A few weeks ago I attended a summit on the latest directions and activities from Microsoft held at their offices in Singapore.
It’s interesting to see some of the new directions now coming from Microsoft, I believe the company is now more focused in a number of critical areas and understands more clearly where its priorities lie.
As an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) software vendor that builds much of its web and data technology on Microsoft server infrastructure, we understand the benefits of their platforms but also are regularly reminded of the differences with other platforms as we ensure our products work equally well on Safari, Chrome and Firefox browsers.
In previous years ISVs often would be a little confused by Microsoft statements of intent, for some of us, we were never sure if they would become our competitors building versions of what we already had in the market.
It seems now Microsoft is far more focused on its essential platforms (Server, SQL, IIS Web Server, SharePoint, Exchange, Office and Windows) and on some key emerging platforms such as Lync, Connect, Bing, Phone, Office365 and Azure.
That’s really good news for ISVs – it gives us a very clear idea of where opportunities for us will emerge too.
Lync looks to be a good product, we have just implemented inside it inside our organisation and the take up has been fantastic. Beforehand quite a few of us were using Skype to communicate internally and WebEx to collaborate with external clients, immediately Lync has taken over our internal communications and we can see Lync becoming our standard for external communications too. It’s not a trivial task to get going inside an organisation and you need a reasonably flexible internet communications infrastructure but once in it quickly starts to become a part of essential operational toolset – I’m picking Lync to be the next Exchange for Microsoft and that will be a very good thing!
Office 365 will be key to Lync’s success. Providing Exchange, SharePoint and Lync as an integrated cloud based service looks to be great opportunity for Microsoft too. Living and working in a regional area of Australia, I see every small business as a potential Office 365 client, just like now they all have Office on their workstations, in two years they will all use SharePoint, Lync and of course Exchange from the cloud. They’ll also keep their backups there and use it to interconnect their home offices with their workplaces.
Only one year old, Azure is already a great product. As an ISV committed to an Azure roadmap, we have been extremely pleased with the continued support for new features and improvements coming on almost a monthly basis to Azure. It’s a very exciting time to be a web developer with these sort of platforms emerging.
I get Connect but not being much of a gamer I haven’t been that interested. With the new SDK I’ll pay a little more attention and when I see ways I can use it in a web page it will have my attention.
Same with Bing and Phone, I understand why Microsoft has to compete in these areas – they just haven’t shown me anything I can get too excited about … yet. A Lync client for Phone is essential, if it had that I’d probably start to use one.
So the future looks bright for ISV’s building on Microsoft core technology. I think its now the most exciting time to be envisaging what we can build for the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we all come up with.