There’s more interesting news from Microsoft over the last while on upgrading to Windows 10. Apparently, the upgrade will be free for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, but only for the first year. This is a radical departure from Microsoft’s usual approach and will result in decreases in revenue.

For nonprofits, this is good news. Anytime we can reduce our operating costs, it’s more $ back to mission.

I keep wondering if this and other strategies are more of just a “little-to-late” and if they’ll be able to gain the traction back that they once had as a company. It certainly provides one with a powerful incentive to make the platform change, but quite frankly for enterprise clients, a year is not a very long time to upgrade a desktop operating system. So it may not result in as much of a revenue decline as one might think.

PC sales continue to be soft and this is the primary driver of Windows sales. They need to participate in boosting hardware sales. They took control of the Surface which was another departure. The jury is still out on this one although a built in USB port is something I like.

Microsoft is ahead of Apple in providing a touch environment on laptops, the Surface is still selling – but they simply aren’t able to compete effectively in the phone or tablet markets which are growing much more dramatically even though tablet sales have been a little flat.

I’ll be upgrading to Windows 10 on my various laptops as soon as it’s available. The previews look good – the start menu is coming back albeit enhanced – and I’m looking forward to the “back to the future” move on probably the most used and most missed feature in Windows 8 and above. They do appear to be listening to their clients. Will we upgrade to Windows 10 at work? The answer to that would be no. I work in a large enterprise where Windows 7 is just being rolled out and I don’t think we’re a total anomaly when I comes to large enterprises. Most will be slow to make the change.

Microsoft continues to make the transition to a more “modern” competitor and are adapting to the newer world of cloud, services and interoperability. The market tanked a little after the free upgrade announcement, driven somewhat by both expectations and Microsoft’s lower than expected earnings. They also have to demonstrate that the cloud offerings can replace desktop software revenue to a greater degree. The pain of making the transition is clearly being reflected in the bottom line. The bigger question might be – how long are their board and shareholders going to be patient? Transition can take a while, HP, Yahoo – other examples of companies once in the catbird’s seat, now slogging along.

Windows 10 will sport a new minimalist browser, Spartan, designed to compete more directly with Chrome and Firefox. Another good move on Microsoft’s part and Spartan will hopefully adhere much more carefully to current web standards than IE does. I’ve experienced a lot of personal pain with the SupportingFundraising site dealing with IE issues on a daily basis. I always liked what I felt was a visually richer browser experience compared with the minimalist Chrome and Firefox. However, I sometimes feel like adding one of those pop-ups to the site that says something to the effect that “you’re viewing this site with an old browser” when it’s accessed by any version of IE.

Bottom line on all of this – I’ll be taking advantage of everything offered. I like free. I like the start menu and I miss it. I’d like a more reliable browser experience. I like OneDrive and am looking forward to closer integration with the OS. It’s all good news. Really.

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About
Brian W Dowling has invested more than 25 years working in advancement services, development services, finance and administration and operations for nonprofit organizations.

His management experience includes: technology and information systems, software conversions, gifts and records processing/management, prospect research, document imaging, web sites, online programs, finance, investments, working with senior management teams, strategic planning, boards and committees and other duties that help organizations manage their fundraising, constituent engagement and sustainability.

Brian’s current role of Senior Vice President for Finance and Information Systems at the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation started in 2008.

Brian worked previously at the University of Michigan and was responsible for managing the technological infrastructure, gift processing and records administration for the Office of University Development. This was in support of a $3.1 billion campaign with annual fundraising revenues of $250-$370 million. The database contained over 1,000,000 entities and over 184,000 gift transactions were processed annually.

Prior to that, Brian worked at The University of Toronto. The University’s $1 billion plus campaign was Canada’s largest and most successful philanthropic effort in higher education. The database of over 700,000 entities supported a large-scale decentralized advancement operation.

Brian also worked at a number of other institutions and businesses in the United States and Canada, where he gained knowledge and perspectives of managing in small, medium and large shops. This experience included multiple system conversions, website development, budgetary and financial responsibilities, operations management and more.

He provides consulting services in Canada, the United States, Asia and Australia, has written many articles, is a published author and speaks at conferences and through webinars. He was a founding board member of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals and a founding committee member of the BC Blackbaud Users Group.
My Organization(s)
SupportingFundraising.Com, SupportingAdvancement.Com, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

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