Why Microsoft’s Windows just can’t win

“Microsoft is about to have its biggest product release in nearly 20 years. Before the end of the month, Windows 8, Windows RT, Surface RT, and Windows Phone 8 will all launch,” Mat Honan writes for Wired.

“And Microsoft is already screwing it up,” Honan writes. “On Oct. 16, in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft announced pricing and availability of its new Surface. On Oct. 26, in New York City, it will roll out its new operating system, Windows 8, and highly anticipated laplet, the Surface RT (which you can already pre-order). On Oct. 29, it will host an event in San Francisco to formally launch Windows Phone 8. Finally, on Oct. 30, back in Redmond, there’s Microsoft’s giant developer conference, Build, where it will announce who-knows-what during a major keynote address. Four days. Three cities. Two coasts. One giant disaster.”

Honan writes, “What else is going on in the coming weeks? Well, on the 16th — the same day Microsoft announced Surface RT pricing, availability, and pre-orders — Apple sent out an invitation to an iPad mini event on Oct. 23, just days before Microsoft’s big show in New York. On Wednesday, Google announced its own Android event on Oct. 29, which will take place just three hours before Microsoft’s launch in San Francisco, and a day before Build in Redmond. Oh, and can you guess when Apple — now the world’s biggest company — announces its first earnings post-iPhone 5? Oct. 24. Bottom line: Microsoft’s big launches are about to be buried in a deluge of news from other companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The real bottom line: Windows 8 means even more Mac users.

What we said on June 1, 2011, the first time we saw Windows 8:

Our initial impression is that Microsoft, in trying to cram everything into Windows 8 in an attempt to be all things to all devices, will end up with an OS that’s a jack of all trades and a master of none (which, after all, ought to be Microsoft’s company motto)… We simply do not see the world clamoring for the UI of an iPod also-ran now ported to an iPhone wannabe that nobody’s buying to be blown up onto a PC display.

From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 8 strikes us as an unsavory combination of Windows Weight plus Windows Wait.

Not to mention that probably no one on earth knows how much or what kinds of residual legacy spaghetti code roils underneath it all (shudder). Is Microsoft giving up on backwards compatibility? [They are with Windows RT (Windows on ARM).] So, people might as well get the Mac they always wanted. If not [as with Windows 8], then Microsoft’s unwilling to do what it takes to really attempt to keep up with the likes of Apple or even Apple’s followers. No matter what, if Microsoft’s going to ask Windows sufferers to “learn a whole new computer” (and that’s exactly how they’ll look at it, regardless of how Microsoft pitches it), millions will simply say, “Time to get a Mac to match my iPod, iPhone, and iPad!”

As if they needed it: More good news for Apple.

Related articles:
Infoworld reviews Windows 8 review: Yes, it’s that bad – August 15, 2012
Microsoft forced to kill off ‘Metro’ name due to trademark infringement – August 3, 2012
Gartner’s one-word review of Windows 8 on the desktop: ‘Bad’ – July 23, 2012
Ballmer: Uh, yeah, ‘Surface is just a design point,’ you know – July 10, 2012
Microsoft’s Buffoon, er… Ballmer throws down gauntlet against Apple – July 10, 2012
Microsoft reportedly dumps ‘VaporMg’ chassis, will use ‘VaporMg’ only as ‘surface treatment’ – July 9, 2012
Microsoft’s downfall: Inside the executive e-mails and cannibalistic culture that fueled Microsoft’s lost decade – July 7, 2012
HP said to dump Microsoft over Surface; to cozy up to Google Android for tablet efforts – July 2, 2012
Bad news for Microsoft’s iPad killer? – July 2, 2012
Dear Microsoft, Steve Balmer and Bill Gates: What is up with your obsession with keyboards? – June 28, 2012
Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
Why I love Microsoft’s vaporware Surface tablet – June 22, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to be Wi-Fi only at launch; no 4G, no 3G, no 2G, not even 1G – June 22, 2012
Microsoft outsources Surface assembly to Pegatron; prices above $799 for Windows 8, above $599 for Windows RT expected – June 21, 2012
Acer founder: Microsoft will quit making tablets soon – June 21, 2012
Devastating video shows Microsoft’s Surface event aping Steve Jobs’ iPad unveiling (with video) – June 20, 2012
Thanks to Apple, Microsoft is doomed in the era of mobile computing – June 20, 2012
Why wouldn’t Microsoft let anyone touch its Surface tablets’ keyboard cover? – June 20, 2012
The cost of Microsoft’s Surface tablets – June 20, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad vs. Microsoft’s anti-tablet ‘Surface’ – June 20, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablets provokes ‘sense of betrayal’ among Windows PC assemblers – June 20, 2012
Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune – June 19, 2012
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


    1. Exactly! Even as a dedicated and long time Mac user (bought 1st Mac in March 1984) it is clear that MS has been the winner in the personal computer space for a long long time. Their lock on the vast enterprise market is what underpins their value, and is a market that Apple has done a very poor job of serving. I’m not sure that I see this changing in the future although Win 8 does seem likely to be a disaster until the hardware manufacturers catch up, and the existing base of machines running XP/7 finally fall to bits.

      1. You need to divide the PC market into – consumer, small business, medium-size business, and large corporate. The latter two will stick with Windoze 7 through this Windoze 8 disaster. What is going to happen is that Apple will eat into the consumer and small business sections – the two that upgrade the fastest.

        1. Well, the last two (medium and large business) will likely stick with Windows XP. Where I work qualifies for enterprise-size entity (it is a non-profit) and we are all still on the ten-year old OS. The subsequent offerings by MS were never compelling enough for our IT operations to warrant an investment into migration. We do replace PC computers on a 4-year cycle, but we rip out whatever they come with (Vista, 7, upcoming 8) and install a standard desktop image with XP. So far, no software package we’ve been using or exploring has required anything beyond XP to work. As long as MS Office and Adobe suites still work on XP, vast majority of enterprise users will see no reason to migrate. And these are precisely the ones anchoring MS (and other developers) down to support XP (and DOS, mind you…) in their applications.

    1. Sorry the vision of Apple being like Mother Theresa made me laugh…

      But I take your point. Apple has figured out how to do both – make great products and make great profits. A very tough act these days.

      1. The difference between Apple and Microsoft is in the approach. Apple makes fantastic products that are durable and provides fantastic after sales service. When you use an Apple product you don’t feel ripped off – that’s the value for money proposition.

        Microsoft makes you feel like an indentured slave every time you use their product which increases the resentment towards them.

        So his perception that Apple is like Mother Theresa is true – it’s all in the psychology of treating your customer well.

    2. You’re high. Apple is a corporation whose fiduciary responsiblity is to make money for its owners.

      Microsoft sells more copies of Windows a day than Apple does in a week.

      Their problems have nothing to do with their products. Their problems are in defining what their future is.

      1. Who cares how many units Microsoft sells in a day? But you are correct that Microsoft’s primary concern is charting a viable course into the future that, in the near term at least, will be largely defined by Apple.

        More important questions include: Can Microsoft successfully and profitably break into the tablet and smartphone markets? What are the trends for Microsoft products in the consumer and corporate markets – especially Windows, Office, and MS Exchange, the core products that tend to lock people into the Microsoft ecosystem?

        Under SJ, Apple was committed to developing great products and focusing on the customer with the philosophy that sales and profits would follow. That focus on the customer *first* has been (and, hopefully, will continue to be) the difference between Apple and most other companies. The companies who focus on the dollar lose sight of the importance of their employees and customers. As a result, they fail to prosper like Apple.

        Yes, Apple is a corporation with a responsibility to maximize shareholder value. I have no delusions that Apple is looking out for my welfare in some altruistic sense. However, Apple does employ a better approach in its search for profits, and those methods have proven to be wildly successful for over a decade.

      2. Apple does have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders. That ended at the $100 billion plus already in the vault.

        Apple does make great products that the leadership, coders, designers and sales staff want to own. It’s the secret behind their success.

        Microsoft makes decent software and fairly good hardware after the 5th or 6th generation.

        They also make high end acquisitions that, with the exception of the Kinect, usually become big time write-offs.

        As for their future, when everyone in business, except for the number crunchers, use hand held devices, Microsoft will be making Excel for Macs and cheap Android laptops.

  1. Under Captain Ballmer, ‘El Capitano Ballmerama,’ the good ship Microsoft struck an iceberg in the middle of a freezing ocean with insufficient lifeboats on board.

    And then right after striking the iceberg, El Capitano’s voice blares on the ship’s speakers: “I see a torpedo with an Apple logo heading our way!”

    Holes on top of holes for poor old SS Microsoft. Soon they’ll have to send Bob Ballard on board the Argo to look for Ballmer at the bottom of the ocean.

    1. Microsoft is looking at some rough waters ahead in the consumer market but their roots (or claws) are very deep in the enterprise market. They will be around for a very long time because of these roots.

      However, I am interested what will happen when MS requires the enterprise to upgrade to Windows 8 like OS. Our company just completed the forced upgrade to Windows 7. This should give us until Windows 10 until the next forced march.

  2. I am not saying that they will pull one over apple, but they are a better alternative any day to an android device. Personally I think on a pc windows is going to be very hard to beat even for apple, in the post pc devices apple will be very hard to beat.

    Whatever said and done consumer is the king and he will swing whichever way his pocket is going to take him. Very interesting times ahead for everyone.

    1. A computer that can’t support an uptime greater than one week really has no future in a technologically advanced society. The constant weekly patching/rebooting charade only shows how much if a brain dead deal Windows 7 really is. Eventually a solid Linux distro will take over Microsoft’s monopoly and it will surely happen not too long after windows 8 goes mainstream.

      1. Well you never know what the future holds, but an iPhone, iPad with a windows PC is presently a good option for me and maybe a lot of others. Will be upgrading to windows 8 once it releases too.

  3. When you do not have the vision to grow the biz by innovating on new products, and simply follow others, well, you get left in the dirt. The fact of Microsoft’s deep pockets is irrelevant here. As all the money in the world can only buy you time. the only way is down, without innovation, that is. Same with Bill Gates, who left him in charge of the stable. No vision, only $$$ signs in their irises. They forget you have to provide a compelling service to gain the dollars. They can’t simply bludgeon the competition now, what with mighty Cupertino going gangbusters.

  4. I think that MS is betting on having Office.
    So they think Surface and Win 8 will be a success in spite of being crummy OS’s.
    They have done it before. All prior Windows (except maybe NT) were crummy yet outsold by far all Mac OS’s.

    1. I wonder where they got that magnet idea?

      I’ve seen something almost exactly like that somewhere before…

      And they do seem to love the magnets – their TV commercial was one giant click-fest.

  5. Look guys. MS has the Business, POS, Gov locked in. IT/CIO will never give up their GOD Like Powers over users. The automatic cash flow allows MS to fail and fail and fail over and over again. Yet the billions keep coming in to keep funding failures till they overwhelm the competition or finally get it right. No worries, cuz money from the locked in government approved monopoly is still allowed to continue.

    1. Agree. Microsloth got their death grip on the Tech Universe when Apple was almost run into the ground when Steve was ousted, and The Sloth was seen as the only viable option and it was dirt cheap. So now you have all these Hospitals, Governments, etc. locked into these WinDUHS apps that ONLY run on a PeeCee. If it wasn’t for The Sloth being grandfathered into so many businesses early on, they would have gone bankrupt ages ago. But like Jubie said, they have that old Cash Cow still limping along to keep them alive no matter how stupid or irrelevant they are.

    1. Yeah I like Linux too, but as a game changer it ain’t happening except with Extreme Geeks. The nerdly crowd forget the vast majority of consumers don’t like complexity or jumping through too many hoops to achieve a simple objective.

    2. Seriously? On what fantasy planet? Of all the many friends, relatives and acquaintances that I know, there is only one who uses Linux, that I’m aware of; and he’s a science and technology teacher.
      Most would stick pins in their eyes rather than spend hours fannying around trying to make Linux work, and looking for apps to do stuff with.

    3. You guys can doubt me if you wish, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! Networkworld.com is calling Ubuntu 12.10 “quite adequate”, noting it has “some new features” and is overall a “100%, utterly, completely acceptable release.” I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait to go home and repartition my laptop and install it, then spend the rest of the weekend configuring it, recompiling my apps from a command prompt, and troubleshoot driver issues with this cutting edge OS.

      1. You Linux guys have been trying to champion Linux in order to replace Microsoft IT weenies with your Linux weenie friends.

        Microsoft IT Weenies have just too much stroke to be replaced by Linux IT weenies.

        Give it up.

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