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Wow. What a year! 2012 is the year we completely reimagined Windows with Windows 8.
The build-up began at CES back in January with an awesome demo of Windows 8 by Tami Reller. We released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the end of February and then the Release Preview in late May. From the Developer Preview from Build 2011 to the Release Preview - these previews of Windows 8 were the most widely and deeply used test releases of any product we have ever done. 16 million PCs actively participated in the previews of Windows 8. Windows 8 was released to manufacturing (RTM) at the beginning of August where we then prepared for general availability on October 26th.
We celebrated the general availability of Windows 8 on October 26th with events all around the world. In New York, we held a special press event in the morning (you can watch the event on-demand here) and later that evening lit up 39 digital boards in the largest takeover of Times Square to date.
The launch of Windows 8 this year was a company-wide effort.
Windows 8 comes with Bing-powered apps such as Travel, Weather, Maps, News, Finance and Sports. There is also a Bing app specifically for web and image search. These apps will help you get all the information you need whether it’s the latest scores from your favorite NFL team or your local weather (the Weather app Live Tile on my Start screen shows rain more often than I would like…). You can read this blog post from Bing to get all the details on these apps. For those of you who already have Windows 8, hit up the Bing homepage today to checkout a 360° degree panorama that can be explored with touch - allowing you to zoom, pinch and swipe as you explore the image.
And check out the MSN for Windows 8. They’ve given MSN a reimagined look for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.
Speaking of Internet Explorer 10, Ryan Gavin from the IE Team has shared some great things about IE10 on Windows 8 – check it out. With IE10, websites are a first-class citizen. IE10 wins on performance on Windows 8. And this is what happens when you mix cutting edge HTML5, multi-touch and IE10.
Windows 8 also delivers some incredible entertainment experiences through four apps from Xbox: Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music (see my post here that talks about free music streaming with Xbox Music on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices) and Xbox SmartGlass. The first three are pre-loaded on a new Windows 8 PC while Xbox SmartGlass is available as a free download in the Windows Store.
If you have an Xbox, you’re definitely going to want to download Xbox SmartGlass! With the Xbox SmartGlass app, you can control your Xbox from your Windows 8 device. You can use it to launch and navigate a website, move music to your TV (connected to your Xbox 360) and get extra features on the movie you’re watching. Watch this video to see Xbox SmartGlass in action. For more on the awesome entertainment experiences from Xbox for Windows 8, check out Major Nelson’s blog post here. Major Nelson announced new SmartGlass experiences from ESPN and NBA Game Time this week too!
And with Xbox games for Windows from so many talented third party game developers such as Angry Birds Star Wars, Wordament, Rocket Riot 3D, and Fruit Ninja – you can earn Xbox achievements to improve your gamerscore.
The new Office is coming and it’s designed to work great with Windows 8. The new Office responds to touch on new Windows 8 devices as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. And the new Office is powered by the cloud too – keep all your documents in sync with SkyDrive. If you buy Office 2010 today, you can get the new Office for free when it’s released early next year. For Windows RT, Office Home and Student 2013 RT comes on all Windows RT devices and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Office has released OneNote and Lync Windows Store apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT – check out this blog post for more.
To stay connected with friends and family – I use Skype. And with Windows 8, Skype introduced a brand new experience for staying connected with all the people you care about. You can download Skype for Windows 8 now from the Windows Store.
And just one month after launch, we announced Windows 8 has sold 40 million licenses!
Also in 2012 - we launched a brand new email service (in preview form) called Outlook.com in July and by November had over 25 million active users. Check out my post here on how Outlook.com makes me love email again.
And SkyDrive received some love in 2012 too! In August, a new modern SkyDrive.com with updated apps was launched. And in November, we announced that the service doubled its usage since the August!
Of course you can still upgrade to Windows 8 Pro today for just $39.99 ERP* via Windows.com using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant! This upgrade promotion for Windows 8 Pro ends on January 31st, 2013.
And the Windows Upgrade Offer also ends on January 31st, 2013 so if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC between June 2nd and January 31st, 20013 – be sure to register for your $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. The last day to register for the Windows Upgrade offer is February 28th, 2013. If you get a Windows 7 PC over the holidays, be sure to check out the Windows Upgrade Offer to see about getting your Windows 8 upgrade for $14.99!
Whew – it’s been quite a year.
Check out 12 milestone Microsoft moments in 2012 here!
While none of the problems mentioned below have ever kept me from playing the current version of the game, eliminating them from FIFA 14 would make for a better overall experience.
I found Outlook is working amazingly and Offfice features better than win 7.
i hope i can also see this kind blog on this site.thank you.
The blog is useful for me.i like it.www.louisvuittonsam.com
Sorry if I don't feel the enthusiasm. I use my PC for real world applications. Business. Not games and new fangled ways to swipe a screen to see what is on the news blogs. There is a place for Win8 and its on a phone or a PAD. Not a desktop and defiantly not on a laptop that is used for business purposes. I need to use legacy applications that the industrial market will not move forward every two years to meet and great the latest windows episode. Get a clue MS every time you shove your new version of Windows down our throats you create a hate club not a fan club. I cant wait for the day when a company see this need and creates a OS that meets the need to keep there product backwards compatible and works on improvements not eye candy!!
As for the PAD applications I still feel you are way behind the 8 ball. I will continue to carry my ASUS Droid OS for the times I want to play and not work. So far I have found very few apps in the Win8 store that are of use or even work properly.
@Leigh, I don't see where wcitech used profanity. As for inflammatory comments, I would call them more impassioned and heartfelt. I pretty much feel the same way. I just returned a computer today because it was loaded with Windows. You state that if people are properly trained to use it, they will appreciate it - are you KIDDING? I shouldn't require training to take my computer out of the box and use it. It completely undermines the purpose of the computer, don't you think? Additionally, you state that it is the ITs job to educate the user - pardon me, dear, but what IT do you think lives in my home? Ah - do you see now?
Perhaps in a business setting, Windows 8 pre-training is available, but home users shouldn't have to be impacted this way. I echo wcitech's question, "what were you thinking"? You weren't thinking about the average user at all.
@Leigh Sorry for my very angry tone, it was a natural bi-product of being very angry.
I know that there are times that a little temporary inconvenience is justified by progress. Please don't mistake my hatred of Windows 8 for fear of change or reluctance to teach my customers.
The fact is that its POOR design is what makes my blood boil. And agree with the principle of your comment-- for example: a two column start menu was an improvement over a one column start menu. Having the Documents, Pictures and Music icons on the start menu instead of on the desktop was temporarily inconvenient for some, but ultimately the public embraced such changes because the design was an improvement. The search feature, which had the focus upon clicking start, was a brilliant innovation. Vista should have been the beta, and 7 was the winner. Everybody (well, most everybody) agrees about that...
Windows 8 is another story. I've taken so many phone calls from people who can't figure out how to "minimize" their apps or who can't figure out where the shutdown button is. Like Vista, 8 is unfinished. Half of the system settings are controlled through Metro UI, the other half are controlled through the Control Panel. Mouse movements are incorrectly interpreted as swipe gestures, constantly creating multi-tasking accidents. From a usability standpoint 8 is a nightmare, not because its different- but because it's scattered, inconsistent, and non-intuitive.
Cautiously and hopefully looking forward to Windows 9.
I agree this year has been a impressive year for Microsoft. However Windows 8 was not a positive in my opionion, and the opinion of anyone else I talk to. I have windows 7 on my desktop and 8 on my laptop. Visually windows 8 is great, but operationally it lacks. Especially for the people who don't use computers on a day to day basis. I have a friend gets completely lost when using windows 8, however with 7 he can damn near do anything. Even when you go to the desktop format on 8 its not the same as if you was on any other windows os system. I personally have not found a way to change 8 to be more practical and efficient, ive watched the videos and read the blogs. Im looking to buy a new computer first of the year and I personally will be having it installed with windows 7. When ya look on here it looks like everybody loves 8, however in my experience with all the people I talked to, that's not the case. not to mention, ive had more problems with windows 8 crashing and freezing than I did with any other os ive ever worked with. I just wanted to bring up these things in hopes that either you can update the problems or when you release a new os (next year at the rate you guys go, lol) you can avoid these. Ultimately im really disappointed with 8, which sucks since I was really excited about the concept of it.
I love some of the features of Win 8 that its looks and smartness to explore all its Programs. I found Outlook is working amazingly and Offfice features better than win 7. http://www.bankinfoonline.com/
@wcitech First of all, please adhere to the comment rules by avoiding profanity and inflammatory comments. These sorts of things do not add weight to your arguments.
I have a great deal to say about how IT works in my company, and I can say for sure that with a little pre-training, there is no problem for the average user to use Windows 8. You see, we decided it is part of IT's job to educate users WHY the new operating system is BETTER, and how to use it effectively, rather than wait for users to report things. For instance, people without training will say "the charms are bad. Why can't I find the settings menu in the app, or why isn't there any search icon in the app, or why can't I email this thing?", but after training they will easily understand that this is all supported by the charms, and now with the charms, the interface is always in the same place. They will know that they can take a quick glance at the start screen and then hit Windows-D to go to the desktop. They will also know how things work a bit differently on the desktop compared to the Windows Store apps.
I would suggest going to your local Microsoft store and pick up the free Windows 8 book, or take the classes yourself, and come away with a quick primer you can tell your users.
New things are always different, and part of not only our jobs, but our revenue stream involves showing people how to use the new features to best advantage. That way, we look like wizards that have magic, and people will always come back to the guy with the magic.
Good luck and enjoy it.
Windows Team, I have run a computer repair shop for 11 years. I've been with my customer through the glory days of 2000 and XP, the hardships of Vista, and then the great arrival of Windows 7, which we all know is what Vista should have been. I said, thank God, Microsoft finally "got it" when 7 came out, closing the embarrassing chapter that was Vista. With 7 you had a "venerable" OS, just like XP, and sold it with pride, knowing it was stable, secure, and easy to use.
And then Windows 8 came out. What was your company thinking? Who approved this? Have you completely lost your way? Why are you snubbing the desktop operating system? The start menu is ICONIC, and now it is gone? Where does this leave my customers??!! You thought, let's take the "Windows" out of "Windows"???
I understand the desire to merge the world of mobile and X86-64 devices, but this is the poorest implementation I could have imagined. You have created an OS that is completely segmented and befuddling. A pointer finger and a cursor are not the same things, goddamnit.
I should thank you because you have ensured I will have tons of business consultation hours billed. I just wish they weren't all angrily calling me asking if they can still get Windows 7. Reminds me of 2006 all over again.
Windows Team, please, please re-think the direction the platform is going. For all of us.
I wish windows 8 were something like this: www.theverge.com/.../windows-desktop-ui-concept
I am using win 8, I found it better than win 7.it won for relaxation and entertainment. win 8 support games online, i use play games on http://www.yepi2.co
The jury is still out for me as for as Windows 8. But I love the new Windows phone! I think in 2013, you guys need to promote or teach people about windows 8. Happy 2013 everyone! www.geekchoice.com/washington-dc
I've started using windows 8 for research we were doing. At first it was difficult to maneuver and find all the familiar functions. But after using it for a week, I found the live tiles to be very intuitive. I also appreciate MSN offering a "latin" link that translates the page in spanish. I hope other people give windows 8 a chance, I heard so much negative feedback from blogs and news sites that Windows 8 was terrible, instead I found it to be revolutionary.
I work for Crucialtec, and we were trying to find out if Microsoft was making any plans to offer control devices for the wearables market (i.e. smartwatches, windows glasses, gps devices). If you have any information I would appreciate it. thanks, and i hope everyone gets a chance to try out windows 8.
I agree you have done a number of things and added a number of great products and features, but at the same time, you have inexplicably removed a number of great features across your product set:
-Live Mesh: Remote Desktop into my other computers for a file or whatever else I need; cloud synch files to multiple computers so I don't need an internet connection to access certain files
-Live Messenger: Remote Desktop into friends' computers and control their computers (I'm the tech guy in my circle of friends and this has frequently saved many people's work for them), in-line sharing of YouTube videos (they play in the IM window), rich text formatting (bold/italic/underline, using any fancy fonts installed on my computer, sharing any files I want with my friend) and playing games with my friends via IM.
-Live Photo Gallery: geotagging (even if it's a sorely limited City/State); in Skydrive and Photos, there is utterly no ability to geotag. I've taken pictures for years before having a Windows Phone, and those pictures have no GPS data. I would like to add that GPS data, but adding just City and State is not accurate enough for me.
-Zune: create/edit playlists, manage media on my device and my collection; add metadata for tv shows, movies, and music videos. Using X-Box Music and X-Box Video is an exercise in frustration and is seriously making me want to switch to iTunes and iPhone 5 just so I can use the jukebox and synchronization features. I have around 4 TB of media, so tagging, synchronizing, and playback all in one app is very important to me.
-Windows Media Player: Auto Playlists for songs that meet certain criteria; advanced metadata tag editor from Windows XP version of Windows Media Player (I could add lyrics, front/back covers, interior covers, language of the song, BPM, disc/track, and loads of other ID3 information that I cannot do in Windows 8)
-Calendar: in Outlook, I have a week view. In Windows 8, I don't. All my birthdays show up a day early in Windows 8 for some reason, even though they're entered correctly in my Windows 7 computer.
-Internet Explorer: there's no favorites button to view my favorites, nor a history button in the metro version of IE 10. This is a step backwards in functionality and completely unnecessary
Suffice it to say, you have made strides forward, but way way too many unnecessary steps backwards in functionality that your competitors have not made. I do have some suggestions here: http://wp.me/p1fLW2-44 and here: http://wp.me/p1fLW2-4v where you can add functionality back into your products to either restore functionality or leap ahead of the competition. Please take a look at these and try to put them on your roadmap; this way, the competition cannot use the lack of these features against those of us who use Microsoft products to entice us over to Android or iOS.
You have done many great things this year and I do hope you will do many great things in 2013.
For 2012, there is one thing I can't understand, what is the problem with Calendar, on Windows 8, there is no to-do list or a agenda view and the online calendar, it has not been updated to the UI of Outlook, People and SkyDrive, even when it's listen in the top navigation. Why is it so hard?
"For the life of us, we can’t figure out what is so hard about a calendar. Outlook.com, although it is still officially in a “preview” state, is incomplete without it, and we just don’t see much of an excuse that it’s taken almost half a year (not counting the almost two years we’ve gone since Wave 4 without a significant Calendar update) and still no calendar." - www.liveside.net/.../calendar-problem-solved-but-no-new-calendar
Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
It has certainly been an impressive year for Microsoft, and I sure hope you guys keep it up in 2013. After a great launch, I still feel there's some BIG things missing... in particular, improvements for Xbox Video service. WHERE IS THE VIDEO PASS OPTION?!?!?! :) Plus, I can't wait for Surface Pro... desperately want a 256GB option though...