Weekend Reading: May 25th Edition–Catching Up With Steve Ballmer in Asia, plus Office 365, Windows Phone, Skype and More

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s trip to Asia, a new agreement between Microsoft and the Vatican that will bring Office 365 to millions of students and the new Facebook app for Windows Phone now in Marketplace.

Steve Ballmer highlights opportunities in Asia. Steve Ballmer was in Asia this week, speaking at events in Japan, China, Korea and India. Developers, customers, partners and students told Ballmer how excited they are about Microsoft’s coming products and services in Asia, including Windows 8. “Windows 8 is at the forefront of what we’re doing and I think at the forefront of the ways in which we can create real opportunity for us and for our partners,” Ballmer said at a Windows Partner Executive Summit in Tokyo. “No matter what you do, Windows 8 should unlock for all of us new opportunities.” See more photos from Ballmer’s tour in this slide show. Below are two images from the slide show:

05-25BallmerAsia1_Page

Catholic International Education Office chooses Office 365 for more than 4.5M students globally. The Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) has entered into an education alliance with Microsoft to provide Office 365 for its community of Catholic schools across the world as part of a new Social Network for Catholic Education. This will begin with provision of software for 4.5 million students as part of a three-year alliance plan but in time has the potential to scale across OIEC’s community of more than 43 million Catholic students at 210,000 schools in 102 countries. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center and The Official Microsoft Blog to get the rest of the story.

Now in Marketplace: Facebook’s latest public offering. We know many of you have been eagerly anticipating the newest version of the official Facebook app, which we teased last month. Well, the wait is over: The update—version 2.5, officially—just showed up in Marketplace and carries some tasty additions. Most of you probably already have this app in your arsenal. If not, what better time to grab it? Read this Thursday post on the Windows Phone Blog to find out what’s new. Also, don’t miss this Monday post about a new series of nature wallpapers for Windows Phone. And just in case you missed it, here’s a reminder post that you now need Windows Phone 7.5 installed on your phone to access Marketplace.

Microsoft announces worldwide finalists for Imagine Cup 2012. Marking the 10th anniversary of the Microsoft Imagine Cup student technology competition, Microsoft on Wednesday announced the teams that will head to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in July in Sydney, to showcase their innovative ideas for using technology to solve the world’s toughest problems. As the winners of regional, national and online Imagine Cup competitions, these students represent the future of technology innovation and entrepreneurialism. Want the rest of the story? Head on over to the Microsoft News Center.

Microsoft Hardware celebrates 30 years. 2012 is an exciting year for the Microsoft Hardware group, as it marks the 30th year that Microsoft has been in the hardware business. As we look to the future and what it will bring to our business, we’d like to pause for a moment and reminisce about the year that started it all—1982. Read this Monday post on the Microsoft Hardware Blog for the whole story. Below is a screenshot of Microsoft mice both old and new.

Mice

Schedule crammed? Try searching your Outlook calendar. Now when is that neighborhood planning meeting and will it conflict with the business dinner your boss just asked you to attend? Your calendar is so full that scanning it won’t help. You might not know that the Outlook Calendar has its own Search to help you sort out the dates. Head on over to the Outlook Blog to learn more.

Skype President Tony Bates weighs in. In this Wednesday post on The Big Blog, Tony Bates, president of the Skype Division of Microsoft, weighs in on Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who feels strongly that technology hinders human relationships, actually hiding us from each other in plain sight. Bates writes, “However, I’ve seen incredibly strong examples of how software like Skype actually creates deeper, more meaningful connections between people. By bridging the gap created by physical distance, technology can facilitate very personal experiences that would otherwise be impossible. The ability for technology to enable face-to-face interaction helps maintain strong relationships.” Check it out.

One more from Skype. For all you rockers and music lovers out there, this one is for you. Skype is excited to announce the next phase of our “Join Say it with Skype” campaign, which will give up-and-coming bands a chance to become part of the Say it with Skype app as the new house band. In a hunt for today’s ‘next big band,’ celebrity and leading music influencers Pete Wentz of Black Cards, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, and MTV music personality and host of “120 Minutes” and MTVHive.com, Matt Pinfield will judge submissions and award the best one. Read this Tuesday post on The Big Blog for more detail.

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog