Linked by snydeq on Tue 19th Feb 2013 18:41 UTC
Microsoft As PC prospects decline, Microsoft has been moving toward a hybrid, cross-platform future with an eye toward opportunities in the server closet and the cloud. But the question remains, How might Microsoft evolve to get there? "It's tempting to say the past five years has seen Microsoft's desktop-centric strategy slowly give way to a pell-mell free-for-all made up of equal parts desktop, server, mobile hardware and software, cloud services, and auxiliary systems like the Xbox. Truth is, intention has always been present. It's only now, thanks to major upheavals in consumer tech and the cloud, that Microsoft's broad-spectrum plays are becoming more evident and critical. [...] What may be new for Microsoft is the need to better cohere its strategy around an ever-widening array of services and technologies, especially as the breadth of competition it faces widens. Most of all, if there ever comes a time to stop being a consumer-oriented company, Microsoft shouldn't flinch. A future where Microsoft doesn't make hardware or end-user programs seems remote, but there was a time when IBM abandoning its PC business seemed jarring, too." And if Microsoft can't quite cohere its strategy, the best means to this end may be to divide.
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Comment by chemical_scum
by chemical_scum on Wed 20th Feb 2013 01:13 UTC
chemical_scum
Member since:
2005-11-02

It's tempting to say the past five years has seen Microsoft's desktop-centric strategy slowly give way to a pell-mell free-for-all made up of equal parts desktop, server, mobile hardware and software, cloud services, and auxiliary systems like the Xbox


It's tempting to say the past five years has seen Canonical's desktop-centric strategy slowly give way to a pell-mell free-for-all made up of equal parts desktop, server, mobile software, cloud services, and auxiliary systems like the Ubuntu tv.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by chemical_scum
by bassbeast on Wed 20th Feb 2013 02:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by chemical_scum"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Canonical will be dead in less than 3 years because desktops don't fit into the "blessed three" which is the ONLY way to consistently make money with GPL software, sell support/services, sell hardware, or hold out a tin cup. The last just won't bring in enough revenue and the other two don't apply to desktops so Canonical is toast.

As for the "article"? Its crap. there is NO crossroads, do you think that when the housing bubble burst people were "at a crossroads" when it comes to living in a home? 1993-2006 was a BUBBLE, no different than the housing or dotbomb or any other bubble. It was a bubble brought about by the MHz wars which are now over. PCs are NOT GOING AWAY it is just the fact that now that the bubble is burst folks won't replace every 3 years like when the bubble was on, same as you don't see houses constantly flipping as you did during that bubble.

When you look at what I was selling on the LOW END more than five years ago, Phenom X4 with 4Gb and 400Gb HDDs, how many are gonna be able to stress that system enough to go "You know, I think I really need a new PC" and the same goes for laptops, I was selling Core duos and Turion X2s with 2Gb-4GB of RAM and 200GB HDDs. How many people when they are mobile are gonna need more than that for the tasks they have at hand?

Smartphones sell more because they are disposable in the States but as rare earth minerals skyrocket in price that will soon come to an end. tablets are seeing the same as the PC only on fast forward, Samsung is testing a 6 core and Nvidia is selling a 5 core and I predict by Xmas you'll see dual core tablets for less than $100 as the bottom falls out of that market.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by chemical_scum
by allanregistos on Wed 20th Feb 2013 04:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by chemical_scum"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Canonical will be dead in less than 3 years because desktops don't fit into the "blessed three" which is the ONLY way to consistently make money with GPL software, sell support/services, sell hardware, or hold out a tin cup. The last just won't bring in enough revenue and the other two don't apply to desktops so Canonical is toast.....


Are you a prophet?
I mean a tech prophet? Meanwhile, Canonical will released images for both Smartphone and tablets next week for selected devices.

Edited 2013-02-20 04:44 UTC

Reply Score: 5

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Oh comon, there isn't even a hint of any devices yet. Also they are hilariously bad at keeping things working.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by chemical_scum
by twitterfire on Wed 20th Feb 2013 14:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by chemical_scum"
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


Are you a prophet?
I mean a tech prophet? Meanwhile, Canonical will released images for both Smartphone and tablets next week for selected devices.


Just the same Ubuntu desktop compiled for arm. Nothing new or revolutionary.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by marcp
by marcp on Wed 20th Feb 2013 01:59 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

It's funny, but I don't use their products for such a long time, that I couldn't really care less for them.

I put them somewhere between Amiga, BeOS and OS/2. Go figure.

Reply Score: 5

reduz
Member since:
2006-02-25

Microsoft does everything they can to push away developers, specially for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. Let's enumerate why.

1) Need Windows 8 to develop for Metro/WP/WRT, and it's expensive (not cheap anymore). I'm sure if they had any faith on Windows Marketplace, they'd give away Windows for free so people would develop for it and/or purchase stuff.
2) Developer support is the worst. Blackberry gave me free devices for me to port stuff to. Microsoft will not.
3) The APIs are all proprietary. No OpenGL, for example, makes porting really difficult. OpenGLES 3 is coming out soon and the mobile DirectX API is still behind OpenGL ES 2.0. Plus, not unix based like iOS or Android. If you want people to make apps for you, make it easy for them and support saner apis like OpenSL, OpenAL, OpenGL, etc.
4) They'd rather do expensive devices that few people can buy instead of massive cheap devices. At this rate no one will buy any software I make for it.
5) No upgrades for the existing phones means less people will buy whathever I do.

etc.

Reply Score: 11

GraphiteCube Member since:
2009-04-01

Let me try to answer this.

> Need Windows 8 to develop for Metro/WP/WRT, and it's expensive.

I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.

I think this point is only valid if you're arguing for Android (which the SDK is available for Windows/ Mac OS X and Linux for free).

> Developer support is the worst. Blackberry gave me free devices for me to port stuff to. Microsoft will not.

Because BB10 is a whole new system, so they give away devices for free to attract developers? (I know WP7 was whole new system, so you're point is valid here.) However, I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development, I wonder if this also makes Apple and Google giving you the worst developer support.

> The APIs are all proprietary. No OpenGL, for example, makes porting really difficult. OpenGLES 3 is coming out soon and the mobile DirectX API is still behind OpenGL ES 2.0. Plus, not unix based like iOS or Android. If you want people to make apps for you, make it easy for them and support saner apis like OpenSL, OpenAL, OpenGL, etc.

I can't answer this as I don't have game development experience and benchmarks on hand.

> They'd rather do expensive devices that few people can buy instead of massive cheap devices.

Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).

> No upgrades for the existing phones means less people will buy whathever I do.

Valid for WP7, especially for Lumia 900. But for WP8, I and you can't say that. Next upgrade for WP8 is not even announced yet, it is too early to judge. For WinRT it is the same, upgrade plan is not announced yet.

Reply Score: 3

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

You are totally missing the point. It's all about incentive. But i'll still reply to your answers to make my point clear.


I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.


Apple only had to make a few developers rich to generate incentive for everyone to make iOS apps and games. Microsoft is late the the party and their platform so far offers very little benefit compared to iOS or Android, so why should developers care? They need reasons to care, not obstacles.


However, I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development, I wonder if this also makes Apple and Google giving you the worst developer support.


Because Microsoft is not Apple and is not Google. Apple (willingly or unwillingly) attracted developers by making sure they earn a ton of money at first. Google made Android development extremely accessible and their entry level phones are cheap. Blackberry doesn't have either so they gave money and devices to developers.

Microsoft sat on their ass and did nothing, so developers mostly don't care.


I can't answer this as I don't have game development experience and benchmarks on hand.


You are again missing the point. It's not about performance, it's about ease of porting. Developers love learning new platform and getting their code to run on them. It's a neat challenge, except for the fact that their code has to be almost completely rewritten for Windows Phone because the APIs differ way too much (Microsoft Propertary vs Standards). Blackberry is trying to make sure that developers can port their games easily by supporting Flash, C++, Java, ObjC, OpenGL, etc. Microsoft, again, Isn't doing anything.


Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).


Anything less than WP8 is unusable for development or porting. It relies on technology Microsoft themselves made obsolete and does not even support native.
WP8 devices are not that easy to obtain in several parts of the world (like Latin America) and are more expensive than entry level Android phones.

So I hope I made my points clearer. As a developer, Microsoft is clearly doing things wrong and making the same mistake that they do all the time. It's like, they seem to think that sitting on their asses is enough and that users and developers will just be attracted to their products because they have the powerful Windows brand attached to it, while in reality it's quite the opposite.

Reply Score: 3

GraphiteCube Member since:
2009-04-01

> Apple only had to make a few developers rich to generate incentive for everyone to make iOS apps and games. Microsoft is late the the party and their platform so far offers very little benefit compared to iOS or Android, so why should developers care? They need reasons to care, not obstacles.

Because there are a lot of Windows users out there? Not just Windows RT users, but Windows 8 users can also use Windows Store Apps.

> Because Microsoft is not Apple and is not Google. Apple (willingly or unwillingly) attracted developers by making sure they earn a ton of money at first. Google made Android development extremely accessible and their entry level phones are cheap. Blackberry doesn't have either so they gave money and devices to developers. Microsoft sat on their ass and did nothing, so developers mostly don't care.

I don't understand this. If I have already made money on iOS/ Android, then Windows Phone is just another system. If I can afford to buy iPhone/ cheap Android then I can also afford Windows Phone. If I haven't begin my mobile apps development, then all 4 systems are just the same. May I know how do I get BB10 device now, suppose I am interested in developing apps for it using HTML5/JS?

> You are again missing the point. It's not about performance, it's about ease of porting. Developers love learning new platform and getting their code to run on them. It's a neat challenge, except for the fact that their code has to be almost completely rewritten for Windows Phone because the APIs differ way too much (Microsoft Propertary vs Standards). Blackberry is trying to make sure that developers can port their games easily by supporting Flash, C++, Java, ObjC, OpenGL, etc. Microsoft, again, Isn't doing anything.

As I remember, WP8 supports C++. There are a lot of game engine have been already/ will be ported to WP8.

> Anything less than WP8 is unusable for development or porting. It relies on technology Microsoft themselves made obsolete and does not even support native. WP8 devices are not that easy to obtain in several parts of the world (like Latin America) and are more expensive than entry level Android phones.

True for WP7.x, but I really doubt for your argument on WP8. I just checked that Lumia 620 (WP8) costs HK$2298, which is very cheap already, I really wonder the performance of similar level of Android devices. (and at this price level I can't get iPhone)

Some of your points are true, true to people coming from other platforms. MSFT is not working fast enough. But some points, such as no upgrade, I would disagree because I always find people complaining/ waiting indefinitely for upgrading the OS of their Android phones. Yes I know there are 3rd party ROMs, but I won't consider that as I can never tell if someone put malicious codes in it.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I'm not sure why, but I've also heared smartphones are really expensive in South America.

Reply Score: 2

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25


Because there are a lot of Windows users out there? Not just Windows RT users, but Windows 8 users can also use Windows Store Apps.


Leave Windows 8 store out of this, it's too new and still has not proved itself a profitable platform. Amount of users still means nothing (Everyone has Chrome Store, yet no one uses it).

Most developers are focusing on mobile because that's where people are spending the money, so my points apply mainly to WinPhone and WinRT.



I don't understand this. If I have already made money on iOS/ Android, then Windows Phone is just another system.


Yes but it's more difficult to port and has more restrictions. If you are using a game engine or HTML5 it's fine but most people (or more like, most developers that write apps/games that matter are not).


May I know how do I get BB10 device now, suppose I am interested in developing apps for it using HTML5/JS?


Find a blackberry rep, they give away alphas of their phones to developers or playbooks for free. They'll likely be at GDC.


As I remember, WP8 supports C++. There are a lot of game engine have been already/ will be ported to WP8.


Game engines help the small companies, but usually developers that write the most complex games roll their own engine.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I will need to buy a Mac computer to write apps for iOS (iPhone/ iPad) too. Mac is expensive to me. Perhaps you're already using Mac already so the cost to purchase Mac becomes zero, but I'm not.

Most developers are still on Win7.

I haven't heard that Apple/ Google give me free iPhone/ Android phones for development

You are not important enough. Because they do give preview devices to the most important developers under strict NDA's. Google sends out free devices to many developers and gives away a ton of devices at Google I/O.

Last time I checked Lumia 620/ 7xx phone are relatively cheap compared to other Android/ iPhone. May be it is just in my city, but I feel weird when people happily pay for their new iPhone 5 (HK$5xxx at least) but say that it is expensive for Windows Phone (HK$25xx for Lumia 710 and HK$39xx for Lumia 820).

Last time I checked, you can buy an Android device at any price you wish. The low end models today include GPU and RAM of a Nexus One(the phone that got called "the superphone").

Reply Score: 2

GraphiteCube Member since:
2009-04-01

> Most developers are still on Win7.

I spent few hundred HK$ to upgrade from Win7 to Win8 during the promotion period. Right now the cheapest upgrade price is HK$1369. I wonder if I can buy a Mac with that money.

> You are not important enough. Because they do give preview devices to the most important developers under strict NDA's. Google sends out free devices to many developers and gives away a ton of devices at Google I/O.

So given your point, then all 3 (iOS/ Android/ WP) are "worst" support to me. May I know the percentage of developers being labeled as "important"?

> Last time I checked, you can buy an Android device at any price you wish. The low end models today include GPU and RAM of a Nexus One(the phone that got called "the superphone").

Maybe you're right, but if you're serious enough, you won't buy those Android devices for testing. Because (according to my experience), even the microphone on different Android phones having different capabilities (some better, some worse), not to mention the OS running in them. I'm not saying all WP devices are having the same hardware capability (I think only BB and iPhone can do that), but Android phones which is too cheap won't help.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

So given your point, then all 3 (iOS/ Android/ WP) are "worst" support to me.


iOS has the most spendy users, Android has the userbase and WP has little on offer.
It's about SWOT analysis from there and Microsoft has to start doing something marvelous to get back onto the good side of developers.

May I know the percentage of developers being labeled as "important"?

Less than a tenth of a percent, you can rest assured of that, for iOS and Android. For Microsoft - ever single f***king one, should be.

Reply Score: 3

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

Microsoft has to start doing something marvelous to get back onto the good side of developers.


1. open GL ES on damn Windows Phone
2. freeze the damn apis, we don't want to target one set of apis now and Microsoft trash them and deprecate them after 1 year.
3. give free devices to devs who want to port their Android and iOS apps
4. let devs get all their money when they sell an app through the store, at least 5 years from now
5. make some contests so you can as a dev, if you make a good app, win some big cash

One of the Windows biggest strengths was its devs. As an operating system vendor, you don't want to upset developers but it appears that Ballmer doesn't care about that.

Reply Score: 2

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

The only reason for me to develop or port an app (which kind of means rewriting it from scratch) to Windows Phone would be Microsoft paying me to do the job. Otherwise, looking at market share it's a big no no.

If you want to develop for the PC you have two choices: MFC, which kind of sucks and WinRT which forces you to distribute your software through Windows Store, which I (and many others) dislike.

The only good MS platforms left to develop for are ASP.NET and games for Windows/Xbox.

I kind of wait for them to break or deprecate APS.NET MVC and DirectX, thus screwing developers once more.

Reply Score: 2

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

DirectX is already deprecated. If you wrote code using DirectSound, DirectInput, etc. you are screwed. Only Direct3D remains.

Reply Score: 3

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

By DirectX I understand Direct3D.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I believe that the market forces will make sure that Direct3D is no longer relevant. There are more OpenGL ES 2.0 devices sold per quarter than Direct3D devices.

No matter how you slice it, Direct3D is on the decline for install base.(XBox360 non indie games are not using Direct3D, they are using low level API)

Direct3D was a great thing for game developers. It forced standards in GPUs to be applied uniformly, even if the standard was a proprietary closed one. But here comes OpenGL charging ahead.

Reply Score: 4

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

OpenGL is not exactly the same thing as Opengl ES and mobile devices are not a market as important to games as PC and consoles.

Devs were using DirectX on xbox 360 in the beginning but now, that it is an aging platform, they write for the mare metal to squeeze the last drop of performance from it.

Reply Score: 2

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

OpenGL ES might not be the same thing as OpenGL, but a whole new generation of developers will be familair with OpenGL ES. This can only be a good thing for OpenGL, right ?

Reply Score: 3

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

OpenGL ES might not be the same thing as OpenGL, but a whole new generation of developers will be familair with OpenGL ES. This can only be a good thing for OpenGL, right ?

Not. It's not hard to learn DirectX if you come from OpenGL and it's not hard to learn OpenGL if you come from DirectX.

Right now, as a game developer, you use what's best on the platform: GL ES on mobiles, OpenGL on Mac, DirectX on PC, libgcm on PS3, shader microcode and DirectX on Xbox 360.

Reply Score: 3

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.2 share a lot. Also, the code is very compatible between the two.
Console low level APIs are much like OpenGL(though can't say for XBox360).


Devs tend to ditch high level APIs on consoles as soon as possible, just because they want better optimizations. Same will be true for the next console that comes out.

Reply Score: 3

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


1) Need Windows 8 to develop for Metro/WP/WRT, and it's expensive (not cheap anymore). I'm sure if they had any faith on Windows Marketplace, they'd give away Windows for free so people would develop for it and/or purchase stuff.


Microsoft does give away Windows for free if you're a start up or a student and includes in that deal a years worth of access to the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store.


2) Developer support is the worst. Blackberry gave me free devices for me to port stuff to. Microsoft will not.


Microsoft gave me four WP7 devices (Three Lumia 900s and one Lumia 800) and one Lumia 920 for being a developer. They also gave me my initial Windows Phone Store membership.

There was pretty much a free flow of WP7 phones during its time frame. Nokia had a system where if you wrote one reasonably functional app, or could show them the intention to write a reasonably functional app, they'd send you a developer devices pretty handily.

Microsoft also had developer devices prior to WP7 launch, using the Samsung Taylor and an LG device with a keyboard. These devices are still floating around today.

With WP8 they're a little more tight pursed because they have more developer momentum than BB at this point. That, and Nokia runs a DVLUP program bywhich you can earn yourself a device by writing apps that meet incentives, or you can request a loaner device from Nokia. Samsung has similar programs IIRC but I never bothered to look.


3) The APIs are all proprietary. No OpenGL, for example, makes porting really difficult. OpenGLES 3 is coming out soon and the mobile DirectX API is still behind OpenGL ES 2.0. Plus, not unix based like iOS or Android. If you want people to make apps for you, make it easy for them and support saner apis like OpenSL, OpenAL, OpenGL, etc.


To make you completely happy they'd have to become Unix. Not going to happen.

A lot of shops have existing code from DirectX and Windows only games which naturally port to the Windows Store.

Developers already make the DirectX choice today by choosing the 360 over the PS3. Its telling that a lot of PS3 games are braindead ports of the 360.


4) They'd rather do expensive devices that few people can buy instead of massive cheap devices. At this rate no one will buy any software I make for it.


Unsure how this applies to Microsoft.


5) No upgrades for the existing phones means less people will buy whathever I do.

etc.


Less people? Windows Phone 8 device install base is pretty much on par in presence with the WP7 install base. Adduplex, an advertising agency for WP7/WP8 apps releases their device breakdown statistics which give insight into this.

Personal downloads of my app are split about 60/40 in favor of WP7.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 20th Feb 2013 02:36 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

On the desktop, tablet and phone I think they have a lot less to worry about given that what we know and the leaked information shows that they're on track when it comes to delivery. The biggest obstacle I see appear to be a focus by Microsoft not only to diversify but also focus on moving their revenue streams from a dependence on big releases every so many years to re-occurring ones such as the cut they take from Windows Application Store sales, the move to a subscription based Office model, online services such as Office365, cloud computing and so on.

Reply Score: 3

This...
by malxau on Wed 20th Feb 2013 02:57 UTC
malxau
Member since:
2005-12-04

"RT presents an intriguing opportunity for Microsoft, but if Microsoft is to take RT seriously as a future platform for the company, it must ensure everyone else does, too. This starts with smoothing the path for software makers to port and deploy RT editions of their apps...We should be able to get 32-bit, 64-bit, and RT-based editions of all our favorite software without feeling like we're missing out. After all, the legacy Win32 world isn't going to die that easily."

Reply Score: 6

evolve or divide ?
by Lennie on Wed 20th Feb 2013 18:26 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

How about dissolve ? ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Stephen!
by Stephen! on Thu 21st Feb 2013 16:59 UTC
Stephen!
Member since:
2007-11-24

the best means to this end may be to divide


So, ironically, it might have been beneficial for Microsoft, had the DOJ decided to break them up.

Reply Score: 2

The xbox dept should be designing
by Phloptical on Sun 24th Feb 2013 22:10 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

the Windows UI. I have a much more friendly and cohesive experience navigating the "touch" interface through the kinect than I do with the lousy-cobbled together POS that is the Metro UI.

Reply Score: 2