Weekend Reading: September 13th Edition– Microsoft donates Office 365 to nonprofits worldwide

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on how Microsoft has taken a big step in helping nonprofits harness the power of technology by donating Office 365, the major achievements of the 10-year-old Partners in Learning program and the launch of the Xbox Music service to iOS and Android devices.

Microsoft announced the global availability of Office 365 for Nonprofits through the Technology for Good program on Tuesday. The offer went out to 41 countries, and by July 2014, we’ll roll it out in up to 90 countries. Customers have already experienced the benefits of having access to the cloud and a simpler IT administration structure through Office 365. And better yet, with this donation, there’s no limit on the number of nonprofit employees who can use Office 365 for Nonprofits — a huge boon to organizations with thousands of staff members.

The Partners in Learning program celebrates 10 years of reaching millions of teachers and students, empowering them with technology and resources. Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education at Microsoft, shared 10 inspiring things you never knew about Partners in Learning that show how much impact the program has made in the lives of educators around the world.

The Xbox Music service launched across iOS and Android devices on Sunday, and also added free streaming to the Web player, making Xbox Music free to anyone with a Web browser. This gives many more people access to a 30 million-song global catalog powered by the one service that integrates music experiences across tablets, PCs, phones and TVs.

Also on the Xbox front, we spotlighted NFL.com Fantasy Football for Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 as the App of the Week – just in time for the first week of regular season play! We also saw the official trailer for the “Call of Duty: Ghosts” single player campaign, and learned more about what the Xbox SmartGlass companion app will bring to Xbox One. Fans of Major Nelson will get a chance to meet him as he visits New England Sept. 19 and 20 as part of his “Xbox One Tour: Road to Launch.” (You’ll also get to check out some Xbox One games before launch.) If you missed PAX Prime 2013, check out Gavin Gear’s recap, which will make you feel like you were there.

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Tami Reller, executive vice president of marketing at Microsoft, talked about Windows and the more than 25-year enduring partnership between Microsoft and Intel at the Intel Developer Forum 2013 on Wednesday. Reller’s talk came days after the availability of Windows 8.1 RTM (release-to-manufacturing), Visual Studio 2013 RC and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM. Microsoft also provided a first glimpse at a pre-release version of a fully built-in Skype app. Also on Wednesday, we saw an impressive range of business PCs that reflected one of the great benefits of Windows: a variety of devices that meet every business and individual need.

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We gave more recommendations for those shopping for apps and games on their Windows Phone devices. The Windows Phone Blog had a round-up of indie-made games curated from The Next Big Thing collection, while This week’s Staff App Pick, Weather Flow, came from Andrea Rubin, a marketing manager at Microsoft. (See the image below.) Other mobile treats that caught our eye recently include “The Sims FreePlay,” “Polyhegrams” and the “Monsters University” app for Windows Phone. For another fun distraction, check out the story behind the new Windows Phone ad entitled “The Recital,” which has already drawn nearly 8 million views on YouTube in just two weeks.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we learned that Katy Perry shot a behind-the-scenes video for “Roar” entirely on a Nokia Lumia 1020.

That’s it for the latest edition of Weekend Reading. Have a fantastic weekend!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff