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A year of healthy progress along Microsoft strategic ambitions

Microsoft Stock Price for the last 5 years — July 22, 2016:Microsoft Stock Price for the last 5 years -- 22 July, 2016 My earlier posts related specifically to this 3 years overall transition history:
– Microsoft partners empowered with ‘cloud first’, high-value and next-gen experiences for big data, enterprise social, and mobility on wide variety of Windows devices and Windows Server + Windows Azure + Visual Studio as the platform as of July 10, 2013
– Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities as of July 11, 2013
– An ARM-focussed Microsoft spin-off could be the only solution to save Microsoft in the crucial next 3-years period as of August 24, 2013
– Opinion Leaders and Lead Opinions: Reflections on Steven Sinofsky’s “Era of Continuous Productivity” vision as of September 1, 2013
– The question mark over Wintel’s future will hang in the air for two more years as of September 15, 2013
– Microsoft could be acquired in years to come by Amazon? The joke of the day, or a certain possibility (among other ones)? as of September 16, 2013
– Sinofsky’s ‘continuous productivity’ idea to be realised first in Box Notes as of September 21, 2013
MS FY15 NEW STRATEGIC SETUPMicrosoft 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 as of April 25, 2014
– Satya Nadella on “Digital Work and Life Experiences” supported by “Cloud OS” and “Device OS and Hardware” platforms–all from Microsoft as of July 23, 2014
– Steve Ballmer on leaving Microsoft, relationship with Bill Gates: “We’ve dusted-up many times”, on His Biggest Regret: “doing hardware earlier [for being] more effective in phone business” AND on Amazon: “They Make No Money.” as October 25, 2014
– The Empire Reboots — Can C.E.O. Satya Nadella Save Microsoft? | Vanity Fair, Oct 27, 2014

WPC Day 1: The Digital Transformation Opportunity from Microsoft Partner Network UK Blog as of July 11, 2016:

“Empower every person and every
organisation on the planet to achieve more”
The Microsoft Mission

At the core of today’s opening Worldwide Partner Conference keynote was ‘Digital Transformation’ aka the desire of CEO’s to use technology to change business outcomes – whether it be how they:

  • Engage their customers,
  • Empower employees to make better decisions,
  • Optimise their operations,
  • Build up the predictive power within their organisations so that every operation is intelligent,
  • Transform their products and services.

Digital Transformation = An Unprecedented Partner Opportunity

Every customer of every size business (startup to Enterprise) is not only looking to use digital technology, but to build digital technology for their own.

Digital-transformatoin-all-partner-types1-1024x530[1]

Businesses are looking to drive greater efficiency – automating processes and enhancing productivity, particularly in those areas where there are operating expenses. This poses an unprecedented opportunity for you no matter what partner type you are.

Digital Transformation Opportunity by Microsoft and Partners -- July 11, 2016Microsoft Ambitions to Drive Digital Transformation

Microsoft has three core ambitions which play a fundamental part in digitally transforming businesses:

  • Re-inventing Productivity and Business process
  • Building the Intelligent Cloud
  • Create more Personal Computing

These will be covered in more detail over the next two days keynotes, however, Satya provided some great examples of what these 3 ambitions entail.

1) Re-inventing Productivity and Business Process

This is all about removing the barriers between productivity tools and business applications. Satya focused on two key areas:

  • ‘Conversations as a Platform’: Using human language understanding personal assistants and Bots (conversational interfaces) which augment our connection with technologies. (Watch the demo 48 minutes into Day 1 Keynote)

2) Building out the intelligent Cloud

To showcase how intelligent cloud is helping transformation, Satya invited General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt, on stage to discuss how he has digitally transformed the GE business.

Considering GE is over 140 years old, it’s a company that has embraced transformation and digital transformation. You can read more about their story and find out about Microsoft’s new partnership with GE to bring Predix to Azure, accelerating digital transformation for industrial customers.

Satya then went on to talk about ‘The next phase of building the Intelligent cloud’ with ‘Cognitive services’.  We’re seeing the beginnings of a new platform for cognitive services. Microsoft has taken decades of research from Microsoft Research encapsulating speech, computer vision, natural language text understanding, and made these available as API’s. These API’s are being used to infuse perception into apps – the ability for Apps/Bots to understand speech and see i.e. computer vision. These cognitive capabilities are capable of transforming business by bringing productivity gains. A great example of this is how Macdonalds are creating efficiency in their Drive Thru’s with speech/order recognition (Watch the demo 1 hour 10 minutes into the Day 1 keynote).

3) Create More Personal Computing

Create more personal computing was the third and final ambition covered. Satya discussed Windows 10 – an OS system spanning multiple devices from Raspberry PI to Hololens and bringing centralised infrastructure benefits and cost savings to business.

It was on the topic of Hololens, he discussed how personal computing is shaped by category creation moments. Moments where input and output change. ‘Mixed Reality’ is that moment. With Hololens its created an interface changing moment – Mixing real with virtual, enabling us to be anywhere and everywhere – fully untethered and mobile.

What followed was a great demo showcasing how Japan Airlines are using Microsoft HoloLens to change how they train flight crews and mechanics (Watch the demo 1 hour 17 minutes into the Day 1 keynote)

Mixed reality offers huge opportunities for partners with so many applications across so many sectors.

Expect more details on Digital Transformation and Microsoft’s three ambitions in WPC Day 2 and 3 keynotes.

News From WPC2016 Day 1

The three ambitions announced a year ago and the proof-points of healthy progress along them in FY16:

  1. Office 365, Dynamics 365, AppSource, and LinkedIn as all being part of one overarching strategy in Productivity and Business Process:
    – core part of an overarching strategy
    – digital transformation both for us and our partnerships with customers
  2. Significant differentiation vs. Amazon AWS in Intelligent Cloud:
    – enterprise cloud leadership
    – every customer is also an ISV
    – hyperscale-plus-hybrid approach with annuity focus enabling cloud lead conversation with customers
    – meeting cloud needs of customers where they are
  3. Windows strategy to achieve progress in More Personal Computing:
    – deliver more value and innovation, particularly for enterprise customers
    – grow new monetization through services across our unified Windows platform
    – innovate in new device categories in partnership with our OEMs

The Q1FY16 progress was presented in my Microsoft is ready to become a dominant force in cloud computing with superior cloud offerings, a Windows ecosystem under complete renewal, first signs of Surface-Lumia-Xbox successes on the market, and strong interest in technology partnerships by other industry leaders as of October 24, 2015.

Reinvent Productivity and Business Processes“, “Build the Intelligent Cloud” and “Create More Personal Computing” were the original 3 “interlocking ambitions” the Microsoft CEO talked about at Microsoft Iginite held on May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago. The proof-points of FY16 progress are shown along that list, and explained in detail by remarks from Microsoft (MSFT) Satya Nadella on Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript as of July 18, 2016.

For more information see also:  Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript, the 2015 Annual Report or—even better—my earlier posts indicated here under each ambition. For a deeper strategic intent underlying these ambilitions see my earlier post Julia Liuson: “Microsoft must transform from a company that throws a box with software into the market … into a company that offers pure services” published on These ambitions also became reporting segments in FY16. See Earnings Release FY16 Q1 as of October 22, 2015. The major corporate groups were also organised along these line: ASG = Application & Services Group for “Reinvent productivity and business processes” ambition, C&E = Cloud & Enterprise for “Build the intelligent cloud platform” ambition, and OSG= Operating Systems Group for “Create more personal computing” ambition.

Note that the overall strategic approach was developed 2 years ago and it was described in my post Satya Nadella on “Digital Work and Life Experiences” supported by “Cloud OS” and “Device OS and Hardware” platforms–all from Microsoft of July 23, 2014:

image.png

Here are the remarks from Microsoft (MSFT) Satya Nadella on Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript as of July 18, 2016. for details

1. Office 365, Dynamics 365, AppSource, and LinkedIn as all being part of one overarching strategy in Productivity and Business Process:

For initial and additional details available earlier see my earlier posts:
– The first “post-Ballmer” offering launched: with Power BI for Office 365 everyone can analyze, visualize and share data in the cloud as of February 10, 2014
– OneNote is available now on every platform (+free!!) and supported by cloud services API for application and device builders as of March 18, 2014
– An upcoming new era: personalised, pro-active search and discovery experiences for Office 365 (Oslo) as of April 2, 2014
– Microsoft Azure: Marketable machine learning components capability for “a new data science economy”, and real-time analytics for Azure HDInsight service as of October 22, 2014

In fact, this last quarter, some of the most strategic announcements were all around our application platform. At our partner conference, there was a significant amount of excitement with the tools that we announced like PowerApps and Power BI, Azure functions and Flow. These are tools that our developers and system integrators and solution partners will use in order to be able to customize applications around Azure. And so to me that’s another huge advantage and a competitive differentiation for us.

1.1 Core part of an overarching strategy

The move to the cloud for our customers and for us is not just about a new way of delivering the same value just as a SaaS service. It’s really the transformation from having applications that are silos to becoming more services in the cloud where you can reason about the activity and the data underneath these services to benefit the customers who are using these services. So that’s what this notion of a graph [by Microsoft Graph] represents.

So when somebody moves to Office 365, their graph [by Microsoft Graph], their people, their relationships with other people inside the organization, their work artifacts all move to the cloud. You can connect them with all the business process data that’s in Dynamics 365, but not just in Dynamics 365 but all the applications in AppSource because business process will always be a much more fragmented market as opposed to just one market share leader by industry, by vertical, by country. And so that’s our strategy there.

And now the professional cloud or the professional network helps usage across all of that professional usage. Whether it’s in Office 365 or whether you’re a salesperson using any application related to sales, you want your professional network there. Of course, it’s relevant in recruiting, it’s relevant in training, it’s relevant in marketing. So that’s really our strategy with LinkedIn as the professional network meeting the professional cloud. And these are all part of one overarching strategy, and ultimately it’s about adding value to customers.

1.2 Digital transformation both for us and our partnerships with customers

This past year was a pivotal one in both our transformation and in our partnerships with customers who are also driving their own digital transformation. Our progress is best captured in the results of our three ambitions, starting with Productivity and Business Process. In a world of infinite information but finite attention and time, we aim to change the nature of work with digital technology. In pursuit of this ambition, we continue to add value to our products, grow usage, and increase our addressable market. Along these lines, let me start with Office 365 and then move to Dynamics 365.

In the last quarter, we advanced our collaboration tools. We launched Microsoft Planner, which helps teams manage operations, as well as Skype Meetings, which is aimed at helping small businesses collaborate. In June, we further strengthened our security value proposition with the release of Advanced Security Management.

Lastly, we continue to add intelligence in machine learning to Office to help people automate their tasks and glean insights from data. These advancements helped to drive increased usage across enterprises, small and medium businesses, and consumers. In the enterprise, Office 365 Commercial seats grew 45% year over year, and revenue grew 59% in constant currency. Also 70% of our Office Enterprise agreement renewals are in the cloud. Innovative companies like Facebook, Hershey’s, Discovery Communications, Cushman Wakefield all adopted Office 365 and now see how transformative this service can be for their own business.

We are enthusiastic about the early feedback and growth opportunity from companies using our newly released Office 365 E5, which includes powerful security controls, advanced analytics, and cloud voice. These customers tell us that they love the simplification that comes with standardizing across all of our productivity workloads.

We will continue to grow our install base and drive premium mix through offers like Office 365 E5, but they’re very, very early days of E5. And E5 value proposition across all three of the areas, whether it’s cloud voice or analytics or security are all three massive areas for us. And I would say if anything, the initial data from our customers around security is gaining a lot of traction. But at the same time, one of the things that customers are looking for is making an enterprise-wide architectural decision across all of the workloads.

We see momentum in small and medium businesses, with a growing number of partners selling Office 365, now up to nearly 90,000, a 25% increase year over year. We continue to grab share and adding over 50,000 customers each month for 28 consecutive months.

We also see momentum amongst consumers, with now more than 23 million Office 365 subscribers. Across segments, customers increasingly experience the power of Office on their iOS and Android mobile devices. In fact, we now have more than 50 million iOS and Android monthly active devices, up more than four times over last year.

Now let’s talk about progress with the other pillar of this ambition, Dynamics 365. We are removing any impedance that exists between productivity, collaboration, and business process. This month we took a major step forward with the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Dynamics 365 provides business users with purpose-built SaaS applications. These applications have intelligence built in. They integrate deeply with communications and collaboration capabilities of Office 365.

Dynamics 365 along with AppSource and our rich application platform introduces a disruptive and customer-centric business model so customers can build what they want and use just the capabilities they need. The launch of Dynamics 365 builds on the momentum we’re already seeing in this business. Customers around the globe are harnessing the power of Dynamics in their own transformation, including 24 Hour Fitness and AccuWeather. Overall, Dynamics now has nearly 10 million monthly paid seats, up more than 20% year over year, and Q4 billings grew more than 20% year over year.

Overall, Business Processes represent an enormous addressable market, projected to be more than $100 billion by 2020. It’s a market we are increasingly focused on, and I believe we are poised with both Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource to grow and drive opportunity for our partners.

Across Office 365 and Dynamics 365, developers increasingly see the opportunity to build innovative apps and experiences with the Microsoft Graph, and we now have over 27,000 apps connected to it. Microsoft AppSource will be a new way for developers to offer their services and reach customers worldwide.

Lastly, with Office 365 and Dynamics 365, we have the opportunity to connect the world’s professional cloud and the world’s professional network with our pending LinkedIn deal. Overall, the Microsoft Cloud is winning significant customer support. With more than $12 billion in Commercial Cloud annualized revenue run rate, we are on track to achieve our goal of $20 billion in fiscal year 2018. Also, nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 companies have at least three of our cloud offerings. And we continue to grow our annuity mix of our business. In fact, commercial annuity mix increased year over year to 83%.

2. Significant differentiation vs. Amazon AWS in Intelligent Cloud 

For initial and additional details available earlier see my earlier posts:
– Windows Azure becoming an unbeatable offering on the cloud computing market as of June 28, 2013
Microsoft partners empowered with ‘cloud first’, high-value and next-gen experiences for big data, enterprise social, and mobility on wide variety of Windows devices and Windows Server + Windows Azure + Visual Studio as the platform as of July 10, 2013

– 4. Microsoft products for the Cloud OS [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, as of Dec 18, 2013, but published only on Feb 14, 2014] (was separated from the next “half bakedness” post because of its length)
– 4.5. Microsoft talking about Cloud OS and private clouds: starting with Ray Ozzie in November, 2009[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, as of Dec 18, 2013, but published only on Feb 14, 2014] (was separated from the next “half bakedness” post because of its length)
Microsoft’s half-baked cloud computing strategy (H1’FY14) as of February 17, 2014 Note that this “half bakedness” ended by the facts published in Microsoft is ready to become a dominant force in cloud computing with superior cloud offerings, a Windows ecosystem under complete renewal, first signs of Surface-Lumia-Xbox successes on the market, and strong interest in technology partnerships by other industry leaders as of October 24, 2014
– 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 as of April 25, 2014
– Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 2: “rebranding” to Microsoft Azure and moving toward a comprehensive set of fully-integrated backend services as of April 27, 2014
– Scott Guthrie about changes under Nadella, the competition with Amazon, and what differentiates Microsoft’s cloud products as of October 2, 2014
– Sam Guckenheimer on Microsoft Developer Division’s Journey to Cloud Cadence as of October 19, 2014
– Microsoft Azure: Marketable machine learning components capability for “a new data science economy”, and real-time analytics for Azure HDInsight service as of October 22, 2014
Microsoft Cloud state-of-the-art: Hyper-scale Azure with host SDN — IaaS 2.0 — Hybrid flexibility and freedom as of July 11, 2015
– Microsoft’s first quarter proving its ability to become a dominant force in cloud computing with superior cloud offerings as of Januar 27, 2015
– DataStax: a fully distributed and highly secure transactional database platform that is “always on” as of February 3, 2016
– Microsoft chairman: The transition to a subscription-based cloud business isn’t fast enough. Revamp the sales force for cloud-based selling as of June 6, 2016

Cloud Growth Helps Microsoft Beat Street in Q4 from TheStreet as of July 19, 2016 

… [0:34] and Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility [Suite]
customers nearly doubled YoY to 33,000. [0:40] …

Note that the Q1FY16 report was that “Enterprise Mobility [Suite] customers more than doubled year-over-year to over 20,000, and the installed base grew nearly 6x year-over-year“. Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) is a service available in the CSP (Cloud Solution Partner program) along with Windows Intune, Office 365, Azure and CRM Online. The reason for that very impressive growth was given by Satya Nadella in the much earlier Q2FY15 report as:

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite is one key of product innovation that I would like to highlight given the growth and uniqueness of our offering. Microsoft offers a comprehensive solution that brings together mobile device management, mobile application management, hybrid identity management and data protection into a unified offering via EMS.

Office 365 now includes new app experiences on all phones and tablets for mobile productivity.  Further, we have released completely new scenarios. This includes Office Sway for visualizing and sharing ideas; Delve, to help search and discover content; Office 365 Groups to make it easier to collaborate; andOffice 365 Video for secure media streaming for businesses.

Finally, we continue to invest in enterprise value by integrating MDM and the Enterprise Mobility Suite into Office 365; new encryption technologies and compliance certifications; and new eDiscovery capabilities in Exchange.

Overall at the highest level, our strategy here is to make sure that the Microsoft Services i.e. cloud services be it Azure, Office 365, CRM Online or Enterprise Mobility Suite are covering all the devices out there in the marketplace. So that, that way we maximize the opportunity we have for each of these subscription and capacity based services.

2.1 Enterprise cloud leadership

Now let’s get into the specifics of the Intelligent Cloud, an area of massive opportunity, as we are clearly one of the two enterprise cloud leaders. Companies looking to digitally transform need a trusted cloud partner and turn to Microsoft. As a result, Azure revenue and usage again grew by more than 100% this quarter. We see customers choose Microsoft for three reasons. They want a cloud provider that offers solutions that reflect the realities of today’s world and their enterprise-grade needs. They want higher level services to drive digital transformation, and they want a cloud open to developers of all types. Let me expand on each.

To start, a wide variety of customers turn to Azure because of their specific real-world needs. Multinationals choose us because we are the only hybrid and hyperscale cloud spanning multiple jurisdictions. We cover more countries and regions than any other cloud provider, from North America to Asia to Europe to Latin America. Our cloud respects data sovereignty and makes it possible for an enterprise application to work across these regions and jurisdictions. More than 80% of the world’s largest banks are Azure customers because of our leadership support for regulatory requirements, advanced security, and commitment to privacy. Large ISVs like SAP and Citrix as well as startups like Sprinklr also choose Azure because of our global reach and a broad set of platform services. Last week GE announced it will adopt our cloud for its IoT approach.

Next, Azure customers also value our unique higher-level services. Now at 33,000, we nearly doubled in one year the number of companies worldwide that have selected our Enterprise Mobility Solutions. The Dow Chemical Company leverages EMS along with Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics to give its thousands of employees secure real-time access to data and apps from anywhere.

Just yesterday, we announced Boeing will use Azure, our IoT suite, and Cortana Intelligence to drive digital transformation in commercial aviation, with connected airline systems optimization, predictive maintenance, and much more. This builds on great momentum in IoT, including our work with Rolls-Royce, Schneider Electric, and others.

This is great progress, but our ambitions are set even higher. Our Intelligent Cloud also enables cognitive services. Cortana Intelligence Suite offers machine learning capabilities and advanced predictive analytics. Customers like Jabil Circuit, Fruit of the Loom, Land O’Lakes, LIBER already realize the benefits of these new capabilities.

Lastly, central to our Intelligent Cloud ambition is providing developers with the tools and capabilities they need to build apps and services for the platforms and devices of their choice. We have the best support for what I would say is the most open platform for all developers. Not only is .NET first class but Linux is first class, Java is first class. The new Azure Container service cuts across both containers running on Windows, running across Linux. So again, it speaks to the enterprise reality. .NET Core 1.0 for open source and our ongoing work with companies such as Red Hat, Docker, and Mesosphere also reflects significant progress on this front. We continue to see traction from open source, with nearly a third of customer virtual machines on Azure running Linux.

So those would be the places where we are fairly differentiated, and that’s what you see us gaining both for enterprise customers and ISVs.

On the server side, premium server revenue grew double digits in constant currency year over year. New SQL Server 2016 helps us expand into new markets with built-in advanced analytics and unparalleled performance. More than 15,000 customers, including over 50% of the Fortune 500, have registered for the private preview of SQL Server for Linux. And we’re not slowing down. We will launch Windows Server 2016 and System Server 2016 later this year.

2.2 Every customer is also an ISV

One of the phenomena now is that pretty much anyone who is a customer of Azure is also in some form an ISV, and that’s no longer just limited to people who are “in the classic tech industry” or the software business. So every customer who starts off consuming Azure is also turning what is their IP in most cases into an ISV solution, which ultimately will even participate in AppSource. So at least the vision that we have is that every customer is a digital company that will have a digital IP component to it, and that we want to be able to partner with them in pretty unique ways.

That’s the same case with GE. It’s the same case with Boeing. It’s the same case with Schneider Electric or ABB or any one of the customers we are working with because they all are taking some of their assets and converting them into SaaS applications on Azure. And that’s something that we will in fact have distribution agreements with.

And AppSource is a pretty major announcement for us because we essentially created for SaaS applications and infrastructure applications a way to distribute their applications through us and our channel. And I think it makes in fact our cloud more attractive to many of them because of that. So we look – I think going forward, you’ll look to see – or you’ll see us do much more of this with many other customers of ours.

2.3 Hyperscale-plus-hybrid approach with annuity focus enabling cloud lead conversation with customers

The focus for us is in what I describe as this hyperscale-plus-hybrid approach when you think about the current approach, which is pretty unique to us. Overall, I believe this hyperscale plus hybrid architecturally helps us a lot with enterprise customers because we meet them where their realities are today and also the digital transformation needs going forward, so that’s one massive advantage we have.

And the way we track progress is to see how is our annuity growth of our server business, and how is our cloud growth. And if you look at this last quarter, our annuity grew double digits and our cloud grew triple digits. And that’s a pretty healthy growth rate, and that’s something that by design both in terms of the technical architecture as well as the traction we have in the marketplace and our sales efforts and so on are playing out well, and we are very bullish about that going forward.

The Transactional business is much more volatile because of the macro environment, IT budgets, and also the secular shift to the cloud. The question again that gets asked is about the cannibalization. But if you look at Boeing or you look at any of the other examples that I talk about when it comes to the cloud, our servers never did what these customers are now doing in our cloud. So at a fundamental long-term secular basis, we have new growth, new workloads, and that’s what we are focused on, and that’s a much bigger addressable market than anything our Transactional Server business had in the past.

[Amy E. Hood – Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President:]
The first thing really that I think Satya and I both focus on every quarter, every month, is how much of our business are we continuing to shift to annuity and specifically to the cloud. We structure all of our motions at this company, from how we engineer to how we do our go-to-markets to how we think about sales engagement to how we do our investments, fundamentally toward that long-term structural transition in the market.

In terms of server products and services, I tend to think of it as the all-up growth. It’s really about growing the cloud, growing the hybrid, and then whatever happens in the Transactional business happens.

And so to your question on Transactional performance, there were some deals that didn’t get done in Q3 that got done in Q4, and there were some deals done in Q4 on the Office side with large companies that I’m thrilled by. But at the same time, we still will focus on those deals moving to the cloud over time. And so this volatility that we are going to see because of macro and because of budget constraints, especially on Transactional, we will focus on because we expect excellent execution and have accountability to do that in the field. But our first priority, every time, is to make sure we are focused on annuity growth and digital transformation at our company, which is best done through that motion.

In terms of the sales motion they are absolutely incented more towards cloud versus Transactional going into this year.

I do believe that every conversation that we’re having with customers is cloud-led. That cloud-led conversation and making a plan for customers to best change and transform their own business certainly is a far more in-depth one than on occasion is required by long-time Transactional purchasers, especially in Office, as an example, because what we’re talking about now is really pivoting your business for the long term.

And so I’m sure there are examples where that has elongated the sales cycle, for good reason. But I would generally point back and say most of these are driven at the structural level, which is – structurally over time, on-premises Transactional business will move to the cloud or to a hybrid structure through an annuity revenue stream.
[END BY Amy E. Hood]

2.4 Meeting cloud needs of customers where they are

The position that we have taken is that we want to serve customers where they are and not assume very simplistically that the digital sovereignty needs of customers can be met out of a fewer data center approach. Because right now, given the secular trend to move to the cloud across all of the regulated industries across the globe, we think it’s wiser for us and our investors long term to be able to meet them where they are. And that’s what you see us. We are the only cloud that operates in China under Chinese law, the only cloud that operates in Germany under German law. And these are very critical competitive advantages to us.

And so we will track that, and we will be very demand driven. So in this case we’re not taking these positions of which regions to open and where to open them well in advance of our demand. If anything, I think our cycle times have significantly come down. So it will be demand-driven, but I don’t want to essentially put a cap because if the opportunity arises, and for us it’s a high ROI decision to open a new region, we will do so.

3. Windows strategy to achieve progress in More Personal Computing

For initial and additional details available earlier see my earlier posts:
– Windows Embedded is an enterprise business now, like the whole Windows business, with Handheld and Compact versions to lead in the overall Internet of Things market as well as of June 8, 2013
– How the device play will unfold in the new Microsoft organization? as of July 14, 2013
– With Android and forked Android smartphones as the industry standard Nokia relegated to a niche market status while Apple should radically alter its previous premium strategy for long term as of August 17, 2013
– Windows [inc. Phone] 8.x chances of becoming the alternative platform to iOS and Android: VERY SLIM as it is even more difficult for Microsoft now than any time before as of August 20, 2013
– Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! as of November 7, 2013
– Xamarin: C# developers of native “business” and “mobile workforce” applications now can easily work cross-platform, for Android and iOS clients as well as of November 15, 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 as of April 25, 2014
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the ultimate tablet product from Microsoft. What the market response will be? as of May 21, 2014
Windows 10 Technical Preview: Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore on the future of Windows as of October 1, 2014
– The Era Of Sub-$90 Windows 8.1 Phones in U.S. as of October 3, 2014
– Windows 10 is here to help regain Microsoft’s leading position in ICT as of July 31, 2015
– Microsoft and partners to capitalize on Continuum for Phones instead of the exited Microsoft phone business as of June 5, 2016

We have increased Windows 10 monthly active devices and are now at more than 350 million. This is the fastest adoption rate of any prior Windows release. While we are proud of these results, given changes to our phone plan, we changed how we will assess progress. Going forward, we will track progress by regularly reporting the growth of Windows 10 monthly active devices in addition to progress on three aspects of our Windows strategy:

3.1 Deliver more value and innovation, particularly for enterprise customers

We continue to pursue our goal of moving people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows. In two weeks, we will launch Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which takes a significant step forward in security. We are also extending Windows Hello to support apps and websites and delivering a range of new features like Windows Ink and updates to Microsoft Edge. We expect these advances will drive increased adoption of Windows 10, particularly in the enterprise, in the coming year. We already have strong traction, with over 96% of our enterprise customers piloting Windows 10.

3.2 Grow new monetization through services across our unified Windows platform

As we grow our install base and engagement, we generate more opportunity for Microsoft and our ecosystem. Bing profitability continues to grow, with greater than 40% of the search revenue in June from Windows 10 devices. Bing PC query share in the United States approached 22% this quarter, not including volume from AOL and Yahoo!. The Cortana search box has over 100 million monthly active users, with 8 billion questions asked to date.

We continue to drive growth in gaming by connecting fans on Xbox Live across Windows 10, iOS, and Android. Just this quarter we launched our Minecraft Realm subscription on Android and iOS. Overall engagement on Xbox Live is at record levels, with more than 49 million monthly active users, up 33% year over year. At E3 we announced our biggest lineup of exclusive games ever for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. And we announced Xbox Play Anywhere titles, where gamers can buy a game once and play it on both their Windows 10 PC and Xbox One. We also announced two new members of the Xbox One console family, the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio.

The Windows Store continues to grow, with new universal Windows apps like Bank of America, Roku, SiriusXM, Instagram, Facebook, Wine, Hulu, and popular PC games like Quantum Break.

3.3 Innovate in new device categories in partnership with our OEMs

Our hardware partners are embracing the new personal computing vision, with over 1,500 new devices designed to take advantage of Windows 10 innovations like Touch, Pen, Hello, and better performance and power efficiency.

Microsoft’s family of Surface devices continues to drive category growth, and we are reaching more commercial customers of all sizes with the support of our channel partners. We recently announced new Surface enterprise initiatives with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton to enable more customer segments. Also in the past year, we grew our commercial Surface partner channel from over 150 to over 10,000.

Lastly this quarter, more and more developers and enterprise customers got to experience two entirely new device categories from Microsoft Surface Hub and Microsoft HoloLens. While we are still in the early days of both of these devices, we are seeing great traction with both enterprise customers and developers, making us optimistic about future growth.

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Windows 10 is here to help regain Microsoft’s leading position in ICT

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 NewsMicrosoft boss Nadella on Windows 10

From this interview 2 things are very important to remember:

  1. Cortana is the near term means to generate excitement for the Windows 10.
  2. 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, 2015PC 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, 2015Tablet 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.
    Investors.com comments on tablet and smartphone market trends -- Q2'2015

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 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, 2015Windows 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:

  1. 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, 201510 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, 2015How 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
  2. Then come the fall, you will see the devices from all the OEMs going into the holiday quarter.
  3. 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, 2015Microsoft 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 2015Satya 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 

Microsoft - The 3 interlocking ambitions the Microsoft CEO talked about at Microsoft Iginite held on May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago

The 3 “interlocking ambitions” the Microsoft CEO talked about at Microsoft Iginite held on May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, 2015Windows 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.

Satya Nadella on “Digital Work and Life Experiences” supported by “Cloud OS” and “Device OS and Hardware” platforms–all from Microsoft

Update: Gates Says He’s Very Happy With Microsoft’s Nadella [Bloomberg TV, Oct 2, 2014] + Bill Gates is trying to make Microsoft Office ‘dramatically better’ [The Verge, Oct 3, 2014]

This is the essence of Microsoft Fiscal Year 2014 Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call(see also the Press Release and Download Files) for me, as the new, extremely encouraging, overall setup of Microsoft in strategic terms (the below table is mine based on what Satya Nadella told on the conference call):

image

These are extremely encouraging strategic advancements vis–à–vis previously publicized ones here in the following, Microsoft related posts of mine:

I see, however, particularly challenging the continuation of the Lumia story with the above strategy, as with the previous, combined Ballmer/Elop(Nokia) strategy the results were extremely weak:

image

Worthwhile to include here the videos Bloomberg was publishing simultaneously with Microsoft Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call:

Inside Microsoft’s Secret Surface Labs [Bloomberg News, July 22, 2014]

July 22 (Bloomberg) — When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella defined the future of his company in a memo to his 127,100 employees, he singled out the struggling Surface tablet as key to a future built around the cloud and productivity. Microsoft assembled an elite team of designers, engineers, and programmers to spend years holed up in Redmond, Washington to come up with a tablet to take on Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson got an inside look at the Surface labs.

Will Microsoft Kinect Be a Medical Game-Changer? [Bloomberg News, July 22, 2014]

July 23 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft’s motion detecting camera was thought to be a game changer for the video gaming world when it was launched in 2010. While appetite for it has since decreased, Microsoft sees the technology as vital in its broader offering as it explores other sectors like 3d mapping and live surgery. (Source: Bloomberg

Why Microsoft Puts GPS In Meat For Alligators [Bloomberg News, July 22, 2014]

July 23 (Bloomberg) — At the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, scientists track animals and map climate change all on the off chance they’ll stumble across the next big thing. (Source: Bloomberg)

To this it is important to add: How Pier 1 is using the Microsoft Cloud to build a better relationship with their customers [Microsoft Server and Cloud YouTube channel, July 21, 2014]

In this video, Pier 1 Imports discuss how they are using Microsoft Cloud technologies such as Azure Machine Learning to to predict which the product the customer might want to purchase next, helping to build a better relationship with their customers. Learn more: http://www.azure.com/ml

as well as:
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. MacBook Air 13″ 2014 [CNET YouTube channel, July 21, 2014]

http://cnet.co/1nOygqh Microsoft made a direct comparison between the Surface Pro 3 and the MacBook Air 13″, so we’re throwing them into the Prizefight Ring to settle the score once and for all. Let’s get it on!

Surface Pro 3 vs. MacBook Air (2014) [CTNtechnologynews YouTube channel, July 1, 2014]

The Surface Pro 3 may not be the perfect laptop. But Apple’s MacBook Air is pretty boring. Let’s see which is the better device!

In addition here are some explanatory quotes (for the new overall setup of Microsoft) worth to include here from the Q&A part of Microsoft’s (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella on Q4 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jul. 22, 2014 10:59 PM ET]

Mark Moerdler – Sanford Bernstein

Thank you. And Amy one quick question, we saw a significant acceleration this quarter in cloud revenue, or I guess Amy or Satya. You saw acceleration in cloud revenue year-over-year what’s – is this Office for the iPad, is this Azure, what’s driving the acceleration and how long do you think we can keep this going?

Amy Hood

Mark, I will take it and if Satya wants to add, obviously, he should do that. In general, I wouldn’t point to one product area. It was across Office 365, Azure and even CRM online. I think some of the important dynamics that you could point to particularly in Office 365; I really think over the course of the year, we saw an acceleration in moving the product down the market into increasing what we would call the mid-market and even small business at a pace. That’s a particular place I would tie back to some of the things Satya mentioned in the answer to your first question.

Improvements to analytics, improvements to understanding the use scenarios, improving the product in real-time, understanding trial ease of use, ease of sign-up all of these things actually can afford us the ability to go to different categories, go to different geos into different segments. And in addition, I think what you will see more as we initially moved many of our customers to Office 365, it came on one workload. And I think what we’ve increasingly seen is our ability to add more workloads and sell the entirety of the suite through that process. I also mentioned in Azure, our increased ability to sell some of these higher value services. So while, I can speak broadly but all of them, I think I would generally think about the strength of being both completion of our product suite ability to enter new segments and ability to sell new workloads.

Satya Nadella

The only thing I would add is it’s the combination of our SaaS like Dynamics in Office 365, a public cloud offering in Azure. But also our private and hybrid cloud infrastructure which also benefits, because they run on our servers, cloud runs on our servers. So it’s that combination which makes us both unique and reinforcing. And the best example is what we are doing with Azure active directory, the fact that somebody gets on-boarded to Office 365 means that tenant information is in Azure AD that fact that the tenant information is in Azure AD is what makes EMS or our Enterprise Mobility Suite more attractive to a customer manager iOS, Android or Windows devices. That network effect is really now helping us a lot across all of our cloud efforts.

Keith Weiss – Morgan Stanley

Excellent, thank you for the question and a very nice quarter. First, I think to talk a little bit about the growth strategy of Nokia, you guys look to cut expenses pretty aggressively there, but this is – particularly smartphones is a very competitive marketplace, can you tell us a little bit about sort of the strategy to how you actually start to gain share with Lumia on a going forward basis? And may be give us an idea of what levels of share or what levels of kind unit volumes are you going to need to hit to get to that breakeven in FY16?

Satya Nadella

Let me start and Amy you can even add. So overall, we are very focused on I would say thinking about mobility share across the entire Windows family. I already talked about in my remarks about how mobility for us even goes beyond devices, but for this specific question I would even say that, we want to think about mobility not just one form factor of a mobile device because I think that’s where the ultimate price is.

But that said, we are even year-over-year basis seen increased volume for Lumia, it’s coming at the low end in the entry smartphone market and we are pleased with it. It’s come in many markets we now have over 10% that’s the first market I would sort of say that we need to track country-by-country. And the key places where we are going to differentiate is looking at productivity scenarios or the digital work and life scenario that we can light up on our phone in unique ways.

When I can take my Office Lens App use the camera on the phone take a picture of anything and have it automatically OCR recognized and into OneNote in searchable fashion that’s the unique scenario. What we have done with Surface and PPI shows us the way that there is a lot more we can do with phones by broadly thinking about productivity. So this is not about just a Word or Excel on your phone, it is about thinking about Cortana and Office Lens and those kinds of scenarios in compelling ways. And that’s what at the end of the day is going to drive our differentiation and higher end Lumia phones.

Amy Hood

And Keith to answer your specific question, regarding FY16, I think we’ve made the difficult choices to get the cost base to a place where we can deliver, on the exact scenario Satya as outlined, and we do assume that we continue to grow our units through the year and into 2016 in order to get to breakeven.

Rick Sherlund – Nomura

Thanks. I’m wondering if you could talk about the Office for a moment. I’m curious whether you think we’ve seen the worst for Office here with the consumer fall off. In Office 365 growth in margins expanding their – just sort of if you can look through the dynamics and give us a sense, do you think you are actually turned the corner there and we may be seeing the worse in terms of Office growth and margins?

Satya Nadella

Rick, let me just start qualitatively in terms of how I view Office, the category and how it relates to productivity broadly and then I’ll have Amy even specifically talk about margins and what we are seeing in terms of I’m assuming Office renewals is that probably the question. First of all, I believe the category that Office is in, which is productivity broadly for people, the group as well as organization is something that we are investing significantly and seeing significant growth in.

On one end you have new things that we are doing like Cortana. This is for individuals on new form factors like the phones where it’s not about anything that application, but an intelligent agent that knows everything about my calendar, everything about my life and tries to help me with my everyday task.

On the other end, it’s something like Delve which is a completely new tool that’s taking some – what is enterprise search and making it more like the Facebook news feed where it has a graph of all my artifacts, all my people, all my group and uses that graph to give me relevant information and discover. Same thing with Power Q&A and Power BI, it’s a part of Office 365. So we have a pretty expansive view of how we look at Office and what it can do. So that’s the growth strategy and now specifically on Office renewals.

Amy Hood

And I would say in general, let me make two comments. In terms of Office on the consumer side between what we sold on prem as well as the Home and Personal we feel quite good with attach continuing to grow and increasing the value prop. So I think that’s to address the consumer portion.

On the commercial portion, we actually saw Office grow as you said this quarter; I think the broader definition that Satya spoke to the Office value prop and we continued to see Office renewed in our enterprise agreement. So in general, I think I feel like we’re in a growth phase for that franchise.

Walter Pritchard – Citigroup

Hi, thanks. Satya, I wanted to ask you about two statements that you made, one around responsibly making the market for Windows Phone, just kind of following on Keith’s question here. And that’s a – it’s a really competitive market it feels like ultimately you need to be a very, very meaningful share player in that market to have value for developer to leverage the universal apps that you’re talking about in terms of presentations you’ve given and build in and so forth.

And I’m trying to understand how you can do both of those things once and in terms of responsibly making the market for Windows Phone, it feels difficult given your nearest competitors there are doing things that you might argue or irresponsible in terms of making their market given that they monetize it in different ways?

Satya Nadella

Yes. One of beauties of universal Windows app is, it aggregates for the first time for us all of our Windows volume. The fact that even what is an app that runs with a mouse and keyboard on the desktop can be in the store and you can have the same app run in the touch-first on a mobile-first way gives developers the entire volume of Windows which is 300 plus million units as opposed to just our 4% share of mobile in the U.S. or 10% in some country.

So that’s really the reason why we are actively making sure that universal Windows apps is available and developers are taking advantage of it, we have great tooling. Because that’s the way we are going to be able to create the broadest opportunity to your very point about developers getting an ROI for building to Windows. For that’s how I think we will do it in a responsible way.

Heather Bellini – Goldman Sachs

Great. Thank you so much for your time. I wanted to ask a question about – Satya your comments about combining the next version of Windows and to one for all devices and just wondering if you look out, I mean you’ve got kind of different SKU segmentations right now, you’ve got enterprise, you’ve got consumer less than 9 inches for free, the offering that you mentioned earlier that you recently announced. How do we think about when you come out with this one version for all devices, how do you see this changing kind of the go-to-market and also kind of a traditional SKU segmentation and pricing that we’ve seen in the past?

Satya Nadella

Yes. My statement Heather was more to do with just even the engineering approach. The reality is that we actually did not have one Windows; we had multiple Windows operating systems inside of Microsoft. We had one for phone, one for tablets and PCs, one for Xbox, one for even embedded. So we had many, many of these efforts. So now we have one team with the layered architecture that enables us to in fact one for developers bring that collective opportunity with one store, one commerce system, one discoverability mechanism. It also allows us to scale the UI across all screen sizes; it allows us to create this notion of universal Windows apps and being coherent there.

So that’s what more I was referencing and our SKU strategy will remain by segment, we will have multiple SKUs for enterprises, we will have for OEM, we will have for end-users. And so we will – be disclosing and talking about our SKUs as we get further along, but this my statement was more to do with how we are bringing teams together to approach Windows as one ecosystem very differently than we ourselves have done in the past.

Ed Maguire – CLSA

Hi, good afternoon. Satya you made some comments about harmonizing some of the different products across consumer and enterprise and I was curious what your approach is to viewing your different hardware offerings both in phone and with Surface, how you’re go-to-market may change around that and also since you decided to make the operating system for sub 9-inch devices free, how you see the value proposition and your ability to monetize that user base evolving over time?

Satya Nadella

Yes. The statement I made about bringing together our productivity applications across work and life is to really reflect the notion of dual use because when I think about productivity it doesn’t separate out what I use as a tool for communication with my family and what I use to collaborate at work. So that’s why having this one team that thinks about outlook.com as well as Exchange helps us think about those dual use. Same thing with files and OneDrive and OneDrive for business because we want to have the software have the smart about separating out the state carrying about IT control and data protection while me as an end user get to have the experiences that I want. That’s how we are thinking about harmonizing those digital life and work experiences.

On the hardware side, we would continue to build hardware that fits with these experiences if I understand your question right, which is how will be differentiate our first party hardware, we will build first party hardware that’s creating category, a good example is what we have done with Surface Pro 3. And in other places where we have really changed the Windows business model to encourage a plethora of OEMs to build great hardware and we are seeing that in fact in this holiday season, I think you will see a lot of value notebooks, you will see clamshells. So we will have the full price range of our hardware offering enabled by this new windows business model.

And I think the last part was how will we monetize? Of course, we will again have a combination, we will have our OEM monetization and some of these new business models are about monetizing on the backend with Bing integration as well as our services attached and that’s the reason fundamentally why we have these zero-priced Windows SKUs today.

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]

Tired of “work about work?” Some businesses are using Asana to streamline their communication and workflow. Here’s a bit about the tool and how it works

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]

image
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]

Collaboration tool Asana provides a shared task list for companies to get work done. That means taking on the challenge of slaying the email inbox.

Dustin Moskovitz: How Asana Gets Work Done [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]

Asana cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, who previously cofounded Facebook, talks about Asana’s company culture, which includes an emphasis on transparency, a company-wide one week strategy session every four months and employee perks.

Do Great Things: Keynote by Justin Rosenstein of Asana | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]

Asana’s Justin Rosenstein thinks we’re poised to make the greatest change possible for the largest number of people: what are we going to do with that potential? What should we do? For the full interview click here: http://techcrunch.com/video/do-great-things-keynote-by-justin-rosenstein-of-asana/518220046/

Asana’s Justin Rosenstein: “I Flew Coach Here.” | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]

At the end of their chat, Asana’s Justin Rosenstein and TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm failed to reconcile their views, but manage to land a high five, Click here to watch the full interview: http://techcrunch.com/video/do-great-things-keynote-by-justin-rosenstein-of-asana/518220046/

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.”

Organize yourself
“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 x@mail.asana.com. 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.”

Track responsibility
“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/

Asana

About Us

Connect

Support

How it all started and progressed?

asana demo & vision talk [Robert Marquardt YouTube channel, Feb 15, 2011]

“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 this video of the talk.” http://blog.asana.com/2011/02/asana-demo-vision-talk/

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 this the above video of the talk:

Asana will be available more broadly later this year. In the meantime,

  • if you’re interested in participating in the beta program, sign up here.
  • if these sound like problems you’d like to help tackle, we’re hiring.
  • and if you’d just like to receive updates about Asana going forward, use the form in the upper right of this page.

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:

image

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

imageRight 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]

…The  Los Angeles development firm Rising Realty Partners, shared with us how they used Asana, and our integration with Dropbox, to close a massive ten-property deal.

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 video we made » 
[rather an article about Luna as of Nov 2, 2011]

Update: For now we’ve tabled using the custom DSL syntax in favor of a set of Javascript idioms and conventions on top of the “Luna” runtime. So while the contents of this post still accurately present the motivation and capabilities of the Luna framework, we’re using a slightly more cumbersome (JavaScript) syntax than what you see below, in exchange for having more control over the “object code” (primarily for hand-tuning performance).

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]


Asana is a fast and versatile web-based application that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible inside a browser. Our sophisticated Javascript app requires a modern browser platform, and up until now we could only provide the right user experience on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. With IE10, Internet Explorer has drastically improved their developer tools and made a marked improvement in standards compliance. With these improvements, we were able to confidently develop Asana for IE10, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the process. Check out the blog post on our developer site to see what we learned during this project.

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.

Enhanced cloud-based content delivery services to anyone, on any device – from Microsoft (Microsoft Azure Media Services) and its solution partners

Microsoft Azure Media Services – MAMS
(pre April 2, 2014: Windows Azure Media Services – WAMS)

A general introduction (when it was still called WAMS, corrected below):
TV Connect 2014: Martin Wahl, Principal Program Manager, Windows Microsoft Azure Media Services [IPTVWorldSeries YouTube channel, March 26, 2014]

Microsoft’s Martin Wahl discusses the intersection between broadcasting and the cloud at TV Connect 2014.

Microsoft Azure Media Services Announces Enhanced Capabilities & New Partnerships at 2014 NAB [by Vibhor_Kapoor on Windows Azure MSDN Blog, April 7, 2014]

Our customers and partners have been building solutions with Microsoft Azure Media Services since its general availability in January 2013, leveraging cloud capabilities in media processing and delivery. Today, we are pleased to announce exciting new partnerships, customers, and capabilities at the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas that further support our vision to deliver any media on virtually any device, anywhere.

New Capabilities:   We are excited to announce the following capabilities in a limited public preview that will further enrich the end-to-end, ready-to-use video workflow for encoding, packaging and distribution of live and on-demand content.

  • Live Streaming:  Building on the success of live streaming the 2014 Winter Olympics to millions of customers in 22 countries, we will soon be opening up the underlying technology that made this possible in preview to our customers. Media Services customers will have access to the tools and services needed to handle everything from ingest to processing, and distribution of on-demand video content or streaming live events at Olympic scale, to nearly any device. 
  • Secure Delivery Service: Media Services is also pleased to announce the preview of a secure delivery service that enables customers to protect their content during upload, while at rest in storage, and during playback, using either Microsoft PlayReady Digital Rights Management (DRM) or AES encryption.
  • Office 365 Video Portal: We’re also very excited about a new Office 365 video experience for enterprise customers that we announced at the SharePoint Conference 2014. The Office 365 Video experience offers secure, cloud-based video upload, storage and optimized playback for businesses, all powered by Azure Media Services. To learn more about it, clickhere.

New Customer & Partner Wins:  The integration of third party technologies, breadth of Microsoft’s partner ecosystem and customer momentum makes Media Services a strong choice for organizations looking to move to the cloud for processing anddistribution of media content. We are pleased to announce the following partnerships and customers: 

  • Ooyala Partnership: We’re very excited about our recently announced strategic relationship with Ooyala, a leading online video platform.  Combining Microsoft’s strengths in video infrastructure, encoding, packaging and streaming with Ooyala’s SaaS-based content management, analytics and monetization gives customers the ability to  solve for the challenges of multi-screen services efficiently and reliably. Learn more about the partnership in Ooyala’s press release.
  • iStreamPlanet Partnership:  We’re proud to offer the same live streaming platform that delivered the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi by introducing live video services from iStreamPlanet, powered by Aventus, in the Azure Store.  Customers will be able to choose from packages tailored for recurring live events, ad hoc live events, and live linear streaming channels with fast, high quality, and reliable live ingest and transcoding.  The offering will be available in  Q2 2014.
  • blinkbox Customer Win: blinkbox, a leading UK movie and TV Streaming Service, is taking advantage of Microsoft Azure to expand its business and deliver more content to more customers, with outstanding reliability and quality.  Learn more about it here.
  • FansChoice.tv Customer Win: Fans Choice.tv, a video content site from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Pro, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Pro and NASCAR gives race fans anywhere access to premium race video content via the web, tablets, smartphones and PCs.  Using Microsoft Azure Media Services, the website live streams various events across several different racing series not covered by broadcast television. Learn more about it here.

To learn more about these announcements and for additional details on several other exciting updates, please visit John Deutscher’s blog.

To learn how you can leverage Media Services for your video-on-demand, live streaming, and enterprise video projects, please contact us at mediaservicespreview@microsoft.com and visit www.azure.com/media

I would briefly characterize here the new Ooyala relationship as it is quite exemplary:

Ooyala today announced a strategic relationship with Microsoft Corp. to help develop, promote and accelerate the deployment of next-generation IP video services utilizing Microsoft Azure Media Services (Media Services) in conjunction with Ooyala’s SaaS-based video distribution, analytics and monetization technology. Ooyala also formed a global sales and marketing alliance with Microsoft, which is designed to drive standardization of new personalized TV services for broadcasters and operators around the world.

Through this partnership, Ooyala becomes a preferred online video provider for Microsoft and Microsoft becomes Ooyala’s preferred public cloud provider.

From Ooyala and Microsoft Announce Partnership for IP Video Services [Streaming Media Magazine, March 31, 2014]

especially because its long-time Ooyala on AWS – Customer Success Story [Amazon Web Services YouTube channel, Aug 15, 2013]

Find out how Ooyala scales up to 5 times its normal size to power online content for ESPN, Bloomberg and other customers using AWS.

as well as its value proposition as presented in Ooyala Brand Essence Video [Magnet Media, Inc. YouTube channel, Dec 17, 2013]

Ooyala wanted an animated video that shows how its platform can help brands see increased audience engagement with their online videos thanks to Ooyala’s superior speed, compatibility with multiple devices, and data analysis. Additionally, Ooyala wanted the video to introduce a new look that would define the company’s brand and stand out as unique. To reach these goals, Magnet started from scratch to create something totally different from other videos. Several of Magnet’s designers used Ooyala’s colors and fonts to draft concepts, and worked closely with Ooyala to select a design that best fit the brand. Everything else was an original creation by Magnet Media, including the music and animation. The video focuses on the key features of Ooyala’s platform, and how it is a superior video service for driving viewers and engagement. The client was thrilled with the final product, and has expressed interest in working with Magnet again on future video projects.

also as a year ago Ooyala already explained why live video is killing online (also need to know: 25% of the world’s online video traffic is analyzed by Ooyala) Sean Knapp Interview, NAB 2013, StreamingMedia.com [Streaming Media YouTube channel, May 6, 2013]

While short-form video once defined the world of online video, that world is changing. During the recent NAB conference, we spoke to Sean Knapp, Ooyala’s executive vice president and chief product officer, about why live video is taking off online

plus they were one of leading companies discussing on a UK panel what distribution models exist for professional content creators, and how best to leverage them:
Reinventing Distribution: Ooyala, Viki & Base79 – MIPCube 2013 [mipmarkets YouTube channel, April 10, 2013]

Distribution today can happen anywhere — and often spontaneously. The trick isn’t to let the winds blow your content where they will, but to approach distribution paths strategically. Join us to discuss what distribution models exist for professional content creators, and how best to leverage them. Moderator: Mike Dicks, Descience, UK, @mikedicks Speakers Neil Berry, Vice President, EMEA, Ooyala, USA Razmig Hovaghimian, CEO and Co-Founder, Viki, USA @Razmig7 Ashley MacKenzie, Founder & CEO, Base79, UK

there is an introduction of their companies by each of the panelists in the following order:
1. Ooyala, USA (… was started by some “refugees” from Google:
watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF7XibwA1Z4)
2. Base79, UK (distribute content primarily on YouTube platform:
read http://www.base79.com/about-us/ or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Tra5nBbms)
3. Viki, USA (distributing video shows worldwide by bringing down language barriers, for 156 different languages: read http://www.viki.com/about or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVH–bLiVZ8)
till [13:30], and then comes the discussion part.


Details of the Microsoft NAB 2014 announcement

NAB 2014 Announcements from Media Services [‘The (unofficial) Guide to Azure Media’, April 7, 2014]

By John Deutscher, Principal Program Manager Lead, @johndeu

We are unveiling several exciting updates to Microsoft Azure Media Services at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention today, all consistent with Media Service’s broader vision of helping media developers build end-to-end media workflows and reduce the costs associated with integrating multiple products and providers. This includes key new services like Live, Content Protection and Key Delivery, and enhancements to our encoder’s capabilities and support for popular streaming formats. We are also working on improving the integration of CMS’s with Media Services by offering low-cost open source solutions along with more complex integrations with industry leading OTT providers.

Here are some of the highlights of what our team has been working on for NAB this year:

Live Streaming Preview

Building on the success of live streaming the 2014 Winter Olympics to millions of customers in 22 countries, we will soon be opening up the underlying technology that made this possible in preview to our customers.

All Media Services customers will have access to the tools and services needed to handle everything from ingest to processing, and distribution of on-demand video content or streaming live events at Olympic scale, to nearly any device.

If you’re interested in previewing our live services contact us at: mediaservicespreview@microsoft.com.

On-Demand Encoding and Streaming

image

Secure Delivery Service Preview

We are introducing a new secure delivery service that enables customers to protect their content during upload, while at rest in storage, and during playback, using either Microsoft PlayReady Digital Rights Management (DRM) or AES 128 encryption. This feature allows you to serve both encrypted HLS and Smooth Streaming to your client devices. In addition, we are announcing the preview release of our PlayReady License delivery service. Using this new service you can configure and deliver PlayReady licenses to your client applications directly from a Microsoft Azure platform service.

image

For more details on the new PlayReady service and AES dynamic encryption with Azure Media Services, please read Mingfei Yan’s latest blog post here.

If you’re interested in previewing our secure delivery services contact us at: mediaservicespreview@microsoft.com.

Office 365 Video Portal

Just a few weeks back at the SharePoint conference we introduced a new Office 365 video experience for enterprise customers – offering secure, cloud-based video upload, storage and optimized playback all powered by Media Services. This new service leverages the power of Azure Media Services encoding, streaming, and security services to provide an enterprise grade solution with the power of Office 365 in the cloud and on client devices. Learn more about how this awesome new solution can work for your organization here.

From that:

  • Office 365 Video Portal. Today, Microsoft previewed the new Office 365 Video Portal to support upload, storage and discovery of videos in a secure manner. Businesses will be able to categorize videos into channels for specific business needs and stream them on mobile devices, with all of the video compression, optimization and rendering work done by Office 365.

Two New Data Centers in Japan

Our platform team opened two new data centers for Media Services last month for our Japanese customers: Japan-West and Japan-East. We are all very excited about this new region and are looking forward to working with our new customers in Japan.

MPEG-DASH for On-Demand Streaming is now GA

Our streaming server team continues to invest in MPEG-DASH across both On-Demand and Live scenarios. Last year we launched our On-Demand DASH preview and contributed reference streams to the DASH-IF site — these enable player development across the ecosystem. We are actively working with contributors (including Microsoft Open Technologies) to the DASH-IF JavaScript player to ensure interoperability of Live streams produced in Media Services with the DASH.js player framework.

We are happy to announce that our MPEG-DASH support for on-demand streaming through our streaming origin services is now GA. It is included in the cost of an Origin reserved unit. Live streaming with MPEG-DASH is still in private preview and available only to Live preview customers at this time.

Contact us if you are interested in testing MPEG-DASH live streaming at: mediaservicespreview@microsoft.com.

Grass Valley® HQ/HQX Digital Intermediate File Support

The encoder team added built-in support for sourcing from Grass Valley’s HQ Codec/HQX Codec. This opens up a new door for high-quality digital intermediate ingest into Media Services. The higher quality source files from Grass Valley’s HQ and HQX codecs provides the ability to encode without significant quality loss at high-speed and with low CPU usage.

The HQX format supports compression ranges from 25:1 to 2:1 and bitrates from 45 Mb/s down to 7.8Mb/s. In addition, the codec supports 10 bit color depth and 4:2:2 YCbCr chroma. Grass Valley Edius users can now upload and encode AVI files with the codec for encoding  and stream them for multi-device distribution via HLS, MPEG-DASH, and Smooth Streaming.

To read more details about the benefits of the Grass Valley HQ/HQX digital intermediate format download the application note here.

Apple HLS version 3 Support for Improved Backwards Compatibility

Responding to customer demand, our streaming server team added support for the older HLS version 3 draft specification to our Dynamic Packaging feature. Previously we only supported the newer un-muxed HLS version 4 specification. Multi-language support was the primary motivation behind choosing HLS v4 two years ago for our service. At that time, Android was seeing a lot of active development and with its largely international customer base, it was assumed that Android would adopt HLS v4 for these multi-lingual markets. Unfortunately that is not what happened.

We listened to customer feedback that a lot of older devices had not moved to the newer Apple drafts including some Smart TV’s, JWPlayer, and Android.  This feature of the streaming origin server now provides backward compatibility to older Android devices, version 4.2.2 to present, as well as the ability to reach older connected TVs and set-top boxes. In addition, we have added the ability to select audio languages when streaming HLS v3 using Azure Media Services — despite limitations in the original specification. To use HLS v3 in production today, simply modify and add a “–v3″ to the end of your streaming manifest URL for HLS:

*.ism/manifest(format=m3u8-aapl-v3)

This will mux the default audio language into the video. For more details on how to handle multi-language muxing with HLSv3, read the MSDN forum post with details from Nick Drouin here.

New Content Management Integration with Orchard CMS

Microsoft Open Technologies is announcing a new module for the open source Orchard content management system (CMS) which provides a convenient user interface for managing Azure Media Services content. Now users can store, encode, manage and view videos using Media Services natively in Orchard.  Multiple input and output formats are supported including adaptive bitrate streams. The included custom video player framework, can automatically select the ideal playback option including Flash, DASH.js and Silverlight, allowing users to preview their content. The integration of Azure Media Services and Orchard makes it easy to build powerful and scalable video content management solution on Microsoft Azure. Features of the new module include:

  • Uploading a single video and automatically encoding in multiple formats
  • Support for dynamic bitrate output formats (Apple HLS and MPEG-DASH)
  • Comprehensive access policies
  • Scheduled publication of video assets
  • Built-in player that automatically selects the optimal playback client

image

Getting Started with Orchard and Media Services

There are several ways to set up a site based off of Orchard CMS ranging from the very simple (Azure Web Sites Gallery) to the more complex, but very flexible, building from source code. The modules user guide describes five different ways of enabling these features. The user guide also clearly documents how to configure the module to use your Media Services subscription (if you don’t have a subscription yet you can try things out with a free $200 credit trial subscription) This module is part of the official Orchard project, if you have feature requests, bug reports or better yet documentation and/or code contributions please head on over to the Orchard project.

To get more details on the new module for Media Services, check out the Open Tech project here.

Dolby® Digital Plus Encoding Now Available

Our encoder team is also excited to announce that the Azure Media Encoder is now certified for Dolby® Digital Plus encoding. With the proliferation of devices that consume media, there is an increasing need for customers to offer superior audio quality to their users and deliver premium content with 5.1 surround sound. Using Media Services, HD programming with high quality multi-channel surround sound is now possible across different platforms, including Windows 8, Xbox, mobile devices and more.

Dolby® Digital Plus, or Enhanced AC-3 (E-AC-3), is an advanced surround sound audio codec designed for high quality audio. Dolby Digital Plus is based on core Dolby Digital technologies, an established standard for cinema, broadcast, and home theater surround sound. Start delivering a first-class media experience to your users today.

For more details on using Dolby Digital Plus encoding with Microsoft Azure Media Services, check out this article.

Dolby® Professional Loudness Metering Support

The Azure Media Encoder team is also announcing support for Dolby® Professional Loudness Metering. Viewers adjust the volume control based on the loudness of dialogue, and do not adjust again for typical variations in programs, such as quiet sections without dialogue or brief high-loudness scenes like explosions. Their biggest complaint is when the dialogue level changes drastically from one video to another. Broadcasters and content producers use Dolby® Professional Loudness solutions to help ensure consistent audio loudness levels.

The Dolby® Professional Loudness Metering solution combines the use of standards-based loudness estimation algorithms with Dolby® Dialogue Intelligence™ technology. Supported algorithms are those most prominently in use worldwide: Leq(A), ITU-R BS.1770-1, ITU-R BS.1770-2, and EBU R 128.

With the integration of this technology in Azure Media Encoder, you can now ensure that your Dolby® Digital Plus encodes have the correct setting for Dialog Normalization, and ensure a consistent playback experience for your customers. Start delivering a first-class media experience to your users today. For more details on using Dolby® Professional Loudness Metering with Azure Media Services, check out this article.

Clients

OSMF Player Beta with MPEG-DASH Support

The Media Services client team is  announcing a beta version of a Flash based OSMF plugin with MPEG-DASH support. Using the OSMF plugin, you can add both Smooth Streaming and on-demand MPEG-DASH (beta) content playback capabilities to existing OSMF and Strobe Media Playback players and furthermore build rich media experiences for Adobe Flash Player endpoints using Media Services. The player does not yet support live streaming of DASH content, but we are working on that too. Download the new player plugin here.

image

Smooth Streaming Client SDK for Windows Phone 8.1

Our client team also updated the Smooth Streaming Client SDK for Windows Phone 8.1 to align with the announcement of Windows Phone 8.1 at the //Build/ conference. This release includes the same feature set as the Smooth Streaming Client SDK for Windows 8/8.1 and also uses the same API which will help unifying development efforts across Windows, Windows Phone and XBOX ONE applications For more details check out Cenk Dingiloglu’s blog post here.

Microsoft Smooth Streaming Client SDK 2.5 with MPEG-DASH Support

The PlayReady team, working in conjunction with the Media Services team announced the availability of the Microsoft Smooth Streaming Client 2.5 with MPEG DASH support. This release adds the ability to parse and play MPEG DASH manifests in the Smooth Streaming Media Engine (SSME) to provide a Windows7/Windows8 and MacOS solution using MPEG DASH for on-demand streaming scenarios. Developers that wish to move content libraries to MPEG-DASH now have the option of using DASH in places where Silverlight is supported.

The existing SSME object model forms the basis of DASH support in the SSME. For example, DASH concepts like Adaptation Sets and Representations have been mapped to their logical counterpart in the SSME. Also, Adaptation Sets are exposed as Smooth Streams and Representations are exposed as Smooth Tracks. Existing Track selection and restriction APIs can be expected to function identically for Smooth and DASH content. In most other respects, DASH support is transparent to the user and a programmer who has worked with the SSME APIs can expect the same developer experience when working with DASH content. Download the new player SDK here. For more details check out Cenk Dingiloglu’s blog posthere.

That’s all of the updates from the engineering team for NAB. The business team also has a lot of exciting partnership announcements and customer case studies to talk about as well. I’ll be updating the blog after NAB with announcements and links to more details.

Announcing PlayReady as a service and AES dynamic encryption with Azure Media Services [Mingfei Yan site, April 6, 2014]

Azure Media Services is getting a big update this week in NABShow 2014. Now you have more options to secure your media delivery – by using AES clear key dynamic encryption or Microsoft PlayReady Digital Rights Management (DRM). This feature allows you to serve both encrypted HLS and Smooth Streaming to your client devices.

AES Clear Key Dynamic Encryption Feature explained

Now Azure Media Services allow you to deliver Http-Live-Streaming (HLS) and Smooth Streams encrypted with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (using 128-bit encryption keys). Media Services also provides the key delivery service that delivers encryption keys to authorized users. The diagram below demonstrate how this feature works.

image

Firstly of all, similar to dynamic packaging, you bring in multi-bitrate Mp4 or Smooth Streaming video file. If you want for Media Services to encrypt an asset, you need to associate an encryption key with an asset and also configure authorization policies for the key, After that, Media Services origin server will dynamically encrypt HLS or Smooth Streaming stream with AES encryption algorithm. When a stream is requested by a “player”, Media Services uses the specified key to dynamically encrypt your content using AES encryption. To decrypt the stream, the “player” will request the key from the key delivery service. To decide whether or not the user is authorized to get the key, the service evaluates the authorization policies that you specified for the key. We provides three options: Token-based authentication, IP-based authentication and open. If you choose Token-based authentication, usually you will integrate the token issue progress into your own authentication system. Therefore, only authorized player could obtain a valid token from your Authentication system, and our key service will validate the token and issue AES key for the player to decrypt the stream.

Which client platform and devices support AES decryption?

AES decryption is a open algorithm that everyone could implement after downloading the stream. We have implement AES decryptor as plugin into the following Platform:

  • Flash OSMF plugin to decrypt AES encrypted smooth streaming
  • Windows 8 cache plugin to decrypt AES encrypted smooth streaming

For iOS, it natively supports AES encrypted HLS stream decryption. We will provide sample code for handling the Key request.

Who should use AES dynamic encryption?

AES dynamic encrypts on-the-wire communication using the widely-known symmetric AES encryption algorithm. Therefore, this would prevent man-in-the-middle attack, if someone eavesdrops the communication, he won’t get any useful information. However, the AES key considers in the “clear” on client devices. Therefore, it requires you to trust your client. For instance, enterprise videos could be a good use case. Usually employees are bounded by employee agreement of not to distribute their training videos. Hence, enterprise just needs to prevent outsider grabbing the video through traffic. Last month, Office 365 launched a video portal based on SharePoint for enterprise to share knowledge. All videos are using AES dynamic encryption and streamed out through Azure Media Services.

PlayReady as a Service feature explained

Azure Media Services provides a Microsoft PlayReady license delivery service. PlayReady is a full-featured content access protection technology developed my Microsoft that uses Digital Rights Management (DRM). It protects a content media stream during playback by using a license server that provides the decryption key needed to decrypt the media stream. For more information, see Microsoft PlayReady. This diagram below shows how this works in details:

image

Firstly, you need to pre-encrypt Smooth Streaming file with PlayReady License, by providing us License Acquisition URL, Key ID and Content Key. You could follow this MSDN article to use Azure Media Encryptor to encrypt the Smooth Streaming file. As a output, you could further package the encrypted Smooth Streaming into HLS and DASH (See how here). You could also define how the license could be authorized to your user. Similar to AES dynamic encryption, we enable Token/IP/Open authentication service.

When a user tries to watch PlayReady protected content, the client player application requests the content from Azure Media Services. Azure Media Services then redirects the client to an Azure Media Services PlayReady licensing server that authenticates and authorizes the user’s access to the content. The client can then download and decrypt the content. Azure Media Services enables content providers to configure license delivery policy for each client.

Which platform/devices that PlayReady SDK covers?

Azure Media Services can be used to encode, download, or stream Smooth Streaming or MPEG DASH content encrypted with PlayReady. For consuming PlayReady encrypted content, client SDKs and the PlayReady Porting Kit are available under commercial licensing terms. (PlayReady clients for Windows 8.1 Store Apps can be built using the free SDK located HERE). These client-side SDKs are not part of this preview.

Who should use PlayReady content protection? 

Both PlayReady and AES encrypts the stream over the wire, so it prevents man-in-the-middle attack. However, on the device side, when you use PlayReady, the decryption of the stream happens in a secure DRM environment, which is in a lower stack of the operating system. Therefore, neither the key nor the content would be exposed in clear. If you have primium content and you need to prevent piracy, Digital Right Management(DRM) such as PlayReady is definitely the way to go. Plus, PlayReady allows you to define a comprehensive licensing agreement, such as how many times user get to watch the content, how long the content is available to the user and etc.

How do I get access to these services?

Currently, we are running both AES dynamic encryption and PlayReady service as private preview. We are working on get the services out of the door for preview soon. If you are interested in trying the service out, please email mediaservicespreview@microsoft.com and copy me yanmf@microsoft.com.

FansChoice.tv and Ooyala choose Microsoft to help them deliver content to anyone, on any device [The Official Microsoft Blog, April 7, 2014]

The following post is from Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.

On Monday at the 2014 NAB Show exhibition, Microsoft is showing the latest technology innovations for the broadcast media industry. We are also sharing how customers and partners like FansChoice.tvand Ooyala are reaching thousands of viewers with Microsoft technology. Monday’s announcements are part of our ongoing commitment to enable a wide variety of broadcasters to reach more customers using technologies that are secure, easy to use and cost-effective. You will also see us announce the new Microsoft Azure Media Services capabilities and Skype’s new integrated solution for broadcasters “Skype TX”.

Microsoft Azure Media Services

With Microsoft Azure Media Services, broadcasters can focus on content and leave the delivery to us.

FansChoice.tv, a collaboration between American Motorcyclist Association Pro, International Motor Sports Association and NASCAR, turned to Microsoft Azure to quickly build and launch a new live stream-capable website featuring the ability to stream live races and offer access to a library of exciting on-demand racing content. This provided fans at home access to an array of content not covered by broadcast television, via the Web, tablets, smartphones and PCs.

Ooyala also announced a new strategic relationship with Microsoft to develop, promote and accelerate the deployment of next-generation IP video services utilizing Media Services in conjunction with Ooyala’s Web-based video distribution, analytics and monetization technology. Combining Microsoft’s investments in video infrastructure, encoding, packaging and streaming with Ooyala’s strengths in content management, analytics and monetization provides customers with all the elements they need for online video development.

As broadcasters look to the cloud to accelerate the delivery of premium content, security is a key consideration. Microsoft is deeply committed to security and, in support of those efforts, is offering a new license delivery service that allows customers to apply Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) or PlayReady encryption to help protect and secure their video content.

Media Services was built to meet the demands of every broadcaster, so organizations of any size, from NBC Sports to United Kingdom-based blinkbox, have access to a powerful and scalable cloud platform that grows with their business. A recent example is the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which were delivered to audiences in 22 countries across four continents by broadcasters using Media Services to provide high definition live coverage of every event.

Skype

On Monday, we are announcing a new solution available in the coming year for broadcasters, Skype TX, which can make any location in the world a professional studio. Skype TX is studio-grade software that delivers high-quality audio and video output to improve broadcast and media programming to people around the world. Skype TX includes call handling management for multiple, simultaneous Skype calls on one management interface, is free of audio and visual distractions such as call notifications and ads, and maintains HD-SDI Video output and input essential for broadcasters. This improved offering is a result of the recent Skype acquisition of long-time broadcast partner Cat and Mouse. We encourage you to visit www.skypeinmedia.com for more information on how Skype TX can enrich your broadcast and media programming.

My insert here: StudioTech NAB 2014 – 9: Skype TX (the first interview given at NAB!) [StudioTech TV YouTube channel, April 7, 2014]

Videos from the NAB Show 2014 in Las Vegas. Skype TX solution for broadcasters – a hardware and software solution with HD and SDI support.

End of the insert

Providing the Platform for the New Media Model

Over the past decade, cloud computing changed the media landscape immeasurably, offering nearly any media company new delivery options to extend their content to more people.

Consumers’ options have multiplied as well; the convergence of online, digital content and the myriad of new form factors have created new expectations. Customers can watch what they want, when they want, where they want on screen sizes from 3 inches to 80 inches and everywhere in between. Broadcasters need a solution that delivers on all fronts.

With Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings, media companies can grow advertising and paid subscription revenues by extending the reach of their digital distribution capabilities and their brand, as well as launching new channels and services more quickly. They also have control over broadcast quality and the customer experience to create an offering that is consistent with their brand.

With products like Skype TX, Microsoft also empowers content development collaboration between journalists and creative staff. In short, Microsoft is providing the tools that help broadcasters achieve their multi-screen broadcasting goals in a profitable, efficient and timely way. We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with these organizations to help them reimagine their business and to be a part of this year’s event.

Microsoft and media companies bring content to the masses at the National Association of Broadcasters Show [press alert, April 7, 2014]

Microsoft will showcase its latest broadcast technology solutions that help deliver a connected experience that is secured, seamless and differentiated at industry-leading event.

Where: National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show

Las Vegas Convention Center

3150 Paradise Road

Las Vegas, NV 89109

When: April 7–10, 2014

What: Microsoft Corp. will showcase the latest devices and services that help media companies bring their content and business into the cloud with robust security and deliver quality content to their customers from virtually anywhere. Microsoft Azure will announce new customer wins and Media Services’ capabilities, while Skype will introduce a new studio-grade hardware and software solution for broadcasters, expected to be available early next year. At the Microsoft booth, #SL 5110, attendants will demonstrate how the Microsoft platform, along with its partner ecosystem, is serving media customers through the cloud, tools and devices. Some of the many partners that will be in the booth include:

  • Axinom – Cross-platform media solutions. Axinom is a leading digital solutions provider serving the world’s major brands in the media and entertainment industry. Axinom’s OTT portfolio features content management (CMS), digital rights management (DRM) and pre-built reference applications for on-demand, live event and live linear content. The company provides customers with an out-of-the-box solution for the entire workflow, from video acquisition right down to delivery to various devices. Axinom OTT is tightly interoperable with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Azure Media Services, offering the flexibility, scalability and reliability of a cloud-based solution. It utilizes Microsoft PlayReady DRM, HTML5 and native technologies, and supports HLS, Smooth Streaming and MPEG-DASH streaming. At the NAB Show, the Axinom team will be presenting a new video streaming showcase running on HTML5, iOS, Android, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Xbox One, set-top box (STB) and smart TV. While demonstrating the whole end-to-end video workflow in real time, Axinom will give an insight into the next generation of OTT video, ensuring impressive results and short time to market.

  • Decentrix Inc. – BIAnalytix™ Media Business Intelligence (MBI™), maximizing ad sales revenue. Decentrix helps media, entertainment, telecommunications and ad agencies aggregate key audience, inventory and revenue information to support, secure and enhance new evolving advertising sales models. Decentrix provides powerful analytics to allow business users to become data-driven decision-makers. Attendees are encouraged to visit the Decentrix kiosk at the Microsoft booth to see demos of Decentrix’s core BIAnalytix and MobileMBI solutions that allow clients the ability to fast track their enterprise data strategies.

  • deltatre – Diva, the world’s greatest player. Diva is the ultimate live and on-demand sports video player that creates a unique and immersive viewing experience for fans — while it also helps content owners monetize their properties across platforms. Diva combines live video with sports data, social and editorial content in a single graphic interface, giving end users the best of engagement and transforming them into active viewers. Content owners can maximize the value of their digital rights with a concrete return on investment. At the Microsoft booth, deltatre will re-create the drama that captivated the audiences during Sochi 2014 with Diva and live demos from the Winter Games.

  • KORE Software – KORE MediaPitch™, extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM for media and entertainment. KORE is the market leader in business management software for the media, entertainment and sports industries. KORE MediaPitch is an additive to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and transforms it into a CRM-based media and sponsorship sales, analysis and proposal tool, which consolidates all existing inventory into one view (traditional media, digital, sponsorship, hospitality, etc.) across multiple sales divisions to drive sales, streamline operations and increase profits. Benefits for media companies include margin optimization, inventory visibility and management, proposal generation, forecasting, dynamic rate cards, and increased productivity. Leading global media, entertainment and sports organizations utilize KORE. A presentation and demo of KORE MediaPitch will be available in the Microsoft booth.

Other News:

Who:

(Available for interviews)

  • Bob De Haven, General Manager, Worldwide Communications & Media at Microsoft

  • Tony Emerson, Managing Director, Worldwide Media & Cable at Microsoft

More Details: More information is available athttp://www.microsoft.com/enterprise/industry/communications-and-media/media-and-cable/events/nabshow/default.aspx#fbid=95r9qrqPb9F.

For the latest NAB news, links and photos, follow @MSFTenterprise, @MSFT4Work, @Azure and@Skype on Twitter.

Amazon joined the OTT TV, gaming console and entertainment race with its Fire TV

Gary Busey Meets Amazon Fire TV [amazon YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]

Introducing Amazon Fire TV, http://amzn.to/1pRjlgP, the streaming media player that listens to Gary Busey. Gary likes to talk to things, but gets frustrated when high tech things don’t listen. Luckily, Amazon Fire TV listens to Gary and finds all the movies and TV shows he wants to watch. Amazon Fire TV has voice search that actually works. #AmazonFireTV

Amazon unveils the FireTV [CNETTV YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]

The $99 FireTV plays Amazon on-demand streaming content, adds voice search, and plays games.

with no big stock market enthusiasm (I would say “business as usual” reaction):
image

Analyst commentary: Amazon Unveils Video-Streaming Device ‘Fire TV’ [WSJDigitalNetwork YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]

Amazon.com Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a new set-top box to stream video and other media to television sets, an ambitious move by the retail giant to break into the living room. TECHnalysis Research founder Bob O’Donnell joins Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.

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]

Amazon announces Fire TV, its own set own set top box that plays movies, TV, music, games, and more. http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/2/5573818/amazon-announces-fire-tv

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.

image

“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.”

Related information:
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]

Jordan takes us through an unboxing of the new set top box by Amazon called the Fire TV. Take a look at the hardware itself and also the user interface and media library features.

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.

ASAP

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:

  • WhispersyncAmazon’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]

image

CPU

28nm LP quad core Krait 300 CPU at up to 1.9GHz per core

LP-DDR3 memory for high performance and low latency

GPU

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

Power Management

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

DSP

Hexagon, QDSP6

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

USB

USB 2.0

Bluetooth

BT4.0 + Integrated digital core

Display

Enjoy your photos, videos and games on large, high-resolution display devices (up to 2048×1536) and even on 1080p external displays

WiFi

802.11ac3 Wi-Fi for peak Wi-Fi performance + Integrated digital core3

Publicly demonstrated to 280 Mbps UDP

GPS

IZAT™ location technology features GNSS for accurate auto and pedestrian navigation and Indoor Location capabilities for advanced location-based services

Video/Audio

Capture and playback video at 1080p HD

HD multichannel sound with DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus

Camera

Up to 21 Megapixel, stereoscopic 3D

Take high-resolution, 3D photos with 21 Megapixel stereoscopic camera support

Process Technology

28nm LP

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