Several happenings marked Microsoft’s week as they unveiled their new Windows 8 App store. Other than this a revamp of Xbox Live Dashboard took place and a new four-year partnership agreement with HP was also recently signed.
The new business solutions will be the integration of Microsoft’s cloud products that include Lync Server 2010, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 with HP’s cloud services. All of these products will be delivered using HP data storage centers. The partnership’s public cloud platform will offer Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-productivity software plus an upgraded hybrid solution where HP Office 365 will be sold together with other HP Enterprise Cloud Services.
Vice President of Microsoft’s Enterprise Server Group, Mark Hill wrote, “This alliance not only broadens Microsoft’s geographic reach, it gives customers maximum flexibility to choose a cloud computing solution that meets their organization’s specialized messaging and collaboration needs.”
Microsoft continues to battle for the cloud market with its Windows Azure and Office 365 in an effort to move beyond the traditional PC products. Earlier this week, Microsoft launched its new Windows Store, which will have Windows 8 as its flag carrier product that is due for release in February 2012. This is Microsoft’s parallel storefront against its giant rival, Apple’s App Store.
Program Manager for the Windows Store, Ted Dworkin wrote, “Enterprise developers have been asking about their path to market with Metro style apps. And, in turn, IT administrators have been asking about deployment and management scenarios, such as compliance and security.”
To fulfill this clamor of business enterprises for direct control for app deployments, Dworkin wrote, “Enterprises can choose to limit access to the Windows Store catalog by their employees, or allow access but restrict certain apps,” he wrote. “In addition, enterprises can choose to deploy Metro style apps directly to PCs, without going through the Store infrastructure.”
Microsoft services will also allow businesses control over their own sales and advertising tools. This is in direct contrast with Apple’s complex approval process for web developers.
The new version of Windows 8 will now use start screen centers that display colorful and touchable boxes that are directly linked to the applications. Microsoft also made a radical change with their Xbox Live Dashboard to make it more like a home entertainment center and gaming console. Game controls will use Kinect hands-free voice and gesture command. All these features will be available and accessible using Windows phone and very soon using Windows 8.
Xbox Live will surely give a stiff competition for Apple TV and Google TV in 2012; plus the battle for the mobile cloud using mobile OS (iOs, Android and Windows Phone) continues to heat up.