Weekend Reading: Sept. 30th Edition–Windows Phone 7.5 Starts Rolling Out, Microsoft & Samsung Broaden Their Smartphone Partnership and Office Web Apps Launches New Features

The big news this week out of Microsoft was the start of the roll out of Windows Phone 7.5. However, the company also made significant announcements focused on a new, broader smartphone partnership with Samsung and the release of new features for Office Web Apps. Oh, yeah – Gears of War 3 is also the biggest game of the year after a blockbuster first week with gamers.

Windows Phone 7.5 now coming to you. Yes, it’s true. The highly anticipated Windows Phone 7.5 is now rolling out. The first major release since Windows Phone 7 launched less than a year ago, the 7.5 release offers hundreds of new features and experiences designed to build on the phone’s intuitive, “people-first” foundation – multitasking, more integrated apps, primo mobile Web browsing, and powerful and personalized tools, like integrated social networking and conversation threads, for connecting with the people in our lives. For more on who will get the update first, how to install it and more, read this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Blog. If you’re looking for some reactions to Windows 7.5, check out this Windows Phone Blog post, which features reactions from Engadget, CNET and assorted other technology press. Also, check out this rundown of five pinworthy Windows 7.5 apps, including eBay, Open Table and more. Below is a screenshot of the ZTE Tania, a Windows Phone 7.5 device that will be available in several European countries later this year:

Microsoft and Samsung broaden smartphone partnership. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a patent cross-licensing agreement with Samsung that will provide coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio for Samsung’s mobile phones and tablets. The agreement also gives both companies greater patent coverage relating to each other’s technologies, and opens the door to a deeper partnership in the development of new phones for the Windows Phone platform. Read this Wednesday post on the Microsoft on the Issues Blog to get the rest of the story.

Gears of War 3 sells 3M+ copies in week one. Following more than 22,000 midnight madness launch events, Microsoft and Epic Games today announced that the Xbox 360 exclusive sold more than three million copies in its first week since release, cementing Gears 3 as the biggest game of 2011 and catapulting the franchise beyond one billion dollars in lifetime sales. Read this Thursday blog post on Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson to get the rest of the story. Below is a screenshot from the game:

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New features for Office Web Apps are here. The Office Web Apps team is committed to improving its products based on user feedback. Since the team launched Web Apps just more than a year ago, it’s been listening to you, and on Thursday released new features – such as OneNote Web App Ink display – based on what the team heard. To see the rest of the new features, read this Thursday post on the Office Web Apps Blog. Below is a screenshot of OneNote Web App Ink display:

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Deluged by daily deals? Browse more than 200,000 offers with Bing Deals. Despite lots of recent news coverage about the death of daily deal sites, people still love a great deal. The number of daily deal sites may be narrowing, but there are still more than 300 sites to choose from, and consumer interest shows no signs of slowing down. However, people are overloaded with deals that aren’t relevant to them, and nearly a quarter of the people surveyed said they are “fatigued” by the overabundance of deals. On Sept. 23rd, Microsoft announced Bing Deals to help deal seekers sort through the mountain of offerings. Check it out.

How many intelligent devices are in your life? Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton muses on that question and one of his favorite trends in technology – the Internet of Things – in this Thursday post, which features a two-minute video from the Windows Embedded team that touches upon all of the devices in our lives that are powered by software in increasingly useful and interesting ways. Don’t miss it.

Geek of the Week: Jeff Teper, father of Microsoft SharePoint. On Thursday, Geekwire Editor Todd Bishop profiled Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President, Office Business Platform, Microsoft Business Division, as Geekwire’s “Geek of the Week.” Bishop writes, “Our latest Geek of the Week, Jeff Teper, had been at Microsoft for about six years in 1998 when he oversaw the formation of a new group focused on ‘knowledge management.’ Later that group would launch a new business collaboration technology, then called SharePoint Portal Server. SharePoint has since become one of Microsoft’s largest products, surpassing $1 billion in yearly revenue.” You can get the rest of the story here.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog