Microsoft’s annual 2-day developer conference called Build 2018 is over and we’re still scratching our heads with all those big revelations that came up. Okay, admittedly they were not that big, but when we’re talking about a company whose products affect nearly half the planet, even the slightest of updates can eventually have the biggest impact.
So, it goes without saying that apart from all the exciting new features we’re going to get, there are still some blank spot that need further explanation. Hence, after some deep thinking it’s time to see where Microsoft stands right now and what’s the company’s next step in their ‘grand scheme’.
But before that, let’s take a quick look on the tech giant’s latest updates we saw on Build 2018.
Cortana and Alexa can talk to one another
A few months ago, in August, Microsoft revealed its vision to make two virtual assistants work together instead of against each other. While it may seem like it came out of the blue, when you think about it, there’s hundreds of thousands if not millions of users who own devices each of which work with a different virtual assistant. And truth be told, it can get a bit gimmicky to have to enable each one separately. That’s when Microsoft and Amazon seized the opportunity to fill that gap, forming a collaboration that would allow the former to access the latter’s e-commerce ecosystem and the latter’s to take advantage of the former’s productivity and efficiency advantage.
During the Build 2018 we saw the first exhibition of that vision, from which we understood that the user will be able to use the command “open Alexa” or “open Cortana” with each assistant respectively. While it’s still in beta testing, we do expect it to circulate sometime next year.
One big ecosystem for Windows, Android and iOS
When it comes to mobile phones, Microsoft is an example that you obviously want to restrain from following. Having made all the wrong moves, the company was inevitably kicked out of the smartphone game. Thankfully Satya Nadella came up with a multi-layer genius strategy that not only brought the company back to the game, but it also gained it some extra ground on the computers industry.
Long story short, Nadella announced ‘Your Phone’ a new app on Windows 10 that can mirror a user’s content coming from their smartphone to their PCs. That includes texts messages, photos, notifications, calendars etc. What’s best, is that it works for both Android and iOS devices.
Surprisingly, the same feature will also work for Microsoft’s apps, that users have downloaded on either on their Android smartphones, or their iPhones. For instance, with a Microsoft Launcher, you can seamlessly transition your web browsing from your phone’s browser to your computer’s Edge.
Microsoft Cloud Clipboard will allow you to copy and paste in different devices
The Cloud Clipboard will let users copy something from one device and paste it on another. In addition, there will be a ‘clipboard history’ where you can see your previous copy-paste activity.
Same as before, this can be done between different platforms, from Windows to Android or iOS and vice versa. While it may sound the same it’s actually not, on the grounds that ‘Microsoft Cloud Clipboard’ is actually a separate service and uses its own cloud space.
Other honorable mentions include the famous ‘Dark Theme’ that we’re all expecting, enhanced multitasking settings within Edge and Notepad’s new ability to support Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR), apart from Windows line ending (CRLF).
Fun updates aside, it’s clear that Microsoft is striving to make it possible for the user to use all of their devices in harmony, without having to interrupt use from one device to grab another. In other words, it seems like Satya Nadella’s company wants to be the first to create a behemoth ecosystem that will be able to sustain and expand in all devices alike, regardless of their operating system.
As Nadella said during this year’s developer conference:
“We need an operating system, we need a platform, that abstracts the hardware in that level, that creates an app model at that level. […] Single devices...will remain important, but this meta-orchestration is what we need to do. We need to up-level even our concept of what an operating system is. So that’s what Microsoft 365 does”.
Admittedly, it’s not quite clear what the company’s vision is at this point. No one knows whether they’re more concerned about their developer customers or the end users. On the other hand, he did clearly replace Windows 10 with Microsoft 365. That is supposed to be a new kind of software that will bring together the operating system, with Office 365 and cloud services as well. The how-to of such an endeavour however, is still unknown.
But no matter the case, the bottom line is that we could eventually have a universal way of controlling our devices – aka hardware – and that could also result in new capabilities along the way.
Unfortunately, the inability of Microsoft to put its goals in plain sentences so that the rest of the outside world can relate, could count as a downside. It definitely makes the company’s future a tad blurrier.
Yet, we remain positive that big things are coming to the end user consumer markets sooner than later.
What are your thoughts on the Build 2018? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for all the latest updates on Microsoft’s Build 2018 and all other tech topics!