Monthly Archives: March 2011

Windows Tablets whats next vs the competition

InformationWeek writer Paul McDougall talks about Microsoft’s slow move to compete with upcoming contenders Google, HP on the desktop and Tablet front. The reality is, Microsoft does needs to get its act together and come good, but at the same time, this dooms day prediction that Apple, HP and Google will be eating Microsoft’s market share to zero by the end of 2012 with the so-called ‘post PC’ devices is a bit ridiculous.

“You create a massive platform,” said Apotheker, referring to his intention to stretch WebOS across smartphones, tablets, and personal computers.

This news came amid reports earlier in the week that Microsoft won’t have a truly tablet-compatible version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, when it plans to release an edition of Windows 8 geared to run on ARM’s mobile processors. That leaves a massive gap of 18 months during which time HP will seed the personal computing market with non-Windows technology, the iPad will have hit its third iteration, and Google’s Android (which can run smartphones, slates, and netbooks) will rack up more double-digit market share gains.

Read the entire article here

I look at it differently, every x86 and ARM Tablet will be considered a Windows PC by the time Microsoft ships Windows vNext or whatever they call it, don’t forget that. When you think about the overall PC market, every OEM will be producing Tablet devices shipping with Windows next year. When sold, they will obviously outnumber (an probably are today when you think about the many Windows PC form factors that are now on the market), the iPads, Xooms and Web OS Tablets. That’s why Steve Jobs is using the opportunity now to differentiate and call the iPad and iPhone post PC devices when they are doing exactly the same thing as PC’s using a good Touch interface.

You can do word processing, email, web browsing, even movie making now on an iPad, the same things you can do today on a traditional notebook or desktop PC. So tell me, how does this make ‘it’ the iPad any different from a PC? As for Windows vNext, I suspect Microsoft has something clever up their sleeves, I have a feeling they know the Windows UI needs to be re-architected properly for 10 fingers, but at the same time they don’t want to isolate users (WP7 tiles are not the answer). I am sure all the teams at Microsoft: Office, Windows Live are on board to create apps that are more Windows vNext touch centric since the point and click iterations today are still not suitable.

By the way, Google’s first efforts in the Tablet market have so far been described as ‘tepid’, with the Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb having some stability issues. A quote from ZDNET details the issue with the new Motorola Xoom device:

Misek said:

Xoom sales have been underwhelming. While marketing has just started we believe MMI will likely have to cut production if it already has not done so. We believe the device has been a bit buggy and did not meet the magic price point of $500. We believe management knows this and is hurrying development and production of lower cost tablets. Importantly we believe management will likely have to make the painful decision to accept little to no margin initially in order to match iPad 2’s wholesale pricing.

Learn more here

This is something I believe Microsoft also wants to avoid with Windows vNext, it has to be an exceptional release across many form factors from the get go. The OS has a lot to live up to with Windows 7 being such a major success. Microsoft has a reputation and it would be a shame to see it shattered with a buggy rushed release. This is a huge market and there is a piece of the pie for everyone, its just that we don’t know who will ultimately own the most slices, right now, its looking like Apple especially with the iPad 2 release.

Microsoft has done the heavy lifting already, they showed that at CES that they have ARM running Windows, now the job is to create a great user experience.  It’s still Microsoft’s game.

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Recap: 2011 Microsoft MVP Global Summit

Last week I was in Seattle, Washington to attend my first Microsoft MVP Global Summit. This was a great opportunity for me to meet with fellow MVP’s from around the world. This years summit hosted over 1,500 Microsoft MVP’s from 80 countries in 90 Microsoft technologies. After flying for nearly 24 hours, I made it into Bellevue at 2:35 AM February 27th.

MVP Badge 2011

Sunday was an opportunity to register early, pick up my badge and attend a couple pre-summit sessions if I wanted. I used the opportunity to get some food and well needed rest for the few days ahead.

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Another key aspect of the MVP Summit is an opportunity to meet with product teams and engage in discussion with them about your experiences and to really provide feedback at an intimate level. Most of the summit was covered by Non-disclosure Agreements, although my first breakout session was not.

Day 1 – February 28th

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Scenes from my first break out session, those two heads in front of me are Gilberto Perera of Gils Method and Richard Hay of Windows Observer

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In that session a lot of the scenarios associated with Windows Live and the synergies with other Microsoft products such as Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, Zune and Microsoft Office were discussed and demonstrated. It was great to see a first hand experience of how powerful these products are when used together. Of course, they are great on their own, but you can get some amazing experiences when you use them with other Microsoft products and services.

Evening event

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L-R MVP JonPappa (Digital Media MVP), Rob Brown Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Andre Da Costa, Hal Hostetler Windows Expert Consumer MVP, Jake Grey MVP Lead.

Another great experience at the MVP Summit was the chance to meet my fellow MVP’s from around the world. The Attendee Party is a great opportunity to socialize and network with MVP’s and to also talk with your MVP Lead.

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MVP’s network and enjoy great food

This was an amazing opportunity for me, along with the great food, it was really cool to meet MVP’s I follow on Twitter or read their blogs everyday. Some of these MVP’s I got meet include @WinObs, @Manan and @Edbott Being able to share that vision, enthusiasm, advocacy and passion for great products and services was truly a great experience. I tweet with a lot of MVP’s over the years and what I keep saying, it is so surreal to actually be able to finally meet them in person and have a conversation. It is one of the most valuable experiences you get out of the summit.

The Microsoft Campus

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Heading to Building 92 to get my summit badge!

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The Microsoft Conference Center – First day of break out sessions took place here

Visiting the campus for the first time was of course an exciting experience, you always hear about it and what its like there. The first impression is, its HUGE! Its not a campus, but more like a city as my good friend and fellow Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Answers participant Rob Brown describes. Located in the town of Redmond the campus is the headquarters for the Company where the bulk of product development takes place. A total of 40,000 employees work there which is just astounding when you think about it.

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A view from within the Mixer located on the Microsoft Commons

Day 2 – Keynote

On day two, we headed to the Meydenbauer Center for the keynote which was opened by Nestor Portillo [Director Microsoft Community & Online Support]. Nestor talked about how the MVP program is more than just a technology meet-up. It was great to see MVP’s making huge impacts in their community outside of the technology industry. It was a great feeling to see MVP’s helping with rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.

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There were additional keynote speeches by Microsoft Executives such as Steve Ballmer, Toby Richards and Ron Markezich. This is my second time seeing Steve Ballmer in person and he is always passionate and energized about Microsoft and this keynote speech was no exception. He spoke about his enthusiasm for Microsoft and his strong confidence in the company’s product strategy along with the belief in MVP’s as a key part of that effort to help communicate Microsoft’s products and services to customers.

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Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer

Toby Richards keynote focused on improvements to community services and some of the exciting technologies and services that are coming in the pipeline to help customers get answers to problems and get the most out of their technology investments.

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Toby Richards, General Manager for the Microsoft MVP Program

The last keynote was provided by Ron Markezich who talked about the Cloud and how much of a critical investment it is for Microsoft and how the Company is committed to it and is seeing a tremendous amount of up take from popular industry brands around the world. I was lucky to have one of my questions answered during the Executive Q&A, which was cool hearing my name called.

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Me with two Windows Expert – IT Pro MVP’s, David Nudelman (above) & Elias Mereb (below)

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Friendly Microsoft Access MVP’s, I somehow ended up sitting at their table

After the keynote, we went for lunch, then headed back to Campus. During lunch, I had the opportunity to meet a fellow MVP who I participate with on ActiveWin.com, Kenneth Vansurksum who is from the Netherlands. That was another great moment for me, since I have known Kenneth virtually for years, so it was great to finally chat with and meet him in person.

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Me and Kenneth VanSurksum [MVP]

After a another day of breakout sessions, we headed back to the Microsoft Commons for our product group evening event which is another opportunity to socialize and network with fellow MVP’s. One of the perks of an event like the MVP Summit is getting the chance to meet industry professionals or what some would call the stars, like Ed Bott. Meeting Ed was truly one of those great moments, we had a long discussion about our views on Microsoft, its role in the industry and its key competitors. Ed is truly a nice guy who really knows his stuff and is not a ‘fanboy’ as some persons might think. A lot of persons were surprised to know he is an MVP, but if you have been to Ed’s personal blog you will know why.

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Ed Bott and Andre Da Costa

One of things I have to point out, Microsoft knows how to feed people, there was no shortage of food throughout the summit, with a variety of dishes catering to the many cultures Microsoft hosted for the 3 day event.

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Just a sample of some of the great food!

Day 3 – Last day

My last day of the MVP Summit started off with more Break Out Sessions.

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I got the chance to play with some cool Windows 7 slate devices and I was very surprised how usable some of these form factors are. I am not gonna say they are just as intuitive as the iPad since I still believe, Windows 7 is not Touch Centric enough with its point and click UI. The scenarios though make it more powerful in terms of having a device that can be used not only for casual needs but for real productivity office work and even serious play time if you need it.

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Fellow Windows Expert Consumer MVP’s from around the world

Before leaving building 31 for the last time, I had a pleasant surprise visit from Windows Communication Manager Brandon Leblanc who I first met in 2007 at the Windows Vista Product Launch. It was great to see Brandon again as were fellow MVP’s some of whom were meeting him for the first time.

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Brandon Leblanc, Windows Communication Manager and Me

Safeco Field

My last day in Seattle ended with a bang! A special Attendee Party was kept at the Safeco Field Baseball stadium which gave MVP’s additional time to talk and socialize with fellow MVP’s, Microsoft Product Managers and eat great food.

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At the Safeco Field Baseball Stadium

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MVP’s enjoying themselves and listening to great music from the Beatniks

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My pal Rob Brown

So, all ended well. For me this trip will be forever etched in my memory. The MVP Summit is such an amazing opportunity to interact with cultures from around world and learn so much from each other.

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A little sun started to come out in the evening on my last day

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My room mate Alan Burchill Group Policy MVP from Australia

I want to give a shout out to my room mate, a cool guy from Australia named Alan Burchill. Although we are at opposite spectrums of MVP Expertise’s, we share that same love for Microsoft products and that passion for technology. It was really great to meet you!

To the Microsoft MVP Community, thank you for making my first Microsoft MVP Summit special. You enabled me to meet amazing people from all around the world, meet product teams and have conversations with an impact. I am already seeing changes based on feedback I provided. That’s amazing! Also, your concierge staff was very helpful and friendly. The food was excellent, there was so much of it, not to mention the free sodas at the Campus. I have to come back next year, the Hyatt Regency was a great place to stay too, will come a little earlier next time.

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I was especially pleased to really understand that Microsoft values our input and our commitment to help making the products you and I use everyday even better. I learned a lot about synergy and how the focus is on making software not only easy to use but able to really add value in a variety of scenarios and change lives for the better.

Thank you,

Andre

You can check out the MVP Photo Gallery I created on Flickr here

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