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The Microsoft GitHub Acquisition Is Official …

The Microsoft GitHub purchase is happening. The story leaked before the weekend onto the interwebs and by Monday June 5th, Microsoft and GitHub came clean with their official announcements.

The real loser in all this strangely enough was Apple whose annual WWDC event was fighting for attention online against the pro and anti-acquisition groups. GitHub and their competitor GitLab are more than just collaborative source control. Both have been adding features over the last few years including issue tracking, stories and other features evolving these tools into ALM solutions.

Why would anyone be against Microsoft acquiring GitHub?

After asking this question online, the only coherent, meaningful or logical argument I got was nothing to do with Microsoft and everything to do with any tech giant acquiring one of the most popular collaborative source-code tools on the market. To be fair, no-one should be surprised by this:

Microsoft GitHub - Reasons to be happy

Microsoft had been heavily invested in Git for several years, making it a fundamental option for working in Visual Studio. Meanwhile, everything about the Microsoft GitHub purchase is about mutual benefit but more importantly, increasing value for the Developer Community.

The two other reasons I got out of developers, startup founders, Devops and other were: –

  1. It’s Microsoft. I don’t trust them.
  2. Look at the acquisitions Microsoft ruined.

The counter argument to these were simple; what’s not to trust. Since Satya Nadella took over Microsoft, the company has radically changed. Look at the acquisitions since Satya Nadella took over as CEO. These companies have flourished and grown as part of Microsoft and so have their products e.g. LinkedIn.

If you really want to deep dive the reasons why Microsoft is a totally different company and its context vis a vis GitHub then you can check my video on it:

On the one hand, those against the acquisition are really stuck in the past. On the other, it’s a free market and you can vote with your feet. Tamir Gefen, CEO of ALMToolbox pointed out that this has happened with a major migration to competitor GitLab, who haven’t been shy about pushing how and why you can make the jump. He points to live online graphs of a large upturn in migration onto GitLab from their Grafana:

The graphs show migrations but don’t show some important metrics like: size of repositories, number of accounts moved and from what price bracket these migrations occurred. If the bulk of these are individual developers or people who opted for free accounts then the impact to GitHub will be marginal, other than the bandwidth and API calls being used in these migrations.

The Warptest POV

The Microsoft GitHub acquisition serves to highlight the strategy of Satya Nadella’s Microsoft. This is a break away from the Ballmer era. Microsoft is the biggest Open Source contributor in the world today (including projects like GIT VFS). Microsoft contributes to many projects like Electron and you only really need look at the Microsoft GitHub account to understand the scale of investment in developer hours that led to this purchase being a logical step.

Microsoft’s own online user documentation is held on GitHub repositories. Meanwhile Redmond continues to build more cross-platform apps for mobile than anyone else. They can do this because Visual Studio supports development in most, if not all platforms. Which lead us to other successful acquisitions that were logical steps to bring us this place;the purchase of Xamarin and HockeyApp.

Xamarin has flourished with Microsoft and their former CEO, Nat Friedman will takeover running GitHub following the purchase. HockeyApp has been rebranded and rebuilt by Microsoft as Visual Studio App Center.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Microsoft is fully aware that they need to earn our trust, even if the days of Vista are over. BUILD 2017 and 2018 showed us that Satya Nadella has placed the Developer Community, in its entirety front and center. Microsoft is a company that listens and continues to innovate, by purchasing companies and technologies that add value for their employees and end users. GitHub was also in talks with Google but at the end of the day opted to move forward with Microsoft.

For what it’s worth. if you don’t have to jump ship from GitHub, then my advice is to be patient and you will see why Microsoft and Satya Nadella have already earned our trust.

One final thought, if Microsoft now has Xamarin, HockeyApp and GitHub. What impact is this going to have on Visual Studio TFS in the future?

Microsoft GitHub - Keep Calm

Whatever happens. Keep calm and carry on Git Pushing.

BUILD2018 Begins Today

BUILD2018 is upon us, what can we expect? BUILD is the annual Microsoft Developer Conference and whilst in past years, we have seen a lot of end-user oriented announcements in addition to the slew of  amazing APIs, SDKs, apps and improvements to existing Dev platforms, rumors expect BUILD2018 to be strongly developer oriented.

So what are expectations and predictions?

Anticipate a strong keynote by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. He will no doubt highlight and reinforce the progress in realizing his vision for Microsoft. So far, this journey has delivered major increases in stock price, high customer satisfaction in consumer and business verticals and made Nadella one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential in 2018.

In the wake of this success and the public debate following Facebook / Cambridge Analytica we can probably expect more in the keynote on developer responsibility for technology impact. No doubt we will also see presentations on social good thru technology and innovation, building on the success of Project Emma from BUILD2017:

WINDOWS 10: Whilst Microsoft has made it abundantly clear that cloud not desktop is the present and future focus, we are certainly going to hear about the outstanding Windows 10 Spring Creators Update that rolled out last week.

Expect to hear roll out metrics, major feature improvements and where we can expect Windows 10 to go from here. Expect to hear about Fluent Design, the new app UI. Which features of the OS have it, and which major apps are implementing it. Of course, it being BUILD2018 Developers should anticipate that Fluent Design, Universal Windows Apps & the Windows Store will all receive a strong developer focus. Microsoft is going to want you to build your apps with Fluent Design so be ready.

We can also expect to see Cortana mentioned, now not just on Windows 10 but fully cross-platform on mobile. I predict new devices, more app integrations (and integration tools), more services and a possible announcement of a changed UI / UX for Cortana coming soon. This is one more example of Microsoft continuing to build on their Windows on Mobile strategy.

OFFICE 2019: I predict a firm release date an even a demonstration of new version of Office at BUILD2018. If so, we can expect a focus on inking, more real-time collaboration and customization. In addition, the Microsoft Graph for Windows and Office will gain increased abilities. The star features will almost certainly be Slack killer, Microsoft Teams and improvements to the Office web apps.

Popular and growing services like IOT, BOTS, AI and Microsoft’s Cognitive Services should expect mention with improved SDKs and expanded abilities. Watch these demos because the Cognitive Services will blow your socks off.

Center stage will be Azure, Satya Nadella’s baby that effectively catapulted him into the CEO seat at Redmond. We anticipate continued expansion on services, partnerships and other improvements. This is where we expect to hear more about Containers and much on DevOps in Azure.

The big Azure question is, will we finally receive an Azure Serverless competitor for Google Firebase? Come on Microsoft, Azure Functions hasn’t gained the traction that Firebase has and there is a huge opening here with all the issues Firebase has cross-platform. BUILD2018 is a huge chance for Microsoft to onboard every last developer attending the conference or watching the livestream onto a robust, easy to integrate, serverless solution.

The other big money maker is Xbox.  What developer offerings will we see? Tough to speculate but expect a mention of the ongoing success of Xbox.

MIXED REALITY (XR): There is a chance we will hear something definitive about HOLOLENS 2, even if this is just a teaser. Expect more of a focus on OEM Windows 10 VR headsets and a presentation by Unity of what’s coming for Microsoft Mixed Reality.

Obviously, both Visual Studio and SQL will be getting a lot of attention in terms of new versions, new features and new integrations for all the platforms mentioned. Expect more improvements to cross-platform development on Xamarin.

I expect that we will get a hard launch date if not the launch of Visual Studio App Center, the replacement for HockeyApp which until now has been in Beta with several major features not implemented. BUILD2018 is the ideal opportunity to launch this to release and demo the full set of features here for “continuous everything – Build, test, deploy, engage, repeat …”

BUILD2018 - Visual Studio App Center 1

BUILD2018 - Visual Studio App Center 2

In short, this conference is going to deliver more excitement to the developers who work on these platforms. What’s missing from all this?

The Warptest POV

While I would like to bet that Microsoft are going to announce new hardware or new versions of existing hardware under the Surface brand, I’m not feeling it. I hope but don’t expect an announcement about any Surface Mobile device. Even with all the rumors of Andromeda, a folding ARM tablet/ phone that can run full Windows 10, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft are ready to drop this bombshell this week. This was the Warptest POV on Microsoft and their future in mobility.

The big announcements will be certainly Azure and Visual Studio focused but expect Progressive Web Apps to be mentioned more than once in the context of UWP. We can certainly expect more announcements focusing on open sourcing of development related technologies.

If I had to sum up my predictions, it would be that Microsoft are going to demonstrate a strong investment in building an even better Developer Community. Everything about BUILD2018 is going to be about driving more developers to invest in creating apps for the Windows and Office Stores but also to continue to force the competition to innovate at the same pace as Microsoft has been doing over the last few years.

Above is my latest video where I speak about all this. What do you expect or predict to hear this week?

Windows on Mobile Is an Interesting Concept But …

Windows on Mobile is not just a concept anymore. Microsoft’s Windows Phone continued to lose market share, thru benign indifference, continued poor marketing or a management decision to allow it to slowly decline to be ultimately be replaced by what?

Windows on Mobile - Bryan

Microsoft did not want to allow a vacuum to develop in the interim. Did Windows on Mobile became the go-to strategy by default?

What Is This Windows on Mobile of Which You Speak?

If Microsoft couldn’t get us on their devices, they were damn sure going to get us on their cloud, SAAS and apps. There was a vision, where any smartphone on any platform would be a Microsoft phone. Regardless if your phone ran Android or IOS, you would be using Office365, OneDrive, Skype, Edge and other Microsoft services for personal and business use. Your phone would sync seamlessly with your desktop / laptop device and even allow you to continue your browsing session from mobile on your desktop PC.

Your Contacts, Calendar and other critical work and play information would work with Microsoft services. All these instead of Google or Apple services. Windows on Mobile is platform agnostic, service based and dominantly Microsoft driven. All with the same user and login details that you use to access your PC.

The use case was for everyone, home users, education, business and more. Using familiar tools and services, no matter where you are and what device you are using. No learning curve, just connect devices to the Microsoft account and keep on working.

The attraction of being able to choose what services and apps are at the core of your device and be able to remove the redundant ones has big appeal to many users. There was even talk in the past of Android phones coming pre-installed with Microsoft services and apps and not the Google equivalents.

SPOILER ALERT: every time you buy an Android phone or tablet, the big winner? Surprise, It’s Microsoft.

A Forbes article from 2015 explains the details of how Microsoft holds a slew of patents for Android which is a golden goose in licensing fees.

There had been a rumor in 2016 that Microsoft was interested in purchasing Cyanogen, back before they shuttered and open sourced the code. The anticipated strategy was to provide an Android ROM with all your Microsoft apps and services bundled.

Still the business strategists at Redmond knew better than to have one plan. Even before this, Microsoft has become the uncrowned king of cross-platform apps. Jump forward to 2018 and your Android smartphone’s best launcher is made by Microsoft, you can use Edge on Android which works with Cortana. All this and more.

Windows on Mobile - All the Android Microsoft apps

The Warptest POV

The idea of Windows on Mobile is an interesting one. Especially if you are a COO or IT Manager and you want your employees to have access to your Microsoft services outside the office.

Most Android device owners chose the OS and their phone specifically for Google Apps and services and are skeptical about replacing Chrome with Edge, Google Apps with Office and so on.

There is certainly a substantial section of Android owners who are happy to have both Google and Microsoft services running on their phone as needed. When Microsoft and Nokia were getting into bed together, the Nokia X family of devices were floated as Android out-of-the-box with Microsoft services installed. Microsoft cancelled these phones 5 months after acquiring Nokia though.

The idea appeals to many ex-Windows Phone owners who opted to leave the platform for Android but want to retain some of their comfort zone and don’t want to move away from these services and apps.

The fact is that Microsoft doesn’t need Windows on Mobile except as a way of retaining and onboarding more users to their apps, services and cloud, regardless of OS.

In a nutshell, Microsoft is providing an answer for Android & IOS users who want a Windows on Mobile solution, whether exclusively or not. All this may just be a stopgap solution that allows Windows Mobile to die gracefully while Microsoft work on their rumored, disruptive folding mobile device that finally delivers a true Windows 10 Mobile experience.

The rumored Microsoft “Andromeda” folding mobile tablet

Where do you stand on Windows on Mobile? Are you ready for an Android smartphone devoid of Google services or are you rooting for Andromeda?

Either way, Windows on Mobile offers a competitive push to Google & Apple. What are they going to do with it?

LinkedIn Has Everything Going For It, Except …

Is livestreaming a major missing feature from LinkedIn?

LinkedIn - livestream - app

Until now, Microsoft has not ventured seriously into the livestreaming niche, allowing big guns like YouTube & Facebook to dominate unrestricted streaming and Twitter’s Periscope to compete over mobile.

Since Microsoft had no meaningful social platform of their own (until the acquisition of LinkedIn) and with the death-by-degrees of Windows 10 Mobile .. to be replaced by a new, unknown, no-deadline mobile strategy, it was hard for Microsoft to leverage the need for streaming.

Why Does LinkedIn Need Livestreaming?

LinkedIn has a fight on its hands as Facebook invades the job networking / search niche. Facebook doesn’t waste time, they leverage their tools for personal users, then pages and or groups.

LinkedIn - Facebook

You can be sure the full suite of Facebook tools will be available to job seekers or companies looking to find top flight candidates.

LinkedIn - fight night

What could be better than seeing how a candidate handles live engagement by streaming their professional interests. This is infinitely better than a static resume, (searchable) LinkedIn profile or seeing a candidate’s engagement in groups. Recruiters get to observe speech patterns, passion, body language and introversion levels.

Job seekers benefit by being able to leverage this tool to fully promote themselves. A smart candidate will build a strategy for ensuring what they livestream will be polished, professional and relevant.

The Warptest POV

Job hunting is about using every advantage to stand-out and be noticed for your skills, knowledge and personality. To show recruiters that you are a good fit for the role they are looking to fill. So why doesn’t LinkedIn have livestreaming to allow you to do just that?

Right now, Microsoft has the technology but needs to integrate it into LinkedIn. Maybe they don’t see the value or maybe this should be a Premium feature. Where is this technology? Gaming and Social. Microsoft acquired social livestreaming company, Beam in August of 2016 and it’s now ported to Xbox as MIXER. Mixer is live game-streaming for Xbox and a cross-platform app.

Meanwhile since I started writing this, Microsoft and LinkedIn announced the integration of Word as the Resume Assistant, as predicted in the Warptest POV here, back in June 2016.

Should Redmond decide to take the Mixer technology and port it to LinkedIn (or Office and several other Microsoft platforms or technologies), then imagine applying for a job in real-time by livestreaming. What else can they bring to the pot? Bundle this in Skype with social integration or integration with Office 365’s Stream and you have a serious killer app. Stream isn’t just your company YouTube, videos you upload provide searchable speech-to-text captioning and facial recognition of people in your video. The livestreams you record can be saved thru Stream into your OneDrive. Shared thru Stream and turned into searchable video experiences.

Microsoft has the technology, all they need to do is find a way to bring it together and LinkedIn will compete on an even playing field with Facebook. Are you ready to stream your next job application?

Satya we’re overdue for a chat about Windows Mobile

Dear Satya, It’s time we spoke about Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile - Satya Nadella

It’s been a while since I wrote you. You’ve been doing great things, mainly in the enterprise arena but hey, earnings and stock value for MSFT are great. The accolades you are receiving are all deserved and fully earned. You’ve done incredible things as the driving force behind the new Microsoft. MSIgnite 2017 has been a rampant success so far again predominantly for the Enterprise.

That said, I and a couple of others (gross understatement) are concerned about Microsoft’s commitment to the consumer market. Whilst platforms live on, you’ve basically ceded the mobile handset market to OEMs and likewise with wearables and VR headsets. Microsoft has become a high quality, prototyping factory to drive the direction of these hardware markets and the OEMs who exist there.

I get it, I really do. Microsoft is not a hardware company. That said, ignoring the mobile market or killing what you have thru perceived ambivalence, benign neglect or marketer fear is not the solution.

Is Windows 10 Mobile in it’s current evolution nearing it’s end? It doesn’t matter unless like me you are a Windows Phone owner. Us Windows Phone owners are not the people you have to win over with the next evolution of Windows mobile strategy. That said, we are waiting, anticipating and serious about what’s next:

Windows 10 on ARM devices. We expect this to be a winning mobile strategy for everyone.

A Vision For Windows Mobile / The Warptest POV

I thought I should share with you all the things that are needed to make a disruptive reentry into mobile and win serious market share.

What does ARM and full Windows 10 mean? It means one OS (no RT, no W10M) with Fluent design and Cshell providing an adaptive UI for Windows, the OS and apps will actually be Universal. Allegedly the latest reports refer to this all as Andromeda OS.

This is nothing new for Warptest, the idea of a responsive OS experience has been pushed on this blog since 2014.

It means the idea of running full-blown 64 bit apps from a mobile device may come true. This doesn’t mean you have to shoehorn this into the enterprise niche but consumer and enterprise devices, why not?

A democratic PC in the pocket for all…

If Microsoft designs a handset to Surface design standards and materials and doesn’t compromise form factor or battery life then this might succeed.

Surface - Windows MobileImage of Surface Pro 4 with thanks to Microsoft

Any mobile device doesn’t just need killer design and materials. It needs a serious raft of accessories from brand names but, it also needs to compete in the AR/ VR / MR market against the expected iPhone, the Pixel & phones like the One Hydrogen. We need a Holophone.

Most of all the people like Joe Belfiore associated with Windows Phone need to progress up and out of mobile. Microsoft needs an aggressive new team, able and willing to evangelize to Developers and ensure deals with Twitter, Facebook and others for up-to-date features like FB Live, Periscope and frankly for Microsoft themselves to man up and deliver apps and features to Windows Mobile first. Keep in mind just how many features seen at the recent iPhone 8 / X launch event already existed in Windows 10 Mobile (if not Windows Phone 8.1).

I’m not telling you anything new here Satya, but it needs to be said and by association this strategy needs to be applied to VR and wearables, including a Surface Watch (not just a niche sports band). Microsoft can still win in the mobile arena and your loyal consumer base in mobile are one building block in this strategy.

When you are ready, get in touch and let’s win back mobile.

Windows Mobile Is Not Dead It’s Just Sleeping?

News and bloggers are gleefully reporting the death of Windows Mobile .. again.

Windows Mobile - Bullshit

In fact, Microsoft just announced end of support for Windows Phone 8.1, the version supplanted by Windows 10 Mobile.

The lazy, trollish and misrepresentative reporting has haunted Microsoft’s mobile platform throughout each of its evolutions.

This is not to say that Microsoft has not repeatedly managed to do a remarkably poor job of marketing the platform and their own flagship devices. Nor were Microsoft able to evangelize to the developer community to entice the same adoption as IOS or Android.

Microsoft has addressed the issue of app parity in the Windows Mobile ecosystem with the combination of the IOS Bridge to UWP, UWP apps themselves and Project Centennial to convert old-style Windows apps to UWP, there is still life in the brand. Redmond still needs to forcefully encourage as many apps as possible to build UWP versions.

As it stands, many Windows Mobile owners feel the benign neglect stemming from Redmond is a way of parting from the past of the OS while developing the rumored Surface Mobile Device;

Surface Phone?

The Surface “Phone” has been rumored to be designed for running full-blown 64 bit Windows apps; a phab form factor or the implementation of a patent for a foldable screen device that opens from phone to tablet seamlessly. One thing we know for certain, this device will maximize the full potential of Microsoft’s CShell for Windows 10.

Many believe the device is being held-back by a waiting game for the right ARM-64 processor and GPU combined with the latest alleged leak that the Surface Mobile Device will be an AR / VR/ MR supporting device… a Hololens Phone. This rumor is propped up by the allegation that brain-behind the Hololens, Alex Kipman is leading the charge to deliver this device, even though the head of Microsoft Devices is still Panos Panay.

HoloLens - Alex Kipman

One thing is for sure, Microsoft needs to get this right in terms of design, materials, feature set, spec, delivery and especially marketing.

Marketing this atop of the history of Microsoft’s mobile strategy requires radical strategy. Before all you ace tech reporters and bloggers dig Windows Mobile’s grave, check the facts and save us your hot air.

The mobile markets are ripe for a change. Go big or go home Satya.

MicrosoftEdu 2017 Is On May 2nd

MicrosoftEdu will kick-off tomorrow in New York and whilst the hashtag and event name indicate an education-centric theme many are predicting a big hardware announcement.

MicrosoftEdu - Event

For those who want to follow the Livestream, the begins at May 2nd, 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time / 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The technology announced will focus on the education market which is a highly competitive market. Microsoft and Google (and to some extent Apple) are fighting over school districts, teachers and students. Until now, the focus was on learning platforms and productivity suites / apps with Google holding the upper hand in the device market.

Google Chromebooks make a great hardware solution for schools who buy into the Google ecosystem. Until now, Microsoft could only counter this with OEM budget laptops but these came with full Windows 10. An Intel Atom device with an SSD certainly gave more bang for buck but was it the economical choice?

What Can We Expect Then?

Microsoft are expected to announce new hardware and going out on a limb, I predict the following at MicrosoftEdu:

  • Microsoft Surface Cloudbook:
    • A Chromebook killer / competitor.
    • Highly portable but probably classic clamshell laptop style.
  • Windows 10 Cloud:

Windows 10 Paint 3D - MicrosoftEdu

The Warptest POV

If MicrosoftEdu delivers a hardware – software ecosystem designed for educators and students in Surface design then this will light a fire under the existing fight for this market.

A Surface Cloudbook for education must be aggressively priced to compete and win over schools on old-style LMS looking to upgrade. Things Microsoft should be delivering at MicrosoftEdu to seal the deal:

  • Cortana for kids and or integrated into Microsoft Classroom. Especially with app integrations like homework reminders from Cortana & child filtered research for projects.
  • A strategic partnership with a multimedia content platform that can compete with YouTube.
  • Early adopters deal bundling Surface Dial with the Surface Cloudbook and added cloud storage.
  • Mixed Reality for education: if you jump to the HoloLens page, directly below the intro video is a link to the MicrosoftEdu event. Why? What could be more natural than to leverage HoloLens and the OEM Windows 10 headsets for the education market?

MicrosoftEdu - Hololens

I’m ready to be wowed, how about you?

Microsoft Clip Layer Is The Latest Garage App…

Clip Layer is a great Android app from the Microsoft Garage, Redmond’s worldwide experimental projects lab that delivers a slew of interesting apps and resources.

Microsoft Garage - Clip Layer

The Garage is all part of Microsoft’s cross-platform leadership strategy, delivery apps to all mobile platforms. Clip Layer is one of these apps.

Why would Microsoft do this other than the reasons laid out in the link above?

Consider that Microsoft allegedly $5 to $15 on every Android device sold and

approximately $2 billion a year on patent royalties.

Nuff said?

What Problem Does Clip Layer Solve?

Android allows app developers a highly granular approach to in-app permissions. In this case the developer can disable select-copy-paste even at web view level. Along comes the app user and sees a vital piece of information and bang! No way to easily copy from the app and paste elsewhere. At best the user can take a screenshot but a graphic is not text.

Clip Layer allows the user to grab, clip and copy any text from any app, even when blocked. If the app is running, then just hit the home button to ignore those app permissions and copy that much-needed information.

A simple and elegant solution.

The Warptest POV

I hear those screams of outrage:

  • How dare Microsoft run roughshod over the app permissions set by other developers?
  • Worse, how is Google allowing Microsoft to get away with this kind of crap?

On the one hand, you’re right. At least until you are that user who wants to copy something and is blocked. On the other, Android allows developers a lot of freedom including geo-blocking apps which doesn’t stop users from changing their location to access the app (Microsoft has been known to geo-block their apps too).

I searched for specific criteria in Play Store Acceptance criteria officially making Microsoft the bad guy for circumventing copy blocking but, didn’t find it. Most people using this app won’t have nefarious intent, just a desire to share information. Why would you block that and why would you want to annoy your app users that way?

So, Android users take Clip Layer for a spin and see how it helps you. A modest award for the most creative use shared in the comments. Game on!

Microsoft Surface Has Meant One Thing Until Now.

When you heard Microsoft Surface, you thought of the killer Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book hybrid laptops, right?

Ever sat in a meeting with someone using one, walked past a store selling them? Likely they caught your eye because of the materials and design. The sleek lines, kickstand, detachable tablet – keyboard combo, spun magnesium body and the pen. It’s hard not to lust after the Surface laptops.

Whilst the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book were turning the world of laptop design on its head, Windows Phone and the Microsoft Band were making less of an impact.

Much has been written on the failure to seize market share by both these devices. Some written on this blog.

Windows Phone has evolved into Windows 10 Mobile and the Band 2 is no longer for sale by Microsoft. Both have been surrounded by rumors of successive devices: the Microsoft Surface (Panay) Phone and the Band 3. What is going on?

Microsoft Event 26th October

Wednesday in New York (tomorrow), Microsoft have invited us to see what’s next for Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface Event

Throw in the latest tweet from Microsoft’s VP of Devices, Panos Panay:

… and you can reasonably assume that in addition to what’s next for Windows 10 the Operating (eco)System, we are going to see new devices. Several weeks ago Winbuzzer reported that the FCC had approved a new Surface keyboard (and more) and most of the big tech blogs have been reporting that they expect to see an All-in-one desktop revealed tomorrow; probably called the Surface Studio.

The expectation is the Surface Studio will be built along the Surface design ethos in terms of materials, form and features. Full pen support, an adjustable desktop kickstand, the (previously mentioned) keyboard and almost certainly a matching mouse. Microsoft historically announces partnerships with software vendors to support new hardware so one can expect Adobe, AutoDesk or perhaps Unity3D to have something special for the Surface Studio. Microsoft themselves are expected to launch an improved Paint app.

It doesn’t take much research to find patents describing a modular, hinged computing device or a newer version of Continuum technology.

Microsoft Surface - All in one

Courtesy of US Patent & Trademark Office: Microsoft filings.

The Surface Studio aside, everyone has high hopes of hearing that Windows 10 Redstone 2 and 3 will incorporate features for connected IOT technology. The hot rumor is a Microsoft homehub feature in Windows 10 means a Cortana enabled home control device akin to Amazon’s Alexa.

Since no tech event would be complete without AR or VR, Hololens will be center stage with more apps and stronger Hologram integration with Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface - Hololens

The big question though is will the event address the future of wearable & mobile devices?

The Warptest POV

Most if not everyone believes that when Microsoft pulled the Band 2 from their stores that there will be no Band 3, even with rumors prior to this of a streamlined, waterproof sport wearable incorporating RFID and an EKG. The Band 2 was noted for its ability to measure VO2 without any unwieldy mask, but a sports wearable with an electrocardiogram seems something not to be given up on easily. I am not so easily convinced.

As for mobile, whilst Windows 10 Mobile continues to release improved Insider updates and several new OEMs have launched Windows Phones, there will be no new Lumia phones. That said, no-one is under the illusion that the Panay / Surface Phone will arrive. The rumors surrounding the Surface Phone are many, including the expected 32 / 64 bit app support. Doing so means desktop apps will run on this phone.

Microsoft are the only company to have a Universal App Platform, a bridge to port IOS apps and Project Centennial for turning desktop apps into Universal Apps. This means that a Surface Phone (assuming the necessary spec and size) is a serious laptop alternative.

If Microsoft has managed to minimize the Continuum Dock and incorporate it into this phone, then connecting it to any screen will make it full blown Windows 10.

Are Microsoft prepared to cede the mobile and wearable markets to the competition without a fight? No but they need a killer strategy, winning devices and hardware to support this. Why won’t we hear about a Microsoft Surface Phone or Band 3 tomorrow? Simply because the chipsets necessary for these devices are not ready now but also because ultimately Microsoft are somewhat loyal to their dedicated Band 2 & Lumia consumers. There is a transition period which will allow for a better launch for these new devices, both running Windows 10.

The most important announcement that should be made tomorrow is that Microsoft Surface is the brand name for all Windows 10 hardware made by Microsoft.

It should all be designed and made to the same standards, with the same materials and with similar ethos and feature sets. So yes, a Microsoft Surface Phone should have a kickstand and a magnetized keyboard like the Surface Pro. A Band replacement should be spun magnesium cased too.

The creation of a Universal Hardware Platform to match the UWP will make for a stronger, more marketable brand. A brand that is part and parcel of the Windows 10 Operating (eco)System that consumers and enterprise can get behind. A brand that will allow Microsoft to deliver a mature, competitive product in the mobile arena.

Want my annual bit of advice Satya? This is what I want to see from the Microsoft Event tomorrow. How about you?

Windows 10 Is Celebrating…

On August 2nd Windows 10 will roll out its anniversary upgrade. It’s big.

First, for all of you who fear the Windows Update, don’t. Do be prepared. From August 2nd until you get the Anniversary Upgrade check Windows Update to ensure it runs when it’s convenient for you.

Otherwise you can expect to see the “Don’t turn off your computer” screen as updates are applied, just when you are getting ready to leave work.

Windows 10 - Ned Stark

What Is This Anniversary Update Of Which You Speak?

Many of us remember Service Packs. Today Microsoft is deploying the major update to Windows 10 thru an Anniversary Update. This is 1 year from the official launch of Windows 10. The success of the Operating System is largely due to Microsoft building an incredible crowdsourced solution of invested consumers who chose to install Fast Ring or Slow Ring updates. (Fast having been through low level testing and Slow having been exposed to more in-depth testing before release to these Insiders.)

Those who chose Fast Ring were opting for early adoption of new features but possible instability with it. This is the next step after the end of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft offered all year.

The Windows Insider program was for Windows 10 for Desktop / Tablets and Windows 10 Mobile. For those of you wary of installing the update here are three facts courtesy of Microsoft: –

  • Insiders have submitted over 8.6 million pieces of feedback.
  • Insiders spent over 443 million hours on Windows 10.
  • The Insider Program is now available in 30 languages.

The Warptest POV

I’m not going to get into all the details of what new features and fixes we are going to get. Reviewing an Operating System is lengthy, thirsty work. Once we all get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update I’ll deep dive the changes. Some of these changes were alluded to at BUILD2016.

The metrics above tell you one thing, this has been vigorously tested, reported on and had changes recommended not just by Microsoft employees but people just like you who work with Windows 10 every day in a variety of locales, jobs and languages.

We can expect big things from Cortana, the already awesome Edge browser is getting superpowers and if you have a Surface, from the pen and inking. Microsoft are not going to stop with this update though. Expect more greatness.

Windows 10 - Anniversary Ninja Catnniversary Update – Ninja Cat – courtesy of Windows Insider Program

If you take one thing away from this post, this is a big update in terms of size, install duration and impact. Don’t try to run this during prime work time or just before you leave the office.

You’ve been cautioned now get ready to be wowed.

Are You Officing In Office 365 Correctly?

This Officing tale may be a one you are familiar with yourself. Names have been changed to protect the less productive.

Tom had begun work a while back at a Tech based company. He had been hired to improve work practises and it was needed. People were working hard, but they weren’t working well together.

People were still using their computers like it was the 1990s; Tom knew that it wasn’t a question of just instituting change, he had to show managers like Lucy, Dick & Harry and their team members that there was a better way. Changing habits like this was not going to be easy…

Officing The GlenGarry Glen Ross Way

Office 365 is the cloud-centric productivity and collaboration suite. It comes with cloud storage in OneDrive or OneDrive Business (depending on account type).

OneDrive can be accessed in the browser, Windows File Explorer or thru the OneDrive app.

Don’t share files as attachments unless necessary; especially to multiple recipients. This is bad Officing.

Enable track changes, agree on using comments in the Office document and share a link to the document you are collaborating on.

Don’t save Office documents to Network Shares and then have multiple users all work on this file at once. This is bad Officing.

ABC - Officing

Office 365 is fully cross-platform. You can be productive and collaborative on the go.

Files and folders in OneDrive can be shared with other users either by sending them a link or an invitation.

Default permission of a share like this is “edit” but you can change this by user to “view” only.

Office 365 Business also allows structured wiki-like file storage in the same Cloud infrastructure thru SharePoint.

Users can define mail notifications for when a file is changed or updated in SharePoint.

All the Office 365 tools you use daily are available to use in the browser too.

There are several tools you may not be familiar with in the Office 365 Business accounts: especially Delve, Sway & Planner.

Sway and Planner are useful but Delve is an incredibly valuable service for personal collaboration analytics and actionable intelligence.

Facebook just decided they need to use Office 365 across their workplace. For its strong collaborative and productivity ecosystem.

Outlook in the browser is divided into Mail, Calendar & People: Mail has a “Like” button for when you want someone to know you agree but don’t want to get into pointless mails of “thanks” > “you’re welcome” > etc.

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Microsoft introduced Office 365 Connectors several months ago allowing Office 365 applications to communicate with 50 (and rising) different 3rd party apps we all use in the workplace.

If you have Office 365 at home, you have a personal One Drive, Outlook.com email, Office in the web and these apps have built in Skype integration (some).

Got Windows 10? If Cortana is enabled for your locale / language & your workplace then you can use the virtual assistant in concert with Office 365.

Cortana is also available on Windows 10 Mobile, Android (Beta) & iOS … and there’s more. (Yammer, Gigjam (Beta), Skype / Skype for Business…)

The Warptest POV

We all use smartphones and rely on Apps for so much. Most of what we are doing is in the cloud. So why when it comes to productivity is it so hard to break our bad officing habits?

It boils down to two things: being aware that Office 365 has this vast potential and a collective willingness to but into this change in the workplace. Facebook are embracing this change with their adoption of Office 365 as their main productivity tool set in the workplace.

Are you ready to work smarter not harder? Get Officing folks.

 

Office 365 Delve Is Vital For Facebook Workers…

Office 365 Delve (formerly known as Project Oslo) is a center-piece for Office 365 in the workplace. This service is built atop the Office Graph. Office Graph provides actionable intelligence on workers connections, the shared meetings, mails and documents. The content discovery is presented through Delve. If you have Office 365 in the workplace then you should have Delve.

Facebook wants Office 365 and specifically Delve, and today they announced they are getting it.

All apps - Office 365 Delve

Why Does Facebook Need Office 365?

According to Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook the decision to make this leap is multi-faceted: –

  • Facebook works 100% online.
  • Facebook has multiple offices in multiple locations worldwide. Employees need the ability to collaborate in real-time on shared projects.
  • Facebook facilitates cross-platform for employees to maximize effectiveness.
  • several other reasons

Office 365 delivers all this and more. However, Office 365 Delve delivers actionable insights into how and with whom Facebook employees are collaborating.

Delve and behind it the Office Graph, deliver “personal analytics” but also a powerful social network for the workplace.

Facebook - Office 365 DelveWhilst Facebook clearly needs a productivity / collaboration solution the choice and focus on Office 365 Delve as a crucial service leaves major questions.

What are the ramifications for Facebook At Work? Facebook has invested in building version of their social network with a separate work login and a closed ecosystem for your company, using Facebook and its associated tools.

office 365 Delve - Facebook for WorkFurthermore, Facebook has both iOS and Android apps in each store to support this. Are there no Facebook Insights or Facebook Graph API adding the same kind of intelligence and personal analytics that Office 365 Delve does?

The Warptest POV

Facebook has made progress with Facebook At Work and it is in use in-house (allegedly this is how Mark Zuckerberg makes company-wide announcements). This is not the mature, versatile ecosystem that Office 365 is.

I’ve used the phrase force multiplier recently but none deliver this as much as Office 365 Delve. Facebook have wisely chosen to bet on mature, evolving applications that are only improving and adding more apps and versatility as time goes on. In past posts, I’ve shared an alternate vision for Google+ that would have taken it into the productivity sphere for companies instead of where it is today.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook integrate with Office 365. Perhaps this is the future for Facebook at Work.

Now throw into the mix that Microsoft is firmly embedded in Facebook and owns LinkedIn. Food for thought.

What do you think?