Posts Tagged microsoft
I sent my dad shopping for a new laptop the other day and discovered something that I didn’t expect. We are less than two months away from the launch of Windows 8, despite this there are no notebooks currently on offer that give a Windows 8 specific hardware experience. The local computer store stocked a large range of notebooks of all sizes and capabilities, however the only mention of Windows 8 was the discounted upgrade on offer if you purchased a Windows 7 equipped machine today.
His previous notebook was an Acer Ultra-Portable, a 14″ machine with an optical drive, it was light and portable. The obvious replacement would have to be a Ultrabook of some description. After some time looking through the range of Ultrabooks available from the usual suspects; Acer, Sony, Samsung etc it wasn’t surprising that he ended up in the price range of Apple MacBooks. The purchase became obvious and dad became the proud owner of his first Mac. Having been a Windows user for years and not being one for change I went ahead and installed Boot Camp using the default Apple Boot Camp installer. The process was painless and a short while later he was up and running with Windows 7 just as he was with his old notebook. With one important difference…. the trackpad, it was awesome! The feel and accuracy of the track pad, coupled with the drivers supplied by Apple made the experience vastly improved over any other trackpad I had used in the past.
And then came the realisation, with Windows 8 on the horizon there is yet to be a defining hardware experience for the use of what was known as “Metro”, the tiled interface of Windows 8. Did Apple just fill that void? With the multi-touch trackpad giving accuracy and a high quality experience with Windows 7…. the Windows 8 experience stands to be one of the best, lending itself to a gesture based interaction, and a plus… without the awkward touch interaction of a screen that is at 45 degrees or so to your keyboard… the trackpad on the MacBook could be the best Windows 8 experience so far!
Upon its release I will be introducing dad to Windows 8, he already uses an iPad and is used to the app-centric world of iOS, Windows 8 may well be a step in the right direction for him.
Last week the next version of Office 365 was released by way of a public preview. This launch took place with little fanfare as all the attention seemed to be on the new Office 2013 suite. But the next versions of Lync, Exchange and Sharepoint are now all available as a part of the Enterprise experience of Office 2013 and of course the back-end Office 365 products. If you wish to sign up for a preview go here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/try-office-preview .
I thought it would be timely to repeat some of the information gained over the past few months, recycle if you will, some key articles that will guide you with a move to the new platform. As with any tenant to tenant migration of Office 365, there are certain steps you need to perform in order to move your domain across. As stated previously you need access to your DNS records and some knowledge of how that relates to your user accounts. I suggest you start here: http://itprofessional.co.nz/2012/03/07/migration-from-p-to-e/ Although this article speaks about a migration from the P plans of Office 365 (Small Business) to the E plan (Enterprise), the principals are the same when it comes to moving from Office 365 (current version) to the recently released Office 365 preview (Wave 15).
In addition to this, the final step is “releasing” or removing your domain from the old tenant, allowing you to associate it to the new tenant of Office 365. Your domain can only be associated with one tenant at any one time, so this step is critical in your migration. You will receive an error if you havent followed the correct steps first, removing all references to the domain from your current Office 365 tenant.
For a more detailed step by step guide on how to remove or dis-associate a domain from your Office 365 tenant go here: http://www.configureoffice365.com/remove-office-365-domain/.
The new version of Office 365 is due to be released later this year and customers can sign up for the beta on a 9 month free trial for 25 seats. So if you are at the bleeding edge of technology adoption I suggest you make the move and discover what the next version of Office has to offer.
When Microsoft first launched BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) I had been working for Microsoft New Zealand as a Technology Advisor for just on a year. My experience with cloud solutions pre-dates my time at Microsoft and that gave me some insight as to what this meant for Microsoft as a business. Not only did they make the step into the hosting business, competing against some of their most loyal partners, but they fundamentally changed the way in which they saw their own software. The Office 365 preview was launched this week, and along side it the next version of Microsoft Office, 2013. This falls in line with something I predicted when BPOS was first launched, Cloud will become the way in which you consume Microsoft Software from now on.
The evolution is totally natural and in line with what the industry as a whole is witnessing. Programs have become Apps and more importantly Servers have become a Service. Microsofts licensing model has been playing a game of catchup with this massive change, we have seen a credit card only experience mature into a more traditional distribution model, allowing customers to buy Microsoft cloud services via their regular channels/relationships. http://rcpmag.com/articles/2012/07/09/wpc-2012-office-365-partners-to-get-direct-billing.aspx
Office 365 has become the way in which you buy Microsoft’s Office Suite and all of the associated back office services, Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Furthermore it opens up a rich marketplace for partners to show their wares. Office 365 has only been in market for just over a year having had a long gestation period that was fraught with delay after delay (some 9 months or more), its refreshing to see that Microsoft has learnt from its mistakes and with little warning released the beta of the next release of its Office 365 platform known as Wave 15.
Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you some of my observations, covering off some of the improvements to the services and the integration points into your on-premise software. There are many such improvements to talk about, Loryan Strant from Paradyne in Australia has listed a few here: http://thecloudmouth.com/2012/07/17/office-365-wave-15-whats-new/
Hot on my list is the new Sharepoint Experience coupled with Office 2013, this will put out any Google fires within your organisation, along with Lync “click to call” … watch this space New Zealand there are providers working furiously on this capability.
To setup a 9 month trial of the Office 365 beta go here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/try-office-preview , I suggest that you choose the Enterprise edition and remember that once you create a tenant account you should be able to add the other products bu clicking the appropriate link and using that ID to authenticate again.
It has been an action packed month for Microsoft, starting with the announcement that they will sell their own tablet device to take on Apples iPad, to the launch of its next generation productivity suite in Office 365 / Office 2013. And if that wasnt enough, Microsoft announced today that Windows 8 will be available on the 26th of October http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/07/18/windows-8-will-be-available-on.aspx .
A big year ahead for Microsoft and I am betting those working for Google have something to worry about!
Microsoft had always maintained backward compatibility with most of their products. Compatibility has been one of the main reasons Windows has seen such great success, specifically backwards compatibility to systems such as MS-DOS. Even today you can get to a DOS prompt (command prompt) from Windows 7, this hasn’t changed for years and from a functionality point of view this is a bonus. The announcement of the new Windows Phone 8 (and previously Windows RT on which Windows Phone 8 is based) flew in the face of tradition for Microsoft, it “broke” the compatibility of the applications and their ability to run on the new platform. This has been a typically non-Microsoft way to act but something that the industry isn’t totally unfamiliar with.
Apple have, on more than one occasion, launched a platform that is incompatible with anything that had come before. I refer to the release of its new operating system, OSX (acquired in part from their purchase of NEXT Computing in the late 90’s), OSX broke everything that was written for OS9 and had to come with an OS9 “classic mode” to address those applications that weren’t re-written for the new operating system. This had an impact on performance and some cornerstone Mac apps like QuarkXpress didn’t get full OSX compatible versions for over a year after its release. This fundamental change in operating system architecture came at a cost, but for a long term strategic gain in performance and overall technology roadmap. The change was mitigated again with the change made by Apple of their processor supplier from IBM to Intel in 2006, a decision shrouded in secrecy but one that again was part of a longer term view. “Backwards compatibility” was provided for Power PC apps by way of the rosetta engine and subsequently “universal” code that eased the transition.
It would almost seem that Microsoft have taken a leaf out of Apples book and decided that to make the perfect omelette you need to break a few eggs first. Windows Phone 8 will share the same core as Windows RT and Windows 8, giving developers a common platform. This will no doubt annoy those who have recently purchased a Windows Phone 7 device, rendering it end of life despite it being a “current” model. An update is imminent for Windows Phone 7 owners to the new Windows Phone 8 start screen, and that is the extent of it, no other Windows Phone 8 features will be available on current Windows Phone 7 handsets even after the 7.8 update, its all purely cosmetic.
Personally I think the steps made by Microsoft are necessary and given their history of providing backwards compatibility, I think the change is refreshing, offering better long term architecture of their Windows framework allowing commonality across devices. Windows 8, RT and Windows Phone 8 are all scheduled for launch later this year (Post October 2012 timeframe), expect to see Office 15 soon after, on all devices! The Customer Preview of Office 2013 was announced today, firming up my previous predictions and also merging the cloud with the Office experience… a tasty Spanish omelette even!
download it here! http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en .
A screenshot started doing the rounds today of the launchpad for Office 15. It also included the new Office 15 logo which has had a Metro makeover. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago Microsoft now intends to release Office 15 with its soon to be launched Surface tablet, along with support for the RT or ARM based version of Windows 8.
Observing the screenshot above (which is not a lot to go on I know) you could come to the conclusion that Office 15 exists within a “sub menu” of metro. A nested app experience that in my opinion lends itself to iOS deployment. It makes sense, if Microsoft have re-designed Office from the ground up for Windows RT it makes sense that there is a version available for iOS as well. I have no doubt that the Windows 8 experience of Office 15 will be the best experience of any platform, but Microsoft must acknowledge that there are other hounds snapping at its heels thanks to Google’s recent purchase of Quick Office for iOS and some 400 Million Customers.
Tight integration with Microsoft’s expanding cloud services, Skydrive for consumers and Office 365 for business and education, is the name of the game. It’s in Microsoft’s best interest to break down the barriers to adopting its cloud services and it shouldn’t matter what device is used. Note the lack of Office 365 or Sharepoint tiles in the screenshot above, but I have no doubt this will be included in future “leaks”.
Microsoft needs to simplify the current 2010 experience, Metro is an excuse to do so, allowing for a completely different design language to be used when addressing one of their biggest revenue sources.