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A brave new world for Microsoft

A brave new world for Microsoft

by: David Rubinstein

The phrase "a brave new world? is overused in today's hyperbolic world as a hackneyed way to describe something that seems headed down an uncharted path.

In the particular case of Microsoft, however, I can think of nothing more appropriate. There are a couple of reasons I say this.

First, at the end of last month, Microsoft announced tools and SDKs that Android and iOS developers can use to create applications leveraging Office 365. In a conversation I had with Arpan Shah, senior director of Office 365 at Microsoft, he pointed out that the general availability of APIs for mail, files, calendars and contacts would enable such scenarios as travel agents syncing up a customer's calendar with flight options.

"We're seeing millions of customers using Office 365 every day, and they're not all on Windows devices,? he said.

The second conversation (with Soma Somasegar, Microsoft Developer Division corporate vice president) involved Visual Studio 2015, as well as the ability to use C# or C++ tools to create applications for Android and iOS.

What makes this a brave new world is that Windows has been Microsoft's biggest revenue driver, and the basis for its relationship with hardware manufacturers. Microsoft is changing the complexion of those relationships by allowing its software to run on other operating systems, and to enable applications written in non-Microsoft languages to run on those non-Windows systems.

So, it is a brave new world, where revenues will have to be found in other places to make up for what will be a drop off in Windows income.

But what does it mean for SharePoint users? Simply this: more deployment options, more third-party solutions, and more developers creating more customizations and applications that run in and alongside SharePoint.

For organizations running SharePoint Online or Office 365, this move to cross-platform capability enables their customers to use SharePoint in a BYOD world, where the customers can use DocuSign to submit a SharePoint order form from their Android phones, for instance.

SharePoint everywhere, used by all types of developers not necessarily tethered to Windows. It is a new world indeed.

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