Microsoft: Failing By Design

by John Kirk   |   November 21st, 2013
Microsoft Achieved Its Goal

Microsoft had one of the greatest corporate mission statements of all time:

“A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.”

And guess what? Incredibly, THEY ACHIEVED THEIR GOAL!1 There IS a computer on nearly every desk and in nearly every home, and nearly all of them run Microsoft software…

…but then what?

For Over A Decade, Microsoft Has Been Playing Not To Lose

Ben Thompson compared Microsoft to the great ice hockey legend, Gordie Howe, and I heartily agree with the analogy. Like Howe, Microsoft has great strength, durability, and a willingness to mix it up. There is also great virtue in Microsoft’s single-minded pursuit of a goal, and its absolute refusal to be deterred from that goal. However…

Those who know how to win are more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories. ~ Polybius

Microsoft’s dominant traits worked magnificently when they were striving to become the king of the hill; when they were aggressively pursuing a clearly defined goal. Those very same traits became counter-productive when they became king of the hill and there was nothing left to achieve; when they stopped playing to win — because they had already won all they had set out to accomplish — and started playing not to lose, instead.

“Ultimately it was Bill’s decision. When you’re king of the hill, you are driven to play defense and protect.” ~ a former Microsoft executive

In truth, I very much like the “king of the hill” metaphor as a way of describing Microsoft, because Microsoft was not just great at climbing the hill, but they were masterful at pulling down, and climbing over, the bodies of the corporations that were ahead of them. But again, what good are those skills once one has reached the pinnacle?

Without a clear goal to head towards, Microsoft lost their focus. With nothing to look up toward; they turned their gaze downward, onto their competitors, instead.

Our friends up north [at Microsoft] spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple. ~ Steve Jobs

After a competitor had achieved a product breakthrough, Microsoft belatedly attacked. They were the slow follower — not so much going where the metaphorical puck had been, more like chasing opponents all over the ice, throwing vicious body checks, missing, then crashing into the boards just after their opponents had gracefully skated by.

After a decade of exhausting themselves by skating all over the ice for no apparent reason, all that Microsoft was left with was a warehouse full of unsold Zunes, Kins, and Surfaces, a server full of unused Bing searches, and a wistful memory of fifty billions in lost expenditures.

I spent a lot of my money on booze, women, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. ~ George Best

The Ballmer Era Is Over

Any jerk can have short-term earnings. You squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, and the company sinks five years later. ~ Jack Welch

Microsoft’s revenues tripled during Ballmer’s tenure to almost $78 billion in the year ended this June, and profit grew 132% to nearly $22 billion. But while profit rolled in from Microsoft’s traditional markets, it missed epic changes, including Web-search advertising and the consumer shift to mobile devices and social media.

“Steve was a phenomenal leader who racked up profits and market share in the commercial business, but the new CEO must innovate in areas Steve missed—phone, tablet, Internet services, even wearables.”

I disagree that Steve Ballmer was a phenomenal leader. He fell into the classic trap of protecting his cash cows and chasing short-term profits. In my opinion, during the Ballmer era, Microsoft looked as silly (and as ineffective) as a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.

What Ballmer Is Leaving In His Wake, Ain’t Pretty

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.2 Once it starts to rain, it’s too late.

A quick overview of some of Microsoft’s current woes:

1) Microsoft is LOSING money on phones. And that’s not counting the purchase of Nokia.

Conservative+Tablets+vs.+PCs+Shipments

2) Tablets are decimating the Notebook and Desktop markets.

All you need to know about tablets is that they will drive more innovation in personal computing the next 10 yrs than the PC ever did. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

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3) PC shipments fell 8.6% in the third quarter, the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.

2013-11-mobile-eating-the-world-06

Microsoft’s software was on 17% of all personal computing platforms sold last quarter. Apple’s was 13%. (Tablets, smartphones, PCs) ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

Having a “monopoly” on notebooks and desktops will soon be equivalent to having a “monopoly” on non-colored soda products — a distant third of three.

4) Windows lock-in is becoming irrelevant.3

5) Long-Time Windows Users Are Fleeing The Platform.4

6) Almost all of Microsoft’s Revenue is all sourced from software and software pricing is dropping to $0.5

7) Microsoft’s hardware offerings are not competitive.6)

8) Throwing advertising dollars at the problem isn’t helping.7)

9) Hardware manufacturing partners are fleeing Windows.

If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his jacket on. ~ Lou Holtz

10) Microsoft’s consumer satisfaction rating fell to its lowest level since 2007.

11) Business model transitions are terribly dangerous.

Why Has Microsoft Tied The Hands Of Its New CEO?

Over the past several months, Microsoft has:

1) Committed To A New, Functional Organizational Business Structure;
2) Purchased Nokia for 7.2 Billion Dollars;
3) Ended Stack-Ranking; and
4) Committed to becoming a “Devices & Services” Company

We are watching Microsoft abandon nearly all the strategies that made them successful and embracing new ones in the hope of a future ~ Ben Bajarin

Well, yes and no. But mostly no. Because Wait! There’re MORE!

Microsoft has also committed to their old strategies of:

a) X-Box;
b) Turning Bing into a platform;
c) Maintaing both Windows RT and Windows 8; and
d) Manufacturing their own, Surface, Tablets.

Microsoft is like a sailor who has one foot on the departing boat but refuses to take his other foot off the dock.

Microsoft hasn’t just tied their incoming CEO’s hands — they’ve trussed him up like a turkey. Now ask yourself: “Why would Microsoft do that?” To my mind, there can be only one answer.

After finding no qualified candidates for the position of Microsoft CEO, the Board is extremely pleased to announce the appointment of…

The Microsoft Board Has Taken Charge Of Microsoft And Is Charting Microsoft’s Course

I do not subscribe to the idea that a Bill Gates return would be a good outcome for Microsoft. Indeed, much of what troubles Microsoft today is directly attributable to Gates, particularly the Vista disaster/distraction and the Windows obsession. ~ Ben Thompson

The Microsoft Board is going to TELL the new CEO what to think

Too late. Gates, via the Board, is already back. He’s the reason Ballmer “volunteered” to walk the gang plank, he’s the reason Microsoft has been forging ahead so quickly with the functional business reorganization, the purchase of Nokia, the ending of stack ranking, the commitment to new policies and the recommitment to old. Microsoft doesn’t need to wait to see and hear what the new CEO thinks, because the Board is going to TELL him what to think.

Doubling-Down On The Wrong Strategy

It is better to run back than run the wrong way. ~ Proverbs

Prior to pushing him out the door, The Board’s mandate to Ballmer was to move faster.

Motivation alone is not enough. If you have an idiot and you motivate him, now you have a motivated idiot. ~ Jim Rohn

It’s clear to me that the Microsoft Board didn’t “get” why Microsoft has been falling behind over the past decade and, based on their recent actions, it’s just as clear that they still don’t get it.

The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Microsoft isn’t failing because it’s not going fast enough — it’s failing because it’s going in the wrong direction.

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around. ~ Jim Rohn

If the Microsoft Board could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of their troubles, they wouldn’t sit for a month.8

In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. ~ Bill Gates

True enough.

  1. For a wonderful take on this, I highly recommend Ben Thompson’s article entitled: “Skating Towards The Goal“ []
  2. John F. Kennedy []
  3. Even the Windows lock-in is becoming irrelevant and losing power quickly. ~ Matthew Johnson (@anandabits)

    You used to buy a Windows PC because everyone had Windows PCs. All the major programs were written for Windows and it became the de facto standard for almost every office and home on the planet. Windows ran the world and because of its wide reach, we all grew accustomed to the Office suite of applications. Writing a report? You used Word. Needed to do a presentation on plant life in the rainforest? PowerPoint and its atrocious sound effects were there to add glass-shattering emphasis to that clip art on slide two. Your email was stored in Outlook and your numbers were crunched in Excel and there was nothing you could do about it because nothing else came close to the power and reach of Microsoft Office. []
  4. Why I’ve all but given up on Windows. []
  5. The contrast couldn’t be more stark: 75% of MS’s revenue and 95% of its gross profit come from licensing. Apple now charges $0 for most software. []
  6. Apple’s Software revenues are more than double Microsoft’s Surface revenues. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

    So iPad Air weighs half as much as Surface Pro 2, has longer battery life, and costs $200 less. But hey – look at that kickstand! ~ Ian Betteridge (@ianbetteridge []
  7. Apple spent $1.1 billion on advertising in the last 12 months. 0.64% of sales. (Microsoft spent $2.6b or 3.3% of sales yr. ended June). ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco []
  8. Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt []

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • shivraj

    Microsoft is trying to become Google and Apple at the same time.

  • klahanas

    I take it that you’re a fan of the stack ranking. Very shortsighted!

    Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, stifles innovation more than fear (and repercussions) of being wrong.
    Stack ranking favors conservative evaluations based on metrics. On the Honeymooner’s there’s a scene where Ed Norton is writing Ralph Kramden’s weaknesses…
    “Lousy Bowler, lousy pool player,…does not speak French!”
    Since you also seem to like sports, it was said about Eddie Stanky…

    “He can’t hit, can’t run, can’t field. He’s no nice guy … all the little SOB can do is win.”
    -Leo Durocher

    • FalKirk

      I am not a fan of stack ranking. I am just pointing to it as yet another example of how the Microsoft Board is running Microsoft, during Ballmer’s lame dunk tenure and how is limiting the options of their next CEO.

      • klahanas

        I stand happily corrected!

      • Kenny

        @FalKirk:disqus
        as a financial advisor and a business coach John, what do you think of the fact that Microsoft Is About to Dethrone Apple as the S&P 500′s Power Stock when you wrote this article?

        • FalKirk

          Well, first, I don’t believe that’s factually correct.

          But let’s say it is. You can’t judge a company strictly by the short term gyrations of the stock market. That way lies madness (and bankruptcy).

          I’d prefer you dispute the actual content of my article. If there’s any part you disagree with, let me know and we can discuss it.

          • Kenny

            http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-13/microsoft-is-about-to-dethrone-apple-as-the-s-and-p-500s-power-stock

            you have been very critical of bloggers who speak of the failure of Apple by pointing out their profit and the success of the sale of hardware such as the iPhone in subsidized market which accounts for nearly 65% of their revenue and profit in an extremely competitive sector.

            Now how can you turn the switch, and started that Microsoft is a failure by design, when in fact they are extremely profitable with lots of potential and a dominant position in terms of software, cloud, server, tools which generates a lot of revenue and profit margin that is superior to that of Apple.

            they have a very competitive entertainment business while it losing money on the hardware side, but still generates a lot of profit on the software side and sell of Game

            since last year windows mobile 8 have seen higher market share growth than Apple itself despite being late to the party.

            now having said all of that what make you think microsoft is a failure by design compare to Apple?

          • FalKirk

            “Now how can you turn the switch, and started that Microsoft is a failure by design, when in fact they are extremely profitable…”

            Profit is the ultimate measure by which any company must be measured and Microsoft had been enormously profitable. However, I believe that Microsoft has sacrificed long-term profitability in the pursuit of short-term profits.

            …”with lots of potential and a dominant position in terms of software, cloud, server, tools…”

            I very much disagree. Microsoft has little potential, and is dominant in a rapidly decreasing sector of personal computing. You may, of course, disagree. But I think the facts agree with me. Unless Microsoft makes a radical turn, they are on the road to irrelevance.

          • Will

            “Microsoft has sacrificed long-term profitability”

            facts? their profits have been growing strong for decades and there is no sign of that stopping. Very few companies can say that.

            “Microsoft has little potential”

            Really? How is Apple or Google competing with Azure, a billion dollar business? Just one example btw…

          • FalKirk

            Well, I would think the write-down for the Surface would be very telling in regard to Microsoft’s ability to compete in tablets. And Microsoft is pursuing a money losing strategy in phones and search, just to name two.

            I have no problem at all with Microsoft’s Azure. But just to put things in perspective, Apple makes more from the sale of iPod Touches than Microsoft makes from Azure.

          • Will

            The iPod touch business probably makes more money than a cancer research facility. Are they a failure too? Why don’t you compare apples to apples.

            Apple does tablets well, MS does cloud well. For the moment anyway. Your generalization of the situation offers nothing interesting.

      • Chris Bordeman

        After he poor execution of the Surface and XBox launch, I believe what they need in the next CEO is not a correction to their strategy (which is more long term than you seem to understand).

        They need someone who is more attuned to what people want and developers need, and who can push people around quickly, someone who can gain control of such an unwieldy beast and bring to it a level of focus and efficiency that Balmer never could.

        They need a brilliant engineer with proven management skills. Not that hard to find, really.

        • FalKirk

          “They need a brilliant engineer with proven management skills. Not that hard to find, really.” – Chris Bordeman

          Well, we disagree. I have some thoughts on what they need at CEO, but it just doesn’t matter because the new CEO is going to be hamstrung by the actions of the current Board.

          • Chris Bordeman

            The actions of the current Board putting Microsoft on a path are correct. It’s only execution that’s been lacking.

            Engineers love technology. One of us would *never* have made the infamous, obviously fear driven statement Ballmer made about the iPhone early on. We were reading all the forums filled with anti-XBone rage for weeks before Ballmer apparently pulled his gaze off Business Week for five seconds and got clued in. Probably by Bill. It takes an engineer to run a technology company, someone who reads the tech blogs, and takes them very seriously.

          • FalKirk

            “The actions of the current Board putting Microsoft on a path are correct”

            As I said, we disagree.

          • Chris Bordeman

            ” ‘The actions of the current Board putting Microsoft on a path are correct’ ”

            “As I said, we disagree.”

            This is probably the more interesting conversation. ;) Do you have a particular alternative course in mind? Not that you need to. As a developer, what the Board is doing now is extremely positive to me. For the first time in years the Xamarin multi-targeting partnership/strategy seems like a brilliant one, and fully unifying the APIs in the next major OS release will make it much easier to target all MS platforms from phone to desktop enterprise to XBox One, if I understand the strategy correctly. That will finally solve the app problem and finally leverage Microsoft’s enormous advantage in enterprise developers, while finally deprecating the virus ridden, battery sucking, slow Win32 APIs over a few years time. But Microsoft is going nowhere in the next few years.

          • FalKirk

            I am not certain what the Microsoft board “should” do. However, I think they are mistaken to spend resources on hardware and I don’t think they know which way to go with their Windows and Offices franchises. Most importantly, Microsoft seems to be trying to pursue all avenues at once. And that way lies madness…and disaster.

  • steve_wildstrom

    While I don’t really disagree with anything you’ve said about Ballmer’s tenure, O think you are being too hard on old Steve. The problem is that you have fairly described all of the failings of Ballmer’s Microsoft in consumer markets. But you have failed to give any credit for his considerable successes in the business software market.

    There is room for a serious argument about whether Microsoft can continue to succeed in the business market if its consumer business continues to deteriorate or even goes away. Certainly, it would be a very different Microsoft. But IBM found a path to renewed prosperity by getting out of about half the businesses it was in.

    The big problem at Microsoft today is that it neither has a viable path to success in consumer markets nor a plan to get out of them. It needs one or the other.

    • Chris Bordeman

      Steve’s 3 year haitus on smart phones and then tablets was reason for firing alone. His frequent buyouts that went *nowhere* were surely another, all on there own. But his inattention to the daily management of the company resulting in one major PR disaster or confusing product roll out after another are the most unforgivable. He may have been great at at improving the bottom line in the area of business revenues, but it was always at the cost of the medium and longer term health and profits of the company.

      Now that he’s effectively out of power, the Board is forcing the changes he should have made long ago, and we should all, shareholders and Microsoft engineers, be very glad of it.

  • aardman

    At some point in time, Windows was saddled with the added burden of protecting the Office monopoly and Office was saddled with the converse burden of protecting the Windows monopoly. When MS was at the top of the mountain fighting off threats to its twin digital hegemony, that strategy seemed to make sense. What Gates and Ballmer didn’t realize though is that shackling those two products together means that when one falls off the mountaintop, the other gets pulled down with it.

    And so Windows’ troubles have also weakened Office. Windows is not on every computing device anymore and neither is Office because Ballmer refused to release iPad and Android versions of the de facto standard for office productivity.

    Microsoft should have accepted Judge Penfield Jackson’s prescription of splitting the company. If they did, an OS company with a Windows Everywhere mission, free of the burden of defending a sister product, and an app company with a similarly pure Office Everywhere mission might both be a lot healthier today than Microsoft.

    • Chris Bordeman

      Office is coming to iPad and Android soon enough, and that means free or super cheap student pricing. Its advantages over the very crippled iWorks are enormous, especially in the compatibility arena since most universities still want things in Office format.

      The supposed threat from Google Docs and free alternatives has pretty much disappeared, going from ~30% usage a few years ago to 5% this year, due to aggressive moves by Microsoft and people’s slow realization that great hype doesn’t equal great software.

      • Jeffrey Connors

        Have to disagree with the crippled assessment of iWorks. For 90-95% of people, iWork has all they need. It’s not as fancy but the usual .doc format works perfectly fine and you get all the usual fonts and features you need for composing documents. Get into the creative Media/Marketing/PR side of business and Keynote becomes ubiquitous, so there’s enterprise use as well. In the context of a university, unless you are taking an MS Office course Pages will handle all of your written material and you can email a .doc to your professor directly from the app putting in a call to the native mail client.

        The same really applies to Google Docs – it works for 90-95% of people out there. Again, a power user of MS office will be dissappointed but most people do not go far beyond basic levels of functionality – even if they have Office Pro 2013. In truth, Office is a bloated application offering functionality that will never get used by the vast majority of it’s audience.

        • Chris Bordeman

          Well, I’ve been forced to use Google Docs quite a bit and I can assure you, one tiny mistake (slight deviation) and the doc export blows all the heck up. I’ve heard it’s the same way with iWorks.
          Subject: Re: New comment posted on Microsoft: Failing By Design

      • FalKirk

        “Office is coming to iPad and Android soon enough…” – Chris Bordeman

        No. It’s coming much, much too late.

        “Its advantages over the very crippled iWorks are enormous” ~ Chris Bordeman

        Touch is different than pixel input – as Microsoft is discovering, much to its dismay.

  • Lb51

    Has something changed with the site? The alignment seems off, especially in the comments section.

    • FalKirk

      I noticed it too. I’ve sent in a note to see what’s happening.

      Thanks for the heads up. We appreciate your concern and your input.

    • fieldwalker

      The alignment is definitely off when the writers talk about finding God in smartphones.

    • Mayson

      This post also came out very strange in the RSS feed: red text, and no text wrapping; every paragraph was one long line.

  • Bill Smith

    One of your best yet. Unfortunately, what you’re saying applies to a number of other “legacy tech” companies as well.

  • James King

    I like John’s writing because it is very approachable and his perspective is sound and enlightening. I don’t comment on them always but I always read and enjoy them.

    It helps when I agree with them too. :)

    • TheEternalEmperor

      I like everyone I agree with.

      • FalKirk

        “I like everyone I agree with.” ~ TheEternalEmperor

        I feel just the opposite. I like everyone who agrees with me. :)

  • Mike Bourbon

    I could easily say the same things for Apple with it’s non existent iMac sales, absolutely terrible iPod sales and it’s ever declining iPhone and iPad market share. The truth is, tech moves really fast. 18 months can really make or break a company depending on how entrenched they are.
    The truth is, however, that Microsoft stopped being a tech company a long time ago and became and infrastructure that runs technology. They have positioned themselves as almost untouchable because they lead in so many areas. Even if they don’t have the mobile market, according to webstats, 90% of devices that are accessing the internet at any given time are windows machines. So take every phone and tablet made, put them together and they still don’t account for more than 10% of the devices that are looking at this page right now! (http://www.netmarketshare.com/)
    Families may have a desktop and a couple of laptops in their homes. They may also have an iPad and a couple of iPhones or Droids. But almost everyone who works in an office has a windows desktop/laptop in front of them that they spend 8 hours a day or more working on. They are using Microsoft Office. All of it is connected to, most likely, a Microsoft Server. Everything is probably serviced by a person or people who carry some sort of Microsoft accreditation and they are also the people who help make decisions on what devices will be used in those same offices.
    Do yourself a favor – bet BIG on Microsoft. The Ballmer era was one of missed opportunities and of pushing known and trusted vs. innovation and Microsoft decidedly lost. However their base is so unbelievably huge on a global level that they can make up by introducing new tablets and phones years after and still win 80-90 percent of the market in those fields (which they will).

    • 20,000

      You talk like you have no awareness that during the last 18 months the roof caved in at Microsoft, and no one knows what they’re going to do with the rubble.

      • davessworks

        Consider the following key indicators:

        Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy) and Qtrly Earnings Growth (yoy)

        For Microsoft these numbers are 15.70% and 17.40% respectively

        For Apple these numbers are 4.20% and -8.60% respectively.

        • steve_wildstrom

          In both cases, you have the consider the period of the comparison. Microsoft was coming off a horrible year, Apple a great one.

          • davessworks

            That’s true. You are of course absolutely correct and I figured someone would call me out on using yoy percentage changes – but it’s a worrying trend for Apple. I’m quite encouraged to see the changes in play at Microsoft. If the rumors are to be believed that Mulally has already been consulting on changes then it could contradict the author’s assertion that the next CEO’s hands are tied. Rather it might mean that the next CEO is already involved. Only time will tell. Being long in F I’d rather see Mulally stay with Ford but I think he’d do one heck of a job at MSFT.

    • TheEternalEmperor

      You’re right. Everyone has a Windows machine and uses office. But almost NO ONE likes it. Almost everyone talks about how they hate it, now it is slow, how something screwed up.

      That’s the rep Windows has and that, I think, is a major reason why MS has issues. When someone is forced to use your product, they aren’t sticky. Worse, they are on the first train out.

      That’s Windows.

      As for Server, well, by that logic, the Internet is wired by Unix and almost all mobile OSes are a flavor of Unix. That’s just an implementation detail.

      I think that they don’t have a chance of getting 80-90 percent of the tablet market. No chance at all. People will say “I have to use this thing at work and I hate it. Why would I buy it?”

    • FalKirk

      “I could easily say the same things for Apple” – Mike Bourbon

      Sure you could say it, but it wouldn’t be supported by any facts and it wouldn’t be true.

      “The truth is, however, that Microsoft stopped being a tech company a long time ago and became and infrastructure that runs technology.” – Mike Bourbon

      The truth is that 75% of MS’s revenue and 95% of its gross profit come from licensing. Both Google and Apple are now charging $0 for most of their software. You can pretend that doesn’t matter but the rest of the world will then have to move on without you.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      Their base is so unbelievably huge that everything they’ve attempted in the consumer with the exception of the Xbox is for all intents and purposes a failure. Microsoft has failed to leverage their global hegemony into any area outside their OS/Office because they themselves refuse to accept that the overwhelming majority of their sales were not conscious decisions made by individuals. The very nature of the means by which they got their market share was to have a stranglehold on corporate IT sales. Literally a handful of people would make decisions that would lead to the purchase of hundred, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Windows PCs that did nothing more than sit under desks and run email and spreadsheet programs. These were not personal devices, and it’s painfully obvious with the dominance of Apple and Samsung and the failure of Winmobile and Surface that Microsoft knows nothing about actual consumers.

      The system that gave them their stranglehold will not deliver the mobile computing market. Microsoft couldn’t even keep a pager company from becoming the de facto smartphone prior to the iPhone. There was no iOS and no Android when RIM was eating Microsoft’s lunch in their own backyard.

      • Mike Bourbon

        When businesses start rolling out Surfaces and Nokias to employees because the IT manager can manage those devices from servers they already own, Windows will move into the homes that Apple and Samsung have right now. Apple and Samsung are the cabbage patch dolls, or Beanie Babies of the last 10 years. They will be supplanted and gather dust, much like those click wheel iPods we all probably have in a drawer somewhere and have us thinking about how cool we thought those pieces of junk were when we bought them.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          This is either your idea of comedy or you are off your medication.

          Microsoft and it’s partners had nearly 15 years of unchallenged dominance in mobile computing and it failed to turn out anything that stood the test of time. Pretending that Microsoft’s history of failure in the consumer space will turn around because it now has Apple to copy again is an ignorant “What If” game predicated on the lie that consumers actively chose Windows as opposed to the reality that IT and purchasing managers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of PC purchases ever made.

          Microsoft couldn’t keep a pager company from eating Microsoft’s lunch in business oriented mobile phones. It has not chance of challenging Apple’s global customers and can’t even mount a defence against the low end Android phones flooding the remainder of the same global market.

          But you keep believing the DOS brigade will come thru for Microsoft.

        • steve_wildstrom

          The fact that IT departments could manage BlackBerrys from the servers they already own has not stopped the mass abandonment of the BlackBerry. IT departments have lost the ability to dictate these choices.

  • mike077

    People forget that the paralysis started when Microsoft was sued by the Clinton Justice Department. Prior to that, Gates’ philosophy was to run scared and wake up asking the question, “Who is trying to eat my lunch today?” MS was aggressive in going after every company and innovation that threatened it, either to co-opt it, buy it, or out-do it. However, it was only AFTER the government started going after them that MS began the self-protective cycle that has led it to its current non-innovative state. I write as a die-hard Apple user, not a MS fan, but the truth is the truth.

    Let us also not forget that it was the Justice Department persecution of MS that led, quickly, to the dot com crash that cost companies and investors hundreds of billions of dollars. Clinton is remembered as a friend of business, but the truth is that he was only slightly less liberal than Obama and his appointees were often radical leftists. Clinton merely reaped the benefits of the supply-side revolution begun by Reagan.

    However, Microsoft was an early victim of the leftist, anti-business backlash.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      You can always tell a loon by their non-ironic use of the term “radical leftist”.

      What most USAnians know of he “left” are cartoon caricatures fed to them by partisan propaganda artists.

      • steve_wildstrom

        In particular, Joel Klein, the had of the antitrust division who prosecuted the Microsoft case, is no one’s idea of a radical leftist.

        • mike077

          It was not my point that every person involved in the prosecution of Microsoft was a radical leftist, only that the government prosecution of Microsoft seemed to coincide with the change in the company’s posture from aggressive to defensive.

          • steve_wildstrom

            If you’re going to make a charge like that, you might want to name a radical leftist or two. The chain of decision in US v. Microsoft was Joel Klein, Janet Reno, and Bill Clinton, with David Boies hired as special counsel. Not much in the way of leftists there.

            And the judge who presided over the trial and ordered the breakup of Microsoft was Thomas Penfield Jackson, a Reagan appointee.

            You are quite right that Microsoft became a far more cautious company after the trial and that was probably the intent of bringing the case. But you are way off base on political motivations.

      • mike077

        Ah yes, the intellectual rigor exemplified by the use of the word “loon.” As usual, leftists and their defenders can’t base their case on facts, logic, or evidence, so their knee-jerk response is always ad hominem.

        Is your contention that there is no such thing as a “radical leftist”? How about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement? Just a moderate group of concerned accountants and housewives in your view?

        How about an Alinsky-disciple who is determined to “fundamentally transform” America, who had committed Marxists as mentors and who launched his first political campaign in the company of Bill Ayers? I can see why you want to wish the term “radical leftist” away.

        Get real.

        • steve_wildstrom

          I’ll grant you that Bill Ayers, who by the way was an acquaintance of mine at the University of Michigan in the 1960s, was a radical leftist in his Weather Underground days. But I don’t see what that has to do with anything. By the time he an Obama crossed paths, he and Bernadine Dohrn,and even harder radical in her day, were respectable, if still left-leaning, members of the University of Chicago/Hyde Park community.

          Anyway, enough politics.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          Ah yes, the intellectual rigor exemplified by the use of the word “loon.”

          The shoe fits. Wear it.

          Is your contention that there is no such thing as a “radical leftist”?

          The contention is that in the loony tunes country you inhabit, anyone in the middle is a communist. You don’t have “radical leftists” in your government, because you barely have any centrists. You’ve swallowed propaganda that makes you believe anyone against corporations writing the laws is a Marxist.

          their knee-jerk response is always ad hominem.

          This from the guy that labels everyone not William F Buckley a “radical leftist”.

          Here’s a clue, loon: making business pay their share for supporting the infrastructure of the country whose resources they use to make money isn’t radical. It’s the way it needs to be. But you probably also buy the steaming pile of horse crap that the poor have it too good and the hyper wealthy are hard done by.

    • Chris Bordeman

      I wouldn’t overplay this paralysis.

  • ThierryL

    I agree with Mike Bourbon, you cannot really talk about business failure when you talk about MS. Also, “A computer on every…” is just another way of saying “Let’s sell it to everybody” with a poetic slant. And I’m not so sure about the “in every home” part; MS decided a long time ago to serve companies, not consumer. I think it’s fair to say that they are not threatened there. Their grip the world inc. is undisputed. What Apple has started is a challenge on the home front with iPad, and they’re looking really good. But what is the size of that market in 5 years exactly? Because all those parts of are moving, what kind of pain Apple is inflicting on MS exactly by killing the low-end laptop/netbook? What happens when the best consumer OS is free? I think the real question is; is MS all right with spinning off their highest margin market (consumer), as Paul Allen suggests? He’s right, what they have invaluable, they should focus on it. But will they just abandon Surface users like HP did, or will they go for the corp squeeze? It’s a fascinating time! My opinion, when the dust settles you will have two IT worlds, one business (MS) and one consumer (Apple). BYOD will continue but, it’s not because your employees work on iPhone/Droid that the company will change its infrastructure. I would personally hate to see Apple win on both sides, because as you know this means that thousands of terrible virus would take a swing at OS X, right? :-)

    • FalKirk

      “I think it’s fair to say that they are not threatened there. Their grip the world inc. is undisputed.” – ThierryL

      I dispute it and I think that the facts do too.

      Take a look at market share for phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops and you’ll see that Microsoft will be number 3 behind both Android and iOS by mid 2014. Windows is not only not a monopoly in computing, it’ll soon be niche.

      • Chris Bordeman

        As with your article, you’re long on hyperbole and short on “facts,” or you’d present them.

        • jfutral

          He presented at least 11 points of facts under “What Ballmer Is Leaving In His Wake, Ain’t Pretty”. Which of those do you believe to be simply hyperbolic and disputable?

          Joe

          • Chris Bordeman

            The one where he just claimed Microsoft’s grip on the business world is not firm. None of the “facts” in the article speaks to this aspect at all.

            He could be right to say if Microsoft loses the consumer market, they could see their complete dominance of the business market vastly erode, but there is no evidence to back up this claim. In fact, he doesn’t even make it.

          • 20,000

            The issue is not Microsoft’s grip on the business world, it’s their grip on their own future. The evidence is strong that they’ve permanently lost that, and without it, others are taking their enterprise customers.

          • Chris Bordeman

            That’s not what the comment was about specifically, but I contest that assertion as well. Microsoft is acting very aggressively in many areas to reinvent themselves, and their game is longer term than you or others outside that world are interesting in seeing.

            They are making real inroads in phones (not in the U.S., but certainly everywhere else), Xbox One is a revolution in home entertainment, the Office challenges of a few years ago have been beaten back from 15% market share to less than 5% today, Surface Pro is seeing real adoption in businesses (its reason to exist) and the longer term OS unification goal is intended to move the company toward mobile and fold its mobile partners’ hardware in house. To a non-technical person, it is nearly impossible to explain the importance of platform unification. Even Windows RT has a clever role in this plan which is starting to dawn on a few people, which is why Microsoft is going to fix, not abandon it.

            You guys scoff at the early difficulties of Surface sales, but you don’t think long term. Microsoft has proved that with products such as the Xbox, they do. A bad first year is nothing to a company with the revenue and diversity of experience within Microsoft.

            It is NOT Microsoft’s strategy that’s failing, though the execution is admittedly horrible very often. But they (the board or CEO, who cares) are making tough changes like a huge reorg, ending of stack ranking, a new CEO, and acquisition of Nokia. These changes are intended to make the company’s path and the next CEO’s job easier.

          • jfutral

            “You guys scoff at the early difficulties of Surface sales, but you don’t think long term.”

            “In the long run, we’re all dead.”~John Maynard Keynes

            It’s one thing to be so far ahead of the game you can lay long term ground work or foundation (like iOS 64 bit processing or Amazon, or either the first iPhone or Blackberry). It is an entirely different thing to be so far behind that “long term” is merely an excuse. When it comes to mobile, long term is death for MS.

            Joe

          • Chris Bordeman

            Nice cliche. Reminds me of the article. One cliched quote after another.

          • jfutral

            Keynes is cliche. That’s ripe.

            Joe

          • NonAppleholic

            I’m not a Microsoft fan at all, but I do use their products good or bad. But in reality no software is ever created perfect. Even that created by Apple, as we are plainly witnessing right now with both iOS 7 and OS X. Software is only perfected over time, while never ever reaching perfection, just like no human that creates it is ever perfect! …..but Apple fans will try and make you believe Apple is different and were Perfect day one out of Steve’s garage!

            But the difference now more than ever between these two companies is that Apple is a Software company that sells Hardware that it’s free software can run on. Whereas Microsoft is primarily in the business of selling Software that runs on their hardware. They make money off Games on both PC’s and Xbox for every game or program sold. They make money off every Android and WP8 device sold on it’s software value and they even get compensated for license fees from Apple. Though no Apple fan will admit to.

            Nor will they admit to Apple’s leasing space on MS’s Azure Cloud along with Amazon’s Cloud Storage as well.

          • jfutral

            He said “Take a look at market share for phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops and you’ll see that Microsoft will be number 3 behind both Android and iOS by mid 2014.”

            He presented those figures in his article on which he based his conclusion. What about those facts do you dispute? Or are you just being hyperbolic?

            Joe

      • ThierryL

        Oops.. ON the world inc. obviously…

        Right, I can see your point yes, but this is new money. Doesn’t that show that their real failure is not recognizing that the consumer market will dwarf the business market some day? And they should have paid attention to consumers? Maybe a niche by numbers compared to the other guys’ numbers, but that is quite a big, and profitable niche. It is still a money-printing company if they choose to focus on enterprise only. And that’s a failure? What I don’t get is; by now, every xbox owner should really want a surface for the coming holidays, the top 100 iOS/Droid apps, or equivalent, should already be in their Store, they do software! And that goes to show you that they don’t really want it, or that they think in terms of big accounts, not spreading the joy. But think about the effort it would take to do grab what they have in enterprise, and the countless in-house business applications used on Windows, active directory, those guys are not leaving anytime soon. Undisputed in the sense that MS has their customers locked up, that money is their money, not that the numbers don’t erode in a global market. Their base is not compromised. Is that sufficient? We’ll see…

  • garminuvi

    I presume you have affirmed thought with deed, and use nothing but free software in all your endeavors. After all, betraying what you term this new reality of free software by using paid apps, would be quite disingenuous.

    (BTW the free Office Web Apps suite was released in 2010, 3 years before iWork for iCloud.)

    To proclaim “software is free now” because Apple said so in 2013, several years after all the free software offered from Google, and FOSS is pretty ridiculous.

    • FalKirk

      I’m very confused as to what point you are trying to make.

      First, most, but not all, of the software I use is now free or very inexpensive. This is a very different world than the one I grew up in. We used to pay huge amounts of money for operating system and application software.

      Microsoft makes the vast majority of its software from Windows and Office. Google and Apple now offer “good enough” equivalents for free. The equation has changed.

      “To proclaim “software is free now” because Apple said so in 2013…”

      I don’t believe I said any such thing and it I did, it was only due to poor wording on my part. Google has been attacking Microsoft via free software for years and years.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      Apple bashers. You just can’t help thinking like a light switch.

  • JoeS4

    “John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985.”

    Tech “journalism” is really falling into a gutter. I remember a time not long ago when tech articles were focused on specs, price and hard-nosed impartial comparisons of bang-for-your buck. Now it seems 90% of tech writing is bizarre, fanatical Apple propaganda.

    Here’s the thing – I can’t speak for everyone, and I can’t guarantee the future – but as a consumer I’ve come to several conclusions recently.

    - The iPhone has fallen behind when it comes to hardware, and iOS7 is the worst OS in recent history. A few months ago I replaced my iPhone with a Samsung Galaxy S4. Other than brainless music syncing with iTunes, I haven’t missed the iPhone at all. I still feel a twinge of anger every time I see an image of iOS7.

    - iOS and Android tablets are toys, and will go the way of the dinosaur very quickly, as will Windows RT. Windows 8 tablets are going to dominate the market in the coming years. I’m probably going to buy one myself very soon. Running a phone OS on a tablet is foolishness that will soon disappear. Extremely cheap Android tablets may survive. iPads will not. Not when you can run a full desktop OS, with every piece of software imaginable available, on a tablet that costs the same as an iPad, or less.

    Phone OS tablets are a blip. They’re a wasteful luxury that will soon disappear due to improving hardware specs on tablets.

    • FalKirk

      “I remember a time not long ago when tech articles were focused on specs, price and hard-nosed impartial comparisons of bang-for-your buck.”

      Wow, I’m not sure I’ve every seen anyone get it so backwards. Those were terrible times. Only tech geeks focus on those things. Real people don’t care. They want the benefits of a tool, not it’s specs. They want a tool that works for them, not a tool that they have to work on.

      As for your ad hominem attack on me, again, what exactly is it that your complaining about. That I’ve been trained to think? That I’ve been in love with computing since 1985 (actually, much earlier than that)? That I’m focused on business strategies rather than computer specs?

      I’ve seldom seen anyone so out of touch with the current direction of tech. Good luck to you. You’re going to need it.

      • Kenny

        For God sake John! can you provide us with these Facts that you keep on talking about that makes you said that Microsoft has failed in your analysis of the company?

        You and I agree that the future is in the cloud, the web is the platform of the future,

        The failure of Microsoft in mobile in my opinion is similar to the failure of Apple in the cloud and services, they’re both playing catch up in the two most important parts of future computing.

        you article seems to have more to do with your hate for Microsoft than any analysis of the company business strength and competitiveness.

        • Moeskido

          It’s not hate. More like pity, while watching the equivalent of a slow-motion car crash.

        • FalKirk

          “can you provide us with these Facts that you keep on talking about”

          Well, I believe I listed 11 in my article although they were just casually gathered and not at all comprehensive. The biggest facts that I can think of off the top of my head are that the future is mobile and Microsoft doesn’t have a single product that significantly competes in the mobile space. There’s a lot more, but I think that’s all the facts that we really need to know.

          • Kenny

            I Disagreed

            i do not believe that the Future is in mobile,
            I believe that the future is in the cloud as you mentioned previously in this article here http://techpinions.com/the-microsoft-surface-is-french-toast/21703

          • FalKirk

            “i do not believe that the Future is in mobile, I believe that the future is in the cloud” ~ Kenny

            Ah, I see. Well, I certainly disagree with you about mobile. Clearly we’re moving to a multiscreen universe and the most ubiquitous screens are those of phones and tablets.

            As to the cloud, yes, I agree that it is the new hub of computing. Microsoft may well have a strong future there, but that is the back end of computing, not the front end. There’s nothing wrong with it at all, but it will require a significant transition from Microsoft’s current strategy. And I don’t see Microsoft trying to make that transition. Instead, I think they’re fighting hard to retain what they have.

          • steve_wildstrom

            The cloud enables mobile by offloading both heavy-duty compute and storage responsibilities from the device.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      - iOS and Android tablets are toys, and will go the way of the dinosaur very quickly

      Said about the Mac’s GUI. Have you even looked at a desktop computer lately?

      PC bigots are fond of making grand predictions for Microsoft’s mediocre efforts while trying to dismiss the very nature of the current reality of mobile computing. And that reality is that Microsoft is a non-player in mobile computing. Just like all the glowing optimism for the Nokia purchase that can only be maintained by people completely and utterly ignorant of the fate of nearly every other MS partner in mobile.

      • FalKirk

        “iOS and Android tablets are toys, and will go the way of the dinosaur very quickly”

        Just to add to His Shadow’s point, people like “toys” (i.e. tools that are easy and fun to play with) and whenever something that is “work” has to compete with something useful that is perceived to be a “toy”, the toy wins every time. :)

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      iOS7 is the worst OS in recent history.

      Yeah, it’s 80% adoption rate spells doooooooooooom.

      Don’t be such a drama queen.

      • NonAppleholic

        lol… you act like that’s of something huge and special! hahaha…..

        It’s merely 80% of 13% of the Global market and is primarily focused on teens into Lisa Franks Colors and Designs or old folks going through mid life crisis or senile old grannies reminiscing about their childhood days cutting paper dolls and coloring “I Bleed 6 Colors for Apple” Dreams in their youth!

        Personally I would say that even Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall’s penchant for skeuomorphic designs was far better choice than the designs Sir Joni Ive – Invented Everything Good in Apple…. and Steve & Scott stole all my credit….. waaaahhh.

        Which means he’s also claiming he was part of the same Apple that used an unchanged Skeuomorphic simple iOS design to get to near 18% market share. Which was it’s highest percentage before Apple fired Scott and Steve had died!!!

        Anyway….. No thanks! If I was to ever buy an iOS device again (which is never), I wouldn’t buy one with iOS 7 installed even if my life depended on it! Death would be a far better choice! ;-P
        http://mashable.com/2013/09/19/ios-7-gifs/

      • JoeS4

        You are clearly the one being a “drama queen”. I don’t what it is about Apple that inspires such fanatical loyalty from some people, but it is extremely annoying. I don’t dislike Apple. I’ve owned and used their products. I’ll do so again in the future if it makes sense. But as an adult heterosexual male, I found iOS7′s appearance almost embarassing to use. More importantly, they greatly reduced the intuitiveness of the interface, and made things less readable and harsh to look at. It completely sucks. So much so that Android’s boring, cheap interface was a relief.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          But as an adult heterosexual male, I found iOS7′s appearance almost embarassing to use.

          The fact that you feel the need to state that just drives home the fact that you are a drama queen. Insecure in your manhood to the extent that the colour palette of an OS gets your panties in a twist.

          You are the embarrassment.

        • steve_wildstrom

          JoeS4, I’ve let this and other comments stand, but you are getting very close to homophobia that will not be tolerated here.

  • JoeS4

    To provide a clearer point in case anyone isn’t interested in reading my longer post below- sales figures do not equal “market share”. The fact that people aren’t buying as many Windows PCs doesn’t mean they’ve stopped using them. Everybody already has one – usually more than one. They are ubiquitous. Smart phones and tablets are still in the adoption phase, which is why so many are selling. And Windows 8 tablets (made by all of the major PC manufacturers) are soon going to be taking a huge chunk out of phone OS tablet sales.

    • steve_wildstrom

      I do not believe Apple will ever release an OS X tablet; in fact, I think it is far more likely they will come out with a notebook-like device, with a touchscreen running iOS.

      Apple understands, as Microsoft does not, that different form factors require different operating systems, especially at the UI layer. The problem with the Surface Pro and other Windows 8 tablets is that to use all that great Windows software requires a keyboard and mouse. And once you add a keyboard and a pointing device to a tablet, it is no longer a tablet.

      I am reserving judgment on Microsoft until I see what they do with a truly mobile version of Office. Mobilizing Office requires a radical rethinking of how people will use it and it will have to be a version that exists alongside traditional Office, not replace it. Office 2013 was a dismal failure, really just a minor reworking of Office 2010, because it failed to make any of the hard choices.

      • NonAppleholic

        Apple can never release an OS X Tablet. Because OS X is a MacD’s Pieces and Parts assortment of OS’s, Frameworks, and file systems with layers of abstraction the only glue to hold it all together for it’s built in Legacy Past. From which they can’t simply abandon their past to move into the future with on a Touchscreen based tablet or phone OS.

        Apple is simply stuck in their past based on HFS+ legacy birth on single threaded chips. Which was great for music players and phones in the past, But today, Apple has no chance of challenging Microsoft on today….. and that be for running full real time multitasking and Multithreaded Apps or Touchscreen UI’s, when they don’t have a file system or kernel in OS X capable of any of what’s coming in the future!

        As much as Apple fans hate to admit it, iOS is only a HALFassed OS still running on HFS+ and requiring 3rd party devs and Jailbreak community to make innovations they can then steal and say they invented them. But that’s only good to a point and Apple is just going out on high seas right now to test the theory that they can turn a half baked OS into an all for everything and everyone OS, when it can only run on their own hardware!

        Apple is so locked into their closed garden walled prison themselves, that they think they can easily persuade at least their Applewellian rank and file Party Members and fans into thinking iOS is a GREAT FULL Operating System, that can do everything their customers want for them. But they are going to have a hard time getting anyone else to believe that!!! …..not when their Desktop/notebook OS is so lost in it’s MacD’s Pieces and Parts Past!

        Originally Apple was going to use OS X as a stepping stone into an OS based almost entirely on NeXTStep. If they had of changed one thing instead of hanging on to it all these years, it’d be the archaic old dilapidated HFS+ at the heart of all their problems today in no touchscreen for OS X and no REAL Multitasking for iOS. AND….. how in the world can you expect to move into the future using a cut rate phone OS on PC’s, notebooks and tablets forever???

        • steve_wildstrom

          This is nonsense. It is true that OS X is not designed to scale up to massive datacenter servers (though its BSD kernel is quite capable of that.) This isn;t what OS X is designed for. Apple’s strategy of designing OSes appropriate to each system makes a lot more sense than the Microsoft approach of a single OS (with minor variations) to run on everything from an ARM tablet to a 32-processor SMP server.

          • JoeS4

            Apple’s strategy makes no sense at all, because an OS that runs on every type of device means software that runs on every type of device. I’m going to buy a Windows 8 tablet soon, the only question is which one. As their app store gets populated, there will no longer be any reason to use anything else. You’ll have all of the phone toy apps, but then you can also run:

            Office
            Quicken
            Photoshop
            PC Games

            You get the idea. All of the flagship software that already exists on Windows runs on a Windows 8 tablet. It would be foolish to buy any other type of tablet, unless you want a really small one that does very limited things, running Android for $200 or less – but phones are increasing in size, which means there will be a convergence point where the phone OS tablets no longer make sense at all. I can already surf the internet adequately on my Galaxy S4. I don’t need an Android or iOS tablet. I’m getting a Windows 8 tablet. I don’t mind waiting for their mobile apps to mature – I can just run the real thing in the meantime.

          • jfutral

            “because an OS that runs on every type of device means software that runs on every type of device.”

            That’s not entirely true. That isn’t even true with just desktop Windows with many software titles having minimum spec requirements. Just because something can run on any device doesn’t mean it can actually be _usable_ on any device. And that is the current predicament MS is finding itself. Not many software titles have been adapted to a touch interface. Could that change? Sure, but by the time it changes significantly enough it won’t matter.

            A big factor is because MS doesn’t have the stranglehold it once had to strong arm developers to obey. That is what all those charts clearly illustrate. Before Windows was pretty much the ONLY platform. Not any more.

            Joe

          • FalKirk

            “Apple’s strategy makes no sense at all…” – JoeS4

            With all due respect Joe, it’s the same strategy that has rocketed them from last to first in just over a decade. Every step of the way people said that Apple’s strategy was wrong and the market has proven those naysayers incorrect time after time.

            Let’s at least give Apple its due. They’ve done pretty well with their current strategy. If you’re going to say they’re wrong, you have present either a new theory or some new evidence to support it.

          • NonAppleholic

            You’re deluded FalKirk! First?…. in what??…. Market Cap and Profits??? Hardly a boon of innovation for consumers globally. That are opting out of going in debt on contracts, just to make Apple richer. Now instead they are keeping more in their pockets by buying Android phones out right and using PayGo Plans like Ting or Page Plus, etc here like they do in the rest of the non debtor to China Nations. Not all people in this World are ignorant Apple share holders you know! lol….

            Apple is in decline or at least stagnant and there is no denying that. Here in the US….. Samsung took 38% market share to Apple’s 34%. That with the US now down to the #3 in fastest growing Smartphone markets, to both China and India. Where in China over the last year Apple went down from a measly 8% market share last year to 5% this year. Compare that to Samsung up 2% to almost 20% of the Chinese Smartphone market share. They are the single largest selling phone maker in China. With 3 models of Galaxy series smartphones (including most expensive Note 3 still selling like hotcakes) in the Top 10. Apple only has 1 phone model in the top 10 the last 3 quarters and it’s ranked down near the bottom 7th or 8th!

            Apple’s presence in India is even more embarrassing and without any gains in these top smartphone markets, Apple remains a huge longshot to ever be #1 in either India or China. For that matter it’s now impossible to imagine Apple ever breaking 15% Global market share again. With the whole World now buying Android Smartphones for Smarter People now at over 80% of the Global Market!

            And don’t give me the now lame comparison of….. “iPhones are like Ferraris and Androids are like Fords or Hyundai/Kia’s”! haha…. because Ferraris are RARE first of all and they are simply a hole in the ground Fiat pours money into! ….a money loser you shouldn’t be comparing Apple to. Yet…. iPhones are like millions of Mao Suit Clones for you Apple fans!

            Whereas Hyundai/Kia came from the back of the pack to the Top 5 wealthiest auto makers on the planet now. Only behind Toyota #1, GMC #2, Volkswagen #3, Ford #4, and Hyundai #5 and challenging Ford this year!

            Welcome Home Apple and Fans….. to your Niche Market of the 90′s against the Microsoft of today in the Global Leaders in Google Android and SAMSUNG #1! ^_*

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            Apple’s strategy makes no sense at all

            There is a massive gulf between you not understanding something and whether said thing makes sense. It’s painfully obvious in light of Apple’s decade and a half continued success that Apple’s strategy makes an enormous amount of sense.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          Utter drivel. iOS is based on OSX. Nearly every single point in your post is wrong.

          • NonAppleholic

            No it’s not and if you knew what you were talking about, you’d understand what I was saying. Although the kernel may be based on FreeBSD, it’s a stripped down newer kernel version, with it’s own set of API’s and runtimes. Including a custom iTunes and Quicktime frameworks, along with the Touchscreen framework. Apple had to start from scratch in order to integrate the Touchscreen Framework they didn’t hire a Touchscreen Engineer to develop for iOS until November 2004! …..and that’s around the same time they began work on the iOS kernel.

            It’s why they can never integrate Touch interface into OS X. It was built on an entirely different Older kernel version, before even BSD had touchscreen capability. BSD right now has the Touchscreen capability OS X will never have. Plus the HFS+ file system OS X primarily runs on is like Linus Torvalds said, “HFS+ is complete and utter crap”!

            You Apple Revisionists can’t change the facts, but you can sure color them up with your “I Bleed 6 Colors of Apple” misinformation, RDF FUD and outright lies!

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            It’s why they can never integrate Touch interface into OS X.

            You are an idiot. The same multipoint gestures available in iOS are available on Mac OS X. What do you think the trackpad does?

            And what Torvalds thinks about HFS+ is about as germane to the discussion as cat GIFs.

            Clowns such as yourself are fond of inventing roadblocks that Apple could “never” work around only to be embarrassed as they do just that.

            You Apple Revisionists can’t change the facts,

            We don’t have to change the facts. The facts speak for themselves. And the fact is that you have no idea what Apple has, can or will accomplish with it’s OSes because like every anti-Apple clown before you, you refuse to accept Apple’s accomplishments to date as an indication of Apple’s potential. As far as you are concerned, Apple’s latest milestone is it’s last, and every time they move beyond their current capabilities, you reset the clock again and make the same stupid claims.

          • NonAppleholic

            You are the fool…. lol…. and I’m not kidding. Especially if you really believe iOS’s kernel is in any way shape or form like OS X’s BSD 4.3 based inside the Mach microkernel. First and foremost, because they are running on two completely different hardware platforms. That required a fresh write and new custom API’s and the kernel for iOS with newer BSD source code, in it’s Mach based kernel. Then they needed a rewrite of OS X’s kernel going from IBM PowerPC chips to Intel’s x86 architecture for OS X.

            Now granted some transition code was already there from NeXTStep’s Mach BSD kernel. Being that it had already been coded for different hardware architectures. But nothing from NeXTStep or Mac OS had been coded to run on modern ARM chips ever before. The instruction sets although RISC based in iOS, required an entirely different approach. Which Scott Forstall being the genius that he is…. somehow made it all work. Without the ZFS file system he wanted to get true Multi-tasking working on iPhone, but it was a simply beautiful OS no doubt. Without needing Sir Joni Ive Invented Everything (and Steve and Scott stole all my credit… waaaahhhhh’s” Lisa Frank GUI Design and color scheme!

            Now back to multi-point gestures, because I think it’s hilarious that you seem to believe that OS X is capable of running on on touchscreens with it’s present archaic old HFS+ base file system. Right now it has no ability to run a Touchscreen or they would be, like Linux and Windows. AND I’m not talking just about Multipoint gestures either! lol……

            When the only reason BSD can now run a Touchscreen Interface today is because it now has better file systems to choose from. But…. most of all because the Open Source Community aren’t planning on killing it to run their weak knee’d phone OS on Mac desktops. Which iOS nor OS X can run full Real Time Multi-tasking on it’s old fart HFS+ file system. That every other mobile OS but Apple’s can run without faking it with Suspend Only task management! ;-P

            Now here’s a short list of all the pieces & parts that went into developing MacD’s Chicken Nuggets pieces and parts OS X:
            1. NeXT Apple… started with it’s 80′s Mac OS. Threw out the junk and focused on running Mac frameworks like Quicktime, etc…. emulated/virtualized on IBM chips. Thus Apple/NeXT’s created Rhapsody and it was a far better more Mac like UI on a BSD source code kernel on a Fast Filesystem (FFS) vs Mac on HFS+. It then was released as OS X server in 1998 or 99 I believe. But never made it as a consumer release in the long line of Apple OS versions over it’s history.

            2. Darwin was the basis or underpinnings of OS X you fools know and love so much today. So now you have Mach kernel coming from 1985 Carnegie Mellon Open Source. Then NeXTStep engineers used it to incorporate FreeBSD for it’s more versatile BSD source code written in Objective C. Mach kernel had been specifically developed for use on large “Distributed Computing Networks” with it’s ability to run on massively parallel processing hardware architectures with multiple processors.

            3. When NeXT Computer engineers started working on NeXTStep… one of it’s API’s turned into OPENSTEP a kernel layer within NeXTStep . Which later got forked to BSD based Open Source OpenStep. Absolutely no relation to Apple in any way, except that NeXTStep and Sun had gone together to create OPENSTEP,,,,, OS X’s father.

            Now we have BSDStep to compete with. Which is the latest step or fork of OpenStep. So now I hope you’re as thoroughly confused on Apple’s OS’s as everyone else is. Are you still with me…. or are you getting even more confused yet? lol… like I said OS X is a completely confusing MacD’s Pieces and Parts OS!

            4. Enter Carbon an abstraction layer API to enable all these different pieces and parts to talk to each other. So now we got Mach confused BSD kernel, OPENSTEP that became NeXTStep, that in turn became Rhapsody able to run Mac frameworks and finally morphed and integrated into Mac OS using Carbon, to make Darwin and it all ended up still stuck running on the dinosaur HFS+ as it’s Apple Home Boy file system. But we aren’t done yet!

            5. Now Apple wasn’t satisfied confusing just their own workers, they added Cocoa into the mix to complete their Heinz 57 OS, with it’s rip off of Adobe’s PDF Clone for OS X’s display engine. Which was announced at 2003 WWDC. You know…. the same time Steve was telling the World how much better IBM PowerPC chips were than Intel’s during the Megahertz Wars. When Intel was inflating their processor speeds into Megalomanic more Hurtz and only AMD and IBM were telling the truth!

            But you will no doubt proof how big an idiot and foolish Apple fan you are now with some lame excuse and FUD filled response. Because you don’t know what you’re even talking about in the first place. But…. hey… that’s Apple fault for feeding you all a line of bull about how they created the Universe and the Galaxy’s in it. But…. hey… I can safely say SAMSUNG…. Created the GALAXIES…. while Apple was busy popping pimples on the man in the moon’s ***!

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            iOS

            iOS 7 is based on Darwin 14.0.0 (Darwin Kernel Version 14.0.0:Mon Jun 17 00:44:15 PDT 2013;root:xnu-2423.1.28~7/RELEASE_ARM_S5l8940X).

            Darwin OS

            Darwin forms the core set of components upon which OS X and iOS are based. It is compatible with the Single UNIX Specification version 3 (SUSv3) and POSIX UNIX applications and utilities

            Shut. The Fvck. Up.

          • steve_wildstrom

            I am mystified by your obsession with filesystems. What on earth does the choice of a filesystem have to do with the availability, or lack thereof, of touch APIs. The touch APIs belong to the application framework, Cocoa for OS X, Cocoa Touch for iOS.

            Your history of OS X is rather a muddle. It leaves out the critical role of Avie Tevanian, who wrote the Mach kernel (with, oddly enough, Rick Rashid, later of Microsoft), then used it to build NeXTSTEP and came to Apple when Apple acquired NeXT. He was responsible for the Darwin kernel and Rhapsody, which was never intended to be much more than a developer release bridge between System 9 and OS X.

            The one thing you got right is that the Quartz presentation layer was ripped off from Adobe. Nothing illegal about it; Adobe had made PDF an open standard. But John Warnock and Charles Gaschke were sorely annoyed that Steve refused to give them credit and relations between Apple and Adobe were never the same.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          Originally Apple was going to use OS X as a stepping stone into an OS based almost entirely on NeXTStep

          What the Hell are you talking about? OS X’s pedigree is OPENSTEP running on the Mach kernel. Next was purchased by Apple for the expressed purpose of using Next technologies as the basis for the new Mac OS. And that’s what happened.

      • JoeS4

        This is a very strange point of view your espousing. It sounds as if you believe iOS, Android and other limited smart phone OSes can replace Windows, OSX, Linux, etc.? If so, you can’t be serious.

        Also this statement:

        “And once you add a keyboard and a pointing device to a tablet, it is no longer a tablet.”

        Versatility is a bad thing? I don’t think the keyboard/mouse interface is ever going away. Touch is simply not capable of doing a large variety of tasks with nearly the same efficiency. It does simple tasks well enough, but for more complex software, you still need a keyboard and mouse.

        The ideal device, which is where Windows 8 is heading, will be able to do it all. You can dock it, add a keyboard and mouse and do everything you can currently do with a traditional PC, or you can carry it around by itself and use it as your tablet/reader toy device. The only limitations are how much horsepower can be crammed into the tablet form vs. battery life. and weight.

        I’ll say it again: mark my words. Tablets running smart phone OSes, or things like the Kindle, are a passing fad that will not last. They’re a waste of money now that Windows 8 tablets exist. Especially the expensive iPad. Maybe extremely cheap Android tablets can survive.

        • steve_wildstrom

          Versatility is a virtue–to a point. Beyond that point, you gat a Swiss Army knife that can try to do everything but can’t do anything very well.

          I use an iPad with a keyboard all the time. But I can never forget when doing so that I have both a lousy imitation laptop and a tablet that is no longer a tablet, if only because it requires a solid, flat surface on which to work. A keyboard can be a valuable addition to a tablet, letting you do things you couldn’t do otherwise, but there is no getting around the fact that it is a compromised experience.

          • NonAppleholic

            The only true tablet experience as envisioned by the original inventors for Knight-Ridder tablet concept in 1994, is Samsung’s Galaxy Note series. A pure touchscreen interface will never be able to replace the versatility of a dual digitiser device with stylus and variable pressure touch, including Air/hover and near infinite pressure sensitive stylus!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBEtPQDQNcI

            I know Apple now has a patent on pressure sensitive finger touch. But it’s just VAPORWARE like iTV and iWatch we’re still waiting to see actually on the market. Because in reality the sensor/digitiser required for such a concept doesn’t exist yet and I doubt buying it Authentec will help them come up with something that actually works, as our fingers simply can’t take the place of a Wacom Pressure Sensitive Stylus!

            So in closing…. you seem to be holding onto the Steve Jobs’s concept of a tablet not being a tablet unless it’s Apple’s full 10″ iPad w/o a keyboard or stylus that a finger can never duplicate. It’s like finger painting vs using various paintbrushes. Fingerpainting is for kids and the paintbrushes (Styluses) are for Artists with greater productivity and control!

        • jfutral

          “Tablets running smart phone OSes, or things like the Kindle, are a passing fad that will not last.”

          That’s entirely possible, especially since it is very true of just about anything tech related. It doesn’t take much for the next big thing to replace the old big thing. However, this:

          “now that Windows 8 tablets exist.”

          ain’t going to do it.

          Joe

          • JoeS4

            I strongly disagree, but I’ll post my thoughts above.

    • FalKirk

      “If Apple decided to release an OSX tablet, that would be interesting.” JoeS4

      With all due respect, Joe, your position doesn’t deserve any respect. Apple is never going to make an OSX tablet because tablets thrive on touch interfaces which are incompatible with pixel inputs.

      You can disagree if you want. Microsoft certainly did. And now the market – and reality – are making Microsoft pay the price for being on the wrong side of computing history.

      • JoeS4

        I was unaware that OSX could not be transitioned to touch. Knowing that, it means Apple is even more screwed than I thought. I can see where someone who does nothing but word processing, email and web surfing could think iOS is the future. But most people do much more complex things with computers.

        • steve_wildstrom

          OS X could be transitioned to touch. Technically, there’s no problem in all in adding iOS’s Cocoa Touch APIs to OS X (though for this to do anyone any good, third-party applications developers would have to rewrite their apps to use the new APIs.) But Apple has made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of doing so.

        • FalKirk

          “I was unaware that OSX could not be transitioned to touch” – JoeS4

          Technicallly, you’re right, Joe, so I’ll retract my remarks and add my apologies.

          However, since Apple has a very fine touch OS in iOS, I don’t see any reason why they would abandon it in order to move to a touch based OS X.

          Or perhaps I have still missed the drift of your argument.

  • JoeS4

    Below you said:

    “Take a look at market share for phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops and you’ll see that Microsoft will be number 3 behind both Android and iOS by mid 2014. Windows is not only not a monopoly in computing, it’ll soon be niche.”

    I’m trying to point out the central flaw in your argument, and it’s a massive point you seem to have completely missed. The numbers you’re pointing to are shipments of new devices. They are not ongoing usage statistics. The world is already saturated from head to toe with Windows PCs. Many people and organizations are still using 5-10 year old computers with Windows XP on them. Smart phones and tablets are very NEW relatively speaking. People are buying a lot of them because they don’t already have them.

    That does not mean they’re replacing the installed base of Windows PCs, or that individuals, businesses and developers will abandon Windows for iOS or Android. You’re failing at basic logic here, and getting confused by charts and statistics you’ve cited that you don’t seem to even understand.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      You don’t have the data for any of your claims, but that sure hasn’t stopped you from making them.

    • FalKirk

      “The world is already saturated from head to toe with Windows PCs.” – JoeS4

      Excellent point. Microsoft Windows installed base is huge. Here’s why I don’t think it matters.

      First, most of that installed base is using very old software on very old machines. Second, much of that installed base is being over served by PCs and Windows. All they want is a kiosk or a cash register or a way to do simple word processing or spreadsheets. When they upgrade, they’re going to abandon notebooks and desktops en masse and move to tablets. If Microsoft had a presence in tablets, you’d expect them to continue to use Widows. But if they have to re-learn the operating system anyway, they’re free to choose whatever device and whatever operating system best suits their needs.

      So yes, I focusing on current sales and ignoring installed base. But they reason I’m ignoring installed base is because they’re all about to flip to non-Windows machines.

      • JoeS4

        You don’t seem to understand that those Windows front ends are being served by Windows back ends. If a viable Windows option exists, businesses with installed Windows systems are going to choose the Windows option – especially if it’s cheaper.

        Even more importantly, you’re ignoring the fact that we have at least 30 years of accumulated PC integration into nearly every aspect of life and society. Smart phone operating systems are severely limited, gimped operating systems. They cannot do many of the things we’ve come to expect from computers. The primary appeal of the smart phone is its extreme portability, and its uses as a communications device, GPS, and other specific things it does that are all tied directly to mobility, and things you need to do when you’re out and about. The other software that runs on smart phone operating systems is largely junk and/or severely gimped from what desktop programs do.

        Here’s just one example to illustrate what I mean:

        http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/03/photoshop-touch-app/

        iOS and Android cannot make the leap to being full blown desktop operating systems. Microsoft is approaching the point where Windows will be scalable all the way from a fully-juiced desktop tower down to a phone. When you look at all of the major software developers that have been designing for Windows for decades, they are going to be much more comfortable transitioning to touch-enabled Windows than they will be trying to shoehorn their programs into iOS or Android.

        The reasons why Windows still has the advantage are so numerous that they should be obvious, but frankly you seem like someone whose understanding of technology is limited to your own experience as a very light user. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I am enough of a “power user” to know that you’re missing a lot of complexities.

        The ultimate endgame for Windows is a world where Windows is hooked into “the cloud”, and any Windows device you pick up or move to, regardless of the form factor, will be able to access the exact same “desktop”, apps, settings and so forth, limited only by the capabilities of the device. You sign into your account, and everything you set up at home is right there. I personally think cloud-based computing is being oversold, and has serious limitations and flaws that are being glossed over a lot these days. But the idea of having one system that unifies everything is obviously very appealing. That’s the reason why Windows became dominant in the first place.

        • FalKirk

          “If a viable Windows option exists, businesses with installed Windows systems are going to choose the Windows option” – JoeS4

          My point exactly, Joe. There is no viable Windows support for phones or tablets.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          Windows will be scalable all the way from a fully-juiced desktop tower down to a phone.

          As if “Windows” was a monolithic code base of similar core OSes, as opposed to the dog’s breakfast of non-interoperable kernels it is today.

          • JoeS4

            That is what they appear to be heading towards. I read a quote from someone at Microsoft in the last couple days that basically said there will not continue to be three version of Windows – 8, RT and WP. WP and RT will probably become one thing for light hardware, long battery life devices, and apps will be more interchangeable with full Windows.

          • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

            Windows – 8, RT and WP. WP and RT will probably become one thing for light hardware,

            You do realize that Microsoft has been at this for more than 20 years, and a unified code base has never ever been the case?

          • steve_wildstrom

            That was Julie Larson-Green, who ought to know.

    • jfutral

      “The really interesting numbers would be answering this question: How many people have thrown away their Windows/Mac/Linux desktop and/or laptop PCs and moved exclusively to an iOS or Android device for all of their computing needs? My guess is the answer is something very close to ZERO, but I don’t have the data.”

      You know, I would have agreed with that, except now I know of at least four people who do not own desktops/laptops and do all their personal computing on iPads and iPhones and they are quite happy. When I ask them they say all the stuff they want to do they can do on iPads and iPhones.

      That last phrase is key—all the stuff _they_ want to do. I have no doubt that there will always be a reason to use something more powerful than a tablet or smartphone. But I also have no doubt those purposes are going to be very specific and no longer considered general computing.

      Joe

      • FalKirk

        “How many people have thrown away their Windows/Mac/Linux desktop and/or laptop PCs and moved exclusively to an iOS or Android device for all of their computing needs? My guess is the answer is something very close to ZERO…”

        That supposition is very, very wrong.

        • JoeS4

          Data to back that up?

          • FalKirk

            Difficult to obtain. But the best data we have to date is decreased notebook and desktop sales and increased sales of software on mobile and mobile web usage and web purchasing.

  • JoeS4

    Without getting into responding to a bunch of individual comments below, I’ll hit a few subjects here at the top. I’ve been shopping for a tablet recently. I’m not sure how many people posting below (including the author) have actually used the devices they’re talking about.

    I suggest going to a store like Best Buy that has all of the major tablets in stock and trying them for yourself. Then tell me that you think Microsoft doesn’t stand a chance. My conclusion after trying the Surface Pro 2 hands-on is that there are only two reasons why anyone would want any other tablet – price and weight. The breadth of what you can do on a Windows 8.1 tablet so completely dwarfs an Android tablet or iPad that you can barely even compare them.

    As for the two factors of price and weight, that’s where I’m still undecided. Dell has just come out with the Venue Pro tablets, and I’d like to get my hands on them. The decision is between the extremely well made and powerful Surface Pro 2 and something a bit cheaper and possibly lighter from another manufacturer, but still running Windows 8. An iPad is a waste of money that only does a fraction of what a Windows 8 tablet does, and Android is frankly a crappy OS made by an internet company that wants to access every piece of private information about you, rope you into their services and use you to sell ads. I chose the Galaxy S4 to replace my iPhone 4 because I hate iOS7, but mainly because of the hardware specs of the Galaxy. Android sucks, but so does iOS7, so it was a toss-up and I went for the phone with a bigger screen, better camera, SD card, removable battery, etc.

    Anyway, back on topic I am convinced that Windows 8+ tablets are the future of tablets. Absolutely no doubt in my mind. Whatever phone you have, you can sync it to a Windows tablet. Unless Apple revokes iTunes for Windows (which would be suicide), they can’t prevent Windows tablets from eating the iPad’s lunch, even among iPhone users.

    As for Apple specifically, since the author is clearly an Apple fanatic, I would simply point out that while the company has been very profitable and has gotten a fair share of the phone and tablet markets in the U.S., they are only really a dominant force in the U.S., and only in those form factors. Macs are not taking off because of the popularity of iPhones and iPads.

    • jfutral

      “Anyway, back on topic I am convinced that Windows 8+ tablets are the future of tablets”

      Is the future of tablets more capability? No doubt. Is that going to be ushered in by Windows? I don’t see it. And precisely because of what you say about how many Windows machines out there, that installed base vs current sales. Those old machines will continue to collect dust and cobwebs as more and more people move to mobile devices for the bulk of their computing. MS is trying to latch onto that. They may make some headway, but it won’t be because people used Windows on their laptops or desktops. It will only be if MS can convince people that the Surface is less of a headache their old Windows machines were.

      Sure would like to hear your definition of Windows phones and Surface tablets making headway and strong growth.

      Joe

      • JoeS4

        The most recent number I saw was something like a 135% increase in market share for WP globally. As I said, that’s starting from a very low number. But if I recall correctly, it’s now up to 10% market share in Europe, and is popular in developing markets like India.

        I don’t want to sound like I’m a “fan” or booster of Microsoft in the same way people are about Apple. I’m strictly interested in what works for me as a consumer. I think I’ve settled my mind since my last post that I’m getting a Surface Pro 2. If you haven’t actually used one, you have to do that before you can have an opinion on it.

        My basic conclusion is that while I need to keep a more powerful (and thereby heavy) laptop for certain things I do (specifically pro audio applications), the best device for me is one that allows me to get away from the laptop as much as possible, and do as many of the things I do on it in a more mobile way. The Surface Pro fills that role, and I think it will justify its price.

        When I was at the store, I looked at the Samsung Note 10.1, the iPad Air and the new iPad Mini with Retina. The Samsung is just like my Galaxy S4 – and I’m not a fan of Android. The iPads have great screens, and they’re very light and responsive. But they’re just large iPhones. I don’t need a large phone that can’t make calls. The Surface Pro 2 (128GB) is only $250 more than the iPad Air – and it’s a full blown Windows PC, with touch functionality to serve as a tablet, and dramatically more horsepower.

        This is the best way I can put it: the big innovation of recent years was smart phones. Their extreme portability and connection to cellular networks ushered in a host of new functions that PCs never fulfilled. The tablet, as a midpoint between laptops and phones, is something that everyone (particularly Bill Gates) has been talking about for years, but it never came to pass until recently. The problem with current tablets is that they are dominated by iOS and Android, which are operating systems designed for smart phones. At the same time, PCs have been getting smaller and lighter, with laptops and ultrabooks beginning to reach tablet proportions of weight and mobility. The two ends of the spectrum are converging, and the question is now this: do you want a tablet with a phone OS, or a tablet with a full-fledged desktop OS?

        I think the answer is clearly going to be the latter, and that means Microsoft, because there is no one else on the playing field. Keep in mind that there are smaller, lighter Windows 8 tablets (8″ generally) being made by a variety of PC manufacturers. For me personally, the Surface Pro is right where I need it to be to get away from my laptop most of the time. I recognize that there are people who are lighter users than I am, and an iPad may be enough for them (although the price doesn’t make sense for most people in my opinion). But having experienced both iOS and Android, I’ve found myself irritated by their limitations. I’ve come to expect a level of depth and functionality from computers that goes beyond what a smart phone OS + apps can offer. That means I’m left longing for Windows, whether I like it or not.

        Considering that there are at least a decades’ worth of PC applications going back to XP that can be run on a Windows 8 tablet, plus you can use a full desktop browser with Flash, etc for web surfing, the functionality completely dwarfs the iPad and Android tablets, even with the gap that currently exists in phone-style apps.

        As I said in previous posts, I believe phones are in their own universe. Because of their extreme portability and cell network infrastructure, there are things they do that tablets and PCs will never do. But they’re not big enough to be someone’s go-to computing and internet device. I can see myself getting another iPhone if Apple steps up their game and produces something better. But I’ll probably be syncing it to iTunes on my Surface Pro. Windows Phone could be a possibility, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

        Windows 8 is trying to bridge the gap between desktop OS and mobile OS. Neither Android nor iOS is capable of bridging that gap. That’s why I think Windows is ultimately going to win – on tablets. Not necessarily to the degree they’ve dominated desktops, but I think they will pull ahead. You can compare it to the original Amazon Kindle. It came out before the iPad, and it’s been forced by the iPad to adopt Android and increase its functionality. I think the presence of Windows 8 on tablets – which we’re just starting to see coalesce – is going to have the same effect on iPads and Android tablets. They can’t do what Windows 8 can do. And I don’t know if a tablet with a limited OS can prevail with a slightly lower price and lighter weight. That’s why I think the iPad is in real danger. The Surface Pro 2 is much more of a premium device than the iPad, which has been the cache of Apple – and yet the iPad is also much more expensive than the low end Android tablets. I don’t see where it goes, unless they upgrade it to a more full OSX OS and bring it into greater convergence with Macs. Apple will never out-compete anybody on the low end.

        • jfutral

          From what I’ve seen no one wants or needs their phone or tablet to be a full fledged desktop machine. They have desk top machines for that. Remember that user base you mentioned? I don’t think I am overstating the notion that 90% of what most people used to use a desktop OS for is now fully handled on phones and tablets, no gap bridging needed.

          Having an OS that can do both will, I think, be a non-starter. I could be wrong. I could end up looking like Ballmer when he laughed at the iPhone. But I don’t think so.

          BTW, I did look at the Surface Pro (I do a lot of drafting, and some audio and video work, BTW) hoping to find what you are saying it provides. It doesn’t. To get it to do what I would need it to do I would end up using it as a laptop, and I already have a more powerful laptop to do that. MS can’t figure out how to make Surface fully touch OR keyboard/mouse perfect, it is annoyingly a little of each. A criticism that seems to be fairly universal. By the time MS figures this out, it will be too late.

          Joe

          • JoeS4

            “From what I’ve seen no one wants or needs their phone or tablet to be a full fledged desktop machine. They have desk top machines for that.”

            The premise of this article is that people are going to abandon desktop/laptop PCs for tablets.

            “I don’t think I am overstating the notion that 90% of what most people used to use a desktop OS for is now fully handled on phones and tablets, no gap bridging needed.”

            I think you are overstating it, based on the fact that tablets are not yet outselling other PCs. Smartphones have been flying off the shelves.

            “Having an OS that can do both will, I think, be a non-starter. I could be wrong. I could end up looking like Ballmer when he laughed at the iPhone. But I don’t think so.”

            I know that I need it, if I am going to buy a tablet. I don’t need a large smartphone that doesn’t make calls, and I think a lot of people will come to the same conclusion. I do not think the Surface Pro will be the answer for most people, because it is unquestionably a premium device. My usage is heavy enough to justify it for me, but other manufacturers are making cheaper, lighter Windows 8 tablets, and what I said is that I think Windows will dominate tablets in a few years, not the Surface.

            It’s like I said before – smart phones have been a huge phenomenon. Meanwhile desktop and laptop PCs have been getting thinner and lighter. The convergence point between the two is still developing territory. Not that many people have bought a tablet yet. When you look at the price of the iPad Air or the Note 10.1 compared to the Surface, it’s hard to believe that market will hold up. Dell has just released 8″ tablets running Windows 8. That territory is where the line between PCs and smart phones is being negotiated. And my point is that a full desktop OS is going to more useful to more people on the high end of the tablet market than a phone OS.

          • jfutral

            “I think you are overstating it, based on the fact that tablets are not yet outselling other PCs. Smartphones have been flying off the shelves.”

            By the numbers, not yet, but the trend is clearly headed in that direction as John clearly lays out above. And that is the point.

            Joe

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          The most recent number I saw was something like a 135% increase in market share for WP globally.

          Yeah. 2.% to 3.6%. I’m sure Apple is terrified.

          • JoeS4

            I don’t know if Apple should be terrified or not, since Android already completely dwarfs them in market share. The biggest problem with Apple is that Steve Jobs is no longer there, and the new management is not looking promising. I cannot overstate how much I hate iOS7. One of the first things they did was fire the guy who was in charge of iOS from the beginning and replace him with someone who apparently thinks “My Little Pony” is the style of the future. More importantly, they’ve ignored what their competitors are doing, and let their hardware stagnate with incremental improvements. Like I said elsewhere, I gave up my iPhone 4 for a Samsung Galaxy S4. Partly because I hated iOS7, and partly because of the hardware specs of the S4. A 5″ screen, 13MP camera, SD slot, removable battery – the difference was too much to ignore. I don’t particularly like Android, and strongly dislike the invasiveness of Google and the way they try to rope you into all of their services, but it does what I need it to do and it doesn’t hurt my eyes to look at it.

    • FalKirk

      “I suggest going to a store like Best Buy that has all of the major tablets in stock and trying them for yourself. Then tell me that you think Microsoft doesn’t stand a chance.” – JoeS4

      Joe, I’m not disagreeing with you. The market is. Have you seen the sales numbers? They’re all that matters and they say that the tablet is what people want and that hybrids are niche.

      • JoeS4

        The Surface and other Windows 8 tablets are not hybrids, they’re tablets. And tablets sales should not be confused with smart phones. In 2012 (the last complete year for sales numbers), fewer tablets were sold than PCs. Smart phone sales are what has been off the charts. Tablets are still a developing market, and the overwhelming majority of people have not yet concluded that they need one.

        • FalKirk

          “The Surface and other Windows 8 tablets are not hybrids, they’re tablets” – JoeS4

          If you look at how Microsoft is advertising the Surface, you’ll clearly see that they are positioning it as a notebook replacement. In at least one commercial, they never used the Surface as a tablet even once. That’s very telling.

          • JoeS4

            As it happens, I’m typing this from a new Surface Pro 2 (128GB) that I bought yesterday. All I can say is that it has exceeded my expectations. It can literally do anything any other device can do – laptop, tablet or phone – except make phone calls (although it does have built in Skype obviously).
            Unlike iPad and Android tablets, it could legitimately replace a desktop/laptop PC and a tablet for most people. By itself it’s a tablet that does everything other tablets do, and does those things better – while also doing a multitude of things no other tablet can do. The stylus is underestimated – you can legitimately use it for artwork, and the handwriting recognition works extremely well. You can sit and write on this thing like a piece of paper, and convert it instantly into a text document. Add the Type Cover and a mouse, and it’s a very fast ultrabook. Project it to a large monitor with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and it’s a desktop. It is, without exaggerating, the most amazing device I’ve ever owned, of any kind.
            That said, the Surface Pro is probably not for everybody. I can see people wanting something lighter and cheaper. But that is coming in the form of Windows 8 tablets made by other manufacturers.
            You have to give credit where credit is due. You can’t just relentlessly trash Microsoft because you think the world revolves around Apple. This is a device Bill Gates has been talking about for years, long before the iPad existed. It completely resets the paradigm established (very recently) by the phone OS tablets.
            Windows 8.1 still needs tweaks and ongoing iteration. But it’s already a much better touch interface than iOS or Android. It is a more innovative design, it looks better, it works better. Those two platforms look like the old Windows desktop, and Windows has shifted to something completely different. The on screen keyboard (using it right now) is much better. The spelling correction is better. I have yet to find anything that iOS or Android does better – and I’ve owned devices with both, and spent many hours using them. The only problem from a tablet perspective right now is the absence of a lot of well known phone/tablet apps. But when you can run any existing Windows software, it’s a minor drawback.
            Long story short, I’m even more convinced now that I was right in what I said here. I strongly predict tablets running Windows 8+ will be the majority of tablets sold in the relatively near future.

    • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

      I am convinced that Windows 8+ tablets are the future of tablets.

      We will just forget that consumers have been rejecting Microsoft’s mobile computing efforts in their entirety for longer than Apple and Android have been in the mobile computing space..

      Microsoft’s massive corporate sales are not indicative of any love or respect consumers have for Microsoft. They are an indication of the love and respect of IT departments, born and bred into a world of Microsoft only solutions. The pathological delusion explicitly contained in Microsoft’s marketing is that there is some silent majority holding off for a Microsoft solution in mobile computing when it’s painfully obvious from history that Microsoft is not making anything consumers actually want to buy in vast quantities. Consumers the world over have spoken: they neither need nor care about Windows/Office on their mobile devices. The stratospheric sales of touch screen portable computers that happen to make phone calls as well as the rapidly increasing sales of tablets drive home this point.

      • JoeS4

        The implication here is that smart phones are somehow a competitor for larger traditional PCs. That’s not the case, and that’s not why they’ve been so popular. What the smartphone does that makes it so invaluable and such an advancement is that it combines functions previously done by multiple independent portable devices into a single device – it’s a phone, it’s a still and video camera, it’s a GPS, it’s a calculator, it’s an mp3 player, it’s a radio, it’s a flashlight, a compass, a Gameboy…the list is long. What it’s not is a full-featured PC that does everything that you can do on a desktop or laptop, or a tablet – which is where my point comes from. Tablets can do much more than iOS and Android are capable of doing. That’s why I’m going to buy a Surface Pro 2, and why I believe Windows will dominate tablets in the future.

        Phones are a unique device, and will probably be the last thing Windows conquers, if ever. But aside from all of the many uses I listed above, when you look at most other phone apps, especially the most popular ones, they’re almost all front ends for websites that have more functionality in a browser – Facebook, Twitter, etc. – or extremely dumbed-down, gimped versions of much bigger PC programs.

        Go use a Surface Pro 2, or other comparable Windows 8 tablet – and you will realize that many of those phone apps have a tiny fraction of the functionality that the same services and programs can provide on a tablet.

        • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

          But the stuff I do on my main PC is flat out impossible on any of those platforms.

          Congratulations. They still make PCs.

  • JoeS4
  • JoeS4

    For anyone who’s interested, here are Bill Gates and Steve Jobs discussing all of this stuff 6 1/2 years ago. The iPhone had just been announced, and they were both clearly working on tablets already:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuhHIqJyjY0