The new Microsoft cadence: More meat, less fluff

Every so often, it is important to take a step back and look at Microsoft and see if what they preach is what we actually see on the outside. We have been hearing for some time that Microsoft has moved to a rapid release cycle across many of its business units and looking at the evidence today, we can see that this cadence is not only true, but playing out right in front of our eyes.

First, the obvious: take a look at Windows 8.1. We had heard that the company would be releasing a significant update this summer and all signs are indicating that Microsoft is on track to hit that milestone and to also release a preview in late June.

But beyond Windows, there is quite a bit more evidence that Microsoft has shifted a significant portion of the company's services to a rapid release cycle. We can look at the Visual Studio team who has pushed out two sizeable updates since the release of the product last Summer, with the first major update having arrived in November. In addition to the first update, the second update was released last month that brought significant improvements and finally, the third update for the platform is already in testing, according to Mary Jo Foley, which reinforces the rapid release cycle.

But the fun does not stop there, as we have seen the Windows Services team pushing out updates at a steady clip as well. In the past few weeks, we have seen Outlook.com receive not one or two but three updates, and SkyDrive has received an update as well. Also, let us not forget about the update for Microsoft Accounts that came out today that will allow two-factor authentication on Microsoft accounts

Neowin can also reveal that the updates are not done with either, over the next couple of weeks, we will see more updates released from Microsoft that will reinforce the rapid release cycle.

The updated cycle is a good sign for Microsoft for many reasons. For one thing, especially in the Windows arena, this is a dramatic shift from the previous patterns where major releases were spread out over years, not months, and seeing that Microsoft appears to have adapted to the new cadence quite well, it shows that the company can respond well to market shifts. 

The new signs of life from Microsoft are encouraging but the true test will be how long this cadence will last. It's one thing to hit your first milestone but to hit them consistently, over a long period of time, will be the true test as Microsoft works to maintain its release cadence.

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Okay - why would Outlook.com need IMAP4 support? For non-PC devices and software that don't support Exchange ActiveSync or Hotmail? There is NO difference between Outlook.com and Hotmail from that standpoint - except that Outlook 2013/365 2.0 now supports the mailbox format sans add-ins or plug-ins. (That isn't the case with Outlook 2010, even in x64.) Could you access Hotmail on your iPad? If so, a straight change of e-mail address and password is all you'll need to use an Outlook.com address in ANY mail client that supports Hotmail.) OutlookRT makes sense - that's the hole in OfficeRT right now; however, plug that hole first before bringing Office to other platforms.

IMHO, for MS, new updates = new patches.

For example Internet Explorer, it launchs a set of updates every month but most (if not all) are patches than new features. Instead, Firefox and Chrome are also launching updated every month but most updates are new features.

The new signs of life from Microsoft are encouraging but the true test will be how long this cadence will last.

Indefinitely.

This is how Microsoft operated in the 1980s and 1990s. From Windows 3.0 to XP, we were getting a new dot-release or feature enhancement for Windows pretty much every year.

It's actually the extended release cycles of Vista, 7, and 8 that are the departure from the norm.

The team that needs to pick up the pace the most is the Windows Phone team. Nokia appears to be doing most of the work for them regards features/fixes.

Dot Matrix said,
Looking forward to future updates. I would still LOVE to see Windows Live Mesh brought back in some fashion.

I would be ecstatic to get back Mesh but.....it is just a dream.

"Neowin can also reveal that the updates are not done with either, over the next couple of weeks, we will see more updates released from Microsoft that will reinforce the rapid release cycle."

Can also reveal? Pfft, boy, that was a real stretch. More updates? Really!? I never would have imagined such a thing.

Sigh, I need to remember to remind myself that this isn't a real news site. Just a bunch of wannabe writers who take themselves way too seriously.

We'll see if people accept this Service model. When using Office via a subscription is the only option, perhaps with Office 2015, I will look elsewhere.

Windows 8.1 update is more like more fluff less meat. They only added features to the fluffy part of Windows 8 aka Metro. Microsoft hasnt done anything to the meaty parts of Windows 8 aka the desktop!

lctb51 said,
Windows 8.1 update is more like more fluff less meat. They only added features to the fluffy part of Windows 8 aka Metro. Microsoft hasnt done anything to the meaty parts of Windows 8 aka the desktop!

In other words, my claims yesterday that you were just trying to generate FUD by repeatedly questioning if Microsoft was going to charge for Win8.1 was spot on.

SoylentG said,

In other words, my claims yesterday that you were just trying to generate FUD by repeatedly questioning if Microsoft was going to charge for Win8.1 was spot on.


No, I was merely pondering out loud scenerios what if if they are going to charge, or not going charge etc! Microsoft HAS NOT announced if 8.1 will be free or not! Do you follow everything Neowin members post and say? I find it very disturbing and creepy! SMH, people have too much time on their hands!

Edited by Atomic Wanderer Chicken, Apr 17 2013, 8:50pm :

lctb51 said,

No, I was merely pondering out loud scenerios what if if they are going to charge, or not going charge etc! Microsoft HAS NOT announced if 8.1 will be free or not! Do you stalk other members on neowin and follow everything they post and say? I find it very disturbing and creepy!


You whined and complained throughout the day about Microsoft possibly charging for Win8.1. I then pointed out that Microsoft has not even announced Win8.1 yet, so how could anybody possibly know what the price would be, and then you switched your line of attack.

According to your comment here, you think an unreleased, unannounced product is "fluff", but yesterday you were concerned you may need to pay for this fluff. You are just the every day, garden variety troll trying to create a problem.

Stalking you? Don't flatter yourself. It is more that you write dumb-assed comments, so they are easy to track them to you.

SoylentG said,


You whined and complained throughout the day about Microsoft possibly charging for Win8.1. I then pointed out that Microsoft has not even announced Win8.1 yet, so how could anybody possibly know what the price would be, and then you switched your line of attack.

According to your comment here, you think an unreleased, unannounced product is "fluff", but yesterday you were concerned you may need to pay for this fluff. You are just the every day, garden variety troll trying to create a problem.

Stalking you? Don't flatter yourself. It is more that you write dumb-assed comments, so they are easy to track them to you.

QFT

You have way to much time on your hands if you have analyze and follow what every members says! The Windows 8.1 update is in fact fluff and not meat, because Microsoft only updated the metro side of Windows 8. Microsoft did not update the meat part of Windows 8 which is the desktop!

According the Webster Dictionary, the definition of stalk is:
"3: to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment "

You are obssessed with following my Windows posts and comments, checking out my profile, and it is now leading to subliminal harrassing!

lctb51 said,
You have way to much time on your hands if you have analyze and follow what every members says! The Windows 8.1 update is in fact fluff and not meat, because Microsoft only updated the metro side of Windows 8. Microsoft did not update the meat part of Windows 8 which is the desktop!

According the Webster Dictionary, the definition of stalk is:
"3: to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment "

You are obssessed with following my Windows posts and comments, checking out my profile, and it is now leading to subliminal harrassing!


I'm not stalking you, but now I'm going to remember you as "guy that's super paranoid and also a FUD spreading troll"

So I may reply to you as such in the future.

lctb51 said,
You have way to much time on your hands if you have analyze and follow what every members says! The Windows 8.1 update is fluff and not meat, because Microsoft only updated the metro side of Windows 8. Microsoft did not update the meat part of Windows 8 which is the desktop!

According the Webster Dictionary, the definition of stalk is:
"3: to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment "

You are obssessed with following my Windows posts and comments, checking out my profile, and it is now leading to subliminal harrassing!

If you think that me remembering what you said yesterday is stalking you, there are many stalkers around here. I have one Apple fanboy who claims that I am somebody else simply because I once wrote a comment that discussed something somebody else commented about a year ago. People remember things, especially stupid things, and rather than owning up to your stupid comments, you are attacking me by claiming I am stalking you, and harassing you. Yes, I clicked on your name once to see what other comments you have written. Neowin makes that a feature, and if using that feaute makes you a stalker, then I have 100s of stalkers. And since Neowin makes that feature available, then they are in on the "conspiracy" to stalk you. But this is a common thing, throw out whatever crap complaints you can - Microsoft is going to charge for updates to 8.1, 8.1 is just fluff, etc. - and when you are called out on it, then you complain about the people who are point out that you are full of it. I remembered what you wrote yesterday, and because I have an IQ above my age, I must therefore be a stalker. Rather than keeping up with your trolling, derail the topic to make it look like you being treated poorly, and try to get sympathy.

Now, you you like to go back to your FUD that Microsoft is going to charge for 8.1, or that it is fluff, or are you going to keep whining about how you are being oppressed?

50% of Windows 8 if fluff, 50% of Windows 8 is meat that desktop users use! Metro cannot run real games like Battlefield or Farcry, nor can it run real hardcore desktop programs, it only does light and non-serious apps like Angry Birds and the silly weather app. The 8.1 updated was soley for tablet users and a tiny for desktop users! SoylentG, if you are not a Neowin member stalker, then you just have too much time to spend on this site! Hostility is not necessary!

Edited by Atomic Wanderer Chicken, Apr 17 2013, 9:20pm :

lctb51 said,
50% of Windows 8 if fluff, 50% of Windows 8 is meat that desktop users use! Metro cannot run real games like Battlefield or Farcry, nor can it run real hardcore desktop programs, it only does light and non-serious apps like Angry Birds and the silly weather app. The 8.1 updated was soley for tablet users and a tiny for desktop users! SoylentG, if you are not a Neowin member stalker, then you just have too much time to spend on this site! Hostility is not necessary!

First, your bit about BattleField or Farcy is false. I can write DirectX code using C++, and have it run within the Metro UI. There are apps out there on the store today that use DirectX to generate games, and we will be seeing more.

Second, the part about light non-serious apps is also false. We have seen health care applications, business applications, and serious applications starting to appear on the Win8 store. A month or two ago (oh, no, I am remembering things again, sure sign I am a stalker!) there was an article on the home page here describing how one such business app was released, and people complained that it was not news, that we don't want to read about new Win8 apps, that we need more stories about how some random guy on the internet that nobody heard doesnt like Win8, so it means it is a failure. So we don't want to hear about those apps, so people like you can claim that they don't exist and only Angry Birds is on the store, but the store doesn't have any apps.

Third, you edited your comment to add the bit about me being a stalker. If me remembering what you wrote yesterday makes me a stalker, doesn't you remembering me make you a stalker? And if I am harassing you, stalking you, then I suggest you click that little icon to report me, otherwise we know you are just trying to shut down debate, and turn attention away from your very words.

SoylentG said,
First, your bit about BattleField or Farcy is false. I can write DirectX code using C++, and have it run within the Metro UI. There are apps out there on the store today that use DirectX to generate games, and we will be seeing more.

LOL name *ONE* Metro Store game built with DirectX that anyone's actually heard of.

ONE.

With the rapid release cycle, we should see several smaller updates yearly and a new larger version annually. With the shift toward software subscription service (like with Office 365), this shouldn't be a problem. With Windows, however, I believe this will be very close to Apple's release cycle for OSX.

I love the faster release cycle, it's not to slow, not to fast. With every year one big update for most of their products and now and then small ones, I'm happy.

NPGMBR said,
Meanwhile, an update to address the serious deficiencies in XBox Music is still missing in action.

Oh for the love, it's been less than a month since a huge app revamp (I can now recommend the service to people). Yes it has its limitations but once you figure out what those are it's actually a pretty good service.

NPGMBR said,
Meanwhile, an update to address the serious deficiencies in XBox Music is still missing in action.
As it was released I agree with you. But now, it is quite good. It still has some maturing to go through but I'd have a hard time nailing down serious deficiencies at this point.

Oh, so I can sync my music to my Lumia 920 via XBox music now? I'm asking an honest question becaue I uninstalled Win8 and went back to Win7. What about playlistes, does XBox Music recognize playlists that were created in Zune? I'd also like to know if it also keeps the likes/dislikes that I have set-up in Zune.

NPGMBR said,
Oh, so I can sync my music to my Lumia 920 via XBox music now? I'm asking an honest question becaue I uninstalled Win8 and went back to Win7. What about playlistes, does XBox Music recognize playlists that were created in Zune? I'd also like to know if it also keeps the likes/dislikes that I have set-up in Zune.

I think this is a problem, people think that Xbox Music needs to replace all of the functionality of Zune (Music, video, sync, etc.)

Honestly I don't think it needs to.
It syncs playlists through the cloud, and matched music. Unfortunately if music can't be matched, you have to sync it manually (through the Windows phone app, which has replaced the sync functionality in Zune), but that has more to do with DRM than anything else.

As far as I know it has always recognized Zune playlists. I created several playlists in Zune and moved them to Xbox Music, so that has never been an issue for me, and they sync to all of my devices through matching.

Being that I have almost nine thousand songs in my collection it is very important to me XBox Music perform all the functions that Zune did. It took me years to put all my music in the playlists they way I want them then Microsoft comes along an screws that all up. But its ok because I'm back on Win7 until they can get XBox Music up to par. I carry all my music with me all the time so yes, XBox Music does need to have the functionality that Zune had.

NPGMBR said,
Oh, so I can sync my music to my Lumia 920 via XBox music now? I'm asking an honest question becaue I uninstalled Win8 and went back to Win7. What about playlistes, does XBox Music recognize playlists that were created in Zune? I'd also like to know if it also keeps the likes/dislikes that I have set-up in Zune.
Your right there, the only "sync" tool right now for WP afaik is Zune. I have a Titan that I had to pull Zune down to sync.

For Windows Phone 7, yes. With Windows Phone 8, everything is matched through the Xbox Music Cloud service. Therefore, you won't need to sync there. The only problem is when Xbox Music doesn't recognize music you have on your computer. With that, you'll need to either sync through Windows Media Player, the Windows Phone Metro app, or the Windows Phone desktop sync tool.

Don't forget Windows Phone 8 either! It's already been updated once since launch, and rumor has it the GDR2 update is very near.

Exactly, Microsoft could rapidly release a update or features that wasnt thoroughly tested and cause alot havoc ! On the other hand with prolonged releases, Microsoft can test things out longer and make sure they are flawless!