What kind of 2022 has Microsoft experienced? The company has made some big moves this year, including a massive nearly $70 billion acquisition — mired in controversy — and also brought Windows 11 its first major feature update. Let’s take an in-depth look at how Microsoft has performed throughout the past year in software, hardware, and gaming.
Big update (and bug update) for Windows 11
Windows 11 is still relatively new, arriving later in 2021, and the biggest change to the operating system this year is the debut of its first major update. (Keep in mind that now there is only one feature update per year instead of twice a year like in the past). Windows 11 2022 Update (unofficially known as 22H2) rolled out in September with a lot of polish and some big and useful changes to the interface. We also enjoyed a new “moment” system, which is fancy Microsoft jargon for applying smaller updates more flexibly as needed on top of big annual feature upgrades.
Some notable improvements include the introduction of tabs for File Explorer, allowing multiple folders to be open in one File Explorer window, just like multiple tabs in the browser. This represents the delivery of a long-promised feature from Microsoft. The taskbar has also received a lot of attention, with the introduction of the taskbar overflow panel, and drag-and-drop functionality has finally returned to the taskbar after much demand from many Windows 11 users.
In fact, the theme this year seems to be that Microsoft listens more to feedback and user needs, as another complaint about the taskbar that abounds – the removal of the option to cancel apps on the bar, a feature of Windows 10 – it seems A remedy is needed. Or at least the feature is already in Windows 11 beta and should be coming soon, fingers crossed for those who don’t want to combine multiple instances of the same app on the taskbar.
The feeling that Windows 11 is still a work in progress and that Microsoft needs to do a lot of honing and remodeling to bring various parts of the interface into better shape (and clean up the cluttered leftover corners of the UI)—plus the frustrating Errors are still an issue.
Throughout 2022, while there haven’t been any issues holding back Windows 11 vulnerabilities (as we’ve seen with Windows 10 in the past), we’ve reported far too many glitches, and some pretty serious ones. For example, printers are stripped of most of their functionality, as well as gremlins that drag down performance levels in various ways, and gamers are also hit with some very annoying bugs. Flaws also seem to be particularly prevalent in File Explorer, which is a concern since that’s a core pillar of the UI (the files and folders you use every day).
Perhaps the real grim test we can use to gauge the success of Windows 11 in 2022 is how many people switch to the operating system (or buy a new PC with it installed, of course). According to Statcounter (as of November 2022, the most recent data available at the time of writing), 16% of all Windows users are using Windows 11. That’s not great for an operating system that’s been out for over a year, especially considering that Windows 7 commands nearly 10 percent of the market. In other words, a completely outdated operating system isn’t far behind.
Plus, after a year of dominance as Microsoft’s cutting-edge operating system, Windows 10’s adoption rate is approaching 30%, nearly double that of Windows 11. Still, Windows 11 is somewhat held back because some people can’t upgrade because their PCs don’t meet stricter requirements (especially when it comes to security), so Microsoft expects the migration to be slower as it bakes these elements in Enter the design of the operating system.
Overall, Windows 11 has made reasonable progress in applying important interface changes, that’s for sure, but we’d like to see more progress, especially a better effort at fighting bugs, which we think Microsoft’s The QA process is long overdue for an overhaul.
Just like every year, there’s another batch of updated Surface devices.
In June, we got our first look at the Surface Laptop Go 2, which isn’t too different from the original laptop but makes some useful improvements and is still an excellent choice for a compact laptop.
Then in October, at one of Microsoft’s big events, we saw the unveiling of the Surface Pro 9 and Surface Laptop 5 along with the Surface Studio 2+.
Sadly, this isn’t Microsoft’s best Surface hardware yet. For starters, the Surface Laptop 5 failed to wow us, and it turned out to be a compelling middle-of-the-road product. Not bad, but hampered by performance issues and definitely not worth the hefty asking price to pin on a laptop.
As it turns out, the Surface Pro 9 is indeed a better device, taking some commendable steps forward from the Pro 8. It also made an interesting move to come in two flavors: a 5G model with a Qualcomm SQ3 (ARM) CPU and a version with an Intel processor, the former being an issue for some (e.g. businessmen on the move) Good option, although ARM-related gremlins are in development. The Pro 9 is still expensive, but it’s undeniably a smooth device overall, and a nice upgrade over its predecessor in terms of performance.
The Surface Studio 2+ only gets a minor upgrade, as indicated by the 2+ (rather than the 3), but Microsoft has implemented some substantial changes, though nothing particularly exciting. That sums up what’s going on with Surface in general: there’s nothing bad, by any means – not the Surface Pro 9, of course – but there’s nothing good either.
In January, Microsoft bought gaming giant Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. Yes, that’s Activision — with franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and many other big-name titles.
The size of the deal can’t be underestimated, meaning that in the future, Xbox Game Pass owners can get the next Call of Duty blockbuster for free as part of their subscription (whereas PlayStation fans will have to shell out, and we’re all very Familiar with the dizzying cost of the game).
In fact, ripples from the deal are still ongoing now, as at the time of writing, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit seeking to block Microsoft’s acquisition on the grounds that it could crush Xbox console rivals.
Naturally, Microsoft has given us plenty of assurances that it won’t act in an anti-competitive manner after snapping up Activision, but there are plenty of skeptics, with the FTC pointing to Microsoft’s past history and ZeniMax (Bethesda ) acquisition. While in that case there was also a promise not to withhold games from rival consoles, the FTC observed that titles like Starfield, Redfall, and Elder Scrolls 6 became Xbox exclusives after the acquisition.
Microsoft’s Activision acquisition could still fail at the final hurdle, and then, possibly.
The ads are disgusting – but is there a hint of positivity?
While you may expect to see advertisements in your web browser, you will not see advertisements in your operating system. Because, you know, you’re paying a lot of money for that OS, anyway in the case of Windows (or a lot of money for the machine it came out on, that’s part of the bill).
However, in 2022, ads taking up space in Windows menus or panels is once again a concern, as Microsoft tested — mind you, these are just experiments that didn’t appear in the release version of Windows 11 — in user sessions. OneDrive Ads (Shutdown) menu. Even more irritating, the company also briefly flirted with ads in File Explorer, a central pillar of the Windows interface.those waters are flat tested is a problem, really.
All of this might lead you to think that ads are going to be a thorn in the side of Windows 11 users in the future — especially given Microsoft’s past form, which is certainly nothing new — but, another possibility in 2019.
That said, Microsoft might move to lower-cost PCs sold on a subscription basis, relying on cloud services, and supported by advertising (to make them more affordable — so there would be benefits in this case). It was just a rumor, picked up (in November) via a Microsoft job posting, but earlier this July, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked about adding ads to its products.
There’s obviously some moaning about the prospect, but as we’ve observed in a cost of living crisis, not everyone can afford a new PC, and that could be a good thing, making things easier for those who are struggling Use Windows computer with money.
head in the clouds
Speaking of cloud services associated with those cheap, ad-supported PCs, this is an area where Microsoft is going from strength to strength in 2022. Cloud revenue started the year strong, and then in October, Microsoft reported first-quarter 2023 earnings showing that while the Windows division faltered — down 15 percent, in part due to lower PC sales this year — Cloud revenue increased 24% compared to the same quarter in 2021.
Microsoft made $25.7 billion in just one quarter — more than half of its total revenue for the same period — if you had any doubts about the future of the software giant’s bloated coffers.
With PCs in the doldrums, it hasn’t been the best year for Microsoft — but cloud revenue is a clear bright spot, and with various ad experiments in Windows 11, the company may have future plans to market it differently. Way to increase profits with low cost advertising support system.
2022 has been a pretty average year for Surface hardware, despite some solid upgrades to some devices. Windows 11 is a similar example, with some thorny issues but generally some reasonable progress. One bright spot for Windows 11, however, has been seeing Microsoft listen more to user feedback, although arguably some introductions based on popular demand should have been addressed sooner.
Activision Blizzard’s massive acquisition is still worth watching, as it could have a huge impact on the gaming industry next year if successful; but it feels like it still has a clear chance of derailment.