With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft's hotly anticipated operating system a week away, all was not quiet on the Redmond front, as the company prepared for the big launch and continued to deal with fallout from its Nokia acquisition.
While Microsoft was fairly low-key this week regarding Windows 10, InformationWeek associate editor Kelly Sheridan looked at eight different parts of the new OS that Microsoft got right. Some will say that anything other than Windows 8 is good enough, but Sheridan writes that Windows 10 has a lot more going for it, including the return of the Start menu, the free update offer, and the company adopting a Windows-as-a-service model.
Still, Microsoft has a lot left to unveil, especially with security. In an interview with InformationWeek, Chris Hallum, a senior product manager for Windows business security, discussed how the company is using very specific virtualization technology to improve data protection. Specifically, Windows 10 will move the local security authority (LSA) into a separate container in a virtual environment. If a hacker cracks the operating system, the authentication process remains secure.
However, this week wasn't all about Windows 10. Microsoft started off the week by reportedly buying an Israeli firm called Adallom, which specializes in cloud security, for $320 million. Since Microsoft is getting deeper into cloud, it's no surprise it wants to offer customers a greater layer of protection.
This week also marked the official release of Visual Studio 2015, along with .Net 4.6. This version of Visual Studio expands the company's developer ecosystem into more platforms, including Linux and Mac OS X. It also makes room for more mobile development, a key to the company's 2016 vision.
Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft also released the first public preview of Exchange Server 2016 this week. Foley noted that many of the new features in this version of Exchange Server can already be found in Exchange Online and Office 365, but users should look for additions such as data loss prevention capabilities.
In addition, Foley reported that the latest version of SharePoint is coming early, sometime in August.
While technology is nice, this week was also about the bottom line, and that's one place Microsoft fell short, thanks to what looks like a disastrous decision to buy Nokia.
Microsoft reported fiscal fourth quarter revenues of $22.2 billion on July 21, which was in line with financial analyst projections, but the company also reported a $7.5 billion write-down related to the Nokia acquisition.
(Ironically, Nokia confirmed that it plans to get back into the phone business sometime in 2016.)
On the bright side, Microsoft's revenue from cloud computing -- Azure -- continues to grow, but the company is still struggling on the desktop side, something which Windows 10 may help with, but not until next year.
The financial results show that the company is moving in the direction that CEO Satya Nadella wants. This means less consumer focus and more emphasis on enterprise computing, especially in the data center and in the cloud. However, the company's troubling sector is mobile, which rivals Google and Apple seems to have down pat, but remains a sore point for Redmond.
Still, Microsoft is trying when it comes to mobile.
[Check out how to upload Office on iOS.]
To start, it's embracing the iPhone when it comes to email. Among other add-ons, this week Microsoft Garage released Send, a stripped-down email app that lets users sort messages with cumbersome subject lines.
Surprisingly, Send is coming first to iOS, specifically the iPhone, proving that even Redmond acknowledges the popularity of the device. The app is slated for release on both Android and Windows 10 later on.
In the coming week, expect all eyes to be on the Windows 10 launch. First impressions mean a lot, so look out for the first round of product reviews, as well as reactions from Windows Insiders, who have been testing and critiquing the new operating system.