By Michael Mulvey on January 25, 2015 9:11 AM
Good luck, Windows 10.
Image taken from Ars Technica
Good luck, Windows 10.
Image taken from Ars Technica
Today Microsoft announced (among other things like Windows 10) Surface Hub.
It's a bigass TV that accepts multi-touch input.
Why is Microsoft and every other company who makes computers with stylii OBSESSED WITH CIRCLING SHIT ON THE SCREEN?!
From what I can tell over the years this is they only compelling reason to use a stylus. I just don't get why scribbling notes and circling things is so damn compelling.
Update: More scribbling from their product videos:
Microsoft is still trying to make Windows Phone relevant:
According to The Information, Microsoft this week will show off "a single code base inside the software that will allow an app to run well on phones, tablets and PCs, as opposed to being optimized for one screen size." This is a big deal because while Windows Phone doesn't have a strong app developer base, the desktop version of Windows absolutely does. So in theory, anyone who makes software and applications for Windows should soon be able to make Windows Phone apps with ease.
Microsoft reminds me of the smart student in college who misses the deadline for the thesis paper, but manages to get it in late, accepting the grade deductions and has tons of typos and continuity errors. They eventually turn in a solid paper over the summer, but by then it's too late. This cycle continues into the next semester as Microsoft brags about the amazing but late paper they wrote but everyone has moved on to new classes. No one cares.
Analogy translation: Microsoft joined the smartphone competition over 3 years after the iPhone and Android were announced. They keep refining and fixing things on their platform, but everyone else has moved on so they're stuck in a perpetual state of catch-up.
Apple announces the iPhone in 2007 ...three years later Microsoft announces Windows Phone
Apple announces the iPad in 2010 ...two years later Microsoft announces the Surface
People used to buy Windows computers because everyone used Windows at the office. This is no longer the case. More often then not, the reverse cycle has been happening in the last decade: people decide to get a Macbook or iMac for work because they use iPhones and iPads at home.
Microsoft needs to throw in the towel on consumer electronics. Focus on enterprise. It's over.
Headline at The Verge: Almost every single Xbox executive we profiled in this video last year has left the company
It's no secret I dislike everything Microsoft does (save for hardware, ironically). This is partly because I don't think they understand making consumer electronics, partly because I don't think they understand selling consumer electronics and partly because I think it's quite possible (likely?) they'll abandon it like they've done with the Zune, PlayForSure and many other initiatives. Oh,and despite efforts in recent years, I still agree they have no taste.
The XBox is no exception. It's far from leading a "revolution" in the living room and Kinect has proven to be a flop. Turns out people don't want to flail their arms and legs around in their living room, they just want to sit the fuck down and relax. To be clear: I feel the same way about the Playstation and Nintendo Wii/Wii U being "living room devices". They're not.
Let's also not forget XBox brings in chump change for Microsoft relative to Windows, Office and Enterprise.
Ed Bott on the dire outlook for Windows Phone:
If the problems with Windows Phone as a platform were as simple as Microsoft getting their product strategy together, it would probably be easy to fix. But that focus ignores the real problem.
This isn't an equal partnership between Microsoft and U.S. mobile carriers, except perhaps in the most technical sense.
Thanks to Microsoft's minuscule market share (small single-digit percentages in the U.S.), the carriers have almost no interest in collaborating with it on mobile devices. And Microsoft has almost no leverage when negotiating with carriers. The resulting not-so-virtuous circle is what stacks the deck against the Windows Phone platform and makes the experience so frustrating for the few who actually use it.
Maybe if Microsoft asks Santa for more customers, they'll get em.
MG Siegler on Microsoft and Windows 10:
Such a strange, yet predictable response to Windows 8 by Microsoft. Windows 7 was the de-Vista-ing of Windows. A return to Windows XP. Windows 10 is the de-8-ing of Windows. A return to WIndows 7.
How many development years has Microsoft collectively wasted on these OS boondoggles? It's the epitome of a company that wants to change, but can't.
Windows Phone and Windows 8 are really, really trying to be fun and useful and everything they need to be, but they're having a bitch of a time.
Getting rid of Ballmer isn't going to be a band-aid on everything.
In the same way that there's an underlying culture keeping Apple on track well after Steve Jobs has died, so too does Microsoft have an underlying culture holding them back from making great software that doesn't have a ton of baggage.
Today, during the recording of this week's Weekly Exhaust we were talking about how NFL commentators were referring to the Surface tablets as "iPad-like devices" (that Microsoft paid $400 million for teams to use on the sidelines), so after the show I decided to check out Microsoft.com.
What did I find?
I found a MacBook Air as the most prominent product on the Microsoft homepage:
Sometimes I really wonder what they're thinking at Microsoft.
Actually I always wonder what they're thinking.
I talk lots of shit about Microsoft's software, but they've been producing solid hardware products for a long time now.
This Apple/Android-compatible tablet keyboard looks interesting:
via The Verge
In among the larger-than-life humans on NFL sidelines this season, you'll notice a slew of Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablets helping out. Used by players and coaches to review photos of plays, the tablets are encased in chunky cyan protective cases and have been attracting the attention of the broadcast commentators when put to use. The only problem is that the announcers don't seem to have been briefed on the name, leaving them to describe Microsoft's slates as "iPad-like tools."
Oh boy. Nothing like a nice cup of schadenfreude in the morning to get ya going.
From the NY Daily News:
Tech giant Microsoft is in negotiations to open its first ever New York City retail store on Fifth Ave., sources told the Daily News.
The deal, at 677 Fifth Ave. near 53rd St., would give Microsoft a splashy presence on the top retail corridor in the country and put it just a stone's throw from its biggest rival Apple's iconic glass cube store.
Not a good idea.
Remember, Microsoft is the very antithesis of strategy.
Repeat after me: Microsoft: Software, Services, Enterprise. Microsoft: Software, Services, Enterprise.
That new focus on Microsoft as a productivity company could spell the end for projects like Surface Mini, or even the larger ARM-based versions of Surface. Calculations by Computerworld suggest that Microsoft has lost $1.7 billion on Surface hardware, including the $900 million write-off for the Surface RT last year. That's a huge loss for something Nadella describes as an effort to "stimulate more demand for the entire Windows ecosystem." Microsoft has thrown similar amounts of cash at Xbox over the years, but the Xbox 360 sales have proven there's demand for Microsoft's games consoles.
—Tom Warren, The Verge
Microsoft has lost $1.7 billion on Surface hardware. Well done!
I'm trying to remember if Apple ever lost money on the iPad?
Oh that's right, they never did.
From BGR this morning:
One of the main features Windows 9 is expected to offer users is the return of the Start menu, which Windows users are anxiously waiting for, and Myce has obtained new screenshots showing it. Initially expected to arrive in Windows 8 Update 2 that's said to launch on August 12, the Start menu is now said to only be ready next year, when Windows 9 "Threshold" is released.
So this is where we've gotten to with Microsoft rumors. Outside of the massive layoffs, the only exciting product leaks involve a nearly 19-year-old software feature—the Start Menu.
Contrast this to Apple, where everyone is expecting a new wearable device this fall, and competitors have been scrambling to launch their own versions (regardless of how half-baked they all are), a new, bigger (thinner?) iPhone is expected and everyone was blown away at the number of new software announcements at WWDC 2014 for both OS X Mavericks and iOS 8.
Maybe next decade, Microsoft.
I'm loving this analysis of Microsoft by John Kirk on Microsoft.
His premise is Microsoft ignores every rule of warfare in how they decide to compete with products made by other companies.
Like when Microsoft took on the iPod with the Zune:
From a strategic standpoint, Microsoft's move to create the Zune was inane and bordering on the insane. Its strategy:
- 1) Obliged Microsoft to betray its existing allies (hardware manufacturing partners);
- 2) Required Microsoft to abandon its greatest and most powerful weapon (licensing software to hardware manufacturers);
- 3) Compelled Microsoft to fight with unfamiliar weapons (hardware);
- 4) Forced Microsoft to fight on the battlefield of its opponent's choosing and where its opponent could could leverage its strongest assets (integrated software and hardware).
And then again with Bing:
Google was founded in 1998 and soon became a very real threat to Microsoft. A response by Microsoft was appropriate and called for...but not the response Microsoft made. As usual, Microsoft went right at 'em by challenging Google where Google was strongest and where Microsoft was nonexistent -- in search.
Let's examine this from a strategic perspective:
1) Attack opponent where opponent is strongest. Check.
2) Attack opponent with a weapon with which you have little or no expertise (search engine/machine language). Check.
3) Attack opponent where they live, thus guaranteeing that they will they will be inspired to fight with desperation in order to ensure their very survival. Check.
4) Attack where even success gains you little or nothing. Check.
For too long, Microsoft has been in reaction mode to every other company doing something innovative (and profitable).
It begs the question, what do they really love to create? What are they good at?
When factoring in smartphones, tablets and other gadgets along with traditional PCs, Turner estimated that Windows is only on around 14% of them, which is obviously a vastly different reality from the one that Microsoft faced 10 years ago when Apple was mostly known for producing the iPod and when Google was just a very popular search engine.
—Brad Reed, Reality sinks in for Microsoft
Citing its usual anonymous supply chain sources, Digitimes on Monday reported that Microsoft called off its plan to mass-produce and launch the Surface Mini tablet back in May. According to the report, the decision to cancel the device was made because the tablet lacked differentiation compared to other small tablets, and also because the company received "negative responses" from its various brand vendor partners.
—Zach Epstein, BGR
Considering the uphill battle they're facing trying to convince people their Surface is superior to a MacBook Air experience, imagine them trying to sell a Surface Mini. There's no way you're going to convince anyone a tablet with an 8-inch screen is going to replace a MacBook Air.
The only thing a Surface Mini could possibly replace is a Zune.
Don't even try to tell me you've forgotten about the Zune already.