Beleaguered Microsoft, capitulation and the end of ‘Windows Everywhere’

“Microsoft today, I think, is a case study in knowing when you should indeed give up, and what you should do after that,” Benedict Evans blogs. “As (hopefully) we all now understand, mobile is replacing the PC as the dominant computing platform. Smartphones sell in much larger numbers, have a much larger user base and are already close to taking a larger share of internet use than the PC in leading markets (such as the USA and UK). PCs aren’t going away any time soon, any more than faxes or mainframes did, but they are the past, not the future.”

“Since Microsoft’s mobile operating systems have failed to achieve meaningful market share, Microsoft has hence gone from dominating sales of personal computing devices to powering less than a fifth,” Evans writes. “Microsoft has missed mobile. Consumer PCs, slowly, will be a shrinking platform. Meanwhile weakness in mobile also bleeds back to the desktop and undermines Office. The shift away from the PC will be slower in the enterprise than in consumer internet, and so will the rise of alternative software models…. The rise of SaaS services and new productivity models on one hand and more and more capable mobile devices on the other means that Office, and hence desktop Windows in the enterprise, is also probably a declining model.”

“This brings us to capitulation,” Evans writes. “Enterprise platforms and productivity are going to change fundamentally, and that in turn will enable and feed off a shift away from PCs. Sharing document files (or copying them as web apps) is not the future – rather, the connective tissue of work needs to be rebuilt. By someone. I don’t have a complete sense of what that looks like, but admitting defeat is the first step to working it out.”

Much more, with graphs, in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps they could go into vacuum cleaners? You know, put to good use all of that experience of sucking. Nah, that won’t work, either:

Earth to Ballmer: you suck, your company sucks, and your company’s products suck; with one exception, of course: if you ever decide to make vacuum cleaners. And we wouldn’t put that one past you, either, you stunning epitome of mismanagement, you.MacDailyNews Take, February 28, 2009

Beleaguered Microsoft’s Windows 9… er, ’10’ is more like Apple’s OS X than ever before – July 29, 2015
Apple’s Mac sales have risen and iPad sales have now declined for six consecutive quarters – July 28, 2015
Beleaguered Microsoft’s Windows 9… er, ’10’ won’t save the struggling Windows PC industry – July 27, 2015
Press section at the Windows 10 event also looks like an Apple ad – January 22, 2015
Apple’s Mac demand might be even better than soaring sales numbers suggest – July 27, 2015
Apple Macs and iOS devices now outselling Windows PCs annually – July 23, 2015
Apple Macs gain even more share against Microsoft Windows PCs – July 23, 2015
IBM ends workers’ Windows PC hell, offers employees Apple Macs for the first time – May 28, 2015
Apple kills the Windows PC and no one seems to mind – April 30, 2014
Milestone: Apple computers outsold Windows PCs in Q4 2013 – February 12, 2014


    1. I haven’t tried a Dyson vacuum – are they as good as they say? What I do know is that those horrible “air-blade” hand-dryers where you stick your hands in are made by Dyson. They are slow to dry your hands and have small enough openings that it’s annoying to have to carefully avoid rubbing your hands up against the sides. Gross, and really poor design. Give me an Xcelerator dryer over Dyson any day.

      1. I have a Dyson, and their cyclone design definitely works. I’ve never had it lose suction the way that a filter-bag system does over time.

        On the downside, it’s not nearly as durable as I would like. The construction is mostly ABS plastic, and I’d rather they’d used polycarbonate to make it tougher.


      2. I’ve had a Dyson for a full decade and it is exceptional. Best vacuum cleaner by a wide margin. But it does seem to have a shelf life. It hasn’t ‘sucked’ quite as well over the last couple of years as it used to, even after I had it serviced.

      3. Dyson vacuum’s are awesome. When I bought mine I first vac’d with my old one, thoroughly. Then got the Dyson out and went over the same areas. FILLED THE DIRT CONTAINER. That thing sucks up small children! Love that many sections of it along the intake trail to the container are removable to locate large lodged objects accidentally sucked up that are clogging the system. The only negative I have on mine, (which is about 8 years old I think), is the slots for the attachments are not very secure and so the small wand attachements pop off easily. I’ve lost most of them. Maybe the newer models have addressed this, don’t know.

      4. If you’re having difficulty with the Dyson AirBlade hand dryers, you’re not using them correctly. Put your hands in from the side and SLOWLY pull up. I dry my hands in one pass.

    2. You’d think, based on the profound and thorough sucking (suction?) of MS products across the board, they could easily trounce vacuum cleaner market if they wanted to…

  1. Hang on here though. This article just says what ever other one says. The PC is dead. Movile is king. Blah blah. The PC is not dead. And in fact, Mac sales have steadily increased over the last year. Nobody can get real work done on a mobile device. PCs aren’t going anywhere.

    And Microshaft has the lions share of the PC market. Apple owns mobile. So all this crap about Microshaft Windows and PCs being dead is garbage.

    In mobile MS is dead, and that’s fine. But they own the PC space. Windows 10 looks half decent I must admit. I still will use OS X but based on what I’ve seen, Windows 10 might do well in terms of adoption.

    1. The PC market is in decline party because, as more and more people buy Macs, they move into a longer replacement cycle due to the extreme longevity of Macs vs. the typical craptastic PCs.

    2. When I had the iPhone 5 my computing time was split evenly between various PC’s and the phone, but after getting the iPhone 6 Plus about 99 percent of my compute time is spent on the phone. These compute tasks include stock trading, creating spreadsheets, social networking, image editing, webpage viewing, blog posting, game playing, etc. With the recent addition of an Apple TV, music on the phone is now playable over various external speakers. The only tasks that I have performed on a PC over the last several months are a few stock trades. If I ever pickup programming again I’ll try to use a phone-based code editor. Why use a PC again?

      1. Mobile Computing:

        You can say that you do all that, but you’re not doing it to the extent of people who are “really” doing it. For instance, people who actually trade stocks professionally have multiple monitors because of the requirements of trading today. Each new screen you add adds about 25% to your productivity, and that applies to engineering, design, etc.

        Working with spreadsheets, again, your productivity will suffer substantially on a small multi-touch screen. You’ll have to pan and zoom around a lot just to see what a person can see on a larger screen. And input on a phone is terribly inefficient.

        All this stuff is a productivity killer. Mobile like an iPhone is good to fill in the gaps and for some “productivity”, but it simply can’t replace a desktop/laptop. If you think so, you’re not going to be very competitive in the things that you’re doing.

        Right now I’m writing an educational book and there’s no way in hell that I would ever do something like that on a phone because of how terrible productivity would be.

        I’m someone who bought the first iPad. Was all over the very first Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for the iPad. Etc. I made a presentation in Keynote on the iPad on a flight across the US. I also used Pages on the iPad.

        It was absolutely terrible. There’s no comparison to doing this stuff on a desktop/laptop vs. an iPad or iPhone. Multi-touch is far too awkward and inprecise compared to a keyboard and point and click device precise to 1 pixel.

        Real productivity must be done on a deskotp/laptop. Some things can be done on mobile but it’s never even come close to matching the productivity levels of desktops/laptops and it never will. The software with precision user interfaces, powerful processors and GPUs, mouse, keyboard, larger screens… the format will never be challenged by iPhones and iPads.

        Let iPhones and iPads be what they’re good at: simplified pocket computers that do two-way communication. Leave the heavy lifting (real productivity) to the desktops and laptops.

        1. Interesting figure of 25% productivity added per extra screen. Do you have a reference for that? I’ve certainly never been sorry to have spent money on screen real estate.

    3. I think what people get confused about is what exactly “market” is… it’s the “buying market” each quarter. It doesn’t mean that PCs or Macs or whatever are suddenly disappearing… just fewer people are buying compared the previous quarter. It’s almost a meaningless evaluation because how can the market continue to grow infinitely? It can’t.

  2. But at least Microsoft doesn’t completely fail at services. That would be Apple. Apple, with all that money and all those engineers and they still can’t get it right. That is unbelievable. It’s time to clean house Tim. Looks as though you have made mistakes in that area in the past. Perhaps let the wrong people go? Apple is beginning to get a bad name due to their failure in services. And justifiably so. This time we can’t blame the press. And it will affect the stock price very soon. As if it doesn’t have enough problems already.

    1. Ballmer was an excellent CEO – for a Company operating in a mature market where innovation was not the hallmark of future success.

      The problem with Ballmer was his ego: he wouldn’t allow deviation from his “vision”, which was stuck in the ’90s.

      MSFT today isn’t impaired by leadership limitations any longer. I would not dismiss MSFT as a leader in the future of internet services. Nadella is blessed with a clear vision and the cash cow providing the time and resources ti implement it.

      I’m watching for another year of reshaping at MSFT, followed by 2 years of transition to an internet services Company, then watch out as the enterprise shifts from proprietary DOS dependent applications to web hosted productivity. With that shift MSFT will be able to strip out tons of legacy code streamlining Windows a great deal, and making it more functional at the same time.

      1. Agreed. The clown is gone and Microsoft still has a huge base. Plus tons of cash. Tim needs to do something different with services. Perhaps hiring an entire new staff or gobbling up small companies and letting them do what they do best rather than rolling them into Apple. But Apples’ venture into services has failed from day one. And there are no excuses that can be accepted. Even from the Apple faithful. There is no reason for Apple to fail the way they have. But it will drag down the company and it won’t take long.

        1. iCloud works great for me. Does it work “perfectly”? No, but what does? Every online service has occasional problems. I think Apple has done an exceptional job with iCloud. Its biggest weakness is the closed nature of it. If iCloud offered an open API like most other online services provide, it would be an entirely different outcome! iCloud would suddenly be “open” to integration with the internet as a whole.

    1. Jooop:t

      Windows certainly is not the past. There are over 1.25 billion Windows users worldwide. That’s billion. PC sales may have slowed, but so have iPad sales. Just because PC sales have slowed doesn’t mean less and less people use PCs with Windows on them. It may mean people are upgrading less frequently.

    2. The computing world has split into two groups along the lines of use, not mobility.

      There is the productivity group that includes desktops and laptops.

      Then there is the consumption group that includes smartphones and tablets.

      Agreed there is some spillover between the groups, but the definition, and primary function of each remains intact.

  3. LOL @ the desktop is dead. More overblown tech hype by someone getting too happy with his crystal ball. Where does this idiot think work gets done? Yes, I’m going to read for long periods of time on my phone. Uh, no. Yes, I’m going to design training materials on my phone. Uh, no. He is so disconnected from reality. Then again, all tech hypesters are, floating around on a cloud of their own vainglorious anal expulsions.

  4. Intel is in the same boat as M$oft. They don’t have a mobile solution and have effectively missed the current mobile market. Now what do they fill those fabs with? Data center chips? There is growth in that area, but the real growth is in the drivers of data centers…. current drivers are mobile devices and possibly IoT in the future.

    Its going to be interesting to see how this all plays out and how the technology players change in 2 years.

  5. M$ is still making plenty of money and will unfortunately be around for a long while.
    Their revenues will continue to decrease and overtime the margins will disappear. It really all depends on how many crazy ideas they try to launch or companies they buy.
    I think they will end up more in services especially with their cloud offerings. They are going the same way as IBM. Still there but more make earth shattering moves.

  6. Microsoft isn’t going anywhere. They still have a very large part of the PC market, and as much as I love my iPad, it is not a replacement for my MacBook Air. No tablet is a complete replacement at this time, and it will take real innovation to even make that remotely possible.

    Five large advantages exist for Microsoft as I see it…

    First, they basically own the Enterprise with Active Directory. There is no substitute for Directory Services, and yes, it is necessary to large Enterprises. This means that IT folks are going to look for products that integrate well and work with their existing Active Directory infrastructure.

    Second, there are a LOT of Windows based PC’s in the world. These users have PC’s at work and at home, and they know how to use them. They don’t have to re-learn something.

    Third, a lot of times PC’s were just cheaper, and while it’s nice to think that everyone can shell out $1000 for a new laptop that will last them 3 years, the truth is that some people just don’t have that much to spend, so they buy a $400 laptop with Windows because that’s what they can afford.

    Fourth: Gamers. Gamers like their high end PC’s with customizable everything. They have Gigs of video ram, large water cooled systems, etc. that are fully customizable. And, they run Windows because Windows support is built into most of the games that these people care about.

    Finally, and this is probably the largest one, and where this article gets it completely wrong, is Microsoft Office. Office is the standard, and Apple Pages/Numbers/etc. don’t even come close. Sorry to burst your bubble. If you work in business you must have Excel, and if you work in Reporting, Finance, or any kind of Analytics, the Windows version is the only one that does everything you need.

    Now, I’m all Apple devices, but I do run a Windows VM in Parallels just because I need it for certain functions. 95% of what I need a computer for can be done on OS X, but that other 5% is important, and Apple is making no effort to take that away from Microsoft. Unfortunately that 5% is also what 90% of people in Enterprise business use for 90% of their work.

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