It's been a big year for Microsoft, with a number of exciting new releases and several very tough competing products entering the space. However, rather than a simple textual summary of the highlights, I decided to pull a video to go along with each of the eight major news items I picked.
Check out the eight news stories and videos I chose, and chime in on your own favorites in the comments or on Twitter @breinholz.
Windows 7 Sales Explode
While Windows 7 was actually launched in late 2009, I feel that it's appropriate to kick off a 2010 review with Microsoft's latest OS, which has gotten millions of personal and business users once again excited about Windows. To demonstrate just how big the launch was, below is a video of Steve Ballmer on the Today Show introducing the new OS.
Bing and Yahoo! Combine
Fed up with Google's near monopoly on search, Microsoft launched Bing, a brand new search engine (or decision engine, depending on semantics) to recapture market share. After a meaty marketing campaign, Bing managed to gain some headway, but still falls far behind Google thus far. One of the biggest stories in the search industry for 2010 was the Microsoft/Yahoo! deal, which more than doubled the number of users using Bing's engine.
iPad Hits 1 Million in 1 Month
Love it or hate it, one of the defining events of 2010 was the launch of Apple's iPad. Apple sold a million iPads within one month, and redefined tablet PCs as we know them. Since then, we've seen several competitors come out, including more high-profile devices such as the Dell Streak and the Samsung Galaxy.
I couldn't find a good Ballmer video on the iPad, so I grabbed this hilarious parody video instead.
Android Surpasses Windows Mobile, KIN Fails
The larger part of 2010 has not been good for Microsoft where mobile is concerned. First we had Android overtake Windows Mobile in market share, and then we saw the KIN come and go in just a few months.
For this video, I have to fall back on the widely-criticized and confusing KIN television ad.
Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010
The launch of Office 2010 marked a number of improvements, the most significant of which are likely the enhanced Ribbon UI and steps to make the programs more collaborative (such as the addition of coauthoring), which was likely in line with the release of Office 365 (we'll get there shortly). SharePoint 2010 also sports a number of new features to make collaboration more seamless. The below video provides insight into Microsoft's overarching strategy with Office.
Battle for Cloud Dominance Heats Up
You have to give credit where it's due: Microsoft has been talking about the cloud before the cloud was cool. There have been some landmark launches in 2010, the most notable being Office 365, Microsoft's hosted version of Office (and key Google Apps competitor). Probably the best thing about Office 365 is cost: $6 per user per month, in contrast to the $500 desktop version. Despite growing murmurs that open-source and low-cost competitors will overtake the Office behemoth, there's still little sign that Office's dominance is waning.
Microsoft Launches Xbox 360 Kinect
While it's a very consumer-oriented product, I'd be remiss not to mention Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect, which marks an interesting new innovation in video gaming with a controller-free system. The Kinect has had a strong initial release but time will tell if it can unseat Nintendo's Wii. Additionally, some people have already started testing the Kinect in a variety of other uses, such as animated shadow puppets.
Related: A Random Assortment Of Kinect Injury Fail Videos (the below video being the most famous of these)
Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7 is probably one of the biggest unknowns in Microsoft's 2010 portfolio. Details about the new mobile OS's sales figures are still scarce, though many are taking Microsoft's tight-lipped attitude as an omission of defeat. I think it's a bit soon to say, though I'll be surprised if Windows Phone 7 captures the same momentum that Android has this year.