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My verdict: The 3 phase launch strategy is almost flawless, as well as the functionality of the product. So the remaining question is whether the execution will be as flawless or not?
July 29, 2015, BBC News: Microsoft boss Nadella on Windows 10
From this interview 2 things are very important to remember:
- Cortana is the near term means to generate excitement for the Windows 10.
- Then the Hololens is to be launched within a year to drive that excitement even further into the augmented and virtual reality scenario which is expected to generate $150 billion in combined annual revenue by 2020, according to Digi-Capital, a research and advising firm.
Finally in the end of that interview Nadella is mentioning another important point:
It is a 5 year journey. It’s a beginning. Even the smart phone journey with touch was a 7 year – 8 year journey. So this is how you should think about these fundamental changes.
With all the client markets out of their real growth period such a way of thinking is the only possible one. See the specific posts on the client categories, with additional remarks highlighted here from them:
- Aug 5, 2015: PC Market Trends is particularly drawing the attention to the fact that phones and tablets with detachable keyboards, i.e. 2-in-1 devices running either Windows or Android are remaining a competitive issue for the category.
- Aug 4, 2015: Tablet and smartphone market trends on the other hand is emphasizing that the key going forward for the Windows will be if the coming wave of 2-in-1 detachable tablets (expected to be on the market in Q4) is a hit with consumers or if they go the way of the netbook-style laptops. This will determine how much the current Q2 2015 9% market share (which was just 5% in Q2 2014) of Windows-branded tablets could increase with the new Windows 10.
Additional readings/information on Windows 10 Mobile:
- July 29, 2015: Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones – Microsoft – Global which has indicated that “The following Lumia smartphones will receive a free upgrade when available: Lumia 430, Lumia 435, Lumia 532, Lumia 535, Lumia 540, Lumia 640, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 735, Lumia 830, and Lumia 930. … In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update [Jan 7, 2015] installed.“
- Aug 4, 2015 8:03 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team, Re: “No new builds today … Jürgen Winter Sooo, maybe on Friday? And what build is currently in testing? 10240 or even newer?”: “It will be a few more days. We’re moving to a new branch for [Windows 10] Mobile and that takes a bit of prep. Newer than 10240.” Note that people on the Insider program currently using the 10166 version.
- Aug 4, 2015 8:20 tweet by Gabriel Aul, Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems team: “10240 has a blocking bug for [Windows 10] Mobile, we need a newer build with the fix.“
Remark as of Aug 5, 2015: The Windows 10 launch caused below average rate of interest. One evidence is this same July 31 post. It had just 5 views so far and at least 3 of them were based on my Hungarian Facebook post. Even my “Embedded Android — a VIA Technologies …” post of July 28 had 12 views just in the first 3 days and none of them were generated from my Facebook page as I’ve not posted there about that.
July 29, 2015: Windows 10 UK Launch Party by Microsoft UK for a “launch atmosphere”
IMHO Microsoft’s irresistible message is:
The upgrade to Windows 10 is free within the first year, and once you’ve upgraded it remains free on your device for life!
So I did the upgrade for both my devices yesterday, and it went very smoothly. One 2GB “classic” Toshiba laptop with Win7 on it, and a 4GB Lenovo Flex 2 dual-mode laptop with Win8.1. The upgrade took about 3 hours on each, and now I am absolutely satisfied with the new Windows on them in all respects. Recommending the upgrade for everyone ASAP.
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “some amount of delay due to Windows 10 on the OEM side” in the Windows business, from Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (the 2 video inserts are mine), in order to understand Microsoft’s business strategy with the Windows 10 launch:
The way the Windows ecosystem works is there are phases to it … in some sense we’ve taken a very different approach with this Windows-as-a-service even when it comes to OEM relations and how they’re able to co-create the products with us. … there are three distinct phases:
- The first phase is what I will describe as the upgrade phase. That’s what starts in a week’s time, and that is a more retail execution and upgrade.
July 28, 2015: 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10: WINDOWS STORE (the other 9 you can find in the 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 playlist of the Windows YouTube channel)
July 28, 2015: How to customize the Start Menu after Upgrading to Windows 10 by Scott Hanselman from Microsoft
for more information see Scott’s Getting Started with Windows 10 post containing other very useful videos as well
- Then come the fall, you will see the devices from all the OEMs going into the holiday quarter.
- And then the enterprise upgrades; in fact, we have a release of enterprise features, which I mentioned in my script, which will ship in that timeframe. And I expect piloting to start and deployments to start in the second half of the fiscal year.
So that’s how I would think about the OEM as well as enterprise adoption. So my bullishness [in business sense] for Windows 10 is more in the second half of the fiscal year, and of course it will build. It will build starting in a week’s time in retail and in the upgrades, but I see this in three phases.
July 28, 2015: Microsoft Windows 10 Official Demonstration by Ger Lynch from Microsoft Ireland for a mix of a salespitch (in good sense) and a walkthrough:
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on “the new strategy around the phone business” and “how … that business trending over a longer period of time” from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript (for the phone-specific Win10 information read the Windows 10 coming soon to Lumia smartphones page by Microsoft and note the “In order to upgrade to Windows 10, your Lumia device will need to have the Lumia Denim software update installed.” warning):
The big shift that we are making when it comes to phones is to not think about phones in isolation. That’s perhaps the biggest shift because I think about Windows 10 in its entirety, the Windows ecosystem in its entirety.
We clearly are going to have premium first-party portfolio, and you’ve seen some of the numbers, some of the progress we have made in Surface. I feel that we have a formula there that I would like to apply more broadly in terms of growing, just delivering innovation, growing our own economic return for it, stimulating demand, creating categories. All of that is what I want to do broadly. And it applies to phones, it applies to Surface hardware, it applies to Hololens, and that’s how I view it.
I believe our participation in the phone segment by itself with Windows phones and Lumia phones being there is important, and that’s why we picked the three areas where we have differentiation and we want to focus on it.
- We’re going to have great flagship phones for Windows 10. That’s actually a segment we don’t today have good devices, and we hope to change that with Windows 10.
- We have in fact good traction in the business segment. This is business customers who are actually buying phone devices, which is basically a radio with essentially a smartphone to be able to deploy their line-of-business applications. That’s where we have pretty unparalleled value, which is we have Visual Studio Online and some of the tools I talked about, so you can generate these apps at a low cost of ownership, manage them, secure them, and deploy them to our phone endpoints, and then of course, management and security. So that’s a place where we want to continue to focus.
- And in the value smartphones, that’s the place where I want us to be much more efficient. We clearly have some value to add there because of the uniqueness of Office and Skype and our services. But at the same time, I think we want to be smart about how many of these phones do we want to generate, how many, which price points we want to participate. That’s where you will see the most significant operational changes from how we operated last year to the coming year.
May 4, 2015: Satya Nadella’s Keynote from Ignite 2015 on the Windows Community YouTube channel (see also the Microsoft announces new solutions
to empower IT professionals press release for more information) in order to understand the place of Windows 10 in the overall strategic setup of the company
July 21, 2015: CEO Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s “third bold ambition to create more personal computing experiences with Windows and our devices” as the company’s equally important strategic ambition (in addition to “reinventing productivity in business processes” and “building the intelligent cloud platform with Azure“) from the Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript
I am thrilled we are just days away from the start of Windows 10. It’s the first step towards our goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices in the fiscal year 2018. Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows. Based on feedback from more than 5 million people who have been using Windows 10, we believe people will love the familiarity of Windows 10 and the innovation. It’s safe, secure, and always up to date. Windows 10 is more personal and more productive with Cortana, Office, universal apps, and Continuum. And Windows 10 will deliver innovative new experiences like Inking on Microsoft Edge and gaming across Xbox and PCs, and also opens up entirely new device categories such as Hololens.
Windows 10 will deliver significant value to enterprise customers as well. Windows 10 provides advanced security capabilities with additional features for hardware-based security, mobile work and data protection. It also provides a single device management platform across all devices, from phones to laptops to Internet of Things devices. And Windows 10 helps enterprises stay up to date with Windows Update for Business and Windows Store for Business.
While the PC ecosystem has been under pressure recently, I do believe that Windows 10 will broaden our economic opportunity and return Windows to growth.
- First, we have an OEM ecosystem that is creating exciting new hardware designs for Windows 10. In fact, our OEM partners have over 2,000 distinct devices or configurations already in testing for Windows 10 upgrades as well as hundreds of new hardware designs. We are delighted that the first of these exciting new devices will start to be available on Windows 10 launch day, and by this holiday we will be selling the widest range of Windows hardware ever available.
- Second, we will generate new growth through gross margin on our own differentiated first-party premium device portfolio. We will also significantly reduce our losses on the phone by operating more effectively and efficiently with a more focused portfolio.
- Third, we will grow monetization opportunities across the commercial and consumer space. In the enterprise, customers will continue to value our unparalleled management security, app dev, and servicing capability. And for consumers, Windows 10 creates monetization opportunities with store, search, and gaming. We are confident that these are the right levers to revitalize Windows and restore growth. The progress we made this quarter and the forward-looking guidance that Amy will share shows the opportunity for renewed growth is real.
In hardware, both Surface and Xbox had an incredible Q4.
- We more than doubled Surface revenue to nearly $900 million this quarter, capping off a year in which it delivered more than $3.6 billion in revenue. Both consumers and enterprise customers love this device. Surface is clearly a product where we have gotten the formula right, earned fans, and can apply this formula to other parts of the hardware portfolio.
- Gaming is an important scenario for Windows 10, and our success with Xbox this quarter gives us a strong starting position heading into launch. Xbox Live users grew 22% this quarter and logged nearly 3.5 billion hours of gameplay. Our growing fan base is excited for the best games lineup in our history. All of this comes together with Windows 10, when fans can connect with each other, stream all of their Xbox One games to Windows 10, and experience the best virtual reality platform given our partnership with Oculus Rift and Valve.
- In search, Bing will now power both differentiated experiences on Windows 10 such as Cortana as well as search and search advertising across the AOL portfolio sites in addition to the partnership we already have with Yahoo!, Amazon, and Apple. With advertising revenue growth of 21% year over year, Bing will transition to profitability in the coming fiscal year.
July 28, 2015: Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Microsoft news release for the summary of what has been launched worldwide overall
REDMOND, Wash. — July 28, 2015 — Microsoft Corp. announced that Windows 10 will become available Wednesday as a free upgrade1 or with new PCs and tablets. Windows 10 includes innovations such as Cortana,2 an Xbox app and Microsoft Edge for a familiar, yet more personal and productive, experience. The most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 is delivered as a service and kept automatically up-to-date with innovations and security updates. Windows 10 offers one experience that will become available on the broadest range of devices, including PCs, tablets, phones, Raspberry Pi, Xbox One, HoloLens and more — with more than 2,000 devices or configurations already in testing. The new Windows Store and Windows Software Development Kit also become available Wednesday, opening the door to new and innovative app experiences on Windows 10.
People around the world will celebrate the launch of Windows 10 Wednesday at fan celebrations in 13 countries and via a new yearlong initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft encourages people to share how they plan to #UpgradeYourWorld and to vote for a global nonprofit to receive a cash donation by simply mentioning the nonprofit in a post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using the hashtags #UpgradeYourWorld and #vote. More information on Upgrade Your World can be found at http://www.windows.com/upgradeyourworld.
“A new era of Windows starts today. From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique — built with feedback from over 5 million fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices Group, at Microsoft. “Windows 10 delivers on our more personal computing vision, with a natural, mobile and trusted experience. Along with our partners, we’re excited to deliver the best Windows ever, which will empower people and organizations around the world to do great things.”
Windows 10: Best Windows ever
Windows 10 is fast and familiar — with the return of the Start menu and Live Tiles for instant, streaming updates of what matters most. Windows 10 is the most secure Windows Microsoft has ever released, with enhancements to Windows Defender and SmartScreen to help safeguard against viruses, malware and phishing and innovations such as Windows Hello, which offers a fast, secured, password-free way to log in.3 Keeping up-to-date is also simple, as free updates will help people stay current with the latest features and security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.
Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:
- Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
- New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
- The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
- Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
- Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
- A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
- The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.
Windows 10: Best platform for businesses
Feedback from millions of IT pros has shaped Windows 10, the most extensively tested version of Windows ever. Ready for corporate deployments, Windows 10 will help companies protect against modern cyberattacks, deliver experiences their employees will love and enable continuous innovation with a platform that keeps companies up-to-date with the latest technology. Businesses will be able to control the frequency of their updates and select the features and functionality that are right for each group of their employees.
Windows 10 includes built-in, enterprise-grade security, so customers can replace passwords with more secure options, protect corporate data and corporate identities, and run only the software they trust. New management and deployment tools simplify device management, help lower costs, and enable companies to power their business with the enterprise strength of the Microsoft Azure cloud.
Top apps available on Windows 10
The new Windows Store will open Wednesday and begin accepting new apps for Windows 10. The Windows Store offers one-stop shopping for popular free and paid apps, games, movies, TV shows and the latest music, which can work across all Windows 10 devices. The new Windows Store is the only store where people can use Cortana to control apps with their voice5 and get real-time notifications on their app tiles. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help keep devices safer. In addition to existing Windows 8.1 apps such as Netflix, Flipboard, Mint.com, “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and The Weather Channel, the Windows Store provides a constant stream of new and updated Universal Windows Apps and games, including Twitter, “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta,” Hulu, iHeartRadio, USA TODAY, “Candy Crush Saga” and others including WeChat and QQ, which will launch soon.6
Easy upgrade, devices now available
Upgrading to Windows 10 is easy for customers running a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC or tablet. Starting Wednesday, people who reserved their upgrade to Windows 10 will be notified in waves when their upgrade is ready to be installed. For business customers, Windows 10 is available to start deploying within their work environments, and starting Aug. 1, organizations that have volume licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.
Retail partners are ready to help people upgrade to Windows 10 with our largest tech bench program ever, including more than 100,000 trained retailers and tens of thousands of stores around the world. Free upgrade programs will be available Wednesday, with Windows 10 software becoming broadly available in retail stores around the world between mid-August and September. Devices running Windows 10 will be available in some retail stores on Wednesday, with many, many more devices to become available in the weeks and months ahead.
Microsoft has also worked closely with retailers to introduce programs to help people easily upgrade, including Best Buy, Bic Camera, Croma, Currys/PC World, Darty, Elkjøp, Fnac, Jarrir, Incredible Connection, Media Markt, Staples, Yamada Denki, Yodobashi and many more leading retailers from around the world.
Information on upgrading, new and compatible devices, and apps for Windows can be found at http://www.windows.com. Additional information and media assets are available at http://blogs.windows.com/launch.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
1 Limited time free upgrade offer for qualified and genuine Windows 7 and 8/8.1 devices. Hardware and software requirements apply; see http://www.windows.com/windows10upgrade for details.
2 Cortana available in select markets at launch; experience may vary by region and device.
3 Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.
4 An Office 365 subscription is required to edit Office apps on Windows 10 PCs or larger tablets.
5 Hardware dependent.
6 Some apps and content sold separately. App and content availability and experience may vary by region and device.
Justin Rosenstein of Asana: Be happy in a project-oriented teamwork environment made free of e-mail based communication hassle
Get Organized: Using Asana in Business [PCMag YouTube channel, Febr 24, 2014]
Steven Sinofsky, former head of Microsoft Office and (later) Windows at Microsoft:
We’ve all seen examples of the collaborative process playing out poorly by using email. There’s too much email and no ability to track and manage the overall work using the tool. Despite calls to ban the process, what is really needed is a new tool. So Asana is one of many companies working to build tools that are better suited to the work than one we currently all collectively seem to complain about.
in Don’t ban email—change how you work! [Learning by Shipping, Jan 31, 2014]
Asana is a simple example of an easy-to-use and modern tool that decreases (to zero) email flow, allows for everyone to contribute and align on what needs to be done, and to have a global view of what is left to do.
in You’re doing it wrong [Learning by Shipping, April 10, 2014] and Shipping is a Feature: Some Guiding Principles for People That Build Things [Learning by Shipping, April 17, 2014]
Making e-mail communication easier [Fox Business Video]
May. 06, 2014 – 3:22 – Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein weighs in on his new email business.
How To Collaborate Effectively With Asana [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Dustin Moskovitz: How Asana Gets Work Done [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Do Great Things: Keynote by Justin Rosenstein of Asana | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
Asana’s Justin Rosenstein: “I Flew Coach Here.” | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
How we use Asana [asana blog, Oct 9, 2013]
We love to push the boundaries of what Asana can do. From creating meeting agendas to tracking bugs to maintaining snacks in the refrigerator, the Asana product is (unsurprisingly) integral to everything we do at Asana. We find many customers are also pushing the boundaries of Asana to fit their teams’ needs and processes. Since Asana was created to be flexible and powerful enough for every team, nothing makes us more excited than hearing about these unique use cases.
Recently, we invited some of our Bay Area-based customers to our San Francisco HQ to share best practices with one another and hear from our cofounder Justin Rosenstein about the ways we use Asana at Asana. We’re excited to pass on this knowledge through some video highlights from the event. You can watch the entire video here: The Asana Way to Coordinate Ambitious Projects with Less Effort
Capture steps in a Project
“The first thing we always do is create a Project that names what we’re trying to accomplish. Then we’ll get together as a team and think of, ‘What is every single thing we need to accomplish between now and the completion of that Project?’ Over the course of the Project, all of the Tasks end up getting assigned.”
“Typically when I start my day, I’ll start by looking at all the things that are assigned to me. I’ll choose a few that I want to work on today. I try to be as realistic as possible, which means adding half as many things as I am tempted to add. After putting those into my ‘Today’ view, there are often a couple of other things I need to do. I just hit enter and add a few more tasks.”
Forward emails to Asana
“Because I want Asana to be the source of truth for everything I do, I want to put emails into my task list and prioritize them. I’ll just take the email and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We chose ‘x’ so it wouldn’t conflict with anything else in your address book. Once I send that, it will show up in Asana with the attachments and everything right intact.”
Run great meetings
“We maintain one Project per meeting. If I’m looking at my Task list and see a Task I want to discuss at the meeting, I’ll just use Quick Add (tab + Q) to put the Task into the correct Project. Then when the meeting comes around, everything that everyone wants to talk about has already been constructed ahead of time.”
“Often a problem comes up and someone asks, ‘Who’s responsible for that?’ So instead, we’ve built out a list of areas of responsibility (AoRs), which is all the things that someone at the company has to be responsible for. By having AoRs, we distribute responsibility. We can allow managers to focus on things that are more specific to management and empower everyone at the company to be a leader in their own field.”
Background on https://asana.com/
How it all started and progressed?
asana demo & vision talk [Robert Marquardt YouTube channel, Feb 15, 2011]
The Asana Vision & Demo [asana blog, Feb 7, 2011]
We recently hosted an open house at our offices in San Francisco, where we showed the first public demo of Asana and deep-dived into the nuances of the product, the long-term mission that drives us, how the beta’s going, and more. We were really excited to be able to share what we’ve been working on and why we’re so passionate about it, and hope you enjoy
thisthe above video of the talk:
Asana will be available more broadly later this year. In the meantime,
Introducing Asana: The Modern Way to Work Together [asana blog, Nov 2, 2011]
Asana is a modern web application that keeps teams in sync, a shared task list where everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on in service of their common goal. Rather than trying to stay organized through the tedious grind of emails and meetings, teams using Asana can move faster and do more — or even take on bigger and more interesting goals.
How Asana Works:
Asana re-imagines the way we work together by putting the fundamental unit of productivity – the task – at the center. Breaking down ambitious goals into small pieces, assigning ownership of those tasks, and tracking them to completion is how things get built, from software to skyscrapers. With Asana, you can:
- capture everything your team is planning and doing in one place. When tasks and the conversations about them are collected together, instead of spread around emails, documents, whiteboards, and notebooks, they become the shared, trusted, collective memory for your organization.
- keep your team in sync on the priorities, and what everyone is working on. When you have a single shared view of a project’s priorities, along with an accurate view into what each person is working on and when, everyone on the team knows exactly what matters, and what work remains between here and the goal.
- get the right information at the right time. Follow tasks, and you’ll receive emails as their status evolves. Search, and you’ll see the full activity feed of all the discussions and changes to a task over its history. Now, it’s easy to stay on top of the details — without asking people to forward you a bunch of email threads.
Building tools for teamwork [asana blog, Nov 22, 2013]
Our co-founder, Justin, recently wrote in Wired about why we need to rethink the tools we use to work together. The article generated a lot of interesting comments, from ideas on knowledge management to fatigue with the “meeting lifestyle,” to this protest on the typical office culture:
“Isn’t the root of this problem that, within our own organizations, we fiercely guard information and our decision-making processes? Email exchanges and invite-only meetings shut out others– forcing the need for follow-up conversations, summary reports, and a trail of other status/staff meetings to relay content already covered some place/some time before.”
To reach its goals, we think a team needs clarity of purpose, plan and responsibility. Technology and tools can help us reach that kind of clarity, but only if they target the right problem. From their roles at Facebook, Asana’s founders have extensive knowledge of social networks, and the social graph technology they rely on. But Asana isn’t a social network. Why? Because, as Justin outlines, the social graph doesn’t target the problem of work:
Our personal and professional lives, even if they overlap, have two distinct goals — and they require different “graphs.”
For our personal lives, the goal is love (authentic interpersonal connection), and that requires a social graph with people at the center. For our work lives, the goal is creation (working together to realize our collective potential), and that requires a work graph, with the work at the center.
Don’t get me wrong: Human connection is valuable within a business. But it should be in service to the organizational function of getting work done, and doesn’t need to be the center of the graph.
So, how does this change the experience for you and your teammates? A work graph means having all the information you need when you need it. Instead of blasting messages at the whole team, like “Hey, has anyone started working on this yet?”, you should be able to efficiently find out exactly who’s working on that task and how much progress they’ve made. That’s the target Asana is aiming for. Read Justin’s full Wired article.
Organizations in Asana [asana blog, May 1, 2013]
Today, we’re excited to be launching a collection of new features aimed at helping companies use and support Asana across their entire enterprise. We call it Organizations.
Since we began, Asana has been on a mission to help great teams achieve more ambitious goals. We started 18 months ago with our free service, targeted at smaller teams and even individuals – helping them get and stay organized.
When we launched our first premium tiers six months later, we enabled medium sized teams and companies – think 10s to 100s of people – to go further with Asana. In the year between then and now, we’ve been continuously amazed by all the places and ways Asana is being used to organize a team: in industries as diverse as education, healthcare, finance, technology, and manufacturing; in companies from two-person partnerships to Fortune 100 enterprises; and in dozens of countries representing every continent but the frozen one. There’s a lot of important work being organized in Asana.
But we’re still just getting started – there remain teams that we haven’t been ready to support: the largest teams, those that grow from 100s to 1,000s of people. While it would be remarkable if it only took a small number of coworkers to design and manufacture electric cars, synthesize DNA, or deliver healthcare to villages across the globe – these missions are complex, and require more people to be involved in them to succeed. Many of the teams using Asana today are inside these bigger organizations, and they’ve been asking for Asana to work at enterprise-scale. So for the past several months, we’ve been working on just that.
Stories from our first year [asana blog, Nov 12, 2012]
… When we launched a year go, we had an ambitious mission: to create a shared task management platform that empowers teams of like-minded people to do great things. … In the course of our first year, tens of thousands of teams looking for a better way to work together have adopted Asana. …
… we collected three of these stories from three distinct kinds of teams:
– a tech startup [Foursquare],
– a fast-growing organic food company [Bare Fruit & Sundia] and
– a leading Pacific Coast aquarium [Aquarium of the Bay].
Foursquare Launches 5.0
Right around the time Foursquare passed 100 employees over the last year, we started building Foursquare 5.0. This update was a big deal: we were overhauling Foursquare’s core mechanics, evolving from check-ins towards the spontaneous discovery of local businesses. As we built the new app, we needed a way to gather feedback from the entire team.
We tried what felt like every collaboration tool around. Group emails were a mess. Google Docs was impossible to parse. We’d heard about Asana and decided to give it a shot.
Using Asana, we were easily able to collect product feedback and bugs from everyone in the company, then parse, discuss, distribute and prioritize the work. It became an indispensable group communication tool.
Foursquare 5.0 was a giant success, and we couldn’t have done it without Asana.
–Noah Weiss, Product Manager
Then, Of Course, There Is Us
It’s an understatement to say that we rely on Asana. We use our own product to manage every function of our business. Asana is where we plan, capture ideas, build meeting agendas, prioritize our product roadmap, document which bugs to fix and list the snacks to buy. It’s our CRM, our editorial calendar, our Applicant Tracking System, and our new-hire orientation system. Every team in the company – from product, design, and engineering to sales and marketing to recruiting and user operations – relies on the product we are building to stay in sync, connect our individual tasks to the bigger picture and accomplish our collective goals.
Q&A: Rising Realty Partners builds their business with Asana [asana blog, Feb 7, 2014]
As our business expanded, we found ourselves relying heavily on email, faxes, and even FedEx to communicate with each other and collaborate with outside parties. We needed a better way to organize, prioritize and communicate around our work, and we found the answer in Asana.
I can’t image how complex our communications would have been if we weren’t using Asana. We had dozens of people internally, and more than 50 people externally, all involved in making this deal happen. Having all of that communication in Asana significantly cut down on the craziness.
Because of Asana’s Dropbox integration, our workflow is now fast, intuitive and organized — something that was impossible to achieve over email. For the acquisition, we used Asana and Dropbox simultaneously to keep track of everything; from what each team member was doing, to the current status of each transaction, to keeping a history of all related documents. We had more than 18,000 items in Dropbox that we would link to in Asana instead of attaching them in email. We removed more than 30 gigabytes of information per recipient from our inboxes and everything was neatly organized around the work we were doing in Asana. This meant that the whole team always had the latest and most relevant information.
For this entire project, maybe one percent of our total internal communication was happening in email. With Asana, anyone in the company could look at any aspect of the project, see where it stood, and add their input. No one had to remember to cc’ or ‘reply all’.
The success of this deal was largely due to Asana and we plan to use it in future acquisitions –Asana has become essential to our team’s success.
Our iPhone App Levels Up [asana blog, Sept 6, 2012]
Until recently, we’ve focused most of our energy on the browser-based version of Asana. But, in the last few months, even as we’ve launched major new features in our web application, we’ve been putting much more time into improving the mobile experience. In June, we made several meaningful architectural improvements to pave the way for bigger and better things and hinted that these changes were in the works.
Today, we’ve taken the next step in that direction: Version 2.0 of our iPhone app is in the App Store now. We are really proud of this effort – almost everyone at Asana played a part in this release. This new version is a top-to-bottom redesign that really puts the power of the desktop web version of Asana right in your pocket.
Asana comes to Android [asana blog, Feb 28, 2013]
Five months ago, we launched our first bonafide mobile app, for the iPhone, and we’ve been steadily improving it ever since. Focusing on a single platform at first allowed us to be meticulous about our mobile experience, adding new features and honing the design until we knew it was something people loved. After strong positive feedback from our customers and a solid rating in the iTunes App Store, we knew it was time.
Today, we are happy to announce that Asana for Android is here. You can get it right now in the Google Play store
As of today (May 8, 2014) there are 70 employees and 15 open positions. The company has 4 investors: Benchmark Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, Founders Fund and Peter Thiel. The first two put $9 million in November 2009. Then Founders Fund and Peter Thiel added to that $28 million in July 2012. Reuters reported that with Facebook alumni line up $28 million for workplace app Asana [July 23, 2012]:
Asana, a Silicon Valley start-up, has lined up $28 million in a financing round led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and his Founders Fund, the company said.
The funding round values the workplace-collaboration company at $280 million, a person familiar with the matter said.
“This investment allows us to attract the best and brightest designers and engineers,” said Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein, who said that in turn would help the company build on its goal of making interaction among its client-companies’ employees easier.
Asana launched the free version last year of its company management software that makes it easier to collaborate on projects. It introduced a paid, premium service earlier this year. It declined to give revenue figures, but said “hundreds” of customers had upgraded to the premium version.
Although Rosenstein and co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are alumni of social-network Facebook– Moskovitz co-founded the service with his Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg – they were quick to distance Asana from social networking.
Instead, they say, they view the company as an alternative to email, in-person meetings, physical whiteboards, and spreadsheets.
“That’s what we see as our competition,” said Rosenstein. “Replacing those technologies.”
With its latest funding round, Asana has now raised a total of $38 million from investors including Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
Thiel, who got to know Moskovitz and Rosenstein thanks to his early backing of Facebook, had already invested in Asana when it raised its “angel” round in early 2009. Now, his high-profile Founders Fund is investing and Thiel is joining Asana’s board.
Facebook has 901 million monthly users and revenue last year of $3.7 billion. But its May initial public offering disappointed many investors after it priced at $38 per share and then quickly fell. It closed on Friday at $28.76.
Many investors speculate that start-ups will have to accept lower valuations in the wake of the Facebook IPO. The Asana co-founders said the terms of their latest funding round were set before Facebook debuted on public markets.
A few of Facebook’s longtime employees have gone on to work on their own ventures.
Bret Taylor, formerly chief technology officer, said last month he was leaving to start his own company.
Dave Morin, who joined Facebook in 2008 from Apple, left in 2010 to found social network Path. Facebook alumni Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever left in 2009 to start Quora, their question-and-answer company, which is also backed by Thiel.
Another former roommate of Zuckerberg’s, Chris Hughes, also left a few years ago and coordinated online organizing for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Now, he is publisher of the New Republic magazine.
Matt Cohler, who joined Facebook from LinkedIn early in 2005, joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital in 2008. His investments there include Asana and Quora.
Core technology used
Luna, our in-house framework for writing great web apps really quickly [asana blog, Feb 2, 2010]
At Asana, we’re building a Collaborative Information Manager that we believe will make it radically easier for groups of people to get work done. Writing a complex web application, we experienced pain all too familiar to authors of “Web 2.0″ software (and interactive software in general): there were all kinds of extremely difficult programming tasks that we were doing over and over again for every feature we wanted to write. So we’re developing Lunascript — an in-house programming language for writing rich web applications in about 10% of the time and code you can today.
Check out the
videowe made »
[rather an article about Luna as of Nov 2, 2011]
Release the Kraken! An open-source pub/sub server for the real-time web [asana blog, March 5, 2013]
Today, we are releasing Kraken, the distributed pub/sub server we wrote to handle the performance and scalability demands of real-time web apps like Asana.
Before building Kraken, we searched for an existing open-source pub/sub solution that would satisfy our needs. At the time, we discovered that most solutions in this space were designed to solve a much wider set of problems than we had, and yet none were particularly well-suited to solve the specific requirements of real-time apps like Asana. Our team had experience writing routing-based infrastructure and ultimately decided to build a custom service that did exactly what we needed – and nothing more.
The decision to build Kraken paid off. For the last three years, Kraken has been fearlessly routing messages between our servers to keep your team in sync. During this time, it has yet to crash even once. We’re excited to finally release Kraken to the community!
Issues Moving to Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer [asana blog, June 5, 2012]
Asana’s infrastructure runs almost entirely on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides us with the ability to launch managed production infrastructure in minutes with simple API calls. We use AWS for servers, databases, monitoring, and more. In general, we’ve been very happy with AWS. A month ago, we decided to use Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer service to balance traffic between our own software load balancers.
Announcing the Asana API [asana blog, April 19, 2012]
Today we are excited to share that you can now add and access Asana data programmatically using our simple REST API.
The Asana API lets you build a variety of applications and scripts to integrate Asana with your business systems, show Asana data in other contexts, and create tasks from various locations.
Here are some examples of the things you can build:
- Source Control Integration to mark a Task as complete and add a link to the code submission as a comment when submitting code.
- A desktop app that shows the Tasks assigned to you
- A dashboard page that shows a visual representation of complete and incomplete Tasks in a project
Asana comes to Internet Explorer [asana blog, Oct 16, 2013]
Microsoft is transitioning to a world with more usage and more software driven value add (rather than the old device driven world) in mobility and the cloud, the latter also helping to grow the server business well above its peers
Quartely Highlights (from Earnings Call Slides):
Cloud momentum helps drive Q3 results
- Outstanding momentum and results in our cloud services; total Commercial Cloud revenue more than doubled again this quarter
- Office 365 Home currently has 4.4 million subscribers, adding nearly one million new users this quarter
- Windows remained the platform of choice for business users, with double-digit increases in both Windows OEM Pro and Windows Volume Licensing revenue
- With focus on spend prioritization, we grew our operating expenses only 2%, contributing to solid earnings growth
Microsoft CEO offer bright future [‘Saxo TV – TradingFloor.com’ YouTube channel, April 25, 2014]
Willing to change, that was the message new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was pushing as the firm released third quarter earnings.
Microsoft beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations, driving the company’s stock price up 3 percent on Thursday after earnings were released. Growth came from the company’s surface tablet sales and commercial business sector, according to Norman Young, Senior Equity Analyst at Morningstar. Results were also aided by a less severe decline in the PC industry.
Young believes the company has already demonstrated continued growth for the fourth quarter and remains optimistic about the company’s new direction.
Nadella is shifting the traditionally PC focused company towards more mobile and cloud based technology. On the quarterly call with Wall Street he said, “What you can expect of Microsoft is courage in the face of reality; we will approach our future with a challenger mindset; we will be bold in our innovation.” Analysts are excited about the company’s future trajectory as he continues to push Microsoft’s business into the mobile and cloud computing world.
The company’s stock has increased 8 percent since Nadella assumed the role of CEO in February.
From Earnings Release FY14 Q3 [April 24, 2014]
“This quarter’s results demonstrate the strength of our business, as well as the opportunities we see in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. We are making good progress in our consumer services like Bing and Office 365 Home, and our commercial customers continue to embrace our cloud solutions. Both position us well for long-term growth,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “We are focused on executing rapidly and delivering bold, innovative products that people love to use.”
Devices and Consumer revenue grew 12% to $8.30 billion.
- Windows OEM revenue grew 4%, driven by strong 19% growth in Windows OEM Pro revenue.
- Office 365 Home now has 4.4 million subscribers, adding nearly 1 million subscribers in just three months.
- Microsoft sold in 2.0 million Xbox console units, including 1.2 million Xbox One consoles.
- Surface revenue grew over 50% to approximately $500 million.
- Bing U.S. search share grew to 18.6% and search advertising revenue grew 38%.
Commercial revenue grew 7% to $12.23 billion.
- Office 365 revenue grew over 100%, and commercial seats nearly doubled, demonstrating strong enterprise momentum for Microsoft’s cloud productivity solutions.
- Azure revenue grew over 150%, and the company has announced more than 40 new features that make the Azure platform more attractive to cloud application developers.
- Windows volume licensing revenue grew 11%, as business customers continue to make Windows their platform of choice.
- Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, our productivity server offerings, collectively grew double-digits.
From Microsoft’s CEO Discusses F3Q 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, April 25, 2014]
From the prepared comments: “This quarter we continued our rapid cadence of innovation and announced a range of new services and features in three key areas – data, cloud, and mobility. SQL Server 2014 helps improve overall performance, and with Power BI, provides an end-to-end solution from data to analytics. Microsoft Azure preview portal provides a fully integrated cloud experience. The Enterprise Mobility Suite provides IT with a comprehensive cloud solution to support bring-your-own-device scenarios. These offerings help businesses convert big data into ambient intelligence, developers more efficiently build and run cloud solutions, and IT manage enterprise mobility with ease.”
Satya Nadella – Chief Executive Officer:
As I have told our employees, our industry does not respect tradition, it only respects innovation. This applies to us and everyone else. When I think about our industry over the next 5, 10 years, I see a world where computing is more ubiquitous and all experiences are powered by ambient intelligence. Silicon, hardware systems and software will co-evolve together and give birth to a variety of new form factors. Nearly everything we do will become more digitized, our interactions with other people, with machines and between machines. The ability to reason over and draw insights from everything that’s been digitized will improve the fidelity of our daily experiences and interactions. This is the mobile-first and cloud-first world. It’s a rich canvas for innovation and a great growth opportunity for Microsoft across all our customer segments.
To thrive we will continue to zero in on the things customers really value and Microsoft can uniquely deliver. We want to build products that people love to use. And as a result, you will see us increasingly focus on usage as the leading indicator of long-term success.
- advancing Office, Windows and our data platform
- continue to invest in our cloud capabilities including Office 365 and Azure in the fast growing SaaS and cloud platform markets
- ensuring that our cloud services are available across all device platforms that people use
- delivering a cloud for everyone on every device
- have bold plans to move Windows forward:
– investing and innovating in every dimension from form-factor to software experiences to price
– Windows platform is unique in how it brings together consistent end user experiences across small to large screens, broadest platform opportunity for developers and control and assurance for IT
– enhance our device capabilities with the addition of Nokia’s talented people and their depth in mobile technologies
- our vision is about being going boldly into this mobile-first, cloud-first world
So this mobile-first cloud-first thing is a pretty deep thing for us. When we say mobile-first, in fact what we mean by that is mobility first. We think about users and their experiences spanning a variety of devices. So it’s not about any one form factor that may have some share position today, but as we look to the future, what are the set of experiences across devices, some ours and some not ours that we can power through experiences that we can create uniquely. …
… When you think about mobility first, that means you need to have really deep understanding of all the mobile scenarios for everything from how communications happen, how meetings occur. And those require us to build new capability. We will do some of this organically, some of it inorganically.
A good example of this is what we have done with Nokia. So we will – obviously we are looking forward to that team joining us building on the capability and then execution, even in the last three weeks or so we have announced a bunch of things where we talked about this one cloud for everyone and every device. We talked about how our data platform is going to enable this data culture, which is in fact fundamentally changing how Microsoft itself works.
We always talked about what it means to think about Windows, especially with the launch of this universal Windows application model. How different it is now to think about Windows as one family, which was not true before, but now we have a very different way to think about it.
[Re: Microsoft transition to more of a subscription business]
The way I look at it … we are well on our way to making that transition, in terms of moving from pure licenses to long-term contracts and as well as subscription business model. So when you talked about Platform-as-a-Service if you look at our commercial cloud it’s made up of the platform itself which is Azure. We also have a SaaS business in Office 365.
Now, one of the things that we want to make sure we look at is each of the constituent parts because the margin profile on each one of these things is going to different. The infrastructure elements right now in particular is going to have different economics versus some of the per-user applications in a SaaS mode have. It’s the blending of all of that that matters and the growth of that matters to us the most in this time where I think there is just a couple of us really playing in this market. I mean this is gold rush time in some sense of being able to capitalize on the opportunity.
And when it comes to that we have some of the best, the broadest SaaS solution and the broadest platform solution and that combination of those assets doesn’t come often. So what we are very focused on is how do we make sure we get our customer aggressively into this, having them use our service, be successful with it. And then there will be a blended set of margins across even just our cloud. And what matters to me in the long run is the magnitude of profit we generate given a lot of categories are going to be merged as this transition happens. And we have to be able to actively participate in it and drive profit growth.
From the prepared comments: “Office Commercial revenue was up 6%, driven by Office 365 as customers transitioned to our cloud productivity services. Office 365 revenue grew over 100%, and seats nearly doubled as well. Our productivity server offerings continue to perform well, with Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, collectively growing double-digits.”
… to me the Office 365 growth is in fact driving our enterprise infrastructure growth which is driving Azure growth and that cycle to me is most exciting. So that’s one of the reasons why I want to have to keep indexing on the usage of all of this and the growth numbers you see is a reflection of that.
[Background from him in the call:]Office 365 I am really, really excited about what’s happening there, which is to me this is the core engine that’s driving a lot of our cloud adoption and you see it in the numbers and Amy will talk more about the numbers. But one of the fundamental things its also doing is it’s actually a SaaS application and it’s also an architecture for enterprises. And one of the most salient things we announced when we talked about the cloud for everyone and every device and we talked about Office 365 having now iPad apps, we also launched something called the enterprise mobility suite which is perhaps one of the most strategic things during that day that we announced which was that we now have a consistent and deep platform for identity management which by the way gets bootstrapped every time Office 365 users sign up, device management and data protection, which is really what every enterprise customer needs in a mobile-first world, in a world where you have SaaS application adoption and you have BYOD or bring your own devices happening.
[Re #1: about the new world in terms of more usage and more software driven rather than device driven, and the reengagement with the developer community in that world]
Developers are very, very important to us. If you’re in the platform business which we’re on both on the device side as well as on the cloud side, developers and their ability to create new value props and new applications on them is sort of likes itself. I would say couple of things.
… on the cloud side, in fact one of the most strategic APIs is the Office API. If you think about building an application for iOS, if you want single sign-on for any enterprise application, it’s the Azure AD single sign-on. That’s one of the things that we showed at Build, which is how to take advantage of list data in Sharepoint, contact information in Exchange, Azure active directory information for log-on. And those are the APIs that are very, very powerful APIs and unique to us. And they expand the opportunity for developers to reach into the enterprises. And then of course Azure is a full platform, which is very attractive to developers. So that gives you a flavor for how important developers are and what your opportunities are.
From the prepared comments: “Devices and Consumer Other revenue grew 18% to $1.95 billion, driven by search advertising and our Office 365 Home service. Search revenue grew 38%, offset by display [advertising] revenue which declined 24% this quarter. Gross margin grew 26% to $541 million. The combined revenue from Office 365 Home and Office Consumer, reported in the Devices & Consumer Licensing segment, grew 28%. … Office Consumer revenue increased 15% due to higher attach and strong sales in Japan, where we saw customers accelerate some purchases ahead of a national sales tax increase. Excluding that estimated impact, Office still outpaced the underlying consumer PC market.”
[Re: how you could potentially make what has been traditionally a unit model with Windows OEM revenue into something potentially more recurring in nature?]
… the thing I would add is this transition from one time let’s say licenses or device purchases to what is a recurring stream. You see that in a variety of different ways. You have back end subscriptions, in our case, there will be Office 365, there is advertising, there is the app store itself. So these are all things that attach to a device. And so we are definitely going to look to make sure that the value prop that we put together is going to be holistic in its nature and the monetization itself will be holistic and it will increase with the usage of the device across these services. And so that’s the approach we will take.
From the prepared comments: “Zero dollar licensing for sub 9-inch devices helps grow share and creates new opportunities to deliver our services, with minimal short term revenue impact”
[Re: the recent decision to offer Windows for free for sub 9-inch devices and its impact of Microsoft share in that arena, about Windows pricing in general, the kind of play in different market segmentations, and how Windows pricing is evolving]
Overall, the way I want us to look at Windows going forward is what does it mean to have the broadest device family and ecosystem? Because at the end of the day it’s about the users and developer opportunity we create for the entirety of the family. That’s going to define the health of the ecosystem. So, to me, it matters that we approach the various segments that we now participate with Windows, because that’s what has happened. Fundamentally, we participated in the PC market. Now we are in a market that’s much bigger than the PC market. We continue to have healthy share, healthy pricing and in fact growth as we mentioned in the enterprise adoption of Windows.
And that’s we plan to in fact add more value, more management, more security, especially as things are changing in those segments. Given BYOD and software security issues, we want to be able to reinforce that core value, but then when it comes to new opportunities from wearables to internet of things, we want to be able to participate on all of this with our Windows offering, with our tools around it. And we want to be able to price by category. And that’s effectively what we did. We looked at what it makes – made sense for us to do on tablets and phones below 9 inches and we felt that the price there needed to be changed. We have monetization vehicles on the back end for those. And that’s how we are going to approach each one of these opportunities, because in a world of ubiquitous computing, we want Windows to be ubiquitous. That doesn’t mean its one price, one business model for all of that. And it’s actually a market expansion opportunity and that’s the way we are going to go execute on it.
From the prepared comments: “Our universal app development platform is a big step towards enabling developers to engage users across PCs, tablets, and phones with a common set of APIs”
[Re #2: about the new world in terms of more usage and more software driven rather than device driven, and the reengagement with the developer community in that world]
Developers are very, very important to us. If you’re in the platform business which we’re on both on the device side as well as on the cloud side, developers and their ability to create new value props and new applications on them is sort of likes itself. I would say couple of things.
One is the announcements we made at Build on the device side is really our breakthrough worked for us which is we’re the only device platform today that has this notion of building universal apps with fantastic tooling around them. So that means you can target multiple of our devices and have common code across all of them. And this notion of having a Windows universal application help developers leverage them core asset, which is their core asset across this expanded opportunity is huge. There was this one user experience change that Terry Myerson talked about at Build, which expands the ability for anyone who puts up application in Windows Store to be now discovered across even the billion plus PC installed base. And so that’s I think a fantastic opportunity to developers and we are doing everything to make that opportunity clear and recruit developers to do more with Windows. And in that context, we will also support cross platforms. So this has been one of the things that we have done is the relationship with Unity. We have tooling that allows you to have this core library that’s portable. You can bring your code asset. In fact, we are the only client platform that has the abstractions available for the different languages and so on.
From the prepared comments: “Server product revenue grew 10%, driven by demand for our data platform, infrastructure and management offerings, and Azure.”
- “SQL Server revenue grew more than 15%, and continued to outpace the data platform market; we continue to gain share in mission critical workloads”
- “Windows Server Premium and System Center revenue showed continued strength from increased virtualization share and demand for hybrid infrastructure”
[Re: about the factors that have enabled Microsoft to continue growing server business well above its peers, and whether that kind of 10% ish growth is sustainable over fiscal 2015]
It’s a pretty exciting change that’s happening, obviously it’s that part of the business is performing very well for a while now, but quite frankly it’s fundamentally changing. One of the questions I often get asked is hey how did Windows server and the hypervisor underneath it becomes so good so soon. You’ve been at it for a long time but there seems to have something fundamentally changed I mean we’ve grown a lot of share recently, the product is more capable than it ever was, the rate of change is different and for one reason alone which is we use it to run Azure. So the fact that we use our servers to run our cloud makes our servers more competitive for other people to build their own cloud.
So it’s the same trend that’s accelerating us on both sides. The other thing that’s happening is when we sell our server products they for most part are just not isolated anymore. They come with automatic cloud tiering. SQL server is a great example. We just launched a new version of SQL which is by far the best release of SQL in terms of its features like it’s exploitation of in-memory. It’s the first product in the database world that has in-memory for all the three workloads of databases, OLTP, data warehousing and BI. But more importantly it automatically gives you high availability which means a lot to every CIO and every enterprise deployment by actually tiering to the cloud.
From the prepared comments: “Commercial Other revenue grew 31%, to $1.90 billion, driven by Commercial Cloud revenue which exceeded our guidance as customers transitioned to our cloud solutions faster than expected; Gross margin increased 80% as we realized margin expansion through engineering efficiencies and continued scale benefits; Enterprise services revenue grew 8%”
So those kinds of feature innovation which is pretty boundary less for us is breakthrough work. It’s not something that somebody who has been a traditional competitor of ours can do if you’re not even a first class producer of a public cloud service. So I think that we’re in a very unique place. Our ability to deliver this hybrid value proposition and be in a position, where we not only run a cloud service at scale, but we also provide the infrastructure underneath it as the server products to others. That’s what’s driving the growth. The shape of that growth and so on will change over time, but I feel very, very bullish about our ability to continue this innovation.
Gary Busey Meets Amazon Fire TV [amazon YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
Amazon unveils the FireTV [CNETTV YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
Analyst commentary: Amazon Unveils Video-Streaming Device ‘Fire TV’ [WSJDigitalNetwork YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
Introducing Amazon Fire TV: The Easiest Way to Watch Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and More on Your Big-Screen TV [Amazon press release, April 2, 2014]
Powerful performance with 3x the processing power, 4x the memory, dedicated GPU, and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi
Say it, watch it—use voice search to instantly find movies, TV shows, and more
New ASAP feature predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for playback before you even hit play
Huge, open ecosystem of entertainment—choose from over 200,000 movies and TV episodes
Plus, Fire TV comes with access to games from EA, Disney, Gameloft, Mojang, 2K, Amazon Game Studios, and more
My insert here: Amazon announces Fire TV, its own set top box: 90 Seconds on The Verge [The Verge YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apr. 2, 2014– (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Kindle revolutionized reading by making it possible to think of a book and be reading it in less than 60 seconds. Kindle Fire put the world’s largest selection of movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks, and magazines in the palm of your hand. In each case, Amazonintegrates the hardware, software, and the content into an easy-to-use, seamless, end-to-end service for customers. Today, Amazon is excited to unveil its newest innovation—Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Fire TV also brings photos, music, and games to the living room. Meet Amazon Fire TV at www.amazon.com/FireTV.
“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards.”
Prime (+Netflix comparison): Amazon may hike Prime cost as earnings disappoint and further challenges lay ahead of the company for which it needs to adjust its business model and expand its operations [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 31, 2014]
1. Cable and satellite video market (U.S. only)
2. Pay-TV market (cable and satellite, IPTV, terrestrial)
3. The overall TV market (home video, on demand video, linear TV)
4. IPTV—AT&T U-verse TV and Verizon FiOS video in particular
5. OTT (Over-the-top content)
within the Microsoft’s integrated solution for streaming video and Live TV providers on all devices, plus the upcoming live-action and “shared experience” TV of its own on Xbox [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 3, 2014] which also contains:
6. Microsoft’s live TV solution on Xbox
7. Preliminary information on the upcoming products from Xbox Entertainment Studios
8. Xbox Music and Xbox Video services for other devices
Amazon’s move into overall leadership: Kindle Fire HDX with Snapdragon 800, “revolutionary on-device tech support” (Mayday), enterprise and productivity capable Fire OS 3.0 forked from Android 4.2.2 etc. PLUS a significantly enhanced, new Kindle Fire HD for a much lower, $139 price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 27, 2013]
My insert here: Hands On with Amazon Fire TV [TechCrunch YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]
Amazon Fire TV features:
- Voice search that actually works—simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, or genre into the remote, and you’re done. No more hunting and pecking in an alphabet grid.
- All the content—instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, YouTube, and more, plus the largest selection of videos for rent and purchase—over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video. Plus, listen to music with Amazon MP3, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more.
- Powerful performance in a tiny form factor—quad-core processor with over 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, a dedicated GPU, plus 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3 for exceptional speed and fluidity. Delivers stunning 1080p HD video and immersive Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. All of this comes in an incredibly small package—Fire TV is 0.7” thin and comes with a simple and sleek remote control with a built-in microphone.
- Simple and easy to use—arrives pre-registered so you can start watching immediately out of the box.
- An exclusive new feature called ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you even hit play—instant start.
- High-quality, low-cost gaming—games like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. The average price of paid games on Fire TV is $1.85. Play using your Fire TV remote, the Fire TV app for smartphones and tablets, or the optional Fire game controller.
- Amazon FreeTime revolutionizes parental controls—parents can choose what their kids see and set time limits for types of content and times of day—no more negotiating for one more show before bedtime. Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows.
- X-Ray for movies, TV shows, and music—see information about cast and crew, trivia, goofs, and synchronized lyrics.
- See all of your photos and personal videos come alive on your big-screen TV—seamless integration with Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
Simple and Easy to Use, with Powerful Performance
Powerful Quad-Core Processor and Graphics Engine
Fire TV features a world-class quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, and a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine that processes 57 billion floating point instructions per second, for lightning-fast graphics and excellent fluidity. Fire TV comes with 2GB of memory, 4x the memory of Apple TV, Chromecast, or Roku 3, so content loads faster and games run smoother.
New Amazon Fire TV powered by Snapdragon 600 processor [Qualcomm Snapdragon Blog, April 2, 2014]
Amongst popcorn aromas and home-theatre decor, today, Amazon announced Fire TV: a streaming set top box that aims to deliver just about every video streaming service in a compact, powerful package.
Addressing the media at today’s announcement in New York, Amazon.com’s Peter Larsen, Vice President of Kindle, identified three problems with today’s internet-enabled set-top boxes—search, performance, and a closed ecosystem—and detailed how Fire TV solves them.
Granted, search and content ecosystems are well within the purview of Amazon. But performance? That’s where Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors come in.
Sporting a Snapdragon 600 processor with quad-core CPU, the Fire TV has all the base capabilities you expect from a device that lives in your living room: Full HD 1080p streaming video, 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, and a lighting-fast, ultra-stable dual-antenna Wi-Fi connection.
With three times the processing power of other set-top boxes, the Fire TV features silky-smooth menu navigation and content browsing. And utilizing the additional performance on tap, Amazon have introduced ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), which automatically predicts, buffers, and stores the shows you want to watch—all you need to do is hit play, and they instantly start.
But this is Amazon, the everything store. And the Fire TV is the everything box.
Foremost of which is the new voice search. Just press a button on your remote, and the Fire TV can find John Malkovich’s entire body of work at the utterance of his name, or get Team Umizoomi up and streaming almost as fast as you children can yell “Umizoomi.”
In addition to the massive library of movies and TV shows available through just about every video streaming service on the planet; the dedicated Qualcomm Adreno GPU opens up the Fire TV to the gaming world. Available today are staples such Minecraft, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14 and more than 100 other games. In addition, the GPU will power Amazon’s first foray into video games: Sev Zero.
Additionally there’s Second Screen—allowing users to mirror music, movies, and photos from their Kindle Fire HDX (also powered by Snapdragon processors) to their TV. And unlike the set-top boxes that came before, Fire TV will feature X-Ray: A second screen experience, powered by IMDb, that provides viewers with relevant information—such as cast and crew bios, soundtrack credits, trivia, character backstories, and more—as their movie or show plays. Currently, X-Ray is available for Kindle Fire HDX users, with support for iPhone and iPad later this year.
Amazon’s Fire TV is available now for $99.
Streams in High Definition 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound
With dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, Fire TV streams in up to full-HD 1080p and supports HDMI and optical audio-out, enabling up to 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.
Simple and Easy to Use
Fire TV comes automatically pre-registered so you can immediately get started. No complicated set-up, no hassle—just plug it in and start watching. All of your previously purchased movies and TV shows from Amazon, as well as personalized recommendations and your Watchlist, will be there waiting for you when you turn on Fire TV.
Designed to Disappear
Fire TV is designed to disappear. It is 0.7” thin, so it is easy to hide, and is silent even when running the most demanding applications.
Fire TV Remote
Fire TV’s remote is small, simple, and intuitive, with familiar controls. Search, browse, play, pause, and add titles to your Watchlist with ease. The Fire TV remote uses Bluetooth so there is no “line of sight” required, which means no reaching or struggling to aim your signal at a tiny target—store your Fire TV in a cabinet or behind the TV.
Voice Search that Actually Works
Gone are the days of searching for a movie or TV show by left-left-down-right-ing through an on-screen alphabet grid using your remote. Simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, genre, app, or game into the remote, and the results will appear instantly. Voice search leverages the search data and expertise of Amazon.com and IMDb, and is optimized to understand Amazon’s video, app, and game catalog.
The Best Video Experience
Movies and TV Shows from Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and More
Fire TV comes with instant access to all of the most popular subscription video services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, VEVO, SHOWTIME, Crackle, YouTube, and more, with additional services like WWE Network, MLB.TV, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH ABC, and Twitch coming soon.
Prime Instant Video, with Exclusives and Original Shows
Fire TV is seamlessly integrated with Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s subscription streaming service. With tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, Prime Instant Video is the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for thousands of hours of video, including shows like Downton Abbey, The Americans, Workaholics, Justified, 24, Hannibal, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, and more. Prime Instant Video also includes shows from Amazon Studios, the original TV production arm of Amazon, such as Alpha House from Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, which debuted last year and quickly became the most watched show on Amazon since its release. Alpha House is now in production for its second season, and Amazon recently greenlighted six new shows, including The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent, which will be available starting later this year.
The Largest Selection of Videos for Rent or Purchase
Rent or purchase over 200,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video, which has the world’s largest selection of videos to rent or buy, including new releases and blockbusters. Amazon is the only nationwide video service that offers rental and purchase, as well as a subscription streaming service, so you can find everything you want in one place—catch up on past seasons of popular TV shows with Prime Instant Video before purchasing the most recent episode of the show as it’s released.
Find the Lowest Price—Even if it’s Not from Amazon
Just like on Amazon.com, Fire TV integrates viewing options on a single page so you can always choose the lowest price. This is available starting with Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Prime Instant Video, and will expand to other content providers so you’ll see all of your options in one place.
You shouldn’t have to wait 10 seconds for a video to buffer after you press “Play”—it should start immediately. Based on your Watchlist and recommendations, the new ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature predicts which movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and prepares them for playback before you even hit play. This feature is smart—it is personalized based on your viewing habits and adapts as those habits change. The caching predictions get better over time, so ASAP will continuously improve as you use Fire TV.
Fling TV Shows and Movies with Second Screen
Fling Amazon TV shows and movies from your phone or tablet to your Fire TV using Second Screen. This turns your TV into the primary screen and frees up your phone or tablet to provide playback controls, a customized display for X-Ray, or simply a place to email, browse the web, and more, while you watch a movie. Second Screen is available on Kindle Fire HDX and will be available later this year from your iPhone or iPad. You can also wirelessly mirror your tablet display to your Fire TV with Kindle Fire, as well as other Miracast-enabled phones or tablets starting later this year. Fire TV supports standards like DIAL, so app developers can enable multi-screen experiences based on open technologies.
X-Ray for Movies and TV Shows, Powered by IMDb
Using Second Screen on your Fire HDX and later this year on your iPhone or iPad, you can see X-Ray information as your movie or TV show plays on Fire TV. With X-Ray you can see information about cast and crew, the names of songs as they play, as well as a list of all music in the movie or TV show, trivia items in context with the action on the screen, and character backstories so you can easily remind yourself of the character’s history. X-Ray is exclusive to Amazon and is powered by IMDb.
Amazon FreeTime—Revolutionary Parental Controls
Now you don’t have to worry about what your kids are watching on the TV—with FreeTime, a parent creates profiles for each child and selects the content they can see. Parents can create time limits based on type of content or time of day. When in FreeTime, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids only see titles that have been selected by their parents for them, and those who can’t yet read can navigate visually to content based on favorite characters or topics—for example “Dora the Explorer,” “Princesses,” or “Thomas and Friends.” Parents who have already set up profiles and approved content on Kindle Fire tablets will find the settings are automatically synchronized on Fire TV, making it simple and seamless to get started.
Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon’s all-you-can-eat content subscription designed just for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows. FreeTime Unlimited is available for Prime members to enjoy for a monthly price of $2.99 per child or $6.99 per family. Customers who are not yet Prime members can subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited for a monthly price of $4.99 per child or$9.99 per family. Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited will be available on Fire TV starting next month.
Your Photos on the Big Screen
Fire TV makes it easy to view your photos and personal videos on your TV. You can set up and play slide shows, find specific photos, and choose your favorite album for the screen-saver on Fire TV. Photos or videos you take on your phone or tablet can be automatically uploaded to Amazon Cloud Drive, so they appear on your Fire TV within seconds.
Music in Your Living Room
Music from Pandora, Amazon MP3, iHeartRadio, and More
With Fire TV, you can listen to music from popular streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, and watch music videos from VEVO. Starting next month, you can also listen to your full collection of music through Amazon Cloud Player. Simply upload your music or purchase from Amazon and it will be stored automatically in your Cloud Player and available on Fire TV as well as on your phone or tablet.
X-Ray for Music
Lyrics display and scroll line-by-line automatically as the song plays, so you can follow along with songs. X-Ray for Music will be available starting next month.
Bonus—Great Games at Low Prices
Games from Top Developers
Amazon worked with game developers like EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV. Games available starting today include customer favorites like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. Over 100 games are available starting today and optimized for Fire TV, with thousands of additional games coming next month with the Fire TV app, which brings controls for touch-enabled games. These are great games for such a small box and at such surprisingly low prices—the average price of paid games is $1.85.
Fire TV also comes with access to Sev Zero, a new game built exclusively for Fire TV by Amazon Game Studios. Sev Zero is $6.99 and is available for free when you purchase the Fire game controller. Learn more: www.amazon.com/pr/SevZero.
Fire TV runs the latest version of Fire OS “Mojito,” which is based on Android, so it’s simple for developers to port their services and games over to Fire TV.
Choose How to Play—Remote, Game Controller, or App
In addition to using the Fire TV remote and the Fire TV app available starting next month, you can also choose the Amazon Fire game controller, which enables more high-intensity and complex gaming with dual analog sticks and a complete assortment of controls. Simple and comfortable to use for hours, the Fire game controller pairs with Fire TV via Bluetooth. The Fire game controller also intelligently manages power by automatically going to sleep when not in use, and waking at a touch of a button, so you get up to 55 hours of gaming on a pair of AA batteries. You can pair multiple game controllers with a Fire TV so the whole family can play together in the same room. The integrated GameCircle button gives you instant access to leaderboards, achievements and friends with a simple touch of a button from any GameCircle enabled game. The Fire game controller can also be used as a remote, with fast forward, rewind, play and pause, so you can control all your movies and music on Fire TV. The Fire game controller is available today for $39.99, and comes with a free copy of Sev Zero and 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for purchasing games.
The Features You Expect from Amazon
Fire TV is not a gadget—it’s a seamlessly integrated service that brings together the features customers expect from Amazon, including:
- Whispersync—Amazon’s Whispersync technology saves and synchronizes your video and music library across all of your devices. Start watching a movie on your Kindle Fire or iPhone, and when you get home, pick up where you left off on your Fire TV. For games that support Whispersync, your place in the game will also sync across devices so you can always pick up where you left off.
- Watch on over 300 devices—When you buy a movie or TV show on Amazon, you can watch it on over 300 devices.
- Worry-Free Archive—Automatically backs up your Amazon digital content in the cloud so you never need to worry about losing your collection.
- Top-Rated, World-Class Customer Service—When a customer shops on Amazon, buys a Fire TV, or buys digital content from Amazon, they know that they are also getting Amazon’s world class customer service. Customers with a Kindle Fire HDX can also use the Mayday button to receive free, live, on-device tech support.
- Free Month of Amazon Prime—Amazon continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring Prime members new movies, TV shows, and books to enjoy at no additional cost. Prime members enjoy unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video. Eligible customers get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.
Pricing & Availability
Fire TV is available starting today for just $99—order at www.amazon.com/FireTV.
Eligible customers get a free 30-day trial of Netflix and Amazon Prime when they purchase Fire TV.
Images of Fire TV are available at www.amazon.com/pr/devicesandcontent.
Snapdragon 600 processor specs [Qualcomm product page, March 25, 2014]
28nm LP quad core Krait 300 CPU at up to 1.9GHz per core
LP-DDR3 memory for high performance and low latency
Speed enhanced Adreno 320 GPU delivers over 300% increase in graphics processing performance1
Support for advanced graphic and compute APIs, including OpenGL ES 3.0, DirectX, OpenCL, Renderscript Compute and FlexRender™2
Energy efficient LP process and dynamic GPU clock and voltage scaling
Asynchronous Multi-Processing (aSMP) dynamic CPU power control for power-optimized performance
Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0 integrated for up to 40% faster battery charging
Hexagon DSP enables ultra-low power operation for a variety of applications like music playback, enhanced audio effects, computer vision processing and still and video image enhancements
BT4.0 + Integrated digital core
Enjoy your photos, videos and games on large, high-resolution display devices (up to 2048×1536) and even on 1080p external displays
802.11ac3 Wi-Fi for peak Wi-Fi performance + Integrated digital core3
Publicly demonstrated to 280 Mbps UDP
IZAT™ location technology features GNSS for accurate auto and pedestrian navigation and Indoor Location capabilities for advanced location-based services
Capture and playback video at 1080p HD
HD multichannel sound with DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus
Up to 21 Megapixel, stereoscopic 3D
Take high-resolution, 3D photos with 21 Megapixel stereoscopic camera support
1 Compared to its predecessor, Adreno 305
2 FlexRender is designed to help the Adreno GPU boost speed and save power by dynamically switching between drawing pixels in direct or deferred rendering mode
3 Available only in select processors
Snapdragon 600 processors include the following part numbers: 8064T, 8064M