Microsoft’s 2016 by Michael Gillet

Michael Gillett tells us everything that happened in terms of Microsoft in 2016.

Microsoft’s 2016

We started off asking Gabe, we finished asking Dona

January 1st

We wished Gabe Aul a Happy New Year and then asked when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

January 2nd

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

January 4th

Microsoft announced that Windows 10 was active on over 200 million devices.

January 13th

Microsoft released Desktop build 11099 to the Fast ring. This contained only minor visible tweaks as there had been a lot of structural work behind the scenes.

January 19th

Microsoft announced new features coming to the Xbox One Preview Program. Gamers could see who was in a party before joining it, view a gamerscore leader board and access Pins offline. Xbox apps were also updated including the Avatar Store and a compact view for the desktop app.

January 21st

Microsoft released Desktop build 11102 to the Fast ring. It contained a new history menu for Edge.

January 22nd

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

January 25th

Microsoft announced new ways for Cortana to become more helpful. These included automatic notifications if you’ve made a commitment within an email and alerts if someone books a meeting outside of tour regular hours.

January 27th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14251 to the Fast ring. This was a big jump in the build number to align the desktop and mobile build numbers.

February 1st

Microsoft released Windows 10 Mobile Cumulative Update 10586.71 that addressed a number of issues raised by insiders.

February 3rd

Microsoft released Desktop build 14257 to the Fast ring. This contained only bug fixes.

Microsoft acquired SwiftKey, the company that built a cloud software keyboard for Android and iOS devices.

February 10th

Microsoft released Windows 10 Mobile Cumulative Update 10586.107 that addressed a number of issues raised by insiders.

Microsoft announced the Release Preview ring for Insiders who want early access to new features of the current branch.

February 18th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14267 to the Fast ring. This build improved a number of areas of Windows including searching for music with Cortana, managing the favorites bar in Edge and being able to add images in the Messaging + Skype app.

February 19th

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

Microsoft released Mobile build 14267 to the Fast ring. This Mobile build introduced mostly the same improvements as the Desktop build.

February 24th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14271 and Mobile build 14267.1004 to the Fast ring. This was the first time a build for both Desktop and Mobile were released on the same day. Both these builds contained a number of bug fixes.

Microsoft announced plan to acquire Xamarin, the company that made it simple for developers to build an app once and have it run on any platform.

February 25th

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider builds would be released for both Desktop and Mobile on the same day.

March 2nd

Microsoft released Windows 10 Mobile Cumulative Update 10586.122 that addressed a number of issues raised by insiders.

March 4th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14279 to the Fast ring. This build introduced more languages and simple reminders for Cortana, an improved look to the logon experience and the usual performance and bug improvements.

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Mobile Windows Insider build would be released.

We also asked Gabe Aul when the next Desktop Windows Insider build would be released.

March 7th

Microsoft announced that SQL Server would be coming Linux in mid 2017.

March 10th

Microsoft released Mobile build 14283 to the Fast ring. This build included updates to both the Phone and Outlook apps.

March 16th

Microsoft announced the arrival of the new official Twitter app for Windows 10 Mobile.

March 17th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14291 to the Fast ring. This was a big release with extensions and pinned tabs coming to Edge, an improved UI for both the Maps and Alarms apps and improvements for Japanese inputs. The Insider Hub and Windows Feedback apps were combined into the Feedback Hub with this build.

March 24th

Microsoft announced the new Skype Preview app for Windows 10 on both Desktop and Mobile.

March 25th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14295 to the Fast ring. This build contained a number of bug fixes.

March 30th — BUILD

At Build Microsoft made a number of key announcements:

  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update to be released in summer 2016. This update would include Windows Hello for apps and websites to use for authentication, Windows Ink with new features to make using a pen easier and more productive, Cortana will be available above the lock screen, UWP apps will come to the Xbox One and native Bash on Ubuntu will be able to run on Windows.
  • HoloLens available to buy.
  • Project Centennial was announced allowing Win32 apps to be converted to make use of UWP functionality and the Store.
  • Windows 10 was active on over 270 million devices.

March 31st

We asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

April 6th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14316 to the Fast ring. Introduced in this build was the native Bash on Ubuntu experience, Cortana’s cross device notifications such as low battery on a phone, more extensions for Edge, Action Center improvements, all new emoji, more personalisation options, new PC access functionality and Virtual Desktop improvements. The Skype Preview app was also made available.

Messaging Everywhere was announced allowing text messages to be synced across all devices from a phone.

April 14th

Microsoft released Mobile build 14322 to the Fast ring. In this build improvements were made to the Action Center, Cortana could create a reminder that featured an image, the UI of the Settings app was improved, the new emoji arrived, Edge was given copy/paste reliability and new functionality was added to the lockscreen to quickly launch the camera and control music.

April 20th

Microsoft released Mobile build 14327 to the Fast ring. This build included the new Messaging Everywhere functionality and additional languages for Cortana.

April 22nd

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14328 to the Fast ring. For the Desktop build Window Ink was added with the new Ink Spaces functionality, the Start experience was improved with a simplified “most used” and “all apps” list and tweaks to the Tablet Mode view, Cortana could work on the lockscreen, the Action Center icon was moved to the far right of the Taskbar, a user’s calendar could be integrated with the Taskbar clock, Taskbar notification badges were added to UWP apps, the Settings app had a number of tweaks, touchpad gestures could be used to switch virtual desktops and a couple of lockscreen improvements.

The most important addition though was the new File Explorer icon.

The new File Explorer icon

There weren’t any notable changes for Mobile.

April 23rd

We asked Gabe Aul what the team were thinking with the new File Explorer icon. Then we asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

April 26th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14332 to the Fast ring. Improvements to Bash on Ubuntu, Cortana, battery life and a number of smaller issues and bugs.

April 28th

Microsoft announced that new official Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps were coming to Windows 10.

May 3rd

Microsoft acquired Solair, the company that developed innovative Internet of Things services across a number of industries.

May 10th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14342 to the Fast ring. Edge was improved with new extensions, real-time web notifications and swipe navigation for touch screens, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows was improved and the Skype Preview app was updated.

May 16th

Microsoft released Mobile build 14342 to the Fast ring. Edge was improved with swipe navigation for touch screens and the Feedback Hub was updated.

May 26th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14352 to the Fast ring. In this build Cortana was updated to support play specific music and set timers using voice, Windows Ink was improved with better Sticky Notes and the ruler indicated when aligned to cardinal directions, the Game Bar was improved for same games and responses from Microsoft were shown in the Feedback Hub.

The most important addition though was the new File Explorer icon.

May 27th

We thanked Gabe Aul for the new File Explorer icon. Then we asked Gabe Aul when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

June 1st

Gabe Aul announced that he was passing the torch to a new leader of the Windows Insider Program, Dona Sarkar.

We welcomed Dona Sarkar to the Windows Insider Program, then asked her when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

Microsoft released Mobile build 14361 to the Fast ring. This build contained a number of fixes along with improvements to Cortana enabling notification and picture sharing between devices.

At Computex Microsoft announced that hardware partners would be able to make their own devices powered by Windows Holographic.

June 2nd

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

June 6th

Microsoft announced the summer updates for the Xbox One as part of the Anniversary Update. These updates would include Cortana, a unified Store across Xbox and Windows, a Facebook Friend finder, PC games would show up on Xbox Live, updated game DVR editing and sharing,

June 8th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14361 to the Fast ring. This build introduced the LastPass extension for Edge, Hyper-V containers, improvements to Windows Ink and the Settings app and a number of fixes.

June 13th

At E3 Microsoft announced the new Xbox One S and Project Scorpio. The Xbox One S was much smaller than its predecessor with some new 4K functionality whilst Project Scorpio would be a brand new, high spec’ed console to come out in 2017. The company also announced Xbox Play Anywhere to allow gamers across PCs and Xbox to play against each other and to buy a game once on one platform and play the same game on the other platform for no additional cost.

Microsoft announced plan to acquire LinkedIn, the professional social network.

June 14th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14366 and Mobile build 14264 to the Fast ring. These builds were mostly full of fixes but also brought the Office Online extension to Edge.

June 15th

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

June 16th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14267 to the Fast ring. This build contained new system wide shortcut to open the Feedback Hub, new handwriting language support and a to give a PC a fresh start.

Microsoft acquired Wand Labs, the company that built a messaging app with a focus on conversational intelligence.

June 21st

Microsoft released Mobile build 14371 to the Fast ring. This build introduced Microsoft Wallet allowing people to add bank cards and make transactions using their device’s NFC.

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider Desktop build would be released.

June 22nd

Microsoft released Desktop build 14371 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes and improvements to the Activation process.

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider Mobile build would be released.

June 23rd

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14372 to the Fast ring. Apart from a new Edge extension, evermore, this build only contained fixes.

At this point things were gearing up for the Anniversary Update so you might notice a theme.

June 24th

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

June 28th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14376 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

June 29th

Microsoft announced that the Anniversary Update would be available on August 2nd.

Microsoft announced that Windows 10 was active on over 350 million devices.

June 30th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14379 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

July 1st

Microsoft announced the Windows Insider MVP program. Kindly, they made one of the first WIMVPs.

July 7th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14383 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

July 9th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14385 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

July 12th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14388 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

July 15th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14390 to the Fast ring. Surprise, the Amazon Assistant extension was added to Edge and this build brought with it a number of fixes.

July 18th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14393 to the Fast ring. This build brought with it a number of fixes.

Microsoft announced that the Xbox One S would be available on August 2nd.

August 1st

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released with more than just fixes.

August 2nd

Microsoft released Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Microsoft launched the Xbox One S.

August 3rd

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

August 11th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14901 to the Fast ring. This build had only 1 new feature, a helpful prompt within File Explorer containing information about what users can do.

Microsoft acquired Beam, the company that built an interactive livestreaming service for gaming.

August 16th

Microsoft announced that in 2017 all Windows 10 PCs will be able to run the Windows Holographic shell allowing devices to work with mixed reality blending 2D and 3D apps.

August 17th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14905 to the Fast ring. This build introduced a new sound set for Mobile and brought with it a number of fixes.

August 22nd

Microsoft acquired Genee, the company that built a artificial-intelligence-powered scheduling service to be used within Office 365.

August 31st

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14915 to the Fast ring. This build introduced Delivery Optimisation to improve the download speed of apps and updates. There are also a number of fixes.

September 14th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14926 to the Fast ring. This build offered a Snooze feature in Edge, more extensions for the browser, updated Wi-Fi settings on Mobile and improvements to way users can enter a PIN on the logon screen.

September 21st

Microsoft released Desktop build 14931 to the Fast ring. There were a number of app updates with this build including the Feedback Hub, Maps and Skype Preview.

September 13th

Microsoft launches ReCore on Windows 10 and Xbox, the first Xbox Play Anywhere game.

September 28th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14936 to the Fast ring. In this build more extensions were added to Edge and updates to the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

October 7th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14942 to the Fast ring. This build introduced more configuration options for the Start Menu, updates to UI of the Photos app, improvements to the touchpad, a new icon for Windows Update, service hosts were split into separate processes, Active Hours default range was expanded and an address bar was added to the Registry Editor.

October 13th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14946 to the Fast ring. With this build new gesture support was added for the touchpad, separate screen timeouts were implemented when using Continuum, improved Wi-Fi settings and on Mobile more controls were added for the dictionary.

October 18th

Microsoft announced a world record by creating a technology that can achieve human parity in conversational speech recognition.

October 19th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14951 to the Fast ring. Improvements were made to the touchpad gestures and Windows Ink, the UI of the Camera app and the Windows Subsystem for Linux with this build.

October 25th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14955 to the Fast ring. This build was light on new features with just an update to Outlook Mail and Calendar apps and improvements to the Narrator on Desktop making it context aware.

October 26th — Microsoft Event

At Microsoft’s hardware event the company made a number of announcements:

  • Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Studio, it’s first desktop PC with an adjustable touchscreen. The Studio came with a Surface Pen and also supported the new Surface Dial, a rotatable control that could be placed on the screen to show a new radial UI.
  • The Windows 10 Creators Update was announced to be made available in early 2017.
  • 3D for Everyone was announced as part of the Creators Update which introduced Paint 3D, a new 3D scanning app and remix3d.com for users to share their 3D creations.
  • Windows MyPeople is a new way to make connecting with people easier on Windows by improving the Share experience and by adding people icons to the Taskbar.
  • The Beam game streaming technology will be integrated into Windows to make it easy for anyone to stream their game.
  • VR headsets would be available in 2017 from Microsoft’s hardware partners powered by Windows Holographic and would start at $300.

October 27th

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released so we could try out the Creators Update.

November 2nd

Microsoft released Microsoft Teams, their new team collaboration software that integrates with Skype and Office 365.

November 3rd

Microsoft announced Unified Update Platform, a new way for Windows 10 to be updated with the major benefit being considerably smaller downloads.

November 9th

Microsoft released Desktop and Mobile build 14965 to the Fast ring. A virtual touchpad was added with this build to help with using multiple monitors from a tablet, Sticky Notes and Windows Ink Workspace were both significantly improved and both the Registry Editor and Hyper-V were tweaked in this build.

Oh, and Dona sent some #WindowsInsiderLove.

November 15th

We asked Dona Sarkar when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

November 16th

Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation and Google joined the .Net Foundation.

November 17th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14971 to the Fast ring. In this build Edge was updated to support the EPUB book file format, the Paint 3D app was included and PowerShell became the defecto command shell within the File Explorer. Additionally, the Get Office app was overhauled to offer much more functionality and information to users.

November 22nd

Microsoft announced that on December 12th it will be possible to stream an Xbox One library to an Oculus Rift via a new app so games can be played in VR.

December 1st

Microsoft released Mobile build 14977 to the Fast ring. In this build Edge was updated to support the EPUB book file format.

December 6th

Microsoft announced that its acquisition of LinkedIn had passed all regulatory checks and the deal could be closed.

December 7th

Microsoft released Desktop build 14986 to the Fast ring. Cortana was significantly improved with this build, now allowing users to use their voice to turn off the computer, support for more specific music commands and going full screen when the computer has been idle for a while. Windows Ink was equally improved with the ability to resume a previous sketch, updated Ink flyout menus and better controls for using the ruler. Also the Game Bar was improved for more games, more extensions were added to Edge, the rendering technologies of UWP apps were updated and Narrator was improved. The new Windows Defender and View 3D apps were introduced with this build too. And finally a number of new experiences were added to improve Windows 10 in Asia.

December 31st

We wished Dona Sarkar a Happy New Year and then asked her when the next Windows Insider build would be released.

Thanks Michael!

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