It was another momentous year for Redmond-based software major, Microsoft in 2015. It launched Windows 10 after field trials with Insiders for nearly a year.
It also came up with two and not one Surface device. While Surface Pro 4 retained the legacy of previous Surface devices, the surprise element Surface Book took the world by surprise with its “dynamic fulcrum hinge”. Breathe easy it takes little effort to absorb this term.
Microsoft once again showed the tech world that it can make great hardware. It did that long back with Kinect and then with original Surface and now it wowed everyone again with Surface Book.
It would once again set high precedence for other OEMs to create cool Windows products with hopefully easier hinge name. But for us Indians, it shouldn’t be a big deal since Microsoft doesn’t see a market for it here.
Microsoft would be launching its Surface Pro 4 in India on January 7. It’s starting the new year with a Surface but there is indeed a lot of Surface to cover for a great future which involves Windows.
Under new (not very new) CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has turned into a service oriented company. It now has Azure for corporate cloud, OneDrive for consumer clou. Skype for video calling and Skype Business for enterprise customers. It has Dynamics for CRM and has plug-ins thrown everywhere in Salesforce.
Yet the biggest services for Microsoft would be Office suite and Windows. While Office 2016 arrived on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows of course with lot of jingbang to set it apart from Google’s work tools, Windows 10 had a lacklustre year.
First, Microsoft claims Windows 10 is powering 110 million computers now and 12 million of them are enterprise computers but it has been months since the company updated these numbers. Windows 10 takes cue from its predecessor and fixes all the screws that were left half-tight.
Windows 10, for one was the grand dream to unify smartphone, tablet and PC ecosystems. Was MS able to do it? Definitely not,but it was almost there.
Windows 10 on the other side was meant to get every other Windows 7 machine to an OS that had automatic updates that reached user machines over-the-air just like smartphones do. Was MS able to do it? Well it nailed this part but only to end in a privacy coup.
Also Windows 10 was relatively slow and had issues on older computers but it worked beautifully on newer machines, which brings me to OEMs. When Microsoft announced Windows 8 in 2012, it had a learning curve that was just too steep even for traditional Windows users.
Five months after Windows 10 launch, there is just no substantial effort from Microsoft’s OEM partners. Most have simply updated their older models with Windows 10 rather than bringing any fresh idea to market which is in stark contrast to Windows 8 after launch days.
While it was brighter on the PC side, the mobile side was far worse. Microsoft launched it’s Lumia 950 and 950XL with Windows 10 Mobile but the reviews were not what Microsoft would have hoped for. It launched the devices recently in India but the review devices are yet to reach the hands of tech journalists like me.
Another place Microsoft failed badly this year was the Windows Store. There is still a huge gap in the quality app front and most top apps are yet to make their way here. Instagram which launched in beta recently can’t even show verified profiles.
To sum it up, Microsoft did prove its crazy hardware ambitions with that insane hinge on Surface book but the real star Windows 10 was closed even before it opened to fresh air.