Jun 01

View on Microsoft’s May activities

In spite of selling off its entry level feature phones, along with more staff reductions planned, Microsoft has said that it will continue to support and develop the Lumia brand. Given the company’s ever shrinking mobile phone market share coupled with Satya Nadella’s focus, this is not a huge surprise. Will we see the launch of a Surface Phone at some time in the future?

Microsoft is partnering with the Jenkins community to offer both compute resources and technical expertise to build a development and delivery infrastructure on Linux and Java in the Azure cloud.

Cloud services continue to be the company’s focus as it unveils its vision and roadmap for SharePoint, which focuses on providing file sharing and collaboration on any device as well as becoming an open and extensible platform.

May’s updates to Office 365 include real-time chat integration into the web experiences, as well as new capabilities in Outlook and Visio. The Power BI Desktop May Update, features improvements to Report View, the ability to Publish to a Pyramid Server, analytics and data connectivity.

The company has announced the availability of the PowerShell module for Azure Machine Learning in public preview mode. This is a .NET based PowerShell DLL module that allows end users to manage Azure ML workspaces, experiments, datasets, web services and web service endpoints.

The latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) has been published and includes threat data from the second half of 2015 as well as longer term trend data on industry vulnerabilities, exploits, malware and malicious websites.

Microsoft has reported that Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. There have been a number of Insider Build releases that include the revised Start Menu as well as a range of other refinements.

Jun 01

Microsoft sells feature phone business

Microsoft has announced that it reached an agreement to sell the company’s entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and HMD Global, Oy for $350 million. As part of the deal, FIH Mobile Ltd. will also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnam — the company’s Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility. Upon close of this deal, approximately 4,500 employees will transfer to, or have the opportunity to join, FIH Mobile Ltd. or HMD Global, Oy, subject to compliance with local law.

View source article.

Jan 04

View on Microsoft’s December activities

On a personal note, I hope everyone had a wonderful time during the holiday season and wish you the very best of success for 2016.

Like most companies, Microsoft has been promoting its software and hardware offerings during the holiday season with an occasional announcement worth reporting.

Microsoft continues paying attention to non-Windows platforms and has released Cortana on select iPhone, Android and Cyanogen OS powered devices. The company also released a preview of the Power BI app for iOS with support for SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2, which provides delivery of on-premises data to mobile devices and includes out-of-the-box mobile reports and KPI tracking.

On the Azure front, Microsoft announced that Dynamics CRM Online customers will be able to use Azure ExpressRoute to establish a private, managed connection to CRM Online. Updates to Azure Backup include faster backup times, reduced cache space and an increase in the number of recovery points for cloud backups.

As part of promoting HoloLens, Microsoft has opened the first ongoing HoloLens experience showcase for developers at its store in New York – appointment required.

2015 saw the release of Windows 10 and Office 2016, an extraordinary amount of activity evolving its non-Windows platform offerings, the continued evolution of the Azure platform and the “restructure” of its acquired Nokia phone business.

Jul 13

Microsoft announces restructuring of phone hardware business

Microsoft has announced plans to restructure the company’s phone hardware business. The company also announced the reduction of up to 7,800 positions, primarily in the phone business. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “we are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem including our first-party device family.”

View source article.

Jun 01

View on Microsoft’s May activities

Microsoft held its first Ignite conference in May and announced a range of new products and services for enterprise computing, including the next generation of Windows management, Microsoft Office, hybrid cloud infrastructure and SQL Server. Microsoft also announced that Windows Update for Business will be a free service for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices and has been designed to keep Windows devices in organisations up to date with security defences and Windows features.

NetSuite, a provider of cloud-based financials, ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, announced a strategic cloud alliance with Microsoft to create solutions connecting NetSuite’s cloud ERP to Microsoft Office 365, Windows and Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft has started the global transition of Nokia-branded stores and Care centres around the world. Nokia retail stores will be called Microsoft Authorised Resellers and will showcase a range of Microsoft experiences and products including Lumia, Surface, Xbox and various accessories and services such as Office 365. In addition, general trade or multi-branded stores will be known as Microsoft Mobile Resellers.

Microsoft has continued its initiative to support non-Windows platforms. Support includes the release of OneNote for the Apple Watch, OneNote for Mac’s audio recording, support for Windows phone, Android phone and iPhone in the new Windows 10 Phone Companion app, the availability of Office Lens Android on Google Play Store as well as the expansion of cross-platform services through agreements with additional non-Microsoft device partners.

The company has produced a nine minute video that provides an early look at Office 2016 Public Preview for Windows desktop and phone.

For gamers Microsoft has released the Xbox One May System Update and includes voice messages and improvements to party chat.

Windows 10 will be released on 29 July. Microsoft has started rolling out an icon to “reserve” your free upgrade, which is the start of a campaign to have 1 billion devices running Windows 10 within 3 years of its initial release. Microsoft has said that Azure AD support will be included in Windows 10 and that Microsoft Edge (the new browser) will support Dolby Audio.

Of interest, is the progress Microsoft Research has made in automatically creating captions for photographs using neural network technology.

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.