Feb 02

View on Microsoft’s January activities

Microsoft has continued to expand and improve its offerings across non-Windows platforms. It has expanded its Office for Android tablet preview; opened new cross-platform advertising opportunities on MSN Apps, which is available on Windows, Android, iOS and Amazon; released an improved version of Skype for iPhone; and launched Outlook for IoS and Android.

OneDrive is a focus area for Microsoft to help drive usage of other Microsoft services. It now includes the Save to OneDrive feature to make it easy to deal with email attachments when using Outlook.com.

Microsoft has revealed much more information about Windows 10 and, in particular, shown its desire to encourage Windows users to migrate to Windows 10 by offering the new operating system for free to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. The offer will be available for 1 year after the commercial release of Windows 10 – so really designed to create a migration impetus.

From a daily usage perspective, Windows 10 has made significant improvements over Window 8.1 – essentially bringing the best of Window 7 and 8 together and, at the same time, introducing a range of interface rationalisations, such as an integrated Settings interface to make customisations and preferences much easier to do and, more importantly, find.

The intention is to bring a Windows 10 to the phone and Xbox, albeit that only the core is common across platforms. This is fundamental for the Universal App, which allows developers to target their apps across all Microsoft platforms via a unified Microsoft Store.

Windows 10 will include a new browser, code named Spartan, which is designed to make web pages much easier to read via a new “reading mode”. Spartan will be made available on Windows Phones, tablets and PCs.

Cortana is imbedded in Windows 10, with changes applied to take advantage of running on a desktop device. It becomes the built in search mechanism for finding information and files.

Microsoft has said that holographic capabilities will be enabled inside Windows 10 devices with APIs and that all universal apps can be made to work with Windows Holographic. Depending on developer interest, there could be some very interesting apps published to capitalise on this new capability.

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Dec 12

Microsoft releases MSN apps for iOS, Android and Amazon devices

Microsoft has made its MSN apps available on iOS, Android and Amazon devices. The apps include News, Weather, Sports, Money, Health & Fitness as well as Food & Drink and can be obtained from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store and the Amazon App Store. The Weather app will be made available on the Apple App Store at a later date.

View source article.

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Nov 03

View on Microsoft’s October activities

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Windows 10 is the start of creating a platform that can run on multiple screens as well as the Internet of things. He also said that the “one” Windows strategy could be as much about running sensors as well as the familiar form factors of today.

Windows Intune will be renamed Microsoft Intune as part of Microsoft’s ongoing strategy for Intune as a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) solution for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft devices.

Talking of rebranding, Microsoft plans to phase out the Nokia brand in favour of Microsoft Lumia.

An interesting rumour published on Bloomberg news that Microsoft is developing an ARM version of Windows Server. There are unsubstantiated reports that the company is already running a test version of Windows Server on ARM-based servers.

Microsoft has been holding its TechEd Europe event in Barcelona and has used this occasion to make a wide range of Azure and Office 365 announcements.

Azure announcements include the general availability of Azure Automation, Runbook Gallery, Event Hubs, and Microsoft Antimalware, plus the public previews of Azure Data Factory, Stream Analytics, Azure Batch, Marketplace, Hortonworks and Cloudera images, and SQL Database business continuity features. Related pricing changes have also been publicised.

Office 365 announcements emphasised new capabilities for developers of Windows, iOS, Android and web applications. These included the general availability of Office 365 APIs for mail, files, calendar and contacts; mobile SDKs for native app development; and visibility for developers’ apps through the new Office 365 app launcher.

Microsoft has embarked on a strategy of encouraging a subscription client operating system service (Windows 10) and untying Office from the Microsoft world to target a variety of popular non-Microsoft platforms. All of this backed by an array of services and capabilities delivered by a rapidly evolving Microsoft Azure.

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Oct 01

Microsoft rolls out Azure-based MSN

Microsoft is rolling out the new MSN, which is built on Azure, to over 50 countries around the world. The company has also released new MSN Apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 and plans to release a suite of MSN apps across iOS and Android to complement the Windows and Windows Phone apps release.

http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/09/29/new-msn-arrives.

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Jul 14

Microsoft launches Windows Apportals

Microsoft has launched Windows Apportals, which is a Windows 8.1 app that can integrate a company’s Line of Business (LOB) stack into a single touch-based experience. Apportals introduces the same nested folder structure common in a desktop OS to the mobile OS and allows the user to drill from the Start screen (composed of Live Tiles) to another mini-Start screen (composed of Grid Tiles).

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/springboard/archive/2014/07/11/microsoft-launches-new-windows-apportals.aspx.

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Jun 12

Microsoft releases new version of Windows App Studio Beta

Microsoft has released a new version of its Windows App Studio Beta. The release includes improvements to publishing apps to the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store, the addition of YouTube playlists as a data source as well as new photo layout options for data sources that include Instagram, Flickr, and dynamic and static collections.

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/buildingapps/archive/2014/06/10/new-release-windows-app-studio-beta-makes-it-easier-to-publish-your-apps.aspx.

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May 14

Microsoft releases Lync Mobile update for Android

Microsoft has released a new Lync app for Android that supports both phones and tablets. In addition to Android tablet support, the update includes the ability to add participants to an ongoing conversation and the ability to start an ad hoc group conversation.

http://blogs.office.com/2014/05/12/lync-mobile-update-for-android-tablet-support-and-conversation-enhancements.

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Apr 15

Windows Phone 8.1 available on Windows Phone Preview for Developers

Microsoft has made Windows Phone 8.1 available via the Windows Phone Preview for Developers programme. Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC includes tools to facilitate building and testing Windows Phone and universal Windows apps. In addition, Windows Phone Store is now accepting app submissions.

http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/buildingapps/archive/2014/04/14/windows-phone-8-1-now-available-on-windows-phone-preview-for-developers.aspx.

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