back to article Microsoft loses grip on Christmas shoppers... despite XBox boost

Microsoft's second quarter results, posted on Thursday, reveal that the software giant struggled in the sexy world of devices during the all-important Christmas shopping period. These are the first numbers indicating how the battle between PCs and smart devices played out over the battleground for consumers' wallets that is …


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  1. James 51

    The only windows phone that I am tempted by is the 1020 and it's not for the OS.

    1. Longrod_von_Hugendong
      Thumb Up

      Same here...

      I want that camera so badly - but the os is of no practical use.

      1. WP7Mango

        Re: Same here...

        "but the os is of no practical use."

        I don't actually understand what you mean by that. It does many things better than iOS, and performs better than Android.

        The practical use of the OS is that it provides you with the best camera-phone on the market. Sure it might be different compared with iOS or Android, but that doesn't make it a bad OS. All the operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages.

        1. Steve Knox

          Re: Same here...

          "but the os is of no practical use."

          I don't actually understand what you mean by that. It does many things better than iOS, and performs better than Android.

          The practical use of the OS is that it provides you with the best camera-phone on the market.

          No. The only practical use of an OS is that it provides users with a way to take advantage of the hardware they purchased to a degree and in a way that they feel happy with their purchase.

          Your use of the subjective "better" underscores this point. You feel it is better than iOS and Android for the use cases you have experienced or researched.

          But each user's definition of happy is different, requiring flexibility in the system. Smartphones get this flexibility from their app ecosystems. Microsoft's app ecosystem is the smallest. Ergo, it is less flexible, and of less practical value to the varied users out there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Same here... @Steve Knox 17:24

            "Your use of the subjective "better" underscores this point. You feel it is better than iOS and Android for the use cases you have experienced or researched."

            And iOS and Android fans do the same. If you actually want a balanced view you're on the wrong site's forums.

            "Microsoft's app ecosystem is the smallest. Ergo, it is less flexible, and of less practical value to the varied users out there."

            I'd have to say that's a flawed conclusion. If it's got what people want despite being the smallest, then no more flexibility is required and it's of just as much practical value. "I want something that isn't Microsoft" isn't really a valid consideration when comparing app availability, in case you're wondering.

        2. Aoyagi Aichou

          Re: WP7Mango

          I don't actually understand what you mean by that. It does many things better than iOS, and performs better than Android.

          Please, tell me what are these practical advantages you speak of. And before you start spewing out lies, I'll tell you that I had to suffer about 9 months of living with Lumia 920. Then I bought a used Symbian phone.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Same here...

          Your phraseology (Sure it might be...) sounds very American to me - you wouldn't perchance be in thrall to the Dark Lord "Steve" Baldemort, would you? You comment sounds half way to an advertisement rather than a genuine comment. Please try harder next time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Same here... @AC 23:47

            "Your phraseology (Sure it might be...) sounds very American to me - you wouldn't perchance be in thrall to the Dark Lord "Steve" Baldemort, would you? You comment sounds half way to an advertisement rather than a genuine comment. Please try harder next time."

            Name calling and a suggestion of shilling. Could you rummage around for something original before asking someone else to try harder?

        4. Bladeforce

          Re: Same here...

          I would never go to a phone that is run by an OS with so little customization options its pathetic to think people would go for a phone just because of the camera after using Android for years

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Same here... @Bladeforce 01:33

            "I would never go to a phone that is run by an OS with so little customization options its pathetic to think people would go for a phone just because of the camera after using Android for years"

            I like the way the virtual keyboard on my Win mobile has punctuation marks. That might be something for you to put under "pros" if you ever want to do a comparison :P

        5. Piro Silver badge

          Re: Same here...

          The good thing about a rooted and bootloader unlocked Android phone is that it can be almost anything you want it to be.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same here...

        DId you mean "its OS won't make me sexy among my friends"?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same here...

        I actually used my phone more with iOS and Windows Phone than I do with my Android phone.

        There were just better apps and the Nokia Music app on Windows Phone was very useful.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      "Windows phone = loser"?

      You mean it's like a burning platform?

      1. HollyHopDrive

        Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

        Until Microsoft have a radical rethink they are going to be floundering until they eventually die.

        Windows phone isn't getting the traction (regardless of the hype 250% increase on 10 handsets isn't difficult 250% increase on 10,000,000 handsets is a different thing) . Its the Vista of the mobile world. The Eco system has been built by Apple and Google. What MS should do is ditch surface and win mobile and adopt android (bare with me here folks) and reskin android a bit like Samsung and amazon have done. I don't see the obsession with writing the whole OS when you can skin the bit the consumer sees and comes to love.

        They have bought one of the best handset manufacturers in the world - use it to make nice hardware - use the Nokia brand within Europe where it is still remembered fondly. Stop ruining it with windows.

        Obviously there isn't going to be Google services but there would be Microsoft services instead (app store etc). So now write all the office apps for android. Release them for free on your hardware and charge in the Google store. Get over the fact Google will take 30%. That way you sell your hardware with free office (the value add) and dont loose the chance to get normal android people into MS products and make money.

        Write a MS Android pro version that connects for the corporates and can be controlled via AD etc. This gives corporates a reason to buy Nokia devices.

        Best rub of all is most people who have written apps for android can release *easily* on to your platform with little additional cost or effort. And you now get to take advantage of the android market share because companies will already have written for android. So now, you share an Eco system without trying to grow your own market from scratch.

        Don't ignore iOS - face facts it has a massive market share that dwafs yours so write a native office for it. Charge decent money for it. Apple users are (according to the surveys) more affluent - and people would pay for office (look how well apples own offerings are doing here)

        Until they accept they no longer a monopoly and the market is swimming away from them and that its now MS that are the small fish in a big pond they will never regain respect or a decent share at the middle and top end.

        Oh....and change their name - Microsoft - its so 1980's - time for a radical rebrand.

        Just my opinion though.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ HollyHopDrive Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          You make a good point. However, as long as Gates & Ballmer are still on the board, the "not invented here" mentality of MS will prevail.

        2. Jabberwolf

          Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          um ?? you DO know that its not AD but Active Sync that the Windows phone ALSO uses. a

          And its not controlled by Active directory but probably an MDM setup.

          Both Active sync, AD, and Exchange all work beautifully.

          Also the Windows phone has an MDM feature built in with SCCM.. Also with Lync.

          Thanks for trying to pretend that you know how the enterprise works... it was a nice try.

        3. Kunari

          @HollyHopDrive Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          Not bad ideas HHD, but I doubt Microsoft would do it as they'd feel it'd be admitting defeat.

        4. Captain DaFt

          Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          "Oh....and change their name - Microsoft - its so 1980's - time for a radical rebrand."

          No way that'd turn out well with their branding history:

          "We need something catchy and edgy, but familiar, something that links to out best successes, like Win XP and Xbox."

          Two years later:

          "Ladies and gentlemen, businesses of the world, today the Microsoft era of old passes, and we reinvent ourselves for a new Future. From this day forward, we stride across the world as a mighty colossus of business, a paragon of innovation and technological prowess the world will know as... "

          <Orchestral Fanfare, Balloons and doves released over the city as two hundred show jets zoom over the conference in dazzling aerobatics>...

          "BRAND X!"

        5. John P

          Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          Never happen. Picking someone else's OS over their own would be complete suicide for Microsoft, it's like the CEO of Ford driving around in a Fiat 500.

          I'll be going for the 1020 on my next upgrade, or the functional equivalent at the time as I am thoroughly sick of Android. Every update reduces my battery life, the last update means I can barely get a full day out of a full charge while not touching it all day. It came loaded up with crapware (both from Google and HTC) that I am simply not permitted to remove AND this crapware keeps starting itself somehow. I've never used Twitter and have no use for it, but every time I go to the task manager. the Twitter app is there sucking my battery and CPU, and that is just one example of this.

          I've no guarantee that WinPho will be any better, but it's either that or iOS and Apple are even worse than Google.

          This is really the wrong place for an anti-Android rant, but MS articles are normally filled with pro-Linux rants so being off topic isn't unprecedented.

          1. cambsukguy

            Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

            You do have a guarantee that WP will be better, at least in the battery-draining department. Apps are tombstoned (something many do not like but noticeably improves battery life).

            Nothing runs except apps that you explicitly let run. It is very easy to block apps from background execution. Those that you do let run only do things when they need to.

            The OS only lets apps have a go at their live tiles (widgets) twice per hour, apps cannot abuse this privilege.

            The result? I have wireless charging so hardly ever get close to draining my phone but I leave WiFi on always (auto-search off though), Bluetooth on always, Mobile data on always, GPS on always. Only the NFC device is off (almost no need for it). This means I can stream my music, transfer a photo to someone, connect to internet at home (and work etc.) immediately and transparently meaning less hassle and faster download.

            A regular day leaves my phone at about 40 - 50% remaining at the end. A long day using foot navigation with camera and video when touristing can drain it more than is safe (for checking trains for the journey home) but this is no surprise - I carry a battery booster and relax.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          Put your work experience in that and email it to Microsoft and you could be the next Steve ballmer

        7. itzman

          Re: "Windows phone = loser"?

          "Until they accept they no longer a monopoly and the market is swimming away from them and that its now MS that are the small fish in a big pond they will never regain respect or a decent share at the middle and top end."

          If I were to search for a definition of Microsoft's woes I could not better that sentence.

          Way back when CP/M was king, and PC-DOS was a POS that survived solely because IBM put its weight behind it, Microsoft was a lean unethical marketing company, hungry for financial success and able to use aggressive marketing tactics in a world infested my naive techies, such as myself.

          But that was decades ago.. Having achieved a de facto monopoly of operating systems in the desktop arena, Microsoft entirely forgot how it had done that thing, and its failure to diversify away from that market apart from the X box marks both the secret of its success and its ultimate likelihood of failure.

          It hasn't got the creative genius of an apple, the dedicated engineering expertise to churn out volume low cost hardware,, nor the courage to abandon its 'windows;' brand and embrace android.

          Nor yet the courage that Apple showed when OS-X was introduced, based firmly on a *nix core. A move which invalidated all of its legacy OS9 software at a stroke.

          Now it has found a market in which it was not the early mover, but late to the game. It cannot respond, because it has none of the tools to respond with. Its tools are those of a dominant organisation crushing inferior competition, not those to do battle with a superiors and established player, like android or IOS.

          Users don't want desktop PCS much any more. Tablets don't do word processing or spreadsheets - the applications that arguably drove the PC onto the corporate desktop. Dedicated consoles drive the games. And the internet IS the operating system now. A browser and a mail client and a half a dozen other net enabled apps don't care what operating system they have. The internet protocols become the new API for app develoepers, not the operatings system.

          Linux and android are free of license by and large, adequate to the job in hand, so who needs Microsoft?

          A dwindling number of corporate desktops that actually do more than read data and add a very small content to it.

          And how long before the applications they run are 'cloud services' rather than loadable pieces of software? at which point the desktop workstation operating system also becomes supremely irrelevant?

          Or the code writers start to get together and say 'well actually, if we pick a single Linux distribution, and port our applications to that we can still make money out of the application, even if Microsoft doesn't'?

          Windows has long been an operating system nobody really WANTED, it was just that they had no choice if they wanted to write word documents and power point shows, or use a spreadsheet...or run some heavyweight desktop application.

          Now increasingly they don't want any of these things, they have realised that not only do they not really want Windows, they don't actually need it either.

          The moment a PC vendor or a big apps company breaks ranks and offers a Linux version either a basic workstation or of Corel, Photoshop, Quark, Autocad, Solidworks* the moment that Microsoft's whole existing business model really starts to collapse, not just decline.

          Because inertia and the 'de facto office suite' are simply not enough to justify spending money with Microsoft when Linux is cheaper and Libre Office is arguably as good as, if not better.

          *these merely being examples of heavyweight apps that the author knows need windows or OS-X to run on. Readers will know of others.

    3. Jabberwolf

      Practical use? I use it from the office and put the business iPhone that was given to me in a drawer, connected only to forward messages to me.

      I have all the apps I need (Im sure there are some dorky 3rd party ones that are barely used) have all my contacts in one place, can get to sky drive or box from home, office, or phone..

      My voicemails are texted to me, and I can see when I have texts or not at a glance.

      The Camera is a killer app (though yes I know not software) that destroys the competition.

      Its the best phone I've ever had and makes Android seem buggy and the iphone seem useless.

      1. Metrognome

        You wrote:"My voicemails are texted to me".

        How exactly is this a winpho specific feature and exactly how well would it work with non English voice messages?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not sure how you can be downvoted for saying what you find to be good about your Windows Phone... But remember you are dealing with teenage iPhone users here.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The camera's not that great either. Much of the footage is still faked to make it look better than it actually is, and Microsoft still play their media bribery tricks to over exaggerate it's capabilities.

      Better off with a high end Xperia, just as good camera, better OS.

  2. terd

    Love the spin - all other news agencies are reporting it as much better earnings for Microsoft..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The issues is the future

      Yes - earnings are up. But what the money guys look at is where those earnings are coming from, or not.

      The enterprise and xbox are pulling in money.

      The future products (phone/tablets) are dead horses as well has the home PC market.

      That means the future (and that is what investors care about) does not look so good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The issues is the future

        There's a difference between slow growth or decline and a dead market.

      2. Doug 3

        Re: The issues is the future

        but haven't the "money guys" also been asking about how Microsoft looks like a failure compared to Apple(iPhone)? I think with all the losses each quarter with Bing and the phone/tablet area the perception with the money people and public is that Microsoft is a big old crusty company with a great revenue stream from their 20 year old franchise, Windows, but with no ability to move beyond that.

        I think the money guys will continue watching them quarter by quarter but with each passing quarter they look like a pure enterprise player. And you know, they did a complete reorganization around being a device company so how does that help keep things clear for anyone?

        So with the consumer products failing(except XBox), internet failing(Bing) and consumer PC showing double digit shrinkage every quarter they don't look like a great investment. If they shed all that and stuck to the enterprise space they would show huge profits(+$2-$3 billion annually). There are lots of questions.

        1. itzman

          Re: The issues is the future

          And not only are they apart from the Xbox a pure enterprise player, but enterprises themselves are moving away from desktops a lot too, with portable devices and cloud servers offering the corporate platforms.

          I make a point when i go into a bank, or an office, to notice not what operating system the back office are using, but what they are doing with it. spreadsheets, word processing, the odd custom application that is dedicated to their business usually written for windows, BUT which could actually be written for javascript/HTML just as easily against a web interfaced server... or even delivered as a full 'cloud' service.

          I note that old bastion of the PC, Sage accounts, now offers an online package...

          Oh it wont be rapid collapse, just the death of a thousand cuts..And the tablet/smart phone revolution has put the idea in the minds of everybody who isn't especially tech savvy that there is a world beyond MIcrosoft, and when you come to sell a desktop system based on Linux, you will merely have to say 'oh, its the same as Android really' and suddenly everyone will relax...

      3. The Godfather

        Re: The issues is the future

        Quite right...this is a good analysis of the figures produced with sound questioning. I kind of shiver when I see all the acolytes or those with vested interest fawning over any company's glossed over financials. Time people became objective and freed their minds of crap...

  3. JimmyPage

    How many sales of Windows Phone

    have been driven by corporates (like mine) that have a "Windows Only" policy ?

    1. Hans 1

      Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

      > "Windows Only" policy ?

      You surely mean "Retarded CTO only policy ?"


      "We are happy to pay the full list price for MS software and services" policy?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

        Many companies have an "only Windows as endpoint device" policy because Windows has good endpoint management and they feel that making a single choice for an OS makes things easier. Similarly many companies have "Only Solaris as UNIX OS" policy or only DB/2 as RDBMS.

        If you think that's either retarded or the same as not beating up MS for volume discounts, you really don't understand much about running IT services in a large company.

        To sum it up: More endpoint OSes and devices = more complexity in management, therefore more costly management.

        1. Hans 1

          Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

          >good endpoint management ?

          You have the only endpoint management tool that supports OS's from one SINGLE vendor only and you call that good ? I think YOU have no clue, with all due respect.

          One vendor only for X is retarded, of course, it is "I put all my eggs into one basket, plus I pay the high price for said eggs each and every time" ... I am not talking volume licensing, I am talking Server OS licenses, CALS, server software licenses ... I have been to companies like yours, I am sure you have the same password for all administrator accounts throughout your datacenter (like enterprise admin for win, sys on oracle, root on UNIX ...) - been there, seen that, tooo many times. You certainly even say it out loud as you attempt to type it the third time in a row, with a 3rd party vendor consultant in the same room. The password is either your company name or the name of your most successful product, with some vowels replaced by numbers.

          >More endpoint OSes and devices = more complexity in management, therefore more costly management.

          That is ONLY the case because you use the wrong tool for "endpoint management", as I said earlier.

          You know what, I am sure they are looking for window cleaners in your area ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

            At the company I work for server OSes are volume. We have thousands upon thousands of them from Z down to commodity x86.

            You also fail to recognise that management software is not the be all and end all in a device. Multiple devices require multiple skill sets to manage and trouble shoot, from helpdesk up to 3rd line support and your design teams multiple skills cost more and reduce efficiency.

            I doubt that someone like you would get through the door at the company I work for, more for the attitude problem and the arrogant "I know everything, everyone else is wrong".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

          What you say is only partially true.

          I run the entire IT department for a company of around 150 people.

          We used to be a windows only shop (aside from a UNIX system to run our business software).

          I have since introduced Linux quite successfully on the server side and am looking to eventually replace some desktops.

          The main reason is Microsoft licensing. It's a headache to deal with. By the time I get around to getting approval from management, filling forms for purchasing licences and waiting for products to arrive, I will have already installed a Linux server, the application, and had my prototype ready. I also don't have to worry about keeping count and record of licences.

          It's also a question of - do I really want to get stitched up by Microsoft in the long term by keeping on buying their software? If I spend a little time and effort I could easily use Open source software to do what is necessary.

          BTW - I also replaced a large number of desktops with LibreOffice, so only some ego users and the management team are using Office2013. we have saved ourselves a fortune and more importantly protected our future, as it looks like MS are pushing users towards office365 which for us would be very destructive on our profit margins.

          One last note - I will be donating a sum of money to Libreoffice - thanks to them I have saved the company a fortune not just this year but potentially forever! If we had gone the Office365(gives me the shudders just thinking about it) route we would have had to fork out about £15K every year which we never had to do previously.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How many sales of Windows Phone

      Is there something wrong with sales which are driven by a "we're only going to use X" policy? Are they somehow not worth as much as sales by an individual?

      Incidentally sales to an individual are usually "I'm only going to use X" sales, because very few people buy more than one phone.

  4. Hans 1

    Enterprise Market ?

    The enterprise market is driven by the XP upgrades and thus Windows Server upgrades more than anything else I would guess. But I think that will slow pretty soon.

    I like the idea of them burning cash on dead-before-arrival devices ... MS have lost the cool, Nokia has cool in phone, but they dumped that brand name ... they should probably call it Nokia Phone iso Windows Phone, nobody wants a BSOD on their handset.

    When will the IT industry switch to open platforms, which mean no lockin, ever supported platforms and formats? I think it is only a matter of time, since, as I already wrote, they changed the only thing that was keeping them in the enterprise, a well known ui.

  5. Billy 8


    Surely the vast profits from Bing! will see them through?

  6. Bob Vistakin

    And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

    Seriously - is there some kind of prize for the first actual one I find?

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

      Then you need to step out of the garden shed.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

        It's not funny anymore.

        I want to see someone using one to make sure all this talk of any kind of market share isn't just some big online conspiracy. 90% of people I meet, from work, to just observing them in the gym, on the train etc use Android, 9% iPhones and the rest are scraps like BB and legacy (there's a difference?)

        I have to be honest and admit I saw some in the Tesco in-store mobile shop last week.

        All on the shelves.


        With no one interested in them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

          Bob, if you've not seen any in the wild you should open your eyes a bit more. A year or two ago, I would have accepted someone saying they'd not seen one, but now while they're not that common they're certainly common enough.

          I was at a gig before Christmas, from the back you could see everyone who was trying to take photos with phones, of about thirty odd phones at least three or four were Windows Phones.

          Then again, you seem to be bizarrely interested in them, it's practically all you comment about, you seem to be so desperate to hate them that I would have thought by now that you would have a few of your own just to work out how bad they really are. What's wrong? Frightened you might like it?

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

            I teach in a very posh Independent school where all the kids have every gadget going. Just a few years ago it was Blackberries everywhere along with a lot of iPhones and a tiny amount of Android devices beloved of the Geeks (like me!)

            Now, never see a Blackberry and they seem to be close to 50:50 Android to iPhone. Despite being a Geek myself who loves looking and playing with all the gadgets they turn up with I can honestly say non of the kids has yet come in with a MS phone. Perhaps there are some about, but non I've seen.

            I'm a Fandroid through and through and am disappointed to see that when it comes to tablets, its about 95% (or more!) iPad with little else about.

            I also run a Computer Geek club at school and although most of the kids have been bought up on and use Windows, they mostly treat Win 8 as a sad joke and laugh at those with it on their laptops.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild @AC 21:32

              "I also run a Computer Geek club at school and although most of the kids have been bought up on and use Windows, they mostly treat Win 8 as a sad joke and laugh at those with it on their laptops."

              Encouraged to do so by their teacher, I'd imagine. Very professional. Get the IT teacher involved - if any of the kids are interested in computing as a career he/she might be able to teach them to evaluate all options in front of them properly and be of more use in the workplace.

              1. Bob Vistakin

                Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild @AC 21:32

                "Encouraged to do so by their teacher, I'd imagine. Very professional. "

                So, teachers should push Microsoft "smartphones" to kids. I'm confident anyone advocating this is equally fair when it comes to educating them also on the meaning of the word "extortion", where microsoft makes on average $5 per Android handset from those making gear people actually want.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild @AC 21:32

                  You know, just because it is Microsoft getting the royalty doesn't automatically mean it is extortion.

                  A company their size, with their history in mobile going back till way before Apple, has patents.

                  Not all patents are trivial, silly or obvious. In a large enough portfolio some will be genuine.

                  And if they are, then why should they not get a royalty?

          2. Bladeforce

            Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

            I went to a concert the other day and didnt see one windows phone, yet i saw an equal amount of android and iphones. NOT ONE, its laughable how bad the fanboys twist the pathetic sales to their liking. Aint seen a surface of any kind either as a matter of fact

            1. James O'Shea Silver badge

              Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

              I am a former WinPhone user. I finally had enough and dumped my old Samsung Omnia in favor of an iPhone. I've seen fewer and fewer WinPhones over the three+ years since I dumped mine. So far this year I have seen 0.000 WinPhones in the wild. And, no, I didn't see very many (under a half dozen, I think, I didn't keep count) last year. I _have_ seen WinPhones in cellphone stores, usually being ignored.

              Surfaces, now, those I've seen. I know three people who have Surfaces. One curses the day he got it. One loves it. One is about midway between. I've seen a few other Surfaces around. Not very many, though, the total number of Surfaces in the wild is dwarfed by the number of iPads and Android tablets.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Open your eyes.

          Not all Windows Phones are bright yellow.

          Regardless, there are around 8 million sold in a quarter. There are around 40 million in use. There are 24 countries where they outsell iPhone (you may not consider them major markets necessarily, but the fact remains).

          On a more personal level, I use a 720 and a 925. A new starter in our department arrived with a Windows Phone. In my last role around a third of the phones were Lumia.

          On a familial level, my cousin has just got a 620. My aunt has announced she wants one as her next phone as a result.

          On a wider level, Lumias are advertised in mobile phone shop windows. They don't waste space on what doesn't sell. The last time I was in Phones4U the lady next to me was buying a 520. On the train to work I regularly see Lumias.

          Yes, the iPhones and Androids vastly outnumber them. That's not the point though. They are out there in the wild, selling, and growing in usage.

          Perhaps try dropping the really sad tribal outlook, and genuinely open your eyes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Open your eyes.

            > On a familial level, my cousin has just got a 620. My aunt has announced she wants one as her next phone as a result.

            You again.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: And still I have yet to see a Windows phone in the wild

      Someone in our office has one. He uses it as a telephone only though, and I have no idea why he doesn't just get the cheapest Nokia dumb phone.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the Phone/Tablet numberts show

    1 - Crap, no matter how pretty the ribbon it is wrapped in is still crap

    2 - Even crap will sell if it is cheap enough

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: What the Phone/Tablet numberts show

      And that sheep will still swallow the Google Koolaid, especially if it's cheaper.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      Re: What the Phone/Tablet numberts show

      2 - Oh yeah, no shit.

      I bought HP TouchPad at £99 like it was the hottest thing around.

    3. itzman

      Re: What the Phone/Tablet numberts show

      Conversely if its expensive crap it won't sell at all.

  8. Forget It

    Microsoft isn't just fro Xmas...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Getting reamed by Sony on Xmas sakes and specs

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RT slab price

    While the tablets were pricey, the cuts weren't as much as the article states.

    A 75% cut resulting in a $200 final price means a starting price of $800. You mean ~45% cut in price (still a large cut). You don't take the final price and use it as the denominator (with the price cut as the numerator). You use the original price as the denominator.

    It was a tempting purchase, but I'm waiting for a MS fondleslab that uses SDXC at about the same price point.

  11. Tom 35

    as consumers have generally stopped buying PCs

    Or maybe that should consumers have generally never started buying Windows 8.

    1. itzman

      Re: as consumers have generally stopped buying PCs

      It is that, but it's more. These are gross generalisations, forgive me, but they are 'approximately true'

      1/. domestic users aren't buying uprated PCS. They are overwhemingly buying tablets, e-readers smart TVs and smart phones. PC's are dull boring and old hat.

      2/. Corporations are not buying new PCs either. This is an interesting point I will expand on. Because I used to be one of those business owners who did buy new PC's every year. With windows on.

      I bought new because the old either wore out, (4 years was good going for a PC) or simply were not up to the task of running the new and better versions of the applications we needed to run a business.

      But at a given point, both the PCs and the applications were simply 'good enough' to run, essentially forever. I have bought the 'budget motherboard' from my favourite clone supplier for almost 20 years now. Both as a corporate buyer and as an end user, and what I have noted in the last few years is that the same money no longer buys me more than it did 4-5 years ago. In fact I cant get a machine at all quite as cheap as I used to, and it is very little faster. OK SSD and a bit more RAM helps, but program load times and the ability to have many programs alive at once is not an overwhelming issue.

      So we are running to the end of Moores law it seems. No longer is there an implicit guarantee that today's PC will be 4 times faster than a four year old one.

      And now look at the applications in teh enterprise. Overwhelmingly what people were using in my company were:

      - interface to a database. That used to be telnet into a Unix box, today its a browser into an SQL server.

      - mail and contacts and meetings, word processing, the spreadsheet for some.. In other words MS office.

      - specialist job related apps. Graphics for the creatives, IDEs for the techies, and so on.

      Now it is probably true to say that actually all these applications are fully mature. There is no NEED to develop them beyond bug fixes. And that is why millions of copies of XP are still running with a 7 year old office suite or later, and running old and still very usable versions of mature specialist apps. Its good enough.

      In short, in the corporate marketplace, computerisation has at the applications level reached full maturity. There is no need for more 'features'.

      Likewise the hardware has reached a plateau.

      Students of marketing theory realise this is symptomatic of when a given market sector moves from 'rising star' to 'cash cow' phase, and then perhaps even beyond it to a 'maintenance replacement and support ' phase.

      Corporate buyers are ultimately driven by ROI. If buying this years PC with this years MS offering offers nothing they can't do on XP, they will stay with XP until the hardware gasps and dies. I am still running an ageing copy of XP in a VM together with three Windows apps, all equally venerable, simply because they are GOOD ENOUGH for my needs.

      And money is tight.

      This is I think the key to understanding the issues that face Microsoft. The hardware and the software is mature, in the corporate environment. There are no more productivity gains to be had. My brother in law who manages big IT transitions, says that the activity is overwhelmingly happening in the server room,. where multiple divisional servers are now virtual machines in a few large blade type platforms. and the new server side apps are Linux based.

      Microsft and windows have to transition from a 'more sales every year, guaranteed' to a 'fewer sales every year, and replacement and support' mentality.

      Or find a new pond. They are too late to dominate the new consumer devices and there is no new pond in corporate sales, or its shifted in emphasis from machines on desktops to network and server technology - an area they have always been weak in anyway.

      That is Microsoft has done the job we wanted it to do and needed it to do: provided a standardised operating system interface on cheap hardware to allow the proliferation of single user applications throughout business. Thanks, but now that's done we don't actually need them to do it any more.

      They are sitting on a cash pile of epic proportions, but they have nothing left to spend it on.

      If I were they, I'd be buying back shares as fast as possible and getting ready to privatise the thing in order to be able to take it in a new risky direction, if that's what the directors wanted.

      Otherwise what faces Microsoft is a slow decline in significance until its basically broken up and sold for scrap as is the fate of so many players in the game.

  12. Vance P. Frickey

    Microsoft doesn't even know what it has to sell!

    By inexorably refusing to support Windows XP this year, Microsoft will be handing a ton of business to Rick Shuttlesworth and other linux platform vendors. There's a massive installed base of computers that'll run XP (all of mine, for example) but not Windows 7 or 8 because Windows has become irretrievably bloated in its latest incarnations. This installed base includes an astonishing number of bank automated teller machines (ATMs). So Microsoft has only itself to blame for a very short-sighted decision to try and force its customers to buy both new hardware AND new software during the worst recession since 1957-1958, or perhaps the 1970s. The banks will certainly remember Microsoft leaving them high and dry, and while THEY can afford to retool, you can rest assured they'll reconsider trusting their business to Microsoft when Microsoft forced them to retool in the first place. So will many of us less well-heeled customers.

  13. Adus

    My experience with Windows Phone

    I had a Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 and really liked it. After 2 years it was still working perfectly and did everything I wanted it to. The app ecosystem sucked, but as a "first" attempt at mobile (at least modern smartphones), I was really impressed. I saw great things coming for WP in future..

    When Windows Phone 8 came out, I took the upgrade and went with the Nokia Lumia 920.

    I was disappointed that WP8 didn't solve many of the problems with 7 and the ecosystem is no better. Even worse, the phone started falling apart after a year, constantly saying I had no sim card, audio dying all the time etc.

    In the end, I just switched to an iPhone 5S. The first apple product I've bought since the 3GS.

    I really, really wanted to like Windows Phone. The idea of an ecosystem of Windows on my PC, Laptop, Tablet, Phone and Xbox is really appealing to be. But unfortunately WP8 and Windows RT are not improving nearly fast enough given the competition. The ecosystem on both sucks and it's going to be hard to convince developers to target devices with such low marketshare.

    1. Richard Barnes

      Re: My experience with Windows Phone

      Over the last couple of years, I've had a Samsung Galaxy S2 as a personal phone and an iPhone 5 as a work phone. The S2 was OK, but battery life was poor to mediocre even with batterysaver apps activated, the screen was so-so and I found Android slightly hard work. The iPhone had the same mediocre battery life and the great screen and app ecosystem, but it was absolutely useless as a phone both where I live and work - dropped calls all the time.

      Now I have a Nokia Lumia 720. The app ecosystem is obviously not as good and there are some annoying gaps, but it has all the basics plus a much better battery life, better onboard keyboard for typing (similar to the ones available for Android) and MUCH better call quality (with the same network provider). No dropped calls now. Haven't had the phone for long, so can't comment on build quality, but to be honest it does feel a little plasticky.

      So what I think I really want is an iPhone with the battery life and call quality of the Lumia, Any chances do you think?

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: My experience with Windows Phone

        My Galaxy Note 2 has an excellent battery life, and reports suggest that the Note 3 has a similarly good battery life. It seems that a larger screen means more space for a bigger battery behind it, and the extra capacity on that battery more than offsets the additional power demands of the larger screen.

  14. Hans 1

    Windows Phone

    I saw one yesterday, in the wild ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows Phone

      Was it gathering dust in Swag Converters "premium" display case?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have seen a few in the wild. But I certainly see more Symbian phones still in use. Certainly the number of BlackBerrys I see is far higher. At work (out of a staff of a couple of hundred) I have seen one WP7 and one WP8 device. And one Arm Surface (bought cheap from a mate.)

    I know of none amongst my close friends and family.

    I have seen a few posted with Lumia type entries on Facebook (1 in 50??) But I know one of those has now moved from WP7 to android.

    Every Symbian user I know has either stuck with the phone or moved to Android. (A win for MS, but not for Nokia).

    The problem isn't really going to be how well WP works (let's face it, the fact that desktop windows actually works at all with all the crap it has loaded tends to imply the core itself must actually be pretty damn good, and if you could just dispose of it all, you'd get a good system). The problem is Microsoft's long history of dropping support for any platform that isn't x86. There are numerous desktop/server platforms that Microsoft launched on and then dropped.

    On phones, they do not offer any continuity between the numbered versions of their platform.

    Windows phone 7 and Windows mobile 6 were really just different platforms (sharing the same core I think).

    Phones could not be upgraded to the new platform and the software was not compatible between the two.

    A similar situation exists between WP7 and 8, although supposedly WP7 software runs on WP8, but since software can only be loaded via its app store, who knows whether that involves automatic recompilation, or a rewrite by the authors? It seems unlikely that WP7 phones will run WP8 software by the same process. (Perhaps someone who knows the answer to this can comment, and answer whether WP7 is a burnt platform).

    It seems likely to me that the current situation of WinRT and WP8 being separate platforms isn't sustainable.

    So the next version will likely support both tablets and phones, but will existing RT and WP8 then be in the same situation that WP7 is now?

    Or more to the point are the devices cheap enough to take that risk?

    I know if I had a phone with a 40 megapixel camera, I would be pretty annoyed if the OS were burnt. (It's annoying enough that the N8 has had the plugs pulled earlier than promised.)

    At least iOS devices usually get one or two OS upgrades, and there is reasonable compatibility between apps and OS versions. (Android has similar app compatibility, but upgrades seem far less common than they should be, but at least there's cyanogen mod.)

  16. PeterM42

    It's mainly a matter of time.......

    .....before Android is established on desktops/laptops. Then Microsoft will become part of computing history.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's mainly a matter of time.......

      Chromebooks are already outselling Windows 8 laptops. Microsoft are already history.

    2. itzman

      Re: It's mainly a matter of time.......

      Android on a desktop = linux.

      In all but name.

      What is android beyond a pretty face on linux that is adapted to the exigencies of running on 'small' hardware with touch screens.

      Take away the small hardware and the touch screens and it looks very like Linux in one of its more popular incarnations.

      1. Darren Forster

        Re: It's mainly a matter of time.......

        You seen Chrome Books then - it's Android for a Netbook!

  17. Firvulag

    Surface 2 is actually pretty good if you give it a chance - MS playing for the long term.

    Ok before the apple/android hysteria fan starts. I have an iPhone as my work phone, Galaxy Note II as my own phone and the use of my wife's iPad (when she lets me). It also have >25 years IT experience on various bits of kit.

    When it came to get a PC for my mum who needed some form of simple PC device the best choice was a Surface2. After helping her learn to use it I liked it so much I bought one for myself. I use either smartphone for remote control type apps and the surface for everything else. I only very occasionally fire up my laptop or main PC when at home. This weekend I had it hooked up to our main telly in split screen mode (via a £3 micro HDMI cable) while we looked up holiday hotels in the browser and associated emails / onenotes in the other. Doing it on an ios / android device would have been a pain as I would have been constantly swapping screens.

    I appreciate its not everyone's favourite but it is worth considering your needs and requirements before following the pack - you may be surprised. I know I was. The original Surface RT was DOA but there have been enough improvements to make it worth a look. I think MS will keep making improvements and with every W8 PC able to run TIFKAM apps (that's a big marketplace) the more quality apps will eventually come. I think over time they will grow market share but will likely still be 3rd place (but a more significant 3rd).

    These are the things I like:

    - (Just) Enough key apps (e.g flipboard, facebook, deezer, iTunes remote)

    - File management

    - VPN Tunnelling (to my work)

    - Good detachable keyboard

    - Easy to use essential apps (email, facebook etc)

    - Split screen

    - Windows Remote Assistance (to help my mum if she gets stuck)

    - Full Web Browser

    - Office 2013

    - USB

    - Flipping between apps is faster and easier than I find it in android or ios (simple swipe)

    - HDMI out (can also Play to Smart TVs directly)

    - No AV needed (unlike full windows)

    - Kickstand is actually pretty useful especially as its not as light as an ipad.

  18. Hans 1

    Why ActiveDirectory is bad and GroupPolicy is Easy to Implement with anything

    AD is bad because you cannot easily extend it to support other platforms. Take any free LDAP implementation like OpenLDAP or ApacheDS, LOL, and you have an easily managed LDAP implementation that you, on *NIX, integrate into Samba for interoperability with Windows. Easily extended with vi or notepad ....

    Plus, Linux clients allow top-of-the-league fileshare, sshfs anyone ? encrypted fileshares, with key auth ... man, cannot be beat and samba outperforms ANY windows server version, when it comes to IO. Now you know why I call you window cleaners.

    GroupPolicy ? Window cleaners, group policy is a set of registry keys you can set with anything (cmd.exe, VBS, powershell ....) all it takes is an hour or two to gather the registry keys you want set (it would take me 20 mins, but that is because I know this stuff). You save $k's.

    So, Apple would be in each and every server room if window cleaners had common sense, after all, they want a ui they can use with a mouse ... unfortunately, a one time 3000 bucks per domain controller server was apparently a too good to be true or you lacked a calculator, too late, Apple dumped Xserve.

    I guess you can still implement it on *NIX, but you will need typing lessons - two fingers is not enough. Fluency in typing can help you outperform any MCSE with a mouse. I can outperform any Windows admin, I am sure, but then again I am cheating, my job is automation ... ;-)

    BTW, why do I never mention an "endpoint management system" ? Because any will outperform AD, mainly because AD is standard, to even dream of a tiny marketshare, you have to outperform that piece of shit like hell ... I use puppy, YMMV - most are free ... so what are you paying for ?

  19. Darren Forster

    Windows RT tablet - give me Android any day!!!

    I'm an IT technician and was called to sort someones tablet out a few weeks ago.

    It was one of those Windows 8 RT things. I thought can't be that hard to help her, all she wanted was to remove some of the icons from the start menu.

    So I started dragging the icons expecting to see some kind of dustbin or something I could put them in to get rid of them....

    Ok where's the dustbin....

    Looked on the net - the solution is to right click on the icon and click remove from start menu (having used Windows 8 on my home PC I already knew this - but there is one problem - there is no right mouse button on a tablet!).

    So I started hunting around the tablet trying to find some kind of extra button other than the "Windows Start Menu" button that might work as a right click....

    Some other website said swipe downwards on the icon to bring up the right click menu.... tried that and all that happened was the icon whizzed off somewhere else on the start menu.

    Eventually after about 30 minutes of playing with the thing (and by this time if it was mine it would have been through the window by now - it's like a very expensive version of one of those metal puzzles everyone gets you at Christmas to see how long it takes you to figure out), I found out how to get the right menu up... well nearly..

    I watched Youtube videos on how to do it and all they were doing was swiping downwards and no matter how I tried it, it just moved the icons everywhere, and then at one point I got the swipe down just right. I was like yay!!! I've got it....

    So I deleted that icon for her, and proceeded to the next - oh wait I haven't got it... another 30 minutes later (really losing my patience with it now) and many more swipes I finally figure it out. You have to swipe down slightly to the right of the icon at a precise point between that icon and the next icon to bring up the right menu options (easy enough once you know exactly where to swipe - why not just make the interface like a twister board and get people to press the twister pads in a certain order for it to do something - surely even that would be easier!)

    After that I'd got the hang of it and the lady said to me I'm glad I've got you here because I'd never have figured it out.... isn't Microsoft supposed to make things easy for the general public to use - if it even takes a technician an hour to figure it out what chance has the general public got? Did they even test this on real people before selling it. I know some will say it was probably somewhere in the manual, but you want a device that's easy and simple to use when you pick it up, not something that you've got to read a 1,000 page manual to get an idea of how everything works, I haven't even read the manual to my car and that's more complex than this, but most of it's switches are self explanatory (except the one for dimming the dashboard - that did take me a while to figure out 'cos it's symbol is the same as cruise control on my previous car!)

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