Microsoft's week saw the beginning of its Windows Phone 7 "NoDo" update push, the release of its Intune platform for midsize businesses, and a new Android-aimed lawsuit.
For starters, Microsoft's week saw the push-through of the
long-awaited "NoDo" update for Windows Phone 7.
In addition to
cut-and-paste, the NoDo update features tweaks to Messaging, WiFi and Outlook.
It improves the "stability of switching between camera and video modes,"
according to information posted on Microsoft's Windows Phone Website
, and the experience of
syncing Facebook accounts.
But as to when
NoDo will actually arrive on users' smartphones, Microsoft made a stab at an
answer this week with a pair of charts detailing the update status for
customers in both the United States
and around the world
. Each chart breaks down the
update path into three categories:
, i.e., the
update is undergoing network and quality tests.
i.e., Microsoft is scheduling the update for delivery-a process the charts
suggest will take "10 days or less."
i.e., the smartphone should receive the update-at some point. "Because updates
are typically delivered to customers in batches," the chart explains, "it might
take several weeks before you receive notice that an update is available to
In the United
States, the HTC Surround, LG Quantum and Samsung Focus are all apparently in
"testing" for both the February software update (designed to pave the way for
future updates) and the March "NoDo" update (which includes both cut-and-paste
and feature tweaks). The Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7 are at the "scheduling"
stage for both updates. The HTC Arrive comes with both updates, excluding it
from the list.
worldwide chart, all open-market devices are "delivering" the March update,
with the February update having already arrived for the majority of countries'
smartphones. The bulk of those countries have also reached the "scheduling"
milestone for their March update.
February update, designed to help with future updates, stalled a small number
of users' smartphones and led to roughly two days worth of drama on Microsoft's
online help forums. In the wake of that, Microsoft seemed more cautious in how
it proceeded with NoDo, even pushing the release date back from the first two
weeks of March to the latter half of the month.
consultation with the team and our many partners, we've decided to briefly hold
the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and
that of our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a March 10 e-mail to
eWEEK. "As a result, we will plan to begin delivering the update in the latter
half of March."
It seems a bit
of an open question, though, when Windows Phone 7 users in the United States
will actually see their NoDo update pushed through.
pushing things through, this week marked the release of another Microsoft
product: Windows Intune, a cloud-based platform that gives IT administrators
for midsize businesses an enterprise-style level of control over their network.
bundling Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights with Intune, the better to
increase the business presence of Windows 7. Overall, the service costs $11 per
PC per month, with a minimum subscription term of one year.
Intune builds on our history of delivering cloud services at scale, including
Hotmail and Windows Update, and leverages Microsoft's cloud experience with
Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365," Gavriella Schuster, a general
manager at Microsoft, wrote in a Feb. 28 posting on The Windows Blog.
For much of
the past year, Microsoft has used its conferences and other events to push a
particular vision of cloud IT services for corporations, placing it in direct competition
with Google and Salesforce.com. That comes despite the fact that much of the
company's revenue continues to derive from traditional streams such as Windows
Based on a Web
survey he conducted for Microsoft to judge Intune's uptake among its possible
customer base, Endpoint Technologies Associates analyst Roger Kay concluded in a Forbes blog posting March 23
that "uptake at
$11 would be limited." In addition, the company is trying to "bill for values,
like encryption management, not yet clear to the target market."
"Microsoft still has to answer some pointed questions raised by respondents if
it hopes for widespread adoption ... For example, the fallback plan during loss
of connectivity, whether delivered through partners or directly, must assure
potential subscribers." Kay's posting neglects to mention his survey's sample
Within a day
of Kay's posting, Microsoft e-mailed to eWEEK a list of curated customer quotes
about Intune's supposed cost-efficiencies.
If all that
wasn't enough on Microsoft's collective plate (although given the company's
size, having action on multiple fronts is sort of par for the course), the
company decided to fire a broadside at rival Google's Android platform on March 21
filing a legal action against bookseller Barnes & Noble and manufacturers
Foxconn International Holdings and Inventec. Apparently, Barnes & Noble's
Android-based Nook e-reader violates Microsoft's patents for interacting with
documents and e-books.
manufacturing and shipping Android devices must respect our intellectual
property rights," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's corporate vice president and
deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing, wrote in a
March 21 statement. "To facilitate that, we have established an industry-wide
patent licensing program for Android device manufacturers."
& Noble and its partners apparently refused to participate in this program,
Microsoft has decided to bring out its heavy legal artillery. "Their refusals
to take licenses," Gutierrez added, "leave us no choice but to bring legal
action to defend our innovations."
fired intellectual property lawsuits over Android before, generally at
smartphone manufacturers. The Barnes & Noble action is unique in that it
centers on an e-reader device.
course, competes with Windows Phone 7, which-even if it yet hasn't allowed
Microsoft to challenge Google's and Apple's supremacy in the mobile market-is
certainly responsible for a large portion of the company's weekly news feed.