Microsoft WPC: The Family of Devices

After Steve Ballmer’s opening keynote where he talked about the level of innovation in today’s IT industry, Tami Reller (Microsoft’s CFO and chief marketing officer for Windows) stepped onto stage to talk more about the Microsoft family of devices, and what direction they’re now taking.

Here are some stats Tami unveiled about the current Microsoft ecosystem:

  • The sales of Windows Phone have been growing six times faster than the overall smartphone market.
  • Microsoft is now the third largest in the mobile eco system.
  • 100 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold so far.
  • 60 billion hours of usage has been logged for Windows 8.
  • The new Office is the fastest selling release in history – a copy is sold every second worldwide.
  • There are 300 million Skype users each month, spending up to 2 billion minutes per day.
  • Every month in the US there are 20 billion internet searches made with Windows PCs alone.

Multiple devices, one operating system

Despite some of the headlines condemning Microsoft because of declining PC sales, they do have a strategy for rolling out their operating system across all devices – PC, tablet and smartphone – and the stats above show that this is continues to be a driving force.

And I think we’ll see that ring true more and more with their update, Windows 8.1. The focus on mobility is key for today’s ‘any time, anywhere’ worker and 8.1 has been designed to feel natural for users when they’re moving from a small smartphone to a large PC – for both business and consumer use.

Tami spoke about how ‘anchorage’ is a key focus for Microsoft. Despite all the different devices people have access to use, they are all connected through one trusted foundation – the operating system.

Anytime, anywhere workers

Tami also spoke about how a 2013 survey by J.D.Power found that only 20% of tablet users use them for any sort of business activity.  Windows tablets are looking to try and get that percentage up as they are trying to become the dominant player in the business tablet market.

The Surface device with a plug in keyboard is envisioned to be used as both a PC and a tablet, as and when you need to them to be either.   They are intended to allow people to work from anywhere, with the same amount of access to information regardless.

How secure?

Security has played a big role in the integration of operating systems across all devices, given the transfer of data, but it’s also significant when you look at the soon to be phased out Windows XP.

Users of this operating system now have 272 days before no more patches or updates are released– including security ones.

As of last month however, Windows XP still has a 37% share of all desktop operating systems.  If all current XP users upgrade to Windows 8, the total amount of Windows 8 users will equal that of those currently using Windows 7.  There’s more information in this article about the phase out of Windows XP.

Rapid timeframes

Since the launch of Windows 8 there have been over 900 improvements made to the system –  you can look at this in two ways.  You can say that the system was filled with far too many bugs and lack of user initiation when it was released, hence the high number of improvements.

However, given the timeframe that Microsoft have updated the system indicates a more responsive attitude from Microsoft, and the fact that customer feedback was listened to shouldn’t be ignored.

Windows 8.1 is a free update and will be released later on this year for every Windows 8 device.

Microsoft have spoken for a while about no longer just being a software company, but a device and services company.  I was a bit cynical at first, but having seen the integrated features of the Surface and Windows Phone, and the services being delivered from the cloud, I’m actually starting to believe it….