The major thing consumer press does not actively recognize is how much support Microsoft gives the research world. Everyone covered Worldwide Telescope. But at their Techfest a few weeks ago, one of the most impressive and seemingly selfless feats of the company was in the Trident platform, an oceanographic visualization tool. In short, researchers have always had tons of data for currents, migratory paths of animal sea life, temperature and weather over and in the deep blue. But what to do with that data has always been a major problem. Believe it or not, researchers were required to manually create visual representations of their info, or drown in excel sheets.
Trident is just a set of graphics and database tech common in lots of Microsoft products meant for everyday people and businesses, and handing it to academics. The tools are being run on standard PCs, so academics can collect their data using automated drones and process it in real time. Before, data had to be collected by hand and viewed much later. This is not something you can see any of Microsoft's competitors reaching for any time soon.
Microsoft, Research, Trident, WWT, WorldWide Telescope