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 18 Aug.

Switching from Windows Phone to iPhone

It’s official – I’ve switched from Windows Phone back to an iPhone.

Back in 2013 I attempted to use an Apple Mac and iPhone for an entire month with the Microsoft ecosystem. I lasted only 4 days.

At the time there were very few apps for iOS and the experience infuriated me. However also back then Windows Phone had a number of differentiators being baked in functionality instead of app handoffs.

Jump forward just over 2 years and we’re in a different world. Windows Phone hasn’t moved beyond a tiny slice of the pie chart and as a result Microsoft’s own product groups are focusing on iOS and Android.

A few months ago I had some Microsoft people (both local and from Corp) trying to convince me to get an iPhone as the Microsoft app experience was better. Around then my Lumia 930 broke and I was on the fence. I ended up getting the phone repaired and decided to stick with Windows Phone – waiting for the Windows 10 Mobile experience and the promise of Universal Apps.

The problem here comes down to timing. Last week my 1 year old daughter got hold of my phone for a couple of minutes and managed to drop it in a way that the screen broke again. Again I was faced with the choice to repair or replace.

I chose to replace my phone with an iPhone 6 Plus, and here’s why:

  • The Microsoft app experience is FAR better on iOS than Windows Phone
  • There are more Microsoft apps available for iOS than Windows Phone
  • Windows 10 Mobile is still very buggy and isn’t expected to come out until October
  • Even then many apps will need to be updated/rewritten to handle to the new multi-screen system and will take months to come out

The key apps I need to use when mobile are:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Skype for Business
  • Yammer
  • Dynamics CRM

In every one of those cases the app experience is superior on iOS. I even have screen rotation with several of them!!!

The only app experience I find Windows Phone did much better than iOS is around the Microsoft Band. On iOS there are very few 3rd party apps. Also a number of the functions are missing such as the ability to reply to a call or text message with a quick response.

Within a short period of time of getting my iPhone I had all my personal and business apps up and running. One frustrating component was that I had to enter my credentials (as well as MFA codes) for every single app.

As I am deeply embedded into the Microsoft ecosystem professionally and personally I would not have been able to make the change if my investment in services such as Office 365, Groove Music (formerly known as Xbox), OneDrive and others weren’t feature-rich on iOS.

So will I now switch to using iTunes and other Apple services? Absolutely not.

Do I still think of Windows 3.1 whenever I look at my phone? You betcha!!! (I really miss the tiles of Windows Phone!)

Am I going to stick with the iPhone going forward? Most likely not. I’m sure when Windows 10 Mobile is released and the apps have caught up (and running Android apps is commonplace) I’ll come back. For now, I’m having a better Microsoft app experience on the iPhone.

 1 Aug.

Challenges connecting Cortana to Office 365

In my previous post I spoke about the fact that Cortana only appears to work on Windows 10 if you are signed in with a Microsoft Account.

Now that I had this working I was eager to connect Cortana to Office 365 and get some valuable insights and interactions.

Our first step is to access Cortana’s notebook:

 

Once here we see that Office 365 is set to “off”, so let’s set that to “on”:

 

We’re now prompted to connect, and are presented with the fact that Cortana will now have access to things she previously didn’t have:

 

Now let’s authenticate to Office 365:

 

And now we… wait what?

 

I went to the Office 365 portal to find that Cortana was turned off (I could have sworn it was set to “on” previously).

I turned Cortana on (again, I think):

 

Then I went through the process of connecting again and presto!

 

It is important to note that for Cortana to work you will need to make sure the Windows 10 Mail and Calendar apps are also connected to your Office 365 account.

Now let’s see what happens from here!

 

UPDATE: It is confirmed via Microsoft KB 3086254 that Cortana will not work with Office 365 if you are signed in using your Azure Active Directory account.