Microsoft is getting into the game. I should preface that statement. Or maybe just qualify it. They’ve always been in the game, no doubt, but their products haven’t always been the best out there. Yes, they are functional and used by many, but they can be buggy, to say the least. While I won’t get into it too much, but right now, I’m currently having a problem with Microsoft Office being compatible with an Adobe program that I need for work. They just don’t play nice. And maybe in my case, it’s more of an Adobe issue than Microsoft, but both aren’t giving me much confidence. Back to Microsoft. They have some things going on right now. Putting them into the game.
What do I mean by “game”? Well, they have made some efforts to improve their products more recently. And at least stay on top of some changes, but now they’re going even farther. Microsoft just wrapped up its two day Build conference, giving us a peek into what we can expect for the rest of the year. So what exactly is that you ask? The first feature that they uncovered is the ability to move from one device to another and pick up with where you left off. Sounds pretty simple, and something that some other companies have been doing for years now. Or at least, that’s how I look at it. Which is good news for Microsoft. At least putting them in the same ring as their competitors.
What is also really cool about this feature, and something that I haven’t seen elsewhere is Timeline. Essentially, it’s an application that allows you to view what you’ve been working on and from which devices. So if you’ve been working on a Productivity PowerPoint presentation on your laptop, and a Capital Assets Plan in Excel, Timeline will show you all of that within the application. Maybe it’s not that exciting, or even that cool. But it is a bit different from the features we’ve seen in other products. If I compare this to Google, for example. You’re not really able to see all of your projects in one application. Instead, you have to go into each individual section to view everything.
Another feature coming to Windows 10 is “Story Remix”. Which is basically your run of the mill video creation software. Allowing you to mix images and videos into what looks like a very professional quality video. While I really like this feature, it is kind of a given in today’s world. What I mean by that is everyone needs to offer this type of feature in their platform or system. Period. Full stop. We all make videos these days. It’s just a given, so while I think this is a great new feature, I’m not really sure that we should be commending Microsoft for their efforts. They have to keep up and stay relevant.
Another feature, which is actually kind of neat is cloud based clipboard. I’m not sure that I would ever use this, or have a need for it. And maybe I’m not the best person to comment on this feature, but I still think it’s kind of neat. I just wonder for what purposes you might use it? Maybe design folks would have a need to copy and paste data between devices? Especially if you’re on the move. So maybe going from a laptop to a tablet in that you need to hit the road, but still need to keep working? Again, not something I would likely use, but I think that it’s something to consider and kind of cool.
As far as some other features go, Microsoft is updating their stylus for the Surface. It sounds like it’s just got some bugs (surprise?) and they need to work them out. They are also releasing a new set of virtual reality controllers. Which again is really cool, but I think that its necessary for Microsoft to stay relevant. Or stay in the game if they’re trying to get into other markets and bring in new customers. And lastly, you will be able to download a version of iTunes in the Microsoft store. Again, I’m not sure that this anything exciting, but it certainly is helping to keep them in the game.
Honestly, when I think of Microsoft I kind of think they are a standard corporate go-to. I mean, we use them in my offices. They work. I can do my job. So why rock the boat? They’re kind of like the old faithful. When in doubt, just use Microsoft Office. Or something to that effect. Which is ok. There are other companies out there that are trying to win your business in many ways. Google, for example, would be a really good competitor example for Microsoft. Essentially offering the same products, in a cloud based version, and they’re free. So why would anyone opt for Microsoft Office? That’s a bit of a rhetorical question. I’m just putting it out there as food for thought. But I do think that Microsoft needs to do a better job in order to stay relevant.