When will Microsoft start making software again?


Mod Emeritus
Mar 1, 2011
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What a ridiculous question, right? Microsoft is a software company!

Yet, when was the last time Microsoft developed software that could be considered "best of?" Years later and we're still talking about Zune as one of the best music software ever released. Heck, it might still be the best music software ever released. But it's not just Zune. Some people won't even upgrade their OS so they can hold onto Windows Media Center. Remember Windows Live Essential? Still available but forgotten about since 2012.

Even recent software doesn't get any attention. Fresh Paint? Microsoft made a huge deal out of that app when Windows 8 was released and now it never gets mention. #tileart? It's a great Windows Phone app for customizing your start screen and it doesn't even come default with the OS. And Groove (i.e. a recolored Xbox Music), still pales in comparison to Zune. Groove feels like it was designed by a company that resents having a music app. And using Edge on a tablet makes me realize how much I missed using Metro IE.

I don't want to sound unreasonable. I understand we live in a mobile age and old, Win32 apps doesn't fit in a Universal app world. And that would be fine if Microsoft was making mobile versions of their best software, but they're not. "New" apps are either lacking in features when compared to their old software or apps are released, never refined, and then completely forgotten about.

So when I ask when will Microsoft start making software again, what I'm really asking is when will Microsoft stop taking two steps forward and one step back. It feels like every time I get something new, I lose something great.

Though, to be fair to Microsoft, I use an iPad and iMac for work so I get to see life on the other side. No thanks. I'd rather be annoyed by Microsoft than switch sides. :winktongue:

(No disrespect to the Apple fans out there. As they say, to each his own)

Laura Knotek

Retired Moderator
Mar 31, 2012
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I think much of this is because other companies make the really specialized software. For example, Fresh Paint is a neat idea, but pros and dedicated amateurs would be more likely to turn to Adobe for Photoshop and Lightroom. PC gaming is dominated by Steam. It seems like software has gotten to the point where one company cannot do everything, but companies that specialize in one specific thing make the best software for that purpose.

Even iTunes has gotten worse. When it was just for music it wasn't bad. Now that Apple put everything but the kitchen sink into iTunes, it is a bloated mess.


Retired Senior Ambassador
Aug 26, 2014
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I beg your pardon, but Microsoft Solitaire Collection has been receiving updates and is much better than the original Solitaire game Microsoft released with Windows 3.1. :p

Seriously, though, Microsoft concentrates on the things that are their primary bread-and-butter. Things like Windows Store (have you noticed how many times it's been updated recently?), Operating Systems, Microsoft BI, Azure, Microsoft Office, Skype for Business, all of these are where Microsoft makes their money.

Microsoft has been busy making Skype for Business much more capable by taking it back to the drawing board and creating within it the ability to handle PBX Telcom operations. We're talking about making it so capable that many companies are looking to ditch their current switchboards in favor of Skype for Business.

These are the kinds of things we don't see.

Another thing Microsoft does as a company... They train developers at other software companies to make apps for Windows 10. This is apparent when we see news articles where we get an entirely new app, like 1-800-flowers, and they state how they collaborated with Microsoft. Yeah, Microsoft has teams of people dedicated just for this.

I hear all the time about how great Zune was, but realistically, it was never great for Microsoft. If it had made Microsoft a ton of money, they would have continued it. It didn't and was canned. Doesn't matter how good it was. It didn't make the money to make the project worth Microsoft's time. Yes, I know saying that will upset some people, but so does having a brown lawn during the Winter. Sometimes the truth is just unpleasant.

As far as when Microsoft will start being the creator of great software, well, I think they've got their few "big" projects that they will continue to improve and evolve, as stated above in my post here, but as far as new ones? They will continue to throw out tinker toys as they have over the last several years. If any of them gain traction and become wildly successful, then Microsoft will continue to invest in it as long as it keeps making them money.


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Aug 8, 2013
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The crossroads Microsoft is at is almost a roadblock. Yesterday i purchased a Android phone to be my main phone. This is after using a Windows phone as my main phone for the past three years. I still have, and use a Windows phone as my secondary phone. My switch came about not because of software but because of hardware. I do not need a flagship phone, but a good high end middle phone is fine and fits my needs. Microsoft does not have one (dont count 830, as it is overpriced and underpowered). Both my phones are populated with mostly Microsoft software. I feel they have done a decent job with software and that is why i use their products. But i got tired of waiting for a quality phone at a decent price. Oh by the way my Windows phone is a 640, which i think is a great phone for the money. It allows me to keep up with Windows mobile until Microsoft gets their act togeather.


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Mar 19, 2015
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Microsoft writes lots of Software, Office, Windows 10, SQL server 2014, Windows Server 2012 R2, Sharepoint, Visio, Access and One Note to name a few.


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Dec 1, 2012
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Believe me, Microsoft is BUSY making, as you put it, software. Loads of code is being written every second of everyday. Loads!

At Windows Central, admittedly, the large percentage of the lines of code they write everyday isn't likely visible. But that's just because the audience here is an APP audience. (perhaps an oversimplification, AND I don't mean to be insulting)

Data Centers all over the world consume these lines of code daily. It's an enormous production line that is churning out product that is just invisible.


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Oct 4, 2015
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I would hope MS has a dedicated team of 100-150 developers to assist other companies as they try to make universal apps. That's way better than having to rely on just MSDN.

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