Weekend Reading: July 12th Edition—Worldwide Partner Conference focuses on cloud solutions and Windows 8

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we take you to Houston for the Worldwide Partner Conference, then introduce the global CityNext initiative and the groundbreaking Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone 8 device.

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference showcased cloud computing and big data and updates about Windows 8. At WPC, which kicked off Monday in Houston, Satya Nadella, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, announced Cloud OS Accelerate. As part of this new program, Microsoft and key partners will invest more than $100 million to help put thousands of new private and hybrid cloud solutions into consumers’ hands. He also unveiled: offers for Windows Intune and the Windows Azure SQL Database, as well as a new self-service business intelligence (BI) solution for Office 365. Read more about these and other highlights in Nadella’s blog post. Microsoft also released a new study from IDC that shows the benefits of partners selling cloud-based solutions. WPC also shined the light on Windows 8’s momentum in selling 100 million licenses and added more details about the availability of Windows 8.1. Blogging Windows has the whole story.

The WPC was the perfect venue to unveil CityNext, a new global initiative that brings together an extensive ecosystem powered by Microsoft partner relationships and their technologies to help urban leaders find solutions to their problems using flexible cloud services, enterprise-grade devices and apps for city employees, and big data platforms. Great examples of CityNext’s potential are in Paris with the Autolib’ car-sharing service and in Seattle, with the High Performance Buildings Pilot Project.

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On Thursday, the Windows Phone family received its newest – and certainly one of its most eye-catching additions: the Nokia Lumia 1020, which boasts a 41-megapixel sensor that can go toe-to-toe with most digital SLRs. Check out the Q&A on the Windows Phone Blog with two corporate veeps – Nokia’s Kevin Shields and Windows Phone’s Joe Belfiore – who talk about the collaboration that led to the groundbreaking Windows Phone 8 device. The Windows Phone Blog has a handy recap of the week’s other big developments, including availability for Nokia’s Lumia 925 and Sprint’s first Windows Phone 8 device—the HTC 8XT.

Windows Phone also saw the emergence of a new role-playing game, “Order and Chaos,” and a major Yelp update. For those who want to develop apps for Windows Phone 8, there’s now a series to help you do that. Windows Phone also had good news for businesses, with an announcement Wednesday that increases the length of the support lifecycle from 18 months to 36 months.

On the other side of the world, in Russia, a new batch of winners came out of Imagine Cup 2013. In what could be considered one of the coolest global science fairs ever, tech-savvy students compete in Microsoft Imagine Cup to see who can come up with the most innovative apps, games and other tech projects. Winning projects were announced Thursday as part of $1 million worth of cash and prizes distributed during this year’s competition. Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer Platform & Evangelism at Microsoft, wrote a blog post championing these student innovators.

With thousands descending on at the 44th annual Comic-Con International in San Diego beginning July 17, Major Nelson and Xbox Wire gave fans a preview of Xbox’s schedule of activities next week. Gamers can also look forward to the Summer of Arcade, the annual event on Xbox Live Arcade, which kicks off August 7, the “Halo 4” Champions bundle, “Zoo Tycoon” for the first time on consoles, and the new original Netflix series set in a women’s prison, “Orange is the New Black,” now on Xbox Live.

And one final interesting tidbit: the Microsoft Facebook page reported that Coke Zero is the most popular soda on the Microsoft campus, with more than 1 million cans consumed on campus each year.

And that’s a wrap for another edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you have a great weekend and that it’s sunny wherever you are!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff