Weekend Reading: Feb. 7th Edition — New CEO Satya Nadella says Microsoft will ‘move faster, push harder and continue to transform,’ and Windows Azure being used to live stream 2014 Winter Games

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, Windows Azure being used to provide live streaming and on-demand video of the 2014 Winter Games on NBC, and the fourth-largest school district in the U.S. planning to have 100,000 Windows 8 devices in students’ hands by 2015.

Satya Nadella says he is “honored and humbled” to succeed Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as only the third CEO of Microsoft in nearly four decades. “Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation,” he says. “I see a big part of my job as accelerating our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.” The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is “vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform,” he said in a press release. Nadella, 46, was born in India, and was most recently executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Married with three children, he’s an enthusiastic fan of cricket and also enjoys reading poetry. “It’s like code,” he says, adding that the best code is poetry.

clip_image001

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said “there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella.” Nadella, he said, “is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.” Gates, previously chairman of the board of directors, takes on a new role on the board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.

clip_image002

Bill Gates, Satya Nadella and Steve Ballmer with employees on Feb. 4, 2014.

 

If you’re watching the 2014 Winter Games on NBC on demand and streamed on smartphones, tablets, computers or Internet-connected TVs, you’re watching the power of Windows Azure Media Services at work. Cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services, a highly scalable video service platform hosted in Microsoft’s datacenters, is being used to publish and stream more than 1,000 hours of coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games through Feb. 23. Viewers can access live and on-demand content via the NBC Sports Live Extra app available free on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Fans also can go to NBCOlympics.com to view live or on-demand Olympics events on a PC or Mac. With so much interest in the games, “To meet that demand, Windows Azure is leading the way by providing end-to-end live streaming of the Winter Olympics entirely in the cloud, including encoding, transcoding and streaming, for the first time in history,” said Scott Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the U.S., is taking steps to close the divide between students who have access to technology and those who do not. At a Microsoft YouthSpark Connection panel in Miami Thursday, Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho and Margo Day, Microsoft vice president, U.S. Education, announced the district will move forward with its 1:1 device initiative, rolling out a total of 100,000 Windows 8 devices by August 2015. Microsoft also announced this week that in line with President Barack Obama’s ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age within five years, the company and its OEM partners have created a new offer to all U.S. K-12 public schools for Windows devices in the classroom. It’s an offer that has “potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system, via the purchase of Windows-based tablets, laptops and devices, which we are providing at substantially lower pricing on devices and services through our partners Dell, Lenovo and others,” Day wrote.

We updated our transparency reporting to provide new information relating to governmental demands for customer data.“Beginning last summer, Microsoft, Google, and other companies filed lawsuits against the U.S. government arguing that we have a legal and constitutional right to disclose more detailed information about these demands,” wrote Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs. “We contended that we should be able to disclose information about legal orders issued pursuant to U.S. national security laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which we had previously been barred from disclosing.” As a result of that litigation, he said, the government recently agreed for the first time to allow technology companies to publish data about FISA orders. “While there remain some constraints on what we can publish … we are now able to present a comprehensive picture of the types of requests that we receive from the U.S. Government pursuant to national security authorities.”

clip_image001

NBC Sports Live Extra app for Windows Phone.

There’s no shortage of ways to keep up with the Winter Games, or other games, on Windows Phone. With the NBC Sports Live Extra app, you not only get the Winter Games live, but you’ll also find complete schedule of the events and, push notifications for start times you’re interested in. You might also want to check out the Winter Sports collection, including various guides to what’s going on in Sochi, skiing apps and the Bing Sports app, in the Windows Phone Store. (Speaking of Bing, consider it your one-stop shop for trivia galore about the Winter Games, including a new timeline feature that gives a quick chronological list of an athlete’s career highlights.) If you’re feeling like less sport-y and more game-y (so to speak), take a look at “Jetpack Joyride,” where you play as Barry Steakfries, a hero breaking out of a lab trying to keep an ultra-powered jetpack out of the hands of evil scientists. Go back in time and play the new Caesar in the fast-paced strategy game, “Roman Empire,” where your goal is to conquer Europe – and hang onto it for 500 years. If you don’t want an empire, try city building with “2020: My Country,” with your mission being to create and maintain a futuristic metropolis on a chain of island cities. Or, earn the title King of the Road in “Hot Rod Racers,” which brings the adrenaline rush of drag racing exclusively to Nokia Windows Phones devices.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we congratulated the Seattle Seahawks on their Big Game victory.

clip_image003

What a historic week it has been! That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Thanks for visiting, and we’ll see you next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff