Posts tagged "Microsoft"

Report: Microsoft might make Windows Phone, Windows RT free

Microsoft might be going after Google in a big way. According to The Verge, sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans say that the company’s OS VP Terry Myerson is considering a move to make Windows Phone and Windows RT free.

This shift would be a pretty direct shot against Google, which offers its Android OS for free. Microsoft currently licenses the software to device makers, although Nokia’s Windows Phone devices make up over 80 percent of the market share for Windows Phone. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile hardware division will remove this chunk of licensing revenue.

By offering its platforms for free, Microsoft would likely get more manufacturers interested in using the software, which in turn could attract more developer interest. And by getting more Windows-powered devices out there, it could help slow the growth of Android.

To recoup money lost on licensing fees, Microsoft would attempt to gain revenue elsewhere. The Verge suggests that ads in Windows 8 apps and Microsoft’s built-in Bing search help offset whatever is lost.

Of course, Microsoft still makes plenty of money by licensing Windows 8, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. It also makes a great deal of money on Android device royalties, to the tune of a reported $2 billion per year.

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Posted by plates55 - December 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

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Xbox One sells more than 2 million units in the first 18 days; Sold out at most major retailers

Since its launch 18 days ago, Xbox One is proving to be the must-have gift this holiday season, with more than 2 million consoles sold through to consumers worldwide, averaging over 111,111 units sold per day – a record-setting pace for Xbox. The millions of fans around the world who have purchased Xbox One have shown incredible engagement with the all-in-one games and entertainment system, spending more than 83 million hours in games, TV and apps on Xbox One since the system launched on Nov. 22.

“We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing for Xbox. “We are thrilled to see sales of Xbox One on a record-setting pace, with over 2 million Xbox One consoles in homes around the world. Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers. We’re also particularly excited to see consumers engaging in a wide range of games and entertainment experiences on the platform, with more than 1 million paid transactions on Xbox Live to date.”

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Posted by plates55 - December 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

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NPD numbers: Xbox One is the fastest-selling console in the US in November

Xbox has seen record-breaking sales with the recent announcement of Xbox One selling more than 2 million units through to consumers worldwide since its launch. November NPD Group figures released Thursday revealed 909,132 Xbox One units were sold in the U.S. in the console’s first nine days, making it the fastest selling console on the market in the U.S. Xbox One sales averaged a volume of 101,000 consoles per day, significantly outpacing the nearest competitor.


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Posted by plates55 - December 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm

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Mark your calendars: Announcing Build 2014

The following is a post from Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer & Platform Evangelism.

It seems like we were just gathered in San Francisco for Build 2013 and yet a lot has happened since that time. Windows 8.1 is in the hands of consumers and there is a great selection of new devices at all sizes and price points coming in time for the holidays. Last month, we released Xbox One and sold more than two million units in the first 18 days. And we continue to see the addition of great new apps, with differentiated user experiences, coming to the platform from top names such as Flipboard, Instagram, Waze, Vine and Mint alongside thousands of local apps growing every day.

The momentum just keeps building and that is why I’m so excited to announce our next developer conference, Build 2014, which will take place April 2 to April 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Save the date and mark your calendar for registration, which opens at 9 a.m. PT on Jan. 14 at

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Posted by plates55 - December 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

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Big Changes Are Coming to Windows

Anyone who was disgruntled about the unwanted changes in Windows 8 will be happy to discover that Microsoft is continuing to fix the most onerous problems it created for customers. And hang on, folks: They’re not stopping with Windows 8.1.

Related: A New Hint About Microsoft’s One Windows Vision

Although the exact timing of these changes is still a bit hazy—my sources have used the term “next version of Windows,” which I take to mean a coming revision we might call Windows 8.2—the nature of the changes is not. A new team at Microsoft that’s responsible for overall OS development has clearly spent the past few months evaluating and then dropping most of the “my way or the highway” silliness that doomed the original Windows 8 release.

By necessity, internal politics is a big part of this story.

We might never know exactly why Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft a year ago, but we do know that his departure was both sudden and unexpected. And we suspect that he was ousted as part of the build-up to CEO Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement and issues regarding succession. Sinofsky was an interesting character, brilliant and driven, but also pedantic to a fault and unmerciful if he ever decided you were no use to him. Most of all he was divisive, and many Microsofties fell into one of two camps when it came to Sinofsky: Those whose careers were furthered by the man and those who thought he was scary and dangerous.

When Sinofsky left, Microsoft temporarily divided his duties between two people, Julie Larson-Green, a top Sinofsky lieutenant, and Tami Reller, who many feel should be in the running for Microsoft’s CEO job. But when the software giant announced its massive reorganization this year, both Larson-Green and Reller were out, with the former heading off to a new Devices business and Reller being put in charge of overall marketing at the company.

If you’re not closely following Microsoft’s internal dramas, you might be wondering: Well, who’s running Windows then? The answer to that question is Terry Myerson. And the next obvious question is: Who the heck is Terry Myerson?

It’s a fair question. Mr. Myerson previously ran Microsoft’s Windows Phone business, which doesn’t seem like the type of post that would put the man in the running to lead all client OS development at Microsoft. But that’s exactly what he’s doing. And he’s been talking about consolidating Windows 8.x, Windows RT, and Windows Phone into a much simpler lineup. I’m really starting to like this guy.

I’m not aware of a coup of this magnitude ever happening before at Microsoft, and I’d have to go back to Apple’s purchase of Next—along with Steve Jobs—to find a tech industry example as dramatic. As Jobs and his Next cohorts made their presence known inside Apple, some Apple employees began wondering which company had purchased which. I suspect the remaining Sinofsky-era Windows employees are having similar thoughts right now.

And to be clear, there aren’t many left. Quietly but quickly, Myerson has removed the remnants of the team Sinofsky put in place. Major Sinofsky-era players Jon DeVaan and Antoine Leblond were left without leadership positions when the reorg was announced. Dean Hachamovitch, who led Internet Explorer development for years, quietly left the IE organization in November to parts unknown. And now Ted Dworkin (Windows Store) and Jensen Harris (user experience) have been shifted to the Bing team. (Which could very well be Microsoft’s version of Siberia.)

But Myerson isn’t just removing those who backed Sinofsky’s product vision for Windows. He’s also trying to make sense of the mess they made. Although I happen to like Windows 8 just fine—Windows 8.1 is particularly good—there’s no denying that this most divisive of Windows releases—a Frankenstein’s monster that combines separate mobile and desktop platforms into a single, messy OS—came at exactly the wrong time for Microsoft. Google’s Android and Apple iOS are offering simpler experiences for the masses, and Windows is getting left in the dust.

Microsoft made the first steps to fix these problems in Windows 8.1, and to be fair to Larson-Green and Reller, that release did happen on their watch. Windows 8.1 added back the Start button and made it easier for desktop users to stick within that environment and not be bothered by too much of the “Metro” mobile environment.

But it might not have gone far enough for many, and overall Windows 8.x usage share has been slow, about a third the rate at which Windows 7 was adopted. So now Myerson is making even more dramatic changes. Myerson is planning to unify Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single platform. He’s planning a follow-up to Windows 8.1, code-named “Threshold,” that will ship later next year and make the Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox One user experiences more similar. And now some Threshold details—heck, let’s call it Windows 8.2—are starting to emerge.

As I noted in “Further Changes Coming in Windows ‘Threshold’,” I’m aware of a few of these changes. First, Microsoft will be making it possible to run “Metro” mobile apps—which are typically run full-screen like other mobile apps—in floating windows on the desktop, allowing them to blend more seamlessly with desktop applications. And second, the firm is bringing back the Start menu for those who still pine for it, completely undoing the mess made with the original Windows 8, which replaced this menu with a full-screen Metro-style Start screen.

I can’t say that either change will affect me personally all that much, and I’m still trying to verify some other information I’ve received—what if Windows RT/Phone was free, for example?—but I know both will be a big deal for many users. The ultimate failure of Windows 8 wasn’t that Microsoft embraced mobile technologies, it was that it did so without taking into account how poor this experience would be for the 1.5 billion people who use Windows on traditional PCs. And when those people complained about this forced change, they were labeled as whiners.

But they’re not whiners, they’re customers. And although Myerson’s changes might be uncharitably called a step back, doing right by your customers is never the wrong strategy. Windows 8.1 was a step in the right direction. But it looks like Microsoft is on the threshold, if you will, of really doing the right thing.

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Posted by plates55 - December 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

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NORAD Tracks Santa project goes 3D, touch-device optimized with some help from Microsoft

The following post is from Roger Capriotti, senior director of product marketing, Microsoft. It was originally published on The Fire Hose.

 The redesigned homepage for NORAD Tracks Santa.The redesigned homepage for NORAD Tracks Santa.

Every December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (“NORAD”) serves the important role of ensuring that Santa’s journey around the world is safe. Since 1955, children of all ages have tracked his route with the help of NORAD’s radar, satellites and jet fighters. This year, Microsoft has lent a hand to make the experience the most magical yet, putting a fresh spin on the time-honored tradition with the launch of the new
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has worked with NORAD Tracks Santa. Last year, we provided our interactive Bing Maps to give people at home an interactive visual of Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, which was powered by Windows Azure, as well as apps for Windows and Windows Phone that allowed people a platform to play and learn.
This year, we are raising the bar particularly around the Web experience, which brings holiday cheer to tens of millions of people every year. The Internet Explorer team in particular had a vision for how to fuse the possibilities of the modern Web with the magic of Santa. Inspired by NORAD Tracks Santa’s long history and the Claymation style classic holiday movies, the Internet Explorer team partnered with NORAD to rebuild the Web experience from the ground up.

Santa’s interactive North Pole Village is featured on Santa’s interactive North Pole Village is featured on

The new online experience is more than just a way to track Santa on Dec. 24. It lets you immerse yourself in the holiday throughout the month of December. With a nostalgic, 3D Claymation look and feel, the new site features a recreation of Santa’s village that you can explore to discover new games daily, music, videos and more. The site is fully touch-enabled, which makes for a truly immersive experience, if you are using a touch device. On Dec. 24, a touch-enabled 3-D globe will light up as Santa begins his journey worldwide. With a modern browser like IE11, you will be able to spin the globe with a swipe of a finger and pinch and zoom to get an in-depth look at Santa’s stops. Bing Maps is at the heart of the journey again. Whether you’re mapping Santa’s route in a browser on a computer or in an app, you’ll see beautiful, high-fidelity images. Bing Maps is the canvas on which Santa’s journey is plotted.
“The Internet Explorer team and everyone at Microsoft have taken the spirit of the holidays that’s central to what we do with NORAD Tracks Santa and helped bring it to today’s modern web and devices,” Stacey Knott, NORAD Tracks Santa Program Manager, told us. “We’re hearing so many fun comments from people who are checking out the new website and apps and love what they see.”
Of course, the magic doesn’t stop there. Many people love to watch Santa’s progress on the site, and call the NORAD hotline to get the latest news straight from the command center. While you can still dial the number from a telephone, voice calling enabled by Skype this year means that with just one click, you and your kids can interact with the NORAD Tracks Santa Command Center to check in on Santa’s status any time you want.

 Santa’s arcade is one of the featured games on the site. New ones are available daily leading up to Christmas. Santa’s arcade is one of the featured games on the site. New ones are available daily leading up to Christmas.

We’ve also made it easier than ever to track Santa with apps for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone. The Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps will feature live tiles that allow you to track Santa straight from your start screen. And behind the curtain, Windows Azure keeps the whole thing running amidst the incredibly high traffic anticipated for Dec. 24.
This has been quite the journey for us, though it’s nothing compared to the one Santa will make later this December. For a look into NORAD’s history and our work with them, check out our mini-documentary on modernizing the tradition. And, make sure to try your hand at the games unveiled each day and track Santa on Dec. 24 at

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Posted by plates55 - December 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Categories: Microsoft   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Will Google Docs kill off Microsoft Office?

For years, Microsoft has stockpiled a large amount of cash from sales of its Office productivity software suite.

Yet over the past year, something peculiar happened. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) has made it easier for consumers to access Office via the cloud and online downloads, regardless of what computer you’re using. In the past week, Office even enabled real-time, collaborative document editing for its free offering, Office Web Apps.

Why the big push into making these offline money makers into cheaper cloud services? Blame Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

When Google Docs first launched in 2006, it was mostly a curiosity. Cloud-based services were not yet a way of life, and support with Microsoft’s Office formats was minimal. But Google Docs has been improved upon bit by bit over the past few years and is now an extremely useful and increasingly popular collection of software.

Google Docs is no longer a curiosity. It’s a legitimate threat to Microsoft.

Google’s productivity tools may lack some of Office’s advanced features, but are easier and simpler to use than anything Microsoft offers — especially when it comes to the cloud-centric features.

Microsoft is still a huge player in this business of course. It claims that Office is installed on more than 1 billion machines. In 2012, Gartner estimated that Office had a 90% market share in the enterprise market.

If you focus on the cloud, however, the story changes.

The next decade looks like Google’s to lose. Gartner estimates that in 10 years, there will be 1.2 billion people using productivity suite services … but more than half of them will be using a cloud-based productivity suite of some sort. Gartner’s research also shows Google quickly gobbling up market share in that space. It could be as high as 50%.

Google recently disclosed that there are 120 million accounts using Google Drive (which houses the Docs services), and 5 million businesses and institutions using the Google Apps platform (the latter is not a free service).

As of September, Microsoft has sold 2 million Office 365 Home Premium subscriptions, which allows the suite to be installed on 5 different devices concurrently. Separately, it says that 60% of Fortune 500 business have purchased enterprise versions of Office 365. It also claims to have 50 million users for its Office Web Apps.

Related: Microsoft is the biggest iPhone 5S loser

But Google’s suite is quickly becoming the standard for tech startups, small businesses and newer large companies. Demographics are on Google’s side as well. Those who have grown up with the Internet don’t really think twice about using something that is free, saves your work in a centrally accessible location, and makes it easy to share and collaborate with others.

Office is slowly losing its status as the software of choice. It’s becoming something that people just use when they need specialized formatting … or when they’re dealing with someone who only uses Office.

Still, even that is changing. Google’s 2012 acquisition of Quickoffice was made to help to bridge the format divide between the two services. And it’s even possible to use Google Docs without an Internet connection.

According to a Google spokesperson, the goal isn’t to match the Office suite feature for feature. While Google still wants to appeal to the vast majority of traditional Office users, the company is more keen on getting to the point where file format is no longer an issue.

Google can afford to give away software for free. Can Microsoft? Google makes money off its productivity suite by selling web ads. But there is a bigger goal as well. The company is offering services like Google Docs in order to keep users close to its other, more lucrative offerings such as Gmail, Search, Chrome and Maps.

But Office remains a cash cow for Microsoft. Office sales are about a third of the company’s total annual revenue. It is not in a position to simply make Office free. With Office 365, Microsoft is charging $100 a year, which guarantees perpetual updates, and has produced modest, but encouraging rewards to the tune of $1.5 billion a quarter. But it’s awfully difficult to beat free.

And Microsoft doesn’t just face competition from Google. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) recently launched its own cloud-based version of its iWork suite. It’s giving the mobile iOS version away for free.

Related: Microsoft Office 2013 has nice upgrades, but save your cash

For now, Office is still the overwhelming leader. Still, the tides are shifting. Microsoft probably knows it can’t simply rely on its existing install base sticking around just because Office is the standard. In fact, Microsoft should know that from experience.

Microsoft’s web browser market share eroded when Firefox, and later Chrome, took center stage. On the enterprise side, its Windows Mobile platform has joined BlackBerry (BBRY) as a victim of Corporate America’s embracing of iOS and Google’s Android.

This war is far from over, but Microsoft has its work cut out for it. This battle is going to be fought and won in the cloud. And Google, with its years of experience offering consumer services in the cloud, has the home field advantage. To top of page

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Posted by plates55 - November 15, 2013 at 7:12 am

Categories: Google, Microsoft   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Running Windows 7? Download IE11 now

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is now available worldwide in 95 languages for you to download today. Microsoft will begin automatically updating Windows 7 customers to IE11 in the weeks ahead, starting Thursday with customers running the IE11 Developer and Release Previews.

With this final release, IE11 brings the same leading standards support — with improved performance, security, privacy and reliability that Windows 8.1 consumers enjoy — to Windows 7 customers.

With IE11 Microsoft continues to deliver the best performance for real-world websites on your Windows device. IE11 on Windows 7 improves performance across the board, with faster page loading, faster interactivity and faster JavaScript performance, while reducing CPU usage and improving battery life on mobile PCs.

You can experience IE11’s leading performance first hand with demos on the IE Test Drive site, where you’ll find examples of hardware accelerated rendering, interactivity, touch and real-world site patterns.

IE11 also advances JavaScript performance. On Windows 7, IE11 is 9 percent faster than IE10, which is nearly 30 percent faster than the nearest competitive browser.

For developers, IE11 brings increased support for modern Web standards powered by hardware acceleration to enable a new class of applications and fast and fluid browsing. IE11 adds support for over 25 new or improved modern Web standards beyond IE10.

For more on the improvements with IE11, head on over to the blog post.

You might also be interested in:

· Steve Ballmer helps open ‘Microsoft Berlin’ to foster dialog, support startups · Microsoft spotlights Expert Educators and Mentor Schools for 2014 · Keyboard, mouse, touch: Choose one or all three in Windows 8.1

Steve Clarke Microsoft News Center Staff

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Posted by plates55 - November 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm

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Microsoft’s largest scale education agreement will help boost skills for 4 million students in Sao Paulo state network

On Thursday, Microsoft announced an agreement with the Sao Paolo State Department of Education (SEE) to offer Office 365 free of charge to more than 4 million students from the state education network through the Student Advantage program. This joint initiative with the SEE represents an investment of almost $900 million, based on the individual subscription costs for Office 365.

Student Advantage will be available as of December 1 for all educational institutions with an Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus license for its administrative and faculty staff. In Brazil, the Sao Paolo State Department of Education will be the first to reap the benefits of Student Advantage, offering its students access to the complete version of Office 365 ProPlus at no additional cost. Students from the state education network will be able to use Office 365 tools on up to five devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Office 365 ProPlus includes all of the applications from the traditional Office suite, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook, among others, which can be installed locally on up to five devices and offer offline availability. When a school combines Student Advantage with Microsoft’s other cloud services, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, all available free through Office 365 Education, students have access to the same set of gold-standard productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies all over the world.

“We are thrilled to offer Student Advantage to Brazilian schools so students can access the latest, most up-to-date version of the world’s leading set of productivity tools in order to give them a competitive advantage when entering the workforce,” said Mariano de Beer, Managing Director of Microsoft Brazil. “Nearly 98 percent of students using productivity software currently use Office.”

“Our commitment is to take permanent actions to ensure that our students have access to technological resources that are a fundamental part of their preparation. The agreement announced today is part of the initiatives being implemented by the SEE to offer digital tools linked to the state curriculum,” said the Secretary of State, Herman Voorwald.

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Posted by plates55 - November 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm

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Microsoft shows green energy momentum with investment in Keechi Wind Farm

From the time you wake up in the morning until you rest your weary eyes at night, you do things that consume power.

BZZZZ. Turn off the alarm. Turn on the lights. Brew some coffee. Turn on the TV. Recharge your phone. Turn on the computer. Turn on the AC or heat. Surf the Internet. Heat some leftovers in the microwave. Watch more TV. Do laundry. Run the dishwasher. Or watch more TV. Turn off the lights — except for the one on the porch. ZZZZ.

All those things add up.

Luckily, if your appliances, coffeemakers and lights depend on the Texas power grid, there’s going to be 110 megawatts (MW) more clean, renewable energy flowing into that grid by the end of 2015, generated by 55 brand-new wind turbines that will make up the Keechi Wind Farm project. That’s enough to juice up 55,000 homes at peak production.

Microsoft has committed to a 20-year power purchase agreement with RES Americas to buy 100 percent of the electricity generated from the soon-to-be-built Keechi Wind Farm Project. It’s Microsoft’s latest investment in renewable energy and is just one of several innovative projects and approaches the company has pursued in the past few years.

“We have a long standing ambition to move in the direction of sourcing more clean energy as a company, so over the last few years we’ve increasingly purchased something called RECs – renewable energy credits (more than 2.3 billion kWh globally) – and so this is an opportunity to go to the next stage and invest directly in green energy,” says Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist. He sees Keechi as a “moment in our journey” that includes an increased focus and acceleration in the direction the sustainable energy strategy the company has pursued over the last several years.

With projects focusing on increasing energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon-offset projects funded in part by an internal carbon fee, Microsoft has become an example to others to be pro-active when it comes to clean energy use and investment.

When influential companies such as Microsoft sign up to buy wind power, it sends a strong signal on the importance of taking meaningful action on sustainability,” says Susan Reilly, president and CEO of RES Americas, the energy developer behind the Keechi project, and chair-elect of the board of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “By signing a contract to buy power from the Keechi Wind project, Microsoft is making the financing, construction, and operation of this 110 megawatt project possible. To be clear: it would not have happened otherwise. The Texas electrical grid is like a pool, and Microsoft is adding clean, green wind power to that pool.”

Central Plains RES Americas developed and constructed the 99 megawatt Central Plains Wind Farm, which is located near Leoti, Kansas.

It takes about one megawatt (MW) of energy to power 500 Texas homes on the same electric grid as Microsoft’s San Antonio datacenter. In an area 70 miles northwest of Ft. Worth, construction begins in December to build the Keechi Wind project. This power purchase agreement represents a sizable investment in the wind energy sector in Texas – which has a strong wind resource and has invested in building out its transmission infrastructure to improve integration of these resources into the broader grid. Texas has more installed wind capacity than any other U.S. state, with a total of 12.2 gigawatts of capacity. Wind energy is the source of 9.2 percent of all electricity generated in Texas.

“All of the electricity we consume is from the power grid, through local utilities, which includes a mix generation resources including hydro, natural gas and wind,” says Brian Janous, director of energy strategy at Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services. “This project gives us a stake in putting more renewable power in the grid. We’re not having this power delivered directly to us. We’re going to continue to consume power as we always have for our buildings and datacenters — but we’re affecting the mix of generation, adding 110 MW of green power that wouldn’t have been there otherwise and displacing carbon fuels. We’re driving change in the generation mix on the grid in Texas.”

Microsoft is driving change in many other ways, too.

This past year Microsoft began building a pilot datacenter in Cheyenne, Wyoming that will run completely independent of the grid from energy generated from biogas, a byproduct of a nearby water treatment plant. Another datacenter in Dublin, Ireland, has implemented a thermodynamic cooling process that happens without loss or gain of heat, which reduces energy costs per megawatt by up to 30 percent. Microsoft is also retrofitting existing datacenters to be more efficient with harder-working, lower-energy servers, compressor energy reduction and custom light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.

An internal carbon fee — which Microsoft charges to business groups based on their output of carbon, primarily through electricity and air travel – helps fund these projects and the Keechi Wind project. The fee is the cornerstone of Microsoft’s commitment to carbon neutrality. The funds generated from the carbon fee are used for investing in energy efficiency projects, carbon offsets and for the direct purchase of renewable energy.

Microsoft offset more than 300,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions through that growing portfolio of innovative carbon-offset projects in 2013, and purchased 2.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy in 2013— more than twice the amount bought the previous year. This year, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized Microsoft as the second largest purchaser of green power in the U.S. And when Microsoft pledged to become carbon neutral in fiscal year 2013, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) validated that the company made good on its promise.

Bernard says Microsoft has spent a little more than two years rethinking its own infrastructure – the “smart buildings” concept captured in the “88 Acres” story. “Let’s use ourselves as an experiment to see what’s possible. We spent time and focused on our campus. Now we’re taking what we’ve learned from our own experiences to Seattle and CityNext. Now we’re going to the next level — can we help our customers save energy as well?”

One way customers can reduce their energy use is by transferring from on-premise installations to cloud computing, Bernard says. At the very least, that transfer causes a 30 percent energy reduction, up to a best case scenario of 90 percent, depending on an organization’s size, efficiency and what product lines they’re using.

“Public support for renewable energy is strong and growing. Consumers are more aware than ever of the harmful effects of carbon pollution and the role renewable energy can play in reducing these impacts. They want the electricity that powers their lives to be green,” Reilly says. “RES Americas and other companies have long been selling power from wind projects to electric utilities. Selling directly to companies that use a lot of energy, such as Microsoft, is an important trend in the industry, and we expect to see more deals like this.”

Halkirk The 149 megawatt Halkirk Wind Farm, which RES Canada constructed in 2012, is the largest wind project in the Canadian province of Alberta.

The physical manifestation of this deal will start appearing in December. Like a lot of things in Texas, these wind turbines are big. Looming nearly 312 feet in the air – that’s the same as a 29-story high-rise building – one rotor on these wind turbines measures 328 feet in length – a few stories higher than the shaft it’ll rotate around. Each turbine will generate about 2 MW apiece.

And because each part has to be trucked in and assembled there, it’s going to take the better part of 2014 to get those 55 wind turbines going. But even before all 55 are all operational, they’ll start generating power.

“If you look at the company strategy overall, it’s across three areas: demonstrate responsible environmental leadership, enable energy efficiency both in and through the use of information technology, and accelerate scientific development,” Bernard says. “So when we look at something like Keechi, in the context of that framework, it’s part of a portfolio of activities that are happening in our datacenter division aimed at improving efficiency, lessening our power supply, and greening it when possible.”

For more information on the Keechi Wind Farm project and Microsoft’s ongoing clean energy efforts, check out “Microsoft Signing Long-Term Deal to Buy Wind Energy in Texas,” “Microsoft announces new investment to power a greener cloud” and this infographic.

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Posted by plates55 - November 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

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