Behind me are lots of people, mostly men, but all tired and frenetic, energized for another developer conference. They’re inside Moscone Center West, what is quickly becoming the de facto venue for all companies, from Apple to Google and Microsoft, to show off the latest software (and occasional hardware) achievements from within the company.
Microsoft is in a bit of a strange state this year. It is at once transitioning away from its legacy “sell Windows to OEMs and convince those OEMs to sell Windows machines to consumers and businesses” strategy, opting, like other SaaS companies, to focus on a subscription based model centred around Office 365. Indeed, Office has become the company’s most important brand, with Windows being distributed largely for free to most consumers who want it.
But Windows is still an enormous product, and the latest version, Windows 10, will get a release date today. Microsoft has been touting Windows 10’s unified development platform, hoping to capture the attention of devs that have since moved on to iOS and Android, almost exclusively. There are some big names here supporting the endeavour, too, namely Adobe, which has its own growing subscription-based business model.
Microsoft is no longer just a Windows company, either: it is developing native apps for iOS and Android, at increasing volume and laudable quality, mostly to stave off the inevitable atrophy of its own platforms. Windows 10 for phones will certainly have a place here, but its presence may be more muted compared to past years. Then again, Microsoft has been known to surprise us. We’ve heard that Windows 10 may support Android apps, similar to the way BlackBerry has implemented them, which leads us to wonder if that will even further dilute developer attention.
Either way, the Redmond-based company still has many strengths, including its cloud business and, increasingly, Xbox, which has shown resilience even as PlayStation 4 has triumphed in sales.
We’ll find out more soon, so stay tuned!
Oh, and if you want to check out the keynote address, beginning at 8:30am PT / 11:30am ET, you can do so over at Microsoft.