Microsoft's 2016: Windows 10 foibles and futures are the big stories

Here's a quick look back on what the audience for ZDNet's 'All About Microsoft' was clicking -- and what it means for Microsoft in 2016 and the year ahead.

Microsoft's ongoing move to reposition itself as a cloud-first/mobile-first vendor continued in 2016. But readers of "All About Microsoft" here on ZDNet remained most interested in Windows 10's rollout and futures this past year.

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Credit: ZDNet

While it's Microsoft's commercial cloud story that many investors and analysts are watching most closely, Microsoft's moves as the Windows company are what had -- and will likely continue to have -- the most direct impact on its customers and partners in 2016 and 2017.

The most trafficked posts on my blog in the past year indicate where readers' interests are. Here are the top 20 posts for this site in calendar 2016, with the most popular listed first.

  1. Windows 10 free upgrade is still available using Windows 7 and 8 product keys
  2. How existing Windows users can refuse Microsoft's Windows 10 update
  3. How much does Microsoft Office 2016 cost without a subscription
  4. Microsoft confirms Windows 10 Redstone 1 will be available this summer
  5. Microsoft makes blocking Windows 10 recommended update nearly impossible: Report
  6. Why I broke up with Windows Phone: It's not me, it's you
  7. Microsoft's Surface all-in-one PC said to headline October hardware launch
  8. Latest update to Windows 10 anniversary causing installation woes for some
  9. Microsoft: Our Android Windows 10 bridge is dead but iOS, Win32 ones moving ahead
  10. Microsoft: More details on the end of get Windows 10 and what's next
  11. Microsoft starts pushing Windows 10 as a recommended update
  12. Microsoft to show Bash on Linux running on Windows 10
  13. Microsoft pushes back Windows 10 Redstone 2 to Spring 2017 to line up with new Microsoft device wave
  14. Microsoft prices Windows 10 enterprise subscription at $84 per user per year
  15. Microsoft comes through with rollup of updates and fixes for Windows 7
  16. Goodbye Microsoft Lumia; Hello Surface Mobile
  17. Microsoft: Two Windows 10 feature updates coming in 2017
  18. Microsoft rolls out several new Windows 10 cumulative updates
  19. Microsoft no longer allows administrators to block Windows Store access in Windows 10 Pro
  20. Microsoft's x86 on ARM64 emulation: A Windows 10 Redstone 3 Fall 2017 deliverable

Windows 10 dominated my blog's most-read posts list in 2015, too. Interestingly, in 2016, a story with a Windows 7 angle was No. 1 again this year, as it was last year, too.

Microsoft's decision to make Windows 10 a nearly-impossible-to-refuse update via some rather underhanded tactics was, understandably, a hot topic among All About Microsoft readers.

During a recent appearance on the "Windows Weekly" podcast, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela admitted Microsoft was, at least at one point, too aggressive with its Windows 10 upgrade push. (I'd argue the entire upgrade push was too aggressive, but Capossela claimed for a lot of the year Microsoft "got it right.")

Readers are interested in Microsoft's next moves in the Windows 10 space, with Redstone 2 (a k a the Creators Update) coming in the Spring of 2017 and Redstone 3 due in the Fall of next year.

How and when Microsoft steps back into the mobile device space remains a topic of interest, as did my decision to finally throw in the towel and leave Windows Phone for an Android device, the Nexus 6P. I continue to run many Microsoft services on my Android phone and very few Google ones.

In 2017, I'm expecting to be writing about a bunch of new Microsoft-branded hardware, more open source stories along the lines of SQL Server on Linux and definitely more than a bit about the company's doings on the machine-learning front.

Thanks for another fun and interesting year of Microsoft watching, and for all the tips, meet-ups and Twitter convos.

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