Bucking the trend: How Microsoft soared skywards in 2016

Microsoft upped its game in 2016 with a number of new products


Tech Desk December 28, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

Many perceived 2016 as a bad year for a variety of reasons.


But, there is one company that appears to have bucked the trend. Tech giant Microsoft launched a myriad of products over the year, heralding a 2017 that appears to hold even greater promise.


Here are some of them.


Microsoft rivals Slack with Teams


Image showing Microsoft Teams, a rival for Slack PHOTO: MICROSOFT/ SCREENSHOT


Microsoft unveiled its Teams tool for workplace collaboration, taking on rising star Slack in a hot market.


Teams is built into Office 365, which includes popular applications such as Word and Excel. Internet voice and video calling service Skype is also integrated into Teams. A preview version of Teams is available to businesses across 181 countries, with general availability expected to follow early next year.


Microsoft’s offering is a direct challenge to three-year-old company Slack that has emerged as a leader in a field crowded with new applications helping workplaces transition from email.


Xbox One SWith an eye on the future, Microsoft is also working on a powerful new version of Xbox One designed as a platform for exquisite virtual reality and ultrahigh-graphics games, according to Spencer. PHOTO: AFP

In August, Microsoft unveiled a leaner Xbox One model and a lineup of coming games as it strived to capture ground lost to Sony’s market-leading rival PlayStation 4.


Xbox team head Phil Spencer used a Microsoft press event on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game extravaganza to introduce the Xbox One S at $299.


Windows 10 creators update



PHOTO: REUTERS

Microsoft announced a free “creators update” to its Windows 10 operating system for computers.

The update, coming in early 2017, includes new features for augmented and virtual reality gaming, said Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president for the Windows and devices group.

It also lets mobile device users take three-dimensional photos by scanning an object as they walk around it. Microsoft also is launching Paint 3D that allows for photos and other designs to be edited in three dimensions.

Surface Studio and Surface book



PHOTO: MICROSOFT

 

The US tech giant announced its first desktop computer Surface Studio, a $3,000 high-end “all-in-one” device that aims to rival Apple’s Mac.

“We’re creating a new category that transforms your desk into a creative studio,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said at the unveiling in New York.

With a large, 28-inch (71-centimeter) hinged touchscreen display, touted as “the thinnest desktop monitor ever created”, Surface Studio adds to the Microsoft lineup of tablet and laptop devices for the premium segment. The new PC has an ultra-HD 4.5K display, offering more pixels than most new high-definition televisions which effectively create a “digital canvas” for creating content, the company said.

Microsoft also announced an updated Surface Book – its high-end convertible tablet-computer – which will sell for $2,400, adding improved graphics and computing power.

Combine all this with the Hololens 



With the new Windows system, users will be able to experience virtual reality with Microsoft’s HoloLens headgear and its Edge browser.

Microsoft said its hardware partners would be selling Windows-compatible virtual reality gear starting at about $300.

Microsoft acquires LinkedInMicrosoft to acquire LinkedIn. PHOTO: MICROSOFT


In June, Microsoft said it concluded a deal to acquire professional social networking site LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash.

“This deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

 

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