A week to soar: Innovation on display at Worldwide Partner Conference, parties planned for Windows 10 release and Special Olympics athletes on the move – Weekend Reading: July 17 edition

It was a high-flying week at Microsoft, and if you blinked, you missed it. That’s why we’re here, to give you a recap of some of the week’s most important (and fun) goings-on, so let’s get to it:

The Worldwide Partner Conference got down to business. New technology innovations were showcased, including Project GigJam and the Cortana Analytics Suite, demonstrating Microsoft’s ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud and create more personal computing. Attendees got a peek at how one of Microsoft’s partners, Autodesk, will use HoloLens to fundamentally change how design professionals create, communicate, visualize and work. With many partners transitioning their businesses to the cloud, Microsoft is also making investments to make those transitions more seamless.

Satya Nadella at WPC 2015

Get ready to party with the launch of Windows 10. On July 29, when Windows 10 is released, festivities around the world are planned, with thousands of retailers participating, including all Microsoft store locations. Microsoft will also begin a year-long initiative, “Upgrade Your World,” to celebrate the people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft will partner with 10 global and 100 national nonprofits as part of the initiative. The global nonprofits include CARE, Code.org, Keep a Child Alive, Malala Fund, Pencils of Promise, Save the Children, Special Olympics, The Global Poverty Project and The Nature Conservancy.

Windows 10

It’s time to shine for the stars of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, which start July 25 in Los Angeles. This week we met two outstanding athletes: 21-year-old Daniel Wolff of Great Britain, who will run the 4×100-meter relay; and 23-year-old Xing Le of China, who will compete in rhythmic gymnastics. Microsoft is sponsoring both the summer games and the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. Last fall, the company announced a three-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Special Olympics to modernize the nonprofit’s technology and elevate it to the cloud.

Changing the face of coding, even as you read this. Women in U.S. colleges and universities earn only 18 percent of computer science degrees. That’s why Microsoft YouthSpark supports Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology in the United States. Microsoft sponsors and helps implement the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, happening this year in 60 locations across the country and reaching 1,200 girls who are learning computer science skills, and everything from robotics to mobile development to HTML coding.

Girls Who Code, Changing the Face of Coding

Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology, a free service that helps identify and remove online child sexual abuse photos, is now available in the cloud. It’s a major advance that gives companies like Flipboard a powerful way to help protect young victims while helping make the Internet safer for everyone. PhotoDNA has already helped detect millions of illegal photos on the Internet, with more than 70 companies and organizations – like Facebook and Twitter – already using it. But the previous, on-premise version required time, money and technical expertise to get up and running and keep up-to-date. The new PhotoDNA Cloud Service takes away those hurdles for smaller companies and other organizations that want to give users the freedom to upload content while ensuring the integrity of their platforms.

U.S. Air Force chooses Office 365, and Microsoft acquires FieldOne. The U.S. Air Force, in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is awarding more than 100,000 seats of a Department of Defense-dedicated version of Office 365 to Microsoft, Dell and General Dynamics. The agreement, expected to help the Air Force and DLA reduce costs significantly over the next three years, is one of the largest commercial cloud contracts in DoD history. Meanwhile, Thursday it was announced that Microsoft has reached an agreement to acquire FieldOne Systems LLC, a world-class provider of field service management solutions that allow organizations to better manage and deliver service to their customers in the field.

government, Office 365, U.S. Air Force

Are you air-borne yet? No? Strap into an anti-gravity vehicle and race to glory in the futuristic and free game, “Fast Side of the Moon.” You can play alone, or compete with up to 20 other racers in multiplayer mode. Zoom to exotic planets and take on challenging courses. You’ll find “Fast Side of the Moon” in the Windows Phone Store.

"Fast Side of the Moon" game, Windows PhoneThis week on our journey to find people who #DoMore, we met Neal Sales-Griffin, who runs the Starter School in Chicago. In just nine months, Neal gives students the power of coding – turning them from consumers of technology to creators of technology.

#DoMore, Instagram

Thanks for joining us for Weekend Reading. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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