoft Edge was the first browser to bring inking to the web, and will be the first browser to fully embrace 3-D.

The Creators Update will be the most powerful and affordable way to experience mixed reality. Microsoft announced that HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer and ASUS will ship the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality through the Creators Update. Coming in 2017, these accessories will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom for simplified setup and to more easily move around your home as you experience virtual worlds —no markers required.

Less powerful VR accessories today start at over $500 ERP USD. With the Windows 10 Creators Update, the new VR accessories will work with affordable laptops and PCs and start at just $299 ERP USD.

Windows 10: the best platform for 4K gaming and in-game broadcasting

Gaming has exploded in popularity as both spectator entertainment and as a sport. The Windows 10 Creators Update will make it easy for every gamer to create and enjoy live game streams and customized eSports tournaments on the fastest, most reliable multiplayer network, Xbox Live.5

The Creators Update will include Beam system integration on Xbox One and Windows 10 for interactive broadcasting and viewing of gameplay on Xbox Live, with even more features yet to be announced. And with interactive broadcasting, you don’t just watch your favorite streamer play, you interact in real time right along with them.

The Creators Update will also bring the power of user-generated tournaments via Arena on Xbox Live, where anyone can define the rules of competition, invite friends and track tournament progress seamlessly across devices, whether it’s on Windows 10 or Xbox One.

Plus, with a Windows 10 gaming PC, you’re able to play games like “Forza Horizon 3,” “Gears of War 4” and more in 4K,6 the highest possible visual fidelity that this holiday’s biggest blockbusters can deliver.

A faster way to connect and share with people who matter most

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft is putting the people you care about most at the center of your experience — right where they belong — with Windows MyPeople. Now, with the Windows 10 Creators Update, your most important friends, family and co-workers will be instantly accessible across any Windows PC.

With MyPeople, you can pin your favorite contacts to the Windows task bar and easily drag and drop any document, photo or video right on top of the contact for easy sharing. Get unique notifications, called “Shoulder Taps,” from your most important people and easily open and see an integrated view of emails, IMs, shared documents and more, all in one place. The Windows MyPeople experience will be integrated across Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for easy sharing.

More to come

Windows Insiders will be able to preview the Windows 10 Creators Update through the Windows Insider Program at https://insider.Windows.com. 3-D and mixed reality for everyone, in-game broadcasting and MyPeople are just some of the new experiences coming to the Windows 10 Creators Update in early 2017. Additional productivity, creativity, security and gaming features will also be included and announced soon.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

1 Average cross-section thickness across entire display

2 Sold separately

3 Surface Book with Performance Base features 16 hours of battery life for local video playback.

4 Where available

5 Network claim: Independent IHS Markit study, June/July 2016. Tested on Xbox One versus PlayStation 4 on top five selling games with matchmaking; results may vary, not an endorsement. Visit xbox.com/betternetwork.

6 Games sold separately. 4K functionality available with supported games, monitors and graphics chips. Check PC to determine graphics chip compatibility.

 

For broadcast download:

Visit https://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/NewsCenter/Microsoft-Introduces-Surface-Studio-and-Windows-10-Creators-Update.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. 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://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.