What started with a nice surprise (Surface), followed by Windows Phone 8 (and the unwarranted complains of all the Windows Phone 7 users that they wont be able to update - not news but I guess its always good to complain), followed by a massive XBOX “720” leak, ended with the acquisition of an unneeded social networking service (Yammer).
Between Apple WWDC and Google IO Microsoft clearly was able for the first time in recent history to have the most exciting news and steal the show – and that even though they announced this stuff in a very un-Microsoft fashion (or maybe just because they did that). There was no real announcement of the next XBOX at E3, no Surface at Microsoft’s TechEd – just secrecy and surprises from Redmond. Seems like the world turned upside down – I'm so excited about the new Microsoft that I already forgot what Apple announced just 2 weeks ago.
However, there are still many many stumbling blocks ahead.
Surface could completely flop if Microsoft does not get the pricing right by adhering to their promise to hardware partners not to undercut them. A Microsoft consumer tablet which cost more than the iPad will sell as well as the RIM Playbook.
Windows Phone 8 looks good all around, the existing user base will get the fresh UI with the Windows Phone 7.8 Update and Metro will be everywhere – the only issue I can see here is that by 2013 the Metro interface which was new and sleek last year will look as dated as iOS does today – after all, its just colored boxes. With Metro on Windows, Windows Phone and the XBOX it will be interesting to see how Microsoft can evolve the interface over time keeping it fresh and exciting.
The XBOX could become the hub of your entertainment world and integrate seamless with your Windows tablet or other tablets and mobiles via XBOX Smart Glass. Microsoft seems to be on the right path here by integrating none Microsoft devices via Apps – the final step for me would be an easy connection to my Mac based iTunes library and I could start believing that this vision will be successful.
In unrelated news Microsoft also announced that their Enterprise Management Suite (Systems Center Configuration Manager) will be able to deploy and manage Macs and iPads – it seems that integration becomes a reality at Microsoft.
This all is very exciting and makes me believe that Microsoft might be after all on the right track.
And then I have these moments where I wake up from that dream and they buy Yammer. What in the world? Yammer is a lackluster service, SharePoint could offer the same abilities if Microsoft would invest a couple of days extra coding and Microsoft is still trying to integrate their last acquisition into their product portfolio (any Skype connector for Lync yet? No? Well it has been only 18 month – no need to hurry.).
I just assume that there are different divisions inside Microsoft and I guess the cloud division thought they needed some PR too this week – after all everyone else got some.