Many die-hard Microsoft fans have looked on in horror over the last couple of years, as the company has extended the reach of its software and services beyond its own Windows ecosystem. SkyDrive, Xbox, OneNote and even Office have, to varying degrees, made the jump from Windows and Windows Phone onto iOS and Android devices, leaving some onlookers gasping in shock and disgust.
But a recent Microsoft job posting may serve to appease those who still seek reassurance that the company has not lost perspective. The position, for a Program Manager with the Office team, was first advertised last month, and spotted by WMPowerUser a couple of days ago.
In the posting, the company cites Office on Windows Phone 8 as a centrepiece of its “first-and-best on Windows” strategy - and this is not the first time that we've heard that phrase mentioned.
As The New York Times highlighted in May 2012, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a similar comment with regards to Skype: “We always want Skype to be first and best on Windows, but certainly a strategic part of the value in communications software is working on all platforms", he said. "We’re committed to that cross-platform support.”
The phrase popped up again in March 2013, when Kees Hertogh (then Director, Product Management, Microsoft Dynamics AX) said in a blog post, announcing new native mobile apps for Dynamics on iOS and Android, that any new mobile experiences “will work ‘first and best’ on Windows Phone and Windows 8”.
The recent launch of the new Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps on Windows Phone 8 – which now stand alone as separate components rather than integrated into the OS – is one example of Microsoft doing more to honour that commitment, enabling the company to deliver more regular updates and improvements for its entertainment services on WP8 than would have previously been possible.
Another example is the upcoming ‘touch-first’ versions of its Office apps. While Microsoft has confirmed that it is working on versions of these for iOS, it has hinted that these will not arrive until after their launch on Windows.
Microsoft’s decision to make its offerings available on non-Windows platforms may not be to everyone’s liking, but in the long run, the company clearly sees its future in making its software and services available as widely as possible, but with the best experience always delivered on Windows devices. Of course, only time will tell if that vision becomes fully realised as planned.