March 3, 2014
The switchover to Windows 8 has left many organizations wondering what to do about SharePoint integration. At first glance, native SharePoint support within the new operating system seems negligible. However, a few features reveal themselves upon further inspection. Search Windows Server covers the news in their report, “What’s New for Windows 8 Integration with SharePoint?”
The article says:
“You may have heard that Microsoft made some changes to the File Explorer in Windows 8.1. Libraries are hidden by default and a link to SkyDrive appears in its place. If you choose to unhide the Libraries, you’ll notice that the Libraries folder contains two Documents folders. One of these folders corresponds to the local PC while the other points to SkyDrive. The point behind all of this is that Microsoft is trying to encourage end users to save documents on SkyDrive rather than on their local computer.”
Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and often covers SharePoint on his information service, ArnoldIT.com. Arnold has found that whenever new SharePoint versions are released, or a new Windows OS is released, customers have to adjust to the changes, and user experience often suffers. Focusing on the improvements can often help organizations market the new changes.
Emily Rae Aldridge, March 3, 2014
January 21, 2014
Has Microsoft lost the ability to quickly pivot with changes in the tech landscape? One programmer explains why it’s now the Java-community life for him in “Thank You Microsoft, and So Long…” at Byte Rot. The blogger known as Aliostad begins by tracing his relationship with assorted programming languages, then looks ahead to changes that are either on their way or already here.
As the article presents them, a couple of these predictions do indeed look bad for Microsoft. For example, the write-up anticipates a tech industry centered around big data solutions, on which Microsoft has not exactly been leading the way. It also asserts that, since horizontal scaling is becoming paramount, middleware like BizTalk and even enterprise databases themselves are on the way out. Check out the article’s reasoning and see whether you agree (at least one of the commenters did not.)
Whatever your opinion of Microsoft’s future, Aliostad has made his game plan for a field in flux.
“I will carry on writing C#, ASP.NET Web API and read or write from SQL Server and do my best to write the best code I can. But I will start working on my Unix skills (by using it at home) and pick up one or two JVM languages (Clojure, Scala) and work on Hadoop. I will take Big Data more seriously. I mean real seriously… I need to stay close to where innovation is happening which sadly is not Microsoft now. From the Big Data to Google Glass and cars, it is all happening in the Java communities – and when I mean Java communities I do not mean the language but the ecosystem that is around it. And I will be ready to jump ships if I have to. And still wish Microsoft wakes up to the sound of its shrinking, not only in the PC market but also in its bread and butter, enterprise.”
Is this piece correct, is Microsoft really becoming obsolete? Somehow, I think the behemoth has the resources to adapt, even if it is a little late to the revised game. Spare no tears for Microsoft.
Cynthia Murrell, January 21, 2014
January 14, 2014
ZDNet takes us inside a recent investor call with Microsoft’s CFO Dave O’Hara about his company’s online services strategy in, “Microsoft: Bing is Not a Bottomless Money Pit (Any More).” For about six years, the company has poured money into building the infrastructure behind Bing‘s datacenter. Now the foundation has been laid, and Microsoft is poised to start seeing its investment pay off.
Reporter Mary Jo Foley explains:
“In keeping with Microsoft management’s claims that Bing isn’t an asset it would make sense to sell at this point, O’Hara stressed that Bing is no longer ‘just’ a Web search engine and that Microsoft has integrated it into an increasing number of its products, such as Windows and Xbox. He said Bing also has given Microsoft a leg up in creating ‘one of the best data sets in the industry,’ which Microsoft will leverage increasingly in future products and services.
Though O’Hara didn’t cite any of these products specifically, a couple of examples of areas where Microsoft’s big-data prowess will come into play are offerings like its cloud-based business intelligence service bundle, Power BI, and the coming ‘Cortana’ personal assistant technology expected to debut first in Windows Phone 8.1 next year.”
Foley is wary of drawing any conclusion about Bing’s profitability, now or in the future, because changes in the way Microsoft reports revenue obscure the value of any particular online product. She notes that, as a whole, the online services division lost $321 million on revenues of $872 million in the most recent quarter. Still, she seems to accept O’Hara’s point: After all that investment, now is the time to go forward with Bing rather than heed calls to sell it off. We shall see whether the strategy pays off down the road.
Cynthia Murrell, January 14, 2014
December 26, 2013
Yahoo is pulling itself out of the red and is back on track to becoming a popular search engine and Web service. According to the ZDNet article, “Yahoo Says Microsoft Search Providing 31 Percent Of Revenues,” Microsoft is the reason why. Yahoo credits the 31% gain in its quarterly summary to its partnership with Microsoft. Yahoo claimed Microsoft only brought them 10% in sales from a previous statement. It has most definitely changed!
Yahoo and Microsoft signed a ten-year deal, where Microsoft would power Yahoo’s search and become the ad sales force for Microsoft’s premium properties.
The article states:
“Over the past year, Yahoo has been seeking a way to get out of the deal, claiming the company hasn’t found it financially lucrative. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer supposedly also has sought Microsoft’s pending change in CEO as a possible loophole for getting out of the deal earlier than expected. As SearchEngineLand noted, there is a clause which would allow Yahoo to exit early from the partnership in 2015 if the revenue-per-share threshold vs. the market leader (Google) doesn’t pass muster.”
Microsoft would like the deal to continue past the ten-year agreement, but both companies failed to provide comment in the article. In a prior article from ZDNet, Yahoo might be building a new search/personalization technology to relaunch itself as its own search provider. Yahoo may not want to break the deal now, especially if they are working on a secret project. They will need the money to fund research and development if they want to stand a chance against Microsoft.
Whitney Grace, December 26, 2013
December 19, 2013
SharePoint seems to be getting bigger in scope and more widespread in adoption. Turning the page into a new year provides a good excuse to reflect on the past year and predict what will happen in the next, even when it comes to technology. CMS Wire does just that in their article, “6 Predictions for SharePoint, Office 365 in 2014.”
The article begins with a prediction for content collaboration:
“SkyDrive Pro is Microsoft’s response to document sharing tools such as DropBox and Google Drive. They have put a lot of emphasis on using SkyDrive Pro with SharePoint and Office 365 to easily share documents and take them offline. Google Drive is a little further along than DropBox, but we see the real opportunity in SkyDrive Pro. With Microsoft’s commitment to the cloud, SkyDrive Pro is going to get a lot of attention and we know how Microsoft likes to take on Google.”
And while the article goes on to list several other trends to keep an eye on, this one about SkyDrive Pro may be the most important. Stephen E. Arnold, a longtime search expert and man behind ArnoldIT, has covered SkyDrive Pro and continues to keep an eye on what could be the most important new angle for SharePoint.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 19, 2013
December 18, 2013
I found the data in the “2013 Bing Infographic” surprising. I continue to think of Bing as a search and retrieval system. I don’t use the system directly. I prefer to run queries on metasearch systems that use Bing as one source of content. The reason for my indirect access is that I don’t want distractions, social media content, and videos. In case you, gentle reader, have forgotten, I prefer to read. I read more rapidly than I can watch a video unfold in real time. I understand that some people find videos just the best possible way to locate information. I don’t.
The infographic has a number of data points. Let’s look at three in the context of locating a white paper, information about a person of interest, and a fact.
First, Bing reports that if people looking at a Bing home page each month were to hold hands, the length of that “chain” would be the circumference of the earth. Got it. What’s that go to do with precision, recall, and access to information? Nothing. Okay. That’s fact one.
Next, Bing has more video. That is super. I don’t want video. Period. Well, Bing had twice as much video search in 2013 than in 2012. Got it. I don’t care.
And Bing is the search engine for Facebook (really?), Yahoo (ah, that’s the problem with Yahoo search), and the Kindle Fire (I don’t use a Kindle Fire).
What does the infographic reveal about search at Microsoft?
- Search is not the point of Bing. I thought Powerset and Fast Search were going to improve Bing search? Guess not.
- Why is it getting * more * difficult to locate information instead of easier? Maybe the vastness of the Web and economic pressures are forcing Microsoft to shift from search to some other type of service? That’s okay, just knock off the use of the word search.
- How do professionals at Microsoft locate information? I don’t have any hard data, but I think that Google (an outfit doing a rather questionable job in search) may be good enough. That is indeed chilling to think that Microsoft professionals trust Google to point them to hard to find Microsoft research papers and obscure FAQs about Microsoft products.
Bing had a shot and spent some money shooting blanks in my view. So for 2014 I don’t expect much improvement. I hope libraries in my area have enough money to remain open and provide access to commercial online information resources. The free Web stuff does not strike me as getting better. Oh, if you want video and social media, you may be in business.
How often do I run a query on a Windows 8.1 laptop and want Web hits and not a list of documents on my local hard drive matching my key word query? Never. There you go.
Stephen E Arnold, December 18, 2013
December 17, 2013
Patches are common with any software, but even more frequent with such a large suite as the one offered by Microsoft. Information Week covers the latest round of patches in their article, “Microsoft Patches Windows, Office, IE, SharePoint.”
The article gives more details on the specific vulnerability to SharePoint:
“Ultimately, the company discovered that the Office 365 desktop client, and in particular Microsoft Word, wasn’t verifying authentication headers by comparing them against SSL certificates. As a result, attackers were able to tell a Word client that they were a SharePoint server, when in reality the server was malicious.”
The latest patch fixes known issues. However, with a software as massive and ubiquitous as SharePoint, it is important to stay on top of the latest news and problems. Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT stays on top of the latest in search, including SharePoint. Stay tuned for the latest problems and solutions for your SharePoint deployment.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 17, 2013
December 16, 2013
Technology is moving toward mobile at a rapid rate. It comes as no surprise that enterprise technology is expected to keep up with the trend. And while major players like SharePoint are more mobile friendly than before, they are still playing catch-up compared to other mobile-born applications and software. GCN covers the latest in SharePoint mobile in their article, “How to Put SharePoint in the Palm of your Hand.”
The article begins:
“It is only logical that users would want access to SharePoint via their mobile devices. So how do you put an enterprise platform such as SharePoint, literally, in the hands of users? . . . SharePoint’s Mobile Browser View checks if the user’s mobile browser supports HTML5. If it does, then a contemporary mobile view is shown. If it does not, then a text-based view is shown. For more complex sites, developers can use SharePoint’s device channel feature to create a single site, but map the content to use different master pages and style sheets that are specific to a device or group of devices.”
Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT is a longtime leader in search. He frequently covers SharePoint and helps users stay up to date on the latest in all things search, including enterprise. In much of his coverage, it is clear that SharePoint is improving in mobile, but still lags behind.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 16, 2013
December 13, 2013
Service pack one is coming to the Microsoft suite: Office, SharePoint, and Exchange. Users are wondering what to expect and InfoWorld gives some details in their article, “Get Ready for the Office, SharePoint, and Exchange 2013 SP1 Service Packs.”
The article begins:
“Early 2014 will see Service Pack 1 updates for Office 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Exchange 2013 (but apparently not Lync), bringing the on-premises versions of these servers and applications up to par with the then-current Office 365 versions. It appears that issuing periodic service packs is how Microsoft will keep the on-premises versions of its offerings at parity with the cloud-delivered Office 365 versions, whose changes come more incrementally but more often — and automatically.”
Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search. He follows the latest happenings of SharePoint through his Web service, ArnoldIT. And though many will spend time on the pros and cons of SharePoint, Arnold finds add-ons and customization tools to help you get the most out of your deployment.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 13, 2013
December 12, 2013
Anytime a company is the leader in a particular area, the challenge is to hold that position. In many ways it is a lot more fun to be the up-and-comer than to be the behemoth trying to hold on to the lion’s share of the market. SharePoint is in this very position. ComputerWorld brings the news in their article, “Why Microsoft SharePoint Faces a Challenging Future.”
The article begins:
“Many enterprises use and like SharePoint. Microsoft likes it, too, because it’s one of the company’s fastest-growing product lines. But making enterprises support separate cloud and on-premises versions and telling SharePoint app developers not to work in C# and ASP.NET may make for a rocky relationship as time goes by.”
SharePoint is going to constantly battle threats to its supremacy. Stephen E. Arnold, a longtime leader in search and the brains behind ArnoldIT, often covers the comings and goings of SharePoint. He finds that although most enterprises prefer customization and add-ons to their SharePoint infrastructure, it doesn’t appear that SharePoint will lose its number 1 spot anytime soon.
Emily Rae Aldridge, December 12, 2013