10 Best Things Microsoft Did in 2010

When it comes to the enterprise, Microsoft hit the ball out of the park in 2010. Here's our favorite offerings.

It's been a successful year for Microsoft. The company took a lot of heat, but overall accomplished quite a bit -- especially for its enterprise customers. Here's our top tips for what Redmond got right in the past year.

BTW: Because we're an IT publication, we focused on Microsoft's enterprise offerings, and left off those from its entertainment/gaming division (Go Kinect!), with allowances for Windows Phone 7 because of its enterprise applications. Be sure to post your favorite 2010 Microsoft product -- both for IT and consumer -- in our comments section!

10. Office for Mac 2011
Oft-neglected Mac users finally have an improved version of Office. Most notable is the inclusion of an Outlook client for the Mac.

9. Bing
Microsoft completed its integration with Yahoo! (replacing the Yahoo! search engine with Bing) in the United States and Canada in August. It also integrated the ad platform so advertisers have one platform to work with. Bing continues to gain share, but it's still overshadowed by Google.

8. Windows Intune
Microsoft released two beta versions of this cloud-based systems-management tool. When it becomes available next year, Windows Intune will allow midsize IT departments to manage updates, centralize malware protection, perform proactive monitoring and track inventory, among other things. Perhaps best of all, the $11 per PC per month subscription includes Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade rights and the option to purchase the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for an additional $1 per PC per month. As an added bonus, Microsoft released a free version of Microsoft Security Essentials for small businesses.

7. Visual Studio 2010
Launched in April, Microsoft's popular IDE got a major facelift with substantial visual editing improvements, a new code editor, extended language support and parallel programming capabilities. It's also optimized for SharePoint and cloud development.

6. Lync Server 2010
Microsoft released its successor to Office Communications Server 2007, Lync Server 2010, providing what it promises is the first viable alternative to PBXes. Microsoft intends to be a major player in the office telecom market.

5. SQL Server 2008 R2
Not only did Microsoft ship SQL Server 2008 R2 this year, but it has started shipping SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse Edition (code-named "Madison") based on the massive parallel processing product that Microsoft acquired nearly two years ago from DATAllegro Inc. The solution appears on hardware in mid-December as part of the new HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance. Microsoft last month released the community technology preview (CTP) of the next version of SQL Server, code-named "Denali," which it says will up the bar on scalability and availability.

4. SharePoint 2010
In May, Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010 with some key new features:
support for enterprise search, centralized administration, digital asset management and business connectivity services.

3. IE 9
Microsoft showed it's not going to go back to its days of complacency in the browser market with the recent release of the Internet Explorer 9 beta. Among other things, Internet Explorer 9 emphasizes HTML5 support.

2. Windows Phone 7
In 2010 Microsoft announced, lined up partners for and delivered its successor to Windows Mobile with a brand-new and unique UI. Whether it's able to put a dent into the momentum of Droids and iPhones remains to be seen, but Microsoft appears to be back in the game.

1. Cloud
Microsoft went "all-in" in the cloud this year. The company released its Windows Azure and SQL Azure cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) in February and in October announced a roadmap that promises to flesh out the offering in the coming year in support of hybrid cloud services. Microsoft also announced numerous big wins for its Business Productivity Online Suite, which the company is re-branding as Office 365. Moreover, Microsoft announced the Windows Azure Platform Appliance, which will let large enterprises and partners run Windows Azure on-premises.

Wondering why Microsoft Office 2010 isn't on this list? Click here.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Jan 18, 2011 Richard SFO

Kinect and windows phone should be one and two. Really looking forward to what happens with Kinect on the desktop in 2011.

Tue, Jan 11, 2011 Sparsh Agarwal

You forgot to add Kinect to your list

Fri, Dec 3, 2010 Becky Nagel, Editor

Hi Javad -- sharepoint is #4! See page 2 :-)

Fri, Dec 3, 2010

visual studio express is unusable and just leads to nightmare after nightmare. imho.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Javad Merati Iran

Its good but how about sharepoint?

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Timothy

I am so sick of the "cloud" buzzword being used for anything that has a tangential relationship to the internet. That said, the Office web apps are very good. They are still not desktop office replacements, but they are way better than google docs. Azure is a cool idea in theory, but with virtualization getting so cheap and easy, I think adoption will be a lot slower than maybe some realize. Still, I think Azure is a fantatic choice for small shops.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Greg Prosch Boise, ID

What?! No Kinect?

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Becky Nagel, Editor

TK NUNAVUT - Apologies for the slow load time! I'll look at our servers and see if one or more is running slower than should be. Thanks for letting us know (BTW: You're right, that would have been a clever statement ;-)

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Frank NYC, USA

VS2010 - Well I sure miss some of the features that VS2010 doesn't include - like a usable help system. As a C++ server developer, most of the other features just don't do much for me. VS2010 doesn't allow me the option to only install the components I want - another step down from VS2008. I can understand why more and more companies are abandoning MS server development.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Ken K

Visual studio is free- in the express editions. While you might not have all the features you like in those editions, it doesn't change the fact that development is doable.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 TK Nunavut

Granted my connection from here is terrible, but when I initially loaded this page and got...nothing except the title... for a few minutes there I thought we were just making an amusingly clever statement.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010

Sounds like a corporate press release to me.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Denny Murrieta, CA

The Visual Studio has improved dramatically and in my opinion is an awesome product. As well, the SQL Server 2008 is very easy to install and use. I found the migration from ASP 3 to ASP.Net really easy to do with the tools provided in Visual Studio. Good Job Microsoft.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010

continue to nickel and dime customers. I remember when an individual could buy visual C++. What good is an operating system where the compiler costs $1000?

Thu, Dec 2, 2010

No Office 2010 for Windows? IMHO, that's by far the best MS product from 2010.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Pankaj Nikam India

Thanks a lot Microsoft for giving developers like us the tools like VS2K10, SQL Server 2008 R2 and Azure. Thanks a lot to all the team who work day and night to make the lives of developers like us, easy and convenient.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010

I would have to say that in 2010 Microsoft is starting to catch up to current technology. It still isn't leading in technology, but 2010 was a step in the right direction for Microsoft which has fallen off the innovation bandwagon for way to long. I look forward to Microsoft starting to lead the way in innovation sometime in this coming decade.

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Akhtar Khan Pakistan karachi

Over all microsoft done best thing in 2010

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 Ken

Considering the Kinect hacks, the computer controls shown in "Minority Report" are now entirely possible. I would think that would qualify Kinect for "IT" classification.

Wed, Dec 1, 2010 Becky Nagel, Editor

Great point! Kinect is an absolutely fantastic product released by Microsoft this year. See note added above regarding focus (which we should have been clearer on - and considering Kinect's possiblities with Lync, may not even be a valid reason for not including! ;-) -- Becky Nagel, Director of Online (

Wed, Dec 1, 2010

not a bad list, but what about Kinect?

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