Microsoft's 'let the past die' consumer strategy is a necessary evil

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella (Image credit: Windows Central)

When a company pivots in strategy – especially one as large as Microsoft – there is usually going to be a lot of damage left in its wake. That is most obvious when it comes to the consumer space, where if you're a die-hard fan you may feel like the company is killing everything you love.

That observation is not entirely wrong. Whether it's scaling back some of Cortana, shutting down Groove Music, discontinuing Xbox Kinect, halting sales of Microsoft Band, or letting Windows Phones die on a vine, the company has undoubtedly scaled back in the consumer space.

But there is a critical pattern here that needs to be talked about, and that is the refocusing of the company.

Killing old products

Zune HD

Zune HD (Image credit: Richard Devine/Windows Central)

The list of Microsoft's failures in the consumer space is quite extensive compared to Apple or Google. The reason for that was a systematic problem during the Steve Ballmer era (2000 to 2014), when Microsoft's organization was more siloed, with specific groups working independently. This strategy changed in Ballmer's final years as CEO of Microsoft as he set in motion a more unified program, which was eventually picked up by his replacement, Satya Nadella. But the impact of that legacy system is still being felt today.

This effect is noticeable under Windows Phone, which didn't see widespread backing in the company until 2010 and later – and even then, many people thought that was too little, too late. Windows Phone, previously known as Windows Mobile, was a side project to Windows, which was the company's bread and butter through the 2000s. Ballmer admitted as much, saying missing mobile was one of his most significant failures.

The same can be said for Microsoft Band. The fitness wearable was launched in the middle of the night with almost no press briefings or fanfare. Indeed, Microsoft called the Band "a demonstration device for Microsoft's sensor and software technology," and not a broad consumer push. This explanation is one reason why it was always in short supply and only in a few markets.

The point is neither Band or Windows Phone can ever be used as an example of Microsoft success in the consumer market. The launches – and subsequent support – were, for the most part, half-assed. Everyone saw this, including fans.

Whether it was Zune, Phone, Band, or even Kinect, you could make the argument that these products rarely saw the full support of the company.

What's changed since 2014

Surface Book 2

Surface Book 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The reason for this history lesson is simple: All the products and services that Microsoft is cutting back on or removing come from the Ballmer era.

Quoting Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) "Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to..." seems to be the mantra for Microsoft. That does not, however, mean there is no vision for the future.

Under CEO Satya Nadella – love him or hate him – the company is taking a much more conservative approach to product launches. No longer are we seeing little side projects creep out to the market with only middling support and enthusiasm.

This has never been more clear than with Surface and Xbox. Whenever I hear that Microsoft doesn't care about consumers, or they're turning into IBM, I look at those programs. Both have flourished since 2014, and we do not see the Surface team commit to new hardware unless they have complete faith in its success. Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book, Surface Hub and Surface Studio are all very well-received, supported, and endorsed products. Xbox One S and Xbox One X – and the related Xbox Gold service – are doing very well for Microsoft too. And they're consumer products.

In late 2017, Xbox and gaming became so important Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Xbox chief, took a seat at the leadership level in the company. Why? The gaming division is now focused, turning profit, and there is a vision of accountability. As a result, Nadella now boasts about how important gaming is to Microsoft's future. None of that is new as Nadella in 2015 stated, "We will pursue our gaming ambition as part of this broader vision for Windows and increase its appeal to consumers."

Compare how those products feel to Microsoft Band, or even Windows phones, and it's vastly different.

These cuts, while unpleasant for fans, are necessary. Many have argued that the company was stretching itself too far and too thin in already competitive markets and even the fans lambasted the company for poor marketing and support, such as Groove Music.

That is not to say everything is perfect now. Looking at the Harmon Kardon Invoke ring bells of Microsoft Band-era launches, unfortunately.

Where Microsoft still fails

The most significant problem Microsoft faces in the consumer space is not this continued retrenchment, but the lack of heads-up to its core base of users.

Kinect, Band, even phone could all be discontinued, but without any hint that something better is coming down the line, that's a very unpleasant experience for users.

I have every reason to believe that Microsoft will have a solution to the lack of voice-control options for the Xbox One likely this year, for example, but that's insider baseball. Consumers don't know this. They just see there is no Kinect, there's nothing to replace it, and there are zero hints that Microsoft is concerned.

This strategy of just cutting products may be necessary, but the way in which Microsoft handles it is terrible. Even with Mobile, while Nadella has dropped hints of a return to the mobile space, the comments are too opaque for consumers to get excited.

Another example is Groove and Spotify. Maybe the two companies are indeed working on a co-strategy where we'll see Spotify effectively replace Groove for consumers throughout that Windows ecosystem. That'd be amazing. But with Groove now gone, and that hypothetical situation not yet a reality, the pain for consumers is palpable.

When core fans retreat and say they're done with Microsoft, it is hard to blame them for feeling screwed. This is the part where busting out idioms like "to make an omelet you have to crack a few eggs" comes in, but that is hardly a satisfying answer if you're invested in Redmond.

Towards a stable future

MS logo

MS logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

If there is good news to any of this it is that going forward, hardware and services that come out from Microsoft will be of a different form than the Ballmer era.

Microsoft internally is working more coherently and more focused. Over the summer, during my tour of the Surface lab, Surface head Panos Panay gushed about how the latest Surface Pro is the first device that his team was able to collaborate on with the Windows, Office, and OneNote teams. They expect much more of that going forward, but it was only due to the massive internal shift at the company that it could finally happen.

Even Windows Mixed Reality, which is still in its infancy, feels like a concerted effort from the company. It may still be niche, but you can't say Microsoft cut corners to make it all happen.

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer (Image credit: Windows Central)

This symmetry and symbiosis is an ongoing project for Microsoft, but the result is devices and experiences – like Surface Laptop, Surface Book 2, and Xbox One X – that stand on their own.

Fewer, but stronger product lines versus many, but weaker ones. That's the difference now and it's an important distinction.

Going forward into 2018, we'll see more of this with Windows Core OS and other new products. For now, though, expect more of the same. There will be fewer products and services, but the ones that remain or launch will be treated as real company launches and not side projects.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Can you imagine if Xbox started 4 years ago?  That too would be getting cut today.  That's my belief.  It's the consumer products that made me enjoy Microsoft.  With no products there isn't much there for me.
  • The analogy makes no sense, or rather, would be a failure. A company like Microsoft trying to start Xbox "4 years ago" would be easily the worst decision to make and it SHOULD be cut, because there is no way it would succeed. Xbox only worked due to a long-term commitment, but the market was still early.
  • And that's my point.  There would be no long term commitment.  When the rumors were swirling that the Surface Pros may be discontinued I thought it had merit and still do.  The only thing that gave me hope was that Microsoft and the NFL signed an extension to their deal.  But that's only for a year.  I guess only time will tell if there's really a commitment.
  • Those rumors were from who exactly? Lenovo? Some analyst you never heard of? There are now five Surface products: Pro, Laptop, Book, Hub, and Studio. And we're getting strong hints of a sixth one for this year. They're accelerating, not cutting back there.
  • Believe me when I say I'm hoping for nothing but success for Microsoft.  I believe they are a very creative company.  But it's difficult to see anything rosy at this moment when I've invested time and money into a Zune player, Xbox, Xbox 360 (2), Xbox One (2), Band (2), Windows Phones (7), Surface Pro (1), Zune/Xbox Music/Groove, Office, and other products that tie into Microsoft consumer line and not feel somewhat jaded with these moves over the past year or so.  And for other's like me who have supported Microsoft it seems like a slap in the face.  So, when some of us don't see the light at the end of the tunnel you should give some leeway. 
  • This entire article is about what you just said, did you read it? It's acknowledged that many things have been cut in the past and the point is criticizing Microsoft's process and communication to consumers when it does happen
  • I can tell you with inside information that Surface is here to stay.  There is a strong commitment from the highest levels to the Surface product line - just go check the Surface product tour in Redmond.  The commitment to building the worlds quietest room (anechonic chamber verfified by guiness book of world record), the machining capabilities, the facilities in general are not from a company about to get out of the business - on the contrary, it's accelerating.  We are talking best of breed devices which set the bar for OEMs and drives innovation with the OS.
  • Hope for pocketable device. Wearable would soon follow suit.
  • Every single one of them has been a failure in sales. Panay should be fired.
  • Along with Sateya Nadulla. Under his leadership, MS have no relevence anymore. When was the last time anyone got excited about MS?
  • "When was the last time anyone got excited about MS?" When they showed off Hololens a few years ago?
  • Yeah! And with the launch of Surface Studio and Xbox One X!
  • I believe, when there is now Windows on ARM, they will continue with Surface (non-pro) line. It was cheap well-selled surface product
  • I wondered if that year commitment was probably to give them time to switch to android or ios. 
  • That is his point. Microsoft no longer commits long term. So his senerio is accurate.
  • The scenario is inaccurate. Surface is an example of what, exactly? Lost money, has good/bad quarters, yet...five products, 2 of which that launched in the last year. And we'll see about Windows Mixed Reality, but so far, it is 100 percent the long-term play. Who else builds their OS around mixed/virtual reality right now?
  • In all honesty, I think the "five products" isn't a defense of the platform. Part of my reasoning is that the two new products are the two worst I've seen from the company, in my opinion. The Surface Laptop, as I've releatedly said, is a total self-contradiction. In a market they claimed to want to innovate, they showed up in 2017 with a product that fits the design scheme of what they claimed to be looking to innovate on with the first Surface launch. Plus, as I have also said, the clamshell design defeats the Pen support, in a lot of ways. I tried a Surface Book as a laptop with the Pen in that chassis setup, and it's just not pleasant to write vertically. The Hub and Studio are VERY high-end, niche products. The new Surface Pro was such a negligible iteration that they said themselves that it didn't get a numerical moniker because they didn't think it was worthy of it. Yet, they took the included Pen from the consumer, raised the price of the standalone Surface Pen, AND raised the price of the now-penless device. Oh, and they didnt' refresh the Type Cover properly, just throwing on the Alcantara stuff to raise the price $30 and lesening the color options. All told, they've trended heavily towards an Apple model--the exact one many Windows fans hate. They're putting premium prices on things and being more about form than function. The new pricing on the Surface Pro package and the Surface Laptop seem to be the most obvious--pay more, get the same or less, even as we lessen our efforts to be maret leaders. They're very Apple-like in a bad way there. In the case of the Surface Pro, it's gone form the go-to recommendation for me to one I have a hard time suggesting, the price increase has gotten so heavy (what was probably $1,000 for my work to order before is now about $1,100-1,200 for the same hardware tier). Regarding the WMR, I'm torn. I was really happy to see them come out with an array of devices at varying price points with some semblance of harmonized functionality. The addition of SteamVR was huge and a great move. However, they're not totally "building their OS around" the platform. They're barely putting out first-party content, and most of the big-name titles from third parties are ports from SteamVR at higher prices (Arizona Sunshine and Superhot go on sale for lower prices on Steam than on the Windows Store, as two examples). Plus, Microsoft is still doing a poor job of making WMR content easily discoverable in the Store. I can open Steam and hit the "VR" link from the home page, while I have to go to the Apps apge, into Colletions, then go to WMR in the Windows Store...then I have to follow the same process in the Games tab to get to the WMR games, meaning I can't find a true "WMR" hub worth dirt in the Store in any kind of timely fashion. Microsoft used to be a software company. They claimed to be "software and services," but it really feels more like "services and a platform." They want everyone else to do the content creation and innovation these days. They lightly iterate and bring out features, but they're still marketing their products and platforms poorly and asking a lot of the market to support MS, rather than MS giving reasons to be supported.
  • You're ignorant if you think the latest Surface Pro is a negligible update.... especially since it now offers LTE.
  • People are stupid Dan! Don't listen to them.
    They are here to troll MS and you;")
  • whatever dude! we gonna say how it is. 
  • You mean other than Google and Apple?
  • If by "the market was still early" you mean "had been around for 20+ years", you're correct. Launching in any space where there's competition requires commitment. Microsoft under Nadella lacks that commitment to anything but obvious bets like cloud services and tablets. Microsoft would have been better off keeping Ballmer.
  • "If by "the market was still early" you mean "had been around for 20+ years", you're correct." How many console manufacturers from those 20+ years prior to the launch of Xbox are still in the business again? Atari, Sega and SNK have all ceased their gaming hardware operations long since then and are content enough to just publish and/or develop games these days, while Nintendo has chosen to not directly compete in the market, rather carving a niche for themselves. Sony is really the only true competitor to Xbox, and Playstation as a brand has only really began to earn the fanbase it has nowadays with Playstation 2, which launched just a year before the original Xbox. So yes, Daniel's assumption that the market was still green then is correct.
  • Balmer actually seemed to care.  I really can't say that of Nadella from what I've seen. Now Balmer made mistakes, but Nadella seems focused solely on keeping shareholders happy and thats starting to be shown as the typical risk adverse management style that brought IBM undone.  Most of the listed cut products were ones that quickly gained a lot of love and support from the target audience, but its hard to think than anyone would love azure or officen in the same way that fans latched onto xbox, WM or zune.  Without those loyalty eliciting products you don't have the grassroot support that promotes the brand and message.  MS needs that right now, all that's needed to scupper azure is a competing/compelling offering from amazon or google, and they are ABSOLUTELY working on that like crazy.
  • Whether Balmer cared or not, his products were terrible and failed because they were terrible. Caring doesn't guarantee quality.
  • Ballmer was more willing to give a bleeding horse another chance. Nadella is more conservative and consequent in his approach, it's different, but what Microsoft needs now. A little focus is good. But Ballmer laid the foundation for Nadella's succes. He's the most under valued CEO of this century (Till this date at least).
  • "Microsoft would have been better off keeping Ballmer."
    Literally all of Microsoft's modern problems can be traced the Ballmer. The fact you cannot see that is the problem. You folks are in insane if you thought Windows phone - under Ballmer! - was done well. Or Windows 8 (!) was the smart move for Microsoft. This is crazy talk and delusion.
  • Do you ever recognize Microsoft problems? Or you accept any dumb thing they do? I really didn't want to read this article/comments cuz it was by Dan Rubino...will be same ol-defense on Microsoft's side. Regret reading and hope this will be the last article I read from Dan, I can't accept this blind folded walking.
  • You're asking if he ever recognizes Microsoft problems by replying to a comment where he states he thinks a lot of Microsoft's current problems stemmed from Balmer's era? Ok then.
  • Agree. I love it when people say that Windows Phone/Mobile failed because of Satya, when the reason it failed was because Ballmer was slow off the mark in the first place.
  • So Nadulla killing WP is a winner?
  • Keeping it was definitely a loser.
  • Killing? It was already dying. Even at the peak, Windows Phone/Mobile was barely able to even scratch the success Android and Apple experienced and still are experiencing. It was too late to the market. By the time is arrived Apple was making waves with iPhone. Windows Phone arrived and it took them numerous updates to even bring multi-tasking (even that was half-assed) to the OS. I look back at their updates now, and I think I way too patient with MS. Ballmer being slow and writing off smartphones is a mistake Microsoft has never recovered from.
  • Daniel Rubino, What ? Hololens were developed under ballmer, Windows 10 (beginnings) were developed under ballmer. Big switch in software design (Windows 8) such as Flat design, (When Apple copied it in the iOS 7, and Google with Material design), 2v1 devices.. Everything was developed UNDER BALLMER. Everything what we see now (Surface devices, hololens, simply and clear SW design, 2v1 devices...) was developed under ballmer. I dont think Nadella will ever bring something new. Maybe Ballmer was not good Leader, but at least he had a vision.. Nadella looks like he doesnt even know what is he doing there.. and Windows 8 was just big step, and it was too early for people. And the Windows Phone was raising.. just a little, but it did. (And yes only under Ballmer)
  • I'd say Nadella is good at sustaining what he is given. He seems to be very careful and confident in his decisions.
  • Yes, Ballmer made mistakes (Vista and Windows 8 comes to mind).  But by the time he left he was getting his act together and things were actually looking good.  Windows Phone was actually starting to have a good presence in many markets (and is definitely the best mobile OS and still is today, though WP8.1 was better than W10M).  Nokia's purchase would have been a good move had Ballmer stayed.  But Nadella didn't see things the same way and scrapped everything Ballmer did without consideration to the public, only to shareholders. Now hoping for a new mobile device using Windows on ARM...
  • WP8.1 better than windows 10 mobile? Best Joke of the day, as a matter of fact if you do a survey you will see salty device owners of Samsung Ativ se angry for not getting win 10m even though it’s 1520 hardware hence you see a lot of people going to android after the transition. I for one sold my ativ se and bought a Lumia 640 just for windows 10m but Microsoft doesn’t recognize why android is successful and that’s the ability for having all kind of users those who like free and those who don’t mind spending and the simple side loading of apps but somehow Microsoft thinks they are Apple when it comes to phones but their platform started with side loading of apps. Android has a store and you can still side load apps easily and windows 8.1 lol
  • That's what's missing from modern Microsoft. Long term commitment. Xbox struggled for years at the start and many said they should have just it up.
  • Yep, yep, yep. This guy should be running a motel 8 on interstate 66, not running a massive corporation.
  • And you would still not be happy. Perhaps you can tell that to him personally or publicly, via a tweet instead if ranting here.
  • That's what's missing? I thought it was products people wanted to buy. It wasn't phone. It wasn't Band.
  • You are back to writing these kind of articles that try to explain how  Microsoft failure is their strategy. It might be true that there are fewer lines now, but with Ballmer they had the balls to make an initial failure a success in the long term. Satya still has to bring out a successful line of Hardware. Oh and you can tell if something will be a success or not before it launches. You were the only ones hyping Harman's speaker. No consumer knew about it (in fact, who is Harman?). You cant bring out a product like that without investing heavily in marketing. That they dropped support for Kinect Gestures right after selling all those Kinects with the Xbox is just a slap for all the customers. And that was years ago. They are not breaking the eggs for the omelettes. They are throwing them out of the window. 
  • Oh and dont believe a word what Panos says. That guy would sell you his grandma. You see it when he presents the Surface Laptop and explains how easy it is to ink on it while holding the shaking display. You saw it when he answered Consumer Reports about the quality of their products (have you seen the houndreds of unanswered complaints about the new Surface Pro and the pen issues when you touch the metallic parts while inking?) 
  • "Oh and dont believe a word what Panos says. "
    If I shouldn't listen to people at Microsoft who work on this stuff and I interview, I'm not listening to "El Mac" in comments ;)
  • Daniel.   I love the comments brother.  They are FUNNY!
  • And therein lies the problem. How can you begin to innovate and bring new things to the table, if you're expecting it to be an instant success?   The Xbox scenario is valid, when Xbox was launch Playstation was HUGE, Microsoft just don't seem to have a stable vision, it flip flops all over the place, and all that suffers from it is consumers (Microsoft will probably suffer soon, as more and more people take their business elsewhere.) I have used Microsoft hardware since I can remember, but they've lost me now. I have the Xbox One X, because the Xbox is the only thing they really appear to be committed to. Gone is my band, and phone and countless other forgotten devices, replaced by and iPhone and Apple Watch. People used to mock Google for having a fragmented OS, but guess what, at least they still stand by it. As you said in the article " to make an omelette you have to crack a few eggs" which is fair enough. But Microsoft need to get all the ingredients ready, and make one finished, good omelette. Instead of cracking eggs every year or so, because the omelette didn’t come out as expected.  
  • So, why hasn't Nadella canceled Surface? It lost money, sales/rev is relatively flat. Instead, they added more products. Go.
  • Well current surface range protects their bread n butter. PCs are important and the decline had to be slowed /reversed. But Nadella is not a risk taker. He is a very conservative guy who likes to play safe. 
  • Usig such logic Excel, Word and even PDAs powered by MS OS would have never existed: there were already dominant, and succesfull, products dominanting a very well established market.
  • They had a winner in Band 2. I would certanely brought Band 3 if it has shipped. But instead I was forced to go elsewhere when my Band 2 broke for the secound time, and I did not get a replasement but my money back.  So now I have a Fitbit. Which is no way as good as the band, but it work ok, for what it does, and it has not break. So i Microsoft now come with a new training band, will I buy it? Probably not.
  • They actually never had a winner with band 1 or 2.   The design for function was not good.  They needed the nokia "moonraker" I think it was called.  A watch style wearable.   They would have sold many more of that device than the goiter strapped Band monstrosity.
  • The Band was the ugliest wearable available by far. That was a terrible product.
  • Yet consumers loved it no matter what mobile platform they had.
  • Thats why they were left on the shelves all the time.   Come on Neo,  the band was NEVER a sales barnburner.   Hell every fitbit model blew away the band in sales.   
  • Wearable first, if not fitness based.
  • What a terrible way of thinking. They way you put it each and every product we know on the planet is unbeatable and nobody should try to make better products. I bet it was a horrible decision from Apple to make iphones when Nokia dominated. No. No. You can start a product at any time as long as the product is good and the marketing is good. The problem is both ate not good at Microsoft.
  • Totally agree, Boss
  • "The most significant problem Microsoft faces in the consumer space is not this continued retrenchment, but the lack of heads-up to its core base of users." True! The phone response is possibly a textbook case of bad communication. Similarly the Band was suddenly discontinued without much notice. Then to add insult to injury we have the leaking of prototypes that show products that look like stuff we would have bought if it was offered for sale.  Broad hints about an "ultimate device" for mobile hint at a future, but for the average Windows Mobile customer they have been cut loose for no reason. It makes die hard fans give up on the brand.
  • Daniel I'm really glad you published this article as it resonates with a core, but forgotten group, of windows fan(boys/girls). I believe your quote was dead on "Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) "Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to..." seems to be the mantra for Microsoft." When it comes to the die hard fan, "Kill it, if you have to" is right on point. Don't get me wrong, this is not a rant. I was one of those "die hard" fans, but I think that this is necessary to move forward. I understand the comparisons between the Balmer and Nadella and how there is a "focussed" approach to Microsofts vision now. Unfortunately, as you stated, Microsoft did not communicate this "refocus" to its consumer side and I dare say its professional side either. I have worked as an IT professional for many years and have witnessed many levels of (mis)communication and this ranks up pretty high on the "failure to communicate" list. So going forward, my advice to many of my constituents and consumer collegues, who ask for my professional help, is to not invest in a "All Microsoft" solution. Instead, I tell them to take a modular approach to there technology needs as, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon, try as they may, can not accomplish a "one stop shop when it comes to their technology needs. What we usually do is take a more pratical approach and compare past performance and real world professional feedback before we help recommend solutions and let me tell you, more and more Microsoft services are becoming less and less it on the Server side as well as office solutions. I really think that Microsoft really misses the point that when I, and many others, go home from being a professional, we become consumers, and their lack of communication spills over to that side. Also, in todays "social media" driven society, when people are "burned" they have no problem communicating that with others, and as you know that communication spreads real quick.  Microsofts "refocus" did affect my purchase decisions this past season. Before, I was all in to purchase an XBOX X, new pc and a mobile computing device from Microsoft but the latest coming out from Remond changed my mind, so I did not invest and looked for other options. This is not just my opinion but also from consumers I meet and talk to about thier technology decisions. I am constantly in the field every week and the perception about Microsoft from consumers is not the same as it was 2 years ago when Microsoft was seen as being innovative again. My whole point is that the damage done may not be reversable when it comes to Microsofts "refocus"... I say that for the fan(boys/girl), the professional as well as the everyday consumer...Go modular! Pick the services/solutions that fit your needs as well as your wallet and definetly look at trends and how a company treats its consumers/customers...because in the end when we all go home after work, thats what we become!...and always remember, that without consumers/customers,!
  • "I was all in to purchase an XBOX X..." I was all prepared to purchase an XBOX X myself.  But with all the dismantling of services I took pause.  Once they announced Groove was being killed, that was enough for me to re-consider an XBOX X for the holidays.  I regularly listened to Groove on my XBox One.  The Spotify app does not compare to Groove whatsoever.  It's really tedious.  I'm waiting to see what happens on the "Surface Phone" front to see how that materializes.  But now I'm hesitant to invest.  Reading about that thermostat yesterday that would be something I would have snapped up in a minute.  Yet again I pause and ask myself will this be supported 9 months from now?  I would think this type of feeling would be reasonable. 
  • Spot on. Ms cant get away with what they have done and wc shd stop being overly supportive for example if windows 10s was / is under Nadella then there shd hv been some push to expand their store but we dont see tht. Instead they buried their head in  sand by offering free upgrade to pro as if the problem will go away on its own. If tomorrow Nadella leaves n the new ceo drops surface would it ve justified or called necessary?  They hv not broken few eggs but rather threw away entire kitchen n rebuilding at consumers cost. Ms is not a small startup to do tht n getaway
  • Agreed.  For the life of me I cannot see how MS does not have what dell has in mobile connect.  Dell,  one computer company has managed to create an awesome way for our phones to interact with our pcs.   MS should have had this conqered LONG AGO.   Thank God I have and love dell computers so I am good...but it's terrible that MS does not have this first party!
  • I don't trust them anymore.  I want to buy an Xbox One X, and a Surface Book 2, but I'm not going to throw down thousands of dollars on products from a company that I can no longer trust to stand by those products.  Surface Book is probably a safer bet than the One X, but I shouldn't have to question it at all.  And because of their past transgressions, I do question it.  I'll let my work continue to buy Windows products, since they pretty much have to, while I spend my money a little more carefully.
  • I get the trust part and it is your money, but Xbox has been around for 17 years and is getting more investment and attention, not less. Surface too shows exactly zero signs of slowing down. Surface Laptop should be a sign that the company is going to create products even when the category already exists, which is a huge shift from the original Surface plan. We now have Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, Surface Book, Surface Studio, Surface Hub and a bevy of Surface-branded accessories. All of that is very different than Band, Zune, etc. imo.
  • Xbox is getting more investement and attention but in ways that make sense to MS at the current time.  This means that in the end, the consumer will be left wanting.  Take a look at their gaming portfolio.  Yes, I LOVE my Xbox One X but no one on this planet can tell me that the entire division, as a gaming whole, is run perfectly or even as well as it used to be.  It's beginning to fall victim to MS mantra - amazing engineering, amazing devices, nothing to do with them. In the end, the consumer will speak, and unfortunately, unless Phil can get 1st party and exclusive games out the door very quickly, it won't end well.  I agree with your entire article but I still don't think any of it bodes well for your average consumer - mainly MS as a corporation and their profitability.  Which hey, all the power to them but again, it's depressing as a supporter of all of their products.
  • This. I had to laugh when I read that Xbox was a success over the last years. Xbox was head to head with PlayStation in last gen Sales. This gen, Sony is selling twice as much consoles as MSFT. TWICE! They have lost millions of customers and still have not a single exciting 1st party title announced for 2018. Sony has like 10 AAA titles this year. Nobody cares that the PS4 Pro is the worse hardware compared to One X.
  • Problem is, when WP8 devices came out Windows mobile devices had been around for a looooong time. Back then they were getting more investment and attention than ever before. What's more Ol' Nads has very clearly marked out the move away from the consumer space. Not a great confidence boost. It is easy to see the ghosts of products past. I should also add, Dan, that whilst I've been the perfect MS victim and bought my WMR headset to show my love, contrary to your comments in the article it is easy to see where the corners are being cut. Wanna guess? Could it be... marketing possibly? You might argue that now's not the time to promote MR/VR etc. but a far more compelling position is to see the parallels with previous products and the traditional MS approach to consumers. I'm with you when you tell us 'but this time, THIS time, it really will be different, MS can change, he really loves me underneath' and I do want to believe that and act accordingly. Still, I wince at every move MS makes in anticipation of the next black eye. Microsoft fans are now Microsoft victims and MS looks to be very comfortable with that dynamic. The cuts come regularly, and communication is if anything becoming increasingly sparse. If Apple started providing a Microsoft survivor counselling service with each device they sold, they could be on to a winner.
  • And all of them will be discontiuned after 4 months 🧡
  • I have yet to konw anyone other then myself that has a Surface. I work IT by the way.
  • I work in IT and only know 1 person with an iPhone.  Doesn't mean much.  
  • - doctah I work in IT and only know 1 person with an iPhone.  Doesn't mean much. -
        Now that is funny. Guess no one buys iPhones. Every tech conference I've gone to 3/4 of the atttendees have iPhones.
  • Whoosh goes the point over your head. Anecdotal "evidence" is still anecdotal.
  • While I love Xbox one and have four currently in my home,  Harmon Kardon speaker, surface 3, surface pro 4, and at the company I implement and distribute all Microsoft products,  mommy confidence in Microsoft is very low.  Employees are becoming more mobile so we user office 365, SharePoint,  and more,  but no one knows about Cortana whether it's buoy in to windows 10 or not; Apple,  Google, and Amazon got the digital assistant in peoples minds via consumer products,  not with a business only mindset and they infiltrating businesses with that same consumer first strategy because they realize that business purple people are consumers. My purchasing habits have a evolved based on management bringing up feature and functionality of the personal devices they use.  If Satya doesn't change his stance on business only focus,  I'm afraid Microsoft will fade away like blackberry and Nokia,  butt no one will want to use their name for products like companies do the Nokia brand because Satya has tainted it.
  • You have 4 Xbox One’s?  
  • I have 4 XBox One-X,  (3 sons), 3 XBox One and 1 legacy XBox (Rel 1)
  • "Surface Laptop should be a sign that the company is going to create products even when the category already exists, which is a huge shift from the original Surface plan." On that note, It'd like to see Microsoft release a Surface Desktop as a simpler - and cheaper - Surface Studio as an iMac competitor for the non-creatives.
  • The normal studio we have now should be priced inline with the imac,  Then make a surface studio PRO with powerhouse internals for the professional.   They are already moving from imac devices to suface already...might as well toss out the fishing line and pull in potential imac pro customers to the better side.   Also,  there should be a studio monitor we can use with our surface books/pros.   That would be ideal.
  • I agree that the Surface line is a "success", with some caveats. I agree that every product in the Surface line is a well thought out device the company can be proud to stand behind.  And I agree with the point that Band, Zune, Lumia phones (with plastic backs!!!!) were all completely half-hearted "me too" releases.  However, as a software developer both in the consumer and enterprise spaces, I must say that the lack of a Surface Phone (or at least a "phone-like" device... Surface "Note"... Surface "Mini"... but nevertheless a phone "by any other name") from my vantage point undermines the entire line of products.  As an enterprise dev lead how can I, with a straight face, recommend to my CIO that we spend millions developing a UWP "universal" apps team if we simply can't purchase respectable phone-sized, pocketable, devices we can give to our company's field reps?  I don't want to end up with egg on my face like the NYPD right? As a consumer developer why do I bother to keep an app alive on the Microsoft Store when Microsoft hasn't given us any hope whatsoever that there will be a pocket-sized device some time this century that my customers can run it on?  Do I really expect my customers to tote 13-15 inch Surface books everywhere they go? Microsoft may mean well in axeing their current mobile ambitions, but in doing so it has come across as having serious committment issues.  And as an enterprise developer there is NOTHING WORSE than committment issues.  Millions of dollars are often at stake and we can't afford to invest in products, and custom software for those products, if the company making those products can't guarantee they will stand behind them.  They should have waited to ax the Lumia line until they had this ultimate mobile device... hopefully called the Surface Note... ON STORE SHELVES. By resigning us devs to limbo while Microsoft "refocuses" I'm afraid that irreperable damage has been done not only to consumer fans, but also to developer fans in both the consumer and enterprise spaces.  
  • There is a very good reason why the "surface sized" device is not out yet... it's not finished yet. As you know this surface device will use the snapdragon 845, which will only be released later in the year and be in very short supply inicially. Also the OS itself is probably still not ready either. Microsoft only releases their surface devices when they are confident that they are done. So I really don't understand what you are complaining about... Would you prefer for Microsoft to release half baked products like they did in the past? Towards the end of they year you and your company will have a pockeable Surface device. 
  • Microsoft has had plenty of time to bring this device to market and to do it properly.  The problem isn't a lack of resources, nor is it incompetence, it's that they allow themselves to get sidetracked with nebulous ideas like A.I., Quantum computing, and augmented reality devices that never make it to market. Don't get me wrong the Surface line is pretty darned good.  But it will not be great, nor be a "success", nor be complete, until a Surface Phone (aka Surface Note) (aka Surface Mini) completes it.  Microsoft would have been better off sticking with the Lumia 950/950XL until they could bring something better to market.  And in the meantime if they really want to ditch something... why not ditch the Bot framework, Q#, and Hololens?  At least until after they've put their heart and soul into the ultimate mobile device, and it's sitting proudly on store shelves.
  • RJP...take off the murky glasses.   HOW did MS have time to release this device when the friggin chip they are going to be using is not even available yet.   COME ON....wake up and listen to what you are saying.
  • Yeah that's part of the critique is the poor communication
  • -Long delay, I meant to send this last week, got interrupted and forgot to come back to it. I agree that they're not the same.  And I'm sure PC's will be around for quite a while, so like I said, the Surface Book 2 is probably a safe bet.  But especially the Surface Book is a lot of money for me to give to a company that has lost my trust.  And I love my Xbox, and they probably won't kill that anytime in the near future.  But if they have a bad year and lose money on the division, it would not shock me in the slightest for them to kill it, instead of investing the proper time into it.  I know they had bad years in the past, but now?  Nadella and the board would axe it or sell it off. I understand that it's a business.  They need to make money, it's why businesses and jobs exist.  But they have a pattern of creating amazing things....and then just walking away.  They can blame WP for being late to the game all they want.  But it had so much potential, that they just didn't capitalize on.  The issue was not apps.  The issue was stupid little things throughout, that would have been simple fixes.  They pretty quickly stopped giving developers reason to trust them.  Same with Kinect.  I finally got one for Xbox One, only to find out that they killed gesture control.  I mostly use it to turn my Xbox on/off or change my volume.  I can understand Band, maybe even Zune, Groove, etc.  Those are crowded markets.  But they flat out botched, and then killed WP and Kinect.  They were like race horses, getting a great start out of the gate, tripping, falling, breaking a leg, then getting shot by their jockey in front of everyone.  But now I'm just being ridiculous. It just ticks me off.  And now I don't trust them.  If I have a car that doesn't work, I fix it.  If I have an appliance that doesn't work, I fix it.  Something has to be really broke for me to abandon a great product. Microsoft?  Meh, it's not making ENOUGH MONEY, chop it's head off with an axe. Oh, and to really pee in your wheaties:  Cortana is next.  The signs are there.  Song recognition; gone. Deal with Amazon on Alexa?  Cheating on her...  Was there not an article recently dropping integration in an MS app?  She's on borrowed time.
  • Yeh I was looking forward to getting the Xbox One X but then I stepped back and saw the lack of 1st Party Support, so I pulled back (I have a PS Pro for 3rd 4k stuff). The thing is Microsoft's newly announced commitment to gaming has been a complete reaction to PlayStation and the Switch. It is good that they're committing again, better late than never. But I hope their commitment means new IP now the same old halo, gears, and Forza rotation. Their investments in titles will probably take 2/3 years to come to then PS5 will be the talk of the town. The momentum from the 360 just wasn't carried over. My trust in them has been knocked for sure.
  • I don't think momentum had anything to do with it, Microsoft royally screwed the pooch with the Xbox One by not focusing on games, the stupid device check in every 24 hours and tying games to the console they were first used on. They backtracked on the latter two but the damage was already done by then.
  • I think their intention was to make something like Steam, but you're right they went abit crazy.
  • The article had me nodding, in agreement throughout.
  • From what you are saying Daniel,  there will be a push towards consumers again in the near future?
  • There already is - everything about Windows, Surface, Mixed Reality, and Xbox is consumer focused. The difference is you won't see the company diving into every new thing with a product, but only half-committed. It's all or nothing. As I say at the end "Fewer, but stronger product lines versus many, but weaker ones. That's the difference now and it's an important distinction." Band was awesome, but it was never a Surface product. It grew out of Xbox, was a demonstration platform - that's something I don't think we'll see a lot of going forward.
  • Gotcha!  Mobile going forward is a dead duck besides the foldy mcfoldface deivce?  ha ha.
  • I think that all depends on mcfoldface. Windows is built to scale to most any device, if there is demand for a windows device with telephony, then OEMs, potentially MS will build. If that is what the mass consumer is asking for.... Me personally, I am very over phones as they are today. I just want a nice Windows Tablet with telephony.
  • I would love to see a true surface phone.  It would need support for most everything I do on my iphone,  but I think the market is there.  pen support, mobile payment etc all needs to be there but still i think it would be great!
  • Ditto, I want a watch that is always connected and provides for emergency communication. And a small tablet or foldy-fone that I can leave in the car or at home. I'm sick of carrying my phablet around all the time.
  • Ditto, I want a watch that is always connected and provides for emergency communication. And a small tablet or foldy-fone that I can leave in the car or at home. I'm sick of carrying my phablet around all the time.
  • Isn't that exactly what Apple just released?
  • No
  • Well yes.   but its on apples eco system.  so if you don't want to be part of that,  then No.  
  • I would argue that the Invoke, Windows 10 S, plans for Cortana and how it is to compete with Alexa and Google Home are all half-committed initiatives, headed down the same path that Windows RT, WP, Groove, etc. were headed down in the past. I think there are far more indications that we're seeing more of the same than that we're seeing a whole new way of working.
  • Right. Years later, voice commands are not up to par with how they were on Windows Phone 8, Cortana isn't available in all countries, and Microsoft doesn't have their own Cortana Speaker. Alexa is clearly in the mindshare even though Amazon started later.
  • I think invoke has been years in planning with HK. Chances are they had to finish the project due to contractual obligations. It doesn't fit in with the new MS. Especially with the news today with Cortana and dynamics.
  • Yup, I read that article too. Cortana is quickly stagnating.
  • Correct me if I am wrong, didn't Steve Jobs also cut back Apple products before reexpanding outword with better focus?  For me, it is highly important a company focus its attention on making great products not half-baked goods. I loved my microsoft band and hated when they discontinued it. But if something better is up ahead then I will gladly suffer the time being.   
  • There still is a push to consumers. While Xbox could be better it’s not without trying. They know they made mistakes and are hoping to rectify them. It sounds like they have a lot of games in development but with all the cancellations they aren’t announcing anything until it’s gold. There has been at least 10-15 games that were cancelled or delayed that were exclusive.
  • MS could definitely stand to have a better communications department. All that's communicated to consumers outside of XBox/Surface is "we don't have a plan and don't care about your support for us".  Windows Mobile really could have been something if MS had committed to it, but instead we saw poor/no upgrades, promising devices killed off, and then just letting the product stagnate and die instead of competing.  Advertising was pretty poor as well.  Yes, there was a "catch up" game going on, but they could have been a contender.  (and that whole "no upgrade for 7.x devices to 8.x" announcement shortly after the "beta test is over" Nokia 900 was just a slap in the face to fans) Groove - sure, it cost money, but again it wasn't well implemented and I'd argue that poor mobile execution contributed to its demise.  Way back when the Zune was made, it was actually pretty good for hardware, especially the Zune HD.  It just never got any real marketing/support. So right now all we really see from MS is "we're not committed to mobile".  The developers see it, the fans see it, enterprises see it, partners feel the pain (HP x3, anyone).  So if/when MS comes out with its next attempt at some mobile-like device, how much support is it really going to get? Even worse if it's targeted at Enterprises because they aren't likely going to try out MS' next beta test and consumers won't be able to afford/justify it if it's open to them.  Maybe MS does have a plan, but I think it's going to be a lot harder to build up excitement this time around after ditching their customers so often in the consumer space.
  • They are finished as a consumer company... Apart from gaming with Xbox and Windows... There is no way back when the only fans they have no longer trust them to support a product... Mixed reality and Cortana will be the next things to be axed... I believe they are happy to be leaders in enterprise only...
  • Thats a pretty big consumer swathe there grungni...XBOX and have hundreds of millions of consumers there in those!
  • If you exclude Windows enterprise users it is hardly that number.
  • Thank you Dan. You explained the issue in detail @ Where Microsoft still fails. Just to give an example, YouTube App is not supported in Amazon Fire TV from 1/1/2018 but from 12/27/2017 when you access the YouTube App in Fire TV, it will give an option to access YouTube through FireFox / Silk browser. This is an extra step for the consumer but sufficient notices were given about this issue and there was a work around. Amazon also had an advertisement about accessing YouTube through firefox and using the Alexa enabled remote for forwarding/rewinding. Is it too much to expect the same courtesy from Microsoft? This is the only reason I hate Satya.
  • Well but its struggling to reach out to consumers with these Real company launches as well, they are unable to commit a product to worldwide market fully at the same time OEM's are not picking up the mantle.surface books and surface laptops still ignore fastest growing markets and then they cry abt lack of interest and kill off the product.
  • I think the laptop and 2-in-1 market is outstanding right now. Thanks, in part, to Microsoft's commitment to its OEM partners and where Windows is going. HP just had a great PC quarter and sees a bright future here. Windows 10 on ARM is a whole new path for the future of products.
  • The one thing of which I am not fully convinced is that the fewer, more focused projects in progress are any better than the many projects in progress toward the end of Ballmer's tenure. Windows Phone, the Microsoft Band, Surface tablets, and XBOX were all great consumer products in my opinion, even if they did not fully realize their long term strategies in the interim versions. I think Microsoft has proven it can build the best products, but it has not yet proven it can realize their long term strategies in their products of the foreseeable future. I believe this is what you are indicating Nadella is focused on Daniel, but in my opinion, the jury is still out on his ability to deliver.
  • I love Windows phone, but let's admit that from day one the strategy of leaving it all to the OEMs was misguided. Imagine if Windows phone started today with the Surface and Windows teams in place. I think it'd be very different. The problem with phone was how it started...the problems just amplified over the years, despite moments of greatness.
  • Looking at it more,  I agree Dan,  I just hope they TRY again with a true surface phone....not foldy but a kickass surface branded powerhouse phone!    EDIT:  Great article to put things in perspective of a MS user/fan who is/was on the edge of jumping to something else...
  • See, if I actually thought Microsoft was going to develop a superb smartphone running full Windows, but with still support for live tiles, etc., I could deal with that.  The really cool future-tech that would make any sort of an phone-expand-to-a-tablet thing attractive and useful just isn't there. If what's been leaked is where they're going, it will fail worse than Windows phones did because it doesn't fill a gap.  Well, for a few niche users it might and people who absolutely must have the Next New Thing.  Like you, I do hope they try again, but with full Windows on ARM.  I think it will only be on tablet/laptop devices in any significant way, though.  I hope I'm wrong.
  • @Daniel I think the problem had more to do with strategic direction than with OEMs, to be fair. OEMs were building exactly what Microsoft was asking for, but Microsoft did not know how to navigate Windows Phone's progression to achieve their end vision, or they just did not have a clearly defined end vision. I agree that, in theory, if Microsoft were to launch Windows Phone as a new product today with the Surface team's hardware innovation, we would hope for a much more strategic, calculated product. While they've showed signs of their long term vision and how things can come together, they have yet to demonstrate the ability to really embody that vision in a consumer product. In general I feel like I see what you see. I see their long term vision, I see the potential, I see the possibilities. I just need them to deliver a milestone product that is a clear step in that strategy -- just so we know they have a focused, clear strategy internally this time.
  • You're right, phone should have started with the support that Surface and Xbox had. I've said a couple times that i think Microsoft's fault is the expectation that their products have to compete at the top of the market rather than building the core and growing (kinda like Tesla). I didn't expect Band to outsell fitbit or apple watch, i just wanted to see it evolve. When i left my iPhone to go back to Windows Phone/Mobile, i never expected Microsoft to be the dominant OS, it was clear they were behind. All i wanted was to watch it evolve, unfortunately the merging of their vision killed outside developer support and i rode through it. I can understand changes in direction, it just feels like the consumers are angel investors (loosely) that get no insight on the failure of their investments. You are correct, transition is hard, they are just poor at communication which is frustrating to manage. I wish the hardware team had as much perceived vigor as the Insider Program. The invoke feels like a Band/Kinect experiment, but we'll see...
  • The biggest issue surrounding phones, aside from lack of communication which seems to be systemic issue just like advertising, was that Microsoft seems to think that being #1 in PCs = #1 in phones and it doesn't work like that.
  • [Daniel Rubino: Imagine if Windows phone started today with the Surface and Windows teams in place. I think it'd be very different.] That!  All day long, that!  
  • Nope...and, excuse the Balmer quote: "Developers, developers... developers". Without apps... no ecosystem. And, the new focus of Centennial to convert x86 to UWP can't and will not happen fast enough. Even if Microsoft gave developers 110% share of Store profits of sold apps (meaning paying them to develop) this present sinking wouldn't reverse for 7 to 10 years I am affraid.
  • So how Google took 90% of market share by leaving all to the OEMs if that was such a bad idea? The problem was and always is and will be that Microsoft never cared and was never commited to consumer products (committed - doing whatever it takes to succeed). In this particular case it meant that Microsoft completely ignored OEMs wish to customize and it has completely ignored that the competition is significantly cheaper.
  • Unfortunately, MS is training its fans to not be able to trust that a product they launch will have adequate support. Yes, the Surface and Xbox line are distinct from that, but when otherwise, you just see MS killing off stuff they launched not long before that, (and remember, the Band 2 was in the same press conference as the original SB), without providing any real warning, explanation, or exit plan to consumers, it leads to a lack of confidence in the company from those same consumers. Why try something new from MS when they haven't shown that they will stay committed to it? It's kind of like with Fox on network television. After many years of Fox canceling shows in their first season, a lot of viewers decided to no longer watch Fox shows at all until they'd at least been renewed for s2. That might work okay for the television business (hint: it actually doesn't), but it definitely should not be the mindset MS wants from its consumers.
  • Band 2 and Lumia 950/XL were definitely carry-overs from this pre-Nadella era. I think they were released due to being so late in development. Once Nadella and Panos (who later took over all hardware) got their hands on these projects, they cut the fat, so to speak.
  • Oh I do get that... I just think that it's not as apparent to consumers, so consumers instead see what feels like a haphazard, unpredictable strategy of sometimes committing and sometimes not committing to consumer products, which definitely erodes the trust level they have in the company. I don't think it's past the point of no return--maybe Core and Andromeda, in addition to Surface and Xbox, will be enough to turn that sentiment back around--but as you say in the article, they have definitely made things harder on themselves by the way they've handled their messaging.
  • As a consumer I like to see a clear roadmap that shows where they want to be. I can't see that with Nadella, unlike his predecessors, and that undermines my confidence in both Nadella and Microsoft.
  • If MS was truly behind products such as Windows Phones and Groove, marketed them well, and they still failed, then so be it.  You win some, you lose some, c'est la vie.  But the lack of effort is what's infuriating.  It's almost as if they wanted them to fail just so they could justify cutting them.  There was genuine enthusiasm from MS when Windows Phone 8.1 was released, it was on the uptick as far as market share, and this created genuine interest/curiosity among iPhone and Android users.  But Windows 10 Mobile was rushed to coincide with the Windows 10 launch, Panos got on stage and held up the Lumia 950's for 10 seconds while looking as if someone smeared excrement on his upper lip, and that was pretty much the last of MS's Windows 10 Mobile marketing.  Now they think an "enterprise" focus on everything is going to carry the day, as if enterprise customers aren't consumers, too.  Time will tell.
  • There are a lot of mistakes, certainly, and blame to go around for why these products didn't go far. The whole "half assed" thing I point out because it's true. Marketing, support, integration with other services...all felt like side projects. Looking at WMR and how complete that is on day one feels very different, imo (despite the niche, nascent category).
  • I'm sorry, but you can't call WMR complete.  It doesn't even feel like it's part of Windows.  If people felt Windows 8 and it's switching between Metro and the desktop was "jarring", WMR is that on steroids.  I have to go back and forth every few seconds just to try to get anything done.  The experience INSIDE the WMR Portal is painful, slow and unproductive.  There is really very little about it, when you try to use it from something other than gaming, that makes you want to stay in MR to get something done--even if you actually could.
  • I'm not sold on the direction of MR for any of these companies. I really thing it's going to sell then drop off like the Wii did. I can't imagine regular consumers in the hundreds of thousands clamoring to put on headsets with limited view, niche programs, and tethered cords. I can only see AR and MR catching a hold in something like a Google Glass form. I'm not even going to bother with MR headsets and controllers because I've seen this come and go a couple times in the last 30 years and nothing feels game-changing yet. I could be wrong, but whatever
  • The smart speaker/virtual assistant market is going to be one of the hottest consumer trends this year but once again, MS are already well behind the competition. Analysts are predicting sales of close to 60 million smart speakers in 2018. Amazon will own 60% of that, 30% google and 10% everybody else including Microsoft who has to be in the single digits. I have an Invoke and an Echo and the thing I hear most from Cortana is "I can't do that yet", even with fairly simple things that Cortana on my 4 year old Lumia Icon can do with no problem. Alexa is getting integrated into new products right and left and I get at least one email a week from Amazon listing the 20+ new capabilities they have added into Alexa in the past week. The latest two updates for Cortana on android- bug fixes...and removing song identification. Alexa is going to be huge at CES this year. Here are the seminars at CES on Alexa usage and integration into products. *Amazon’s Quest for Alexa to Be Everywhere *Building a Smarter Home with Alexa *Enabling the Future of Automotive with Alexa *The Art and Science of Alexa Conversation *Integrate Alexa Voice Technology into Your Product *Bringing Voice Play Experiences to Alexa-Connected Products *Advanced Alexa Skill Building: Conversation and Memory *How to Build an Alexa Gadget! * Build a Far-Field Alexa-Enabled Product with Intel This is the opposite of 'half assed." This is how you promote and grow a product.and go from zero to 2 billion $ in sales in three years.
  • Exactly.  While I see plenty of Surface commercials, I've NEVER once seen a commercial for a Microsoft Phone.  It reminds me of how some TV executives decide they don't like something, so they put it in a bad timeslot (Star Trek) and air the episodes out of order and skipping some (FIrefly) and blame the show on the failure and cancel it. The sad thing is that whenever people see my Windows Phone, most are fascinated by it and want to know more about it.  A couple of years ago, I was at a store and some business owner saw me using it and ordered them for his entire company.
  • The commercials were non-stop in the US when they released WP7. Marketing wasn't the issue.
  • I wouldn't say non-stop, compared to the modern Apple and Samsung ads, but yes they did have a few.
  • Daniel, How much of this perceived "shift  away from consumers" has to do with the fact that they are essentially rewriting Windows 10 on the fly? The Band, Phone and who knows what else were sideshows that couldn't work in a Windows only environment. Essentially the Surface and Xbox could run the Windows 10 OS but smaller form factors couldn't.  With the One Core modular OS nearing completion and getting up to speed are we likely to see a "shift back towards consumers" again?  
  • "With the One Core modular OS nearing completion and getting up to speed are we likely to see a "shift back towards consumers" again?"
    Maybe. I'll just say this: Windows Core OS is a big freakin deal. It will have very long-lasting impacts for devices going forward. Andromeda is the reason for it, but there's a lot of ideas here. It's true though. Band was never Windows. Never fit in.
  • I used to own a consumer business that was very large. Sales of high ticket items via the internet. The nature of the product made it extremely difficult to differentiate from others that joined the fray. Over time, the competition was everywhere, doing the same thing. The value of trust etc was eroded because everyone with a credit card has the same protections. It then came down to price. Android manufacturers anyone? There is a real need in business to differentiate yourself and not just compete in a space for the sake of it. I think that's what MS is doing and I think Sataya has said that. I'm looking forward to seeing where MS goes and how they create new categories like they did with surface. I really think times are going to be looking up.
  • Fair enough.  But where do you think Microsoft can differentiate themselves at all, now?  There are plenty of Surface competitors out there now.  The Xbox is playing in the same market as Playstation (I expect that tug of war to continue forever).  Cloud services?  Plenty of competition there, too.  And if PWAs are the future, then I'd argue the very thing Microsofties think will save them may actually be a big nail in their coffin. They're not in phones anymore -- well, they're 100% behind Android and iPhone devices.  Is there an area or aspect they truly have an opening, or can even make one?  
  • They are dominant in cloud, raking in huge profits. Even amazon uses Azure. Surface competitors are exactly what they wanted, oems making great 2-1's. Xbox is going towards streaming and service, and is doing pretty well even if they are not yet #1.
  • The biggest untapped market where they could really push a centric device is to the medical professional.  I had a Windows phone up until about the second week of med school, and then I was basically forced to ditch it.  Why? Apps. I had to use web wrappers to look up things my droid and fruit carrying colleagues were using apps to look up.  But...the vast majority of hospitals in the US still use Windows servers for managing patient data and medical records.  So that means I have to have two devices: an android phone for work, and a surface pro 3 for looking up patient encounters.   It's obvious that the medical community in America isn't switching over to androids with their VPN setups rivaling the old SIPR networks I used in the Marines.  So it seems to me like if they could employ a foldable device with telephony that fit into a lab coat but allowed inking it would be quite successful in the field.   I would simply forward my cell to the device during while working and any calls into the hospital would get forwarded as well.  Any new patient encounters would come to my device, instead of my having to be paged. I'd be able to pull up patient records on the fly, research protocols, and sign orders all from one device.   Niche market, yes - but one that they already dominate.  So long way of saying that their intransigence in the past made for permanent inroads into the professional medical community
  • One issue is "consumer money" is real money that individuals see leaving their personal bank account. Enterprise devices are not so personal. They remind people of work. Consumer devices remind people of fun. As Microsoft retreat to the business company where you stop using their products and services when you have fun then getting back into mobile is problematic. People use mobile devices as personal devices. So the Surface device that shall not be called a phone will become the business device that people carry in addition to the phone. The phone will do mobile banking, buy coffee, take photos, play music etc. The Surface device will kinda do some work stuff. That's ok. It may even succeed. However, it won't make people love Windows because it won't be personal.
  • "That's ok. It may even succeed. However, it won't make people love Windows because it won't be personal."
    Maybe. I see the creators/inking/3d/WMR stuff around Windows as making it much more fun than say, Vista, which just had...Aero?
  • Honestly, though, do you really run into very many people at all -- regular people -- even talking about that, much less using it?  I don't, and I'm around about as diverse a crowd all day as you can imagine.  The closest I see? Two people I know have a Galaxy Note.  Of all the people I know, I probably use any of those capabilities far more.  I don't think "fun" is what people are looking for.  When people I know look for "fun" things to do on their tech, it usually is lowbrow stuff like dressing up their photos to post online or send to people.  And that stuff is very convenient.  Most of the things you mentioned are not typically 'convenient' to access or use.  At least not yet.  And with Apple's track record, I won't be surprised if THEY figure out how to make all that much more convenient and useful before Microsoft gets it together, and Apple will market it better.  And it sickens me to say that.  Also, you can't ignore that Apple is making huge inroads to the enterprise now, especially since BYOD is expanding quickly.  Outside of the Xbox, I don't think Microsoft has any practical vision for the consumer market and I suspect they'll eventually even lose the enterprise for anything frontend.  Azure and the cloud services may end up being all that remains when the dust settles.
  • TBH, I'm impressed Azure does so well considering how many companies use AWS.
  • I agree, Widows is for work (where you have IT guys to solve your frequent problems/needs). Android and Apple are for the rest - simple, mobile, etc. Everyone has a phone already and will still have a phone in 10 years. No one wants to carry two devices. If you need something portable for work you want a real keyboard. Surface is good for that work related need. Homes now have alternatives to a family tower in the den (most have their own laptop or tablet in my experience). And the huge number of less affluent users (US and worldwide) are on Android as their main computing device. Government and big business (plus creators) are who MS will serve. 
  • As much as I loved my Windows Phone I hated it was called "Windows Phone".  This is why I think a "Surface Phone" might get more traction.  People did equate Windows Phone with "work".  I had a number of coworkers tell me that.  They would ask what phone do I have? I like it. I would reply it's a Windows Phone then they would react as if they were being tortured.  They did say it sounds like a work phone.  I don't want a device that makes seems like I'm doing work all day.  This was my real life reactions from some.  Microsoft needs to steer clear from naming anythng Windows from now on.  IMO.
  • Although I agree from a high level perspective, it's time to move on. This "Microsoft wronged me. Broke up with me and won't call me back" rhetoric is getting old. For the record, I'm still using a Lumia 950 (previously used a Lumia 920), owned a MS Band and Kinect. I'm fully aware of their failures in their recent consumer endeavors, and although it hurts, it's time to LET IT GO. Were we all the victims of Microsoft cutting the chord on us? Depends on how you look at it. As you said, many of their consumer products were side hobbies and I found it pretty refreshing using these unique devices. This is the world of technology, your new gadget is old news a week after you bought it. Things are going to get dropped on the floor. Let's just remember that Microsoft is at the very least (although often failing) trying to be innovative. Face it, nobody here knows what plans Microsoft has for the future. 2018-19 roadmap plans coming from these articles are highly speculative and simply an outsiders opinion. P.S. Drawing similarities between the MS Band launch and the Harman Kardon Invoke is just plain wrong and you know it. The Invoke is not a Microsoft device. Last I checked, the Invoke is a great speaker, Spotify integration is great, and the Cortana/Alexa integration is on the horizon.
  • I'm not trolling or anything here. BUT I have to say, as a Microsoft fan, if they didn't kill w10m I would buy/invest in new products and services from Microsoft. However, after all the reboots with their phone OS and their sudden kill switch recently for several products, I just can't trust them right now. I simply can't make the decision to buy apps from store and won't consider any new ARM device. It is just a matter of trust and not revenge or anger. I believe a lot of fans agree here and are doing the same. Microsoft can't be taken seriously in the consumer market anymore.
  • Yep.  Right now, I'm looking at some tablets and 2-1 devices for my wife and since I can't trust Micrsosoft, I'm looking at Android tablets and ChromeBooks (even though I'm not a Google fan.)  I'm even looking at converting my personal Windows computers over to Linux.
  • I agree, however I cannot find alternatives, so I decided to not let that dweeb take MS from us.
  • Spotify effectively replace Groove for consumers throughout that Windows ecosystem. That'd be amazing. No, it wouldn't. It would be another BRANDED service poorly tacted on. It would be a SUBSCRIPTION. We all know Microsoft thinks subscription is where they can really get money out of people. That it is a good business model for THEM. How well is Skype doing? Has all the rebranding worked? Short term gains equal long term loses. There are a lot of people that just want to buy music. They don't want to sign up for another subscription service. That is an important distinction.
  • Exactly. Don't want to use Spotify. I want to buy music. I was using Groove and the Windows Store to buy music. Now I will have to go back to Amazon to buy music.
  • That's what annoys me, if I want to buy music I have to use Amazon, if I want to stream music I have to use Spotify and if I want to listen to locally stored music I have to use Windows Med... sorry Groove. I now HAVE to use three services to do the same thing that Groove did.
  • Doesn't Amazon do all that? Google Music certainly does.
  • It does but the point is that Groove had music streaming built in and was able to link to the store for music purchases. That meant you didn't have to use a separate service or services to do the same thing.
  • Awesome.  I can do ALL THREE on itunes.  how about that.   Amason can do that too!
  • Groove was brilliant, and getting better by the second. Spotify hardly works, playlists suck, UI is crap, can't even keep playing when the desktop times out, WTF! Nadella, wake the **** up.
  • How is reinventing Spotify in Windows and calling it Groove a smart investment by Microsoft? It's like if Shaheed Malik said "I'm going to go make my own car". You could, but, why? There's so many choices on the market, how would yours be any different/better? How was Groove better than Spotify? It was always in catch up, always would be.
  • If they buy Spotify and just call Groove that, but still let me buy music in the store. Then it's time for Roses and Applause for Microsoft. That maybe was a good choice. Even then, there could be drawbacks.
  • One glaring feature for me is the ability to play local files from anywhere, on any device. Sure you can add a local folder to spotfiy, but you can't even intuitively remove said folder. To access the local files on another device you have to add them to a playlist then save the playlist for offline access, which means constant manual management. Sure head to head as a streaming service Groove had to do a lot of catching up but i felt like it had reached that point other than missing out on exclusives that others had. But for an all-in-one solution for playing, managing, and procuring content... Groove was there. I only have Spotify to play specific songs through my invokes, which stupidly i have to log into separate accounts on each so that we can play different music in different rooms. If Microsoft updated it where i can play my OneDrive files via Groove, Spotify is gone and buying albums is back.
  • OneDrive integration is/was Groove's big differentiator that could have been a game changer if MS did a good job marketing it. They give what, a TB of OneDrive storage with Office 365? Maybe a short tutorial that pops up the first time an Office app is opened could have made a difference? Or even better, a "move your local music to OneDrive" wizard to assist. Anything that raises awareness is better than counting on someone stumbling upon the app. Same thing with live tiles, BTW.
  • Groove was not better. That's the simple answer. Microsoft was too far behind and making no money on it. What they did makes perfect sense. And I was a Groove subscriber. Would love OneDrive integration for Spotify, but honestly didn't use it that often.
  • Dan, Unless I'm totally misreading the capabilities of Groove (as it was) and Spotify, Groove let you buy music from the Windows Store and store it in files that could be played on any device (using Groove or other music players). Spotify is a streaming service that requires a subscription. I can't buy a song or album of music and store it my device through Spotify. Incidentally, Google Play purchases are locked into a hidden directory and renamed, so that you need the Google Music app to play. It's not a valid alternative to what Groove provided. The closest alternative to Groove seems to be iTunes, and once again we're being 'encouraged' to move to a competing platform. How was Groove better than Spotify? Can I buy a song from Spotify and put it on my Fitbit like I could easily do with Groove?
  • It's my understanding that Spotify's catalog isn't as big as they boast and that Groove actually had more content. I wasn't able to move my playlists over since my only computer is an Elite x3, and I don't have access to a desktop or xBox, but I've read many complaints about such. The biggest issue for me is two pronged. First is the price. Prior to Groove, and when they actually marketed music, there were always deals on xBox music. I picked up 6 1/2 years for less than $200.The other was the experience. I signed up 4 years ago right after I got my Lumia 1520. I loaded my entire music collection into OneDrive and had pass content and the ability to purchase tracks, make radio stations, etc and it was all in ONE place and super simple, cohesive and pleasent to use. Spotify can't replicate this on ANY level. It's been extremely difficult for the past week realizing that most of my playlist have almost no music in them now. Find me a service?app that does this and I'll consider looking at it. Oh and speaking of OneDrive. They could have at least allowed us to buy our 100gb of storage, but they couldn't even do that. 
  • I still say that Satya's book should have been titled "Hit Alt-F4" instead of Hit Refesh.  (Although "Ignore What the Customer Wants" or "Make the Customer Angry" might have been appropriate too.)
  • What really pisses me off is when you have to find alternative solutions from other companies and you find that most of them are inferior to what Microsoft did with their products. Latest example Groove music or even Windows 10 Mobile was in many ways much easier and faster to use than iOS or Android.
  • Of course. I'm sitting here on my bean bag writing this with my 640xl that I just received a new shiny white cover for (because I can never have enough covers 😜) and it's STILL ten times better than other Android or iPhones. WTF! And that's nit even taking into consideration the other 4 phones sitting on the ottoman that I have my leg draped over - X3, 950xl, 950 and Moto 5S plus.
  • I concur with your assessment. But the damage is done. At this point, unless a Microsoft product has the name Surface on it, I have zero faith in its long term value. Harmon Invoke was dead on arrival for me. Killing Groove did that. It was a chain reaction.
    No Groove streaming, No Invoke. So I got an Echo.
    ****** Spotify app, No Alexa Windows Mobile app. So I got an Android.
    No Microsoft Movies and TV app on Android, No Disney Movies Anywhere integration, No more Microsoft store movie purchases. So I use BASICALLY ANY OTHER DIGITAL MOVIE SERVICE IN AMERICA.
    No Alexa skills, No more Microsoft To-Do. So I use Alexa's list feature. ...and the list goes on. They continue to be a day late and a dollar short. I can't even make a case for XBox as literally none of the games I like are available for it. 
  • In a phrase, Microsoft is diminishing its consumer ecosystem. If services aren't there people look somewhere else. Windows becomes a platform where you go elsewhere for what you want. It impacts mobile, app store, browser choice and so on. Only gamers are catered for. A good market but only part of the ecosystem.  
  • Fans are so funny...and fickle. I've owned pretty much all of the various devices from Microsoft and I lament the loss of some of them in particular: Zune HD and 950XL, but Daniel is absolutely right about that horrid, siloed, war-like culture within Microsoft under most of Ballmer's reign. It wasn't just that teams didn't talk to each other, they often actively tried to kill each others products- before and after release.  And yet to this day I see people longingly comparing recent patent applications to, and lamenting Microsoft's failure to release, the Courier; a product that never moved beyond a concept but would have fallen victim to the same culture had it been released. (It would also have likely failed as being way too far ahead of its time.) The fact that Xbox survived in the Ballmer culture was because it was seen within those other silos as just a side project that Bill Gates happened to support and didn't threaten the other products, and that it made money.  
  • The fact that Xbox survived in the Ballmer culture was because it was seen within those other silos as just a side project that Bill Gates happened to support and didn't threaten the other products, and that it made money.
    You spelled Halo wrong. The Xbox was DOA on release day without Halo. Otherwise, spot on.  I think Microsoft's lawsuits in the 1990s made them really nervous about collaborating between products.  Let us not forget that they were sued by Mozilla for tuning Windows and Internet Explorer to run best together. From my vantage point, they've been very skittish on collaboration since.
  • "going to be a lot of damage left in its wake." Yes damage to the fanbase. The way they have handled this is with an astounding complete disregard for one of the most loyal fanbases I have ever participated in. I used to look forward to all the shiny new things that MS was delivering to us. We could always tell that if they didn’t talk about something, then something was coming.,, windowscentral, entire careers were launched on the enthusiasm that these products help to create. I remember the hope we had of porting apps to WinMobile that year. And then like a slow choke on us all, we could tell that something was wrong. They told us they were committed to phones, but that turned into a lie that would be spun into “we meant iPhones, and Android” DUMMIES. They built us this touch only interface, that my Mom actually learned to use in Tablet Mode I might add, and then the tablets didn’t come, and they yanked the only real Surface consumer device, the one that cost around $500. That’s how I define consumer, something people can afford, not a $4000 toy that only Brad Sams kid can have access to. And as I listen to them pat each other on the back on Twitter, I have to hold my temper in and remember not to yell and be the jaded A-hole that they have helped turn me into. But like a soldier suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, I await the day that Microsoft gives me something to cheer about. To think that Contact Groups in the People App; would make me give them a standing ovation at this point, is the saddest commentary of all. As we all; the loyal, await the foldable thing that is coming. That’s right, “you mean there’s STILL a chance?”
  • Yet that foldable Surface will probably cost $4000 and only be available to businesses, just like the Surface Pro LTE which was marketed to businesses first before consumers.
  • You could still buy one if you wanted.  and if they sell the new fold at 4000 a peice and they sell why the hell not...Just because YOU can't afford one does not mean it should not be sold at that price if the market allows for it.  I know that if it works great...I will own one!
  • After Hit Refresh, he quickly writes The last Jedi, next ......
  • Agree somewhat, for what they did to Nokia, for the world to see is unforgivable.  Satay Nadella also said Mobile first, Cloud First.  Well, half of that's ok, although they swept the rug from under everyone's feet regarding Onedrive storage.   The issue I have with Satya Nadella is that there is NO RISK being taken.  None whatsoever, compare that to Steve Jobs and Cook today,  I believe Satya Nadella has steered the company as far as his skills and ability allow him to, fresh thinking and INNOVATION is what is required, Microsoft garage projects need to be invested in and some will stick.  Microsoft has a LOT of money and resources at their disposal, all they do now is release incremental upgrades to existing products, (The whole Surface line) then they are going to make the same mistake Apple have made. Id like to see a Surface Car to rival Apple and Google, Satya is too scared to try.
  • "What they did to Nokia" ?!?!?!? Surely, you must have meant to write "What they did FOR Nokia" because what Microsoft did with its billions was relieve a dying Nokia of lots of employees and older factories and other manufacturing infrastructure that was bleeding the company dry. Even if Nokai has started making Android phones, a turn around to their glory days would have been a longshot. Freed from all of that infrastructure and personel, and still holding on to their numerous valuable patents, all Nokia did was just wait out the period in which they couldn't compete with Microsoft and then returned to the market ready for the modern age in which tech companies design products that are then manufactured by other companies. I feel bad for the Nokia employees who lost jobs but that was going to have to happen at some point for Nokia to move into the modern age. At least those in Finland enjoyed far better termination benefits than they would have gotten in the United States.
  • You're getting downvoted, but I don't think you're incorrect.  Nokia played MS beautifully.  Had they managed to make Windows Phone work, they would have been "geniuses".  But having failed with WP, they were able to offload their factories to MS, who ended up selling them for pennies on the dollar while taking the brunt of the reputation hit.  Meanwhile, Nokia was able to offload them and join the modern era of outsourcing production while coming off smelling like a rose.
  • Outside the USA Nokia was doing OK with Windowsphone. They had the hardware, like NFC, to enable mobile payments but the OS never supported it. City Lens did AR out of the box. Cameras were best in class. The key missing element was apps. That is software. Microsoft kept rebooting Windowsphone and never provided a stable apps platform and had a terrible apps store. Nokia had no control of that. They were in financial problems but as a technology partner they were all in and Microsoft was the weaker partner.
  • I get your point and agree that Microsoft was not a great partner for Nokia's attempted revival but that was because of the inherent problems of Windows Phone's origins and early mismanagement that couldn't be overcome. Yet Nokia was certainly not the stronger partner. They had expertise and skill Microsoft sorely lacked, but were bleeding cash while Microsoft has always been cash rich and able to afford experiments and risky purchases. The purchase of Nokia's phone infrastructure saved Nokia as a business, pure and simple but couldn't save Windows Phone. Even if Ballmer had remained CEO, he would have been forced to take some action regarding the phone business, including writing off all of those Nokia assets he'd acquired.   
  • We're quoting Kylo effin' Ren already?
  • Dan, the big question on many people's mind here now is probably "Have we hit rock bottom yet, or are there more cuts to come before any potential turnaround?" Is MS committed to what's remaining now as well as future products?
    We know they are committed to gaming and Surface. Are they committed to WMR? I want to think yes, but there are some warning signs there that they are half-committed (doesn't work with XBOX yet, HoloLens left to wither...). Cortana? That one seems awful shaky right now. Movies & TV? Doesn't seem like it.
  • I think they're committed to WMR, because everyone knows in 10-20 years we won't be using just 2D screens. They're building for that world now, instead of waiting for it to happen. Time will tell, of course, but they are heavily invested in WMR - both hardware and software.
  • I think the next iteration of Xbox should do away with Hardware, other than controllers and be consoles in the cloud. Easily upgraded that is transparent to consumers outside of their subscription and puts them in control of the digital content and access. I'm sure Gamestop would crap themselves.
  • Time will tell :)
  • This is a very good advice which I've been doing for a long time. I use both Google (Gmail, Maps, Youtube, Search etc.), Apple (iphone, ipad) and Microsoft (Win 10 PC, Onedrive, O365) at the same time and generally happy with it. I have no need for either digital assistant, or smart home/smart speaker solutions, so cannot comment on that one. On the other hand, I am not a fanboy of either company and have never been one.
  • I don't know how ANYONE can call the Mixed Reality effort a concerted one.  I find it completely frustrating, EVEN using for the ONLY reason I find value in it: playing Elite Dangerous.  There's nothing unified in how Mixed Reality works in Windows 10 itself.  It absolutely functions and FEELS like running two different operating systems and only barely play nice with each other.  Okay, I GET that it's still early, so I expect the VERY frequent crashes, start errors that force me to unplug and replug gear, etc.  I've been an Insider for a very long time, so I get it.  But who is talking to whom at Microsoft?  The very concept of how it works in it's really HORRIBLE attempt to interface with the operating system is flawed.  A virtual house?  What kind of nonsense is that?  The whole thing is non-productive.  They aren't talking to each other OR to consumers who would like to actually be productive with MR rather than only play games.  You literally have to jump back and forth between MR and desktop just to get anything done.  So, no, I don't believe you can call the MR approach concerted.  Not at all. As for the rest of your article, I can't find anything else I disagree with as far as the assessment.  And, yes, it angers those of us who actually LOVED Windows phones and Windows 8---which is why I despise Windows 10 so much.  People whine that I "complain all the time".  I only complain about the things I don't like.  While I acknowledged problems w/the Windows 8 'era', I was absolutely a top cheerleader.  I think most of what they're doing now is NOT good by comparison, particularly where touchscreen interfaces are concerned.  And because I despise everything about Android and iPhone, why are you surprised if I don't like it when Microsoft continues to mimic their approach?   I have similar issues with Xbox.  I am a PC-only gamer.  I refuse to use controllers, period.  The Xbox One is the absolute first console we have ever purchased.  We bought it for the reasons Microsoft marketed it at the time--media.  The Kinect, the gesture and voice controls and the dashboard were all VERY attractive to us.  Then they gutted the whole thing.  Now, aside from what the Kinect can still do, there is NOTHING the Xbox can do for us that we can't get from a smart TV.  With the end of Kinect announced, there's literally no reason for us to even consider an Xbox One X.  If we decide to get a 4K TV at some point, all we have to do is pick one that has plenty of apps and that's it. Now, we love our Surface Pro devices (wife has the SP4, I went from the SP3 to the 2017 model).  Aside from the fact that Windows 10 is very user-spiteful to touchscreens, these have truly driven us to throw away our laptops.  And we are holding onto to our Windows phones as long as we possibly can. I don't see Microsoft producing anything in the future to replace them.  While we would consider checking out a Windows 10 on Arm device, it would ONLY be on a device that is essentially a smartphone.  That is the only form factor that makes sense when a PC or tablet don't fit.  So, no, you're not going to see me get excited over some folding thing TRIES to be a tablet and maybe TRIES to be a phone.  I have a tablet that does tablet and PC things better than a phone can.  And I have a phone that can do a lot of PC things but still remain VERY easy to carry in almost any situation--one hand, no unfolding/folding/pen/whatever garbage needed.  You pull it out of a pocket and use it.  Any contraption that tries to fit in between is simply a niche product that does neither very well.  Now, if Microsoft somehow came up with technology like what we've seen in movies & TV that fits in between, cool.  I'd check that out. So, I feel Daniel's assessment is accurate. Microsoft tried new things that got many of us really excited and willing to embrace, then either dramatically changed them into things we don't like or killed them altogether--all without any acceptable replacement (whether it's in house or in collaboration with third parties).
  • Best, and honest article from Dan in a long time.  Thanks for recognizing the majority...I did love Balmer's passion and vision though, miss him a lot actually.
  • Credit balmer for Windows Phone, Surface, and the "One" ecosystem vision.  Xbox ONE, Onedrive, etc...Nadella throwing all of it out like a dirty rag.  the products are now more siloed.  een win10mobile felt way more siloed than the smooth integration of Windows Phone  
  • That's exactly what I was thinking, I could see the one ecosystem vision years ago, back in the XP era funnily enough, but Nadella doesn't seem to have a game plan. He just seems to be muddling along siloing and cancelling products that he thinks are side projects but are loved by most consumers.
  • But people hated Windows 8, which did nothing for phone. That strategy failed miserably, so much so Sinofsky was let go right after it's miserable launch. How is that a success? It set the company back years.
  • That's not really relevant as Windows 8 wasn't even mentioned in the post you replied to yet you insist on bringing it up at every opportunity. The point is that Nadella is setting Microsoft back years by moving away from one ecosystem when the likes of Google and Apple are moving toward it. Please enlighten me as to how what Microsoft is doing in the consumer space is classed as a success?
  • FYI, in my work life, I work with Azure...and as a consumer,  I can tell you its boring AF.
  • So basically, keys for the future of Microsoft is qued from the two brands of Xbox and Surface. If they release devices outside of those brands... Don't buy it. That's my take, all the great ideas I have supported get axed. Groove Music, I loved... Band, I bought two of them... Zune came and went...Kinect, gone before it left R&D... They need to address their followers and loyalist before we jump ship.
  • One of your best writings Dan for a long time. 👍
  • Totally agree, as if Dan realised he had to say what needed to be said for consumers like us.
  • Microsoft is simply retreating from the consumer market. I have no faith that MS will do anything good for consumers anymore. The only MS products I have faith in are Office and Azure. I believe that the SB2 I just got will be the last Windows laptop I will buy. In 3-4 years when I will start looking for a replacement I expect Apple to be making laptops with touch and MS to be practically irrelevant to consumers and Windows being deprived of new apps.
  • That's exactly how I feel and I'll also be looking elsewhere as consumers are becoming increasingly irrelevant to Microsoft. A good example of this is Surface, no new consumer oriented version after the Surface 3.
  • "A good example of this is Surface, no new consumer oriented version after the Surface 3."
    I have no idea what this means. Surface Laptop and Surface Book are not consumer-focused? Who are they for then? They literally compete against MacBook and MacBook Pros. Exact same audience.
  • I think he meant affordable. There's been nothing in the price range of Surface 3 well.... since the Surface 3.
  • That's because Surface is not a line of affordable devices. It's a premium line, and buyers should expect to pay good money to own a Surface device. You want budget? Buy one of the many budget devices from third party makers. Microsoft isn't in this business to make budget-friendly devices.
  • Yet the Surface 3 WAS an affordable version of Surface which wasn't aimed at businesses.
  • No..the suface 3 was the SMALLER version of the surface.  NOT the affordable one.  It was cheaper because they made it smaller.  And it was aimed at business just as much as the pro series.   Just for the pro who wanted a more portable tablety device.   
  • Remind me again, how much did the Surface 3 cost compared to the Surface Pro range. Exactly, it was cheaper hence more affordable!!!
  • It was cheaper because they designed it to be smaller. more lightweight and less powerful...NOT BECAUSE IT WAS CONSUMER FOCUSED.   Try agian.  
  • Surface Studio "Premium" with a HD? MS would be better off selling a combo including the monitor and the Dial.
  • What was so "un-premium" with the Surface 3?
  • They aren't AFFORDABLE though are they.
  • Buy somehting that YOU can afford then....acer, dell and a myrad of other companies make things in YOUR pricepoint.  
  • There is a clear reason why they are as premium as they are, they are a template for other OEM's to follow. And other OEM's have followed and found great success. I would never have even imagined that Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and Samsung would be building such great laptops. I go into a hardware store now and the whole landscape of the laptop section has changed. Really great 2 in 1s everywhere. The choice is great, and it can be traced back to when Microsoft really began to hit it's stride with Surface Pro.
  • So how long before they ditch Cortana? They seem to be "de-emphasizing" its roll already. They seem to be tying it to Alexa and have dropped its music ID functionality already. Will we see them slowly pushing us toward Alexa instead, like they switched to Apple and Android while letting W10M die?
  • Oh God, hope not.
  • Cortana is just a front end for Bing and Microsoft AI. No need to really ditch it. Maybe reposition it in a world where it's not phones. It's a tough situation, for sure.
  • Since we were on the topic of the sruface 3,   Daniel did you get a glimpse of any 10" ish devices floating around the workshop?
  • Launching and killing products fast isn't the best strategy. A necessary strategy would be to make good products and support them properly to begin with. 
    You know, like don't release a Lumia 950 with software so bad that it barely works at release date then take months to fix critical bugs.  Also market them aggressively and especially stop focusing your services only on the US while completely ignoring other countries where you used to have close to 20% market skare - until people finally realized that you inherited nothing from Nokia's commitment to innovation.  I fell that everything consumer oriented that Microsoft has done since they released Windows 10 (maybe even windows 8) has been nothing but an experiment. 
  • "A necessary strategy would be to make good products and support them properly to begin with. "
    That is exactly my point and what I wrote. Everything that you mentioned applies to how phone, Band, etc. were launched/supported.
  • We talk like the new CEO is the saviour but he is no better "pivoting" is one thing and I know this is a big software thing at Microsoft but your execution is key and this they are flawed at. The damage this poor execution has done is long lasting just when they were starting to make inroads getting rid of the bad boy image of the 90s now they have a new image one of a company you cannot trust its products to be around from one week to the next. That cannot be good long term, if they cannot build trust having a few consumer successes will be just that a few consumer successes.
  • When Bill Gates and even Steve Ballmer were in charge of Microsoft I could see their roadmap and where they wanted to be 5, 10 and even 15 years down the line, with Satya Nadella all I see is a clusterfuck of discontinued devices, software and services. Can someone tell me where the strategy is in that? My guess is that Nadella is trying to turn Microsoft into Apple, releasing their own devices with their own software and screw the consumer and OEMs over in the process.
  • Dude, Windows 8. Windows Vista. That vision failed terribly and set the company back years. They had to undo it all for Windows 10. Are you insane? Vista and 8 were the worst things for Microsoft. And Ballmer screwed up mobile 100% by his own admission. Clearly, you have never spoken to anyone who works at Microsoft who lived through Ballmer/Sinofsky and this new Microsoft.
  • Yet Vista laid the groundwork for everything that followed it by rewriting major parts of the OS, the networking and audio stacks spring to mind which are still in use in Windows 10 today. Windows 8 gave us the tablet oriented interface that we have a version of on Windows 10. What about XP, that did away with the 9x kernel in favour of the NT kernel we have today, I assume that was a good thing? Microsoft used to have a roadmap that showed what they were working towards and it was very clear, yes they had failures along the way but that only helped the products that followed it, Windows 7 for example. The problem is that Nadella hasn't shown any kind of roadmap and that means I personally can't see what's coming and that doesn't fill me with confidence.
  • Everything you mentioned have heavy competition now and Balmer wasted years not being ready for it. They are so far behind how can they catch-up without several years of new development and a breakthrough? Satya has only been in change for a few years.
  • Keep in mind, that by far the largest investor in Microsoft (by design) is the US government.  There are more windows laptops sitting in palcons than their are private consumers of Microsoft devices. By far. Not even close.  And that's Microsoft's bread and butter: they negotiated a near lifetime contract through NMCI to ensure that only microsoft products are on all government and DOD computers for the next 15 years.  Which means every system (whether connected or not) has a site license of Windows, Office 2016, and all of the servers are running Windows as well.  And 15 years at the rate the government upgrades hardware might as well be 1000. There are some proprietary ATC systems still running versions of Solaris that likely were obsolete before you were born.  And as the federal governmnent goes, so do the states. And the cities. And so on.  The consumer area was a play thing to them.  They were plagued with hardware issues (band, surface pro 3 screen issues, xbox red ring of death, etc.) , fickle markets and developers (they admittingly screwed themselves with the RT which soured developers right before they again told them that they'd have to rewrite for WP 8) , and ultimately shareholders wanted Ballmer to dump every consumer space after the Nokia debacle and instead focus strictly on the professional/government market.  Yes, including Xbox. They don't care if you own an android or mac at home: if you're a DOD employee and hooking up to a DOD or Gov network the ONLY device they'll accept on there is a Windows machine.  That's reliable revenue for decades to come.  And they gamed the contracting system to make it that way.   Services are easier to market, easier to sell, and easier to service.  That's what Microsoft wants: consumers to use their services on whatever device. If you have a mac using Office, microsoft makes money. If you have an android using outlook, microsoft makes money.  I'd guess that Microsoft actually loses money on their hardware, only to recoup it through the ecosystem. And love or hate Nadella , you can't deny he's expanded that ecosystem.  Microsoft products are on everything now. 
  • Even though I don't hate Nadella, todays Microsoft feels like my ex girlfriend. It lured me in, told me what I wanted to hear, made me feel good, and made me doing investments in it. And after all of this, it slapped me in the face, told me to **** off, and disappeared 😁 And I don't like being treated this way...
  • Bullshit. I remember you saying you loved being treated this way....go look!
  • I said I always forgive... But that doesn't mean I like it :P :D
  • I don't really agree. Especially Surface has years of evolution behind itself. The first Surface product was not well received. Every single enterprise software like SQL Server, Sharepoint, Dynamics etc. has needed many versions to get market acceptance. I think the biggest problem under Ballmer was that Microsoft could never really decide if it's a free plattform where 3rd partys could monetize or if Microsoft pushes it's own hardware. But today, Windows is drifting more and more into irrelevance. In a world where Windows is collapsing more and more and OEMs are definitly not the rescuer it's completly unlogical why Nadella bets everything on OEMs. And what you talk about gaming is not really true. Xbox has very very bad sales. This is the only reason why Microsoft tries to unify PC and Xbox, because they want to fake with user stats. We will see if it's successful. I highly doubt, because most PC gamers don't want to pay for Multiplayer. And at long-term it's not really arguable why Xbox users should pay alone for the infrastructure.
  • Surface RT wasn't well received. Surface Pro did fine from the start but the 3rd version really overshadows it's predecessors.
  • That's exactly what xxxdevxxx means, Surface took several iterations to get right.
  • Great article Dan. Thanks for that.
  • That's exactly the problem: "there's nothing to replace it, and there are zero hints that Microsoft is concerned." I could live with them discontinuing WM10, even after seeing how much they don't care about it (who cares about 15k upvotes for mobile Edge extensions on Feedback Hub, right?) if there was a replacement already available. I don't use all that many apps, so I wouldn't mind too much. But there isn't a replacement, so I'll do what any self-respecting user will do. Get a Nokia and tell MS to love themselves. Can't be bothered to wait for a product that might be cancelled 10 mln times, or even if stars align and it's not cancelled, still might be dead on arrival.
  • 15 thousand is nothing for a company the size of Microsoft. They certainly don't care about something that small.
  • I assume you were trying to be sarcastic.
  • It's not that complicated.  I wish Microsoft would kill my 930 by releasing a much better phone.   Just like they killed my 360 with the one x.  That is the only strategy that works in my opinion.  And it is not the company that does the killing, it needs to be the consumer's choice.  Why buy something that isn't any better than what I have now?   Their biggest problem is that half of the population perfers Windows 7 and saw no need to upgrade even when it was free.  Microsoft needs a Windows 7 killer before anything else or stop tying its future to Windows 10.  Also they aren't just killing the phone by force, are making it embarassing for any remaining Microsoft devoted to recommend any of their future products however good they may be.  I get mocked about, "How good is that Windows Phone that you recommended a few years back?"  I respond by saying, "It's like all of the stuff coming out of Microsoft."
  • Microsoft did release a much better phone into their stores. Galaxy S8.
  • Meh,  better is relative in that one.   I like the razer phone way better than the s8.   
  • I was right up there with the biggest of Microsoft fans circa 2012 and the years soon thereafter: Surface RT, Xbox One with Kinect, Windows Phone, Project Spark, Xbox Fitness, Microsoft Band, Groove, etc. They've screwed me over so many times in the past few years that I no longer recommend any of their products or services to anyone.
  • Microsoft está apostando todas as suas fichas no Hololens. Cancelando tudo para dar foco ao Hololens. No entanto, esta vida totalmente digital, onde você, morando na favela, finge que mora no palácio de versales, não é a versão original do mundo.
  • Though I think myself as a loyal MS User, I think that MS has done everything to be (rightly) hated by fans and mocked by haters...
    I've been using Lumia 625, Lumia 950 and I suggested at the time some of my friends to use and buy Lumias because the OS was great and the phones too.
    In this moment I would recommend nobody to pay 1$ for a MS device... you buy it and after few weeks it should be discontinued or dropped.
    I will not buy anything anymore from MS... this is what they deserved in the end. Go on with onedrive and other cloud services... like Groove... opps ehr, wait....
  • Hard to disagree with you. I feel the same way :-(
  • Let the past die....  interesting.   So just move on?  When trying to trust a company, you do have to look at their past.  What about where they had successes - let's never talk about that? Why get into a consumer space - to make a quick buck?  If you are going to make a Band2 then drop it - you deserve scorn.  If you said we are coming out with the Band2 and a pilot - if sales do not pick up by date x, we will be dropping it. When a company like HP builds a great phone - do you think they did this with knowledge MS was killing the OS? HP was working to help W10m.  With friends like MS...who needs enemies... Why does Apple havea loyal fan base?   Sorry, I am not buying a Surface because I really believe MS will change their mind again.  And that is a big investment. Cortana - awesome - but it is going to die - yes or no? How about 'Let's be honest about the past and what we have learned'  Be more transparent with consumers. Fan girls/boys/others - you realize we are an army of beta testers waiting to help out.  We can help you prepare for full on end users If you are in a consumer space why not let consumers know your plans.  i.e.  Windows Phone - we tried and fail.  Microsoft is going to discontinue selling Windows handsets in 2017, and then discontinue support and development in 2019, thank you to our loyal fanbase, but we could not get any reasonable market share.  Go to Android or Apple.  OR we are working on a diverse OS that can be used on mobile - we will keep you informed" MS has bad PR and marketing. Let the past die is a cop out.  How about let's reconcile with the past - why we did what we did - officially instead of hearing it from back channels. MS has a lot of smart people, they are innovative.  They can do great things.  They also need to earn trust again. Yes, I am hoping for another MS mobile device.  Go ahead make one, let it be a test - I'll bite.  I will buy it, give feedback and take the risk. Bring out another device with no explanation - forget it.  Because I know you will abandon it.  #KeepMeInTheLoopMS
  • @DanielRubino Good article - glad you wrote and shared it!
  • Good read Dan
  • Daniel, you story is so true...BUT...
    I believe you're missing out on a critical thing...
    How will Microsoft make the big money they apparently need?
    Without the consumer market? Well, good luck, here's your next IBM. Innovation need consumers.
    With consumers - what are they going to sell? Surface - I doubt that is a product for the masses, even though I have had all of them, including the good old RT, I is simply too expensive. Lowering the price would cannibalize the market for their OEM partners, that they supposedly rely on. Windows - I have a hard time with windows being a cash cow in the consumer market - what is so much better compared to the alternatives (that are free)? Schools = Chromebook ==> future consumers.
    In my view Microsoft has lost the ability to make Windows really good. It is still so many annoying details left/forgotten or never finished. Yes Windows 10 is a service, but that does not mean that it is forever necessary to have a "IT-person" to solve hanging windows updates, ever changing setup procedures etc. Windows is just not good enough. I have waited for years for EDGE to become reasonably on par with other browsers, now it is almost there - as always "almost" - but still not supported by all main web-based systems "Use Chrome…".
    "New generation hardware" - the trust is gone - no "apps" etc. unlikely to be profitable Finally, sitting outside the main loop, in northern Europe it is clear that Microsoft is looking at consumers in the US - no further. So many things the last few years - "Not available in your region".
    Google on the other hand - everything everywhere! Microsoft is still my preferred choice, but once again after leaving Windows Mobile/Phone after 10(?) years, I realize that the EDGE browser on Android is "not available in your region"…
    As a professional I have to use Windows, but it will be very difficult to argue that someone should go Microsoft for their private needs and pay for it, sad!
  • Daniel, Thanks for the insightful piece. I mostly agree with your assessment of the errors of the Balmer's era and the course correction made by Nadella. Even so, I disagree a little bit in your analysis of Microsoft's consumer oriented business. One of your main point is how Surface is a strong example of how Microsoft is still committed to the consumer market. Although the Surface line can be considered as consumer products, I don't think it is how Microsoft perceives it. Although, one could argue that Surface products also belong to the business line, I would say their main objective was to force licensees to improve their game. A few years ago, I would easily say that the MacBook Air was the best laptop available in market, unless you needed the extra power from the MacBook Pro. Nowadays, Surface showed how Windows laptop can beat Apple by offering great touchpad support, touchscreens, great design, and even different modes, such as tablet hybrids. Following this reason, the Surface line support for the consumer market is just a secondary consequence of its main objective. To be fair, Microsoft seems committed to gaming. Phil Spencer turned the division’s strategy around and is being strongly supported as his recent promotion indicates. Spencer could be an example of how Microsoft should handle the consumer market. He is doing a great job communicating his ultimate goal of integrating PC and console gamers, in the same way he’s now conceding Microsoft’s failure in having competitive  hardware against Sony prior to the Xbox One X and a good range of exclusive titles, which he’s saying is next immediate objective. I would like to believe Microsoft is interested in the consumer market other than gaming but I don’t think there is strong evidence for that. If it is a communication problem, perhaps Spencer’s promotion to the inner circle of decision can turn this around. I hope that’s the case.
  • Yes, but gaming won't sustain Microsoft for long in the consumer space. Consumers seem to be an afterthought for Microsoft in every area other than gaming.
  • Couldn't agree more.
  • the problem with Microsoft is that play with the consumer, they do products and experiments but with consumers and later give up instead of still, also by example the lumia phones under windows 10 could not be worse the operativbe system, is like that have a lot of glitches that even Microsoft is not commitedf to fix like the lumia 950xl focus by phase that sometimes gets slower and sometimes takes more than an minute in focus and take the picture like what today happened even with manual mode took about an minute in refocus and take the picture, just Microsoft like do experiments and the worst is that experiment with our money and also why not say our expectations, if they do not wanted still on the mobile market why not then stopped with the lumias series x20-x30 and done, why first said that all mobiles would getr updated to windows 10 and later they failed and seem they never took an Lumia 520 or an lumia 820 with windows 10 before to check that were extremelly slow instead of tell us at first time, all the mobiles would get updated to w10m and later they face the truth, is like they do not test anything first before release just release things that do not work and later they just expect that we understand them that are an enterprise and not an charity entity to keep an project even with the minimal marketshare, i as accountant can understand but the consumer not necessary will understand that because just are consumers, plus the insider program have not helped to draw any future on windows 10 is amazing that with millions of insiders already still glitches that are unaceptable.i think that the insiders are like the cancer of this platform and microsoft believed that would they help to report errors , the best OS that they released windows XP and 7 they had not insider programs and were the best OS that ever Microsoft released and windows phone 8 was a good system
  • Windows XP and 7 had an extensive, well organized Beta testers program where testers were continuosly interacting with MS engineers.
  • Even those that didn't directly interact provided telemetry.
  • With regards to mixed reality, Microsoft did cut corners with reference headset design with a flawed IPD. It's unbelievable how they missed the very thing that makes VR worth having... The experience.
  • I still love Windows and insiders, But i am not a Microsoft fan anymore. As i see it, Satya Nadella is worse than Steve Ballmer.
  • For all the squawk about culture change, MS sure did miss the boat when it comes to consumers. First, Baller started the effort to breaking down the silos, so the credit for this significant culture shift really belongs in his hands. Personally, I don't see MS can be successful without a vertical mobile platform which, of course, includes smartphones. So the really HUGH lost opportunity in terms of culture shift lies within the continued running away from certain consumer markets, specifically smartphones. Just before the 950 series release, Windows Mobile was starting to do well with a solid upward trajectory, especially in several key markets world-wide. All that was need was for the 950 to be what it really should have been, Surface phone v1.0. All it needed was a Surface like exterior and a few more months of bug squashing with W10M. Today, we'd be on v3.0 as the possible looking Surface Courier device looms probably by late 2018. And if I've said it once, I've said it a 1,000 times, a Surface phone brand should follow the Samsung Galaxy models with nice price differentiation. Just look at the newly announced Nokia 6. The specs are incredible for a $230 phone. Sure, their margin is probably very low, but they're not loosing money. If Nokia (or the company that licenses the brand name) can do this, then MS can as well. Last, MS just never committed to really giving consumers a great mid-range phone at a really good value proposition. The 640XL was a great example of this. It's specs were low-end but it's price take was mid-range. And, all of their higher-end phones were WAY over priced given their low market share. The 640 was a decent phone for the price. I bought one for $29. Now, my 950 will most likely be my last Windows phone and it appears MS is totally okay with that. Very sad.
  • Recently Apple is always late for new market but they come with good products. This mean they are late because they have developed good products.
    But, in case of MS, they are always late with half-baked product and this mean they have no idea how current market is changing and they don't prepare anything.
    Someday they go to know something come when their competitors are already in market so they hurry to jump the market with half-baked product and soon give up because their competitors already have better products.
  • As by example in Windows Phone only appeared the rotation lock and the notification Center on 8.1 android 2.2, Symbian anna had those elements but Microsoft didn't noticed that the people would use also their phones while laying down or want watch the notifications in a bar at the top and check all without go to the live tile or by example the integration with Facebook messenger and the me tile that disappeared by an reason that is stupid i have an Nokia 510 wp7.8 also and the live tile me already show information of Facebook, twitter and etc thanks Microsoft by do half baked things and experiment with our money
  • I have indeed let the past die.   I have moved on.  Microsoft IS the past, and will soon be dead to me.  
  • How hard can it be to say, Lets go Mobile! As they are already doing ios and Android.
  • Dan, do you think they can make their devoted fan base forget about the bad taste in their mouths from all the failed products or is this too little too late?
  • Did MS products fail or MS fail the products?
  • I have never seen a writer anywhere like Daniel be so defensive, combative or just plain rude at times as he is to the people that post here. What does it get you calling your customers "insane" and such? Your strategy makes no more sense to me than what MS has done lately. They are called opinions. Just let them be.
  • "They are called opinions. Just let them be."
    Everyone is entitled to those opinions, but it does not mean they cannot be challenged or called out. You're posting in a public commenting system meant to facilitate discussion. Comments don't live in a vacuum. If want to post your opinion, share your thoughts, expect someone to actually respond to them. If you don't want that and fear a discussion, then don't post.
  • LOL You're so defensive that it's pathetic. I don't know how anyone can stand to work with you....
  • I think Dan generally agrees with most perceptions commenters have but if you state it with out basis or on a whim, he will reply with a challenge. I don't mind the snarky replies in some of his responses, even when he and Zac say that we are wrong for saying they should start ever Windows Mobile article with "it's dead." It's good he takes time to respond instead of post n ghost.
  • Oh no, not the Harman Kardon Invoke! I got one this past Christmas holiday shopping season and LOVE it. But I can see it maybe going away, too. With the exception of Harman Kardon advertising, there's nothing coming from Microsoft. That's not smart. I'm concerned that Microsoft might have courted a business relationship with Harman Kardon, got the Invoke produced and selling, then decided to just drop it. You can't go on like that before you suddenly find yourself being ostracized by all companies for walking away from the partnership.
  • Doctor. You should have travelled 18 months into the future to see what happens... 
  • I'm comfortable with MS's general approach. When you have a pile of cash but you know your current market is mature and can only go downhill from here, you "diversify" i.e. you start trying out a variety of things to see if any of them have legs. A lot of them might have to be dumped if they don't go anywhere. In recent times, Azure, Office365 and Surface have been promising enough innovations to keep. The problem at MS seems to be that any initiative not leveraging core technologies and platforms (i.e. windows) gets treated like a second class citizen. It's hard to see how a separate phone OS like iOS or Android could ever have been successful at MS because of this sniffy purist attitude.
  • MS is dead folks. there is no excitment coming from this company, besides xbox, which i believe will be the only that will exist in the future as long as Nadulla is in the helm.
  • Hope they can Nadulla and bring back Balmer and Elop. 
  • MSFT has taught me never to buy MSFT hardware. I may be a slow learner (Zune, Kin, Band, Phone, etc), but I've learned my lesson.
  • As a diehard MS fanboy I am a little hurt about how MS handled all those fan favorite products like Band, Kinect, specially Groove and phone, but MS is doing the right thing here by moving on focusing on the products that are major hits, and improving upon them. The one ecosystem future is getting there, I would say most of it is already there, just a few things need adjusting. I can't say I didn't cursed MS when I read W10P was being discontinued and when Groove was killed I was ready to call it quits, but looking ahead of the strategy and what MS plans to do, and how it wants to unify the whole Windows brand, I gotta say I am very excited for that. I want seemless transition from my PC to my Laptop, and my phone (I know technically it won't be a phone but a pocket pc with telephonic capabilities, but I like saying phone) I won't fault those fans who jumped ship and trader their MS patch (at least in their regard to phones) for Android or iOS, but to flat out state that there is no plan, MS is a sinking ship, and all the usual things people say when they feel snubbed well, that's just ludicrous. Nadella is horrible at handling things and in my opinion someone better could have been brought in to head MS, but I gotta give him credit for getting the ball rolling on the unification of Windows, you know the one system "TO RULE THEM ALL" that's no easy task. I almost certain given more marketing and a more focused team on W10P, devices would have taken off, would be catching up to what's out there, but then again there would eventually be a restructuring on that department as well. All in all I can completely stay mad at MS. They are making things happen and leading the way in areas where others are barely getting their toes wet. I will forever be an optimist, and a hopeful for MS supremacy in the mobile game, till then I'll just keep a close eye on where they are headed, and either jump on some other bandwagon or stay. Until then I'll be here for on this side of the camp. BTW great article @Daniel Rubino.
  • Sorry Dan, but MS lost a very important thing: Trust. And no matter what Nadella is saying, eho on earth can believe him after so many lies?? He said the same about phones like about xbox: If no one will make phones, we will make them bla bla bla. So pardon me if I don't give a damn about what MS is saying, I don't believe in them anymore! Not a single bit.
  • I'm not sure anything I wrote challenges that? I've always said companies should earn trust and earn your money. I despise blind loyalty even for fans of Microsoft.
  • Correct Daniel.   Nail, Head, HIT!....I 100% agree!
  • Well then mmgm,  Move along to the forum that you want to use.  quit ******* here!   thanks now,  buh bye!
  • I feel bands, phones,... were ahead of competition in some functions. Feels like them giving up before even finding main faults and trying to repair them.  Seems to me they miss "closeness" to consumers, by that I do not mean just users, but potencial ones, be it over internet by giving some sight to future(not just for groove users) and some first hand experience in every country with people's feedback.  They may be stars, but they are far far away.
  • Nadella has made the Microsoft brand pure poison in the consumer space. It's no surprise Xbox and Surface groups put Microsoft in 6-point font on the back of the box. Microsoft Anything will fail in the consumer space as the brand is tainted.
  • Acutally,  No,  he never.  He's made the brand poision for a few fanboys here.  Out in the REAL WORLD surface is selling great,  people are moving from Apple to MS for their desktop and laptop systems,  and Windows 10 is well received.   Only in here are things in MELTDOWN mode.   The Chicken Little Syndrome is HUGE in here.   Meanwhile,  I get asked all the time about surface products.   And most who ask me about them end up buying them because of all they offer over the competition (apple).   
  • Yeah right.. in your fantasy world everyone out there loves MS and hates Apple and Google. what are you smoking man?? Windows 10 is a pure mediocre junk tested by guinea pig insiders btw.
  • Sorry hater...I am a realist...I use apple, google and MS devices, services etc.   I am going by what I see in the real world...NOT some fanboy view of EITHER SIDE.  TRY AGAIN!
  • I don't think they are saying that people love Microsoft, and hate Apple and Google. I think what they are saying is that when I take my Surface Book and sit next to someone using a MacBook, the capability of that MacBook starts to look very bland compared to my Surface Book. Is there a question about that? What they are saying is that there is no denying that the Innovation and Capability of Surface Products is pretty significant (especially for the price); and people are wondering why their $2000 MacBook still has no more capabilities than a traditional laptop from the early 2000's. Their $2000 MacBook is a laptop; no more, no less. What they are saying is Windows 10 has more capabilities than the competition. What they are saying is that in these comments people would swear Microsoft is getting ready to file for Bankruptcy, when in reality they are making more money than they ever have.
  • Don't fear the future!   Thats exactly my experiences in the REAL WORLD too...NOT IN 1.  LALA FANTASY FANBOY LAND...or 2.  APPLE / ANDROID fanboy land.   In the real world,  with real people,  using real computers,  doing real things....MS is gaining ground every day with the surface lineup.  The book 2 blows the doors off the new macbook pro,  the surface studio is a much better device than the Imac pro for graphics professionals.   Hell,  the surface laptop kills the macbook lineup itself.   Apple is losing ground in the computing space...the touchbar is proof of that.  They know that touchscreen computing is the present and future,  meanwhile,  they cannot develop MacOS to run touch,  therefore they have to give half assed touchbar options.   BORING.   Just like macbooks themselves.  Boring and overpriced.  
  • Apple were in the very same position until the introduction of the first iMac in 1998. They reinvented and refocused. The fortunes of tech companies is very much swings and roundabouts. Keep the faith....!
  • But Apple have one thing that Microsoft doesn't, Consumer trust.
  • They didn't in 1998 in fact the tech press considered Apple would go the way of IBM.
  • Trust me, no one EVER thought that Apple would withdraw from the consumer market and become a software/services/mainframe server vendor to Fortune 500 companies.  That is what IBM did.  
  • Were you around in the late 80s/early 90s?   I have read about all this many times in various publications before the thing called the interweb.
  • IBM has done very well the last 30 years...
  • Looking back, I see now we were just dumb bunnies paying Microsoft to help them demonstrate what could be done with technology, and our money, with no real hope of ever having the long term support needed for the product. Great business model for Microsoft, terrible business model for the consumer. We have been cheated. As to products in the modern era, you forgot to mention the Microsoft dial - a surface era device with absolutely nothing to support it since launch. Oh, and then there is the new thermostat which is going to be another guaranteed failure as not even loyal Microsoft fans are going to shell out $300 for a device they know will not be supported, same as the hardmon speaker which even at the discounted price of $99 is still more expensive than the Echo with only a fraction of the utility. Microsoft knows how to make great products such as the band, the Kinect, and even windows phone, to demonstrate what can be done with technology, unfortunately, they do not know what it means to invest in the consumer or invest in a market to maintain or develop that technology. They simply expect folks to pay for Microsoft's demonstration of technology to the world. They can keep it.
  • "Microsoft dial - a surface era device with absolutely nothing to support it since launch. "
    You have no clue what you are talking about. The dial is supported on all major graphics software - as intended.
  • Supported Dial Software.....More than NOTHING thats for sure considering it was for graphics mainly...and PHOTOSHOP IS SUPPORTED...I think you are WAY off base.   The dial is supported by exactly the systems it was designed for! Adobe Photoshop
    Adobe Illustrator
    Bluebeam Revu
    Drawboard PDF
    Microsoft Excel (Office Win32 version)
    Groove Music
    Mental Canvas Player
    Microsoft Photos
    MohoTM 12
    OneNote (Universal Windows App version)
    PewPew Shooter
    Microsoft PowerPoint (Office Win32 version)
    All Windows apps
    Windows Maps
    Microsoft Word (Office Win32 version)  
  • It’s interesting how most articles and comments regarding Microsoft are around things like “Messaging” “Naming” “Marketing” “Trust” “Commitment” “Vision” “Communicating” and very little to do with technology. …and Microsoft, please don’t call it The Mobile Foldy McFoldFace Surface Device.  Think that was a joke.
  • Yes...I made that joke...and it was that...A joke.  Just remember the hoopla about the research vessel...boaty mcboatface!
  • I understand it was a joke. That’s why it was funny! SMDH
  • Microsoft can no more escape its past than anyone else. But they could build on it. W10M is an excellent portal to use their products. Until they can launch something better, they should have kept making or assisting others to make Windows Phones. They should make them in cdma and gsm, offer for sale in Microsoft Store, forget carriers and keep pushing ahead with what's next, if it ever comes. Although they've got great products, the constant drumbeat of trying to convince people that something they made in the past is no good now is a lame way to run a company. You see, it's not just the products, it is also the company behind them. This website can continue to push the narrative (certainly with Microsoft's blessing), but why isn't there more mention of the good things about Windows Phones and the small but loyal fan base of those who use them and want an even better Windows Phone. Not a phablet, but a phone. I don't mind calling out facts on someone, but I did read a terrible post attacking Nadella in an ugly and personal way. There's no need in that. I'm content to just say he's very wrong on this, in my opinion. Of course, if the new next "thing" is ever launched, I'm sure to buy one, but in the meantime, they should have kept Windows Phone alive and well.
  • My primary concern is the lack of visible focus on UWP, as any device that will launch will need applications be it PWAs, 'Modern' apps, converted applications through cenntenial bridge etc. So therefore due to the inability to monetise we are seeing big names abandon the platform completely and when you add in Microsoft's renewed focus on competitor's ecosystems for monetisation. It gives mixed signals, sure like any other company they are trying to monetise but unlike most they are the host of an ecosystem. Apple and Google understand this connundrum hence their monopolistic practises, I am not saying Microsoft should become monopolistic. I am saying that Microsoft needs to get the balance right and work on their messaging, but both have never been Microsoft's strong points, they just fail miserably and understandably they just stopped trying. But the problem is that they become US centric for almost all product launches, for example the Surface was initially US centric and what happened? They had a massive stock (held) write down and the subsequent launches were not US centric and now it's a billion dollar division. The Microsoft band could have been a success had it not be unavailable in limited quantities and especially now as healthcare becomes more centralised and interconnected. Whereas before everything was siloed, when you saw your local doctor they would have to refer you to a hospital and send notes / records which would would have been inputted into the system manually by admin and vice a versa. Now it's all electronic, the only thing that is missing is the "last mile" the disconnect between the patient and your local doctor - this is where Microsoft's Health Vault would have come into play... but.. yeah lack of confidence on Microsoft's part meant it will remain a hypothetical scenario. Of course there are patient confidentiality and data concerns however they can be addressed. Although you run into a scenario where certain aspects will get political and fiscal suchas taxes due. Everything is interconnected. An ecosystem is curated predominately third party developers and they need an incentive to monetise however there are / have been far too many mixed messages along with vast number of unkept promises. It's the little actions that symbolise the biggest impacts when taken collectively just like jigsaw puzzle, a painting etc. Nothing materialises without any form of transitional action and through said action one creates a foundation upon which another event / element / scenario can be created / leverage. Cause and Effect.  
  • Here's the thing, Daniel, Win 8 and WMP were essential to the development of Win 10 and onward. Without those touch screen products and experiences, both for users and developers, MS would have utterly blown Win 10. (Do you remember WIn 7 touch screens? They were horrible.) As Win 10 is pushed through the corporate world, those users will be amazed by the utility of touch screens and a unified OS across devices, which will in turn reinforce the entire ecosystem. So many huge organizations are still using Win 7, and all of those machines are not touch-capable. Once they make the jump into touch, those users will be blown away by the Win 10 environment, which will in turn promote further app development and consumer use. A good many Mac owners also work w/ Win 7 machines at work and they have no idea what they're missing. Yes, Win 8 was a disaster, but it was a necessary bridge to Win 10, and without Win 8 and WMP, Win 10 would be just another Win 7 upgrade. The upside for MS now is tremendous.
  • I'm pretty certain they could have gotten to Windows 10 without doing Windows 8 as it was released. They could have done touch still and gotten those results; there was no miracle in Windows 8 that without it Windows 10 would be impossible. Either way, Vista and Windows 8 were both disasters, costs sales, lost consumer confidence, set the company back years, and were both under Ballmer's tenure.
  • I guess im one of the few who acutally liked both!  ha ha
  • I also liked Windows 8 and I like Windows 10. Indeed, I wish MSFT would've implemented some of the touch features that existed in Windows 8, with Windows 10. For example, Edge Browser is horrible for tablet users. Internet Explorer on Windows 8 was far better for tablet users.
  • “As Win 10 is pushed through the corporate world, those users will be amazed by the utility of touch screens and a unified OS across devices, which will in turn reinforce the entire ecosystem.” Or not.   We have Windows 10 available where I work, in the form of HP laptops.  They are NOT touchscreen laptops.   Why?  Because old, Win32, line-of-business apps do not benefit from a touch interface.   Why?  Because any new development for a touch interface is NOT being done for Windows.  Even our own, in-house developed software.   It is being developed/deployed on mobile devices.  Yes, iOS and Android phones and tablets.   Hint: Windows 10 is not a mobile, touch OS.  I keep saying this but no one here listens to me. My own work laptop is Windows 10.   There was a small percentage (about 25% I believe) who were randomly picked to get Win 10 instead of 7, as a pilot program.  For what I do, Windows 10 is no better or worse than 7, it’s just different.  I could have opted out if I wanted to, and have Windows 7.   But I wasn’t concerned because I was familiar enough with 10 and I knew the laptops weren’t touch screen. Regarding “a unified OS across devices”.  It would be easier for us to give everyone iPhones and iPads than to use Windows 10 tablets (with their stupid fans and horrible battery life) and non existent Windows 10 phones.  
  • Microsoft need to go back to the basis and make sure creates things and launch world wide instead of us, it is clearly us doesn't care about MS that much
  • So when is MS going to shelve cortana n bring Alexa over to W10 as primary assistant.
  • I'd like to know whose brilliant idea it was to force Kinect into Xbox One -something that no one asked for by the way- so the price would be $100 higher than the PS4 on launch.  Then, of course, 6 months later deciding to de-bundle it, because it was being outsold 2-1 (or more) by the cheaper PS4.  What a mess.  Didn't they want to keep the lead they got over the PS3 precisely because the PS3 was so expensive at launch???? That cost them this console generation. Then with the phone stuff, they half-assed it after they took over from Nokia.  And just said 'eh why bother?'  After retrenching several times of course. Where is the unifed OS we were promised years ago?  Still not here that's for sure.  Keep hearing about it and yet I cannot even try it out. This Nutella dude may be making money for MS, however I think in the long run it will end up costing them.  I have certainly become disillusioned.
  • @Sunstorming - That would be Don Mattrick, the former President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. He bundled the XBox One wrong, unveiled it wrong, and marketed it wrong... and then was shown the door.
  • Windows 10 and UWP, supported by PC, Mobile, iOT, and Holographic was supposed to be the Holy Grail. Now "Windows Core" will be the Holy Grail. I'm sure it will be replaced by another Holy Grail when it comes out. What exactly does Windows Core supposedly promise that will make it a game changer?  If Microsoft is planning for Spotify to replace Groove, shouldn't that have been in place before killing off Groove? That does not require Windows Core.  If Microsoft is serious about competing in the voice assistant speaker space, why launch Invoke at $200? At least they realized that was a stupid price and dropped it by 50%. Where is the $30 Cortana speaker to compete with Echo Dot and Google Home Mini? I'm that type of Microsoft fan (Zune HD, Samung Focus, Lumia 900, Lumia 920, Lumia 950XL, Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro 3, Groove Music) that would've jumped on the Invoke at full price. Even at 50% off, I didn't get one. Burned too many times.   
  • The problem I have with Microsoft's strategy is that it seems very short-sided. Specifically, the less consumers use MSFT's products, the harder it will be to train future generations to use their products for enterprise or in other commercial settings. Similarly, because the world isn't static, Google & Apple will continue making strides in their commercial base. Consequently, it's foreseeable that in 10-years from now it will be more cost-effective for companies to use other platforms than training employees to use Microsoft's products/services.
  • I am pissed completly pissed.  I dont have an adapter for my kinect cant find one anywhere on line for 100 unless its a chinese nock off!
  • Everyone is missing the fact that microsoft has engaged in stock buybacks more than anything else. The mobile market is the largest market in the world and windows mobile was innovative and on point but nobody liked it because there was very little support from third party apps. People are on their phones plain and simple and how could you not recognize that. How hard is it to be successful having one of two major gaming consoles on this planet and computer software with another two players in the game. Develop win mobile, because i dont want to be carrying a laptop in my pocket. We have seen this before in the financial world and when the market drops if you dont have everyday goods and services then your caught holding devalued assets that manufacturing buisnesses can easily obtain. The products are very good such as surface, but mobile is not going away and their vision of some super computer in your pocket is ridiculous and another non competitive idea. Compete in buisness if your going to compete because those products are your bread and butter. Apple is under siege in the mobile market with China emulating their exact ecosystem from chipsets to screens and Microsoft actually had a much more competitive idea with something different but little effort. 
  • “Apple is under siege in the mobile market......”?   Huh?   On what planet? Microsoft wishes they had Apple’s mobile market “problems”.  
  • All the talk of retrenching, pivoting, killing off the old to make way for the new still confuses me. I can't find any logical business case to shutting down the only product in a category, without a valid replacement, unless the intention is to never return. For instance, upsetting the user base of Band customers, to suggest that there may be a return in the future, just doesn't make sense. Your former customers are upset, your prospective customers are wary, and the new product (if it ever materialises) is trying to build a customer base from no-customers. The Mobile scenario is a prime example. While Microsoft says they are commited to mobile computing and will return when the time is right and they have a noteworthy product, their existing customers have been forced to buy a competing product. In the time that Microsoft are taking to come out with some possible future product, they had time to iterate minor upgrades to their existing products. There could have been two more product releases of Lumia products in this time. Their customers would have remained happy, Microsoft would have shown faith in the idea of mobile computing, and they could have dazzled the world with fantastic new capabilities in the possible future product. Retrenching, cancelling product lines, upsetting and losing customers makes no sense if you intend to return. The only logical conclusion is that Microsoft don't intend to return. If you (once again sticking to the mobile product line) then consider the dramatic increase in Microsoft activity on competing products (all the development on IOS and Android), surely the only logical conclusion that Microsoft want us to use those platforms, and don't intend to return to the Windows platform on mobile devices. The same logic could be applied to Groove, or even Cortana. Taking away Groove streaming and striking a deal with a competing product (Spotify) makes no sense if you ever intend to return. Talk of some new capability with Spotify is irrelevant because cutomers will have already left by the time it comes out, if it ever does. Also, why would the music id service in Cortana be dropped because of Groove. When the criticism of Cortana is it's lack of skills, removing one of the most reliable skills makes no sense. To then read that Cortana is being removed from other Microsoft services means it's fairly clear (based on previous patterns) that Cortana is on the way out. So many of Microsoft's differentiators in the market appear to be irrelevant, or unsupported, or on the way out. UWP, AI, bots, mobile... What's left that makes the company's products unique? ...rant over...
  • Spot on, and well stated.   Lots of great points here.   When you withdraw from the largest tech market on the planet AND start supporting your competitors products, it is Game Over.  
  • Dear Microsoft, Things I'm okay with you cutting: Kinect Band Zune Windows 8 Windows 8 phones Things I wish you would cut: This A.I. - Bot Framework - nonsense This Quantum Computing - Q# - nonsense Hololens - While I think Hololens was a great idea, of course you have taken so excruciatingly long to bring this to market that now CES 2018 is jam packed with less expensive really cool A.R. products leapfrogging you.  So you might as well throw in the towel now.  You know you're going to eventually.  Put it out of its misery and quit shining us on. Things I am totally NOT cool with you cutting: Windows 10 mobile.  Mobile should NOT have been abandoned until you had something better to offer.  And something that does not require developers to re-write all their existing apps like Win 8 to Win 10 did.  Andromeda running Windows Core OS sounds great... but so far all we have is just a bunch of rumors and patent screenshots.  Go ahead create the "ultimate mobile device", I have no problem with that!  In fact I applaud it!  But in the meantime since you already paired down the Lumia line to 650, 950, and 950 XL, you should have put a metal back on the things, cut the price in half, and taken major losses if necessary, if for no other reason than to throw a bone to your fan base.  Throwing in the towel on mobile was a shot to the gut to fans and developers. It was an act of disloyalty.  And disloyalty is not quickly forgotten.  Axing mobile is more than just killing off a silly fitness tracker, or an MP3 player, or an obviously ill conceived OS.  Killing off Win 10 mobile, without a clear path forward left so many of us disallusioned.  The key to success is trust.  And you shattered that trust when you killed mobile.    
  • I don't see any vision from MS that will make all of it worthwhile. As they are going now they will only be left with azure and office as anything worthwhile, everything else can be done better by the competition. And, as they completely loose consumer mindshare, it will only be a matter of time before azure and office will be replaced by competitors solutions better integrated in the competitors consumer focused OS. My kids are now spending 99,99% of their digital life on android or iOS. This used to be 0% when they were still using windows mobile devices. They are now lost to android forever and would like to have their windows pc replaced by either a Chromebook or an Apple. Way to go MS!
  • I agree and disagree with Daniel. I think that Microsoft has made some mistakes in communication but I also think they have shot themselves in the foot with consumers for the almighty dollar too. When the Xbox was released, (long before Windows Central) most writers of the time called it a failure and pointed out how Microsoft was doing nothing but loosing money. A majority of them said Microsoft should kill the Xbox outright. They didn't and they kept improving it and today we have the One X. When the first Surface came out it was the same thing. Now we have a whole new category of PC'S (2 in 1) a laptop the Surface Book 2 (even though it needs a new power adapter) the Hub, The Studio. Windows phone could have been competitive but the whole retrenchment killed any forward progress. That's where they started making mistakes, then killing Groove. Guess what people used that on more than there mobile devices. Killing the Band was also a mistake, with added development and possibly a new design it could compete. Microsoft's current strategy seems to be quit where there is a lot of competition yet it's competition that made Microsoft fight to design a better Xbox and Surface products. Unfortunately this same thing will happen to the Cortana Invoke, It was a lackluster launch and even though as a speaker it is a great product, I foresee Microsoft killing it due to too much competition from Apple, Google and Amazon. Let the past die isn't a good strategy just to move forward. In the end it will hurt Microsoft more than help.
  • Consumer's 'let Microsoft die' strategy is a necessary evil.
  • Lol I guess Kylo Ren is running Microsoft now.
  • Kill your darlings. A great quote by William Faulkner. " In writing, you must kill your darlings.” This literary advice refers to the dangers of an author using personal favorite elements. While these may hold special meaning for the author, they can cause readers to roll their eyes. It was also a mediocre movie in 2013.  It's been a bad business strategy for the past year. Until i read this, I REALLY wanted to see Satya Nadella fired. He's single handedly made me miss Steve Balmer like I never thought. Say what you want about Balmer. He was a boss and a unflagging cheerleader for microsoft. And while he may not have always seemed like he knew how to win, at least he knew to step in the ring and put his fist up. Satya Nadella seems to be in comparrison, a coward. One more than happy to retreat to the friendly waters of the coorporate world and beg for what ever scraps he can get in the consumer space.  Let's start with the microssoft band. There was 1 thing done correctly there. They formed a partnership with Fitbit. When my band 2 stopped working, i walked into a microsoft store (NYC) and they gave me a fitbit blaze to replace it. But this is where the right thing just ended. The fitbit Ionic is out. It's not available in microsoft stores. There's not a single microsoft app available in fitbits app store. If this were me, I'd have gone all in. Treat the Fitbit Ionic as if it was made by microsoft. Have it available in microsoft stores. Those Microsoft apps available for Android Wear and Apple Watch, I'd make them available for the Ionic. I'm make sure a skype and a Cortana app were available for it. Not just Fitbit skills for Cortana. The Microsoft Band app and the Microsoft health insights app would be mergered. Elements from the MSN Health and Fitness app such as the calories counter would've been added and i would've made that work with fitbit and any other fitness trackers that would've made an app for windows devices. But that's not what happened. Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile: Under Balmer, Microsoft gave us time to say goodbye. They brought Zune to windows Phone. Kept making the Zune HD until it was a margin error in marketing because for the most part, Zune users like myself moved over to windows phone and now windows mobile. But under nadella, who said windows mobile is for fans and loyal enthuiast, we've been kicked in the face time and time again. 1'st with no flagship hardware. then with no new features. they killed all advertising and the developer push came to a grinding halt. Is it just me or does anyone else notice that since Nadella has been in command that the stores for windows and windows mobile have lost apps. Not gained. We used to get Microsoft Garage apps. Remember when we could change the lock screen on windows mobile? So much for Universal Windows apps. And many of microsofts newer apps and features don't even make it to windows. the photosynth funtionality available in the Microsoft pix app for iOS is no where to be found on windows. Apps for windows phone from nokia are just gone. Like the refocus app. You know, the one that gave us the functionality that Apple now advertises as portrait photography. Which would you rather use: Outlook on android or Outlook on windows? So much for fans and enthusiast.  I would've kept the windows phone push going. Maybe not go all in hardware. but kept going witht the software end. releasing only a few mid-range devices a year until the Surface Courier and Andromeda is ready. That way the app gap, doesn't turn into an APP EXODUS which would mean starting from scratch. It seems less like Nadella doesn't want to keep going with windows phone because it wasn't getting enought traction and more likely he wants to erasewhat he considered to be Balmers mistake and leave his own stamp on microsoft. A Trumpian move.  Kinect: The Xbox one had a bad launch. They've regained gamer trust. To make the Xbox One more affordable they depricated the Kinect. Motion control gaming went south and with the release of the Xbox One S and the One X, you needed an adapter which makes the Kinect more expensive. Microsoft can't keep offering a free adapter.  This is where Microsof had 2 options. 1: Kill the Kinect. You can now hook up any webcam to the xbox one anyway. Here's the thing. The Kinect did more than video and audio. It also has a IR Blaster. which is needed for controling things like the cablebox and TV. This i discovered when my friend who i got to buy an xbox and kinect called me and said his Kinect stopped working. He got a webcam, connected it to his xbox one and he couldn't control the tv and cablebox. There's no real Kinect replacement right now. No telling if there'll ever be one. So why didn't they do option 2. Build a Kinect 3.0. They obviosyly own the technology. They also make the lifecam. Make a smaller Kinect, with a high quiality, Windows hello camera, a microphone & an IR blaster. Sell it as somewhere between a xbox/pc accessory and Amazon echo dot competitor. That would've meant that one of the core experiences that microsoft sold as part of the xbox one wouldn't be broken. and further push Cortana adoption. But that's not what happened. Groove music: Fine, it wasn't setting the world on fire. I loved it. But that doesn't matter. But microsoft in killing grove hurt many of it's custumers on windows and windows phone. Spotify SUCKS on windows mobile, to which i guess that doesn't matter to Nadella whose treating us like unwanted tennants and he's playing the part of a slum lord. Doing the equivalent of cutting the heat, water and electricity. As for my Surface Pro, if i want to use it, i better have the keyboard connected or the pen handy. Oh, lets not forget that Cortana is now incapable of recognizing music. This is after Shazam is no longer available and now owned by Apple will possibly NEVER be available. Once this happened, They should've done everything possible to help SoundHound have a universal app for windows, windows mobile, xbox and cortana the moment shazam pulled it's windows app. Again, If i were in charge and doing this. Fine, kill the groove music pass. But keep the music in the store. Maybe they killed the music in the store to get apple to put iTunes in the store. Notice it's delayed. Great job trusting apple. You know, the company that pulled the HopStop app from windows phone the VERY DAY they purchased it. There are still a lot of people that BUY their music because artist don't make any money from music subscriptions. Work with Spotify so that this is possible. I hear a song in spotify, click to buy. And on top of that, Cortana could still ID music. Ask for the needed APIs' and turn the groove music app into a spotify app for windows devices. in exchange, offer to load spotify on every windows device the same way we got Candy Crush included. Hell, make it the default audio player for all i care.  I want to go back to what Nadella said in his 1'st windows keynote. "Windows Phone is for fans and enthusiast." I don't think he would know what a fan and enthusiast is if one walked up and bit him on his boney ass. For YEARS with windows phone i didn't just buy a windows phone, groove music pass, own a band and get the Kinect with xbox. I was their free advertising. I got my frineds and family to buy into that world too. I was their free tech support to easy their complaining. I wrote developers asking them multiple times to make apps for windows and windows phone. I didn't have to ask myself if i'm getting a microsoft device. Now, before i buy, I look around 1'st. I still have a windows phone. But i also have a android phone. I've gone from having a great experience and not much in the way of apps to having a crappy experience but virtually every app available and I'm not happy. I thought about getting the invoke but i can't bring myself to do it because how do i know microsoft isn't going to kill it in a few months. When my xbox one bited the dust, i can't say i'll just get another one. Maybe i'll get a ps4 because i don't know what Nadella will do. In that same keynote, Nadella said he want's people to love microsoft. Does that sound like i love microsoft to you? Nadella had better be done killing darlings. Because I'm on the edge of avoiding microsoft like a freshly baked plate of radioactive ebola. 
  • Great post! I bought an Ionic and have the app on my W10m phone.   Yes, they should have gone all in with FitBit.  They had a chance to keep consumers and let someone else make the watch.  They could have thrown some development at the app in a partnership.  That health data has to be stored somewhere - why not a cloud...does MS have any cloud presence...hmm....  What is eventually I want to share that health info with a medical professional.  Not just for enthusiasts... I am still shaking my head on dropping W10m...they are already the king of failed reboots, but mobile is an area I am astonished they want to get out of.  It is one of the major growth areas.  I would think shareholders would like this.  Was mobile killing them financially?  It's not like MS was Blackberry (with only one business focus).  So many of their producs go hand in hand with mobile, ie. software, cloud, Cortana.... HP even went at it alone and made a business phone - did MS even want this thing to work? Where was the MS push for their phones - I saw ZERO ads for it.   Asia still has a growing mobile base of users, the Nokia name is still known there - couldn't use that to get any traction? 0.1% of the market is still over a million was bigger at a point then they just let it die.   Could they have a least told users - officially Microsoft is getting out of the phone game in 3 year, OS will be fully supported till then - thanks for yoru support, instead of just doing a bad job and letting it leak out unofficially....'mobile are not our focus...' that is just poor consumer concern.  C'mon, you MS had the balls to burn consumers with WP7...why stop now? Are Android and Apple phones for fans and enthusiasts - yup.  But phones have a useful purpose....I don't think ANYONE bought a WP without actually NEEDING a phone. Even from a work perspective - do you want to buy a Surface knowing MS may not support them in the future?  And the world relying more and more on mobile, maybe you want Android as your OS for routine work. Nadella has been good for shareholders, and that is his job.   The only way to get the attention of MS is with your dollars.  Start canceling your suscriptions and dont' buy MS products. MS has good tech and innovaton....they just need some marketing skills and care for their consumers.  I hope with WoA they get back into mobile - with gusto.  I really hope so! 
  • Ironically, UX will be the main value proposition in many businesses looking forward, but MS fails at it greatly. This article reflects the failure perfectly even in the title.. They need to invest more in the soft side of a business like corporate communication, branding, marketing and user experience in general. Whether it's a 'consumer'-facing, 'developers-only' or 'enterprise' niche, they are dealing with humans in the end regardless how crazy the tech might be.
  • "They need to invest more in the soft side of a business like corporate communication, branding, marketing and user experience in general" I agree...typically their branding sound unexciting..."Windows Phone" branding may be partially responsible for killing mobile chances :) I think there is a lot poaching of AI talent by latecomers like FB and Amazon...wonder that may be the reason for cortana preview for dynamics dropped?  They drop something big like that and just post a cryptic blog post ...just like when they dropped groove :)     
  • Nadella's decision to abandon Mobile, and wearables; while not investing in home automation, speakers (consumer stuff), will starve Microsoft's A.I. of the fresh data it needs to deliver amazing results. CES this year will be about how technology companies are building amazing consumer products using Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant. Microsoft and Cortana will not be mentioned because no one is willing to bet on Nadella's Microsoft or his commitment not to waste your investment and just cut the tech out from under you. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. These new gadgets (not using Microsoft tech) will feed those companies A.I.'s with tons of fresh data directly from the consumers Nadella abandoned. Although Microsoft created an A.I. division last year with 5,000 engineers, the future of A.I. will be where the data and Assistants are going.
  • letting the past die is necessary ... true ... however microsoft is not letting its past die it is killing its current products and future (killing groove, taking yet another cortana feature away, removing mobile without any follow-up, crippling uwp apps and onecore, ...) while holding on to the past (32 bit systems even now in arm and x86, legacy tools hampering security and performance equally, in office365 dragging age old sharepoint limitations with it instead of revamping things especially user-management and sharing, ...) so while your quote is correct you are still wrong because it does not apply. ms is not letting the past die, quite the contrary ... sadly.
  • WHY someone support AGAIN Microsoft for MOBILE!!!!!!!!
    And Microsoft support ALL countries. NOT usa ONLY.
    For mobile NOW only apple, for Tablet only ipad pro (i have and another one Pixel C) and for Desktop or laptop Windows PC.
  • Being Scroogled by Microsoft is simply wrong. They did a lot of **** and don't even admit it. Gave 2 chances for WP7, the best WP ever, and WP10, the worst WP ever, but I'm not giving other and really hope people don't give them another chance.
  • @Gabriel Unfortunately there will always be delusional fanboys buying every crap MS throws at them, but lucky for the world, not too many so MS will not have the same luck of using customers as guinea pigs for their beta products anymore.
  • I remember being a young kid on this site and at one point I had a WP (was way too young for a phone and I begged my parents for a red Nokia 920), Surface RT,XBox and a desktop PC. I was obviously a beta tester for the WP and Surface but when these things went bad it left a bad taste in my mouth and now I dont have any of these products anymore. I'm not one to hang on to a inferior product like a lot of ppl here, hoping MS will fix whatever is wrong with a product. Once I knew that the RT Surface was garbage and then WP began to lag behind I just cut out everything MS related. 
  • There are quite a few good posts here and the article was very good.  Kudos, Mr. Rubino. My 2 cents ... I think overall, I understood the article to state that Microsoft is cutting their losses and getting comfortable with what they think is making money.  After all, that's the goal of business ... make money.  But, sitting back and getting comfortable is the beginning of the end.  Microsoft, or any bigger, relevant business take risks and forge ahead and create niches that are new and improved.  Facebook was a massive improvement over MySpace.  Everything has their differences, but a great company looks at their failures, learns from them, and makes improvements.  It's a team effort.  I don't see Microsoft being that complete team.  They're kind of like the geeks that can run development circles around anybody, but can't communicate with their users to meet their needs. Nadella said Microsoft is not a “luxury good manufacturer.”  Completely, no.  But, yes, Microsoft does, and needs to be in the mobile game and correct the mistakes in strategy and marketing to set it up for success, not failure.  Which is exactly what happened to Windows Mobile.  The Xbox and Surface brands prove this point.  To try and make an excuse of Microsoft not making luxury products is; 1) a lie, because the mobile business is going to be around for a long time and implying that a Smart, mobile device as being a "luxury" item is as short sited.  These are staple items now and very much apart of everyday life in America and Europe, 2) your audience (or what used to be Microsofts faithful base) are smarter than what that statement gives us credit for.  If you think calling a Smart Phone a luxury item and making an inference that they're not necessary ... please ... do not insult our intelligence.   There was one marketing ploy that could've made a massive difference in getting Windows Mobile into new markets.  Give the salespeople an incentive to 'sell' it.  This is Marketing 101.  The days are over of people bowing down to Microsoft.  Your comfort has blinded the company and it's slowly fading away.  It will take a little while, but the mentality of the current leadership is killing it. Microsoft has become an average business in a still very active, every changing technology.  It's lost it's edge, inovation, and business sense.  I've mentioned this before, if Micorosft didn't have Office, it would have folded a long time ago.    
  • James Hoffman, who's in the coffee roasting business, once said that when you remove a product, you're basically telling all who bought that product that they're stupid for having bought it in the first place. This is very much the case with Microsoft as of late, more in some cases than the other. When Zune hardware was killed off, it made sense because MP3 players in general were going away. People were using their phones to listen to music. That entire industry was on the way out. So I don't feel like MS made me feel stupid when they killed that off. But this is one of the few cases where this was so. With effectively ending Windows mobile without any concrete sign that something else is around the bend and Microsoft people telling me "Just get an iPhone or Android," I feel a little stupid having invested so much in that platform.  We were told that it would be kept around for enthusiasts. It wasn't. And this was while we were promised that experiences would be best on Windows mobile, but I don't think that ever came to fruition. Band is another case. It was originally suggested that it was just an experiment, yet they released a sequel, had a small marketing push, and sold it in their stores for all to see. The Band 2 had significant hardware defect (I had to send mine in on no less than 3 occasions for warranty repair due to the band breaking and I know others who had to do the same) and after the last time it broke, they wouldn't do a warranty repair and I couldn't buy a new one so eventually, I had an expensive paperweight.  With the ending of Groove, we were basically told that we would have been better off if we invested in Spotify in the first place. Quite the slap in the face. And it adds to the pain of them dumping Windows mobile. I now have no good service for my phone. Spotify is a terrible app. I think my approach is going to be buying songs off Amazon and then uploading them to my OneDrive. A new hassle for me because Microsoft dropped Groove. While I wasn't super upset about Kinect ending, those who bought the first Xbox Ones were told we needed to buy it. Now we're told we have another paperweight. When I went to the One X, I was told that I'd have to pony up some cash if I wanted to keep something Microsoft told me I needed to have in the first place. That was a bit of an insult. Even within the Surface line, there's yet to be a follow-up to the Surface 3. For someone who just needs a relatively cheap tablet with inking capabilities, I've been left out in the cold and Microsoft has no offering for me should be Surface 3 completely fail. Their answer is basically to spend more than I want to on a Surface Pro. It's at a point now where I don't put trust in Microsoft's consumer products. Will I still buy some and use some? Yes. I'm not going to dump my Xbox, but my use has been impacted. I WON'T buy any videos on Movies & TV because I have no faith that I won't get an email tomorrow telling me that they're closing that service and then I'm left with nothing. A new question I have for any consumer product is if Microsoft will keep supporting it or if they're going to dump it relatively quickly. I haven't invested in WMR because I don't have a lot of faith that they'll keep it around. If the Surface mobile device ever comes to fruition, I'll probably buy it, but only because I think Android and iOS are so terrible. If either provided a decent alternative, I wouldn't even consider it. Then for those who jumped to one of those and is enjoying it, are they going to abandon their new home for a place from a company that burned them in the not too distant past? And this gets to another problem that all this has generated: Developers. For any developer who's made an app for these platforms, are they really going to make something for Microsoft's next thing? I wouldn't. There's no promise that they won't cancel the product quickly. I understand that Microsoft needed to make a shift. But the manner in which they did it burned a lot of bridges and damaged a lot of goodwill. There are a few things that they could have done to help the situation: 1. Assuming that something new is coming, ensure that there would be some Windows 10 Mobile device on the market until that day. It wouldn't even have to be a new device. Allow customers to order something like the Lumia 950 and 950XL. At least then, if they break their device, they can keep buying something. 2.  When the Band was discontinued, customers should have been offered a healthy a discount on an alternative product (Fitbit probably would have been the best option) and work with the maker of that product to ensure customers keep getting support regardless of their platform. 3. Improve the process of handing off a service (Groove) to another provider. Given that I'm sure there was some business agreement behind the scenes, I won't say much more than that. But I feel like their could have been a better option, such as working with an online distributor so songs purchased are automatically added to the buyer's OneDrive. There are steps Microsoft can take in the future to help address concerns about products being abandoned: 1. Stop renaming everything! Unless there's a legal reason, stop renaming things left and right. It creates a feeling of uncertainty. 2. Make commitments and keep them. Don't say things like Windows 10 Mobile will offer the best experience for Microsoft products and then fail to execute. Beyond that, when a new product is released, make a promise that it will be around for the foreseeable future.  On a related note, Microsoft needs to realize that their enterprise market is tightly connected to the consumer. Consumer products are advertisements for and the gateways to enterprise products. Consumerization of IT is big now and it doesn't look like its going anywhere. People aren't going to want to use one set of tools at home and another at work. If they want to maintain their enterprise clients, they need to get things right in the consumer space.
  • Nothing wrong with letting the past die in favor of a brighter future. Problem is, there's not a brighter future to look forward to from Microsoft, especially when it comes to windows. But this is not Nadella's fault, the destruction of modern desktop windows began under Ballmer with windows 8, Nadella could potentially save it but he's more concerned with cloud than anything else.
  • A lot of people have already said what i need to say so i'll keep it brief. MS cutting all the things it has without viable replacements has felt like a slap in the face. I no longer have trust in them and i was one of their loudest fanboys. 
  • I pretty much dropped all my Microsoft products. I sure loved my Microsoft devices. I even got my family to purchase a bunch of Microsoft products. No more. Moved on. I saw today that Alexa is going to be replacing Cortana on some newly released laptops and decided to check in. Saw this article and a had to say something.  I now own an S8. Replaced my desktop with Dex, my 950 with an S8 and my 360 with a Roku. All I have left is my Xbox. Once it dies i will probably get a PS4. I'm not angry. I have just moved on.
  • Yeah, how does something like that happen?  Alexa on Windows more enthusiastically adopted by Microsoft's long time OEM partners :)  Cortana is more advanced technologically thanAlexa by miles...but microsoft seems to lack the imagination and aggression in execution...It's a real shame! Microsoft's Cortana general manager @CES still seems to be living in his *vision phase* bubble :)   Microsoft is always playing the long game...really really really long game :) Microsoft seems to have balding, living in their own bubble , stock option multimillionaire execs who doesn't have the drive to be agile...may be they should step aside and let the business savvy young generation to order for Microsoft to thrive in the fast changing business climate:)  
  • I think you'd have to admit that some of the rants following up your article are some of the best rants on the subject of Microsoft's retrenchment. There is clearly a lot of angst and disallusionment out there. I really hope the brass in Redmond not only read your article but also the "Reader Comments".    As a consumer UWP developer I've struggled over the last two years if I should just pull the plug on my app, rewrite it for iOS/Android and just be done with the Microsoft store forever.  The day I give up on the store though is the day I've told myself I will throw ALL my Windows devices in the trash!  A fresh start sounds pretty good!  A clean break!   As an enterprise developer I used to find myself a champion of Windows 10, the Surface line, UWP, Azure, Active Directory, Skype for business, Lumia 950, HP Elite x3.  Pretty much so the party line.  Now I find myself looking at sites like: and and wishing we could just flush all our Windows products/devices down the toilet and go all in with AWS, Echo, Macbooks, iPhones, and iPads Pros.  And believe me there have been some in the department that have suggested it. You may be right... I don't know... maybe this is all necessary?  Maybe Microsoft will start being a company committed, loyal, trustworthy.  But for now it sure feels like crap.  
  • The most important thing that I have learned about Microsoft is to not wait for things that are "in the works" or "coming in the future".  You need to ask "What can they do for me NOW?"  And going forward from NOW, what do they offer that I can't get somewhere else that is potentially better and cheaper? My dream was to have a Microsoft branded system of components that were designed to work together seamlessly.  I bought into that dream big time. Windows PCs, Windows Pocket PC, Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Phone, Windows Tablets, Microsoft Surface, Office 365, Groove Music, Microsoft Band, Xbox One, Kinect, and most recently, Harmon Kardon Invoke.  Now I roll my eyes when I hear that they are trying to work with Pandora to enable that service. I'm not counting on it. Not again. Ever.
  • Predicting the future with today's paradigms will not work. Fact: The last 30 years MS PC market share is virtually stable around 85 - 90%
    Fact: apart from the last bubble Ms stock has never been better than under SN
    Fact: Only Apple makes money out of smartphones
    Fact: Apple has become a virtual two trick poney (iPhone and iPad) the iMac, MacBook pro etc. still below 8% worldwile despite 30 years of continous product placement in movies, television shows and television programms
    Fact: Since the introduction of the iPhone the "touch screen" technology and interfacing has hardly evolved apart from "fsater" and "bigge/more powerfull".
    Fact: Despite the extreme proliferation of apps only a few 1000 app developers really make money and the vast majority off apps are rarely used after 1 - 2 years after the installation on the smartphone.
    Fact: The replacement rate of smartphone is anything between 1 - 4 years  So after 4 years all the initial devices are virtually gone (apart from the happy few that use their phone until it dies). So that means any new "disruptive" "mobile phone" technology can wipe out all current smartphones in < 7 years. Observations:
    - The consumer space is volatile and there is no guarantee todays technology introduction will still be around in 5 years from now (remember 2014 3D Televisions hype as an example, 1970s quadrophonic technology - anyone?)
    - Why would a company need to be on all the bandwagons to be successful? History has proven it hardly works that way. Remember the seventies when multinational corporations suddenly wanted to extremely diversify  (Remember ITT, Oil majors that suddenly were in hotel chains, chip development, nuclear power and coal etc.)
    - Apart from some very rare exceptions (Coca Cola since 1887) there is something product life cycles. Still a lot of people here expect MS to continue produce products that turned out not to be either profitable or successful?  That's not very realistic right?  In the same mindset we could still complain here why MS is no longer producing their MS Home : Encarta / Wine Guide / Cinemania / Music Central / Bookshelf / Ancient Lands / Dangeous Creatures / Multimedia beethoven  etc. etc. CD-roms. My takeaway: MS is thinking 2 - 3 decades ahead beyond the vanity of todays "consumerism" products and concentrating on long term tecnologic sustainability, short to mid-term shareholder value and long term startegic repositioning.  I think, from a technology perspective, no IT company is better positioned to be around the next 30 - 50 years apartf from MS and IBM (those who laugh at IBM, check their balance sheet, number of employees etc.)      
  • I question some of your “facts”. ‘Fact: Only Apple makes money out of smartphones” So, Samsung is losing money?  Google? “Fact: Apple has become a virtual two trick poney (iPhone and iPad) the iMac, MacBook pro etc. still below 8% worldwile despite 30 years of continous product placement in movies, television shows and television programs” But at least the Mac market is growing.  I remember when it was under 4%.  Plus, as tricks go, iPads and iPhones are pretty good tricks to have.   “Fact: Since the introduction of the iPhone the "touch screen" technology and interfacing has hardly evolved apart from "fsater" and "bigge/more powerful.” Whereas mouse and keyboard interface technology have grown by leaps and bounds in the last 30 years? “Fact: Despite the extreme proliferation of apps only a few 1000 app developers really make money and the vast majority off apps are rarely used after 1 - 2 years after the installation on the smartphone.” How many Windows app developers actually make money? “Fact: The replacement rate of smartphone is anything between 1 - 4 years  So after 4 years all the initial devices are virtually gone (apart from the happy few that use their phone until it dies). So that means any new "disruptive" "mobile phone" technology can wipe out all current smartphones in < 7 years.” The replacement rate of home PCs was longer, yet the “disruptive” mobile phone technology pretty much wiped out home PCs.  10 years ago if there were 4 people in the house, you needed 2 - 4 PCs (laptops).   Now that everyone has phones and tablets, there is maybe 1 PC in the house, for the few things that can’t (yet) be done on a phone or tablet.  There seems to be this bizarre mindset here, that phones and tablets are some passing fad and that everyone will wake up and realize that they need Windows PCs again. The reality is that phones and tablets prove that most people don’t need Windows, in any form.  It is viewed as old and clunky.  It is “your fathers computer”.   Worse, It is viewed as what you are forced to use at work.  In 10 years or so, there will be a whole generation of people whose first encounter with Windows could easily be when they get an office job.  That is assuming that Windows is still being used in offices in 10 years.  
  • Let me clarify a few facts:
    If you read the Gartner reports on the TSC breakdown of smartphones producers earning it turns out to be that 99.9% of the smartphone earnings go to Apple and NOT to Android Phone manufacturers. MS get's a substantial part of money out of Android smartphones due to licenses rights so in the end Android smartphones is all about high volumes with tiny margins whereas Apple is about minor volumes (compared to Android) and huge margins. So yes only Apple makes really money out of smartphones. Samsung makes more money out of refrigerators and television sets than smartphones. Mac market: no Mac is NOT growing to the contrarary they are again loosing market shares to Windows but fair enough they have a substantial margin on their PC's so they can sell a lot less Macs and still make a lot of money out of it but the Mac will not save Apple in the long run. And Mac will certainly not wipe out Windows PC's  same for chromebooks Sure the keyboard has not changed the last 30 years: I would say let's keep it that way to play devil's advocate. My real point was that smartphones have become the new refrigerators: you sell a lot of them - they hardly change anymore.... until something truly new enters the market Windows app developers not making money: let's forget windows phone: dead. but yes Adobe software, MS Office, MS Project, Corel, SAP, Autodesk- Autocad, professional CD 3D development etc. etc. they make a hell of a lot of money on windows software development. "The replacement rate of home PCs was longer, yet the “disruptive” mobile phone technology pretty much wiped out home PCs. " unfortunately here is where you loose a lot of credibility in your points made - sorry. Not sure on what planet you live but there still is  at least  2 billion Pc's around  cfr.  Smartphones and iPads do not wipe out home PC. When I look around at friends with school going kids the average PC at home is certainly higher than one. In my (a-typical case) We have 3 sons (2 @ secondary school 1 @university): they all 3 have a Dell laptop (to go to college) and a Dell workstation in their room. My wife has a Dell AIO and a MS Srface Pro II. I have 2 Dell workstations , a MS Surface Pro 4, a Dell laptop/workstation and 1 iPad that  I have not used for the last 3 years. Oh one more thing we all 5 have a windows phone  :-) "The reality is that phones and tablets prove that most people don’t need Windows, in any form"  dream on my friend, when real work needs to be done - no Micky Mouse app consumption type of reading but real work you need a decent PC and they get more and more sexy again (MS Studio, Dell Inspiron 27 AIO, HP etc.). When you want to do serious gaming you do not even think about a tablet or a smartphone... but you buy one of these brutal PC beasts that will knock your socks off (Alienware, Razer etc etc)
      " In 10 years or so, there will be a whole generation of people whose first encounter with Windows could easily be when they get an office job." I suspect you live in the USA and I suspect you are alluding to the introduction of Chrome books, well, here is a wake-up call for you, in the rest of the world - so the other 6 billion people in the non US countries' schools there is Windows PC's and nothing else.  yeah yeah and 4% Mac and 8% Linux roughly speaking. So you have not convinced me and I suspect I will not convince you  :-)
  • Depends what numbers game you want to play. Mac is growing, if we look at just desktop class OS usage, MacOS is on 13% now. Apple did state last year at WWDC they have almost 200 million Mac's in use now , it was under 100 million 10 years ago. 10% of a 2 billion PCs is more than 10% of a 1.7 billion PCs you forget the amount of PC's out there keeps changing.  or if we use the stats Microsoft prefers (netmarketshare), Microsoft Windows usage has dropped by 1/3 in just the last 12 months So if we look at just the desktop machines, Apple has gained growned, Linux has gained, Microsoft has lost. If we look at everything which is the better way as most tasks people use to boot a Windows laptop up for 10 years ago they now do on a smartphone or tablet, and that one paints a very VERY bad light for Windows its usage is dropping like a stone in water. This is only going to get worse. If you wanted to use online banking you would use a PC and go to the website 10 years ago. Some still do, but more now use an App on their smartphone or tablet. Same goes for the majority of tasks people do now, such a looking up opening hours for a local shop, it will be iOS or Android hitting their site for that info, not Windows or MacOS. Apple do not care, because it does not matter if its a Mac, iPhone or iPad they still win, they can canabilise them self. Android has the biggest usage share so they do not care, Microsoft? They have nothing now. 
  • The is plain Bs as it compares matters that methodologically should not be compared. You do not throw a computer Os and a phone OS and a  tablet OS on one pile and then derive market shares from that as these are 3 distinct areas of functionality that converge in some aspects but not in terms of full functionality. And before you start a discussion that they can be compared let me inject one element to kill this useless discussion. In stead of comparing the phone/PC/tablet Os  market share. Ask yourself one question such as. "I want to make an autocad layered drawing" - well only a PC OS comes in the picture. Same as the question would be I want to compare OS for opening my garage door - well a PC OS will not be part of that comparison. So comparing the amount of installed devices on a phone versus Pc versus tablet Os is useless as the functionality of the 3 OS's are different despite there are some commonalities in light useage. In a similar way predictiing that one Os is eating the other OS is plain BS  There have never been more PC's around as the last few years. so your statement "So if we look at just the desktop machines, Apple has gained growned, Linux has gained, Microsoft has lost." is false as you use a stat that includes PC/ phone and tablet share and you should use the stats for PC's only without the android (smartphone) and iphone Os share. So sorry nice try but your statement is absolutely incorrect. The argument that you do no longer need to boot your PC to check some information (that you now can easily find on your smartphone or tablet) is true but is not an argument that PC's are in decline for the simple reason that the PC market still is a solid 2 billion units market and pretty stable, Global GDP growth will give more people access to buy PC's in emerging markets primarily off-setting  the Pc sales decline in mature markets (and they will equally get access to more smartphones etc.). So the expectations will be that the total amount of installed PC's in 2020/2025  will be pretty comparable to 2016 (-0.8% expected decrease) - (check IDC worldwide Pc tracker and projections). So my point on this long topic was / is: MS is still king in the PC market (90% - 85%) and is expected to remain firm on that throne for the next decade. And eveni f the 2.0 billion PC's becomes 1.5 billion in 2030 that's still a lot of installed Windows versions on those PC's  at 90% market share. Finally: the arguments that you can do a lot on a smartphone and with smartphone apps does not mean that it will killl the Pc market I could even challenge and state that the upcoming ultramoble computing devices with phone capabilities (yeah Yeah Yeah the Surface Phone) will reverse the trend and will eat-in on the number of sold smartphones in the long run.
  • At this point in the game I don't even want a Windows PC.  Still no love for Microsoft after the way they handled Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, WIndows 10 Mobile, whatever.  If Android were a viable option for everything I would definitely go in that direction.  My primary driver is an Android phone.  Rarely do I fire up the PC.  As far as that is concerned i use Linux but Linux leaves way too much to be desired.   No love for Microsoft at all after *(*e&#* with them for several years over Windows devices, and services like Groove Music.  It is what it is.  
  • So why do you spend your time here then?