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Microsoft's aggressive push to rule personal computing Part I: Windows 10

The Borg, a cybernetic alien race native to the Star Trek universe, are known for issuing this ominous warning before absorbing another species into their Collective, or hive mind. Their ambition is unbounded in that they scour the galaxy with the intent of assimilating every race they encounter.

Microsoft, though not a species-devouring antagonist is equally as ambitious and aggressive as the Borg. The company has grown beyond the dream of putting a PC on every desk to becoming the cloud-based platform for a user's digital experiences, a developer of cross-platform mobile apps and advocate of a vision of Windows 10 as an all-encompassing form-factor-agnostic OS.

Microsoft is telling the world, in less threatening tones than the Borg of course, that in relation to the company's pursuit to rule personal computing in its diverse manifestations, that resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. And you will like it.

Same dream, different era

Forty years ago Microsoft's founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen purposed to assimilate the world into their "PC in every home and on every desk" vision of personal computing. To this end, strategic OEM and business partnerships positioned Windows virtually everywhere personal computing takes place. Today more than 90% of the traditional PC space is ruled by Microsoft. Despite the attempts of other platforms to gain a meaningful foothold, resistance seemed futile. Until 2007.

The advent of the modern smartphone courtesy of Apple with the industry-changing iPhone, and later Google and its partners with Android devices, made casual and increasingly more complex personal computing mobile - going from the desktop to our pockets. Though Microsoft still rules the desktop, Android's 1.4 billion active users coupled with Apple's massive mobile presence, makes Microsoft's 1.5 billion PC install base look more like a previous chapter in computing history rather than a relevant force in personal computing today. Looks, however, can be deceiving.

For years, Microsoft has been developing an OS that shared a common core across all device types. For screen-less connected (IoT) devices, PC's and tablets, the Surface Hub, Xbox, HoloLens and phone, Windows 10 is the ever-evolving realization of that promise. This Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is an all-encompassing ambitious industry first.

Consider this: though Microsoft has indeed lost ground on the mobile phone front, their ambitions for personal computing, which is the real prize, engulfs phone, PC and every other venue where personal computing is or will be happening in the future. Think HoloLens:

Their ambitions for personal computing, which is the real prize, engulfs the phone, PC, and every other venue.

A PC on every desk was a noble pursuit during personal computing's infancy. However, in the age of the internet, cloud and connected devices, Microsoft feels personal computing must supersede a single device type. It must engulf them all. Still, Redmond's founding objective and current mission are largely the same. The present and more transient state of personal computing has simply enlarged the computing platform Microsoft is after. Microsoft would rather own the ocean we're floating on than the boats we're traveling it in.

Windows 10 and a massive PC install base are tools that will help the company execute its agenda toward that ambitious end.

A bird in the hand may get you the two in the bush

Microsoft's enormous PC install base is more than a leftover relic of a past age in computing. It's the company's foundation for building a universal platform to ensure a presence wherever personal computing is occurring.

Over 1 billion PCs on the planet use Windows. Satya Nadella realizes the leverage this legacy of Microsoft's founding mission affords the company. To get to phone and beyond it all begins with 1 billion Windows 10 Start Menus:

"The reason why anybody would want to write universal apps is…because a billion consumers are going to have a Start Menu, which is going to have your app. You start the journey there and take them to multiple places…the free upgrade for Windows 10 is meant to improve our phone position…If you come to Windows, you are going to be on the phone, too."

A path from a free OS upgrade to a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes phone is not going to happen simply because Microsoft wants it to happen. Thus, Microsoft has taken several, sometimes controversial, steps to force destiny. Like the Borg, Microsoft is both aggressive and ambitious. That persistence is no more clearly seen than in their desperate push of Windows 10.

Inside Edition

Every plan needs a solid foundation. As such, Microsoft's plan to make Windows 10 a comprehensive answer to personal computing required an intense collaboration with ecosystem partners before the OS was released. Microsoft's statement below reveals that early commitment:

"In our testing of millions of systems, we're seeing full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems – we will be continuing this application and device compatibility work every day as part of our ongoing commitment to Windows as a service."

Like the Borg, who are in constant communication with the hive mind, Windows 10's continuous state of evolution diminishes the likelihood that a user, once invested, will disengage from the ecosystem.

In addition to Redmond's collaboration with ecosystem partners the company's Insider program has been critical to the development of Windows 10. Of course, this program was not devised by Microsoft for any altruistic reasons. It's a deliberate strategy to help the company perpetuate its plan to assimilate the market.

It's a deliberate strategy to help the company perpetuate its plan to assimilate the market.

As the Borg gain knowledge from individuals, they assimilate and subsequently utilize that knowledge to assist them in assimilating a larger population, Microsoft used the information garnered from Insiders to help them build an OS that would be easy to move the masses to adopt. Resistance is futile.

The following statement by Microsoft, before the release of Windows 10, expresses the company' dependence on its insiders:

We are also rigorously testing and listening to every signal from our 5 million Windows Insiders on the quality and readiness of Windows 10.

Furthermore, Microsoft's dual user (work and personal) mission, necessitated that the company's collaboration with Insiders also encompasses enterprise partners. If Microsoft was to leverage the weight of its PC install base to disseminate its universal platform, deep collaboration with all target audiences was necessary.

All Aboard

With methodic precision Microsoft moved from building its new OS to one of the most aggressive distribution strategies the industry has ever seen. Nadella removed the first barrier to adoption by making Windows 10 free. Insiders, who were first to receive the update, were notified of its availability by a small, yet persistent, icon on the taskbar. Courtesy of Redmond, this icon began appearing on millions of PCs around the world as Microsoft prepared its install base for the upgrade.

Bits of the new OS that were deposited on PCs began assessing these system's readiness for the upgrade. Microsoft has met with some push back, as some users perceived Redmond's assertive push of Windows 10 via that icon as an imposition. As the icon began "demanding" an upgrade, some users who decided they didn't want it, found its persistent presence an annoyance.

Anecdotally, I've ignored the icons petitions to upgrade my 7-inch HP Stream tablet. I prefer Windows 8.1 on that device size. That said, my 10- and 17-inch devices both feature Windows 10. Though there are round about ways to [circumvent the alert](http:// /how-remove-get-windows-10-app-pc) Microsoft, I'm certain, is counting on users opting for the easiest way to dismiss it: Simply conceding to the upgrade. Resistance is futile.

Microsoft's aggressive Windows 10 push doesn't end there. The company's strategic incorporation of Windows 10 within Windows Update as an "Optional Update" was in itself aggressive. Redmond, however, in its desperation to move the masses to Windows 10 has, as they promised, re-categorized Windows 10 as a "Recommended Update." Microsoft is aiming to make it more difficult for users to bypass the upgrade.

The "Install updates automatically" setting is the recommended method of facilitating Windows Updates. Since many users trust what the system suggests, they will probably choose that option. Consequently, the Windows 10 upgrade will likely automatically initiate on millions of PCs, without the full knowledge of less savvy users. Though users will be prompted as to whether they wish the upgrade to continue, Redmond's actions seem to echo the words of the Borg, "You will be assimilated."

Here's Microsoft's previous statement on this:

"Windows Update is the trusted, logical location for our most important updates, and adding Windows 10 here is another way we will make it easy for you to find your upgrade…we expect to be re-categorizing Windows 10 as a "Recommended Update". Depending upon your Windows Update settings, this may cause the upgrade process to automatically initiate on your device".

Simply put, "resistance is futile."

Silicon allies

Intel HQ

Long-term resistance indeed seems pointless when one considers Microsoft's partners. A post by Microsoft on January 15, 2016, gave us valuable insights into the direction and impact of the company's alliance with manufacturers of the processors that power Windows PCs going forward:

"…as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon…For example, Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel's upcoming "Kaby Lake"…,Qualcomm's upcoming "8996"…, and AMD's upcoming "Bristol Ridge" silicon".

Simply put, new silicon will be optimized to take advantage of current and future features unique to Windows 10. Conversely, support for older Windows Operating Systems will be phased out. By working with processor partners to introduce processors tailored to Windows 10, Microsoft will progressively force the masses to its new OS.

So what happens once we've been "assimilated"?

One for all and all for one

With Windows 10 comes the Universal Windows Platform. The UWP ensures that all Windows 10 devices exist along a continuum where virtually any app that will run on one device will run on another. Naturally, certain form factors are optimal for certain tasks. Additionally, the shared core between the PC and mobile "variants" of Windows 10 makes them, in practice, the same platform. This point when fully embraced will change the very foundation of how developing for, analyzing and writing about Microsoft is seen.

Microsoft envisions a world where a user shifts seamlessly from one personal computing device to another. As this user does when moving from gameplay on his Xbox to his HoloLens in the video below:

It is the supporting foundation of this reality that Microsoft is striving to communicate to the industry. Microsoft's unique offering of a single OS for all device types is in stark contrast to what the industry has grown accustomed to developing for, analyzing and writing about. We are used to a paradigm where firms offer multiple personal computing platforms that cater to specific device form factors.

We are used to a paradigm where firms offer multiple personal computing platforms.

Particular device types are therefore invariably tied to specific platforms that are a component of a firm's entire personal computing ecosystem. Apple offers OS X for Macs and Mac Books, iOS for the iPhone and iPad, WatchOS for Apple Watch and tvOS for Apple TV. Google offers Chrome OS for Chromebooks and Android for smartphones, tablets, and connected devices. It is evident that Microsoft's rival's personal computing ecosystems extend further, and less successfully than their more successful mobile phone efforts.

Buyers guide: How to pick the best iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and more!

It's also clear that virtually each component of their personal computing efforts exists on disparate platforms. Thus, as developers, writers and analysts attempt to address the full scope of Apple's and Google's personal computing ecosystems, there's an inherent discontinuity due to the incoherence within the ecosystem resulting from the existence of multiple platforms. Though Apple's Continuity is an effort to solve this on the user-facing side, in reality, there is no way to view those firms from a perspective of a unified personal computing platform.

Microsoft has solved this problem. Though the rise of smartphones as the dominant personal computing device has made the "story" around personal computing about "the phone", personal computing is much broader. Microsoft's goal to rule personal computing with Windows 10 positions the company for that broad stroke.

Changing perceptions

Microsoft's challenge now is broadening the perspective of the industry at large from its focus on the smartphone to embracing the ever evolving transient nature of personal computing across devices. When, the industry's developers, writers, analysts, manufacturers and consumers fully embrace this, the general perspective will shift from how a particular device, (i.e. iPhone, Galaxy, Lumia, etc.) is performing in the market. It will be replaced with a view of what platform best connects the devices that facilitate our digital experiences from the development stage to the platform's actual use stage by end users.

It is this paradigm that Microsoft has prepared for with Windows 10. A reality that is focused on the broad personal computing platform that engulfs all devices, not a single personal computing device and platform. As it stands now, a developer that writes for Windows 10 has, in the six months since its release, a target of 200 million users. If Microsoft reaches its goal, in less than two years, that number will be 1 billion PCs, Xboxes, Surface Hubs and mobile devices like wearables, the growing 2-in-1 category and "phones."

The target is the breadth of a company's entire personal computing platform.

As developers embrace that the target is the breadth of a company's entire personal computing platform, the inherent synergy of developing for Windows 10 will become more evident as all devices within the UWP continuum benefit from an app introduced into the ecosystem. This shift will invariably lead to growth in Universal Windows Apps that help Windows 10 Mobile devices.

Microsoft is desperately attempting to ensure this occurs. Thus, they are aggressively leveraging their PC install base and pushing Windows 10 in such a way that anyone with a PC will eventually be using Windows 10. For 24 years the world has embraced Windows on PC. And it seems that if we wish to continue using Windows, Windows 10 and the broad ecosystem shifts it brings are inevitable. Resistance, it seems, is futile. We will be assimilated.

Part II: Microsoft's aggressive push to rule personal computing: cross-platform clouds and alternate realities

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!

124 Comments
  • Thanks again for reading! So what are your thoughts about Microsoft's aggressive push of Windows 10. Will their aggression pay off or hurt the acceptance of the platform in the long run? Have any of your passed on Windows 10 on any of your devices? What about friends and family, do you know anyone who has passed on the upgrade or found the persistent appeal to upgrade and annoyance? What's on your mind? LET's TALK!!! Also please tune in for Part II. We're going to talk about some of Microsoft's other methods to establish itself to rule personal computing.
  • One OS to rule them all,
    One OS to bind them.
  • One OS to find them all
  • LOTR sucks.  Look, a bunch of hobos walking through the woods.  Yay??  Oh it has goblins and orcs and talking trees and fairies.  yay more??  LOTR eats it!!!
  • And in the Kernel bind them.
  • Resistance is futile
  • ALL YOUR DEVICES ARE BELONG TO US Sent from my Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview Build 14271.rs1_release.160218-2310 box.
  • I believe that W10 (overall) will take over... Mobile?... Has a chance, but it's a long shot.
    ..............
    It all comes down to if Windows finally gets APPS!
  • Sorry but Microsoft have already failed and lost the battle. UWP is dead. Why would developers make UWP apps when all Windows 10 devices can run Win32 apps. Yeah Windows Phones cant run Win32 apps but they sell so few of them that it does not matter anymore. No normal user will buy a PC when an iPad can do the same job without risking crapware and viruses. It hurts to admit it - but windows in the consumer space is dead. To little to late Microsoft.
  • An ipad can do the same thing?? So I can have five things open on the same screen with no lag? Can I play modern FPS, Racing, RPG games?? Can I play most steam games? Can I skype? Can I download and store more than 128 GB of stuff on a Mac?   Sorry I can't do any of those things on an IPAD....but I can on a PC. And I can do that for like 1/3 the cost of an IPAD. So go enjoy paying $700 for an IPAD to go use for facebook and itunes.....oh wait....I can do those also on a PC. lol...
  • My mom, grandmother, girlfriend and boss are all always complaining that they cannot do this on their iPads. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Oh, I see. That must be the reason why tablets are on a decline and 2-in-1 laptops (essentialy PCs) are on the rise.
  • I seem to think I can Skype on an iPad. Granted you can't have 5 applications open at the same time, but who needs to at home. My iPad has virtually made my computer redundant at home. I use a PC all day at work but at home my iPad does things better than any PC I have ever owned. On the few occasions I need to produce something more complicated, my chromebook is plenty good enough. The average person does not need a powerful desktop PC anymore and there are many places in the world where the mobile phone is the only computing device available. In a few years the only place you will see a desktop PC will be in an office. Posted via the Windows Central app
  • Chromebook? lol
     
  • Ever tried one? I was of the same opinion as you until I actually got one to replace my windows laptop. It runs Microsoft office online fine, has brilliant battery life and doesn't need to have anti virus software installed. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "To little to late Microsoft." Obviously your iPad or whatever you use doesn't support even simple spell or grammar checking. Makes you sound rather like an idiot, I'm afraid.
  • All ready rule XD it
  • Yeah B)
  • Sad but reference drivers isn't that great for support
  • The summary of this entire article is, Microsoft is aggressively pushing Windows 10 so that they can make Universal Apps more attractive. Seriously Jason, you didn't have to write such a huge article to put this one point across. I used to enjoy reading your articles, you used to make some very good observations, but lately your articles have dropped in quality.
  • Even love dilutes.
  • Suppose you can do better then?. Come on give us a few paragraphs of what you would have written.
  • That's a terrible summary. You missed 90% of the article.
  • Lol.
  • I think his article was interesting and eloquently delivered. I guess the Borg example gives you away as on the Star Wars side of the fence ;-)
  • It's an editorial.... You can take it, or leave it. SMDH.
  • @pericle Thanks for the response. Can't please everyone all the time I suppose. I appreciate that you to the time to provide your feedback. I think, however, if you have the time to revisit the piece there is more there than what you summarized. I won't do a synopsis here but I think you'll find a pretty strong argument for a difficult shift toward changing the perceptions of the entire industry toward a new way to look at personal computing and MS positioning there. You may also see an addressing of a push to "force" thier OS which many have found questionable. Those are just two little tidbits. Take another look. I think you may find more. If not, well you are certainly welcome to your opinion. :-) Just keep coming back to WC. I'm sure someone will write something to tickle your fancy! :-)
  • Yes, it was quite the manifesto.
  • oh for a minute I thought you said fatso
  • You're such a gentleman.
  • I agree with you, they guy is a little bit to much in the past.
  • I hate windows 10 and also 8.1 as they are meant to be used personally. I want my family, friends to use my pc(install programs, use apps) without messing up with my emails and files in OneDrive which edge or IE automatically opens with out any login details. The only solution is to disable IE which a kid these days can understand how to enable it and have full access to my outlook and OneDrive storage.
  • Isn't that the point of different user accounts?
  • No not for me.i don't want multiple profiles on my pc.Let them do what ever they want without messing up with my cloud and email accounts.
  • I agree completely.
  • "i don't want multiple profiles on my pc​" That's obviously your choice. But it is also a refusal to deploy the solution that is actually provided for your exact complaint.  I don't get it. :)
  • Yes it's weird not to use different user accounts. I did it since XP....my Family would not like my Desktop or whatever personalization. And I not theirs. If you want one for your family, why not create the "Family Account", and you can still having yours with all your mails and whatnot.  
  • Which is exactly what I did when Outlook started issueing emails.  1 account for each memeber and 1 for the family. But they went to the iOS world and use Macs at school with school email accounts.
  • The implementation sucks. - My parents PC boots always to the last used account since they dont have passwords.  - When one user installs an app from the app store and another user wants that same app, they have to install it again.  - New user accounts come with a lot of bullcrap Apps installed, like: get skype, 3D builder etc. - Since MS decided to show my emailadress on log screen, I switched to local user instead. Now I can not rescue myself from "do you want to boot in with your MS account?" messages. The same thing will happen for other local users.    Don't get me wrong, I really love Windows 10 for personal use, but sharing a device with other people is horrible... 
  • In other OSs that happens too, heck, now even Android has a kids account! In which your kids don't mess with your mail, calendar, files, apps, etc. If I use my wife's Mac and add a favorite in Safari, guess what, her favorites save that setting...
  • Even if you are still using Windows 7, you should create multiple user accounts and password protect your login.  The other accounts should not have Admin access so they can't install any desktop programs.  Your family and friends won't have access to your stuff.  Really no excuse.
  • Didn't I state "let them do what ever they want" which means I don't care even if they brought virus on to my pc other than opening my cloud storage and email. My home computer still runs on XP and I love using it as It has no cloud integration.
  • Frankly I don't think people really care what you think or do, such narrow minded comments have no place regarding articles such as this.
  • It does relate to this article to a few extent. MSFT now does not differentiate personal computing devices and desktops or a single pc in an house hold. Population has shifted towards personal computing(mostly mobile) and use a desktop OS for niche things. It's really good that for MSFT to survive it has to shift towards personal computing but they just forgot about power users who want to have full control over desktops they use.
  • Did you just define a "power user" to someone who has your outlook on how to use a computer?
  • Yeah... don't pretend to speak for power users when you won't even use the features on your box for the purposes they're intended.
  • I know a lot of users just like you and you're the users they'll never get away from windows xp and 7. I was reluctant to move pass xp for all of those reasons too. 
  • Just create a local account for your family to share and log on as your own account when you want to do "cloud stuff". You can also use the "run as a different user" feature to run an app (including IE or Windows Explorer) as yourself without logging out as the generic local user.
  • I'm actually giving a seminar on UWP as a part of my final year engineering.
  • Good luck with your seminar, wish you well!
  • Really good article.
  • Still doesn't have any apps though does it
  • Exactly!.... In this day, and age, that's what really matters.... Nevertheless, Windows10 is catching on big time, and that's a good sign.
  • Almost 700,000 in the Store... I would not say "any apps", just some missing!
  • Yes,  the app store for windows is missing the ever exciting snapchat, and 100,000 other immature fart apps available on leapfrog oppps,  i mean apple. 
  • I know what you mean. On my phone for example, I have everything I need installed. And everything more or less works (hate WM Whatsapp though...). But on the Computer, mostly everything gets done by a browser. Reading Mangas for example is best in the Browser, since no App is similar well implemented. Even pdf readers arent as good as the normal Adobe Reader DC...  I use only a few Microsoft Apps and installed about 4 more, which I dont use anymore. Since I installed Office 365 the One Note APP is also unnecessary.
  • I love the idea of an all in one OS, for all devices. I also hope that mobile continues to be a part of that. I would like to see mobile develop, to a certain extent, as something that can operate the full W10. I see the mobile version a step in the right direction, but it is still seen as nothing more than a mobile OS, and unfortunately, human nature being what it is, s**t sticks. Those on other OS simply stick because of the so called app gap and other bad press, especially the hash ups of MSFT when it comes to devices and the unfinished OS. It also doesn't help that journo's have a blinkered view and seem so full of spitefulness towards our chosen OS. I, myself, was forced to choose between OS's when I was a DJ. When using a PC, the last thing I needed was a crash or blue screen of death. It happened regularly. I looked up what other DJ's were using, and it was mostly mac's. I got one and I never missed a live mix after that! That was until it died! A £1500 pc, two years old, logic board U/S, apple wanted £1000 to fix it!!!! The moral of this little tale? I found windows unstable for certain things. My brother and his logistics teams all used Mac's due to potential issues with Win.
    It appeared that MSFT lost their way in the 90's / early 2000's. Who remembers the **** up's that were ME and Vista and the slating of win8??? After a great OS in XP? People still remember these issues. Why do people stick with 7? It works. So there is my take on MSFT. If they want 10 to succeed, along with the devices, they have to get it right. Right strategy, right marketing and releasing stable upgrades. The WaaS system is probably the right thing to do, allowing for issues to be resolved quickly. Surface is pretty successful, and I think that is the way mobile has to go if MSFT want to achieve their integrated ecosystem
  • Take a look outside the Microsoft fanboy echo chamber, none of this is relevant to normal people. Only consumers of Microsoft branded kool aid believe fairy tales like this.
  • Ooooo Yeah....didn't realise they did 'apple' flavour ;-)
  • The apple kool-aid tastes like **** anyways,  just like their products.
  • More mastermind?    A lot of what Jason wrote is pretty pie in the sky, in terms of what Microsoft can achieve; most of the innovative computing development has moved on to mobile.  Windows  PCs still have a large install base, but developers outside of legacy Windows desktop programs, don't seem to care.  
  • @johnny Thanks for your response. But an analysis of actual events that have occurred and an analysis of what a company hopes to achieve via it's strategy would not fall under the definition of "pie in the sky." :-) It's an analysis of what's happening and what the company hopes to achieve.
  • Almost 700,000 apps in the MS Store with 3 billion visits since W10 came out! That plus legacy (actual productive and not gaming) programs! Yes, it's moving to mobile, wearables, IoT, and Hololens... Your point being?
  • k
  • @theedman 1/3 of fortune 500 companies use Microsoft cloud. Microsoft apps are littered all over rival platforms. Office is the cross-platform industry standard for productivity. 90% of PCs in homes and businesses (where normal people live and work :-)) run Windows. Gaming Windows and Xbox is a vast industry(Check out Steam 1/3 already in Windoes 10)..... Microsoft is more relevant to normal people than they may realize. :-)
  • The cloud is the only area where there is growth, that includes Azure and O365 but the reality is the only new business is Azure, O365 is just the same old Office but cloud based and with a bit of uptake on ios and android devices. Thats the only Microsoft application that dominates in its sector, the other apps are nice to have but are not the defacto standard in their respective categories. Apart from that, Microsoft's technoligies are in decline, phones obviously down, Windows license revenue down and tied to that PC sales are down. As big as xbox is that is really its own category and is growing in line with the higher pricing of games and DLC rather than unit sales by itself. The area of tech thats really growing is phones and their associated experiences eg mobile payments, VR (google cardboard), connecting to smart homes etc and in this area Microsoft is irrelevant.     2 in 1's are also growing and predicted to be the new growth sector but there Windows 10 is basically doing the same job its done with previous Windows versions and eventually what will happen is PC sales will switch from traditional desktops to such devices but they will still be outstripped by phone sales so Microsoft will still only be dominant on 1 computing platform, the desktop in its new form as the 2 in 1. Any other projected "domination" by Microsoft wont happen, that is the logical exposition from todays usage where PC sales (where Windows 10 predominantly runs) are in decline and mobile usage (on devices that are NOT running a Microsoft OS is up.
  • @theefman Good points, but the bigger picture is that they don't need to rule as the dominant presence in each personal computing category. Microsoft is just presenting a unified solution for personal computing across all categories. This is a unique approach and if successful provides a level of synergy across all personal computing segments in a way that is not yet achievable by rivals who are still pushing distinct personal computing platforms that don't offer the type of development and end user synergy that is the goal of Windows 10. Even if Microsoft doesn't achieve the level of phone presence currently held by rivals the synergy of Win10 development if successful will make it a more viable presence as part of the UWP and in the broader market. That said if MS is successful in the direction we believe that are headed the UWP combines with a possible shift in mobile form factor and capability with an anticipated "Surface Phone" May help redefine mobile hardware (with OEM support emulating the product) in Microsoft favor. This is a long view looking beyond todays headlines and quarterly reports. It's a view of a strategy that may play out as MS hopes. In relation to the success in 2-in-1s, mobile devices in Microsoft's ecosystem, I wrote a piece on how they may benefit and set the stage for the Surface phone which you can reread here if you'd like. As well as what Panay may have planned for the Surface phone which may have elements of the cancelled Surface Mini, also here: https://doc.co/jhRs1m
  • Jason, Intel is the primary driver in this strategy.  Skylake allows the power of a PC in a smaller more efficient package.  Does Intel deliver an x86 smartphone SoC that can compete with Apple SoC and qualcomm chips?  Tieing the silicone to the OS is critical. Obviously you are implying that iOS and Android will grow independent of other operating systems within the ecosystems.  If we are saying that the cloud will retain our info (Which I think is fast becoming the norm), then the OS that can deliver this info across platfroms efficiently will win the dominant market position.  Further, if the silicone allows for tight secrutiy between the cloud and the user device, then that only increases the preferance for cloud services.  One OS, One Store means that the compnay that can deliver that foundation, will succeed in the 21st century. 
  • I would just like to add two devices: Tablets (Since XP) and Pocket PCs (Since Palms too)... Yes of course, Marketing company Apple copied those concepts and marketed them enourmously, but the Apple fashion on those devices is starting to fade (iPads) and to slow iPhones, also Android did to Apple in mobile what MS did to them in PCs. Yes, yes Apple is about profits and not about Market Share, great, so it means that 15% market share pays for 85% of mobile profits, meaning overpriced devices, hopefully Apple gets into other markets like electric cars so that other companies will be obligated to sell better specs & funtions at lower prices without becoming sleeping giants (just like it's been in mobile since 2007), top of the top smartphones innovation at lower prices than laptops themselfs! So, as MS operates in all types of devices, and also has Hololens, Xbox, Band, IoT, 2 in 1, and the usual PCs and laptops, all that plus OS, software, cloud, services, etc. heck that's a Ecosystem (Business and consumers). So Google is up for the chalenge, but Apple, please; their so called Ecosystem is what; iPhones and iTunes? Yes, yes, apps, well Play Store has all those apps and Windows Store now has almost 700,000 apps, it may be half of Goolge's or Apple's, yet its not that there are no Developers, it's more like not all but also not all the crapware!​ So if most businesses use MS and/or Google, tha iFans that think it's not relevant are delusional!
  • Jason, that was a very impressive article, not only in terms of the content but also the way you've written it!!! Cheers.
  • The day Windows runs Android apps (out of the MS-store, they will be Windows apps instantly) will be the day Windows tablets and phones will be no-brainers to buy. As it is, we have too much hassles to think about.
  • Uh, not going to happen.  There are ways to get the same apps across multiple platforms that are better than turning Windows Store into the house of frankenstein.  
  • One simple strategy..one OS to rule them all...and I believe that time is coming soon.
  • LOTR must pay for sucking so hard.  Seriously, it's a terrible premise and the execution on screen is laughable at best.  And I hate trees and walking and goblins and fairies anyhow so that doesn't help.
  • The new chips which are going to be optimized for Windows 10 has caught my attention. Have to see what specific features are being referred to.
  • Jason, I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't KNOW to what degree Microsoft's strategy will work out. But I do know this: most folks form their immediate opinions on what they see right in front of them. Or to put it in an analogy of driving a car, they only look as far out the windshield as the car right in front of them. With that said, their predictions are often shortsighted and they are far less likely to predict accurately what is coming down the road farther ahead. (In fact, lots of avoidable fender benders, as a result) I have ridden motorcyles for 45 years almost daily. I have, so far, defied the mathmatical odds of survival on 2 wheels. If I had to declare what has kept me intact, it would be that I look MUCH farther down the road and process data that might be applicable to my situation 30 seconds ahead of NOW. If I was to reverse the analogy back to Microsoft's strategy, I can comfortably say that Windows 10 IS going to be everywhere and on everything in a remarkably short amount of time. So that part of the strategy is completely predictable. Even the Enterprise world is showing signs of considering Windows 10 with far less reluctance than they have with other recent past versions. Personally, I think that the key to the "mobile" world will simply come down to full powered devices getting smaller and smaller. My go-to Lumia 2520 is just a couple of years old and was clearly marketed as a "Tablet" (big) with a SIM. (And with FULL Microsoft Office) Obvioulsy not something to replace my smartphone. But if tomorrows' form factor is full Windows 10, with a SIM, pocketable (smartphone sized), and can run the same software that I run at my desktop, combine that with a very mature support for Continuum, ............... Well, you get the idea. Microsoft won't need to convince me their "device" is better than my Iphone or Droid. A TV commercial won't matter. I might very well carry my Iphone and my tiny tablet, just as I carry an Iphone and SP4 today. But at some point, it will just be natural for me to consider that they are redundant and I only NEED one of them. No matter what though, I'm going to enjoy watching it all unfold. The last few years (Since around 2007) have been a whirlwind of change and excitment in my profession and personal technology life. I suspect I will win regardless of what flavor turns out to be the one for me. We live in remarkable times. :) 
  • Just read my own gibberish and see that I left the impression I carry an Iphone. :) I wouldn't be ashamed to, of course. But I actually am a L950XL cowboy.
  • Thanks for clarifying.
  • Lol @snakebitten That's ok man:-) As always I'm glad fir your contributions to the discussions!
  • Thank you for an excellent article. The analysis is excellent.
  • pushing soon!
  • Why Microsoft is not aggressive enough to push official windows10 to all mobiles :/
    We all are waiting eagerly.
  • What's your carrier and phone? It won't matter how hard MS pushes if the carriers don't play ball. When everyone finds that to be the case (yet again), your option will be install Windows Insider and activate Slow Ring or Fast Ring. Edit: Or select the newly available Release Preview Ring.
  • Resistance isn't futile. It is necessary.
  • They may rule the PC, but are moving backwards in mobile from what I have seen and read about Windows 10 mobile.
  • So how about you experience it for yourself instead of believing everything you read.
  • I can't see Microsoft gaining in the consumer market, the sandboxed nature of the UAPs might be somewhat enticing to corporations, and through that the platform might gain some users, but I just don't see the platform gaining consumer favor when it is no longer even an afterthought for developers and consumers alike. Honestly, I see even the desktop losing (more) share to tablets and other competing devices, and OSs, in the consumer space.
  • and yet they've given up on windows embedded, which ran on an enormous variety of devices, and replaced it with windows iot, which runs on very few. this makes even less sense than the poor handling of mobile.
  • I just with W10 for tablets was more like W8.  The former needs work to render better for touch input, escpecially on 8-11" screens.
  • Microsoft: All of your computing are belong to us!
  • I believe the benefit for endusers will be the user experience. Today, people are working on a Windows PC, using an Android smartphone, perhaps have an iPad, and when they come home experience another different UX to control the television, etc. And it's confusing. And each new device adds to the confusion. To have one platform on all devices with a unified UX would be a huge benefit.
  • What an awesome analogy and what a great analysis! Thank you!
  • @Alvaro You're welcome and thank you very much! :-)
  • I am ready to abandon the Windows platform at any time, I have 20 years of experience in running Linux/*BSD. Should Microsoft again become the Leviathan it was at that time, I leave. Every user should foster distrust in this regard. Every user should aquire skills to change platform.
  • Nice alliteration
  • These articles are too long.
  • My opinion is the articles from Jason are always great and very well written and fluid. I have the opposite problem with most of the other articles that seemed too short, but I I can understand, actually, but...
    First... how the hell you can get a more deep awareness of something if not analyzing some details from more points of view?
    Second...note that this article is called "part one". It means it's not finished here, so. Just relax and enjoy the show.
  • :-) Thanks @superpos!
  • Drivers, drivers, drivers not available for Windows 10 hence I cannot be assimilated.
  • Ok, I GET what they are trying to do, but frankly, Microsoft isn't succeding in their own goals. While the Win10 Desktop is doing good, XBox One isn't dominating anything, Win10Mobile is torpedoing to it's doom, and MS doesn't even have a proper Smartwatch. (Yes, I know they have a band). Hololens is also just a prototype and early looks show it has a tiny Field of View, so the commercials massively overhyped it. The only thing Microsoft is dominating right now is Win10 PC installs, and even it's own PC Appstore isn't doing all that great. I'm guessing the bulk of their money probably comes from MS Office subscriptions these days. If they want to make their 1 Windows to rule them all dream come true, they really need to turn a lot of stuff around, because right now they aren't dominating much of anything.
  • @StaticXCC Thanks for the comment. You do have to realize however that their efforts to do just what you suggest, turn things around, are based in large part on the Cloud(which they are really succeeding in) an the Universal Windows Platform. Which I remind you just launched with Windows 10s metered release on July 29, 2015 just over 6months ago. Though the response has been exceeding positive, moving in the direction MS would hope with 220 million installs, over 3billion store visits, I believe 4x Store engagement, increased app engagement, increased revenue to developers and more please remember it's only been 6months. It will take time even under optimal conditions, if MS existed in a vacuum for their strategy to shift industry perceptions to a unified platform to occur. You have to look at what the sed planted today may yield down the road. Not at current conditions. If they were doing absolutely nothing then predicting or analysing a future state on current conditions would be reasonable. But as a farmer anticipates his harvest bases on his seed planted even before the first plant breaks through, we can analyze MS strategy within the larger picture based the strategy they are currently employing.
  • You might be right, but it's a tall order to turn all that around. What happens when the free period for Win10 PC installs runs out? Does win10 bring enough to the table that it can convience people to upgrade to 10 when they start charging money? I myself have 2 gaming desktops in storage atm(long story that) that I won't be able to upgrade in time before the free period ends. Is Win10 worth the price MS is likely to charge for both PC's? i dunno... I mean Win7 runs on those machines fine. The only real big difference for me personally is Cortana integration and even then I type at her more than speak to her.
  • Great writing Jason, loved it!☺
  • @psutherland Thanks for the support!
  • Put windows 10 on your HP Stream. I did. I very much enjoy it.
  • I'm pretty close updating my BayTrail 7" Windows 8.1 tablet to Windows 10 now that OEM (Vulcan electronics) officially released images of WIndows 10 with the touch drivers.  Windows 10 gives you the best of both tablet and desktop worlds. I really enjoy my small tablet as a consumer device, and I only paid $59 for it, with Atom CPU it has about same performance you get on a $600 phone from Apple or Samsung.
  • Windows 10 Desktop OS already is the king: Can replace game consoles like Xbox or Playstation because supports Steam Can be used to install designer software made for OS X (Photoshop, 3D Studio Max) Can be used to install education software only available in Universities like Matlab, Autocad.  Can be used by Android developers since it supports Android Studio Can be used to test Android mobile apps since it supports Bluestacks 2.  No offense Google and Apple, but Microsoft made with Windows 10 a very difficult OS to beat. How is iOS and Android doing on the desktop? the answer is bad, really really bad. 
  • There are today more mobile user then desktop users. You might have one laptop or pc at home and 3 ppl operating one device at different time. But in mobile ppl have personal smartphone and a phone owned today isn't shared by family for usage. So Microsoft needs to be aggressive in that area.
  • I'm a power user, and I don't care, the PC will never die.  Microsoft desktop OS fan forever!
  • iOS and Android aren't present on the desktop, you're thinking OS X and Linux based distributions. They're doing just fine.
  • Linux is doing fine because it's free.  Windows 10 is free,  but you had to purchase previous versions before that.  OSX is a playtoy.  Keeps the mindless isheep happy.  they only have a tiny part of the market share.  Like less than microsoft has in the mobile world.  SO does that mean OSX is dead?
  • OS X a playtoy? Mindless iSheep? Have you, like... ever ... seen OS X? And you really think that those hundreds of thousands of scientists and software engineers, hundreds of thousands of web servers and supercomputers and embedded devices use Linux just because it's free?
  • I'll put the MacOS comment aside for now - but...  There are over a billion people using Windows and a few hundred thousand people in the world using Linux. Linux is excellent for servers because those are dedicated and generally untouched systems in the sense that people don't do productivity work on them on a regular basis.. You set them up once and then you really worry mostly about the content you serve from it. There's also a small, vocal, rabid group of Microsoft haters who have two choices: MacOS or Linux. But MacOS is expensive (unless you go Hackintosh) and has most of the same problems (to them) as Windows - closed and proprietary. Those who can't abide that go to Linux. As for scientists - that's again, not hard to see. If you're running a lab and you want to run a long experiment, you're basically building a server-type system. See previous comments on servers. Or, you're running software originally written in the 70s on Unix at other universities updated to more modern environments and ported to Linux. Even then, we see more and more of that stuff being ported to MacOS since it has BSD Unix as it's core. So, yeah, there are people who use Linux.. but they really are in the minority.
  • We dont want to rule, we will be happy with 33%.
  • I like how you are calling it "phones"
  • Assimilate me!
  • Well maybe when Windows 10 can run my personalized mouse cursor and is compatible with my touch pad. We'll talk about taking over the world then. It's a half cooked OS and I never thought I would miss 8.1 and I'll stay there for at least the next 5 years. And don't get me started on the forced updates Posted via the Windows Central App for NES
  • I'm writing this on a beautiful MacBook Pro running OS X, next to me are my two Linux machines and in front of me lies my Lumia, the last device and platform I am willing to use Windows on. What Jason seems so excited about (same OS on every device) is almost exactly what Apple is doing with iOS, watchOS and tvOS - all of them are based on OS X/Darwin, on the XNU kernel and some common frameworks. What is different are, surprisingly, the UI parts of the OS - Cocoa/Cocoa Touch and other things. Let's take a look at Android - it's basically the Linux kernel with various enhancements and a mobile OS built on top of it. A way to go, OK, they're not exactly trying to make it compatible with other Linux boxes. Microsoft is trying to go all the way, the kernel, the UI parts of the system to provide a common user experience. I don't know, did those guys just look around, noticed how everybody is doing it and said "screw that, Apple and Google are lame, let's do it the opposite way"? Using the same app and user inteface for a 30" desktop screen and a 5" phone screen is the opposite of ergonomic design. No matter how they name it and no matter how they try to build a religion around this idea, it's a stupid thing that's difficult to implement and provides UGLY results. Do they really think those guys at Apple have never given it a thought? You know, the guys making billions in selling high-end desktops, all-in-ones, laptops, tablets AND phones, all with their own OS they've been actively working on for years? W10 is ugly. It's ugly on the desktop and it's ugly on the phone. There aren't many apps because no one gives a damn about this Universal crap. Developers make highly optimized mobile apps - Facebook, Ebay, Twitter, Amazon. Do you know what all those things have in common? They're websites! You need nothing else than a browser to view and use them on a desktop. No one gives a damn about a Universal Facebook app. No one gives a damn about Universal map apps. Messengers. Forums. News readers. E-shops. Social networks. Everything you can and want to do on a desktop is either a website or has a much better Win32 counterpart. With the same W10 on every device Microsoft has solved a non-existent problem and people like Jason are making full-time jobs of thinking of reasons why this is great. (No offense Jason, you're a great writer, I just don't understand your views.)
  • I'm sorry, but I don't think you really get it. First off - you can't write one application for iOS, watchOS and tvOS. They may all be *based* on MacOS X/Darwin - but an application has to be written for each one. You can share code, of course (to a degree), but they are separate builds. With Windows UWP you build just one app and it works on desktop, tablet, phone, game console, meeting display... and more. There's literally no 'If this is a phone' or 'If this is a tablet'... you write for one target and it takes care of itself. The only special things you have to do is be screen size aware (which all Windows programmers have been doing since.. well, always) and be aware that specific features may or may not be available. And it's granular - you don't say 'is this a phone?' - you say 'do I have calling features?' because a tablet may have them and in the future, so may desktops.. or watches.. Your understanding of Android is flawed. Android is a Java VM running on Linux. The only integration is passthrough of hardware drivers to the VM, which is the normal way you write VMs. You can actually host Android on other OSes and it's been ported to run directly on Windows (ie: not by running Linux in a VM). You also misunderstand what Microsoft is doing with Win10. In fact, what you're suggesting is almost the literal opposite of what they're trying to do. The idea is to separate the UI from the core and scale the core to be modular and small. This lets them get the core to run on almost anything (Win10 IoT for example) without a UI head.  Then they can add the UI head and yes, it's general.. but it's also tailorable. If someone needs special tooling - they *can* do it. Nothing stops them from it. But Microsoft realises (and guess what, everyone - even Apple finally agrees) reactive design is the future. Apple gave in when they added autolayout to UIKit. It's worked for Apple until now because they mandated a 4:3 aspect ratio to their tablets and phones - you could ignore the actual resolution because it was always 1024x768 or 2x that... until the iPhone 5 where things changed.  Well, in Windows land - reactive or responsive design has been the norm for 30 years. It's not new to us. It's not new to MacOS X developers either. The onlly group being tripped up by it are iOS programmers who have never had to deal with it before. As for ugly - I'm not even going to bother discussing that. That's a personal opinion and you're entitled to yours. I personally find it entirely acceptable.. .and oddly I find the aesthetics of MacOS X on my MacBook Pro kind of infantile and frustrating to use. To me, it reeks of cuteness for cuteness' sake and often eschews usability over excessive simplification (case in point - there's a delete key which does the same thing as a backspace key - but no actual delete key that does the opposite - I have to constantly remember to hold Fn down to get that)...  Moving on to websites - the flaw with your analysis is that people don't WANT to go to websites. They're hard to find, hard to manage and the browser is generally speaking a terrible user experience if you're doing any kind of multitasking. As for arguing that win apps have better counterparts as Win32 apps - that's kind of surreal argument. Most websites don't *have* Win32 or WinUWP counterparts. In fact, this is one of the big sticking points: there are apps for Android and iOS and none for Windows. That's a legit complaint - but it renders your statement kind of meaningless. Finally, your thinking seems entirely driven by your past experiences. This is new stuff. For Windows, it's groundbreaking. Even for the whole computing platform 'ecosystem' much of what's happening here is groundbreaking. Assuming it survives, there are huge potentials out there for UWP apps to reach far, far more users than iOS or Android can.
  • I'm totally on board with the plan. Its the best path to the future for MS. ​BUT... Its all too easy for developers to completely ignore it. They can continue writing for iOS and Android and ignoring Windows for Mobile and continue writing classic x86 for desktop. Its what they already know. Why change? Why invest learning a new platform with MS' history of pulling the plug in short time and resetting? I wish them well and really hope this pays off. I really think they have the superior vision for the future of computing - and they have it mostly built. They have their work cut out for them though when it comes to getting developers to buy in. There's so much hate out there for MS (much of it well-earned). A lot of people dont want to support MS just because its MS.
  • I'm a little weirded out by this article... I can't tell in which direction the writer is trying to steer us, if any. Phrasing like "Resistance is futile", "assimilation" and "wanting to own the ocean, not the boats" certainly have a negative connotation... but then the writer turns around and admits that Microsoft is creating an environment unlike any of its competitors - one in which for the first time ever 'write once - run everywhere: desktop, tablet, phone, iot device, fitness band.. whatever" is a real thing, which I think we can all agree is a good thing. It's like saying "cars are a great way to get around if it weren't for those damn roads they have to build everywhere...". The roads are what lets us have cars.. Microsoft is the first company to build roads for all vehicles, not just bicycles or tanks. And the amazing thing is: it works. I'm building my first UWP app and it's a fairly complex thing.. and it works perfectly on desktops, tablets and phones. And there's not a single line of 'if this is a phone do this... if this is a tablet do this...' in it. It really just works out of the box. That's a future I happen to want to be in. Now, if only Microsoft could decide whether they want to be there as well - with all the new iOS and Android first (or only) apps coming out of Microsoft these days - you'd think the only people not developing for Windows UWP are Microsoft engineers...  
  • I always love your articles, and your analogies, Jason! And your love for and faith in the Windows 10 ecosystem are apparent and infectious! I share with you in your optimism and enthusiasm. All I lack is your depth and scope of perspective, specific industry knowledge, panache, and immersion. All that said, using the analogy of the Borg, even to my "definite fan" eyes, in my opinion kinda paints Microsoft as "the bad guy" and their progress and positioning as ominous. Perhaps it wasn't the best choice. Then again, while I would want to do ANYTHING BUT equate these two things in terms of their significance, value, and preciousness, to rip a phrase out of context and apply it quite awkwardly here, the proclamation of the coming "kingdom" will be received as a sweet savor to some, and as the stench of death to others, right? Keep up the good work, Jason!
  • @JaySeeDoubleYou Thanks for your consistent support! Though I am definitely a Microsoft fan and tech enthusiast I am under no delusion that everything the company does is right. I knew this analogy would be questionable to some. I also chose it however, because it does help to communicate the sentiment of many that justifiably feel forced into something simply because of their lack of knowledge. I attempted to integrate the necessary aggressiveness of the strategy given Microsoft's perilous position in mobile, with the voices and emotions of those who may not necessarily want to upgrade their PCs now or the near future. There is a dual voice interwoven in the text, that of Microsoft and that of those not yet ready to move to Windows 10. I thought it was a fair representation of both Microsoft's strategy and the positive outcome and the 'negative' fallout of those not in line with the vision. Thanks again man! I love what I do! :-)
  • My pleasure, Jason! I suppose if your intent is to touch both sides at once, then perhaps the analogy is perfectly apt, then. I just replied to your part 2 article as well, and we sorta "crossed in the mail". I suppose I would probably retract the part about the Borg. I would stand behind the rest of it though, but to mitigate the risk of my appearing to "double-speak" here, I would add the following: Part of the reason I'm cheering for Microsoft so much is, yes, because I love the vision and direction, and at the very least seriously like the fruit that it's borne, but it's also just as much because in the mobile scene ("today's" tech scene rather than "yesterday's" desktop, or "tomorrow's" cloud/device agnostic) it is such an overwhelming underdog, and I want to see it claim its seat as a relative equal among relative equals in the "hall of greats" that Apple and Android currently occupy. That probably won't happen directly in this round, but MS is certainly positioned to take the lead in the next leg (with, among other things, a phone in its hand)! However, if it does take that lead, but then proceeds to say "All your base are belong to us" and ejects the others from the hall, or worse, "eats them alive", that's gonna dump some SERIOUS ice water on this cheerleader if you know what I mean. I may indeed be a bigger cheerleader for Windows than I am for the others, but my ultimate allegiance is to the panorama of the industry as a whole rather than to any particular ecosystem, and as such, I'm all for a healthy balance of powers. It's where innovation will best flourish, I believe - and also will be the most fun, and beneficial for us all ----- or as I said in my post on your other article, I want to see the big three be "frenemies" rather than "enemies". Know what I mean? Cheers! :-)