Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Dec 2013 23:47 UTC
Windows

Mary Jo Foley has some information on the next wave of big Windows releases - scheduled for Spring 2015. This wave will supposedly bring the three Windowqs branches - Xbox, phone, PCs - more in line with each other.

The Xbox One OS, Windows 8.x OS and Windows Phone 8 OS already share a common Windows NT core. As we've heard before, Microsoft is working to deliver a single app store across its myriad Windows platforms. Company officials also are laboring to make the developer toolset for all three of these platforms more similar.

But Threshold will add another level of commonality across Microsoft's various Windows-based platforms, sources said. With the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms. These high-value activities include expression/documents (Office, and the coming "Remix" digital storytelling app, I'd think); decision making/task completion (Bing, I'd assume); IT management (Intune and Workplace Join, perhaps?) and "serious fun."

The first bit seems like a no-brainer and should have been done already, but the second part seems like traditional Microsoft marketing nonsense. "High value activities"? Seriously? Could this be any more vague and meaningless?

Before Microsoft gets to Threshold, the company is on track to deliver an update to Windows 8.1 (known as Windows 8.1 Update 1) around the same time that it delivers Windows Phone "Blue" (Windows Phone 8.1). That's supposedly happening in the spring 2014/Q2 2014 timeframe, from what my sources have said.

With time frames like that it almost seems as if even Microsoft itself doesn't care.

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tessmonsta
Member since:
2009-07-16

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Threshold_(episode)

It's not a pretty thing...

(EDIT: Formatting)

Edited 2013-12-03 00:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Oh, for fuck's sake. Microsoft has to have at least one Star Trek fan working for them, somewhere, that would gladly point out you don't want to name the follow-up to a much-maligned OS after perhaps the worst episode of any Star Trek show ever!

Reply Score: 4

Basic translation of what is going on.
by oiaohm on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 00:34 UTC
oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

Valve is releasing Steam Box. Valve charges on a per user account base not per machine.

Microsoft is now being forced to consider the same model as Valve.

There are convergence questions. Like if someone owns a Xbox One and can run MS Office on it will they bother about having a PC as well. Also xbox games on PC??

End result will most likely OEM's upset even more with Microsoft.

Reply Score: 5

Hilarious
by Pro-Competition on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 00:52 UTC
Pro-Competition
Member since:
2007-08-20

"With the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms. These high-value activities include expression/documents (Office, and the coming "Remix" digital storytelling app, I'd think); decision making/task completion (Bing, I'd assume); IT management (Intune and Workplace Join, perhaps?) and "serious fun."


"High value activities"? Seriously? Could this be any more vague and meaningless?
"

The more you think about it, the funnier it gets.

Edited 2013-12-03 00:53 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Not surprising..
by bassbeast on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 01:29 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

When the news came out that in Nov that win 7 moved more units than win 8 and 8.1 COMBINED you knew that had to cause some serious worry at Redmond so by talking up some vaporware they try to get the pres talking about something else other than the fact that Win 8x is a "do not want". Here is the link for any that want to read the article.

http://betanews.com/2013/12/02/windows-7s-growth-dwarfs-that-of-win...

Reply Score: 11

RE: Not surprising..
by Morgan on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 03:33 UTC in reply to "Not surprising.."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Indeed, the boss had me hitting up Dell's website for possible Cyber Monday deals on new workstations today; in the "Dell for Business" section all of the workstations default to Windows 7 preinstalled, even though the marketing blurb alongside them says something like "Windows 8 is the best OS yet". Yeah, if it's the best yet, why isn't Dell putting it on their workstations? ...exactly.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Not surprising..
by tylerdurden on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 04:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Not surprising.."
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Similar experience, for the windows applications/workflows workstations tend to be used in our team Windows8/Metro offers basically no value. Even desktops purchased just a few days ago are running Windows 7.


It's normal for corporate wintel environments to be at least 1 generation behind whatever is the latest windows version for consumers, though.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Not surprising..
by leech on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 05:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not surprising.."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I always thought that too, yet we have clients that want us to support our product on Windows 8.... Why on earth they would want to use Windows 8 over 7 is beyond me. I know we forced them to skip Vista.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Not surprising..
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 05:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not surprising.."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Why on earth they would want to use Windows 8 over 7 is beyond me. I know we forced them to skip Vista.


I use 8.1 and it's better than Win7 all around. Can finally get Facebook desktop notifications using the Metro app ;) Other than that though, I stay in desktop mode, where it has quite a few improvements over Windows 7. Taskbars on multiple monitors, native ISO mounting, native USB 3 support, better task manager, etc. I don't need 3rd party apps for any of that stuff anymore. Plus, the Start screen is actually pretty usable in 8.1. I don't miss the start menu, and haven't for a long time.

In a nutshell, it's not a HUGE leap forward, but has enough new features that I'd never willingly go back to Win7.

Reply Score: 7

RE[5]: Not surprising..
by CapEnt on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 15:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not surprising.."
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

Win8 has one flaw. A fatal flaw actually, even more so for corporations than for domestic users: his user interface.

Yes, Win8 has all that improvements. But all these improvements that you said could have been done on a sane GUI, like Win7.

Microsoft managed to create a interface that is bad for touch AND for mouse. Plus, like if their internal teams could not decide a paradigm, there tons of redundant functionality between the new "metro" interface and the classic applications AND mutually exclusive ones that makes impossible to just use one paradigm.

Very few people likes to swap between putting fingers on screen just to suddenly being throw back to the "classic" shell (unusable with touch) even for the simplest tasks, like file management. Even less finding that IE has two GUIs, one when you open it from the "start menu", and one if you open from the classic shell. That now they have two "configuration" panels (the classic control panel and the metro "configuration" menu). And the list goes on.

Win8 is a massive inconsistent mess that makes the Linux desktop from the 90s looks good.

And before someone points out that you can make Win8 looks like Win7, seriously, why waste time hacking Win8 to looks like Win7 if you can just use Win7? None improvements that you said justify wasting money in a Win8 license if you already have Win7.

Reply Score: 7

RE[6]: Not surprising..
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 23:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not surprising.."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Yes, Win8 has all that improvements. But all these improvements that you said could have been done on a sane GUI, like Win7.


Yes, they could. But it would've only been a short-term solution. Windows 'classic' as it exists now is a clusterf**k of framework on top of framework on top of APIs, going back to the 80's. Its time is done; they can't continue hacking on this dinosaur forever. Eventually, it has to be put out of its misery.

MS is moving in a new direction, and that direction is Metro. Whether you like it or not is really irrelevant. MS has made their decision, and they will either live or die by it. Obviously, it's not perfect at the moment, but it's a gradual transition that's probably going to take a decade or longer. They made pretty decent improvements to it in 8.1, and they will continue to improve it. If you doubt me, go back and take a look at Windows when it was at version 1.x:

http://jsmachines.net/configs/pc/machines/5160/cga/256kb/win101

If you had looked at that back in 85, you would have dismissed it outright and called it a miserable failure. Well, some people still do call it that, but that's besides the point ;)

And before someone points out that you can make Win8 looks like Win7, seriously, why waste time hacking Win8 to looks like Win7 if you can just use Win7?


I haven't spent any time hacking it. I just stay away from the Metro bits, for the most part. And even if I wanted to do so, all I'd have to do is install a Start menu replacement and disable hot corners. Would take all but 5 minutes.

None improvements that you said justify wasting money in a Win8 license if you already have Win7.


That is your opinion, and you're entitled to it. But I'm sure you've been wrong about other things too ;)

Edited 2013-12-03 23:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Not surprising..
by oiaohm on Wed 4th Dec 2013 00:10 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Not surprising.."
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

WorknMan on Windows 1.0 open up a few programs and notice the buttons are rounded. The fact about round buttons and human focus was known when Windows 1.0 was made.

This is not a new issue. Microsoft has gone and stuffed up all the history of User Interface research.

Windows 1.0 is closer to a human compatible interface than what Windows 8 or 8.1 are.

Windows 8 or 8.1 with classic shell is better for your staff than leaving it default. Particularly when you are aware of the mental damage of desensitisation to dangerous objects you are causing by having your staff use Windows 8 or 8.1 in default.

None of the improvements in 8.1 address the core problem. Humans are designed mentally to interface with the world with a very particular set of visual responses. One of those is pay closer attention to sharp objects to reduce harm to self. This is exactly what windows 8 and later is under mining.

Exploiting humans auto response to dangerous objects to sell a product is not a good thing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Not surprising..
by oiaohm on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not surprising.."
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

CapEnt Windows 8 and 8.1 breaks a basic User Interface design rule.
http://uxmovement.com/thinking/why-rounded-corners-are-easier-on-th...

Square boxes are not good for users. Please note web site either use buttons with round conner or boxes with shading around them. Both are fine from User Interface.

Yes Windows 8 and 8.1 are attention grabbing but it for the wrong reason. Sharp object grab our attention be because they are a hazard.

So Windows 8 and 8.1 rejection is not surprising. There is a percentage of masochists out there who are attracted to dangerous objects. These are a smaller percentage of the population.

Yes there is a reason to wonder about a person if they say they like Windows 8 and 8.1 interface.

Yes forcing self to use Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 default interface is in fact not good for you.

All it would take is a few minor changes to correct the interface to be good for users instead of bad. 1 round the conners of the boxes.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Not surprising..
by lucas_maximus on Thu 5th Dec 2013 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Not surprising.."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

CapEnt Windows 8 and 8.1 breaks a basic User Interface design rule.
http://uxmovement.com/thinking/why-rounded-corners-are-easier-on-th...

Square boxes are not good for users. Please note web site either use buttons with round conner or boxes with shading around them. Both are fine from User Interface.


It is an opinion piece at best. There is no hard data to support anything he said. Also there was a bit where he said "Would you let your child play with a ball or a spoon" what this has to do with UX I don't know.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not surprising..
by moondevil on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not surprising.."
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

It's normal for corporate wintel environments to be at least 1 generation behind whatever is the latest windows version for consumers, though.


My employer only started to move to Windows 7, at the middle of 2012.

Reply Score: 3

Munich
by Lorin on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 06:04 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

If Munich could break it's addiction to Redmond, we all can.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Munich
by ilovebeer on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 17:32 UTC in reply to "Munich"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Addiction? That's a bit melodramatic. I submit an alternative. Maybe so many people use Microsoft products because they're good and provide value to the user. The truth is other options have been available for a long long time, yet in certain areas Microsoft has completely dominated. No sane or reasonable person would question that's the case in part to having good products.

Btw, I'm not suggesting Microsoft products are flawless -- they aren't. But neither are -any- of the alternatives.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Munich
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 18:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Munich"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

No, I think MS has the position they do, due to historical monopolistic behavior coupled with high barriers to entry.

Having said that, yes they have improved the quality of their software considerably over the past couple of years.

I remember the bad old days of exchange needing to be rebooted daily to continue functioning. Why did we use it? It was cheaper than the alternative, came with back office.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Munich
by ilovebeer on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 19:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Munich"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Microsoft didn't just appear at the top one day out of nowhere. They started small and grew. They earned their spot despite what some people would have you believe. Questionable business practice may have been in play at certain times but the truth is you can't achieve that level of success with only garbage offerings. I have no problem saying that Microsoft has been making good products for well more than a couple years. Producing something of value is how that company get off the ground in the first place.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Munich
by moondevil on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Munich"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

People love to bash Microsoft, while forgeting how the computing landscape was back in the early MS-DOS days and how OEMs embraced Microsoft offerings, because they allowed them better deals than what the competition did.

The same way that carriers and OEMs are nowadays embracing Apple and Google offerings.

A company doesn't become Microsoft's size on their own, without having people buying their products.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Munich
by zima on Mon 9th Dec 2013 23:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Munich"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I think MS has the position they do, due to historical monopolistic behavior coupled with high barriers to entry.

They were also better than the alternatives at a time... http://www.osnews.com/permalink?540890

Reply Score: 2

Comment by smashIt
by smashIt on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 07:16 UTC
smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

With the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms.


i see it coming:
entering passwords with a gamepad or shouting them at the mandatory kinect...

Reply Score: 4

Normal delays in big corporations
by moondevil on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 09:23 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

With time frames like that it almost seems as if even Microsoft itself doesn't care.


Anyone that worked in companies of similar size, knows how hard is to move a ship in the middle of market problems and internal politics.

Upper management might care, the problem is to get all layers to move in the same direction.

Reply Score: 3

reduz Member since:
2006-02-25

My worry about Microsoft is their really slow development model. It took them ages to catch up to the iPhone and iPad and failed so far.

So what are they going to do at this point? Their only strength and the core of their business is Windows Desktop, and they themselves spent a fortune trying to make people to understand how obsolete it is (Windows 8), and 8.1 wasn't as successful at changing people's minds as was 7 was compared to Vista.

At the same time, with Ballmer resigning and without a new CEO yet, it will take them ages to lay out a new strategy and set it in motion.

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I have been wondering about their lack of progress as well.

For example, WP was/is missing features that are common on other mobile systems. Stuff that's easy 'n' quick to add, yet it doesn't get done.

If Microsoft wants to win people's hearts (and money) wouldn't it be a great strategy to listen to the people and honor their requests?

I had a WP 7.5 phone, but when 7.8 arrived instead of getting VPN support more colored tiles. I can't imagine more people wanted extra "theme" colors than VPN support. I say "them", because Microsoft calls it so, while it's just another color for your tiles and a number don't even support it and stick to their own color.

With all the money, people and other recourses Microsoft should be able to move much faster. So to me it seems the problem isn't money, people and other recourses, but the organization itself.

Reply Score: 4

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

With all the money, people and other recourses Microsoft should be able to move much faster. So to me it seems the problem isn't money, people and other recourses, but the organization itself.


Organization does not happen without people.

Reply Score: 3

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Ants. And they work quicker than Microsoft. :-p

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

As an ant you are seldom entitled to have an opinion.

Reply Score: 3

Change as a process
by Nelson on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 14:36 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

I don't think Threshold or whatever is the holy grail end all be all grand unification that some have run with. Rather its another milestone on a multi release (and on a broader note, company wide) alignment.

Windows Phone 8 was the first step when they switched to NT and ported over a large portion of the Windows Runtime.

Windows Phone 8.1 will further this alignment in 2014. I expect to see more API convergence and common sense stopgap measures to bring platforms closer (single fee for WP and Win8 development was a start)

Threshold will come apparently after that and bring Xbox, Phone, Desktops, Laptops, and Tablets much closer together.

I think this is an admirable goal but it comes at a cost, and that cost is adding features some people want right now. Its hard to add new APIs to the Silverlight XAML stack when it will be moved over to the WinRT stack for example.

I think WP8.1s new APIs will include the non-UI WinRT APIs (Wifi Direct, VPN, Geofencing, etc) and phone specific APIs (SMS, more BT profiles).

I'd be surprised if WP8.1 includes the full WinRT stack, but who knows.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Change as a process
by moondevil on Wed 4th Dec 2013 08:06 UTC in reply to "Change as a process"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Windows Phone 8 was the first step when they switched to NT and ported over a large portion of the Windows Runtime.


Also known as Experiment 19, http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/experiment19/default.a...

Personally, I am looking forward to the day WinRT would be the standard Windows API and Win32 the legacy one left around just for backwards compatibility with existing applications.

This might never happen, though.

Reply Score: 3

What does it all mean ?!?
by ezraz on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 20:42 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

Double Rainbow!

I'm trying to figure out why Microsoft is continuing to be pulled into a losing battle with the double rainbow of Google and Apple. MS's real strength is being in the back office and every corporate person's outlook. They have a huge suite of products that run on their hugely successful OS, which itself can run on most computers on the planet. If anything, MS should be focusing on the threat of linux in the server room, not Apple or Sony or Google on the client side.

Google+Samsung is the new anti-Apple. MS was never a very good anti-apple anyway, because they are just so blah, so C drive. They can make huge profit in the business end of computing for the next 100 years if they just re-focus on their core corporate base.

XBox should be a gaming system with a totally separate ecosystem. It should have nothing to do with Windows, or OSX, iOS, Linux either. If my Playstation needed my mac to give me the full experience shame on Sony. It's a totally separate development enviro and developer type. Xbox developers aren't gonna wanna hang with accounting software.

I just don't see the connection between gamerz and office people (offiz?). i think business needs and mentalities are opposite that of a living room game system. why combine them? they are all clicking break dancers to MS.

But I also think that controlling a device with touch, with voice, or with mouse+keyboard require very different interfaces, but MS seems to disagree with me there too.

Sometimes (almost never) I think that they are smarter than me since they are millionaires and i'm not. But i've read 2 bill gates books and other computer history books and MS seems to continually make the backwards, retarded, or at best safe decisions and someone could write a book full of their embarrassing moments.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What does it all mean ?!?
by tylerdurden on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 23:19 UTC in reply to "What does it all mean ?!?"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Dtheir hugely successful OS, which itself can run on most computers on the planet.


Believe it or not most "computers" on the planet are not PCs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: What does it all mean ?!?
by ezraz on Thu 5th Dec 2013 19:58 UTC in reply to "RE: What does it all mean ?!?"
ezraz Member since:
2012-06-20

"Dtheir hugely successful OS, which itself can run on most computers on the planet.


Believe it or not most "computers" on the planet are not PCs.
"


yeah true, counting tablets, smart phones and various embedded devices. i should say an overwhelming majority of PC's, either server, desktop, or laptop, run MS Windows, or can run it.

Reply Score: 1

High value activities
by Temcat on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 20:45 UTC
Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

The first bit seems like a no-brainer and should have been done already, but the second part seems like traditional Microsoft marketing nonsense. "High value activities"? Seriously? Could this be any more vague and meaningless?

Well, that's simple. It just means that they will drive innovative experiences across the cloud and on-premise ecosystem to ensure core onboarding.

Reply Score: 6

Typical marketing garbage
by deathshadow on Tue 3rd Dec 2013 22:15 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

That's pissing all over the usability on various platforms. Windows 8 was proof enough of that with it basically telling desktop users to go plow themselves.

I do not believe that radically different platforms used for radically different purposes should be "more in line with each-other" - that is a recipe for disaster and a way to pretty much guarantee at least one of the target groups is going to get shafted.

Of course it's great to finally see people recognizing the "glittering generalities" in the marketspeak.

Edited 2013-12-03 22:15 UTC

Reply Score: 5