At the IAB Mixx conference in New York today, Microsoft Advertising revealed their new Windows 8 and IE 10 platform that will be available October 26. Their focus is on integrating between the boundaries of hardware, OS and the cloud to virtually integrate eco-systems to move them to a position to closer compete with Apple, who are currently winning the battle for a smarter enterprise.

We are living in the time of the digitalization of society and as devices and technology have opened our minds to what is possible, our expectations are far surpassing what we’re able to experience as consumers. For the most part, advertising is falling behind and consumers aren’t getting the integration and personalization they are expecting as we move to digitalize almost ever aspect of what we do.

With the move to a new era of search, we need to let it to enable action and to help us interact with the world at a practical level. Dr. Qi Lu, president of Microsoft’s Online Services devision, outlined four Information Architecture structures that he believes will govern our future interactions.

  1. Topical structures of information
    This is the digitization of human discourse with tens of trillions of documents being digitally captured everyday.
  2. Social structure
    A new IA is emerging as interactions between users need structures.
  3. GeoSpatial
    We live in physical world and connect spatially and are increasingly expecting technology and devices to allow for this. The fact that Apple apologized for it’s map errors definitely points to the recognition of the importance geospatial structures are playing.
  4. Appification of the digital web 
    In Microsoft’s opinion the browser is far too limited. The industry created app models so that the future of interactions is captured there.

The driving force behind all of these structures is technology and this is the dawn of natural user interaction (NUI). With the intersection of devises that read our needs (language, perception and context) and services (intelligence fabric which understands the context of the situation we’re in and anticipate what we want and need, big data/ machine learning and cloud services), NUI will be possible.

The New IE 10 and Windows 8 platform

Microsoft is imagining Windows 8 and IE 10 will lead this new era of devices creating a new era for their company with a focus on design language that is fully immersive across all devices at scale.

As it was demoed, the new Windows 8 experience is built to be touch enabled. Just as apps like Flipbook are already doing, Microsoft have enabled what they call “Flip ahead” for their MSN app so users can seamlessly flip through articles and extended content as an ever expanding carousel. 

Building their main properties as apps has allowed Microsoft Advertising to integrate advertising within the app experience and this is open to third party developers to create apps with integrated ad experiences as well.

Once you are finished with one of the apps, the user just drags down and the app closes. You can also “snap” an app to the side of your screen so you can continue to use the rest of your screen as you watch a video, or keep an eye on the news. As the app is built with a responsive design, the content molds to the screen so there no fiddling with browser size to move it out of the way, nor having to scroll side to side to view the content inside it.

Are apps really the future?

From this presentation at IAB, it appears Microsoft believes it can reimagine the digital advertising experience. Up to this point online media has not lived the promise that we can build success with as the experience for the consumer is just not there.

My question is, are Microsoft too late to the game with the app world? And are people going to play in a space where applications are not platform agnostic whereas mobile enable browsers are? It’s an interesting and bold play but with app designers still focused on iOS users, followed by Android, how can Microsoft crawl it’s way out? 

My biggest worry is where is this going to leave the millions of businesses that are still using antiquated versions of Microsoft. We thought there were compatibility issues before and I can only see this transition to be the hardest yet. Though it’s a great way to ensure seemless integration between devices, it will force people to choose one brand path, and one path only if they want a single experience. 

This may be the future, but it looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.