Do you like Microsoft's new colorful icons for Windows 10?

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s new icon designs?

Microsoft is slowly rolling out a new set of icon designs for all its in-box apps on Windows 10, starting with the Mail, Calendar, and a number of other Windows accessory apps. These icons were first introduced on Windows 10X, but Microsoft plans to roll out these icons to all editions of Windows 10 in the coming months.

The new icons are quite the departure from the old flat icon style first introduced with Windows 8, being much more colorful with depth and shadows. I personally really like the new icons, as they give a breath of fresh air to the Windows design language, especially with Fluent Design evolving to include rounded elements.

Microsoft’s old style of icon design was very sharp and robotic, which made sense when the “Modern Design Language” (MDL) was front and center, but MDL is long gone and Fluent Design is now the language Microsoft follows when building products. So it’s about time that Microsoft updated Windows’ icon aesthetic with something that goes along with the depth and charisma that Fluent Design brings with it.

Do you like Microsoft’s new colorful icons on Windows 10?

I do agree, however, that the new icon design doesn’t go well with the live tile interface present on Windows 10. I would hope that Microsoft is planning to replace the Windows 10 Start menu with the new one on Windows 10X at some point, as this would alleviate the odd clash of design languages which see’s the new icons sitting on top of live tiles. They just don’t go well together.

Microsoft’s live tile game is long over. The feature itself hasn’t been updated or improved in some time, and developers rarely, if ever, take full advantage of what live tiles have to offer. Not even Microsoft’s own “Teams” app supports live tiles, which is frankly unacceptable. So I’d like to see the Windows 10X Start menu on Windows 10 at some point, as that follows Microsoft’s new design language.

What are your thoughts on the new icons coming to Windows 10? Let us know in the comment and answer our poll!

Do you like Microsoft's new colorful icons for Windows 10?

The Xbox One February 2020 Update is now live

If you’ve been waiting for the next Xbox One dashboard update, it’s finally here.

What you need to know

The February 2020 Update for Xbox One is now live and rolling out.
This update revamps the dashboard and adds new features, such as image or gif support in messages.
The update was previously available for testers in the Alpha ring of the Xbox Insiders program.

The February 2020 Xbox One Update has been in testing for some time but it’s now becoming broadly available. According to Xbox Support, this update has been released and is now live. While you may not see the update immediately, it should begin rolling out soon. The February 2020 Update is bringing a whole host of changes and improvements, such as another dashboard change.

Xbox One owners can also look forward to being able to use images and gifs in messages, as well as some reorganization in the My Games and Apps section, which should make the overall experience smoother and more pleasant.

For more details on what to expect from this update, you can check our previous coverage right here, or watch the video below. While you can set your Xbox One to automatically download updates sometime shortly after they become available, you can also manually download new console updates. If you’re unsure of how, check our guide here.


Xbox One S or Xbox One X?
Killer Xbox One Accessories in 2020
Must-buy Xbox One Headsets
Our Favorite Xbox One Wireless Headsets
Best Upcoming Xbox Games for 2020
Charge Up With These Xbox Battery Solutions



The Xbox One February 2020 Update is now live

February's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC flight extended

You can play the game that started it all for a little longer.

What you need to know

The February test flight for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on PC has been extended.
The build is also getting an update.
Specifics are currently unknown, but flight participants will be informed of them via email on February 25, 2020.

343 Industries’ Community Support and Engagement Coordinator Tyler “Postums” Davis announced on Twitter that the current Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC test flight, which has been active since February 13, is being extended to a further date, and is also getting an update. Currently, it isn’t known what the length of the extension is or what the update will include, but according to Davis, players who are currently participating in the flight will be emailed details about it on February 25, 2020. If and when those details make it to the public, we will make sure to update this story with the new information.

PSA: The flight is getting extended and updated!Currently gathering info on the next planned update. For now, the flight will remain online. Tomorrow, we will be sending an email to flight participants with details about the extension and the update for February’s PC flight.— Tyler “Postums” Davis (@343Postums) February 24, 2020

If you haven’t signed up for the Halo Insider Program yet, we strongly recommend that you do, as it’s the only way you’ll get a chance to participate in test flights like this one. It’s completely free and you get a solid opportunity to test out Halo games as they’re brought over to the PC platform, so it’s a win-win.

If you want to get your hands on an official Halo release right now, we suggest checking out The Master Chief Collection. It’s available for both Xbox One and PC. On Xbox One it includes all of the Halo games prior to Halo 5: Guardians aside from Halo: Reach, which you can buy as an add-on. For PC, the game includes Halo: Reach by default, but is also a little more expensive. In addition to that, not all of the games are out yet. Halo: Reach is out on PC, and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is coming next. From there, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 3, and Halo 4 are releasing in that order.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

$30 at Amazon
$40 at Microsoft
$40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

February's Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC flight extended

Elder Scrolls Online's newest DLC will come to Xbox on March 10

An injection of new content for Elder Scrolls.

What you need to know

The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMO set in Bethesda’s famous Elder Scrolls universe.
It gets new content and DLC packs all the time with new dungeons, areas, and more.
The latest DLC, ‘Harrowstorm,’ is out now on PC and will come to Xbox One on March 10.
You can buy the base game from the Microsoft Store for $20.

For those of you who are still playing Bethesda’s MMO set in the Elder Scrolls universe, some new DLC is coming your way to add new dungeons and experiences to the game. The ‘Harrowstorm’ DLC is coming to the Elder Scrolls Online on February 24, 2020 (today) for PC players, and March 10, 2020 for Xbox One and Playstation 4 players.

The new DLC will apparently add two new challenging dungeons, Unhallowed Grave and Icereach, that prepares for Bethesda’s planned year of content they’re calling the Dark Heart of Skyrim. These areas should explore even more of the Elder Scrolls expansive lore, and give players a ton of new content to play throughout the next year. The Elder Scrolls Online still has a dedicated fanbase of players that should get a lot of time out of the planned DLC. You can check out the full blog post from Bethesda here.

The Elder Scrolls Online still has some nagging issues with performance on certain platforms, and has received some criticism for the confusing nature of their various collections and releases. However, the game continues to be a valuable experience for fans of the Elder Scrolls universe, and explores a ton of areas and cultures including Skyrim and Tamriel. If you’re interested in playing, the base game continues to get more affordable as time goes on, coming in at only $20 at the Microsoft Store.

A huge fantasy world.

The Elder Scrolls Online

$20 at Microsoft Store

Explore the Elder Scrolls universe.

The Elder Scrolls Online hasn’t been a perfect experience for players, but Bethesda continues to release content pack after content pack to improve upon the game and draw players back into their fold. If you’re interested in seeing what this MMO has to offer, the base game has never been more affordable.


Xbox One S or Xbox One X?
Killer Xbox One Accessories in 2020
Must-buy Xbox One Headsets
Our Favorite Xbox One Wireless Headsets
Best Upcoming Xbox Games for 2020
Charge Up With These Xbox Battery Solutions



Elder Scrolls Online's newest DLC will come to Xbox on March 10

This concept updates Windows 10 with the look and feel of Windows 10X

Windows 10X is gorgeous, so one designer decided to see what Windows 10 would look like with some Windows 10X inspiration.

What you need to know

A designer created a concept of what Windows 10 would look like when utilizing some design elements of Windows 10X.
The mock-ups show the Windows 10X Start Menu within Windows 10.
The designs also show an app splash screen with acrylic effects.

A designer decided to take some inspiration from Windows 10X to see what Windows 10 would look like with a refresh. The mock-ups take elements from the new Windows 10X and mix them into Windows 10. In addition to focusing on acrylic effects and transparency, the designs bring the new Start Menu from Windows 10X into Windows 10.

#ProjectAcrylic Some new ideas about Acrylic effect, which are inspired from win10X. 😉 @MicrosoftDesign @panos_panay @itsmichaelwest @tomwarren @zacbowden @JenMsft @Clarkezone @boxnwhisker @zeealeid— vGLAD (@vastglad) February 22, 2020

The designs show off similar effects within the splash screen of the Weather app and within the app itself. vGLAD created a video as well, so you can see the effect in motion.

#ProjectAcrylic Opening animation for Weather. @MicrosoftDesign @panos_panay @itsmichaelwest @tomwarren @zacbowden @JenMsft @Clarkezone @boxnwhisker @zeealeid— vGLAD (@vastglad) February 22, 2020

Blur effects can be very attractive, but with the wrong wallpaper can become distracting. It takes skill to balance the depth of acrylic effects while maintaining an app and operating system’s functionality. What do you think of these designs? Would you like to see these elements make their way to Windows 10? Let us know in the comments below.

This concept updates Windows 10 with the look and feel of Windows 10X

Microsoft's confident Xbox Series X news drip is a refreshing shift

Microsoft used to keep development pretty close to its chest, strewn through a lens of PR and over-thought marketing. Xbox seems to have turned a corner into something different.

Randomly and without a huge amount of fanfare, Microsoft today revealed that the Xbox Series X will be 12TF, confirming our previous leak from last year. In a written address to Xbox fans, Microsoft gaming lead Phil Spencer closed out the piece on the Xbox Series X specs by expressing the desire to be transparent with fans.

Microsoft is a company that generally has been a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to relaying information to the public, although they have gotten a lot better at it in recent years, taking a more open posture. Not only is it a sign of the times, but it’s also encouraging that Microsoft seems to be getting with the times.

Exuding confidence

The Xbox Series X announcement cycle has been a bit of an odd one and stands at stark contrast to the way the Xbox One was revealed back in 2013. The Xbox One was announced with a slew of features that pitched it as an entertainment center, rather than game console, in an address that felt more like it was aimed at shareholders rather than customers. Today’s Xbox has very different ideas.

The Game Awards is rapidly becoming one of the most important dates in the video game year, with more and more developers and publishers using it as a way to showcase upcoming games alongside the show’s flagship awards.

Microsoft used The Game Awards to show off the Xbox Series X’s design, out of the blue, completely without warning and far ahead of Sony’s PlayStation 5, which has yet to be glimpsed.

Microsoft has also been forthcoming with the Xbox’s specs in recent years, allowing Digital Foundry to do a full deep dive on the Xbox One X, and now revealing details about the Xbox Series X in a blog post, rather than waiting for a more marketable event to piggyback on. The approach comes across as less “forced” to me, and speaks to the confidence Microsoft has in its product here.

The “Direct” approach

Phil Spencer addresses the audience at E3.

This shift can also be seen in other companies, most notably Nintendo, whose “Nintendo Direct” YouTube deep-dives have become almost like mini-events of their own. The recent Pokemon and Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct shows seem to capture the imagination of the game’s fans in a way that some of the more old-fashioned showcases simply don’t.

Being upfront and to-the-point is something Microsoft often struggles with. PR-heavy language and overthought marketing has often typified Microsoft’s showcases, which in my opinion, often comes across as lacking in confidence. I feel like some of Microsoft’s Inside Xbox shows have fallen a little on the side of being “overproduced,” in some ways, with tons of filler. Although there are signs Microsoft is improving its approach here too.

Microsoft and Ninja Theory unveiled Project Mara randomly via a video deep-dive, much like Nintendo’s direct-style showcases. Microsoft has also been doing some developer diaries for the upcoming Minecraft Dungeons in much the same way.

Let’s have more of this

The fact Microsoft is being so upfront about the Xbox Series X exudes a level of confidence that simply wasn’t there for the original Xbox One launch back in 2013, where the company seemed to spend more time apologizing for it than anything else. The direct-to-customers approach with increased transparency helps us get an idea about what’s on the horizon, without having to wait for E3, The Game Awards, or specific shows to hear information.

I’d love to see this approach extend to games, which are now abundant within Microsoft’s 15-studio-strong stable at Xbox Game Studios. Why wait for an overload of information at a single time in the year? It would make far more sense to drip feed us information as soon as it’s ready, building faith in the platform over time, alongside the Xbox Game Pass subscription that relies on rolling monthly payments.

Either way, let’s have some more of this transparency across the board Microsoft. Yeah?

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X: Everything we know
Xbox Series X 3D size comparison
List of Xbox Series X specs
What is the Xbox Series X release date?
How much does Xbox Series X cost?
Why you can’t preorder Xbox Series X yet



Microsoft's confident Xbox Series X news drip is a refreshing shift

Cyberpunk 2077 is getting a free upgrade on Xbox Series X

The first third-party to be on board with Xbox Series X smart delivery is a pretty big one.

What you need to know

Xbox has confirmed that first-party games will only need to be bought once to play on Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
This feature is called Smart Delivery.
CD Projekt Red has confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 will also receive a free upgrade on Xbox Series X.

Earlier today, Xbox dropped some official specs for the Xbox Series X, including the news that it would feature 12 teraflops of graphics power, using Zen 2 and RDNA 2 technology. The report also shared the confirmation of Smart Delivery, which means that Xbox first-party games like Halo Infinite only need to be bought once and then players will receive the full upgrades on Xbox Series X.

While there’s no mention of this technically being required for third-party companies, one major player has already jumped in with support. CD Projekt Red has confirmed on Twitter that the highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is getting a free upgrade on Xbox Series X. Whenever the upgrade arrives, players on Xbox will not have to pay anything extra to play the game with what will presumably be features like a higher resolution and a better framerate.

Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades. Owners of #Cyberpunk2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available.— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) February 24, 2020

It’ll be interesting to see what other third-party companies jump in on this, as well as whether or not Microsoft’s main console competitor Sony does anything similar with the PlayStation 5. Given how similar Xbox One X and PS4 Pro patches work, it certainly seems likely there will be near-identical approaches. Cyberpunk 2077 is currently scheduled to release on September 17, 2020, while the Xbox Series X will release sometime in Holiday 2020.

Related: Cyberpunk 2077 features acid rain and other deadly environmental challenges

The City of Night

Cyberpunk 2077

$50 at Amazon

There’s a city to burn

Cyberpunk 2077 aims to be CD Projekt Red’s most ambitious game yet, with a mature story set in the corrupt yet thriving Night City. As V, track down the secrets to digital immortality however you see best.

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X: Everything we know
Xbox Series X 3D size comparison
List of Xbox Series X specs
What is the Xbox Series X release date?
How much does Xbox Series X cost?
Why you can’t preorder Xbox Series X yet



Cyberpunk 2077 is getting a free upgrade on Xbox Series X

The HP Envy 32 is the ultimate all-in-one PC — here's why

Having a desktop PC doesn’t have to mean having a separate box, monitor, and the endless cables that run between the two. Whether you’re tight on space or just looking for something simpler and more elegant, the all-in-one PC could be the right choice for you. And fortunately, there are some great all-in-one Windows PCs, like the HP Envy 32.

Best Overall: HP Envy 32

Sometimes with an all-in-one PC, you have to compromise, but with the HP Envy 32, you genuinely do not. Its size helps a little, but you can have pretty much everything you could ever want from a PC all in this single unit.

That includes a full-fat 65W Intel Core i7 CPU, not the slimmed-down versions you often find inside an all-in-one or a laptop, and its paired with either NVIDIA GTX or RTX dedicated graphics. You might not be buying one of these as a gaming rig, but you bet it can tear up the latest titles.

The Envy 32 also boasts a massive 32-inch display, with both 4K resolution and HDR and a neat anti-reflective finish, which makes it so much nicer to sit in front of for long periods.


32-inch 4K anti-reflective HDR display.
GTX or RTX graphics.
65-watt Core i7 CPU.
Pop-up Windows Hello 5MP camera.
Display input/output.


No Wi-Fi 6.
Display limited to 60 Hz.
SSD is just OK.

Best overall

HP ENVY 32 All-in-One

From $1,500 at HP

Real CPU, powerful GPU, and 4K

HP’s ENVY 32 AIO sets the bar for AIO PCs in 2020. It blows away the Apple iMac 27, and it can act as your TV, computer for work, and a gaming rig.

Runner-up: Lenovo Yoga A940

Microsoft’s Surface category usually sets a trend that the Windows OEM partners will try to emulate, iterate or just plain make better, and Lenovo’s Yoga A940 all-in-one is undoubtedly one which fits that mantra.

It has an articulating hinge reminiscent of the Surface, which means for the creative folks out there, grab the pen and get to some comfortable drawing on a massive sketch pad. It’s not just creators and designers who will enjoy it, though.

The big, beautiful 4K display is attached to some pretty exciting hardware, including a full desktop-class Intel Core i7, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an AMD RX 560 GPU. It’s also got Thunderbolt 3, an essential desire in modern high-end computers. Perhaps most amazing, though, is that you can upgrade some components on this machine, meaning you can keep it up to scratch for much longer.


Relatively affordable pricing.
Plenty of ports, including Thunderbolt 3.
4K touch display with excellent color.
Robust hardware options.
Loud, full, front-firing audio.


More powerful GPU options would be welcome.
Fan is quite loud.
Build quality lacking compared to other premium AIOs.


Lenogo Yoga A940

$2,300 at Microsoft

A more affordable Surface Studio-alike

Upgrade hardware, enjoy the included accessories and create to your heart’s content with this multipurpose all-in-one PC.

Best for creators: Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 isn’t just an all-in-one PC. It’s perhaps the most innovative computer in recent memory. Not only do you get a full, powerful Windows 10 PC in the same box as a display, but you also get a stunning, sleek, slim form factor. Oh, and it also folds down flat like the biggest, most glorious sketchpad you’ve ever seen.

The Surface Studio 2 is an amazing PC, but it comes alive when you’re a creator. That massive display is all-touch with pen support, so it’s an incredible digital canvas. Throw on the Surface Dial, and you’ve got a killer toolset at your fingertips. It isn’t cheap, but at the upper levels, you can get fairly capable dedicated graphics from NVIDIA that will even be OK for some modest gaming.

The real draw to the Studio 2 is the articulating display, though. It’s still largely unmatched, and the biggest drawback to it right now is that the Surface Studio 2 remains very expensive and, at this point, is probably due for a refresh. But the experience it delivers is still absolutely superb.


Unique drawing and touch experience.
Gorgeous display.
Decent graphics horsepower.
Fast SSD storage.


Hardware starting to get outdated.
Very expensive.
No Thunderbolt 3.

Best for Creators

Microsoft Surface Studio 2

From $3,400 at Microsoft

A unique and brilliant PC

It’s incredibly expensive, but with one of the best displays on any PC and a unique articulating hinge, this is a game-changing all-in-one.

Best for Family: Dell Inspiron 24 5000

Dell’s new 24-inch all-in-one is a perfect addition to your family setup thanks in no small part to its thoughtful design. The bezels are virtually non-existent, making for a compact body, and even the stand has been designed to be as space-efficient as possible.

It’s not lacking on hardware, either. Inside, you’ll find a range of Intel 10th Gen processors, up to 16GB of RAM, options for speedy NVMe SSD storage, and even a front-facing soundbar to make your music and movies sound great. There’s also a pop-up webcam for those important calls to relatives. Or work colleagues.

There are options to suit all budgets, including a very affordable entry-level model, but you’ll have to make do with sluggish HDD storage at this level as a compromise. All spec levels come with a 1080p display, though, making for a well-equipped, stylish family computer.


Gorgeous design with almost no bezels.
Space efficient stand.
10th Gen Intel processors.
Options to suit all budgets.
Pop up webcam.


Entry model fairly slow.
No dedicated graphics.
No Thunderbolt 3.

Best for Family

Dell Inspiron 24 5000

From $530 at Dell

Something to offer the whole family

With a space-efficient design, great screen, a pop-up webcam, and a host of spec options, the Inspiron 24 5000 has something to offer the whole family.

Best Budget: HP All-in-One 24-f1055z

Not everyone wants a fancy PC with all the latest bells and whistles, instead preferring something more budget-focused. But whatever your budget, you still want to buy a good PC. HP doesn’t just cater to the top end, this affordable 24-inch all-in-one with a name you’ll never remember isn’t bad either.

It’s got a 24-inch 1080p display, and inside, you’ll find an AMD Ryzen 5 with Vega 8 graphics, 8GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 16GB, and 1TB of storage. The storage is HDD, not SSD, so performance takes a hit, but at this price, there will always be compromises.

The CPU is also a quad-core laptop-class AMD Ryzen 5, which might strike as an odd choice for a desktop PC, but performance isn’t bad, and the 8 Vega GPU cores deliver excellent graphics performance. It’s a reasonably solid, no-frills affair, but it’s an excellent PC with a great design and a super attractive price.


Compact design with skinny bezels.
Solid graphics power.
Fantastic price.
Upgradeable RAM


Slow HDD Storage.
Laptop CPU.

Best Budget

HP All-in-One 24-F1055z

$550 at HP

An AIO that won’t break the bank

With an AMD Ryzen APU inside this AIO from HP has decent CPU and graphics performance at a really attractive price for the budget-conscious buyer.

The bottom line

Choosing an all-in-one PC can be difficult, not least because they’re not the most popular type of machine, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of hot hardware to choose from. HP’s new Envy 32 is the cream of the crop, and for many good reasons.

It ticks just about every box you could think of. You get a big, beautiful display, high-end hardware inside that includes actual gaming-class graphics from NVIDIA, a stunning design and some thoughtful features.

Not only does it include a webcam, but it pops out of sight when you don’t need it and it supports Windows Hello when you do. It’s also one of the only all-in-one PCs that can accept a display input as well, so you can also use it as a monitor for your laptop when you need to. It simply can’t be beaten right now.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you’ll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

The HP Envy 32 is the ultimate all-in-one PC — here's why

Microsoft offers a closer look at the next Xbox

It’s been a few months since Microsoft announced the impending arrival of the Xbox Series X. The somewhat redundantly named console made cameo during the Game Awards, getting a late 2020 date in the process.
We got at glimpse at the big, boxy design and peek into a handful of features, including the new wireless controllers and backward game compatibility. It didn’t, however, really get into the nitty gritty of what’s going to set the next-gen console apart. Thankfully, MS’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer is back with some honest to goodness specs.
“Xbox Series X is our fastest, most powerful console ever, designed for a console generation that has you at its center,” Spencer writes. “This means a high-fidelity gaming experience enclosed in a quiet and bold design, with the ability to discover thousands of games across four generations, all with more playing and less waiting.”

Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-gen console, arriving late-2020

The headline feature here is, naturally, a new processor. Built on top of AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture, Xbox says chip is able to deliver four times the processing power of the Xbox One. The silicon offers 12 teraflops of GPU performance — that’s double the Xbox One X and 8x the original Xbox One. Other notable additions include Variable Rate Shading for improved frame rates and resolution and DirectX Raytracing for better lighting.

Quick Resume is basically what it sounds like, letting players pick up on multiple games, exactly where they left off. Dynamic Latency Input aims to bring more responsive feed back from controllers, by reducing latency. 120fps video will be supported by the console, along with HDMI 2.1, which automatically switches to the lowest latency mode to reduce game play lag.

PlayStation 5 announced for holidays 2020

As noted above, backward compatibility is central, now that Microsoft has a few generations of consoles under its belt. Game Pass is increasingly important in the company’s play moving forward, as it ramps up focus on cloud gaming.
More information is promised in “coming months.” Once again, Microsoft will have a stiff competition on its hands, with the PlayStation 5 currently slated for “holiday 2020.” 

Microsoft offers a closer look at the next Xbox

Microsoft launches 100X100X100 program to help Indian B2B SaaS startups

As Indian startups begin to make inroads in the world of SaaS, Microsoft has taken notice. The American tech giant today launched 100X100X100, a program aimed at business-to-business SaaS startups.
Microsoft said Monday that 100X100X100 will bring together 100 companies and 100 early and growth startups. Each committed company will spend $100,000 over a course of 18 months.
“This initiative will help build scale and create amazing opportunities for startups. Businesses can now fast-track their digital journeys through easy adoption of enterprise-grade solutions,” said Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, in a statement.
Each startup participating in the program will also have access to prospective customers at Microsoft industry and customer events. Participants also get access to Microsoft’s technology platform, and guidance in fine tuning their business and expansion models.
Microsoft is not a new face in India’s startup ecosystem. The company runs Microsoft for Startups that allows early stage B2B startups to use the company’s Azure marketplace and enterprise sales team. Early last year, the company also expanded M12, its corporate venture fund, to India.
The company’s global rivals Google and Amazon are also actively helping startups in India, sponsoring countless events and bandying out a range of goodies including thousands of dollars of credit to use their cloud platforms.

India’s Reliance Jio inks deal with Microsoft to expand Office 365, Azure to more businesses; unveils broadband, blockchain and IoT platforms

The idea is simple: If the bets work, these startups are already a customer and their solutions could be beneficial to several tens of thousands of other customers. And it’s a safe time to make these bets.
In recent years, scores of startups have emerged in India to build SaaS software following the success of firms such as Freshworks, valued at $3.5 billion, and CleverTap. Since SaaS startups are not building hardware, or disbursing loans, they often have the best profit margin.
Shekhar Kirani, a partner at Accel, told TechCrunch in a recent interview that his biggest frustration was not seeing many more entrepreneurs build SaaS services. “Anyone with some coding skills and a cheap laptop can build a service and sell to the world,” he said.
At a recent SaaS focused event, Godard Abel, chief executive of business marketplace G2, said that India was already among the top five nations for active participations for development of new business services.
As for Microsoft, expect several more announcements this week as its chief executive, Satya Nadella, appears at company’s flagship conference in the country today and tomorrow.

Microsoft launches 100X100X100 program to help Indian B2B SaaS startups