Opinion: What are you doing Microsoft? [MS Build 2019 Edition]

Before we begin, it is worth noting that this article is based on the author’s perspective of Build 2019 and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of MSPoweruser in general or Microsoft.

Microsoft hosted their MS Build 2019 developer conference at Seattle, WA from 6th May 2019 to 8th May 2019. I was present there in person and I got to attend the keynote and then interact with several product groups in person. We all observed that the announcements this year were not much about the consumer side of Microsoft products. It was so biased towards the Enterprise that they did not even talk about the next major release of Windows 10 coming later this year i.e. Windows 10 19H2. It’s no surprise because Microsoft already started testing Windows 10 20H1 release with Windows Insiders in the Skip Ahead ring since February 2019. On the other hand, the Office team at Microsoft is continuing with their regular releases to Office Insiders. But Ideas for Word was announced as well but worked mostly with other services that are built mainly for the enterprise.

It would be really stupid and inappropriate to say that Windows is dead. Because it’s not. Just because they did not talk about it, that does not mean it does not lie as a priority now. Microsoft merged Windows, Office, and other offerings to Microsoft 365. However, even though when combined, the list of announcements for Microsoft 365 was not much longer too. It was mostly about the integration of their offerings with Microsoft Graph and AI to bring in enhancements to how these offerings work. However, this is the plan.

As per my interactions, the Microsoft Edge Team is working actively to develop the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser for Windows, Android, iOS as well as macOS. Currently, they are not aiming to make it generally available straightaway as they are working on beings the maximum number of features and stability to the web browser across all the platforms. And for this, they do not want to compromise with anything, and they do not have a proper target schedule for the release to the General public.

Office, on the other hand, is not going with any major releases as per my knowledge. There are definitely some major productivity enhancers being built for Office behind the curtains but as of now, the team at Microsoft seemed more inclined about the new icon refresh and the overall features and stability of the suite.

Windows 10 and the Windows Insider Program teams were very energetic and very up to some interesting things. The Windows Insider Program team made some interesting announcements at their private event. They also had their ‘dealings’ who had some great stories and are actively working in the community. However, we did not hear much about the 19H2 release of Windows 10. Microsoft says that they will be soon testing it with the Windows Insiders. We should hold our breath until that happens. But Windows Terminal was announced which bought under the power of multiple command line utilities under one window. It also has a tabbed interface and a great implementation of Fluent Design System elements. You can learn more about it here. Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 is also coming very soon which is a better, faster and more optimized version of WSL that is currently shipped with Windows 10.

Microsoft Azure looks to be one of the most focused offerings from Microsoft. There are many other services from Microsoft that are powered by Azure. They made a number of announcements to make Azure a better platform for applications to be hosted. It was also announced that more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure to run their applications and services on. Upon digging further in, Azure is being built to add support for Microsoft’s upcoming cloud gaming platform – xCloud. But I would recommend waiting for an official announcement for the same.

At last, the whole conference is about empowering the developers to build great products. Visual Studio is the tool of these developers. Visual Studio 2019 was made generally available in the month of April 2019 and with the support for the new version of .NET (.NET 5) and integration with .NET Core, Microsoft is leaving no stones unturned to build a great platform for the developers.

So, if we observe these announcements carefully, they were not consumer focused. They were mostly focused to be used by the base in the enterprise. But this does not mean that Microsoft is not focusing on other consumer-focused elements of Windows and Office. If we observe carefully, Microsoft is moving all of its offerings in Azure. And with all these new offerings in other platforms by Microsoft, they will be integrating them all together. For example, Microsoft Search, with the power of Microsoft Graph expands from Bing to the company’s search to Cortana. This is the level of integration that Microsoft is planning. Also, on the other hand, if all these offerings come under one platform, it will be far more easy and structural to integrate them together with a series of APIs and features.

So, in the near future, we might be encountering some major features with all these offerings to all sorts of consumers. But until that huge and complex migration is done, we need to hold back and wait for the magic to happen.

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