Microsoft 2013 year in review: It was (almost) all about 'Blue'

Predictably, stories about Microsoft's 'Blue' wave were the most popular on my blog in 2013. But the No. 1 trafficked story might surprise some.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

As the clock ticks down on 2013, it's a good time to take a look back at what readers of this blog clicked on most.


Before I saw the actual stats provided to me by the editors here at ZDNet, I was predicting that pieces about the Windows Blue wave would likely be among my most popular. I also expected one or more pieces about CEO Steve Ballmer's pending retirement might figure prominently in my top ten.

I wasn't too far off. But my most highly trafficked story surprised me, though it really shouldn't have, given how much e-mail I received on the topic.

A frequently-asked question post I did about Microsoft's phase-out of Hotmail and replacement of it with Outlook.com was my most popular post in 2013. While Microsoft did warn users that this was the plan, many non-tech-savvy users were bewildered by the change. They couldn't find their contacts, calendars and old e-mail messages. They weren't clear as to how and if they should try to merge their e-mail accounts and whether or not they could keep their Hotmail addresses. I felt like I was running a Hotmail help-desk -- complete with angry users railing at me (not Microsoft) for taking away their familiar interface.

Though this cut-over happened months ago, just this past weekend, I received yet another e-mail message from a Hotmail user who was worried that Microsoft was poised to try to "convert" her from Hotmail. The not-so-surprising takeaway here -- and this applies to Windows 8.1, too -- is most users don't like change. Especially change that they don't perceive as improving their computing experience.

Without further ado, here's a list of my top 10 posts (traffic-wise, not comment-wise) for 2013:

1. Microsoft's Hotmail phase-out: What's a user to do

2. Microsoft's Windows 8 Plan B(lue): Bring back the Start button, boot to desktop

3. Microsoft's Ballmer on his biggest regret, the next CEO and more

4. With Windows Blue, Microsoft may (finally) do the right thing

5. Microsoft's Surface 2 launch: What to expect

6. Microsoft goes public with Windows 8.1 upgrade policies

7. Bill Gates' biggest Microsoft product regret: WinFS

8. Here's how the new Windows Blue Start Button may work

9. Microsoft does away with stack ranking

10. Microsoft's 'Blue' wave is coming to more than just Windows

The next ten on my list included posts about Threshold (Blue's successor), Cortana (Microsoft's Siri alternative), the short list of Microsoft CEO candidates, and still more about Windows Blue.

The past year has been one of many surprises and unpredictability on the Microsoft beat. Here's to hoping 2014 is equally interesting. And as always, thanks for reading!

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