back to article Windows 10 S: Good, bad, and how this could get ugly for PC makers

Tuesday’s launch of Windows 10 S, a cut-down version of the operating system designed for the education market, has raised some interesting questions about Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to hit Google and Apple where it hurts. Traditionally Microsoft and Apple have carved up the school user base between them. Apple gained an …

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  1. AnthonyP69

    Thin Client anyone?

    If they are priced low enough they may become the new thin client for Citrix. Issue and forget!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Thin Client anyone?

      I'm always surprised those compute sticks haven't taken off in the education market. Saves carrying a screen around all the time (one less thing to break). Losing them is a problem, but if using cloud storage not the end of the world.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Thin Client anyone?

        I'm always surprised those compute sticks haven't taken off in the education market. Saves carrying a screen around

        Because you still actually need a screen? What will you do, have dozens of monitors in each classroom?

        M.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Thin Client anyone?

      ...well I've heard worse suggestions. On a separate note I've cut-and-pasted the below phrase into my archives to refer to in ten years time:

      "an entire generation is going to grow up using Teams and seeing Slack as something management imposes once (or if) they get a job"

      Suspect it might be in mirth rather than sagely nodding my head.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    So...

    Can they run ChromeOS?

    1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      Re: So...

      ChromeOS uses a proprietary bios, so only if the manufacturer specifically enables it.

      1. rne247

        Re: So...

        Take a look at Neverware's Chromium OS fork. It can turn a crusty old (or new!) laptop into a Chromebook-like device. You can even boot from a USB drive if you want to.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Apple still in Education?

    Please, Apple doesn't really support Education in the way it used to. iPads, next iFad please...

    Apple killed the Macbook Air 11" ! how stupid is that for education? What a perfect form for students that have to carry around their tech. It's early I'll stop now before I need my blood pressure meds.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Apple still in Education?

      They replaced it with the even lighter MacBook.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Apple still in Education?

        >They replaced it with the even lighter MacBook.

        I'm not sure that's a replacement. Replacing an i7 with SD card, thunderbolt and USB ports and maglink power with a system with a rubbish cpu with a single USB/charging combo?

        Everything is worse than it used to be. Apple have exited sanity, never mind education.

  4. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    MS is daft.

    For the amount that MS is asking for the low end version, I can go get a better one from their competition. A thousand dollars for four gigs of ram? Pull the other one, it has bells on.

    Marketing it as something for schools is laughable at best, utter batshit insane at worst. Most schools don't have the budget to deploy the IT infrastructure to handle a thousand students all pounding the servers at once, the bandwidth to support a thousand students all trying to check wiki for something, & all that is money they would rather spend on supplies like pencils, paper, & textbooks. If your school only has ten thousand left in the budget do they save it to buy supplies for a few months or buy *ten* of these laptops? I know which option my son's school would go for & it's NOT to buy laptops.

    He's a teacher & constantly struggling to balance needs (supplies) versus wants (technology), but when push comes to shove then the needs win hands down every time. You can always get the needs past the accountants if you try, but the tech takes MUCH more haggling, bargaining, & begging.

    MS has aimed MUCH too high for education (it's out of the price range of most kids) & are charging far too much for what you get. You can head over to *any* of their competition & buy a better machine for less money.

    MS seems to have a fondness for shooting itself in the feet...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: MS is daft.

      Does MS's competition offer a 4:3 screen? No, sadly.

      1. SundogUK

        Re: MS is daft.

        Does a schoolkid need a 4:3 screen? No.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: MS is daft.

          I wouldn't say 'need', but a 4:3 screen is better suited to many school and college tasks than a 16:9 screen. I say that hoping that the classroom activities involve more than watching YouTube.

          The point was, the OP said he could get equivalent machines for less money... but that only holds true if one ignores the screen. How important aspect ratio is to you is a matter of personal preference, just as is the weight, the track pad quality, how noisy it is etc.

          It would be nice if laptops with screens other than 16:9 were available from more vendors so that one could then shop around on other criteria, such as price.

          1. Carlitos911

            Re: MS is daft.

            Yup, people always talk about the "identical specs" but *always* forget the bit in the laptop that you spend all day staring at.

            For USD 999 you cannot get any laptop with a screen that's even close to the one in the Surface Laptop. You might find some with 1980x1080 screens, but not only it that significantly lower res, it's also very unlikely that they're sRGB colour calibrated.

            Also, if people only bought stuff they need, our society would crumble in days. The Surface Laptop isn't designed to meet people's needs, it's designed to meet people's wants.

            Do I need one? Nope! Do I want one? Hell yeah! That burgundy looks very very sweet.

    2. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: MS is daft.

      I’m delighted to see Microsoft take the high road in building hardware. For years, a major attraction of the Mac was that it was pretty much the only game in town if you wanted really high quality hardware. HP and Dell flirted with high quality machines, before dumping them in favour of shovelling poor quality shit again. If you wanted a high quality, well designed, PC then your only choice was boutique - at even higher prices than Apple charged, and very much harder to find.

      I do appreciate that some people don’t really care about a pricey, ‘quality’, well designed computer. They just want a cheap machine that will do the job. My concern here is that ‘cheap’ has to be paid for by someone - and that it’s usually the labourers in the sweatshop who end up bearing the cost. Even at the prices Apple charges, you really wouldn’t want to work in one of their factories (trust me on this!) - but, even so, the conditions are still better than the conditions in bargain basement laptop production lines.

      My hope is that people might begin to realise that you can’t actually buy a laptop for £300 - and that £800+ is actually a reasonable starting price, at least if you’d like the people who built the damn thing to be paid. Plus, I imagine that this new Microsoft laptop is as nice to use as it is to look at (and I think that it’s very nice to look at). Cheap laptops are never a pleasure to use. I also look forward to the day when the people who make our clothes, build our laptops and write our software get paid equitably.

      In the 1980s people expected to pay the equivalent of £800 in todays money for even quite a basic computer (ZX Spectrum, no storage or screen), and went on up to £6000 equivalent (for a basic IBM XT) and more. That was just what things cost (and you should see how much software was priced at!) Nowadays though, people want something, everything, for nothing.

      I understand that there’s a market for a very cheap computer, for schools, for people who can’t afford to pay more. And there’s a computer that fits the bill - and it isn’t made in a sweatshop either. It’s called Raspberry Pi - some assembly required, and don’t expect to play Counterstrike on it.

      You gets what you pays for.

    3. fajensen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: MS is daft.

      I know which option my son's school would go for & it's NOT to buy laptops.

      Schools here (DK) would go for the shiny-shiny at every turn.

      MS has means and ways - the first one is that they could introduce a rental / leasing model for their computers to make them more "affordable", then on the back of that they can securitize the income stream from the rental into s bond structure to pull the income forward when they sell the bonds. They probably have everything in place from Office365.

      MS could lobby politicians on the "critical importance of business-oriented digital skill in today's marketplace", making it so that schools would be forced to buy digital devices with Office on them whatever the budget,

      Finally, MS could probably mange to get their hardware prices down a good bit on volume contracts. If they want the "hearts and minds" of the future, they could take a strategy of negotiating centrally rather than with individual schools on special pricing which look cheap. They come in high, so 40% off is a good deal for the county's central procurement office, not!?

      Now, why I believe Microsoft will fail is because they do not have the persistence to follow a strategy for 10-15 years. They just *have* to tinker and "revolutionise", after 5-6 years they will be *gagging* to do something that somehow invalidates all the previous work.

    4. Adair

      Re: MS is daft.

      There seems to be a misunderstanding here. TLDR version: 10S aimed at hardware spec, c.£150.

      QUOTE (from http://tinyurl.com/lzk2jjs - Guardian report):

      'Jeff Orr, research director for ABI Research, explained that the education market is tough to design for, with extensive requirements for durability, flexibility and affordability. Orr said: “Both Apple’s Mac laptops and Google-powered Chromebooks have offered a combination of hardware and software to keep Windows from being as dominant in education as it has become in the workplace. The affordability of Chromebooks and the benefits of cloud services has propelled the low-cost laptop use case even further.”

      It is here that Microsoft hopes its Windows 10 S and new education initiative will be able to make inroads where more expensive solutions have faltered against stiff competition. Industry partners include Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba, producing Windows 10 S-compatible machines starting at $189 (£146).'

    5. Fatman Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: MS is daft.

      <quote>MS seems to have a fondness for shooting itself in the feet nuts...</quote>

      FTFY!!!!

    6. rne247

      Re: MS is daft.

      PanOS made it quite clear that the target market for Surface laptop is the student heading off to college or university.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS is daft.

      "MS is daft", lol, best title ever. Sums them up nicely.

    8. Japhy Ryder

      Re: MS is daft.

      Fortunately for MS, their competition is even dafter. I used to work for an org which bought 70 Surface Pro's for something like £600 a pop (yes,after the volume discount, someone must have been feeling rich). After 2 years, MS EOLed them. Core i5, 4MB, 128MB, perfectly usable piece of kit but IT policy mandated replacement if no vendor support. So, we asked all the usual suspects for samples to evaluate. Keystone Cops aren't even in the running. Couriers turned up to take back samples we hadn't received yet. Everybody we asked to evaluate them complained about keys being in the wrong place (US keyboards), the hideous colours, etc, etc. Despite all this nonsense, one or two of them had decent enough scores to consider buying so we asked them for prices. The response from all of them was "Oh no, we don't sell that anymore!" You might conclude that they weren't really interested in actually selling anything. Perhaps MS isn't either. Oh, and £50 for a stylus? You can get perfectly usable styli from Hong Kong for a tenner. £70 for a BT mouse ... don't get me started ...

  5. JTMILLER
    Gimp

    There's a market for it

    "Which kind of makes you wonder why the Surface team was here, at this education-friendly event, in the first place."

    You clearly haven't seen many schools in Australia, even the budget to midrange private schools often supply $1400 laptops for all students, I'd happily take a Surface Laptop (Upgraded to the full Edu edition) over these Acer's I currently have to support!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a market for it

      So it's the "Surface Laptop". As opposed to the "Surface Book" or "Surface Pro", which are also laptops. No room for confusion there.

      I suppose it's no worse than Macbook / Macbook Air / Macbook Pro.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux

    Linux ticks all of the boxes.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux

      Not for MS Office it doesn't....

      If you use Linux then you don't need to pay for a Surface Book/Pro there are far cheaper alternatives than the MS solution....

      Unless of course you are preparing the future Anonymi....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux

        MS Office is absolute s***e, on Windows and Mac. There's no must-have improvement since Office 2000. Can't believe they're still getting away with selling it.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Linux

          "There's no must-have improvement since Office 2000."
          Outlook has improved quite a bit, but then I would also argue Word has been unimproved.

          1. dmacleo

            Re: Linux

            outlook against an exchange server is where the real differences show up.

            outlook for pure imap/pop...not much different than older versions.

            when people talk about office they often overlook the outlook/exchange integration.

            fwiw running a mix of win10 and linux mint here, and evolution mail with ews plugin working really well with exchange 2013 server.

      2. TVU Silver badge

        Re: Linux

        "Not for MS Office it doesn't...."

        ...which is why I have Softmaker Office Professional for Linux which has excellent Microsoft compatibility (the free WPS Office and FreeOffice are worth having a look at too).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux

      Does it?

      Please elaborate.

      I see no simple global admin.

      I see no simple set / install and configure.

      I see no integration with Office 365

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux

        I see no integration with Office 365

        Who in education would want Slurp slurping all the students information? Unless they are working for the NSA that is.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "Who in education would want Slurp slurping all the students information"

          You missed Google is under investigation for selling children data? It looks most schools didn't factor it when the got Chromebooks...

        2. Carlitos911

          Re: Linux

          Well, they don't seem to have a problem with Google doing it, so why not Microsoft?

          And if you believe the NSA doesn't have access to all the Google user's data, I have a nice bridge I'd like to sell you.

      2. Avatar of They Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Linux

        Why would you want office 365 integration, its ruddy awful? And config is easy if you know what you are doing. The problem is few people know what they are doing because they grew up either with apple of M$

        We have thin clients running Linux and it is locked down nicely and rolled out by the network, all sorted. And no office 365. :)

      3. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Linux

        "I see no simple global admin.

        I see no simple set / install and configure.

        I see no integration with Office 365"

        And so, on to the bad points?

    4. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

      Re: Linux

      And yet Linux market share is down. Care to explain why?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux

        "And yet Linux market share is down. Care to explain why?"

        Because cretins demand explainations over experiences.

        People would rather be sold something than simply venture out and try something. The same reason droves of people trudge to the same tourist spots on holiday every year.

        People follow people. Thats why people on flexi hours still start at 9 and finish at 5.

        People are dicks.

        Thats why Linux market share is down.

        Linux is exactly where it needs to be, those of us that use it, love it and we don't care what anyone thinks.

        I use Linux because I tried it and it was awesome. Nobody sold it to me, nobody evangelised about it to me...I just tried it.

        To a true tech aficionado Windows is the Ikea furniture of the OS world. Linux is the fine hand crafted mahogany furniture of the OS world.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: those of us that use it, love it and we don't care what anyone thinks.

          Is that why you swarm all over any article about ms going on and on about it? Because you don't care what anyone else thinks?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: those of us that use it, love it and we don't care what anyone thinks.

            "Is that why you swarm all over any article about ms going on and on about it? Because you don't care what anyone else thinks?"

            Its not about caring what anyone thinks, its about correcting misinformation and bringing attention to viable alternatives.

            Us penguins wouldn't be standing up for our principles if we didnt do this.

            I cant speak for the majority, but I personally care about your privacy, rights and freedom whether or not you're smart enough to realise they're being eroded.

            I see MS users in the same way Ibsee the emaciated kids on oxfam adverts. They didnt choose to be born into a poor country to starve to death. Similarly a lot of Microsoft users didnt really choose to use MS products. They were taught how to use them at school and have them foisted on them in the workplace and due to this lifelong brow beating they struggle to venture out and try the alternatives.

            I will never force anyone to use Linux (or whatever the best alternative of the day is), but will pity them if they don't even try it.

            Us penguins are out there waiting to help (well most of us, fuck the elitists) but we can't help unless people decide they want to help themselves. Until then all we can do is highlight that there are alternatives.

            That said, im not against MS products existing in the education space but I am against them being the ONLY products in a schools IT arsenal.

            When I was at school many many years ago we had a variety of kit we were taught to use...IT lessons were balanced. These days they arent.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I see MS users in the same way Ibsee the emaciated kids on oxfam adverts.

              Jesus, could you patronise that up a bit for me?

              There really is no height restriction on your horse at all.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I see MS users in the same way Ibsee the emaciated kids on oxfam adverts.

                Patronising? I dont think so.

                Hows the Microsoft stockholm syndrome down there?

                1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

                  Re: I see MS users in the same way Ibsee the emaciated kids on oxfam adverts.

                  RE: "Patronising? I dont think so"

                  How about insulting then?

                  Blimey! You make me want to dump my Linux boxes and go completely windows just to show it wont hurt me one little bit. I also want to poke you in your smug, patronising, silly little penguin eye and make you squawk and flap your feeble little wings, you feathery freak, you.

        2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          Re: Linux

          RE: "People are dicks. Thats why Linux market share is down."

          So could you please get your fellow penguins to stop behaving like dicks then, and putting people off. Ta!

        3. dbtx Bronze badge
          Trollface

          Re: Linux

          "...is the acquisition rights to entire forests of finer lumber-bearing trees and a collection of woodworking tools (with all mahogany handles) of the OS world."

          fifty.

        4. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Linux

          I use Linux because I tried it and it was awesome. Nobody sold it to me, nobody evangelised about it to me...I just tried it.

          Same. Tried a BSD first and it didn't fit so I tried Linux. I've also tried many other OS's. The only ones that I truly don't like are Win ME, 8, 8.1 and 10. Even Fista doesn't quite reach my "to horrible to live" level.

          Also, I have a number of older friends who also have tried Linux and love it. Comments like "I never knew my computer could be so easy to use" and "I never knew this computer could run so fast" and "It's great, I don't have any malware problems any more" among many other praises. I did know one guy who preferred Windows over Linux, but then he tried to kill himself in one of the worst ways imaginable and spends his nights in a psych ward. And no, sorry, not joking.

          It's easier than Windows to configure, far far easier and faster to install (done in 10 minutes, 20 mins if you have much older install media and want it fully updated), so much more powerful than Windows will ever be (but then, not everyone needs a V8 - a nifty-fifty is enough for some people!) and with a much greater range of software than MS will ever allow. Except games, which is a problem as we all know that games are the most important thing in the world.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Linux

            "with a much greater range of software than MS will ever allow"
            I really, really wish that were true, but it isn't. I spent a very pleasant 18 months using Cinnamon Mint as my primary OS. It is indeed wonderful. But my main applications are Windows or Mac OS. They won't run on Linux. There are no acceptable Linux substitutes. Until the major software houses get their act together, or the Linux community gets serious about developing professional software, Linux as a desktop OS is doomed to remain a niche. This saddens me greatly...

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Linux

              I really, really wish that were true, but it isn't. I spent a very pleasant 18 months using Cinnamon Mint as my primary OS. It is indeed wonderful. But my main applications are Windows or Mac OS.

              I said "greater range". You may have a specific use case for programs that require Windows where you cannot find suitable Linux equivalents. But in reality most people don't actually fall under that (otherwise why is desktop use being replaced by tablets and chromebooks, the majority of which don't run any MS software?).

              There's still stuff I can easily do on Linux there I haven't found a suitable Windows replacement. Running secure servers is a start. Same for running a browser secure enough for my needs (which aren't exactly great, but while I have no qualms about my browsing history being seen by government (though it will make some of them nervous ;) ) I do have significant qualms about any private company doing so (but I trust my ISP, for now).

              If you're talking Office, well I hear there's a browser-based version and IME 2010 and earlier happily install on Linux simply be double-clicking on the Setup program on the CD (or install or whatever it is on there), haven't tried anything later but I haven't had to - very few people need MS office when they can get away with Libre or Open. Most people I deal with are home or SME so there's no fancy spreadsheets or other fudliness to worry about.

              There are some programs that may run a bit more nicely on Windows, or only on Windows, but that's not what most people use these days. (and again, for those who're going to jump up and down about what people do with their computers, look at the stats that're showing tablets and mobes getting used more than desktops or laptops).

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                @ Kiwi (was Re: Linux)

                "I said "greater range". You may have a specific use case for programs that require Windows where you cannot find suitable Linux equivalents. "
                I have several specific case uses where there appears to be no Linux equivalent, or the Linux "equivalent" is shite. Unless you know of a source that alternativeTo doesn't know about. This has nothing to do with MS Office or web browsers.

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