10 Things Microsoft Got Right in 2015

1 - 10 Things Microsoft Got Right in 2015
2 - Windows 10 Launches
3 - Embracing Containerized Cloud Apps
4 - Power (BI) to the People
5 - Serious About CRM
6 - Opening Windows to the Internet of Things
7 - Microsoft Releases Its First-Ever Laptop
8 - HoloLens Inches Closer to Commercialization
9 - Businesses Dial Up Skype
10 - Outlook's Bright on iOS and Android
11 - Microsoft Edge Browser Atones for IE's Sins
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10 Things Microsoft Got Right in 2015

Despite some stumbles, Microsoft is starting the new year with strong momentum in some key areas—ranging from the cloud to Windows 10—that took hold in 2015.

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Windows 10 Launches

The Apple-like free operating system upgrade strategy worked. More than 110 million devices are running the OS, including more than 8 million business PCs, in less than half a year. A win by any measure.

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Embracing Containerized Cloud Apps

Businesses are flocking to Docker and other agile DevOps-enabling application container platforms. Microsoft, eyeing an opportunity in helping enterprises float their next-gen cloud applications, has been furiously adding container support to its Azure cloud computing platform and Windows Server 2016 operating system.

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Power (BI) to the People

The company's user-friendly, cloud-powered business intelligence product finally exited beta this summer. Since then, a widening array of supported data sources, new visualizations and ongoing improvements to the software's user experience are helping make data explorers out of rank-and-file office workers.

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Serious About CRM

Dynamics CRM 2016, both on-premises and the cloud-based Dynamics Online versions, launched late in the year. Bolstered by cloud analytics capabilities and an expanded set of mobile and social features, Microsoft is set on keeping its CRM business on a skyward trajectory.

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Opening Windows to the Internet of Things

From Windows 10 IoT Core for popular maker boards like the Raspberry Pi 2 to Azure-backed Internet of things services, Microsoft is laying an intelligent, cloud-connected foundation for enterprise IoT projects.

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Microsoft Releases Its First-Ever Laptop

Building on the success of the productivity-focused Surface Pro 3, Microsoft surprised industry watchers last October with a premium 2-in-1 laptop, the Surface Book. Hit or miss—it's only been on the market for two months—the Surface Book demonstrates that Redmond can pump out innovative and desirable hardware.

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HoloLens Inches Closer to Commercialization

Developers will finally be able to take Microsoft's augmented-reality headset for a spin in early 2016. Sure, users may one day use HoloLens to zap robot invaders and plunge into Minecraft, but businesses can look forward to improved 3D modeling, collaboration, communications—and more.

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Businesses Dial Up Skype

Lync is gone, and in its place is Skype for Business, an enterprise communications platform that integrates a little more seamlessly with Office 365 and blends Skype's consumer-friendly user experience with the advanced functionality and management capabilities required by business users and IT pros.

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Outlook's Bright on iOS and Android

Outlook's desktop heritage doesn't translate all that well onto smartphones. Microsoft's answer: Snap up Acompli, a leading mobile email client, and release a rebranded version for iOS and Android. Now, it's considered a must-have app, elevating the Outlook brand, and Microsoft's by association, in the mobile space.

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Microsoft Edge Browser Atones for IE's Sins

Microsoft's new browser for Windows 10, dubbed Edge, is fast, responsive and, better yet, it dispenses with non-standard and proprietary technologies like ActiveX that have bedeviled Web developers for years. Internet Explorer still lurks for business users with legacy apps, but most users are finally getting a browsing experience that plays well with the modern Web right out of the box.

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