Weekend Reading: March 18th Edition – 2.3M downloads of IE9, Windows Phone Apps hit 10,000 and Microsoft Makes the 110 Most Ethical Companies List

The launch of Internet Explorer 9 may have been the biggest news out of Microsoft this week, but I’ve unearthed a long list of interesting nuggets below, including the news that the Windows Phone Marketplace now has 10,000 apps.
More than 2M IE9 downloads in 24 hours – I think they like it. Internet Explorer 9 was downloaded 2.35 million times in the 24 hours following its March 14th release to the public. As blogger Ryan Gavin reported on the Exploring IE Blog, that’s “over 27 downloads every second, or over 240 downloads every 9 seconds. Wow.” Check out this PC Magazine review of IE9, which gave the new Web browser four out of five stars, and it’s easy to see why so many people downloaded it within hours of public availability.
Windows Phone Marketplace hits 10,000 apps. The torrid pace of Windows Phone app creation continues with the Marketplace now over the 10,000 mark. In his March 15th edition of Pinworthy on the Windows Phone Blog, Michael Stroh notes the milestone and gives readers his latest recommendations on the newest can’t-live-without-‘em apps. Also, check out this story by Geekwire Seattle Editor John Cook about the new MSN Onit app, an app “just for the dudes.”
Microsoft makes the list. Outside affirmation almost always feels good, doesn’t it? Well, according to The Ethisphere Institute, a New York City think tank, Microsoft made the list of the 110 most ethical companies in the world. According to this Forbes report, nearly 3,000 companies were nominated. The selection process, Forbes reports, “includes reviewing codes of ethics and litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.”
A new home page for Microsoft. Microsoft.com got a fresh look on March 15th with the launch of a new U.S. home page to deliver a better user experience for the millions of people that visit the site every month. Some of the new home page’s enhanced features include separate tabs (or views) for personal and business use, enhanced geo-targeting capabilities to drive improved relevancy for people in different countries and those speaking different languages and the introduction of a site “blade” that categorizes content for easy access, among others.
Bing launches city attractions pages for world travelers. With Bing's new attractions pages you can find everything you're looking for in one spot. Bing pulls together details on top city attractions like the Space Needle or the Smithsonian so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for. Everything you need to plan your excursion - including reviews, events and photos - are now in one place. To ensure you have up-to-the-minute information, we are teaming closely with leading content providers including Frommers, TripAdvisor, WCities and Zvents.
Launch of the Kodu Game Lab. It’s no secret that American businesses demand more and more technical expertise from their employees, and that demand is only going to grow as time goes on. That means students must be equipped at earlier and earlier ages to compete for those jobs. In this March 16th Microsoft on the Issues Blog post, Lili Cheng, general manager of FUSE Labs writes about the Kodu Game Lab, a free PC application that enables kids as young as five to create new worlds and video games without any programming expertise.
Microsoft and KEXP make sweet music together. Microsoft and popular Seattle radio station 90.3 FM KEXP have teamed up to give the station a “technological makeover” from the inside out, employing software and services such as Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics to streamline everything from the way employees and volunteers communicate internally to the way listeners worldwide interact with music. The makeover will take place over the course of three years, though some of the improvements will launch this spring, and fans of the station will soon see changes in the way they can interact with the music the station plays and a wide-range of supporting content that has been hard to find up to now. Check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center for more detail.
That’s one tough Windows Phone. File this one under “news of the weird.” According to this March 16th post on the Windows Azure Blog, scientists at the University of Southampton recently launched a Windows Phone 7 with a digital camera 60,000 feet into the stratosphere to help study air pollution. According to the University's blog post, the objective of the Atmospheric Research through Robotic Aircraft project is to illustrate how a low-cost helium high altitude balloon could be used to propel atmospheric monitoring equipment into the upper atmosphere. In this case, the balloon contained a Windows Phone 7 handset and camera, which recorded 1,200 images during flight. During flight, the phone streamed data to an application built on Windows Azure. This data was used to predict the package's landing point.
Thanks for reading! See you here next Friday.
Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

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