During October Microsoft delivered a coordinated set of releases across its cloud, developer, server, client and mobile platforms. It highlights a determination to regain lost market share in world that has undergone dramatic changes since the “PC in every home” era.
The synchronised releases and the convergence of desktop, tablet and phone user interfaces afford an indication of what Microsoft’s organisational changes are designed to deliver.
Many of the releases are geared to encourage developers to build on the Microsoft platform and, most importantly, develop those mobile apps that are critical for its devices strategy to succeed.
The changes introduced with the release of Windows 8.1 highlight a growing trend within Microsoft to be much more responsive to feedback than ever before. This may well be driven by market pressures, but is very good news for its customers.
Are we seeing the dawn of a new Microsoft that will be accelerated by the arrival of a new leader?
Microsoft has announced the availability of Skype for Mac 6.11. The release includes a range of stability fixes and improvements to search functionality.
HarperCollins have developed a system that provides increased insight into the changing ways that consumers discover and buy their books. They used SQL Server 2012 with its built-in tools in Windows Azure Virtual Machines to accelerate implementation.
Microsoft has launched Xbox One alongside that has a line-up of games using Xbox One features. These include 22 titles from a range of well-known developers as well as 10 exclusive games.
Microsoft has released Dynamics CRM applications for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android phones. Microsoft has also introduced a browser application for Dynamics CRM for users of Blackberry devices.
Microsoft has announced the general availability and preview of several services. These include Windows Azure Active Directory for single sign on, Biz Talk Services for integration, Traffic Manager for load balancing and a preview of Active Directory Premium for enterprise organisations.
The Jean Coutu Group (PJC), a Canadian pharmacy, has selected Microsoft Dynamics for Retail to manage its retail operations, including point of sale (POS) devices in stores. PJC will deploy Dynamics to 400 stores, 3,000 POS systems and 11,500 devices with implementation to start in 2014.
Microsoft Ventures have announced an investment in Zula, a start-up that streamlines mobile communication and productivity.
Microsoft has announced limited preview of Application Insights, a new service available through Visual Studio Online. It collects, processes and presents a variety of telemetry including performance, usage, availability, exception, crash, environment, log and developer-supplied data from all components of an application – including clients (devices and browser), servers, databases and services.
The system will allow Lotus to analyse issues it may have with its cars by enabling the association of a design drawing to the constituent parts that need to be manufactured as well as its production life-cycle.