Windows 8 is Not the New Vista, 40 Million Licenses Sold

Windows-8Recently, the blogosphere was abuzz with reports that Microsoft’s Windows 8 was a dud, as it had failed to meet projections. While there might have been some truth in those stories, the reports of Windows 8’s doom were undoubtedly greatly exaggerated. Tami Reller, corporate vice president for Windows, has revealed the actual sales figured for Windows 8, and they aren’t all that bad.

According to Reller, Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far. It’s not clear if Microsoft is reporting the number of units sold to end-users or the number of units shipped to retailers. The latter figure is almost always bloated, since it includes units sitting in the shelves waiting to be sold.

To put things into perspective, Windows 7 sold 60 million copies during the first ten weeks. So, Windows 8 is selling at least as well as (if not better than) Windows 7. Considering that Windows 7 was the fastest selling Windows in the history, this is hardly a bad performance. The sales figures look even better if you consider that Windows 7 was coming off the back of Vista, which was widely considered a flop. Even when Windows 7 was released, most of the people were using Windows XP, which was nearing its end of life. Consumers as well as enterprises were eager to upgrade to a newer, better operating system. Windows 8 doesn’t quite have the same advantage. On the other hand, Windows 8 has benefited from the extremely tempting upgrade offers ($39.99 for Windows 8 Pro). Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 is indeed outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades.

Windows 8 represents a bold new direction for Microsoft. It not only has to maintain Microsoft’s dominance in the PC segment, but it also has to shoulder the responsibility of making Microsoft competitive in the post-PC segment. Microsoft badly needs Windows 8 to succeed. According to Paul Thurrott, Windows 8’s initial sales figures are well below internal estimates. Microsoft believes that Windows 8 would have sold even better if its OEM partners had more high quality hardware on offer, and it is probably right. Although a number of Windows 8 powered tablets, ultrabooks, and laptops have been announced by various manufacturers, most stores across the US are yet to stock them. However, the good news is that even if Windows 8 isn’t setting the market on fire, it is doing fairly well. It’s not the new Vista as many had feared it would be.

Microsoft Minesweeper Arrives on Windows RT

When we first saw Windows RT devices like the Surface with Windows RT in the market, we noticed that Microsoft’s own games like Microsoft Minesweeper, Microsoft Solitaire and Microsoft Mahjong were not available for the ARM-based OS. It was a strange situation because the games, even though classic, are excellent to play on Windows 8, and there is no “third party” to blame. Those games are from Microsoft Studios, available on Windows 8 but not on Windows RT.

However, the first of the three, Microsoft Minesweeper is now available on Windows RT. I took it for a spin and here are some of my observations.

Live tile updates with some bits about highest score:

Microsoft Minesweeper Live Tile
Microsoft Minesweeper Live Tile


There are different levels, and also some daily challenges and an adventure mode


Microsoft Minesweeper Game Levels
Microsoft Minesweeper Game Levels

Oh, there are some ads too!


Microsoft Minesweeper Ad
Microsoft Minesweeper Ad

Daily challenges are mini-games


Microsoft Minesweeper Daily Challenges
Microsoft Minesweeper Daily Challenges


The more you win, the more Achievement, Medals and Badges you collect


Microsoft Minesweeper Rewards
Microsoft Minesweeper Rewards

There are monthly rewards, so you can go back to previous days’ challenges to get more rewards

Microsoft Minesweeper Monthly Challenge Calendar
Microsoft Minesweeper Monthly Challenge Calendar

The game is touch-friendly, but the performance is absolutely horrible. No wonder this game was not released on Windows RT on day one. Clearly, the code needed to be optimized, and it seems it is not there yet. I noticed very long refresh times for example, when I went to see the entire month’s challenge calendar view.

Besides the performance, which I am hoping gets tuned via updates quickly, the game is fun and the daily challenges keep the interest alive in this “classic” game.

It is interesting to note that those daily challenges are “sponsor-supported” and in one case I was even made to watch a 30-second commercial before I started the challenge. Some feathers were recently ruffled by ads in the Bing apps like News, Finance, etc. and I am sure this will only add to the ruffling of those feathers :-)

Have you tried this game? What do you think?

Skype For Android Update Brings Tablet Optimized Layout; Plume Update Brings Lockscreen Widgets

Last night, the official Skype application for Android was updated to v3.0 that brings about a new layout optimized for Android tablets. The application now features a new layout optimized for 7″ and 10″ Android tablets. Sadly, the updated version of the app will only work in landscape mode on all tablets.

The new update also includes some other changes include an improved audio quality thanks to the use of Skype’s wideband audio codec – SILK. Lastly, the update also adds the ability to sign in to Skype via Microsoft account. The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.

Plume, one of the most popular Twitter clients for Android, also got a bug-squashing update today. Apart from fixing a bunch of bugs and issues, the update brings lock screen widgets for all Android 4.2 users.


Below is the full change-log of the update -:

– add a lockscreen widget on Android 4.2
– fix the widget context on Android 4.2
– fix the display of the DM recipient
– fix Facebook timeline not updating in some case
– fix unread list item appearing multiple times
– improve the picture cache coherence
– make Halloween notification sound available all the time

The latest version of Plume can be downloaded from here.


Surface with Windows RT: Dislikes

After an agonizing wait, I finally got a chance to play with my new Surface with  Windows RT, or simply,  Surface. It has been a few days, and I thought instead of writing a full-fledged review, I’d focus on some key likes and a long list of dislikes. Nits that I picked. I discussed the likes in an earlier post. This post goes into the small annoyances and issues that I have encountered in my daily use of the device.

Mind you, I really love the device. It has almost replaced my iPad and the kids love it too. With that background/disclaimer, here are the issues, in no particular order or priority:

Speakers: One of the things I have done quite a lot of on my Surface, is play music and video. Xbox Music with unlimited streaming and on-demand playback of not just my music but anything from their huge catalog is nice, but the speakers are not loud enough. Either it is their placement (they point out from the sides towards the top of the device) or just the lack of good amplification, but regardless the sound output is not good. I don’t mean the “quality” of the sound, which may actually be good, but just the volume.

Volume buttons: Speaking of volume, I have inadvertently pressed the volume button so many times as I try to type in landscape mode. When you hold the device in landscape mode, as it is clearly built to be used, the volume buttons are on the left near your index finger. As you reach out to type (or tap), there is a good chance you will hit the button by mistake. It may be that my hands are big (long is more appropriate), but still doesn’t take away from the fact that I have to constantly be aware of the buttons so that I don’t press them mistakenly.

Placing the cursor in a word: Windows Phone has a neat feature to place the cursor inside a word (to correct typos, for example) where you long press anywhere and then navigate to the letter you want to change. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to get to the middle of a word. A long press in Windows 8/RT results in a context-sensitive menu (copy/paste for example). Try as I might, I simply couldn’t get the cursor to be placed exactly where I wanted it to be. I am sure there is a different way, but I could not discover it myself and that is a problem.

Update: Thanks to JPG in the comments, I know how to get to a part of the word – the small arrow keys next to the spacebar. Nice. Thanks!

Screenshots: It is great that Windows 8/RT has the ability to take screenshots natively. It has helped me quite a lot when capturing what I see on the screen and share with others. However, the key combination on the Surface (Windows key + volume down button) involves a capacitive key which makes it hard to synchronize the simultaneous press of those buttons. Invariably I end up touching the Windows key before pressing the volume button, or vice versa, ending up in frustration. I don’t know how this can be fixed, to be honest, but it is a cause for unnecessary pain for me so far.

Update: As Williams mentions in the comments below, I can keep the Windows key pressed for however long I want and be able to register a screenshot by pressing the volume down button. Thanks!

Soft keyboard launch: While the Surface works quite well with the keyboard cover (I have the Touch Cover), I tend to use the device mostly without the keyboard, in a pure tablet form. So I depend on the on-screen keyboard a lot. I have noticed that in certain cases, even though it is natural to launch a keyboard for data entry, like a URL field or a text entry form, the keyboard does not launch. I have to tap in the field once before the keyboard launches. On the desktop side, the keyboard has to be forced to launch by clicking on the keyboard icon in the system tray. Both of these should be automatic when the Surface does not detect the external keyboard connection, but they are not.

Mail app: While this is not a specific “system” or “device” issue, I do use the mail app quite a lot and am extremely annoyed that the selected message automatically gets marked as read. Now, I understand why that happens – the mail is after all “opened” in the reading pane – but I don’t want that to automatically happen. In Outlook for example, there is a setting that will mark the message as read after a certain number of seconds, or when moving from one message to the other. If such a setting does get into the app in a future update, I would be a happy camper.

Grouping apps, restoring Start Screen layout, Windows Store web: These items are sort of related to the “management of apps”, so I clubbed them together. I find it a pain to group apps and keep maintaining those groups as I install new apps. I have already installed 100+ apps and especially the first time around, it is very difficult and time-consuming to move the tiles around, and set their shape (wide or narrow) on the Start Screen. More importantly, if I have done it once on one PC, I find it hard to understand why it is not a choice at least, when setting up a new PC, to replicate the layout. One of the beautiful features (as I noted in my “likes” post earlier) of Windows 8 is the ability to sync settings across PCs via the cloud and if “Start Screen layout” is added to the list of settings, it will go a long way in reducing the pain.

Secondly, whenever a new app is installed, it should offer a choice of which group to add it to, if at least one group is created (and named). That way, whenever I install an app I know I am sending it to the right group rather than drop it at the end and then make me move it.

Finally, I personally discover a lot of apps when I read about them on Twitter and websites that cover apps. It would be nice if I got a chance to remotely install these apps from the Windows Store web page that each app gets. If I am browsing the page on one of my Windows 8/RT devices, I get a chance to go to Windows Store from that web page, but I am not always at a PC with Windows 8 (my work PC, for example, is Windows 7) so it would be nice if Windows Store worked like Windows Phone Store.

I care about the device a lot, which is why I went through the trouble of listing things that need to be fixed, so that my experience with it goes from awesome to super-awesome. Do you have any suggestions or any other annoyances besides these? Let me know!

Surface with Windows RT: Likes

After an agonizing wait, I finally got a chance to play with my new Surface with Windows RT, or as I will call it for sanity’s sake, Surface RT or simply, Surface. It has been a few days, and I thought instead of writing a full-fledged review, I’d focus on some key likes and a long list of dislikes. Nits that I picked. I discuss the likes here, and dislikes in a second post.

Surface RT

Overall, I really like the device. I was determined to evaluate its use as an iPad replacement in my house. To be clear, in our house, the iPad is used for Facebook, Twitter, web browsing (between my wife and I), and some Netflix/PBS Kids/kid games (our kids, 4 and 6 years old). We are not using the iPad as a computer, or a “creation device”. It is a pure consumption device, unless you call writing a tweet, “creation”.

In that use case, the Surface has ably fit in place of the iPad for the kids. The kids have enough games that they know of, and enough games that are new, that they actually like using the Surface. My wife has not used it much, but that is because at this point of time, she considers the Surface “my baby” so she is almost afraid to some extent, of using it. However, it is only a matter of time :-)

Last night, I saw my kids fight to get to use the Surface. Mind you, we got our second iPad 2 just so they can both have their own. So, despite having two iPads, they preferred to use the Surface. Granted, it could be a novelty thing, but still, it bodes well for me that they are actually liking the device with all its oddities, like the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I replaced my iPad too, almost

As for me, the Surface has almost replaced the iPad. The big gap at this point? Twitter app! I like Tweetro, but because of their recent issue with API token limit, I was unable to sign in on the Surface despite having used it (extensively) on my Windows 8 desktop. The other two big names, Rowi and MetroTwit are both far behind what I would call a basic Twitter experience, so to me they are unusable. I am forced to use the People app and Twitter website meanwhile, and that makes for a highly sub-optimal experience for a “power user” like yours truly.

The other small issue which makes me use the iPad when the PC is not being used, is access to my work email and calendar. My work has an app which allows me to access Exchange with native iOS mail, calendar and reminders apps. They haven’t yet provisioned it for Windows 8/RT.

Besides those two missing pieces, I am extremely happy with the device. I haven’t yet experienced some of the performance issues that many others have experienced, nor have I found any major app missing. It is thin enough, and light enough for me to use it like I used my iPad. (Important to note, my iPad has a strong Speck case which makes the iPad feel heavier.)

Windows 8 (and Windows RT)

Some part of why I like the Surface so much is due to Windows 8. For example, all my settings including my lock screen image, theme, pinned websites, favorites, web history, etc. automatically came through as I signed in with my Microsoft account. This is because I had set up my account and settings on my desktop PC earlier and set it up so all those settings were synced across devices via the cloud.

Also, thanks to Xbox Music Match, a service that is yet to officially roll out but works anyway, all my music was available on the Surface as soon as I signed in with my Microsoft account. This includes some playlists I created just the day before. Again, this is because my music was matched from my desktop PC (which in turn is connected to my home server where all my music, photos and videos are stored). In addition, I was able to impress some of my family members by searching for and playing a bunch of songs on-demand via the Xbox Music subscription service. While I have the Xbox Music Pass, the unlimited streaming (with some, ahem, limits) is automatically included with all Windows 8 and Windows RT devices.

The last thing I want to mention why I love the Surface and why I replaced my iPad with it? Office. I use Excel and Word in addition to OneNote, for various purposes. Things like tracking expenses, creating birthday lists, sending formal letters, etc. are all done on Excel, Word and OneNote. Having “real” Office on my tablet with a constant sync to SkyDrive (which allows me to collaborate with my wife for some of those items) is a huge benefit. Not what I would call the #1 reason to buy a Surface, but definitely a huge plus when considering a Surface over an iPad.

Suffice to say, I really like my Surface. I think it is money well spent, for my use of such a device. Having said that, there are issues I have with the device and I list them in my next post.

Tweetro Forced To Pull Out of Windows Store After Hitting Twitter’s User Token Limit

Following the harsher rules imposed by Twitter on third-party developers, Tweetro has been forced to pull their app from the Windows Store as they have reached their token limit of 100,000.

Since Windows 8’s launch on October 26th, the app saw a massive spike in users, getting 3-4k downloads each day. From Windows 8 Release Preview to now, the app has received over 200,000 downloads. However, in the process, they hit their user token limit and are now uncertain of the future of the app. Here’s the email sent out to users by Atta Elayyan, the co-founder of Lazyworm Applications on November 10th (as reported by Windows Observer):

Since the official launch of Windows 8, we’ve seen a massive spike in downloads.  We are averaging around 3-4K downloads a day and have had well over 200K downloads since Tweetro launched on ‘Release Preview’.  Unfortunately, we’ve been victims of our own success as it appears that the app is now being blocked by Twitter due to the new Token limitations.

The app is now completely crippled and users cannot get past the OAuth screen as they are presented with an error ‘Cannot connect to service’.  We were under the impression that Twitter wasn’t going to enforce the token limits until March next year (when all 3rd party apps are required to migrate to the new API’s) however this doesn’t seem to be the case.

We have reached out to Twitter for confirmation however we haven’t heard back yet.

The future of Tweetro is uncertain at this stage but it’s likely that it will be pulled from the Windows Store until we can figure out the best way moving forward.  At this stage, we are considering to add further polish to Tweetro and re-launch it as an exclusive ‘premium’ paid app.  We would have been more than happy to continue distributing Tweetro for free as the exposure we’ve been receiving from it has been fantastic however being limited by twitter to a maximum of 100,000 users would mean we’d have to justify development via financial means.

We hope that there is a way around the token limitations, at least until the official Twitter app is available on Windows 8 however it seems that Twitter is taking a strong stance on this issue.

We’ll aim to have further announcements in the coming days with regards to what people can expect from future iterations of the app.

In the mean time, for those who are enjoying Tweetro we recommend that they refrain from uninstalling the app, removing accounts from within the app or revoking access from Twitter as there is no method accessing OAuth in its current state.

Today, they dropped the news that they’re pulling the app from the Windows Store entirely while they mull over its future. Twitter’s latest stance towards third-party developers and apps has caused quite a fair amount of outrage from the tech community, and rightfully so. To many users, third-party clients provide a far more favorable experience than Twitter’s own website and apps.

It’s only a matter of time now until other Twitter clients reach their own respective user token limits.

Patch Tuesday: Critical Fixes and Surface Updates

It’s that time of the month again. No, not that time of the month. It’s Patch Tuesday, the day when Microsoft issues various security patches and performance updates for Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, and other products.

This time around, we have a total of six bulletins. Four are critical, one is important, and the last one is moderate in importance. The first five address remote code execution exploits in Windows, Internet Explorer, the .NET Framework, and Office.The final bulletin is for a security update that resolves an information disclosure bug with the Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS).

On top of these security patches, Microsoft has also released a slew of updates for the Surface and/or Windows RT. Makes sense, seeing that this is the first Patch Tuesday to occur since the launch of the Surface RT and Windows 8 on October 26. Tom Warren over at The Verge installed the Surface firmware update on top of a few Windows RT updates and is reporting performance gains over an unpatched device. He’s also saying that app launch times have improved, which is a good sign; app launch times (and general lag while using them) was a major criticism of the Surface when it was released.

So, if you haven’t already, fire up Windows Update.

Sinofsky and Ballmer’s Full Memos Regarding Microsoft Leadership Changes

Last night, Microsoft announced a pretty significant leadership change: Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live, will be leaving the company effective immediately. Julie Larson-Green has been promoted to lead Windows software and hardware engineering, and Tami Reller will wear many hats, taking charge of the business side of Windows while remaining the company’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer.

While internal politics and disagreements are certainly behind Sinofsky’s leave, the official memos sent out by Ballmer and Sinofsky — which were briefly quoted in the press release — are still interesting to read.

Here’s Ballmer’s memo, courtesy of CNET:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:16 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Windows Leadership Changes

Over the past few months we have delivered the foundation for a new era for Microsoft. From Office to Bing to Windows Phone and Windows Azure, to Xbox and of course Windows and Surface and everything in between, we’ve unleashed a huge wave of devices and services that people and businesses love. I simply couldn’t be more proud of the effort you have all put in to get us here and to set the foundation for our future. At the Windows launch in New York, at the Windows Phone event in San Francisco, and again at the Build event on Redmond campus, I was struck that while externally many people look at these events as the finish line, they really represent the starting line of a new era.

As we enter this new era, and with the successful launch of Windows 8 and Surface behind us, Steven Sinofsky has decided to leave the company. Steven joined Microsoft in 1989 as a software development engineer and has contributed to the company in many ways from his work as a technical advisor to Bill Gates, to leading the evolution of theMicrosoft Office business, to his direction and successful leadership of Windows and Windows Live as well as Surface. I am grateful for the work that Steven has delivered in his time at our company.

Effective immediately, Julie Larson-Green will lead Windows engineering. She will be responsible for all product development for Windows and Windows Live, in addition to Surface. Julie has been a stalwart leader of building compelling “experiences” from her time on Internet Explorer, through the evolution of Office and most recently to the re-imagination of Windows. Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role. All of the current Windows engineering teams will report into Julie, and Julie will report to me.

Tami Reller will lead business and marketing strategy for Windows including Surface and partner devices. She will provide broad stewardship to our PC marketing efforts while managing the line business functions for Windows. Her work on Windows since 2007 has been exemplary and her strong talents in working with internal groups and partners will also serve us well. Tami also will report to me.

We are facing a time of great opportunity. What we have accomplished over the past few years is nothing short of amazing, and I know we have more amazing in us. I am excited about our people, I am energized by our ability to change and grow, and I look forward to the success which lies ahead. Thank you for all you do, and please join me in congratulating our new leadership and celebrating all that we have accomplished so far.


Sinofsky’s, also courtesy of CNET:

From: Steven Sinofsky
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 5:42 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: RE: Windows Leadership Changes

With the general availability of Windows 8/RT and Surface, I have decided it is time for me to take a step back from my responsibilities at Microsoft. I’ve always advocated using the break between product cycles as an opportunity to reflect and to look ahead, and that applies to me too.

After more than 23 years working on a wide range of Microsoft products, I have decided to leave the company to seek new opportunities that build on these experiences. My passion for building products is as strong as ever and I look forward focusing my energy and creativity along similar lines.

The Windows team, in partnerships across all of Microsoft and our industry, just completed products and services introducing a new era of Windows computing. It is an incredible experience to be part of a generational change in a unique product like Windows, one accomplished with an undeniable elegance. Building on Windows, Surface excels in design and utility for a new era of PCs. With the Store, Internet Explorer,, SkyDrive and more, each of which lead the way, this experience is connected to amazing cloud services.

It is inspiring to think of these efforts making their way into the hands of Microsoft’s next billion customers. We can reflect on this project as a remarkable achievement for each of us and for the team. Our work is not done, such is the world of technology, and so much more is in store for customers.

It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company. I am beyond grateful.

I have always promised myself when the right time came for me to change course, I would be brief, unlike one of my infamous short blog posts, and strive to be less memorable than the products and teams with which I have been proudly and humbly associated. The brevity of this announcement is simply a feature.

Some might notice a bit of chatter speculating about this decision or timing. I can assure you that none could be true as this was a personal and private choice that in no way reflects any speculation or theories one might read–about me, opportunity, the company or its leadership.

As I’ve always believed in making space for new leaders as quickly as possible, this announcement is effective immediately and I will assist however needed with the transition.

I am super excited for what the future holds for the team and Microsoft.

With my deepest appreciation,

Steven Sinofsky

Image Credit: Associated Press

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft

Last night, Microsoft dropped the news that, effective immediately, Steven Sinofsky — President of the Windows and Windows Live division — will be leaving the company. The timing of this announcement was certainly sudden, but it’s hard to say that the move was entirely unexpected. Internally, many employees and executives at the company strongly disagreed with Sinofsky’s methods. While Microsoft’s press release makes his parting with the company seem peaceful, it’s pretty fair to say that this probably wasn’t the case.

“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft. I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company,” Sinofsky said.

So, now that the Windows king has been dethroned, who will be filling his shoes? Julie Larson-Green — formerly Corporate Vice President, Program Management, Windows Client — has been promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. And Tami Reller will retain her role as CFO and CMO, while also taking charge of the business side of Windows. They will both report directly to Steve Ballmer.

“Leading Windows engineering is an incredible challenge and opportunity, and as I looked at the technical and business skills required to continue our Windows trajectory — great communication skills, a proven ability to work across product groups, strong design, deep technical expertise, and a history of anticipating and meeting customer needs — it was clear to me that Julie is the best possible person for this job, and I’m excited to have her in this role,” Ballmer said.

For more on Julie Larson-Green, Mary Jo Foley posted a pretty awesome overview of her.
This is certainly an interesting turn of events. It will be interesting to see how the new leadership influences the next version of Windows (and its development process.) Puts Productivity at Your Fingertips

Microsoft is the modern approach to email. This new service combines all the elements one would expect from a first rate email service and so much more. It connects you to your social networks like Twitter and Facebook. You can also work smarter with online versions of Office web apps and SkyDrive storage for your documents. is so much more than an email client. It literally puts the power of Microsoft Office in your web browser anywhere you can access the web. Menu

Let’s say you’re at a friend’s house and you decide to jump on their computer to check your email. You get an email from your study partner reminding you of a PowerPoint presentation that the two of you are collaborating on. It’s one of those moments where you smack your forehead because you realize you totally forgot about the assignment. Fortunately for you, gives you all the power of Microsoft Office right there in your browser. In the image below, you can see an example of the PowerPoint presentation that was sent. Notice the large PowerPoint icon in the middle of the screen. You have several options here. If you click the PowerPoint icon title, it will automatically download the presentation down to your computer. What if you don’t have Microsoft Office on that computer? That’s where the handy “View online” button will help. You see, with, you don’t have to Microsoft Office to be able to edit presentations. It comes with Office Web Apps which allows you to edit your presentation right there in your browser.


Notice in the image below, how viewing the presentation online looks very similar to what you would see in desktop application of PowerPoint. This is the view you see when you choose to edit the presentation online. You will notice the standard ribbon toolbar that you are used to seeing in PowerPoint. You also have many of the same elements of the desktop application of PowerPoint like the slide thumbnails and the toolbar buttons.


If you click the “New Slide” button, you will get the dialog box pictured below. Choosing the “Picture with Caption” option will allow you to upload a picture onto the slide. You also can add titles and text just like the full version of PowerPoint.


Below, you can see an example of the picture slide with a caption and title. However, that is not where the Office Web Apps’ capabilities end. If you click on the picture, you get the contextual “Format” tab at the top of the ribbon toolbar. Notice all the frame options in the image below.


Once you have completed your presentation, there’s no need to worry about saving. automatically saves the presentation as you go. Another fantastic feature is versioning. You can literally revert back to an earlier version of the document if you mess something up. When you close the presentation, automatically asks you whether you want to send the updated presentation back to the sender. It shows how well the team thought out its features–and this is just PowerPoint.  The other Office Web apps work similarly with the features you’ve used for years.

This is just one example of how is truly a modern approach to email. I could literally write dozens of tutorials based on the new features built in to No other service I know of integrates so well with social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You can literally write posts on your Facebook friends’ walls directly from Email storage is virtually limitless as well. As long as you’re not spamming the world or abusing the service, does not put quotas on your account. This barely scratches the surface of the new capabilities built-in to the new I highly recommend taking a moment to visit their preview website at and learn more about this great service. is a preview of modern email from Microsoft. It has a fresh and intuitive design, connects your email to useful information from Facebook and Twitter, and gives you a smarter inbox with the power of Office and SkyDrive. Visit to learn more and connect with us at @Outlook on Twitter.

Full Disclosure: This was a paid review of and its services. More information can be found about via