Microsoft in 2012, a year in review

During this past year, Microsoft has gone from a struggling monotonous giant, to a really exciting company with a fresh approach towards technology.

The Redmond company has had a tremendous year with launches across all of its major product lines. On the consumer side of things, this was the year of Windows 8. The new OS brought to market a radically different UI and improved core functionality and along with it came Windows RT, Microsoft’s tablet OS that brings the same new UI to the ARM architecture.

Microsoft also launched Windows Phone 8 that bring lots of important new features to users as well as great scalability for future enhancements. WP8 has launched on terrific hardware such as the Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X and by most accounts, it’s selling very well.

A new version of Office, Microsoft’s core business product, has also made an appearance this year. And even though it’s not yet on the market, users can go and try it out for free right now. The new version brings improvements across the board as well as better integration with Microsoft’s other products and a different licensing scheme for more flexibility.

2012 has been the year in which Microsoft has made some fundamental strategy shifts. It is now moving away from being just a software company and it’s transforming itself into a devices and services company. We’ve seen the first step in this direction with the launch of Microsoft’s first tablet: the Surface RT. This tablet comes with an awesome build quality, great design and true innovation in the form of the thin detachable keyboard that doubles as a protective cover.

Microsoft has also focused a lot on its existing services that received major upgrades during the year. Such is the case with SkyDrive that has received numerous enhancements over the year transforming it into a premier cloud storage service that has great integration with Microsoft’s other products. Xbox Music is another service that Microsoft has high hopes for. It launched a few weeks back and it brings users the ability to stream music over the internet as well as the ability to purchase tracks for their personal collection; it’s an all in one music solution from Microsoft.

Outlook.com is the last service we’ll mention, but it’s a great one. Microsoft has completely revamped their e-mail strategy scraping Hotmail and starting from scratch. They have managed to create a very clean, secure and easy to use webmail service, and users have responded in a great way to all of these improvements.

Be sure to check out the video below for a few of the things we've missed and stay with us as next year will probably be even better. 

Source: Microsoft ( Youtube)

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The one word summary for Microsoft in 2012 is "conflicted."
Let's hope they get their act together in 2013, as once opportunities/customers are lost it is very difficult to recapture them.

your opinion according to the usual crew yapping here is your wrong and there is no conflict and there is no problem etc etc

and what i find funny is no matter how many issues I point out with M$ and mostly windows 8 i am ignored or see shortly after comments asking why people are complaining.
I grow tired off unloading dump trucks of evidence that would viable and tangible in a court of law to prove my point only to end up ignored and any issue i brought up left unanswered as the usual fanboy wolves dive on some other guy who complains about something specific that this person didn't like.

That is what this year is about to me.. sadly all the other majority of stuff M$ did this year is over shadowed by Windows 8 Cheerleaders and their propaganda agenda.
I'll admit they have been put in their place HARD ! but they still are pretty iratating.
I think i helped around here with most of these guys for example being aggressive with their screw you stance we don't want you using it and let's boycott and ban start menu replacements to now they have calmed down and listened to reason when i have said oh i dunno about 150x that at least they would have the product in their hands..
So now the cheerleaders have augmented their attack which makes it crystal clear they were WAY out of line to begin with and had to come down to reality..
But like i said I personally don't think we're all the way their yet.
Most of these guys i think would be put on anti psychotic meds if a shrink was arguing with them about windows 8.

short version..
here is why windows 8 is bad <insert reason>
response ?
oh you want the start menu back baby ? quit crying whiny complainer..

when that doesn't work it goes like this..
Here is a list of reasons why people have a reason to mad about win 8.
the answer ?
...


none

and there won't be any other than snotty comments or whatever because there is nothing they can say or do about it, so either ignore people or fling crap like a monkey in debate.. (about as intellectual as a sack of rocks)

I am sorry I don't understand the video, what I see is just very different:

In 2012 Microsoft introduced Windows 8 and asked the developers to abandoned multi-tasking, now I have to watch the weather app at 24 inch full screen just to check the temperature.

In 2012 Microsoft lost the colors, yes the new once are kind of ok, but if you search Google about people's favorite colors, you will see that the current windows colors do not represent the majority, in fact, they are favored by people over 50 and 60.

In 2012 the Event Viewer in Windows 2012 became even slower, try it yourself, try the last good one in 2003 on a very slow machine, and try the 2012 one on a very fast machine.

In 2012 Microsoft removed the DVD media support from Windows, good job, so the people who have tons of DVD are now to install additional software.

In 2012 Microsoft removed the good pen support in Windows 7 and replaced it with a basic support in Windows 8 and replaced the basic touch functionality of Windows 7 with a great touch functionality in Windows 8, dam it, why no one things at this company why?

I believe that the biggest achievement of 2012 is the new “Product Screw up department” at Microsoft, it must review any product and screw it up before it is released.

I hope 2013 is the fix and stich year and get everything to work.

I love the Windows 8 performance, but I may get crazy and downgrade

john.smith_2084 said,
I am sorry I don't understand the video, what I see is just very different:

In 2012 Microsoft introduced Windows 8 and asked the developers to abandoned multi-tasking, now I have to watch the weather app at 24 inch full screen just to check the temperature.

Just to check the temp? The temp is on the live tile! Why, if only you want the temp, are you clicking into the app?

What I meant is things that can be done by apps in small windows, like Chat, or the Weather App, are not done in full screen mode on desktops.

Now, you can still develop an app the traditional way, but you can't sell it on the Microsoft store.

I have seen stupidity, but the one by Microsoft always surprise me, again, thank's to the “Product Screw up department”

Not related but I always wonder how do they hire people at Microsoft, and I came to belive it is most likely this way:

They gather the candidates in a room

They tell everyone “if you used the command prompt before please step forward”, “if you did not use it please step backwards” and then they choose the one that stayed in the middle, the one that have no clue what is going on.

You forgot one: XNA no longer supports Xbox Live Indie Games if you're using Visual Studio 2012.

Yes, I'm really ****ed off about this.

I'm voting with my wallet. Yesterday I was delighted to pick up one of the first Nokia 920s here in China. And next month I'll buy a Surface Pro sight-unseen.

These are the products people and businesses have been asking for for years. Screw the Taiwanese (they'll be the 32nd province of China soon anyway) - if they can't innovate they should get out of the way and let the rest of us get on with it. Kudos to HTC though for waking up in time.

These are all great examples of devices, services and software solutions that Microsoft has under its belt. When anyone tries to pull a "Microsoft is doomed" remind them that they are threaded into so many industries we often forget about it. Microsoft's new unified direction is definitely going to benefit them and the consumer as computing becomes more integrated into society. Well done Microsoft, it has been one hell of a year! Looking forward to Windows Embedded 8 and particularly Surface Pro early next year. Perhaps a new Xbox, Windows Blue and WP8 updates too!

Bit disappointed with the Server 2012 GUI I was hoping that more roles would be managed from the server manager like remote desktop services is now and some long standing issues with GPMC (doesn't arrange settings alphabetically, Registry import wizard makes you check then go back and ctrl select the values, Standard view is a waste of space 90% of the time etc)

Being one of the biggest companies in the world of technology, it's never easy to do pretty much anything without criticism, skepticism or just outright rage and hate.

I am starting to see Microsoft more like Apple now, which isn't necessarily bad: Apple has strong ground on its hardware and features, already familiar and with established popularity, while Microsoft pretty much made a complete change in their platforms, all these different services are coming together and now they are starting to feel like one giant "movement" in the industry; I think this is something that Apple has been doing for a much longer period of time - but Microsoft is pushing hard to go its own way, while still offering a powerful alternative to the ever-gray overpriced Apple software and hardware (IMHO, as much as I dislike Apple's hardware practices and attitude, certain credit needs to be given where due - this refers to software in my opinion).

This year has certainly been exciting for both companies, especially for Microsoft, not to mention a huge risk.
So now, "all of a sudden", in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter that we don't have a Start button anymore: it doesn't matter that Metro is the default UI in Windows 8 - all of its flaws don't matter either! Why? Because Microsoft is finally coming together to bring a unified look across all its platforms, and it tries to deliver the same experience, no matter if you use Windows 8, or Windows RT, or Xbox, or WP8. And that's something that, in this day and age, is a very VERY bold move from a company whose OS is (I guess) the most popular in the world.

In time all these platforms can and will only improve for the better, we just need to be patient and just accept certain changes. Sacrifices will always be made for the sake of improvement, it's just a matter of which practices and features to discontinue, which to enforce and promote, and which are already good enough to stick around and get updated improvements.

My biggest problem with them at the moment is version 1.0 software.

All those years of what to expect and you get thrown back to the stone ages just because.

Not fond of Windows 8 or WinRT. Doesn't come together well enough, rather bizarre implementations that take the shine off speed improvements.

Other than that, they are doing some good things. I do like Windows Phone, Outlook, SkyDrive. They are a bit wobbly right now and need to be clearer on their new direction but best they've been for a while I think.

this is more of a press release than an editorial. No criticism of metro, no criticism of default pure white background in office 2013.

torrentthief said,
this is more of a press release than an editorial. No criticism of metro, no criticism of default pure white background in office 2013.

Considering that Neowin's background is white (with two blue stripes at the side), I don't think that would be a reason for criticism.

As of Metro. Plenty of people like the UI (I'm among them), so it is more a personal opinion for an editorial than a year in review article.

Maybe because, MORE people like Metro then Hate it. The news is coming in, demand for Windows 8 is high then expected, again maybe the Tech whiners(bloggers) where wrong and the Interface is actually GOOD.

Cool video I think they have a lot to be proud of this year and are setting themselves up for strong platform growth in the future as these services and devices become even more connected across common platforms and user experiences.

I think they've made great steps to improving their consumer services, and I'm really looking forward to getting a Lumia 920... and I know Azure and Server 2012 are fantastic too...I'm just not sold on how Win8 is going to go for businesses.

I picked up my Lumia 920 only yesterday and already it has ME written all over it. This is the third generation of smartphone personified - 1st being the original iPhone (which hasn't changed much since), 2nd being the HTC HD2, by far the most innovative and OPEN (hear that Android phans) phone ever made. Now the 920 brings everything together. Great hardware, great camera and superb/FAST software.

Live tiles changes the very concept of the personal phone. My phone is mine and has me and my information written all over it. How many live tiles does iPhone have?

I actually am kinda liking the new direction they are going in.... I am loving windows server 2012 and windows 8 and I hope to get a windows phone as well.

So far server 2012 is spot on. Win8 is settling in. I'm excited to see if Windows Blue brings Win8 UX parity with WP8. 2013 could be a crazy year.

remixedcat said,
I actually am kinda liking the new direction they are going in.... I am loving windows server 2012 and windows 8 and I hope to get a windows phone as well.

Agreed. I'm finding myself using Server 2012 for more and more at both home and work.