back to article Microsoft: Like the Borg, we want to absorb all the world's biz computers

Microsoft hopes to assimilate traditional IT admin roles into its cloud with the launch of its Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD) service. Under MMD, customers will get preconfigured hardware running Windows 10, Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscriptions, cloud-based device management, and Microsoft-managed security and feature …

Devil

Long spoons needed

So, in 2025 or so, we can expect an EU finding, accompanied by a massive fine, that Microsoft has been threatening to withhold MMD approval from OEMs who want to do naughty things like shipping Chromebooks or sytems with Linux preinstalled.

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Trollface

Re: Long spoons needed

>implying Linux will be around that long, now that the Rainbow hair'ed pronoun crowd have taken over.

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Testing

And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?

How would this fit into the broader change management plans that companies have for their important stuff ?

Looks like another half baked solution.

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Re: Testing

"And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?"

All the customer's applications will have to be bought from Microsoft to ensure compatibility.

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Re: Testing

How are they being tested right now? You apply the patches to a single machine, and if it keeps working, then you apply them to some more.

I don't see why Microsoft wouldn't be able to do the same.

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Re: Testing

Using telemetry to see which users goof off all day on buzzfeed and flag them as the first to get the updates, so, if it doesn't work, at least a useful employee isn't impacted...

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Re: Testing

"Using telemetry to see which users goof off all day on buzzfeed and flag them as the first to get the updates"

Tinfoil hats in aisle 2

Boring

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Re: Testing

Buying from Microsoft doesn't necessarily help, look at the number of times Exchange updates have crippled their servers and needed unpatching or re-patching with corrected updates... Or our suppliers recommending that we don't apply SQL Server updates, because they cause problems...

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Re: Testing

"How would this fit into the broader change management plans that companies have for their important stuff ?"

Management fit their important stuff around what Microsoft plans. Problem solved.

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Re: Testing

"And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?"

Presumably the same way it is now. By deploying to test systems first.

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Re: Testing

"Presumably the same way it is now. By deploying to test systems first."

Indeed, plenty of test systems after all... Late on payments... Having apps installed not approved by Borg™... Highest bidd...errmm.. "strategic test deployment"..

plenty of options once you've got them by the balls...

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Re: Testing

@jarfil

"I don't see why Microsoft wouldn't be able to do the same."

Um ... have you been on the moon the past 3 years? Have you seen all the articles about how a Windows 10 update breaks something? If Microsoft does not properly test their updates to Windows 10, what makes you think they will do a better job here? But you are right, there is no reason Microsoft wouldn't be able to do the same. And that is the problem: they are able but not willing.

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Coat

Re: Testing

Or those who spend their time commenting on Reg stories about problems in Redmond.

Mines the one with a linux usb iso in the pocket.

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Facepalm

Re: Testing

@Doctor Syntax

Management fit their important stuff around what Microsoft plans. Problem solved.

This is so true. We're in the throes of getting a new major computer system, and when I pointed out to the project manager how the software will NOT do some functions we need, I was told that we will just need to change some of our business practices.

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Re: just need to change some of our business practices.

The clarion call of the FOSS community for two decades when their loud claims of "equivalency" were demonstrably refuted.

Thank Torvalds those Captains Oblivious no longer have the floor.

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Re: Testing

"And how exactly would the customers applications be tested to ensure that the patches work before they nuke the entire organisation ?"

I don't think this is targeted at users who have significant local applications. The target audience is probably businesses that have relatively simple needs that can be met by Windows, Office and maybe a select few business tools from associated vendors who work hand in glove with Microsoft.

**I** wouldn't touch this unless and until it's been in place for about a decade and has a vast numbers of actual, satisfied users. I don't expect it to play out that way because it requires MSFT to do a really difficult job really well. They aren't stupid, but I doubt they are smart enough to make this work. I doubt anyone is smart enough to make it work.

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Re: Testing - half baked or well thought out for profit?

This will give them the chance to bork millions of machines at once with a cobbled patch and get paid for it. Saves on testing costs and at some point, will give them a lock-in to apps, etc. much like Apple does.

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With the way Microsoft handles products and services there is no saying this service will still be around in another few years if the uptake isn't enough they will just kill it. Meaning if your one of the unlucky ones who decided you could fire some off your admins and let MS handle it all then they pull the plug on it, you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle.

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you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle

> r/could/will

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I have just one question

Which data center is going to house this newfangled thingamabob, and what happens when it goes down due to lightning, water, or squirrels (never forget ROTS) ?

Because if it has the redundancy of the last one that failed miserably, I don't see how this will make things any better.

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Re: I have just one question

Perhaps I'm misreading it, but I think the vision is that you send Microsoft a (whopping great) check every month and every three years or so a bunch of big boxes shows up on your doorstep. You open them, take the computers therein to your desks/counters/workstations, unplug the old computer, plug the new one in (along with the network, keyboard, mouse) and turn the power on. In a week or three, a truck shows up to collect the boxes that now contain your old computers and carts them off to Niceragua where they are given away to schools. Microsoft handles ALL the details for you.

Perhaps I misunderstand.

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What happens if one has legacy code which won't run on the latest version of Windows due to incompatibility issues with the compatibility mode?

Will Microsoft magically rewrite all one's code, as a part of all of this service, to the latest version of .Net before charging for a subscription model that replaces the paid-for model which, er, just works?

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"What happens if one has legacy code which won't run on the latest version of Windows due to incompatibility issues with the compatibility mode?"

It's one's own fault for using something Microsoft didn't provide. Just ditch it and use something from them that more or less fits and adapt to it.

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I really hope that's tongue in cheek. F'rinstance I make my living now from my own bespoke applications none of which remotely resemble anything that MS offers.

With the sole exception of using MS Word, via COM, to write oodles of reports daily. But as for the applications themselves then, sorry, nothing that Microsoft produces comes close. Other than that I made the mistake of using Visual Studio to write the code in the first place. I wish now that at the time, when the whole process started, that Linux were as it is today.

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Anonymous Coward

I wish now that at the time, when the whole process started, that Linux were as it is today.

Oh don't we all?

This industry would be in a much better place.

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Kind of, yeah. Desktop app assure

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2018/09/06/helping-customers-shift-to-a-modern-desktop/

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@BongoJoe

I really hope that's tongue in cheek. F'rinstance I make my living now from my own bespoke applications none of which remotely resemble anything that MS offers.

You will need to be assimilated into the MS Borg factory.

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"I really hope that's tongue in cheek. F'rinstance I make my living now from my own bespoke applications none of which remotely resemble anything that MS offers."

You don't have to read many of my posts to rest assured about that. Writing and administering bespoke stuff was also the way I made my living for a large part of my working life. Even when the main application was a bought-in ERP system there was always something bespoke to do round the edges.

"I wish now that at the time, when the whole process started, that Linux were as it is today."

There was SCO inter alia. Linux didn't appear out of thin air.

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Doctor Syntax: I almost went down the SCO route as I was developing with it just before it well all funny and strange. That was in the days when Windows 3.x was rearing its head and was causing more problems than it initially solved.

If I did go down the SCO route then I would have perhaps have landed with Linux but, at the time, I couldn't find the stuff that I needed. Perhaps it was there or perhaps it wasn't: but I couldn't get the stuff at the price that I could afford.

Anyway, I am here now and I wouldn't mind hanging on just a little longer so that I can retire to a motorhome of my choice.

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Lenovo?

Partnering only with HP & Dell as their duopoly in crime with enforced purchase/repurchase every three years. Recipe for being gouged on hardware as well as software?

Next time the SysAdmin screws up (aka goes on holiday) senior management will have been brainwashed into this nice simple solution. This is straight from IBM's "never sacked" playbook. Do they get royalties?

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I can see the attraction of this. Business systems are slowly becoming less dependant on legacy compatibility (our ERP and Finance systems are both now browser based and becoming browser agnostic) so that reduces the issues significantly. Setting up computers is a pain in the proverbial, especially with remote sites where I have to get the equipment here, get it set up then ship it out again. Being able to just place an order and have it arrive at the user's desk would be handy, especially if I can then forget about it.

There are huge buts to this though. Microsoft's reputation for cancelling services is a major issue. I already rejected moving to Office 365 due to the amount of admin work needed, I suspect having to administer your estate is actually going to be a lot harder than they admit. I wonder about the application install and config, e.g. are they prepared to install Acrobat Reader (answer, almost certainly no, "use Edge").

Definitely not for me.

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Nope nope nope nope.

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Where's the opt out link?

No, please, no oh god, please help me...

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Mushroom

Re: Where's the opt out link?

It's that little cross in the top right hand corner of that dialog box...

No, wait...

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Mushroom

No.

I can't think of anything worse than handing over all the keys to MS.

A whole heap of No.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No.

It gets worse than that.

Imagine if you are a nice high-tech startup who is making money and has all its books etc on Azure and in this scheme...

Then if MS decides 'hey that looks like a nice juocy takeover targer'

Then the see the use of Azure.

They can see all the books emails and other secret sauce before putting in a bit. A bit of blackmail and the company is there. nudge-nudge wink-wink and all that.

The Borg is coming. Batten down the hatches.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No.

I can't think of anything worse than handing over all the keys to MS.

Let me point out the elephant in the room: They already have all the keys, with updates that can't be inspected or stopped.

It's proprietary, and has internet access.

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Re: No.

"They already have all the keys, with updates that can't be inspected or stopped."

Not here, they haven't.

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All your computers are belong to us

Microsoft will be able to invisibly siphon off whatever data they have decided they need/want. Can you trust that every Microsoft employee who ever has access to this can be relied on not to misuse it? Especially if you have compliance requirements to keep data secure.

Can you trust that the US government will never lean on Microsoft to grab and hand over data?

Can you trust that Microsoft will never leave a security hole by which attackers can have total access to every computer subscribed to this system?

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More jobs that will be outsourced/off-shored...

You think no one wants an IT department.

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What used to be a Chinese/Indian accent at the end of the line is now evolving to a Eastern European chintzy brogue, so best called before lunch for a lucid response.

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Facepalm

You'll still need on-site sysadmins even if every single machine is being managed by Microsoft, because users typically need to be coached just to turn a monitor on or off. When they say there'll be 'one-click application installs', what will actually happen is that the user will click on ever possible piece of software, which will all be downloaded at once, knocking their computer and half the office offline in the process, before finally filling up the disk and crashing their computer, all while somehow not installing the one program they wanted.

Yeah, we'll still have jobs in the future too.

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Anonymous Coward

@phuzz - I don't think so!

There will no longer be a need for Windows sysadmins in the Microsoft brave new world. The Redmond giant firmly plants the knife in his most loyal followers and I rejoice. They deserve it for each time they had a good laugh at year of Linux on the Desktop. Yes, Windows was always better like a high tech, high performance shovel they used to dig a mass grave.

Windows sysadmins trying to run for a safe place should go directly to BSDs because Microsoft is currently murdering Linux too. Cheers!

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Prediction

MS press release from the year 2030

Due to customer feedback regarding the complicated pricing model of the MMD service we've simplified the cost to a simple 1 cent per mouse click or key press and are introducing a 'Macro development service' for those repetitive tasks at a mere $1,000 per day (macro changes due to MMD service improvements will be chargable).

I'd put a joke icon but it's not funny.

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Eroding end user choice and control

under the guise of convenience.

Unfortunately I work for an almost exclusively MS shop. Fortunately I look after the Linux kit.

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Re: Eroding end user choice and control

Again I see people bemoaning user choice being eroded - the simple fact is lots are still choosing Microsoft products - you cant argue for choice then whinge when people don't choose what you want them to.

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Re: Eroding end user choice and control

"Again I see people bemoaning user choice being eroded" <-- There might be a reason for that :-)

Initially ones choice is only limited by what is available. Microsoft being available and pretty much ubiquitous in the business space means most decision makers follow the herd and MS is chosen.

Once this MS choice is made that is when the erosion of choice and control begins.

I didn't down vote you by the way, your comment to me did not warrant one.

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Windows

Re: Eroding end user choice and control

" the simple fact is lots are still choosing Microsoft products"

That's why they call it a monopoly, because Apple is the only competition. There are just no apps for your cell phone, unless it's on Windows 10.

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