Future of the PC is an intelligent cloud that connects a family of devices

The transient nature of personal computing, from mobile to sedentary to consumption and to productivity settings, has made personal computing very complex. Gone are the days where all of our computing occurred on a single device, such as a Windows PC, Mac or even a smartphone.

To accommodate our "transient computing" behavior, the "PC" (a personal device that handles our computing needs) is evolving into a family of context-relevant hardware on which computing occurs across devices, and our digital experiences occur increasingly within an intelligent cloud.

The "personal computer" is more than a single device.

There are some who point to a single form factor as the evolved or redefined PC. I think the mobility of our digital experiences paints a much larger and more complex picture of what the PC is and will become.

Microsoft is instrumental in redefining the PC

I recently wrote, that "Microsoft – not Apple – is redefining the modern PC." In that piece, I challenged respected writer Walt Mossberg's analysis that Apple is best positioned to redefine the PC. He believes an ARM-based laptop running only iOS apps will redefine the PC. From Mossberg:

But the signs of a shift to ARM only set the stage for a bigger development: The migration of the most important modern software platforms, Android and iOS, to laptops and other traditional hardware that once defined the old kind of PC ...I believe it won't matter much until Apple builds an ARM-based laptop running iOS.

I thought his view lacked the perspective of the evolving PC form factors beyond the laptop and traditional PC, as well as the platforms such as Microsoft Cloud, Windows Mixed-Reality and the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), that are driving innovation in new PC experiences across the industry.

Microsoft's mobility-of-experiences focus

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made a point of emphasizing his vision of the mobility of a user's experiences. He stresses that mobility is not about the mobility of a given device, but is about the mobility of a user's digital experiences across devices. This is an important point to acknowledge in this modern age of personal computing, where many consumers use multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops as portals to their digital content.

Consumers use many types of devices as portals to their digital content.

As much of that digital content exists in the cloud, a single device, even a "primary computing" device, or "PC," such as a smartphone, begins to fade into the background, and the current and future personal computing landscape comes into view.

That is, as the intelligent cloud continues its integration into our lives as the personal computing platform, we will become more aware of the ephemeral existence of, our access to and our ability to manipulate, our digital content wherever and whenever, on context-relevant hardware, and we'll be less focused on a single device.

Microsoft's cloud focus, UWP and the Windows 10 device family create a foundation and ecosystem for this personal computing landscape. Mossberg's vision of iOS apps on a laptop seems like a short-sighted goal by comparison.

Microsoft is solidifying its vision, Apple has not presented iOS on a laptop

If Microsoft had not already redefined the PC with the Windows 10 device family (including Surface and HoloLens), the UWP, Continuum and a host of PC partners who have brought millions of Windows 10 laptops and 2-in-1s (that run mobile apps) to consumers over the last two years, I might be inclined to agree with Mossberg. If industries, businesses, and entities such as NASA and the military were not adopting HoloLens, a wearable Windows 10 PC, I again might be inclined to agree with Mossberg. If Windows Mixed-Reality (formerly Windows Holographic) wasn't powering much of the industry's virtual, augmented and mixed-reality personal computing endeavors, well ... I think you get my point.

Microsoft is a driver and platform for multiple personal computing modalities.

Personal computers and personal computing take many forms and are broadly and deeply represented in our industries, lives, businesses and cutting-edge areas that push the boundaries of innovation.

The intelligent cloud, where Microsoft ranks second only to Amazon, powers computing for both large enterprises and is the unifying thread for the consumer's digital experiences. Here I'll address these instrumental agents to the PCs evolution, which are profoundly more relevant than a copy-cat move of putting a mobile OS and mobile apps on a laptop form factor.

Before we get there, since Mossberg's analysis was founded on iOS's and Android's dominant mobile ecosystems and Microsoft's consumer failure of the same, let's review my previous argument and begin there. (If you read my last piece you can skip the next section.)

Windows 10 Mobile is irrelevant, but Microsoft still drives the shift

Mossberg asserts that Microsoft's mobile app ecosystem lacks the critical mass to propel a mass adoption of a traditional productivity form factor, a laptop, that runs mobile apps. With that, I must agree, at least in the sense that Windows on phone (and the companion app ecosystem), which now has less than one percent share, has been unsuccessful.

But Windows 10, because of the UWP and universal apps, is just as valid a "mobile" OS as Android and iOS, though (sadly) it is less relevant on a pocketable form-factor.

Windows 10 is a mobile and desktop OS.

Android and iOS are important from Mossberg's perspective because they are the primary mobile platforms that consumers use. And bringing mobile platforms and their associated apps to a productivity-focused clam-shell form factor, he asserts, is the direction in which the PC is evolving. It is, and it has, but it's not waiting on Apple.

Mobile apps (as part of an OS that fit a productivity-focused desktop context) are what Microsoft's UWP, which is supported by context-conforming universal Windows apps, accomplishes. These apps fit mobile, desktop and even mixed-reality personal computing environments.

As such, part of Microsoft's vision for the "redefined" PC has been rolling out for nearly two years, and Windows 10-based 2-in-1s and laptops have been embraced by consumers and PC manufacturers.

Mossberg is right ... and wrong

You see, Mossberg's shift is happening. But it is not waiting for an uncertain move by Apple to make iOS and iOS apps fully compatible with a keyboard-and-mouse productivity scenario, akin to what Windows 10 touch-enabled 2-in-1s and laptops provide.

Nor has it been dependent on a mobile app ecosystem to promote mass adoption of the form factor running mobile apps. (See my previous piece for a major caveat). It is being propelled by Windows 10 PCs and Microsoft's OEM partners that have been seeding the market with the type of touch-enabled clam-shell devices that have mobile apps, that Mossberg asserts iOS would be the transformative agent in promoting to the masses.

Windows 10's effects on transforming the PC go much further than 2-in-1s and laptops, however.

The ties that bind

A recent Cntrl-Walt-Delete podcast featured the following statement: "This week Walt [Mossberg] and Nilay discuss how they use their tablets, laptops and phones and how there's something missing linking those gadgets."

Though Microsoft has not yet optimally implemented its intelligent cloud, Windows 10, UWP and Windows 10 device family strategy, I believe it is or at least best represents the gadget-connecting link for which Walt, and his co-host, The Verge's Nilay Patel are searching for. Microsoft's platform approach not only has the goal of unifying a user's digital experiences across Windows 10 devices, but Redmond is also incorporating iOS and Android in its mobility-of-experiences vision.

Microsoft is tying Android, and to a lesser extent (due to its closed nature) iOS, into its Windows ecosystem. Through Windows 10 and cloud computing, Microsoft is managing users' digital experiences across devices and making the idea of a personal computer, as in a single device responsible for all or most of our computing, less relevant.

This is the area where I believe Microsoft has the greatest advantage over Apple in the modern computing landscape.

The Windows 10 device family is PCs redefined

The combination of Microsoft's UWP with cloud computing ideally makes the mobility of a user's experience far more efficient than focusing on a single form factor.

The UWP and digital experiences managed by the cloud give users a common UI and the same app experience across PCs, phones, 2-in-1s and HoloLens. Even Xbox is sharing more in common with the other devices in the Windows 10 device family. This commonality of a shared experience will apply to even new devices that join the Windows 10 family.

The Windows 10 device family provides context-relevant PCs to manage digital experiences.

Microsoft's investments in category-defining devices have made its technologies the platform for the modern age of personal computing that is less tied to a single device. I believe Microsoft's impact on the evolution of the PC, will continue in line with a cloud-based experience that carries user's experiences across multiple computing devices (personal computers) based on a user's context.

Furthermore, I believe personal computing will in time include ambient computing. Ambient computing is a term I use to define a context where mixed-reality glasses and goggles will be used to augment a user's perception enabling him to perceive and interact with a digital plane. This digital plane will be created by an IoT saturated environment in the home, business and public settings. The video below provides a visual of such a scenario:

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

PC future is bigger than a laptop with mobile apps

Yes, the PC is evolving, and I believe Microsoft's investments in the UWP, the cloud and mixed-reality better position it to impact that evolution far more than what Apple may offer. We're moving into a personal computing future where multiple devices in our lives will act as "PCs" at different times and in different contexts, while the cloud maintains the consistency of our experiences.

We're entering a future where mixed-reality, in which Microsoft not only leads but which also provides a platform for the industry, will define new ways for users to interact with their digital experiences.

How might mixed-reality and modern PCs augment our interactions with digital content?

I am confident that Mossberg sees personal computing and the evolution of the PC as something beyond the laptop with mobile apps he described (and that Microsoft has already achieved). His piece, admittedly, was addressing a small portion of a much larger reality. The breadth of computing is far broader and is becoming increasingly more complicated than a user in a stationary position interacting with a single device.

It is an experience that we are "submerged" in even now. The digital world engulfs us and our smartphones and PCs act as our vehicles to navigate and windows to perceive that increasingly ambient digital environment. Mixed-reality glasses and goggles, based on HoloLens tech, will eventually be added to the repertoire of other PCs we use and will make navigating that digital plane even more natural.

Microsoft already has mobile apps on a laptop

Microsoft already has UWP mobile apps on a laptop. Mossberg hopes Apple will get there. While Microsoft nurtures and improves that achievement it is also pioneering the next steps in the PC's evolution. Mixed reality, Windows 10 on ARM via cellular PCs, and potentially an ultramobile PC with full Windows 10, Cshell and telephony can be seen on the horizon.

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It will be interesting to see if Microsoft introduces an intersection of mixed-reality glasses with an ultramobile Continuum- and telephony-enabled Surface running full Windows and Win32 and Store apps.

A synergy of those two modern PC modalities would give users two devices that work in concert as a tablet, full PC (via Continuum), phone and mixed-reality personal computer.

That sounds almost like science-fiction, I know, but so did the phone-iPod-internet device former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced as the iPhone ten years ago. Apple combined available technology and changed the personal computing landscape.

As the pioneer of a unified platform, holographic computing and context sensitive hardware and software, and a leader in intelligent cloud computing, Microsoft can do the same.

Advice for Apple

If Apple, within the current personal computing landscape defined by the mobility-of-experiences and context-relevant hardware, puts iOS on a laptop and dubs it a PC redefined, it could potentially seal its reputation as no longer being an innovator. Following that vision would be akin to Apple's mistake of adding a keyboard to the iPad Pro and dubbing it the equivalent of a Windows PC.

Microsoft's personal computing vision, though imperfect and not always optimally executed, embraces and provides the tools for the current and future personal computing landscape.

Today and in the future, the PC is and will be many things. And Microsoft is providing the platform, hardware form factors and pervasive and unifying cloud-computing platform to support the new and evolving age of personal computing. If Apple wants to compete, it will need to do more than put iOS on a laptop and call it a PC redefined.

Jason Ward

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

71 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks! The PC is increasingly becoming the intelligent Cloud managing our experiences across context sensitive devices and software. A single device seen as "the PC" will, in time become less if a focus as we become more focused on our cloud-based digital experiences that we will access across various devices seamlessly transitioning across context relevant hardware. Mixed-reality glasses as part of this scenario giving us a view of a digital plane "constructed" by pervasively integrated IoT devices in hokes, businesses and public will be an interesting development. A pairing of mixed-reality goggles with an ultramobile Surface as part of this, "family of context relevant hardware" would also be interesting. So what are your thoughts, the PC is leas about a single piece of hardware as ☁cloud computing is becoming the "PC" and is managing our digital experiences across devices. It's not perfect or optimally implemented yet, but we're heading more deeper in that direction. Do you agree, disagree? You know the drill...LET'S TALK!!!
  • future of windows is the bin.. sorry .. privacy please !!
  • This article is confusing. I have a couple questions: 1. Is this an argument against Continuum and a single device future? 2. Did you just discover the cloud? It has been around for a while now. It is tough to imagine Microsoft still bring relevant to consumers in 5 years. We hear all this talk, but we haven't seen anything from Microsoft in years. When is it coming? When will we have more than talk?
  • You still in cave or what?
  • Hi bleached, sorry you're confused. To answer your questions: 1. No this is not an argument against Continuum. Continuum on PC as well as Continuum on a mobile device can and do coexist in an environment where an intelligent cloud is already and is
    becoming more integrated in our personal computing. 2. I'm not sure what in this article suggests I just heard about the cloud, but, no it is not. The motivation and timing for this piece is a continuation of the rebuttal (Microsoft - not Apple - is redefining the PC) that I wrote in response Walt Mossberg's piece that posits Apple redefining the PC. You can also refer to some of the pieces at the end of the article where I talk about the cloud at other points in the past. Hope that helps. 👍🏿
  • 1. What is the point of Continuum when the cloud makes your data ubiquitous already? 2. You wrote an article about the cloud being the future like it is still 2005. It is 2017. The cloud is here and isn't dependant on Microsoft or Windows at all. It is more an argument against Windows. Why do you need such a complicated platform when everything is in the cloud?
  • Hi Bleached, I'm not sure if you took the time to read every word of the article before joining the conversation. But in 2005 there was no Universal Windows Platform and Windows 10 family of devices, nor an increasing integration of Android or iOS (which didn't exist in 2005) into the Windows ecosystem, nor was there as evolved a mobility of digital experiences between devices, ALL points referencing the current implementation of the cloud that I put forth in the article; I know that it is here.
    Also, very few technologies are wholly dependent on any one company except where monopolies exist, and the DOJ and other entities work to ensure that doesn't happen.
    Some companies, do however, have a far greater influence due to thier investments and position in particular technologies than others. Amazon, Microsoft and Google have far more influence in the cloud than Apple for instance.
    Microsoft and Googles productivity suites in conjunction with the cloud give them a leg up in that regard to Amazon.
    Microsoft's Windows 10 family of devices, laptops, PC, 2-in-1s, phone, HoloLens, Xbox, in conjunction with cloud gives them a more comprehensive approach than most. Microsoft provides a solution from all angles in a way others don't Cloud, Platform (UWP), Hardware, Software (Productivity and other tools). That is not to say they will "win", if winning is even necessary, but this piece written like it is 2017, incorporates the current computing landscape with the current implementation of the cloud. 😉
  • Whatever the future is, it will be swept out from under MSs feet yet again. Same promises for years that they will change the game. At this point i think MS could achieve their vision only if Google and Apple stood still for the next 5 years. MS is hurting the ones who love it the most!
  • I understand you perfectly, I swear that Apple does not stand on a "gazilion" dollars without investing in a unified and touch-friendly OS.
  • But that is all Apple.  What he speaks of is a system in which all people can link into in the cloud and have everything they do available on any device they have.  Windows 10 allows that to some extent right now but it is not as universal as it would be if it was implemented through the cloud and a new Windows 10 cloud might be just the one for all to use cloud with less expense involved instead of some of the cloud systems in place at this time which is more geared toward business.
  • Bleached....maybe in the mobile space.  However,  in the desktop/home space MS is very much relevant to the consumer.  I would NEVER use a MacOS device.  Its a terrible mish mash of an OS,  the devices are over priced and under performing and Just Meh! 
  • Sales are dropping, Windows 10 isn't growing and Microsoft is becoming more and more Enterprise focused. As mobile devices become more powerful and tasks are made easier on them, how does Microsoft stay relevant with consumers?
  • You will want keyboard and mouse if you need to do anything more compelx than write a short email or schedule an appointment, so Windows is not going anywhere.
  • Keyboard support isn't exclusive to Windows. Why would you need Windows to use a keyboard?
  • "how does Microsoft stay relevant with consumers?" The answer is...they don't.  MS believes their future is Windows Server powering their Cloud strategy. They're consumer focus is the xbox, mixed with finding a new footing for Win10 as a gateway to their Cloud services.  Bing, Cortana, Office 365, etc, etc, etc.  That's how they stay relevant with consumers...through the Cloud and all the devices that interact with it.  
  • How long until this website change its name to Microsoft Web Services Central?
  • I wish I could agreed with you but working in IT consulting I am seeing just the opposite. Only one person in my neighborhood uses Windows at home besides me and it's because they got it for free. Everyone else uses Macs if they have anything because they believe it's safer and easier to use. Others use mobile devices because they are good enough. When speaking to them about Windows every one of them is still under the impression Windows is slow, buggy, full of viruses, and requires constant maintenance. I'm seeing a similar sentiment in SMBs where it's become hard to sell Windows for most. About the only that still buy Windows without question add typically engineering firms. We've had entire businesses inform us they are switching completely to iPads, cell phones, or to a lesser extent Android tablets.
  • Similar but then they want published windows applications to work with.  I agree with you my neighborhood dynamics is similar and working in virtualization I see this a ton as well. (people using portable devices other than MS products).  But when they use a MS device they are confused as to the speed and are usually looking for a dang app...
  • So you're pretty much saying Apple has dumbed everybody down.
  • Then Apple must be the best magician, because they are closer and closer to make one trillions dollars with one phone. LOL
  • Or they made computing simple and accessable. Same thing, different spin. Why do you feel it is necessary for a user to be a computer expert in order to get their work done? Why can't a computer be simple and easy to use? Your attitude is a perfect example of why Windows is losing consumers and becoming a niche operating system for professionals with heavy requirements.
  • Because what you are pointing mostly on consumer product with arm chip or light consumer business. When you look on to big companies like aviation co., investment co., bank financial co., accounting firm., car manufacturer, Samsung for example they are heavily relying on Windows. Then following by business mobile devices, mixed reality do have the potential.
  • Thing is,  apple computers are NOT easy to use...they are actually harder and more random than windows.   Close down a program?  windows,  you hit the x.....in MacOS,  you have to go to menu,  click close program,  then most likely have to "RIGHT CLICK" on the icon in the dock and click close program too....apple prides itself on being easy to use...but its all marketing, smoke and mirrors.   Windows is way ahead of MacOS.   And YES,  I own both!
  • Who said anything about Macs?
  • I've always wanted my phone to replace my laptop and still do (no use for a tablet in my life). WM device with Continuum/dock and x64 program support will finally make that a reality.
  • Really, Apple has already done a laptop with iOS. The iPad Pro with a keyboard is, for all intents and purposes, just that. How does putting it into what essentially equates to a hardshell case with a hinge change anything? I think a kicker that's eluded to in this is that the definition of "portable" has changed. People don't just want their device to be super portable. We've achieved that. They want their content to be super portable (where the cloud comes in). Xbox Anywhere isn't great just because you get a PC copy of a game free with the Xbox copy (or vice versa). It's great because your progress, or your content, goes with you. And it's super portable because the user doesn't have to do squat. It's the same with Cortana. I don't have to replicate everything on each machine I use to have Cortana present the same content. I just sign in and "Bam!" There are my interests, the stocks I'm tracking, etc. It's ultra portable. Cloud storage systems like DropBox and OneDrive started this. I could have a PowerPoint shared on my cloud and, with relative ease, get to it from any machine I own. But what we're seeing is Microsoft go beyond Word docs and the like. It's becoming integrated into the very nature of the OS. We see this with Windows 10 on all platforms. It's Cortana, it's browser favorites, it's applications themselves with UWP, it's game saves, it's pretty much everything. And it's easier. I don't have to install a special application or navigate through a file system. I may have to activate a couple settings, but once I do, a lot of it is just there. And for the average user, that's awesome. I can have a super portable hardware like a phone, but if I have to copy files to the phone (make sure they're the latest copy), recreate my contacts list, rebuild my browser favorites, re-sync my music playlist, and on and on, then it's not very portable from a practical standpoint. I have a lot I have to do to bring what really matters (the content) with me.
  • Why all remember using the mobile sync and the cable fiasco back in the day.  Nice point on the cloud focus.
  • It's kinda funny how we went from dumb terminals to access the mainframe where all the data was stored, to every terminal(PC's) having its own data storage, right back to having terminals (smartphones) access the mainframe (cloud) where the data is stored.
  • Well that's kind of an oversimplification, but yes, in certain ways it is pretty ironic.
  • UWP is mentioned constantly throughout this article and is consider a key point of Microsoft's strategy. The problem is UWP is on life support if Microsoft doesn't do something. They aren't pushing UWP enough or giving developers enough of a reason to choose it over Web even with its lesser experience. Even big developers such as Spotify use a legacy desktop program with a modern style and show no signs of changing. Amazon only has Audible adopting the strategy while Kindle has been "streamlined for a superior experience" as Amazon support has told me by abandoning UWP and going back to a legacy and expanding its development. Their shopping app is abysmal and their Movies and TV experience is nowhere to be seen. Others such as Newegg, Bestbuy, and Wal-Mart don't see the benefit and many other big players are not putting much effort in even if they do offer an app. Rarely do you see new UWP apps from major developers but you definitely see ones being pulled.
  • Whatever the future is, Microsoft needs less talking and more doing. Their actions (or lack thereof) are simply mind blowing.
  • They have had plenty of action. Problem is no one can see or understand their direction.
  • What action?
  • They're adding ads to the explorer and we already have ads in the startmenu clearly those ads come from somewhere. That somewhere is the cloud ;}
  • Those "ads" are not coming from the cloud. In explorer its one built in message about a feature in Windows Explorer. The others are links to apps in the store. Those elements are not available to advertisers for ads. You must be thinking about Andriod...
  • Where are there ads built into Android? That is a Windows thing.
  • Android was built with ads in mind. Nothing is free or open.
  • And yet, unlike Windows, it doesn't have ads built directly into the UI. Microsoft must really have had ads in mind when they built Windows 10.
  • Not at all. There's a messgae in explorer that tells you about an explorer feature. Its not an ad system to display 3rd party ads. Its like the little arrow that pointed to the start menu and said "click here" when Windows 95 came out. One drive integration is a relatively new feature to users coming from Windows 7 and they are telling you about it. Its not an ad network. Of course, you know that...  
  • There are more ads in Windows 10 than just in explorer. Microsoft keeps adding more and more. They are ads. It doesn't matter if they are not part of an ad network, they are still ads. Ads built directly into the interface for Windows 10. You can try to down play them, but they are still ads. http://www.pcworld.com/article/3039827/windows/7-ways-windows-10-pushes-... https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/89112/microsoft-added-anothe... https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/85341/microsoft-cheapens-win...
  • That PC world article is a bunch of nonsense. Tips and tricks on the lockscreen is an Ad?
    ​The fact that Cortana uses Bing is an ad? Ads in apps you download from the store? Say it isnt so!
    The only one I would consider "ads" is the featured apps on the start menu. I'm not crazy about that one either.
  • A full page Tomb Raider ad on the lock screen is a tip and trick? Don't forget the Edge ads that pop up on Windows and even bad mouths competitors. There are ads built into Windows 10! The very thing most everyone here hates about Google! Microsoft double down on it!
  • Then that means they are doing something wrong.
  • Surface,  Surface book, Surface Studio,  hololens.  I am about as anti windows mobile as you can get....BUUUUTTTT,  these devices,  are pushing computing forward.  Macbooks/imacs are from the past now.  NOTHING NEW since they were introduced.   only removal of stuff.
  • Microsoft need to figure out how to get developers on their mobile platform or cloud-this cloud-that will be irrelevant. People will chose the ecosystem that fits the best with their mobile phone.
  • Nadella really does talk a load of *****!!! How many times does he say 'redefined' or 'empower' in any of his speeches or interviews?? All he cares about is Azure... and it shows...
  • Nicely written again, Jason.
    For me, the "PC" has moved away from the "personal computer" and toward "personal computing"... a focus on the experience of computing rather than the device which facilitates that computing... a focus towards user experience convergence and consistency across all device types.
  • Spot-on about the connected cloud is the new PC. Unfortunately, I dont think its MS driving it. I really hope I'm wrong. ​The connected cloud wont be one cloud - its Google for video, photos, mail, apps. Its amazon for web services and other apps, with MS playing a distant second. For now, MS has a strong foothold with Office 365 for work documents, but Google is serious about cometing there. Amazon says they want to build their own "Cloud Office" too. We'll see if they can continue to hold that. ​I love and prefer Windows, but I still see losing the mobile war as a complete redfinition of Microsoft's place in the future. Since its all cloud-driven, I dont know that the unified app architecture matters that much. Developers will continue to develop for where the users are, not for the platform thats unified, but has no users.
  • Hi! The article mentions UWP apps. How can I find them in the store on my mobile?
  • This strategy is not based entirely on consumer need, but more on numbers. As a company, it is easier to make money from a service than a product.
    When it comes to intelligent cloud, well this will be a set of "US only" features. They target only a few languages (Cortana) from developed countries, while the rest get an incomplete software. You can't use Xbox services on so many countries, even if you can buy the console, Cortana supports just a few languages, Bing is useless outside America, and so on. So, this strategy is based on Azure success, which is a real success, but is largely an enterprise service.
    On big screens, Microsoft still has market share due to legacy applications (Win32) from enterprise. In the long term, let's say 10 years or more, today's children, who develop applications at age 10 for iOS and Android, will create new enterprise tools without Microsoft to be their first choice. What I'm trying to say is that the enterprise market may change similar to the consumer market. On paper, it seems that Microsoft will succeed in this way, but ONLY IF the other players will not bring anything new, which will not happen. We do not know when Google or Apple will make a better version for Continuum or other features and they will promote much better...as happens now.
  • Another great article Jason "To accommodate our "transient computing" behavior, the "PC" (a personal device that handles our computing needs) is evolving into a family of context-relevant hardware on which computing occurs across devices, and our digital experiences occur increasingly within an intelligent cloud." Very well said. MS is looking forward. I know it's difficult for some people to do this because they're fixed in todays ecosystem, but things are evolving and I believe, like you, MS is poised to lead the way. It's an exciting time and we need to be patient. It takes time to build a new way of doing things. It can't be done overnight.  
  • Not overnight, but neither in 10 years? I remember when WP8.1 had over 10% market share in some countries and we all thought that in the next 2-3 years we'll hit 20-25% - well, we reached that point, but we are missing 20-25% market share.
  • How did you get Win10 on that Samsung
  • Since I have been playing around with computers since the early severnties, the biggest issue I have seen is SECURITY. At the moment, othing is secure on the internet. Until this happens, I will not even consider joining the rest of the vunerable people. This PC is the only one I use online and it has nothing on it. All my important passwords are randomised.Example - if you check my facebook page, the only thing on there is a whole pile of competition entries. What worries me is that f I can access it, so can anyone and I mean ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, AND AT ANYTIME!!!!!!!!!!!       And don't even get me started on about what our own governments are doing (iunder the pretense of national security).                            Then there are companies which take ownership of all infomation that is placed on their sites away from us - perfect example is facebook (I call it faceless book - just try to contact them if you have a problem, especially if they don't want to deal with this problem). Put it this way, I am a dinosaur who still uses cash all the time, and besides, contrary to what we keep hearing it is still the best way to budget - you actually see who much you spend and how little you have left, and when the wallet is empty, you can spend no more.I rebel against all those who want our society to go cashless and join the IOT.  The best example of how our info is not secure, is the so called privacy policy that everyone just clicks past without reading. If you really look at it, they say that the company will abide ny your contries privacy laws and keep your info secure, but they retain the right to disseminate it to others (associated companies is one example) and they all use and sell off any data on us that they can legally get away with .Just look at google and facebook. We are being incorrectly convinced to join a connected world - they talk about how good it will be, unfortunately noboby talks about who it will be good for!!!!, Until some actual decent security is applied to this, laws and methods are passed to uphold this, and something invented to prevent hacking so that my data can be safely and permanantly stored and only accessed by me, I will not touch a online cloud with a barge pole.
  • No it isn't. This company in nowhere. Actually the transition you claim is becoming a copmany providing you online a tiny storage for your photos. Their strategy is cloud, fine. Their "gold" product is azure. Really? They are lagging even behind Amazon in cloud marketshare. An e-shop company is doing better in cloud services than "giant" microsoft. Come on...It is silly. Alexa is already in vehicles, consumer cars, do you listen microsoft? Do you know why? Because Amazon brought a product based on consumer needs. And who is client of Amazon's in-car Alexa? Enterprises! Enterprises and industries who build vehicles decided to add this service to their products. Why? Because people are using them everywhere. When you can take this service everywhere it is called mobile my dear microsoft. Of course there are some efforts for cortana to get in your car, but to do what? Services, apps and all these consumer needs microsoft hates are compatible with everything else than microsofts products. I laugh when i see pictures like the second from the end. The reason is obvious:failure in everything. If microsoft knows something which is going to work the next 60 years ok they see decades ahead. We are not prophets and we don't want to be. We want to see products and services and ideas making our lifes easier. Dear microsoft struggling and hating so much mobile as it is shaped today and hiding behind server racks is making lose your balance. The balance is taking feedback from both enterprise and consumer and giving solutions. UWP failed. Why? Who is using them on desktop? And then it was mobile. Oh sorry mobile for you is something more sophisticated, more...nothing. Microsoft get up! Get rid of this miserable untalented CEO & marketing team and start to think fresh ideas! UWP (failed), Cshell, Win on ARM, Mixed reallity are only to keep as waiting for something which is already dead. I mean the perspective of this CEO for the future of our needs. All this circus is set up only for a very specific team: investors. If investors see profits, all good. Our planet fortunately is inhabited not only from investors. Although we invested time and money on microsofts products we are ending up being fooled from slides like this. 
  • Sad, but true AF.
  • Oh ****! You nailed it. I agree the CEO is untalented. Amen to you, bro.
  • Let's be honest. Consumers don't care if Microsoft has already done this. It's only relevant to them if Apple does it.
  • Years of janky Microsoft products and services have given them this reputation. Sucks.
  • Microsoft's next cloud company acquisition should be Spotify, here is why. Microsoft has become a company much well known by the XGeneration, Baby Boomers, but is less and less interesting for YGeneration, Millenials, and those born after 2010. (how are they called?) All these younger generations use Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and other free services, but they will probably subscribe to Spotify when they enter their teen years, these kids don't know the meaning of FM Radio anymore, and most of these kids won't purchase a CD or a Vinyl since they'll get very good sound quality as faster Internet speeds and broadband are available for less price. Spotify is the company that will let Microsoft talk directly with these younger generation, which will be potential consumers of technology Microsoft uses in the next years, with Spotify service, Microsoft knows when these teen subscribers are using their smartphone, tablet, parent's car, PC, AI home asistant or Hololens (imagine a sound experience using AR, it will be amazing) all these will let Microsoft know these kids better and know them until they go to high school and college to know how much cloud services are impacting their lives, so by knowing their consumer habits Microsoft can become the company that invests money into an ecosystem where Spotify service is on all devices these kids have, smartphone, tablet, PC, Car, Home Stereo and even on VR or wearables, or home AI asistants like Cortana. If there is something Microsoft must do know, is to act fast and purchase Spotify before a rival like Google, Amazon or Facebook acquires it
  • So you actually want Spotify to be killed?
  • I think you're over reacting, If you didn't liked my proposal to build an Android fork for Microsoft Mobile OS, thats fine but I think the future is not the smartphone, is the full ecosystem that exists around all your devices. Have a great day ;)
  • I was joking about Spotify :). You're right about the ecosystem, all three companies are trying to build one, it is the best solution to keep their customers close on long term. When it comes to Microsoft and Android, anything is possible, although I do not think that a version of Android is a solution, because Google would block access to Google Play=the most important component of the Android ecosystem. It's possible that we'll see a launcher based on MDL2.
  • Wow, some time has passed since i haven't read a more stupid article than this. We are talking about an operating system. How is the cloud relevant to this? After all this time, can't Microsoft come up with something that really makes a difference? Since when the hell is the cloud (wich is around since the 90's, but without the marketing name "cloud") the answer to all the problems? This is exactly the kind of speech that i see Nadella talking about, because he has no technical idea about what's going on. Go on, downvote without thinking about it.
  • Hi Ionica...You're response seems more visceral and knee-jerk than thoughtfully considered and presented.
    You assert we are talking about an operating system. Actually we are talking about computing. When the PC was the only computing device we used, and we did so in a sedentary and individual context, then yes, our focus was an operating system such as Windows.
    With the shift to computing across multiple devices,(and a focus on mobility of experiences) smartphones, PCs, tablets, etc, the role of the cloud in our personal computing is becoming increasingly important. (This does not preclude the role of an operating system but incorporates the role of the cloud in personal computing).
    That's why you can begin a task on one device and continue it on another, the cloud. You can buy a new device and have all of your favorites, preferences, settings etc ready to go on the new device simply by logging in - the cloud. You can play multiplayer games where processing is done - in the cloud.
    Apple proponent John Gruber was even used in an Azure promotional video during BUILD 2014 to promote how he was using Azures cloud computing as a backend for processing for his (now cancelled) iOS app Vesper. There are many apps from various platforms that use the cloud in like manner. That's why the same data for an app can be accessed across devices.
    Furthermore, it offloads processing and other tasks to the cloud that don't have to be supported by the app developer.
    Also, the cloud has indeed been around for a long time, as you point out.
    That does not, however, preclude the advancements in technology that makes its role more impactful in its current role in personal computing.
    Finally, no where in this article do I state, infer or allude to a claim that the cloud is the answer to all problems. I am not sure what your background is but you seem very passionate about this subject. I would encourage you to do a little digging on what cloud computing is and how various companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are investing in it and how it is impacting the world of computing, industries and personal computing.
    If after your research you still disagree with the points put forth in this article, I encourage you to compose an intellectual, point by point, rebuttal.
    That would be far more effective at articulating your perspective than using words like "stupid" and other insults, combined with an apparent lack considering the reality of the role of cloud computing in modern computing. Thanks for joining the discussion!🙂
  • Without mobile does it matter?
  • I read thru most of the article and it does seem to confirm what I have been hearing here and elsewhere. MS is focusing on Service as the key to increasing revenue which is the absolute bottom line. If we are considering first the consumer side of this revenue stream, it is obvious that they will cash in on the Office Products that everyone needs and relys on, Apple has really been adverising Word on and iphone. What else would they possibly need MS for? Android users also have access to the Office Suite of products. The big difference between these 2 and MS is that they also have significant revenue streams from Hardware sales. The only hardware MS manufactures is the Surface line and it has been successful...but for how long? And that line of products is nowhere close to hardware sales with Google and Apple.What about all the PC's and Laptops shipping with Windows 10 you ask...again my point is SERVICE revenue. I believe this line of thinking to be a terrible flaw. But why would anyone expect different from the former head of MS Cloud division. I have said that since he took over and shitcanned all the devices but the Surface and put all the focus into Enterprise revenue that will rely on the Cloud. I am sorry but I will always insist on my software existing on the device I am using and will not have to rely on paying for more Data charges and Cloud storage fees.
  • They must be getting a government subsidy for cloud service in return to send all data thru NSA servers while the CIA data mines them and mishandles your data,☺ you're on WikiLeaks.. Time to go old fashion with paper, pen and envelope.
  • Windows on mobile "failed" because Microsoft swung a massive axe and destroyed all that momentum. They could have used that momentum to further push the silverlight mobile apps to UWP apps. Therefore once cshell hits there are plenty of uwp apps that it makes sense to the average joe. Furthermore they could have said all your data and apps that you use will transfer over to the next device that is beyond the curve of traditional computing; so it would be tricky to have current devices running the next generation of devices. Therefore Microsoft would have had a solid bedrock on to build the mythical surface phone on top alongside developer and consumer mindshare as well have somewhat prepped the industry for a shift. Sure they would get some flack but since they have said all apps and data would transfer over then people haven't lost "their data" and apps. But, well... now we don't have that momentum do we? Since they let go of all the talented individuals that Microsoft acquired with the D&S acquisition, who could have been working to bring the mobile o/s rather polished. Along with combining all that ingenuity with the other creative and talented engineering genuises at Microsoft. But they appear to be living in an engineers bubble and the world is just stats & analytics to them. They really have to pull out the stops at Build 2017 now, it's now or never and it's the 12th hour not 11th - Samsung is looking to beat them to punch with a foldable screen device which looks exactly the device in the future productivity videos Microsoft has been pumping out. If that happens... sigh... the entire world may as well join up and say "we told you so" lol....      
  • So, why can’t Microsoft get syncing figured out like Dropbox and Google Drive? The issues I have has with OneDrive syncing was enough to make be stop using OneDrive altogether even though I have way more free storage on One Drive than any other cloud storage system. Dropbox's integration is amazingly well done. There is no "upload center" that continually has syncing conflicts or files that weren't unloaded or synced. It is part of the reason I have not fully committed to MSFT on my non-mobile devices. I also think it sucks that in order to get full functionality on OneNote, the notebooks have to sync on OneDrive.
  • And if they release a UWP app that is to replace a win32 app, make damn sure it is better that what it is replacing in terms of stability and features. Nothing worse that trying to use a UWP app and it pales in comparison to the standard one or web based one. Todoist is a good example.