A Pretty Great Autumn – But The Votes are Just Coming In

Here in the States, we just wrapped up the elections. It’s an exciting time where you’re reminded of what a great thing it is to be part of a process and have a voice in your government. The time leading up to the elections is always very busy, with a flurry of activity from the candidates as they try to seal the deal.

It’s been a busy autumn here at Microsoft too. We’ve just finished up several big events and announcements launching a series of major products and services over the past several weeks.

It started with a busy September with the launch of Windows Server 2012 and the release of Visual Studio 2012. Then, over the next several weeks, an impressive lineup of beautiful new Windows Phone 8 devices were announced by our partners at Samsung, Nokia and HTC.

In early October, we kicked things into high gear with the unveiling of Xbox Music and an updated Xbox LIVE service. Over the last two weeks, we announced Skype for Windows 8, and launched Windows 8, Surface and Windows Phone 8. On Tuesday, we launched the fourth installment of the blockbuster Halo franchise. And looking ahead a bit, we’re not too far away from the launch of the new Office, which we unveiled over the summer.

Microsoft Surface played a big part in a Times Square billboard takeover that took place early Oct. 26. as part of the Windows 8 launch.
Microsoft Surface played a big part in a Times Square billboard takeover that took place early Oct. 26. as part of the Windows 8 launch.

Each of these launches marks a big milestone for our engineering teams and for our company, and naturally the launches have generated a lot of press and reviews from tech pubs and other pundits. But just as with elections, these launches aren’t an end, but a beginning, as our new products and services get in the hands of our customers.

We hope that as this happens, customers will see a consistent and thoughtful attention to great design, consistent quality and a variety of options that are as unique as the people and businesses using our products. And, just as important, you’ll see how the individual devices and services we’ve developed with our industry partners come together to create great experiences for you at home and at work.

Consumers will have many exciting new phones, tablets, all-in-ones, laptops and desktops to choose from to suit their unique needs and personalities. Services such as Xbox LIVE, SkyDrive, Skype and Office make all the things you care about – music, movies, calendars, contacts, e-mail and more – available to you anytime, anywhere and on any device. Our customers also will enjoy the kind of ‘just works’ experiences they want across devices with services like SkyDrive and SmartGlass.

In addition to last week’s Build Conference, we see a great deal of developer excitement around the promise of Windows 8, as evidenced by the more than 16 million downloads of Windows 8 previews prior to it shipping, and the more than 400,000 attendees at our Dev Camps around the world. With Windows 8, developers code using the programming language they prefer. The Windows 8 runtime enables them to use their existing coding skills to build native Windows apps in HTML, JavaScript or .NET languages such as C#, Visual Basic and C++.

For our business customers, Office and Office 365 have been redesigned to help professionals collaborate and stay productive in the office, at home and on the road. Office has come to define productivity for more than 1 billion people around the world, but we aren’t standing still. We continue to expand what’s possible by embracing new technologies, form factors, cloud computing and social networking to help individuals and businesses be more effective.

Based on the strength of solutions built on Windows Server and System Center to manage hybrid clouds, our data platform built on SQL Server, and Windows Azure to host public cloud infrastructure, we can help all manner of organizations optimize their datacenters and apps, whether in traditional datacenters or private clouds, or off-premises in public or service-provider clouds, or a mix of all three. We believe in a hybrid approach, where customers employ cloud technologies on their terms, no matter the location.

As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in his recent shareholder letter, “It truly is a new era at Microsoft – an era of incredible opportunity for us, for the 8 million developers building apps for our devices, for the more than 640,000 partners worldwide and, most important, for the people and businesses using our products to reach their full potential.”

This is an amazing time in our industry. We’re very excited about the products we’ve released this fall, the fantastic work from our industry partners, and our competitors are also working hard to create compelling products and services. It’s never been a better time to be a tech-gearhead. :)

But don’t take our word for it – go see for yourself.

If you’re in the U.S., go to one of our Microsoft retail stores or one of our retail partners and see just how amazing Windows 8 can be on the many PCs, tablets, convertibles and other devices available to you. The Windows 8 site has some great videos and information to learn more about the new OS, and you can find a list of some of the latest devices on the market. If you’re interested in Surface, you can find more information here.

To check out the latest Windows Phones, you can visit our site for information on devices and carriers. Soon in the U.S., you’ll be able to head to a Microsoft Store, or your local AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile store to get one of the hot new phones from Nokia, HTC or Samsung.

Head to Xbox.com or one of your local gaming stores if you’re excited to know more about “Halo 4”, “Nike+ Kinect” or more of the latest Xbox offerings.

Ultimately, it’s the votes from customers that matter the most to us. We want our products to help people have more fun, get more done and stay connected to the people and things they care most about.

We certainly hope you’ll spend some of your post-election time learning about, trying and then hopefully buying our new products and services. That’s the vote of confidence that my colleagues and I strive for every day.

I’m Jeff Meisner, and I’ve approved this message. :)

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog