Weekend Reading: Jan. 17th Edition— Microsoft devices and services open new doors at the National Retail Federation convention

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s presence at the National Retail Federation convention, the company’s partnership with GoDaddy and how Office 365 is among the services companies such as RCS MediaGroup and Coles are using to modernize communications infrastructures and keep mobile employees plugged in.

More than 30,000 retailers from around the world recently packed New York City’s Javits Center for the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and Expo (aka “Retail’s Big Show”). To stand out amongst 500 vendors in an exhibit space covering nearly four football fields, it helps if your demo includes the Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK. The NRF was prime ground to show how Windows devices can engage customers and open new doors for retailers. NEC Corporation of America, Razorfish and FaceCake gave attendees Kinect experiences that stood out on the exhibit floor. Microsoft and Accenture demonstrated the “Connected Fitting Room”; while a point-of-service solution based on Windows Embedded showed how businesses can use off-the-shelf-hardware to simplify customer service and business operations. New Microsoft partners AnywhereCommerce and MagTek offer suites of hardware, software and gateway solutions for secure online and mobile transactions for retailers using Surface.

On Monday, GoDaddy and Microsoft announced a long-term strategic partnership to offer Office 365 as GoDaddy’s exclusive core business-class email and productivity service to its small-business customers. Small businesses will have access to professional email with their own domain names, cloud storage and the best known productivity tools on the market, all backed by GoDaddy support.

Microsoft Office 365 helps keep more employees around the world connected. RCS MediaGroup, a global Italian multimedia publishing company, has modernized and unified its communications infrastructure and enabled flexible, cloud-based collaboration through a comprehensive Microsoft technology solution that includes Microsoft Office 365, Windows Azure, Microsoft Lync 2013, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint 2013. Coop Italia, the largest supermarket chain in Italy, and leading Australian retailer Coles, are also increasingly using Office 365 to help deskless employees stay connected socially, and to communicate individually with customers. Coles plans to deploy about 100,000 seats of Office 365 and use Yammer to enable employees and partners to connect and share information.

Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech) – a subsidiary of Microsoft dedicated to bridging Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies – has announced the opening of a subsidiary in China that will focus on open innovation and collaboration with open source and open standards communities.MS Open Tech Shanghai will have a robust team of engineers, standards professionals and technical evangelists who have roots in open source and open standards. In a July 2013 report, Gartner Research shed light on the “growing interest in China in the evolution of cloud technologies, open source software, shared services, data center technologies such as the software-defined network, smart cities and green IT/sustainability.”

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Xbox One was the No. 1 selling console in the market in the U.S., selling 908,000 units in December, according to the NPD Group. The NPD numbers also showed that the total combined retail dollars spent on the Xbox platform (Xbox One and Xbox 360) in December reached $1.39 billion – 50 percent of the combined amount people spend on software, hardware and accessories in the U.S. Now is the time to save on Xbox 360 games and add-on deals, with titles such as “ArcaniA” and “Wheel of Fortune” on sale for at least 50 percent off in the Xbox Live Games Store. But hurry – these prices are only good until Jan. 20. Find out what’s new in “Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD,” which introduces a new female assassin to Xbox 360.

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The Windows Store keeps proving itself to be a desirable destination for developers. The most recent two Staff App Picks, Discovery News and Georama, show how glorious educational and practical travel apps can look on Windows devices, while the Zara app and the App of the Week: Craigslist Classifieds app for Windows gave shoppers stress-free experiences. The Bing Translator app for Windows is handier than ever, now that it’s been updated with speech-to-speech features that allow you to hear the translation in a native speaker’s accent. Budget conscious shoppers will also appreciate the latest Red Stripe Deals, which include Little Red Riding Hood HD, “Big Buck Hunter,” “Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (Full),” “Green Jelly,” “Dragon Portals” and “Fantastic Farm.” Other games to look out for: “3rd Floor Word Search,” “Flea Symphony” and “The Zombies are Coming!” collection.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we hit the slopes with this free Windows theme.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff