Hello, Microsoft! This is a good week for tips for you! Today I want to ask you about something. Maybe you remember (yes, you should remember) about your Active Desktop service. It was really useful and popular feature – many people added their bookmarks, favorite sites and other links. More, somebody added links to local files and it was helpful to fast work. Calendars, notes, tasks, everything – many variations to use this option for a user.
How about a little nostalgia? Anybody remember this time?
I can mistake, but you closed this option in Windows Vista – when Internet and startups were on the peak of popularity. And I want you to ask about why you closed this option? Security? Come on! – you are most safety company in the world!
I also remember your bad experience with Windows Widgets in Vista. It was really strange – to show to users their CPU usage. But it’s looked nicely.
Yes, I know, now you have a Microsoft Store, but… what is this? Be honest with yourself – how much users use this feature? How often they open your store and check your offers? I’m your evangelist, but sorry – I use Windows 8.1 and I never open this store and never download some apps from them. Even Skype for Windows. Because I don’t want to switch active windows.
And look. Instead of create a some local widget inside Windows, you could be remade it in some online widget (like on your voice controller app). And Windows could be like a some front-end, and back-end could be placed on your servers and users should be registered on your site (of course via using your Outlook or something else) and compose their Active desktop only via web. Without any local files, manual updates and installation errors. Easy, quick, useful.
Do you know, how many third-party services use your average user? How many tabs your users use in their browsers? Something similar I recommended for Google, because they have many services too and this services not in one place. You have a chance to merge this services on your platform in one place. Give to users something new. Even if this is not your product and even if they use this on mobile or Web.
More. You could (or should?) open your Active Desktop API and give some opportunity for third-party software developers to create their apps for you and your users. Really flexible (but moderated), because you have the biggest audience in the world. Create API for this Active Desktop and give a chance to create apps for people, for business, for everybody.
How can you release this on user front-end? It’s very easy – you have a Microsoft Silverlight and you can use it in this app. Code type? Of course, .NET + Azure.
Where is the benefits?
Yes, I’m old school fan. But, you know… it’s a classic. And this is worked and work now! I have a good proverb – “New thing is a long time forgotten old thing“. Now there many online services and startups (with opened API) and I think, your users ready use this integrated features in their Windows.
You have a 1.5 BILLION Windows users. And you have a chance to enhance the interaction with them and use it for your brand strengthening.