After a successful trip to Redmond this February I thought it appropriate to provide a view of what’s worth considering this year from our big friendly technology giant. A little filtered as I’m under non disclosure obligations.
The successful launch of Windows 7 is starting to get the giant back on track, however around the place the never ending organisational restructuring is affecting some products getting to market and others are loosing their way. The lack of agility is really affecting innovation. However there are some successes;-
Windows 7 is now significantly driving revenue and starting to create locking to a new generation of pc users.
Office 2010 and its integration with Office live workspaces will see Microsoft emerge as a key cloud and collaboration player. Live workspaces will provide cut down versions of all office products combined with skydrive type collaboration space, enabling users to share and contribute to documents without owning a copy of office. This is a direct challenge to Google Apps and one which offers a more polished approach.
Microsoft’s Azure offering is now starting to gather momentum. The programming capability of the platform will outstrip other cloud operators such as Amazon S3. Azure should be considered at the start of any development project as a cost efficient and flexible way to operating a web based solution.
Sharepoint 2010 is by far the biggest announcement. The platform builds on the success of Moss 2007. It brings together two new elements which will fundamentally enhance the platforms and make it a major a player in the enterprise space;- Fast style search capabilities and social networking capabilities both accelerate the platform into the stratosphere. This will be a real threat to Telligent’s community server moving forward. The platform should be embraced by the entire Microsoft development community, however there is one big weakness, its not an education platform, major work will be required to make it suitable for schools and colleges. However this can be done especially if Silverlight is used.
Live@Edu. This is by far one of the most exciting game changes for education infrastructure technology. The collection of services can offer a real game change to educational establishments. Free services offered to students such as mail, calendaring, skydrive, office workspaces can enable schools and campuses to focus budget on educational technology that improves learning outcomes. Thanks Microsoft for freeing up budget for lifeisaboutlearning.com.