Microsoft put out a a video describing the 12 events that shaped the company’s year – from Windows 8 to Halo 4.Here, we go over those 12 events, and reveal what the rest of the world has to say about them.
Microsoft Says: 'In February, Microsoft launched Kinect for Windows, extending the power of Kinect's breakthrough natural user interface beyond gaming to real-world applications from kinder, gentler cancer treatment for kids to a smarter, simpler way to find the perfect pair of jeans. Check out the Kinect for Windows blog to see more exciting ways people are using the power of Kinect to change the world.'
The rest of the world says: The Kinect has resulted in several 'eye-opening applications,' like Ubi Interactive's software that can transform flat surfaces into a touchscreen, and Jintronix's application that enhances physical rehabilitation for stroke patients.
In July, Alex Wilheim of The Next Web said, 'Kinect for Windows has the potential to be more than a big deal. Motion capture and voice input will drastically change the way that average folks interact with their computers -- if developers take advantage of the opportunity.'
Microsoft Says: 'In a major victory against online fraud and identity theft, Microsoft's Digital Crime Unit partnered with the financial services industry to disrupt the massive Zeus cybercrime operation in March, striking back at botnets that experts believe are responsible for nearly half a billion dollars in damages.'
The rest of the world says: Some security experts touted the bust as pure brilliance, equating it to the power of a neighbourhood watch. But others weren't as optimistic, noting that unless you take down the coders and put the clients behind bars, they can easily just do it again.
Considering that most malware targets Windows users, some say Microsoft didn't have entirely altruistic motives, but are still glad the company is trying to making the Internet safer by tackling organised cyber crime.
Microsoft Says: 'Worldwide, we're creating more data than ever before -- yet on average, firms actually use less than 5 per cent of the data available to them. Released in April, SQL Server 2012 helps business put big data to work, delivering actionable insights and real impact.'
The rest of the world says: Its businesses intelligence feature is 'a godsend for companies whose corporate polices allow (or encourage) users to program their own spreadsheets.' But it could also increase an administrator's workload and requires more bandwidth than earlier versions.
Microsoft Says: 'Microsoft introduced consumers to a whole new way of computing with the June announcement of the Surface family of PCs. Continuing Microsoft's 30-year history of hardware innovation, Surface is designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees.'
The rest of the world says: People were generally really excited when Microsoft announced the Surface because it seemed to be the first tablet that could actually replace a PC, mostly because of its two distinct physical keyboards.
But tech pundits were quick to bash the way Microsoft handled the launch, noting how it was stupid to initially only sell the Surface in its own stores, not give customers the Touch Cover as part of the entry-level package, and totally overprice the tablet.
Microsoft Says: 'First introduced in July, the new Office is touch- and keyboard-friendly, and features Windows 8-style apps, cloud support and social capabilities. Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer in June is bringing enterprise social networking to the new Office portfolio.'
The rest of the world says: Microsoft did a great job of implementing new tools for PowerPoint presentations and Excel charts. It also made the tracking and commenting in Word far more easier to use and digest.
'Mostly Office 2013 gets the right balance between streamlining and oversimplifying,' Mary Branscombe of TechRadar writes. 'There are some places where we miss specific power user options, though.'
In early 2013, Microsoft plans to launch an iPhone and iPad version of Office.
Microsoft Says: 'In September, Microsoft released a new version of the world's most popular server operating system. Windows Server 2012 puts new power under the hood of the modern datacenter, delivering major advances in productivity and cost savings.'
The rest of the world says: Tech pundits have called the OS 'monumental,' noting how the server essentially pays for itself with all of the features it offers. Features like Storage Space, PowerShell 3.0, and data deduplication eliminate the need to buy third-party software, save time, and reduce the time spent troubleshooting the OS.
Microsoft Says: 'Microsoft concluded its annual fall Employee Giving Campaign by reaching a major milestone: US$1 billion in employee cash gifts since 1983, benefiting about 31,000 non-profits and community organisations around the world. At the same time, Microsoft launched Youth Spark, a company wide initiative to create education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over the next three years.'
The rest of the world says: Washington Governor Chris Gregoire called Microsoft's efforts 'beyond impressive,' while Jon Fine, CEO of non-profit organisation United Way, said Microsoft has raised the bar when it comes to giving and volunteering.