Microsoft engineering groups
Microsoft engineering groups are the operating divisions of Microsoft. Starting in April 2002, Microsoft organised itself into seven groups, each an independent financial entity. In September 2005, Microsoft announced a reorganization of its then seven groups into three. In July 2013, Microsoft announced another reorganization into five engineering groups and six corporate affairs groups. A year later, in June 2015, Microsoft reformed into three engineering groups. In September 2016, a new group was created to focus on artificial intelligence and research. On March 29, 2018 a new structure merged all of these into three.
As of 2018, these three groups are:
- Experiences & Devices
- Cloud + AI Platform
- AI + Research
Experiences and devices
This group produces experiences, from Windows products to devices, to enterprise. Microsoft 365 is the subscription solution that brings it all together.
- Windows NT: Windows 10 is the latest OS in this family. It is designed for use in personal computers, 2-in-1 PCs and tablets. As of 2018, Microsoft Windows retained around 90% market share in personal computers and 2-in-1 PCs combined. However, in tablets the market share of Windows is just around 15%.
- Windows IoT: It is designed specifically for use in IoT scenarios such as on devices where the OS may not directly be visible to the end user, in particular, home appliances, home automation, auto-motives, industry devices etc.
- Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone and Windows Mobile: These are designed for smartphones and small tablets. The last OS in this group viz. Windows 10 Mobile includes all basic consumer features, including Continuum capability. These all have been discontinued.
- Windows 9x comprises Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME. This family has also been discontinued.
- Windows 1.0, Windows 2.0 and Windows 3.0 are versions of Windows that were launched from MS-DOS and were not stand-alone operating systems. This family has also been discontinued.
- Xbox One system software includes all versions of Windows running on Xbox game consoles.
Microsoft Office is a line of office software, provided by Microsoft. It is available in three versions, for desktop, for mobile devices and an online one.
- Office for desktop includes Word (a word processor), Excel (a spreadsheet program), PowerPoint (a presentation software), Access (a personal relational database application), Outlook (an email program, frequently used with Exchange Server), OneNote (a notetaking program) and Publisher (desktop publishing software). It also encompasses other products (not bundled in Office suite) like Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft SharePoint and Skype for Business.
- Office Mobile consists of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive available as standalone apps for mobile devices on their respective application stores, since 2015. Earlier these apps were part of Office Mobile, another app for mobile devices which is still present for older devices.
- Office Online is combination of Microsoft Office Web Apps (an online version of Microsoft Office's core apps) and various formerly Windows Live branded web services, in general all these services are connected via Microsoft accounts. This includes free versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook.com (a free web-based email service, previously branded as Hotmail), OneNote, OneDrive (a free cloud storage and file hosting service, it was previously branded as SkyDrive), Sway (a presentation program that can pull content from various websites), Docs.com (a site where users can discover, upload and share Office documents on their profile page, the website originally started as a collaboration between Microsoft and the Facebook but was redesigned for Office Online), People (an online address book), Calendar and Tasks.
Skype is an application that specializes in providing video chat and voice call services. Users can exchange text and video messages, files and images, and create conference calls. Other applications developed alongside Skype are Skype Translator, Skype Qik and GroupMe. Originally launched in 2003, it was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
- Microsoft Surface - a family of Windows-based personal computing devices, first launched in 2012. It includes the Surface and Surface Pro series of 2-in-1 tablet computers, the Surface Book laptop, the Surface Studio all-in-one PC, and the Surface Hub interactive whiteboard.
- Microsoft HoloLens - a set of virtual reality smartglasses, launched in 2016.
- Xbox - a home gaming console. Many video games for the platform have been developed by the company's Microsoft Studios subsidiary, in addition to third-party video game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision. The first generation launched in 2001 and was succeeded by the Xbox 360 in 2005, and in turn by the Xbox One in 2013.
- Microsoft also produces and sells mice, keyboards, webcams, headsets, game controllers and wireless display adapters. The production of these accessories is outsourced in most cases.
MSN is a web portal and related collection of Internet services and apps for Windows and mobile devices, provided by Microsoft. It was launched on August 1995. The current website and suite of apps offered by MSN was first introduced by Microsoft in 2014 as part of a complete redesign and relaunch. The redesign of MSN proved positive and helped increase traffic with an additional 10 million daily visitors after two months. MSN is based in the United States and offers international versions of its portal for dozens of countries around the world.
Microsoft Servers (previously called Windows Server System) is a brand that encompasses Microsoft's server products. This includes the Windows Server editions of the Microsoft Windows operating system itself, as well as products targeted at the wider business market. Microsoft's server products are further categorized into four groups namely, Operating systems, Productivity, Security and Microsoft System Center. A complete listing of product offerings can be found here.
In July 2016, Microsoft moved the Windows Server team and its related products to the Windows and Devices Group, further justifying one Windows core across all platforms.
Cloud + AI Platform
This group focuses on building the core foundations. It was originally the Cloud and Enterprise group until March 2018, when it was expanded with the Windows core platform team merged into it. Led by Scott Guthrie.
Microsoft Azure is the company's cloud computing platform that hosts virtual machines, websites and more. It provides both platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems. It was launched in 2010. Within the Azure team
- Business AI
- Universal Store and Commerce
- AI Perception and Mixed Reality
- AI Cognitive Services and Platform
Microsoft Visual Studio the set of programming tools and compilers. The software product is GUI-oriented and links easily with the Windows APIs, but must be specially configured if used with non-Microsoft libraries. Visual Studio supports development for both native Windows platform and .NET Framework. It was launched in 1995.
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications. Microsoft Dynamics was previously a separate engineering unit until it got reorganised into the Cloud & Enterprise Group in June 2015.
AI and Research
This group was created in September 2016 to emphasize the company's presence on artificial intelligence. It was formed when parts of the former Apps and Services group came together with the research team to form a fourth engineering group. Led by Harry Shum.
Bing (known previously as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search) is a web search engine (advertised as a "decision engine") from Microsoft. As of 2015, it is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. A complete list of search offerings from Bing can be found here. Under Bing, below non-search offerings are also listed:
- Bing Ads: an advertising service that provides pay per click advertising on various search engines.
- Bing Translator: a statistical machine translation platform and web service.
- Bing Webmaster Tools: an online toolbox that allows webmasters to add their websites to the Bing index crawler.
- Cortana: an intelligent personal assistant.
- Microsoft Pulse: an audience response system, it has been used by several major news organisations like CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
Microsoft Research was created with the intent to advance state of the art computing and solve difficult world problems through technological innovation in collaboration with academic, government, and industry researchers.
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