Editorial: Welcome to the new Microsoft

Right now there's a revolution going on at Microsoft: the whole company is changing the way it thinks, and it's bringing in new talent to help it get the job done. A recent article by Reuters highlighted this transformation, and it really got me thinking about how amazing the whole thing is.

Microsoft has gone from top dog to underdog, and they're loving every minute of it. Before you start flaming me, that doesn't mean they're failing, or that people aren't using their products any more - it just means that they've changed the way they think, and the way Ballmer rallies his troops. Those troops have changed, too, and Microsoft is looking less and less like the stodgy old empire that people love to portray it as.

Whether you like Microsoft or not, you have to admit that it's changed over the last few years. Sure, the products are different. Heck, the whole industry is different. But more importantly, the image, the culture, is different. In some ways, Microsoft actually seems, dare I say... cool?

The essence of the new Microsoft

Many would argue that for a while Microsoft allowed its status as an industry behemoth let it grow complacent. Even though I love some of my Microsoft products, there's not a single doubt in my mind that they've released some products over the years that were at best poorly executed, and at worst total messes. If Microsoft was a celebrity, the Zune was a black eye, the Kin was a DUI quickly swept under the rug, and Vista (yes, I know, some people loved it, but the fact is most didn't) was a prison term.

Part of the reason Microsoft's competition - I think Google is Microsoft's new mortal enemy, with Apple being more of a 'frienemy' - was able to create superior products outside the desktop market no doubt has to do with the US Justice Department's anti-trust ruling, which did a lot to keep Microsoft from integrating their products the way their competitors were. Once that barrier was out of the way, Microsoft was free to make sure its products 'just worked' together.

The real wake up call came with the arrival of the iPhone. Microsoft was an early player in the emerging smartphone market, but they didn't see what Apple had coming, or at least they didn't act fast enough to keep from losing most of the smartphone market. We're starting to get a little closer to the present day, and while Microsoft wasn't (and isn't) hurting or losing market share, it's not hard to tell that they're working hard to solidify their place, and expand into new areas. It's definitely an exciting time for Microsoft.


Cool/Not Cool

Part of the reason Microsoft is looking so different now has to do with the ideology. Back in the '90s, when Microsoft leapfrogged the competition and changed the tech landscape forever, the mission was to get a computer on every desk. They definitely succeeded at that, but with that out of the way, it may just be that Microsoft lost sight of where it was going, and busied itself with little too much.

People need a real goal to drive them and keep their morale high. Not just an objective like 'finish this line of code,' but a more abstract idea, whether it's just making the world a better place, or the 'battle between good and evil' that drove Apple in the late '90s and early 2000s, and it needs to be tangible, with a real way to tell when you've made progress.

That goal used to be about improving people's lives through computers, according to former Microsoft exec John Ludwig, who spoke to Reuters in the article I mentioned above. Rather than reworking the quote into some anything fancy, I'll just reproduce the quote here and let the man speak for himself:

I went to work at Microsoft because I believed," said John Ludwig, a senior executive behind the creation of Internet Explorer and Windows 95. "It wasn't about money. I believed in the idea of getting computers in the hands of everybody.

“Young students want inspiration, they want to follow something," said Ludwig, who left Microsoft in 1999 to found Seattle venture capital firm Ignition Partners. "That underdog thing is a powerful motivator - for a lot of great talent, that's an appealing place to be, that feeling of us against the world.

That 'us against the world' feeling has been in Apple's DNA for a long time, thanks to Steve Jobs, and while Apple is fighting to maintain its feisty culture and growing marketshare, Microsoft is able to use the underdog rallying call for the first time in a long, long time. Some divisions really are underdogs (Windows Phone, though growing, is still tiny compared to Android and iOS), but the adventurous spirit and can-do attitude is spreading to other divisions, too, like the good ol' Windows Division. Just look at the cross-innovation occurring between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, which goes way beyond the interface.

If you don't mind me quoting from the Reuters article again (and if you haven't gotten the hint yet, you really, really should check it out), Juan Llanes, an intern from Georgia Tech, says that Microsoft is “a giant start-up battling to innovate while maintaining compatibility. We are underdogs in some areas, and we are strong in other areas with lots of people trying to knock us off. The stakes are incredibly high at Microsoft, and that's the kind of place I want to work.”

From a scrappy phone OS with a rabidly loyal userbase (the Mac of phones? Just kidding), to 'less creepy' alternatives to Google and Facebook, this is the new Microsoft, a giant start-up that just happens to have some of the best resources in the industry.

Images via TechCrunch | Tech Cocktail | Microsoft

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"Whether you like Microsoft or not, you have to admit that it's changed over the last few years." <-- This statement doesn't indicate that it's better or worse. It's just changed. If anything, Microsoft has only become more restricting over the years. Look at how many USB ports that thing has, look at how many CD/DVD slots.

If you want a mouse, too bad. If you want to dual boot or install something else, too bad... No USB or CD.
I don't care if they say they are dying medias- they are still *practical*.

Now I don't generally mind MS, but their "next gen products" are too restricting and basically just keep you from using anything other than MS products.

Those of you thinking that Windows 8 is shoehorning a desktop into a tablet OS, that is *only* if you want to see it that way. If anything, it's the reverse right now - they are shoehorning a tablet into a *desktop* OS - and that actually makes sense. (Okay - you think it's crazy; however, hear me out.)

The forerunner of *everything* is Windows 8 for x86 - in x32 and x64 bitnesses. It has backward compatibility that users demanded (and darn near full backward compatibility at that; it's better at the backward-compatibility metric than Windows 7 - let alone Windows 7 with Service Pack 1). Little applications, medium-sized applications, productivity suites, even workstation applications - if 7 runs it, so can the Release Preview. So far, a grand total of two (repeat - just two) games have failed in the Release Preview so far - and *neither* is Crysis 2.
And *yes* - Windows 8 Release Preview *can* run Crysis; therefore, so much for that.)

"Okay - granted. Then why the tablet-style StartScreen?"

Simple - touch isn't just for tablets and slates. Go to any big-box retailer (or, even better, if there's one nearby, go to MicroCenter). At big-box retailers, touch-screen AIOs (and even touch-screen tower PCs) with screen sizes from 19" up to nearly twice that have been out for over a year. You can even replace your current flat-panel display with a touch flat-panel of the same size for a premium of half the price of a non-touch panel of the same size. That's the case today - and Windows 8 Release Preview bits went on the Internet less than a month ago. The biggest reason is that the StartScreen (unlike the Start menu) can be navigated just as easily with touch as it can be with a mouse - if anything, it's friendlier for mousers than the Start menu.

However, here's the biggest secret to Windows 8 - it's the most keyboard-friendly Windows since (egad) Windows 2000 Professional. Those bemoaning the loss of the Start menu are, by and large, admittedly mouse-jockeys - a trend that, beginning with Windows 2000 Professional, Microsoft actually encouraged. However, that means that if something happened to your mouse (sudden hardware failure - which can happen for all sorts of reasons), you as a user were pretty much SOL. However, there are lots of keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8 - not just the ones that have held on from XP/Vista7, either - but a raft of new shortcuts.

EVH - you sound like one of those that likes super-simplicity, which is, admittedly one reason that console gaming has a lot of fans. However, that same super-simplicity means that all that lovely hardware inside the PS3 is woefully *underutilitized* to give you that super-simplicity. What good are all those multiple processors doing if they are focussed on a single task? (As a case in point, I give you no less than DC Universe Online - it's not just a PS3/PC title, it's a PS3/PC title from Sony itself. What can you do on your PS3 while playing DCUO? Pretty much nit. On the other hand, there is little I *can't* do as a background task while playing the same game on my PC - and it's not even a relatively new PC; in fact, it's older than the PS3. Intel Q6600, 4GB of RAM, AMD HD5450 - basically, portable PC hardware of the XP era in a desktop mid-tower case. Great PS3 hardware - woefully underutilized.)

Notice that I didn't criticize the PS3 hardware -or Sony, for that matter.

myxomatosis - the PC has been more than a business tool since Windows 3.0; it's not anyone's fault that you have not been looking at the impact gaming has had on, of all operating systems, Windows NT - except yours. (Ask no less than fellow Neowinian Chris123NT - he *founded* ntcompatible.com, the original Web home of all NT gaming. The first game *expressly* designed with NT compatibility in mind shipped simultaneously with Windows 95; Microsoft's Fury3 was designed to be playable - as is - on NT 3.51. In fact, Windows NT was, arguably, one of the *last* operating systems to support gaming of any sort - for a long time, UNIX had better support for games than NT.)

The PC is not a single-purpose computer - one could in fact, argue that it never has been - no matter WHAT OS its had on it. While I've been running *mostly* Microsoft operating systems, I haven't always - I've run DOS (MS, DR, IBM, even Novell, Caldera, and FreeDOS), Windows (9x, NT, 2000, XP and later), OS/2, several Linux distributions, and even Solaris, every BSD except GhostBSD, and OS X back to Tiger - I've run them all, done productivity work on them all, and, surprisingly, played games on them all. The operating system doesn't really set the limits on a PC; there's far too much in the way of OS choice for that to be the case - and that's not even *counting* Windows of any sort. It's the PC owner that limits what the PC does.

Everything MS has been doing lately is terrible. They need to just cut their losses on this Metro crap and reboot. WP7 is doing terrible, most people are down on Win8, and Xbox is a mess.

As a gamer, I now use my PS3 whenever possible, because the UI on the 360 is just so ugly and clunky that I can't stand it.

Problem is... I don't want Microsoft to be "cool"... I don't want Microsoft to imitate Apple. I want Microsoft to provide us solid, functional and powerful programs and tools. Animated multicolor tiles are not what I need.

I work with my computer, I'm not a high school kid who wants to be cool by showing his phone, or his tablet.

With Windows 8 and his "cool" interface and all the "cool" bloat, I feel abandoned by Microsoft as a professional.


Sadly, a vast majority of people reading Neowin won't understand what I mean... their computer is an entertainment center, not a work tool.

Edited by myxomatosis, Jun 21 2012, 9:32pm :

It's another money pit and a failure before it even launches. People who use tablets already have one, and they aren't changing brands. They barely sell Xbox in Japan, Americans might be stupid enough to buy it.

Thing is, Microsoft isn't 'cool' anymore.

I don't really like this new Microsoft. I used to be a big supporter of them back when it was "cool" to hate MS, but now I find them to be a very confused and "jump on the bandwagon" kind of company. You only have to look at how many interpretations there are of the direction Windows 8 is heading, and the mish-mash of various UI systems to see how confused things are. I also don't like the way they are trying to make themselves into Apple... I don't want "cool toys" from Microsoft, I want serious devices that serve a purpose and do it well.

Fourjays said,
I don't really like this new Microsoft. I used to be a big supporter of them back when it was "cool" to hate MS, but now I find them to be a very confused and "jump on the bandwagon" kind of company. You only have to look at how many interpretations there are of the direction Windows 8 is heading, and the mish-mash of various UI systems to see how confused things are. I also don't like the way they are trying to make themselves into Apple... I don't want "cool toys" from Microsoft, I want serious devices that serve a purpose and do it well.

Weird you would see it that way, they are actively getting rid of the mis mash of UI systems and everything is going metro\live tile.

They are making everything alot less confused, same UI on all platforms, apps being shared between them, devices working with each other. sound alot less mish mash and more focused then ever before for MS

swanlee said,
Weird you would see it that way, they are actively getting rid of the mis mash of UI systems and everything is going metro\live tile.

They are making everything alot less confused, same UI on all platforms, apps being shared between them, devices working with each other. sound alot less mish mash and more focused then ever before for MS


You really think having the traditional desktop and Metro with both their independent set of apps that offer no interoperability between the two won't be confusing to the average consumer?

i've found microsoft in the past to over-promise and under-deliver...i really hope the real product isn't a stripped down version of the concept.

As Steve Ballmer said, they're taking a huge risk with their new approach (Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, etc.), but when it pays off it'll be great.

I'm also glad for Win8\Metro cause without we'd have the ROW OF ICONS os's from Apple and Google.

Row of Icons now just look so freaking ancient and such a waste of information that could be presented to the user like live tiles do.

I'll be glad when we are past this static row of icons crap that companies pass off as operating systems.

swanlee said,
I'll be glad when we are past this static row of icons crap that companies pass off as operating systems.

I think you're confusing the concept of an operating system with that of an application launcher.

CJEric said,

I think you're confusing the concept of an operating system with that of an application launcher.

No that's pretty much all IOS or the various android OS's are

ROW OF ICONS application launcher,

swanlee said,

No that's pretty much all IOS or the various android OS's are

ROW OF ICONS application launcher,


Again. You're apparently confused about what makes an OS.

If Windows Vista is considered by you to be a prison term, then sign me up. Microsoft sold 350M licenses to Vista. So that at the very least shows more than SOME people liked it. IT people didn't have that much issues bec we had systems that ran the OS properly. Not trying to run them on 5 year old hardware like some people did. Vista's biggest issues were link mainly to OEM non-support. But they suffered big time for it to in low PC sales and low sales of PC add-ons and software. That is why when Windows 7 came, they made sure not to repeat the same mistakes.

KIN failed bec it was a good idea, executed pooly, with an ugly device, that was too expensive.

Anyways, at least we know why MS ditched the courier...The Surface was a better option.

Here is one thing I can bet about Windows 8 Metro. Microsoft ewill sell over 300M licenses for it, and that si just on the laptop/desktop side. Combine the RT sales and MS is looking at it biggest licenses sales EVER1

The ***NEW*** Microsoft is a new power to be reckoned with. Microsoft if you look at history, has always been at their best when they are fighting from behind and are the underdog and they have not disappoint us.

The only problem I see with Windows 8, is a radical change to fast vs using Apple's route and do gradual changes. But I give MS credit for just takign a chance and putting all their chips on the table and not only betting on the winning horse, but actually prepping the horse to increase its own chances of winning.

+1

Vista's "flaws" were drivers that didn't show until long after launch. Of course an OS can be as solid as a rock but if when people upgraded their sound card doesn't work and they couldn't print well it's the new thing that broke it, right?

I've seen a couple of Kin phones in the wild (KINm when vzw blew them out) and the kids really liked them. So yeah tying a smartphone data plan to a bleeding edge feature phone was a mistake.

IMHO Surface is Microsoft's wake up call to OEM's. Yes some have been doing a good job of innovating (e.g. HP Specter, Dell Adamo and the new Vizio line) but they need to do better or all they're going to end up doing is taking design queues from Apple.

TechieXP said,
If Windows Vista is considered by you to be a prison term, then sign me up. Microsoft sold 350M licenses to Vista. So that at the very least shows more than SOME people liked it.

Well, I really wasn't intending to argue about Vista or anything, just point out that it did hurt Microsoft's reputation somewhat with the average person. I don't deny that it had a lot of cool features, but obviously a lot people didn't like it.

The thing is MS has the money, time and patience to dip it's toes in a new poduct field and stay around until it gets it right.

Xbox being a prime example,

Zune was actually a great product but the entire market on portable audio died, but MS used that Zune line to try out it's first widely used metro designs in actual live consumer software and the ZuneHD has a lot in common in design with Surface.

So even a perceived failure like Zune was really the beginning of this new MS.

Apple and Google needs some serious competition and I'm glad MS is their to provide it.

I agree that the Justice Dept is largely responsible for the fact that MS wasn't able to develop a cohesive ecosystem across their product ranges for so many years. It's pretty impressive that they're managing to turn things around so quickly now that the period of oversight has ended.

I disagree that the Zune was a failure and wonder why everyone's so keen to couple it with Kin lately. It's obvious that Zune was only ever meant as a pet project and was never meant to be a mass market, international success. Zune allowed MS to develop a music and video distribution model to bring content to XBox (and soon the PC) and provided hardware to test out the first versions of Metro interface. Without the Zune we wouldn't have Windows Phone or Windows 8.

jakem1 said,
I agree that the Justice Dept is largely responsible for the fact that MS wasn't able to develop a cohesive ecosystem across their product ranges for so many years.

I'm not so sure about that.

Microsoft's divisions have traditionally fought each other as much as they've fought outside competitors. That comic that made the rounds last year: The Org Charts Of All The Major Tech Companies? It's not for nothing that Microsoft's divisions are depicted as mini-corporations pointing guns at each other.

Microsoft has started to pull together lately, but that's largely because it turned into an underdog again in a market dominated by Apple. There's nothing like an external threat to push aside the family squabbles.

There is one major pestilence that *can* be blamed largely on the antitrust settlement: the phenomenon of OEM-preloaded crapware. It's not that crapware didn't exist before, but the antitrust settlement came *just* as OEMs fell under intense price pressure. Thus, Microsoft was prohibited from restricting preloaded software *just* as OEMs started to race-to-the-bottom.

Markets are path-dependent. This sort of thing is easier to stop early on, and very difficult to stop after it becomes the norm. If Microsoft had been allowed to dictate preloads, they could've banned crapware altogether. Then every OEM would be in the same boat, and the industry would've stabilized at computers that cost $30 more but had no crapware. But after crapware became endemic, any company that chooses not to install crapware found itself at a $30 price disadvantage. That's the entire profit margin on commodity PCs!

The antitrust settlement was intended to prevent Microsoft from favoring Word over Wordperfect, Money over Quicken. Except that it didn't even make sense in 2002, because Word had already won and Money had already lost. So it accomplished none of its putative goals -- and instead was written so broadly that it created a right to preload crapware.

Classic case of unintended consequences. Let the lawyers go to work, and ruin the computing experience for hundreds of millions.

Kin was actually made by the same guy who produced Courier.

You have to taker calculated risks, not everything will succeed, just like Apple's failed social network or Google's Chromebooks.

Ballmer FTW

FoxieFoxie said,
Kin was actually made by the same guy who produced Courier.

You have to taker calculated risks, not everything will succeed, just like Apple's failed social network or Google's Chromebooks.

Ballmer FTW

i don't think the kin was a failure because of ms, i think it was because of verizon. they priced data plans way too high for something targeted to youths.

wookietv said,

i don't think the kin was a failure because of ms, i think it was because of verizon. they priced data plans way too high for something targeted to youths.

Bingo. Verzion still is trying to defend themselves to Microsoft on this issue specifically. They felt Microsoft was asking too much of them, and told them to pound sand.

Verizon had invested a lot in the Droid branding, which they license, and they saw everything Microsoft was doing as an attack, even the Kin was considered an attack, as they were pretending to eagerly to sign up for promote it. They didn't bring it into to their retail space for the majority of the markets and talked it down to their sales force before it was released.

The same crap they did with WP7.

A couple of other things to be of concern with Verizon, and their hard ties to Android.

Verizon says they will support WP8, but they also said they would have WP7 devices at launch, and when they had NO interest, the CDMA versions were put on hold because of Verizon. As the CDMA devices were available, Verizon held them up four addtional months, and it as 5-6 months before they themselves started carrying the one model they carry. (Which has been their number one phone when they weigh their technical support time per customer, and is also their top rated phone by customers.)

It is also a phone that they never promoted on their website, and the majority of sales have been through BestBuy and another major retailer, as corporate Verizon stores DO NOT carry the WP7 Trophy, and it wasn't until recently that Verizon retailers could even buy the WP7 Trophy through the normal OEM cell phone providers for Verizon.

Which makes is really hard to have a 'successful phone, when it is hard to obtain than gold. In a city of 400,000 people there were 4 stores we found that had the HTC Trophy for Verizon, and 3 of them were BestBuys.

So after Mango and no new Verizon WP7 devices, they came out and 'officially' said they were waiting for LTE support, and as soon as WP7 offered LTE they would be on board with WP7. Along comes the LTE WP7 devices, and Verizon declines to sell them. (Which hurt two cell providers in talks with Verizon and POed Nokia.) Verizon had LTE devices in testing and in hand in late November 2011, and after a month of dancing around the issue, said NOPE.


So now Verizon says they are going to support WP8. However, just last week, they gave a statement to our company saying they had no future plans for ANY Windows devices. (We have the recording in case anyone doubts this.)

They said that the WP7 device didn't sell well and they were not going to waste their time with any future Windows devices. (This is one week before the WP8 information, and was from a fairly high up VP.)

So I hope Verizon changes their mind, but people live in areas that they DO NOT need Verizon's rural 3G coverage, bail to anyone but Verizon as fast as you can.

I agree that MS has been bolder and daring lately. Windows 8, while it's dividing their userbase, it's a step in a direction that might prove right. Surface it's just awesome and Windows Phone has proven to be great.

sanctified said,
I agree that MS has been bolder and daring lately. Windows 8, while it's dividing their userbase, it's a step in a direction that might prove right. Surface it's just awesome and Windows Phone has proven to be great.

The real successor of WM will be out in few months and called WP8, WP7 was just a stopgap............

sanctified said,
I agree that MS has been bolder and daring lately. Windows 8, while it's dividing their userbase, it's a step in a direction that might prove right. Surface it's just awesome and Windows Phone has proven to be great.

I think the Win8 direction is right, and surface proves it. What I mean is that the general, and thus majority, of computer users are going mobile, the future isn't big bulky desktop towers and big heavy laptops even though those aren't going to go away and will always have a place in the market. The majority is going to be thin, light, and super portable devices with touch as the main interaction method but with the ability, like the Surface, to also use traditional methods to get work done.

Hate it or love it, mobile is the new way computing is going, tablets seem like a fad because nothing other than the iPad has really made a market for itself. I think Win8 will change that, and if the other OEMs step up and make great hardware like MS has shown is possible with the Surface then the future looks great IMO.

BTW, just to prove my point even more, the vast majority of new PCs sold for the past 4-5 years if not longer has been notebooks/laptops compared to big desktop PCs and workstations. Mobile devices is where it's at.

Microsoft is able to use the underdog rallying call for the first time in a long, long time.

While the informed i.e. tech interested people might see it that way, from what I've seen the general public really doesn't. Case in point? Internet Explorer 9, Windows Phone 7 they all failed at turning things around even though both products are in fact much better than previous offerings.

What I don't understand is how a company the size of Microsoft, with vast amounts of money and knowledge in-house, failed so miserably at anticipating the market. They thought the iPod wouldn't be more than a short-lived fad, they said the iPhone would soon take a nosedive in popularity and same for the iPad. Three occasions where they couldn't be more wrong.

Edited by .Neo, Jun 21 2012, 4:26pm :

I still don't see the iPad as more than a short-lived fad. The iPad is great for content consumption, but really not much else. It doesn't interact with the TV very well, it doesn't work so well as a computer for productivity, etc...

I would argue that Microsoft's late approach to shoehorning a full desktop into a tablet is the best idea. And if you are at home, where you already have a 50" content consumption box (aka TV) it doesn't try to duplicate it, rather it extends it.

Anyway, even if the general public doesn't see it yet, I'm sure they will in a few years, just like it took a few years for the iPod to catch on.

[quote=.Neo said,]
While the informed i.e. tech interested people might see it that way, from what I've seen the general public really doesn't. Caquote]

The "informed tech" blogosphere and press barrage of criticism have been responsible for MS finally turning it around actually. Not any one product will turn them around in one product cycle but MS is currently proving that they are not quitters particularly in the face of a non-stop media barrage predicting failure in the face of, great products, and admirable persistence.

This is more fun for me than watching sports, because MS is the underdog, and everyone (in the tech press and blogosphere) is counting them out, when the reality is far from that. In the fast moving tech world, Microsoft does not see failure as a possibility or an option, they see it as a challenge, and I am proud as hell to be an MS fanboy, particularly at this moment in time.

greenwizard88 said,
it doesnt work so well as a computer for productivity, etc...

I have read books written exclusively in the iPad. My work's virtual infrastructure is entirely iPad based and I know at least two companies where their employees use iPad only.

Im very excited about Surface, I might get one and sell my iPad, but to say it doest work well for productivity it's a sign of ignorance.

greenwizard88 said,
It doesn't interact with the TV very well

I don't know if you've had a chance to try it out with an Apple TV, but it's a pretty fantastic experience. Apple expects you to buy into all of their products and ecosystem, while Microsoft takes a more open approach. If you combine the Apple TV with the iPad, you end up having access to way more content than what you can get with, say, Roku. But that's really beside the point.

.Neo said,

While the informed i.e. tech interested people might see it that way, from what I've seen the general public really doesn't. Case in point? Internet Explorer 9, Windows Phone 7 they all failed at turning things around even though both products are in fact much better than previous offerings.

What I don't understand is how a company the size of Microsoft, with vast amounts of money and knowledge in-house, failed so miserably at anticipating the market. They thought the iPod wouldn't be more than a short-lived fad, they said the iPhone would soon take a nosedive in popularity and same for the iPad. Three occasions where they couldn't be more wrong.

I don't think MS ever thought that tablets would be a fad and it's pretty clear that they've been working on the Metro UI (i.e. a simplified UI that would work well on tablets) long before the iPad was released.

jakem1 said,

I don't think MS ever thought that tablets would be a fad and it's pretty clear that they've been working on the Metro UI (i.e. a simplified UI that would work well on tablets) long before the iPad was released.


Is that why Windows 8's Metro is such a refined and sophisticated experience?

greenwizard88 said,
I still don't see the iPad as more than a short-lived fad. The iPad is great for content consumption, but really not much else. It doesn't interact with the TV very well, it doesn't work so well as a computer for productivity, etc…

Yeah people said the same thing about the iPod and iPhone. At some point it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.

greenwizard88 said,
I would argue that Microsoft's late approach to shoehorning a full desktop into a tablet is the best idea. And if you are at home, where you already have a 50" content consumption box (aka TV) it doesn't try to duplicate it, rather it extends it.

Microsoft tried shoehorning the full desktop into a tablet starting Windows XP tablet edition and it failed miserably. The vast majority of consumers told the company "no, we don't want it". The only reason the desktop environment is still in Windows RT is because of Office 2013. Other than that it's about Metro only. In that aspect it really isn't any different from the iPad it's directly competing with. The x86-based tablet competes more with the MacBook Air.

greenwizard88 said,
Anyway, even if the general public doesn't see it yet, I'm sure they will in a few years, just like it took a few years for the iPod to catch on.

See what?

[quote=greenwizard88 said,] It doesn't interact with the TV very well,

Apparently you have not heard about Microsoft's new Smart Glass that was announced at E3. Any tablet will now interact fully with Xbox. Watch a movie on your TV then pull it to your tablet and continue watching from the same place in the movie. Xfinity has an app that allows you to use your tablet like a remite to change channels, set the DVR or watch content. I don't think you have really experienced an iPad and all of it's functionalities.

THolman said,

I don't know if you've had a chance to try it out with an Apple TV, but it's a pretty fantastic experience. Apple expects you to buy into all of their products and ecosystem, while Microsoft takes a more open approach. If you combine the Apple TV with the iPad, you end up having access to way more content than what you can get with, say, Roku. But that's really beside the point.

AppleTV being good or not, wasn't really the person's full point. The interoperability features of iOS devices is poor, and iOS itself has a lot of limits compared to a full OS.

The iPad being a limited OS device and even AppleTV being a limited OS device are long term problems for Apple that they were hoping hardware would deliver them from before Microsoft turned their ship around.

Apple wasn't fast enough, as they wanted to have a full OS X running on the iPad before Microsoft decided to target the market, and is why Apple avoided ever going head to head with TabletPC.


As great/awful the iPad/iPhone/AppleTV may seem, they are iOS based technology and are limited and have a limited shelf life because of the OS choice. It was the same issue and problem WinCE created for Microsoft, and instead of enriching the consumer market, unless WinCE and Windows was 'hidden' completely, WinCE hurt Microsoft. The same is true of iOS, it is just not fully realized yet.

As for AppleTV being great, ya, it is ok when compared to Roku, but people would be smarter to buy any other media device that doesn't have the iTunes lock in, even a $99 BluRay with the App features for all the major content providers would be better.

I personally recommend that if they can afford it, to just get the XBox 360, with the $99 deal with XBox subscription licensing deal or even pay the extra $100 over the cost of AppleTV or Roku. It has far more services, features, and options for content than any other media device out there, and with Kinect is the easiest to use technology that even non-tech users can navigate with their voice or wave of the hand.

thenetavenger said,
AppleTV being good or not, wasn't really the person's full point. The interoperability features of iOS devices is poor, and iOS itself has a lot of limits compared to a full OS.

In what way are the interoperability features of iOS lacking exactly? You'll find Windows RT to be just as limited compared to Windows 8 so the whole point is moot at best.

thenetavenger said,
The iPad being a limited OS device and even AppleTV being a limited OS device are long term problems for Apple that they were hoping hardware would deliver them from before Microsoft turned their ship around.

Again, Windows RT isn't any different in this regard. Tablets running full-blown Windows 8 end up competing with the likes of the MacBook Air (Ultrabooks in general) which also capable of running every desktop OS, if only price-wise.

thenetavenger said,
Apple wasn't fast enough, as they wanted to have a full OS X running on the iPad before Microsoft decided to target the market, and is why Apple avoided ever going head to head with TabletPC.

Apple didn't go head-to-head with the Tablet PC because the concept failed to make an impact within the consumer market. The consumer said "no" to running a traditional desktop OS on a touch screen device, which is the reason Microsoft developed Metro. You're describing the world upside down. Also, you pretending to know what Apple wanted is pretty laughable.

thenetavenger said,
As great/awful the iPad/iPhone/AppleTV may seem, they are iOS based technology and are limited and have a limited shelf life because of the OS choice.

The same can be said of any regular PC. Everything in computer land has a limited shelf life, iOS devices aren't a sudden exception.

sanctified said,

I have read books written exclusively in the iPad. My work's virtual infrastructure is entirely iPad based and I know at least two companies where their employees use iPad only.
.

ipad+vmware view

sanctified said,

I have read books written exclusively in the iPad. My work's virtual infrastructure is entirely iPad based and I know at least two companies where their employees use iPad only.

I'm not doubting the validity of your statement, but I find it quite surprising. Where do you work, and what are those two companies who's employees use only iPads?

I'm curious!

Hambone72 said,

I'm not doubting the validity of your statement, but I find it quite surprising. Where do you work, and what are those two companies who's employees use only iPads?

I'm curious!

I work as a teacher and art researcher at La Salle University here in Mexico. The two companies Im talking about are Grupo Modelo (The makers of that tasty Corona half the world can gulp on weekends) and Maxiprenda (A microfinances company).