Weekend Reading: Jan. 4th Edition – MSN’s Top Stories of 2012 & the Windy City Adopts Office 365

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on MSN’s top news stories of 2012, the City of Chicago adopting Office 365 for 30,000 employees, great Windows Phone apps for the new year and more.

MSN’s top news stories of 2012. What would happen if Honey Boo-Boo entered a room Gangnam Style and Kim Kardashian tweeted about it? It’d sound a lot like the MSN 2012 Year in Review! Covering everything from super-storm Sandy to the year’s top baby names, 2012’s most influential cats, the greatest photo-bombs of the year, and the year’s top tweets, the Year in Review on MSN has something for everyone. Showcased in one beautiful hub that brings all the top stories of the year together in a dynamic, image-rich format, Year in Review highlights the plethora of most clicked, shared, searched and tweeted topics of 2012. Check it out over on MSN.

MSN 2012

The Windy City teams with Microsoft on cloud strategy. As part of a new cloud computing strategy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the City of Chicago will move 30,000 employees to Microsoft Office 365 for cloud-based e-mail and productivity. The City will consolidate its three disparate e-mail systems into one Microsoft Office 365 environment in an effort to improve collaboration, enhance security, and provide both mobile and desktop access for anytime, anywhere productivity. This new strategy will deliver more than $1.3 million in cost savings over the next four years – a whopping 80 percent decrease in cost per employee – while ensuring City workers have access to Web-based versions of the Microsoft tools they rely upon every day, including Microsoft Outlook, Word, OneNote, Excel, Lync and PowerPoint. Head on over to The Official Microsoft Blog to get the rest of the story.

U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and DISA expand access to Microsoft technologies. In an effort to modernize technology infrastructure, reduce costs and foster new levels of cross-agency collaboration, the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) are expanding access to Microsoft solutions by entering into a transformative three-year Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreement for enterprise licenses and software assurance. The agreement provides all three organizations with a single vehicle for accessing the latest Microsoft technologies in support of top IT priorities around datacenter consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data. This is the most comprehensive licensing agreement Microsoft Corp. has ever established with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), covering nearly 75 percent of all DoD personnel. Read more about it over on the Microsoft News Center.

Best Windows Phone news apps for 2013. 2013 is just a few days old, but there’s already a lot to keep up with. Check out this list of some of Windows Phone Blogger Michael Stroh’s favorite news apps. The apps are timely for another reason: Many of them received significant updates or launched new Windows Phone 8 versions in the last few weeks. So if one of your resolutions is to be better informed (or just less boring at cocktail parties), now’s a good time to grab a few and get reading.

Vogue for Windows Phone 8

Popular New Year’s resolutions—and the Windows Phone apps to make them stick. Making annual vows is a time-honored tradition. So is breaking them. To succeed, most of us need all the help we can get. So Windows Phone Blogger Michael Stroh thought it would be fun to put together a list of popular New Year’s resolutions and pair them with Windows Phone apps that he thinks can help you achieve success. You’ll find more great ideas in the just-published New Year’s Checklist app collection.

Urbanspoon on Windows Phone 8. One of the apps Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton has long coveted is Urbanspoon. Head on over to Next to see what he thinks of the new app for Windows Phone 8 foodies.

Urban Spoon App

Talking tech trends on GeekWire. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton recently got the chance to stop in and talk with Todd Bishop and John Cook recently for their popular GeekWire podcast.Steve talked about technology trends for the year ahead and beyond. Regular readers will not be surprised at the trends he touched on – Natural User Interface (NUI), Big Data and Machine Learning, the Internet of Things and the blending of the physical and digital. You can listen to the full podcast over on Next.

Xbox 360 games in 2013. Earlier this week, Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson asked readers which Xbox 360 games they’re most looking forward to in 2013. Readers can drop an answer to that question in the comments section of this Wednesday blog post and Major Nelson will “randomly choose one person to win a free 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold membership.”

2013 Xbox 360 Games

2012’s big moments in the Microsoft Cloud. Christian Belady, General Manager of Data Center Services at Microsoft, recently shared a list of some of the big moments from his perspective – through the lens of the support the Global Foundation Services’ team provided to manage Microsoft’s growing cloud infrastructure. These were big moments in how they influenced our business and the lasting impact they will have on the company. Head on over to the Microsoft Global Foundation Services Blog to see the list. Some of those moments include: carbon neutrality and the EPA Green Power Award.

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

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