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Microsoft is now the world's most valuable company — and it's less trustworthy than ever

Microsoft recently achieved the 'enviable' position of edging out Apple as the world's most valuable company. Wall Street is happy, investors are ecstatic, and Microsoft's bean counters are patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately for the Redmond-based company, not everyone has leaped onto the celebratory bandwagon. There are a segment of consumers, Microsoft enthusiasts to be exact, who have or are contemplating jumping ship on Microsoft's ecosystem of products and services. Admittedly, given the success of Office 365, Azure and other growing segments the impact would likely be minimal. Microsoft knows this, has likely measured the cost and quite frankly probably doesn't care all that much.

The road to Microsoft's current industry-esteemed position is littered with the collateral damage of betrayed consumers, abandoned products, multiple shifts in direction, botched updates, overly aggressive update practices, and notoriously poor communication. Microsoft enthusiasts bore the brunt of what seems to be the company's inability to commit to a given course for the long-term as products and services are slashed from Microsoft's roadmap.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been accused of catering to Wall Street at the expense of advancing strategies that would benefit the company if they were given the opportunity to grow roots. Of course, armchair CEOs and analysts have little knowledge of the true inner workings and variables that a CEO of a multibillion-dollar company must contend with in a highly competitive, fast-paced and dynamic global market. Still, the impact of burned bridges and betrayed trust is not a trivial matter. And Microsoft's road to becoming the world's most valuable company has left a lot of broken trust in its wake.

Imperfect Windows 10

For a company that endured years under the Department of Justice's microscope for monopoly concerns and unethical practices, Microsoft's aggressive push of Windows 10 has raised many eyebrows.

The company's ambitious 2015 goal of one billion Windows 10 installs in two years drove the company to employ questionable tactics to "encourage" users to upgrade. The annoying taskbar alert that would not go away plagued many users and provoked questions on how to remove it. Not everyone wanted to upgrade to Windows 10 as bad as Microsoft wanted them to. Anecdotally, I have a 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet upon which the touch experience would have been negatively impacted had I clicked the "ok" on that Windows 10 Upgrade demand reminder.

I got off easy compared to some others, however. There were troubling reports that Microsoft actually "forced" some users to update to Windows 10 without their express consent. I doubt Microsoft now being the world's most valuable company softens the enduring impact that breach of trust had on those users.

Consumer conundrum

My Surface Pro 2017 sits beside my Lumia 1020, which I still use.

My Surface Pro 2017 sits beside my Lumia 1020, which I still use.

A consumer's ecosystem choice is a financial, emotional, time and psychological investment. Though the alliances we forge with companies and the lines we draw between our positions and the boundaries of other ecosystems may seem ridiculous in the grand scheme of things, they are real nonetheless. So when consumers chose Microsoft's ecosystem and embraced its take on wearables with the Microsoft Band, phone with Windows phones, music with Groove and much more, the impact of Microsoft throwing in numerous towels on these and other consumer products hurt on many levels.

The implicit trust relationship demanded that Microsoft, from the perspective of consumers, owed it to them to fight for the products and services they took a chance on (for Microsoft) when there were other proven options. If a user could invest a few hundred dollars in a range of products and champion them, then the feeling of many (valid or not) was that a multibillion-dollar company could fight for its own products and for those who embraced them. The harsh reality, however, is that the feelings of a minority representation of consumers didn't factor into the company's strategy or balance sheet goals.

Those feelings were, to an extent, acknowledged as valid. Nadella admitted regret for abandoning users to chase the "next shiny thing" but the damage had been done. His promise to make phones if no one else did amounted to hollow words that paralleled the abandoned investments in Zune, Groove and other projects. Though dropping those products burned some users it did move Microsoft closer to its most valuable company position. So there's that.

Cortana digital assistant disaster

In 2014, Microsoft excited Windows Phone users with the introduction of Cortana, which was billed as the world's most personal digital assistant. With an openness to third-party apps, time, location and people-based reminders, text and verbal interaction and its association with an esteemed gaming brand, Cortana was differentiated from entrenched rivals Siri and Google Now.

Sadly, those advantages were squandered away as regional restrictions and other limitations hampered her evolution. Google Assistant is arguably now the world's most personal digital assistant. Amazon's Alexa is virtually a household name. And Samsung's Bixby with its platform agnostic Viv integration is positioning to be that "anywhere" assistant Cortana was supposed to be.

Cortana meanwhile is no longer headlined as a digital assistant as Microsoft has realigned her as digitally assistive. Consumers who trusted Microsoft's hype concerning what Cortana would be have been slapped, yet again, with the reality that Microsoft has a hard time following through.

Find your files, and Edge be gone

One would think that the world's leading software company with its decades of experience pushing an industry-leading operating system could issue an OS update that doesn't destroy user personal files. Sadly, Microsoft fumbled the October 2018 Update which led to that very outcome. The confusion around how Insider's reports of the issue were mistaken for another issue explained what happened. Still, such a blunder may be a lasting mark on users confidence in Microsoft's competence.

Microsoft's homegrown Edge internet browser was touted as the company's modern take on a browser beyond is troubled Internet Explorer. After just three years, Edge's rendering engine is being retired in favor of Chromium.

This may be the best strategy for Microsoft, but in the context of its history of throwing in the towel and betraying commitments after brief or half-hearted efforts, even this potential good move is overshadowed by a bitter past.

Trustworthy?

Microsoft Logo

Microsoft Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Despite the burnt bridges, Microsoft's business is doing better than ever. This is no consolation to the early adopters, enthusiasts and product evangelists that helped Microsoft along the way. Their efforts and irrecoverable investments of time and money have been rewarded with Microsoft's unspoken acknowledgment that they were among the collateral damage along Microsoft's journey to becoming the world's most valuable company.

Microsoft's history has caused many former enthusiasts to conclude Microsoft cannot be trusted. If that negative history begins to have a broader market impact, Microsoft's esteemed "world's most valuable company" status can be affected.

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!

111 Comments
  • Good article, and the "shady" tactics aren't limited to the consumer. Businesses are also fed up with their obtuse, and often punitive, licensing models which no one, including MS licensing reps, can adequately explain. Probably because they change at least every year. Talk to 3 different people and you'll get 3 different answers. Add in their cloudy product roadmaps with infuriating decisions, (for example, removing multi-instancing of SQL Reporting Services in 2017 for no good technical reason), their indifferent support which can't/won't do anything their scripts don't tell them, and it's a brewing storm that may not affect them anytime soon, but a reckoning is coming.
  • There is indeed a storm brewing which may be averted if Microsoft focuses on UWP and fixes touch on W10. I can't say will be averted as there are so many insane number factors at play here. The next generation of employees for companies are growing up in households with ZERO windows devices. Their experiences are ios and android or solely ios or solely android. That storm is coming and the impending shift is coming. There is a reason why Microsoft has engaged in these practises - the CEO doesn't have to look at the two previous CEOs and founders and say he failed their legacy - let's not forget they own a great amount of stock. As long the stock prices rise - there aren't going to be many tough questions at the present time. What most people don't know - the financial sector is not the arbiter of morality - because of simple mathematics. Cost reduction in the supply chain means higher profits and sadly the wage bill is the one element that gets driven down always. Here is a recent example.
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/dec/06/revealed-disn...
  • Microsoft is gonna abandon Surface within the next five years.
  • What happened, "Surface Scribe"? You saw how lame you've been now the entire time you were talking bs in lame excitement?
  • What's "lame" about thinking a device that MS is IN FACT developing, insider tips are confirming, and an extremely trustworthy news site says is coming out? I only lost faith after the device was pushed back, PWAs seem stagnant, and especially the news that yet another MS project is technically getting abandoned. I don't feel bad for "dreaming" about Andromeda, I don't regret anything, I still want a pocketable "Andromeda" PC, and I hope MS proves me wrong. And, I still think Scribe is a great name.... The only thing lame here is your petty, irrelevant, @ss trying to check me; Thinking you're making some valid point, when you have nothing.. Please. Try again.
  • Biggest problem is what you allude to. MS allows rumours to run, gets folks excited and then releases .... NOTHING.
  • Wrong. It makes them money, so it's here to stay 😁 And don't bother with douchebags like this oraora guy, it's not worth it 😃
  • Quite surprising... The most valuable company thing, not the untrustworthy thing. It's been pretty clear for a while that the consumer isn't that important to Microsoft.
  • I agree, but The Cloud...
  • And I think this kind of proves the consumer is irrelevant.
  • This article is spot on. When I read about Edge being retired, I wanted to see it in the light we are "supposed" to, which is that Microsoft has become a company which is willing to make risky moves to cut dead weight and move forward; and in the context of Edge, I don't really care (actually, I don't really care about any of it any more, which is the point of the article). What I really see the Edge cut as, however, is the next point in the graph of products Microsoft has mismanaged and then abandoned. I was all-in on the Microsoft ecosystem as a strong alternative to Apple and Google, into either of which I had no interest in investing. I had the Band, several phones: WM 7, 8, 8.1, 10; I even forgave them when they didn't upgrade my Lumia 900 to WM 8 when it came out months before the next mobile OS. I got my family on their phones as well, Windows 8.1 tablet, used Cortana, Bing, etc all with an eye toward the grand promise of convergence; a vision which should have transcended their unfinished products and poor communication. Then the products were abandoned one-by-one, and with it seemingly the very vision they espoused. My dollars wasted, my good will stretched to the breaking point. Microsoft became the worst of both Apple and Google. Apple's high-price margins with Google's privacy nightmare. No thank you. Now my whole household is Linux. I don't do anything Microsoft. All of my files are moved from OneDrive. I don't even use Microsoft Office any longer. They burned too many bridges, and I simply can't trust their "vision for the future", because they abandon them too often. I don't think I'm the only one. And I don't see it ending well for Microsoft. Unless the free-market ceases to exist and Microsoft is enshrined by the powers that be into some mandated role, their abuse of consumers will come back to haunt them one day.
  • Technically, they are not retiring Edge. They are replacing the rendering engine, etc. I use Edge on my Android phone. It just works, unlike on Windows 10. I often come across a video that won't load in Edge, so I have to fire up Chrome. The issues with Edge in Windows are due to the rendering engine. This solves that problem. They can still keep all the unique features that they already have. I definitely see this as a positive.
  • Point taken, but only in a sense. They wanted Edge to become more than a browser. PDF reader, Ebook reader, the foundation for sets, etc. The likelihood of all of this being ported is very low. Daniel R says they're "looking into porting those features"...yup... The point isn't Edge at all. It's going to become an inferior version of Chrome, we get it, that's fine. But what about the broader plan for Edge? They had a GREAT PDF reader in the "reader" app before abandoning it to push Edge, which was a terrible replacement. So they risked customer good-will to push use of a product, and then 1 year later they repurpose the product that they pushed on me only one year ago by removing a better dedicated app. That's the point here. Sure, they will contribute their touch focus to Chromium, which will be really great to help ChromeOS take the next step as a serviceable Windows replacement. But what about those few (if anyone did) who wanted to invested in ebooks that are only readable in Edge? What about those who need a good touch-friendly PDF reader? And even more to the point: is anything Microsoft says is going to happen, or not happen, with this transition actually going to take place. They may, they may not, but one thing is for sure: no one knows, because Microsoft will say whatever they feel they need to, regardless of whether or not it has any bearing in reality.
  • I disagree with the comment that Edge will become a "inferior version of Chrome", that would denote that any other browser is inferior to Chrome. Chrome is bloated and its not just its rendering engine. Plus Chrome is spyware for Google. Frankly I think you get the best of both worlds with a non-Google browser based on Blink.
  • Once again point taken, but only in a sense. Yes, Chrome is bloated and definitely spyware, but there is a reason people keep using it instead of other Chromium-based browsers like Opera or Brave. Opera has tried to integrate Chrome extensions through an extension of their own, but it doesn't always work. Chrome apps don't work at all. And those things are pretty fantastic to have in a browser. Brave is, of course, privacy focused and so an entirely different animal all together. So Edge is going to attempt to claim some browser stake on the basis of their ecosystem. It will likely primarily be realized on Android through the Microsoft launcher and all of its integrated features, but to what end? Pages render better/faster. I can get that in Opera, Chrome or Firefox. Send tabs from browser to browser. I can get that in Opera, Chrome or Firefox. Not in the google ecosystem? Same three. So it will be a portal to bing. Maybe integrate the Windows 10 timeline feature. Will any of this actually make it superior to Chrome as a product? I suppose time will tell. You have noticed I am quite jaded by Microsoft, and have no faith in their ecosystem, or the management thereof...which kind of echos the point of the article. And that is why I have commented. To echo the point of the article. Thanks for the couterpoint though. Have a great day!
  • My biggest issue with Edge is how the favorites work, I can't get to them like I could in IE. I would prefer to be able to pull them in from a Favorites location and then have them be available in OneDrive or something similar. Other than that, I don't have a lot of issues with the current Edge.
  • You are simply wrong. Webdevs like me are tired of being forced to downgrade their pages for Edge compatibility. Simple as that. It's easy to make Firefox work, Opera, but not Edge.
  • The problem with Edge is EdgeHTML? I don't buy that. Most browser users don't have a clue what engine their favorite browser is based on, and don't care. Microsoft's latest pivot (on Edge) is not going to change anything in that regard. There will not be a massive uptake of the new Edge from current Chrome users just because they use the same rendering engine.
  • Because EdgeHTML is tied to Windows they can't update it fast enough. Chromium allows them to innovate faster.
  • And to roll it out in more than one platform.
  • I completely agree with toph36, and my experience backs it up. Edge on Android: no problems. Edge on Windows: I gave up on it long ago, because too many sites simply don't work on it--but they do on Brave and Opera with no issue, both of which use a forked version of Chrome's rendering engine. It doesn't matter how well EdgeHTML follows the official standards, because in practice the WWW follows the standards according to how Chromium/Blink interprets them. I've been calling for exactly this change for a couple years now, and as far as I'm concerned it is about time.
  • "Technically, they are not retiring Edge." According to articles by Dan and Zac, it sounds like Edge is technically being retired. It is being rebuilt from the ground up. It will be outside the Windows OS. The only thing the same is the name.
  • The rendering engine is being retired. Also, having it outside Windows is a good thing IMHO.
  • I totally agree. You took these words right out of my mouth.
  • Just replying to the section about too many things being abandoned by Microsoft... But you know it's interesting, since I switched to android and began keeping up with AC I notice the exact same kind of comments there with Google. I'm not mentioning this to say that because Google does it that makes it ok or better, but that I think we as humans tend to focus on the bad more often and the grass always seems greener on the other side.
  • You're right about this. Hangouts, now Allo, etc. But even though this whole article is about Edge, there is a huge difference between abandoning software and abandoning hardware. The only reason Edge matters at all is because by changing it in the way they are, it seems as though they may be abandoning their larger vision of what Edge should be (ebooks, PDF reader, Windows Sets, etc) The abandonment feelings many in the MS ecosystem have revolve primarily around hardware abandonment, well before expected ends of life cycles. This is what has alienated people primarily.
  • First:Chrome can read PDFs and MS is just going to make it better.
    Second:There is no reason why the new Edge won't read ebooks eventually if it's not at release. Same with Windows sets. All of Edge features are going to be there at release or eventually. Difference is that we are not going to have to wait for Windows update as it's going to be its own app and get faster updates now that it is its own app just as Chrome does. What I do wonder if it's going to use the store or a custom download system like Chrome does, seeing as it's gonna be release for Win 7 and Mac
  • While I too have been burned with investing in Lumia phones, the Band, etc... I think we all need to put up or shut up. If you don't have skin in the game (a.k.a), a substantial portion of your own money/assets and livelihood on the line, then stop arm-chair quarterbacking. Business is risk. The bigger the business, the bigger the risk. You have to take on risk for the chance of any success. I am thankful for the risks Microsoft has taken. Yes, I am sad that WP and Lumia greatness is no more, and that the wonderfully designed MS Band didn't live to see a 3rd gen that paired down the physical size a bit. But at least they took the risk, and we got to enjoy a bit of visionary product execution. The industry is better for it. You don't have to look far to see the influence of these software and hardware efforts. Having said that. I think it's reasonable to talk about the damage to a company's reputation that can happen through one to many product failures, and bull-headed licensing and customer relations. But I think we all need to take a couple of steps back away from our geek-entusiast soap-box. Yeah, Microsoft still has problems. Windows 10 Design language is a hot mess that is only now approaching something tolerable... not having a Mobile presence is still a massive problem... and so on. But nothing helps to correct a company's sins like several servings of "Humble Pie". Take the Edge on Chromium announcement. This is the closest thing to a dream come true for all involved. Its far more efficient for MS to contribute to the open source world to add their value (propper touch eventing, etc), and still have a powerful voice. And they still get to innovate on the UI shell of the browser and the OS and services integration there to add value and differentiation accross multiple platforms now by embracing Chromium and the general strategy of de-coupling the rendering engine from the browser shell. And just one other example from the web world... TypeScript. It is a beautiful addition to the web development world. And there are so many things about it that are executed so well that would have a snowball's chance in hell of happening in the "Old Microsoft" So yes, Microsoft needs to pay a lot of attention to treating customers well. But we also need to give them the room to take risks.
  • This forum is for arm chair quarter backing!
    It is for enthusiasts, I am sure fund managers don't come here.
    This is the venting forum. So put up or shut up - nope. They did lead a lot of us on and have been in the consumer device market for a long
    time. They never outright said they were quitting Windows Phones, there was a tweet that said that is was not their focus. So they are being vague. They bring out products like the Band1&2, which people buy, then stop making them. These devices are not cheap. MS put themselves out there like a competitor to Apple and Google - and people bought the products. So for them to be upset is normal. If enough consumers stopped using MS products and services (yes, even at work) - MS might change it's tune. I do agree with you in some areas!
    Nadella has done an excellent job for investors and tech. Cloud is the way the world
    is going, and the end user devices are solidly in the Android/Apple realm. But by MS strengthening their position and learning - maybe there can be a consumer comeback. Yes, that is what I am hoping. With a strong cloud presence, it will almost be their OS. Everyone writes for it and the mobile device is just a standard. Yes, we would love to see MS emblazoned on the device and be one of the proud team...and that is what marketing is about. We pay them to be loyal. I hope they come back! I'd love a new kick a$$ WP with all the bells and whistles, that functioned perfectly 100% of the time. Thanks for posting - good stuff to think about!
  • Already made the switch to an iOS phone and Tablet. The end user experience on iOS devices is many years ahead of Microsoft. Not sure If I would switch to MacOS but you never know with the direction Microsoft is headed.
  • My own personal experience, I can't stand iOS on a tablet (its OK on a phone, all I want is basic functions on that platform anyway). Android on tablet lacks polish. Frankly Windows on a tablet is my personal favorite. Its mostly because it allows a full and complete browser, full and complete file explorer, and full interoperability between running applications. Plus if I want to use a mouse for detailed functions or remoting into legacy systems I can.
  • Seconding this. I like my iPhone and decided to replace my faltering SP3 with an iPad. With all the talk about what it could do, I was genuinely surprised at what it couldn't do. I may be more of an edge case because I teach, but there's a lot of educational tasks that I do on the Surface that I can't do on an iPad. Honestly, there's workaround for everything, and if I was desperate I could make it work, at the cost of increased friction. But I'm not spending as much as a SP6 just to kludge a solution.
  • Anytime I have tried to use my wife's iPhone, I can't stand it, but of tiny little icons spread all over that aren't readable, and MacOS just gets in the way IMO, so much more I can do with Windows.
  • Very nice balanced article...Well done Jason!
  • Okay, good points. But as humans we talk most about what we see wrong with things. Jason, it'd be a good balance to write an article outlining commitments and philosophies MS has made and stuck to. Like implementing features that allow access for people with disabilities across all products, etc. I'm sure folks will say there're aren't any.
  • You're right, we generally focus on the negative and MS does a lot of things well. But under Nadella, it feels like they've lost their soul. The cynic in me says things such as ease of access features, are window dressing. Pun intended...it's similar to the Scientology policy "to make your good works known". Yeah, at the end of the day, they are doing something good, but you question the motive. For example, I've been told by a very reliable source that when MS is concerned about hitting a number for a period, they aggressively target businesses for license audits. Technically, it's their legal right and I'm not advocating non-compliance. But it's pitched as you're being "invited" to "participate" and it's designed to help you. The process is onerous and time-consuming and MS doesn't care they're costing you likely thousands of dollars in wasted time even if you're fully compliant. Our company and another one we do business with have each gone through it twice in the past 3 years. Each time, 4 total, the audits occurred within a couple months of significant MS license purchases. Almost as if they identify what they think is low-hanging fruit: if these companies recently purchased $10k+ in licenses, then they must be able to afford more. The whole thing feels like a shake-down and leaves a bad taste, which seems to be the most consistent thing MS is doing these days.
  • Wpcautonot thank for the response though the irony is not lost on me🙂 I'm not sure if you follow my work but it is not often if ever I have been admonished to focus on the positive. In fact my work is often called TOO positive and not critical enough though I write ✍🏾 on both sides of Microsoft efforts. In this regard you point out a very good area of focus that many sites don't cover, that being effort to help people with disabilities. At he risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn here I have written more articles on that topic than I have seen on any other site. Please peruse my portfolio here: Www.windowscentral.com/author/jason-ward for articles covering: Microsoft helping the blind with Seeing AI Microsoft helping the deaf Microsoft gamifying treatment for kids with Cystic Fibrosis and teaching blind children to code Microsoft help people with Parkinson's with the Emma Watch Microsoft's Autism Hiring Program Microsoft helping people with ALS regain mobility Microsoft's AI for accessibility program Microsoft hosting the 2018 special Olympics 5 Microsoft technologies to be grateful for this Thanksgiving(which I wrote to try bring peoples minds to what's important as a contrast to all the Black Friday hoopla) And MORE.... I can't list them all, but please follow the link and feel free to share them since as you say, people should know about Microsoft's inclusion and inclusive design efforts to make products from conception forward with ALL people in mind! Thanks!
  • Jason's right, he brings the MS love HARD To hear his complaints is jarring and gets my attention.
  • Jason is always writing positive MS articles, I think he's just tired of them pi$$ing in his Cheerios
  • I feel burned too. But Microsoft and PCs are the only ecosystem that has inking, PC gaming, and hardcore softwaring (CAD, scientific calculations, coding, artwork, design, etc.) in one single portable computer... I'm stuck with them.
  • As Huey said... "I'm so happy to be stuck with you". Seriously. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. I owned an iPad for a couple of years... what a boring (albeit aesthetically "perfect") **** of a device. It was like being married to a model... that had... zero... personality.
  • Yeah the iPad was... okay. Just... under all that beauty... there wasn’t much substance. I’ve gone back to using my 13 inch Yoga 900 in/out of presentation and/or tablet mode for my morning coffee and news. It has all the casual touch friendliness I need... plus... its way more stable on my lap... no balancing act. And... at any juncture if I want/need to flip it over and get something done that a real keyboard (and/or mouse) makes for a better experience... it’s not only there but it’s a genuine pleasure to use (unlike that Rubbermaid keyboard Apple makes). And the thing only weighs like a pound and a half. Can move it around the house with me. Can prop it up in tent mode when I’m making breakfast. Bottom line... I tried to like the iPad, I really did. It’s a truly sexy device... just not very companionable.
  • For me my Surface Go is becoming that grab and go and use around the house. I have a Dell XPS13 that is faster, but it is also slightly heavier and bulkier, I can do everything, eve log into work on my Surface Go and get what I want done. If I need more I can use other machines in my house or just come into work.
  • I was going to buy a Surface Go but the screen was too small. The Dell Inspiron 13 was selected. Bigger yes, however...much better.
  • Nice article Jason, and long overdue. Microsoft’s lack of communication is troubling. I’m not an Apple guy, but years ago I remember the Apple Maps roll-out was a disaster. Tim Cook personally apologized, and he fired the guy responsible who refused to apologize. People forgive, but not if you don’t own your mistakes.
  • It would have been awesome if Nadella explained to consumers why he decided to kill WP, and given timelines. And yes, thanked and apologized. Maybe explained they might get back in the game if they can be successful?
  • Completely trust them.
  • The thing they bailed on that annoys me the most is the Band. I can live with Windows Phone being gone since I can get Android to look, feel, and mostly act like Windows Phone, minus some of the good apps like People and Groove (the fact that you can't jump to different letters in the alphabet in Android apps baffles me). But I have not found a wearable that was as functional and the Band 2 for the price that the Band 2 was. The FitBit Charge 2 is okay, but it's calculations for calories burned are way off. I should be underweight according to how many calories it says I burn every day. And notifications don't work, and it's missing the cool smart watch features the Band 2 had. So yes, the cancellation of the Band is what annoyed me the most out of everything they have done so far.
  • Band? Seriously? You're drawing the line on... Band? Just get a Fitbit. Microsoft never belonged in the wearables market.
  • The Band could have been used as an alternative second factor device, ever think about that hmm? So instead of text, email and a authenticator app - you would have had the authenticator app and the band. Secondly, it would have been leverage point for Microsoft pay. Thirdly, working in conjunction with home automation, geo fencing and later smart cars as a biometric authentication as everyone has a unique set of traits when it comes to blood flow, heart beats and sound. And finally, it would have also allowed them to promote power bi and azure to the health sector. But I guess you don't see anything beyond that jar of koolaid do you? lol
  • Device itself...awesome. Rubber strap that was its most essential component...garbage. Five replacements in 1 year. Why would anyone stay loyal with quality control like that??
  • My point wasn't about the quality, it was what they could have done with a product like the Microsoft band. The quality issue is another story, why? When Microsoft acquired the d and s division from Nokia, they also acquired a few factories. Which they could have used to make their products and have proper stringent hardware quality control.
  • Yup, a lot of missteps... however even then Microsoft was in a unique position as they were able to offset many losses due to their diverse portfolio. There are countless other companies that have made missteps and they have become a shell of what they were before.
  • I trust them as much if not more than any other giant corporation. Have they made tough decisions, some of them mistakes? Absolutely. But when I think of losing trust, I think of companies like Facebook constantly in the news for the latest genocide they've encouraged, election they've swayed, person they tried to bring down with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, accidental reveal of your private data, purposeful reveal of your private data, finding loopholes to collect more of your private data than you think they are... I don't think of Cortana's development stalling as a matter of trust. I was sad as Windows Phone died because I liked my phone and precisely because I do trust Microsoft with my data more than Google, but I did not distrust them for a business decision made with ample time of security patches for me to find a new phone. Maybe the closest I can think of is the Xbox One vision of the OneGuide to rule all your apps and live TV channels in one place - I did buy an Xbox mostly on that vision and it never delivered - but even there they didn't lie to me, just changed directions. Missed opportunities, for sure, but to lose trust to me is about either a personal violation or a significant role in a societal injustice.
  • Could not agree more. The fact that Microsoft made many mistakes does not make the trust them any less. I much more distrust a company like Google who I know literally make a living selling their customers personal information and apple who rob their customers blind. I empathise with Microsoft's vision much more than I do those 2, not only in the sense that they focus on products that actually help people get things done but also because they don't try to sell you 2 or 3 products that do different things but instead try to make products that do multiple things and actually simplify your life.
  • Exactly. I may not trust Microsoft like I trust my bff. But look at the alternatives... Google, Apple, Amazon? They are way more evil than Microsoft even in its darkest (most power hungry) days. And now that Microsoft is under Nadella, and is more open to open-source, accessibility, and interoperability/compatibility with competing OS' I have to say that I trust them way... more... than their peers.
  • I see someone has their head in the sand. But I guess we’ll let the antitrust lawsuits around the world play out. At this juncture... Satya Nadella has transformed Microsoft into a way more compassionate... transparent... open... company. Case in point their saving of GitHub. They did not need to shell billions into that act of grace. But they did. They did not need to make an accessible friendly game controller, but they did. They don’t need to play nicely with Chromium... but it looks like they’re going to. Why? Because they don’t find a need any longer to control everybody else in room (the “room” being the whole world).
  • My guess Ryan is that the likes of fbook have a worse reputation than MS is that fb has a waaay bigger market share. I shudder to think what the comments would be like if ms had a similar marketshare to fb.
  • Launcher 10 on android =great phone experience.
    New render engine in edge = never having to use Firefox.
    Really miss Groove tho, by far the best UI of all the music devices. That was a great app.
  • Yeah. You are absolutely right. They should have kept groove as music player. Sometimes I wonder they aquired LinkedIN, GitHub why didn't they aquire a small music service provider like Saavn Music- 45million songs (recently aquired by Jio Infocomm, India) they could have aquired service like saavn for cheap. Plus MS didn't have to look over everything. That brand will work independently with its own employees. They just had to integrate their service into groove.
  • I think they are at least as trustworthy as their competitors but that doesn't diminish my ongoing disappointment with their comsumer products. But, as one other person said, we're stuck with them. And, in their defense, for 15 years I sold software licenses from most major software companies and Microsoft's programs weren't all that difficult to understand. The trouble was they kept changing program names even though the underlying pricing structure changed minimally, or not at all.
  • I've been burned too many times and won't be buying any MS hardware or services until they make at least the 3rd generation and have proved themselves.
    So many things lost; zune, Windows mobile, Windows phone, 6 different Lumia, Surface RT tablet, Band 1 and Band 2, groove. I use W10 and Office but now annoyed they try and remove Onenote to make you use the UWP app. I bought every xbox OK day 1 but next time will wait for the 2nd wave update which fixes the bugs, adds features and is cheaper.
  • All the "lost" items you mention are market areas Microsoft... never... should have been in to begin with. Microsoft under Nadella is focused on what truly matters. Way less me-tooism. Way more acceptance of what they do best as a company... strategy based on fundamentals. The result is a Surface line of today that is exactly the Surface line the company... should... be in.
  • Quit drinking the koolaid man.
  • I only drink the finest Scotch my friend. ;0)
  • It looks like you've had quite enough of that scotch lol.
  • Not really, think what you want lol and how do you know the affects of that particular toilet water anyway? lol.
  • Well, they lost me in a sense.
    I was all in in the ecosystem with Windows Phone, Windows 10 Mobile (had the Lumia 1040, Lumia 950, the HP Elite x3, the Dock, the Laptop dock) and Windows 10 (Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Surface Book). I bought the Invoke when it came out. I had Band 1 and 2. Got the Xbox one.
    Now, I started looking elsewhere. My phone is now Android, my tablet is the HP Envy x2 Snapdragon and I will replace my Surface Book with either a HP Spectre or a Dell XPS.
    With Andromeda being essentially dead, I have little faith in them advancing hardware significantly.
    On top of that, I am seriously considering getting rid of my O365 Business subscription and move to Google docs.
    It's been a great ride, but I like to be on the latest tech and Microsoft allows itself to fall far behind on the consumer/prosumer side of things by constantly starting over.
  • I am thinking of dumnping 0365 for going in all with Google. If you have done this - can you let me know how the transition went? What do you think of the Google cloud options - 2TB for about $100 USD?
  • They've historically been like this and I wanted to believe they had changed once Zune came out and I saw how passionated the Zune team was about it. Once WP7 came out it kinda solidified that trust in them and then...
    Well..
    here we are..
  • Totally agree Jason. On the other hand we should not forget about Google's collateral damage. Facebook is more or less of the same thing. And, they are not alone. We are all the victim of a pace of change driven by money not by quality of life, although they pretend so.
  • Absolutely brilliant article, thank you.
  • As disastrous as it's been the worst thing is the announcements over the past week that they will give Govt access to their code and work with Capital One to establish digital ID's for everyone. I know the majority of people are all cheering up a storm at this but it is bad news. It's the type of thing China is doing to their people and social networks. Scary stuff. For me MS still wins by default because I despise Apple and Google even though I use an Android phone. (who's fault is that MS?) But the margin is getting smaller and smaller by the minute. If it wasn't for Xbox and PC gaming which I can't live without, and my utter disdain for the other 2, I would leave in a heartbeat. Supporting this company with their lack of commitment to consumer products that matter to me, their lack of quality from Windows 10, to updates, to Skype, and everything else they do, it getting close to impossible.
  • Nice piece but inconsistent. On one hand it claims that Microsoft burns it's consumers by cutting products off. On the other hand it complains why Microsoft is forcing consumers to upgrade to Windows 10. If you are truly a Microsoft enthusiast you will embrace upgrades to keep the product alive. As a business you can't expect Microsoft to keep a product that people aren't interested in.
  • On the other hand it complains why Microsoft is forcing consumers to upgrade to Windows 10. If you are truly a Microsoft enthusiast you will embrace upgrades to keep the product alive. Hi Gildon, the main issue here is consumer consent. Many users and some businesses were content to use supported versions of Windows like Windows 7 which many people loved or Windows 8 on thier touch-centric tablets until they were ready to upgrade. Microsoft forcing some users, without thier consent, was a breach of trust that the company acknowledged as wrong. Not every one of the 1.5 billion Windows consumers are enthusiasts who embrace every upgrade right out of the gate. In fact the vast majority of Windows users are not enthusiasts. And as I shared in the article even some enthusiasts like me, prefer Windows 8.1 on my 7-inch tablet and did not want the desktop-centric Windows 10 with the inferior touch experience on my touch centric small tablet. As a business you can't expect Microsoft to keep a product that people aren't interested in. Check out the install base of Windows 7. A LOT of user are still interested in that. :-)
  • The other problem is the Windows 10 update. Microsoft releases updates that frequently break things and then have to pull those updates. However, an unlucky user who is not a tech enthusiast isn't going to be happy trying to fix those bugs.
  • I see no real alternative until my needs get so simple I don't mind the straight jacket of Apple. My computers are like my cars are, now, tools. I save my enthusiasm for the content I create, not the tools I use which now come with End-User Agreements that pretty much assume their ***** is gonna fail, they can't stop it from failing cuz their too greedy, and they really don't care except for the bucks it brings in. I really don't see anything but drones and automatons working in MS, except in maybe the Surface line and X-Box. Everything else is what used to pass for Phone Company Drear.
  • I thought Saudi Aramco is worth near 2 Trillion.
  • they have not gone public...would you trust a 'kingdom' and expect their open and transparent laws to strengthen your investment? And they have some other issues going on.....
  • Well said Jason, well said.
  • How the **** is the share price going up if all they do is kill products is beyond me.
  • It's because they've only killed products that never fit in with their company MO to begin with... me-too devices. They are still very much so bringing new devices to market... the Surface Laptop, Go, Studio, Headphones, Hub, Holo Lens. But any new devices they bring to market must fit in with their mission statement. The market is rightly rewarding a re-focused company. One that plays to their strengths, instead of trying to be something they are not.
  • Business customers, Azure, Office365, Windows server and Enterprise. That's where the big money is, not with consumers.
  • There is plenty of money with consumers too, but they are much more fickle.
  • You're right about MS consumer betrayal, Jason. I hang on to my Alcatel 4S with dying grasp, and I won't let go. (Just had my Lumia 950 order canceled by ATT, oh well).
    Too bad about that, but meanwhile my small business has benefited enormously from Office 365, which has provided us and our clients w/ enterprise level software at single user license, which is AMAZING.
    When I saw MSFT at $22 back in, what, 2010, I couldn't believe it -- and should have bought the stock. But what I did was buy the product, which made me realize that the stock was incredibly undervalued. I've more than made back money on my investment in this company's products.
  • I feel burned as well. But let's be honest. If MS release a buggy Andromeda (or the new Nadellada) device which would be the new WP....we'd buy it. We are in an abusive relationship! I can't quit your Microsoft!!!!!
  • Loyal fans vs valuable investors.
    Valuable investors win;")
  • At some point we all saw some magic, some real passion, coming out of MS with everything WP related.... Those MS employees who had that passion, and helped us believe MS could do great things, should take their passion elsewhere where they, and their fans, are appreciated. (Posted with my Note 9 Android device, using Microsoft’s launcher, and services)... When will I ever learn🙄🙄🙄🙄
  • Complaining about what MS did in 2015 with windows marketing. Seriously, that's the best you can do?!
    Who gives a flying ****
  • Hi n m. Not complaining. Providing the information that creates the aggregate affect of choices in recent history of why many people have concluded that Microsoft is untrustworthy. It wasn't an independent point but flowed with the context of the narrative. :-)
  • You give a dump truck full of Fu&$
  • Trustworthy in Tech world.. Well I tend to have a different view. I started to use MS Word, Excel and Project some 34 years ago. I started to use MS Access and Visio in 1992, I started to use Ms powerpoint in 1991. All these "apps" still work great. Meanwhile vapourised: Wordperfect, Borland DBIV, Dataease in an eternal "we will have a great new version coming loop". etc. etc. etc. So yes MS is trustworthy, but they are a private company and they need to think shareholders as well so if the product does not deliver profits, it's killed plain vanilla simplicity but fact of life. PS: Frontpage first released in 1995, disappeared in 2003 or so, but still working fine. Same for MS Money it still works on W10. So folks be a little bit creative and you will be surprised how long MS stuff lasts....
  • Solid article, Jason, absolutely agree with the sentiment. Sadly, we don't feature in Microsoft's world at all. Not even a little bit. We don't move the dial one single micro-metre for them. Over the past decade, I've bought: > 3 high-end Lumia phones,
    > pro 3
    > pro 4
    > surface book 2
    > surface go
    > foldable keyboard
    > 2 xbox one consoles
    > band and band 2
    > countless games and movies
    > a rolling office 365 subscription
    > a groove subscription
    > a onedrive subscription
    > a games-with-gold subscription Total cash spent....rough guess, somewhere between £10,000 - £12,000 Now, I don't have any facts or figures in front of me, but I think it would be safe to say that my approximately £1000 a year spend on Microsoft products and services puts me in the bottom 0.0000001% of Microsoft's top clients. I'm still going to use Microsoft's services and I'm still going to buy their products, but let's face it, we mean absolutely nothing to the business. Nothing at all. And if every Windows Central reader collectively decided to show Microsoft the finger and move to Android, Sony Playstation and Google docs, Microsoft's response would be "windows central what now? We had a fan base? Well, fancy that. Who knew. Oh well, let's sell another £Billion contract to the department of defence. Onward and upward, lads!"
  • When I was in college I got my first computer ever. It was a Gateway laptop that ran Windows Vista. I had heard that Vista was terribly slow and not as good as XP. But I didn't let that sway me into not getting a PC over a Macbook. Especially knowing that 7 was in the works.
    My brief experience with Vista service pack 1, made me realize that people sometimes over exaggerate their experiences and spread the same negative message even though fixes have been made. I built my first PC when Windows 7 came out. It was great. I still have it.
    I bought me an Xbox 360 and discovered the wonderful world of Media Center. When Windows 8 and 8.1 was out, I researched one day why Microsoft was so disliked. I still thought it was just the people being quick to not give them a chance to make things work.
    Then I bought the Xbox One and was disappointed. I couldn't connect to Media Center like with the 360. I kept it though because I believed them when they said it was going to get better. I believed them when they promised to turn the Xbox One into my household's All-in-One Home Entertainment System (better than Media Center). I didn't like that Media Center was being retired but I understood and accepted why they made that decision. I bought me a Lumia 1020. It was great. Bought the first Surface Pro, it was alright. Windows 10 came about with its promise to do what Windows 8 set the foundation for: One OS that can become what you need it to be. I believed them. I wanted that future they envisioned. I subscribed to Groove. Subscribed to 365. Bought another Surface Pro. Bought the Lumia 950xl. Was eager to get me a Cortana capable device. I was planning on buying the Band. Was excited for the Hololens. It was all great. Then, just like Jason wrote in his article, one by one, it was taken away.
    I eventually came to understand why Microsoft had become so disliked in the past by so many people and developers. So here we are today.
    Even though Microsoft might be the most valuable company in the world-I don't trust them to keep their word anymore. I will still use some of their products only because I have them now but not because I enjoy using them. I don't recommend them to anyone anymore.
  • Less trustworthy according to whom? And based on what? One of Microsoft's greatest strengths recently has been their emphasis on protecting consumers data, when compared to the competition. When GDPR was making it's way through the EU, they ran toward improving its implementation, not away from it. So coincidentally, they were rated most trustworthy compared to Google and Amazon. Both of which recently suffered from the SIGNIFICANT data breaches this past year. They there's the trust in the success of their company. I get it, We're still bummed from WP, Microsoft Band, Groove, going away, and retrenching of Cortana. But like it or not, don't all those things were good decisions, and lets be honest, most people are most upset that Microsoft's recent earnings and performance validated Satya's decisions to axe these products than the fact he axed them. Microsoft is moving away from the seemingly outdated practice of tying consumers to an ecosystem. That's basically the main reason most of us prefer MS over Apple right? Cortana isn't going to be rigid assistant that only runs on MS products. Cortana will be the back end AI for an array of cognitive services at the consumer and enterprise level. That will potentially give her bigger room to grow than being another Alexa, Google now, or Bixby. Xbox's growth is no longer about how many consoles they sell, it's about how much content and services they offer users. The evidence is there. Xbox live users are more satisfied, more engaged, and CONSUME more on the xbox platform than the competition, but instead of locking customers in, it's expanding services like gamepass to include PC gamers. On the topic of Win 10, look. We want MS to be quick, adaptive and competitive with other companies in the OS fight. That means it had to put an end it's noble but counterproductive trend of supporting several generations of older OSes for the sake of customers who don't want to upgrade. Google doesn't do this, Apple doesn't do, so why do expect MS to.. WHILE AT the same time staying ahead of the competition with new features, you can't have both and continue to run a profitable business. We have to be honest with ourselves, They are doing fantastically well, and have many solid products (Azure, Office, Windows, Surface, Dynamics, Mixed Reality) and yes EVEN for consumers (Xbox, WMR headsets, Surface, Onedrive, Office, Windows, Game Pas)
  • I completely agree in particular on their co-operation to protect users through GDPR. MS thinks a decade ahead in these matters. Inevitably the sector will need to get itself in shape the Twitters, Google's and Facebooks of this world will not be able to sustain their position they are just platforms, they are content providers and they need to honour the intellectual property of artists, singer song writers, writers etc. Nadella dares to look beyond the next shareholder meeting and he is building a truly sustainable future proof MS.
  • Your points won't harm them in the last. Hardly anyone knew about Windows 8/10 ecosystem,, which is why they tanked, and no one but us cared. They still don't. Nothing has changed for the worse, for most consumers, because they never tasted the Dream, of said ecosystem. The only peoe harmed in MS's expensive experiment, was us, it's fans. And we are a statistical round g error, in terms of moving the needle, as they embark on a "If you can't beat 'em, join n 'em," business philosophy. I simply chalk it up to, "they lied. The whole time. I'm out a lot of money, and aggravation. I like Jason Ward, suffered an app desert, to enjoy W10M. But I'll never make that mistake, of trusting MS like that, again. I'll buy their successful products, but find another Guinea Pig... My days of wandering in the desert, for 40 years, with them, are over...
  • This article is the biggest joke on the internet. The monopoly issues are way over blown and I don't think you have a good understanding of what the final decision were there. So I think you should not ever discuss, but Windows Defender advertising may have suffered because of other spam ware antiviruses putting up a legal battle. But the antivirus is literally all you need for viruses... Malware that's a bit different... Cortana is on more devices than any digital assistant and is of greater quality and more functionality than any other assistants. Embrace it and get more productive. Edge is still the best browser available. Microsoft will take over Chromium soon which will allow all browsers to take advantage of a better browser functionality and SECURITY. The company that can't be trusted is Alphabet. As they constantly create bot networks cheating all statistics and violate constantly monopoly issues all over the world. Apple is also horrible as a monopoly nutcase since they don't loosen the locked down device network. Gotta use Apple with Apple. Which is a horrible strategy in technology in general. Microsoft provides the best in show of all devices and software and should be used in everyway that they provide service. Period. As I said this article is the worst joke on the internet.
  • Even though I agree with the points Jason is trying to make, I would like to point out that all those services from the old ecosystems are available on rival platforms. Even google is shutting down services left and right. Regarding edge, I find firefox to be superior than others with the focus on privacy. I was pushed towards WP because I hated android looked and performed back then and then android took useful features from WP like toast notifications and material design and embraced it. So even though it feels like betrayal, it's all for the best. The company as a whole seems better placed now than ever.
  • Trustworthy? No. It's a business and they're in the business of making money.
  • I trust Microsoft more than I will ever trust $croogle. Sony is another sleazeball company what with rootkits in their cd's and the removal of Linux from the PS3, makes Sony a lot worse than Microsoft.
  • https://www-techradar-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.techradar.com/amp/n...
  • If there is a strong positive in this move is the possibility of users have a private Chromium experience. I am pretty sure Google is recording every site I ever opened with Chrome whereas Microsoft could differentiate by offering privacy.
  • Do I trust mS? Nope. Their history of dumping products or announcing stuff and not delivering is too much to maintain any sort pf loyalty or trust. What would commence rebuilding trust? A good strat would be nadella's signature on a letter of resignation. Ever since he became ceo the trust level has been in steady decline. He has burned me too many times, going back to when he lied about what devices would get w10m. Only an extraordinarily egostical person would think that they could take so many bad decisions and carry on unperturbed.
  • Don't forget about developers! well, ya we've been baited left and right into the entire ecosystem. I was "all-in", investing time and money in this 3rd ecosystem strategy and got totally abandoned. So, it wasn't just consumers that is being ignored by the current leadership.... it was core developers too. Being a very long time enthusiast I can no longer trust them... and many of my friends, whom are also developers, are right beside me. It is really unfortunate.
  • Thing is MS isn't out front because they put on a burst of speed. They are there because Apple stumbled. Not a detractor, just noting they didn't all of a sudden get better.
  • Windows Phones
    IE
    Edge
    UWP Platform
    Xbox One (less face it, they really dropped the ball this console generation)
    Band
    Andromeda (most likely)
    Continuum
    Mixed Reality Microsoft has consistently had products that were light years ahead of their competition and the same thing happens every time.
  • Still looking at my Lumia 950 XL I spend $600 on plus other apps etc. and thinking what the hell did Microsoft thinking when they told us all that Win 10 mobile would not be supported after December 2019 only a year after they told us all that they would be fully committed to the platform.... I still love that phone and win 10 mobile 📱 though.
  • Jason it would help if you stopped using euphimisms like Nadella's "hollow words" and called them what they are .... lies. Nadella lied to us, pure and simple and that's at the bottom of folk's distrust of mS. The ceo tells lies.
  • Well I could hardly put in more precisely. Yes Nadella lied when he said:
    https://www.windowscentral.com/satya-nadellas-email-about-layoffs-says-h... And https://www.windowscentral.com/nadella-if-oems-dont-build-windows-phones... In other words Nadella did not speak the truth when he gave us guarantees. Back then all my friends would advice me to not buy that Lumia 950 XL but I felt well informed due to the articles I had read where Nadella promised to support Windows 10 mobile but boy I now feel like the stupid dude..... I have never ever felt so betrayed by a company before. I mean this is real bad when a company promise something only to suddenly make a U turn. Of course I could never recommend any clients, friends or family members to buy a Microsoft phone device after this ever. I mean that is obviously. Microsoft has proven to be an immature company with chaotic planning and strategic thinking. It is a shame though since the Lumia 950 XL with Windows 10 Mobile really is/was a very stable and solid mobile solution until one app after another stopped working or lost support.... And what developer would make apps for this system when Microsoft openly starts to proclaim a end date for the Operating system and starts to embrace Android? Seriously.....
  • Sigh. Article opening old wounds.