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Microsoft's refocusing on the cloud will have personal and far-reaching impacts

Microsoft fans are painfully aware of the company's repeated failures and seeming illogical decisions in the consumer's space. Microsoft Zune, Groove, Windows Phone, Kinect, Kin and more were all canceled for reasons ranging from failure to catch on in the consumer space to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's admission of abandoning consumers to pursue "the next shiny thing".

Microsoft seems to follow a pattern of retreating from the highly visible consumer space ruled by rivals. This has made Microsoft seem wholly uninterested in the vibrant and diverse world of personal computing dominated by smartphones, mobile apps and a growing ambient computing platform led by smart speakers like Amazon's Echo.

Admittedly, Microsoft has failed miserably with a range of consumer products, and its Harmen Kardon Cortana speaker (and the efforts behind it) seem to be following a similar path. Those failures, however, cannot be used to apply a blanket assessment that Microsoft's cloud focus is an IBM-esque departure from consumers and a path toward irrelevance. In fact, Microsoft's cloud efforts are not as removed from users as the cloud metaphor may imply.

Real-world impact of Microsoft's AI investments

Microsoft's cloud is more like a fog

The world of personal computing is changing. Despite efforts from various companies to lock users into specific ecosystems, users are moving between platforms, apps and devices every day throughout the day. This is an undeniable reality and an important factor driving Microsoft's cloud investments.

Though I contend that Microsoft would benefit from having a broader and well-supported range of devices like smartphones, smart speakers and wearables (to complement Surface and Xbox) its cloud efforts are consistent with today's diverse and transient personal computing landscape. Thus, even if Microsoft produced a portfolio of successful consumer products, what it's doing in cloud would still have to happen if it's to remain relevant into the coming decades.

Microsoft's cloud is more a "fog" through which we move with ease.

Microsoft's cloud strategy is a forward-looking commitment to create a "super platform" that ties ecosystems, devices and apps together. The goal is to facilitate a consistent experience for users as they move between devices and ecosystems. Microsoft's cloud isn't an abstract or "removed" platform analogous to a natural clouds position far above the heads of people. It's more like a "fog" that permeates our personal computing environment, engulfs us and is something through which we move with ease.

Thus, beyond Wall Street's positive response, Microsoft's cloud is having real-world impact on users today.

Office 365, Microsoft Graph, Windows Timeline and Project Rome

Office 365 is Microsoft's suite of cloud-based personal/professional productivity tools. It's cross-platform and accessible to users from anywhere and any device. It also has a single authentication allowing users to seamlessly transition between personal and professional use.

Microsoft Graph uses Cortana and the cloud to tie users experiences together across platforms. A user can begin an experience on a Harmon Kardon speaker and continue the experience on an iPhone for instance. The cloud also allows Android and Windows phones to share text message (and missed call alerts) with a Windows 10 PC.

Windows Timeline allows users to continue experiences like PowerPoint presentations, news articles and more across devices. Cortana can recognize the data related to specific experiences in the cloud and alert a user to continuing with that content as they move to a new device. Windows Timeline allows users to pick up right where they left off.

Project Rome is a cloud-based service that allows apps instances to continue across devices such as a music app on an Android phone continuing to play on an Xbox. Its goal is to help apps to remain engaged in a very dynamic personal computing environment.

OneNote, OneDrive and WhiteBoard

OneDrive is Microsoft's cross-platform cloud storage space where users store documents, images, music and more. Users can access their OneDrive Content from any device.

Microsofts OneNote is a personal cloud-based note taking tool that allows users to write notes and perform other functions on a device. It automatically updates in the cloud allowing users to view/interact with and update notes on a range of devices.

WhiteBoard is a collaborative cloud-based digital WhiteBoard that updates in real time. Whiteboard allows users in diverse locations to work together on a common canvas and also uses AI to perform mathematic functions and draw shapes for users.

Sway, Cortana and the enterprise

Microsoft's Sway is a cloud-based presentation tool that uses AI to help users quickly "tell stories". Sways are web-based and can be easily shared via a link, format automatically to any screen type and can be updated at any time after being created.

Beyond the expected on-device support, Cortana is a cross-platform cloud-based tool that ties users experiences together across Microsoft's Graph and Windows Timeline. Cortana is also part of Microsoft's Edge browser and proactively provides location- and browsing-based suggestions all powered by the cloud. Cortana's presence on iOS and Android further integrate those platforms into Microsoft's ecosystem via the cloud.

If you work for a company or benefit from its services in some way Microsoft's cloud likely impacts you.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): companies rent IT infrastructure from a provider like Microsoft.
  • Platform-as-a-Service: web and mobile developers use cloud infrastructure supported by a company like Microsoft for app development.
  • Software-as-a-Service: a company like Microsoft provides software on demand (as well as security and upgrades) over the internet.

Information you use may be hosted on a Microsoft server, apps you use may have been developed in Microsoft's cloud or software you use may be streamed by Microsoft over the internet.

Walking around in a fog…

Contrary to popular belief Microsoft's cloud investment's are not only timely but are relevant for today's personal computing environment and are key to future relevance in a connected multi-platform world.

The absence of a host of (much-needed) exciting consumer products cause many fans to presume Microsoft's cloud does not directly affect them. Yet, as we can see by the few examples I've shared, millions of users are walking around in a "fog" of evolving cross-platform interconnectivity powered by Microsoft's cloud.

Microsoft's recent reorg is about every user on every platform

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!

99 Comments
  • As an investor in Microsoft, I hope they continue their Cloud innovation - and I hope they continue to cut loses in other business units. Unfortunately, some of those other business units are consumer focused and, as much as it annoys me, they are being whittled back.
  • Largely 'cause Microsoft shot them in the foot at the starting line. Doesn't matter how good a product is, so long as Microsoft is hell bent on maintaining their toxic brand status they'll remain in retreat until they hit that last trench.
  • Remember when Crackdown 3 was supposed to show us the power of the cloud?
  • This is why Microsoft must pursue the Andromeda device at all costs.
  • Yep, a cloud with no devices in the ecosystem to access it is only a curiosity. I love the sly way this article compares Microsoft's vision to a fog, that's about right. Cloud computing is a great idea, I don't think many here would disagree, but as the article acknowledges a cloud without devices to support it is not one of Microsoft's more impressive moves. It is highly device dependent, and when Google has all their devices clouded up, and Apple does the same, the problems with Microsoft's little fug will be very far reaching for their remaining, die hard customers.
  • Oh dear, the flaky WC app double posted again... Consider this copy deleted.
  • No devices to access it? My android phone can access One Note, One Drive, send message and call notifications to my pc, which I can reply to from my desk without taking my phone out. I can send pictures to my pc from my phone, view a website on my pc that I looked at on my phone etc etc. Millions of devices have access to MS Cloud infrastructure
  • That was 'no devices IN THE ECOSYSTEM to access it'. I think you misread? But all those non-MS devices do better accessing the cloud services of Google/Apple/Amazon. I can access MySpace on them too, but who would bother?
  • When Microsoft says they are focusing on "cloud", I think they mean their Azure services more than the Onedrive/Outlook thing.
  • But it means that MS don't actually NEED a 'phone' device, they are managing perfectly well without one is the point I was making.
  • I rather think the point of this cloud strategy is to make the ecosystem of the specific device irrelevant.
  • I believe Brian2014 understands The Ecosystem as it pertains to specific devices designed just for the platform, but that would only limit the usability of their cloud platform and therefore further reduce its reach to the masses. MS' Android apps are very good and it brings their cloud functionality to a huge userbase and thereby offer viable competition to Google/Apple/Amazon offerings - that's the whole point! Does MS want to shoot themselves in the foot? Of course not, and that is why their commitment to the Android OS is imperative to reach a broader spectrum. I, for one, prefer to use Microsoft's tools over Google's and I have been an Android user for over 8 years.
  • But won't Android users prefer Google Services....? What does MS have that is unique?
  • Lots. I am going to say that 85% of android users use windows based pcs. Therefore, most of them are using MS services. I am one of them. I love my windows pc. I use all ms based services, and can now access them all on my iPhone. Plus with dell mobile connect, I can send and receive texts and calls through my pc as well. I get value for my money with my ms services. Most android users would use ms based services I think. So, ms not having a mobile platform is no big deal as long as their apps on iOS and android are quality.......which they are.
  • "Whoever is interested in software should make their own hardware".
  • Sound like Zune and Windows Phone!
  • Yes, not sure comparing MS efforts to a fog was a good idea. Certainly spells out their recent consumer offerings though.
  • After dumping the Microsoft phones, I clearly see the Andromeda as Android_Media. And for the cloud, multi platform dreams are a time wasted, can't even see Outlook calendars in other than Win device. I kind of hate the Android phone thing but it is the only thing that gives me what I need in my daily life.
  • How's the surfing going Ace?
  • Sorry, but just one example that MS is totally incapable of serving the consumer space: music. yes, they do have onedrive where you could have one place to store all your music in the cloud. BUT they reduced free storage from 15 to 5 gb. they have no real music streaming platform anymore. they have player apps on android and windows that lack major features like: ratings, smart playlists, store on sd-card, etc. those would be little things to implement but MS obviously doesnt care about the most requested features of their users. dont want to talk about photos compared to google's solution....
  • I agree. Groove can be so much more, even without a dedicated subscription, it just needs a bit more work and it will be a great app, yet they removed some useful features, like playlist personalization, and I'm very afraid it will be killed all together. If that happens I don't even know what to do then...
  • You got Spotify. Why are you requesting features to Groove? And why would they bring you the feature, when one is not willing to pay for even an Office 365 subscription to have 1-2TB of OneDrive space?
  • Lol you can't compare Spotify with Groove on Windows. Groove is much more perfect and yet could have some more tweaks here and there. While Spotify is awful.
  • The rival is Amazon and its AWS. Not Apple, Linux. The services in AWS like RDS, S3 are far ahead of Azure ones.
  • That's the biggest problem with Microsoft moving to the cloud. A problem that Amazon have completely avoided by not killing off their user base. Sooner or later we all know Microsoft will pull the plug on the services you invest in, as Microsoft has MASSIVE commitment issues. Cloud services rely on two things in the main, quality UX bearing devices to access it, and an unwavering commitment to support from the service provider as no-one is going to accept the idea of handing off responsibility for running their systems to a third party who's willing to dump their product and run off at any moment. The cloud is all about trust, so the idea MS is well suited to attract customers to their remaining cloud services is laughable. Certainly Ol' Nads doesn't think attracting customers is the way forward, and after all the effort he has put in to achieve his vision that's probably the only choice Microsoft have left now. Sad times.
  • At least spin off those consumer businesses into a company that will care. When you have to split your allegiances to enterprise and consumer enterprise will almost always win and the stakeholders will agree.
  • Yep, but it's a very short term gain if your main attraction is that employees are more productive with your products/services. That increased productivity is born out of familiarity. Once Microsoft becomes something for the workplace only, that familiarity and so productivity benefit will sit with Apple/Google. I think that a shame. I'll miss Microsoft when they do fully retreat into obscurity. Much like I miss Sinclair which fell over when Sir Clive brought out the fantastic QL (the worlds first ever windows based computer and OS) but foolishly focussed it only at Enterprise. History repeats. Can we get a picture of Ol' Nads doing the Quantum Leap like the legendary Sir Clive advert?
  • @Mad Cow MCD; Exactly. What I don't understand is why the management is so against the consumer market? I mean what do they have so much against the consumer market yet they want a share of it because it's a $Billion dollar market and in reality is standing in the way of companies want to enter this market with Windows products. Easily, they could have with the Nokia team build a Mobile division and wp was growing with some very enticing devices but they step in and cut market growth actually completely cutting the roots of it and got rid of Balmer who I think did a fabulous job and if he stayed we would have had a wp today with an eco-system.
  • Jason is right in that Azure is a good move for Microsoft. It’s 95% knockoff of AWS, but there are some features like project Rome that set it apart. That said, the success of its cloud services long term is tied to the success of its devices. Why? Because the developers who actually write the code that plug into the back end heavily influence what cloud service provider a company or startup chooses. If you are an iOS or Android development shop, why would you choose to go with Azure? Does MS Graph and project Rome and “continue on pc” interest you so much that you would choose Azure over Amazon’s AWS or Google Cloud? In letting its ecosystem (the App Store in particular) and UWP, even win32 wither on the vine you drive away Windows developers en masse, the most likely people to buy into Azure and the MS Graph. Even Azure’s PAAS, which is enticing for existing enterprises who have existing Windows server farms becomes less and less relevant as companies do more and more of their coding on HTML 5, CSS, and jQuery which can all run just fine on Linux severs and MySQL. Case in point, my new CIO, who’s eager to make a name for himself in our rather large organization with hundreds of servers, guess where he wants to provision any new cloud servers? Yup AWS! Why? Because as he says many of our new apps are iOS based, Alexa skill based, or HTML 5, CSS, jQuery and not Microsoft’s lineup of XAML, Cortana skills, c#, .net framework. I think most MS fans want to see Azure succeed. It’s a great source of revenue for them! But driving developers into the arms of iOS, Android, Alexa, etc will only undermine that goal long term. Bottom line... the success of UWP, Win32 in specific instances, the App Store, Cortana, HoloLens, and yes this new Andromeda device = Success for Azure and AI. You can’t have one without the other.
  • You are very correct. The other key factor for committing to the cloud is the need to be sure of good on going support from the provider. But MS prove time and again that they will flake on a service or product at any moment.
  • Microsoft has a completely different take than Amazon. AWS is primarily IaaS, Azure is PaaS. They both have overlaps of course but MS wants you to rent a SQL database and pay by usage, Amz want's you to rent a server with x-cores, ram, and storage and don't care what database you use.
  • Beautifully said, jp144. Thank you.
  • @jp144; Thank you for your post I enjoyed reading and agree. They say the market don't need a 3rd eco-system; Do we need Toyota, Nissan, Honda? I would say no we don't need them but are they good for the market place? I would say yes because it increases choice, innovation and grows the market which includes jobs as well. Microsoft by cutting WM cut off a money avenue for developers and in my opinion I think that is quite selfish because developers are innovative thinkers with each new generation and all they need is the tools which Microsoft has.
  • Microsoft needs to get rid if CEO
  • Over a year now we have heard about how always connected PCs were going to be great and how they were the future for our children. Now we actually have machines available in the market and *crickets*. There is a new version of Windows on the market with new hardware choices and "Windows Central" has been totally silent on them. It seems like every site has been silent since their bad initial reviews. What gives?
  • They're probably just lost in the fog.
  • There hasn't been a new version of Windows with associated hardware for years. Windows news has been kinda slow for a while. Not sure what "fog" there is. I think it is obvious Microsoft has asked these publications to not cover WoA for some reason. Maybe until RS4 is completed?
  • MS is probably concerned that the type of undesirable advertising that would come out of such articles could attract customers, which would undo a lot of Ol' Nads' hard effort. If Microsoft wanted their products advertised they'd publish some adverts for them themselves. Having journalists undermine all that hard lost marketing capability would not be helpful to the company's foggy vision.
  • Yup. They aren't confident in the experience of those devices and initial reviews confirmed why.
  • Then I ask the same question again: Why on earth did they release a half baked product? They thought users are that stupid to take the bait again? And some here wonder why I say that MS is PATHETIC
  • Don't expect WC to criticize something MS related. Remember about one year ago, one year and a half, when all over WC every fanboy possible was barking about how bots will be the next big thing that will save MS platform? everyone was about hot bots are great and you won't need apps :)))) Now they do the same with PWAs...same barking.
  • Lol, sounds like a Warditorial I read
  • You should check your usage of "fog" in this context. "Fog Computing" is already a thing. It's used to describe edge-processing. Usually used in places where communication bandwidth is limited or the amount of data is to ridiculous to transmit. So you process the data locally before sending it to whatever cloud your using. You see this in video security, where the raw footage is downgraded for transmission, but the original data is held on the camera for a month in case it's needed. Good article as usual.
  • Yeah... I bet Skype chatbots will be all the rage... once they manage to get Skype to send messages again.
  • I remember about 1 year and so ago, all the fanboys were screaming that bots will be the next thing :))) that bots will replace apps :))) now the same pathetic fanboys scream about PWAs :))) Again, which ones will save MS :)))?
  • Most of these things were already implemented before it became labelled as the almighty "cloud", OneDrive syncing with Windows 8, OneNote syncing, Reading list, Cortana reminders, OneDrive placeholders. There's nothing "magical" or new going on, just expanding the availability of synced experiences to new products.
  • It's called 'retrenching'. That's the concept Ol' Nads is relying on for his legacy, so you'd best remember it. There'll be little else left.
  • "OneDrive syncing with Windows 8, OneNote syncing, Reading list, Cortana reminders, OneDrive placeholders. There's nothing "magical" or new going on" For me it's kind of magical that Microsoft still has problem with keeping our shopping list
    on OneNote in sync on two phones.
  • like video streaming or music streaming services Can Microsoft bring an app streaming service or game streaming service like nvidia did for their shield tablets that worked without external hardware?
  • Needs more Cloud Clipboard.
  • I really appreciate Jason's recent articles on Microsoft's restructuring and new focus. It's a refreshing take, and a welcome reprieve from other analysts who read doom and despair into everything Microsoft does. As a Windows user I think that there's a light at the end of this tunnel, but it's a long way off.
  • Actually I think a sense of urgency is entirely appropriate at this point.
  • Thanks alxqs. Just trying to provide a broader perspective. As I concede in this piece, products like smart speaker, phone etc that appeal to and excite consumers are evident sore points. What I see happening very often, however, is that there is a perception that failure in those areas means absolute doom in all that Microsoft does. That simply is not true and I think is an assessment rooted more in frustration, disappointment and anger rather than objective observation of the course of computing (transient and multi-platform) and Microsoft investing in the decades to come. That is not to say all that they do will succeed either, which s another misconception from some readers. It is simply a presentation of their strategy, its current impact and the company's desired outcome. Jumping on the doom and gloom bandwagon robs us of the opportunity to step back and objectively look at the big picture Microsoft is positioning for with a strategy that looks decades down the line at to where computing is going. Can they do better with projects that have any immediate impact? Absolutely! They seem to be letting the Harmon Kardon Cortana speaker die on the vine or instance. I get the frustration for immediate things, but pieces like this are to help people see that there's a broader context that we should consider as well, while still holding MS accountable for things they can do better.
  • Actually a little urgency on MS' part is a good thing. Much of MS' problem is due to a Pollyanna attitude that pervades their organization. Honestly I think they need a leader like Steve Jobs to come in and light some fires under some folks, especially in the Experiences and Devices division.
  • I read past the end and I'm still waiting for the misguided assessment part. :) I think you have to look at what the next generation of computer users are using while keeping in mind that people are less likely to switch as they get older. Products like office, onenote, graph, sway, timeline and Rome are all missing from my kids main computing platforms and they haven't seen anything on youtube to suggest they give any one of them a try. They do have access to the Cortana app on the xbox, but they correctly think it's lame. They think I'm kidding when I tell them that Cortana app is supposed to modeled after the one in Halo.
  • What is strange in a way, is that even kids these days, some of them if not the majority, think MS sucks and their products are crap, only fanbabies here still dream of pink ponies. I very often go with my kid in the park, and older ones that sit on the benches doing homework or whatever, either have ipads or chrombooks...some of them macbooks...and honestly I am happy for them not being part of the guinea pigs doing MS's dirty play.
  • MS are finished in the consumer market (apart from gaming) and there is no way back given their track record... I've come to terms with it... Because of their frankly appalling mismanagement of nearly all consumer ventures they have decided to play to their business strengths and who can blame them? Look at the share price... They better just hope that Apple Amazon and Google are happy owning the consumer market and do not decide to move heavily into enterprise or the game may one day be up... Eggs... Baskets...
  • Nadella should go. Soo many wasted opportunities, not mentioning total waste in the consumer space where they killed literally every single product with some potential. Yet another company reorg (cost cutting) means revenue target not met and there is only 1 person to blame for, yes it's the CEO. 10years ago 9 out of 10 people hated MS. Trend was reversed until the recent years when after strong years MS is getting to being a joke again. World will change after the Facebook gate, believe me. Trust into security of cloud based data got impacted big time. They should diversify their business. Let him go.
  • So your normal home consumer is more or less told to go away, everything in the article is for businesses and companies. Such a shame I can noT find a different OS that runs the software I use on my computer , because if I could I would tel MS to stick their cloud where the sun don't shine.
  • "Everything in the article is for business and companies"
    Hi, ad47uk. That's simply not true. 😉Those things are mentioned in the article, because, they affect consumers.
    OneNote, OneDrive, Sway, Cortana, Offce365 etc. Impacts consumers.
  • I don't use either of them. Things that affect me are in pretty bad state.
  • I agree, sure you may use them in life, like at work and not realise it, but for most people it will not make any difference, because they do not care as long as they can do what they need to do. What i want is an OS that is reliable and secure, that is it, I am not interested in using MS or any one else eco system to be honest, I do not even have an MS account, I do not have the need for one. Even most of the things on my Android phone is disabled, because I really do not need a phone that tracks me where i am going, I do not need to know the traffic is awful, I know it is awful, it always is here, not that it makes a difference to me as i do not drive. i know what the weather is when i look out of the window. unless i am making plans I really do not need to know the weather tomorrow or in two days time. I can't do anything about it anyway. i just want a system that runs the software I want to run and that is it, if Windows 8 worked on my computer I would have stuck to that. Mind you if windows 10 do not stop playing up on activation today I am going to scream.
  • I think you have proved my point Jason, Most of your normal windows home users will have any interest in what you have listed. some home users may use onedrive as it is free and there may be some like students who will use office 365. I have never even heard of sway until now and had a look to see what it is. The company I work for uses sharepoint and office 365 and other MS products, but it is only to make things easier for them, not for us and for what I do I only use it once every few months just for training. So these things will affect people in that htye use them, even if they don't realise they are. so I go back to what I said "Everything in the article is for business and companies"
  • Again, almost all of that is for business. I know very, VERY few consumers who use those features as your regular consumer. Don't get me wrong, generally speaking, I love the cloud and rely on it. But unless you live in more metropolitan areas, you simply can't RELY on it. As often as not, I have to choose to store locally most things on any given device because cell service is weak in most spots and there's not enough business concentration to find open wifi all over the place. Add to that the fact that Microsoft doesn't support their own ecosystem any longer but rather supports Android and iPhone heavily, and we further left in the cold out here. We use Office 365, particularly OneDrive, to coordinate family work. But Whiteboard? Nah. Timeline? Nope. Sway? You've got to be kidding. I still remain convinced that, as Microsoft moves to fold in Android and iPhone to easier access to their backend, you will steadily see all the frontend stuff Microsoft has just disappear. I just don't see them (and by 'them' I mean Nadella) caring enough to change that course.
  • yes, this fun lol I know Surface Team working on the Tablet-phones Smartphones and Smartwatch. Everybody can't see it because have to Much Hate for Microsoft.
  • what was that koolaid you fanboys are drinking..?
  • Sorry, wrong league please listen to your nannie and go back to kindergarten.
  • lol Thank you for the Laugh lol kid
  • There will come a time when companies will become smarter and start building their own cloud. The company I work for (and it's not even a huge company) is already doing it.
    What will happen to Microsoft then?
  • They will continue to dream about the next big thing they're gonna miss, while others move on.
  • I know it's now been 10 years since I left Microsoft's employ, but I have to say that while I'm ecstatic that Microsoft is heavily investing in Cloud technologies, I'm way more disappointed in the direction of their user-level software and devices. I get the feeling that Microsoft has lost their way. I've even installed Linux on one of my computers (using it more and more) and am even looking at converting even more computers over. Additionally, my non-technical family is asking me what's wrong with Microsoft as they replace their Windows devices with ChromeBooks and Android phones & tablets. As I've mentioned before, while the cloud is really nice to have, if Microsoft doesn't have great devices and software in our hands to use it, then there's no reason to stay with Microsoft. Right now, I see them on the same path as the old IBM as it shrank from being the top tech company.
  • You live in a bubble that doesn't represent the rest of the world. Families moving to Chromebooks and Android tablets? This is not even close to a trend anywhere. Chromebooks are pretty much unheard of anywhere outside of US primary schools and Android tablets are dying if not already dead.
  • Cloud cloud cloud. Yet quite a few business have security mandates that means microsofts offerings will never be used. Then you have the pro consumer market where security concerns and other reasons mean the cloud offerings will not be used over local storage and other solutions that provide more control for the user.
  • Yes, MS is going towards irrelevance. Trust in them has been shattered, except for a few desperate fanbabies.
  • Jason Ward... Once again no mention from you, or WC, about Andromeda.
    I've been feeling like you guys have given up on the idea of Andromeda, or that some internal news has made you guys change direction on that subject.. Am I right, or is everything (as far as you, and WC know) still on course?
  • They haven't even covered the WoA devices that were actually released. Looks like the user experience is as bad as we expected. Sure Andromeda will be the same.
  • No ******* body asked your pathetic broken record troll ass, and nobody gives a monkeys left nut if you continue to exist. Is your name Jason Ward❓
  • Waaaaaaahhhhhh. Rodney, you drop your pacifier again?
  • :))) Rodney, the truth hurts does it? Go back to your fantasy world and keep on **** Nadella's crap, maybe you will wake up someday..fanboy :)))
  • I tested the HP Envy x2 Snapdragon device for 2 weeks and the performance isn't bad at all as long as you stick with Windows Store apps.
    On the emulation end, it needs a beefier processor to make the experience acceptable.
    I see it as a perfect companion device to my desktop for on the go.
    The only reason I am not buying one right now is that I rather wait for the next processor which should put it to a level I believe would make it ideal for me.
    On the software side overall, though, I have zero complaints.
  • I kinda figured thats the exact experience that would be had with a lightweight processor. Emulation is a no go or very laggy with a snapdragon. Andromeda is going to be a dead duck using emulation (which you will need to be truly mobile).
  • Jason overdid it. Guess he realized it now.
  • I'd prefer the same article not be rewritten over & over again. There's no news, if there is I'm sure they'll write something.
  • Once again Jason, you've pretty much said it how I see it. I believe there is a possibility that with Adromeda/Polaris you may see Windows coming back into the consumer space more aggressively. If the focus is to "own the cloud" then they are unlikely to abandon the consumer space. Also Nadella has indicated they will be getting back into phones and devices in the future. What we've seen so far about Andromeda (software not hardware) would seem to indicate that this isn't just an approach to mobile, but the a fundamental change in the way Windows will function in the future. Once they have this foundational piece in place they are likely to devote more resources to devices of all kinds. I think Microsoft is possibly the best positioned company to control this high ground of the future. Alphabet/Google is in the running as well, but their reliance on an advertising model may work against them, as people have more and more privacy concerns. It's an interesting time to be alive.
  • I love MS products, but if I'm honest with myself I have to say that actually MS is not the best positioned company to own the cloud. AWS comes to mind simply because they did it first. MS has spent the last several years knocking off what AWS had already done back in 2006. And when people are copying you that's a pretty good indication that you are the leader. Plus Amazon has Alexa which is wildly popular and the leader in ambient computing to date. But long run I think Google is the absolutely best positioned. Google has tons of experience running their own cloud for just themselves. They also have the mobile devices, which is what puts them over the top. Plus G-Suite is actually a pretty productive viable and tempting alternative to Office 365 every bit as much for companies as it is for consumers. Case in point, our local community college runs all its faculty and students through G-Suite, quite successfully. In fact if Google just made a few key releases, which I'm surprised they have not done by now, I think they could rip MS' shirt right off. 1) release a version of the Android Studio (it's developer IDE) that runs completely on Chromebook giving developers essentially no reason anymore to own a pc 2) release some sort of game streaming service where people could turn their lightweight Chromebooks into gaming powerhouses and 3) release some sort of virtualized VMWareish cloud service for companies and consumers to run legacy Win32 apps.
  • "Plus Amazon has Alexa which is wildly popular " I suspect this is a US only comment.... the other 6.7 billion people do not seem to be served by Alexa outside US there are no Chromebooks, so very small niche market only 400 million US citizens qualify for chrome books. The rest of the world does not use Mickey Mouse stuff. Regarding Alexa sort of devices, not sure whether they will comply with European data privacy regulation that will come in to effect as of May 25th 2018.
  • I don't know how you could argue that Alexa is not clearly the leader in ambient computing, and yes worldwide. 38 countries compared to Cortana's 15. 25,000+ skills compared to Cortana's what 300+? Don't get me wrong I would LOVE to see those numbers change, but that's the main thrust of my argument. MS is so uber-focused on building out Azure and AI that they've lost focus of pretty much so anything else. Mobile, UWP, the app store, HoloLens and yes Cortana all lay withering on the vine, 1/2 baked products, while they focus on making Office 365 sentient! Meanwhile Amazon and Google are busy building devices that developers are lining up to build apps and "skills" for. And it's THOSE apps and skills that will be plugging into AWS and Google's cloud offerings - not Azure - unless MS gets its act together and starts giving some love to its own Mobile brand (Surface Phone/Andromeda/whatever)... the app store... HoloLens.... and yes Cortana, and wins back the trust of Windows developers... the most likely folks to plug into MS' cloud.
  • Don't like, don't need the evil thing. HDD are very cheap. My stuff stay only at home.
  • IBM ------> WebSphere
    IBM 2.0 ---> Azure Sphere (Linux OS) a disgrace to the Microsoft we knew I suggest you change the site name to azurecentral.com Windows is the hart of Microsoft and taking away the hart will leave you with a soulless company and that is exactly what is Nutella is doing.
    To prefer Linux above your own OS is a statement that you dont trust your own OS. why should we use windows anymore? or any other device they make?
  • Correction. Windows WAS the heart of MS. But that was 10 years ago, when Windows was powering 94% of all personal computing devices sold. Today, that percentage is down to about 15%. And dropping. Time to rename this place as "Microsoft Central", and focus on something else. Windows is about as relevant today as MySpace, cassette tapes and AM radio.
  • That's wrong, you don't change your hart if the competition is tough. your train more to have a stronger hart.
    Nutella is doing the opposite he is replacing core foundation platform from windows based to Linux based and I don't know why. Windows server are more than capable to do the same job as Linux servers if not better.
  • Microsoft did not "change their hart". BTW, the word is HEART. The competition is not just tough. The competition won. The marketplace forced the change. MS needs to focus on other areas is they wish to survive. "Windows everywhere" has failed.
  • Winning one round dosent mean winning always.
    The problem with this CEO is that he dont have the Microsoft DNA.
    He gives up too easily and have no pride for the company's core product. thats why the company will be irrelevant in the consumer space in the near future.
    "Azure Sphere" what a shame name for Microsoft product.
  • These days everything can fail if you do not put enough effort in supporting and promoting it. Combine this with mediocre quality and support and every piece of software/hw you give out, is doomed to fail and embarrass you even more. This is MS these days unfortunately...no interest in delivering quality products and services, quickly to abandon any project, no vision, and a stupid idea that rising the stock price by firing employees is a long term success.
  • Well, I want to purchase some software that is offered for MacOs and for Windows. But I must choose, license is not universal (or pay twice).
    Looks like with MacOs my investment is protected better.
  • Microsoft "FOG"
    Seems appropriate when referring to MS in the consumer space.
  • Nothing wrong in saying they do go full speed into irrelevance. Only a desperate fanboy would not see the reality.
  • Great article Jason. My thinking is, we want to be the kinds of enthusiastic groupies about Microsoft but "Cloud services" is not a Windows groupie make. We all know the desktop. Its working for me. But the fact is, where this CEO needs to be is over cloud services but not over Microsoft. There I said it. He has zero vision about what those that supported Microsoft for years need nor have a clue how to fill it. He has ZERO backbone for which those with talent in his orbit could pitch a tent to. He takes NO risks. In short, he is mad boring. BORING! I read his book. STODGY, afraid of failure aka won't take even reasonable risks and just BORING. He is a miser and he's selfish. He is great at cloud services. But totally vacant beyond that. I thought I would feel better after saying this but oddly, I don't.
  • The CEO is actually an employee of Apple.