There was a reorg. Almost two years ago now. One of the changes in that reorg caused my move from Dublin to Redmond. Another meant that a team dedicated to marketization projects was formed in Dublin.
Part of the idea with this team is to try and balance out the inherent US-centricness of some things that come out of Redmond. They try to drive projects that focus on bringing value to users outside of the US [but not necessarily at the expense of US users].
One of the first noticable releases from this initiative was SMS Sender* - a tool that lets you send SMS messages on a GSM phone through a Windows application. It was released a little over a year ago, and has been localized into 24 languages, some of which don't even have fully localized Windows. Turned out, there was some genuine interest for it. After a year, there had been about a million downloads of it -- and the English version wasn't even the most popular one!
One of the most recent releases is Microsoft Calc Plus**. Calc Plus is a handy replacement for the normal calculator in Windows. It's as easy as use as the default calculator and it offers all the same features, but it also lets you convert between several different types of units -- be it currencies, distances, weights or volumes. Fact is, it supports a lot more stuff than I've ever heard of or ever will use. Someone did their homework!
You might wonder how Calc Plus relates to PowerCalc in the Power Toys*** . Fair question; One difference is target audience - pretty obvious if you try them both out. Another is that Calc Plus has been localized. As I write this, Calc Plus is available in 16 different languages. By the time you read this, there may be more. Just like SMS Sender, Calc Plus is freely downloadable**.
Of course the Dublin team isn't working in isolation. They're literally**** cooperating with people all over the world in order to bring out these projects. Credit where credit is due; the Dublin team is doing the heavy lifting; the localization team in Redmond is supporting the effort as well as we can, but without the subsidiaries in the rest of the world the whole concept would fall flat on its face.
Internally, there's a lot talk and excitement about these releases and the rest of the stuff that's in the pipeline. Stay tuned, there's mores tuff coming...
* You can download SMS sender from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=06a4f997-7f69-4891-8929-37b9041924a2&DisplayLang=en** Info about Calc Plus is at: http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/outreach/dnloads/calcplus.mspx. You can download Calc Plus from: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=32b0d059-b53a-4dc9-8265-da47f157c091&displaylang=en***http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx****I hate when the word "literally" gets over used so I rarely use it myself, but here I feel it is warranted.
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