Microsoft's Big Product Year
We're almost at the end of 2012, and it's been an amazing year for Microsoft product releases. Just in the last month we've seen a number of huge -- and hugely important -- unveilings:
- On Sept. 12, Visual Studio 2012 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 launched. Visual Studio 2012, of course, is focused on building mobile apps with Windows 8 and the Windows Runtime. It's significant that in the four weeks prior to its "official" launch, Visual Studio 2012 was the most-downloaded version of the product in history, with more than 600,000 downloads. You're obviously eager to see what Windows 8 can do for you.
- Speaking of Windows 8, it will be officially available when you read this (although it isn't official as I write this). I think it's safe to say that no product release in more than a decade has been more important to Microsoft, or caused more anxiety in Redmond. The company has to get this right. It's a bit concerning that Intel CEO Paul Otellini said recently that Windows 8 needs some improvements; how big those improvements need to be could be key to a fast versus slow start for Windows 8.
- It looks like Windows Phone 8 will be out a few days after Windows 8. And rumors are flying fast and furious that Microsoft is making its own Windows Phone 8 device, to compete more directly with Apple.
These releases don't count other major products coming, or already out, including SQL Server 2012, Windows Azure, SharePoint 2013, Office 2013 and Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and so on. I'm thinking 2013 needs to be a breather year for Microsoft. Work on polishing those releases, guys, and relax a bit.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.