The Apple Way is Now Microsoft’s Way

Tim Bajarin on Microsoft admitting with their actions Apple’s way is the best way:

But if you look at Microsoft’s new strategy, one can’t help but see this is an acknowledgment Apple’s business model of owning the hardware, software and services is ultimately the best one that assures Microsoft’s control of their destiny. At the moment, it looks like Microsoft will only have three serious PC partners — HP, Dell, and Lenovo — doing any volume. Some are asking how long even these vendors will continue to support PCs given shrinking margins.

Yep. I said as much a few weeks ago.

On that last point regarding partners, I’ve said this before but I think Microsoft needs to proactively drop it’s partners and go full in on the Apple way.

Does Microsoft Create Objects of Desire?

Peter Bright at Ars Technica on the new flagship Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue:

There are still weaknesses of the Microsoft store compared to the Apple store; Apple’s stores are much stronger from a support and maintenance perspective, and this gives both Apple’s hardware and stores a kind of desirability that the PC world can’t currently match. Pointedly, Microsoft also lacks anything with the appeal of the iPhone. Overall, however, Microsoft is slowly developing a retail presence that makes sense, and it will attract new and more customers. The Microsoft stores are still first and foremost marketing exercises, but we don’t think it’s too long before customers will consistently outnumber the staff, putting the stores on the road to retail success.

Apple creates objects of desire.

It’s yet to be seen if people think Microsoft creates objects of desire too.

Because at the end of the day, it’s people who’ll be voting with their wallets.

Manipulating Photons

Light-based computers are on the horizon:

“The phase speed is infinite—much larger, infinitely larger than the speed of light,” Mazur tells Quartz.

This doesn’t mean light itself is traveling faster than the speed of light, which would violate the laws of relativity. “Phase velocity” refers to the speed of the crest of waves that ripple out when light strikes a material. The Harvard scientists created a material that allows these wave crests to move infinitely fast. This is a strange thought to wrap your head around, and means the crests of the waves are oscillating through time, but not space. Under these peculiar conditions, the Harvard scientists found that it’s easy to manipulate the photons, squeezing them down to the microscopic scale and turning them around. In other words, we can treat photons in the same way we currently manipulate electrons.


Light-powered telecommunications would allow phones and computers to process information millions of times faster. And because light conserves energy far better than electrons (which tend to waste energy by creating heat), battery lives would be far longer.

So cool.

via Rands in Repose

Windows Phone Ghost Town

Let’s see how things go for Microsoft with Windows 10, but right now, Windows Phone is still a fucking mess:

While the app gap has always been a problem, Windows Phone is now five years old and it’s still facing new challenges. Over the past year developers haven’t flocked to Microsoft’s platform to improve its app situation. Instead, more and more high-profile apps have actually disappeared. Mint’s removal this week is the latest, angering Windows Phone fans, but it’s not the first, nor will it be the last.

American Airlines, Chase Bank, Bank of America, NBC, Pinterest, and Kabam have all discontinued their Windows Phone apps in the past year. These huge apps have simply disappeared or will no longer be updated. Some companies have cited a lack of Windows Phone users, and others have remained silent, but each removal has put Microsoft another step behind in the mobile race.

And on Microsoft’s constant rebooting of the OS:

It’s easy to blame the lack of apps on developers, but they’ve been saddled with a platform that is constantly rebooting. Windows Phone 7 launched as a Windows Mobile reboot back in October 2010. Windows Phone 8 then launched two years later in October 2012 and existing handsets couldn’t upgrade, and apps needed to be heavily updated. Windows Phone 8.1 arrived last year, finally bringing many features lacking from Microsoft’s platform. Now, Microsoft is on the verge of rebooting once again with Windows 10 Mobile.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I think what Microsoft presented at their Windows 10 Devices Event looks great, but who’s to say they don’t just reboot Windows 10 like Windows 7 & 8?

Microsoft had a very short window to respond to the iPhone six years ago, but Google beat them to it with Android. Since then, they’ve simultaneously been revising their strategy AND competing with Google and Apple (hence the schizophrenic behavior).

The Continuing Decline of Windows

Alex Wilhelm at TechCrunch on Windows 10:

A few questions: Will Windows 10’s release lead to lift in PC sales, even if temporary? If that is the case, did the release of Windows 10 come too late in the quarter to make much of an impact? If that is not the case, then it seems that Windows 10 will not drive an increase in PC sales.

The very first blog post I wrote for The Next Web — where I worked before coming to TechCrunch — had the following headline: “No Windows 7 PC Sales Bump Coming.” And that was Windows 7, mind, one of most popular versions of Windows ever.

I don’t recall Windows 8 doing the PC market many favors, either, at its debut. So we have at least some historical precedent that new builds of Windows are not key drivers of new unit volume.

My question is, why should a new version of Windows ever help sales of PCs?

This isn’t the launch of Windows 95. Those days are over. Microsoft knows this and I think it’s the impetus behind their cloning of Apple’s business model, despite the fact that they can’t duplicate said business model because they have OEMs they license Windows to.

It’s all about great, integrated hardware/software products and now that Microsoft has gotten a taste of the power that comes with controlling the whole stack they could give a fuck about OEMs.

Of course they won’t say that but it’s true. If they could sell Apple levels of Surface tablets and Windows Phones with Apple profit margins they’d be loving life.

They’re just still too scared to rip off that band-aid.

Ello Asty

Looks like there’s a Beastie Boys easter egg in Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

The Beastie Boys as we knew them ceased to exist in 2012 after Adam Yauch’s death from cancer, but their memory’s being kept alive in an unexpected, intergalactic fashion. Jedi Insider obtained a new Hasbro Black Series figurine of an alien X-wing pilot featured in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, one named Ello Asty; his helmet has the phrase “born to ill” written on it in Aurebesh, the Star Wars series’ written language. If you’re a hip-hop fan, a few bells might be ringing in your brain: the Beasties’ 1986 debut was called Licensed to Ill, and they released Hello Nasty 12 years later.

How do you say ‘J.J. Fanboy’ in Bocce?

Students Rethink iTunes

[… ] when one of your flagship software applications is assigned in schools as a case in feature bloat, it’s crossed some threshold for acceptability.

Khoi Vinh on the rethinking of iTunes by the students of Fachhochschule Potsdam

The student redesigns can be seen here. It’s student work, so they’re not all winning designs but I agree with Khoi: Apple needs to fix iTunes.

As someone who has taught design at the college level, I love having students redesign existing websites/services. It’s a great exercise in problem solving.

“where are our future designers architects craftsmen/women engineers technicians software designers and mathematicians going to come from if no one can draw?”

Instead of regurgitating rants about the yoof’s over-reliance on technology and its zombiesh enslavement by screens, Bob sees the larger issues of exam-based curricula and financial difficulties as the things thwarting creativity. “The way the education system works is a bit like having high land prices in London – they stop you working creatively,” he says. “If all you’re thinking about is working towards exams and jumping over hurdles, it pushes away creativity; and high land values are pushing creativity out of the capital.”

Art as a human right and why creativity is “pushed out of” London

Adapt or Die

Yellow cabs in NYC might be getting an overhaul:

The technology inside many New York City yellow taxis is in for an overhaul after regulators on Thursday approved a trial run for systems that calculate fares using global positioning.

The changes mean the back seat “Taxi TVs” could be on the way out, along with dashboard-mounted meters that display fares in red blocky alarm clock-style numbers.

Imagine that!

Instead of suing to keep Uber and Lyft out of NYC, yellow cabs are overhauling their system to better compete—and provide a better customer experience (we hope).