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Windows 10 is about productivity — for businesses and consumers

Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft has lost a lot clout when it comes to its core consumer users. Whether it's Windows Phone, Groove, or Microsoft Band, those who invested in some of Microsoft's earlier visions rightly feel a sense of resentment.

But what about Windows 10? I often hear that Microsoft is not doing enough to add consumer-friendly features, but instead, it is more interested in business and enterprise. The question I have: What does that even mean?

Consumer versus productivity

Part of this article was inspired by a recent quote by Brad Sams at Petri who addressed some of the latest Microsoft re-org news and what it means for Windows. One line stuck out for me:

At this time, we don't truly know what the future will bring to the development of Windows as we are still waiting to see how these new leaders will add their own flavor to Windows. I can say one thing with confidence though, and I have been hearing this for several months; it's business features first, consumer features last. If a new feature does not add value for its corporate customers (where Microsoft makes a significant portion of its Windows revenue) then it's not a direct priority.

My initial reaction is some of that makes sense for Microsoft. After all, licenses to corporations and governments for Windows 10 are a huge cash cow. Losing that crowd (or at least angering the IT managers) is something to be avoided. And many organizations are not happy with the cadence of Windows 10 updates, which stresses their job.

With Microsoft's seeming pullback from front-line consumer offerings, this sounds like another notch for the snide observation that "Microsoft wants to be just like IBM."

But what is a business feature, really? And what is a consumer one?

Going to extremes, I can think of examples like Microsoft Intune for mobile and app management as being purely business. That's an enterprise feature, and no consumer would want or need that.

Gaming is increasingly a big deal for Microsoft and Windows 10.

Gaming is increasingly a big deal for Microsoft and Windows 10.

At the other end, for consumers, there is gaming. In no world is the status of casual or even hardcore PC gaming a concern for Fortune 500 companies. Adding Game Bar to Windows 10 is not even on their radar, for example

If Microsoft is deprioritizing consumer features for business ones, what would that look like?

It's about productivity, not division

Is the new Timeline a business or consumer feature?

Is the new Timeline a business or consumer feature?

I question the seemingly old division between consumer and enterprise features for an OS. The Windows 10 Spring 2018 1803 update (a.k.a. Redstone 4) has many new feature that are neither consumer- or business-only. For instance:

  • New Timeline feature for syncing history across devices.
  • Nearby Share to features shares content between PCs on the same network.
  • Fluent design improvements everywhere.
  • UI and UX changes and enhancements.
  • New Microsoft Edge design and improved features like EPUB and PDF support.
  • Redesign of Cortana, the addition of Lists and Collections, and a new Skills section.
  • Input changes, including one that lets pen users see a handwriting panel automatically popup when selecting a text field.
  • Storage Sense now includes Disk Cleanup settings and functions.

None of that is particularly exciting (although Timeline and Nearby Share are huge for me), but it's hard to look at that list – or the entire changelog – and make a call which changes are consumer-only and which are for business.

The entire focus of Redstone 4 appears to be productivity, or making Windows 10 better at doing stuff including sharing and processing information. That's not unique to Redstone 4 either, as the previous releases have also focused on "creativity" and adding features that both consumer and business users can leverage.

A changing world

Surface Family

Are Surfaces just business-focused, or for the prosumer, students, or engineers? (Image credit: Microsoft)

Making Windows 10 better at doing stuff is the right approach. The line between your work at home versus what you may do at work is diminishing. People often want their computers to handle both work and private life on the same machine. People also want hardware they can use at work and home that is elegant, premium, and can do everything.

That's why I'm confused about how Microsoft could only focus on one category and not the other. I've heard internally Microsoft refers to all Windows 10 customers just as endpoints – whether artists, engineers, students, scientists, journalists, or office professionals.

Even something like Microsoft Teams, only thought of as a business feature, is now in classrooms. What's suitable for the 50-year-old office drone is now good enough for your kid in sixth grade.

When you look at the one extreme of consumer-only features, gaming, Microsoft is going in heavy. I've heard investment in Mixer.com is massive and increasing; Xbox Play Anywhere support is growing; and we're finally getting real PC games in the Microsoft Store.

It's no secret that Xbox head Phil Spencer, who was recently promoted to the leadership team, is keen on the idea of Xbox streaming as a service. The recent formation of an Xbox Azure team testifies to that concept.

See more

Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of gaming at Microsoft, recently dropped a big hint of the continued focus on gaming in the forthcoming released of Windows 10 this fall.

So, the one consumer-only feature related to Windows 10 is the also the one area where the company is investing heavily. From what I have heard internally, none of that is changing. We'll hear more about it at E3 this summer.

What's missing?

Finally, it is worth mentioning that by no means is Windows 10 perfect or idealized for consumers either. Microsoft has a way to go in bringing Fluent Design to the entire OS or transitioning old UI elements to the new design language.

But when I asked people on Twitter what feature is missing in Windows 10 compared to macOS or Chrome OS, most struggled. Many of the complaints were things like regional-restrictions on Cortana, marketing, or missing apps in the Microsoft Store. But these are well-established and not missing, just things that are incomplete or need massive improvement.

There are some legitimate gaps in Windows 10. Things like a modern movie maker and music app, better family controls, and improved Apple-like AirPlay features between mobile and PC. But at its core, Windows 10 is still a potent OS. Even when there is an app missing in the Microsoft Store, there is always the vast swath of older PC apps and games that anyone can install.

Touch is also another very common complaint as tablet mode still seems subpar compared to Windows 8.

Microsoft's biggest problem, which is well established, is the lack of any skin in the phone business. That's a devastating issue but also now separate from the development of Windows 10.

As to the future of Microsoft's OS, I think it's safe to say it's evolving. The push away from centralized, local computing models to cloud-based, distributed processing is on the horizon and with it goes Microsoft.

For now, Windows 10 is about doing more work, better. The update this fall should include Sets and Cloud Clipboard, both of which again straddle the business and consumer markets. The strength of Windows is about doing work, and that focus has not changed because there is no distinction between students, business pros, or you.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

94 Comments
  • Consumers? Nothing coming out of Nadellasoft cares about actual consumers!
  • Make an argument, not a statement. I know, it's hard. But life is not a bumper sticker.
  • It's amazing what the WC staff has to put up with in the comments section of every article. Kudos for patience.
  • "life is not a bumper sticker." Someone should put that on a bumper sticker.
  • LOL
  • lol, well done
  • Hi Daniel, I enjoy reading all of your articles here, watch all the videos, pod casts etc. I use windows 10. I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However, Screwsjw's right. Nothing from Microsoft under Nadella's watch is geared for consumers. Cancelled multiple consumer focused products, moonraker, windows mobile, alot of features I was wanting in windows 10 driven for consumers, etc. And totally based on business, Cloud based business products, buying the data mine (LinkedIn), and others. There is a completely valid argument that MS at this point in time cares nothing about consumers and really are turning into the next ibm. A services company for enterprise.
  • poketa-poketa-poketa-poketa
  • A moron says what? bonzeuk?
  • Could you enumerate which features you'd wanted that are not included in Windows 10?
  • A good included photo, video and music editor for one, or three. apps for tablet mode would be great too. However, they are not going to be coming in the foreseeable future either. hmmmmm what else, Since dell can do it, how about a phone integration platform. Don't forget Groove music service which i was happily paying for, then it got canned...oh, and the onedrive fiasco as well. On and on I can go. Face it, Reality (not fanboy distorted reality), is MS is Focused on ENTERPRISE. Consumers are not on their radar.
  • None of that is a big deal IMO. Even in my iMac i ended up buying third party software because the bundled versions are only good for basic stuff. Hard to edit video or wave files in iMovie or GarageBand. Make sure you buy a Mac that can run Resolve (Free) decently, or at least Photoshop/Premiere Elements and Sound Forge or Audacity (Apple has 1st party software for Professionals, but we aren't talking about them). Affinity is good for Photo/design stuff as well... Windows has better third party options than Mac for consumers, so I keep Windows around for that reason (and have boot camped Windows registered for my Mac just in case). I think macOS rep for creative's applies largely to professionals who like pretty machines /shrug. I haven't seen that the be the case in "my corner of the market." On Windows, I use: - PaintShop Pro + DxO Nik Collection ( Still Better than Affinity, IMO, and has an actual Manage Module - Can use with OneDrive... Ridic. Format Support. All Nik Plugins work properly, I like with Affinity.)
    - VideoStudio Pro (Does Variable Speeds well :-) Ridic Format Support, i.e. MOV without Qt installed.)
    - Vegas Studio Platinum (Prefer traditional UI, fast, integrated Sound Forge well)
    - Sound Forge Audio Studio (nothing better - except pro version; not even Audacity)
    - Magic Music Maker Plus + Audio Cleaning Lab (Mukti-Track and Cleanup) The thing that DOES hurt on Windows is the lack of basic productivity software. macOS has iWork, and that's actually enough for a home user. Windows only has WordPad and NotePad. They should have kept Works around to bundle. You even have to search for screen recording software (built into macOS vi s QuickTime). There's nothing for Podcasts in Windows, or Audioboks. The eBook and PDF experiences are still subpar, IMO. They can have a phone integration platform, but Google and Apple themselves would never use it. Without an actual mobile platform, it's useless. I would have gone back to Windows Phone, even with a large app gap, had they implemented Apple-level device integration. It didn't hapoen, so I bought an iPhone very quickly followed by a Mac, instead. What made Windows Phone suck was the fact that any other Phone was just as good at accessing Microsoft services, by necessity of their business model, but it sucked at a lot of things those platforms could do as a result of the app/feature gap. These was a huge rift in awesomeness when comparing iMac + iPhone to Win10 PC + Windows Phone. It isn't even close. Apple's solution feels like magic. Microsoft's feels a decade old. Everything is build in and requires very little setup. The devices just pop up dialogs and walk you through it, and it's just working 2 minutes later.
  • I will never buy a mac again. Antique OS compared to windows 10. Having the included software with windows 10 would be a better than nothing scenario. I do have some "app based" software on my computer but I am going to buy the paint shop pro/video studio bundle. As for music creation I have to figure something out there too. I would love to have something like garage band for windows. As for included productivity suite, I agree. They need to bundle word, excel and power point in the OS, and then, just add the 365 subscription to get one note, one drive etc.
  • Best comeback of the year...
  • Here's one; I have a Dell laptop which required me to use my old Hotmail account to sign in and would not let me use my office 365 login. So my One drive on that machine wants to use my Hotmail one drive (not big enough) and not my Office 365 one drive (which is much bigger). These two things are really hard to differentiate albeit it can be done, you are always fighting a default battle. And now that my WP is on android, it is impossible to use my 365 one drive. Evidently, since I use a custom domain for my company website and Email, that's material. So every day my Hotmail profile is spamming me to buy more space. So if I buy more space on the Hotmail account, now I'll have two one drives? And let me guess, they can't be linked. No thanks MS. So MS has forced me to have a personal and 365 profiles and it's a nightmare magnified to have a pc and (now they have forced me to have an android) since giving up WP. On my new phone, I can't use the 365 one drive at all. I have called 365 support to no avail. They can't help me sort this out they told me its just a flaw. This kind of stuff is typical and it makes me wonder if MS employees ever use these products. So I get the bumper sticker. The thing is, everyone does.
  • Here's one Dan, it doesn't matter what 'consumer features' means to us. Microsoft has clearly demonstrated it isn't listening to us. Ask MS what it means to them. If they won't tell you, or they talk in the usual riddles, then I think we all know what they mean is 'Whatever we think a consumer is, it ain't you mate, but please do use that feedback button as that stuff's always good for a laugh'. I think that covers the OP's argument pretty well. It has merit.
  • I disagree. They are failures and successes. As fans, we are often early adopters and that often leads to disappointments. There are successes on the consumer side though. My Xbox One X is pretty awesome, so is my Surface Pro. I don't have one but the Sirface Book and Laptop are nice. Harman Kardon Invoke works great, even if it's not really a success. Those are all major hardware devices that people ignore when making their 'woe is me, Microsoft doesn't care about its consumers' argument. There's also things on the software side. MS focused Windows 8 on the consumer, largely ignoring enterprise - look how that turned out. They are successes on the soft side too though, for instance, Microsoft apps and experiences on iOS and Android, Minecraft everywhere and other game titles, Mixer, Edge has come a long way, I still enjoy using Cortana and OneDrive is still one of the best cloud storage services available. Seek and ye shall find.
    In other words, look for the bad and you'll find the bad, and vice versa.
  • Good article, I agree. Some people seem to think consumer engagement needs to look like Apple or Google do it but that's not true. It's pretty clear that Microsoft has a smaller focus on consumers than those companies but Windows, OneDrive, Office, Surface etc. are very much consumer products as well. In fact, some people have criticized Windows 10 and UWP for allegedly "dumbing down" the experience (which is probably true in some cases) in favor of consumers instead of businesses. And what we like to call consumers are actually people who want and need to be productive on their devices as well. That's what Windows offers to them and will continue to do, reorganizations notwithstanding. Now, if you're looking for e.g. a music streaming service, then you'll have to look elsewhere and that's okay. Not sure why that's so hard to accept. Microsoft and its software is mostly about productivity and, in the end, has always been.
  • Most consumers that enter their first job will have to work in the Cloud, either with a Software as a Service, or specialized workers (developers) will work with Platform as a Service, so I think in the future Microsoft will control Identity Management as a service on Fortune 500 companies and foreign US companies, so I agree with you, Microsoft needs consumers to trust their products since they will be using Microsoft on daily work activities.
  • You are 1000% correct - very factual.
  • Every consumer is professional in one way or another. In the end, even if Microsoft were to make Windows more business-centric we would all still benefit with real impactful features. Consumer services like Groove have fallen away but only handful used it, and so it all makes sense. Great article!
  • Thanks Daniel, I love the "Satya hates consumers" and "Microsoft is the next IBM" knee jerk responses to every bit of news because I use Windows 10 on my work PC and Windows 10 at home on three different devices, not counting Xbox. Same features, same apps. (To be honest it is not exactly the same apps because the IT department removes Solitaire.) I don't see much difference in my use. Other than gaming. And as you noted this is about as consumer oriented as it gets and all of the signs are Microsoft has been investing and is continuing to invest more in this area. Last time I looked, IBM didn't have a game console, or game studios or stores with a large portion of the space devoted to games, consoles and gaming PCs. I understand the disappointment some fans have. I had grown to really enjoy Groove but I get why staying in that business without a mobile platform made no sense. The Band was an interesting device but I've not regretted moving on to Fitbit and am anxiously awaiting my Versa. But allowing disappointment about a product loss to color your judgement about every decision, related or not, a company makes is kind of the Bizzaro World version of fanboyism.
  • I concur with you. Right on point.
  • Well said.
  • extensions for edge has to be increased.
  • Again, this is not a missing feature. Extensions exist for Edge. It needs to be improved, but that's a very different point to make than the one I'm asserting here.
  • He meant improved. He wrote increased because English is not his native language. Not hard to see that.
  • This website is definitely not a valid metric for user satisfaction in Windows 10. We're all here because we are more passionate about it than most. On both sides of the love/hate fence. Using myself as an example, I love Windows 10. I hate some of the decisions made by Microsoft regarding the supporting products of Windows 10 (Groove, Moviemaker, etc.), but Windows 10 on its own is a great OS. I would argue that the readers of this site (and your followers on Twitter) are more upset that easy-to-see improvements and consumer-facing features seem to be ignored (or take FOR-E-VER to implement). It's all about wanting Windows to be BETTER than Chrome and MacOS. Not just as "potent" of an OS.
  • Windows is already better than the other bunch. I just want to see Windows 10 adapting to a handheld device (whispering, Andromeda).
  • I don't agree that Windows 10 is better than MacOS as an OS, particular in terms of usability, pokish, robustness, reliability. I do agree that it still has a better consumer app ecosystem, especially for commercial software, and definitely for gaming. If macOS was equivalent there, then Windkws' market share would shrink dramatically in markets like the US, where more people can afford them. So does would be relegated to the BlackBerry of PC OSes - for "Curve-level" PCs... If you catch my drift. And only because Linux continues to be a support nightmare.
  • Mac still doesn't have a menu key and lack of many shortcuts...
    Try this exercise.
    Type "aple" then hit space. How do you correct the word?
    1. move your cursor from the other side of the screen and click on "aple" then move to the top of the menu and click on the fix?
    2. hit left key, hit menu key, hit enter. Can you go kb-only with OS, popup dialogs, UI, Settings, File Explorer, context menu? Except graphical applications like Adobe, Unreal, 3dsMax, can you go kb-only with applications like Office, VisualStudio, Notepad++, Chome, Edge?
    Apple grants their user resize-window-from-any-corner in 2012... I've never used a Windows older than 95 but I'm sure think this is in Win95...
    And if you really try to go kb-only (cause it's more efficient) with Mac, you'd find many UI/UX inconsistency between applications. Mac is kb-user-unfriendly and Apple's putting effort in Mac no more, they are focusing on iOS. Same thing goes to iOS vs Android. iOS is simple but not power-user-friendly. It requires more steps to complete the same task. btw, MS's focusing on putting Windows in every possible machines. UWP runs on PC (including S-mode, ARM), AR, MR, IOT and Xbox, and we can using AI & Azure as the back bone to connect'em.
    Free tools e.g. VisualStudio, free subversion, project management tools, ticket system, etc for small team.
    We can now push UWP to a security camera or traffic lights and connect'em using MS's AI & Azure and monitor'em.
    We can continue xbox game session using our NBs (and possibly on the rumored Surface Dual Screen once ARM64 is available).
    AAA games use Havok. We are also using MS tech to code for Switch games.
    Not only for console games but also for mobile games, they are also investing in game server business. Streaming service and e-sports business is another focus.
    e.g. Streamer get a cut when someone buys something from the MsStore during the streaming. As a developer, we can now open our game API to Mixer for interactions.
    etc, etc.
  • add: if you go c#, you can share your lib / code between server side and client side. Quite a big deal.
  • Which features are we talking about here? Just asking a question. Thank you in advance.
  • Sorry for the late reply.
    A solid Movie Maker app.
    A People bar with proper working Skype integration that doesn't mutilate contacts.
    The People app itself got stripped of useful features.
    MoviesAnywhere support.
    Cortana/Microsoft To-Do integration.
    Cortana smart home support (yeah we got some now...finally. Still a lot more to go).
    Microsoft Wallet. (Seriously, what does it do?)
    Telephony
    SMS. (We had pretty cool SMS integration. Then it got nerfed and removed)
    A legit integrated/usable Password Manager. (Have you tried searching the Credentials panel?)
    A reasonably priced entry-level smart home speaker for Cortana. That's just off the top of my head. Given time, I could go on.
  • I wish MS would make a serious attempt at Windows 10 on phones. There are still millions of us who use and rely on them for our business and personal use (including all of my employees and family). Hopefully their statements about ending Win10 mobile only refer to that specific line of the OS family, but will support phones in their future builds of Win10, like Andromeda, and the long rumored Surface Phone (as they have done before).
  • Not sure about the 'millions'...
  • It could be millions - I see the advantage of a having a continuous experience from desktop to mobile device - yes, even in the business world. And not switching from Android to a Windows device.
    Other dreams:
    Be nice while on the drive home to tell Cortana - "send my most recent file to"+insertnamehere
  • Lol... that adult video you initiated finally finished AFTER you saved your last work document on a different device but timeline ... I'm crying 😂🤣😂
  • Would a serious attempt included investing billions of dollars and years of attempts?
    Because I seem to remember something like that.
  • Well written Dan. Thanks for putting this article together.
    Windows has always been users first, I don't know how the 'consumers' vs. 'enterprise' narrative came into play. If anything, it is a 'consumer' OS.
    Sometimes, I think that in the absence of real issues, people just like to complain to spend the time. Then there is also the disturbing trend of people parroting opinions with hardly any independent thought or investigation (although this is not peculiar to Windows). It's probably safe to say that over half the 'opinions' on the web today were never reached based on independent investigations, it's just parroting the 'popular' or maybe supposedly 'cool' or 'trending' opinion, which is why they cannot answer any specific questions with substance since there was never any direct first-hand experience, like that which you asked on Twitter.
    Windows 10 as a PC OS is truly the most advanced on the planet today, whether anyone wants to agree to it or not. The sheer versatility, stability (yep stability) and performance is impressive. Yes, it's not 'perfect', but where would you even find perfect anyways?? And I say this using devices running some version of pretty much all the mainstream operating systems.
    So, MS struggled with some consumer products and failed to gain meaningful traction (not for lack of making solid attempts - Zune, Band, Groove pass and WP/WM). If you evaluate these products on their own merit, they were/are pretty damn impressive, which anyone would be proud to say he/she was a part of the dev team (I still use my Zunes till today, and back on my Lumia 950XL after my Android experiments left me miserable...). However, they were either late to market, or had extremely successful competition, against which a prolonged struggle was futile (you can ask Apple's macOS team why they decided to implement boot camp for Windows). This can and does happen to any (arguably every) company.
    Maybe Windows is just taken for granted these days because it is everywhere; from crappy el-cheapo devices to expensive ultrabooks and gaming machines so it's real worth is not truly appreciated :-(.
  • This is not that complicated. Consumers are about consumption (entertainment/socialization/information/shopping). Business is about productivity/creation. I know many computer users who primarily use computers for consumption and they are increasingly replacing their PCs with smartphones and tablets. Microsoft is ceding a huge portion of the computer industry to Apple, Google and Samsung. Video games might be the last thing keeping Microsoft relevant in the consumer space. I am in the market to buy my long retired parents mobile internet devices. Why should I even consider purchasing Windows products for them any longer? Microsoft has abandoned the entire retiree market as just one of many consumer examples. My local churches often raffle off technology prizes and offer seminars for using tech and it is always iPad, Amazon Echo, Android, iPhone. For the over 65 crowd Windows has become an irrelevant product in the past decade.
  • Part of that I agree with, but unless people are just not working at a job that is any way "professional" (e.g. service sector) then computers and PCs are needed for both. Companies get this. Take the new X1 Carbon (review coming next week), it has an optional Dolby Vision HDR display...for an enterprise device. Why? Well, business people like to watch movies while stuck on long flights. Microsoft building in HDR support to Windows 10 is part of that.
    "Microsoft is ceding a huge portion of the computer industry to Apple, Google and Samsung."
    Well, this is the phone argument again, which I point out. We all know it and recognize it. Separate issue though from what Windows 10 is for students, artists, engineers, scientists, office workers, self-employed, photographers, etc. That market they are not ceding to, quite the opposite.
  • I'd venture to say that the average person could do without Windows if he or she didn't need it for work. I have no use for Windows in order to watch Netflix, surf the web, use email and other types of messaging, listen to music. Windows and desktop Office serve no purpose to me for anything other than work. Even some persons who use simple productivity apps at home could survive with Google Apps or Apple Work, rather than full-fledged desktop MS Office.
  • Agree, which is why Chromebooks are becoming a thing for consumers (despite people here and on Reddit telling me I'm insane for saying that); it's also why Windows Core OS and Polaris is such a big deal as it makes Windows 10 - the big, bloated, legacy OS - a slim, thin-client OS for tablets and ARM devices. Think of benefits of Windows - familiar UI, Start, Windows Store, Office, Skype - but with the battery life of an iPad and instant start of Chromebook form factor. That's what's coming next, thankfully.
  • The drawback is the majority of people looking for consumption devices aren't going to use Windows 10S or the Windows Store, especially if it lacks the apps they use on their Android/ChromeOS/iOS devices. Windows 10S is doomed to the same fate as Windows RT and Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile without the apps found on Android/iOS.
  • smartphone games or Google pay, sure...
    What app or application is smartphone-only? Facebook, Netflix, news and email? Current gen smart devices for retired people is not hard to understand but if you in the work field, Windows is still essential to a lotta business (and gamers). Windows in machines (camera, traffic light, water meter, robot) wasn't possible till now.
    You can work things out faster than a smart device on a Windows and you can have your digital purchase running on differing platforms. Programmer can deploy their code across PC, S-mode, Arm, AR, MR, IOT and Xbox. You can def share lib/code between server and client side with c#. Things are different, are changing now.
  • Apple & Google have a 6+ year head starts in that kind of market. With a failed music device, failed music service, failed phone division (x what, 3-4 tries?), failed consumer tablet attempts (RT & Win10) how will they gain any traction in this space? When my retired father in law wanted a tablet last month we got him a $50 Fire, what would a multiple x $ more expensive Windows device have to offer?
  • Frustration. Unless you have a keyboard and mouse to go with it, then Windows "tablets" are good.
  • Familiar UI - Amen!
    (meant without gender)
  • That's not much of an argument versus an iPad and iPhone combo. There are no apps. Watching Amazon prime via edge? There's no mobile experience to mirror on the tablet. That's what people want and are used to.
  • I care too much about privacy to use a Chrome Book. 5, 6 years ago maybe. Now, I'll pass. If pay for a MacBook Air or even a cheaper Windows 10 Netbook and use it without a Microsoft Login, instead. I don't like Windows Store, cause a Microsoft Account isn't anything useful, given most of my media purchases are on iTunes. If rather keep it together unless Microsoftnisbwilkingbto match all of that and given it to me at their store...I Too expensive to make convenient, and too inconvenient otherwise. I'm just waiting for Windows Store iTunes, at this point.
  • True the business traveler might take a laptop, but what about the millions of leisure travelers? I see them taking Kindle, iPad, tablets and of course their smartphones and smartwatches. An increasing number of travelers leave their PCs behind for a lighter, more mobile device with better battery and more consumer apps. And I disagree strongly that this is the phone argument again. Does Microsoft have a plan to create AR as a new mobile consumer category or will HoloLens continue to focus heavily on enterprise as the primary market? What about smart watches and wearable computers? How about smart home appliances running Windows and being compatible with Windows? The consumer tech market is much more than tablets and phones.
  • You can certainly create a smart watch or wearable with a win10 in it and side load your UWP to these devices. And if you go for c#, you can certainly share you code / lib between server and client side. I do bring my Surface Pro (occasionally Alienware) with me on my vocation, not for work. e.g. photo editing using Photoshop. I prefer dedicate camera than phones. And if my gf wants to quickly share a photo or two, she can always fetch it directly from the can. Sometimes I'd like to do some game tech experiment in my free time. Read news. Some XPA game. Normally you can get things done faster with Windows than ipad or Android tablets.
    With these WoA devices... I'm actually thinking... it's be useful as a light weight long lasting pocket WiFi... Windows now runs on ARM and what ARM's good for? small devices (some OEMs will def try). Rumor also says MS's creating a smaller dual screen device. Not phone tho, these are PC with telephony capability. And they are capable of doing/running XPA gaming, light Photoshop, Visual Studio for programming and OneDrive on Demand.
  • Basically consumer can also professional. Either way MS is there. Good piece Dan
  • Yes. that is 100% true. 99% of consumers are also "professional" users. However, the useage when being a consumer is different than their usage as a professional. I want different things from my computing when in "consumer" mode than I do in "professional" mode. As a consumer user, I don't want to be doing spreadsheets and word processing. I want my apps, different programs for creating etc.
  • My two cents on this is that "for business" means different things to different people as it is. I still prefer Windows for everything I want to do as a consumer. I can:
    - Use the browsers I want to use
    - Play the games I want to play
    - Have an easy to use File Explorer to explore all my documents and photos (not a fan of Mac's Finder)
    - Install probably the widest variety of software available on any OS As say a corporate business person or manager, I would also appreciate Windows for the same things. Being able to install whatever software I need, have an easy way to visualize and explore what's on my computer, etc. However, as a web developer, I choose Mac. It is more cumbersome to navigate than Windows in my opinion, but it is built on Unix, which means I have an excellent command line out of the box. It's easy to manage development packages and software. The file system translates better to production deployments in my opinion. And, it has a ton of popularity among web developers, so I have a lot of resources at my disposal. So, bottom line: I think Windows hits the mark for consumers and general business professionals, but I think it's losing out on developers to Mac and Linux from what I see in workplaces.
  • I agree with what I think is the point of this article. If Microsoft narrows their focus it may lead to narrowing of their potential market. Innovation and early adopters tend to be on the consumer side. Enterprise tends to be more conservative. Focusing on Enterprise may prevent the innovation Microsoft needs to stay relevant long term.
  • It is amusing that this is sandwiched between articles about Ubisoft and Call of Duty.
  • You make some valid points. As an operating system, Windows 10 is a pretty cool OS for both pros and consumers (games and non-gamers). However it does raise a concern in that more and more people today are "perceiving" the Windows 10 OS to be abandoning consumers. All this Nadella hype about quantum computing, AI & the "intelligent edge", digital transformation, blockchain, and MS Azure doesn't help. Such talk just confuses people who aren't "in the business" of IT. But I personally believe that a lack of real presence in mobile is the primary reason. People have come to associate their phones with "consumer" these days in a way that they used to associate their PC their "personal" computer not so long ago. We have Steve Jobs to thank for that! Now there was a CEO who connected with people. Gaming is a bright spot. Alternative platforms have little to offer in that market. But when average people can't find a decent personal finance app or the messaging app all their family and friends are using in the MS App Store, or they see MS withdrawing from the phone business, or they can't get Cortana & Bing Rewards in their region, yeah they associate it with the OS as being consumer-unfriendly. Bottom line... perception is everything.
  • ^^^What He Said^^^ 100 percent!
  • Exactly. Perception IS everything. The reality now is that Windows is perceived - when it is perceived at all - as what you use at work. The VAST majority of personal computing devices sold today (85% and rising) are NOT running Windows. Personal Computers (traditional PCs) are no longer "personal". Phones and tablets are now personal computers, and Microsoft has 0% presence in the phone market and 0.25% in tablets.
  • So why can't both phone and PC be "personal" to somebody?
  • Because the PC will only be at the person's place of employment.
  • I am somewhat distress by the "Cloud" and Microsoft's reliance on a internet connection to do almost anything Microsoft related. My recent trip thru the Oregon "Outback" and into sparsely populated parts of Nevada proves to me that they are only a "Big City" company. Hard to use. I also find it harder for me to use my new Surface Pro to switch between apps for my productivity. And don't lose that Connection! Over all I can use my laptop a bit easier in these limited areas as I have many apps completely installed on the laptop and I can often continue without a connection to the evil web. Waiting to do my work tomorrow or the next day when I get a good connection is not a option. No I don't have LTE or a Satellite phone or anything like that (I got my Surface before they had LTE) I guess I could tether my Windows phone and still be LTE-like, but then my phone bill rockets. I'm sure Microsoft just thinks I should shell out money for this stuff, but I do not. If my brain was not full, I'd figure out how to use Linux (Give me a more honest reason to cuss!) I still like my Surface Pro great when I am connected, I can usually work around my switching apps problem when I am home as I have that fast steady connection.
  • The OS is good, the built-in UWP are promising: responsivness but they lack functionalities. Who said HTML signatures in Mail app? A basic feature requested right from the beginning. And please don't reply to use outlook for this purpose, using Mail for responsivness and Outlook for html signature is not an option.
    My point is that built-in apps are part of the OS and Microsoft should / must invest in these too, providing only basic features is not enough, they must provide a fully functional ecosystem on top of it.
  • Outlook is as it more responsive than Mail, especially when switching between Mail, contacts, calendar, tasks... UWP apps actually are all that responsive IMO. Anything that's media related runs worse than a Win32/.Net app, as well. Video Player skips frames playing high FPS1080p or 4K while Win32 apps don't skip a beat. My Late 2013 iMac plays the same files better than anything in my 2017 Windows Notebook, with a way worse SO I and a GPU that isn't even in the same stratosphere (same screen res/refresh rate).
  • I will agree with Dan here. If you incorrectly apply segmentation principles, you will end up having a distorted vision of company's future and that's what is happening with Microsoft right now. Everybody needs computers just like everyone need cars. It would make no sense to make cars only for corporate people. It's such a simple concept. And the fact that Microsoft is not able to understand this makes me question their leadership. Google never claims that Google Forms or Gmail are for enterprise, yet most of the enterprises today use GSuite, corporate Gmail, Hangout or Google Drive.
  • I am seeing a lot more adoption of Google Services in businesses - easy to use (great UX), highly integrated, multi channel, tons of tools....and they are considered sort of cool. Good for work and play! If MS could somehow mesh Xbox with business...could be killer!!!! Some sort of gamification....?
  • Microsoft doesn't claim either that Office or Surface or Windows or OneDrive are specifically enterprise products. Nothing in Microsoft's marketing or in how they treat those products shows that. As far as I can see, it's mostly some people in online forums doing that when they want to push a narrative. "yet most of the enterprises today use GSuite, corporate Gmail, Hangout or Google Drive."
    Wow, this is so absolutely not true.
  • I definitely am in the camp that feels touch is significantly ignored by Microsoft. Among the MANY reasons I still feel Windows 8 was better the 10 is the fact that it was very touch-friendly. I consider Windows 10 to touch-SPITEFUL (ahem, wireframe icons?). But, let's face it, if Microsoft's own people are telling us they are focusing on business first, consumers last, I think you need to take that for what it is. I have LONG accused Microsoft of not even being aware of its own system's potential. They come out with features half-baked but with promise and then later just ignore them and let them die (Hubs, Live Tiles, Messaging). I agree they SHOULD view the features of Windows as more of a SPECTRUM rather than CAMPS. I will tell you, though, as someone who works in DoD, almost EVERYTHING in Windows 10 is stripped out. Truly, you can boot it, login, use Office products, customize a background. And that's pretty much IT. Almost all Store apps are gone and there IS NO Store. Cortana? Yeah, right. Edge? Oh, it's there, but virtually no website works with it...we must use IE11. Since 90% of systems we use are web-based, the computers themselves are almost overkill. Honestly, it wouldn't matter what OS they used at this point since there's literally nothing about Windows 10 that is necessary on each user's computer. As long as some version of Office can be accessed and a browser can half-way decently handle the archaic web-based systems, that's all that's needed. So, Microsoft is quite honestly wasting its time doing things in Windows 10 if government contracts are their bread and butter. Such a waste.
  • I think Satya may be trying to rectify the business first consumers last approach and that's honestly why I think Terry Myerson was "hmmm- hmmm, shown the door, I mean stepping away to pursue future endeavors" and Paynos Panay had been promoted. Consumers tend to have an issue because Satya is a cloud guy, but what binds most consumers families together these days? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snapchat, etc which are all cloud based products so the question is, is he wrong? Probably not in the long run. Most of us are looking for a consumer based handheld device 6" or less with apps directly from Microsoft as opposed to an Android or Apple device with Microsoft apps on it s well as a consumer facing Corrana driven AI device which in my opinion is Satya's only failure. If Microsoft plans to release either of those two items, they're too slow.
  • Microsoft switched their cloud Infrastructure from Windows Server Only to Red Hat Linux, since 99% of Fortune 500 companies including DoD use Linux. The big news for DoD is that Cloud is more secure than traditional datacenters due to Software based perimeter security, which makes cyber attackers impossible to penetrate the Pentagon if its properly secured in the cloud.
    Everything is going to be cloud based tomorrow.
  • I think what people want in the end is for Windows to be relevant when it comes to mainstream consumer computing. And they see the reorg as MS conceding that it won't ever be, like it was. Windows as the traditional method for using a PC in productivity scenarios is fine, and Windows 10 is the best version. But it's not now, nor ever will be again, relevant to the world outside of enthusiasts.
  • Isn't it more about the hardware? Like is anyone an actual Windows 10 entusiast? My People & Fluent design don't make me want to go out & buy a new computer. Let's also not forget the OS had to be given away for free to get any sort of market penetration. I understand that hardware & software are tightly interconnected, but Windows is just kinda there, tough to innovate something that's main purpose is to not get in the way. Just dont crash and run Chrome & Office and 80% of the market is more than satisfied, no?
  • Microsloth seems to think that we get our computer work done with WINDOZE. No, it's the shell that we run apps in to get work done. And at best, it reduces our productivity - networking bugs, each new version with a whole new set of bad bugs on top of old bad bugs, constantly moving around settings to make them harder to find and use. Systems that just slow down and crawl and eventually crash for no known reasons, even when you have plenty of ram and disk space. And they take away things we like such as solitaire -not because they won't work, but because they want to sell you junk programs instead. Plus they keep changing the GUI - which means we have to keep relearn them. I hate to say it, but this article is more BS than anything else. Oh, and if we want to put off their major bug releases, we need to cough up $100 to buy pro. And then there's these so called Universal Windows Programs or some nonsense like that. Where you take a perfectly fine app, remove most of the functionality, make it look like it belongs in Windoze 8. The firm I work for uses Win 7 Enterprise, and guess what, no one complains - because it works and doesn't impair productivity most of the time.
  • "Microsloth" ? "Windoze" ? how are things in the 1980s?
  • This is a great article, in the organizations of tomorrow everything will be cloud based, so Windows 10 will become thinner in most enterprises, and they will start to deploy Windows 10 S for non tech people. Windows 10 Pro will be deployed on smaller population of employees which are advanced users that require to install ssh Linux terminals, source code compilers or advanced 3D/CAD design software.
  • They could start by naming an update a "consumer update". Why is everything called a "Creator's Update"? There is one "creator" to every 20,000 (or whatever, but you get the point) consumers. As other commenters have pointed out, Windows is simply not needed (or wanted) by the vast majority of consumers these days. Here is a very interesting stat: when you add up all of the PCs, phones and tablets being sold today, Windows devices account for about 15% of them. IOW, 85% of personal computing devices sold now, do NOT run on Windows. Considering that 10 years ago, it was around 93%, that is an astonishing drop. "Touch is also another very common complaint as tablet mode still seems subpar compared to Windows 8." I hereby nominate this as The Understatement Of The Century.
  • Microsoft is more interested in Corporations and other Businesses, yet more consumer's use Windows 10 than any of the Corporations, etc. do. Nadella needs to figure this out and do it fast. At this point it's like he has a serious case of Ballmerism and needs to go. Microsoft has been more interested in new features every 6 months, instead of fixing pre-existing Windows 10 bugs, before adding new features that create even more bugs. Not to mention now, for the past 1 1/2 years every feature update has been business oriented, not consumer oriented. The Edge being so good compared to other browser's is a crock. I try to like it, but always wind up going back to Opera, Firefox, Chrome or even I.E. 11, because they all actually work better and are faster at any productivity. With Edge, it's hurry up and w-w-w-a-a-a-a-I-I-I-t-t-t! Not exactly productive for anyone or any sort of business.
  • Maybe I am alone in my assessment, but I look at an OS as what it is supposed to be: A software package that acts as the underlying platform for all kinds of applications.
    I have used Windows since Windows 95, and my all time favorite OS was Windows NT.
    Why?
    Because it was incredibly powerful at the time with plenty of settings making my life easier. I used it at work, I used it at home.
    I never felt that I needed a built in photo editor, I had Corell for that and later Adobe.
    Didn't expect to have a music streaming service either, although I loves Groove, but that's just not something I expected an OS to do.
    I think what happened over time was that competitive OS had to cram Applications into their OS to become relevant, and now people judge an OS based on how many add on features it has.
    I love windows 10. Have been using it since the first preview.
    Make it more stable, productive for core functions and customizable.
    Make the UI look good and make it adapt to different devices and let me install whatever applications fits my needs best in its category.
    That's what I expect Windows to be.
    An OS that runs stable on every device I run it on, every time.
    Maybe I am just really old, but that's my take.
  • I guess selecting, copying, pasting text in Tablet Mode is not considered productive since it doesn't work in SCU 1803. Editing also is another non-productive task since in Tablet Mode you can't reposition the cursor with the touch screen instead you can only use arrow keys on the OSK. So editing this post requires me so hold the arrow key to go back character by character. Yeah, that's productive! ooh, once in a while it does work, very inconsistently, but mostly not. I think maybe Microsoft has completely given up on Tablets and just doesn't make an effort any more, that's what it feels like. It's definitely gotten worser and worser with every release since 1607 but even that was worse than Windows 8.1 for Tablet mode so 3-4 years of solid decline.
  • Dan, you are the man and I love you and the site! Toy asked what does, " Microsoft isn't doing enough to add consumer friendly features mean"? First, Microsoft just like their OEM's are treating consumers as if they're not enterprise users is the first issue; are we not both? I'm a consumer who works in enterprise and recognize that consumers wants and needs ata influencing enterprise purchasing more than oem's and MS want to believe. Why do you think chromebooks are on fire in edu? Why are iPads and iPhone used more in enterprise than android? Why does Dell, hp, and other oem's not let me purchase XPS's for the enterprise and steer me to optiplex when I clearly like and want to put XPS's on the desks and in the hands of my users? Whether they believe it or not looks play a major role in enterprise due to Apple making devices that have become fashion statements as opposed to it being about functionality. Everyone wants one because it's popular and everyone has one... monkey see monkey do mentality is real and in the enterprise to starting with management. In many companies, management dictates or influences what IT purchases unlike the past when we decided what we purchased. So the goal MS had when it introduced win8 should still be their goal where it saw consumers and enterprise users as one in the same giving unified features like the people hub had, where it combines enterprise there start menu that was whined about as well a a touch friendly UI that the consumer side of the user was asking for along with apps, UWP, WA's or whatever they're calling it these days combined with the products they want: PC, 2 in 1, tablet, 6" or less mobile device with cellular, in a timely manner, not a thousand reboots.
  • In our office we had this exact scenario play out. Management demanded iPads, even though we tried to tell them that Surface Pros run Office 365 better... are more productive... we could write UWP apps for the enterprise on them... etc etc. But all they cared about is that iPads are popular, they're fashionable, and... drumrole... have a billion non-work-related apps they can download. The lines between consumer/enterprise are very blurry these days. One definitely affects the other. MS should know this, it's what made it great.
  • JP144, "The struggle is real" but oem's and Microsoft currently want to ignore it or put blinders on in regards to this. As I mentioned the OEM's will not sell me Inspirons or XPS computers which look better than optiplex units and have the same specifications because I can build them out the way I want them but again the representatives say they can't sell them to me. This is also a contributing factor when management are use to seeing aesthetically pleasing looking macs, iPads, etc but we're forced into the black plastic shells that is optiplex! Lenovo's too are boring looking in the enterprise as well. Surface is great, but the surface studio is only sold in 27" which is perfect for my CAD guys but too big and pricey for my standard desktop users; 24" with a decent specs and reasonable pricing would be great!
  • Well said. This is actually how Windows got popular to begin with; people didn't have computers at home, and they used Windows at work. So when they wanted PCs at home, they wanted Windows. Now its the other way around; people want to use at work what they are familiar with at home where PCs are becoming rarer.
  • My opinion, as stated before, is that great operating systems are not enough any more. Consumers want an ecosystem and they want phones (or at least a device with LTE they can fold up and carry around in the their pocket all day). And that is where MS is dropping the ball. That said, as far as Windows 10 OS goes, there is one feature I'd love to see and it's right up Nadella's alley. I use the "Read Aloud" feature in the eBook reader in Edge all the time. Why? Because I'm too cheap to pay for Audible! But I keep hearing about all these A.I. "breakthroughs" they're making in Redmond. How AI can translate from Chinese to English better than a human! Or how AI is now bi-directional and can now listen and speak at the same time! So if AI is so advanced now, then can they please make the Read Aloud feature in Edge NOT sound like a computer is reading to me? It should be able to read "read" as "red" when the context suggests past-tense! etc. etc. If Nadella's team can get Edge to read to us the way a human reads to us in English... taking into consideration all the crud the English language can throw at you in any given story... I'd happily shut my big mouth forever about AI! And well, that would be one feature of the Windows 10 OS itself that would definitely set it apart to consumers.
  • Here's another somewhat more consumer friendly feature... the ability to make calls/text through my phone (any OS phone) while I am sitting at my laptop. At this very moment I am sitting in my family room, curled up under a blanket, with my laptop, and realize that my phone is in the kitchen. But I want to text my wife. See the problem? Yeah it would be nice not to have to get up and go get my phone. This problem doesn't hit me so much at work because I carry my phone around with me everywhere when I'm at work. I usually only set it down somewhere when I'm at home. So it's more of a consumer feature than an enterprise feature, at least for me. You've mentioned before that Dell has a "Dell Mobile Connect" app that does this very thing. But why is this not built natively into the OS? Little things like this keep the laptop relevant while we're all waiting in anxious suspense for Andromeda. In fact for me, because I like a tactile keyboard, it'd make the laptop more relevant even AFTER Andromeda.
  • Agree JP. This feature set should be baked into windows 10 by now. Dell mobile connect is awesome on IOS, and even better on Android. I am an apple phone user and I can send and receive texts, phone calls etc on my dell computer via mobile connect. Next up will be facetime through it i'm sure. Dell has me as a consumer for the foreseeable future since they are creating amazing devices with features I want. I am going to move my 13" Inspiron 2 in 1 to my son, and get new XPS 2 in 1's for my wife and I. Hers a 13" mine a 15". Can't wait.
  • I would say what is missing is a cohesive element that ties messaging (without reliance on Skype), notifications, app data across the whole windows ecosystem. But the key element here is Mobile (propped up by UWP), where Microsoft is still absent. We have yet to see what Andromeda will bring to the table, we all have our wishes and aspiriations for what andromeda will do for the mobile space. But ultimately the ball is in Microsoft's court. However I do not want to be situation where we have to attach a microsoft account to the whole o/s. I prefer to selectively sign into apps and have the data of these apps synced across devices. Like Spotify, Office, Gaming for example. Messaging wise if we had a whatsapp (UWP) then that would be really address that messaging issue for me. Hardly use skype (because the mobile/uwp client is utter tripe) and hardly anyone i know uses sms. But it's handy to have as a backup.
  • I am with you on this Daniel. I also feel that keeping up with the flux in this business is quite a challenge not to mention creating the future Msft just cannot be first in everything. Throughout their history they have rebounded and I am sure they are not done for years if not decades to come.
    The concept of intelligent cloud and edge was coined by Nadella. I think it is very powerful and the recent reorg is in line with it. "Devices and Services" still fits, as well as "Cloud first, Mobile first" and "Dual use: business and personal". It connects and adds up.
    Sure, there is a lot to be wished for: persistent virtual desktops, equirectangular photo support to name my few.
  • As I am eagerly awaiting their andromeda device, its pretty obvious to me that all of these changes are about mobile. Timeline, fluent design, pen input..... If they can include this all in the standard windows 10 desktop shell, then there is far less deviation needed for the andromeda device. The timeline feature looks particularly touch friendly. The new tabs feature also would be a boon on a smaller device when switching between use-cases (eg. work, home) At this pace, I cant imagine the andromeda device will need any additional functionality other than a few apps to drive the integrated hardware peripherals such as 3d scanning etc.
  • As a freelance professional, I am generally very happy with Windows 10's stability, cool UI, smooth performance (even on my 2011-era AMD A6-4400m laptop which I swapped for a new Ryzen 5 one from HP), full Win32-app compatibility (VERY important for me since I use some Win32 apps for work) and neat shortcuts like the shift + alt + windows key screenshot feature. As a consumer, I like that it can run my games, emulators, and can serve as an impromptu tablet as well...so I think Microsoft has nailed the best of both worlds with this one.
  • you know.. I had this long answer typed... and then I realized no one really cared. so 3 weeks ago 7 of the 7 compute devices in my home were all Windows10.... over the last three weeks we've replaced 5 of those 7 with android counterparts. I would classify those 5 as consumer level devices (phones/tablets). guess Windows 10 didn't make me productive enough to stay with windows on those consumer level devices... microsoft agrees on the phones as they couldn't be bothered to maintain it. the desktop and laptop that remain on Windows 10 are for my work (business... you know engineering and programming... productivy stuff).... so I guess Windows 10 is keeping me productive with regards to my business interests..... I guess I ended up retyping most of my comments again.... I hope you all cared.....
  • What about all the bloatware Microsoft is putting in Windows 10 Pro such as Candy Crush and other games, consumer type store apps, Xbox, and so many others? It takes me 1 to 2 hours to clean 1 PC after Windows 10 Pro installs and major upgrades as there is no "business friendly" way to do this. I would counter that Microsoft is making a business version (domain joined) more and more consumer focused. No business wants these games and store apps on a business PC. This is not about productivity for a business. And please leave off OneDrive or make it an option to install. Many businesses do not want confidential data put in the cloud, esp. OneDrive where there are no real ways to limit what goes there or manage what is there.