What Microsoft Needs to Do With Windows Blue

by Tim Bajarin   |   March 8th, 2013

windows-blueBy now you probably have been hearing about a major update to Windows 8 called Windows Blue.
Various tech sites have written about it after Win8China wrote about it and suggested it would have tighter integration with Microsoft’s search engine Bing. Some news sites suggest that this version is a major upgrade to Windows 8. There is no doubt Microsoft needs something to inject life back into the ecosystem for their hardware partners. The real question is whether Windows Blue is what the doctor ordered. We think there could be two specific ways Microsoft can address needs in the market.

Low Cost Tablets

Ben wrote a column here last week titled “the invasion of cheap tablets” and pointed out that we are about to see dozens of cheap tablets hitting mature markets this year, making it possible for people to own many for use in their home and businesses. He also pointed out that low cost or cheap tablets, mostly in the 7” to 8” range, should dominate the tablet market going forward and that Microsoft has no answer for this form factor. To date all of their “tablets” are in the 10.1-inch range and the version of Windows 8 on these tablets cannot be scaled downward for use on screens below 10.1 inches–at least in current specs.

If Microsoft were smart they would allow Windows Blue to help fill this gap. To do so Microsoft would need a new pricing strategy for screens in the 7″ and 8″ size range. It should be priced low enough so these new lower cost Microsoft tablets can be priced in the $199-$349.00 range. Most Windows 8 tablets today start at $499. If Microsoft does this, they could finally have a competitive product to Google, Samsung and Amazon. Mind you, however, they would still not be competing for the ultra low end of the 7” tablet market that is now in the $89.00 to $129.00 price range. News of late suggests they will offer a $20 discount to OEMs for devices below 11.6 making these price points possible.

Low Cost PCs

If that is true and they do offer this lower price point on devices under 11.6-inches then it could also be used in some type of hybrid or clamshell offering for the lower end of the tablet and notebook market. We are hearing from OEMs that there is interest in using Windows 8, and in this case it would be Blue, in an ultra-thin Netbook like device priced well under $399 to be in the market this holiday season. For that price I doubt it would have a touch-enabled screen in a clamshell style device but if it were a tablet with detachable keyboard it would have a touch screen as part of the design. A well designed clamshell with touch screen could possibly be in the $499-$549 range.

If what I am hearing is correct, this could be a very interesting holiday season. While really cheap tablets will drive much of the tablet growth, there is still big demand for robust tablets with multiple cameras, more memory, faster processors, all priced in the $249-$349 range. At the moment Apple, Samsung, Google own this market, especially with tablets in the 7.9 “ to 8.1” range.

With Windows Blue it would give Microsoft a fighting chance in this low-end tablet space as early as this holiday. If they do make it possible for OEMs to bring out an ultrathin clamshell using Windows Blue at consumer friendly prices, it could also be a solid product for the consumer market even if it is netbook-ish in nature. This is because of the Windows 8 app ecosystem that is starting to finally grow, which would make a clamshell like this much more acceptable to the low end consumer market. And of course, it would be able to runs the tens of thousands Windows applications already on the market.

What is interesting about some of the conclusions I have made with regards to the Windows ecosystem is that we are talking about success being needed in the low end. This is not a game every OEM is positioned to succeed in, but it is unfortunately the road it looks like Microsoft needs to go down.

I suspect we should be hearing more about Windows Blue in the next coming months. If Microsoft is smart with Blue, it could boost their partners volumes, help turn around their struggles in tablets, and inject some needed life back into their ecosystem.

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Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.
  • Defendor

    I have been saying for some time, that they should Aim WinRT at the Sub 8″ space and drastically cut the license fee.

    Right now WinRT essentially has no purpose, and MS has no product at all in the sub 8″ market.

    Fix both those problem by aiming a very low priced WinRT at that market. This lets them keep more lucrative license fees on more full fledged Windows on x86 and create a cheap Metro only SKU for huge Sub 8″ market.

    The other thing they could do is stop alienating desktop customers by forcing Metro on them. The number one utility request for Windows 8, is something to return the Start Menu.

    • benbajarin

      I completely agree about RT on small form factor. The option is to do that with this lower license fee or run Windows Phone on it. In any case, I believe in that smaller form factor there should be no desktop option. It should be designed in a way to serve pure slates which don’t need desktop IMO.

      We will see what they do but they can’t ignore this and to be honest they can’t afford to do this wrong.

      • jfutral

        This gets to philosophical underpinnings at MS, or at least in their leadership. MS, until the Surface, is very OS centric. They used to chide Apple for not being task focused. When the only machine doing the work being the PC with Windows on it, this was an easy position to declare. But now that we have multiple devices all looking to accomplish a particular task, to make the OS the center of the task is getting in their way.

        Application interoperability not withstanding, Apple has done an admirable job of staying out of the way of apps accomplishing this kind of function—Dropbox and Evernote come to mind. So Apple can function and thrive in an intentional dual OS ecosystem (Mac OS X and iOS, though under the hood both based on the same thing, which probably helps, too).

        MS must, as their strategy, make Windows effectively the same on every device. That’s apparently asking too much and too bad for them. It could be argued that Win8 and WinRT could have been the same as Mac OS and iOS, but when they started throwing in “Pro” and not making either branch have a clear purpose they essentially muddied their waters and apparently people just aren’t interested in parsing everything out to find what they want, much less need.

        Joe

        • tailhook

          Apple is in real trouble over their dual ecosystem, you’ll see. Its primary because they left OS out to rot while focusing on iOS. The primary reason you pull the two together is so that you don’t have dual development cycles.

          iPad Original is basically on its way out with the Mini changing the form factor of pure tablets. Convertibles(primarily the Surface Pro, I think the OEM’s are going to get bounced) are taking over the 10″ form factor.

          I completely agree that RT CAN work if it gets factored to a 7″ Surface Mini, so long as it competes on price with the other 7″ models while running Apps.

          Currently Microsoft doesn’t have anything that can compete in the 7″ space and Apple doesn’t have anything that can compete in the 10″ space.

          Of those two, it’ll be WAY easier for Microsoft to retrofit RT to a 7″ Mini, than for Apple to retrofit the Macbook Air and OS to the convertible form factor(everything in the display rather than the keyboard, detachable keyboard so it can become a tablet). Oh, and they’ll have to do it with the media breathing down their necks for some new knick knack Next Great Device to cream themselves over.

          • jfutral

            You are reflecting a lot of conventional wisdom out there and I understand it, I just don’t agree with it. But I am not anyone special and I kind of don’t care who is right and my profession does not rely on who is right, thankfully.

            I think it is too early to call the death of the iPad original and for the same reason we have laptops with different size screens. My daughter is fine with the Mini. I prefer the larger iPad in general and for how I use it. As long as Apple can address both preferences in Apple’s fashion, they are fine. I guarantee if the only way to address the 7″-ish market was with cheap, crappy devices Apple would never enter that market no matter what the profit potential or the effects on the large iPad market.

            As to why I disagree, I think the Surface and all convertibles are transitional devices. I think the iPad can be convertible enough. You can buy a keyboard and other devices to use for alternative input. I don’t think iPad is threatened in any way by this. Keyboard and mouse input are only important for certain tasks and to people who, like me, came up with computing starting in the 80s. As an old foggie,

            I happen to be lucky enough to work with and know a lot of young people in tech and creatives (I am old enough to include 30-somethings in that group). The keyboard and mouse is kind of “Meh, if I need it” to most of them. We really are just hitting the surface (ha!, Pun) of the capabilities of touch input and the ones driving that are not the old souls of tech.

            I think we are also going to see a lot of old software bastions crumble under this new paradigm, too. CAD is already struggling to figure that out (although they are esoteric enough to probably last longer than other software solutions). Mobile, and the tablet specifically, has been set up enough as a distinctive and forceful environment that the solution will have to come from the software developers and not the OS. The OS can and should help, but we are probably never going to return to a “One ring to rule them all” OS ever again.

            If anything the young probably have a clearer understanding of when a keyboard and mouse are needed and when they aren’t. And they don’t want to have to tote them around if they don’t need to, even as sleek as the Surface keyboard cover is already (at an additional cost).

            What I am most excited about is how this opens up lots of opportunities for new software companies to enter and make a difference for old forms and new functions. Adobe and Flash are not the only ones unnecessary for the future of computing. It really is an exciting time to be alive. Surface throws a potential lifeline to those companies, but at best it only stalls for the inevitable.

            With RT, MS is suffering more from a dual OS strategy than Apple is and primarily because Apple shaped the current environment that MS is trying to compete in. I mean, if Android can compete in a market where there isn’t even a desktop dedicated OS or device (even as they try to push Chrome), I think this should clearly illustrate to MS that the OS is not the center of the universe anymore and that is not a strategy on which to build your future, at least not not as a brand.

            I liked/like RT. I think MS should have been more confident in it and maybe eased into it in a more deliberate, but definitive, fashion, like Apple did with OS X. As it is, they seem too wishy washy with it and should never have released it. Sometimes you just have to stake your ground and say “This is where we are going. Come along or fall behind.” Unless they were just playing politics with Intel. If that’s the case they definitely lose and they have no future.

            But I could be wrong,

            Joe

  • http://twitter.com/MediaCastleX Mike E. Delta

    For Windows RT, they should just eliminate the “Desktop” and run office in some Virtual app for it and high level system functions also in that fashion. I really see the desktop as just that, a virtual management app of some kind but all hell breaks loose when OEM’s don’t get their way…the license reduction is also a smart move since the big babies are so used to having their cake and eating it too!
    BTW, Defendor are you referring to the platform architecture or the OS? WinRT is the architecture, not an abbreviation for the OS… ;)

    • Defendor

      It should be obvious that I am referring to their miserably named Windows RT OS.

      It seems like we are all in Agreement that they should have a Metro ONLY ARM OS.

      BTW the Win8 hits keep on coming:
      http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/08/samsung-electronics-exec-blames-windows-8-for-PC-decline/

      Samsung Exec is blaming the decline in PC sales on Windows 8.

    • steve_wildstrom

      To make things worse, there are two different things known as Win RT. Formally, WinRT, no space, is the programming framework for Metro, or whatever they call it now. Windows RT, often called Win RT, is the ARM version of Windows 8. They are closely related, but two different things. Neither of them is a hardware architecture; Windows RT currently runs only on nVidia Tegra SOC systems, so I guess that is the system architecture.

  • capnbob67

    Even at $30 for OS/Office, this excludes them from the cheap tablets (if their terrible specs didn’t already). There is no margin for it. Then you are into the premium small tablets where the absence of apps kills it against similarly priced Nexus, Kindle and iPad offerings. Windows machines cannot hope to command apple iPad mini prices so then producers are stuck with the classic “why make a small windows tablet rather than an android one?”
    Blue may be MS answer but sadly no one is asking the question.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HC472HNLLQYOPSQ546HVNCIBQI Chris Lu

      Totally agree. MS tried to solve this problem by pricing Surface Tablets at a premium price to try to establish WinRT as the premium alternative to Android tablets without actually being premium, offering bargains specs (slow tegra 3) for outrageous prices.

      However, consumers saw through this artificial price fixing and WinRT is for all intensive purposes dead. With it that, the catch 22 problem of apps. With Win 8 struggling and Win RT dead, the app store is sad joke b/c consumers could care less and developers have responded accordingly as the rate of app submission has halted to a trickle.

      • tailhook

        For the Surface Pro, the entire problem goes away. Apps don’t mean jack on a Surface Pro. Nice to have, but the entire reason to get one is that they run all your Windows Applications.

        If it helps.. Think of the Surface Pro as a Macbook Air, that can also run store apps and do anything an iPad can do. Now do you understand? If Apple had such a device for sale, it would be a Macbook Ipad Air and you would not need to buy either a Macbook or an original iPad, and the Applenuts would be claiming it the best thing ever.

        • jfutral

          The problem is how much of the consumer market cares about this? So far not much, as should be evident by how much success MS had with tablets before the iPad.

          “But things are different”, you might say and largely I agree. What’s different is that the consumer market has actually shown what they want vs MS thinking they can dictate what the consumer should want. It’s a good thing Surface Pro doesn’t need Apps, because they don’t have them and that shows little evidence of changing. Apps have shown that by and large most people don’t need those Windows software applications, with esoteric exceptions.

          It could change. But the change will be MS moving toward the current environment and less the current environment moving to MS’s vision. But at least with Surface Pro MS doesn’t have to materially change anything, just market expectations and perceptions, which are some of the most difficult and expensive to change.

          Joe

          • tailhook

            Whats there to change? We’ve shrunk a Windows PC to a 2lb tablet the size of the Macbook Air, detach the keyboard and it can also be used as a Tablet with pen and run all Apps.

            There IS a market for that. I guarantee you. The only questions being when and how fast it matures.

            There is a market for RT too, but they would need to strip it down, re-factor it for 7″ and go pure tablet. They would also have to compete on price with the other products of that device line(ipad, etc).

  • James Riady

    Windows Blue… such a fancy name for a Service Pack which you have to pay for.

    Most of the world is chugging along happily on Windows XP, Windows 7 and non-Microsoft OSes, so if Windows 8 is dead on arrival, what does it tell you about ‘Windows Blue’, an update to Windows 8?

    You have to go back to the days of Windows Phone 7… Microsoft was creating massive hype about WP 7.5 (Mango), claiming that it would set things right and regain lost market share.

    We all know what happened next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665515099 Asok Smith

    So what does Microsoft REALLY need to do in order to get more consumers to jump on board Windows 8?

    It’s really quite simple actually: make Windows 8 at least as good as Windows 7 by:

    1. Providing an option to make Metro UI completely disappear and restore the start menu to the desktop for those who wish to never, ever see Metro UI again.

    2. Restoring the native ability to play DVDs.

    3. Restoring the option for Aero and shadow effects so that something other than a totally flat display is possible.

    4. Restoring the ability for desktop notification of OS updates.

    5. Fixing the failure to recognize mouses and keyboards as anything other than generic devices unless you download and install Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center.

    6. Restoring the ability to quickly and easily reach Safe Mode with F8.

    Without doing these things, particularly the first three, Microsoft is totally wasting their time with their big blue service pack. I mean, really, how many users give a rat’s a$$ about search and IE11?

    My prediction? Microsoft will not fix a single thing in this list. Not one. And you know why? Arrogance and stupidity. The same things that lead to the removal of those items from Windows 7 in the first place. Tens of thousands of advanced testers and analysts all told Microsoft that Metro UI and no Start menu wouldn’t fly. And did Microsoft listen then? Nope. And they won’t listen now, even though almost the entire world hates Windows 8, Metro UI, and it is already obvious that they are a total failure. Microsoft decided it was going to jump off the cliff with Windows 8 and Metro UI, and rather than arresting the plunge with the next service pack, they’re gonna decide to keep on falling, but at an even faster rate as the gravity of the marketplace accelerates their insane leap to doom.

    No, the blue patch verse will be the same as the first, only with extra failure built in.

    • def4

      Wrong, wrong, wrong.
      What you want Microsoft to do and what Microsoft should do are two very different things.

      While there’s technically nothing wrong with any of the suggestions, none of them are any incentive for anyone to upgrade their computer or operating system. They provide no incentives and just remove some disincentives for the few vocal power users. Moving from hate to indifference won’t dramatically improve sales.

      Microsoft needs to give their new platform a kick. I find the suggestion of focusing on the consumer market where the Windows brand name has an overall negative value to be delusional.
      Microsoft should listen very carefully to their enterprise customers, deliver as much differentiated functionality as possible and generally use as many carrots and sticks as soon and as hard as possible to drive enterprise adoption.

      They have precious little time. If the Windows Store doesn’t fill up with better professional apps before Apple figures out side by side multitasking and data exchange between apps, Microsoft will become like Nokia in five years.

      • jfutral

        Do you think MS has a shot with Windows of returning to the days when what people used at work is what they bought for home or at least reverse the trend of BYOD preferences? Or do you think what the consumer buys for themselves will continue to be different from what they use for/at work?

        Yahoo not withstanding, is this something that will have an affect on the increasing work-from-home crowd?

        Joe

        • def4

          My impression is that BYOD is a relatively rare occurence reserved for unusually enlightened workplaces and will remain so for the forseeable short and mid term future. As such, it is not a clear and present danger to the Windows and Office monopoly.

          I don’t believe the notion that the dominance of the Wintel platform came about because of familiarity but because of price and performance.
          Even though Mac OS was better designed for usage, Windows was actually better from 95 to XP because the technical superiority translated into real usability benefits.

          Microsoft could have released the Courier or any other similarly bold product to the consumer market. But then they wouldn’t be geeky cowardly Microsoft would they?

          Now it’s too late for Microsoft in the consumer market. Apple holds the high end and the main stream with such an iron fist that analysts have stopped analyzing them and have sub-divided the low end to make the market sound more interesting.
          Going into battle there is suicide and the only reason to do so is blinding hubris.

          • jfutral

            Good stuff. This is only place I partially disagree:

            “I don’t believe the notion that the dominance of the Wintel platform came about because of familiarity but because of price and performance.”

            Definitely price played a huge role, but you still can’t dismiss familiarity because for most of those home buyers, work was not only their first exposure to a computer, but was pretty much their only exposure. So why learn something different, no matter usability? At least that is what I heard from most of Windows using friends when they would buy their first home computer back in the day. I don’t know if there were any studies or research on the issue or not. Maybe buying Windows for the home was too much of a “Duh” back then to question.

            These days there are too many touch points for a computer (not that MS didn’t try) for Windows to now be the default “duh” tablet, smartphone, or convertible computer.

            But the internet is just a fad. People will “come back home”, I know they will!

            Joe

          • def4

            I didn’t mean to dismiss familiarity, I just think it was the cherry on top, not (part of) the cake.
            After all, if familiarity is so important, why aren’t Windows users making Windows 8/RT a smashing success just like Microsoft hoped (hopes?) they would?

          • jfutral

            From what I’ve seen familiarity again. Familiar with alternatives and familiar with XP and 7, as in unnecessary, and familiar with Vista, as in fear of what might happen.

            Joe

          • tailhook

            People didn’t buy Windows machines. They bought IBM PC Clones, and what drove their sales was the acceptance of the business community(there wasn’t another feasible option, and managers didn’t get fired for buying IBM) and Lotus 1-2-3 which eventually became Office.

            What drove the PC industry was the open standards for which anyone could develop for and Windows managed to catch and ride that wave. Apple was too busy suing Microsoft to be any type of legitimate competitor at the time.

          • jfutral

            “What drove the PC industry was the open standards for which anyone could develop for and Windows managed to catch and ride that wave.”

            I would say that is true for the enterprise and hard core geek/gaming market. For the home user and casual gamer, “open” didn’t mean anymore to them then than it does now, which is to say not much. I know a couple of people who bought their Wintel for home because they could use their work tech support. Not so if they bought a Mac. Another example of the work place influencing the home buyer back in the day.

            Joe

          • tailhook

            The ‘casual gamer’ went Console. For the PC and their users, ‘open’ was everything and that fact created entire industries based around PC Hardware and Software development that persist to this day. The fact that you could create a piece of hardware, write a driver for it, and immediately sell it without another company signing off on it was huge.

            Apple was largely a non-factor in the 80′s and 90′s. Its really only with the iPhone that they even gained serious traction in the computing world again.

          • jfutral

            Not to belabour this point, but, yes, to the developer you are correct. The typical end user couldn’t even tell you what “open” means and never really cared to, nor should be expected to, IMHO.

            Joe

          • steve_wildstrom

            Tailhook, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying that everyone was entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

            Apple was hugely important in the computing world of the 80s qith both the Apple ][ and the Mac. It struggled for relevance in the 90s and reemerged as a force following the induction of the iMac in 1998, and the iPod and OS X in 2001. Long before the introduction of the iPhone, Apple had a vastly disproportionate share of the high-end PC market and had become very profitable, profits used to fund the development of the iPhone and iPad.

          • tailhook

            Apple has never been a force in the PC world. Never. At best, its always been simply an option for the casual user. Trying to compare the PC vs the Mac is like trying to compare the United States vs Iceland. Iceland is a bit funky, a closed system, interesting to visit, and for some people a great place to live. But if being part of the big country and having freedom is your thing, you did it in the US(on the PC). Oh, i’m sure Apple put out products and did some numbers. Entire industries were created based around the PC.

            Apple is in a much MUCH better position with the iPhone now, allthough Android is far better competition to the iPhone than Mac ever was to the PC. Either way, something like 90% of Apple’s revenue comes from the iPad lines and the iPhone. Its also the reason that they’re leaving their PC lines out to rot, as they’re looking to wind down the industry, what they are actually doing is winding down their involvement in it. The PC does have a future ahead as long as companies continue to push its capability and use its form factor to create computing power far beyond what a mobile product is capable of(like Intel building that Teraflop PCI-e card the Xeon Phi).

          • jfutral

            “Apple has never been a force in the PC world.”

            Define “force”.

            “Entire industries were created based around the PC.”

            Like Protools, photo editing, publishing, midi. Oh wait. Those were primarily Mac based.

            Joe

          • tailhook

            Like Database Companies, Motherboard Companies, Video Card Companies, Sound Card companies, Gaming Companies(Blizzard, ID, SOE), OEM’s, MMORPG’s, Real-Time Strategy games, Office, Quicken, Turbo Tax, Peer-to-Peer Networks, MP3. The list is endless.

            I repeat, entire industries and corporations were built around the development of the PC. On its worst day, the PC outsold mac 4:1(if not a lot more). Macintosh has always been a niche product(the original was basically a one-trick pony in desktop publishing) for a niche market and it was precisely because it was a closed system, just like Amiga which had an even narrower niche than Macintosh.

            Everything else went PC. Those ARE the facts. You can allready see Android eating away at Apple. Why? Open system. Its the openness thats causing Android to evolve faster than Apple can keep up because people are unshackled from the yoke of a corporation. It was precisely how they lost the PC Wars and how they’ll lose the mobile wars. You can’t keep up with the innovation that happens in an open system.

            There are just too many teams involved working on every aspect of the system and not just what you have employees available for.

            Has Microsoft missed the boat? Probably on phones to be sure and the Jury is still out on tablets. But make no mistake the PC isn’t going away and the best games and software will still continue to be built for it.

            Having had a good look now at App Store offerings for the first time, I lol at just how primitive they really are. Just quick timewasters. There were better games made in the 80′s. Its like the difference between a motion picture(most games off Steam) and an animated short. Steam IS the Application Store for Windows :P.

          • jfutral

            What you say about the PC is true enough. Never disputed that. What you say about the Mac is mostly spin. Here’s a bit of trivia. MS Excel (after Lotus 1-2-3 started to eat Multiplan’s lunch) started on the Mac. Bungie was a Mac only game company until MS purchased it for XBOX. Even Gates said that at one point, if the Mac Office was its own software company it would have been the 4th largest software company. Did the Mac ever see the wide spread adoption that iPhone and iPad are seeing? No. Ever. That’s one reason why I think people who think iOS v Android is Mac v PC all over again are smoking crack. AOL started as Mac only. Those are just some examples of how Apple and the Mac actually was a force in the industry, even as a minor market share player. It is possible to be a force and influential without being a market share leader. Although, in the US the the Mac was often in the top 5 of PC sales when viewed per company and not per platform.

            Ironically, your opinion of Apps is pretty much a great parallel description of the Windows software platform offerings. But that isn’t really important. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There may have been better games in the 80s, that doesn’t help them now. Except I am enjoying Baldur’s Gate on my iPad. Oddly, not out for “open” Android yet.

            “Open” is not what is driving Android market share. What is driving Android market share is that Android is “free” (well, it was except for all the patent infringement cases it is loosing and all the licensing fees the companies that use it now have to pay). And Android is eating Symbian’s and Blackberry’s lunch, not Apple’s. And if “open” drives industries, what industries are Android creating? So far in mobile only iOS is driving innovation and creativity. Most everything is iOS first or only. I did finally read about one company who makes money on Android almost 4-1 over iOS. But so far they are the exception. I can’t even remember what they make.

            So again, “open” means nothing to the end user. And in reality it doesn’t mean that much to the developer, really. What matters to the developer is making money and so far that is only happening on the “closed” iOS platform. The current mobile environment is blowing holes in your “open” model, never mind that “open” is doing nothing for MS in mobile, either.

            Joe

          • steve_wildstrom

            Tailhook is living in an alternative reality where the following things, among many others, never happened:

            –Microsoft seized on the failure of Lotus to develop a decent spreadsheet for the Mac and came up with Excel. Word for the Mac, though, wasn’t making much of a dent in MacWrite sales, so Microsoft decided to bundle Mac Word with Excel. Office was born.

            –Apple develops the LaserWriter, the first (relatively) low-cost laser printer. Adobe develops PostScript, Aldus publishes Pagemaker for the Mac, and desktop publishing is born.

            –Adobe Photoshop, developed for the Mac, invests the digital darkroom.

            –iTunes + iPod, both originally Mac-only, create modern digital music.

            And I’m not even talking about the role played by the Apple ][ in the invention of the personal computer.

      • VirtualMark

        He was right, you are wrong.

      • tailhook

        Apps don’t mean s**t on a Surface Pro. Being a fully capable windows machine with a touch interface that can be used as a laptop is everything. The fact that it can be used as a tablet(and the apps that come with it) is simply the cherry on top. You want apps? Try 20 years of full-blown windows applications, homeskillet.

        • def4

          Enjoy your Surface Pro.
          Make sure you buy a couple dozen millions of them though because otherwise it won’t make a difference.

          • tailhook

            Oh, i will. Enjoy the Surface Pro that is :>.

            Whether it succeeds or not is completely up to the market, neither you or me. People will either buy it or they won’t, and imo there is plenty of reason for someone to need to buy one, and its a completely new device market that Microsoft has created.. so they have no competition except the OEM’s.

            Keep in mind… Apple isn’t even in the market of the Surface Pro, the only thing they’re hoping and praying for is that a laptop/tablet convertible doesn’t take off. If it does, they’re up sh*t creek because they have no answer for it.

            Lets put it this way.. if Apple were releasing a Macbook Air with touch and a detachable keyboard/cover that could run all of the iPad apps and all OS applications, could act as both a laptop and a tablet, Apple fans would be falling all over themselves to buy one to complement their iPad Mini while freeing themselves of both the original iPad and the Macbook Air. Oh, and the Mac would now be touch capable because the Air and it share OS. Am I speaking your language now?

            Thats what Microsoft has done on the Windows side.

            It doesn’t replace your PC, either. It compliments it for when you need to go mobile. A convertible at 10″ takes your work mobile. A pure tablet at 7″ lets you take your day-to-day computing mobile. Both have their uses.

            A 10″ pure tablet has no use if the exact same tablet comes in a 7″ form factor. Welcome to why the RT died and why the original iPad is on its way out.

          • def4

            Just like Asok, you are so very wrong.
            Surface Pro is not a new market, it’s a new try in an unsuccessful market.

            Surface Pro is a fiddly touchscreen ultrabook that you can’t use on your lap.
            The screen is too small for professional applications and the price is higher than the same size MacBook Air.
            It is destined to follow in the “glorious” footsteps of ultrabooks.

            Apple will not release a MacBook Air with touch and detachable keyboard for the same reason they did not release an iPod with a rotary dial to use as a phone: because it’s stupid and pointless, just like Surface.

          • tailhook

            I can use it on my lap just fine, thanks.

            Hint: remove the keyboard and go tablet.

            And god I hope you’re right on Apple, the longer it takes them to wise up, the better.

          • def4

            You’re hilarious.

            While you were waiting for Apple to “wise up” about netbooks Apple and Google were not waiting for Microsoft to wise up about touch.
            That’s why the world is such a cold dark place for Microsoft fanboys these days.

            Don’t you have some mock iPhone funeral to attend or something?

          • benbajarin

            Def4, remember not to use the fan$(* term. We block it, so I approved your comment anyway, but use fanatic or some other creative term if you will :) I block it because most people use it as an insult. I don’t think you did there but that is why we block it.

            Peace,
            Ben

          • def4

            Got it, thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001665515099 Asok Smith

    Cheap license fees is a good step. But Microsoft’s real problem with Windows RT (not even counting the naming confusion) is an apps store devoid of a rich, useful set of apps. Microsoft should have never let this happen, and there were plenty of steps they could have taken prior to release of Windows RT in the wild, but did not take.

    It may still not be too late to take those steps. First, make sales from the Microsoft apps store FREE for two years to ALL apps sellers. Two, PAY critical apps makers to develop the needed apps, with the proviso that those apps sell at a highly discounted price for two years.

    Without doing those those two things in addition to reducing license fees, Windows RT isn’t going to survive because Windows RT is already on its deathbed, and both vendors and consumers are starting to view it as another Zune, only with Microsoft likely to pull the plug much quicker, thereby rendering any Windows RT expenditures equal to money flushed down a toilet.

  • tailhook

    That sound you hear is Microsoft shredding the specs for RT and making a 7″ Surface Mini. The resolutions are about the same as the lower-end 10.6″ models, they just need to support it on say 7″ models. It’ll take some work but it isn’t that hard to re-factor RT into a Mini line for 7″.

    That other sound you hear is Apple starting to wake up and realizing they need to shred the specs for the Macbook Air and get it to run apps, have a detachable keyboard/cover, and use touch. Now, THAT will take a ton of work(unless they cede the new device line to the Surface Pro).

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.winston.90 Al Winston

    Asok has it right. The market share for OS is essentially 50/50 XP and Win7 for a reason. Most of the business world and laptop/desktop users want the old interface. It’s fast, it works, and it doesn’t require complete retraining and retooling. One OS for desktop, one for touch tablets. Apple knew this for years and was the unrivaled king of UI. Some idiots might then point out how Apple is moving toward integrating the two OS types . . . and these dolts need to be reminded that Jobs is dead and Apple will likely be making some really bad decisions like this in the future. One can only hope WinBlue will be a major change, otherwise it’ll be WinBlows like another Vista.

  • jfutral

    What does MS need to do? I think they need to understand that smartphones and tablets have wiped the slate clean (pun sort of intended). They want to believe “Windows” as a brand is transferable to tablets and smart phones. The problem is everyone, especially Apple and Google, got and gets to start from point zero, including the big software players, unfortunately for them. Now none of those old guard players have the pull or “gravitas” to maneuver computing into a direction that advantages them.

    So being able to create a tablet that any of that old software can run on with Windows 8 (never mind how sluggishly) carries no market strength except with those who care about that old software, which is a relationally shrinking market. They are still there and still important, just not to the industry as a whole as they once were.

    For instance, I’d love the makers of Vectorworks to come up with a solution for iPad to work with their Mac based product. But if someone else beats them to the punch in a viable form (particularly for the entertainment industry), I am dumping Vectorworks. They’ve bled me for too much money for far too long for me to feel any allegience (including back when they were Blueprint and then MiniCAD).

    Why not switch to Windows 8, then? Seems like I should be a perfect customer. Not just for this solution, thank you. And I haven’t seen Vectorworks work well on a Surface yet to be convinced they get it either.

    (IMHO)
    Joe

  • http://www.facebook.com/davey92 David Rushton

    Not only that they need to include office with it as well. Outlook should use HTML rather than the office as browser. Outlook can’t support a lot of HTML features that Office 2003 can support. 10 years on you would have thought they would have learnt.