Six clicks: What we know about Microsoft's Internet of Things strategy

Six clicks: What we know about Microsoft's Internet of Things strategy

Summary: Microsoft has put in the groundwork to establish a base for its Internet of Things plan to explore software for everything from cars to wearables. Now comes the hard part - making it work.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Big Data

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  • Microsoft has been working on software for devices for more than a decade. The company has gone to market with everything from software for car entertainment systems, point-of-sale terminals, coffee makers and smart watches.

    But Microsoft is embarking on remaking its Internet of Things (IoT) products, services and strategy in a way that goes consderably beyond Windows Embedded.

    The company is building a number of new Azure-powered services that are aimed at harnessing, managing and making sense of data from sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is also expected to field new IoT devices and services of its own, ranging from various wearables -- glasses, watches and the like -- as well as home-automation systems and services.

    Here's what is in the works from Microsoft on the IoT front.

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  • The Windows Embedded team is the core of Microsoft's new IoT team

    Up until now, Microsoft's Windows Embedded team has focused primarily on enterprise/industrial customers, not consumers. Its charter has been to convince retail, healthcare, manufacturing and automotive shops to embed various flavors of Windows in their devices.

    But the Embedded team has now morphed officially into Microsoft's IoT team. And the new IoT team's mission goes beyond Windows. In fact, its charter calls for it to address all kinds of OSes, presumably including Linux, given its large embedded-device presence.

Topics: Microsoft, Big Data


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • This is why Bing is so essential...

    For those people that suggested that Microsoft sell off Bing... it's now becoming clear that they were way off. Bing is ESSENTIAL to the future of Microsoft. Just look how useful it is for Cortana.
    • Exactly...

      Given the power of Bing APIs and Azure, it's clear that this is a winning strategy for Microsoft.

      Cortana, I hope, is just the beginning of their effort to commercialize it effectively for consumers.
  • Microsoft's Internet of Things has been talked about for a while....

    I say, about a year and it's NOW that they are just laying the groundwork?

    Hasn't Microsoft learned that it doesn't bode well for any tech company to come late to the party? Their competitors are already up and running with the exact things mentioned in this article. Whatever Microsoft has in their IoT plans it needs to come out "yesterday."
    • What competitors? I see no such global strategy anywhere.

      I don't think you understand what they are doing. They are creating an infrastructure and ecosystem that ties it all together that as far as I can tell doesn't exist anywhere else.

      What exists are pieces that have to be glued together because there wasn't a big picture of how it was all going to work together. Microsoft is developing a higher level set of abstractions so that the pieces were designed to work together (or at least share resources) from the gitgo.

      They are not late, they are pioneering and there are many many details that have to be worked out.
  • faster

    this is great news in particular if it leverages the MS cloud which remains far superior to google's and basically on part if not above amazon's. I'm sure the tools will be excellent given azure is so mature and visual studio has increased its support to develop azure connected apps.
  • Nimbostratus Cloud

    Nimbostratus is a low altitude cloud formation, maybe a new Azure SKUs could be named as such. Cirrus Cloud (high altitude) could be for enterprise and Altocumulus cloud (mid altitude) for the rest of us. Don't laugh, MS isn't known for it's clear and unambiguous SKUs. By the way Mary Jo, congratulations being chosen by MS to codename this product.
  • MS IoT = nothing more than a marketing soap bubble right now

    No, I am not a troll, I am a MCITP and a MCPD, but I have a clear brain as well.
    For the IoT you need the THINGS first. And an OS to develop on, second. And an IDE to develop with, third. And an SDK and tutorials, fourth. Just THEN you can start thinking about connecting them to the cloud. So let's see:
    Where is MS hardware? Nowhere. The supported hardware, like BeagleBone, is out of stock. What you have on stock, like RaspPi, doesn't have BSP.
    Where is MS OS? License restricted Embedded Compact. No, thanks. I prefer free OS.
    Where is MS IDE? There: VS2013. Great! But can a simple non-paying developer use it for IoT? No: tools like Compact Test Kit require VS Pro or higher.
    Where are MS SDK and tutorials? On MSDN. Well, fine. But are they as illustrative as, say under Adafruit? Are they as simple as to create a GPIO call under Python? Are the solutions as fast to build and test as within 5 minutes like under Arduino? No, no and once more no.
    So what are the overeducated bigheads REALLY talking about here, as they see the train passing?