Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 19th Aug 2013 03:46 UTC
Windows Microsoft recently wrote off a $900 million loss on its ARM-based Surface tablets. But according to Computerworld, the company intends to double down on its bet in hardware devices. CEO Steve Ballmer says that "Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services... We will design, create and deliver through us and through third parties a complete family of Windows-powered devices." Look to Microsoft to produce more new hardware as it fights for market share in the handheld space. Ultimately Microsoft intends to develop a common code base across all devices -- from servers to desktops to handhelds -- that supports "write once, run anywhere."

Analyst Frank Gillett of Forrester Research says that Microsoft is fully committed to shifting away from its traditional emphasis on packaged software and into handheld devices and services (such as subscription software). He sees this as a fundamental reorientation, and says that "No matter what, it's a messy process."
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beta testers anyone?
by bnolsen on Mon 19th Aug 2013 04:00 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

It almost seems like they intend to toss their users into being beta testers for them again. Considering they are starting behind other players in an increasingly full field I'm not sure how this will work out.

who will this be messy for? MS? 3rd party developers? consumers? If for MS does this mean MS is going to promote opengl(es) for their platforms then?

Reply Score: 4

Corporate vs. Consumers
by sb56637 on Mon 19th Aug 2013 04:06 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

"Microsoft intends to develop a common code base across all devices -- from servers to desktops to handhelds -- that supports 'write once, run anywhere.'"

It's like Microsoft is trying to sell us on this "one UI everywhere" paradigm with the sole motive of reducing their development costs. I'm sure that a single code base is very attractive to corporate bean counters, but to the average consumer it is utterly unimportant. I as a consumer don't care if there's one code base or 50 code bases, I just want the best UI for each of my different devices. And I don't want a touch screen interface on my desktop, nor do I want a desktop interface on my portable devices. I want good functionality, not a coder's pipe dream on my devices.

Edited 2013-08-19 04:08 UTC

Reply Score: 22

RE: Corporate vs. Consumers
by benali72 on Mon 19th Aug 2013 07:18 UTC in reply to "Corporate vs. Consumers"
benali72 Member since:
2008-05-03

Agreed. If there's any kind of lesson in the Windows 8 fiasco, it's that one UI for all platforms is not workable.

Reply Score: 12

RE[2]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by dragossh on Mon 19th Aug 2013 18:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Corporate vs. Consumers"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

Just like Windows Mobile, it'll take them 10 years to realise it's a bad idea.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Corporate vs. Consumers
by tkeith on Mon 19th Aug 2013 09:55 UTC in reply to "Corporate vs. Consumers"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

And they're not even there yet. Sure the UI has converged, but the actual coding is still different for every platform. So they really didn't make as big of a jump as they could have.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 10:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Corporate vs. Consumers"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Its not that different, can you be specific?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by tkeith on Mon 19th Aug 2013 13:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Corporate vs. Consumers"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Right, so you agree that they are different. Why do I need to be specific?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=windows+phone+api

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Corporate vs. Consumers"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

You seem to be implying it wasn't a big jump, it was given what I said were minor differences. Its funny, telling me to google APIs I use every single day, in fact porting between both platforms makes up a significant portion of my day to day tasks

Which is why I asked you to be specific, not repeat what you've heard or read.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by tkeith on Mon 19th Aug 2013 17:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Corporate vs. Consumers"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Not taking the bait, sorry. :p

How about adding to the conversation instead of twisting words and starting arguments?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Corporate vs. Consumers
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Corporate vs. Consumers"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

What did I twist? Pretty sure those were your words. If you want to run from them that's fine.

Reply Score: 3

urgh
by stabbyjones on Mon 19th Aug 2013 04:38 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

why must they lump server into all this as well?

server 2012 is the best release of since server 2000. But, some of the design decisions as far as accessing and managing a server border on insane. it's like they genuinely thought everyone would buy a surface and then administer server 2012 through rdp...

Reply Score: 11

It would have been great
by sukru on Mon 19th Aug 2013 04:55 UTC
sukru
Member since:
2006-11-19

They are just squandering the potential. The new tablet UI is "okay", and given time it might become useful, but pushing a half baked product down our throats, especially on the desktop seems to be a very bad decision.

They're betting all on "metro", which actually worked well on the phones (UI wise, not sales wise). However if they opened the surface a little bit more (for example, just allowing C++ development on the desktop site) it would be a very attractive low cost netbook replacement. Especially if you like tinkering / hacking devices.

By closing down the ecosystem, disallowing desktop apps, and even restricting flash to a handful of "whitelisted" sites crippled the device. Then they asked a full price on this crippled offering, causing a $900M writedown at the end.

I wonder who is in charge of the decisions at Microsoft. It's definitely not one of the sane members of engineering team.

Reply Score: 6

RE: It would have been great
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 10:50 UTC in reply to "It would have been great"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Flash isn't white listed, certain sites are now blacklisted. The majority of them will run on RT.

Reply Score: 3

Write once, run anywhere ...
by lucas_maximus on Mon 19th Aug 2013 07:17 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

Every software developer knows this isn't true.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Write once, run anywhere ...
by Kochise on Mon 19th Aug 2013 08:59 UTC in reply to "Write once, run anywhere ... "
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Java has somewhat reached this goal though...

Windows / Linux / Mac OS
Android (Dalvik) / ...

Kochise

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Java has managed to run on many systems.

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Except that many Java developers bear scars from JVM and system specific issues.

Reply Score: 4

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

No pain no gain I guess.

Reply Score: 4

japh Member since:
2005-11-11

Not that many scars. A few scratches at most.

It actually works really well, even if it is also possible to write platform specific parts. I've been porting a large system and the only Java-related problems we had was JNI-related.

C++, shell scripts and the like on the other hand... scary stuff.

Reply Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Java on the desktop has pretty much failed. It was never as good as anything natively written for the platform.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Write once, run anywhere ...
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 10:47 UTC in reply to "Write once, run anywhere ... "
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Exactly, I don't think outside of Thoms comment, that is what Microsoft intends to do.

You can have commonality without binary compatibility. What they're aiming at is common APIs, common paradigms and UI design.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 19th Aug 2013 08:32 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

This has been going on in Microsoft since .NET in 2002. There are people in Microsoft who have their heads in the clouds and are constantly pushing for a rewrite of WIN32. Whoever they are they seem to care only about their utopian idea and not a single jot for the users who have to live there.

My personal opinion is that had Microsoft not wasted a decade on .NET and it's mutant children (Silverlight) and instead doubled-down on _things that matter_ (like security, stability) instead of shiny things (Vista) they would have seen 10 years of growth, not 10 years of flat lining.

Windows 2000 was pitch-perfect. A Microsoft that was listening to needs instead of dreams. Had they just iterated on that and stopped their creepy burlesque show in front of the consumer they might have even stopped the iPhone even being a viable product in the first place.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Kochise on Mon 19th Aug 2013 09:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

The problem is that in a world of open source and viable alternatives, they still persist in insisting to deliver close sourced operating systems, applications, file format, and still believes that the users are eager to pay for a yearly subscription like a cash cow, they are going to face disillusion.

While I agree Windows 2000 was just what everyone needed as a base operating system, its Windows XP evolution was welcome, even though it was not quite a revolution (the default blue theme was ugly, oliva was better).

I can understand they wanted to cover a large audience with Windows XP (2000 covering pro market, Me was the dead cow) thus allowing to get a common base to focus on Family as well as Pro with a single operating system (server version was kept on a separate branch). And it was effective until x64 became mainstream and the win32 foundation had to get a major rewrite (see the XP 64 bits mess). Hence Vista.

Windows 7 should have stayed the way it was without the need to evolve into this monstrous Metro UI targeting kids. Microsoft then only focused on Family form factor (smartphone, tablet) and obviously get rid of Pro altogether, like they know Pro now uses Linux as main OS, since Windows has became irrelevant in its futile attempts to refocus itself while probing several technologies without following industry standards.

Sad state of affair, while I agree that Microsoft, beside its bad behaviors, has brought some kind of standardization of the computer market (remember the various yet incompatible file format between Mac, Atari, Amiga, Archimedes, etc ?) with an unified UI, API, etc... But instead to be an active player in the IT field by adapting to the requests, they imposed their solutions.

Just like IBM did before. Then throwing out support after a while, forcing consumers to renew their whole infrastructure once in a while. And because some consumers are fed up with, that's where x86 shined alot due to its unprecedented backward compatibility to run 20 or 30 yo softwares through virtualization.

Kochise

BTW : "Write Once, Run Everywhere" might be achieved easily using LISP. Now we have 100's of different programming languages that, while being mostly useless duplicates, do not reach a percent of LISP's flexibility and powerfulness.

With LISP you can do IA, web sites, 3D modelers and renderer, video game (goal), satellite firmwares that can do distant REPL, run on Apple IIe (recent news) as well as multi-core processors, etc... So why using mammoth languages like Java when LISP is enough ?

Oh, yes, it sadly requires you to be a real programmers that understand what you're doing. Perhaps by leveraging the coders' competences, we also benefit from better code, algorithms, etc. Who knows ? Now that anybody is given the ability to code with baby programming languages, see the mess around.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by moondevil on Mon 19th Aug 2013 09:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

You are aware that Microsoft is not the only company in the world selling software that is closed source or makes use of proprietary formats, right?

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Kochise on Mon 19th Aug 2013 11:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Microsoft also sells an... operating system, what only a few companies do. The fact that Windows had undocumented "features" that provided Microsoft's applications with advanced functionalities beside third parties' applications tells alot about the "benefit" of the closed source model. When you fed up, if not anger, enough developers, they go elsewhere.

Oh, what a surprise, Android provides open source model, actively developed and supported APIs, pretty good market model on which developers could live upon, just what Microsoft are now trying desperately to copy, but with their legacy grain of salt (closed source, ARM secured boot, subscription model) that consumers with now a good overview of the alternatives now despise.

But Microsoft insist. I already told in another comment ("fate of Nokia" article) that while I adore what the Windows Phone Team has made with the Lumia, they still carry two main flaws : the Microsoft and the Windows brands. Would the Windows Phone OS been sold by Nokia under its brand, nobody would have complained as much.

But if I recall correctly, even Symbian, while being a major pain in the donkey to code for, was pretty open (open Symbian initiative at the end). What Windows Phone is not.

So...

Kochise

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by acobar on Mon 19th Aug 2013 12:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

.. obviously get rid of Pro altogether, like they know Pro now uses Linux as main OS, since Windows has became irrelevant in its futile attempts to refocus itself while probing several technologies without following industry standards.


May you believe or not, around me, what means technical area (mainly civil, electrical and mechanical engineering) and also on development of commercial applications it is still MS inside workstations (the mythical pro) by a far large margin, so mine anecdotal, particular, and insignificant experience dares to disagree. Mind you, I would like to totally jump off, but Autocad on technical side and MS workgroup foundations keep me from doing that.

My I ask, around here, who more has the same kind of experience?


.. Now we have 100's of different programming languages that, while being mostly useless duplicates, do not reach a percent of LISP's flexibility and powerfulness.


Oh, LISP, not my favorite language but fine nonetheless, have developed some routines for Autocad on its own dialect, AutoLISP. Anyway, the language is seldom the problem, be acquainted and proficient using/developing high quality libraries is what takes "ages", languages can be learned on "days".

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Kochise on Mon 19th Aug 2013 14:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

The question is : wouldn't be any technical legitimation, power gain, stability benefit from switching to "another" operating system instead to stay on Windows with just contract renewal ?

Oh, yeah, it would requires porting applications. But since on Windows you already rewrite stuff from MFC to ATL, WTL, .Net, C++ to C#, etc, perhaps IT management should do a complete sum of the pro vs. con ;)

Kochise

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Kroc
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 10:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

.NET has not been a waste of time. What planet are you on?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 19th Aug 2013 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I don't question the .NET language, I've never actually heard anything bad about C#; but the .NET strategy has been a massive misstep followed by many smaller ones.

In theory, .NET is good, in reality it has sucked. It's not reliable enough (I've had to fix enough machies where .NET has gone corrupt -- it's a true pain to clean up and fix), it's a burden on users (downloading / installing runtimes), doubly so ten years ago, hasn't really delivered on promises and Microsoft don't even dog food it after discovering that rewriting Explorer in managed code was impossible. It's a burden on developers too with constantly changing tools, runtimes, platform strategies (WinMo 6! 6.5! 7! 8! Silverlight is the future! HTML5 is the future! WinRT is the future!)

Looking at all this, I can only imagine that it would have been easier on every computer user (Microsoft themselves, end-users and developers) if they had just kept iterating on WIN32.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Kroc
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 12:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Kroc"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Windows Phone runs its developer stack on .NET, the Windows Phone head is now in charge of Windows. The powers that be inside WinDiv actively subverted .NET, and despite then it has thrived. Thrived in enterprises, on servers, and more recently on Windows/Windows Phone with their respective app stores being a majority .NET

Explorer not being managed is an aside and a result of a bad product cycle where many things, even non .NET things suffered. What isn't shown is what prospered, notably Indigo (WCF) and Avalon (WPF). WCF powers a lot of the aspx runtime now, especially WebAPI, and the fundamentals in WPF make up WinRT (XAML, Data binding, Dependency properties).

With WinRT, Microsoft united the chasm between managed and unmanaged whereby calling into native or managed WinRT components looks the same. That is a powerful concept which will put .NET on equal footing moving forward.

Also important is that WinDiv has taken ownership of XAML and the .NET metadata format that powers WinRT component registration and that comes with an implied legacy.

At the end of the day, .NET was owned by DevDiv and Win32 was owned by WinDiv. .NET focus by MS didn't impede Win32s development as much as Win32s development impeded .NETs for political reasons.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by stereotype
by stereotype on Mon 19th Aug 2013 09:08 UTC
stereotype
Member since:
2007-04-06

Nice to hear they are fully committed... again...

Edited 2013-08-19 09:13 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Are the days of packaged software over?
by dsmogor on Mon 19th Aug 2013 09:15 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

What happened with user's right to actually use a piece of software without time limits?
Are we pay more for less rights?

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

What happened with user's right to actually use a piece of software without time limits?
Are we pay more for less rights?


This depends entirely on the license under which the software is released.

Somewhat surprisingly, there are some licenses for software which are entirely about enshrining and protecting user's rights.

Reply Score: 3

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Yes. Pretty much. Its not because Microsoft wants to either, being a pure software company afforded Microsoft extraordinary markups on their boxed software. They're being dragged kicking and screaming into this.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Mon 19th Aug 2013 10:43 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Is anyone really surprised? Windows RT is of strategic importance to Microsoft, they don't care how much it costs or how long it takes. They have the resources to see this through.

They've played long games in Bing, Xbox, even IE and Office before. The truly surprising bit would be if they canned RT and Surface.

Reply Score: 3

acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

first, stop then nonsense and recognize that there are big differences between form factors that drives the main via of interaction, exposure complexity and hardware constraints and very probably there will always be. Things on battery are not going to have the same power of a plugged device, at least not while unplugged; small screens scream to be wisely used much more than big ones; development hardware asks for more features; so on and so forth.

Have a new approach to hardware partners, you want them to jump boat, don't you? Give them a fraction of what is purchased on apps and entertainment stores by device. Right now your offerings are assigned as "cost", and this would move it to "investment".

For all you did, and still do, I should not try to give "advices" to you, but, perhaps irrationally, I still have faith on human beings and their forms of organization, even if history insists on prove I am delusional, what is very close to the definition of insanity. ;-)

Edited 2013-08-19 12:45 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Oh good
by andrewclunn on Mon 19th Aug 2013 14:06 UTC
andrewclunn
Member since:
2012-11-05

So Microsoft is backing either Qt or HTML5 then. Oh, no? Well then that's a flop.

Reply Score: 2

Exceeding the laws of inexplicable stupidity
by tomchr on Mon 19th Aug 2013 15:17 UTC
tomchr
Member since:
2009-02-01

On one hand I am at a loss for words... On the other hand I really did not expect anything less from Ballmer. His vast level of stupidity boggles the mind.

The likelyhood of his strategy being a success is on par with finding a monocycling elephant playing a Schoenberg violin concerto.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Tue 20th Aug 2013 06:18 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Forbes didn't name Ballmer the worst CEO for nothing. His exit is long overdue.

Reply Score: 0

Ballmer... tsk..tsk..tsk.
by gfolkert on Thu 22nd Aug 2013 14:42 UTC
gfolkert
Member since:
2008-12-15

Ballmer doesn't seem to understand the problem: Nobody _wants_ to use Windows. They only use it because the programs they want to use are locked to Windows. People have choices now for personal things, so they are going elsewhere.

Ballmer/Microsoft finally realize there is a huge market for "integrated" devices... THAT WORK TOGETHER. They need to build upon and use and get along with the current devices that are doing that and *NOT* make their own protocol or service type or divergent API... to force their hardware/OS.

I think Microsoft could survive by sticking with the WinXP/Win7 experience, making it less prone to infections, actually fixing long stand critical bugs (such as some that Oracle use to shortcut some things and gain performance) and cutting the price of Office to $19.99, among other things.

Reply Score: 0