This week served up a mix of exciting, noteworthy news and stories about Microsoft, so let’s dig in for inspiration.
When lightning destroyed the computer servers of a rural tribal group in Michigan, it became the spark for a big tech overhaul. But it wasn’t easy. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi had such ancient infrastructure that people preferred paper and phone calls to computers, said Matt Clay, the tribal band’s information technology director. But three years later, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi uses Microsoft tools for an efficient, modern government system, a success story showcased Thursday.
Two states away, Microsoft announced a new initiative in Chicago called CityWorks to improve urban infrastructure with innovative uses of technology. Microsoft is a founding partner of the initiative, which unites companies, government, research institutions and civic groups to make urban areas stronger, safer and healthier. “The smart and sustainable solutions we develop and test in Chicago will lead to real improvements in cities across the world,” wrote Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president for Technology & Civic Engagement at Microsoft.
Microsoft was no slouch on the other side of the planet, with news that it’s investing $3 million in Vietnam to empower young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. The investment, through Microsoft’s global YouthSpark program, will happen over the next three years.
“Vietnam is an important emerging market for Microsoft in Southeast Asia with great growth potential. With its large, young, highly mobile and socially engaged population, we believe that the country is poised to fully leverage the power of technology to grow and compete on a global stage,” said César Cernuda, president of Microsoft Asia Pacific.
In big developer news, Microsoft launched Azure App Service, a new cloud-based service that helps developers quickly build Web and mobile apps for any platform and any device. The solution integrates the Microsoft Azure Websites, Mobile Services and Biztalk Services into a single service with a common app hosting, runtime and extensibility model. It’s available as a free trial.
Microsoft also announced Microsoft Azure for student developers, a new offering that enables students to take advantage of the power of the cloud. It’s free and available in 140 countries. The offering “supports the mission we outlined with the launch of Microsoft Imagine: to connect student developers with the tools and knowledge needed to create, code and bring their ideas to life,” wrote Steve “Guggs” Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer Platform & Evangelism and chief evangelist for Microsoft.
The week was a highlight for Microsoft partnerships, including an expanded global partnership with Samsung and other leading manufacturers to deliver Microsoft mobile productivity services to Android devices. “This is a big step forward for our cross-platform and cross-device services strategy, which will bring an array of Microsoft services to every person on every device,” wrote Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft.
Microsoft’s partnership with Alaska Airlines was also on display with a showcase of new Windows 8.1 tablets for inflight entertainment. The system gives Alaska customers the chance to see movies still in theaters and do other fun things on tablets running Windows 8.1. The airline hosted an inflight press conference Thursday, saying passengers had started using 7,000 of the new 8-inch Toshiba Encore 2 tablets. More are on the way.
In app and game news, an ESPN app update gave fans more ways to personalize their sports coverage. The “Star Wars: Commander” game (free in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store) got a cool new story. And if you love to listen to CBS stations, you’ll like Radio.com, our app of the week. It lets you stream nearly 300 live CBS broadcast, HD and digital-only stations from cities across the United States to your Windows Phone device, PC or tablet.
On the Microsoft Instagram page, our global adventure to find people who #DoMore always helps us meet interesting people. This week, we featured the founder of Tony’s Café, Antonio Tang, whose coffee trucks are making a difference.
That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again soon!
Microsoft News Center Staff