Microsoft's week included the release to manufacturing of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and a possible conflict with OnLive.
While it wont necessarily attract the
same level of consumer interest as the upcoming Windows 8, Microsofts week
featured an announcement of particular importance to a wide subset of IT pros:
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is designed
to carve up big data for business-enhancing insights. In conjunction with the
platforms general availability, Microsoft plans on issuing a host of new
data-warehousing solutions, including a software update and new half-rack form
factors for Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse appliances. Data is being
generated faster than ever before, and organizations need a way to process and
analyze all that data, Ted Kummert, corporate vice president at Microsoft,
wrote in a March 6 statement.
Microsofts plans for tackling big data
within the enterprise include an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for both
Windows Server and Windows Azure. Apache Hadoop is a scalable solution for
companies looking to crunch massive amounts of data, sorting through it to find
the tendencies and patterns necessary to make better business decisions.
Microsoft previously announced the Hadoop augmentation for Windows Server and
Windows Azure at its PASS Summit 2011.
Even as it powered toward the future of
some products, Microsoft began to shut the door on others: The Windows
Marketplace for Mobile service for Windows Mobile 6.x, the increasingly
antiquated predecessor to Windows Phone, will shut down in a few months.
Beginning May 9, 2012, the Windows
Mobile 6.x Marketplace service will no longer be available, read a note posted
on the Microsoft Answers
Website. Starting on this
date, you will no longer be able to browse, buy or download applications
directly onto your Windows Mobile 6.x phone through the Marketplace.
However, applications and games
downloaded before that date will continue to work on devices. Windows Mobile
applications and games that are compatible with Windows Mobile 6.x may still be
available directly from their developers or via third-party marketplaces,
added the posting. The shutdown will not affect Windows Phone Marketplace,
which offers applications and games for Microsofts newer Windows Phone.
Microsoft launched Windows Mobile 6.5
in October 2009 with diminished expectations. During Microsofts Venture
Capital Summit the previous month, CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly suggested the
company had screwed up
its smartphone franchise, whose
market share had been steadily eroding in the face of fierce competition from
the likes of Google Android. Windows Mobile 6.5 was supposed to act as a sort
of stopgap measure until Microsoft could launch a new and improved smartphone
operating system, which turned out to be Windows Phone 7.
But Windows Phone has thus far proved
unable to reverse the market share slide that started with Windows Mobile: According
to data released the past week by research firm comScore, Microsofts share of
total U.S. smartphone subscribers declined from 5.4 percent in October 2011 to
4.4 percent in January 2012.
On the cloud and virtualization front,
Microsoft is also starting to take aim at companies that deliver Windows as a
virtualized service to other platforms. That includes OnLive, which has
developed a service that brings the Windows desktop to Apples iPad and Google
We are actively engaged with OnLive
with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are
committed to seeing this issue is resolved, Joe Matz, corporate vice president
of Microsofts Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, wrote in a March 8 posting on
Microsofts Volume Licensing
Microsoft, of course, is plotting its
own version of Windows on tablets, complete with a touch-friendly version of
Office. That fact will surely power many other Microsoft decisions in months
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter