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12/27/2015
12:06 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Microsoft's 2016: More Windows 10, Hardware Advances, Research Gains

Microsoft's New Year resolutions are expected to include gains in the PC market, new Surface Phone, and advancements in HoloLens, Microsoft Research, cloud and security.
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(Image: MichalPuchala/iStockPhoto)

(Image: MichalPuchala/iStockPhoto)

Microsoft is heading into 2016 on a mostly positive note, but next year will bring a new variety of changes and challenges to Redmond.

2015 was a major transition period for Microsoft as the tech giant pushed forward to become recognized as a modern tech company. This year we began to see the ideas behind CEO Satya Nadella's mobile-first, cloud-first vision become reality.

Most of the spotlight was on the development, launch and new strategy around Windows 10. Cloud dominated the financial reports, Office 2016 was tested and launched for Macs and PCs, and new Windows hardware hit the market.

[Windows 10 is prompting businesses to upgrade their PCs.]

Not all of the change was good. Microsoft's shifting strategy resulted in massive layoffs and executive shuffling across divisions, in addition to a $7.5 billion write-down related to its Nokia buy one year prior. On top of that, Redmond is facing the challenge of a struggling PC market.

As the company heads into 2016, it plans to continue exploring new technologies. A recent report from Microsoft shares insights from researchers across the globe who plan to explore artificial intelligence, advanced security and new potential for cloud.

Here we share some predictions of what will happen for Microsoft's products, services, and research, from both an analyst's and several researchers' perspectives. Which of these insights do you think are likely to become reality? Do you have any suggestions of your own?

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Kelly is an associate editor for InformationWeek. She most recently reported on financial tech for Insurance & Technology, before which she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. When she's not catching up on the latest in tech, Kelly enjoys ... View Full Bio

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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2016 | 11:28:39 PM
Re: New offerings from MS
"To me surface is still a little bit too heavy for a pad. But I would say it's a good replacement for Windows Laptop. But I do hope its hardware becoming better."

Li Tan, tablets has its own limitations and can't be a replacement for your laptop; but can for net books. 
nasimson
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nasimson,
User Rank: Ninja
1/8/2016 | 9:13:39 PM
Re: Security and phones
@SachinEE: Every year is a year of flagships. No? Galaxy, Note and iPhones are launched every year and are sold every year in millions of units
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2016 | 1:50:06 AM
Re: New offerings from MS
To me surface is still a little bit too heavy for a pad. But I would say it's a good replacement for Windows Laptop. But I do hope its hardware becoming better.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
12/29/2015 | 1:09:36 PM
Re: Good Year around traction, hope we get better traction next year
@SachinEE,

I share your frustration, but working in software sevelopment I can assure you it's no easy task. Apple's advantage is that they control both the hardware and the software, so their testing is end to end (and pretty robust I imagine). In the case of Microsoft it's difficult to output a product that can be retrofitted to many devices, let alone have it be compatible with peripherals and apps. I can bet you if you purchase the latest Microsoft phone with windows mobile 10 installed the experience will be quite pleasent. I also tested windows 10 mobile and had to revert it since it rendered the device almost useful.

Google has somewhat the same topic with Android, as not all devices have the capabilities, reason why for developers it's very hard to target an app to everyone
MikeB098
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MikeB098,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/29/2015 | 9:30:47 AM
Mobile First?
I am starting to wonder why we accept the mantra that mobile is first?  I use my smartphone - alot.  However I would say 70% to 80% of that time is actually using it to call someone or text.  I have noticed simmilar behavior amongst others.  When I use the 'Smart' functions of a phone it is to fill a small amount of time I have to just veg out.  It could be on public transportation or in the bathroom or at lunch (if I am not at my desk).

I spend most of my time on the 'internet' or connected through apps on a desktop screen at my work station.  I am amongst billions of workers who sit down for over 8 hours a day trudging away at things on our work machines.  I think we all have a window open on those machines with facebook or pinterest or something open.  I would bet we spen WAY more time looking at that screen for diversion then the ones on our phones.

Finally, I refuse to purchase things online on my phone.  I move over to the latop or desktop at home when I do this.  I can't be the only one who does this, am I?  I don't know why but it feels like if I buy something with my phone, I might end up teaching my butt to purchase things, as apparently I have taught it to dial random people at THE WORST possible times.

I hope that in 2016 someone in the tech media has the balls to re-assess the actual profoundness of smart phones - not just the hype we have been spoon fed.  I think as long as we continue to believe that phones are all we need, R&D shops will continue to focus on mobile needs.  I don't know how much more innovation I really need to keep me busy on the bus...... 
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:08:25 PM
Re: Good Year around traction, hope we get better traction next year
@Mejiac: My only gripe with MS has been that why don't they release a full tested version of a software that doesn't want an update right out of the box? Windows 10 mobile came with lotsa bugs and glitches so much so that I thought the phone was running on a Beta! But no! It wasn't. MS was preaching the Win 10 experience on mobile with their incomplete version. So even this year will be a year of buying and upgrading for MS.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 10:05:46 PM
Re: Security and phones
The Surface Phone should have been arriving by now but I think they would be postponing it to 2017 because this year is the year of flagships and surface phone cannot even make a dent in it.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 2:53:58 PM
Security and phones
I thought quantum computing was years ahead to be of much use nowadays. I hope they will be affordable in my lifetime.
With any luck, the Surface Phone comes out in 2016, and takes off to high skies. So, it can offer some competition to the " two titans", Google and Apple
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 11:14:25 AM
Good Year around traction, hope we get better traction next year
Thanks for the article Kelly,

I think this has been a phenomenal year for Microsoft, especially given how some ground was last with windows 8 and Microsoft Surface still defining itself.

I think they have placed themselves in a better position, and hopefully only need to streghten their current portfolio.

I think the new Surface 3 is a phenomenal product, the new Lumia XL is a step closer to providing a full cross over experience between mobile and a PC.

MS Office is more integrated than ever.

So looking forward what they have in the pipeline for 2016
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 3:38:24 AM
New offerings from MS
"Most of the spotlight was on the development, launch and new strategy around Windows 10. Cloud dominated the financial reports, Office 2016 was tested and launched for Macs and PCs, and new Windows hardware hit the market."

Kelly, what's this new windows hardware.  Whether they have any plan to roll out hardware business? Or you meant about surface and Lumina series devices. 
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