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How Amazon and Alexa are extinguishing Microsoft's IoT ambitions

Computing is shifting from a device-focused to ambient-computing paradigm. Ambient computing is where computers of various shapes and sizes are part of our environments, as Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can perceive us and respond to our commands.

Many tasks that have historically been done on smartphones are now being done via smart speakers like Amazon's Echo. With 50,000 "skills" and integration with a growing list of apps and businesses, Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, is the industry-leading ambient computing device. Its position is so pervasive that Microsoft recently began piggy-backing its less-popular digital assistant Cortana on the consumer-focused Amazon Echo.

Ambient computing, via billions of IoT devices on the intelligent edge, is expected to become the norm in the coming years. Thus, Microsoft developed an ambitious two-pronged strategy to secure its future. Via a platform approach, it's providing infrastructure-building industry tools, like Azure IoT Hub and Azure Sphere, that will enable and secure ambient computing. Microsoft's "front-end" to this strategy is the unreleased Home Hub. Home Hub reportedly aims to turn Windows 10 PCs into smart-home-connected, Cortana-powered smart speakers with screens. While we wait for this to show up, Amazon is putting Alexa into everything from microwaves to clocks.

Time may be running out for Microsoft.

What Home Hub dreams may come

Home Hub Welcome Screen concept.

Home Hub Welcome Screen concept.

In 2016, we learned of Microsoft's ambitious Home Hub vision. Via a software approach, Microsoft hoped to turn its growing Windows 10 install base into an army of smart-speakers with screens to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home. OEMs were also expected to jump on board with all-in-one touch-screen devices with a Home Hub focus. Home Hub was expected to provide connectivity to smart homes allowing users to command Cortana to adjusts lights, manipulate locks, and more.

Furthermore, Home Hub would allow families to share the same PC, and relevant information like calendars or shared apps, but secure individual data through Windows Hello. A new Welcome Screen was to be the default, making viewing a shared calendar or sticky notes easy for a family as they used the device from a communal location.

Additionally, Cortana was expected to play a critical role in Home Hub by recognizing users and facilitating tasks. Though the timetable for Home Hub was never publicly etched in stone, there was an expectation that 2018 would bring some of Home Hub home to the masses. The little we've heard on the Home Hub front, combined with Microsoft's shift of Cortana (a key component of its functionality) away from consumers, is telling of it's likely less than optimal progress. Conversely, Amazon's recent release of a bevy of Alexa-powered products is driving Amazon's ambient computing advantage home for the masses.

Amazon's Alexa is everywhere

On September 20, Amazon announced a refresh to its Echo smart speaker line along with several new products. An Alexa-powered microwave and clock were among the products Amazon presented as part of its strategy to make Alexa the user interface for the age of ambient computing.

The affordable $50 Echo Dot brings improved audio while the $150 Echo Plus added that and the ability to control smart home devices without Wi-Fi. Echo Auto will bring Alexa to our cars for $50 when it becomes publicly available. And Echo Input is a speaker-less device that turns non-Amazon products into Alexa-enabled speakers for $35. For $230, Echo Show is the connected smart-speaker with a 10-inch HD screen that Home Hub, for now, is not.

Furthermore, Amazon Go stores equipped with IoT sensors and intelligence have enabled cashier-less shopping experiences. Amazon is rumored to be planning to add 3,000 more Amazon Go (opens in new tab) stores to its four debut stores by 2021.

Amazon's army of devices and Amazon Go locations are the "front-end" to ambient computing that Microsoft has been slow to implement in its two-pronged platform and front-end (Home Hub) approach. But consistent with its history, its strength is in the background.

Microsoft's got your ambient computing backend

Microsoft's strategy is to provide the tools others use to achieve more and to build foundational infrastructure for computing paradigms. Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub (opens in new tab) is a cloud-based service companies can use to "connect, monitor and manage billions of IoT devices and develop IoT applications." Azure Sphere (opens in new tab) brings comprehensive state of the art security to the silicon that is part of IoT devices, the OS that runs them and the cloud that powers them. Azure intelligence also analyzes vasts amounts of device data allowing the system to predict maintenance requirements and proactively send a repairman before products fail.

Though not as exciting as intelligent clocks, microwaves and showboating smart screens, Microsoft's platform approach is an unsung hero. It provides structure and security to an ambient computing world that will be part of virtually everything we do.

Still, it is Microsoft's dual-user, or professional and consumer, commitment that promotes its mission to serve both the enterprise and consumers. Consequently, its failure, or slow progress in the consumer space often draws criticism. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said:

Microsoft's approach will always be this dual-use focus, or multi-focus. What we can uniquely do is bridge consumer to enterprise

Amazon is establishing itself as the hub (or front-end) for ambient computing. Sadly, Microsoft may find itself in need of piggybacking even more of Amazon's efforts.

How Microsoft's mixed reality strategy may augment its Home Hub and IoT visions

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!

85 Comments
  • Ambient Computing... Are you sure this is not a US only thing? At work I talk to a lot of people here in Europe from various countries and the Amazon Echo seems to be hardly known / used. Is this the next 3D TV hype? Not (yet) convinced.
  • I don't think it will have the same destiny but from my experience it is a technology that will take a lot of time to mainstream. It is still on diapers.
  • I'm in the UK and, anecdotally, would say that more than 50% of people I know have at least 1 echo device. That includes tech savvy friends in their 30s to my parents in their 60s. One way or another this is absolutely the future of how we will interact with the web with most estimates showing voice searches accounting for most searches by 2020. That's 18 months away.
  • Like many tech trends people tend to look to their peers and project outward. It's logical but often wrong. It's like when people say that TV is dead and everybody watches Netflix, but the antiques roadshow gets more weekly viewers than total Netflix subs in the UK, everyone has an iPhone but ios penetration is around 30/40%. Alexa is much the same, it's the most talked about and we remember when somebody mentions they have one, but when you stop and think of all the people who have never mentioned one... The other thing to consider is usage. Even where Alexa is present the most common skills accessed are weather reports and music features, IOT devices are not that common. Alexa certainly has a lead, but it's a lead of a surprisingly small market.
  • Living in Japan, I know IOT cause I read tech news. I know ATM, cashier, arcade cabinet, etc will move onto Win10.IOT. But I've no desire to use one e.g. smart lightbulb, fridge or microwave, and so far I haven't heard people talking about these kinda smart electronics in their life... And, when I want to search something... does the speaker read me the results? Think I'd prefer to read it on a screen and I can quickly browse through the results...
  • Same here. I'm in Europe too and I don't know anyone who bought such a device or who uses any IoT, for that matter. Most people who buy IoT devices are hobbyists and enthusiasts. I don't see this as becoming the norm in computing at all. I don't even see what problem does this solve? Are you too lazy to type a search on a keyboard? I find voice search completely useless and a huge security issues magnet. It's a solution in search of a problem and yet another alibi for companies to go even further to infiltrate their data-mining activities in people's lives, by keeping a listening device active at all times in your house. I wouldn't adopt any hyped up tech, just because companies think "it's the next thing" and the media lap it up uncritically.
  • Standard story. MS moves far too slow for the consumer space. Even when they were early to market, other companies iterated faster and developed better offerings. Now, with Satya focusing primarily on the entrerprise market (and at the cost of the consumer market), 'early to market' has become 'never to market'.
  • MSFT (on few things): Late to the trend, lose the market and discontinue product; First to the market, lose the trend and keep it on life support.
  • I think what would help MS on the consumer side is if they had a department dedicated adapting products for the consumer. Like how Xbox is it's own division and is consumer centric instead of Enterprise centric. they need the same thing on all of their LoB. That way they have a team that adapts Enterprise features for consumers, where it makes sense, and dedicates hardware, software, and technologies to them. Instead of catering to Enterprise and letting the features naturally bleed over to the consumer space.
  • This is very good point. Back in 2015-2016 when Microsoft ramped down the phone business, I thought they would convert related HW and SW teams to make some other intelligent consumer products, but this never happened. There Microsoft would have had great talents to make such products that they now lack. It is pitty that they did not think broader in that time.
  • I've said this many times before...
    I think Microsoft should give free rein to xbox make consumer facing products (like smart home , wearbles, etc.) in addition to game consoles !!
    just like surface showcases windows 10 platform...xbox platform should evolve to have a series of consumer products that use various cloud services to showcase Microsoft's platform of platforms idea :) btw, not sure why devices & experiences head is a guy from enterprise software background...unless it's devices & experiences for only the enterprises? :)
  • Amazon has the number 1 backend as well with aws and it's expanding capabilities, not just the front end. I feel as if that should have also been in the article. I also feel as though, it's your article and you can choose to exclude or include whatever you'd like and would really appreciate if you checked me by telling me to shut the front door...up lol. Please and thanks in advance.
  • I know right? They didn't see to mention that Amazon made the first step forward in cloud computing way before Microsoft ever did. MS are doing fine and are taking a huge step forward in iOT but Amazon is ahead by a lot more than people realize (including me)
  • I believe that they began around the same time, when comes to the larger use of IoT application and public use, as a whole. What Amazon implemented in 2004 doesn't really count in this case, in my opinion. Much like Blackberry, MST was way too slow in their implementation of consumer focused services and devices. Although, Zune was a really good start. I guess how they handled Zune should have been seen as a precursor for the remainder.
  • This two-pronged strategy - a xenophobe digital assistant (that doesn't want to talk to non-US strangers) and an unreleased hub - MUST surely secure MS IoT future.
  • Agreed the pace of innovation MS is usually in front. But delivery they struggle. The dang Band was practically the iwatch that as just released.
  • Umm, no. Not even close.
  • Microsoft always gets stomped on because they are but imaginary to consumers with their lack of "fruition"......🙄🙄🙄🙄
  • Well played.
  • Marketing! Marketing! Marketing!
    Good marketing can even sell bad products.
    Bad marketing can't even sell good products. (Microsoft)
    People can not purchase items they don't know exist.
    Warning: Suckling at the enterprise teat will dry up sooner than Microsoft expects.
  • Marketing can only sell a bad product once.
  • Marketing is important. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to think marketing is just about a slick sizzle reel. The issue for me is trust. Can Microsoft be trusted going forward?
  • Nop, look at Apple, marketing has sold bad products for decades!
  • Apple has not had a bad product since the Apple ///. If you think that iPhones and iPads are “bad products”, then you clearly need help.
  • I think iOS is pro feature lacking. Like we can't change AP directly from Quick Settings, and we cannot go to Settings from Quick Settings.
    We cannot jump between AppA and AppB by double tapping task button like Android does. Etc, etc. And the Task UI on iPx...
  • "Like we can't change AP directly from Quick Settings". Huh? What is AP? "We cannot jump between AppA and AppB by double tapping task button" That's funny, I do that every day. Double tap home button, all running apps appear. Pick the one you want. "we cannot go to Settings from Quick Settings" So just leave Settings running, and switch to it as above. That's what I do.
  • Haven't seen a nicer laptop. Not a fan of the OS though.
  • Better specced for sure, but I don't think anything comes close to the design of the MacBooks. Maybe the Pixelbook.
  • He wanted to say they had plenty of problems on their products, but with marketing they got people to still buy their expensive products. That and creating a culture where the slightest problems or issues the other companies have are made into big problems by their marketing and their iSheeps
  • Marketing is EVERYTHING! end of story...
  • Vision? Which vision? After a couple of UI mockups, there was no more talk of Home Hub whatsoever. And this was way before RS4 or 3. And let's be clear, the technology is all there. It is right now.
  • Microsoft seems to have completely lost any interest in anything BUT entrerprise. Mobile, gone. Consumer products like Band, Hub... gone. MS should make a decision, do they only care to sell Windows OS to consumers or not? If yes, quit dicking about with "under development" consumer products, if no, get your act together.
  • The thing is ambient computing revolves around the smartphone.... bleugh so does everything else. I'm getting exhausted with the idiocy.
  • The first two words of any sentence that start with "Microsoft strategy" means the rest is wrong. Microsoft is the perpetual "jam tomorrow" company where the next big thing is what they are working towards but when it arrives they have no products that people want to buy. The enterprise is Microsoft's gold mine. The slow-moving plodding businesses that moved to Microsoft servers in the 1990s to save money from Unix servers and Unix workstations. The businesses that saved money on Lotus licenses by buying Office. These Microsoft products iterated, matured and moved to the cloud. Business tools and in many ways little viable competition at scale. Cortana is heading in the direction of Windowsphone. Cortana was only ever fully available in the USA and even English speaking countries got a brain-dead version that spoke with different accent but did less than the USA. If the world bought the now $50 Invoke speaker they find it has to be set to US regional settings and knows little about the metric system. If Microsoft has a license to print money in the Enterprise and makes vast profits doing it. Over in consumer it burns money liberally. If IoT is in the enterprise then Microsoft can do well as the trusted partner. For everyone else, Amazon and Google are the ones to watch. Amazon is actually making the things that make up the Internet of Things!
  • Sad, but true... I so badly wanted Cortana to be the virtual assistant that others aspired to be. Yet, Google and Alexa have mostly taken what Cortana was and improved vastly to outshine it. Oh well...
  • This. Well stated.
  • If you look at what's happening behind the scenes... Microsoft was leading in AI patents before 2014...If what I read somewhere is true Amazon and Facebook poached a lot AI talent from Microsoft in the last few years to build their AI chops ...I'm guessing that took a lot of momentum out of Microsoft's Cortana...it looks like they seem to have surrendered to Amazon! I think they could still be aggressive, fast and competitive on the consumer side if they let XBox division come up smarthome, wearables, etc. Don Mattrick (previous xbox head) despite all the alleged negatives...seemed to have the right vision for the xbox platform, I think :)
  • Microsoft, here is what I want for Home Hub, build a electronic photo album device with Windows Core OS that can listen to Cortana commands to automate showing photo/video albums from a USB stick or OneDrive and can use your home Wi-Fi . This just requires some commitment of one of the most powerful tech companies in 21st Century. Microsoft, you can beat Google and Amazon on IoT space, you have the best engineers and developers, all you need is passion for consumers.
  • So is this the tacit way of MS saying "we are leaving the consumer market"?
  • If Home Hub can be released within a year or two along with the W10 PC growth. Cortana may have wider market than Alexa down the road. We know W10 is growing fast, eventually over one billion or so. Home Hub is a software which can turn the one billion plus PCs into Cortana/Home Hub devices overnight. Since Cortana can use the Alexa skills now, the Home Hub PC can become a major player, especially in the world market.
  • “Home Hub reportedly aims to turn Windows 10 PCs into smart-home-connected, Cortana-powered smart speakers with screens.” Of course it does. Windows 10 is Microsoft’s answer to everything. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows is about as relevant today as CP/M was in 1985. “Time may be running out for Microsoft.” Um, time ran out for Microsoft 5 years ago. The world has moved on, and Microsoft (and Windows) is no longer THE platform that matters.
  • You have no clue what you are talking about. On what platform do you think that the majority of development work is performed?
  • “How Amazon and Alexa are extinguishing Microsoft's IoT ambitions” Because Microsoft has “ambitions”, “visions” and “strategy”. Amazon has actual products, that we can buy. Right now. Microsoft is always “planning for the future “. Everyone else is delivering the future. Right now.
  • Exactly. Anything new Microsoft releases in the future shouldn't have the Windows brand anywhere near it. It doesn't sell anything but legacy PCs.
  • A few observations...
    - The idea of a consuming-based (as opposed to consumer) device is largely something, that appeals to Americans; here in Europe, most people have either not heard of Alexa, or are only dimly aware of the concept, while the few that actually know anything about it are thinking one thing; "Oh, the horror!"
    - In order to see any expansion of market, one has to actually present a product; Cortana has been virtually non-existent outside the US. Even the rest of the English-speaking world have received a heavily neutered version (same with Bing for the last decade or two). You simply can't expect any traction if you think the US is the entire world. This, by the way, goes for Alexa, Google Now, and Siri as well, albeit to a lesser degree. Which leads to the last observation...
    - Demand for voice activated digital assistants simply isn't very high, at least not outside the US, and insisting that IOT devices and home hubs be closely tied to voice activation is bogging down further development.
  • If you they don't have traction in the US, what is the point? Europe cannot sustain a product alone.
  • With how MS has treated the development, implementation, international expansion, and marketing of Cortana (mobile efforts included), this is a surprise to noone. Noone.
  • IoT is moving just fine for MS if they stay in their sweet spot which is providing the backing services for the industry. Why does everyone want MS branded products but the money is in the services supporting it. Behind the scenes of my companies IoT solutions rely on many services from MS.
  • Why does everyone want MS branded products but the money is in the services supporting it. One reason is because of Microsoft's self-proclaimed dual user = work AND life mission. It sets the expectation that it will serve both enterprise, backend and consumers. Home Hub and many other consumer-facing endeavors that have gotten the attention of consumers (causing many to want MS branded products) are/were not initiated from consumer's desires but it is Microsoft that has set the expectations and ultimately under-delivered or failed to deliver on the consumer side of the dual user equation that it has committed to, while performing well on the enterprise and backend side.
  • The reason Microsoft keeps losing ground in spaces they are initially the lead on is quite simple - ADVERTISING. Microsoft has no idea how to do it. I can't turn on a radio, television, or ad enabled streaming service without seeing an ad for an iPhone, iwatch, or Alexa. Microsoft runs a half decent Surface Studio tv commercial for about a week, and then gives up. Microsoft forgot the most important step in selling consumer devices and services - that step is telling consumers that they exist and why they are better than the competition. Hell, I don't even see Office 365 ads, but see google docs ads all of the time.
  • Microsoft never had the lead with any of these products. Marketing isn't the answer, making great products is. The studio was a great concept device but a terrible product, especially when price/performance was taken into consideration. Everything else they have released, other than the laptop variations, have not been competitive. Marketing wouldn't help, the product would still be poor when it gets home.
  • I don't think any of them are really that good. Amazon's has a better system, but many now say Google's Home system is selling way more then Amazon. Apple's Siri has gone the way of Cortana as well. My understanding is Microsoft plans to focus Cortana more on a customer developed basis providing basic AI and letting developers customize it for specific purposes. It appears Amazon and Google are so far ahead now in consumer AI that Siri and Cortana just are not going to be significant players.
  • Well, unlike Siri, Cortana is more than a virtual assistant. At least the bank end is powered by Bing. Just wish they focused Cortana on the consumer front.
  • We have Alexa devices at our house. no one uses it. I have an invoke at my office and in my home office. I use it a lot (to play music). I am not convinced Alexa is really doing much business. Maybe Alexa will be the consumer side of IoT. But Cortana and MSFT will power the IoT of the enterprise. Who is likely to invest in the edge and IoT and pay big money to do so? the Enterprise.
  • While I'd love for that to be true, I think the data shows Alexa is actually doing very well. Microsoft COULD catch up if they VERY aggressively: A) make Cortana FULLY capable in a 100% hands-free mode on EVERY SINGLE DEVICE AND PLATFORM they can (or, at least give customers that option per device); B) Integrate the Cortana experience so she is not 8 "versions" of herself on 8 deiffernt devices or platforms (IOW, any device BECOMES an integrated microphone and output for Cortana commands, all acting as one with the cloud as the unifier); C) quickly expand all the skills of Cortana and QUIT MAKING THEM SOMETHING YOU ADD--any new skill should automatically be part of Cortana's repertoire; D) continue to partner every way they can with other assistants. But I can tell you right now, Satya Nadella won't drive any of that. Because they only care about consumers where the Xbox is concerned. The only care about businesses for anything else.
  • In a few years time Windows will simply be nothing more than a gaming platform. Nadella needs to go.
  • 100% agreed. Microsoft didn't just drop the ball, they lost it completely.
  • I'm not surprised. As soon as we bought our original Xbox One w/Kinect, I began hammering Microsoft to quickly expand Cortana and the Xbox capability to include all the major home automation and home security companies. Of course, I was one small--but VERY accurate voice--in the wilderness, so my suggestions went ignored. All the potential of the Windows phone OS and Windows on PC/tablet was completely squandered by the numbskulls at Microsoft. I saw this coming. I have said all along that all their devices had Cortana and that Microsoft was missing the boat by not A) FULLY INTEGRATING THE CORTANA EXPERIENCE across ALL platforms (a feat the STILL refuse to do ANY work on) and B) aggressively hit IoT and home automation/security. They are reaping the results of doing virtually nothing.
  • I'm working my way away from all things Microsoft since they seem to be trying to do the same to me. Google Docs and Open Office are now my keys. Bye Bye Office 365 also my live account will now be my junk account and Google will be my main and important email address. About email even Outlook.com seems to suck more and more when trying to create new folders they seem to nest under other headers I don't want them to and I can't get them out. So until I can ween away completely from any Microsoft email I"ll go back to Mozilla Thunderbird and gmail online. I predict that by 2025 Microsoft will be at best a minor player in tech. I'm don't use Xbox, Windows Phone or anything else Microsoft only thing I've been using is Word and that's about to end I will not renew my Office 365 any more. Almost forgot I also need to start removing everything from OneDrive to Google Drive and Amazon as well. I think I'll even consider buying a Chromebook.
  • I agree except on email. Outlook. Com is superb, and dealing with folders is easy. All you have to do to get them not bested is dread them to the top of the account. Cake. Gmail sucks.
  • Outlook isn't even in the same league as Gmail. It isn't even close, Outlook is just so simplistic compared to GMail.
  • True. The last thing I was really holding onto was OneDrive, because of what I already have on it. Could pay for storage on Google Drive and transfer everything over. Also could do without Office now that Google Docs suffices.
  • MS are just too slow and not brave enough. They need to go after the market and stick with it. They often have great vision but just do not execute well. Cortana, Skype, even the surface and windows 10... Sort out the tablet and keyboard experience, enhance OneDrive pricing and storage...do something to help cobsumers...polish the product and push it to the market... I can't see them winning at anything at the moment...too half hearted and too slow.
  • The problem with MS is they seem to want to spend time making a product perfect, see andromeda for an example. Whereas the likes of Amazon and Google, get products out, that are far from perfect, but in the consumer market it's all about visibility. I reckon I have to ask Alexa on average twice to get her to do anything, sometimes it takes 5 or 6 attempts, maybe because I have an English accent, but why do I put up with it, because Amazon have lots of cheap devices, so I bought them to try them out, and slowly but surely they become part of my life, they've also embraced third parties, meaning even though the results are less than perfect, it can co-exist happily with my much more robust home automation equipment and slowly more and more gets taken on by Alexa. If it only costs a couple of $s extra to get Alexa built into a device, why wouldn't you get it rather than the none Alexa version, it might not get used, but there's the chance it will. Cheap and cheerful is not really Microsoft's game, but it's a perfect fit for Amazon, MS need to concentrate on business solutions, where the money is, as much as I think they can do great things, they're a business and need to be profitable, how much money are Amazon and Google burning trying to win the home assistant market? Sadly as consumers we're going to miss out largely, so just hope devices like andromeda make it to market, because we're not going to see much new consumer tech. from MS.
  • I hate all the anti Windows and Microsoft articles atop the negativity
  • Blame Microsoft. They did this to themselves.
  • A steady stream of failures will do that.
  • Yeah, Microsoft is atop of the negativity.
  • It's not negativity. No company is perfect. And for those of us who really like Microsoft's products and services and want to see them succeed, sometimes using a platform like this to constructively communicate observed areas of weakness or areas in need of improvement is what we do. I've written many article's that have been critical of things I think Microsoft can do better in. Personally, I'd love to see thier strategies succeed. But I know every company is run by fallible human beings in an imperfect world. I also know well-articulated observations from someone who likes a company's products, but also sees some weaknesses may help generate conversation or draw attention to areas that can use some work. If nothing more, it provides honest analysis of a company that does great things and many things well, but also candidly addresses some problem areas. My portfolio of articles is inclusive of a range of articles that address the good and bad: www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward
  • No one is to blame but themselves, for getting smashed all over for their total incompetence and failures.
  • Microsoft: Too Little, Too Slow, Too Late. Again.
  • Seems MS will start work only in one way: When some new popular desktop OS will made.
  • IoT is a buzzword and not directly connected to Alexa devices. I agree Amazon have made way into consumer products better than MS. At the moment Microsoft is focused on Industrial IoT where the money is much larger. Recent NXP support is a good direction and the latest improvements in Azure IoT products are key to success. What MS lacks is a good consumer strategy in most things including IoT.
  • Largely gimmicky market with very little adoption. This slow burner market has plenty of room for a game changer. In particular because amazons implementation is both ad supported, and has poor speech recognition. But the most striking thing about IoT, is the vision depends on interopability, and no platform yet offers it.
  • Nadella's demeanour is that of a man at the races who just worked out that his bet on that "hot tip" is not working out and he's looking for an exit.
  • Jason are u aware of AWS, its in direct competition with Azure so this 'MS rules in the back-end' narrative wont work.
  • European Antitrust regulators ( https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-27/amazon-s-copy-cat-pro...) already questioning if Amazon is unfairly using it's knowledge about what products are selling good. Amazon is suspected to start producing the products that sell good themselves while at the same time the original reseller and product are not found anymore by the more desirable customers. The less desirable customers, the ones that cause trouble and sent their products back too often, are being directed to the original reseller. So before we start complaining that Alexa is much more successful as Cortana, and that the Iot policy of Amazon seems much more successful than that of Microsoft we should ask ourselves what is in it for us. Do we want to adopt to a policy of a company that earns it's successes in the way Amazon does? Is what is good for Amazon, or Google, or, whatever, Microsoft, good for us? Before throwing all our information to whatever company whe should mind about the consequences. I hear this second thought to little in this rat race like competition. So rethink before filling up your home with a dozen or so intelligent speakers and you start connecting your fridge to the internet because it is sooooo easy.
  • That's my cup of tea. A lot of people here cherish the biggest spy companies in the world (Google, FB) relentless thieves of intellectual property and artists creative work. Even Tim Berners Lee is now expressing his deepest concerns about the vulnerability of democracy and freedom of speech due to the un-democratic behavior of companies like FB, Google and Amazon. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/12/tim-berners-lee-we...
  • Jason , do you ever go to Microsoft's conventions like Build or others? The ones where they actually discuss motivation for pushing forward into certain areas?
  • Unfortunately, no I have never been to Build.
  • Satya has been great at running a company focused on the cloud. Satya has however been incredibly bad at running Microsoft. Kinect was the perfect start for the smart home and that product was fumbled and discontinued. Next Cortana and The Band as a smart device controlling home devices, interacting with Xbox and pc computers was a great entrance into the market, Microsoft fumbled this device and discontinued it. The surface studio could and should have been a cheaper device that every person would want in their home as their primary pc and smart home command center. Microsoft sold it as a niche device way too expensive for mass appeal and is flubbing this device. Microsoft had mobile phones that could have been a solid third option but Satya did not see the need for having a mobile strategy so he gave the market to Apple and Samsung and decided that piggybacking on their success was the way forward, a winning strategy I'm sure. You can't argue with his success in the cloud as evidenced u. The stock price but Microsoft is going to be like IBM.
  • Better go home than keep lying or delivering half baked junk. Did anyone expected MS to succeed in this? :)) MS failed monumentally with their Cortana and so called AI ambitions, no one but fans gives a damn about it.
  • Amazon disrupting another area of business with it's shady practices. Subsidizing all parts of Amazon with other income out of Amazon, and slowly chipping away all alternatives.
    Don't get me wrong, I use Amazon from time to time, but it has become a force of nature, and the way Amazon works will disrupt even more in the coming future. And yes, MS is taking it's sweet time to come up with something useful here.
    But otoh, MS was never very active in the consumer market anyway, or had it wither away.
  • Microsoft gave up on consumer space. This was dead on arrival.
  • Microsoft is no longer focused on the consumer market. Except for a few things, Xbox, general Windows, and Office, Microsoft has no other meaningful consumer presence and that is by Nadella's design and it isn't changing anytime soon. So that Microsoft has lost out on IoT is part of their strategy, at least in the consumer space.