Weekend Reading: April 11th Edition – Nokia Devices and Services acquisition approved in China, plus two awesome robot stories!

The days are getting longer and the bees are waking from their long winter slumber here in Seattle. In celebration, we’re pollinating your weekend reading with news buzzing from around the globe.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday announced approval of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, subject to certain conditions. In reaching this decision, the Ministry of Commerce concluded that Microsoft holds approximately 200 patent families necessary to build an Android smartphone. This brings the number of markets that have cleared Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia Devices and Services to 16.

The beginning of an era, the end of another: Support for Windows XP ended Tuesday. The upshot? No more security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates for Windows XP from Microsoft. Windows XP faithful are encouraged to transition to newer operating systems like Windows 8.1.

clip_image001

We all know robots can be smart, but can they be social? Microsoft Research is investigating this question with its Situated Interaction project and creating a code base that allows for many forms of complex, layered interaction between machines and humans. One example is a “smart” elevator, which senses when you need a ride. Another is a robot receptionist who can help book your trips around the Redmond campus.

The sun is out and it’s time to dust off those skates. Topping the list of new apps this week is “Rollerblade® Inline Skates” for Windows Phone 8. With it, you can track your activity, connect with friends, find new skates and compete against others on the leader board. Also out this week for Windows Phone is “BikeMania2″. Ride on a hair-raising motocross course that challenges you to zoom through more than 100 high-flying levels. Or, if paint-by-number is more your style, check out “Crayola Color, Draw & Sing” and let your kiddos’ imaginations run wild with a clever combination of art and music. 

clip_image002

Speaking of running wild, Microsoft’s proved it’s keeping up with the changing media consumption environment with three key announcements Monday at the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters’ exhibition: a new Microsoft Azure customer in FansChoice TV, a critical industry partnership with video analytics firm Ooyala and a new studio-grade solution for broadcasters with Skype TX.

As we welcome the sun, Australia bids their summer adieu. Still, there was some bright news from our friends down under this week. Queensland, the second-largest state in Australia, will partner with Microsoft to bring Office 365 to 149,000 government employees. This move is a big step toward standardization and simplification of Internet and communications technology for the country’s second-largest state, and one the government hopes will enable new forms of knowledge sharing, collaboration and interconnectivity.

clip_image003

Because one robot story is never enough, we bring you team xbot and the Microsoft mentors helping disadvantaged youth get a head start in computer science and engineering by building life-size, giant-ball-throwing robots. In the latest installment of “On the Whiteboard” we give you a front-row seat for a recent competition and all of the accompanying robot ruckus.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we celebrated National Siblings Day.

clip_image005

Here’s hoping your weekend is full of just the right kind of ruckus. See you back here for more stories in bloom next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff