New Cloud Productivity Applications Leaked
With the July 29th release of Windows 10 now announced, the cracks in the Microsoft barrier have started appearing. The first big leak came at the end of 2014 when screenshots of a new Windows operating system were released into the wild. Windows 10 (or rather 9, as we presumed it would be called back then – cheerio, logic!) was looking good, and we awaited further announcements.
Then Microsoft announced their massive Insider program. Users could access early builds of Windows 10 to assist with bug tracking, stress testing, and feature development, and Microsoft received many plaudits for making a concerted effort to avoid the pitfalls that plagued the Windows 8 release. Skip forward to June, 2015, and we’re on the cusp of the final release – but the leaks haven’t stopped…lucky us!
Windows 10 Cloud
Microsoft will embrace the cloud come July. Previous infrastructure and licensing inefficiencies have long plagued the operating system, but we are due to see the worst culprits eliminated. Windows has long worked on a per-device license basis. Understandable, seeing as the majority of their revenue comes from enterprise licenses. The unfortunate flip-side of this arrangement was unexpected license termination, unforeseen license expenses, and massive departmental headaches when any major Windows update rolled around.
Windows 10 licensing will work differently, allowing a per-user license in order to streamline IT departments, allowing for a better overall gauge of licensing costs. The rise in awareness of cloud solutions, as well as the interest in virtualised Windows 10 desktop sessions has given Microsoft good cause to invest heavily in this area. If Microsoft is truly attempting to compete in the virtual desktop market, expect to see very well priced market offerings aimed at tempting disillusioned enterprises back to the Microsoft fold.
Microsoft have built Windows 10 with other devices in mind. We spend a vast amount of time interacting with and working from our mobile devices and the Windows 10 desktop virtualisation services will allow us to take our working space with us, wherever we go (unless you don’t want to, of course).
One of the recent leaks we alluded to was for Office Now. This is set to be a personal, cloud-based assistant. Think Cortana, but for your workplace, or a vastly improved Clippy. The leaked screenshots suggest the application will handle file names, file locations, file types, and access dates, as well as a string of common commands: open, find, view, edit, load, share, send, email, with more to arrive.
It would appear Office Now is being built with our natural-language in mind. A search query along the lines of “Send Jean-Marc the Oakham School figures from last Tuesday, please” will perform search and send functions. Office Now will also likely work as your PA, duly noting your meetings and updating your schedule accordingly, whilst gently prompting you at appropriate times.
The second recent leak, actually on the same day, was for the OneClip. OneClip is heavily mooted as a clipboard sync across your devices, intelligently assessing whether your clip is useful or not. How will it do that?
OneClip will automatically detect whether your clip contains a URL, physical address, IP address, phone number, snippet of text, image, video, and so on, and then categorise it for you to come back to later. OneClip is currently unavailable on any Windows 10 Preview device, so users will have to wait to fully test the functionality of the service.
Bonus: it is completely touch friendly, designed with mobile users in mind, and has filters to stop sensitive password information being automatically added and categorised. This final point makes us believe this application still needs some core development before hitting the markets later this year.
Microsoft have gone from strength-to-strength in recent years. Several changes at the helm, coupled with a widely-panned operating system caused many to question their direction. At the same time, Apple’s popularity was soaring, and it was their turn in the sun, and they could do seemingly no wrong. The behemoths of software were under siege – and they knew it.
Microsoft then focused. Instead of diversifying product ranges, they withdrew. Instead of pushing the new operating system forward, they went slowly, bringing in more individuals to erase the issues of the past. The leadership passed to highly regarded Satya Nadella, the then Executive Vice President of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise – not a bad choice considering the technological landscape, especially when you consider the $4bn in growth he achieved for the group in just under two years.
Some argue that it is too soon to judge Nadella’s tenure – and I actually agree. The Windows 10 launch will be the fine-tooth comb, picking up any trouble for Microsoft, and Nadella, but this is also unfair to a man who has realistically enabled Microsoft to transition from global operating system overlords, to a seemingly easier going, more relaxed cloud distributor of reworked, reimagined proprietary software.
Satya Nadella’s mandate has come at the right time and it is clear that this shift in emphasis from Microsoft was needed. We now have a Microsoft dedicated to innovating around its old, reliable franchises and providing the world with something a little more suited to the contemporary.
In this, he needs time to continue this work. Coming on the back of a somewhat successful, but ill-fated mobile operating system, the poor reviews for Windows 8, and a serious shift from OEM-desktops toward mobile devices, implementing a strategy designed to embrace the new, drive productivity through product design and integration, and generally alter the perception of Microsoft isn’t an overnight story.
There are exciting times ahead at Microsoft, and we are glad to be a partner as to share in and pass on the major innovations coming our way in the very near future.