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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft has lost the plot and needs an entirely new story.

Microsoft's old story was that it controlled the operating system, the base of the computing pyramid, and because it controlled this base, it would lead computing where it wanted it to go.

That's no longer true. Apple's iOS and Google's Android are both more powerful on clients. Linux is more powerful in the data center. The cloud makes Windows irrelevant.

Figures from NetMarketshare tell the story. Six months after its launch, Windows 8 has a desktop market share of 3%. Its progress is slower than Windows 7, and remember -- this is Windows' "touch" interface. Windows 7 is still all about the mouse.

Figures from Statcounter agree. The market share of all Windows versions is declining as fast as that of Windows 8 is rising, maybe faster.

A "fix" originally called Windows Blue, which ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley now says will be called Windows 8.1, is said to be in the works for summer release. But it's the second verse of a sad old song. It's a patch of asphalt on a road whose foundations are crumbling.

I have been amused by our Rocco Pendola's continuing efforts to fire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. (Look, he does it again here and here, too.) The idea that a former radio DJ (or this aging journalist) knows more about business than a true business legend sounds ludicrous on its face.

And, yes, Ballmer is a legend. I met Ballmer several times "back in the day," as they say, and the Microsoft co-founder is a great sales guy, one of the very best. He understands the channel, he knows the importance of developers, and he deserves to be placed into business history right alongside Bill Gates. Ballmer was the offensive lineman without whom Gates' quarterbacking would have been meaningless.

To continue with the spring football analogies, Ballmer is still running the ball into the line when what's needed is the long pass. In client computing today, passing is all about the interface. Apple has managed to outmanuever Microsoft there, replacing the typewriter-TV-tape recorder paradigm with pure TV, a "touch" interface it defines, that others (including Microsoft) can only copy, weakly.

What lies beyond touch? Gestures. Fingers, hands and arms moving in the air, remote control without the controller.

Microsoft has a play here, called Kinect. Invented in 2005, launched for its game machine in 2010, and for Windows last year, Kinect uses cameras, sensors and software to interpret your movements as computer commands. Microsoft handed it off to developers, who were initially excited by its possibilities. It gives a robot eyes.

But Microsoft didn't develop Kinect further, nor did it push Kinect as a computer product. A start-up called Leap Motion, launched the same year the Kinect first shipped, has done that, and come up with a device no bigger than a USB drive that you can see in this YouTube video.

Although the Kinect works at room distances -- it was designed to compete with Nintendo's Wii game controller -- Leap focuses on hands and fingers, on desktop distances. If you're holding something, Leap will recognize it, turning that object's movements into computer commands. Hold a pencil in the air, make scribbling motions, and Leap will interpret that handwriting.

Even before it launches -- and the product doesn't ship until May 13 -- it has its own app store, called Airspaces. It costs a third of what the Kinect controller does, and because it's not from Microsoft it will work with any device: Macs, iOS, Android, whatever you've got. Plus Windows.

Leap, in short, is what Kinect should have been, and it will take Microsoft's competitors beyond where Kinect can go, even before Kinect gets there.

If that's not losing the plot, I don't know what is. Microsoft needs a quarterback, not a blocking back. Like IBM 30 years ago, it has become vulnerable to the first "kids with a clue" who came along: the guys at Leap Motion.

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The WORLD is wrong, Microsoft and the fanboy patrol are right.

Now you can continue with the proof in the following posts. lol

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A start-up called Leap Motion, launched the same year the Kinect first shipped, has done that, and come up with a device no bigger than a USB drive that you can see in this YouTube video.

We are going to be getting a few of these in soon to work with our CAD programs. Will be nice to see how well it works.

With all he cool mods/hacks people have come up with...it is disappointing MS has not taken Kinect further.

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The entire premise is flawed. Microsoft owns the OS because a) you've got no options to run OSX unless you want to buy the hardware, and b) Office / Outlook / every other business suite runs on Windows.

Unless you're going to break down the Office / Outlook / Sharepoint setup nearly every major company in the world uses, Microsoft has not "lost the plot", much like Windows ME and Vista didn't "lose the plot" even though they were never part of their business world model.

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This article is wrong in so many ways. You can just tell Dana Blankenhorn doesn't know what she's talking about.

Last I heard Kinect 2.0 has some huge improvements

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I'm kind of surprised that Leap Motion wasn't already bought by one of the big players. But I guess it's good for everyone that they weren't.

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I'm kind of surprised that Leap Motion wasn't already bought by one of the big players. But I guess it's good for everyone that they weren't.

Could still happen at some point. If Google or Apple buys them and develops/implements the tech, then MS will have to do something with Kinect and will be once again behind.

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The WORLD is wrong, Microsoft and the fanboy patrol are right.

Naturally.

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i'm looking for NEW incompatibility that WILL introduced in windows 8.1 that would breaks exisiting apps that can previously run on wndows 8/metro.

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i pretty much agree. windows is for noobs and "simple" people. it lacks the aura of creativity apple has to offer or the aura of technology advance linux offers.

basically the same is true for the mobile OS.

also, it seems a bit ironic, that most hardcore gamer prefer a (windows) pc, making microsofts only amazing product - the xbox - less relevant than it should be.

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windows is for noobs and "simple" people.

Probably the most inane thing I've read on Neowin in a while.

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Wow. It's sad that anybody with little knowledge can write an article these days and get it published on a major news outlet.

"Apple's iOS and Google's Android are both more powerful on clients."

Ok... let's see how "powerful" android or iOS are on a client desktop at work.

"The cloud makes Windows irrelevant."

Does she not realize that Windows Azure is Microsoft's cloud platform and infrastructure?

"But Microsoft didn't develop Kinect further, nor did it push Kinect as a computer product"

Uhh... Kinect 2.0?

This author singled out two Microsoft products (Windows, Kinect), gave an uniformed opinion, and concluded that Microsoft doesn't know what they're doing. Wow, such great reporting.

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Ugh. Blankenhorn? Might as well as be an SJVN article...

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microsoft will buy leap, end discussion.

i pretty much agree. windows is for noobs and "simple" people. it lacks the aura of creativity apple has to offer or the aura of technology advance linux offers.

basically the same is true for the mobile OS.

also, it seems a bit ironic, that most hardcore gamer prefer a (windows) pc, making microsofts only amazing product - the xbox - less relevant than it should be.

Guess i'm a noob and "simple" because I prefer gaming on my PC ;) why? because consoles will never have that detail that I want

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Argument against Windows 8: It is a failure because a "touch OS" doesn't belong on the desktop/traditional PC

Argument against Microsoft: It is doomed because iOS/Android are going to make Windows irrelevant.

am I getting it right?

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i pretty much agree. windows is for noobs and "simple" people. it lacks the aura of creativity apple has to offer or the aura of technology advance linux offers.

basically the same is true for the mobile OS.

also, it seems a bit ironic, that most hardcore gamer prefer a (windows) pc, making microsofts only amazing product - the xbox - less relevant than it should be.

Do share how gaming is going on your Lubuntu system there buddy? How about Photoshop/Premier/Music creation/any of a million other things?

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always an amusing read. I've been reading these kinds of articles for the past 2 decades. here's to the next 2. :)

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Do share how gaming is going on your Lubuntu system there buddy? How about Photoshop/Premier/Music creation/any of a million other things?

This gentleman, is what an opinionated response looks like.

QFT

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"Apple's iOS and Google's Android are both more powerful on clients."

Ok... let's see how "powerful" android or iOS are on a client desktop at work.

This is not about desktops. This is about the mobile platforms.

"But Microsoft didn't develop Kinect further, nor did it push Kinect as a computer product"

Uhh... Kinect 2.0?

So much more you can do with Kinect than what MS has put out. 2.0 is nothing to be real excited about. The original connect was coo, at first, but MS has done little to improve it.

This author singled out two Microsoft products (Windows, Kinect), gave an uniformed opinion, and concluded that Microsoft doesn't know what they're doing. Wow, such great reporting.

Its an editorial/opinion piece. Not a real report.

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always an amusing read. I've been reading these kinds of articles for the past 2 decades. here's to the next 2. :)

I'm not saying the article is right, but the computing landscape looks very different today than it did for the past 2 decades...

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Argument against Windows 8: It is a failure because a "touch OS" doesn't belong on the desktop/traditional PC

Argument against Microsoft: It is doomed because iOS/Android are going to make Windows irrelevant.

am I getting it right?

Pretty much yeah! senseless article is senseless

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i pretty much agree. windows is for noobs and "simple" people. it lacks the aura of creativity apple has to offer or the aura of technology advance linux offers.

basically the same is true for the mobile OS.

Care to expand on this?

also, it seems a bit ironic, that most hardcore gamer prefer a (windows) pc, making microsofts only amazing product - the xbox - less relevant than it should be.

Why? Games have always been big on PCs and a lot of gamers prefer a KB/M to play games. There are certain games I like to play with a KB/M but do not with a controller.

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This is not about desktops. This is about the mobile platforms.

So much more you can do with Kinect than what MS has put out. 2.0 is nothing to be real excited about. The original connect was coo, at first, but MS has done little to improve it.

Its an editorial/opinion piece. Not a real report.

Where in the article does it say it's about mobile platforms? Kinect has nothing to do with mobile platforms. This is an article about her thinking Microsoft has lost it's way and she gave two uninformed reasons why. Do you not know how to read and comprehend?

Argument against Windows 8: It is a failure because a "touch OS" doesn't belong on the desktop/traditional PC

Argument against Microsoft: It is doomed because iOS/Android are going to make Windows irrelevant.

am I getting it right?

Pretty much. The author is saying, Windows 8 only has 3% market share. Windows 7 was more popular. iOS and Android work great. Kinect hasn't been implemented everywhere and there is a Leap Motion competitor. Therefore, Microsoft doesn't know what they're doing.

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Where in the article does it say it's about mobile platforms? Kinect has nothing to do with mobile platforms. This is an article about her thinking Microsoft has lost it's way and she gave two uninformed reasons why. Do you not know how to read and comprehend?

Considering there is NO desktop version of Android or iOS, they are talking about the mobile platforms in that instance. Not hard to understand.

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Considering there is NO desktop version of Android or iOS, they are talking about the mobile platforms in that instance. Not hard to understand.

... that's the point... so why is Android or iOS even mentioned when she is talking about Windows 8????? Not hard to understand... but apparently for you.

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