Google's Home Hub smart display spotlights another Microsoft failure

Amazon pioneered the progression of voice-controlled ambient computing with its Alexa-powered smart speakers. The Google Assistant-powered Google Home and Apple's Siri-powered HomePod eventually followed. In 2017, Amazon upped the ante with its Amazon Echo Show smart display. The Echo Show brought the ability to display interactive content to the smart speaker battle.

Microsoft was notably absent from this space until the embarrassingly-neglected Cortana-powered Invoke Harman Kardon smart speaker hit store shelves. With little marketing and an assistant with limited skills, mindshare and geographic reach, Microsoft's initially-$200-priced speakers remained unnoticed by consumers. A recent Invoke price cut and Microsoft's repositioning of Cortana as a business-focused assistive agent may signal Microsoft has little intention of recommitting to the consumer-focused ambient computing space.

This would conflict with the company's professed commitment to the professional and personal user across work and play. In a nutshell, Microsoft's recently revisited commitment to users across their professional and personal lives demands Microsoft ensures Cortana-powered ambient computing is available to users at home just as it is at work. Two years ago, Microsoft revealed a Home Hub plan to turn hundreds of millions of Windows 10 PCs into Cortana-powered smart speakers with screens. Microsoft's plan was great, but the execution poor, and competitors like Google introduced products that are everything Microsoft's should have been.

Related: How Amazon and Alexa are crushing Microsoft's Home Hub dreams

Microsoft's Home Hub, a dream deferred

In 2016, we saw Microsoft's vision for smart displays. Unlike rivals, Microsoft wouldn't have to build dedicated smart speakers, try to create a market, and then develop distribution channels to get them to consumers. With a home and business PC install base of more than one billion and a growing Windows 10 presence, Microsoft planned to use software to turn existing Windows 10 PCs into Cortana-powered smart speakers. Microsoft's OEM partners were also expected to create dedicated intelligent displays to complement this strategy.

Microsoft's Home Hub was going to provide families with communal access to calendars, apps, and Sticky Notes via a Welcome Screen on a shared PC. Windows Hello would also recognize users and keep individual data private.

Home Hub was supposed to connect Windows 10 PCs to various smart home devices allowing users to control them via Cortana. Sadly, with the failure of Windows on phone, Microsoft's consumer-facing commitment to Cortana has further waned. With a two-year virtual silence on Home Hub and an apparent lack of interest in making Cortana relevant to consumers, Microsoft's Home Hub dreams seem destined to remain unrealized.

Google Home Hub, a dream realized

During its 2018 "Made by Google" event, Google announced its seven-inch Assistant-powered smart display, Google Home Hub. This diminutive device is three inches smaller than Amazon's latest 10-inch Alexa-powered Echo Show and is bedroom-safe due to the intentional omission of a camera.

The $149 device (opens in new tab) is more affordable than the $230 Alexa Show (opens in new tab). Reports also claim that Google's superior speech recognition supports more natural language and has fewer mistakes than the Echo Show. Still, Alexa's 50,000 skills and the Echo's compatibility with thousands of smart home devices beat Google Home Hub.

Still, even in its shortcomings, Google Home Hub brings the reality of hands-free, voice navigated computing with a display to users in a way Microsoft has not. And though the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View brought Assistant-powered smart displays to market earlier, Google Home does so in a sleeker package.

Microsoft, the dreamer

Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella (Image credit: Windows Central)

Google Home Hub is equipped with far-field microphones, stereo speakers and a seven-inch LCD touch display. From browsing YouTube videos to following recipes and invoking music services, Google's Home Hub will begin impacting consumer behavior in a very real way.

Home Hub features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which allows users to cast their phone content to the device. It also acts as a digital picture frame for users' cloud-based photos when not in use. As "everyone's personal Google," Assistant on Home Hub will continue answering questions effectively as Google leverages its progress in organizing the world's information. Home Hub also connects to smart home gadgets and provides a Home View Dashboard of the entire state of a smart home. No longer will users have to access separate apps to control connected devices.

As Google brings all of this and more to users on its first-gen smart display, Microsoft's Home Hub dreams may remain an unknown concept and yet another frustrating miss Microsoft watchers can add to Redmond's pile of what could have been.

Jason Ward

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

87 Comments
  • Again, sad, sad Microsoft...such a waste..Will continue till new CEO or Out of Business..
  • I think JW hit the nail on the head with the caption under the picture above. MS’ concept versus Googles reality. That’s Nadella’s Achilles heel. He’s too much of an philosopher and not enough getting it done kind of guy. With Nadella at the helm MS will continue to dream big about a brave new world and wax poetic about Technology’s role in mankind’s future, while all the while Google’s rubber is actually hitting the road. Nadella’s actually spot on when he says there will one day be an intelligent edge. It’s just that Google will be master of it!
  • I think Nadellas Achilles heel is his reliance on OEMs. The home hub screen was enthusiastically announced with "OEMs will have them out soon" two years later, silence from the OEMs. Microsoft Band, same thing. Smart speaker, same thing, (aside from Harmon Kardon). Mobile, same thing, (except HP but they focused on the enterprise. Alcatel also, but they are too small to make a difference) The OEMs are killing Microsoft's efforts. It's time Microsoft took future hardware releases into its own hands. That will ensure their future software gets market share to make the OEMs start listening. Just look at how many devices are adding Alexa support. Amazon didn't wait for OEMs to make and market the Echo. Now 4 years after they released the Echo there is sufficient mind share that OEMs are adding Alexa (software) to car stereos, MP3 players, toasters, refrigerators, etc. Amazon didn't need to inspire OEMs. They just made it so hard to ignore, that OEMs determined to find ways to use the software in their own hardware. Microsoft did the same thing with the original surface. They marketed it. Got agreements with the NFL. They made it hard to ignore. Then, many years later we started to see surface look-alikes. But before we saw look alikes, we saw innovation like 360 2 in 1's. They inspired the OEMs to think big, but the OEMs then made their own innovations. Relatively few OEMs have outright copied the surface design in 6 years. Now, it feels like Microsoft just says, look at this prototype, now go build it. Microsoft's inspire-the-industry hardware culture is hurting the future of their own software.
  • Microsoft is in it mostly for patents. They don't need products, they make money from others. And they really don't care about consumers, Microsoft is first and foremost a business company. Don't be fooled by Xbox, it's just another way to monetize Azure outside of office hours. Can use the same servers for companies from 6 am to 6 pm and for games from 6 pm to 6 am (sort of). If they were interested in the consumer market they could easily get in. They have the money reserves to do it. But really, when Microsoft releases an innovative product you know they are likely to cancel it two years later because of no consumer interest - even though the true reasons are Microsofts half measures. They will fail just the same in augmented reality. They think they are Apple with pricing, that kills every momentum because they lack everything that "makes" Apple. They will just keep selling $3000 HoloLens devices to developers that don't even get a market to sell their software to. You need to spend money to make money. Microsoft doesn't like spending money except for overpriced companies.
  • Its sad how many opportunities Microsoft keeps missing...
  • If Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, etc. announce an Andromeda-like device before Microsoft can announce their own Andromeda device, I give up. Microsoft had a significant head start and still managed to blow it. Andromeda was planned for a spring 2018 launch. Now it’s maybe late 2019?
  • Now it is never happening, it's time to admit it and stop expecting MSFT to correct their mistakes. Cortana will become new Clippy and will be cancelled soon after.
  • Even if Microsoft ever makes it, it will be hobbled by no developer support. There will be no apps for it, so it will just be an overpriced web browser. It doesn't make any sense for Microsoft to launch such a product when they know it can't be successful.
  • Wow, you haven't given up already?
  • Samsung and Huawei already hinted a foldable smart phone which are to be revealed very soon. Microsoft is not even ready to talk about Andromeda. I think we can add one more nail to Microsoft's coffin.
  • It is dead. Andromeda ain't going to happen.
  • As long as CORTANA lags behind everyone else they're done in that space. TRUTH! Microsoft is making money and going to make much more but not with consumers. Amazon, Google and Apple is where its at and going. Unless they release something EXORDINARY that no one expects and google doesn't pay an engineer 20 million for the info first. TRUTH!
  • What's more, Google Assistant works across many countries already, hearing and understanding many languages at once, while MS is still clinging to its "USA only" behavior. Shame on you Microsoft
  • They have to catch on in the US first. What is the point other otherwise? If it doesn't catch on here, how do you justify expanding the footprint. You expend success, not failure. Google Assistant also started with a very narrow release and spread from their when it was proved to be worthwhile.
  • US is not the whole world! Launch your product in other country's and see where it sells/ used the most. Then concentrate on that area for that product. Not the MS way: It's not populair in US, but is populair in the rest of the planet, so we cancel it...
  • That sounds nice, I wish it was true, but you need US if you want developers to pay attention. When it comes down to it, US is what matters. US is where you make the money. Just look at Apple if you don't agree.
  • I don't agree. Like I said before: US is not the whole world! I think your view of the world is as narrow as MS view of the world.
  • Like Windows Phone you mean? Popular in Europa, not so much in US.
  • Exactly. Take Estonia for example. MSFT buys Skype, an Estonian company, guts it, turns it in to a joke all the while ignoring the mere existence of Estonia.
  • Side note: Skype was actually a Swedish company. But the software was made in conjunction with Estonians.
  • Selling well for 1 year in Italy and Spain is NOT "Popular in Europe". They were never out of single digit user base. They were also never "popular" anywhere else on the planet.
  • A toe hold is better than no hold at all. Ever been climbing?
    I've been on Android for a year, it's OK, launcher/etc. improving all the time.
    I setup someone's Lumia 640XL for them the other day and I though how cool it was. Such familiarity with Windows across the board would have been great.
    Having said that, I think having such a presence on Android wouldn't have happened with the existence of a Win mob, and a whole bunch of Microsoft users (customers) would have been missed.
  • So why is it that Microsoft never gets to the point that they can expand to more countries when others can? Most (all?) consumer products have failed and when it comes to speech it's just miserable. Microsoft have supported this in a lot of products, Windows, Kinect, Mobile/Phone, Cortana. For each product it's as if they have to start from scratch and use it as an excuse not to target more languages. I gave up when my 950 XL hit the floor one time too many and I now have Google Home that understands Swedish and can recognize each family member. It's far from perfect but improves every day. It's what I thought Cortana would be and more. I have used Home Server, Media Center, Windows Phones/Mobile, Surface RT, MS Band etc. The list goes on and they have all been cancelled because they never delivered all the way. My TVs are either using Chromecast or Android TV now and for a very low investment I have a smart home with good support and lots of 3rd party solutions. This is what I expected Microscoft to deliver and if they had, everyone of these products would have been running a Microsoft software. Unfortunately, that's not an option.
  • USA only, while Google takes the whole world..
  • Google took the US first, then moved to the whole world. That is how you do it. If you can't get the US, the rest of the world doesn't really matter.
  • I admire your patriotism bleached but the usa is really a quite small part of the world market. Sure, profit per unit is higher in the usa but there are about 6 billion people of the world and the usa has perhaps 350 million. The rest of the world is getting richer and the demand for tech is growing to the point that at least one Chinese company is doing very nicely selling smartphones into only Africa. What you say was certainly true a few years ago but the market is changing, FAST. MS simply has to adapt and move on from its usa only approach.
  • The world market I full of thirsworld and developing nations. The US is a big part of the world market due to how many people you have access to with very little regulatory hurdles. It's one country with 350M+ people who have relatively high standard of living and disposable income. That's why Apple is the first 1T company with 40% US marketshare and near absence in other markets where Android OEMs dominate. Markets like the US, Japan, Korea, etc. are extremely important, u less you aren't trying to turn much profit. Additionally, getting voice assistants to work well for languages that are less homogenized than English is a massive undertaking. English has relatively little dialectal disparities compared to languages like Italian, German, Swedish, and others. There is also the issue of laws and regulations. It's often easier for products to launch in he host country. With both MS and Google (and Apple) being US companies, they tend to launch new features and products here first; u less they started negotiating these things well before product launch. EU I t really friendly to either MS or Google, so they aren't going to risk fines because some internet posters want features. Ask your government to be less abrasive, and things my come sooner.
  • Unless you aren't trying to generate a profit. I agree to a point. If you have no horse in the race then you make zero profit. I can also point to the chinese company that produces mid and low end smartphones in China and sells only in Africa. Small profit per unit BUT big company profit.
  • This is more soever reason that MS fans/watchers should not weave dreams based on promotional/concept material from MS.
  • Cause MSFT will never have the agility or balls to follow through. Hell, they can't even make a decent touch keyboard for Windows 10. How are we talking about innovative new tech that actually is nice to use from day 1?
  • yeah exactly cant even design a decent experience and they talk abt being the worlds computer and then WC makes a big deal abt it.
  • Google may be pushing ahead of Microsoft, but to say that it is "everyone's" personal assistant is a big stretch. If Microsoft wants to fight back in an information battle then they can point to the fact that Google Home does not even talk to their own GSuite customers. It is unable to read the calendar of professionals that use Google's own paid service. They have indicated that that is for "security" reasons but you would think that they would have found a way in the last couple years to make this new technology talk to their own systems.
  • It's a consumer market product. This is like expecting an XBox to do medical imaging. You are severely playing down the security implications, because you seem to think only startups with no valuable secrets use G Suite. No one wants a Google Home displaying business information in plain site simply because someone responded to an email. Consumer market is where the most sales are possible for this, and where they have chosen to focus. Apple has done the same with their products. No one complains about it
  • Ding ding
  • Good to see Jason become increasingly cynical and disappointed. That is the journey of many a Microsoft fan.
  • 😂
  • He's giving constructive criticism as always. But yeah, as a fellow MSFT fan I can see it evolve in his articles, the disappointment and frustration...
  • He's giving constructive criticism as he always does. But yeah, as a fellow MSFT fan I can see it evolve in his articles, the disappointment and frustration.
  • 😂 lol. Sure, you guys have seen a bit more constructive criticism of late, but take a look at my portfolio. It's not new. I started writing for WC in 2015 and have talked about the long-term negative effects of Microsoft's low-end Window's Phone push, the lack of cool factor, failure to push AR, abandoning consumers, failure to use available tools to address the app gap, the poor choice of focusing Windows Phone on enterprise (did a who series on that), losing ground to Apple and Google in AR, not pushing its dual user personal/professional mission, repositioning Cortana toward business and away from consumers, dropping or failing with a host of products, Nadella cutting ✂ many of the things consumers love, the lose of a lot of great features of Windows Phone 8 with 8.1s launch (Ode to Windows Phone 8) and SO much more. I definitely get why there is an assumption that my work is only about unbridled optimism. For one, much of my analysis that clearly presents an analysis of that explains what MS is doing and what their desired outcomes are, are often confused with pure optimism rather than a presentation trying to help audiences understand what MS is doing and what they want to happen.😉 Two, I am a generally positive person and have written positive peices that don't follow the "hate" Microsoft rant style that permeates the web. Three, many readers have very short memories for certain content 🙂 as they voraciously jumped from site to site and social media account to social media account devouring the latest news or analysis. In such a context, generally speaking, a narrow view of particular authors is formed based on content that impacted readers in some way and elements of the authors personality that leaked through.😉 Often in this rat race of following tech, pieces rom that SAME author that don't resonate with that same perception that has been etched in readers minds are either forgotten, skimmed or skipped entirely. And readers are left with a one dimensional view though the author has indeed provided content other than that which he/she is assumed to ve limited to. In my case, I've shared above a bunch of topics I've written about, that have been constructively critical of Microsoft ir where I've expressed disappointment that goes back years. Sure, I admit, it's a tad more frequent now for sure😄, but definitely not new.😄 Here take a walk down memory lane: Www.windowscenteal.com/author/jason-ward
  • Thanks JW. I do feel like it's a journalists job to hold people accountable when appropriate. Maybe you could talk to Zac and Dan. :0) Usually love their stuff too, but lately seems like they think MS can do no wrong. Have been enjoying Jez's articles lately though. He wrote a piece about the endless, mind numbing, number of patents MS puts out on Andromeda lately that had me rolling on the floor laughing. The glacial pace at which MS moves is a problem that should be called out when appropriate. For crying out loud it's 3 years now that we've been without a pocketable device! How can we enter this brave new world of IOT and the intelligent edge when the only devices running Windows on the intelligent edge are laptops and desktops? MS needs to start acting like an underdog, because frankly I think they are one now. They need some hustle. Less talk, more action. Or they will end up a boring stodgy old IBM like I suspect most of us fans and developers fear right now.
  • That's a good point jpl44 - Microsoft active in developing the OS from the datacentre to IoT - but let's skip the pocket!
  • Failure of Windows on Phone?
    Not, really Microsoft was well positioned by Steve Ballmer to take Windows On Phone to the next level. But due to mismanagement, reliance on telemetry data. double speak and layoffs under Satya Nadella. Windows phones failed as all momentum was nullified. Furthermore the total lack of comittment to UWP visibly ment there was no appetite from developers and without a solid backbone of UWP apps the Windows app store didn't gain the mass momentum Microsoft envisaged. In addition the constant re-orgs and lay offs means continuity of projects falls drastically. All of this is spun in a way that reflects "positively" on the stock prices but in reality it adversely affects Microsoft's ability to capitalise on the talent and the engineering know how - thus by extension Windows became eclipsed by Android as the most interacted o/s. As well as drastically affecting o/s development and the speed to market. I applaud the fact Microsoft has open sourced 60k patents. However, they also need to focus on creating a viable ecosystem of devices, services and apps to showcase their "worlds computer" pursuit. If they continue to place their eggs in the ios and android baskets, they will be eclipsed and pincered.
  • Steve Balmer well positioned Windows phone?! It didn't grow for years. There was no momentum. The slight momentum created by the L520 was short lived as those buyers didn't upgrade to newer Windows phones. Windows phone was dead when Sataya took over. The best he could hope for was keeping them around as something to point to for UWP developers. It wasn't very strong even in that regards. They probably still would have ignored UWP.
  • As always bleached you seem unable to see past the lower 48. Nadella shut down lumia even though it had a foothold in Europe, was massive in India and very strong in the growing markets of south east asia. The usa is not the world, no matter how much folks would like it to be.
  • LX, so true. I, for one, am dreading the day my L950xl will die. After that I will replace the dead battery in my L1520, and when it dies (I may live forever cause its Nokia, and they make a solid phone) then I will have to decide between iOS and Android, and it like choosing between shait and vomit...
  • I took the vomit that is Android.
  • One day, these failures will kick Satya right in the nuts and i hope it hurts...a lot.
  • Hey Jason, the tone towards Microsoft seems to be taking a skeptical turn in the last 60 days (haha). But.. I'm not sure the absence of the Phone weakened what Cortana could have become present-day. Amazon didn't find success with their phone but they recognized that having an assistant was not enough, nor was doing cool things on a mobile device like tracking packages and reminding a user of things... They jumped on the hub mentality of controlling the things that people interact with the most: lights, fans, motion. Being able to connect these devices directly to Alexa strengthened their offering of a Dot that would otherwise be akin to talking to a bot on a computer. Cortana took forever to get this feature and even so, is still lacking the portfolio without the use of a 3rd party hub. If I didn't have SmartThings, Cortana would have lost 90% of it's usefulness to me. I had hoped last year I would have had or be planning to get a Home Hub, same as the Glas. This is why I have struggled to be engaged in yours and others Andromeda articles because announcements don't mean much, anything can be announced. Release dates and real images gain my attention. I can appreciate other companies acknowledging their prototypes and having consistent releases. Even with the headphones, I'm hesitant, but knowing it will be released, I'm sure as hell going to keep an eye on them if they have a price cut like the Invokes did last year (which is why I have 3). Anyways, is your take really that the absence of a mobile device really slowed Cortana, or partner-device integrations with hub capabilities did?
  • Yes, another missed opportunity to please the masses. Or in my view, exploit them. As an IT pro who works way beyond a normal 40-hour work week, I have no need for these always-listening "assistants." Amazingly, despite not having one at home, all my lights still work, the coffee pot still brews, the fridge still keeps food cold, the HVAC still turns off and on at preset times, my lawn sprinklers still do their thing, and I can still control my TV. All without having to shout at some gadget to make these things happen. I have an Invoke speaker, but only use it for Bluetooth, not Cortana. Just attach it to a temp wi-fi during setup to get far enough along to enable Bluetooth pairing, then disable that wi-fi account. Without an "assistant", I have a full home network with over 20 devices on it, a separate home IT test lab, and I manage 120 users and almost 300 networked devices at the office just fine. I'm also not surprised by the recent article about the dangers of privacy violations to ALL based on how many have voluntarily sent their DNA to some company. People are literally waiting in line to hand over almost ALL of their privacy and personal details to corporations (in fact, paying them for the ability to do it), and they don't even seem to realize that is what they are doing. How long before those car insurance company OBDII monitors become mandatory, rather than just qualifying us for some discount? There is a great meme that says, "What Orwell failed to predict is that we would buy the cameras ourselves, and our biggest fear would be that nobody is watching. I work in IT. I'm not some doomsday prepper anti-tech nut. I like tech and gadgets. I have a lot of them. But I'm also judicious with what I use and how I use it, and carefully weigh any proposed "benefit" with the not-always-obvious costs and compromises of having those things.
  • I'm starting to feel the same and have taken up encrypted services. However, it's probably too late, the amount of data they already have on me would be quite enough to form a profile etc, etc. I do think it's quite handy to have an assistant that finds music for you based on voice command.
  • Well, to be honest there is no escaping it as you need a bank account to literally "exist" as without it you cannot be paid wages nor can you purchase many goods and services - the most prominent one being an internet connection and without an internet connection there is not much you can do. Furthermore, the days of paper CVs / Resumes are gone - you have to apply online for almost all jobs and many portables have laughable security at best. Which is why the New GDPR policy mandated by the EU was put in place, it places a very large precedent on the fact that individuals have the right to privacy in this digital world. There are many measures that a company must put in place for employees and IT infrastructure if they are to be compliant. Long story short, data confidentiality and access plays a major role - for example when a person leaves employment they have to literally purge all client data off their phones and devices.
  • Said it a long time ago, Satya Nadella has taken MS as far as his talent allows him to go. Need someone with courage and forseight to release hardware, take the hit on version 1 and 2, refine, refine and nail it as a viable alternative by versions 3, 4 and beyond. Id never thought of saying this but im eyeing up Googles services over MS for my business! WTF!!!
  • Android is free for Google to rule everyone, I hate that for one to succeed another must die =/
  • They have Azure. What else do they need. /s
  • Why do we even bother following what Ms says is going to do. For 6 years everything they've said theyll do hasn't worked out.
  • MSFT is not a consumer company. I don't know anyone that uses Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or google. Not my kids, not my friends. Does anyone make money on these devices? Do they make money selling the devices? Do they make money from services? Does anyone trust Google not to sell your soul to advertisers? Not only does Google have your email and search history. Now they will be able to see how you walk around your house. These devices are by and large toys. I do agree that MSFT should have done something with Phones. They could have kept WP 8.1 and avoided W10M until they had W10 up and running. They could have kept selling phones at a price that kept them from losing money on each device. MSFT is now the largest seller of PC type devices in the US and gaining worldwide. They are now selling high-end headphones. So, they know how to design and market devices. You would think they would do so with phones. My 950 still works fine What is it about Phones that they can't figure out? It has to be the OS and software. I guess they just could not merge the CISC OS with the RISC OS. Is Windows-on-ARM a thing? They say so. But Qualcomm has more work to do on its Snapdragon to allow sufficient performance for productivity type tasks. Clearly, MSFT is focused on the Cloud and services through Office 365/Azure. At some point, WCOS and CSHELL would eliminate the differences between any computing device except for the limitations imposed by the form factor. Which brings me to the simple point. They should have sold the 650, 850 and 950 (low medium high) running 8.1 or W10M until they fully completed the transition to always connected Windows devices. They the form factor would have mattered only to the individual. The software and services powering the device would justify the market presence. Surface 3 failed because Intel failed with Atom. Surface Go may succeed because Intel was able to produce a chip (in 1st qtr 2017) to make a reasonable small Surface form factor. I am still waiting on Go LTE. But Go is a full Windows OS, not an ARM OS. Maybe we just have to wait another year or so for the Intel chips to be efficient enough to power a phone. Maybe that is when Intel can make a 10nm chip that runs on 2.5 watts, not like the Go running at 5 watts (or is it 4.5 watts?).
  • The way MS is trending I'd say they want to be the IBM or Silicon Graphics for the New Century.
  • No point crying over what could have been. MSFT are DONE in this market. I'm hoping Bixby improves as I plan to get the Samsung Speaker.
  • Let's all agree that MSFT dropped the ball on just about everything recently in the past 5 years. But they still making money on Azure and cloud computing. They gonna ride that out.
  • Problem is, Amazon is doing better then Microsoft in the cloud, and it's not looking to change soon. Ms at this point is a company doomed to failure.
  • They dropped a lot of balls, but they had successes too. Surface seems to be doing OK.
  • The mobile area is a big one where they dropped the ball (again) and one that will kick them in several places (it's already doing so).
  • When it comes to implementing technology, MS is a failure. Why anyone would anxiously await the so called Surface Phone is beyond me. Haven't you been kicked in the balls enough?
  • Iep. I'm 98% sure no Andromeda will ever be released, but if by some magic it will, I will not buy it until it is at least on 3rd or 4th gen.
  • It would be a miracle just so see 1st gen reach on year of support and commitment :)), let alone see 2nd..3rd gen released.
  • Don't you love the body language on Nadella. It just reeks, to me of a man who realises that he's made huge mistakes and is screaming WHY did someone not stop me?
  • Appears that Cortana moving into the Office suite so that probably means the consumer side is pretty much dead. Other then Xbox Microsoft has never had much success in consumer products. After failures like Zune, Windows phones, Microsoft seems destine to add to that list of failures.
  • Cortana is integrated with the Surface Headphones that haven't even been released yet.
  • And yet MS will likely announce massive profits again. The CEO is responsible for one thing - keeping shareholders happy. By no means is he failing in that.
  • That's the sort of talk that's reminding me of IBM back when they started their long slide to consumer irrelevance. Well, MS won't matter to a lot of the 'plankowners' of personal computing soon enough, either attrition or senility, so no real loss as other, more responsive and agile companies fill the gap.
  • At some point in the future Amazon or Google will buy Microsoft for the patents and sell off the rest.
  • My experience with MS has been that they've really cemented commercial success by having a cadre of personal users who filled the holes in keeping co-workers from throwing their equipment out the window due to MS failures in software, at both work and in their homes, or kept management happy by running below-the-radar projects such as Access databases and the like to avoid the death grip of corporate IT 'experts'. MS is abandoning that pool of talent and think they can just ramrod things through via the wonks in IT, who are pursuing their own agendas at the expense of actual users in too many cases. Quite frankly, if I didn't have decades of Windows experience from IBM DOS to present, I'd never have bought into the Surface ecology and would not continue with it. MS doesn't not value anything but corporate anymore, and the 'hobbyist' base is eroding as people either get tired of swimming upstream or die off. People will now take the easy way into digital-space, and Apple is far better at pretending the consumer is important.
  • As long as Cortana remain as bad as she is, this won't be a viable Avenue for Microsoft. Amazon and especially Google have been much, much better at getting their web services in order and courting both consumers and developers. Unless is going to sit on a CEO's desk, I can't think of a reason to buy a Cortana smart display over one with Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, or even Bixby - to be Frank. Aside from productivity software (i.e. Office), Microsoft's ecosystem isn't even that attractive. Desktop OSes are not a major focus for most consumers (work determines requirements there, otherwise you choose based on income, gaming, preference, or other owned devices). Microsoft needs a cheap STB or streaming device. XBox One is too expensive and bulky. They need mobile Movies & TV, Photos, Music, and eBook/Audiobook apps. Cortana needs to be better, especially on iOS devices. They need some sort of smartwatch or fitness tracker. Google has all of this: Assistant, Photos, Play Music/Books/Movies & TV, Play Store, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Google Duo Amazon has much of this: Photos, Music, Alexa (incl. Video Chat), Kindle, Audible, Prime Video, Appstore (better than nothing) Both of those already have cheap streaming devices like Chromecast and Fire TV Stick. Both of those have cheap smart speakers (Home Mini, Echo Dot), as well as higher end SKUs. Googke has WearOS and Google Fit, which can interoperable with this stuff and display health updates, etc., maybe (even if in the future...) They are just better set up for this than Microsoft is. Cortana only seems useful as a business tool, in the realm of Microsoft's enterprise services like Office 365, Teams, etc. Refusing to develop needed apps and closing down consumer services like Groove music is a problem. A Microsoft smart display would only be useful to me if they partnered with Amazon for their media services and Alexa, and Amazon will probably have cheaper prices than the surface brand... so why would I ever care about this?
  • MS seems to be living in their own fantasy world where everyone loves their bugfest OS, and waits forever for their next big things that never come to life, or when some do come, are never supported and are half baked.
  • yes I know it is time Jourh Tech LLC Home Hub. lol
  • Microsofts apparently views the consumer space as a hobby. Other than possibly the Xbox, I cannot think of one product where they strive to be a significant player.
  • Will Microsoft still be in existence in ten years? They have been failing on so many levels recently.
  • Interesting Jason Ward. Thanks for the insight. I guess it's good that they tried. At the least. Makes them look inadequate though to bring anything to the table that they are not already familiar with or even invested in.
  • "Microsoft's Home Hub dreams may remain an unknown concept and yet another frustrating miss Microsoft watchers can add to Redmond's pile of what could have been." The reason for all of this is simple. MS STILL has no viable lightweight MOBILE OS. Too many people here would demand that a Microsoft "seven-inch Assistant-powered smart display" has to be running "full Windows 10 because I need to be able to run Visual Studio on it". Uh huh. Right. This is demonstrated by the following absurd idea. "With a home and business PC install base of more than one billion and a growing Windows 10 presence, Microsoft planned to use software to turn existing Windows 10 PCs into Cortana-powered smart speakers" That is possibly the dumbest idea I have ever heard. As usual, Microsoft's idea is Windows 10 Everywhere. "Microsoft's OEM partners were also expected to create dedicated intelligent displays to complement this strategy." OK, maybe THAT is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. These OEMs were expected to do what? Use Windows 10, Intel CPUs with fans, 8gb of RAM and 256GB SSDs to do this? Why in the world would anyone build such a device running Windows? To have it blue screen after an update? Unfortunately for Microsoft, the PC market is shrinking. For the last 7 years. That anyone would think the above are good ideas speaks volumes about the disconnect between MS and the real world. Microsoft continues to talk about Strategies and The Future and The Next Big Thing. Other companies produce products that one can actually buy today. Products that, BTW, have nothing to do with Windows 10 PCs, and everything to do with phones and MOBILE software.
  • One of the most realistic comments here. Good point! But many fanboys here will anyway disagree with you because, well, ..fanboys.
  • It seems MS is focusing on Enterprise only. If that is the strategy, why not say it.
    Or come out strongly for consumer goods, and commit (bring out a product)?
  • :)) As usual for Microsoft, losers! They always dream of the next big thing, while failing monumentally in the present day. Pathetic. Failure and mediocrity are MS's middle names.
  • Amazon has Retail, Google has Search and Phones. Microsoft have PCs and PCs are terrible places for mobiel orientated virtual assistants.
  • I'd love this Cortana experience to be my PC's Lock Screen. Why can't they do this? When I'm not using the PC it can be a Virtual Assistant.
  • Google Hangout and soon Google+ ares now enterprise only after Google gave up trying to pitch them to consumers. I don't see this as a problem. Like phones Microsoft have realised they'll struggle to compete here so are concentrating on areas they can compete and excel like Surface.
  • I would be easy to blame the failures to lack of insight with MSFT's mobile endeavors but then again Amazon doesn't have a mobile device and they are doing extremely well in this space. So the question begs to what do we blame this on? Well again, we have to look at this from a holistic perspective. It's about market share value and earnings. MSFT is still setting record highs in those categories, so in the eyes of investors, MSFT is going just fine. What's particularly fun about using a MSFT item these days? Ask around and see what answers you get. MSFT is all about efficiency and if it's not efficient, it will slowly decay into non-existence. The only problem I have with that view is that you have the power to make something efficient, by initially making in relevant to as many people as you can. The Surface team is taking over more production of the products that are making profits to MSFT, most recently being Xbox. Perhaps that team needs to be in charge of advertisement as well, because MSFT has needed an adrenaline shot for the past two decades in that department. So here we are with the announcement of the Surface headphones which look like an amazing piece of hardware. I'm going to get a pair, but that's because I'm immersed in the ecosystem from Idol 4S, to Surface 3, to Xbox. The problem is, who else would buy these, and more importantly who else would know they even exist? These headphones seem to be part of the Andromeda brand so it'll be interesting to see who happens this time next year. Perhaps MSFT is still looking at pitching some form of ambient computing that bring a coalition of information into across a gambit of devices centered around the Windows 10 framework that. If the patents and rumors hold more truth than wishful thinking, the foldable device could just be what brings it all together. Otherwise, why release headphones with Cortana in the first place if you don't plan on pursuing a personal avenue? Nadella has done a lot more good than bad for MSFT. Remember in business even dreams cost money.
  • Again, after throwing things like Cortana and IoT's to the back seat and ditching products like W10M, nobody is surprised. Nobody.