Microsoft announces Windows 10 and Azure for humanity's implacable IoT foes

If you use a keyboard, forget it

Microsoft has announced Windows 10 for the Internet of Things and an Azure IoT suite.

The software giant said on Monday that Windows 10 would be delivered for a “diverse set of IoT devices" under the new moniker.

Microsoft announced the Windows branch at the Convergence 2015 conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Microsoft, Windows 10 for Internet of Things means one version of Windows that covers universal applications, along with different drivers.

It’s believed Windows 10 for IoT uses OneCore, the shared architecture Microsoft is working on for different versions of Windows.

OneCore includes common DLLs and application platform layer with different APIs and features used according to device by Universal Apps.

Windows 10 for IoT will span a “wide range” of devices, from low-footprint controllers such as gateways to more powerful devices like ATMs and robots.

In other words, this is the Windows 10 edition of Windows Embedded. For example, ATMs largely run Windows XP Embedded – banks have dodged successive editions of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. This time, however, Microsoft is marrying up the operating system to the cloud, along with analytics.

Microsoft also used Convergence to announce its Azure IoT Suite, which will provide apps for "common" IoT scenarios, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance.

Part of this will be Azure Stream Analytics, which will also be available as a stand-alone service. Azure IoT Suite is in preview now and due “later this year”. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, speaking at Convergence, said stream analytics would provide sophisticated machine learning.

Also announced was preview availablity in 140 markets of Power BI cloud self-service for Excel and Office 365, and also general availablity of Office Delve for Office 365. Delve is Microsoft’s document discovery tool, with links to Exchange and Yammer.

Power BI connectors, dashboards and reports to Google Analytics, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Zuora, Acumatica and Twilio will be available “soon”.

Keeping up the online collaboration theme, Microsoft announced a preview edition of Skype for Business – previously Lync – saying the Skype for Business client, server and service in Office 365 will be available next month.

The IT professional and developer previews of Office 2016 were released, with general availability expected in the second half of the year. Changes in office 2016 include updates to Outlook and deployment. Microsoft also made a big deal out of the fact that Office macros aren’t changing.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, vice president for Office 365 client apps and services, blogged here: “It’s rare that “no changes” is something we’d want to highlight, but we think it’s worth celebrating the consistency in the programming model across releases. We understand how important this is and we’re committed to a high level of compatibility as we continue to innovate."

Microsoft has been bitten before by updates and security patches that have broken users' macros. ®

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