Microsoft engineering groups
Microsoft engineering groups are the divisions of Microsoft for its products. To be more precise in tracking performance of each unit and delegating responsibility, Microsoft reorganised into seven core business groups, each an independent financial entity in April 2002. On September 20, 2005, Microsoft announced a rationalisation of its original seven business groups into the three core divisions. On July 11, 2013, Microsoft announced a sweeping reorganisation that reorganised its products into five engineering groups and six corporate affairs groups. In June 2015, Microsoft again announced a major reorganisation and aligned its products into three groups.
Windows and Devices
This group produces operating systems for various devices:
- Windows NT: This is Microsoft's flagship product. Almost all IBM compatible personal computers designed for consumers come with Windows pre-installed.
- Windows Phone: Microsoft's mobile operating system designed for mobile phones, it was originally launched in 2010 to replace Microsoft's earlier mobile operating system, Windows Mobile. Windows Phone is due to be replaced by Windows 10 mobile in late 2015.
- Windows Embedded: is a group of operating systems designed to be used in embedded systems. It consists of several variations such as Windows CE, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Industry and more. The focus of the operating system is on devices where the OS may not directly be visible to the end user, in particular, appliances and cars, as well as point of sale systems and automated teller machines. Windows Embedded is due to be replaced by Windows 10 IoT Core in late 2015.
This group includes:
- Xbox: Microsoft entered the game console market in late 2001, with the release of the Xbox. The company develops and publishes its own video games for this console, with the help of its Microsoft Studios subsidiary, in addition to third-party Xbox video game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision, who pay a license fee to publish games for the system. The Xbox was succeeded by the Xbox 360, released in 2005. The Xbox 360 was succeeded in 2013 by Xbox One.
- Microsoft Surface: This group develops Surface and Surface Pro 2-in-1 tablet/laplets as well as the Surface Hub, an interactive whiteboard.
- Microsoft Mobile: Formerly Nokia's mobile division, this group develops the Lumia smartphones and phablets as well as Nokia branded feature phones. It also manufactures mobile accessories like the Treasure Tag and Microsoft Portable Dual Charger.
- Microsoft Band: Microsoft Band is a fitness band with smartwatch capabilities that serves as a companion for the Microsoft HealthVault-based Microsoft Health service.
In addition to above, the group also markets a number of computing-related hardware products, including mice, keyboards, joysticks, and gamepads, along with other game controllers, the production of which is outsourced in most cases.
The MSN is Microsoft's web portal and related collection of Internet services and apps for Windows and mobile devices, provided by Microsoft and launched on August 1995. Previously the MSN was a division under the Applications & Services engineering group until it was moved to the Operating Systems Engineering Group in March 2015. The Operating Systems Engineering Group itself was merged with the Devices and Studios Engineering Group to form Windows and Devices Group in 2015.
Cloud and Enterprise
This group includes:
Microsoft offers a suite of server software, entitled Microsoft Servers for private clouds. Windows Server 2016, an operating system for network servers, is the core of the Windows Server System line. Other server products include:
- SQL Server - a relational database management system and set of business intelligence tools;
- Exchange Server - a messaging and collaborative software product;
- BizTalk Server - a business process automation, modeling, communication and integration server;
- Systems Management Server - a collection of tools providing remote-control abilities, patch management, software distribution, and a hardware/software inventory.
- Small Business Server - an integrated suite of server products designed for running network infrastructure (both intranet management and Internet access) of small and medium enterprises;
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.
Microsoft Visual Studio is the company's 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. Various free editions are also offered for Windows Runtime, Windows Phone, ASP.NET and Windows desktop development.
This group solely produces Microsoft Dynamics products which are 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.
Applications and Services
This group produces online services and apps.
This group produces Microsoft Office, which is the company's line of office software. The software product 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 and Microsoft SharePoint Designer. Microsoft also hosts online instances of Exchange Server, SharePoint, Live Meeting and Skype for Business as a service.
Office Mobile is a free office suite by Microsoft for mobile devices. It is meant to be compatible with desktop versions of the office suite. It includes the scaled-down and touch-optimised versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Other Office applications such as Outlook and OneNote are available as standalone apps.
Microsoft produces an online version of Microsoft Office that includes freeware versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, and also added a group of Microsoft account based services that were previously grouped into Windows Live. This group includes the following online services:
- Outlook.com: (formerly known as Hotmail) is a free web-based email service operated by Microsoft. It is similarly named to a Microsoft Office email client named Microsoft Outlook. The service relaunched as Outlook.com on July 31, 2012.
- People: is an online contact book that allows real-time updates based on information gathered from online social networks.
- Calendar: a web calendar.
- OneDrive: (previously known as SkyDrive) is a freeware cloud storage and file hosting service.
- Sway: a presentation program that can pull content from various other websites.
- Docs.com: a site where users can discover, upload and share Office documents on their profile page.
This group produces the company's Skype voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client. It was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. This product before the reorganisation was in the Microsoft Skype Division. This group is further responsible for the development of Skype Qik and GroupMe.
- Bing Ads: an advertising service that provides pay per click advertising on various search engines.
- Bing Health: a health search engine based on Microsoft's acquisition of Medstory.
- Bing Maps: a web mapping service.
- Bing Pulse: an audience response system, it has been used by several major news organisations like CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
- Bing Translator: a statistical machine translation platform and web service.
- Bing Webmaster Center: an online toolbox that allows webmasters to add their websites to the Bing index crawler.
- Cortana: an intelligent personal assistant.
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