Microsoft introduced the world to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in 2012, two pivotal events that put the company in a better position to compete in the mobile market and be part of BYOD (bring your own device) programs in the enterprise. Yet getting and keeping consumers interested in the Windows 8 ecosystem will be a mighty task given the drop in traditional PC sales and the popularity of the iPads and Android mobile devices.
The year also saw the continued threat of Google Apps against Office 365, the departure of another top Microsoft executive and the bold introduction of Microsoft's first branded hardware to run Windows, the Surface tablet.
Here, in no particular order, are 12 of the most popular stories and slideshows about Microsoft that appeared on CIO.com over the past year.
Can Microsoft Survive If Windows 8 Fails? (Dec. 6, 2012) Microsoft is counting on strong sales of Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT tablets--and, to a lesser extent, Windows phones--to help drive its new Windows 8 desktop operating system in the enterprise. But what if the plan doesn't work?
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office on Your iPad, Android Tablet (June 11, 2012) Check out these three cloud-based services that enable you to use Office apps on your iPad or Android tablet. Each service offers something different, but CIO.com blogger James A. Martin likes one in particular.
Can Google Apps Unseat Microsoft Office and Exchange? (May 8, 2012) The BYOD phenomenon and the need to collaborate with mobile users and international subsidiaries led New England Biolabs to weigh a switch from Microsoft Office and Exchange Server to Google Apps. The results of their proof-of-concept testing surprised many, including the CIO.
Microsoft Q&A: With Windows 8, the Choice Is Yours (June 12, 2012) Day two at Microsoft TechEd 2012 was all about Windows 8. CIO.com caught up with Windows corporate VP Antoine Leblond, who discussed why CIOs should test Windows 8, why developers should love it, and why we'll all be touching our laptop screens sooner than we think.
Windows 8 Beats Out iOS and Android at Seton Hall (Aug. 6, 2012) In a world where iPads and Android devices are the rage, Seton Hall University bucked the BYOD trend and opted for Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks for students and faculty, even though the OS doesn't ship officially until October. Why did the university go all in on Windows 8?
Windows 8 Pro: Features IT Pros Need to Know About (May 10, 2012) Most of the attention on Windows 8 and Windows RT has involved consumer features and the Metro UI. But the Windows 8 Pro version offers security and virtualization features tailor-made for IT organizations.
Microsoft Exodus: 10 Execs Who Have Left the Company (2007-2012) (Nov. 16, 2012) Windows chief Steven Sinofsky is the latest talented executive to quit or be forced out at Microsoft. Some of the departed have gone on to high-profile positions elsewhere, and others just disappear. Here's a list of Microsoft's most recent executive exits.
5 Free Open Source Alternatives to Microsoft Office (Sept. 17. 2012) Small businesses don't always need Microsoft Office software for word processing, spreadsheets, email, database and publishing tools. We look at five free, open source alternatives to Microsoft Office.
10 Free Microsoft Tools to Make Life Easier (Sept. 25. 2012) In addition to its commercial operating systems and applications, Microsoft offers up a host of free tools that make it easier, cheaper, safer and faster to accomplish essential tasks from removing malware to converting virtual machines to deploying software.
5 Things Microsoft Doesn't Want You to Know (June 13, 2012) Microsoft is trying to move toward the cloud while propping up Windows, Office and other client-based money-makers. As the software giant moves in those two directions, Jonathan Hassell offers his list of five things Microsoft would rather not talk about.
The Good, Bad and Ugly History of Microsoft Hardware (Oct. 18, 2012) Microsoft built its identity on software development. Just refer to the name, and pay special attention to the "soft." But throughout its storied history, the company has progressively become much more of a multi-discipline workshop.
10 New Features of Microsoft Office 2013 (July 17, 2012) Two big themes stand out about Office 2013: The Metro makeover, and an expanded degree of integration with Microsofts Windows Live.
Read more about operating systems in CIO's Operating Systems Drilldown.