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Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

After Apple slammed Microsoft for gouging customers and designing tablets that nobody wants, Microsoft has fired back, saying that you can’t get real work done with iPads or its anemic iWorks productivity suite, and that iPads are little more than toys. Who’s right in the increasingly nasty war of words?

At Apple’s iPad launch, CEO Tim Cook and others zinged Microsoft for charging $99 a year for Office, charging $199 for people to upgrade to Windows 8, and for having a confused tablet strategy. CEO Tim Cook said about Microsoft:

“They’re confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they’re trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they’ll do next? I can’t answer that question, but I can tell you that we’re focused.”

Microsoft is striking back, and striking back hard, esssentially claiming that you can’t get serious work done on an iPad, and that the only reason Apple is now giving away its iWorks suite is that no one wants to buy it. On the Official Microsoft Blog, Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft noted the criticisms that Apple had aimed at Microsoft, and shot back:

“Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino.”

And then he took off the kid gloves, criticizing Apple’s new iPads as overpriced, iWork as a pointless piece of software, and saying they don’t stack up against Surface tablets when it comes to productivity. He wrote:

“Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world’s most popular, most powerful productivity software for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively. Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.”

He said iPads were not suitable for getting real work done, and that the reason Apple is giving away iWork for free is that no one wants them, as shown by their $10 price for iOS, or $20 for Mac OS X. He wrote:

“…it’s not surprising that we see other folks now talking about how much ‘work’ you can get done on their devices. Adding watered down productivity apps. Bolting on aftermarket input devices. All in an effort to convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines.

“In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their ‘iWork’ suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking.”

And he concluded that when it comes to getting real work done, Apple is far behind Microsoft:

“So, when I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don’t see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up.”

Who’s right here? When it comes to the productivity argument, Microsoft is. There’s absolutely no doubt that a Surface Pro 2 tablet equipped with a Touch Type 2 keyboard and a free version of Office is a far more effective tool for getting serious work done than an iPad with iWork. In essence, the Surface Pro with the Touch Type 2 keyboard is an ultrabook. An iPad with iWork is…well, an iPad with iWork. In other words, fine for light work. Not well-suited for serious work.

But when it comes to the tablet market and to sales, Apple is right. For now, tablet buyers don’t care about doing heavy-duty work on them. Checking email, browsing the Web, running apps, and light memo writing, are all well-suited for tablets. And that’s all many people need to do for their work.

So in the tablet battle, Microsoft’s Surface may be on top for productivity. But when it comes to the bottom line and sales, Apple is still cleaning up.

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Today I would like to draw your attention towards Business viewpoint in comparison of SharePoint and Drupal.

So let the story begin.

 Initially SharePoint was created as a document management system and has over time, through continuous expansion and new features, taken on some similarity to a content management system. So for today SharePoint is being positioned as not only an intranet platform, but also a web framework that can power big sites and be on the same playing field as other larger CMS platforms. Drupal in its turn has been developed to provide the foundation to build something, whether it’s a corporate website, web-shop, customer portal, CRM, intranet or extranet, or all at once. So theoretically, we can admit that since then, Drupal and SharePoint has seen the light, both platforms have been more in each other’s way and the debate of Drupal vs. SharePoint  has been part of their history. Still what is a wiser choice?

Time for setup

In this point Drupal knock SharePoint out. Firstly Drupal is based on PHP that makes it very easy to run on any environment. With SharePoint, it needs to run Windows locally to be able to set up even the development environment. If you do not have Windows, you will need run it on VMware or other virtualization software. In this case you will have to beef up your local machine to manage the memory requirements.

Today SharePoint Online definitely obviates the set up hassle for companies not looking for self-hosted solutions. Even so, the configuration steps are not as easy and shiny as they might look on the surface.

Drupal allows to quickly set up an intranet site or something on a public domain in a few hours. From a business point of view, you can get rolling within a few hours!

Integration with other services

In this case SharePoint definitely has serious advantage of how well it integrates with the other Microsoft services. So, if as a company you are invested in Microsoft and its other services, SharePoint is a natural choice. Firstly, you would already have Windows developers and system administrators and secondly, the tight coupling SharePoint offers with other MS services is golden.

Though Drupal can be configured to interact with other MS services, it is much easier in a non-Windows scenario.

Deployment

While SharePoint solution need to have not only developers but an in-house SharePoint system administrator to be able to carry out deployments, Drupal does not required any extra developer or CPU resources.

Activities beyond intranet

One of the claims of SharePoint is how it helps companies launch multiple websites apart from just setting up an intranet platform. Still to pull this off it requires a humongous number of human resource and the technical ability . The same can be achieved with Drupal but easier.

Maintenance against paid upgrades

SharePoint today is in a much better shape than what it was a few years ago. But  the progres has been very slow and every upgrade means digging deeper into your pockets.

With the community based model, Drupal has seen a far better progress in a much shorter time. The progress has not just been in the core platform but also the kind of plugins and extensions for rapid site assembly available to make Drupal a fuller platform.

Look

In the market Drupal being an open source option has a lot of low cost and free available themes, that can be integrated without much effort. SharePoint  in its turn charges for the themes and plus designers have to know XSL to be able to tweak the themes.

Cost

What do you think who will have more advantages if we compare an open source option with a Microsoft product? JStill it’s important to note that, SharePoint as an online hosted solution is much more affordable than its predecessor downloadable versions. The licensing fee and the developer licenses were prohibitively high which now can be circumvented by going for the online versions.

From business point of view open sourсe solution seems more profitably than corporate one and Drupal wins. Still if we compare them from technical point of view…who knows, may be the Microsoft’s family product will gain revenge. It would be interesting to know your thoughts about it.

Elvira Golyak

Elvira Golyak
Elvira.Golyak@altabel.com
Skype ID: elviragolyak
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

As you may know, the main thing which Windows 8 has adopted from Windows Phone is live tiles; a user can see them right after the computer starts. The more popularity Windows 8 will gain, the more people will wonder: what are the tiles for? What’s the use of them?

Potential customers are already a bit familiar with live tiles conception, for example, from the Nokia Lumia advertisement. Hence, they imagine what kind of information is displayed on them. Nevertheless, the number of those who are familiar with live tiles is negligible in comparison with the number of potential Windows 8 users. In the next two years Modern interface in Windows 8 is expected to cause confusion.

People will either love or hate these live tiles. But anyway Windows Phone 8 interface will seem familiar for Windows 8 users, even if they’ve never seen those smartphones. The same is with Windows Phone users – Windows 8 interface should be known to them.

Huge attention has been given to cloud integration in Windows 8. The same thing is for Windows Phone: products for these platforms and for Xbox 360 as well will be able to interact through SkyDrive and Xbox services tied up to Microsoft account (former Live ID).

Office and OneNote products for Windows Phone have already stored documents in SkyDrive, and now Office 2013 applications can do the same. It means you can create a document on one platform and continue your work on another one, and the application automatically determines where you’ve stopped your work last time. Photos made with WP-smartphone can be automatically uploaded to SkyDrive, and then they are automatically displayed in Windows 8 gallery. The same is with Facebook.

Also, Microsoft is going to implement tablets and phones interaction with Xbox 360 console. For this purpose SmartGlass application is to be released. The application will allow mobile devices to work as a console remote control and will display context information on the screen. Thus, smartphone or tablet may be used as a secondary screen in the games. Let me remind you that Xbox Live achievements are already synchronized among games versions for different platforms. Xbox Music service will provide an access to the music store and free broadcast from any device. Microsoft is not forcing to use Windows Phone, company’s service integration is available for other platforms as well, although in Windows Phone 7 and 8 it is more fully implemented. SkyDrive and OneNote clients are available for Symbian (only uploading files to the services), Android and iOS (with full functionality). According to Microsoft, next year service Xbox Music will become available for Android and iOS users. Microsoft has shown an excellent example of respectable attitude to its users.

For some time computer and mobile OSes resemblance will be only external. Although porting from Windows to Windows Phone is a quite simple process, users will have to buy separately the same application for different platforms.

It is the first time we see common interface in mobile and computer OSes. Earlier Microsoft was trying to port desktop Windows interface to smartphones on Windows Mobile. While now the company ports mobile sensor interface into computer operating system. Even Apple haven’t ventured on this.

The decision to use 2 kinds of interface in Windows 8 –desktop and Modern- is certainly rather controversial. The company risks encounter users’ complaint, who will confuse these interfaces and spend their time to find where the needed program starts from.

The situation can change only if lots of blue-chip Windows 8 applications appear in Windows Store. In this case users will be able to give up traditional desktop mode and switch fully to the Modern one.

For starting most of the applications desktop mode is needed, but in prospect more and more applications will start in Modern interface. Popularity and demand for Modern interface fully depends on applications developers. Currently there are relatively few applications in Windows Store – only 8,5 thousand. In case the quantity of applications for Windows 8 grows the same as for Windows Phone, in a couple of years there will be more than 100 thousand of them. By the way, many Windows Phone applications can be installed as trials version, which do not go separately from full versions. Let’s compare it with Android and iOS, where trial and full versions are two different applications.

After users start switching from Windows 7 to Windows 8, the number of Windows Phone 8 users will grow, opening huge perspectives in front of applications developers. Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 work on the common core, which allows easily porting from one platform to another one. Huge amount of Windows8 users will inevitably pay their attention to the mobile version of this platform – Windows Phone 8. The interface will be familiar to them, applications will be the same, why not buy such a smartphone?

Thank you for consideration. I know there are still lots of opponents of the OSes discussed, but I’m eager to learn your thoughts on Windows 8 and WP 8, and first impressions as well.

Best regards,

Nadya Klim

Nadya Klim
Nadya.Klim@altabel.com
Business Development Manager
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Microsoft has officially rolled out Windows Server 2012, the server partner to the Windows 8 operating system it is launching on 6 October alongside the eagerly anticipated Surface tablet.

Unveiling the new offering on the 4th of September, Satya Nadella, president of Redmond’s Servers and Tools Business, has dubbed the new-gen system as the first “cloud OS.” In his keynote speech, Nadella described how Windows Server 2012 is a cornerstone of the Cloud OS, which provides one consistent platform across private, hosted and public clouds.

Windows Server 2012 is seen as a central part of Microsoft’s new enterprise ecosystem, which also features Windows Azure and System Center 2012 for customers to manage and deliver applications and services across private, hosted and public clouds.

The Microsoft Cloud OS provides enterprises with a highly elastic and scalable infrastructure with always-on, always-up services. Automated management, robust multitenant support, and self-service provisioning help enterprises transform their datacenters to support the coordination and management of pooled sets of shared resources at the datacenter level, replacing fragmented management of individual server nodes.

The new operating system provides a comprehensive set of capabilities across the enterprise private cloud datacenter, and public cloud datacenters.

• Agile Development Platform: The Microsoft Cloud OS allows enterprises to build applications they need using the tools they know, including Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET, or open-source technologies and languages, such as REST, JSON, PHP, and Java.

• Unified DevOps and Management: The Microsoft Cloud OS supports unified DevOps and unified application life-cycle management with common application frameworks across development and operations. With Microsoft System Center integration with development environments such as Visual Studio, enterprises can achieve quick time-to-solution and easy application troubleshooting and management.

• Common Identity: The Microsoft Cloud OS implements Active Directory as a powerful asset across environments to help enterprises extend to the cloud with Internet scale security using a single identity and to securely extend applications and data to devices.

• Integrated Virtualization: To help enterprises achieve the modern datacenter, the Microsoft Cloud OS includes an infrastructure which provides a generational leap in agility, leveraging virtualization to deliver a highly scalable and elastic infrastructure with always-on, always-up services across shared resources and supporting cloud service delivery models with more automated management and self-service provisioning. With Windows Server 2012, the Microsoft Cloud OS is engineered for the cloud from the metal up with virtualization built as an integrated element of the operating system, not layered onto the operating system.

• Complete Data Platform: The Microsoft Cloud OS fully supports large volumes of diverse data, advanced analytics, and enterprise BI life-cycle management, with a comprehensive set of technologies to manage petabytes of data in the cloud, to millions of transactions for the most mission-critical applications, to billions of rows of data in the hands of end users for predictive and ad-hoc analytics.

At the core of the Microsoft Cloud OS is Windows Server 2012. The software supports 320 logical processors and 4TB of physical memory per server, with 64 virtual processors per virtual machine. Virtual disks can scale up to 64TB apiece, according to the firm, or 32 times what it said the competition can offer at the moment, adding that Server 2012 is capable of virtualising 99 per cent of all SQL databases.

New features of Windows Server 2012 include a refreshed version of Hyper-V, including expanded network visualization capabilities to run multiple configurations on the same LAN. Also debuting is a new Resilient File System (ReFS), which improves reliability.

Appearance wise, Windows Server 2012 is built in the Modern UI-style, featuring a tile-based interface like that of Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Microsoft officials say that launch of Windows Server 2012 is perhaps the biggest release of their server products in history, bigger than NT. They also believe that Windows Server 2012 ushers in the era of the cloud operating system.

Do you believe the release of Windows Server 2012 is a breakthrough in the server industry? And do you think Microsoft Cloud OS will be the winner in the competition among emerging Cloud operating systems?

Thanks for sharing your opinion :)

Kind regards,
Aliona Kavalevich
Altabel Group – Professional software development

Microsoft started using an open development style with the Windows Azure SDK last year. It’s worked and worked well, so now they’re expanding the style to include some of the popular frameworks like ASP.NET.

At first Microsoft made the source code for ASP.NET MVC available under an open-source license. Now, the company has open-sourced another hearty chunk of its ASP.NET technology to the delight of some open-source players.

While the source for ASP.NET MVC has had source available since its inception, and converted to the MS-PL license in April of 2009, the developers didn’t take contributions from the community. While Microsoft was open source it was not “open source with takebacks.” Now ASP.NET MVC, Web API, Web Pages take contributions from the community.

Microsoft is open sourcing more of its ASP.NET programming-framework technologies and it allows developers outside of Microsoft to submit patches and code contributions for potential inclusion in these products. ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web API and ASP.NET Web Pages v2 also known as Razor now all open source with contributions under the Apache 2.0 license. You can find the source on CodePlex.

Over the last four years at Microsoft developers have worked closely with the community to get feedback and voices heard by the developers. The goal of open-sourcing these technologies is to increase the feedback loop on the products even more and allow to deliver even better products. For instance, when having found a bug you can send a unit test of fix. If coverage seems not to be sufficient a developer can send a test unit. If community developers come up with a feature, they can get involved more deeply and help write it.

Like every large open source project, every check-in (open source or otherwise) are evaluated against the existing standards used by the developers. Even better, community managers get to see Microsoft developers’ checkins to the product out in the open.

Still it’s really important to remember that ASP.NET MVC, Razor, and Web API are fully supported Microsoft products and will still be staffed by the same developers that are building them today. The products will be backed by the same Microsoft support policy and will continue to ship with Visual Studio. Also, to be clear, Microsoft is maintaining the same level of development resources as always and actually, there are more Microsoft developers working on ASP.NET today than ever before.

Quite often the question about ASP.NET Web Forms arises, as it is not open sourced. The thing is the components that are being open sourced at this time are all components that are shipped independently of the core .NET framework, which means no OS components take dependencies on them. Web Forms is a part of System.Web.dll which parts of the Windows Server platform take a dependency on. Because of this dependency this code can’t easily be replaced with newer versions expect when updates to the .NET framework or the OS ships.

So Microsoft has reached the final stage in embracing open source—not only by opening up the code, but also by taking contributions. Do you think moving to an open development model, will make Microsoft products stronger?

Kind regards,
Aliona Kavalevich
Altabel Group – professional software development


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