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There is no joy in Redmond:

The Wall Street Journal carried a report on Tuesday that Microsoft has begun offering price breaks to manufacturers in order to jumpstart development of small, touch-enabled laptops. In late February, sources say Microsoft began offering PC makers Windows 8 and Office for $30 for touchscreen devices under 10.8 inches, down from a previous point of about $120. The company is also discounting Windows 8 for touchscreen devices above 10.8 inches, though Office isn’t included in the deal for those units.

Mighty Ballmer has struck out.

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All Comments   (5)
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Y'know, this whole episode really ticks me off. This should've been a slam-dunk. In order for this particular screw-up to happen, MS executives had to throw MS's traditional strengths right out the window.

Yes, I know about the "every other Windows release is a dud" routine. But that was always because Microsoft's great weakness was that they just couldn't make a truly stable OS. With Win7 they pretty well fixed that, or at least as good as it's going to get in a commercial OS running on open-standards hardware. Problem solved!

Microsoft's strengths are in extensibility, developer ecosystem, and UI design. Yes, UI design--for the enterprise environment where the need is for a highly customizeable UI on which a relatively small number of daily tasks must be performed as efficiently as possible.

MS blew all those strengths off. The Win8 UI is nearly unusable in an enterprise environment. It is completely unintuitive without a touch screen, doesn't handle multiple screens very well, and takes some getting used to even on a tablet.

I don't know how they did it, but they blew up the developer ecosystem too. All the UI problems should have been solvable by third-party utilities, but I'm not seeing any sort of mad rush to adopt "Start Menu by Symantec" or anything like that.

The extensibility sucks, too. Windows RT actually forbids MS Office macros! Not to mention the confusing lack of commonality between Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT, which may be what blew up the developer ecosystem, too.

I don't know if there's anything to the rumors about Bill Gates getting back into the biz, but based on this performance, he'd ought to be worried about his stake in MS.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm thinking that with Apple selling OSX at $29, that $30 might be the new OS price point. At least that's what I paid for snow leopard for my mini. And Linux isn't helping that price point any.

(Nor are LibreOffice, Open Office, Zoho or Google Apps doing anything to push customers toward MS Office at $100 to $400 a seat.)

I suspect that Jobs saw what an Achilles heel MS had with revenues solely based on software, and priced his OS & software accordingly.

Microsoft would do themselves a huge favor by offering a dual-boot situation with windows 7. Heck, they could easily have a button to click to turn Win7 mode on and off. If they wanted to preserve the illusion of differentiation, MS could require a reboot, even though anyone with 5 operating brain cells would realized it's just a UI skin.

8 does have some very good technical features, including touch screening that doesn't suck, or at least isn't glitchy like many touch screen add-ons of the past.

And Bill Gates' personal display is apparently an 84" touch sensitive display. I also get the feeling that Bill's starting to think that he's going to have to get a little more hands on with MS if he wants to keep his various charities funded.

Drive pooling is also a standout. It's a fantastic idea, so good that Linux has had it for a long time now. BillG has publicly said that WinFS not making it to the OS is one of his bigger disappointments. I think that MS would do extremely well to use the open version of ZFS, or if necessary license it from Sun/Oracle. It's an incredible system that would probably pay for itself just in reduced tech support from corrupted startup files.

If I were Larry Ellison, I'd certainly be licensing it retail for Windows/Mac/Linux users, with a "No warranty, don't ever call us about it" support plan. IT departments the world over would jump on it, and support communities would spontaneously arise to handle the problems.

If you don't believe it would be good, realize that Apple almost went to it, until all progress suddenly stopped dead one day (probably after a lawyer phone call from Sun). Yes, it's that good.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There really needs to be some Steve Ballmer firing happeing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I must respectfully disagree. I prefer that MS make some mistakes for others to learn from, and allow breathing room for new competition. Keep Steve Ballmer forever!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I disagree w/ your disagree. Both Apple and Google have serious flaws in their business practices. They both need a strong player in software/devices w/ deep pockets to force them to keep innovating and not become complacent
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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