back to article Microsoft sparks new war with Google with, er, $999+ lappies for kids

It's a warm day in New York City and Microsoft is holding a large press event that is expected to be the debut for its plans to take over some of Chromebooks' market share. The Redmond event is focused on education, an area where Google has been eating Microsoft for breakfast, particularly with ChromeOS-powered computers. Over …

Anonymous Coward

Re: Trying to be Apple?

The laptops actually intended for schools were not made by Microsoft and started at about $190 - the $1000 Surface Laptop is clearly a play for the university students currently buying Apple stuff (and who want a traditional laptop form factor). Claiming that Microsoft are expecting schools to buy dozens of $1000 laptops for children is disingenuous.

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Re: Trying to be Apple?

Arguably, it would have to be a pretty stupid student that doesn't realize they can get more bang for buck just buying something a third of the price from a generic OEM three years ago. The minimum config of 4GB (i.e. about 25$ if you buy it on ebay) on a device that costs 1000$ is sort of borderline criminal considering mid range smart phones a third the price ship with more. That amount of memory has been sort of unacceptably low for half a decade already, even on dirt cheap laptops.

Also, at those prices there is no excuse for crippling windows for what is obviously a play to lock users into the app store (and really nothing else). This would have been a credible product had it shipped at a quarter of the price. Google has been owning that segment of the market for a few years now and it looks like MS is still not in a place to compete at that price range. For reference, Dell is selling Chromebooks starting at around 239$. Obviously you get what you pay for but the point is that at that price range a feature limited but well working OS is excusable.

I'm guessing we can forget about booting Ubuntu on these things as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trying to be Apple?

To be honest, I wish Apple would start being Apple again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Trying to be Apple?

"One of the main reasons Google is grabbing up students away from Apple is that their offer is way cheaper. You can argue that software quality/convenience also plays a role"

Chromebooks being cheaper, I would say "cost effective" as Chrome OS actually runs well on the low cost hw (a $250 Windows 10 PC is cheap), is part of it, but the major piece is that you just don't need to manage anything. Updates are painless, almost invisible, security is just part of the product instead of a bunch of separate software, boot times are nothing, you can "manage" a huge fleet of CBs with a few clicks... or none at all if you don't feel like setting parameters, you don't need to worry about data as there is no data on the machines... any kid can pick up any CB and a different CB the next day, doesn't matter. It's just a really well designed product. Kind of makes you wonder this is specific to CB and not just the way computers work... or why everybody doesn't have a Chromebook unless they have some specific use case which requires a thick client app. It would be really efficient for a business with 20,000 machines scattered all over the world to just manage the lot from a single pane of glass and not worry about stuff breaking with every update.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahh, that explains it all.

We've all been buying the wrong version of windows. We should have been buying Windows S, the secure version, not the bug and malware ridden POS we get in ordinary versions from 95 through 10 & server 2016.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ahh, that explains it all.

Haha, I was thinking that too. "S is for security"... is Windows 10 Pro for "Pro-bably not secure"?

Although the "S is for security" made more sense than "S is for the soul of Windows". Although the soul of Windows being a late to market copy of someone else's product makes sense.

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Unhappy

how will schools afford the internet connection?

When the president signed off removing ceilings (for the poorest schools in the USA) on what they can be charged for internet connections? These things need high speed internet.

no internet and you might as well play frisbee's with them.

The same goes for schools with chromebooks btw.

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Re: how will schools afford the internet connection?

"The same goes for schools with chromebooks btw."

Really? I didn't know chromebooks got gigabytes of updates weekly too!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: how will schools afford the internet connection?

Word. Chromebooks are already are working at the majority of K-12 schools.

I deal with this sort of thing every day. People declaring things will never work that are already working because of some problem that would have maybe been valid in 1996. I was just talking to an IT manager who said that G Suite (Google Apps for Work) wouldn't work because it would be prohibitively expensive to install a direct line to "Google's data center" (apparently there is just one). Makes sense, because Google search, Gmail, YouTube, etc only works at my desk now because of that dark fiber line we dug between Google's singular data center and the office.

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Facepalm

Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

Windows 10 S only supports the app store, so that means everyone writing desktop Windows suddenly will lose market share. Let me guess - Windows 10 S machines will be cheaper than full fat Windows 10 machines? And then what happens to the developers?

To me, this feels like a disaster waiting to happen. In fact, I can't help thinking this is the sort of thing entire books will be written about in a few years: "(Un)Securing The Future: How Microsoft Blew A Multi-Billion Dollar Business"

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Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

Don't worry, no one is going to buy this anymore than they were buying Windows RT devices. Desktop Windows will be fine.

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Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

Hi,

I think this may be reasonably successful. If Microsoft target education establishments with very good contracts, then it may be obvious that this is the route for education establishments to proceed with. Budgets are tight everywhere still.

Microsoft has wasted vast sums of money on failed projects as listed in this thread - where the write off is larger than some countries yearly GDP etc. So they have the "intelligence" to offer loss leaders to sections of the community.

It depends how high within educational establishments the laptops/systems are sold under a promotional contract. This may require that developers implement UWP based programs, as well as standard methods, which prepares the route for the majority of developers to use UWP. Then they can slowly deprecate the standard methods, forcing people to UWP.

Regards,

Shadmeister.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

You can repackage Win32 apps for the Store, on 10. That means tighter control on what you can install without extensive sysadmin knowledge to block rogue apps like Chrome that intall where they shouldn't even for unprivileged users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

"You can repackage Win32 apps for the Store, on 10. That means 30% of your revenue in Microsooft's pocket." FTFY

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FAIL

Windows 10 S can only use apps from the Windows Store

this implies several things:

a) you MUST agree with Micro-shaft's EULA and use a Micro-shaft cloudy logon

b) you MUST only run CRapps from "the Store" which contain adware and spyware (particularly the 'free' ones).

c) it's being MARKETED! TO! CHILDREN!

d) CHILDREN are being privacy-violated, target-marketed, etc.

In other words, it's a complete cluster-BLANK of FAIL, designed ONLY to accomodate and condition the next generation into *ACCEPTING* this kind of ABOMINATION.

Micro-shaft - come up with something GOOD for once, ok? Quit shoving this CRAP out the door and up/into our collective rectums!

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Re: Windows 10 S can only use apps from the Windows Store

"it's being MARKETED! TO! CHILDREN!"

I didn't realise Yahoo! was involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

" Let me guess - Windows 10 S machines will be cheaper than full fat Windows 10 machines? "

Probably not for enterprises... which is the only group that still buys a ton of Windows machines. I'm sure their prices will not go down.

Also, any time Microsoft changes anything in Windows, it fails. Windows Vista, 8, Phone, Mobile, RT, Auto, etc... anything that doesn't look like XP. Windows users are people that are not particularly into technology. They just want to same thing they have always had, nothing new to learn. Change anything and they alienate their install base. If people like new stuff, they would use Apple or Google. So I don't think this gets off the ground.... schools are definitely not going to buy $999 laptops when they can buy $180 Chromebooks or $400 Windows Normal PCs. No OEMs are going to want to push this thing. Why would they? Microsoft competes with them. Google does not.

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Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

Hi,

On second thoughts, after seeing the cost being lower in some other websites this did seem odd :

"1112 The laptop is available for preorder now for June 15 delivery. Base price is $999 for the Core i5 model. This is for students with parents who earn Microsoft-level salaries."

The following from another web site :

"Microsoft also announced that it has worked with a number of device manufacturers, including HP, Asus and Acer, to create a new range of affordable laptops running Windows 10 S, with prices starting at $189 (around £145, AU$250)."

So it is cheap, if from another vendor other than Microsoft ?

Regards,

Shadmeister.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: Well, that's the end for Desktop Windows

Just like Apple or Android/Chrome. So where's the difference? It wasn't MS to start that, just following. And everybody blabbed about how much secure stores make installing applications...

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LDS
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Re: Windows 10 S can only use apps from the Windows Store

So, where's the difference from using a Chromebook? And Google is actually under investigation for selling children data.

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Microsoft is trying Windows RT all over again

It failed miserably when they were trying to counter iPad, why should they expect it will be different this time when they are trying to counter Chromebooks?

People buy Windows devices to run real Windows apps. If they don't need to run real Windows apps, then they have a lot to choose from, including iPad, Android tablets, and Chromebook. This is just another choice competing with those, except with a smaller selection of software. Can anyone provide a single reason why someone would choose Microsoft here?

This has FAIL written all over it, and I predict Windows S will disappear without a trace before Windows 7's support life ends in early 2020.

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Re: Microsoft is trying Windows RT all over again

The problem for Slurp is incompetent branding. Calling the OS used on very different devices 'Windows' is criminally stupid. For most it means a full desktop OS that runs desktop applications. Calling anything else Windows risks destroying the brand or at best killing the product before it even has a chance. If they called it something else like Google does with ChromeOS and Android then there is no confusion in the buyers' minds. It does not matter that ChromeOS might run some Android apps to anyone with a couple of functioning brain cells they are different products that one expects to have different capabilities.

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Re: Microsoft is trying Windows RT all over again

"....to run real Windows programmes

FTFY

"Apps" are those silly little programmlets that Google encourage people to use in place of proper software, on their over-priced info-slurping adservers.. And to be fair, are probably all they need.

The concern I have about these 10 S machines is that they'll tie users into Microsoft's pet programmes - in cut-down app versions or silly priced subscription versions, instead of them escaping to LibreOffice or equivalent.

And for the undergrads that could mean keeping them for life, once they get to that stage.

And yes, for a teacher, a Chromebook - no hassle, no frights - is going to be the best option. Faced with a room full of stroppy kids, no means of escape and several weeks hard work on a dodgy laptop is a nightmare that no one wants to face.

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Everything thing they talk about looks like they are trying to make schools dependent on their complicated and expensive ecosystem. The reason Chromebooks are such a success with schools is their expense and simplicity.

Problems with a Chromebook are easily solved. Screw it up big time? Replace or reimage. $999 for a base model? Why??? American K-12 schools don't need much, just office apps. Google Docs is a platform that already exists, and is already popular. If MS wants to beat Google at the education game, they need to show how it is better than Google, not say why it is better.

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"schools don't need much, just office apps."

And so I was dumbfounded when they say "only store apps" and "office available in store 'soon'". WTF?

Show me an auto and then say tires available 'soon'? This baby's going nowhere!

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Anonymous Coward

"And so I was dumbfounded when they say "only store apps" and "office available in store 'soon'". WTF?"

It also seems like Microsoft is undercutting their Office and Windows cash cow. Forever they have said that you need fat client apps on Windows, like Office (which was always odd as all enterprise software like Oracle, SAP, Salesforce runs in a browser). Never made any sense, but enough ultra IT conservative companies bought the line and kept paying out millions per year to MSFT for Windows and Office. Now they are having a huge event and Nadella is on stage telling people, essentially, "Google was obviously right... a lightweight OS and apps are better." The whole thing is Microsoft following the Google model. Why not just get the real deal, for less, from Google?

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Anonymous Coward

"mixed realty"

I think they mean "augmented reality", and no they didn't invent it.

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Sorry MS, too little, too late. It may be Windows S, but it will be subject to all the usual Windows 10 problems: bad patching/update design, shitty app store, unreliable, easily broken, virus magnet - it's a long list. Schools don't want this, and they certainly don't want 'premium' Surface versions that will get destroyed by those little monsters, er, darlings. VR/AR headsets? Do me a favour. They wouldn't survive one lesson. Surface Pens would be lost or stolen as soon as they're taken out the box.

Schools need to keep it simple, and I mean really simple - and cheap - and reliable. Most of what they do is web based these days, and they don't need Windows for that. I really can't see schools lining up for this. Many are done with Windows - it's too much trouble.

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I am very impressed with my daughters Asus chromebook. Very responsive, solidly built and the quad core ARM CPU gives it oodles of battery life.

I would love to see someone putting a Raspberry Pi into a laptop of the same quality and at the same price point.

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"I would love to see someone putting a Raspberry Pi into a laptop of the same quality and at the same price point."

Actually the Pi is a more like a pig's ear when it comes to fitting into a box like that. It's designed as a bench top gadget* where it doesn't matter where the external connections are placed You need to get a USB connection out for the keyboard but because all the USBs are at one end it then becomes a compromise arranging for external USB kit to be plugged it. It would be even worse if you also wanted an internal disk drive.

OTOH something of similar spec but designed for incorporation in a laptop would be fine.

*At which it's brilliant, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 10 Shite Edition?

Well they have changed their tune...

Chromebook: Everything you need? - Microsoft (2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wAgB5J1gSQ

"Ben the PC Guy hits the streets of Venice, CA asking people which they would rather have -- a Chromebook or a Windows laptop."

"Don't get Scroogled!"

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Anonymous Coward

0930 Right on time, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comes on stage. He's talking about his great grandparents' upbringing in India and having to choose which child went to school rather than working. "Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not."

0930 Right on time, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comes on stage. He's talking about his great grandparents' upbringing in India and having to choose which child went to outsourcing rather than school. "Talent is poor but opportunity is not."

FTFY

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Joke

"Great tshirt"

"Girls can do anything!"

Except write their name in the snow...

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Re: "Great tshirt"

"Girls can do anything!"

Except write their name in the snow...

You've been going out with the wrong girls.

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This post has been deleted by its author

4Gb of RAM in a $999 laptop?

WTF?

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Re: 4Gb of RAM in a $999 laptop?

It's Microsoft. They're trying to out-Apple Apple. Apple has a $1000 laptop (two, actually), they gotta have a $1000 laptop. And their profit margin has to be even better than Apple's. So Apple's $1000 laptop has 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM? Cool. Microsoft's $1000 laptop has to have 128 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM. Apple's other $1000 laptop has 128 GB storage, 8 GB of RAM and a real CPU instead of the imitation CPU the MacBook has? Cool. Microsoft's $1000 laptop has 128 GB storage (can't make it smaller) and 4 GB RAM and a better real CPU.

I know people who have phones with more storage and RAM than those things. (See further Samsung, Galaxy S8, not for sale in the US)

Microsoft (and Apple) can bite me.

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WTF?

Applause & Cheers

Am I the first to notice the instructions to the audience in that last picture?

Are these things so stage managed that they have to tell the audience when to be enthusiastic?

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Facepalm

Re: Applause & Cheers

(To be fair, I've been to gigs where the band provided their own pre-recorded audience applause...)

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Linux

The important question is...

...does it run Linux?

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Apple's Nuclear Option: ~ 100 gigabuck reserves

Tim Cook can simply hand out 10 million free laptops or tablets.

MS and Chrome vaporized.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple's Nuclear Option: ~ 100 gigabuck reserves

"Tim Cook can simply hand out 10 million free laptops or tablets."

or just lower the prices on their existing laptops, but they are not going to do either.

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The real issue ...

I think the real issue is what Windows S may mean for the future of Windows, say, five years down the road. Will Microsoft eventually lock Windows to the app store programs? Today I read a few brief comments that Mac OS X is moving in that direction, with some new features that force people to the app store. But since I have never owned a MacBook (even though my wife and I have bought four iPads between us), can someone enlighten me about what it means for OS X? This may give us some clues about the Windows of the future. Thanks. Ben

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M'sft Still Doesn't Know Where Apostrophes Go

As a Mac-based Office 365 user I'm used to Word screwing up on the spellcheck/grammar thing. I've got a large folder on my desk that catalogs, among other things, Word's uselessness at figuring out apostrophes, or should I say apostrophe's. Please God don't let Gates and Ballmer and the new guy try to teach anything to children.

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M$ is trying to shove their walled garden down our throats one way or another. I hope this fails.....big.

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Anonymous Coward

It won't work. Kids are not going to put up with this stuff. It's not like they are corporate employees.

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Anonymous Coward

The only person I know who uses Windows is simple. So cool branding.

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Facepalm

Windows 10 S RT

Let's just call it what it is in all but name. If it's locked to using the Windows Store that is a stupid restriction but could possibly be argued that it's to ensure security. That would be a lot more believable if the thing didn't cost the same as a good gaming laptop with the specs of an average £300 laptop.

It's crazy just how badly a company can mess things up so consistently and still be in business. Any other company would have died after one or two of Microsoft's multibillion dollar failures.

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Probably a good hackintosh prospect?

Cheap way to get portable MacOS without doshing out tonnes of cash on hardware? Like that idea.

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