At the end of next month, Microsoft will release the “last version of Windows”, and they’re calling for a billion devices to eventually run the the new version. That’s ambitious, especially considering the enterprise is notoriously slow to adopt the new versions — only 10% upgrade within the first two years.
But we could see a better pace with the new OS, and a couple of very strong years for Microsoft.
Backing up Windows 10 is a series of enterprise-friendly gifts this year, like New Advanced Threat Analytics, made possible by the acquisition of Aorato, to help IT security teams better control breaches and threats.
We’ll also have the freedom to push out security fixes and not deploy new features in updates. This is a Windows Enterprise-only feature. Everyone else will receive “whenever” updates in the future instead of a new version (that’s why they call it the last version).
This “Windows-as-a-Service” vision earned Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella the ranking of most influential technology leader by Juniper Research last month, ahead of Apple’s Jony Ive and his watch.
Those are big shoes to fill, but Nadella’s up for it. By refocusing the company on the cloud, he stands to make some serious gains.
New SQL Servers planned for this year will provide better analytics for data stored on-premises or in the cloud. A new Azure Stack hybrid cloud service will preview this summer to give companies a more flexible, software-defined infrastructure and better oversight of hardware and software use.
Plans for new server farms in Toronto and Quebec City were announced this month to expand their cloud capabilities in Canada. They have roughly 11,000 enterprise customers here, with more than half using at least one cloud service. The big opportunity is with small and medium-sized businesses: only about 20 percent are in the cloud.
Globally, they made more than $4 billion in cloud-based revenue last year and can count on more this year and the next.
Some of the other treats they’re shelling out this year are designed to reaffirm their dominance in the enterprise.
- Internet Explorer will become history, replaced by Edge.
- SharePoint and Exchange will be upgraded.
- A new Office suite with support for in-app, real-time co-authoring, aimed at making workplace collaboration easier.
- Skype for Business will allow for meetings to up to 10,000 people. Using Azure Media Services, attendees will be able to stream audio, video and PowerPoint presentations.
- Enhanced in-memory technologies for on-premises data will give speed to real-time analytics and improve security and encryption.
The dominance of Apple, and their partnership with IBM in the business apps space is putting pressure on Microsoft and they’re responding by churning out the enterprise apps. Microsoft may not be as sexy as Apple, but they build systems of engagement and systems of record, where Apple’s strength is really only in engagement.
As for Microsoft’s mobile strategy, forget it. They may have acquired a few mobile app vendors recently, but Microsoft phones and tablets will never have more than a 5% market share.
But that’s okay, the company is still in the top two as far as revenues. Which isn’t bad.
Let me ask you: are you thrilled about more from Microsoft, or decidedly indifferent?