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back to article 'Not even Santa could save Microsoft's Windows 8'

Once upon a time any problem at Microsoft could be magically resolved with a new Windows release. Since Windows Vista, however, that formula hasn't worked. In fact, according to new sales data from NPD Group, it may be getting worse. In late 2012, departing Microsoft board member Reed Hastings called Microsoft's Surface tablet " …

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WTF?

Re: wishful thinking

Good point, i'm off to buy a Windows 8 license, just to keep someone in a job....

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Happy

Re: just to keep someone in a job....

No need, I bought two licences and only ever going to be using one for testing. So no need for you to buy it.

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Re: wishful thinking

Jason7 wrote :- "It wasnt linux or Apple. Microsoft did more than anyone to push cheaper affordable computing into the mainstream so that now most western households have probably more than one computing device."

That is a myth. Cheap affordable computing was going to happen with or without Microsoft. Back in the 80's all the young techies I knew had some kind of non-MS home computer - Amstrad, Sinclair, Commodore, BBC etc. We were the early adopters, and such computers were already cheap, and less technical people who saw them were getting highly interested - for home businesses, games, typing etc. Friendlier interfaces such as GEM were emerging.

Do you seriously believe that no further advance would have occurred without Microsoft?

I maintain that Microsoft set computing *back* by at least 5 years while it was pushing its awful Win9x/ME line of operating systems, long after it could have been promoting a lite version of its at least half-decent Windows NT. MS gave most home users (and PHBs) the impression that computer unreliability was unavoidable and perfectly acceptable.

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YOU HAVE FORGOT

ABOUT WINMODEMS!

How could you?!?! =O

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Re: wishful thinking

Why do people invest energy in an OS?... Because if you are using an OS as a foundation for making money, what it is and remains capable of is of critical significance. Once you have your workflow established, you don't want to change anything, apart from making it faster or more efficient. However, even those aspirations fade into insignificance compared with the need to not break anything, or incur increased costs.

Changing any part of the software is a far from trivial decision, and changing OS - even following the upgrade path of the manufacturer, is fraught with risk. Maintaining multiple OSs does offers some resilience and flexibility, but very substantially increases costs.

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Re: wishful thinking

I see where you are coming from but even though I went through the joy that was the 8 bit period and had some fun in the 16bit (had a 512K Fat Mac) I look back at what was basically a period of toys. I didnt know many people that were trying to run their business off a C64 or Spectrum. A few tried on a BBC B but when you had the money to buy a BBC B.......you know what I mean.

We could have had a situation by the late 80's to early 90's where we had -

Apple churning out expensive Macs.

IBM still pushing PCs running DOS (would they have created a new front end? Would OS2 have occurred had Windows not existed?)

Amiga still pushing out their ever transforming line up. They never seemed to have a clear vision.

Atari?

The UK computer industry? I still think it would have imploded. A couple might have limped on a bit longer.

Sure things could have evolved differently, we'll never know but I still don't think Microsoft's influence was all bad. A lot of us here are having very nice careers because of them whether good or bad or we use it or not.

Would linux have become what it is without MS helping to get a load of PC kit into the hands of folks and enthusiasts? Or would linux been enough to fill the gap had MS never existed? Would there have been the need to 'create' linux had MS not existed?

Oh we could debate this down the pub for ages. A forum like this isn't good enough really.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wishful thinking

Not 5 years, 20 years.

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Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a smart guy - we all know that. Ever since he announced he'd be stepping down as CEO of MSFT, I've always believed he could see the writing was on the wall.

MSFT experienced fantastic growth and profitability for decades but history has shown, time and time again, that nothing ever lasts.

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Re: Bill Gates

I'm sure you're not as smart as Bill Gates if you think he left because Microsoft might have a fight on their hands.

I imagine he left because he figured out that, as world's richest man, he might be able to do something a whole lot more useful for mankind than run a technology company.

People with drive and vision, rarely leave in the face of a challenge (even if that is sometimes detrimental to the facing of the challenge).

It's a good point about netbooks, that gave people a lacklustre Windows experience for a very cheap price. But I don't think people are short-sighted enough not to realise that. I now know several people who have the new interface and are getting to grips with it OK. Some in fact prefer it to the desktop version of Windows they've been used to. Times are changing, which is good, and Microsoft are learning to share, which is good. All Microsoft need to do is keep focussed on writing good code.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bill Gates

As I remember Bill Gates handed the helm to Ballmer as he wanted to become the chief architect and prove he could invent something himself. That did not happen and there was no return except as chairman.

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Megaphone

Re: Bill Gates

>as world's richest man, he might be able to do something a whole lot more useful for mankind than run a technology company.

I am no Microsoft nut hugger as you can see from my post history but I do like the quote I heard that a century from now few people will know who Steve Jobs was but most people will have heard of Bill Gates simply because his foundation will have largely eliminated malaria and other diseases.

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Re: Bill Gates

I think you are wrong.

John D. Rockefeller is known for oil & not usually remembered for his funding of research for Boll weevil or for his funding of the teams that found cures for yellow fever, meningitis, and hookworm.

If Rockefeller is not remembered then Bill Gates probably will not be remembered either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bill Gates

Nice if true, but charity has also been a very good business avoiding tax and adding "rules" as for instance using Windows when receiving "charity" for libraries for instance.

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,2533850.story

If Gates was serious he might, for instance, try to break the monopoly on aids medicine to help Africa.

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Re: Bill Gates

You can slam Gates the CEO of microsoft (and there is much to be said here) but his philanthropy is pretty good. I would have said peerless except Warren Buffet decided to give away his entire $40bn odd fortune....the bright spark he is, gave it almost all to the William and Melinda Gates charity...and it was none of this create a foundation to honour my name in perpetuity crap, they have to spend every buck they receive the year they receive it so that the foundation is wound up....So i would say thats a pretty massive vote of confidence (indeed the biggest in recorded history) in Gates' work.

so there is no need to sling mud at Mr. Gates when there is plenty of real dirt at hand.

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Re: Bill Gates

Carnegie is remembered for libraries and scholarships, not steel. Nobel is remembered for prizes, not explosives. Who the hell was Fulbright?

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FAIL

@ b166er - Re: Bill Gates

b166er wrote :- " I imagine [Gates] left because he figured out that, as world's richest man, he might be able to do something a whole lot more useful for mankind than run a technology company.

BS. He left because he was approaching normal retirement age and wants to try repairing his massive negative karma before he gets old and snuffs out. He is doing what some similar nasty businessmen have done in the past - such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Nobel. For example, Nobel was described in his time as "The Merchant of Death" but managed to get remembered mainly for his Peace Prize. What else does a man do with more money than would be physically possible to spend on himself in the remainder of his life?

As for good works for humanity, the six greatest inventions in the world are anaesthetics, refrigerators, the wheel, spectacles, electricity, and the water closet toilet. Of these, Gates is trying to uninvent the water closet.

Gates said (of, basically, chemical toilets he is sponsoring) : " ... these innovations will ..... help transform our dependence on traditional flush toilets in wealthy nations"

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I agree with Sir Wiggum, microsoft (and intel) killed the netbook. I have a netbook and a tablet. The keyboard is going on the netbook and the tablet is no replacement. Not going to buy another netbook because they are disappearing fast but don't want to carry a full sized laptop around wtih me and can't afford an ultrabook.

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Unhappy

How things have changed....

I remember back in the early days of .NET thinking Windows Forms was going to be where it is AT for years and years and years to come. Especially with some of the things Microsoft was introducing like ClickOnce and even the ability to run a WinForms app in the browser. Although I never did get that to work just right....

But even now it seems that it just isn't the company it used to be. It feels like they have a bunch of young rookies working there who can't get their act together with anything. Thinking about the MYRIAD of security updates for .NET 4 and the complete fail that is Metro. I have been using Windows 8 on my laptop which dates from the early days of Windows Vista. Yes it runs decently and I respect that. But that Start Screen and the whole Metro design principles just annoy the hell out of me. I installed the Register's app for Windows 8 and it made me want to gag. White text on a busy blackish background? REALLY guys???

Anyways....I have been firmly opposed to Mac OSX and still am. But it frightens me to think of Mac OSX becoming mainstream for everyone if this continues on. I am really starting to think that I should buckle down and really get serious about learning Linux so I can recommend it confidently to my friends and family when the time comes...

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Re: How things have changed....

Install StartIsBack (if Start8 if that's more your style). Banishes TIFKAM to a distant memory (although you can still invoke it if you really want to).

Win8 without the metro bloat is a pretty competent upgrade to Win7.

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Re: How things have changed....

Interesting point about WinForms. I write apps for Windows desktop, WinRT, Windows Phone and of course WCF to connect them all together. I still do desktop dev using Windows Forms, and given it's purist OO basis, direct rendering (GDI+ as opposed to the indirect WPF model) it's far and away the best dev model. Also, the tools behave a lot better because WinForms is a lot more mature.

In the dev environment, Windows Phone breaks when an async service call is made without a network connection. It doesn't in WinForms, and shouldn't. If you want to encrypt anything on WinRT and read that on the desktop or the phone, you have to refactor your symmetric crypto code in .NET and on Windows Phone. These are just some examples.

I guess in conclusion that the current mix of Silverlight for Windows Phone, .NET WinForms or WPF on the desktop, and WinRT is making for a development identity crisis. There's no clear direction coming out of Microsoft.

Annoying, because I've based my dev career entirely on Microsoft's tools and technologies - from GW-BASIC and Macro Assembler in 1986 to .NET 4.5, WinRT and Windows Phone today.

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Coat

Re: How things have changed....

Win8 without Metro is like a day without Ballmer.

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Re: How things have changed....

Agree completely about Microsoft's loss of direction for developers.

They seem to be throwing a rising volume of half-finished development "platforms" out the door at a frantic pace hoping that one will stick. The forums are full of people asking how to get XYZ framework to function, or wondering why a call that works in "A" fails on "B" even though they appear identical. The days when Microsoft had a reputation for "making it easy" are long gone - it's now the same sort of "Knife and fork the install, then pray it hangs together" as the worst flaky platforms of the past. Add to the that the predilection for dumping anything which doesn't grow as fast as the Ballmer bully wants ... Silverlight has managed to go from "next big thing" through "wunderkid" to "deprecated" in the blink of an eye.

It is not just annoying, but also deeply worrying. As programmers we cannot "just switch" to Java, or gtk C++, or whatever. It would take time and effort - and a degree of fudging on the CV.

Right now it would be a very brave professional who decided to bet their career on sticking with "the Microsoft. way"

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Happy

Switch to Qt C++ then

Cross-platform, and can use pretty much any compiler you like. Qt Creator is also one of the best IDEs out there - not perfect, but pretty damn good.

Then you can simply forget everything MS invents developer-wise.

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Re: How things have changed....

Agreed.

I would say that the writing was on the wall RE MS dev stuff when I had to work with .NET for eight months a few years back.

Supposed to be cross browser - was not - a major feature was IE only. Could not write anything with nice clean code - had to let VS do some unknown behind the scenes dll compiling to even write basic apps. Portability was another huge problem, trying to get .NET even working was difficult enough. Install 1.1, then 1.2 then hotfix x then Windows SP x then .NET 2.0 then etc etc. I had to reinstall from bare metal several times before the magic sequence was found.

Final straw for me was that installing VS broke .NET on the dev server.

I managed to get data loaded by a combination of horrible work-arounds. But then lost money as the company went bust. They'd decided to switch to MS for all their telecoms kit for all their 400 staff at the call centres - and it never worked properly. After losing thousands per hour due to the MS servers the bank eventually pulled the plug. Four staff all laid off on their payday - without receiving their pay.

The Unix dialler they originally used had worked flawlessly for years.

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Linux

Re: How things have changed....

"Install StartIsBack (if Start8 if that's more your style"

And I still hear people banging on about how hard Linux is to get working!

For the most part Linux "does what it says on the tin" i.e just works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How things have changed....

Yes, I would like fries with that. And cheese.

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Stop

Why hate for win8?

There is so much vitriol flying around here, but I think it is badly misplaced. I run win8 on a thinkpad X230. After installing classic shell, it looks and operates just like the good old winXP it replaced, and it runs all the legacy software. The system flies, it is a real pleasure to use.

Ooh, and before you get ready to downvote, let me add that I type this from a diskless ideapad, running bodhi linux on a 4 Gb SSD. There are different tools for different jobs, just find out what works for you and be happy.

No need to trash other people just because they found enlightenment elsewhere.

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Re: How things have changed....

That's a very insightful post. Microsoft has been throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks for a while now. A guy I work with spend several years mastering Silverlight, and now moving to HTML 5.

I think their throwing so much mud is making the mud less sticky. If I'm writing a management console for an engine, I prefer WinForms over WCF or web, simply because I'm fastest at it. WIth ClickOnce, that whole install at every workstation business is a thing of the past.

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Meh

Re: How things have changed....

I'm no Microsoft fan (tend to like what does the job for me), but I think the two keys in your post bailey86 are "work with .NET for eight months" and "a few years back". I've been developing .NET for 10 years and find it a fully featured, stable and easy to use platform. Sure, it's not perfect, but I've certainly found it good.

I also think that (as much as many people would like it), Microsoft still has some way to go before being dead. Sure, it's been pretty crap in the consumer market, but many business systems are still Microsoft based and, in my experience do pretty well. Sure, you can argue licensing cost vs. open source but the fact remains that, like it or not, Microsoft is firmly entrenched in corporates. It's also pretty well known that corporates move pretty slowly and so, while the end user might forget Microsoft for Apple, Facebook or Google, I don't think their main profit base is dead yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How things have changed....

@bailey86

To be honest, your horror story sounds much more like the result of poor project management and general incompetence (not directing that at you though!).

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Alert

Re: Switch to Qt C++ then

Not quite. Qt Creator still requires a compiler. If you're doing Windows development using Qt, you'll still need a C++ compiler that compiles and links code to a Windows .exe. You need to hook your compiler of choice to Qt Creator, and that usually means Visual Stupido ...er... Studio. There are gcc/g++ compilers out there that compile directly to Windows, but that usually means mingw, and, well... the additional plumbing can be rather daunting, especially when all you want to do is get your app working and out the door.

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You got the title wrong...

Should be even Satan couldnt help windoze 8. Its such a bad fail we will point out for years how a tech company like M$ could create should a pile of shite.

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Re: You got the title wrong...

I'm no fan of what Microsoft is doing at the moment (see my post above) but Microsoft's shite today is still a lot more palatable to me than Linux shite (bleeuch!) or the vomcano-inducing OSX.

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Re: You got the title wrong...

All OS suck donkey balls, you just have to sit down and decide if you want warty, hairy or crusty.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You got the title wrong...

I did see your post above.

It suggests you know sod all about anything other than VBS, Silverlight or .NET.

Really setting the world alight, eh?

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They want...

Intel wants everyone to buy an Ultrabook with not just an i5/7 CPU but the complete set of intel chips. They think everyone will want to spend $1000 on a computer if they make it cool like a Macbook Air.

MS want to sell Phones and tablets locked to their own apps store. They thing making Windows look like the phone will some how sell phones.

They seem to think this will some how magically get people with a $400 laptop running 7 or even XP to spend double that amount on a new Ultrabook running ugly OS. Surface? If they are going to spend that much they will just buy an iPad, everyone else will be an android.

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Pint

2013: Microsofts' year of hell

And so it begins.

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Devil

Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

Why didn't they listen?

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Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

Arrogance?

In the higher spheres people don't experience the same reality that we the common people have to endure...

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Windows

Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

Or anus horribilis

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

An anus is pretty horribilis.

Annus maybe?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

Nope, it was right first time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2013: Microsofts' year of hell

Considering the context you could be right!

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Megaphone

Too much touch stuff.

I like the idea of the artist previously known as metro but without a touch screen it's a bit null & void - for me the thing that's probably going to save windows 8 aka make me buy it is when my leap motion finally arrives.

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Re: Too much touch stuff.

Exactly.

Sell OS upgrade on touch capability to a market where 99% of customers have no touch hardware. Even if they wanted to, there's almost no touch hardware updates other than complete machine replacement.

Ergo: Upgrade sales in the toilet, causing a full depedency on the natural machine replacement cycle for licence sales. Which is also in the toilet.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Too much touch stuff.

It's not even that so much as the system doesn't seem to be that usable *without* touch. If there was options a) it's basically windows 7 with a new kernel and new directx etc and option b) what windows 8 actually is, and you can switch between them - they might have sold more copies. That's my argument. But also yes to what you said.

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Office for Linux?

Really, I would pay £100-200 for a proper working version of Office for Linux (minus the ribbon, which should have been a user-choice against traditional menus). Would save me having to run a windows VM for that.

How long until they do it for iOS? That is a real market (even if you think Linux users are all freetards) and the only reason I can see for them not doing it is to protect Windows and try to encourage it for fondleslabs. They might regret that...

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LDS
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Re: Office for Linux?

That's exactly why you'll never see an Office for Linux - you need Windows to run it. MS is not stupid, why should they release an Office for Linux and lose OS sales? Probaly Oracle will become open source earlier...

There's another loser in the mobile market, and that's Linux. Sure, Android is Linux based but is not Linux. And tablets are making Linux irrelavant as well as a cheap OS for those who don't need more than web and email.

That's why Asay wish MS would release Office for Linux, to keep Linux alive on the client side, not to help MS - but it won't happen...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Office for Linux?

"That's exactly why you'll never see an Office for Linux - you need Windows to run it. MS is not stupid, why should they release an Office for Linux and lose OS sales?"

You are aware of "Office for Mac" right? - https://www.microsoft.com/mac/products

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Devil

Re: Office for Linux?

> MS is not stupid, why should they release an Office for Linux and lose OS sales?

That's the kind of thinking that will wipe the Microsoft Festering Horror off the face of the market once and for all. Carry on, Ballmer. I can't wait.

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