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SharePoint 2013 SP1 Update

Earlier this month I reported that SharePoint SP1 had been pulled off the market due to an issue with the update package. This has now been resolved. According to Bill Baer from Microsoft:

Customers with Service Pack 1 Deployed

For customers who have previously deployed Service Pack 1, download the updated Service Pack 1 and install over the existing Service Pack 1 running PSConfig or PSConfigUI immediately following.

Customers without Service Pack 1

For customers without Service Pack 1 deployed, download the updated Service Pack 1 package and deploy as per the KB documentation.

See Bill’s full blog post here.

Download links for SP1

Product

KB

SharePoint Foundation

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880551

SharePoint Server

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880552

Project Server

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880553

SharePoint Server Language Pack

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880554

SharePoint Foundation Language Pack

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880555

Office Web Apps Server

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2880558

Posted in SharePoint 2013

Office 365 – Configuring AD FS & DirSync with an Alternate Login

When deploying AD FS for Office 365, the ideal deployment scenario is to have the userPrincipalName (UPN) value in Active Directory configured to match the user’s email address; at a minimum, your UPN suffix needs to be a publically routable domain. For many organizations, changing user UPNs is a fairly easily scriptable change with little to no impact. However, for some organizations, existing applications are using the current UPN values and making the recommended change would require significant effort.

A recent update to AD FS 3.0 (Windows Server 2012 R2) and updated guidance for Directory Sync now allow for using an “alternate login ID” with AD FS and Office 365. The end result is you can now use a value such as “mail” as the user’s login in Office 365 and avoid changes to the on-premises Active Directory objects.

The instructions for this configuration are somewhat buried in two links so I’ve consolidated them in the article below.
Read the rest of this post »

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Posted in Office 365

Webinar: Lync Online – How the Cloud Is Changing Communication

Companies now have several options when it comes to Microsoft’s enterprise-ready unified communications platform, Lync – from Lync on-premises, hosted Lync, to Lync Online with Office 365, or even Lync in a hybrid environment. I’ve been using Lync for over three years, and can attest to its ability to provide a more connected experience, enabling me to interact with colleagues and partners in a way that is collaborative, engaging and accessible. Lync does this by providing a single solution that unites voice, IM, audio, video, and web-conferencing.lync-logo

In the last year or two, the cloud has definitely been a game changer. If you are reading this, you are likely interested in what a cloud-based UC server such has Lync Online has to offer. Lync Online can be purchased as a standalone service, or as part of Office 365 for enterprise suite, which, in addition to Lync Online, also includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Professional Plus, and Microsoft Office Online.

If you want to learn more about your options with Lync, and specifically, what Lync Online and Lync hybrid entail, and how they differ from Lync on-premises, join us next week, on Wednesday, April 30 at 1 p.m. CDT for a complimentary webinar, “Lync Online: How the Cloud Is Changing the Way We Communicate.” Read the rest of this post »

Yammer External Networks: Engage Customers/Partners Webinar Recap

On Wednesday, we hosted a live webinar, “Yammer External Networks: Engaging Partners & Customers,” where my colleague Rich Wood, Director of Web & Social Collaboration at Perficient, dug into the potential that Yammer offers when it comes to engaging those outside your company, and how it is truly redefining what we’ve come to know as a traditional external network.Yammer

Rich kicked it off with a quick discussion around the common ground between an enterprise social network and an extranet. He pointed out, that with all the benefits of an enterprise social network, it sure would be nice to share these benefits with your customers, partners, even vendors, right?

He then reviewed how extranets work, use cases, and why our reflex for an extranet tends to be on-premises SharePoint (secured behind SSL, Active Directory, strict governance). But, the cloud has really changed things, and due to that, he talked about why your organization should consider using Yammer as an external network. Read the rest of this post »

Microsoft Office Recent Updates

As Microsoft continues to improve its cloud offerings, there has been a stead stream of updates to the product lines. Since there is so much to keep up with, I wanted to collate all of these updates together for you! Below you’ll find information and links to all the recent updates to Office 365, Office Online – Word, Excel, and OneNote.

Office for iPadmicrosoft-office-ipad

The biggest update in the last month came from the Office for iPad announcement. This has been a very popular release, our customers are thrilled to have Office available on all devices.

A second announcement came this week that Microsoft is now selling Office 365 Personal licenses, which will unlock editing on the iPad. For customers who downloaded the Office for iPad app, but you did not have a corporate Office 365 subscription, you could view files, but not edit them. This new offering is for $69.99 a year or $6.99 per month, which will give you 1 PC/Mac and 1 Tablet. If you want a family option, the Office 365 Home licenses is available for $99.99 a year or $9.99 a month and will give you 5 PC/Mac and 5 Tablet licenses.

For more information, here is a nice review of Office for iPad.

OneNote

There have been a few new announcements related to OneNote:imagesX0DUG9LD

Word Online

There have been some much needed improvement here, specifically with comments and footnotes. Also, here’s a nice video on watermarks and one on creating forms in Word.

Excel Online

Here is a really large update to Excel Online features, including:images0WLA6PUB

  • Authoring (inserting, editing, deleting) comments
  • Editing files with VBA
  • Hiding and unhiding rows and columns
  • In-app feature search: Tell me what you want to do
  • Customizable status bar aggregates
  • Get anywhere in your spreadsheet fast with GoTo

PowerPoint Online

Here is a recent update covering PowerPoint Online: improved performance, text editing, and Tell Me

Other Updates

Yammer External Networks – Your Extranet Made Social

After meeting them at SharePoint Conference 2014, I recently accepted an invitation from ViewDo Labs to publish the occasional musing on their enterprise social blog. ViewDo is a company formed by the former Axceler braintrust to focus on enterprise social analytics, and they have a great and growing product already out there for Yammer.

This is a something I jumped at, because it’s a community blog featuring some of the people I personally read regularly; being included in their number is an honor.

My first post for them came out yesterday, and is focused on a familiar topic: Yammer External Networks. This introductory post makes the same case I’m making in a webinar this afternoon– that Yammer External networks (I’m torn on whether or not to call them “YEN”) elevate the formerly staid concept of the Extranet into a social, more truly collaborative space. Check it out and let us know what you think!

SharePoint or Office 365 – OneDrive for Business fits All

OneDrive

SkyDrive or OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, lync - where to start? what to install for users? Which to use when? Many of us go through these questions when facing customers or when looking to provide the best service to our internal users. So much information is flowing around the web but its always tough to assimilate in one place and get a holistic view of all these services. So I thought, why not create a series on Office 365 explaining each of these services in depth helping our technical and business users to make informed decision.

As first part of this series I wrote about how moving to Office 365 can help you utilize various channels and services. And today I am going to dive deeper into the benefits, limitations, features of OneDrive for Business (ODFB) and many things you didn’t know even existed.                                                

What is OneDrive for Business

A cloud service which provides personal library intended for storing and organizing your work documents.

Where can I get it?

It comes part of SharePoint 2013 on premise or if you are on Office 365 you can buy subscription plan. Remember even though it comes part of on prem SP 2013 the service still runs on Microsoft cloud. Check the table below for latest pricing and comparable features of OneDrive personal and OneDrive for Business.

Space & Features
OneDrive
OneDrive for Business
Initial Space7GB Free25GB for $2.50 user/month
Additionalup to 10GB Free (by activating camera roll backup and inviting friends)$0.20 per GB
+50GB$25 annually$0.20 per GB
+100GB$50 annually$0.20 per GB
+200GB$100 annually$0.20 per GB
Desktop Syncing, Mobile Access, create/edit office docs in browser, integration with office desktop, automatic versioning and history of documentsAvailableAvailable
Auditing & Reporting, advanced administrationNoAvailable
MFA (multi factor authentication)NoAvailable
SSO/ADFS/Dir SyncNoAvailable
Standard ComplianceNoAvailable

Tell me more about OneDrive for Business and how can I integrate it within my business?

Last week Microsoft announced a standalone version of ODFB. This actually makes it a very strong contender for piloting new businesses with the standalone version and later upgrading to comprehensive plans. here are some interesting facts you probably did not know:yipee

  • One not so publicly available fact is that you can ONLY upgrade standalone version to Office 365 E Family plan.
  • Microsoft announced OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac client will be coming by end of 2014. Review it here: Mac Client
  • Multi factor Authentication (MFA) - Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password. With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in. Which means if you are on one of the Office 365 plans and using ODFB you automatically can make use of MFA.
  • How to integrate SharePoint 2010 or 2013 on premise with ODFB? – OneDrive for Business redirection can be accomplished with SharePoint 2010 – while SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 adds a native configuration option in Central Administration, in 2010 you can use Trusted My Site Host locations to redirect users personal site (OneDrive for Business) to Office 365.
  • What happens to user data when a provisioned user account is removed (e.g. sabbatical)  but then re provisioned at a later date- Data stays cached and is not remove, although the period for which it stays is unconfirmed.
  • A user can have OneDrive for Business and OneDrive personal side by side w/o any issues of sharing as they both are separate consumer offerings
  • Security and Compliance - Microsoft’s focus on security spans hardware, software, the physical security of their datacenters, policies and controls, and verification by independent auditors. They break it down it in two categories a) Customer Controls b) built in security. Built-in security represents all the measures that Microsoft takes on behalf of all Office 365 customers to protect your information and run a highly available service. Customer controls are features that enable you to customize Office 365 to meet the specific needs of your organization. You can get details about both types of security features from the Security whitepaper in the Office 365 Trust Center which outlines Microsoft’s practices, compliance criteria, and more. The one concern I keep hearing from my clients is whether the document stored in OneDrive be safe and not allowed to be downloaded to personal devices. That’s a very valid concern and solution to that is Microsoft Rights Management in Office 365. This policy is attached to the document/data, so it applies no matter where your information lives, downloaded or emailed-it travels with the document. Rights Management lets you assign policies to email, SharePoint Online libraries, individual Office documents, and more. It’s available as part of Office 365 E3 & E4 plans but could be added to E1 and A2. Office team has more  information about this topic here
  • Desktop Syncing - You can sync ODFB or SharePoint site libraries to your computer and then access your library files in File Explorer instead of in a web browser even OFFLINE. All updates sync to OneDrive for Business or site libraries whenever you’re online. Because I personally have had some syncing problems (keep this link handy sync) due to which I will caution you to fully resolve any syncing issues or risk exposing your confidential content.  Take an example of a user who encounters issues with the sync client and later departs the organization leaving your administrator to figure out how to get his data out of the cloud. Now once you have sync issues it might be tough to recover leading to your sensitive data being exposed.
  • Can you pre provision OneDrive for Business spaces for users? – Yes. Take an example where you are migrating from earlier versions of SharePoint MySites or other storage/collaboration platform and you do not want to wait for a user to click on the generated ODFB link (imagine waiting on 1000′s of users….ha!) to initiate the provisioning, in that case you can use CSOM or Office Apps to pre provision. Microsoft community is helping us get there, check these links : CSOM & AMS
  • Item and Sync Limits – There has been a lot of confusion especially due to SharePoint library limits being different from ODFB. OneDrive for Business allows 20,000 item sync whereas SP library allows 5,000 item sync, that means if you go over that limit your library breaks.  If you go over 5,000 items in all folders you will lose some administrative capabilities such as setting permissions, creating indexed columns, and configuring the document library. You can
    however, have more than 5,000 items if done correctly (nested sub folders) and you don’t need to modify any settings after you pass that threshold.  There
    is a view threshold for “viewing” – but, for syncing it’s 20,000. A possible solution is to turn on metadata based navigation, and configure the most important columns as either key filters or hierarchies. That has the effect of making it really easy to create selective queries over large lists, and has built in fallback behavior for times when the user accidently selects too large a data set. Microsoft has extensive documentation on designing large lists here.
  • Migrate Data from Google Drive – No out of the box support but tons of third party vendors, one notable is Metavis
  • Sharing – The documents and folders you store in OneDrive for Business are private until you decide to share them. When you share documents and folders, you can decide whether to let people edit them, or just view them. You can send onetime doc requests to external users from ODFB today. Check here & here to learn how to.
  • Start yammer conversation from within OneDrive for Business document – Click “Post” in the document callout and communicate with your peers right from within the context of that document, and improve the discoverability of deliverables. Here is a great post by Christophe Fiessinger on the office blog

yammer-onedrive1

  • Nice blog about redirection of OneDrive for Business to O365 – TechNet Article
  • Everyone gets 25GB for everything – primarily files, but could be for sub sites and lists within the personal site. You are not able to set it below 25GB, and can up it in increments (50GB, 100GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1024GB); review this latest blog about new scale for storage: Tenant Storage . Remember the my root site in the SPO admin center does not relate to individual users’ personal aforementioned quota. You can adjust the root site’s quota like any other site collection in SPO admin center, but it is not entirely necessary beyond the design elements common to everyone’s personal site (like the About Me page).
  • One recent announcement from Microsoft was around OWA and OneDrive integration- Outlook Web App now includes full integration with OneDrive for Business, allowing you to easily share files stored in the cloud as attachments in your email. There are two ways you can share a file with Outlook Web App and OneDrive for
    Business: 1. When you send an attachment from your computer or device you can now automatically upload the file to your OneDrive cloud drive and send it as a link and 2. You can also easily attach a file directly from your OneDrive cloud drive when sending an email in Outlook Web App. Both these methods makes it possible to change permissions on the document from within the email irrespective of permissions set in SharePoint library or OneDrive for Business folder. Screenshots below will give you some idea of how powerful this is and it ties directly with the Information Rights we discussed earlier. read evolution of email for more details

owaattach1

 owaattach2

owaattach3

But just like any other product, ODFB also have limitations. The good news is that Microsoft has most on their roadmap for this year. oh no

  • Share Folder – Google drive allows you to share folder while OneDrive for Business does not- although you can use “Shared for everyone” folder to drag drop your files. This actually is a killer for many when it comes to adoption – users don’t want to have to share each document one at a time.
  • Not possible to sync an individual document inside a folder
  • Yammer Group docs do NOT show up in your OneDrive for Business ‘shared with me’ folder – This one is very near on the roadmap
  • Synchronization of SharePoint team site content is limited to WIN32 client

Hopefully you were able to see the horsepower and value OneDrive for Business adds to your business in form of sharing & collaboration while maintaining the parameters of security and compliance. At the end of the day we all need to realize that the real value of these products lies in utilizing technology, process, and people to build a community where collaboration can thrive.

SharePoint Hybrid Architectures Introduction

Hybrid SharePoint environments combine deployments of SharePoint on premise with SharePoint Online. There are many different flavors of hybrid scenarios. In this post I will walk you through some of the terminology and explain the different options.

The goal of any hybridization is to leverage the strengths of both parts, while minimizing the components’ weaknesses.  Hybrid SharePoint environments enable organizations to realize a higher degree of flexibility than forcing a choice between either an on-premises or cloud model.  Organizations can start to achieve the benefits associated with the use of cloud computing coupled with the customization, flexibility, and tight data governance of an on-premises system; while delivering a consistent experience to users.

IC713121Although cloud solutions are most certainly recommended, the cloud simply does not work for every organization and every scenario. There are going to be workloads that are not perfect fits for the cloud. In those instances, it’s totally ok to leave those workloads on premise. Here are some scenarios where hybrid solutions are useful:

  • Rapid provisioning of new workloads on Office 365 while maintaining existing on-premises workloads
  • Organizations wishing to migrate workloads from an existing on-premises environment to the cloud over time in a phased approach
  • Organizations wanting to supplement their cloud environment with additional features or customizations which are currently only possible on-premises
  • Compliance or data sovereignty reasons which might stipulate certain data be hosted in a particular location

SharePoint Online offers many features which can aid an organization in deploying a robust hybrid environment. Most hybrid environments today will utilize SharePoint 2013 on premise. All of the information you will find on TechNet will be specific to the 2013 version. For purposes of this post, that’s where we’ll focus, however we do have customers utilizing hybrid environments with SharePoint 2010 and 2007.

A hybrid SharePoint environment can enable enterprise users to:

  • Search for content in both SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online at once
  • Interact with on-premises business data from SharePoint Online
  • Access corporate SAP systems from SharePoint Online
  • Seamlessly access files and data in both SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online

Additionally, a hybrid SharePoint environment can provide greater flexibility in your content management strategy by allowing you to keep sensitive data on-premises while migrating other content to the cloud.

Microsoft supports 3 types of Hybrid topologies for SharePoint:

Hybrid Topology
Supported Functionality
One-way outboundSharePoint Server 2013 Search services can query the SharePoint Online search index and return federated results to SharePoint Server 2013 Search.
One-way inboundSharePoint Online Search services can query the SharePoint Server 2013 search index and return federated results to SharePoint Online Search.
Two-wayBoth SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online Search services can query the search index in the other environment and return federated results.

A one-way inbound hybrid topology enables SharePoint Online to request data from a SharePoint Server 2013 web application. In order for inbound data connections to occur, a web application in the SharePoint Server 2013 must be published to the Internet with an internet-routable URL. This requires the deployment of a reverse proxy device that is configured to securely accept the inbound connection and relay the request to SharePoint Server 2013.

Conversely, a one-way outbound hybrid topology only supports trusted connections from SharePoint Server 2013 to a SharePoint Online web application. Because web applications in SharePoint Online are already configured with an internet-routable URL, SharePoint Server 2013 can connect directly through an existing corporate firewall or forward proxy like any other request to an Internet server.

One-way outbound: An outbound authentication topology lets the on-premises SharePoint Server 2013 farm make authenticated connections to SharePoint Online. Connections to SharePoint Online that originate from SharePoint Server 2013 are referred to as outbound connections.

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One-way inbound: An inbound authentication topology lets SharePoint Online make authenticated connections to the on-premises SharePoint Server 2013 farm. Connections to SharePoint Server 2013 that originate from SharePoint Online are referred to as inbound connections.

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Two-way: A two-way authentication topology lets SharePoint Online make authenticated connections to the on-premises SharePoint Server 2013 farm, and lets the on-premises SharePoint Server 2013 farm make authenticated connections to SharePoint Online.

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Each available hybrid solution requires a specific hybrid topology. Your choice of which hybrid topology to use is based on a combination of what you need to do, the solution you need, your on-premises SharePoint architecture, and the desired user experience. For example, if you want users of your on-premises SharePoint Server 2013 farm to see both local and SharePoint Online results, you might only need a one-way outbound hybrid topology. If you want users to see both sets of search results regardless of the location of the search portal, you will need a two-way topology.

Before you make a decision, collect and consider the information that will frame your business requirements, such as:

  • Do your users need to be able to search, find, and use on-premises content and data while they’re in the field or at a branch office?
  • Do your remote users need to securely access data from existing on-premises business systems?
  • Is it more cost effective to deploy a hybrid environment, or move your SharePoint content and applications to the cloud entirely?
  • Are there legal or regulatory considerations that could affect your decision on where to store business data?
  • Does your SharePoint Server 2013 farm contain custom code that cannot be easily migrated to SharePoint Online?

As is true for the rollout of any major technology solution, the successful deployment of a hybrid environment is largely dependent on the thoroughness of the design and planning process. You should carefully consider and clearly define your requirements and business goals, and review the constraints of your existing SharePoint environment. Also, take time to consider the technical requirements of deploying and managing the different hybrid topologies. Informed by this information, you can decide which SharePoint hybrid solution or solutions are appropriate for you, and which topology is required to support them.

For more information, contact Perficient and one our certified cloud specialists can help you deploy a SharePoint Hybrid environment. Also, visit TechNet for more details on the above information. Stay tuned to this blog for more information, I’ll be writing more in depth blogs on Hybrid Architectures.

Yammer Interface – April 2014

The Yammer team continually measures user interaction on their web site. Analysis of this data and suggestions for improvement lead to minor updates to the user interface over time. You can read more about their process here. Through their A/B testing and rapid deployment process thanks to their cloud infrastructure, enhancements essentially appear overnight instead of through service packs. This week, Yammer released an updated user interface. Here is a quick recap of some of the changes as features have moved.

YammerFunctional Changes

  • The More link contained a number of menu items for bookmarking, topics and conversation management like View, Hide and Delete. This menu is no longer at the bottom of the post next to the Like, Reply and Share links. It has moved to the upper left corner of the post area and is displayed as an ellipse (…). Since the More menu is in a new location and people have asked about how they do some these tasks, let’s also take a little time to run through the items in this menu.
    • Follow In Inbox – this allows you to receive Inbox notifications when the thread is updated. This is useful when you are interested in following the discussion, but have not participated or not been @ mentioned.
    • View Conversation – loads the conversation in the current page. It does not expand all of the replies in the thread, which I think would be a great feature if you are loading a single thread into a page.
    • Hide Conversation – removes the conversation from your view. It will reappear if you are @ mentioned by another person or directly reply to the conversation. How do you reply to a conversation hidden from your view you may ask? The conversation would still be available via search as it is only hidden from the timeline view.
    • Add Topics – to help categorize a thread, you can add topics without having to directly making a reply.
    • Bookmark – use this to flag threads you want to find again quickly. Bookmarked threads can then be found on your profile page under the More tab. Click the More tab and select Bookmarks for a display of the ones you have created. Also, once the thread is bookmarked, an Unbookmark item is available in this menu, which will remove it from the bookmark list.
    • Email me – sends you an email with the contents of the thread.
    • Delete – if you have permission, you can delete the post. To have permission you need to be a group admin where the post is located, a Yammer admin (network or verified), or the person who created the post.

    One last note on the More menu item. The information above is only for the More menu item located in the first post of a thread. There is still a More menu item in each of the replies. This reply specific More menu contains Email Me and Delete only.

Visual changes

  • The background of the page is now a light gray instead of white.
  • Each conversation sits in its own box instead of being separated by the horizontal line. This is similar to the presentation in the Windows 8 Yammer application.
  • The gray shaded box for the replies is replaced with a simple horizontal line.
  • Topics no longer appear in ‘tag’ like image. They appear as text with a small tag icon.
  • The new messages button that appears when a post is made but not yet displayed on the page is bigger. Since the background is now all gray, it is a simple blue outline box.

Here is a screenshot of the new look Yammer page.

Overall, I like the new look. I also think the location of the functionality is more in line with how additional, but seldom used contextual items are displayed in Yammer and the rest Office platform.

Happy Yammering!

Posted in Yammer

The most important announcement from Build

Screen-Shot-2014-04-02-at-1.01.26-PM-640x314

Now that the 2014 Microsoft Build conference  is over, we can look back and analyze the announcements made at this event. Sure, there was plenty of cool stuff announced: Windows Phone 8.1 with all of it’s amazing features (Cortana is looking to dominate the personal assistant market), Windows 8.1 update 1 which is bringing  many improvements to traditional desktop users, new Azure pricing levels, open sourcing of .NET compiler and more. But I think the most important announcement of all was the new Windows pricing.

Fort the first time ever, Windows (all flavors of it, including Windows Phone) will be available to OEMs for free, as long as the size of the device screen is less than 9 inches. This announcement is definitely a seismic shift in the way Microsoft conducts business. For many years, Windows was a  cash cow for Microsoft and now Microsoft is letting this cow run free (at least for smaller devices). So, why Microsoft is doing this?

In the past couple of years Microsoft proclaimed itself to be a “devices and services” company which represents a major shift from Microsoft’s past as a software development corporation. That direction is definitely getting even more support from Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella. As a device and services company Microsoft should be driving more revenue from devices (Surface series, coming Nokia phones) and services (Azure, Bing, Office 360, Sharepoint Online).

By making Windows available for free for smaller devices Microsoft is enabling OEMs to directly compete with Google’s offerings (Android and ChromeOS) which Google also give away for free.

Another announcement which goes hand-in-hand with free Windows is the introduction of a “universal Windows apps”, allowing developer to build applications which will run on Windows, Windows Phone and even the XBox. Combined with less expensive Windows devices these universal apps should contribute to the expansion of a Windows ecosystem, increasing demand for Microsoft services and boosting Microsoft revenue.