back to article Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

Microsoft has weathered a difficult three months: despite signs of growth in cloud computing, overall sales were dragged down by dwindling demand from consumers. Revenues of $21.73bn in Microsoft's third quarter of fiscal 2015, ended March 31, met analysts' expectations. However, sustainable growth still eludes the software …

  1. elDog Silver badge

    Everything that's new is crap

    Well, that is too strong and I'll be roasted for it.

    MS has spent way too much time playing with the UI for the supposed ultra-desktop/mobile interface.

    The OS is OK, not great. The "Accessories" and "Office" are also OK but have some decent competitors, even in the Windows world.

    Sometimes peoples just need to acknowledge that "their" time (30 years!) has come and gone. They need to actively help future developers learn from their mistakes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      Yup. Nobody wants windows 8, not consumers, not businesses. Xbox one has tanked beyond even Sony's wildest dreams. Office has been stagnant for years.

      Even in the corporate space things aren't rosy, business are going web apps (like JIRA) that run tomcat and run it best on Linux.

      1. paulc

        Re: Everything that's new is crap

        windows 8.1 is fine if you use a decent replacement shell and default it to the desktop interface rather than the craptastic tiles...

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Everything that's new is crap

          windows 8.1 is fine if you use a decent replacement shell and default it to the desktop interface rather than the craptastic tiles...

          You don't even have to bother with a replacement shell, so long as you train it to stay away from Tile City. Win8.1 is faster than Win7 on the same hardware. It's more stable. It's a better all-round OS in every way, except for the damn tiles. Once the tiles are banished to the lowest tier of Hell it's quite usable and useful. The main problem is that the tiles keep trying to break out of Hell and have to be forced back where they belong.

          Could someone please locate Sinofsky and save a penguin or two by feeding him to a leopard seal? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_seal

        2. h3

          Re: Everything that's new is crap

          It is fine if you used 7 properly to begin with.

          Windows key and type part of the name of the app.

          All the keyboard shortcut keys are still the same (And there are other useful ones like windows + x).

          Powershell is improving (Can be added to 7 but if people cannot figure out the above well ....)

          Windows "Professionals" who are not using Server Core are even worse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      So Microsoft are over a billion a quarter ahead of AWS with Azure - and that's without even counting some of the services that run on it! Makes sense as most large corporate seem to be moving onto or at least testing Microsoft's cloud services...

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      True, but: Microsoft can afford to lose billions every year for the next decade so the odds are that *some* truly epic product will slip through the corporate kill-filter and revitalise the business.

      Microsoft do have a lot of really smart developers - on the management side, ... not so much.

    4. illiad

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      and yup!... everyone is getting sick of MS 'moving the goalposts' ALL the time!!! - turning what used to take 2 clicks into 5 clicks.. and hiding away a 'not much used' (except by design geeks!) function so it is not even possible to see it in the normal way.... >:(

      as irritating as when you take your car in for full service and upgrade, you find they have moved the gear stick from between the seats to some fancy lever on the dash, that you have to press and slide - they thought it would look nice, and as an after thought add a 'safety' thing so you dont 'accidentally' push it... :(

    5. illiad

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      setting up this new win8 server.. found another stupid thing... NEWB ALERT :) :)

      changing the workgroup - instead of saying

      "To rename this computer or change its domain or workgroup, click change"

      Win8 says "To rename this computer, click change" ...

      so... I thought , damned MS!! It has put it somewhere else!!!!! >:(

      cue long search for where... Had not even done the 'user access to network' stuff yet...

      and guess where I found the workgroup settings??????????????

      1. dmacleo

        Re: Everything that's new is crap

        my 8.1 using classic shell shows just like win 7 does.

        to rename or change domain or workgroup click change.

        nit sure how it looks w/o classic shell installed

    6. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Everything that's new is crap

      Reality bites!

      When Windows95 came out the general public were getting their first taste of the "inta-toobs" and MS hit a spot. Other than the Sony Playstation, most consoles ( Sega, Ninntendo ) were seen as kids toys, serious gamers used PCs. MS managed to convince people that they needed to keep upgrading to retain that "first time" experience and keep playing those state of the art games. Sadly the wheels have long since come off that wagon, the average person has that laptop/PC they bought 3 years ago and it's still good enough for using the "da toobs" to email Granny in Canada and to satisfy little Johnny's need to play Minecraft. Outside that Johnny can play his "Kill a Brown Bad Guy" game on his PS4 as he can have it in his room, he has a mobile phone and probably a tablet for everything else. When most people need to write a formal document, they can simply use Google office apps through a copy of Chrome, no need to buy and install huge office apps suite these days, most people simply want to bang out a formal letter to the GP or the local council and Google through a browser is adequate.

      MS needs people to keep upgrading their hardware, that's generally the only time your average Joe P actually upgrades their O/S. I can put money down and show you that most of my rellies are still using XP or Windows 7 and they're happy, change is tough. MS keeps faffing around with the interface and average person doesn't like it. Most people still see a PC like a fridge or washer, just a device to get things done. They don't expect the fridge to change every 9 months!

      MS are damned lucky that Apple kit is expensive. I have at least one relative who got absolutely fed up with Windows 8 inability to do simple things like edit a home movie. My wife lent them her Macbook and with just the bog standard OSX apps, her video was edited and output in 30 minutes with no previous experience. They were going to get a new Windows laptop, now they've decided to spend a little more and get a Macbook. Plenty of IT people are setting up Linux desktops as most people simply need a browser. With Google Office apps online, those are good enough for most people.

      1. RudeUnion

        Re: Everything that's new is crap

        Yup. I've consulted at two companies in the last 5 years and more developers and IT operations techs are getting Mac laptops because of simplicity and Unix

        1. Spoonsinger

          Re: Everything that's new is crap

          "Yup. I've consulted at two companies in the last 5 years and more developers and IT operations techs are getting Mac laptops because of simplicity and Unix"

          No idea what that is about. The only thing I can think is that those 'developers' are doing web page type stuff - which is basically type setting without the messy ink stuff.

    7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Obviously MS are not using enough glue in their hardware offerings...

      Glue-seller Apple makes a tidy profit.

      Ever since 8.1 came out, I've bought a small flood of windows gadgets. One commonality to all those purchases was rock bottom prices. $100 tablets (shocking not bad), $50 smartphone (nice), $190 laptop (sweet!), $60 Win OS for my son's gaming PC.

      I'm happy that they've got their Mojo back. Android is pathetic next to Win 8.1 based gadgets. Still have the droid thingies, but I'll pick up the Win gadgets now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be patient, it's coming!

    UEFI SecureBoot + Windows 10 + Windows App store + forced cloud + subscriptions = profit

    All Microsoft has to figure out is forcing users somehow to actually buy a PC even if they do not need/want it and, kerrr-ching! Nirvana is for them!

    1. Jonathan 27

      Yeah...

      Yup, copying Apple is their plan alright.

      1. Paul 129
        Windows

        Re: Yeah...

        They might have moved to slow on this one. Have they jumped the shark and heading for their digital moment?

        1. Thorne

          Re: Yeah...

          Windows 8 was a wasted opportunity. If done properly (AKA differently) it could have made a massive difference.

          What they ended up with was a touch interface forced into a non touch environment and the start of a Apple style walled garden.

          Maybe 10 and Hololens might turn everything around?

          1. GX5000

            Re: Yeah...

            Hololens is a perverted dream that will lead us into a Cloud.....

      2. Ole Juul Silver badge

        Re: Yeah...

        Yup, copying Apple is their plan alright.

        Oh good. I hope they move out of the desktop market and concentrate really hard on watches.

        1. David Lawton

          Re: Yeah...

          Microsoft copying Apple? So whats new? Thats all they have done for the last 25 years. Even Apple poke a little fun at it http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/RedmondStartYourPhotocopiers.jpg

          You only have to look at Windows 10 to see how many things they are adding that either Mac OS or Linux has had for ages. Notifications Bar, Multiple Desktops (although only a measly 4).

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: Yeah...

            Windows 8 was clearly a move to copy what Apple was predicted to do (unifying desktop/laptop and table/phone API). Except Apple was too clever to actually do it... Thank heavens.

          2. bvonr

            Re: Yeah...

            With WTP10061 you can have as many desktops as you want. As far as I can tell there is no limit.

    2. chekri

      Re: Be patient, it's coming!

      UEFI secureboot = better security

      Windows 10 - its great, try out the tech preview

      Windows App store - Easier access to applications

      Forced cloud - Umm no, there is nothing forced on the user whatsoever

      Subscriptions - an option in addition to the traditional perpetual rights, use whatever suits you

      nice try but you are clearly talking out your backside

      1. MrDamage

        Re: Be patient, it's coming!

        > UEFI secureboot = better security

        Only if you run NSA approved operating systems. Doesnt like it when you want to dual boot into an OS tat you have complete control over.

        > Windows 10 - its great, try out the tech preview

        You mean the one that has broken the Start menu? How great is that?

        > Windows App store - Easier access to applications

        I buy hard copies. I'm not interested in vaporware that can be revoked at any time, for any reason.

        > Forced cloud - Umm no, there is nothing forced on the user whatsoever

        Except it's enabled by default, and users who arent tech heads wont know where or how to disable it.

        > Subscriptions - an option in addition to the traditional perpetual rights, use whatever suits you

        Except given Microsoft's history, it weont stay an "option" for long, and will become a requirement.

        > nice try but you are clearly talking out your backside

        Says the guy who has been reamed so hard and often by MS, he can no longer tell when his own arse is speaking.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. GX5000

          Re: Be patient, it's coming!

          Thanks for saving me a lot of typing....let's not forget we really haven't seen Win10 under any stress with that tinker toy preview GUI either.....

          I should retire, too many opinions stated as facts really make me cry in my beer.

          Cheers.

          End of line.

      2. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: Be patient, it's coming!

        Windows Vista was Great in the preview too. They added the suck to the release version so this time we shall see how it looks like when it's done.

      3. Fat Northerner

        Re: Be patient, it's coming!

        >UEFI secureboot = better security

        Is this what's stopping me from slotting an SSD in?

        >Windows 10 - its great, try out the tech preview

        Don't want it.

        >Windows App store - Easier access to applications

        Don't want it. I want to own the software.

        >Forced cloud - Umm no, there is nothing forced on the user whatsoever

        How do you disable all cloud, for all time, for all applications at install?

        >Subscriptions - an option in addition to the traditional perpetual rights, use whatever suits you

        I don't rent anything.

        >nice try but you are clearly talking out your backside

        Say what you like. I'm not upgrading.

    3. Antonymous Coward
      Terminator

      Re: Be patient, it's coming!

      "All Microsoft has to figure out is forcing users somehow to actually buy a PC even if they do not need/want it and, kerrr-ching!

      That'll be the ENFORCED obsolescence (sabotage) mechanism now trundling towards W7 then. Vista and 8 being stillborn and 9 not happening at all, it's next stop "UEFI SecureBoot + Windows 10 + Windows App store + forced cloud + subscriptions = profit"

  3. Russle

    This seems to be the worst report ever in the history of MSFT stock.

    Shareholders are mad.

    Microsoft profits have dropped 12%

    Windows Phone revenue drops another 16%

    Windows OEM revenue drops 22%

    Xbox revenue down 24%

    Office revenue declined 41%

    What is going on in Redmond?

    This is the worst quarter ever for the company.

    1. e_is_real_i_isnt

      Easy - Microsoft is settling towards a realistic value that represents their actual worth after riding a monopoly bubble buoyed by mostly legal, but also mostly unethical treatment of their competitors.

      Too many times they pre-announced unavailable products to cut off competitors that could have added some valuable features to software, but instead crippled their sales efforts out front, while being slow or misleading when providing support to developers of competing products. Look at the spark that is left in Quantrix as compared with the complicated heap of Excel.

      I look back at what the computer industry was like before MS was moved into a dominant position by a very ignorant and essentially stupid IBM's approval and am saddened by the sudden crippling of the pace. If this was aviation we'd have DC-3s with turbojet engines, but no pressurized cabins.

      1. Mikel

        Nadella can put lipstick on this pig, but he can't make it soar.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This seems to be the worst report ever in the history of MSFT stock.

      Shareholders are mad.

      They are indeed if they are still holding stock. Unbelievably, it went up after yet another loss announcement. Maybe they didn't catch all the dodgy traders in Hounslow? :)

      What is going on in Redmond?

      Karma?

      1. Paul Shirley

        "Unbelievably, it went up after yet another loss announcement."

        ...they noticed Ballmer hasn't tried reclaiming his job, so there's still hope!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guess what happens

    When you make a major change in you user interface every couple years - people start thinking you don;t have a clue what you are doing.

    And they go else where.

    Microsoft keeps saying just wait for _________. You fill in the blank - I gave up keeping track.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Guess what happens

      "When you make a major change in you user interface every couple years - people start thinking you don;t have a clue what you are doing.

      And they go else where."

      That might be true for the few people that actually pay attention and have any degree of interest.

      But the vast majority just buy what is available at the time.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Guess what happens

        "But the vast majority just buy what is available at the time."

        Or hold off buying hoping the next one will be better.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guess what happens

        But the vast majority just buy what is available at the time.

        I think it's more that the vast majority just buy what OEMs install.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Guess what happens

          "I think it's more that the vast majority just buy what OEMs install."

          And that's probably part of the problem. If the customer doesn't like what the OEM installs then they're less likely to buy. If MS only allow the OEM to install what the customer doesn't want then we see a slump in both PC & MS sales. MS blames the PC sales slump for their own low sales but to some extent that slump might be a thing of their own making.

    2. Antonymous Coward
      Windows

      Re: Guess what happens

      "Microsoft keeps saying just wait for _________. You fill in the blank - I gave up keeping track."

      How long have you been waiting?

      Hang in there. I'm sure Windows __ will be everything you're hoping for...

      "DOS being fairly cloned has had a dramatic impact on our pricing for DOS. I wonder if we would have it around 30-40% higher if it wasn't cloned. I bet we would!"

      Bill Gates, 6th August 1989

      "DOS remains the backbone though of both our software businesses. It is under extreme attack by high quality clones like DR DOS."

      Bill Gates, 1st December 1989

      "On the PR side, we have begun an 'aggressive leak campaign' for MS-DOS 5.0. The goal is to build anticipation for MS-DOS 5.0, and diffuse potential excitement/momentum from the DR DOS 5.0 announcement."

      "DR DOS 5.0 Competitive Analysis," 2nd May 1990

      "On the desktop, we have a strategic win today (monopoly). We must keep the desktop."

      Microsoft Executive Staff Retreat, 10th May 1990

      "There is an obvious conflict quickly approaching us, and I get the feeling we are not very prepared PR wise. The conflict is Windows 3.1 and DR-DOS. Apparently DRI is quite aware of our plans to not test with DR-DOS, our plan to not let them enter the Win 3.1 beta program, and our plan to detect the presence of MS-DOS and warn the user they are on an un-tested OS if MS-DOS is not detected."

      David Cole, 7th November 1991

      "What the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is dr-dos and then go out to buy ms-dos. or decide not to take the risk for all the other machines he has to buy for in the office."

      Brad Silverberg, 10th February 1992

      "the design preview has not leaked to the press are you surprised do you wish it would if so when"

      Steve Ballmer, 9th June 1992

      "Who at Microsoft gets up every morning thinking about how to compete with these guys in the short term -- specifically cut their revenue. Perhaps we need more focus on this. . . . "

      Bill Gates, 21st July 1993

      "WOW -- If you are REALLY still telling the field the RTM is Sept 30 -- and if you are REALLY serious -- we have a ton of work to do VERY fast?!! Is this just propaganda mail???"

      Mike Appe, 7th April 1994

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Joke

    Don't worry MS Shareholders - we have a cunning plan!

    Dear MS Shareholder,

    We are trully sorry for these very dissappoining results. Don't worry as we have a plan to increase our revenues and profits again.

    As you may know, we have already announced price rises for MS-Sharepoint, MS-Exchange and other server related products. Today, we announce that these price rises will be imposed as of today and will increase by 10% accross the board.

    We are confident that the extra revenues will return our profitability to previous levels within the next reporting period.

    Yours

    Sataya, Captain of the good ship Titanic (a.k.a Microsoft)

    See Icon but is it really that far fetched?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry MS Shareholders - we have a cunning plan!

      @ Steve Davies 3

      Come on the Titatanic reference is unfair, I was thinking more Captain Francesco Schettino and the Costa (lotta) Concordia

  6. herman Silver badge

    Death March

    MS is a slow motion train wreck, or a software death march. Despite spending huge amounts of money and heroic effort, every new product is a dud. It reminds me of those that came and went before it: Control Data, Digital Corporation, Sun, Silicon graphics...

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Death March

      But at least their kit was good...

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Death March

      Nonsense! They have this whiz-bang new market strategist at the helm who will certainly sort things out - granted, the bloke is freakishly short of stature and there are rumours he has been stealing underpants in the past for some unknown reason but that is surely just malicious gossip...

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Say what you like about Nutella

    But he can bullshit with the best of 'em if the stock went up after that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trick one...

    Maybe M$ should provide what people want, not what they want us to have (subscriptions & "value add" software)?

    The latest generation of software & consoles are about what is taken away, including property rights & privacy. M$ aren't alone in this, but they are the most financially exposed.

    Hope Munich sets a fire under their collective a**es.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trick one...

      Munich. Yes. That project is truly terrifying to MS!!!! They are deeply, deeply worried that this shining example of a well executed, successful project will lead to next year being the year of Linux on the desktop. Gulp!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trick one...

        @AC

        The French police have proven you can do a nation wide desktop roll out using Linux.

        French Police Linux

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Trick one...

      I think Steam-OS should worry Microsoft a lot more than any "Desktop Linux", realistically - few will use it, the mass market will use whatever tools comes with the device.

      The Mac's have adequate "office" tools already installed and the people who watch cat-videos, do budgeting and facebook a lot, they all use tablets now.

      Steam-OS directly attacks X-box, which is already in trouble, and it cuts the potential revenue from home PC's upgrades - realistically, most home users will buy windows *only* because Games run on it (in the golden days, hard-core gamers even bought server versions of Windows for the performance and shunning of Vista).

      There is not a lot of space left for Microsoft to expand into. They already got "business".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and the reality is......

    Yeah, all the usual suspects are creaming themselves on the back of a frankly disingenuous article that Neil wrote. However, in the real world, the results beat analyst expectations, the stock is way up in after hours trading and the press in extremely favourable towards their results. They are shifting way more phones and their cloud business (which is the future of the company) is frankly flying. 100%+ yoy growth. $22 billion in earnings and gross margin of $15 billion. Sweet.

    And yeah, Windows desktop revenue is down. But a) they are just about to ship 10, so OEM stock is being drawn down and b) I think that MS realise that Windows PCs, especially in the consumer space, will not provide a constant stream of revenue for ever. So as long as they replace windows with other revenue streams, which they are obviously doing, everything will be fine and dandy.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: and the reality is......

      " results beat analyst expectations"

      This is an ambiguous phrase. It can mean anything between "hugely more profitable" and "the administrators haven't moved in...yet".

      1. Otto is a bear.

        Re: and the reality is......

        Like any objective, set it low so you can't possibly fail and look great when you exceed it.

        What you mean you don't do that for your annual reviews? Honesty in business pah, that went out with the MBA.

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: and the reality is......

      and the press in extremely favourable

      Just means "Have you seen how much MS advertising spend is going to be"

    3. fajensen Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: and the reality is......

      "After Hours Trading" is crooked. Everybody knows that the traders set positions to fuck over the idiits who still believe in setting stop-losses and people who are still holding options this close to expiry.

      "Analysts Expectations" - haha, these are always set so that the actuals will exceed whatever the guess it, eventually of course the trend turns and then the stock "miss analysts expectations"; It's noise and made-up bullshit but at least one can trade it, "analysts" usually under-shoot 5-6 quarters then miss.

      I agree that the preview version of Win10 looks really solid, fast and good. I could even be a great product - IF - it is allowed. Preview Vista looked really great too. I don't know *what* they did to it, but, it sure turned into shit on the release.

  10. Dwarf Silver badge
    FAIL

    Supply and demand

    Dear Microsoft,

    I demand you supply something I actually want

    I don't want cloud, or others poking around in my data

    I don't want fingerprints all over my screen

    I can type faster and more accurately on a keyboard, than I can with touch or speech

    I don't want one device that does everything, I want one device that does each job well, not all of them badly

    I don't want to do email on my games console, play games on my PC or cut code on my phone

    My screen is not your advertising space

    You can keep Windows 8 and 10, try to understand why Windows XP and 7 were successful

    I will run what I want on my equipment, even if it's something that competes with your products - secure boot, etc

    It's ok to say you got it wrong

    Your choice is to start listening, or to you can continue the current trip to the junk pile

    I've already moved on, but you might be able to keep other customers

    Regards

    Previously long term, now ex-customer

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Supply and demand

      The main problem they face is that windows 7 was 'good enough'.

      Many people really don't need (or even want) a better OS on their PC. Also (except for my daughter's)

      PC's generally last many years. Even when a laptop's battery is dead it will function on mains electricity .

      It is a huge pain getting all you old data onto a new machine, and making sure that the software you need

      is there is a nightmare to many.

      Buying a new PC is becoming a purchase like light bulbs - you buy new 'better' versions only when old ones die, not before.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Supply and demand

        Quote

        It is a huge pain getting all you old data onto a new machine, and making sure that the software you need

        A problem that some other Operating Systems have largely solved but with Windows everything is so tied together and mixed up.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Supply and demand

        "Even when a laptop's battery is dead..."

        You get on eBay and buy a replacement for $30.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Supply and demand

        The main problem they face is that windows 7 was 'good enough'.

        Actually - they reached that stage already with Windows XP, but if they hadn't made that very clear themselves with the crud called Windows Vista, the upgrade fairy would have just kept on giving.

        The only adaptation they needed was to make it actually secure (it still isn't without a lot of work, and it isn't intrinsically but only because they built a shell around the wreckage), and to make it suitable for newer devices.

        What they should have NEVER done was change the UI without a fallback option - Apple was clever in that it offered the option on OSX, but as it didn't take off it was not developed further, so clients made the decision for them. Ditto for MS Office. OK, scaling it up for idiots who run whole companies from Excel (which renders decisions pretty much unauditable, which is probably the real reason), but the ribbon idea serious screwed over the interface. I used to use Visio before MS touched it and it was fast, elegant software where you could get things done, and ditto for MS Word. I used both recently, and gave up after 15 minutes - it's why I switched to LibreOffice and Omnigraffle on OSX instead. I didn't *want* to exit the MS club because change is a risk, but we ran an eval for 2 months and the remaining question was no longer /if/ we should do it, but why we didn't try before.

        I have no idea what inspired MS management to go stupid, but, frankly, they got away with it because corporate idiots of the same type that always want the latest Apple gear decided that they should have the latest new version. These decisions were inertia based, not based on benefits because such a decision was always taken before the product had even been tested (I go back to the Vista example). All MS had to do was promise more productivity for the spreadsheet to pass approval, and upgrades galore were bought, compromising the next generation of IT users.

        That is also why MS is hell bent on ramming everyone into a subscription model: the days of selling updates are gone, and they know it. Just check how many Windows XP machines are still live.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Supply and demand

      Place: Redmond

      Time: 20 minutes into the future

      Dear Dwarf,

      I'm ever so sorry you've been feeling neglected.

      In the past, you haven't really been our customer. Our customers, at least for desktops and laptops, have actually been the volume system builders who install Windows Everywhere - if they don't do that, it actually costs them more, so who can blame them.

      Our supporters have been the worldwide network of Certified Microsoft Dependent business and technical professionals in IT Departments and elsewhere, and some trade marketing spivs to jolly things along occasionally.

      There is a new wave in client computing.

      We at Microsoft need to ca-ca-catch that wave.

      We need to refocus on The Customer. The customer needs to see change.

      Microsoft is going to change. A change you can believe in.

      Yours,

      Skye Fairy.

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Supply and demand

        Lol. Nice.

        Oddly enough, Dwarf is one of those IT professionals who advises on direction for large corporates. I stopped being an unpaid Microsoft advisor when they stopped Technet, now my time goes into Linux.

        I've also stopped recommending windows when people ask about new computers, since I don't want all the pain that goes with that, generally showing people what's coming from Microsoft is enough for them to decide no thanks.

        Luckily if people do go and buy Windows 8, I can honestly say that I don't know how it works when they ask for help on sorting out problems. A win for everyone except the consumer and consumers have good memories, so we all know where this leads.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Supply and demand

          Oh boo hoo. If you were any good in your 'corporate advisory' job, I suspect that either you or the 'large corporate' you supposedly 'advise' for would consider a few pounds spent on msdn as a worthwhile investment. The fact that neither party is prepared to stump up the cash tells everyone all they need to know....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Supply and demand

            If you were any good in your 'corporate advisory' job, I suspect that either you or the 'large corporate' you supposedly 'advise' for would consider a few pounds spent on msdn as a worthwhile investment.

            I don't think so. The most active advocates agains MS are people that have managed to extract themselves from the scam, a bit like ex-smokers tend to be the most active advocates against smoking.

            MS no longer brings enough value - the ROI of staying with MS is looking less and less attractive compared to other options. Do you really think that corporates, cities and governments *like* change? No, they go elsewhere because they have found that there is value in making the change. The one thing MS did NOT do in reaction to those developments was to make better products, which I find very telling about their attitude towards their customers.

            It has become a Titanic, but with a smaller rip below the waterline than the real one - it's a large boat and it will take a lot of time to sink. However, as far as I can tell, none of the executives are even interested in bailing, all they do is cut chair legs to keep them level on the ever more listing deck.

            1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

              Re: Supply and demand

              I think MS never really understood that the end user was their real customer. End users will leave them over time if they are neglected for someone else. Also, end users are now comfortable with using none MS kit (Android, iOS, ChromeOS, etc) to varying degrees and apparently like it enough that on phones and tablets they are buying Windows based devices.

          2. Dwarf Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Supply and demand

            MSDN is overpriced for what most IT professionals need which is why MS have not seen TechNet subscribers move to MSDN, nor become sales droids via the Action Pack. This is another lost income stream for MS.

            You need to realise that the D in MSDN means developer, this should be a bit of a hint for you.

          3. Kiwi
            Linux

            Re: Supply and demand

            The fact that neither party is prepared to stump up the cash tells everyone all they need to know....

            Yes,that a good advisor or responsible corporation knows that msdn is not worth wasting any more time or ¢ on.

  11. werdsmith Silver badge

    I enjoyed the use of "decimated" in the headline, which many people take to mean the same as "annihilated", but decimation is really only 10%.

    Good stuff.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      He's trying to curry favour with the grammar nazis but it won't work, we shall remain ever vigilant.

      1. Fink-Nottle

        The word decimate is fertile ground for grammar nazis; not only is it a contronym (a word with two opposite meanings), but it's English origin is the Medieval Latin word decimatus, which means ‘to tithe’, rather than a Roman military punishment.

        Although, I must admit that when applied to Microsoft I much prefer the connotation of people being put to the sword.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        It's always struck me to be the worse kind of hypocrisy, to use the word "nazi" against someone who has done no more than pick up an orthography error.

        See what I did there?

        The dumbing down bullies do seem to have the upper hand at the moment though.

        Yeaahhh! Off topic is like off-piste!

    2. jason 7

      Yeah I'm self employed and my taking were down 30% this month on last months.

      Was this "apocalyptic"?

      I'm not one for hyperbole but this is a million times worse!"

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      The OED states that decimate can mean simply "[t]o destroy or remove a large proportion of; to subject to severe loss, slaughter, or mortality"; the pedants that complain about decimate when used not to mean 10% seem to have invented the cause of their distress in their own minds.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why always the push for year on year growth?

    There is only so far you can grow a large business before the market is saturated... MS is already on most PC's, only real competition is Apple & a few Geeks running Linux...

    1. tony2heads
      Linux

      'few Geeks running Linux'

      the box I an using now is running Linux, but was bought with Win7 on it as the OEM only had that.

      Also the geeks tend to run a lot of Linux, as we have a few dozen servers and loads of (single board) hardware controllers running it, so it was simpler to unify the OS across platforms.

      For many web-based applications the OS makes no difference at all, just don't use IE for them

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Why always the push for year on year growth?"

      That's the analyst's expectations bit.

  13. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Pint

    I had a nervous woman on the phone yesterday, her laptop died. She has €300 for a new machine but refuses to get a box with Windows 8. She's seen it, does not like it ... and begged me to provide her with a solution ... I said: Get a second-hand MacBook.

    Last week, I saw my very first Windows Phone (or whatever they call it now) in the wild, believe or not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCaabE7co5s

    This was written on the wall, guyz and I told you ... their marketshare will dwindle now, just like ie did a few years back.

    It's Friday, a pint please!

    1. NotWorkAdmin

      You did what?

      I tried this myself - shunt a user over to Mac in the hope that would end the support questions.

      Trust me, it's not that easy.

      1. jason 7

        Re: You did what?

        I've found customers (especially business customers) that move over to Mac, usually come back within 18 months to Windows.

        Just isn't the depth of local business IT support for Apple that there is for Windows. People need more than help with a phone they dropped in the toilet.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      €300 for a working used MacBook that works and runs Yosemite??

      Here's €600, get me two please. TAKE MY F***ING MONEY NOW!

      Seriously, converting to being an OS agnostic solves all the problems at a stroke.

    3. jason 7

      Actually I talk with a lot of IT mates and most of us would love to move over to a MS phone as the hardware is good and the OS works fine. However, the lack of decent native Google support puts most of us off.

      We all agree the idea of having a red/blue/yellow/green phone and great camera tech really appeals for some reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        the lack of decent native Google support puts most of us off.

        Wow - I would *so* want a phone that doesn't immediately hand off all its data to Google. Shame that it's made by Microsoft. I guess I'm trapped - either an old smartphone, say a BB or a Nokia, or an iPhone. iPhone it is then..

    4. jason 7

      I had a customer wanting a new laptop a few weeks ago.

      He demanded in no uncertain terms he didn't want 8 as it "was useless and impossible to use!"

      So he heard.

      So what did I do. I gave him a Windows 8.1 laptop with Classic Start installed.

      Didn't tell him.

      He loves it. I still don't think he's twigged yet.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the real "news" here

    is you can't be all things to all men. Are MS an enterprise-oriented outfit ? Or a consumer-oriented outfit ?

    You can only fight a war on one front. Ask Napoleon. Or Hitler.

    1. Chemist

      Re: I think the real "news" here

      "Are MS an enterprise-oriented outfit ? Or a consumer-oriented outfit ?"

      They have always been a MS-oriented outfit. Nothing wrong with that in a business but some people treat them like a religion

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: I think the real "news" here

      Ask Napoleon. Or Hitler.

      Does this mean Amazon is like Stalin?

      (twirls mustache under an avuncular smile)

  15. Semaj

    Surfaces?

    Surfaces are doing well? Sorry but I just don't believe it.

    I've never seen anyone using one in public and I don't know anyone who knows anyone who has one. And I work in a .net dev company with a bunch of very pro-MS devs.

    Maybe MS are just paying their own employees to buy them multiple times :P

    1. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: Surfaces?

      It depends what you're comparing it to. How often have you seen things like a Dell XPS 13, Asus Zenbook UX, Yoga Pro or Thinkpad X1 Carbon?

      Like Ultrabooks, the Surface is a niche product and I have no trouble believing it's selling well if you compare with the correct market segment, which to me is the Ultrabook market. If you compare it to all laptops and tablets then of course it doesn't appear to be doing well.

      I saw my first Surface 3 last week being used by someone on the train. I didn't initially recognise it as a Surface because it was silver instead of black.

      As part of a dev team I expect the most common reasons you haven't seen them are due to screen size, storage, keyboard and/or price premium. The main question anyone asks about my Surface is "how can you see what's on that screen?", and while they like it they couldn't justify one over a tabletop/desktop replacement laptop. They also wouldn't buy an Ultrabook for similar reasons.

      1. Twist Rolarian
        Meh

        Re: Surfaces?

        It depends what you're comparing it to. How often have you seen things like a Dell XPS 13, Asus Zenbook UX, Yoga Pro or Thinkpad X1 Carbon?

        As a field tech for Dell & IBM, I see plenty of XPS 13s and a few X1s.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surfaces?

      Someone I work for use one - they guy is an arsehole and with the attention span of a goldfish, he is always wrong because he manages to a) change his mind about 4 times on everything b) completely forgets about it c) thinks everyone is "out to get him"* with minutes of meetings and change logs.

      *) Just about only thing he is correct and consistent on - except, it's more Jimmy Hoffa than The Office.

      1. Nelbert Noggins

        Re: Surfaces?

        :D I fail to see the connection between the device and your difficulty with your work colleague. I expect no matter what brand or type of computer he has it won't change your view of him.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Surfaces?

          I'm sure it confirms what was originally suspected, like finding out someone drives an Audi.

    3. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Surfaces?

      Surfaces are doing well? Sorry but I just don't believe it.

      I've never seen anyone using one in public and I don't know anyone who knows anyone who has one. And I work in a .net dev company with a bunch of very pro-MS devs.

      Maybe MS are just paying their own employees to buy them multiple times :P

      I have seen quite a few Surfaces, almost all of them Surface Pro 3s (with a very few Surface Pro 2s, and exactly one Surface 2) and they work quite well. I've seen them in the hands of students in university, of small business owners, of assorted others. They are far less common than iPads or Samsung tablets, but they're out there.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surfaces?

      You do not spend much time in frequent flyer lounges then. Senior business people love the things.

  16. Yugguy

    I'll change when I have to and not before

    We have a Windows 8 laptop on which we do stuff like shopping that needs a screen bigger than a tablet or if we are using office applications.

    It does everything we need it to do. I'll not even replace Windows 8 until it goes out of support and I will replace the laptop when, and only when, it becomes incapable of running whatever version of Windows I am forced to put on it.

  17. tempemeaty

    What changes with the seasons is fleeting....

    The rock we used to trust and hang onto in the past known as Windows has now become a fluttering leaf on a branch which changes and drops off with the seasons to be replaced by another again and again...

    Gone is the confidence and it's sales with it.

  18. Robert E A Harvey

    Dodgy Product

    The windows market was dominated by x768 line laptops and dodgy operating systems. I had money in my pocket for something good, and Apple made it. So guess what?

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy Product

      I was going to mock that, but, I see that Steam is available for Mac OS.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Nelbert Noggins

      Is also the advantage of buying in some parts of Europe if you don't want Windows. Off the shelf branded pc hardware is often only available with FreeDos or comes with 2 skus one for FreeDos and one for Windows.

      Unfortunately for us here in Blighty the reverse is true and trying to find a system without building it yourself or going the barebones route usually means it's coming with Windows.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if

    forcing a tablet interface and creating a skin that looks like something from the 90s plus making their releases confusing and close together, 8, 8.1 what's 8.1? (well it's a service pack but less about that the better) 9 no 10 free upgrades to 10...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder if

      "forcing a tablet interface"

      You know you can set it to boot to the desktop and never see Metro unless you want to?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's no surprise really.......

    Software and O/S upgrades have a cost far beyond their replacement. Current software is often incompatible. For instance AutoDesk's $7500 2010 software that runs on Win XP does not run on Windows 7 and up. So if you upgrade Autodesk to run on Win 8 then ACAD will not run on Win 10. Many Engineering firms are still using XP for this very reason. Savvy IT techs are upgrading the hardware around imaged drives. The only fly in that oinment is if a socket becomes obsolete or the motherboards are discontinued and bios updates are no longer available. Still that can get a workstation 5-7 years of usefull life. PC sales are in decline due to the necessary extension of system lifecycle. And this is at odds with the industry. IT departments are actually performing mechanical maintenance on workstations by periodic vacuuming and dust removal as well as replacing fans and heatsink compounds.

    Then there is the whole licensing issue. AutoDesk does not like it when you try to move licenses from an old machine to a new. Corporate accounting software is even worse for proprietary or custome software never mind the HR and IT issues etc.

    The artificially planned obsolescence of hardware and software is becoming too expensive to continue.

    Even now, the upcoming Windows 10 release has slowed the sales of gaming pc's and laptops as why purchase DX11.3 hardware when DX12 is promising to be "game changing"?

  22. James 47

    I run Windows 8.1 and then Ubuntu in a VM. Best of both worlds. Windows 8.1 isn't that bad really once you get to pin the Control Panel to the taskbar.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Uh, just click Start with right mouse button and select Control Panel.

  23. Fat Northerner

    Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

    The Ribbon, Windows 8, Tiles, Clouding everything, Homegroups, Libraries.

    I hate it all.

    It is the story of life though isn't it.

    1. Company becomes uber success, and government then demands they employ care in the community types.

    2. They then outnumber the techies who build it, and by weight of numbers demand a say.

    The same has happened in government.

    The health service doctors are managed by secretaries.

    People with IQs of 160 and degrees in engineering build Hawker Harriers which are given away by people who have IQs of 90 and degrees in History.

    Lions led by donkeys.

    The mistake was to allow predominantly female and metrosexual sales staff direct product development.

    I won't buy windows 10 either. I don't want my data on someone else's server, and I want to buy a product, not rent it. You rent anything that flies, floats or f**ks. Everything else, you buy.

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

      "people who have IQs of 90 and degrees in History"

      surely not History, maybe Aromatherapy, Reflexology or Applied Golf Management Studies.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

        Definitely Art History, just the type to be a politician.

      2. John Sanders
        Devil

        Re: Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

        You are forgetting homoeopathy...

        1. Colin Ritchie
          Windows

          Re: Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

          To get a Degree in Homeopathy, do you have to write a 10,000 word thesis, then submit it with 10,000,000,000 random words for potentisation?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Everything they've done since the Ribbon was terrible.

            Never understood degrees with 10,000 word essays.

            Why give marks for pontificating in documents?

            Why not award for brevity which covers all salient points?

            If "Look at Graph" with the correct references and graphics does the job then shouldn't the university reward the student for saving the markers time & effort while stripping back the subject and demonstrating a clear, concise understanding of the topic?

  24. Chris 58

    Totally couldn't be because they've had two major flop operating systems in the last 10 years or anything. They've released the auditors like crazy to try and make up for the gap in the earnings too. Office keeps expanding with products no one uses but doesn't really improve the ones they have. Their own products don't even work well with each other (version and features of SQL with various OS'). Azure's ok, but it's not any more special than any other cloud. They need to refocus efforts on improving their current product base and making them top-notch before they stretch out any more.

  25. IGnatius T Foobar

    "mobile"

    Microsoft's "mobile revenue" would be even worse -- *far* worse -- if they didn't include their Android patent extortion racket in that number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "mobile"

      "if they didn't include their Android patent extortion racket in that number."

      We know Microsoft claim over 200 patents are infringed by Android. It's hardly extortion with that level of IP involved. FYI - most Android manufacturers also have to license IP from Nokia, Qualcomm, and several others too.

      Even if some patents were invalid or obvious, out of 200+ some will stick. Hence why multi billion dollar companies that normally fight IP cases are all rolling over and paying up. If there was any reasonable doubt at all, they would fight...

  26. johngeorge

    windows

    people are getting smarter and buying macs! windows is trash! nothing but problems and slow as hell! be smarter and buy a mac! no registry problems, no viruses, no paying for protection for windows, no hacking and you can go anywhere a windows computer can with nothing but speed and power! i will never buy windows trash again!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: windows

      "be smarter and buy a mac! no registry problems, no viruses, no paying for protection for windows, no hacking"

      No software, no games, no drivers, no flexibility compared to Windows....For lots more money.

      Can't remember ever seeing a PC with "Registry problems". Macs do have malware, and are potentially far more vulnerable to remote hacking that Windows is. OS-X is now on well over 2,000 known vulnerabilities - that's about 3 times a comparably aged Windows version....

  27. Sokolik

    Where's Flight Simulator when you need it?

    "The Computing and Gaming Hardware division's revenue sank 8.8 per cent from the year-ago"

    Microsoft (MS) Flight Simulator (FS) broke new ground with each release, improved with each new release, and garnered millions of fans along the way. It might be said FS was the first desktop simulator. It might also be said it was the only MS product buyers users actually *liked*.

    And then, a decade ago...pooof...FS disappeared. Ten years later it can be said FS still leads the market. Ten years later there's a thriving industry of add-ons for FS. In my opinion, at least, FlightX still has a long way to go to catch up to FSX Gold Acceration.

    Could retention of FS maintained revenue for Microsoft's gaming division?

    I could not unerstand and think I shall never understand why Microsoft ditched FS.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop the Presses! Solitaire is coming back!

    All you Microsoft-doubters, crawl back into your caves, because Microsoft is poised for a techno-comeback.

    Yes, the rumors are true, Solitaire is Coming Back for Windows 10.

    This will be followed by Solitaire - Azure Edition which is a subscription-based version which is played across an RDP connection.

    We're living in the future, now, people!

    1. Sokolik

      Re: Stop the Presses! Solitaire is coming back!

      A much-needed literal laugh-out-loud. Anon, thanks as always.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop the Presses! Solitaire is coming back!

      "which is played across an RDP connection"

      WCF surely? ;-)

  29. RudeUnion

    Still no classic shell in Windows 10 preview. What if people don't care about touch features and we want to run a lean gui for speed? I guess it flies in the face of bloated programming. Just give us the option to do what we want. 3rd party apps are great, but it would be even better to install less on your pc and get more performance. My Windows 8.1 laptop works well enough, but it's definitely running like a pig. Hardware is so good now even a cheap hardware is overkill for Windows as opposed to the 90's where every little bit helped. Why not give us a choice to run lean and allow disabling features so all the dependancies are disabled?

  30. Ron Christian

    PCs are good enough

    We're not buying PCs because a few years ago PC performance went past what regular people could really make use of. PCs are commodity items and there isn't any overwhelming reason to buy a new one. Most especially, there's no reason to try to get used to a new GUI paradigm and try to figure out where stuff has been moved to.

    Back when the computer industry was changing rapidly, there was a reason to keep current. There is no longer a reason to do so.

  31. john devoy

    It's a sign of todays rampant greed when only 6.5% growth is being touted as impending failure.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      I think it's just below the growth in monetary mass, so it's actually a retrenchment....

  32. razorfishsl

    Yes.. and that is why we are getting analised over 365 & one drive

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The later versions of Windows are killing PC sales. I ran Windows 98 on a modern computer and the result was so snappy it was simply a joy. I guess they are locked into a feature excalation psychology where they think they have to keep adding features to drive sales and justify the cost of an upgrade.

    In fact users want the OS to be unobtrusive and for it to appear to be doing as little as possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Win98

      How did you find the drivers?

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