Weekend Reading: Nov. 11th Edition–Microsoft Unveils a BIG Windows Phone, Announces Display Ad Deal with Yahoo! and AOL, plus Bill Gates on NUI, Windows Live and Bing

It’s been a big week for Microsoft news – literally. First, we unveiled a six-story Windows Phone in New York City’s Herald Square. Then we announced a new display advertising agreement with Yahoo! and America Online. Those and other stories are all here in the latest edition of Weekend Reading…

New Windows Phone 7.5 phones now available in the U.S. Earlier this week, Microsoft celebrated the availability of new sleek and stylish Windows Phones with a launch event in New York City. To demonstrate how Windows Phone puts people back at the center of the smartphone experience, Microsoft built a six-story phone in the middle of Herald Square to bring to life the phone’s unique features and experiences. Take a closer look at the new phones and key Windows Phone 7.5 features in this feature story and slide show on the Microsoft News Center. And in other phone news this week, we announced Monday that the subscription music service Spotify is now available for Windows Phone. Also, check out these 10 hot Web browsing tips using Internet Explorer 9 on Windows Phone. Below is a screenshot of the six-story Windows Phone in Herald Square:

event_big-phone_page

A new day for display… Microsoft, AOL & Yahoo announce advertising agreement. Earlier this week, Microsoft formally announced a display advertising partnership agreement with Yahoo! and AOL. Under terms of the deal, our Microsoft Media Network will soon have the ability to offer premium non-reserved owned and operated display inventory from the Yahoo! Network Plus and AOL Advertising.com networks to our advertising customers. This means that Microsoft will now be in a position to provide advertisers with flexible access to an even larger pool of high-quality inventory than ever before. For more on this story, read this Tuesday post on the Microsoft Advertising Blog. Also this week in advertising news, Yahoo! and Microsoft announced that we are ready to jointly proceed with the transitioning of advertisers and publishers in Europe to the Microsoft Advertising adCenter platform as part of the global roll out of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance. The European roll out is scheduled to begin with the UK, Ireland and France in the second quarter of 2012. You can read more about the announcement in this Wednesday post on the Microsoft Advertising Blog.

Inspiring digital da Vincis with ‘The Art of Touch’. Microsoft unfurled an infinite canvas across the Internet today, inviting artists of all ages to become digital da Vincis. The company’s new “The Art of Touch” project offers anyone using a modern HTML5-capable browser a digital palette and canvas to create, save and share digital art. The Art of Touch site, ArtOfTouch.com, transforms a visitor’s mouse into a paintbrush; with a click, flick or swipe, visitors can paint their masterpiece, then show it off to friends. To get the rest of the news, read this feature story, which features a slide show, on the Microsoft News Center and this Thursday post on the Next at Microsoft Blog.

Bill Gates on Natural User Interfaces. If you’re interested to hear what Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has to say on NUI and Kinect, check out this Wednesday post on the Next at Microsoft Blog, which features an hour-long video of Bill. In the video, Bill talks about the profound implications of Kinect and the range of directions in which it’s being taken. You don’t want to miss this one! And speaking of Kinect, you’re running out of time to vote in the latest poll on The Official Microsoft Blog, which asks readers, “What’s the coolest non-gaming use of the Kinect technology?” The poll will close Monday.

News from the Windows Live team. On Wednesday, the OneNote team has released a free, optional update for OneNote 2010. Improvements include a new Open from Web feature and updates to the synchronization interface, so you always know what’s happening with your notebook. Also, check out this Tuesday post on the Inside Windows Live Blog about improvements the team has made to Hotmail that let you flag important e-mails in  a new an elegant way.

NFL fans rejoice – streamlined NFL answers come to Bing! Keeping tabs on your favorite NFL teams and players just got faster. On Thursday, we released an improved NFL Instant Answer to the Bing results page, giving you instant access to what’s happening across the league. Now, when you search for an NFL team, individual player or “NFL score,” you will instantly see the latest scores and statistics at the top of Bing. To get the rest of this story, read this post on the Bing Search Blog.

Microsoft extends commitment to help U.S. veterans find employment. Returning U.S. veterans face major challenges finding civilian employment. A year ago, we announced a program aimed at addressing that issue, the Elevate America Veterans initiative. On Thursday, Microsoft expanded that commitment. Working with the U.S. Department of Labor in a liaison role, we announced the availability of new training voucher ”packages” that will enable veterans to obtain, at no cost, selected e-learning, test preparation and certification for Windows 7 and Office 2010 or selected IT Professional e-learning, test preparation and certification. Read this post on the Microsoft Citizenship Blog to get the whole story.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Drop by again Monday to vote in a new Official Microsoft Blog poll that asks, “Which new Windows Phone are you most excited to buy this holiday season?”

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog