A Year of Excitement


As the year comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the progress we’ve made at Microsoft and how it’s made an impact on my life.

I’m always impressed with the work we do here at Microsoft (you can see how unbiased I am :)), but this year I’m especially proud to see some of the work having a real impact in my house and with my family members.    

Windows Phone 7

Several weeks ago, my family became Windows Phone 7 users.  We got Samsung Focuses (Foci?) for my wife and two daughters, and I can tell you that they’re very happy with their new phones.  The Focus is light with a bright AMOLED screen, and I love the simple Metro theme.  You can see how we’ve personalized each of our phones below.  I want to highlight a few of my favorite features on the phone:

  • Search using Bing allows you to speak the name of what you’re looking for and get results with contact information and directions immediately. You also get the stunning daily Bing photographs in a layout designed for the phone.
  • I have hundreds of Outlook contacts, Hotmail contacts, and Facebook friends. I have contact information for some of my friends in more than one of those sources, and I was impressed with the People hub’s automatic contact linking so that each person had just one contact card with information from all my sources, including their photos.
  • Live tiles really let applications shine right from the homescreen. I can tell how much mail I have, see my next meeting, the current weather, and Seattle traffic, and track my favorite stocks just by glancing at my homescreen.
  • This week, Paramount Digital Entertainment unveiled Silverlight Enhanced Movies on Windows Phone 7. You can download School of Rock to your phone today from the Windows Phone Marketplace and you’ll get the entire movie, plus extras like pop-up trivia and movie info. I’m happy to see partners like Paramount building great technology on Silverlight for Windows Phone. Silverlight Enhanced Movies will make my next long flight zoom by.
  • I like having Xbox Live available right on my phone. I can download great games like Ilomilo and Bejeweled, change my avatar’s clothing, and invite friends to play games with me. Games on the phone even help build Gamerscore.

Also, I’m excited to tell you the Windows Phone Marketplace now has over 4000 applications, and the number is growing daily thanks to developers like you!  Keep up the great work.

Xbox Kinect



We have an Xbox Kinect at home, and I was amazed at how fast my daughters got the hang of controlling the Xbox and playing games using motion and gestures.  Dance Central is popular at my house, but for all my years of software experience, this is one place where my wife and daughters have me beaten hands-down.  The ESPN application lets me view games on demand that would be hard to find on American television.  They even have Cricket, and I can pause, rewind, and fast forward (which is particularly important for those multi-day Test matches).

The Kinect camera also makes for a very smooth instant messaging experience.  You can video chat with either another Kinect or a PC running Live Messenger with a webcam.  Kinect will lock into the speaker and track their movements around the room automatically so you can focus on your conversation.


You’ve been telling us we have some catching up to do to make IE a great browser for the future, and while it’s not done quite yet, I’m happy to say that IE9 is well on its way to delivering on those requests.  I’ve been using the IE9 beta for months now, and I really like the new cleaner interface.  It just feels snappier too.  IE9 also offers HTML5 support for rich interactive standards-based web applications.


Kinect, Windows Phone 7, and IE9 are some examples of how the work we do at Microsoft has had a positive impact in my household.  Kudos to the Xbox, Phone, and IE teams! 

Wish you all peaceful and safe holidays and a happy new year!



Comments (13)

  1. Sam says:

    Love Windows Phone 7! It's really designed with a lot of thought on user experience and the Metro UI is, lets just say graceful, a humble choice, but very effective. It does leave room for improvement though. Hopefully Microsoft can add the following desirable features soon:

    – Silverlight support in the browser

    – Front facing camera for video chat

    – Better Youtube app

    – Better IM app (the current Live Messenger app for the phone is a poor joke to say the least)

    – Stable WiFi (many of the current phones including the Focus has issues displaying desktop versions of websites when connected with a secure WiFi network. Even the Marketplace app does not work with secure WiFi!)

    – More features in Bing Maps (iPhone version is so much cooler!)

    – More Apps!!!

    Only one word for IE 9: Fantabulous!

    Only one desirable feature pending in IE 9: In-built Silverlight runtime within IE 9 (which can be updated as new versions are released). No more plugins!

    Kinect and XBox 360: Out of this world at this moment…

    You missed out on MSE! Microsoft Security Essentials is very impressive!

    Thanks for the good work! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  2. Sam says:

    Forgot to add the the following for WP7:

    Need capability to deploy on devices without going through marketplace for enterprise applications

    Need ability to test apps on personal devices without having to pay $99

  3. Helper says:

    Please see this post to get an idea where you guys need to improve with WP7:


  4. S.Somasegar says:

    Hi Helper,

    Thanks for the feedback.  Will pass it on to the team.


  5. Helper says:

    Please improve the default market place app. its slow and today for the first time it hung up and I had to reboot my phone to get it working again.

    there is also a minor bug when an update for an app comes in. if you take a look at update pages of some of the smaller apps, the phone sometimes shows size of these apps as a huge number, for example 190283 MB. surely a mistake. it should be either KB or bytes in some cases.

    Microsoft needs to be more aggressive with WP7. you cant be satisfied with 1.5M in sales. there should have been another 15 million devices in market right now with more phones (not just 9). Andriod is catching on like fire.

  6. Sam says:

    Hi Soma,

    Many years ago, Microsoft lead the way in the tech industry. Microsoft had confidence in their ability and their products. Windows, Office, platforms like .NET, etc. Even IE had a massive market share (let's keep the arguments of monopoly, legal issues, etc aside for now). However, all of sudden in past few years Microsoft has been relatively sleeping. Why can't you guys come up a single credible tablet? Why do you have to wait till Windows 8 is out for a credible Windows tablet? Why can't you guys have faith and confidence in your products? I know Microsoft is doing a good job with IE 9, with Kinect and some other things. However, the support and zest for other appealing, important (and even developer friendly) products like Silverlight is clearly fallen to an all-time low. Why in the world would any company de-emphasize their own star product for a standard's based thing like HTML? How could Microsoft even think about comparing the two and narrow Silverlight's focus (and then try to repair the damage)? Very bad move and as if the competition with Flash was not enough! It is understood that the world has millions of different devices and not all devices will support Flash or Silverlight or any other proprietary technology. What makes Microsoft think that HTML 5 is the only cross-platform strategy? Why hasn't any other company talked a single word about this? Apple never publicly touts HTML 5 and be-little its own proprietary products. They are supremely confident about their products. They don't care whether the world supports HTML 5 or Flash or whatever else is out there. They are confident about their strategy and products. Google is making amazing progress with the Andriod (at least it seems so at this moment in time).  Why is Microsoft scared of its own products? Why wasn't Silverlight supported in the WP7 browser to begin with?

    I understand that you guys want to target other platforms by making HTML5 versions of Bing, Bing Maps, etc. But, what's the advantage of using Windows anymore? Do users of Windows (or Office or Bing on the PC) get any superior products than just standard's based HTML 5 versions of Microsoft's products? Not anymore it seems… Bing is slowly moving all its properties to HTML/Javascript based websites. The Silverlight version of Bing Maps is the only known standing app right now. Don't you guys take that away.

    When you have HTML 5 based products for all kinds of devices and other companies also have similar products (sites) made with HTML 5, how does this give Microsoft/PC based users any advantage over the competitor's products? What benefits do I get as a Windows user vs. users of Google's products?

    The reality at this time is, the Bing maps app for the Windows Phone 7 is greatly inferior to the iPhone maps. Why is this so? You guys first need to make WP7 more appealing and do more for your loyal customers rather than give standard's based goodies to users of other platforms. That's what makes a company great, not just running after other platforms and trying to make the entire 6+ billion in the world happy. I have noticed similar trends with VS.NET. Over the past several years, Microsoft has tried to attract open source developers and other communities to try and use VS. Hence it has become inflated. Why? Has this strategy work really worked for you guys? How many developers actually came over to the .NET platform as a result of these moves? What are the stats for MVC vs. Web Forms?

    Please, focus on your strengths. There is great potential for Microsoft. Don't squander it.

  7. Helper says:

    The phone call history does not allow adding recently dialled numbers as a new number for an existing contact. It also does not show the call duration at the end of the call.

  8. Mahesh Chand says:

    Happy New Year 2010 Soma and Family!

    While IE9 provided me good user experiece, I can't say same for WP7 and Kinect. I have been a iPhone user for 4-5 years now (BTW Did I tell, I hate Apple) and I love it. But as soon I get same device from other other companies, I would switch right away. Anything goes wrong with iPhone, I have to go to Apple Store.

    Anyway, about WPF7. I do like voice enabled bing but user experience, apps, and quality is not even close to iPhone. Need lot more work.

    I got Kinect for my 8 years old son and trust me , he is a very sharp kid. But he still prefers Wii over it. I tried as well. It's just too much to setup and move here, move there and still does not work. I tried sports and its just not there yet.

    I disagree with other user "Sam" about Visual Studio 2010. VS 2010 is probably the best version every MS produced in this line. I do not mind other extra goodies and tools that Open Source community have. I actully like to know what else open source community have so I can take advantages of those features.

    Very impressive work in 2010!



  9. Sam says:

    Why can't Windows Phone 7 open .csv files in its Excel App? Is there a way to do this?

  10. Another fed-up MS partner says:

    Let's see….after heavily promoting the version in Expression 3, you screwed over MSDN Premium/Pro users by limiting the Sketchflow product to Ultimate subscribers. (Offering us the opportunity to pay a extra albeit discounted fee on top of our existing license costs is simply insulting.) Then the very first Windows Phone 7 update is such a mess that it bricks some users' phones. An exciting year, indeed. May 2011 be "a year of excitement" for the division heads who responsible for 2010's disasters.

  11. Sam says:

    Hey Soma – As you can see from my first comments on this blog post – I was extremely excited and optimistic about IE9, WP7, and several other things and offered some feedback. However, recent events have really caused a lot of grief and anger! Did you get the NODO updates for your WP7 Focus? What the hell is Microsoft doing here?! What happened with this update? Why involve the stupid carriers in an update process anyway? And why is Eric Hautala posting useless posts on the Windows Phone 7 blog page? You guys have a habit of virtually destroying everything good that you create? First Silverlight, and now WP7?!!! How can people trust Microsoft if it can't do one thing right these days? This is disgraceful. Let the team know how pissed owners of WP7 are!

  12. S.Somasegar says:

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the feedback.  Sorry your experience hasn't been great.  The Windows Phone team is working to make the update experience much better.  I will pass your feedback to them as well.


  13. Sam says:

    Thank you Soma! Putting this to rest quickly and moving on to bring better experience towards customers (including early adopters and microsoft developers) is very important. Windows Phone 7, like Silverlight has unbelievable potential, please put the best creative people to build upon this potential (no more Muglia incidents please) and bring the enterprise features to it as soon as Mango is done.