Amazon Instant Video for Xbox 360; Photosynth for Windows Phone 7.5; New Skype OPK; UR3 for Exchange Server 2010 SP2; IPD Guides Arrives

Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 (KB2685289) released today to the Microsoft Download Center, resolves issues that were found in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 since the software was released. This update rollup is highly recommended for all Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 customers.Also, the Infrastructure Planning and Design […]

Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 (KB2685289) released today to the Microsoft Download Center, resolves issues that were found in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 since the software was released.

This update rollup is highly recommended for all Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 customers.

Also, the Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) guides now available for download, are the next version of Windows Server System Reference Architecture.

"The guides in this series help clarify and streamline design processes for Microsoft infrastructure technologies, with each guide addressing a unique infrastructure technology or scenario."

"Each guide leads the reader through critical infrastructure design decisions, in the appropriate order, evaluating the available options for each decision against its impact on critical characteristics of the infrastructure. The IPD Series highlights when service and infrastructure goals should be validated with the organization and provides additional questions that should be asked of service stakeholders and decision makers," Microsoft stated.

The guides are available as individual downloads or as a single all-in-one package here.

Photosynth mobile panorama app, now available on Windows Phone, makes it easy and fun to capture and share interactive panoramas of the places, people, and events that are important to you.

"Once you've created a Photosynth, you can share it as an interactive panorama experience on Facebook and Twitter (using the free Photosynth.net service) or as a simple image. You can also publish your panoramas to Bing where millions of people will see your panoramas, on Bing Maps and in Bing search results for the places you've captured. And check out our featured list, where we show off the best of what you and your fellow users create and share," the Photosynth team explains.

It is the only app available on any mobile platform that allows you to capture 360 degrees horizontally and vertically, making a perfect "sphere."

Photosynth app for Windows Phone 7.5

You can get the Photosynth for Windows Phone from the marketplace.

Skyepe OPK

Microsoft is now offering Skype for OEMs to preinstall on PCs. The Skype OPK weighs around 18MB arrives with capabilities similar to any other OEM Preinstallation Kit required for deploying Skype 5.8.

With Skype preinstalled, users will take advantage of all the following features:

  • Skype-to-Skype calls. Talk to anyone else on Skype, anywhere in the world, for free
  • Video calling on Skype. Talk face to face with live video for free
  • Instant messaging. Send an instant message to anyone on Skype, for free
  • Call phones and mobiles. Call mobile phones or landlines anywhere in the world with Skype Credit--or save even more with a subscription
  • Group video calling. Share, celebrate, and collaborate from anywhere in the world
  • Screen sharing. Share their screens with anyone on Skype for free, or share with a group of friends or colleagues using Skype Premium.

The Skype 5.8 OPK.img can be downloaded from Microsoft's dedicated website for OEMs here (OEM registration required).

Amazon Instant Video for Xbox 360

Finally, Amazon this morning launched a new app for Xbox called "Amazon Instant Video."

Amazon Instant Video app for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers gives customers access to movies and TV episodes on their Xbox 360 console.

The app also offers access to Prime Instant Video, a service with more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes available to Prime members at no additional cost.

In addition, Amazon Kindle users will be able to switch seamlessly between video playing on their Kindle Fire to the Xbox (or back), using Amazon's "Whispersync" technology. Amazon is also including a "Watchlist" where users will be able to add any title to the Watchlist, creating a way to organize what to watch next with the apps and Xbox.

Amazon Instant Video features include:

  • Ability to browse and play videos with the Xbox 360 remote control or Kinect voice and gesture commands
  • Instant streaming of thousands of high-definition movies and TV episodes that start and resume in just seconds
  • Watchlist for Amazon Instant Video - allows customers to create a list of things they want to watch, and find those movies and TV episodes easily
  • Whispersync - lets customers seamlessly switch from one device to another. Customers can start streaming a movie on Kindle Fire, then pick up right where they left off on their Xbox 360 console and avoid the frustration of having to find their spot.
  • Your Video Library - customers can access their purchases from Amazon Instant Video on the Xbox 360 or any of the hundreds of other devices enabled for Amazon Instant Video.

Customers who are Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers can find the free Amazon Instant Video app in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360. For more information on how to watch those videos on Xbox 360 visit, http://amazon.com/instantvideo/xbox.

Also, Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, formerly of MSN and Bing, and now Chief Marketing Officer for Xbox, today provided some Xbox stats and what to expect at E3 next week.

While Microsoft may be moving into a new market, the company also knows that there is rampant software piracy in the Middle East. El-Khadem asked the Iraqi government to improve the country's existing laws to help protect Microsoft's property rights.

Xbox sales continue to "defy gravity" according to Mehdi, "Sales for Xbox 360 in year five were greater than in year four, sales in year six were greater than in year five, and sales in year seven were greater than in year six."

"Since 2005--when we launched Xbox 360--we have sold 67 million consoles and have generated more than $56 billion at retail, and we're still going strong in our seventh year. With 47 percent share of the current-generation console market, we are hitting our stride largely as a result of the success of Kinect for Xbox 360 (19 million sold ) and the flood of new entertainment options through Xbox LIVE (40 million members)," Mehdi said.

xbox 360 sales stats: defying gravity

Mehdi also confirmed today, that Microsoft would be killing the Zune branding this year in favor of an "Xbox" entertainment.

"[Microsoft's] success with Xbox has been lead by a box in the living room" and "moving forward, Xbox will go beyond the box to reach all new families of devices," Mehdi said.

Mehdi then goes on to tease the announcements coming at E3 next week, stating:

"With the launch of Windows 8, we'll bring Xbox entertainment to everyone. With Xbox on Windows 8 devices, we rapidly accelerate the reach of Xbox entertainment from more than 60 million people to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

We understand that entertainment has become a multi-screen experience where you and your friends are watching TV, listening to music, and playing games while interacting with your tablets and phones in new ways. We've got ideas for making all the entertainment you love more personal, interactive and social across the devices you love--and on the phenomenal Windows 8 devices that are to come.

You'll see the first of that next week at E3 where we will showcase the very best of Xbox. We'll unveil new games, show new ways to enjoy the entertainment you love and, as always, we'll have a few surprises to share!," Mehdi said

Also, BusinessWeek reports that in a press conference on Monday, Microsoft announced that it has picked Baghdad-based Legend Lands Co. to be its distribution partner in Iraq.

Microsoft's manager of Business Development for Emerging Markets, Rajai S. El-Khadem, said during the press event, "This is a big step for Microsoft and for Iraq. As of today Microsoft will be officially and locally represented in Iraq...to provide Microsoft licenses, support and services for our clients and resellers."