Can Microsoft keep up with Apple in the race for AR/VR supremacy?

In 2015, Microsoft introduced HoloLens, a head-mounted Windows 10 computer that allows wearers to see and interact with holograms that overlay the real world. Windows Mixed Reality (previously called Windows Holographic) is the platform that powers Microsoft's AR and VR experiences.

HoloLens represents Microsoft's vision of a future of holographic computing. In a consumer-influenced age of personal computing, however, Microsoft has no consumer-facing AR devices in the market. To be fair, in 2015 CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that a consumer version of HoloLens isn't due until 2020. Recent news of Microsoft's skipping of the second generation HoloLens to "accelerate version three" positions that version to arrive a year earlier in 2019.

Still, Microsoft has little AR and VR mindshare because most consumers don't know about HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality. Though Microsoft is preparing for a push of consumer-focused VR headsets later this year, those efforts may come too late to solidify consumer mindshare.

Google Cardboard is already gaining mindshare as an affordable VR solution. And Pokemon Go introduced AR to millions of Android and iPhone users. Riding that wave of AR awareness Apple introduced ARKit at Apple's WWDC this year. ARKit enables Apple's 16 million registered developers to turn hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads into what Apple claims will be the world's largest AR platform.

Should Microsoft, with its install base of 500 million Windows Mixed Reality-equipped Windows 10 PCs, be worried? Absolutely.

What's happening with HoloLens?

Though HoloLens isn't ready for consumers, Microsoft garnered support from thousands of developers who purchased the $3,000 headset when it began shipping last year. In celebration of that one year anniversary, HoloLens creator Alex Kipman announced there are now 150 HoloLens-exclusive apps in the Windows Store.

That number doesn't sound impressive, particularly within the context of the "app-gap-plagued" Windows Store. Those apps, however, were produced from a very small HoloLens developer pool. Microsoft has also been methodic and deliberate with its introduction of HoloLens in specific markets and partnerships. A deluge of apps wouldn't be expected from this type of strategy of building tailored use cases while still developing the mixed reality platform.

NASA, Stryker, Lowes, Legendary Entertainment, the education sector and the U.S. Military are some entities that have embraced HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality.

Marketing mixed reality matters

According to an internal company memo, Microsoft's planning a more aggressive and consumer-facing push of Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens via a dedicated Mixed Reality Marketing team under the direction of Elizabeth Hamren, former CMO of Oculus VR, beginning later this year.

Corporate Vice President of Windows and Devices Yusef Mehdi said:

Combined with the significant marketing investment we are making for this coming holiday with mixed reality headsets marketed on Windows 10 PCs by the Windows 10 marketing team, we are set up to have an acceleration of our mixed reality initiative.

Microsoft's cautious approach to the market resulted in partnerships that demonstrate how AR can be effectively implemented. Furthermore, competition among hardware partners will yield mindshare and market-presence benefits as Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets begin hitting the market this year.

Apple's AR advantage

Apple has three distinct advantages over Microsoft. First, ARKit for iOS 11 will allow hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users to experience AR on devices they already own. Beginning at $299, Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets are affordable but a free upgrade to iOS 11 is inherently more accessible.

Apple's second advantage is its 16 million registered developers. If just 10 percent of them develop AR apps this year, 1.6 million developers will dwarf the mere thousands who've made the 150 HoloLens-specific apps. HoloLens is a full Windows 10 computer and can run any Windows program, but the library of HoloLens-specific apps is still (after a year) a mere 150.

Unlike Microsoft's mixed reality strategy that began in the enterprise, Apple is bringing AR directly to consumers. This approach will certainly build mindshare as developers bring AR games, utilities, social and other AR apps to the App Store.

Imagine an AR chess game overlaid on your kitchen table. Or an AR shopping experience, like the one Microsoft demonstrated with HoloLens where a holographic stool was placed in a room to determine its fit before purchase.

Such real life uses of AR will certainly be brought to market first by Apple, especially because Microsoft has only consumer-facing VR and no AR solutions headed to market in the near future.

The third advantage is that Apple is a master marketer. Microsoft is not.

Microsoft's AR advantage

Microsoft's head-mounted AR solution has a major advantage over Apple's clumsy iPhone-and-iPad-as-an-AR-viewfinder solution. HoloLens allows wearers to naturally and fluidly interact with their environments. Apple's solution encumbers a user's hands as they're forced to hold an iPhone or worse, an iPad, as an unnatural viewfinder for their world. This requirement awkwardly alters one's interaction with reality.

HoloLens's gaze tracking technology provide an AR solution without encumbering a user's hands. His eyes, not his hands, direct where AR artifacts are viewed. With HoloLens users can continue to look at their worlds, but Apple's solution forces users to look at their devices.

HoloLens creator Alex Kipman and the age of holograms.

HoloLens gives users the more realistic perspective of "being within" the augmented space rather than peering at pieces of it through a handheld screen. HoloLens's cameras map the entire space a user is in while also providing spatial sound. Consequently, users hear the direction digital artifacts are coming from even if they're not in the field of view, just as in real life. In addition to gaze, gesture and voice are methods of interacting in a HoloLens environment.

Microsoft's Mixed Reality strategy supports VR, includes Paint 3D so users can create 3D mixed reality content, provides Remix 3D where users can share 3D creations and is bringing the Windows 3D Capture app to market, so users can scan real objects to create 3D images.

Finally, Microsoft's skipping of the second generation HoloLens may result in a more refined version that consumers won't mind wearing publically. Which brings us back to Apple.

Apple's building the foundation for AR glasses

AR experiences on an iPhone and iPad are not Apple's endgame. The downsides to those cumbersome experiences are just the growing pains Apple's willing to endure as it builds the foundation for its next step in AR.

ARKit allows Apple to rally 16 million developers and hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users to create a vast, diverse and engaging ecosystem of AR apps in a fraction of the time it could take Microsoft to do the same. Microsoft built a wearable AR headset before it established an audience, ecosystem, and demand for AR. Apple's doing the opposite.

As AR apps populate the App Store and consumers experience and engage them, their desires for a more natural experience will also evolve. Apple will then satisfy that strategically manufactured demand with AR glasses that the company is likely already developing.

Just as Apple made smartwatches average consumers would wear, it won't settle for making anything less than aesthetically appealing AR glasses which are rumored for 2018, which would beat the next HoloLens.

Even if Apple waits until 2019 to launch its AR glasses, it will do so with the benefit of a robust ecosystem of AR specific apps and an engaged user base.

Will Microsoft be able to claim the same?

Don't miss parts one and two:

Jason Ward

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

  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Sadly Microsoft's lead in AR and VR and even a more advanced AR product in HoloLens has virtually no consumer mindshare. Microsoft has no AR device in the consumer space and VR headsets are "on the way." Apple's AR solution, though crude compared to the comprehensive capabilities of HoloLens, with its spatial sound, gesture, gaze and voice controls, and head-mounted position leaving hands unencumbered hands, is going to be in millions of iPhone and iPad users curios hands this year. Not to mention the support of millions of developers. This AR "phenomenon" by Apple for iPhone and iPad users will, of course, be covered by mainstream news further "marketing" and mainstreaming the experience. Meanwhile, Microsoft with its marketing push for mixed reality under the direction of Hamren as mentioned in the referenced internal memo above, will be fighting an uphill battle to be heard above the fervor if Apple's AR push. I can already see Apple usurping the airwaves and consumer conciousness with engaging TV ads for AR. Microsoft will be struggling to get consumers excited about VR headsets as the world will bevseeing Apple as the "innovator." With no consumer-facing AR solution, despite HoloLens' technological lead Microsoft will look like it's behind Apple innovation in AR. If nothing else as Microsoft promotes the various VR headsets this holiday season it needs to aggressively show TV ads, showing what its doing with HoloLens in various industries, (education, NASA, entertainment, retail, healthcare, etc) just for awareness and mindshare purposes. Well LET'S TALK!!!
  • Isn't MS already ahead?
  • no its not, read the article, the user base is Apple is much larger, they have more developers working on their platform than ours. They are creating the demand first, we created hardware first with the "hope" developers will come flocking to us and that has not happened...
  • Microsoft is making the same mistake as with Windows Phone. Developers will not come if there are no consumers. Consumers will not come because no one knows about this. MS for years was doing the same sh*t: let's build something and they will come. They won't come. You have to sell it. And this Hamren lady will start the marketing too late. They had HoloLens 18 months ago. Granted it wasn't ready but that's when they should've started the marketing, build the support in press, build the mindshare. Ahh, it's pointless to even talk about MS in consumer space. Waste of time
  • Microsoft attempted to sell Windows Phone. They had a huge marketing budget. That wasn't the issue. No amount of marketing will make up for a flawed product and Windows Phone was heavily flawed.
  • Wrong
  • I am absolutely right. Marketing was an issue for Windows Phone, but not because Microsoft didn't spend enough. Microsoft failed to get the right people excited about it because of its massively flaws. 1. Very limited hardware compatibility and it wasn't limited to the good hardware. It was limited to old hardware that wouldn't excite carriers or manufacturers. It is much easier for carriers and manufacturers to market Android and its spec race so they advertised and pushed Android, not Windows Phone. This was arguabily Windows Phone's biggest flaw. 2. No customizability. Even Manufacturers couldn't customize it. Again, that doesn't excite them to market or push Windows phone. I am 100% confident just these two issues killed any chance Windows Phone had. 3. Limited app APIs. Apps just couldn't be as cool on Windows Phone. This doesn't excite developers or users. This is a big negative to have along with #1 and #2. 4. Carried the Windows name. Windows wasn't seen as hip and cool. This might not have been an issue, but I bet it was. Windows brings thoughts of work machines and blue screens. I bet this hurt them. No matter how much Microsoft spent or how hard they tried, they had no chance. With all the carriers and manufacturers all pushing Android and ignoring Windows phone, Microsoft really had not chance. I don't know how you argue against that. Hindsight is 20/20 and we know the story now.
  • Obviously hindsight is not 20/20 since your claim that their marketing was ok is quite a novelty. Nevertheless, if what you're saying is true that means that Microsoft is screwed in consumer market because everything they do for customers is based on Windows and you say that people don't want Windows
  • Was Android dependent on Google for marketing? Did Google even market Android? Can you think of a single Google ad for Android? The only one I remember was the "Together, not the same" campaign and that was fairly recent. I do remember the Microsoft ads for WP7 being on TV all the time though. The biggest ad campaigns for Android were Verizon's Droid Does and Sprint/HTC for the Evo series. Ask yourself, why was Microsoft solely responsible for marketing? Why was HTC, Motorola, Samsung and the carriers pushing and marketing Android and ignoring Windows Phone?
  • Wrong.
  • How? Are you arguing that WP wasn't hardware limited? That it wasn't missing APIs? That manufacturers could customize it?
  • Marketing
  • Again, was Google solely responsible for marketing Android? Why was Verizon and Samsung and all the carriers advertising and marketing Android and not Windows Phone? How did Microsoft expect to compete 1 vs 100, especially when the gateway to the consumer (carriers) were also against them? Not creating a platform that sells itself was Microsoft's issue. Google's strategy (creating a platform that allowed and inspired manufacturers to create fantastic hardware and software) completely​ destroyed Microsoft's strategy (locking down everything and giving manufacturers no control). Google's strategy made it so they were not required to market their platform because everyone else would do it for them. Microsoft's strategy required them to be solely responsible for marketing. Which worked better?
  • the devices and the OS were fine - very good in fact, still use my 950 now. the marketing was the problem, they didnt invlve enough devs and didnt catch mind share with the minimum wage grunts who sell them in phone stores
  • "Fine" wasn't going to cut it in 2011 and most certainly wasn't sufficient in 2015. Fine would have worked in 2008. Microsoft was late to the party. They needed an outstanding platform if they wanted to make it. There was no room for mistakes, even in 2011.
  • You can´t be serious. I am trying to sell my 950xl asap to get an android phone.  W10M is so bugged i cannot stand it anymore. Bluetooth issues, spotify looks like beta, Camera App crashes frequently and takes 5 seconds saving every couple of pictures taken with HDR on. I have to reset my phone at least once a day. Sorry, i was a huge WP fan since Windows Phone 7, but Microsoft did a terrible job over the years.  I had 5 members of my family using Windows Phones and they all moved to android because of OS and Hardware problems, not because the lack of apps or anything else.
  • rodneyej is right - you're wrong.
  • Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollrs marketing Windows Phone. How is he right?! The platform was terrible from the start. Microsoft had no chance no matter how much they spent and how well they marketed it. People didn't like the platform, manufacturers didn't put much effort in and carriers largely ignored it. Marketing barely even came into play. Microsoft could have spent $10 billion in marketing, but it wouldn't have mattered because the carriers weren't interested in selling them and manufacturers didn't put much effort in. Marketing wasn't the issue. Rodneye and other Windows Phone fans just like that excuse because it sounds better than the truth, the platform was subpar.
  • Wrong
  • Right
  • Right
  • RIGHT.......Windows phone was flawed as is windows mobile now!
  • The Marketing was Flawed. Windows Phone / WIn10m was and is still best mobileOS.
  • Right
  • Wrong  
  • windows moible is far from the best MOBILE OS out there....being a mobile OS means being about to do things while mobile.  as of right now,  with the app situation you cannot do very much mobile other than surf the mobile payment options,  no major banking apps that take cheques via phone,  no mobile option like square to take payemnts....all hotel/car rental/resturant apps are either NOT there,  or just silly crappy web wrappers.  I could continue.....however,  you already know this but just dont want to admit it for some reason.
  • Microsoft attempted to sell Windows Phone. They had a huge marketing budget. That wasn't the issue. No amount of marketing will make up for a flawed product and Windows Phone was heavily flawed.
  • Wrong
  • Double wrong
  • 2011 Marketing budget - $500 million 2012 Marketing Budget from Samsung and Nokia! Surprising! Marketing didn't work: Windows Phone was too flawed to be succesful. Marketing only gets you so far. Windows Phone didn't have the experience needed to move the platform forward.   
  • You seem to not understand the difference between marketing budget and marketing quality. You can send a phone into space and it will cost you millions but won't have any effect in sales. I already gave you an example of stupid MS marketing efforts with Surface - $400 mil spent on NFL deal where they called them iPads virtually turning those $400 millions of Microsoft money into Apple's marketing.
  • Now it is quality of marketing, not amount of marketing. You think Nokia and Samsung didnt know how to market their products? At a certain point it is time to blame the experience and not the salesman. Microsoft has done ok with the surface products despite those NFL issues. The difference is the Surface experience is quite good. Marketing was able to get people in the door and the experience held them. Windows Phone was going into an established market. It was unable to compete successfully against the competition.
  • It's not "now". Let me explain again. Money - you send a phone into space, amount - you put posters with the phone on every tree in Amazon jungle, quality - you get to the right people. The fact that NFL was a disaster didn't change the fact that they actually did a lot of good things. Especially around Surface Pro 2 and after.
    One of the articles you posted in your comments says that mobile market is still in early stages. That was the one that claimed they were about to throw $400 million into WP7 launch. The article was from 2010. Now you're saying it was an established market... I see a bit of contradiction here.
  • Kinda getting it.
  • Exactly
  • 😂😂😂😂😂😂
  • I'm not going to discuss whether WP was flawed. There are different opinions but you can't say that a few first iterations of Android weren't incredibly flawed and yet they prevailed. And iPhone was also terribly limited in functionality for a few years (not even text messaging). In marketing product is not important. How you sell it is all that matters. Superiority of a product doesn't have much to do with its market success or failure. As for the huge marketing budget - don't know exact numbers but I can tell from my experience it was not visible and even when it was it was completely missed. Like with first Surface commercials - dancing people, making noise with kickstands. That might be good for brand awareness, on later stages. In marketing first you need to show customers why they should choose your product and that was not happening in this case - nobody was going to pay $500 for a tablet(or not tablet, no one knew) when they see iPads everywhere with colorful smooth animations and such. Another example of wasted huge marketing budget is MS deal with NFL. It cost them $400 mil if I remember correctly. Effect - they all called them iPads. As for WP I can't even really think of any significant commercials or any other marketing effort. Well, except the ones from Nokia that showed superiority of their cameras. And that had some effect. Nokia had been virtually non-existent in US before that and yet they managed to sell a few phones here and there, don't you agree? Besides that they just pushed millions of cheap lousy phones to people who don't bring money to developers, so most developers didn't even make apps. On the other hand, wherever you looked, on the streets, on TV, internet, you could easily see Android (mostly Samsung) and iPhone commercials, banners etc. That was a huge marketing budget and that was effective marketing. MS never managed to grasp how this works.
  • Yes, Android was not perfect upon launch but they were in the market as the only viable alternative to the expensive iphones. Yes the Iphone was not perfect but the only thing you could compare it with was the pocket pc and crackberry. No one remembers MS's first try at the phone and RIM did not evolve as quickly at the other boys, similar to where MS is today. The market strategy and department of MS is like every other org in MS, a complete and utter mess. Nokia is a well recognised brand across the world. US is a different story but everywhere else Nokia was the best phone money could buy. The got lost when they wanted to counter Android with thier own OS. They failed miserably at it, similar to where MS is at today with their mobile platform. Producing cheap crap was the strategy of MS and they thought it was a great idea. MS stopped the development of a high end device for cheap crap. Nokia had the market covered with phone for every budget but they never produced crap. Going back to marketing, again, every org in MS is like their marketing dept. totally and utterly useless....  
  • Nokia was a recognized brand in Europe and that's where WP actually had some significant success. But in US Nokia was virtually unknown and yet they managed to get 5% of the market at some point. Many people complained that it was MS that screwed up, Nokia was basically fixing what MS messed up until they couldn't handle it anymore and had to sell. Nokia IMO did what they could and everything that went bad was solely on MS. And it will be again.
  • If Nokia had significant success with WP then they wouldn't have left the market. Whatever market share they captured in Europe was solely based on the Nokia name being on the L520 and it being a good experience for the price. At higher price points, the experience was no longer superior to the competition and soon the competition caught up at the low price point as well. Microsoft didn't give Nokia the software they needed to take it to the next level. Any other explanation is just protecting the real issue, Microsoft's fairly to create a outstanding platform.
  • I will have to out and say it - you are an idiot and have obviously never used a Windows phone in anger!!
  • The first few version of Android definitely had flaws, but they were not fatal flaws. Maybe some performance or interface issues. Android did not have the fatal flaws that WP had. Android was more marketable so manufacturers and carriers marketed it more. Android's flaws were not readily apparent and didn't prevent it from being marketable.
  • Your calling it a flawed product is an opinion with which others disagree. I gave up on my Lumia Icon because of one thing only - the app gap. The product itself was great for me. I now use an Android flagship running Nougat. It's very nice, but in no way is it a better experience for me personally. Opinions clearly vary.
  • Marketing. Mindshare. Brand awareness. The only real functionally deficient spot was app gap. Sure, there were a few decisions that might have left one scratching their head, but through and through "heavily flawed" is not an accurate assessment or reduction.
  • "the user base is Apple is much larger, they have more developers working on their platform than ours" "we created hardware first with the "hope" developers will come flocking to us" These are crucial mistakes. You (and many others) are setting yourself up for a hostage situation and Microsoft has a sadly well worn track record as a monopolist when it has the opportunity or perceives the need. Microsoft gets lazy when they have a lead or have a monopoly. They're working really, really, really hard at AR/VR because they're behind the proverbial eight ball. They saw their "lead" they had with mobile devices in 2007 vanish, overnight ("we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones", Steve Ballmer). Now they're trying to recapture the moment with AR/VR. In the past decade (an eternity in the world of computing) and in the world of the operating system--what they're famous for--they've been relegated to third tier status on an entire new computing paradigm. Apple cornered the market on extremely profitable mobile devices with iOS. Google cornered search and service on the cheap/low margin end of those device with Android. All Microsoft has been able to do is establish a beachhead presence as a services provider. Now, back to the dangers of tieing yourself too closely to Microsoft: Look at what they've done with Windows 10 S and Edge--they're right back at it. On a desktop they've dictated that Bing will be the one and only default search engine for the default browser and EdgeHTML will be the one and only rendering engine ever allowed on Windows 10 S. There is a good chance that Windows 10 S will become the new consumer version of their OS--with no chance of another search engine or web browser rendering engine ever allowed. As for us vs. them: if you're not prepared to look at other technology companies you're limiting yourself. Apple makes a mean mobile phone. But, even more importantly, on Apple's mobile you find most of the hottest developers. If people are going to do something first, it's most likely happening on an iOS device. At this rate those hot new developments don't ever come to Windows. Look at the paucity of good software for Windows Store. For that matter, Windows Store, the software itself doesn't even work well. Recently I was trying to install an app, KidsVids, on multiple WIndows 10 devices and in multiple accounts on one device. I couldn't find the app, even though I typed in the right keywords. Amusingly enough, eventually, when I typed KidsVids in the search bar it appeared in the immediate list below the search bar, but, if I pressed enter the search results did not include KidsVids. The other thing I find strange is that there's no such thing as a cross-device "purchase history" for apps. I couldn't just pull up a list of apps that I'd purchased on a different device on my current device. These are things that I figure any app store would've have. Even the BlackBerry PlayBook's now long since obsolete store had that feature six years ago. Disclosure: aside from a rapidly ageing iPhone 4S I don't use any Apple products [anymore], and, even that ageing iPhone 4S was a hand-me-down from a brother who's far more addicted to upgrading technology than I am (I haven't bought an Apple product  for my own use since 2007... strangely enough that co-incided with the rise of the iPhone as a money maker for Apple ;).
  • Hi Rahul I'm nit sure if you had an opportunity to read the full article but, yes Microsoft is ahead of Apple technologically with HoloLens and Mixed Reality (AR/VR). But as far as execution I'm the consumer space with a paired down, far more cumbersome iteration of AR, Apple is coming to the stage with 16 million developers and hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users who only need to upgrade to iOS 11 to get a taste of AR. As it stands now there are no consumer-facing AR options from Microsoft and VR headsets are still months away. Apple's approach in my opinion is also multi-stepped as I pointed out in the piece. They will launch this clumsy iPhone and iPad version of AR now to get develope support, a slew of AR specific apps and consumer engagement. I don't think it will be too long before they come with step 2 which will be this own set of AR glasses to take advantage of the foundation step one lays.
  • As far as newer technologies go (and frankly everything MS puts it's hands on) MARKETING is, and always has been, the weakest link in the chain.
    How many times do I have to say it before Microsoft hears me? How many articles must you write correctly telling MS how to run business? Why do they refuse to do what we tell them to do? Lol😜
  • I could not agree more.  There are some really awesome MSFT products that will never get the chance to reach the full measure of their potential because MSFT cannot get its branding to the same level as Apple.  Kind of like @Simon Sinek says, you buy the lifestyle not the product.  No one tatoos P&G on their boddy but Harely Davidson is all over the place. MSFT has to figure out how to inspire the same feelings about buying their products as Apple fans have about Apple products.
  • Funny you mention that, because the emblem on my Harley Davidson Softail Breakout will most likely be my first tat..... See, Microsoft🙄
  • You are a sucker for punishment rodney,  first windows phone///now harley?  wow.  you poor poor soul!  Kidding btw,  had a cvo roadglide, and supercharged streetglide.   Speaking of marketing....Harley are the KINGS of marketing.  They are a merchandise company that sells motorcycles as accessories at this point!
  • ooooo downvoting for a joke.....
  • The issue here though has little to do with marketing. Apple's advantage is having a large user base of devices that they can make AR capable at no cost to the end user.
  • Windows will come ahead. AR is the next MOBILE EXPERIENCE.
    ha ha ha JK. If MS didn't keep burning it's little bridges maybe this wouldn't be a problem.
  • Everything has to do with marketing. Marketing is the beginning, and the end... Marketing is the chicken, and the egg... It's all about marketing.
  • Marketing will only get you so far. When someone buys your product and brings it home, it needs to perform and perform well. Otherwise they aren't buying another and they aren't going to tell their friends how great the experience is. Marketing only gets you in the door. Then the experience takes over.
  • nonsense
  • And, just how did they get that huge user base???
    You just said "the issue isn't with smoking cigarettes, it's with long cancer"...
    Root cause, dude.. And, if MS doesn't start doing something about the cause then your effect (user base) will always be negative.
  • Apple has that user base because they were able to combine a great product with successful marketing. People enjoyed their Apple products and told their friends. Apple kept the ball rolling and is now a juggernaut. I certainly enjoy Microsoft products, but I don't think they are as mass marketable as Apple's. Although I would prefer a Surface, I think most people will be happier with a MacBook. Really, Microsoft doesn't make products for normal people and that is why we love them.
  • Little to do with marketing on Apples side, but the point of this site is to discuss MS related matter (despite what your boy Mike Tanasychuck thinks)... So, marketing is an issue we already see with MS, and having no product to market to the average consumer is a marketing nightmare.
  • "MARKETING is, and always has been, the weakest link in the chain.
    How many times do I have to say it before Microsoft hears me?
    " Marketing, marketing, marketing. A familiar refrain here that's easy to say but completely misses the mark. Marketing is not Microsoft's weak point. They know how and when to market. For goodness sake, they're sitting on $100 US billion in cold, hard cash. They took XBox from 0 to competitor through brute force marketing (and, a Mac game :). They spent good money on the Zune. Their weakness is their corporate culture. In the last 30 years they've been a company that specializes in making technology affordalesomewhat accessible and to be the business solution. Apple, by comparison has gone for easily accessible but not particularly affordable. This has resulted in two very different corporate cultures and expertises. Unless Microsoft spins off certain divisions they're going to have a hard time competing with Apple in Apple's speciality which is making things easily accessible. It's the exact same reason Apple is not going to spin off macOS or iOS into their own divisions so they can compete on commodity hardware with Windows and Android. macOS and iOS sells hardware for Apple (and, act as a conduit for App Store and iTune Music Store sales). Apple gives the operating system away for free but makes profit on the high margin hardware and on aftermarket services. If they were to shift to selling the OS on cheap commodity hardware Apple would suddenly be competing with Microsoft and Android on their own home turf. It wouldn't work. When Apple tried that approach it hammered their bottom line because it's the OS that people wanted and the promptly ended the clone program. So, anyway, my point is that marketing is not Microsoft's achilles heel--it's its corporate culture and no amount of marketing is going to change that. In essence Microsoft needs to split itself up into independent parts if it's going to go after Apple's breakfast. Windows is becoming a much less important part of its income stream, so, things like its HoloLens experiments won't be given the freedom to compete that they need. Remember this: no amount of marketing is going to make the visionless shine and vision is not what Microsoft is good at. It's great at copying. No, it's not just great at copying, it has perfected copying. But, it's never mastered the art of invention and never will because that's not what it's corporate culture is built around. Apple is different in that they take good ideas with mediocre implementations and make them great implementations. Apple's marketing succeeds because it has products to sell that do a really good job of meeting people's needs or creating new, undiscovered solutions to undiscovered needs. Yes, marketing will get you to buy something once but it won't make you into a repeat customer if you're disappointed with the experience. Apple has a customer loyalty score that is the envy of the technology business--this is because it delivers what its users want, time and time again. We will never see Apple software on commodity hardware. Surface notwithstanding, we will never see Windows on premium hardware, unless Microsoft spins off Windows as a wholly independent company. The respective corporate cultures determine the types of products they sell and it's dangerous for either company to try to change course mid-stream if they're to remain profitable. Microsoft and Apple have both expanded into the services sector, but, that's a new business that didn't require a change in their existing business model. Changing their existing business model likely will not end up in great success. Microsoft is laying the ground work for a challenge to Apple's dominance in the high value computer hardware sales with the Surface, but, unless Surface andn Windows are spun off from Microsoft they won't have the frreedom to properly compete with Apple.
  • Sorry. Wrong.
  • I think the worst is that when there was no word from Apple on AR/VR, apple users may have been tempted to try the Microsoft recipe when it comes out. But now that Apple has shown what's ahead in the near future, I think most of the apple users are going to wait and see what Apple has to offer...
  • "when there was no word from Apple on AR/VR, apple users may have been tempted to try the Microsoft recipe when it comes out. ...I think most of the apple users are going to wait and see what Apple has to offer..." My prediction is that the vast majority of users don't care about AR/VR. The geeks, sure. I've tried a variety of AR and VR solutions. They're ho hum. Some potential for a game or a sales pitch but little more. It's a solution looking for a problem that cannot yet be solved or doesn't really need to be solved. VR may find a niche in video games, but, for now it's still in the very early experimental stages. AR, augemented reality, has aleady made its debut in a variety of apps on high end iPhones and Android phones. It works to a limited extent. For example, Google's Word Lens works quite nicely to translate things on-the-fly. It's not an Earth-shattering solution, but, it's a practical application of AR.
  • Not long anymore. Apple has a greater userbase now. More developers. And status. People will develop for iOS more than for Microsoft. While Microsoft openly develops Hololens for consumers, Apple develops something similar. If Microsoft realeases their product, Apple will do the same a bit later (maybe a year). Again more consumers, more developers. Microsoft lost already. But that's not really Microsofts fault, as iOS just has a much greater consumer base.
  • Check this.
    Microsoft doesn't stand a chance when trolls (and Apple fans) like Mike Tanasychuk, who work for huge sites like Mobile Nations, are allowed to infiltrate Windows related sites with articles that are not only totally irrelevant to MS, and Windows, but help move users away from MS products and services.
    This makes ZERO sense, and is the kind of hatred, and fate, that iDroid loving fans (like your very own Mike Tanasychuk) have wished on Microsoft for years.
    Jason Ward, if you are a true windows fan, then stories like the one your boy posted Friday about alternatives to MS products on OUR site should make your stomach churn.
    Microsoft's lack of effective marketing is already a nail in their coffin, when it comes to more modern technologies. The last thing they need is Mobile Nations, and editors like Mike Tanasychuk, making things that much harder on them........ Jason, what's your take on that?🤔🤔🤔🤔
  • lol, moving away from MS is a good thing for anyone.
  • It'll be the same old story.  MS comes up with a great idea and makes it public.  Others see it, and run with it a helluva lot faster than MS does.  MS finds itself playing catchup to it's own tech, and never gains decent mindshare or marketshare.  Surface and xbox are nice exceptions.  But I anticipate for Augmented Reality, history will repeat itself.  Apple and google will come out with better refined versions with more apps before MS can even bring something out to consumer market.  It will eventually lead to depleted sales in the enterprise space.  Then they'll change strategies and leave devs and fanbase consumers stranded.   I'm rooting for MS, but I'm tired of seeing the same story unfold.  Why are they SO FRICKEN SLOW SLOW SLOW SLOW SLOW?  
  • MS strategy of releasing tech to and then waiting for their partners to accelerate growth is a 90's model that continues to burn them.
    Phones, Surface range etc shows MS needs to take the lead like Apple does building products then throw it back to their partners. If MS ever wants to re claim any consumer mind share they must take the lead every time.
    Devs and partners have flocked to other OS's while MS sits on it's hands waiting for them to come back.
    "MS is not a hardware company"...they need to be.
  • "I'm rooting for MS, but I'm tired of seeing the same story unfold." I couldn't care a less who does it. If Microsoft does, good for them, if Apple does, good for them. What I want is that two companies, at the very least, succeed. Monopolies are bad. Microsoft proved that multiple times over. First with Windows on commodity hardware. Then with Internet Explorer after they used their monopoly position on cheap commodity hardware to illegally wipe out the competition. Whenever there's robust competition the marketplace benefits. When one fish gets too big they stagnate and stiffle innovation. Microsoft has used its dominant position in desktop OS to stiffle competitors at every turn. Apple's iOS may be dominant (in terms of profits) but it has to innovate with iOS because Android is nipping at its heels and will be happy to siphon off those profits. Microsoft had to innovate with Windows 10 because Apple successfully took over the $1000+ laptop market, the most lucrative part of desktop sales (IIRC a few years ago 70% of the $1000+ laptops sold were Macs... that's despite Apple only enjoying a 10% share of the desktop OS market as a whole). For Microsoft to succeed because it's Microsoft it's pointless, and, as history has shown, terrible for the marketplace. For Microsoft to succeed when faced with an equal or superior competitor--now, that's good for the market place because it means Microsoft won't be able to sit on its hands and watch the dollars roll in.
  • "Then they'll change strategies and leave devs and fanbase consumers stranded." Chasing fanbase consumers is a losing strategy for Microsoft because it does not have loyal customers. Microsoft customers are largely Microsoft out of necessity, not because they want to be Microsoft customers. When people start earning the big bucks they are often inclined to switch to Apple--which, over the decades has been forced to earn its customer's loyalty because, since the late-80's, they've been the underdog compared to Microsoft. That's a key difference between Microsoft's and Apple's business cultures. Microsoft has grown big through enforced loyalty because people couldn't afford Macs or did not believe they could do what they needed Macs to do. Apple had to approach things differently since they needed to give people a reason to break from 90-95% of users--their approach was to get computers "out of the way" and allow people to "just work". That philosophy generated loyalty. Microsoft has now had to eat humble pie in its failure to enter the mobile market, and, it has learned some tentative lessons from their failure. But, I don't think they're quite at Apple's philosophy level yet of "get technology out of the way". They've come a long way. I'm a true (IBM :) blue, dyed in the wool, long time Mac user (right from the very beginning as a young child) who now exclusively uses Windows 10--not because I dislike where Apple went with Mac OS X/Intel but because Windows came to me. That said, Microsoft's business culture still doesn't get Apple's philosophy all the time. For example, the touch component of Windows 10 is so mediocre it's frustrating. Releasing a half-baked web browser like Edge as the flag ship browser for their brand new OS in the face of refined products like FireFox and Chrome (and Safari) is just bone headed. These are things that should've been made to "just work". It's not hard to do things right with a browser. EdgeHTML was unnecessary. It hasn't proved to be a particularly good rendering engine and Microsoft built it from scratch. Instead, they could've gone a long way by taking Safari's or Chrome's or FireFox's rendering engines are refining them (I suspect that the Safari/Chrome licences would've been more to Microsoft's liking than FireFox's, though). That Microsoft released Edge as the laughing stock of the on-line world speaks volumes to the last remnants of their monopolistic arrogance: "because we're dominant we can give our users a really bad experience and expect them to stick with us". Guess what happened? Edge is now a polite euphemism for bad because it was so bad compared to the competition. Combined Edge and Internet Explorer don't even break the 10% mark of desktop browser share--this is despite the fact that only 10% of the world's desktops run on an OS that does not support either IE or Edge which mean people have to actively install FireFox or Chrome.
  • Why compare apples with oranges. A iPhone /ipad hardware can not be compared to a Hololens hardware.  Talking about the software, windows mixed reality is targeted not only on Hololens but desktops and laptops as well. Whereas, ARkit is only for iOS. Apple will only benefit from the apps it will have just like they already do. MS has created a new market completely separated from mobile phones;")
  • No, MS has created a new product, not a new market.. Does your mom know about it? Does your teacher know about it? Do your workmates know about it? Does anyone outside of enthusiast know about it?......
    And, your point is slightly irrelevant in this case, and doesn't pertain to what the article is talking about. Jason isn't comparing MS's mixed reality products to Apples.. Rather, the article is touching on how MS doesn't have a consumer product ready that can compete with Apple's.
  • The desktop is a dead paradigm. It works well for the traditional roles of document processing and certain types of creating but that's where it stops. Microsoft is yet again set to prove that they have a business culture that's good at following, refining and buying but terrible at innovating. Microsoft's efforts are great but they're theoretical. Microsoft is building all these wonderful software stacks, but, because Windows is all things to all people it by definition dilutes the vision. You've got a desktop interface that works on a tablet that works on an AR/VR goggle? Huh? What is Windows? What exactly is it for? Apple's approach is much clearer for developers and for users. iOS is for small form factor devices and touch. macOS is for desktop computing. Because iOS and macOS are essentially the same OS (Windows UWP anyone :) Apple can move its code back and forth. However, because the operating system is invisible (and irrelevant) it allows them to clearly demarcate their products--and innovate without contaminating other parts of the product stable if things go wrong. Consider Apple's recent success, separate from the 1980's and 1990's core business of selling desktop Mac computers. #1 The iPhone came out of the blue and not because Apple had carefully cultivated an ecosystem with developers and continuity with its biggest profit maker, the Mac. The only continuity was that it had iTunes. In many respects the earliest iPhone was little more than a glorified touch iPod. Everyone had tried their hand at building a smart device but they'd all failed: Apple's Newton (RIP), Palm (RIP), BlackBerry (RIP), Windows mobile (RIP). Apple, through it's next and earlier success, had stumbled on the right formula (that Google then successfully swooped in to copy and become the Windows of the mobile world edging out Microsoft and BlackBerry, effectively ending their efforts). #2 Apple came out of nowhere to gobble up the MP3 player market. They made one strategic purchase that proved to be visionary--SoundJam MP, now iTunes. With the simplicity of iTunes and its cross-platform reach it made the iPod an instant hit. Other much cheaper MP3 players were out there, but, they had mediocre or difficult-to-use software that made it hard to load songs or get songs which meant people didn't use them, even though they were cheap. Instead, iTunes "just worked". Plug in your MP3 player and you're off to the races. Rip your CDs and put them on your iPod. Microsoft is trying to create a market without a vision of "it just works". Jason's analysis is bang on the money. Carefully crafted ecosystems are not the place you win a market. Apple built on existing market but not a large software ecosystem to break open an entirely new market where others had failed. Apple is far better positioned to go the AR/VR route than is Microsoft. Apple has the single most valuable cohort of loyal users of its mobile touch hardware devices out there. They also have a massive developer base which dwarfs Microsoft's. Yes, Microsoft is on hundreds of millions of desktops, but, there aren't a whole lot of different pieces of software running on those desktops. People mostly use their desktop as a portal to the internet. Developers on Windows are also not well versed in developing for natural interactions--they've never had to think beyond the keyboard and the mouse while developers on mobile are already much more in tune with gestures. So, couple Apple's larger hip developer base with that developer base's experience with touch and natural motion and you've got a recipe for a successful launch of AR/VR. Microsoft is fighting the opposite battle. They may have the hardware, they may even have the developer software, but, they have no developers and they have no hardware market to put their AR/VR software on to. There is huge synergy between these iOS mobile devices and AR/VR, if AR/VR is even a viable user and NATURAL user interface. That's another thing, is there such a things as natural AR/VR? Apple has always been very shrewd about focusing on "it just works". Ever since they embarked on Macintosh they learned the lesson that "it just works" is the single most important thing in getting people to part with (lots of) their money. I don't quite see AR/VR being anywhere near ready for "it just works" type of success. The computer market has proved time and time again that early adopters are not necessarily rewarded for their efforts. In my example of the iPod and the iPhone above it was Apple's success with iTunes on the iPod that lead to the run-away success with the iPhone. When it was released the iPod was a Johnny Come Lately to the scene. PS There's a reason Mactintosh users and now iOS users are amongst the most loyal in the business despite sky high prices--Apple usually delivers on "it just works" when it comes to user interface design. For example, starting with the early Macs peripherals were expected to "just work". Take filesharing. Between Macs it was possible to mount a share in the late 80's using inexpensive serial (printer) cabling. It wasn't fast (4 KB/sec) but it "just worked" and it meant you could access another computer's floppy drive or HD as if they were mounted locally, on your desktop. This was at a time when such things were pipe dreams for DOS users and Windows 3.1 didn't even exist (I doubt 3.1 offered that level of simplicity in file sharing... but, it was a much later OS anyway). For that matter, even now it's sometimes a PITA to set up. Anyway, that loyalty pays dividends. Apple has delivered some amazing experiences to its iOS users over the past decade while Microsoft continues to be mostly absent from touch (notwithstanding its illfated efforts with Windows 8).
  • No, Microsoft will not keep up. Microsoft is GREAT at bringing new ideas, new concepts, partially to market, only to get distracted and fall behind or off the bandwagon altogether. We have seen this with so many products. Besides, they seemingly have the smallest marketing department (closet?) in all of business.
  • sidenote: wernt you working on senors for a new wearable??? Update???
  • Yes. We completed our work last year. We knew Band 3 was not going to happen as Band 3, but the tech supposedly would be put into another frame. MS was to buy a competitor and we may be asked to revise or even retool some of our work. This was in our clause, thus I knew Band 3 would not be made long ago. We have not been approached. MS is an interesting company. I do not mean what I am about to say in a dispirited way, but they remind me of a child. A child has its favorites, but it gets distracted easily. Often, with great zeal only to revert back to its favorites. To illustrate, what I just said, Windows OS is their favorite, extra things like Band, music players, VR, AR, whateverR are distractions. Because they are distractions, they eventually, often sooner than later, are discarded. This is my experience. Working with them is cool because they have lots of helpful tools and a large knowledge base. It makes me think of what it would be like to work at Hogwarts. A great awesome place where things that defy the imagination take place. The kicker is, you will be sent back to the world of muggles. You know the magic they possess is real and mighty, but it is only for a few lucky souls. I loved what I did. Nonetheless, I am still bitter because we worked really hard and wanted to see our work in the wild. So, muggles it is.
  • Wow, thanks for the down votes for simply sharing an experience. Worst thing WC ever did was give you savages a down vote tool. I said it when it was implemented and repeat it today.
  • Lots of people on this board are homers, you can't say anything that point out Microsoft shortcomings.
  • I could be wrong, but maybe some folks just don't buy your long-running stories about "this & that". They make for amusing fictional/factual reading, but maybe some think it's veering too much into troll/catfish territory, just a guess. Not sure it's fair to label them ALL as "savages"...  Some just may not buy or agree-with your stories, true or not (we can't verify the vast bulk of stuff you've claimed).
  • Well, WC already verified by way of comments, specifically Zac, regarding my "claims." Thus, I am not concerned with these other "folks" nor their, or more directly, your, opinions of my veracity. I never trolled. I shared an experience. You are trolling me.
  • I don't have an opinion on the veracity, can't recall all the specifics anymore anyway, just offering some ideas, as you seemed angered by the DV, not meaning to troll you, all good, BR!
  • You don't seem to be trolling to me so I gave you an upvote, interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. People unfortunately down vote for different reasons, even if it's they don't agree with you about something. Personally speaking, I usually only use it for downvoting trolls.
  • Thanks. We need more like you.
  • Your OP is spot, they dont follow through, the Band 3 only needed a better strap and a better battery. Microsoft gave up. And while my recently acquired Fitbit Charge 2 covers what the band lacked(good strap/battery), it still lacks all the features the Band brought to the table.
  • Trolling or not, when Band was canceled you stepped up and heralded that it's not canceled. You claimed that Band 3 WAS COMING. You didn't say maybe, probably, working on it, heard about plans. You said it was coming, as if you were in the top management and knew some secret master plans. Now you say that you knew long ago that it wasn't. Same way I can say Surface phone/Surface glasses or Surface car is coming and when it doesn't I'll just say that I knew long ago that it wasn't. The thing is that even if MS is working on something it means absolutely nothing so even if you were personally involved in development of a band of some sorts it really didn't mean anything. It was just one of many many many projects at MS destined to be canceled. And yet you came here throwing this supposed secret knowledge about inner workings at MS.
  • Hello, Thorgal. Thanks for the reply. I said it was coming as another wearable, the name would change, but the band, as far as functionality, would exist - hence the buyout of another company because of all the QC problems band 1 and 2 had.
  • You lost me here. Did MS actually buy some wearable company? I haven't heard anything of it.
  • "People unfortunately down vote for different reasons, even if it's they don't agree with you about something." Yep, that was my key point, agreed!  :)
  • You have my up vote...Many here are either savages, homers, or BAGs(Broke Ass Gamers), and they find any little thing to complain about. If you cant criticize the very people you fully support with your time and money, how can you be truly call yourself a supporter...
  • " Many here are either savages, homers, or BAGs(Broke Ass Gamers)" Or fanboys (and I mean that in a derogatory sense). This place is infested with fanboys who can't take even the slightest bit of criticism about Microsoft and will downvote you to oblivion if you do criticize. Seriously, even MSPU has become more tolerable than this place. Kind of wish that Windows Central just adopted disqus so that I can take advantage of my block list and filter out the dumb rabid MS fanboys.
  • catfish...have fun with the's great fun to see them twist and turn as soon as you say 1 thing negative about MS.
  • Many places are eliminating the downvote because it acts as a deterrent. What I'd like to see being able to hide is the low quality comments like the "I disagree" type of posts. I don't give a crap(fish) about whether a person disagrees, I want to know why. But, yes, I would love to mute the most whingy of fanbois and there are a few kicking around (trouble is that they sometimes have good points to rebut... and, once in a blue moon they have a legitimate point)
  • Ed,  Agreed.  the fangirls around here hide behind the downvote button. They have no reason why they disagree with true comments other than the fact that it's NOT MICROSOFT.   They have no argument other than that IF it's not Microsoft it's garbage.  Instead of giving hands on account/information.  Just like little children in the sandbox and someone says something they don't like,  they take their shovel and pail and cry home to mommy!  Everytime I see a downvote on my posts I call them out...give me a reason why you downvote a comment....Well besides getting downvoted for calling out the fangirls here.  Hell,  I even get downvoted for positive comments about microsoft....thats how childish the fangirls are here.   Whiny little children.  
  • Thanks. Everything you stated is why I'm done with Microsoft mostly
  • " Microsoft is GREAT at bringing new ideas, new concepts, partially to market, only to get distracted and fall behind or off the bandwagon altogether." Really? I'd describe them as the opposite. They're really good at copying but not particularly good at innovating. My experience as both a heavy Mac and now a heavy Windows user for thirty and twenty years, respectively, has been that Apple's good at taking weak implementations and making them sing, at a price. They identify weakness and elminate it. Microsoft has been good at taking weak implementations and making them kind of work at a lower up-front price (consider how many people have lost thousands of dollars of productivity to malware or ransomware on a Windows computer... the savings of buying a Windows-based computer probably pales compared to the dollar vallue of lost productivity or data). The consequence of Microsoft's approach is that they don't have a culture that focuses as obsessively on eliminating weakness. This is part of their corporate culture DNA and, it's a successful corporate culture (which both Apple and Microsoft have). A successful culture the last thing you want to change. The only way to change is if you create a whole new company. Microsoft's problem is that the market is more mature now and Apple is a known commodity, especially after its run-away success with iPhones. Apple's reputation for making solutions that "just work" has been cemented for the next few years. Microsoft's public face for much of the last twenty years has been Windows, Office and Internet Explorer and that too has left an impression. Office has been solid but completely lacking in substantive innovation (I recently used Office XP and there is no real difference between Office XP and Office 2016--they both still suck when it comes to placing images). After the browser wars were won--through what turned out to be illegal tactics (that Microsoft is set to repeat with Windows 10 S)--Internet Explorer was ignored and development ceased. In the case of Windows expediency of easy-to-install software was prioritized at the cost of security. Now Microsoft's consumer face is that it is a developer of mediocre, low quality, slow software. Windows was insecure for so long (95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) that it's now synonymous with insecure and slow. Windows 10 may be a great OS but its shared name with all the earlier incarnations of WIndows does it no good. Internet Explorer and its successor, Edge, are the laughing stock of the internet, shunned because the competition became much better, very quickly. And, even now, with a renewed focus on Edge, Microsoft's software is in distant fifth place (or even farther back) compared to the likes of Chrome, Safari, FireFox, Vivaldi, Opera and even smaller browsers.
  • If Apple sticks with the iPad/iphone linked version, MS can pull away by continuing to shrink and optimize HoloLens. Tablet AR is nothing new (my 3DS does a form), HoloLens is truly innovative.
  • Such a bias response.  Do you honestly think tablet/phone AR is Apple's end game here?  You focus your answer on what Microsoft can do while handicaping their competitor.  Obviously Apple is working on some sort of headset, they have multiple patent on this, this is just laying the groundwork for that.
  • agreed,  and I think apples head set will look like what tim has on in the picture,  and MS will be stuck with the hololens monstrosity.
  • Nope.  MS will develop a heads-up screen that covers your entire face and will annoint it as the "SurFACE" ;-)
  • ha ha...sur FACE!  nice one.   coming soon!
  • I think there are many more hololens applications developed, that are not present in the store. I saw demos with HoloLens by Grundfos and ABB, what sense would it make for them to publish the apps (already) in the store, when it is so company specific? I can't check, so maybe I am wrong, but I guess there is more than just the store.
    Looking through an Ipad might seem ok, but it is just a toy, compared to real handsfree AR. So as long as the only thing Apple can show is on a screen of a phone or tablet, I think Microsoft is in another league. But Apple is known for catching up fast... But the whole google glass concept failed, so apple has to show a lot more than a copy of that. And the onecore solution of microsoft isn't easy to copy.
  • You are absolutely Correct...BUT Microsoft doesnt have a marketing department ,SO, They will AGAIN LOSE
  • Marketing will be easy if Microsoft has a far superior implementation. Marketing will only get you so far. You need a great product to back it up.
  • Not always true. Get people to believe, that's the hard part.
  • No amount of Marketing will save a poor product. Apple is successful because they have good marketing and a great product to back it. Microsoft rarely gets the product right. In the cases where they do, marketing is easier because people actually enjoy them and word of mouth helps a ton. Surface is a good example.
  • I will have to disagree with you on this. Microsoft do make great products while on the other hand Apple products are a bit lackluster with the price tag they have. If you are talking about the phones, do remember the phones are still largely the legacy from Nokia.
  • Microsoft does have some great product. Sometimes the competition is better and/or has better marketing.
  • It doesn't matter how much better the consumer version of HoloLens is when it finally comes out. If by then Apple has a huge lead in the number of apps available, it will already be game over (at least for the mass consumer market). It's ALL ABOUT APPS. How many failures does Microsoft have to suffer through before they realize this???
  • I agree. Hololens and MR are no doubt the better solutions, but the slow pace and lack of apps will be big issue. Just imagine that after 2 years, when Hololens and MR are finally ready for customer market, Apple may also create similar (maybe not as good as) product under their own brand at that time, and they have much more apps than what Hololens / MR have.
  • Do we objectively know that hololens is better?  I have yet to see what hololens is capable off?  Up to this point 99% of us outside of some tech journalists have seen well edited videos.  At least with Apple we've seen and know what to expect.  To quote someone "What Apple's ARKit demo at WWDC live on an iPad is the kind of thing Hololens neds a camera crew and smoke and mirrors to pull of in public."  I can't blame the guy for saying this. 
  • I have had several chances to use hololens and windows MR. I would say the experience is well ahead of the handheld experience you can get with a handset. It's not consumer ready, the field of view needs to be wired, and in reality I think either a two part or tethered device would be better suited than the headset, but it's certainly far further down the track than screen AR
  • I've also had the wonderful opportunity to try out the Hololens. The capabilities are really endless, especially for education, industry and enterprise use.  Regular consumers could use the Hololens or a variant for gaming, navigation, fitness, home improvement and more. Just hope Microsoft can either make it happen first, or if not first, make it better and (the key) be able to show everyone how and why it is better.
  • You don't even know what Apple is going to release and Hololens is still a prototype. You cannot say it is a better solution with any confidence.
  • for a Microshit fanboy, everything MS does is better, no matter how pathetic and mediocre it looks or performs. For the moment, I could give a damn about AR/VR...maybe in about 5 years or so.
  • I would say AR is a new game here. There have been AR experiences on IOS for years, even Pokemon Go turned out to be something of a flash in the pan event. The IPad iPhone model is clumsy for AR, even the best looking experiences grow tiresome as you are always aware of the screen. I am not sure Hololens is the winning tool, but am sure the iPhone isn't
  • Endless more. And you can say the same about their fanboys...without dev support and APPS, their hololens will be useless!
  • VR will change personal computing about as much as the Segway changed personal transportation.
  • You mean not at all?
  • Exactly.
  • I remember when folks said the same about the iPhone and the iPad.
  • Well, neither of those devices required wearing goggles on your head.  The number of successful consumer devices that don't require wearing goggles is substaintially larger than the number of consumer devices that do require wearing goggles.
  • And it is very much within the realm of possibility that a hardware/tech advance can provide consumers with a low footprint, wearable device.
  • Google Glass 2.0?
  • I would disagree immensely.  If you are speaking about in the next few years, you are probably correct. But I think that in 20 years, the capabilities and usage of AR and VR will be deeply immersed into our children and grandkids every day lives. Smartphones have only been around for about 20 years and are now deeply entwined into our lives.  Who would've thought?
  • The deliver and input method they will be using hasn't been created yet. They won't be wearing goggles or holding handsets. No one has cracked the hard part of AR/VR.
  • The smartphone is a natural evolution of the computer.  I was webrowsing, emailing, instant mesaging, audio/video chatting on my computer long before the smart phone came along. The smartphone also obviated the need to carry around a point & shoot camera when digital photography became a thing people enjoyed (thanks Facebook).  AR & VR could definitely see use in niche or vertical industries (engineering, medicine, etc.) but as an everyday-consumer product? Maybe in 20 years? we'll see.
  • As I predicted two years ago, Apple will soon "invent" AR and VR, as if no such things existed before. The reality distortion field will be strong with this.
  • Someone is upset at the thought their supported company may not get all the hype.  This is the difference between doing research in public and doing so behind close door.  Microsoft showed hololens way too early as a way to get folks excited, and it did, now it looks like Apple will beat them to the punch as far as releasing something that will get millions to see what AR is capable off, untill the actual hardware device (headset of some sort) is ready.
  • Why do Apple haters always throw out the "invent" term, Apple themselves have never said it.
  • more like Microsoon fanboys that refuse to acknowledge the truth, that MS is simply pathetic.
  • I'm not entirely sure what your comment had to do with anything.
  • themselves never say it....just their lemmings
  • Until you dont have to wear a big stupid uncomfortable contraption on your head I, nor most of the general public, give two craps about AR/VR
  • I always forget how dumb the general public is...
  • that is the true problem, but nevertheless the reality
  • If the future of your product relies on people not wanting to mess up their hair, well,  perhaps your product needs a bit more work.
  • Is that what you call microsoft fanboys/girls now?  the general public?    got it!
  • Hence why now it i a non issue.
  • Well you have to start somewhere. I remember carrying around a bag phone.
  • I remember having to key up a repeater and talk to the local operator to use my first mobile phone!   Those were the days!
  • Apple is teaming up with Ikea to have your furniture visually in before you buy. Why couldn't Microsoft do that. Or are they just targeting Enterprise consumers.
  • What existing product could Microsoft use to do that? pc laptops?  You can already do that stuff with Ikea app today, althought they (Ikea) say this will take it to another level and make it more accessble.  I will wait and see before I pass judgement.  Microsoft problem is losing mobile, because Apple and Google are using their lead in mobile to launch their other stuff, and Microsoft have a huge handicap there.
  • These experiences are poor and gimicy, apple risk doing more harm than good by pushing that as True AR, the experience they are talking about has been around since the days of HERE Maps. Try the dulux paint app and then you get an idea of what screen AR is, best case scenario try blippar. Nice but not the AR experience the market is waiting for
  • They did.  At Lowes. Kitchen design.  Don't know how/where it rolled out.
  • I would assume the ikea/apple thing will roll out all over Europe. MS have tunnel vision and focus very much on US - fair enough they are an American company but so are Apple, Google and Amazon and they all manage to release services and products into Europe without much hassle. Microsoft rarely has the problem that the tech isn't good, just their execution of marketing and actually moving along releases to other countries. Mr Catfish said it well with the analogy that MS are a bit like a child, they get distracted with things that they do fairly well only to give up and go back to their core OS
  • Ikea already does that with VR using the HTC Vive. Lowes already has  asimilar AR setup with Hololens. So Microsoft IS already doing that .TWICE.
  • How many people do you know who can use the LOWE'S AR setup? ......NONE.   Apple and ikea has a polished product being released soon...yep it's on the phone screen,  but guess what.....thats only going to be a blip in the radar when Apple releases their wearable.  
  • Just as with the video/disc format war, they who get the porn industry behind them will win. Seeing how Apple blocks anything sexual from the store Microsoft might have a chance...
  • Microsoft Needs Bill Gates Back... He would at least Market Products, back in the day.... Now, NADA.. Very Sad...NEW Leadership Needed Badly!
  • Microsoft are really pathetic. They showed this prototype device, called HoloLens in 2015 (and in 2017 it is still just a prototype) with the only reason to say that they were first at something and say that they invented a category, trying to catch "the next big thing" (that noone on the planet cares about almost 3 years later) and to reproduce the iPhone 2007 success. I cannot imagine how more pathetic can you be, really. Pathetic is the only word actually. So much desperation
  • I do not agree with your sentiment here.  You have to remember who made the decision to make Hololens public (Nedella).at the time he just took over the ceo gig and Microsoft was not part of the conversation.  Showing hololens was a way to change the Microsoft narrative and make Microsot seems cool and innovative.  Following that logic, hololens did the trick, it changed the Microsoft narrative and the stock took off.  Google does that all the times with their moonshot projects.  Those things most of the times are there as pr, marketing and to keep stock prices up.  That's why I am not a fan whenever I see companies do those sort of thing.  It's also why I like Apple approach to show me their product when it's ready.  Every company have cool stuff in their labs, as a consumert it means nothing to me if I can't buy it.
  • Exactly! At least one guy gets it. Hollow companies like Microsoft that think only about numbers. Sad and pathetic.
  • Good point there but, showing Hololens did not make them cool, except among a few remaining fans. They realy tought that users will simply forget all the crap they did? all the ditch and runs, half baked products, lies, lack of commitment, bugs bugs bugs...? :))) Releasing a half baked prototype product does not make you cool, it makes you look desperate and extremely pathetic.
  • Shh, don't tell this truth in Daniel Rubino's website.
  • HoloLens in 2017 is not a prototype. It is a finished produst, just not a consumer product. 
  • No it is just a prototype with polished edges. Nothing but a prototype that shoud have just stayed in the labs for many more years to come, because it have so many flaws for a FINISHED product that no other company except for pathetic MS, that wanted only to say they are first at anything "trendy" would have released like Apple or Amazon.
  • Well, according to Microsoon, Hololens is a finished product just like windows 10 mobile was when they launched it to public with the x50 phones, just like windows 10 for PC was ready when they launched the free public upgrade...I got used to MS releasing half baked buggy products and call them finished.
  • AR is as important as VR at this point, i tisn't. It's been around for at least 5 years and so far ho hum.
  • IMO AR is MORE important than VR.  
  • HoloLens is just another product with great potential that MS will forget about and everyone else will eat their lunch. MS is such a waste of technology.
  • Not 100 % true.   I think MS has made MANY MANY dumb decisions in the past few years.  But as mentioned above,  they are using hololens in a different capacity than apple intends to.   As such,  MS does not care about consumer useage.   Therefore,  apples headset will be sleek like just a pair of easy to wear lightweight reading glasses with with cameras built into the frames.   It will use your iphone or ipad to power and just connect via wireless.  So essentially, it will be a pair of normal glasses,  that you can wear and will look like normal glasses.   NOT some ginormous helmet from HALO!.......THAT'S where Apple will kill anything microsoft does.  Microsoft will be used at NASA,  in hospitals, training with the military etc....and apple will be what the public sees and uses to do cool things with.
  • what apple will do is. it will develop AR glass with iOS support and they will already have ar apps for that , developers and consumers too.
  • I don't think 2D based AR will have a meaningful impact. Having used both Tango and HoloLens it is clear to me that the effect HoloLens has is a gamechanger. Tango (and ARKit) just deliver something that was possible (and ignored) for a decade. Having to move around with your display is just not fun.
  • Agreed screen AR will kill the AR market for another five years
  • This is just the first step. They are preparing to launch a headset in 1 or 2 years. 
  • I don't see how your correlating a massively limited AR game in Pokémon Go that hardly anyone plays anymore to Hololens. One is a gimmick on a phone. That cannot be used practically for any real world scenarios. VR for phones i actually don't know a single person in my life or Facebook life who has ever used it. AR is alot more complex than simply having your phone screen display something overlaying on the Camera app. Lol. HoloLens is not even in the same ball park. And MS are so far ahead of that curve Apple have a long long way to go before they get anywhere close. Phones won't be the same market over the next 5 years. The gimmickiness of phones within the circles i travel in have worn off. 5 years ago people still got excited by phones. Not anymore. Until the next phase happens, phones are always the same. Just with wait for it, no edges!!!!!!!
  • How is Microsoft better/ahead when 99% of us have only seen carefully edited videos.  At least Apple showed a live demo on stage and we can all see it.  Outside of some tech journalist and a few partners/developers, none of us have seen a live image.  And those who have seen it have been harsh on it.  Again, Microsoft needs to stop with those videos and show me the real thing, until then, their so called lead in non existent.
  • HoloLens is already being used. Nasa have it. They train with it. It's in Formula 1, the health service and it already helps design buildings. As i said, what Apple showed is overlay. Nothing more. It's not real AR. It's not mixed reality. It's camera screen overlay tech. Nit real AR.
  • Pokemon Go is an entertainment videogame, target users are young kids and teenagers, while Minecraft for education is an education videogame where target users are college students, and even graduate people working on a PhD working on architecture, computer science, computational physics, etc can benefit from AR with Minecraft.  The problem here is that Minecraft is still seen by some schools as an entertainment game but there is a separate branch which is aimed for education only, I think AR and Minecraft for education could be a great launch to market from Microsoft in Universities across the world.
  • AR is exactly what you described. It is using the camera and overlaying objects and mixing them with the real world. Microsoft, Google and Apple's current implementation is just the start. That is the easy part and Apple is finally getting there. The hard part of AR is how you interact with it. I haven't seen any indication that anyone has figured it out. The input method will be the make or break part of the equation. It seems to me that it needs to be able to perfectly track even subtle hand/body movements and be extremely responsive to them. When someone figures that out, everything else will come together easily. I am no Apple fan, but I have more faith in then figuring this out. Microsoft and Google have a poor track record of making great user interfaces.
  • No its not. No more than playing a game on a screen is VR. HoloLens immerses you with a mix of 2 worlds. You cannot walk around in a 3D space building with your hands on an Overlayed Screen Ipad. Which is why you will never see Architects build with it for example. There are even police forces already trialing Hololens helmets which give them overviews in the field of vision of blueprints, movement etc etc. HoloLens is in alot of hands already. And this gimmicky Overlay screen rubbish is no different to that DS game Nintendo made with the Camera and you move the DS round shooting over layed bad guys in your living room. Which came out in 2008.
  • Apple is just starting to release their implementation. Moving the iPad screen into a set of goggles or whatever will be the easy part. Getting developers, quality software and a great input method is the hard part. No one has that yet. Microsoft is 5-10 years out before Hololens is ready according to Phil Spencer: So much for Microsoft having any sort of headstart.
  • It does seem like HoloLens like other could have been great Microsoft projects is confined to the scrap heap.
  • As usual, Apple could end up being dead last but will be considerd to be, not only first, but the originators and creators of the tech.
  • No it won't, it never is, who thinks up this stuff?
  • This is where Microsoft can not affored to loss. I see this as one of the biggest changes in computing. In the business world and in the consumer market. AR + IA will pe how business become more productive.  It will be good for production, training, sales, Inventory tracking, business inteligence.
  • It's all about accessibility.  Having a mobile device in your pocket trumps everything else these days... giving up on mobile will hurt forevermore :(
  • Apple will add this features to not fall back too much. Their main adversary is Android, and Android will win this in consumer space, because it is the must-have platform. Microsoft, if it plays the right cards, will retain a high-quality business-focused part of the market, plus high-end gaming.
  • Too often, it seems MS has no real sense of urgency.
  • Why should they,  26 billion for business facebook.  Got all their income from selling peoples data from that.  Who cares now at this point!
  • I really can't see how Msoft can compete. When the developer support enjoyed by Apple and Android get behind consumer ready AR tech Microsoft will pull out of the race and focus on Windows 10 but it'll be ok because they'll say they are working on the next big thing so that they can get ahead of the game. How long the Windows cashcow will encourage it's shareholders to follow this line i don't know.
  • AR will be won in wearable tech and 3D AR, Microsoft need developers sure, but they are asking the right questions apple are raising the same questions blippar did a decade ago
  • "Windows cashcow" I'm not so sure Windows is a major cashcow anymore for Microsoft. It's a conduit for sales of Office and to drive people to Bing using Edge, but, aside from that its days as being synonymous with Microsoft are numbered. Microsoft has diversified and earns its money from a lot of sources, just like Apple. Once upon a time, Mac was synonymous with Apple--this lasted two whole decades. Now Apple earns more from its services division than it does from Mac and it earns something like 6 times as much from iPhones as it does from Mac. PS Yes, I do see Microsoft having a hard time competing with iOS and Android. The initial phases of AR will come through high end mobile devices with good cameras. The rise of the twinned cameras certainly opens up opportunity for depth perception. I saw some of Google's experiments on a high end Android phone not too long ago and was quite impressed. If experimental tech on phones not even designed for AR is functional, when manufacturers start building in the details it'll become usable and it'll become usable without having to buy a dedicated device. This is Microsoft's weakness. It does not have the ecosystem to support a general purpose device. Essentially they'll need to create an AR/VR mobile phone-like thing. Yes, they've got UWP with their vision of a vertically integrated Windows which in theory gives them a mobile OS. Unfortunately developers haven't flocked to UWP and are still not flocking to it and mobile device manufacturers have been burned a few too many times by Microsoft (and, Microsoft even destroyed Nokia for no real purpose) to bother with Windows mobile. Where Microsoft might succeed is if they were to fork Android and come out with a Micro-droid OS. The developer ecosystem already exists, and the hardware ecosystem exists. Microsoft even has its own mobile services to compete with Google's Apps/Maps/Mail. PS An interesting take on Apple's income (and the caveats could just as easily apply to Microsoft... and some of the uncredited cautionary tales are Microsoft): At QZ look for the-second-largest-part-of-apples-revenue-now-comes-from-something-called-services.
  • I think one of the reasons Microsoft purchased Minecraft was to bring AR technology to this amazing community of users.  What happened to that, is Microsoft ready to release Minecraft for AR on education market? Then continue with consumer market?
  • "The best is yet to come" from the second embedded video. That is the mantra of Microsoft. I see Microsoft's issues as manifold: 1. They are primarily a business-oriented (and increasingly education) software company, so they are really focused on business use cases (small and enterprise). Just look at their product demos, and even these ads, which are more of school projects, classes, design studios, health, etc. Nothing consumer- (consumption-) leaning. 2. Their failures are blown up beyond proportion by a rabid press. They are trying to be careful about failing on the first try, and rather having an ecosystem of sorts first. If they release something only *as good* as Google, or even Apple, it will be ignored. I mean, it took the outstanding quality of the most recent Surface products - Studio, Laptop - to get sites like the Verge to give above average reviews to MS. 3. Microsoft has not shown a strong mobile play (read smartphone) with AR, meanwhile like Jason said in the article, Pokémon for Android, and the new Apple AR are on devices (form factors) people already use and are heavily, personally invested in, and will not change anytime soon. 4. Microsoft don't always know how to market compellingly to the *present*, but rather they have lots of future-facing ideas and product pipelines. They don't seem to be able to make the present seem like the future, except maybe the Surface team, and to a lesser extent Xbox. Maybe Panos needs to head all Microsoft device efforts and force product shipping down strict deadlines. Ship and iterate! It took five generations for the Surface Pro to really meet its promise. But, Apple can quickly sink it for HoloLens in spite of Microsoft's lead (same for other products) if they do not respond loudly and boldly. Doesn't matter if you have bigger guns if the other person already shot you.
  • without a doubt. MS moves slowly and gets distracted.... apple already making moves:
  • Looks like They are copying the 18years old ARTOOLKIT and now they invented it. Lol
  • Like everything Microsoft does, they invent something that brings the tech industry forward. But their inability to market to consumers let's all their competition catch up and over take them. Microsoft has some great devs with innovative ideas, they just don't have the marketing department to give those ideas a chance at success.
  • I have tried apps with AR on iPad and it was awkward to be honest. The immersive hololens makes sense, but again not consumer ready. So yeah Apple will beat them only with users who are sold to Apple devices. I personally stopped using the ipad, kept dieing after 2 years.
  • Apple has never even shown anything like this:
  • They will soon and the media will go crazy about how they just evented the next best thing.
  • Media for Apple are like prophets for religion! And religions last centuries, but do slow down knowledge! Anyhow, Apple’s iPad VR implementation is like a kindergarten’s implementation; basically, media has complained about Hololens’ limited field of view, yet that silly holding an iPad in front of you only gives you a much lesser field of view, unless you put it very close to your eyes, which is even sillier. The most important thing about Hololens is that VR images can stay still at walls, tables, etc. even if you move your head around, try moving the iPad around and still see the prat of the image left behind. That’s not VR, that’s just a silly overlay cheap Pockemon copy!
  • Maybe Microsoft should supply the headset to Apple
  • please haha if there is one thing Apple does not need from MS, is its shotty hardware. Apple leads in that category and has for some time.
  • Apple would never buy that horrific robocop thing...
  • Ohhhhh, Jason.... Again
  • The odds are stacked against MS but the one thing they can do that Apple can't is create an ecosystem for the most popular desktop OS system and one of the most popular consumer devices in the xbox where they integrate AR and VR into a seamless environment where you actually can get real work done while also combining it with play through the xbox ecosystem. Make one of the most immersive collaborative environments combining existing VR assets with the new low cost mixed reality ones and hololens on the ultra highend and market the hell out of it to businesses and education while Apple's AR would be relegated to Pokemon go clones and the basic AR that's been here for tablets forever. Exploit the main weakness of Apple's solution of not being able to detect walls which prevents pinning screens etc. on walls and it's requirement that you hold the device in your hand and also have to use the same device for input and movement. MS should also bring gaze input to normal webcams to extend that 3d environment to all users with a webcam.
  • I think pretty much mixed reality is MSFTs way of bring more devs in. Ultimately it seems to be the "entry level" experience that creates a taste in the market, like google cardboard, or free to air TV, and the "quality" experience that seems to dominate later on in the game. I've seem MSFTs experimental new glasses, the ones that are just the shape of regular glasses (and need an external driver), and I hope this becomes a consumer product, because that is what people will really want. The bulkiness of VR headsets, AR headsets, and using screens as viewfinders, are all in a way obstacles - you want something you can wear all the time if you want, without getting hot, uncomfortable, and interacting normally with other people. A replacement screen for your phone, your computer and TV. I think too, AR is more beneficial to MSFT, because desktop apps work better on bigger screens, whereas tablet and smartphone apps work better on smaller screens. Apple no doubt will get a bit of a drop on MSFT however by having AR on its current devices, but its likely to be very poor in quality given AR camera based solutions usually come equipped with depth sensors and all sorts. It will be essentially the google cardboard of AR - the utter most entry level, but also absolutely worst, version of the experience.
  • I just love reading those homer comments, lol. Here is the thing, Apple will bring AR in 3 months to millions of their users for free. A tons of developers will jump on the bandwagon gold rush as usual. We will get a ton of crappy stuff, but also some good stuff will also come out of those. We have not seen Apple AR hardware yet but most of the commenters here somehow already declare it a fail and Microsoft have nothing to worry about, rolled eyes...
  • Microsoft is touring around the country now having  "HoloHack" weekends, where they get involved with the local VR community and get a bunch of folks together to develop HoloLens apps over 48 hours. It's free, and the one here in Silicon Valley was well attended and gained a lot of appreciation for HoloLens among those I talked to at the event.  I think their focus is to get mindshare among the industry leaders and to get developer interest, more than it is to build mindshare among consumers right now. Whether that is good or not time will tell, but the HoloHack was a lot of fun either way. 
  • MS does ALOT of things in the beginning with things,  and talks a great we all know...they TALK.   Apple DOES things.  You can bet your ass that at the new iphone release,  they will be hinting at their wearable AR device.  and it won't be a gangly monstrosity like hololens.   I can give tons of examples where microsoft does not back up their talk.   Apple,  NOT SO MUCH!
  • Keep up with apple? Oh come on. Apple is in Third place with their platform. IOS being more significant in VR/AR then Microsoft/windows and the power of a PC or Xbox OX or HoloLens vs. a phone that can do some fun parlor tricks? Jeez
  • If you exclude the enterprise market (and I guess you do as enterprises don't buy Xbox in volume), Apple is by far the leader. No one matches the money that Apple gives to consumer developers. Considering the gaming, I would agree with you and it might be the most important use case for AR. But in other use cases tethered device doesn't work. That's why Microsoft has built Hololens at all.
  • I see one problem for Microsoft here - if Apple can sense environment in a reasonable way without the custom chip and sensors built for that, they can clearly produce cheaper device that does the (at least nearly) same thing. If that's true (and it is hard to estimate yet), then the whole Hololens strategy is obsolete.
  • Doing better than Microsoft in marketing is easy...
  • Jason, you seem to be playing the role of Windows Central's Devils Advocate. Yes it will be hard to go up against Apple, just because they have so much money and rely upon buying tech from other companies tather than developing their own. if you were to truly look at the ibg picture for AR/VR you would see MS mapping AR/VR across the whole UWP multiverse- I would like to see MS investing in decent developer support and releasing a consumer mobile AR device perhaps Qualcomm 835 based in an all in one headset similar to the $100 Android sets. I am not sure Apple and Cook will have the cahunas to launch a device that will be AR approachable at a consumer pricepoint - just because an iPad can do AR doesnt mean all these apps will be used by 'losers' wandering around hlding up their iPads to get an overlay.  
  • MS hasn'tr released any consumer AR device yet, devs do not give a damn about UWP and who on earth would trust MS to deliver something good?
  • @tchncllyspkng: "Jason, you seem to be playing the role of Windows Central's Devils Advocate." He's perhaps one of the more realistic authors here but he still sometimes uses lazy sops about Apple in his writing. "Yes it will be hard to go up against Apple, just because they have so much money and rely upon buying tech from other companies tather than developing their own." You're talking about Microsoft buying tech rather than developing their own, right? Bungie (for a Mac game)? Skype? LinkedIn? Nokia? They weren't independent companies before being bought by Microsoft, were they? And, Microsoft isn't sitting on over $100 billion in cash, twice Apple's cash reserves :). "if you were to truly look at the ibg picture for AR/VR you would see MS mapping AR/VR across the whole UWP multiverse- I would like to see MS investing in decent developer support and releasing a consumer mobile AR device perhaps Qualcomm 835 based in an all in one headset similar to the $100 Android sets." Running the same software on mobile and desktop is nothing to write home about. That only makes life a slight bit easier for developers--it does nothing for end users since they're either using a full screen desktop or they're using a small screen mobile device. Desktop is not where the momentum is at. "Hot" developers are working on mobile. That's where the users are and that's where the innovation is going to be. The desktop paradigm is great for some things but we've been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. "I am not sure Apple and Cook will have the cahunas to launch a device that will be AR approachable at a consumer pricepoint - just because an iPad can do AR doesnt mean all these apps will be used by 'losers' wandering around hlding up their iPads to get an overlay." History suggest your assessment of Apple's business strategy and what developers are capable of with Apple devices is wrong. The iPhone is the most profitable and recognizable mobile phone by a wide margin. The iPad is by far the most widely used and recognizable tablet. Anyway, all of this is still little more than hype. AR and VR are specialized niches that require specialized hardware. Goggles are unwieldy and it will take an iGoggle before AR and/or VR pick up any momentum which will allow someone (perhaps Apple) to take the market by storm. I'm still not even convinced that there's a widespread market for AR/VR yet. Plus, I'm also not convinced that AR/VR aren't anything more than add-ons for mobile devices. As such, if it actually has good synergy with mobile devices Microsoft is at a huge disadvantage. Apple owns the profitable mobile phone market. Google controls the low-end, unprofitable phone market but has the search engine eyeballs. There isn't really anywhere where Microsoft has any mobile presence. Microsoft's best bet with AR/VR is perhaps to make it an add-on feature to Android or iOS. By beating Google and Apple to the punch on their own devices they could pull a reverse Google Chrome on iOS and Android? Chrome decimated Microsoft's browser usage in five short years. This would be Microsoft's revenge. Ultimately it isn't good for any of us if Microsoft wins. When Microsoft wins they become a monopoly, get lazy and abuse their monopoly power. They've done it time and time again. It's much better for us if Microsoft is having to fight its way up and they actually innovate rather than abuse their monopoly power to stiffle competition.
  • I think that Microsoft had better wake up and get Hololens games and other consummer mixed reality related products out ASAP. Apple is a Company that copies others Ideas and figuires ways to make them more consumer oriented and sells them to the public l  Take the firsts Macs graphical users interface OS, that tech came from another company=.Xerox. Steve jobs saw it and had his people refine it for personal Computers and the first Machcotosh Computers used it in 1984. Looks like they are looking at Microasoft Hololens and will try to do the same thing. Microsoft's XBOX X combined with Hololens is a super product  Microsoft  could make  hit miixed reality games with them The question is how much imagination does microsoft people have and can they sieze the moment before it passes. Apple has Billions of Dollars to work with and a huge fan customer base and lots of developers. 
  • @Gregory: you simplify Apple's genius. They take mediocre but useful computing ideas and make them accessible to the vast majority of humanity. That is the key to Apple's post-1984 success. With the Mac they stumbled on the formula for successfully commercializing computers. Microsoft's success hinged on making computing resources somewhat accessible but at a much lower price than Apple. And, what Apple did was create a corporate culture that embodies that genius. After Microsoft's humbling/humiliation by the iPhone Microsoft's culture has shifted somewhat but they still don't always get what makes Apple users so incredibly loyal (and, no, it's not marketing or status). Microsoft has made great strides in that department. I'm a dyed in the wool Mac user, however, I've been exclusively Windows for the past four years or so. I didn't leave Apple. Microsoft came to me. And, don't dismiss their work with Xerox as "copying" unless you're going to dismiss Microsoft's Windows with the same glib comment. Apple accessed Xerox's research with their permission and then made it accessible to the public at large. Microsoft in turn tried to copy just enough of Apple's work with the Mac to avoid infringing on Apple's copyrights (and, until Windows XP they did a terrible job of copying Apple).
  • Where can I buy an Apple AR headset? Nowhere. .. where can I buy a Mirosoft AR Hololens? From Microsoft.. MS is ahead.
  • I agree with you,bu keep in mind that these words are kinda extaclty like those words Ballmer said in 2007: "We are selling millions of mobile phones in a year, Apple sells zero phone in a year". And we all know the history :)
  • "MS is ahead" Famous last words as Majid90 points out. Microsoft's CEO in 2007: "Right now, we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year.  Apple is selling zero phones a year." (Methinks Trump's taken a page or two out of Ballmer's playbook :). Apple has tens (if not hundreds) of millions of loyal iPhone users. These are the most tech hungry of consumers and they have high brand loyalty to Apple. Exactly how many loyal mobile users does Microsoft have, especially since they haven't been selling "millions and million and millions" of phone in over ten years? Microsoft has two major hurdles: #1 its consumer loyalty is low (compared to Apple's... the highest in the business for such a large company) and #2 it has exactly zero mobile devices in the wild upon which to build. The complete absence from mobile devices means Microsoft has a huge mountain to climb before its AR/VR becomes accepted. Apple, with its large, affluent/profitable and loyal mobile user base has a huge head start, even if it doesn't come up with something right now. Look at the iPhone story. Microsoft was "selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year" before 2007. Along comes Apple with a small, but established iPod user base (mobile devices) with high customer loyalty and an implementation that "just works", and, just as importantly, provides a working solution to unrealized problems. AR/VR is gimmicky. Right now it doesn't really meet any real need. Apple is wise not to jump on the bandwagon too early. They've got experience with "getting things right" and they understand that the way you build momentum is by "getting things right" when your more "advanced" competitors have been muddling along with timid experiments.
  • AR holding a small screen is incredibly gimmicky, a toy. No revolution will come from that, trust me.
  • Microsoft really needs to hire up on some great marketing and messaging people. They have bungled up so many so many simple messages.  They have the passion. They have the money.  They have products people could use.  They need awareness and, I'm sad to say, they need a "coolness" factor (beyond just having products we Microsoft fans love).
  • MS will fail as usual and others, being Apple, Google or Samsung will succeed.
  • >Microsoft built a wearable AR headset before it established an audience, ecosystem, and demand for AR. Apple's doing the opposite. I disagree with this.
  • How so?
  • A solid article, as usual from Jason Ward. One lazy and predictable sop, however: "The third advantage is that Apple is a master marketer. Microsoft is not." Microsoft has the same access to master marketers Apple does and Microsoft's pockets are just as deep. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars to successfully enter the gaming scene in the early 2000's. What sets Microsoft and Apple apart is that Apple's business model is clear and has been clear for over 30 years now: they make computing devices that "just work". In the past two decades Apple has bult up a (well deserved) reputation for "doing things right". Yes, they weren't the first to make and MP3 player. They weren't the first to make a touch smartphone. (they were the first to get rid of floppy drives, however :). But, when they did make those things, they actually worked, flawlessly (compared to the contemporary competition). That is the Apple marketing magic. They make things that work better than anyone else at the time and then market the living daylight out of them. It's the product that's being sold, not the marketing magic. Microsoft has the same deep pockets Apple does but Microsoft is not known for focussing on "it just works". Instead, they've worked hard to carve out the niche "we're inexpensive, we're reliable, we're all business, but, don't expect anything revolutionary out of us". That's what the market expects from Microsoft and Microsoft has been amply demonstrated their ability to be revolutionary in exactly the most unreliable way possible. Windows 8 was the wrong operating system (touch) for the wrong devices (desktops) released at the wrong time (5 years before touch truly became mainstream). Windows 10 was to make up for that mistake, but, unfortunately instead of seizing the opportunity that touch offered in 2015 they simply went back to being "reliable, and don't expect anything revolutionary out of us" with a desktop UI with touch as a sad afterthought. Microsoft could throw hundreds of millions of dollars of marketing at that mistake to convince people that Windows 10 is a touch OS but, they're a savvy company so they won't. Besides, no marketing can make up for the fact that Windows is a mediocre touch OS. Because it's designed for desktop first it's lowering people's expectations of touch on the desktop. At the same time Apple gets a free pass. They grabbed the lion's share of the touch (profit) market with the best in class touch interface on iOS devices (yes, there may be more Android devices in the world than Apple devices, but, the bulk of the world's mobile profits end up in Apple's coffers). They can use their headstart to their advantage and market a best-in-class touch experience. Touch is where the computing world is at. Augmented reality may be the next big thing, but, so far Apple is poised to take the lead in that arena. It has the iOS customer base, it has the iOS touch operating system and it has a huge ecosystem of experienced developers. None of that is market magic. That is plain and simple business smarts. While Microsoft was working on a vision of bringing Windows to mobile Apple chose a different route. They began from the ground up setting their philosophy of "it just works" as front-and-centre. Apple understood what mobile was good for and what it was not good for. They were first out of the gate with a product that reflected that epiphany and have been handsomely rewarded for that. So, anyway, the point of my long post is that it's fair to grant Apple the first two advantages but that the third advantage is lazy. Yes, Apple has other advantages over Microsoft. Perhaps a more valid third advantage is that, originally through the Mac and now the iPhone, Apple has developed a relationship with its customers in which the costs and benefits are well understood. Apple provides its customers with devices and software that "gets out of the way", and, in turn they reward Apple with loyalty and their chequebooks. Apple didn't end up as valuable as Microsoft because of marketing. It ended up that valuable because, in the 2000's, they got really good at getting out of the way and allowing people to use devices as natural tools.