Microsoft has a lot of iconic and memorable software in its very long history. One of those is Microsoft Movie Maker, aka Windows Live Movie Maker. For many, it was their first foray into making videos, which helped kick off the age of YouTube.
Microsoft sadly retired Movie Maker in 2017. It was replaced by Video Editor, which is part of the Windows 10 Photos app. It's quite good, as we recently reviewed, but it still pales to Movie Maker and, more importantly, Apple's Final Cut Pro.
Apple's Final Cut Pro X sets the bar for semi-pro and prosumer video creators and Windows 10 has nothing like it. Adobe Premiere and Rush exist, but they're expensive and bring their own problems. If Microsoft wants to lure creatives to its platform, it needs a Movie Maker X for the modern age.
It's hard to explain
YouTubers and creatives really love Final Cut Pro
I'm by no means a video editor, but I do hang out with a lot of them. Many of them routinely review PC laptops and enjoy them, but they rarely make a switch to Windows 10 permanently. Instead, they all fall back to the typical space gray MacBook Pro 15-inch (and now 16-inch for 2020), and they do it for one reason: Final Cut Pro.
Michael Fisher, aka MrMobile, is one of these. He recently reviewed the latest MacBook Pro and was very honest about his displeasure with Apple regarding its disastrous keyboard design. And yet, as soon as that problem was fixed, he plopped down $6,625 for a new decked-out sliver editing machine. The justification? Final Cut Pro. Watch his video as he concisely explains the matter.
Talk to any editor: the stability and the intuitiveness of Final Cut Pro is unrivaled.
Talk to any video editor and they will tell you the same thing. The smoothness, the stability, and the intuitiveness of Final Cut are unrivaled. Adobe's Premiere, which is technically more sophisticated and robust, takes longer to render videos, is more cumbersome to use and suffers from instability.
Work with any video editor using Premiere and wait for the swearing to begin. It won't take long.
Non-video editors will be confused by a lot of this. That's fine. But anyone who covers tech knows Apple's Final Cut is what keeps many creators on the MacBook Pro.
Built for Surface, runs on Windows 10
Microsoft needs a Movie Maker X
The solution is simple — kind of. Microsoft needs to engineer a Movie Maker X (it loves "X" these days, so why not). A decked out, prosumer-level video editor that is optimized for Surface devices and Windows 10 PCs.
I say simple, but I jest. Making a video-editing suite that is above the current Video Editor, but below that of Adobe Premiere, is one hell of a serious project. It's a monster of a task loaded with years of coding, a large team of developers, patience, and something Microsoft sometimes lacks: dedication.
But if Microsoft and the Surface team want people to take its PCs seriously, it needs an answer to Apple's Final Cut Pro dominance.
Microsoft Video Editor and Adobe Premiere are not getting the job done. That's just a fact. You'll be hard-pressed to find influencers and the tech-glitterati switching to a Surface Book 2 for editing video and enjoying it.
Adobe does have its new app Rush (see our review), which looks to fill this void. But, like any new video editing app, it is light on features, and being Adobe, steep on price ($120 per year). I'm also just leery of Adobe building something that is intuitive, open to the masses and works seamlessly with Surface hardware.
Instead, I'd like to see Microsoft build out its own entry-level Movie Maker X app and, via subscription model with Office 365, let users add-on to it with more pro-level features. Maybe even give it ARM64 support out the gate? I'm just spitballing here.
If Microsoft and the Surface team want people to take its PCs seriously, it needs an answer to Final Cut Pro.
Such a strategy is a win-win. If Microsoft builds a strong competitor to Final Cut, it can realistically lure those creators away from Apple to its Surface line (and other premium PCs), and it gets a recurring revenue stream to help pay for it. Microsoft could even give the app some special Surface-love with optimizations and pre-packing it with every device sold.
Will Microsoft be up for the task? Unfortunately, I have my doubts. Microsoft doesn't have a solidified strategy to lure creators to its platform. It nails half of it by releasing new and intriguing hardware. But when it comes to the software side relying on Adobe has not resulted in success. It's time for Microsoft to do it themselves.
The original Microsoft Movie Maker proved Microsoft is capable of this endeavor. But if they don't double-down on this problem, Apple will continue to dominate the video-creator market, and nothing will change that.