Year in Review: Windows 8, roadmaps, Office Next top the reader charts

Year in Review: Windows 8, roadmaps, Office Next top the reader charts

Summary: Hot topics among readers of 'All About Microsoft' in 2012 included both the predictable (Windows 8, Surface, Windows Phone 8) and the rumored coming product/service releases.


The year 2012 was one of the busiest for us Microsoft watchers in recent memory. Microsoft delivered Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Phone 8, its Surface pablet/TCs, Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012 and more. I think I logged more miles in October this year than any of the 29 years I've been a tech journalist.


Speaking of logs, the traffic logs for my posts this year largely, but not entirely, mirrored Microsoft's launch schedule. Predictably, you readers wanted Windows 8 information as early as you could get it. The Surface was a hot button. Roadmaps remained popular items, as did rumors about the expected Office on iPad release.

Here are the top 10 blog posts from my site for 2012 (ranked in order of page views):

Microsoft said to block ability to boot straight to desktop in Windows 8

Microsoft roadmap leaks for Office 15, IE10 and more key products

Microsoft goes public with plans for its new Windows 8 file system

Microsoft Surface tablets: Reading the fine print

The real winner in Samsung vs. Apple: Microsoft?

Windows 8: Why the coming beta is likely to be labeled the consumer preview

HTC's Windows Phone 8 devices: An initial pleasant surprise

Microsoft's Surface challenge: Proving it's a premium product worth a premium price

Microsoft Office for iPad: Separating fact from fiction

Is Metro now a banned word at Microsoft?

Bonus: Microsoft year in review on Windows Weekly

January's likely to start the coming Microsoft-watching year with a bang, with the Surface Pro launch expected toward the end of the month, along with the Office 2013 launch. The dance card of regularly scheduled Microsoft shows and anticipated confabs for 2013 is already filling in.

Thanks for reading, commenting and sending along tips, everyone! Hope to meet more of you, in person and virtually, in the coming year.


Topics: Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Windows 8, Windows Phone


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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  • Thanks Mary Jo!

    Thanks for another year of objective reporting on our favourite giant software company. I wish you could pass some of your objectivity to your fellow bloggers/journalists. I always enjoy reading your informative articles as I am in the IT industry working in a MS shop, so the enterprise articles are of particular interest to me.
    • RT fail

      I'm typing this comment from my MS Surface, which is quite possibly the crappiest tablet on the market.

      Frequently, the tablet would think that the touch keyboard is not connected even though it is. When that happens, no amount of disconnecting/reconnecting would work. Only a reboot would fix the problem.

      Also frequently, the tablet would think that the micro SD just ejected itself, and then think minutes later that it magically reinserted itself.

      The magnetic power connector is a joke.

      The browser does not run in the background. When I am listening to music at grooveshark, audio would stop when I start using other apps. Hmm, there are hardly any useful apps.

      The desktop mode is a joke. You would need a stylus to make use of those tiny drop down menus. MS is still trying to sell us the tablet pc concept from 10 years ago.

      When I showed the tablet to my wife, she had two things to say:

      - what's up with the sharp edges?

      - what's up with the kiddie interface?

      I'm not surprised that the market has largely ignored this stupid tablet called Surface.
      Josy Vieira
      • Different story

        Got mine in novembre ans it works perfectly. No issues with the keyboard, the sd or the apps. Sorry to here that ownership experience is less that stellar.

        There are new apps everyday and I find some of the newest amazing. I have an iPad 2 and it's getting dusty.

        By the way, my wife and I like the metro home screen.
      • Surface - The Next Step

        I couldn't disagree more, the surface is without doubt the evolution of tablets. Amazing hardware from look to touch, and Win8 just works on a tablet, even desktop mode.
      • Surface RT

        is actually the variant I'm interested in. It's not perfect yet, but I like the device and would buy one ... if I didn't already have a perfectly good Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, I suspect I will have one by the time the second generation comes along. I've enjoyed using the WinRT tablets I've tried.
        • Re: However, I suspect I will have one by the time the second generation co

          But if nobody buys the first generation, there won't be a second generation.
  • I have to say

    The more I use Windows 8, the more I think they should ditch the desktop on Windows RT as they would have a clear winner without that confusing environment.

    I think they should also add the start button back on Windows 8 and have it redirect people to the All Apps Start Screen.
    • I dont agree, the desktop is necessary

      Touch is not going to replace keyboard and mouse when it comes to content creation.

      Each has certain advantages, so having both options is actually a huge benefit that many fail to realize.
      • Save Windows... if it is not too late

        Here’s how to save Windows.

        1. The Windows desktop is not dead. It is still extremelly useful. So…. Bring back some mink of a Start button. Make it different, better in fact. MS should not go against the users.

        2. Bring more features to the desktop. Some changes made to file Explorer are nice and welcomed. More is needed.

        3. A PC is not a tablet. Ms needs to offer two ways to use Windows. One would be in tablet mode and the other in standard PC mode. In PC mode, the desktop would be the home screen.

        4.MS need to Get totally rid of the metro UI on the Server Versions. I'll stick to Win 2008 until then.

        5. The Metro runtime environnement should be a download available for Win 7 Users. If Ms want's to make it's Market place viable and riche, it is the only way to make it happen. Metro apps could then be downlaodable and appear on the desktop (Whitout the metro home screen, that should be kept for Win 8 users)

        6. The Metro Home screen should be revised. The tiles size on number of rows should adapt to the screen resolution of the device.

        Even if MS pushes real hard, Windows 8 as it is right now will fail. Things aren’t looking good right now. I know none of my friends who will upgrade to Win 8 or buy a new PC because of Win 8. In fact, I hear more about downgrading new PC to Win 7.
        • Yes and No

          The Desktop works on a Desktop but, on a tablet it is really awkward and doesn't work... This is why Apple doesn't have one and pretty much all the competitions apps are full screen.
          • Tablet mode

            In tablet mode, there should of course not be any desktop. Office application should be available from the Metro home screen and not from the Desktop. Control pannel, computer management, file explorer. task manager should have their Metro conterpart. Like you said, the desktop dosen't feel right on a tablet.
          • Tabletops

            In the next version of Windows, Windows Blue, the desktop will be back. :-) Not the desktop we all know, but a "desktop" for modern UI apps.

            Yes, Windows Store apps that run inside window frames on powerful desktop computers with large, high resolution, monitors. These are referred to as tabletops, and Microsoft has done a lot of research in this area for a long time. Microsoft also bought Pixelsense this year.

            The new Modern UI apps are not only meant to run in full screen on small tablets, but they have a design that allows them to run in other environments as well.
        • There is nothing wrong

          with Windows 8... i've been using Microsoft products since DOS and Windows 8 is the fastest, most reliable operating system ever delivered by MS. You can use the desktop or the metro interface without any issues. it takes about 30 minutes to get around the new stuff. All the fearmongering is futile.

          Resistance is futile. MS got it right.
          Master Wayne
        • Save Windows... if it is not too late

          I could not agree more! MS apparently sees all Windows users as robotic game slaves - whose whole existence is an extension of the Internet. Windows 8 is definitely NOT for serious computer users – who use computers for more than social networks, expensive photo viewers an whom are not game slaves.
          I made the grievous mistake of upgrading my laptop to Windows 8 – only to find it an unstable irritation – BSOD at least 6 to 8 times a day – even when it merely stands in the “on” state – that is only booted up. Definitively a blunder of an (Mis)operating system.
          I’ll spend the next two months rebuilding my laptop to the more adequate and more pleasing, albeit not overly excited about Windows 7.
          My next PC? Definitively not a Microstupid platform again!
      • No it isn't...

        The desktop is not required on the tablet... My wife has a Windows 8 Tablet and even there it tends to be without real optimization for the tablet use... Throw in a real keyboard and the Desktop becomes useful again.
    • Disagree

      I find the desktop a nice option to have when needed. I use it a lot like a laptop and I love the versatility in relation to other tablets.

      As for the Start button. All a user has to do is buy one of those $5 add ons or stick with Win7. I upgraded from Vista to Win8 and on a non touch PC it's decent. However, the performance of my PC made it a great purchase.
      • Okay

        Now go back and read again... I am speaking of Windows RT ditching the desktop. Not Windows 8... Either RT is a Tablet OS or it isn't but, they have to decide.
    • They should make the desktop

      more cohesive with the modern interface.
  • Why does he even bother?

    Not sure what his obsession is. I don't know of anybody who spends so much time looking up numbers and links, and for no reason at all.

    It's not like it changes anybody's mind about getting Windows 8, like they'll go "only 40 million copies sold? I'm not buying Windows 8 until it reaches 50 million units sold".

    Seems kind of strange, actually, how much his life revolves around how many units of what some big companies sell. It's also scary how offended he gets because someone bought a Surface instead of something else, like they're stealing from him. He's also both fascinated and obsessed with some people here.

    Such a lonely life he must lead.
    William Farrel
    • Who?

      Did you comment on the wrong article or something?
      John L. Ries