Technology transforms soccer, pilots use Surface Pro 3 and a peek at Black Friday deals — Weekend Reading: Nov. 21th Edition

Gooooooal! This week welcomed amazing news for fútbol — and technology. But it didn’t stop there. In honor of a high-flying few days, with big news from around the world, we bring you Weekend Reading. Buckle up.

Just in time for the 2014 MLS Cup Conference Finals, a glimpse behind the scenes of Seattle Sounders FC preparation, where technology is tracking team members to ensure they’re in top form. Devices worn by players gather information on each athlete’s energy output, endurance, sleep patterns, nutrition and fatigue. SQL Server stores and makes sense of all of that data. “It provides us a holistic view of the data and enables us to draw powerful insights from it,” says Ravi Ramineni, a performance analyst with the Sounders who built the SQL Server database.


In other awesome soccer news, Real Madrid C.F. and Microsoft inked an agreement this week that will accelerate the digital transformation of the famed fútbol team. The alliance will revolutionize the soccer experience for members and fans of the club by providing a comprehensive online experience, as well as digital services accessible anywhere, anytime on a host of devices. “We are delighted to offer these tools to millions of Real Madrid fans worldwide and help make their passion for football much more exciting,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella says in a press release.


Did we say high flying? Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines rolled out a plan this week to equip pilots with Surface Pro 3 tablets to make flight operations even more efficient. Lufthansa has purchased more than 5,000 Surface Pro 3 devices with plans to distribute them to all regions where Lufthansa flies in February and March of 2015. Austrian Airlines has already begun rolling out Surface Pro 3 to their pilots for use as electronic flight bags, replacing heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft reference materials. The airlines join Delta, which has already adopted Surface in the cockpit.


In government news, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it’s moving 125,000 employees to a Microsoft Office 365 solution for email application and collaboration services hosted in a Government Community Cloud. The move will help agency employees work across departments more efficiently and effectively.

Don’t let all of this big news deter you from the impending holiday (gobble gobble), and the deals that await on must-haves like Surface Pro 3, Xbox One and Lumia 635 phones, among others. What’s more, you don’t have to battle the crowds to get super savings on Black Friday and beyond. Check out these deals available online at and select retailer websites.


You may be planning your holiday shopping, but Christmas came early this week, with the news that HBO GO is now available on Xbox One, complete with Kinect voice and gesture control. Watch the latest episodes from shows like “True Detective,” “Game of Thrones” and “Girls,” with the wave of a hand or quick voice command. In other app news, Crunchyroll, which features Anime titles, and ENCORE Play and MOVIEPLEX Play for TV and movies – also launched this week on Xbox One. More into AFC than Anime? Catch up on (American) football with the NFL on Windows 8.

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This week on the Microsoft Instagram page, we introduced fans to photographer Justin Bastien, who is trekking across four continents to capture inspiring stories of people who #DoMore.


Whether you’re inspired to kick the soccer ball around, or curl up on the couch with a good show, get to it! See you for a special Wednesday edition of Weekend Reading next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff


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