Tomorrow is another day and another year for Microsoft as the company looks to the future of 2011. Today however, WinRumors looks back at Microsoft in 2010 to recall the years biggest Microsoft news.
Microsoft’s 2010 was dominated by Windows 7. The software giant originally introduced Windows 7 in October 2009 and the operating system has been a soaring success in 2010. Microsoft has confirmed that it has now sold over 240 million licenses of Windows 7 and that figure is expected to hit 300 million before the end of the year. Windows 7 now accounts for 25% of operating system market share. Microsoft’s success with Windows 7 began before the product was even widely available. Released in October 2009, the operating system has received praise from consumers, businesses and the media. In November 2009, Windows 7 managed to surpass Apple’s Snow Leopard market share in just two weeks. In early February it was revealed that Windows 7 had reached 10% market share in just three months.
Office 2010 and Office for Mac 2011
Microsoft introduced its latest office suite to the world earlier this year. Office 2010 has become the fastest-selling consumer version of Office in history. More than six million copies have been sold so far since the release in June. Office is currently used by more than 750 million users worldwide according to Microsoft. Office 2010 was the first release of the productivity suite to include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Microsoft packed both versions onto one DVD across seven different flavours. Office 2010 also includes a free version with Microsoft Word and Excel. The free version, dubbed Office Starter, contains reduced functionality of Word and Excel and advertising.
Microsoft also began offering their Office applications online earlier this year. The software maker recently announced that they have surpassed 20 million users on their Office Web Apps. Microsoft’s biggest competitor in online document editing, Google Docs, currently has over 25 million users. Office Web Apps easily integrate with your Windows Live ID and several online services from Hotmail, Facebook and Docs.com also allow you to share documents from your SkyDrive.
Microsoft introduced a new Mac office suite during 2010 too. Office for Mac 2011 went on-sale worldwide on October 26. Office for Mac doesn’t come loaded with all the components that are available in Office Professional Plus for Windows, but supports Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Office 2011 for Mac also saw the return of Outlook on the Mac, offering similar functionality and appearance, including a Mac inspired theme ribbon, as Outlook 2010 for Windows. Office for Mac 2011 also allows for multiple document editing, so users can edit the same document at the same time, without getting a lockout notice. Office for Mac also includes document sharing with other Mac and Windows office users, through SharePoint, SkyDrive and web apps.
Windows Live and the Cloud
Microsoft launched its latest free range of Windows Live applications in 2010. The applications include Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and Microsoft’s popular Messenger program. Microsoft began advertising “To the Cloud” consumer capabilities in October. The software giant has issued three adverts so far which highlight the cloud features of Windows Live. The company also kicked off a brand new advertising campaign named “Cloud Power” in October. The Redmond based company wants to take its cloud computing investments a step further by advertising the potential benefits to customers. Microsoft made its commitments to its cloud offerings extremely clear at this year’s Professional Developers Conference. The message of the event was that Microsoft were “all in” for cloud services.
Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and Kinect
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has dominated 2010. Market Research firm NPD has tracked Microsoft’s Xbox 360 throughout 2010 and sees it as the best selling games console in the U.S. for six months straight. The Xbox 360 sold nearly 1.4 million units in November alone. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 hardware was only one part of its 2010 dominance. Microsoft also introduced its Kinect console accessory in late 2010.
Microsoft launched its controller-less console accessory for the Xbox 360 across the world in November. The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar that sits at the base of your TV. The device has an RGB camera, depth sensor and multi-array microphone which runs proprietary software. Kinect allows for full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition. Owners will be able to interact with games titles using just their body. Pausing TV and fast forwarding movies can be achieved using a mix of hand movements and voice control.
Microsoft’s Kinect has been extremely popular. Microsoft recently revealed that it has sold 2.5 million Kinect units worldwide in just 25 days. The company is expected to have sold over 5 million units by year end. The popularity of Kinect will likely contribute to the long shelf life of the Xbox 360.
Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE service has also gone from strength to strength. Microsoft released a new Xbox Live title that allows Windows Phone 7 users to play against PC users in December. Game Chest marks the time time a cross platform Xbox Live game has been made available by Microsoft. The game is a simple Chess one that allows users to take their turn cross platform. Although the game is simple, it paves the way for future multi-player titles and is an important step in Microsoft’s “three screens and the cloud” strategy.
Windows Phone 7
2010 was a big year for Microsoft and its mobile strategy. The software maker unveiled Windows Phone 7 in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The introduction kick started a buzz for Microsoft’s new platform and saw phones introduced on October 21 in Europe and November 8 in the United States.
Microsoft now has over 5,000 applications in its Windows Phone Marketplace since the launch in late October. Microsoft also has over 18,000 registered Windows Phone developers and has promised developer payments in January. Early estimates, based on Facebook usage, said that around 120,000+ devices had been sold. Microsoft revealed earlier this month that the company’s hardware partners have shipped 1.5 million units to carriers worldwide. Microsoft’s admission blew away these early estimates and shows the platform is showing early promise. Research firm, IDC, said earlier this month that the Windows Phone platform is off to a good start and that the level of applications in the Marketplace is impressive.
Microsoft is planning to release a Windows Phone 7 OS update in early 2011. Microsoft is officially saying that the update is due in early 2011 but WinRumors understands Microsoft officials will detail the upcoming changes at CES. Windows Phone 7 is a key part of Microsoft’s long term mobile strategy and we expect the software giant to detail a second bigger update in February at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain. Microsoft’s second update will introduce enhanced developer controls for applications and updated Silverlight components. Microsoft’s first update recently leaked in a video of the company’s implementation of Windows Phone 7 copy and paste.
Microsoft in 2011
Microsoft will kick start 2011 with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. It’s clear that Windows Phone 7 will be the primary focus for the company in 2011 to ensure the product is a success. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Kinect are currently performing very well and that trend looks likely to continue into 2011. Windows 8 is also on the horizon for Microsoft. Microsoft has been steadily producing early alpha builds of the new operating system and hit the Milestone 1 stage in 2010. Milestone 2 and 3 are due in early 2011 and beta copies of the new operating system will arrive in late 2011. A large amount of Windows 8 is still unknown but it’s likely that the operating system will focus on Kinect, Slate and Cloud integration. Steve Ballmer has described the next release of Windows as the company’s “riskiest product bet”.
Whatever happens with Microsoft in 2011 you can rest assured WinRumors will cover every bit of it. We thank all our readers for their dedicated support during our infancy in 2010 and look forward to 2011. Happy New Year.