back to article Microsoft exec: No 'Plan B' despite mobile stumbles

Should Microsoft's tablet and phone efforts continue to inspire little interest among the buying public, don't expect a radical shift in strategy – according to one senior Redmond exec, the company has no "Plan B". "It's less 'Plan B' than how you execute on the current plan," CFO Peter Klein told investors at Goldman Sachs' …

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Re: There's the Kool-aid...

Mid 80's? GEM was pretty good actually, was far ahead of Windows 1 and 2 at the time.

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Re: @Bailey

Thanks so much for confirming my point. If you even consider Visual Studio as a dev environment then you are fully addicted to the Kool-aid.

As yes - I've worked with both .NET and other environments - and .NET nearly drove me away from IT.

Not just me - you'll notice that IIS is on a long downward curve - even with corporate types trying hard to insist their company sites are built on it.

Again, try the alternatives - you'll be amazed.

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Re: There's the Kool-aid...

The duplicate stuff hasn't made it as far as Office and as far as I can tell is only in stuff like textedit or preview...

Having said that, It's still a broken paradigm IMHO.

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Re: There's the Kool-aid...

There was also DesqView (and later DesqView/X) around the same time

Anyone remember DoubleDOS ? :)

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Meh

Re: De-IOSasize Mountain Lion

Just done this, my solution, a fresh instal of Snow Leopard.

It just works.

It just doesn't feckin work (ML that is).

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Facepalm

Re: OSX versioning stuff @ AC

Hint:

"Save a version... " can be used to keep versions.

It really is a shame how Windows allows users to _do_ things without developing an _understanding_ of what they are doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's the Kool-aid...

six users migrating to OS X? Wow best short them Microsoft shares now. They'll go to the wall for sure

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's the Kool-aid...

If was just these six, not quite :).

However, it's a trend I see emerging. We even have private banks now doing this.

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Re: Save As on OS X

Hold down the Option/Alt key whilst clicking the File menu (or pull down File menu and pres Option/Alt key to get 'Save As'.

That still doesn't disable versioning nor does disabling auto save in Preferences > General. I'm not sure why Apple decided that we'd all like versioning enabled if we've also got the choice of Time Machine, but who are we to question the ways of Cupertino.

Versioning is not even done particularly well on a technical level either, they could have simply used the same method as UDF (;<version>) at the end of the filename in the same directory which would allow you to control versions in Finder (with a slight UI alteration) or the shell.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe they should rename Windows Phone Windroid. This is in tribute Lindows which was a Linux distro trying to cash in on the Windows name.

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Joke

Plan B?

Pfft, even Blackberry can afford Alicia Keys.

(Young urban music joke)

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a mere 722K-to-900K Surface RT

And virtually all of these went to Microsoft Employees, Resellers and Partners!

Microsoft deserve all the success they've had with this... the sooner their current management is booted to the curb, the better!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: a mere 722K-to-900K Surface RT

The Surface RT was supply-constrained. Actually some Microsoft UK employees were asked if they wouldn't mind waiting for theirs until after Christmas, so that enough could be redirected to Microsoft's UK game studios, Rare and Lionhead.

Anon because that came from a personal acquaintence and I probably wasn't supposed to know.

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Anonymous Coward

If Microsoft wanted to make money in the mobile market it should have sold an office suite and a good exchange mail client on Android and IOS. Then it would have made a killing. As it is, they're just kidding themselves and wasting their money.

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Stop

I see a lot of fantasy posted. Let's dispose of some.

1. Bill Gates is not ever, Ever, ever, ever coming back to rescue the company. He won this game. He counted coup. He beat the entire world, took all the money, became the richest man and then scooted his chips off the table gently as your retirement fund stepped in to buy them up. Not only did he game us all: he still is winning as he's bleeding the beast as Chairman still and being granted MORE shares even as he sells the ones he already has, and authorizes the company to "repurchase" the shares that he personally is (as puppet master of the Board of Directors) bonusing to himself and then selling. All you folk hoping he will come back for your sake are the same as the investors who actually suggested in a shareholder meeting that he should gift his shares back to the company to get their stock up. You really, really don't understand what is going on here. After he won this game (c. 1987) he set his sights on a new game: philanthropy. The whole point of Microsoft since then has been to fatten the pig for slaughter. And now he's fully engaged in that philanthropy game and won't be back to play with the pig and your petty dollars ever again. He won. Game over. He is playing an entirely different game now, and - alpha geek that he is - racking up an all-time high score at that too, defeating some of the most vile perils ever to ail Men not just in one place at a time, but for all men for all time - and that is far more fullfilling than swelling your 401K.

2. There will not be Microsoft Office for iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android Tablet - ever. I'm not sure how to describe this because I've never walked their halls but imagine Office, Windows, and their Server business as boats. Individual technologies are lines in the water that they put down to catch fish: you. The boats work together to herd in the most fish, and once one gets the hook in he holds you still while both of the others get theirs in too. By leveraging cooperation of boats they get the fish to converge for catching and each fish caught by one boat becomes a feast for all three. Silverlight was a hook. Zune was a hook. Plays For Sure was a hook. C#, F#, xaml, OOXML are hooks. These are things they send out to other ecosystems to catch fish, drag them back to their fleet and feast on their flesh. Hooks are made and remade every day to suit the catch sought, and the people who bait these hooks are the master baiters of all time.

Office is not a hook. It's a boat. It is not flung out into strange waters to catch fish.

Yes, this analogy sucks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I see a lot of fantasy posted. Let's dispose of some.

What are you on about? You seem to have gotten onto one of your boats and floated off into the deep dark sea.

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Re: I see a lot of fantasy posted. Let's dispose of some.

Excellent analysis, but I couldn't decide which quote was the best:

"being granted MORE shares even as he sells the ones he already has"

lol. too true. Or:

"the people who bait these hooks are the master baiters of all time."

rofl. I take it you had to pause and remember to spell 'bait' and not 'bate'?

thumbs up, due. :D

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Windows

Microsoft isn't Apple...

Balmer claims in a rather bizar speech that developers are very important for the company and how they feel the need to make it as easy as possible for developers to step in. I agree about the importance and quite frankly I think they're doing a good job with on the desktop segments; I've mentioned this several times before; you can pick up Visual Studio 2012 Express free of charge and you can even use it for commercial usage. If you don't like the COOL NEW MENU INTERFACE you can even still download VS 2012 Express. All free and in comparison to their commercial counterparts also very feature rich.

I think you shouldn't underestimate what this can do for a platform. Sure; some people will never touch "the evil Microsoft" but others might be persuaded. Either for hobby, small business who knows... Its for a very good reason that we can now download compilers and such for free while we used to pay dearly for them (from Sun to Microsoft).

However, when it comes to their mobile division then this changes drastically. You can pick up the SDK for free, you can mess around in the emulator all you want but when it comes to messing with your own phone then things become different; you need to cough up $99,-/year before you can unlock yours to access it from within Visual Studio. Just like the market leader Apple does...

But Microsoft needs to realize that they aren't Apple; instead they're still a nobody on this platform. You won't convince techies that programming for your mobile platform is fun by merely giving them a free emulator. Heck; I think one of the key elements to Androids success is because anyone can program for it. You pick up the phone, you unlock it and you're good to go.

If Microsoft were smart they'd have chosen an in-between model: allow home developers to obtain a developer unlock for a price which only covers administration costs. I dunno; $10 - $25 / year? That way you'll maintain some control while also making it much more appealing to give the platform a trial run. Also: because you're not "opening the floodgates" you're still maintaining some sort of "business like" status too ("We're carefully monitoring who can access our platform all for security benefits").

Either you want developers or you want to earn a quick buck; in this day and era you can't have it both ways... Not when you're a nobody that is.

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FAIL

Re: Microsoft isn't Apple...

$99/yr to put my software on my phone... sorry no thanks

Not when it costs me $0 to create an app in eclipse with the android sdk and install it to my phone

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Re: Microsoft isn't Apple...

Personally, I reckon a smart move would be to bundle a dev unlock with XBox Live Gold.

That way you'd get people interested in games able to write and sell code. And games really sell.

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Anonymous Coward

and the Microsoft said: let's copy Apple and prosper

And they copied Apple and they saw that it was good.

And then the proud Microsoft said: let's copy Apple but let's make it better, prettier, pricier, so that we show these Apple motherfuckers! And the sheep shall see that our shit is good shit and they shall flock to buy it and make us prosper.

So the Microsoft copied Apple and made it better, prettier and pricier than the Apple, but the sheep still didn't like it, because despite being better, prettier and pricier - it wasn't Apple. So the Microsoft said: let's, let's build a beautiful garden where the sheep should find green pastures and graze in peace, and as they flock to our walled garden we shear them in peace and prosper.

And the Microsoft built the beautiful garden with walls as tall as Apple walls, if not taller, but forgot to that grass needs both care and time to grow in order to look juicy and attractive to the sheep And the Apple sheep preferred apples to grass, so they stayed in the Apple garden, and those daring sheep contemplating the Microsoft shit, took a long, hard look into the Microsoft garden and they saw that the grass there is thin, even on the other side of the field, and they saw it was not good, and they chose to graze on the common outside of the Microsoft walled garden.

And then the Microsoft said: "Plan B? What plan B?"

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Execs in a bubble that needs to be burst

So anyone who reads any of my posts will know that I am a technology and platform agnostic, that is to say that I don't prefer any particular OS, they all have good points and bad points. But I would dearly love to find one of the execs or the marketing bods that are involved in Surface, Surface Pro and Windows Phone 8 and smack them upside the head. They seemed to think that just because it's Microsoft that people will trust it and buy it. Well, that's balls. For a start most people associate MS products with work or with 'getting stuff done' at home; not with frivolous usage of some tech or some browsing, that's what Apple is for. So let's look at them briefly:

Surface: Beautiful product, too expensive and with a use case identical to the iPad except with Office on it. But they shat out of it. All they had to do was suck a £100 or $150 per unit price cut over the equivalent Apple product and they could well have had a very big winner on their hands. Instead they went with "we're Microsoft and it's a premium product so we'll charge a premium price". Not the way to get into an established market with another huge player who is dominant. Cut the price, explain the use case better and it has a chance, otherwise it's dead in the water.

Surface Pro: Again, looks amazing but since you can't actually buy one what is the point?? At least with Apple they have a product launch event then 3 weeks later at most it can be bought all over the world. MS first mentioned this device about 6 months ago and it still hasn't materialised anywhere outside of the US; any questions to the Twitter accounts are met with silence and as such I for one started looking elsewhere. (Asus Transformer Book in case you're wondering, which looks WAY better than surface but is also not available yet :-/ )

Windows Phone: This is the one that gets me most. I just bought into Windows Phone 8 with the HTC 8X and it's absolutely BRILLIANT. It has some minor flaws and annoyances, OOBE could be tweaked etc but overall the OS is slick, very well integrated to Social Media and has an excellent browser etc. The apps are coming along but there are some glaring ommissions. What MS SHOULD be doing is going to these major vendors like the BBC and Sky (iPlayer and SkyGo) to get Windows Phone 8 versions created, pay for them if need be, and then advertise better. When you see Sky adverts for SkyGo and it says iOS and Android it REALLY HAS TO SAY WINDOWS PHONE TOO. Sorry, had to shout that part. People (as in muggles, not us lot of whiny tech fiends) know FUCK ALL about computers, computing or OS's. All they want to know is does it work and is it shiny. WP8 is definitely shiny and it definitely works but until you start seeing "Windows Phone 8" next to "Available on iOS and the Android Marketplace" this is going nowhere. If they want WP8 to succeed they need to do what they did with Xbox and discount the fuck out of it, make it free to manufacturers and spend time and money with developers. Once there's a user base then fine, it should take care of itself but until there are enough people using it why the hell should developers spend time, money and effort porting their apps across???

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Forget All the Noise and Interference this is About MS Mobile - Isn't It?

I don't see the point of giving all the MS haters yet another forum to get their rocks off by going on about Windows and how crap it is etc. This article is about Microsoft's failure to make a dent in the mobile market with both its tablet and smartphone formats.

And on that point one can only ask: how do they get it so wrong? Their phone OS is now relatively mature having gone through 3 major releases and it's still very poor. (I write as a committed user.) There is just so much wrong with it, and which has been wrong with it since WP7, that one is left completely puzzled as to what goes on in Redmond.

The same is true of the tablet - not bought one yet because of the reviews (what possible use is a tablet that only lasts 3 - 4 hours?) - which simply isn't up to the job people want it for. They want instant on, they want holdability, they want battery life and they wan't interconnectivity. None of these things are included.

Why?

Is this end of Empire syndrome? Is there now simply so much politicking going on within Redmond, so many competing projects and influences, that nothing ever gets done? Is every innovation doomed to be a series of compromises made to try and keep everyone on board? Is every MS horse fated to be a camel?

Does MS need to break itself up so that creative energy can get a look in? Personally I think it's their only hope.

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Re: Forget All the Noise and Interference this is About MS Mobile - Isn't It?

S/P is an ultrabook with a stylus-based digitizer. It competes nicely with this units in price, capabilities and endurance and is aimed squarely at that market. It adds additional options (Try using a notebook standing without a table etc. - With an S/P you can) that are nice in a consultant/roadwarrior environment. And it keeps prices for the mid range (Ativ 700, Duo 11, Taichi etc) and low end (Ativ 500, Asus Vivo) "in check" since most customers will say "why pay more for the same" thereby enhancing the chances that those units will compete with ultrabooks. MS cares little wether you buy a Surface or another Win8 penable - as long as you buy one.

The only units that are and will remain well abouve the S/P in price are the high end units like the T902. Those have always been and will be specialists. Those can do 10h on batterie and deliver enough performance and memory to replace a workstation. They also cost around 2000€ in a sensible (SSD-based) configuration. But the power, the power...

An endurance of 4-5 hours (more likely for the S/P based on experience with a first gen core-i penable of similar battery power that gets 3-4) is enough for this units. And with 1kg they are light enough to hold and use. Keyboard is only needed for long typing and that needs a stable surface anyway. Note taking, even 10+ pages - use the stylus! MS has the reliable, stable and capabel software for that (unlike Android)

If one wants more time on battery - go Atom. Even the aging Cedar Trail delivers more computational power for similar, sometimes better, power consumption than an A15 ARM and BayTrail is just around the corner. That gives you 7-10 hours even today, about the same as an<<<the only Android penable (That has no A15). Not build by MS but they run Win8 so MS likely does not care (much)

I assume with Interconnectivity you mean UMTS or LTE. Well there are units that have that on board. But with the state of LTE grows and an expected lifetime of around 3 years thanks to reliably updates and security patches (unlike say Samsungs Note-series where the N7000 basically is already out of service) I would not want to commit to a build-in modem right now. A MIFI router is cheaper to replace and sits snuggly in the attache case (attached to a honking big battery). Recently switched to an LTE version and my old penable now can use the faster net now.

If you refer to software - what better than Windows on tablet and desktop? Depending on the unit connecting to the TV is also easy - all current core-i units can do WIDI and receivers are cheap, most Win8 tablets have HDMI out as well. Not that I see good reasons of watching a movie on the tablet while at home - that's what the 42'' TV is for.

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Re: @MMEIER Forget All the Noise and Interference this is About MS Mobile - Isn't It?

Not to be sarcastic, but this very afternoon I suitably balanced and gripped my MacBook Pro in one arm and typed and used the trackpad as I walked over the courtyard to the studio....

And I am quite possibly the most ill co ordinated stumbling buffoon you are ever likely to meet.

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Re: Strategy mixup

Note to my self: Write Bill, tell him to stop sending me special versions of MS Gear...

My Win-CE phone(s) of HTC make worked just fine. Sold in germany by Telecom as the MDA series and used since the early 2000s. One of them, an MDA Compact IV/HTC Athena is still alive and kicking today with only a new battery - unlike a HTC Desire that barely made the 2 years.

And so far WP7 has shown one benefit over Android - UPDATES! Even now they get them (WP7.8). A lot better than any non-Nexus phone and similar to iOS. Since I consider Apple overpriced and overhyped they are a no-buy. IF I get another smartphone (unlikely - tablets are better suitet for the job) it will be a WP unit. Burned by Samsung and HTC, not interested in try three.

ChromeOS is a no-player in corporate environments (where IE actually is "prime browser" still) since they can not run MS Office. And office is (just ask Munich and prod for the Citrix/Terminal Server part) and you will realize it is next to impossible to get rid of.

So Penguins leaving their droppings on the desktop and falling on their backs when a plane goes over in any two digit percentage is as likely as Stallman shaving his neckbeard.

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Re: Strategy mixup

Wrong on all points as always Eadon.

+ WP7 based units are still getting updates and security patches. Recently got one. They will NOT get an UPGRADE to WP8. No problem with that, never demanded that. Now let's take the situation with the HTC Desire and the Samsung N7000. Both "top of the line" and brand new (HTC) or almost new (N7000) when I bought them. Both got no more updates, fixes, patches after a year. And at least the N7000 has two big bugs. I do not demand Android 4,1 or so. Just FIXES for the damned holes (1). MS is so far holding up the contract. Samsung and HTC did not. And no, Cyanogen etc. are NOT an alternative for the Note

+ Munich has hidden a LOT of money for Citrix and Windows licences, double staffing to keep the Windows systems running etc. in the "non Limux" Business. Even according to the Limux sources they have more than TWICE the permanent staffing of similar cities. And in germany permanent means difficult and costly to get rid of. Unlike you I KNOW what software cities are using (programmed some stuff for them - ironically for Android) and there is a lot of specialist software that is Windows-only. Unless Munich writes is own (and they do not) they still need Windows (as they do)

+ Mobile devices and multiple browsers are only interesting for a small part of the companie websites. E-Shops have to deal with them as have info pages, the later to a lesser degree. INTERNAL stuff is still "must run on IE". And that has no security risks since the networks are well protected and those things do not go outside directly. Oh and stuff like ActiveX can be disabled. Company wide. From a single server. Without the user having a choice. Windows has the policies for that. And there is a lot more internal applications than one might thing. Besides IE has been getting quite compatible over the years and it's FF that is causing us more problems recently.

+ ChromeOS has the same problem as every other OS that does not integrate in the Windows-based "workstation" network. Security keeps them restricted and the inability to run the multitude of in-house Windows applications keep them restricted to special uses. They could in theory replace the units used by consultants but why? A Windows unit can do the job just as fine. Big companies already have 2-3 different OS, they do not want another

+ Linux desktop chair could triple in the next ten years and it would still be in the single digit range. If it where a german party it wouldn't even make parliament since it will stay below 5 percent even then

(1) Oh and yes, my last two smartphones where Androids. The first and the last of them,

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Plan A

I think MS are playing the long game on this one.

A slow start, but when the next Xbox comes out and all the systems are seamlessly integrated, then things might start to look pretty appealing.

The iToys have already lost their shine. If I was in the market for a new PC or Tablet then I'd be giving Surface some serious consideration.

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Use the force luke.....then agian, just force it....

No plan B, just efforts to tweak the ongoing plan to get manufactures to sell what people don't want to buy. LOL.

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Anonymous Coward

Plan A is working

The idea is to get Apple to discount them while they build the HQ under the volcano and get ready to reveal Windows 9, which will run on anything and sell for $5, seamlessly combining desktop and phone metaphors.

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Facepalm

Windows 8 vs. Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 7.x and 8 are really quite good; an innovative interface designed from the ground up. OK, as they've changed code base between CE, WP7 and WP8 there have been false starts for developers, but WP8 is now a great basis to build on. In particular, WP8 is ideal for the enterprise where MS rules both desktop and servers.

The biggest problem is Windows 8. It's a car crash as far as many users and most businesses are concerned. MS have created a UI that pleases nobody, and refused to allow people to turn it off without resorting to third party utilities. The result is that the tarnished 'Windows 8' brand has a negative effect on Windows Phone 8. I honestly believe that if Windows 8 didn't exist, then Windows Phone 8 would be much more popular.

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Re: Windows 8 vs. Windows Phone 8

Give it six more month and the Baytrail and Haswell CPUs with their enhanced performance and lower power. Those will be Win8 systems so people will use them. Once they get over the "it is different" they find the virtues, And the new system has quite a few. MS did a lot of work under the hood, finally killed the last Win2000 drivers and made a UI that is usable on both types of device,

And for keyboard oriented workes Win8 is a beauty. No mouse required, touch-typists and programmers love it. So far the "give it two hours" test has worked for 90+ percent of the test users privat and company. Had a few who made extensive use of the "recent documents" feature in the start menu that missed something. OTOH that is Service-Pack work. Some miss the Aero effects, A lot had miss-conceptions from Eadon-style "reviews" like the "oooh shutting down is sooooo complex". Pressing the off-button on the box solved that. Telling them it's a feature since late XP got quite a few ooops :)

Touch is another misconception easily solved with a penable. Pens are part of our culture and simply writing on the tablet is a concept people get in mere minutes. I switch off "touch" on my windows devices since I do not use it and do not like the smears it leaves. That "forces" people to use the pen and so far all have commented "I want one for <enter media consumer device>" and where sad to lern that "capacitive" pens are not the same (I keep one around for an old Iconia A500 device that I use for software testing so I can show them)

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FAIL

Loosing means winning

Because loosing means winning, right guys?

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