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back to article Microsoft's Apple revenge: the pleasure and the pain

Steve Ballmer's summer has been dominated by Microsoft's delayed response to the iPad and iPhone. He reassured investors last month that Microsoft is energized and that nobody's sleeping until the job's done. That said, the Windows slates Ballmer touted as coming this Fall are unlikely to be running Windows 7 and won't be using …

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Gold badge

Microsoft needs massive restructuring

A Windows 7 tablet will fail. Only a mobile or tablet specific Windows OS will cut the mustard.

The problem with Microsoft's approach to mobile and tablet devices is it's been lazy or under-resourced.

They were too slow to react to Google, too slow to react to Apple, only just managed to save Internet Explorer from obsolescence.

They only reacted fast enough to compete with Sony by cutting corners, hence why the XBox 360 has been unprofitable due to warranty claims.

Microsoft needs to restructure, the internal competition just isn't working. Also, they need a geek in charge again or at least someone with some technical ability, good taste or high standards.

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Gates Horns

Their problem is more fundamental than that

"The problem with Microsoft's approach to mobile and tablet devices is it's been lazy or under-resourced."

The real problem has is that Microsoft have painted themselves into a corner. Every time Ballmer mutters phrases such as "The familiarity of Windows" he applies another coat of lacquer to his position.

They have spent years of marketing on trying to make the Windows UI ubiquitous with "computers" and convincing everyone to be "afraid of alternatives" that now new form factors have arrived requiring different wholesale changes to the user interface they are a position where they are too afraid to show the unwashed masses that there is more to "computing" than clicking on a "Start" button and saving files to a "My Documents" folder.

Even now they are continuing with that same old marketing push.

See Exhibit A:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/pc-vs-mac.aspx

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"... someone with some technical ability, good taste or high standards"

That would be a first.

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Happy

Microsoft compare Mac vs PC site

Goat Jam - Love the Microsoft PC-vs-Mac site, sure convinced me (snigger).

Did they digitally enlarge the girl's eyes, or is it just the hallucinogenic drugs they gave her to make her buy a pc with Windows 7?

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Gates Horns

Since when did MS have good taste or high standards?

"Microsoft needs to restructure, the internal competition just isn't working. Also, they need a geek in charge again or at least someone with some technical ability, good taste or high standards."

I suppose that could be delivered as part of the restructuring.

It would be interesting to see Monkey Boy kicked out on his fat bald head though. Or maybe strapped to a chair and thrown out of a window.

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Pint

@ Goat Jam

I have to agree - Microsoft has always been a very lazy company, hence "a decade of missed opportunities and strategic missteps". Despite the exceedingly annoying "innovation" rubbish they bang on about, MS have never innovated a thing in their entire existence. They've taken stuff from other people and made it incompatible, yes. And they've bought other companies to quickly acquire stuff that they missed the boat on (which is pretty much everything). But when it comes to actually coming up with anything that is genuinely original, forget it.

That's why, apart from a (very) few cosmetic changes, the MS Windows GUI of today is pretty much the same as it was 15 years go (except now, it's probably even less secure!). It's also why their "mobile" OS is completely unsuited to mobile use.

I don't think MS is going to collapse (I can dream...), but I DO think they could start to see some serious difficulties. What with Apple's steady rise, with Android fixing Linux in people's minds (even if they don't know it), and a general industry willingness to use stuff like Linux and open source stuff in general, and more specifically, NON-Microsoft software, and platforms NOT based on i386 (which is, of course, where Windows is mostly glued to).

Other than the desktop (which is slowly being eroded), MS are nowhere in sight.

In addition, Microsoft's (or more specifically, Windows') on-going Swiss-cheese security issues are really starting to get rather tedious now after 15 or 20 years, and the situation doesn't seem to get betting any better. Indeed it actually seems to be getting worse. This MUST be have an impact on what manufacturers choose to embed into their products, and it's certainly starting to wear a bit thin with desktop users, which can only serve to aggravate the situation for them.

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Happy

See ya!

Goodbye o sweaty one! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Not to worry - plenty opportunities waiting for you to spent your golden goodbye over at Right Guard, Lynx etc etc.

And I'm sure Ikea could do with someone like you to boost their sale in chairs...if you could muster the brain cells to assemble them in the first place that is. And previous form says "nay" to that one.

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Gates Halo

Cutting the mustard

On the other hard I don't want a butchered OS which doesn't let me do anything apart from send money to an App Store and sync to a PC. I'd rather have Windows 7, especially on one of those laptops where you can swivel the screen round and turn it into a pad. I don't think it's that much of a niche market.

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Er

"I'd rather have Windows 7, especially on one of those laptops where you can swivel the screen round and turn it into a pad. I don't think it's that much of a niche market."

They've been on the market for ages already and as far as I can see they aren't selling in any great numbers.

Which kind of makes them a niche market....

Mind you, they are still pretty expensive and as "Touch Screen" appears to be the computer manufacturers' "3D" it's likely the influx of tablets will bring the price of the technology down - or increase the demand in a year or so when people decide they like the experience but want something more powerful.

Of course by that time iPad2 - The Second Coming will be along to steal all of the headlines again.

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Why did they never use surface ?

Microsoft had demos of Surface UI years ago but never did anything worthwhile with it. If they'd just used that tech to create a new front-end, totally designed for touch, and stick it over one of the Windows Kernels they could have produced a whorthwhile (not brilliant admittedly) product ages ago. No Windows UI will ever be suitable for touch.

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Thumb Up

Whaaaa?????

*Channels Steve Ballmer from the 80's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL4hyATkQ74

YOU TOO CAN PURCHASE A MICROSOFT SURFACE FOR *JUST* $10,000!

*Returns from planet dipshit

/Sarcasm

I've seen those before at various Microsoft sales offices - and that's the only place anyone I know has ever seen them. It's a neat idea but a little too pricey for a toy/coffee-table IMO. That's really the problem with Microsoft "innovation" - a friend of mine worked in their Home of the Future for a while and what he told me sounded neat but mostly in a completely impractical Rube Goldberg sort of way. Do I really need RFID's in all my clothes and a virtual dress-up interface in my house... or a 3-D printer? The flexible/curved screens (as I recall the description at least - think Avatar) sounded interesting but still... Microsoft tends to "innovate" useless me-too crap. Their "Surface" UI was an evolution/knockoff of a University project as I understand it.

They have, of course, released the Surface Touch Pack for Windows 7 (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/US/touch-pack/touch-pack.aspx) touchscreen not included of course - which will probably be the extent of the Surface project's impact for the foreseeable future.

To your point, touchscreen on Windows is more of a minor (gimmick?) enhancement to the interface - it will never replace the mouse and keyboard. As we've seen with iOS, Android, WebOS, and the surprisingly decent Zune interface (no comment on the new Windows Mobile as I haven't used it yet), a really good touch interface pretty much has to be built from the ground up.

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FAIL

You keep trying this tack...it's irrelevant

Microsoft doesn't play to Wall Street who can make money on stock price bets it plays to fund managers who want long term dividends.

Only Wall Street gamblers give a monkey's about the smartphone phone industry. Ask Nokia whether its a stable market with long term growth prospects. Mmmm. Only the gamblers want Microsoft playing in the space in a serious way because that disruption gives them something to bet on. Fund managers want entrenched products and a focus on keeping it that way. So expect Microsoft and Ballmer to keep on keeping on until there's serious competition to Windows or Office.

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Pint

What we need is....

a very simple portable display around A4 size that contains the bare minumum of electronics to do the following.

Connect to a host system via mobile and / or consumer wireless.

Display either the screen of the host via VNC, or a screen generated by an application or service running on the host.

Sound can be provided if required using streaming from the host

The host would be a basic home pc with a network connection

Host resolution can be provided using dynamic DNS or IPv6 when it eventually turns up.

Pros,

Very cheap as only minimum components are required

Very long battery life in comparison to existing tablets as processing requirements are very low.

Long life, system should not become obsolete as the host can be upgraded with new applications etc.

Totally open system, do anything you like with it.

Run your desktop / any application from your host machine.

No need to worry about syncing files to your device

Only 1 security interface to worry about exposing to the internet.

Few updates required as the software is so simple

Cons

Requires network access to function

Has probably been patented

Apple will try to kill it

Network speed may prevent playing of fast moving games

Cost: around £200 - $150

Reasoning, if you can get a 11.3 inch portable dvd palyer for £179 you should be able to make my device for less.

http://www.wedodigital.co.uk/product/2048/meos--11.3-portable-freeview-tv--dvd-player/meos-dvd113b/

Somone please mass market one of these, i dont have money to do it myself as i spend it all on beer.

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Thumb Up

@Leeroy: What we need is.... #

Remember Sun's SunRays?

iPad with a CITRIX client anyone?

http://www.wedodigital.co.uk/product/2048/meos--11.3-portable-freeview-tv--dvd-player/meos-dvd113b/

Now, if you replace that screen with the touch version, chuck the DVD and replace it with a slide-out keyboard, you've got a large, wicked combined Crackberry, iPhone and iPad killer!

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Gates Halo

You mean Smart Displays?

If it sounds like a good idea (like Windows tablets... UMPC say what?) Microsoft has probably already tried and failed at it. That's not to say someone else can't make a viable product out of it - they just have to be careful about the patents.

"The first Smart Displays started shipping in January last year after a short delay. The devices allow users to access their PC through a touch-screen display that can be carried about the home and that communicates with the PC using the 802.11b wireless networking standard, also known as Wi-Fi.

ViewSonic and Philips Consumer Electronics, part of Koninklijke Philips Electronics, are among the vendors that have been selling Smart Displays. The Philips DesXscape 150DM is available online starting at about $1185, while ViewSonic's Airpanel V110p is listed for $799."

http://www.pcworld.com/article/114093/microsoft_ditches_smart_displays.html

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FAIL

@Sirius Lee

"Fund managers want entrenched products and a focus on keeping it that way."

Nobody ever got rich betting on a dead donkey.

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Headmaster

@Leeroy

Didn't Microsoft already do one of those ? The slate, or somesuch ? I remember something that was merely a remote screen to a real PC.

Sank without a trace.

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Anonymous Coward

windows 7 tablet/slate

There's one due to ship end of September in Canada/US, run's windows 7 with a custom UI and the ability to switch easily between the two. Looks pretty interesting.

Existing devices such as the HP devices are laptops that have a tablet mode, as such I don't see that they really compete in the slate market (weight/battery life/etc)

www.exopc.com

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FAIL

Upgrade Your Internet Experience?!?

"http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/pc-vs-mac.aspx"

Well, if it's got a fucking Bing Bar I want one!

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