Microsoft's week included a swipe at Google, the next version of Office in technical preview, and some leaks about Windows Phone 8.
week saw the release of its Kinect for Windows SDK (software development kit) and
the next version of Office entering technical preview, and the unexpected
revelation of some crucial Windows Phone 8 details.
the slowest, in other words.
Office 15, the next version of Microsofts popular productivity software is
being distributed to a select group of testers; a public beta will reportedly
arrive this summer. It is an ambitious project, expected to incorporate the
cloud in a big way.
For the first
time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and
mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project,
and Visio, PJ Hough, CVP of development for Microsofts Office Division, wrote
in a Jan. 30 corporate blog posting
. Quite simply, Office 15
will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than
position as a key revenue driver for Microsoft, Office faces many of the same
challenges as Windows. With users becoming increasingly mobile and relying more
on tablets and smartphones in place of traditional PCs, software once meant for
desktops and bulkier laptops needs to evolve to meet that changing paradigm.
Windows 8, due later in 2012, will address that shift with a start screen of big,
colorful tiles linked to applicationsthe better to operate on both tablets and
variety of applications, Office faces a different sort of challenge altogether.
According to a Jan. 31 report on The Verge
, Office 15s first step will be to
make core Office applications more touch-friendly. Microsoft is building
OneNote and Lync as Metro-style applications, the publication claimed, while
suggesting via an unnamed source that plans to build a true Metro-style
Windows 8 version of Office have been pushed back due to time constraints.
Presumably, that means Office 15 will first appear only as a desktop app, with
the Metro one appearing at an unannounced later date.
progresses into the cloud and mobility, one of Microsofts biggest opponents is
Google. This is why, as Google became embroiled in a privacy controversy,
Microsoft wasted no time in firing off some choice hits.
1, Google will fold 60 of its 70 existing product-privacy policies into one
blanket policy. Users cannot opt out. Under the auspices of its new policy, the
search-engine giant will also treat any user with a Google account who signs
into search, YouTube, Gmail or its other services as the same individual across
those servicesand it might share data between those services.
advocates have argued that Googles latest moves trample user privacy rights,
all in the name of allowing the company to better compete with Facebook for
advertising dollars. Google has pushed back
, arguing that its new
policy is more transparent. Our approach to privacy has not changed, Pablo
Chavez, Googles director of public policy, argued in a Jan. 30 letter to
Congress. Google users continue to have choice and control.
response came through corporate channels.
Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of
their own information, Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate
communications for Microsoft, wrote in a Feb. 1 posting on The Official Microsoft Blog
. If the news
about Google has you feeling frustrated, or concerned, or both, we have some
great, award-winning alternatives.
alternatives apparently include Hotmail, Bing, the cloud-based Office 365 and
Internet Explorer. In addition, Microsoft is running advertisements advocating
these services in major newspapers.
Microsoft also made the version 1.0 of its Kinect for Windows SDK and runtime
towards the future, we are planning on releasing updates to our SDK and runtime
2-3 times per year, Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, wrote
in a Jan. 31 posting on the Kinect for Windows Blog
. We are continuing
to invest in programs like our Testing and Adoption Program and the Kinect
Accelerator, and will work to create new programs in the future.
Kinect team has tweaked the SDK and runtime since the Beta 2 released in late
2011. Improvements include support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into
the same PC, an ability to see objects as close as 40 cm from the front of the
Kinect device, a variety of API updates and enhancements, and the latest
Microsoft Speech components.
intentional, but Microsoft this week also had to deal with a very unintentional
revelation: some early details of Windows Phone 8. On Feb. 2, the blog Pocketnow.com
posted details of the upcoming
mobile-operating system, claiming itd obtained them from a Microsoft-produced
video meant for Nokia executives. Later that day, Paul Thurrott confirmed many
of those details in a posting on his Supersite for Windows.
paraphrases Belfiore as saying that Windows Phone 8 will use many of the same
components of Windows 8 and that areas of heavy overlap include kernel,
networking stacks, security, and multimedia support. Developers will
apparently have the ability to reuse massive chunks of code when porting an
app from desktop to phone.
In his own
Feb. 2 posting, Thurrott suggested that Windows Phone 8 will be based on the
Windows 8 kernel and not on Windows CE as are current versions. Nonetheless,
apps developed for Windows Phone Mango (the current version) will apparently
continue to play well on the upgraded platform.
both sources, Windows Phone 8 will include the same 128-bit, full-disk
BitLocker encryption that currently runs on Windowsthe better to appeal to
businesses possibly looking for an alternative platform to Research In Motions
BlackBerry, Apples iOS or Google Android. A Data Smart feature will give WiFi
hotspots priority over using the smartphones cellular connection, in turn
reducing data usage.
launched a renewed push for Windows Phone, centered on the Mango software
update and new devices from Nokia and other manufacturers. If Windows Phone 8
makes its debut later in 2012, it could help accelerate that strategy. By then,
of course, the company will have Windows 8 and (possibly) the next version of
Office out in the marketplace. That could make 2013 very interesting.
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