To say the past few weeks were chock full of Microsoft announcements would be an understatement. First came the Surface, then Windows Phone 8 and recently the acquisition of Yammer. Add in the fact that there's new entertainment experiences for XBOX along with Gizmodo proclaiming “Microsoft Is the Most Exciting Company in Tech, Hands Down” and one could say that Microsoft is once again “cool.” Actually I never thought Microsoft wasn’t “cool” although I do have a slightly biased opinion.
I should also include the Azure announcement as the Spring Release introduced new features like Windows Azure Web Sites, Windows Azure Virtual Machines & Virtual Networking, Windows Azure Media Services and a new portal. If you’ve been reluctant to use Azure I would strongly encourage you to look at PasS, IaaS and SaaS on Azure as there’s a tremendous amount of functionality just waiting for you. The Windows Azure Training Kit is a great place to start. Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet has a nice post on this release entitled “Windows Azure's spring fling: Linux comes to Microsoft's cloud”
I find it extremely refreshing to see the media taking kindly to the new offerings as it shows the culmination of sometimes years of work that the many people do here at Microsoft. Obviously internally people are bullish about new products but when that same energy is seen outside of the company it makes all of those long work days worthwhile.
Of course no one can rest on their laurels and clearly Microsoft is not. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Have there been some products and/or concepts that have not been fully embraced by either the end consumer or the enterprise? Sure. Never the less, innovation is key and what is being produced/integrated by Microsoft is nothing less than stellar.
Microsoft itself can be viewed as a company of companies (e.g. Windows, Office, XBOX, DevDiv, Support Services, etc.) which I believe is a strength rather than a hindrance. You’d be hard pressed to find as many opportunities to work with incredible people on some truly fascinating products that affect the lives of millions (dare I say billions?) of people worldwide. Are there challenges with such a large organization? Unequivocally. However even an ocean liner can adjust its course and navigate to calmer waters.
All that being said, the upcoming release of Windows 8 will be a pivotal point in the Microsoft timeline and it will certainly be interesting to see the results. I don’t have a crystal ball, never won the lottery so I won’t even begin to make a prediction but my hope is that this new operating system will be seen in the same light as the aforementioned announcements.
Here’s to staying "cool!"