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All posts tagged Socl

Microsoft Have Had An Interesting Year:

2013 Has seen a variety of ups and downs for Microsoft but where is it taking us?

Microsoft Logo

Here are a few things we saw in 2013 from Redmond: –

  • Windows Phone demonstrated the sharpest adoption rate of smartphone platforms.
  • Microsoft buys Nokia.
  • Many of the major apps missing from Windows Phone decided to rectify this situation delivering Vine, Instagram, Waze to name a few.
  • A group of lawyers decided to offer a class action suit to shareholders based on misreported costs of Surface RT sales.
  • CEO Steve Ballmer announces his vision for One Microsoft.
  • CEO Steve Ballmer announces his retirement.
  • Microsoft delivers Windows 8.1 with stronger Bing integration, an astoundingly fast Internet Explorer 11 and the return of a Start Button.
  • Nokia delivers a variety of innovative devices including the game-changing Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 mega-pixel camera.
  • Nokia also gave us the 6″ Lumia 1520 Windows Phone with its dazzling 1080p HD display and the Lumia 2520 10.1″ 4G Windows 8.1 RT Tablet.
  • Microsoft delivered the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 whilst other Windows tablets began arriving from various OEMs.
  • Microsoft announced and launched the Xbox One and managed to clarify much of the confusion around the existing Xbox games.
  • Bing delivered a huge revamp and a rethinking of the concepts of discovery and context / relevancy of content.
  • Rumors began to arise regarding Project Cortana as Microsoft’s answer to Siri and more.
  • December gave us a 13 year high for Microsoft stock.
  • Office announced the much anticipated versions for iOS and Android including a separate One Note App.
  • Microsoft FUSE Research Labs boldly gave us full cross-platform mobile Apps for Socl after meshing it with some marvelous content creation apps and the KODU Game Creation Platform.
  • Developers received Visual Studio 2013 (and online) and the awesome TFS (Application Lifecycle Management suite) incorporated Git amongst other new features.

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Is It All Sunshine And Roses?

No it’s not. Steve Ballmer’s retirement was not seen as positive by everyone, meanwhile there was the aforementioned class action suit and no CEO replacement has been found yet. Microsoft can also be justifiably criticized for not iterating fast enough and continuing to miss opportunities but that said we saw a  greater willingness to listen to consumers and a strong desire to deliver improved products faster. Things are moving in the right direction.

 Steve Ballmer

As a Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 laptop user I have been testing the Windows Store and have discussed some of my early findings with other users. We are in concurrence that there is a need to fix several issues that detract from the Store (I will dedicate a post to this hopefully in January 2014 when I can tie all my research together).

Windows Store - Microsoft

The Warptest POV

With the anticipated Windows Phone 8.1 update and its expected foray into enterprise it is reasonable to expect that Windows Phone will continue to encroach into the market share of other platforms. With the end of life for Windows XP / Office 2003 and more OEM’s releasing a variety of Windows 8x tablets, touchscreen laptops and hybrid devices things are promising.

The biggest challenge Microsoft continues to face is evangelizing to Startups so that Windows Phone and Windows 8 are not the last platforms they develop their Apps for.

The huge strategic advantage they have is that in acquiring Nokia’s Mobile business, patents and mapping, Microsoft bought a company with a strong culture of building communities with phone developers and with experience creating the Ovi (Nokia App) Store and making it work well.

The big question is who will Microsoft’s next CEO be and how will they perceive and address the challenges facing the company whilst building on the momentum of 2013?

Personally, I have high expectations of Microsoft in 2014. How about you?

Microsoft Socl Went Mobile Yesterday…

…On Windows Phone, iOS and Android. I’ve written about the brainchild of Microsoft Fuse Labs in the past, discussing the ROI of another Social Network and how the Socl team has been implementing features that show a strong understanding of what Social is all about.

Recently, Socl merged with Kodu (the Microsoft Kids game creation platform for PC and Xbox) to allow Kodu game creators to share their games through Socl.

Socl Logo
Kodu screen

A Mobile App

Once again the Socl team shows an incredible grasp of the need to launch on iOS, Android and Windows Phone simultaneously to maximize the mobile user base. Whilst all stats show Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile platform there is a long way to go in terms of raw market share.

  • The Android App is available on Google Play here.
  • The iOS App is available on the Apple App Store here.
  • I installed the Windows Phone App from here.

Socl’s browser web app look and feel translates nicely to your Smartphone and from all reports I’ve read the Socl team did a great job making the UI/UX homogenous across each platform.

The features for creating and consuming content within Socl and for sharing to other Social Networks seem to have weathered the migration to mobile app nicely.

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The Warptest POV

At this point you may be asking yourself why Microsoft are making the leap into Social on Smartphones, if at all. The real question is, what took so long?

With Google making Google+ the central product around which your account works (e.g. YouTube comments now requiring Google+ ) and the socialization of the web, productivity tools and other aspects of our work and personal online lives it’s no surprise that Microsoft have their own Social Network in Socl.

Prediction: within the year we are going to see integration of Skydrive and Office Web Apps with Socl. The ability to create, collaborate, video group chat and work together on Office documents and or Photos will make Socl a cross-platform force to be reckoned with; assuming that with the app available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone it’s simply a matter of maintaining the rollout of new features on each platform.

Whilst Google continues to restrict, inhibit and lock down users subject to platform, Microsoft shows no such fear. Clearly at Redmond they realize the value of cross-platform support.

As an early adopter who has remained with Socl I’m pleased and impressed by the mobile App and my hat is off to the Socl team. The app looks great and is a pleasure to use.

Are you ready to take Socl for a spin?