Top Official Microsoft Blog Posts of 2011

It’s that time of year again, when people naturally look back on all that’s happened in the last 12 months and try to take stock of it all. We do the same thing here at Microsoft.

Here’s a list of the top 10 posts that were published on The Official Microsoft Blog in 2011, ranked according to readership. In this list, you’ll find news about the Kinect for Windows SDK, Xbox, botnets, our vision of what the future of productivity and digital entertainment look like and a host of others. So, without further ado:

1. Kinect for Windows SDK to Arrive Spring 2011. The Kinect for Xbox 360 in and of itself was a huge story for Microsoft this year. However, as we’ve learned, there’s so much more to the Kinect technology than games and living room entertainment. In late February, the company announced that a Kinect for Windows SDK would arrive in the spring, an announcement that clearly resonated with readers. The Kinect for Windows SDK was developed and released by Microsoft Research (MSR) in collaboration with IEB. It gives academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system—such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself so they can develop the next generation of natural user interface (NUI) technologies.

2. The Future of the Living Room. Last summer, Microsoft unveiled its vision for the future of the living room and digital entertainment. Rather than go on here about it, readers might be better served by watching the short video below to see exactly what we mean.

3. Microsoft Recognized as the No. 1 Global Workplace by the Great Places to Work Institute. Microsoft prides itself on the innovative work its dedicated employees produce every day and values their level of deep commitment. So, we were especially proud to be recognized as the number one global workplace in late October by the Great Places to Work Institute.

4. The IBM PC is 30 Years Old (and We’re Just Getting Started). In the last several months, there’s been a lot of talk about how the day of the PC is over. Obviously, we don’t agree. As Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications here at Microsoft wrote in mid-August, we “prefer to think of it as the PC-plus era, since there will be 400 million PCs sold worldwide this coming year, but that’s semantics ).”

5. Microsoft Offers reward for Information on Rustock. Ah, those nasty botnets. Microsoft made headlines throughout 2011 for its efforts in pursuing botnets and their alleged perpetrators, and readers really seemed to like reading about it. No big surprise though, right? Botnets are notorious purveyors of spam, and who actually likes to get spam?

6. Microsoft Announces Windows Azure Toolkits for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Next to the Kinect for Windows SDK story, our announcement in early May that we’d release Windows Azure Toolkits for iOS, Android and Windows phone was the biggest developer-focused story published on The Official Microsoft Blog in 2011. Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms. Today, it’s not just about how quickly a developer can create an experience, but how quickly that developer can build apps that work with unique devices across a dozen platforms.

7. Microsoft Offers a Glimpse into the Future of Productivity. In late October, Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, shared the company’s view on the future of productivity. He used this video to help tell the story we see unfolding in technology, and how it will impact our lives in the future, writing, “The video shows our vision for a future where technology extends and highlights our productive capabilities; it helps us manage our time better, focus our attention on the most important things, and foster meaningful connections with the people we care about.”

8. Xbox: Now That’s Entertainment. Just before the Electronic Entertainment Expo last May, Frank Shaw took a few moments to write about the ongoing evolution of the Xbox from a gaming-centric device to one that has seen Microsoft turn up the heat on a whole new era of home entertainment. “The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox LIVE – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe,” Shaw wrote.

9. Tony Bates Weighs in on Microsoft’s Acquisition of Skype. In mid-October, Tony Bates, president of Skype, spoke about Skype’s mission “to be the communications choice for a billion people every day.” Simply put, Skye “wants to transform communications,” Be blogged in a post that includes a short video interview. “By bringing together the best of Microsoft and the best of Skype, we’ll deliver amazing new experiences for consumers and business around the world.”

10. Microsoft Neutralizes Kelihos Botnet, Names Defendant in Case. Readers just couldn’t get enough stories on botnets. Following our success in taking down the Waledac and Rustock botnets, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, as well as a consortium of partners, took down a third botnet – called Kelihos – and announced the news in late September. “The Kelihos takedown is intended to send a strong message to those behind botnets that it’s unwise for them to simply try to update their code and rebuild a botnet once we’ve dismantled it,” wrote Richard Domingues Boscovich, senior attorney in the Digital Crimes Unit.

As you can see, it’s been a momentous year for Microsoft on a number of fronts. We want to thank you for reading The Official Microsoft Blog and wish everyone a happy New Year.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog