Thursday, July 28, 2016

There won't be a Surface Mini or Surface 4, but there can be a Surface Pro 5 Mini

Hey you guys are waiting for a Surface 4(the non pro version )? , or you badly wanna Surface Mini (The Surface tablet which is developed and abandoned)? Keep waiting :) you won't get that anytime soon! Simply because Software is not ready. To be precise Windows is not ready to power Mid size tablets yet!! Sounds strange? You can still run such tablets on Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile. But the user experience won't be up to the mark. A brand like Surface will care User experience, won't they?

The Surface (Aka Surface RT) and its successor Surface 2 were running on Windows RT platform which is dead already. Surface 3 was running on Windows 10, but it wasn't a hit. After all what is the point in running full windows in no pro tablet. Performance and battery will be compromised for sure. So the best option for Microsoft is to stop making Surface tablet . Oh wait , I haven't talked about running Windows 10 Mobile on Surface 4. Running Windows 10 mobile on Surface. Oh yea . An ARM based chip, Windows 10 Mobile, 10" screen . Performance won't compromise so as battery. But what about apps? The apps designed for phones. Maximum screen size (5.5") running on a 10" tablet. Phew, may be some Chinese/Indian  OEMs can do that. Microsoft can't do that.. User Experience.  Windows UWP apps have a portrait mode, it doesn't mean just change the screen orientation. To be precise the difference in iPhone apps and iPad apps. But how many Windows Mobile apps have that experience? 

What about Surface Pro 5 Mini?

A Surface pro mini  doesn't face any such troubles.  A tab with Intel Kabylake processor, high end specs, full Windows 10 and 10" screen. it is actually useful for many. A smaller version of actual surface pro. iPad Pro also have a smaller screen sized version. But you can expect such a variant.

So there won't be a Surface/Surface Mini?
As of now there is no chance  (according to my own opinion). But Microsoft can explore this possibility later. But for sure any of these 2 should happen
  • Windows 10 RT - Developers are very keen about Windows UWP app. All major apps are available in the store. then MS release a Windows 10 RT which will run all UWP apps on Windows. And a Surface and Surface Mini is possible (btw, nice imagination ;))
  • Surface Phone is hit. More and more apps support continuum and portrait mode. Then Microsoft can release at least Surface Mini which runs on Windows 10 Mobile.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Microsoft Application Platform Innovation aka Azure Simplified.

Azure is the future of Microsoft by all means. But it should be taken into consideration that rival Amazon Webservice have a huge lead in this area. Besides Infrastructure as a Service Microsoft also offers Platform As a Service to azure customers. Let me List some of them

  • Azure Media Services
  • Azure Biztalk Integration Services
  • Cortana Intelligence Suit
 All such services are very useful to Enterprise customers and tech startups. How about  SMBs in non technology sectors. They don't want  really enter  to this complex cloud areas. For a small business who doesn't want complex integration using Biztalk can easily use Flow for their purpose. SaaS applications are the once they prefer. So Microsoft developing a series of SaaS applications which are the Simplified forms of azure Services. And collectively these services are called Microsoft Application Platform Innovation 

  • Flow can be considered as  a simplified version of Microsoft Biztalk Service
  • PowerApps  is a simplified application development service.
  • Power BI - a data visualization and business intelligence service highly useful for SMBs .
  • Stream - developed based on Azure media services.
I will even add madeira and appsouce also to  this list.

  • Appsource - Saasified Azure Marketplace
  • Project "Madeira" - Simplified Dynamics AX+ Dynamics CRM online.
And I expect more services will join this team  soon.

Say Hello to Microsoft Stream

Microsoft today introduced a new business focused video service preview  Microsoft Stream. Microsoft already offers a business focused video service office 365 Video. As per company sources once Stream is out of preview Office 365 will video will get migrated to stream. Now you can sign up for preview freely provided you have a business email address.

Now let me dig a little bit. This news surprised me a lot due to following reasons.
1)Office 365 video is well received and just 2 Year old.
2)It is not Office team who is developing behind Stream (My assumption)

I have first seen the announcement of Microsoft Stream in Office Blogs.But they are providing a link to Microsoft Blogs. That sounds pretty surprising . I also notes that it is not Office team who announced this service. It seems, Microsoft's newly announced services Flow, Power Apps, Power BI, Appsource and now Stream  are coming from the same family. Another thing I have checked is who own the But Microsoft doesn't own it . My intention was to check the probabilities of a new website launch as we seen in case of But no such chance exist as of now. Microsoft is very well aware of the grip Youtube have in that space.

And I feel that it is part of a big strategy that  Microsoft planned. And  my readers excuse me as I am writing that as a separate post(just because title of this post doesn't seem to fit to this content. Here it is

Microsoft Outlook improves rating steadily on Android Play Store

Microsoft Outlook is the multi platform email/calendar client. Outlook's mobile apps were not so good. But things have changed by the acquisition of Acompli  app and Sunrise app. Acompli app became Outlook mobile app and sunrise features are getting integrated to outlook. Outlook(Acompli) iOS app is a top rated app where as its android version was little buggy. It was rated 3.5 in the play store. From then Outlook app was steadily improving its performance and features which reflected in the rating as well. Now its average rating is 3.8.

Microsoft's another major communication app is Skype for Business . Skype for Business app is also  improving on android platform. Which also have same 3.8 out of 5 rating. But unlike Outlook on iOS,  Skype for business on iOS  have rating between 2 and 3. Apple app Store only show country wise results (Like Windows Store). I hope things will get improved soon Microsoft recently acquihired talko team (A ray Ozie startup)   to work on Skype for Business .

Mean while let me share high rated Skype for Business client. Sky -a Professional designed app with a neat UI. Its rating is 4.3 on Android and almost 4 on iOS in United States.

Get Sky apps from here iOS Android

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Microsoft Office suit is ready for post windows era. What about its Home suit?

Microsoft Office suit is in a cloud first mobile first world now. Most of the Office apps have good cloud versions and mobile apps. Microsoft is also building new cloud apps in their office productivity suit.  Rcently Microsoft released a sharepoint app on iOS. And they are  building it for Android and Windows Platforms. And I know they are building it for Project.  So the only area in office suit which doesn't get attention is Dynamics. I will write a seperate article about that.

Now coming to Home/Living room services, previously all these were under the Xbox brand. Now it is  not. And lets check out those services

Groove Music -feature rich client in Windows. Poor clients in android and iOS . Apps didn't update for an year.

Movies & TV - Again Good clients on  Windows. No client on iOS and Android. If they are serious to compete with Google Play and Amazon Prime, they need a standalone brand as well. If Microsoft believes "Zune" brand is completely forgot by people, then that can reuse it here.

EBook Reader and Store - Not available at all.

Candidate Service to Join the above List

Maps - Windows maps is good. If they can bring the same to android and iOS under the brand "Bing Maps" it will be great.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Is Microsoft pulling the plug on Groove Android and iOS app?

Groove is Microsoft's music streaming service to compete with Spotify , Pandora, Audible , Apple Music and Google Play Music . Microsoft has been frequently adding features to their Groove app on windows. But  their apps on rival platform gets little attention. It is almost 10 months they have last updated groove  apps on  android and iOS. Not even critical bug fixes. Are they plan to  give up  Groove on Android and iOS? Or they are building brand new apps behind the scenes(I hope so, but I don't think so )

Taking Office 365 to New Heights

Office 365 is the most popular cloud service in the world. It has 70 million business subscribers and 22 million Home customers. And these numbers are growing fast. But these numbers are just a portion of its actual potential. If it  add at least  half of its traditional office subscribers to Office 365 , Office 365 will alone top the combined revenue of Salesforce, Amazon WebService and Google App for work. Let us formulate some strategies for this. And as market share increases profitability will also increase. Because R&D,Data center and similar costs won't increase as customers grow.

Make Office 365 an offer that can't refuse for SMBs
SMBs don't like multiple contracts with multiple vendors. So if they get all required software from a single vendor, as a single suit,  they will surely love it. Microsoft recently made a tricky move . They have a developed a cloud ERP product code named Project "Madeira" aimed at small and medium business customers.  But as far as I understand it will be available only through partners. That is bad move , SMBs won't like that usually. But if Microsoft make madeira vailable through directly and through partners it will be a great value addition.

What else?  Adding CRM and HCM for SMBs will be a nice idea. Why not Dynamics CRM? Dynamics CRM is an aged product and also need some expert consultant to setup. But if Microsoft can offer a CRM like Pipedrive it will be great deal. Pipedrive web app and Mobile apps are well rated. So acquiring pipedrive will surely benefit Microsoft.

Coming to HR/HCM software Zenefit is the King for SMBs but their pricing model won't  suit with Microsoft. Either Microsoft has to change that or should look other players like Gusto. Or Microsoft can even build their own.

Again adding Customer Service Cloud app like Freshdesk,  Expense management app like Expensify etc ,to the arsenal will also become a  catalyst for Office 365 growth among SMBs. An d these are not wild picks. I  did a research and these are the best rated apps among SMBs.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Surface All in One. Oh really?

Surface All In One - iMac competitor ..oh what? Oops .. Is Microsoft going to do the job of hp and Dell?  Hold on.. Before jumping into assumptions let us look into one more thing.  Rumors are just rumors as always. WindowsCentral  wrote an article.  In which they mentioned that  Surface AIO could be a consumer system. They have also mentioned that it is a  guess work. Lets explore this in detail.

Microsoft Surface 1.0

Before the  Surface Tablets and 2 in 1s coming into picture , MS Developed a computer  which will identify the touches using Camera. They have marketed it as product. It was a full fledged PC. After some time Microsoft partnered with Samsung and introduced the next version of Surface. This time Microsoft concentrated on software and Samsung took care of hardware. They have removed the cameras and introduced the multi touch surface  technology. Device was named as Samsung SUR40. After a period of time SUR40 discontinued. When Surface tablets are introduced technology  is re branded as Pixel Sense.
Is Surface AIO is the successor of these devices?

to be frank I don't know the answer. It can be. Like PerspectivePixel  became Surface Hub, PixelSense becomes Surface AIO. It make sense. A french company Kineti already introduced such a concept

Let us go through the arguments.

  • Surface is here to create new product categories - favors Living room device.
  • Surface is all about productivity - favors iMac competitor 
Source : Windows Central

Like our page to get the latest updates

Surface Phone - Expecteations, Concepts and Opportunities

Microsoft's Surface line of premium devices enjoyed a success. The main reason behind its success is Surface Pro tablets which created a device category aka 2 in 1s. However Microsoft has little access in smart phone segment where Lumia Phones represent the company.  Now fans are crying for a  Surface Phone to replicate the success of Surface Tablets. Of course there should be a surface phone and rumors indicates that Microsoft is  already in the works of the so called Surface Phone.

Why Phone is Important?

When PCs rule the world, Microsoft enjoyed a 90% market share with Windows. Not just windows OS , Microsoft took advantage of this where ever possible. Thus Office, Internet Explorer, MSN,Windows Server all have backing of Windows OS. But now the world has changed. PCs become less relevant. We use Gaming consoles for Gaming (Where Microsoft have only <30% market share).  We use  Smart TVs run by Android/Amazon/Apple/Roku. Again we use eReaders from Amazon. And all these are connected by Phones run by Android/Apple iOS.  See PCs is no longer required for Home Entertainment, Gaming, book reading and Productivity tasks except the very professional ones. You can do most of your productivity tasks with your smart phones. This situation risks Windows revenue as well as associated Services revenue. So a mobile success is very Important for Microsoft at any time.

Why Lumia doesn't work?

Nokia Lumia (later became Microsoft Lumia after the 7 billion acquisitions of Nokia Mobile division) was a series of phones powered by Windows Phone OS to compete with Android and iOS. Lumia line has phones ranging from entry line to Flagships.  But it didn't meet success because of three important reasons 
  • It was Late - it was playing a catch up game with  iOS/Android
  • Windows Phone OS was not a superior offering - early releases were not featur rich to compete against the rivals.
  • Lack of Hardware innovation - Apple earned billions through early success  whereas  Android has the backing of all major OEMs. But only Microsoft and Nokia backed Windows Phones
If Nokia/Microsoft  would have innovated new hardware  lines, fate of Windows would have a  different ending.

Now what? 

Which is the best android phone?  Nexus?? A Nexus run by Windows 10 Mobile is that the Surface you dream? Lol if that is the case it will be nothing but just fan's device. It will just reduce the reputation of Surface brand. Why no body won't buy such a surface phone? Hardware is equal.  Android OS is supported by million developers whereas Windows Mobile OS  has only limited support from app developers. So the obvious choice will be android for sure.

App developers won't come to Windows Mobile platform all of a sudden. So the only option left with Surface Phone is hardware innovation. If Surface Phone can do more than that of an Android Phone, the professionals will turn to Surface Phone. Continuum is such an innovation (but a software innovation) . But again it  need extra hardware , a dock a display screen etc. But if Microsoft  can innovate a device which doesn't need extra hardware but can do the tasks of a tablet/(or even PC) that is the perfect  surface phone.

Sounds like  day dreamer's ideas? Let me tell about a  specific concept. Sorry but it is not my concept. It is a concept by Samsung (as per rumors). Bendable Phones by Samsung

See you can use this phone as a tablet as well. A phone/tablet hybrid. You can  watch  movies  /Edit documents/ read e books more conveniently same time you can carry it as  phone. What more you want  to make a spark?

Like our page to get the latest updates

Friday, July 1, 2016

Microsoft Azure vs AWS


Cloud is the new war zone among tech titans.In fact it is not so new, it started a while ago but still far away from completion.  We classify cloud services into three

1)Software as a Service(SaaS)
2)Platform as a Services(PaaS)
3)Infrastructure as a Service(Iaas)

Software as a Service(SaaS)
SaaS offers pure end user applications as  a service. It is the most user friendly form of cloud. Enterprises can use Business applications as like we just use our gmail or dropbox. This is a more matured area compared to other services. Became famous by the introduction of which holds nearly 20% market share in ~25 billion CRM market. Today Microsoft Office 365 is the biggest player in this area which hold major share among Cloud Productivity suit. Oracle Cloud Apps, Microsoft Dynamics, Workday, Adobe Cloud,Google App for work,SAP etc are the other  major players in SaaS. But all of these doesn't fight neck to neck as they compete in totally different Software areas. But Some of them are competing. But  as a whole all these cloud services are growing in revenue as more on premise deployments are moves to cloud.

Platform as a Services(PaaS) & Infrastructure as a Service(Iaas)

 Enterprises always need custom made Software applications and Services which cannot be fulfilled by SaaS. The Infrastructure and Platform for Such Applications can be leased from the Cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Google, Oracle, IBM, VMware all are other big players in this area.The importance of PaaS and IaaS is that, the leader in these areas will  become the next Microsoft or IBM or much beyond that. And those leaders will become the tech emperors. They will generate enormous amount of money which will make them capable of acquiring any major innovation.  Amazon Web Services is the 500 pound Gorilla in this space. They clearly got early advantage.Not only startups, but also multi billion enterprises like GE, Technology Services like Netflix, SaaS Vendors like Adobe and even Salesforce depends on AWS. So they are the #1 in market now. Many of the evangelists predicts Microsoft will overtake AWS considering the grip Microsoft have in Enterprise Software market. A recent survey conducted  by  Morgan and Stanley  among 100 CIOs indicates Microsoft Azure will overtake AWS in IaaS by 2019.

 As a long time Microsoft watcher I can say that Azure grows faster than any other Microsoft Cloud Services. I have been observing Microsoft customer story portal for a while. Azure gets at least 30%  more customers than Office 365 in the same period of time. As per Microsoft Azure Grows more than 100% every quarter compare to the quarter year over ago. Whereas AWS enjoys ~70% growth. But my best guess is Microsoft won't over take AWS as they have a huge early lead. Currently AWS have an annual revenue of  ~10 billion. Microsoft doesn't disclose their numbers but analysts say it is around 2 billion. Now if they grow in the same pace AWS will reach ~17billion after an year even if Microsoft Grows at 150% rate It will just reach to 5 billion. This statics clearly indicates that the Gap is growing like anything  and AWS will remain as the #1. But Microsoft can enjoy the #2 position and  with enough profitability. They Can even acquire other  SaaS vendors and utilize the unused data center spaces.

I am eagerly waiting for next Microsoft earnings call which will give a better picture. Whatever be, Amazon, Microsoft,IBM,Google, Oracle and VMware  will bring billions to their balance sheet from IaaS and PaaS.

Like our page to get the latest updates