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Microsoft Cross Platform ’s Uncrowned King

Microsoft Cross Platform ’s Uncrowned King

Microsoft Cross Platform …

3 Words that didn’t necessarily come together in past years and yet over the last couple of years, the dominant player in all things cross platform has been Microsoft.

Windows Phone Microsoft Apps
Google Play Store (Android) Microsoft Apps
Apple iOS Microsoft Apps

Microsoft had already become a major app developer for iOS and Android, not just on Windows Phone. Since then Skype, the full Office suite (including Outlook) has landed on both platforms, OneNote, Bing search, OneDrive and others, and today Microsoft announced two more high-impact cross-platform apps: –

  1. Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant (already on Windows Phone and soon to be on Windows 10) will arrive on Android and iOS later this year.
  2. Windows 10 will come with the Phone Companion App which will allow your smartphone (iOS, Android or Windows Phone) to work seamlessly with Windows 10.

The various reports explain that Cortana will not have the full feature set available on Windows Phone for now.

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Are Microsoft Giving Away The Farm?

Some Microsoft users are acting shocked over the apparent desire at Redmond to take all that is unique on Windows Phone, Office, Windows or Visual Studio and deliver it wrapped in a pretty bow onto iOS and Android.

There is a feeling that any of the added value (especially) that Windows Phone had with Cortana et al is drastically diminished.

Firstly, everything that is happening is in keeping with Microsoft’s mission statement and ambitions. I was writing about this predicted trend back in 2012/13 here and here. In fact some might state that this agenda prompted Cyanogen to actively embrace Microsoft services on their already unique Android.

No one should be surprised about Microsoft making these moves to be a strong presence on every layer of consumer and business technology: frontend (Web, Mobile and Desktop), Productivity, Cloud Storage and Apps (OneDrive and Azure).

Now factor in a word that keeps cropping up on this blog ecosystem: Microsoft Cross Platform is about creating an ecosystem that is not limited by platform, device or Operating System.

The Warptest POV

Nutshell, I’m strongly in favor of this philosophy. As a testing professional, cross platform can be a nightmare to support. More browsers, more operating systems and versions can make for endless test cycles but looking beyond testing, Microsoft is competing across the board by building this ecosystem.

Apple continues with their gated community philosophy and Google continues to compete by restricting their services and apps from Microsoft consumers wherever possible. Microsoft has become a champion of Open Source with .Net, plans Universal Apps for Windows 10 ported from iOS and Android.

The real added value of Cortana on iOS and Android is not just the presence of Microsoft search, service or app on those devices: the Microsoft Band, Redmond’s smartwatch is the only fully cross platform device of its kind on the market and with Cortana integration this makes it a more attractive option for consumers looking for a smartwatch with apps, “AI” and phone integration.

Microsoft BUILD conference also paid strong attention to the anticipated stronger integration between Cortana and apps. It seems that Microsoft Cross Platform is about total coverage.

So to the people feeling like Microsoft gave away the farm, I suggest that someone in Redmond’s strategic business department is an avid reader of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

What do you think?

 
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