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.

You might also be interested in:
· 8 million students in Thailand to deploy Microsoft Office 365 for Education
· Finnish company chooses Power BI for Office
· Converting data into fuel for ambient intelligence

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.

Microsoft hires Preston McAfee as chief economist

The following post is from Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Technology and Research, at Microsoft.


Data is a precious resource, and as a company we need to make fewer decisions on intuition and more based on market and other data. In a post last month, Satya discussed the need for companies to create a data-driven culture, and we want to be leaders as we explore creative, diverse strategies to create greater value for our customers and greater value from our product/service data exhaust.

One demonstration of our intent to lead is the hiring of Preston McAfee (pictured below and right) as chief economist, reporting to me. Preston, most recently director of Google strategic technologies, will be responsible for leading a team of economists who will work closely with Amy  Hood, our chief financial officer, 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.

This isn’t the first time Preston will be a chief economist. For five years, from 2007 to 2012, Preston was chief economist and research fellow for our search partner, Yahoo!, where he captured our attention by building a great team that became well known for doing interesting research while ensuring it was impacting current products.

Preston’s other current professional activities include advisor to Rand Education; council member, Game Theory Society; founding co-editor ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation; and member of the Board of Governors, Pardee Rand Graduate School.

Preston has impressive academic credentials, including most recently from 2004–2009 as the J. Stanley Johnson Professor, California Institute of Technology. He has been awarded several patents; published two economics textbooks, Introduction to Economic Analysis, a free, open sourced, creative-commons-licensed textbook spanning introductory and intermediate microeconomics; and Competitive Solutions: The Strategist’s Toolkit; and published extensively. In 2011, Preston was named a distinguished fellow of the Industrial Organization Society and in 2009 a Sparc Innovator. In 2008, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Economics from Purdue University; in 2006 an ASCIT Teaching Award for Mentoring; in 1997 the John S. Day Distinguished Alumni Award, Purdue’s Krannert School of Management; and in 1995 he was named a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

 Susan Athey (pictured left), the Economics of Technology Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a long-time advisor to Microsoft who participated in our selection process, has deep respect for Preston’s work and accomplishments.

“Preston is a world-class researcher in micro-economics and marketplace design who brings to Microsoft a unique blend of research depth combined with real-world applicability. His past work has brought together economics, computer science, and engineering to create innovative solutions for problems such as the design of efficient auctions for telecommunications spectrum and display advertising. He’s also interested in applying economics and machine learning to inventing and building new tools that improve business operations and create value customers, so he brings a great skill set for the breadth of Microsoft’s products.”

Our industry is barely a hundred years old, and we’re certainly entering a new, more human era of computing where our technology and the companies that provide it will work more under the user’s control and at the user’s command. Our economic models are evolving, too. In the Ford economy, you got what was available: one car, one color; in the Starbucks economy you got what you ordered, no matter how complicated; and now in the Pandora economy, you get what you like because the service keeps learning about you, tuning itself to your needs and desires.

We are incredibly optimistic about the path forward for the IT industry and for Microsoft, and we’re excited for the role Preston will play in working directly with our senior leadership team and product/service groups across the company in leading Microsoft on this customer-centric path.

The power of ‘and’

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff