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back to article Microsoft acknowledges the long and winding road ahead

Microsoft's latest quarterly results are a mixed bag; record revenues, a slight fall in profits and Windows going full steam ahead – but CFO Peter Klein was taking a cautious tone at Thursday's analyst call. "It's early days, an ambitious endeavor like this takes time," he said. "We've learned a lot over the past quarter and …

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

I have four 27 inch screens on my desk (at least on a bracket on my desk) and if anyone touches them, to make a point, they leave smudges and fingerprints and then I have to clean the screens all over again.

Who wants PC touch screens, except MS, on my Samsung a swipe or other motion is a nothing, on a 27 incher it's more like callisthenics.

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Meh

Profits not as good as expected

Expect sign of relief from Microsoft when the discounts on Win8 stop 31 Jan

Expect less take up of Win8 after 31 Jan

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Thumb Up

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

Yep, someone at MS watched Minority Report and thought touch was cool. However what the idiot didn't realise was they were virtual screens and the reality of touch is a real pain in the arms on screens that big. Modern UI for desktop is an absolute mess and doomed to fail.

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WTF?

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

No-one, no-one, NO-ONE expects you to sit at a desk, reach out, and use touch on a vertically-oriented display. That is why you can safely use the modern UI with a mouse and no-one around you will burst into flames.

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Joke

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

Maybe instead of touch screens, the next big thing in Hardware should be No-Touch screens: screens that are configured to deliver a nasty electric shock to anyone putting their greasy sausages on your display area.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

Nobody is forcing you to use touch monitors. What makes you think you are so special that your personal preferences apply to everyone when there are other people like me who welcome the richer UI possibilities that touch brings to the desktop PC.

I've been around enough to remember when loads of 'IT' people moaned on and on about why they never wanted to use a mouse and GUI would never take off. Fortunately we didn't have the internet to give voice to their backward thinking attitude.

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Thumb Up

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

> GUI would never take off.

True. I have a great GUI display here, two big monitors side-by-side.

I can get eight "cols 100 rows 50" shell windows open at the same time and see them all.

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Silver badge

Re: you can safely use the modern UI with a mouse

Sure, you can use it but it ain't fun.

Still can't believe I cant just drag the start screen with the mouse. Right there we have 2 different interfaces for the same screen.

Now need to do a full screen drag to close apps instead of a single click. That might work well on a small screen where saving a few pixels is valuable but my desktop is a long drag to traverse and not short of space for window decorations.

Metro remains a phone UI, optimised for tiny screens and they've done the absolute minimum to make it work on the desktop. Just annoying enough to drive users off their mice.

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Re: you can safely use the modern UI with a mouse

erm, if you move to the top left corner and drag down you can then right click and close any open app you want (you may need to switch out of the app first).

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Mushroom

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

Anon Coward Wintard wrote "Nobody is forcing you to use touch monitors. What makes you think you are so special that your personal preferences apply to everyone when there are other people like me who welcome the richer UI possibilities that touch brings to the desktop PC".

------------------------------------------------------------

Let me reply to Captain Humble (above) - First, wrong ! If your Big Boss gets suckered by the IT vendor, yes, you WILL be forced to use touch screens with your new WIN8 office OS. DUH ! (ask the BOFH how smart Big Bosses can be).

And second, what makes that AC wintard believe that he/she/it is SO special that we should be saddled with unwanted touch screen monstrosities, just because he/she/it likes them ? I smell an MS troll here. Of course, I think anyone who actually likes Win 8 is a MS paid troll. Everyone else hates WIN 8. Hell, I still miss Win XP when I "upgraded" to Win7. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, screw Win8.

I'll wait for Win 9 with the 3D "realfeel" holodisplay, and the associated web based porn apps.

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Mushroom

Re: Touch Screens in the office? Forget it.

Then you will soon be able to use Kinect 2 instead to avoid that problem...

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Anonymous Coward

Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft

Windows sales are under threat from Android and iOS, and XBOX sales are under threat from a bunch of competitors targeting both the low end (OUYA, GameStick, etc.) and the high end (Steam Box).

In my amateur opinion, the most likely outcome is that MS will shrink slightly, but remain solidly profitable.

Certainly MAC sales are no threat, as they are declining more than Windows PCs.

The only real threat to MS would be the emergence of a new desktop operating system with very solid backing from a huge company with deep pockets, and a lot of existing brand loyalty.

Something like this, for example.

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Facepalm

Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft

Your example from the link is a joke, right? Maybe in 10 years there will be a phone with the horsepower, (ie 2560x1440 on multiple monitors, can play Crysis etc), but until then I think I'll stick with my x86 workstation (Solaris/Win7). If the argument going is that most people just want email and facefail, why spend the extra cash on on the keyboard, monitor, mouse (also I would assume some external storage hdd)? Most smartphones work OK for these tasks as is (regardless of OS).

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Anonymous Coward

@Katie Saucey (Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft)

The core i7 920 comes in at around 7,700 MIPS / MHZ per core. The ARM Cortex A7 achieves 1,900 MIPS / MHz per core. That makes the Cortex A7 perfectly capable of handling normal office applications like spreadsheets, word processing, etc. Granted it is not suitable for more demanding specialist occupations, but that isn't relevant. The A7 is perfectly adequate for the vast majority of office users, and will start appearing in phones in the not too distant future.

I think your estimate of 10 years is way out - 2 seems more likely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft

So, what you are saying is that '2013 will be the year of Linux on the desktop!!' hah hah hah!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft @year of Linux on the desktop!!' hah hah hah!

Well done AC, although I feel the need to add some extra ... hahahahahaha! good one.

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Bronze badge

Silly question I know but ....

What is this Crysis thing that keeps being mentioned and why should I care?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 08:46 (Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft)

I'm not sure what passes for mathematics in your neck of the woods, but where I come from 2013 + 2 = 2015.

So, I'm suggesting that around 2015 we may start seeing some desktop PCs replaced by docking stations for mobile phones, and those mobile phones will not be running Windows.

Feel free to laugh, but the technical capability will be there, and so will the market.

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Anonymous Coward

@fandom

I would answer your question, but I can't think of any reason why I should.

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Re: @Katie Saucey (Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft)

@mutedwombat

What you say about the hardware is true - for todays' software. Software however, evolves too. Usually getting ever more complex, and requiring more grunt to execute what to the user is seemingly the same task. Two examples - Android, where the meaty OS is virtually driving the number of cores being put into phones, and Visual Studio. 2008 Pro positively flies on my ATOM notebook with 2GB RAM, even with SQL Server 2008 Standard running at the same time. Visual Studio Express (current version) lags for a whole second when I push the down arrow key in a text document.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft

I can just manage to run Ubuntu on my Dual core Centrino Duo laptop. It wont even run on my single core hyper-threaded 2.4 GHz Intel CPU. Are you sure it will run well on most hardware? Some might argue the KDesktop is much more efficient and stylish. In addition a little easier to develop applications for.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft

You might be doing something wrong -I run Debian on a netbook with Atom 1.6 GHz hyper threading w/o a problem.

Note: I use it as my home office by conecting 24" monitor, USB keyboard and mouse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 08:46 (Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft)

Quite possible - but the most likely scenario at the moment if that happened is that those phones (or tablets) WOULD be running Windows....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Katie Saucey (Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft)

If by 'meaty' you mean 'inefficient', then yes. Windows Phone on a single core has been demonstrated to outperform a quad core android handset on many common tasks...

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Anonymous Coward

And don't forget ...

we here at MSFT can still raise our dividend yeild to defend out stock price, for those quarters where we offer nothing else compelling.

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"enterprises like the slim PCS offered with Windows 8 and its manageability"

Really? None of the 3 ones I have worked with over the last months do ha.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft are pleased with win 8 sales...

...yet I've never seen a pc anywhere outside a store running it. Hmmm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are pleased with win 8 sales...

On the other hand I've seen Windows 8 rearing its head as often in recent meetings as OSX. A fact that means nothing of course to the big picture.

Nevertheless, sounds like you really ought to get out more.

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Re: Microsoft are pleased with win 8 sales...

Well, it's been out a couple of months now, and unless you have lot's of friends or you are a voyeur, I would say your sample size is quite small.

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I can't see my screen!

I hate touchscreens. I'm already having to clean fingerprints off my LCD at work because people insist on pointing to things on the screen, like touching it will make it do something.

I really f**kin' hate fingerprints on my screens.

Ear-smudge and finger flack gets in the way of me showing off my shiny smartphone. It constantly requires cleaning, it's almost as bad as low-low toilets where the crap doesn't flush down and sticks to the bowl above the water line.

Microsoft can blame themselves for a change. I'm tired of the "it's everybody else" blame game. Ballmer is an absolute moron, and it's time Microsoft kicked him to the curb.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't see my screen!

Encouraging more attention to personal hygiene at your workplace sounds like a better use of time than the Ballmer bashing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't see my screen!

Buy a glove, or buy a Kinect....

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Windows

Got a Samsung fondleslab, and I have to clean the screen with Windolene every day....

<sopranos_mode>

You touch'a my screen, I touch'a your face! Comprendo?

</sopranos_mode>

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Coat

touch/matte empiricism vs. opinion

"Microsoft can use the OEM market as a whipping boy all it likes, but the HPs, Dells and Lenovos of this world are understandably unwilling to spend too much time producing expensive kit no-one's buying while cash-strapped consumers are happy with cheaper, non-touch alternatives.

The PC-buying public still expects computers to get less expensive each year and shows little inclination to start paying more for their hardware. Having a touchscreen PC is nice, but there's no absolute reason to have one and Windows 8 isn't enough to get people thinking different on the matter."

All the above sounds like opinion to me. Yet, references to data and comments made by OEM's do indicate a demand for touch. I personally don't care about touch on my desktop, but if there was a touchscreen that was matte for a laptop, and the premium was not excessive; that is a decision I might make.

"

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Silver badge

Re: touch/matte empiricism vs. opinion

I have a nagging feeling we'll never see matte touchscreens simply because they're harder to clean. My matte 23" LCD is visibly grubby after 3 years despite regular cleaning and I've not yet found an effective way to do it. A touchscreen will receive more crud every day than my LCD typically gets in a month.

Since they've got away with selling shiny screens for so long I doubt anyone will even try to invent an easily cleaned matte display, let alone bother selling it. Sad.

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Windows

Constantly failing user experience...

... and it only gets worse :-(

I guess I'm a bit of a "Microsoftie"; now almost 2 years ago I upgraded my Vista box to Windows 7, started using it as desktop and started experimenting with Office 2010 several months later, so far I really enjoyed that ride. Sure; Windows has its twirks and oddities, but it also has plenty of key strengths in my opinion.

And I liked the extra's too. For example; I quite often use Messenger on both the desktop and my Winphone which is quite nice. Not for video chatting mind you; but simply text messaging. I also discovered other products, for example; although I'm not a die-hard (web) developer I do enjoy working with programs such as Expression Web 4 (web design software) or even the free (Express) versions of Visual Studio.

But I think Microsoft is totally losing focus on several fronts, and is even ignoring possible revenue.

For example; I bought Expression Web 4 (approx. $160,-, say E 100,- at that time) and liked it. Even recommended it to others. Now I discovered that they're going to discontinue the product (link to official Expression product page). Because web applications are rising they're "consolidating": "As part of this consolidation, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 provides the leading web development tool, which enables you to design, develop, and maintain websites and web applications.".

Now; I haven't tried VS 2012 (Express) yet because I'm not looking forward to the new Interface but also because I'm happy with the current version. But solely based on my Visual Web developer 2010 (Express) experiences I really wonder if the same functionality is being provided. Its main aim is after all web applications. And that's not mentioning that getting a regular Visual Studio license is a LOT more expensive than Expression web was.

Good news for others is that you can now pick up Expression Web & Expression Design for free.

Messenger? Its being discontinued in March and so I decided to perform the advised upgrade last evening. What a disappointment.... Skype is SO not Messenger. Now; I'm not "dissing" Skype here (not perse anyway) but if the first thing you're greeted with is "Buy skype credits" and "You don't have a premium account!" you know you're in for a commercial ride. I thought GoDaddy was bad by trying to provoke me into buying all sorts of extra stuff...

I want to check my profile? The first I see is "Go premium". I don't WANT to, I want to check my fscking profile. And the last thing I need is a subscription. Yet that constantly gets shoved in my face. Not even Messenger was this intrusive!

And well; how I should logon to my new Skype account on my Windows Phone 7.5 is something not even the Skype community can tell you. I was about to ask when I came across that thread.

So basically a good working environment is being replaced for another although it doesn't provide all the functionality yet (for example; I can't receive incoming text messages on Skype while my Winphone is locked).

Way to go Microsoft!

And they remain totally clueless it seems. The new Surface RT? You can do a lot; but if you read closely you'll see that you won't be able to sync your todo items with a desktop Outlook version. Just like you still can't do this for Windows Phone. The main reason why this is so is because the Outlook 2010 (and 2013) connector plugin doesn't support synchronizing todo items with your Hotmail (or Outlook.com) account. Thus also rendering it unusable for external devices.

And so in a few months I also won't be able to receive incoming chat messages which my gf typed on her computer. Simply because the Skype client on Windows Phone 7.5 stops running the very moment the phone is locked.

Microsoft really needs to realize that customer experience is key in a market where you actually have to compete. At this point I'd still advice to go for Windows and Office in several cases because those products have several advantages to them. But... No; Not Windows 8 and Office 2013; my advice is to get Windows 7 and Office 2010 now that its still available.

And at this point the only thing I can say about my Windows Phone is that I still like the experience (not too sure after March), but now I wouldn't recommend it to others any more nor am I that sure if my next phone will be a Winphone. Which is somewhat of a shame, because in my opinion they started so good (link to Youtube Windows/Winphone commercial).

But THAT is IMO the real problem Microsoft is facing. Because you see; I'm sure that I don't stand alone with this. Its happening on all fronts. I see gamers on Youtube getting fed up with a totally non-functional Kinect in certain games, where the promise is always that "its going to be fixed".

I still see complaints in Visual Studio forums about new changes and removed features from the VS 2013 version. And it seems that a large part of the Windows phone community also gets the feeling that they're being left in the dark.

People are actually "fighting" Microsoft because they see that MS is ruining the product they came to love and enjoy so much. Surely it shouldn't be THAT hard to recognize that this is a totally unhealthy situation for any firm which is trying to be better than its competitors ?

Because the moment those people give up the "fight" is also the moment where you may very well have lost them as a customer. And big changes often start very small....

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Anonymous Coward

This is the reason why Windows 8, and relevant products (WP8 phones, Surface) are not selling well

Windows 8: The Animated Evaluation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYet-qf1jo

Please, Microsoft (and your legions of astroturfers) do not blame the OEMs, or the poor economy, or the 'luddite users who are afraid of change', or the lack of retail presence etc. for the lacklustre results (and for the record, '60 million licenses' is weasel-speak that tells nothing.

People just do not want to consume your dog food called Windows 8. Simple. As. That.

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Re: This is the reason why....

I did not know I was brilliant.

I've been running Windows 8 for about thirty days or so now, about the same time that he was going to run as his study period time. For a guy that talks about not doing hyperbole, he's pretty good at it. Yes, it took me a little while to find out how to close programs... I may have needed to look it up. Like I need to look up issues with any number of different things.

Animation dude, get a freaking grip. It's a new OS that has some variance from Window 7. OMG!!

I'm at fifteen minutes in and he's again going on about closing a program again.. I'm somewhat expecting a tantrum at any point. I'm tired of his petulance at 18:30.....

No, this is not an answer as to why Windows (and there is no reference to Windows Phone in this video) is "not doing well." This guy is basically just regurgitating Jakob Nielsen’s article, and I was not impressed by that article either. Instead of thirty days of use, he's made a decision within THIRTY MINUTES OF USE IN A COFFEE SHOP.

I'm done with this guy and I am tired of his voice.... (OMG, it's over, thank freaking god)

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Anonymous Coward

This is the reason why Windows 8, and relevant products (WP8 phones, Surface) are not selling well

Windows Phone seems to be selling well now that Windows Phone 8 has been released - and just climbed ahead of RIM to be # 3 in the market.

Microsoft have already stated that Surface has sold ahead of expectations and they had problems meeting demand. And anyway the platform everyone is expecting to sell big is Surface Pro - and that's not here yet, so I wouldn't draw any conclusions based on the zero information you have.

Windows 8 is selling as well as Windows 7 did - which seeing as Windows 7 replaced Vista is saying a lot.

So imo, your head is up your arse....

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Anonymous Coward

windows desktop touchscreen

used one yesterday with some friends. No-one had any problems (with the touchscreen, at any rate - was a quiz machine - and it was running Windows 2000 Pro)

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Re: windows desktop touchscreen

Given the proliferation of Windows desktop PCs for things like ATMs, pub quiz machines and mall kiosks, I'd be genuinely stunned if there was anyone reading who hadn't used a touchscreen PC at some point in the last few weeks even if they didn't know it.

Of course they work well because they're using a UI designed for a touch experience, which is what Microsoft is attempting to bring (for better of worse) to Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

@El Andy - Re: windows desktop touchscreen

All ATMs running Windows that I ever used, have buttons on both sides of the screen (like those in the cockpit of fighter planes) so I never had the pleasure/need to touch the screen. For the rest I can't tell since I don't go to pubs and I'm not interested in mall kiosks.

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