Weekend Reading: June 24th Edition–Xbox Gets Major Kudos, plus SkyDrive, Windows Phone “Mango”, Kinect, Imagine Cup and STB Chief Satya Nadella

This week’s edition of Weekend Reading has news on Xbox 360, the re-launch of SkyDrive, Windows Phone, Kinect and other stories from around Microsoft.

And away we go!

In Xbox 360 news this week… Xbox 360 and Kinect made the headlines in a number of publications this week, including CNBC and Geekwire. In this nearly 8-minute video, CNBC's Tyler Mathisen visits Microsoft and takes a look at how Xbox is faring in the marketplace. Also, on Wednesday, Geekwire’s Todd Bishop profiled Xbox 360 software engineer Laura Massey in the online tech pub’s “Geek of the Week” segment. Finally, it was recently announced that Microsoft led all gaming platforms with 55 nominations for the 2011 Game Critics Awards (nine more than in 2010.)

A first look at the rebuilt SkyDrive. On Monday, Microsoft relaunched Windows Live SkyDrive, incorporating HTML5 and taking advantage of recent browser advances to provide a much-improved experience for accessing and sharing Microsoft Office documents, photos and more in the cloud. For more on the relaunched SkyDrive, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, which includes a slide show with highlights of the service’s new capabilities. There’s also this Monday post on the Inside Windows Live Blog, which features a video on the new SkyDrive.

What’s new in the Games Hub for Windows Phone “Mango.” In this Thursday post on the Windows Phone Blog, Windows Phone program manager Shirlene Lim walks readers on a tour of the Games Hub in the next version of the Windows Phone mobile platform, dubbed “Mango.” Lim’s post highlights the hub’s improved collection view, new 3D avatars “with attitude” and an all-around better Xbox LIVE experience. Gamers, you don’t want to miss this one! That’s the Game Hub below:

Windows Phone Game Hub

Kinect and the future of TV ads. Earlier this week, Microsoft introduced NuAds, enabling voice and gesture controlled interaction of advertisements and other content on Xbox. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton covers the story in this Tuesday post, which features a five-minute video of Senior Product Planner Enrique de la Garza talking about the new Natural User Interface (NUI) ads. As Clayton notes in his post, “Soon, you’ll be able to say “XBox Tweet” and have the content shared online with your friends.” It’s groundbreaking stuff, so check it out.

Imagine Cup competitors make their pitch in Silicon Valley. A collection of students who want to change the world with technology pitched their ideas to Silicon Valley industry experts, academics, and media on Wednesday. Several teams of students who will participate in the July Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals in New York City got to first showcase their projects to people who could help them refine their concepts, find markets for their ideas, and eventually find investors to provide the money they will need to turn their ideas turn into viable businesses. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center for more detail.

“Our mission is to cloud-optimize every business.” So says Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business, in this feature story on the Microsoft News Center. Nadella added that his top priority as STB president is to cultivate a vibrant engineering community armed with best tools around. That community in turn will lead the company through a computing shift every bit as transformational as the rise of the PC. Read the feature to get the rest of the story.

Announcing the 2011 Partner of the Year winners and finalists. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the winners and finalists of the 2011 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards. The annual awards honor Microsoft partners for delivering innovative solutions during the past year that directly address customer challenges. Award winners and finalists, chosen from nominations from around the world, will be recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, the company’s premier annual event for industry partners, July 10–14 in Los Angeles. Read this press release to find out who the winners and finalists are.

Thanks for reading this edition of Weekend Reading! Stop by again on Wednesday for the Midweek Download, a weekly round up of Microsoft news for developers and IT pros!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog