Momentum is a fickle friend. When you have it you don’t want to lose it and when you don’t have it you’ll give almost anything to get it. I’d say Microsoft has the momentum because wow, what a week this is shaping up to be. First, Windows 8 releases to manufacturing (RTM), then Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 is completed and last but certainly not least, Outlook.com is previewed. Let’s not forget Office 2013 as that’s another noteworthy announcement (albeit last week).

I’ll leave the aforementioned blogs to get into the nitty-gritty details but here’s a high level overview of what some of these releases encompass:

Windows 8 RTM

  • Windows reimagined – Windows 8 has been reimagined to focus on your life. The new start screen is smooth, intuitive, and gives you instant access to your people, apps, and stuff, so you spend less time searching and more time doing.
  • All the apps you want – Apps are the heart of Windows 8.  From the moment you turn it on you’ll have a set of built-in apps for the things you do most: email, calendaring, social networking, and sharing photos.
  • Cloud-connected – Windows 8 is also natively cloud-connected. You sign in with your Microsoft account, and immediately you’re connected to the things you care about most. Your PC comes to life with everything that makes Windows yours, including your personalized themes, language preferences, and even Wi-Fi settings. Your mail, calendar, and people apps stay 100% in sync across all of your devices.
  • Get more at the Windows Store – When you want more apps, you go to the Windows Store. Download and fill up your start screen with a bunch of interesting tiles. Apps really bring Windows 8 to life.
  • Reimagined browsing with IE10 – E10 provides an edge to edge experience that’s about less browser and more web, letting your websites come through and shine. It’s incredibly fast, built on the hardware acceleration of Internet Explorer 9.
  • Built for business – The way people work has changed dramatically over the last decade. People use technology in the home and at work interchangeably. They’re mobile and expect access from anywhere. They increasingly use their personal devices to do work, and vice versa. They want to connect to work files and personal files, all from the same device. They want to be able to get the same apps everywhere. Windows 8 allows them to do all of this – you can be connected everywhere.
  • Great experience across all hardware Windows 8 delivers the same great experience across all hardware, from tablets to laptops to all-in-ones. You get the same start screen, applications, files and settings that you’re comfortable and familiar with. This means you can use Windows wherever you need to, however you need to, whether you’re using touch or a mouse and keyboard you can use whatever is most natural and right for what you need to do.
  • Built on a solid foundation All of this is built on a solid foundation. Most people don’t think about what’s under the hood, and you certainly don’t need to with Windows 8. You can rest assured that Windows 8 has the flexibility to meet your needs wherever you are running it.  It is fast, compatible, and protected. 

Visual Studio 2012 RTM

Outlook.com

  • Modern user experience – The visual style from Windows 8 and Windows Phone brought to the web, so you get a fresh, clean design that gives you more room for your mail, and works great with your phone and PC. And unlike Hotmail there are no more display ads to distract you from your email.
  • Connected With Outlook.com, your email is better by bringing in relevant information from Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and more. Your inbox comes to life with photos of friends, their latest tweet or post, and Facebook and Messenger chat. And because it’s powered by your Microsoft account, your Oulook.com address book and people experience follows you to your Windows Phone, Windows 8 PC, and the new Office. And in the coming months Skype will be coming to Outlook.com so you can video call right from your inbox.
  • Smart and powerful Over 50% of the typical inbox is newsletters and 20% is social updates from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Outlook.com automatically categorizes newsletters and updates so you can get through your inbox with fewer clicks and gives you powerful tools to easily sweep out messages you don’t want. And of course, Outlook.com comes with Office web apps built-in and is connected to SkyDrive so you can share docs, photos and just about anything.
  • Stay in control Email is private and personal, and you should stay in control. With Outlook.com, the contents of your personal conversations aren’t used for ads. You get to decide which networks to connect to and who to follow or friend. And if you’re a power user, you can write your own rules, create your own categories, and tailor the experience to your preferences.

Team Foundation Service

Staying true to my roots, I couldn’t leave out ALM so with that I highly recommend viewing Brian Harry’s interview on Team Foundation Service. If you’ve signed up for the service a while back and haven’t logged in lately you should as there’s a wealth of updates that have been deployed.

These are just a few of the product updates that have been released with even more to come so stay tuned!