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back to article Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates may be devoting more time to running his philanthropic foundation than to day-to-day operations in Redmond these days, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied with how things are going at the company he founded, particularly where mobility is concerned. In an interview with CBS This Morning's Charlie …

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Re: Gates quote - XBox is a success myth

Everyone knows that Xbox Live Gold subscription money is used to bribe unethical games companies for Xbox360 timed exclusivity deals.

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Vic
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Re: Gates quote

> Would you go back to Office without the ribbon?

In a heartbeat...

Vic.

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The big question is ...

Can MS succeed from a position as a small player? Their success for decades was built on leveraging their dominant OS position to capture new markets. The big convergence of windows operating system + tablet + phone software was an attempt to do exactly that to get into phones and tablets. It doesn't seem to work, so can they innovate instead?

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Linux

Re: The big question is ...

"It doesn't seem to work, so can they innovate instead?

No, their best bet is to copyright 'innovate' and start charging the hardware manufacturers revenue for using Android ...

--

todays mentions of windows == 5 and mentions of microsoft == 9

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not what you'd call a fanboy, however in the past I've always liked both Microsoft and Nokia products and got on well with them. But what's with Microsoft's cloud obsession lately? It doesn't exactly do them any favours when Windows Phone can't even sync with Microsoft Outlook without going through a damn cloud service.

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Jumping on bandwagons then hijacking them has been an unbelievably successful strategy for MS for most of its existence. With everyone else doing it Cloud must be the next bandwagon... even if you and I might disagree ;)

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kb
WTF?

No it hasn't! God I HATE how people try to rewrite history to make MSFT this evil genius when at best they were bumbling henchmen. Here is what happened folks from somebody who is gotta more grey than Gandalf and was there since the days of the Altair, ready?

DOS was insider dealing thanks to Billy's mom but more importantly DR dropped the ball and blew off IBM, you'll see "the other guy does something REALLY stupid" quickly becomes a theme with MSFT. Apple was taken over by one bad CEO after another that flooded the channel with confusing products so MSFT was able to capitalize thanks to the "gang of nine" and the MHz wars. WordPerfect ruled the market but then decided "Meh Windows won't be big, no worries" and put out a half baked DOS based WordPerfect that crashed more than it ran, again giving MSFT a free shot.

Somebody at Netscape decided to do a full rewrite on the browser just as things were heating up, the result was a crashing mess called NS 4 that had people going out and downloading IE because while it wasn't as nice at least they could look at 2 websites in a row without crashing. beOS tied their OS first to a failed AT&T CPU, then one failing or dying chip after another and by the time somebody realized "Hey we should be on X86!" it was too late as Windows was everywhere and WinXP was around the corner.

You look at the entire history of MSFT and every win is followed by the sentence "And then the competitor did something REALLY REALLY dumb" which gave them a free shot. X360? PS3's $600 price tag scared off a LOT of folks. DirectX become the gaming platform? Khronos drops the ball with OpenGL and after much infighting decides they care only about CAD and doesn't bother keeping up with the latest GPU tech forcing the GPU makers to use "shims" which gives it worse performance.

Which brings us to today as so far neither Google nor Apple has done anything truly facepalming dumb so MSFT has gone nowhere in mobile. MSFT's only real strength has been to take obvious openings handed them by the competition and run with them, no stupid move by competitor? No chance of MSFT getting ahead because innovation and smart design has never been the strength of the house of Redmond. All the "EEE" and other schemes were frankly MSFT trying to justify their success in a way that didn't sound like "We bumbled into a lucky break" which again and again that is ALL that has happened. Linux gains no share when they put out the Vista bomb because at that very moment the Linux devs decide to shoot the OS in the face by throwing out the DEs and sound subsystem for alpha quality garbage. Again and again its not MSFT being smart, its the other guy being pants wettingly DUMB.

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"when Windows Phone can't even sync with Microsoft Outlook without going through a damn cloud service."

This! 100% this....some of our guys have switched to windows phones, and I've had to tell them I can't get their numbers off their iPhone and onto the Lumias. Simply because there is no way to put windows address book contacts on there. Now I know someone will say you just need the outlook to hotmail connector or just use exchange..., but I can't do that either due to Dynamics crm, so basically as is usually the case, ms technology stops other ms technology from working.....

I am about 9 days away from a mental breakdown I spend so long on the phone to Microsoft these days, even their O365 hold music has become turgid and depressing

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"Which brings us to today as so far neither Google nor Apple has done anything truly facepalming dumb so MSFT has gone nowhere in mobile."

Not just mobile, desktop too. The iMacs are quite hard to get at the moment, which could be because the market has decided that OS X is preferable to win 8...

And RIM too. They've more or less stuck to the theme "this is a phone, just a lot better" with the z10, and they're selling well here in the uk. MSFT's "It's also a desktop" win 8 is looking commercially overly complicated and unattractive...

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@kb Thank you very much kb for demonstrating that it is possible to comment on issues.....

.........involving Redmond and describe the historical context (without attempting to "rewrite it") in a fashion that is scarcely complimentary to MS but does not involve $-signs and howling. I too have (more than) my share of grey hairs and your description of what was going on back in the day is right on the money.

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The iMacs are quite hard to get at the moment, which could be because the market has decided that OS X is preferable to win 8...

I'm a mac fan, but even I know this is not true. I suspect imac shortages are due to manufacturing issues with the new cases and screens, since Apple disappeared up it's own arse so much that the machines are now difficult to manufacturer, upgrade (21" specifically) or recycle.

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Anonymous Coward

just plain daft

If you think you can put Microsofts success over the past 30 years down to an endless string of chance and mistakes by other then you are not only being naive but also very er stupid (sorry). And the fact that you would try to despite reality all around you is like the priest who trys to tell us evolution is not really happening when psst we kinda figured out that it is!

But hey if you’re strange version of chance is true it gives hope to ever the very lowest forms of intelligence on this earth, chance not selection could be the way forward! who knows the slugs might by chance rise to the top of the food chain any day and i for one whould like to welcome our new leaders!

Defo nothing to do with windows 95 , ms office , visual studio, vb 6 then? No sql server wasn’t a hit? Xbox? to name but a few key successes that explain things. Most companies out there by far use several of these at the very core of their business at some expense, do you not this this expense has to be justified regularly internally, if you’re not being naive then of course it is and has been over the decades, now that’s not chance is it, ya silly billy!

Obviously I’m just saying the good stuff here as there has been plenty of bad as with any large tech company I can think of, good news for me is I see it as I’m not a fan boy

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True but being able to take advantage of your competitors' mistakes is part of good business management. To be a successful tech company you need both innovative products to build yourself a strong base and good management to be able to take advantage of opportunities (whether they be a result of your own strength or of weaknesses from competitiors).

In this sense Microsoft has had a business management team that was able to efficiently identify opportunities given to them and take advantage of them, even if they haven't been able to innovate themselves all that much (although they do occasionally, kinect being the best example).

As Microsoft are making mistakes in the smartphone market, it's down to others like BlackBerry, Mozilla or Ubuntu to take advantage of it: they need to take that chance as it may not come back any time soon!

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"kinect being the best example"

...tech bought in from PrimeSense, driven by the need to compete with the Wii controller, constrained by the need to avoid Nintendo and Sony controller patent minefields. MS massively improved the software, it's very definitely an innovative solution, but it's also another example of MS being late to the party.

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Holmes

iMac logistics issues

I believe it was mentioned in the last quarterly call that there were issues meeting demand for both the iPhone5 and especially the iMac range, and that this should be fixed soon. So it is somewhat difficult to judge actual demand at the moment.

That being said, despite many very good windows 7 based "me too" products from the usual suspects, the forward march of the MacAir and MacBook lines continues unabated.

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Allow me to correct you

I was also there, but I guess I forgot to wear my rose coloured glasses.

DR were throttled because B.Gates had his lads change Win3/95 so it would only work with MS-DOS.

MS were hired to write OS2 but IBM got too amibitious and MS blew IBM off and came up with Windows.

MS changed their APIs or kept some undocumented to kill of competing products. They also routinely sabre rattle patents without actually disclosing what the patents are.

MS has been found guilty of antitrust offences in the the US AND Europe. They routinely spread FUD and attempt to discredit anyone or anything who gets in their way. They lied when they said IE was part of the OS.

IE was not a Microsoft "innovation", they bought it in (eventually, after simply using it without paying anything). It's based on a an old browser called Mosiac. Neither is SQLServer. Its Sybase.

Finally, MS' legendary marketing, sales and "hospitality budgets" are responsible for its sales. And they are good at it. But lets not confuse that with good products.

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Don;t forget the cut down windows developer kit

Wordperfect lost ground when they brought out the first windows version of WordPerfect because MS circulated an incomplete developers kit, which WordPerfect eventually won damages for but the damages at $100m were insignificant when compared to the damage done to WordPerfect in terms of loss of market share.

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Bumbling henchmen?

"God I HATE how people try to rewrite history to make MSFT this evil genius when at best they were bumbling henchmen" etc etc

Said with the benefit of hindsight. Fact is all these other companies that have screwed up aren't little one man bands making arbitrary decisions - there's some pretty major strategy planning gone into some of these failures and it's a fair bet that those making the decisions were reasonably confident of success, based on the information available to them in that place at that time. That history proved they were wrong, and Microsoft right, doesn't seem to me to lend the support that you think it does to the case you are trying to make.

When you strip away all the hyperbole your post is basically just a list of occasions where others got it wrong and Microsoft got it right. You might get lucky once and but you don't do it over and over and rise to the size Microsoft did purely by luck. You could even argue that there is no right or wrong, just that one company managed to persuade a larger (or large enough) number of people that their way was right that they were able to gain enough of an upper hand that the competition became almost irrelevant - but even so it's still Microsoft which is winning these battles. It would seem there is also a critical mass a company can reach beyond which their way will almost certainly be the chosen way, even if a technically superior alternative exists.

Unfortunately for Microsoft in mobile computing the way ahead is not so clear - at least in part because this is the present and so the hindsight your observations benefit from is not yet available. Once it is, 2-3 years down the line, you might have reason to think differently. Windows Phone 8 is their first serious attempt at taking on Apple / Google and it's only been out for 5 mins. I don't like it personally but it is certainly getting some serious backing from mobile phone operators, resellers, retailers etc and that is going to count for something given enough time. Fortunately for Microsoft they have the resources to play the long game. And as for the competition screwing up - well Apple and the Droid conglomerate have headaches of their own which may yet play into Microsoft's hands. Only time will tell.

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Happy

@kb

@kb

Ah - someon as grey as me. It's refreshing to hear the true story for a change rather than the wishful thinking from youngsters who were nestling cosily in their mother's fallopian tubes when all this happened. Agree on the subject of Netscape - never did like it anyway - Mosaic was better.

Phil.

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@Silverburn

"I'm a mac fan, but even I know this is not true. I suspect imac shortages are due to manufacturing issues with the new cases and screens, since Apple disappeared up it's own arse so much that the machines are now difficult to manufacturer, upgrade (21" specifically) or recycle."

Fair enough. Now you mention it I do recall an article about how they were having trouble with their friction stir welded cases (pretentious or what?). However I do know people who have normally plumped for PCs who are now buying Apple because they didn't like Win 8. I'm not an Apple fan, but I think they've a better grasp of what a desktop is supposed to be than MS at the moment. I'm sticking with Win 7 and occasionally Linux.

I notice on Novatech's website that Win7 is still on sale, in stock and has good reviews. Win8 is cheaper, has hardly any reviews, and they're mostly bad. If Novatech can't shift it, no one can. Weirdly I reckon that MS might be doing quite well out of it. They get to sell Win8 with every new PC, plus a bunch of Win7 licenses to people who want to get rid of Win8. And that's still cheaper than a Mac.

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Anonymous Coward

They get to sell Win8 with every new PC, plus a bunch of Win7 licenses to people who want to get rid of Win8. And that's still cheaper than a Mac.

Until you buy software to make Windows actually *do* something. At that point your budget is shot. Overpriced rubbish with horrendous licensing conditions which force you to run a costly management scheme or the next pissed off member of staff who rats you out will get your business closed because of the fines, eternal updates (which also cost time and resources), compulsory anti-virus measures and the forced upgrade cycle that will suck that nifty bit of budget out of your pockets that you could have saved buying Macs instead.

Did I mention they rarely need rebooting too? Just saying..

I work with all 3 main platforms. Let's just say that I have my reasons not to like Windows, all the way up to military level.

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Re: @kb Thank you very much kb for demonstrating that it is possible to comment on issues.....

describe the historical context (without attempting to "rewrite it")

Except for the bit about Kildall and DR "blowing off" IBM, which is a widely-debunked myth. Gary Kildall had a conflicting meeting with an important customer and let his wife, Dorothy, take the IBM meeting; but he returned and joined the meeting. Various participants have offered stories that conflict in the details about the ultimate reason why IBM didn't license CP/M as the primary OS for the PC, but most likely Kildall and IBM were unable to agree on terms.[1,2,3]

In hindsight that decision can be criticized, but it was perfectly sensible at the time.

Kildall and DR didn't make any "stupid mistake". Gates and Microsoft got lucky, yes, as did IBM - no one could have predicted (through any rational calculation) just how successful the IBM PC would be at displacing other personal computers in the workplace.

And yes, I was around at the time as well.

[1] http://www.freeenterpriseland.com/BOOK/KILDALL.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Kildall#IBM_dealings

[3] http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1997/0707/6001336a.html

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Devil

Re: Bumbling henchmen?

I was (un) reliably informed yesterday that 20% of global international telephony was carried by Skype lat year.

If this figure is correct, I would guess that carrier enthusiasm for WP8 and by extension Skype is not larger than the bribes MS (and MS's bitch Nokia) pays them to carry their products.

Short of unbundling Skype (and burning the billions), I can't see how MS and its Nokia subsidiary will ever shake off the image of a consumer of Telco profit.

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Anonymous Coward

MS has good marketing. It has saved them over and over. But...

Excel was a good product. They made sure it didn't have any copy protection. Lotus 123 was expensive. MS spent their marketing money on speading Excel around like poison ivy. It was a rico suave move. Why buy Lotus when Excel was essentially free?. Right after Lotus started crashing from revenue loss Excel was copy protected, but still way cheaper than 123.

If anybody has the sense to make a decent word processor, Word would be gone in weeks. Tell me it doesn't take you months to get Word to stop doing crazy things that hang you up? Anybody know about Ami Pro? The first gui word processor? It was truly good. Would have killed Word but Lotus bought Ami (Samna) and IBM bought Lotus and death ensued.

It is a strange saga.

MS are not dumb. They are a marketing company. They've often been faking the coding just good enough for the marketing to cover it up. They also fire anybody that knows how to code within a year or two so they can't "run off with the secrets." Like the secret that nobody knows how to code over there. Plus, they design interfaces for children. Sorry, I also use MS stuff daily. If you have to bet on a horse, they're it. It's the only horse that has all 4 legs working, unfortunately.

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Mushroom

Bad news for Nokia

I guess this is bad news for Nokia Windows phones.

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Re: Bad news for Nokia

Why do you think that?

Nokia has WP8 not WMobile 6.

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Boffin

wow

"There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year"

Amazing.. is like saying 'interesting'. Amazingly good or amazingly bad?

Lets look at Steve's amazing leadership...

"Windows 8 is key to the future"

All they had to do was roll out a slightly faster/better version of Win7 and they would have sold as much or more than Windows 8 has. Perhaps even had a version of Windows optimised for touch or an option built in for defaulting to Touch/TIFKAM or Classic styles, but forcing TIFKAM on buyers has not really gone down well has it?

" ... the Surface computer"

Which one? The RT models look to have failed in the market. Pro versions are tainted with the same brush, but too early to tell. Amazingly well? - I don't think so.

" ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product"

Even if that were true, despite being the default in Windows, people are still actively switching back to Google and other engines. End result is billions being poured into a search engine sink hole by MS for little result. Look at complaints by Yahoo about the switch to Bing being a failure.

" ... the Xbox"

Success at great cost I guess, but in the last year? Been overtaken by PS3, and nothing really done by Balmer, no great hype yet or vision outlined for future Xboxen, so pretty hard to call that amazing by any stretch.

Windows Phone can only be considered an amazing fail given the time and money poured into something that is only a port of Windows (in theory).

So "amazing things that Steve's leadership got done"?

"breakthrough things"?

I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

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Re: wow

I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

The problem is somewhat identical to what Apple has at the moment: for a company to lead in any way you need someone at the helm who is a leader, not a good sergeant. Regardless of what I think of Microsoft in general, IMHO, Ballmer doesn't fit in any scenario with a line that goes upwards.

However, Apple still has some upwards momentum, whereas Microsoft is firmly established on a downwards trajectory because they actually haven't innovated in a long time. BS and market abuse can only carry you so far.

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Re: wow

All they had to do was roll out a slightly faster/better version of Win7 and they would have sold as much or more than Windows 8 has. Perhaps even had a version of Windows optimised for touch or an option built in for defaulting to Touch/TIFKAM or Classic styles, but forcing TIFKAM on buyers has not really gone down well has it?

Spot on. Windows 8 with its clusterfuck of Metro, Secure Boot and a new version of Internet Explorer has probably done more than anything to damage Microsoft's reputation with the CTO's of the world.

Adding the bells and whistles as a service pack or even a paid for Windows 7 R2 would have reassured users that they weren't about to be thrown under the bus of the next fashion wave. Instead people actively want to avoid Windows 8 on the desktop with the result that they will be avoiding Windows 8 tablets.

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Re: wow

You pretty much hit it all on the head.

Let's not forget Vista, Kin, Zune.. To be fair, I think Zune was probably not as bad as people recall. I never used one, it wasn't released in the UK, but people always said good things about the software and so on.

Vista was an engineering exercise which left the OS far too heavy for most hardware at the time, even that which was sold with it (512MB Vista machines, anyone? Fancy waiting all day swapping?).

There's clearly talent at Microsoft, but with so many decisions it has been wasted.

Faster/better version of 7? Exactly was needed - polish 7 to a mirror shine - remove inconsistencies in the UI, unify the control panel, streamline deployment and management tools and so on..

Instead, we get 8, with more inconsistencies than any previous version of Windows.

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Alien

Re: wow

" ... the Xbox"

Success at great cost I guess, but in the last year? Been overtaken by PS3, and nothing really done by Balmer, no great hype yet or vision outlined for future Xboxen, so pretty hard to call that amazing by any stretch.

And if the recent news coming out is true, the new Xbox (720?) is going to destroy the second hand market by locking games to the machine - much like retail Office 2013.

It almost feels like someone is trying to destroy the corporation from within.

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Re: wow

Like it or hate it, I think that the reason for the mangled interface that is Win 8 is threefold:

1. MS needed to move away from the mouse-driven Start menu addicted interface that has been with us since Windows 95. They couldn't move straitght to Metro because the market (particularly the commercial market) would not have been able to take such a shift in an interface we are all too used to using, also;

2. Most of the ISVs are locked into the Start Menu paradigm and needed time to re-write their apps to work with touch rather than mouse. The real driver?

3. They realised that if they can get true integration between MS O/S's on desktop tablet and mobile then they have the ability to provide a one-size-fits all solution that the opens up the market to developers that embrace Notro. After all it's something that worked before (NT anyone?)...

I'm not saying I agree with any of this strategy, but it is almost like Windows 8 is the 'fall-guy' operating system (Vista anyone?) designed to wean consumers/developers all off the bottom left corner of the screen, because they realised that it will happen anyway.

Epic fail? Maybe, but perhaps 'betting the farm on Windows 8' seemed better than a slow death...

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Fall guy OS

That was my take on it. MS probably figured a good number of people and business have only settled into Windows 7 in the last couple of years, and so were never going to be in the market for windows 8. Therefore, they chose to be a little bit experimental, and then sell Windows 9 as "Hey, it's not Windows 8".

Most of the annoyances with Windows 8 are in the UI and are easily fixed with a bit of 3rd party software - one to skip past 'Metro' to the desktop, another to restore the start menu, plus some other details. Hardly a massive extra effort, given that most of us install software and tweak settings on a fresh Windows install anyway.

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Facepalm

Re: wow

" MS needed to move away from the mouse-driven Start menu addicted interface that has been with us since Windows 95"

Why?

What is the compelling business case for this with respect to the billion machines in use that do not have touch screens and all the machines used in applications where touch is a pointless diversion?

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Re: wow

Biggest fail for Zune. Nobody wanted to "rent" music. Zune was a monthly Microsoft payment. What little iTunes music content I have is mine with no DRM even if I never give Apple another cent.

The only people who said nice things about the Zune software were Microsoft shills.

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Devil

Re: I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

At least he has not issued a statement that Balmer has his full confidence and support.

As in Politician-speak for "His resignation will be on my desk by the end of the day."

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Re: wow

I actually have a Zune 80 and it's got loads of non-rented music on it because like every other music player on the market at the time, you could quite happily rip your own CDs to it. And most people who saw it at the time (not knowing what it was) liked it and many asked if it was the new iPod. There were a few fairly useless features (the whole music sharing "social" thing springs to mind) but as a music/video player it was great and one of the best of it's era. Far too late to market (and never officially outside the US) to have anything like the kind of impact it needed to have to succeed though.

And FWIW I still use it every day, never found a really good replacement.

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Re: wow

"Windows 8 is key to the future"

But, this is true! Windows 8 is key to the Microsoft-less future. As is Windows Phone, as is Surface.

That won't happen overnight, but people embrace all sorts of "alternative" computing devices simply because they do not run Windwos.

They say, nobody else can do to you what you can do to yourself. Go Microsoft, go!

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Re: wow

"They realised that if they can get true integration between MS O/S's on desktop tablet and mobile then they have the ability to provide a one-size-fits all solution that the opens up the market to developers that embrace Notro."

This, even if in theory doable (not by Microsoft), does not make sense.

We have moved from mainframes to smaller (including personal) computers to the current Internet "cloud". The computer of today is actually spread all over. It is also heterogenous. You can have the backend run OS ABC, the storage run OS MNT, the middleware run OS WRT and the front-end run OS XYZ and still be perfectly "compatible", as long as you use standards compliant protocols. Other companies do this for decades. Microsoft apparently can't -- perhaps because they insist on "inventing" their own incompatible variations of existing protocols and for some reason they believe "compatibility" means having the same code everywhere -- which is not only impossible, but not neccesary at all.

Until Microsoft stick to their policy in this area, they will follow the downward spiral.

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Re: wow

"as a music/video player it was great and one of the best of it's era."

There were and still are plenty of great and utterly cheap MP3/MP4 players out there. Real cheap, like $10 with the design of an iPod. But still, the Apple's iPod sells by millions and those do not --- because it is the sensible service that sells these things. Microsoft were just too greedy, as always.

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Re: wow

"Why?" you ask did MS have to move away from the Start Menu interface.

If MS stuck with mouse and keyboard and pen/touchscreen but better done under a revised Windows 7, then they would either have to

a) give up the tablet/big phone area of computing

or

b) have separate lines of O/S for those devices (as Apple have with their OS and iOS)

If a, then there's a chance that the tablet OS (Android, Linux, iOS, etc or something new) from competitors would break out of that area and invade the desktop borne on its small scale popularity. If b) you've got two lines to support which means more effort.

I don't think Win8 is the sacrifical lamb at this altar, so much that MS had to start somewhere. Perhaps they have bodged their attempt to deliver something that works for the 17 inch desktop in an office, a home cinema system, and a 10 inch tablet. To continue the OT theme, will God intervene at the last moment to save the first-born, time (as ever) will tell.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wow

"Nobody wanted to "rent" music."

What is Spotify then?

Did people change?

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So...

...the guy who completely missed the internet in his semi-autobiography also missed SmartPhones. Yeah, I'd call that 'innovative'

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Re: So...

They didn't miss smartphones, they were right there leading at the beginning. I believe that the phone with the first full HMTL browser was a Windows smartphone and everything we think of now as being a smartphone is from the early Microsoft smartphones. Microsoft just did nothing with them. As they always do, they dominated and then stagnated.

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Stop

Re: So...

Hold on there! Palm is really the genesis of the smartphone, especially once handspring came long. Windows mobile has been around for a long time (though probably in platforms most people never saw, like in barcode-reader based handhelds used in enterprises), but they are strictly an also-ran in terms of innovation in the handheld space.

WinMO is also very incoherent, with major changes to use experience between relatively minor version numbers, which led to a lot of people never upgrading their handhelds EVER (if you even could). They had a lock on that market for a lot of the 2000s, but with everyone wanting to use much cheaper iphone and tablet style devices in that niche now, they're poised to lose it too.

They are really, really in trouble in the mobile base. I'm not sure even being third is going to be an option for them, especially if TCFKAR (Blackberry) gets their act together, which I think is a real possibility with BB10 being surprisingly good.

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Re: So...

Hold on there! Palm is really the genesis of the smartphone, especially once handspring came long.

Hold your horses young fellow me lad! Psion/EPOC/Symbian were in there at the beginning with Nokia's Communicator the first integration of a PDA like the Palm with a phone. What Palm did do very well was concentrate on a task and touch centric GUI.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

You mean the STNC browser? That was the first. Microsoft didn't invent it; they bought it. And their primary motivation wasn't to put it on Windows phones - it was to remove it from Symbian phones, which as a result were left without a full featured browser for 18 months.

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Re: So...

First HTML browser on a phone... the first I know about was Microsoft mobile explorer - the v1 was contracted by MS from one company, vsn 2 on (as on the Sony Z5) came from a company (STNC) which was purchased for Microsoft for the very purpose of providing the browser. This was NOT on a 'smart phone' but a 'feature phone'. The browser coped with the then WAP wmlc browsing but ALSO html and even provided email functionality (it was also the software running on the amstrad emailer). Even by that time Microsoft had a smart phone - basically a version of the pocket PC software - eventually the two were merged into windows mobile. Whether the pocket PC should be considered a smartphone is possibly made more likely now given that its bulk was considerably less than the bulk of many supposed smartphones from the likes of Samsung. If it is then the early pocket PC's (which did provide phone call capability) certainly did have html browsers.

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