Weekend Reading: May 30th Edition—Skype Translator introduced at inaugural Code Conference, Microsoft and salesforce.com announce strategic partnership

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Skype Translator app revealed at the first-ever Code Conference, a new strategic partnership between Microsoft and salesforce.com and how businesses like the Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Coca-Cola Company have chosen the Surface Pro 3 as their go-to choice to replace laptops.

Soon, you won’t have to know a foreign language to speak to someone in another country in real time. A new breakthrough app, Skype Translator, developed by Microsoft researchers and engineers, was demonstrated Tuesday during a talk by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The app will be available in beta for Windows 8.1 before the end of the year.

Microsoft and salesforce.com announced a strategic partnership Thursday to connect salesforce.com’s customer relationship management apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows. Together, the two companies will deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows. Among those solutions is Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, which will give customers access to Salesforce and run their businesses from Windows devices. A preview is planned in fall 2014, with general availability in 2015.

Big companies – such as BMW Group, The Coca-Cola Company and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy – have committed to buying and deploying Surface Pro 3. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, Surface Pro 3 will replace laptops for doctors and officials for many reasons, among them the Surface Pro 3 pen and the ability to take notes on the device’s 12-inch screen. Its weight, battery life and application compatibility also helped make the decision a “no-brainer,” says hospital CIO Wes Wright.

It was a big week over at Bing, with updates to the Bing Maps Apps for Windows 8.1 that include new features and cities; and Bing Brazil officially kicked off the “Na área” project. It aims to bring communities in that country together to document tourist attractions, landmarks, hotels and other points of interest, starting with pilot programs in the Vidigal, Complexo de Maré and Manguinhos favelas – informal settlements that combined are home to 200,000 people. 

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The 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee buzzed with surprises from Microsoft Tuesday. Microsoft is a technology partner of this year’s Bee and each of the Bee’s 281 participants received a brand new Surface device, Skype gift card and Office 365. As part of the Bing in the Classroom program, special digital literacy-focused Spelling Bee lessons can be found alongside the Bing home page lesson plans. You can also try out the free Spelling Bees app, exclusively for Windows 8. The Bing Search Blog also had some fun with previous Bee winning words autochthonous, prospicience and insouciant.

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In the world of apps, we saw action heroes, emergency lifelines and indie games galore. Get in on the web-slinging action with App of the Week “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for Windows Phone. Or if ancient Rome is more your bag, try the Staff App Pick “Glorious Maximus” for Windows. Another staff app pick, BuluBox for Windows, helps deliver the latest nutrition supplements to your door. Because a smartphone is handier than ever, you’ll find the updated Microsoft HelpBridge app for smartphones could be a lifeline during disasters. For lighter fare, Disney reimagines the Sega Genesis classic “Castle of Illusion” for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. Finally, the Windows Phone Blog wrote about the Windows Phone Store’s Indie Game Spotlight Collection.

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Last week, Microsoft Stories launched Snaps, a digital photo album of must-see Microsoft images from around the world.We’ll show you a new Snap in every Weekend Reading. In this week’s installment, Brian Smale captures Stories reporter Jennifer Warnick singing an impromptu duet with tuneful marketing manager Bryan Roper while interviewing him for an upcoming profile.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to James Whittaker, who went from Microsoft to Google and back to Microsoft again.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Enjoy the last weekend of May and first weekend of June! See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff