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Microsoft, capitulation and the end of Windows Everywhere
Old 07-30-2015, 08:15 AM   #1
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Microsoft, capitulation and the end of Windows Everywhere

Though there still appear to be some PC centric users here, it won't come as a surprise to most as the once mighty Microsoft's continues to slide from innovator to the equivalent of a public utility (some claim as soon as 2017).

Microsoft, capitulation and the end of Windows Everywhere €” Benedict Evans

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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.

So, 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. But as I discussed here, 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. You may need a PC to run Office, but you can no longer assume you'll be running Office at all.

This brings us to capitulation. The new CEO is acknowledging the end of 'Windows Everywhere' as the driving strategic engine for Microsoft, and also acknowledging the decline of Microsoft Office as the monolithic, universal experience for productivity. Windows Phone is no longer the centre of the strategy (if it survives at all as anything more than a Nexus-like niche). Microsoft is also suggesting that Xbox is not strategically core either, reflecting the reality that it will be the smartphone, not the TV or a box plugged into it, that will be the hub of the digital experience for most people. The smartphone is the sun and everything else orbits it.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:08 AM   #2
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Smartphones/tablets may dominate in the consumer/entertainment space, but for us cogs in the corporate machine, Windows PC and Office are going to be the de facto standard for the foreseeable future. News of the death of Windows might be a bit exaggerated.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by AnonEMouse View Post
Smartphones/tablets may dominate in the consumer/entertainment space, but for us cogs in the corporate machine, Windows PC and Office are going to be the de facto standard for the foreseeable future. News of the death of Windows might be a bit exaggerated.


The quote was:
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The shift away from the PC will be slower in the enterprise than in consumer internet, ...
Pretty reasonable. As far as 'foreseeable future', the iPhone was introduced in 2007, just 8 years ago. I think that is a pretty big shift in a relatively short time frame. I think the only 'death' predicted was that of the 'Windows Everywhere' strategy.

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Old 07-30-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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Yeah, as I await my Win10 download, I can reflect on the fact that I am more frequently on my iPad and iPhone. I also rarely use MS Office although I have a 2010 version still on my desktop. I will want a desktop (or some hybrid that stands permanently on my kitchen desk with a large screen and a keyboard) and suspect it will be MS for the next 5 or so years although I could see going back to Linux or even Mac if they weren't so tied to iTunes. Long term I assume that big desktop display will be just that - a terminal connecting to me (and my mobile devices) through the cloud.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:07 AM   #5
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I didn't realize that eye surgery had gotten so good that aging boomers would relish surfing with 3 inch screens.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:32 AM   #6
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That's OK since Microsoft doesn't want Windows to be consumer software (phone O/S and apps) because there's so little money in it, not counting whatever ads may be foisted upon the user. Instead the money is in business software and online advertising.
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by AnonEMouse View Post
Smartphones/tablets may dominate in the consumer/entertainment space, but for us cogs in the corporate machine, Windows PC and Office are going to be the de facto standard for the foreseeable future. News of the death of Windows might be a bit exaggerated.
Undoubtedly true for business. But as a driver of future growth, the outlook isn't anything like it once was, and may never be again.

And it appears the consumer market is migrating to Google Drive and other alternatives from MS Office much faster. That revenue source is drying up much faster for Microsoft.

Everyone is using tablets and (smart)phones more, and PC's less, especially consumers.

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We don’t doubt that Office will continue to run on business PCs – whether it’s via subscription or traditional licences – for a very long time to come. "As long as you need to run business apps," Webster concludes, "you’ll probably find you’re a lot more productive if you can use a device with a decent screen size and plenty of memory and CPU power. You’ll probably want multiple applications open on the screen at the same time. You probably want to continue using what you know." All the same, if Microsoft doesn’t act smartly and soon, the days of one Office installation per employee could be nearing an end – and the Business Division’s multibillion-dollar revenues could fall sharply.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:06 PM   #8
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you know, I expect I will be using a PC (not necessarily Windows) for quite a while. The last FDTD analysis I did took over 4 days to process the basic system data (no post processing) on a newer vintage quad core i5 with 16 GB memory and using openmpi. This had no paging (thus not memory constrained) an using parallel processing across all 4 cores. OK, maybe I'm not the typical home user.
I think MSFT has been fighting an up hill battle for many years.... even before the iPhone. For many things I do, a phone or small screen device is not ideal. Also the battery won't hold up long enough.
Remember BlackBerry had the smart phone market for a number of years. Unfortunately they were stuck in their paradigm.
MSFT came out with a tablet in 1999-2000, but think of where the processors and software was at the time. They were likely too early... did it before the underlying technology was mature enough.
I think most casual browsing and much of the social media is done on phones. I would think writing a book.... or much of a program would not be done on a phone even today. But you'll likely find that most people are chatting, texting, FB'ing or ER'ing. Maybe playing a simple game on the small screen.
MSFT may figure it out.... maybe not. Apple is on a roll right now, but look at their history.... up and down. When you get too comfortable in your place... someone will come and pass you by.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tadpole View Post
I didn't realize that eye surgery had gotten so good that aging boomers would relish surfing with 3 inch screens.
3 inch screens?

Are you stuck in 2005?

That said, I don't do much surfing even on the iPhone 6 Plus.
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Old 07-30-2015, 12:21 PM   #10
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I think the 'small screen' comments are missing the point. Sure, a phone does not replace a laptop/desktop for many things. That's not the point.

The points are:

Phone SW is mostly Apple IOS and Android.

Tablet SW is mostly (largely?) Apple IOS and Android (and tablets do have large enough screens and CPU to be useful for more things).

Desktops and laptops are diminishing in influence for many (not all) users/tasks.

If people are not using MS SW on their phones and tablets, it just makes MS SW less important in the overall scheme of things. MS will try to make tie-ins between devices to make it more convenient to go MS everywhere, and MS will try to make it less convenient to use other SW on the MS products you have.

By being a bit player in the phone market, and losing a big chunk of the tablet market to IOS and Android, MS is losing leverage. And IMO, it was that leverage that was key, as I feel their products are mostly inferior. Maybe they can turn it around - competition is good.

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Old 07-30-2015, 02:24 PM   #11
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Yes, small hand-held devices are getting smarter and better. Of course businesses and even serious home applications still use the PC (I cannot imagine myself doing taxes on an iPad or an Android tablet), but most people have no need to rush out to upgrade their home PC to the latest and fastest hardware, nor the need to have the latest OS or software.

It's not like Microsoft doesn't know it. Almost 20 years ago, in 1996 Microsoft announced Windows CE as an OS intended for embedded applications, as Windows had always been too cumbersome and not appropriate for handheld devices that should operate more like an appliance than as a computer.

I have never used a device with Windows CE, but it appears to have lost out to Android, which started later in 2003. Perhaps developers do not like Microsoft to become even larger than it already was, so prefer to support an alternative software solution.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:29 PM   #12
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Apple turned itself around, Microsoft could surprise us in coming years.

I'm just hoping that my desktop PC will be supported with Excel particularly. Have a lot of personal spreadsheets that I want to maintain. Maybe I'll have a laptop replacement someday but will need a docking station and big screen too.

All this mobile stuff is fun but hard to decide what is really necessary. Still I love my Nexus 7 tablet.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:41 PM   #13
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MS isn't going anywhere, it'll make billions for several decades.

But it could be like IBM since the late '90s, still making money but not relevant to the most exciting things happening in technology.

Or it could use the billions it makes to take over the next big thing, if and when that happens.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:59 PM   #14
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...

I'm just hoping that my desktop PC will be supported with Excel particularly. Have a lot of personal spreadsheets that I want to maintain. ....

Download LibreOffice and give it a try (in parallel with Excel). It should work fine for almost everything that does not require macros.

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Old 07-30-2015, 07:17 PM   #15
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Download LibreOffice and give it a try (in parallel with Excel). It should work fine for almost everything that does not require macros.

-ERD50
I used some Visual Basic which I probably want to retain. Also the formatting is super important to me. Would be a lot of work to adjust formatting, I imagine. I think this means sticking with Excel for continuity. If LibreOffice doesn't work for all files, why add another program?

I use Excel 2007 but maybe will have to migrate to the latest Excel some day. Will I have to dig out my old Office 2007 discs or is Win 10 an overlay with the existing programs left intact? What other gotchas lurk in updating to Win 10?

EDIT: Maybe I've answered some of my questions with this link which seems to say Win 10 will be compatible with previous purchased Office versions: Microsoft Office 2007 & Office 2010 Support Windows 10 . Doesn't say how exactly to make the transition.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:36 PM   #16
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The latest MS Office version I have is 2007. I have been using Apache OpenOffice, which is a cousin of LibreOffice.

I do not do fancy things with spreadsheets, so do not see anything missing in OpenOffice and am quite happy with it.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:06 PM   #17
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Just because mobile is increasing and now is used more than desktop/laptop, that does not necessarily mean that the desktop/laptop use is decreasing or that the importance of those platforms is diminishing in an absolute sense.

A laptop/desktop is a much better tool for what I do most. My smartphone is fantastic for what it does. While I'm not a big booster of Mr Gates's company, I use their products and I think they'll be selling a lot of the stuff for a long time. The fact that they missed out on mobile--I'm not sure that means that they are in decline in an absolute sense, and it certainly doesn't mean they should be counted out for the "next big thing"--whatever that is.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:18 PM   #18
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MS isn't going anywhere, it'll make billions for several decades.

But it could be like IBM since the late '90s, still making money but not relevant to the most exciting things happening in technology.

Or it could use the billions it makes to take over the next big thing, if and when that happens.
MS is the IBM of the late 90's...right now. Their intrusive updates have been a source of consternation for me for a long time. I abandoned their browser and security years ago and will put off downloading Windows 10 until the latest possible time because of all the other issues with their software.

Now retired, I use excel on the laptop occasionally but otherwise have no need for any other MS products. My android meets my needs just fine. I've thought for years now that Microsoft dropped the innovation ball long ago.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:47 PM   #19
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A huge thing not discussed much is AFAIK Windows 10 finally makes it possible for existing native Windows applications, of which there are thousands (millions?), to run on Windows 10 smartphones. Not all applications are suitable for smartphones of course, but a portion are, and they already exist ready for use. The same program can run on desktop, tablet, and phones, something very efficient for developers and users alike.
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:22 PM   #20
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The latest MS Office version I have is 2007. I have been using Apache OpenOffice, which is a cousin of LibreOffice.

I do not do fancy things with spreadsheets, so do not see anything missing in OpenOffice and am quite happy with it.

GoogleDocs also works well. I imported my Excel spreadsheets and they only required minor tweaks at the time. The biggest plus is the GoogleFinance function. Early versions of Excel had something similar with MSN, but newer versions of Excel were a pain since you had to import website data. Way too much work for a simple stock quote. The extra bonus is that GoogleFinance supports more than quotes. I only wish they had ytd returns that includes reinvested dividends.

Does OpenOffice support easy importing of stock data?

Over the last few years I've completely migrated away from MS products and I don't miss it a bit. They've had some good products, but way too much inconsistency across their product line.

I remember when I first made the transition away from Windows. I had a Mac mini that was only occasionally used and a Windows PC. I had a bunch of video recordings on DV tapes (mpeg format) and I wanted to import them and save them on the computer. With Windows, this was going to be a pain, since I'd have to download/install 3rd party software. On the Mac, I plugged in the camera and used iMovie. Easy.
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