back to article Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk

Microsoft's global channel chief has struggled to find the words to explain why his company has not snared the intelligent devices market in the same way as it has done with PCs, admitting "there's work to do". According to tech market beanie Canalys, Microsoft operating systems ran 93 per cent of traditional PC clients in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's this "innovating" thing he's talking about? Clearly it's a verb of some kind, because it seems they're "quite hard at it", but I can't for the life of me relate it to a real actual thing. Perhaps he was thinking of "procrastinating", as in "we've been procrastinating really hard, putting 10 Billion into it, and I can't explain why our market share has shrunk".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: ?

      "What's this "innovating" thing he's talking about?"

      Quite. It seems to be the word they use when the world does not conform to their reality which is (a) that the answer is windows no matter what the questions and (b) windows is best only when MS has a monopoly. When these answers no longer compute they "innovate" - a word which in Redmondese means "change the discussion to make the answers right, like the OOXML stupidity.

    2. plrndl

      Re: ?

      "What's this "innovating" thing he's talking about?"

      I think he means "enervating".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ?

      They're "innovating" new ways to generate license fees and raising tech support charges. I thought that would be obvious.

    4. Charles Manning

      re: ?

      FUD maybe?

      You can have engineering innovation. You can have product innovation. You can have marketing innovation.

      Why can't you have FUD innovation?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: ?

        Because FUD innovation is reserved for governments and national security agencies these days. Mere corporations have to stick to well tried FUD and not go trying to be clever.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ?

      It's weird, Microsoft genuinely think they're innovative.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ?

        They aren't in any sort of cutting edge fashion. I've always seen them as the "fixer", they wait for new innovations to appear which have flaws and are expensive. They fix the flaws, make it cheaper and more accessible.

        It is a strategy that started to go wrong once Apple were in full swing, they just couldn't quite make their MP3 players as nice (in a market where people carry an item around in public, it needs to look nice). Their re-invented phones were too late to market.

        Instead of fixing and releasing a cheaper product their product is more broken and more expensive.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm..... Let's see....

    They went from having a competitive, WinCE based, mobile OS, running on excellent devices like the HTC TyTn, to nothing. Perhaps those are the words he was looking for?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm..... Let's see....

      You mean to say that jumping feet-first away from an established, successful and massively useful product line in favour of something based around a basic idea of what a fashionable UI is could be a BAD idea?

      That jumping away from a position where you're on the market-leading devices might be a bad move?

      Nah, that can't be right. Blindfolds on, jump away!

      The thing is they're ALREADY doing what's required- they just actively block you from using it. Using .NET, your backend code can be copied more or less wholesale between Windows desktop/server, the older Windows Mobile (<WinMo 7) and these days even exists in the microcontroller space (e.g. Netduino and other such things). So you need to write the program code once and just re-arrange the UI for the new platforms.

      If you needed something OS-agnostic you could use ASP.NET, again allowing you to keep your backend code the same on every platform and just tweak the UI.

      They even gave assistance to the Mono project, allowing .NET programs to be run under Linux and other competing OSes (including ASP.NET so it can be hosted by a regular LAMP stack- it even remains open source).

      So with this wonderful tech kicking about, how come they try to limit what you can do, to curtail the wonderful bits of development people have knocked together in the past and will continue to in future?

      Come on, MS, stop copying Apple with all this walled garden shit and get on with what you're good at- making things that let other people make things.

      In other words, build the tools, don't pander to them!

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: Hmmm..... Let's see....

        > get on with what you're good at- making things that let other people make things.

        The problem is that people want to make things for Android, iPhone, RaspberryPi, and such, and Microsoft won't build the tools for those.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

    Well that's an interesting definition.

    My definition of "all intelligent devices" would also have included media stuff (TVs, STBs, BluRay, etc), networky stuff (SoHo routers etc), and so on.

    Microsoft share of that sector: negligible.

    Windows OSes are largely sold where MS can twist the system builders arms.

    Where the system builder is not vulnerable to that kind of StrongARM tactic, there is largely no Windows.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

      Not really wanting to stand up for MS here, but: If Windows OSes are only sold where MS can put the OS on the system to start with, why is Windows Server the most used server in the world* when a negligible amount of servers come with an OS pre-installed?

      *By servers installed and used, not by installs of Apache appearing on the web.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

        Server the most used server in the world

        Most sold units.

        There's a big difference (especially when comparing to something that isn't 'sold')

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

          I you had read my post, you would have seen that I specifically said that the vast majority of server hardware is not supplied with an Operating System. That being the case, it's reasonable to presume that if someone buys any server OS, Windows Server included, they are going to install it on a server. Incredibly expensive software like COTS Server OSes doesn't get bought and left on a shelf.

          There are also plenty of ways to tell if someone has installed a Linux server, there's the licence that you pay for your support, there's the dial home that most Linux installs do when installed, there is the use of update web sites. Now they're not going to get everything, but they and other methods are going to get the vast majority.

          I don't understand why my initial post attracted so many downvotes, except maybe it was percieved as pro MS, surely that can't be the case?

          1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

            Why all the down votes

            You claimed Windows ws the most used saver OS in the world without supporting evidence, and people do not believe you. By all means, show some evidence. Here is a little for you:


            Less than 1024 of any ARM flavour, so 2000000 Raspberry Pi's do not show up. Most Linux installs do not phone home.

          2. Richard Plinston

            Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

            > There are also plenty of ways to tell if someone has installed a Linux server, there's the licence that you pay for your support,

            No. You are wrong, yet again.

            The _license_ for Linux is free. The support agreement is _not_ a license, it is a contract. Many Linux server distros are not tied to support contracts (ie they are optional), eg CentOS, Scientific. Most Linux distros, even when not specifically servers, include server applications and can be used as anything from personal servers, SMB servers, to dedicated server clusters. And then there are various BSDs.

            None of these would be in the 'server market' as a cost (or revenue). Note that _support_ costs are separate from 'the server market'.

            Certainly if IBM sells an AIX box or a box with RHEL installed that would be included, but most will buy bare servers boxes and do their own install even if that is RHEL or SUSE.

            > I don't understand why my initial post attracted so many downvotes.

            Because, as usual, you are _wrong_. Market share in dollars is _not_ 'usage'. It is _cost_.

          3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

            "I don't understand why my initial post attracted so many downvotes"

            Have you considered "because you're a tool?"

          4. Richard Plinston

            Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

            > there's the dial home that most Linux installs do when installed, there is the use of update web sites.

            While some distros, such as RHEL, do have registrations for the support and thus can be counted, other distros do not. I have several machines here with CentOS (4), Fedora, Mint and Ubuntu. I use CentOS as a desktop (and server) and Fedora as a server (and desktop). Plus I have clients with CentOS servers, and others with RHEL servers they built themselves.

            None of these boxes are in the 'server market statistics', tough possibly some of the RHEL revenue for the OS alone might be.

            As for the 'dial home', while that may indicate 'usage' it does not get included in the stats which only counts _cost_ (or sales revenue).

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

            "There are also plenty of ways to tell if someone has installed a Linux server, there's the licence that you pay for your support, there's the dial home that most Linux installs do when installed, there is the use of update web sites. Now they're not going to get everything, but they and other methods are going to get the vast majority."


            "I don't understand why my initial post attracted so many downvotes"

            Is this person serious?

        2. Richard Plinston

          Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

          > Most sold units.

          Most _cost_ of sold units.

          The 'server market' is measured in dollars, not units. A bare box with CentOS installed counts as $0 (because it isn't even included), machines built in-house (Google, Amazon, etc) aren't counted, one Windows server counts as $thousands.

          But AC 'The Vogan' will still peddle his misleading stats because he doesn't understand them.

          1. asdf

            Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

            @Richard Plinston

            Looks like The Vogan gave you your downvote for outing him and his shill ways.

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Have you got figures for 'servers installed and used' ?

        Microsoft like to quote market share figures and say they sold so many million dollars of server licenses. 100,000 Linux boxes at Google, Facebook or Twitter result in zero dollars of server licenses. My router is a DHCP server and HTTPS server. Smart phones are often MTP servers. Server market share depends entirely on how you count them.

      4. kirovs

        Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

        I am sure you meant the server bringing most money as you DO NOT KNOW the number of servers installed. Unless you want to share some stats proving me wrong. That would be interesting.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: server bringing most money

          Not even sure MS would be tops there. Some of those supercomputer guys only sell a dozen or three servers a year. But man they have a cash flow. I think the definition is actually fairly constrained for their "most of" market. In fact, I think that's how they've slithered out of a few anti-trust cases.

      5. Mad3218

        Re: " all intelligent devices - notebook, slabbies and smartphones"

        That is a good question, and the only answer that makes sense to me is that the Windows Desktop does not play well with other server environments. that plus we have an entire world of highly paid server people out that that are just plan use to it.

  4. Alister

    'can't put adjectives behind the why'

    I could think of a few nice adjectives...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Eight of them to be exact...

  5. Ottman001

    I actually wonder if they're spending too much on R&D. How can a company filled with competent engineers develop the same thing three times? Looking at that $10bn figure, I suggest they're funding so many projects without anyone knowing all of what is going on.

    If solutions to cost restraints never had to be found, it may also explain ridiculous Surface prices. I don't actually know if Surface component costs are significant, its just a theory.

    1. ThomH

      One assumes last July's huge internal shakeup was related to this: probably too many fiefdoms and no centralised control — fine, the design team was separate and did what it did but then everything filtered down into the traditionally separate teams and they did their traditionally separate things.

    2. Oh Homer

      How did it happen?

      In a word: Ballmer.

  6. No Quarter

    One word answer explaining precipertous fall


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One word answer explaining precipertous fall

      It's called a Rover 100 now....

      1. Synonymous Howard

        Re: One word answer explaining precipertous fall

        They've just rebadged it you fool!

        I'm not having a Mini Metro

        I'm not having a Mini Metro

  7. Mage

    Integent ... Running Windows

    Amazing, 22% of Humans, Apes, Monkeys, Elephants, Corvids, Dolphins etc are running a Microsoft computer OS!

    Um ... you do know that because they still can't figure out what intelligence is the AI people have completely changed the definition is since the 1970s? That in real terms there has been ZERO progress in AI since 1950s? Any progress is by redefining AI to include whatever program has just been developed.

    Wake me up when you find ANY intelligent device that isn't replicating biologically. Sex is obviously currently involved to produce Intelligence, in a sense.

    If we are talking about devices that are not a laptop, Notebook, All in one, PC or Server, then 22% is an amazing figure, and wrong, as MS are non-existent on Set-boxes, Routers, TVs, DVD, Blu Ray, Media boxes etc . Though in the USA in WinCE PDA / Early Symbian days it might have been more than 45%. But about 10% world wide.

    (*laptop, Notebook, All in one, PC or Server etc I don't classify as a device but "computers" as they are very general purpose and OS can easily be changed. A device running an OS (the word "intelligent" is meaningless) to me is a gadget where you'd have to go through hoops, JTAG etc to EASILY change the OS. The only non-computer devices close to "general purpose" rather than dedicated appliance are Phones (so called "Smart") and Tablets.

    Exactly what is the "Smart" in a Smart Phone? It's as dumb as a basic one that can only do phone calls and SMS with an address book. Just more applications and ability to load applications with awkward Web Browser)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Integent ... Running Windows

      That in real terms there has been ZERO progress in AI since 1950s

      "I'm gonna make shit up like an economic columnist from the NYT and just post it here. Sounds like a plan!!"

      Yeah.. "Real terms". Really intelligent word-finding here, dude.

      Well, I'm old enough to remember eejits proclaiming how impossibly hard it would be to have computers play chess and from that observation they went on to conclude that AI is too hard for computers. Now chessplaying is no longer even mentioned as an interesting problem. We switched to more interesting problems like machine translation, simulations of cats and robots pursuing you to the khazi to pop a cap into your arse.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: chess playing

        I'm not sure that chess-playing was ever "solved". IBM eventually deployed enough brute-force to outwit Kasparov as a publicity stunt, but ...

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: chess playing

          > eventually deployed enough brute-force to outwit Kasparov

          I thought Kasparov used 'brute force' (ie evaluating every move to some depth) when playing his games.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: chess playing

            "I thought Kasparov used 'brute force' (ie evaluating every move to some depth) when playing his games."

            Absolutely not. The number of possible moves grows so fast that a human could only evaluate 3 or 4 moves ahead by brute force. It's well-established that Grand Masters are better because they *don't* do that. At each move, they trim all the obviously crap moves and may pursue a promising strategy a dozen moves ahead.

            Anyone who knew how to define "obviously" or "promising" in robust algorithmic terms could publish it in a book and live off the royalties. (There are plenty of amateurs who'd buy a book that really did teach them how to play at Master level.) The fact that no-one had done so prior to 1960 is why chess-playing was selected as a good problem for AI research. The fact that no-one has done so since Big Blue is my reason for suspecting that BB owes its success more to brute-force rather than cunning.

        2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: chess playing

          Explain to me how any chess grandmaster does anything other than "brute force" the game? They think multiple steps ahead, exploring dozens if not hundreds of simultaneous potential scenarios. Experience teaches them which moves are "generally good" and which are "generally bad." All of this is just a less efficient way of doing what the computer does, less accurately.

          1. RaidOne

            Re: chess playing

            Are we examining chess here as a mean of measuring intelligence? It's obviously not, because many very intelligent people are crappy chess players.

            And people saying that chess players are using brute force are correct - they are thinking closer to how a machine operates by trying all possibilities. Not a sign of intelligence, in my opinion.

          2. RealBigAl

            Re: chess playing

            Dead easy. Chess Grand Masters also learn to read their opponents, just like poker players in a way. The difference with the Kasparov v IBM match was Kasparov couldnt intimidate Big Blue so could only rely on his reading of the game. Despite him being very very very good at that he wasnt as good as the super computer.

      2. Mage

        Re: Inteligent ... Chess

        Hmm... Computer Chess playing doesn't use intelligence. It's brute force.

      3. HelpfulJohn

        Re: Integent ... Running Windows

        The much-vaunted Mr. A. C. Clarke, who allegedly invented just about our entire technological base and every fictional theme that ever existed, wrote a short SF story in which a computer larger than some cities eventually managed to beat a human Grand Master at chess. The event in the tale took place sometime in the 30th Millennium or later and it was applauded as a huge deal.

        When I read the tale, sometime in the early 1970's, I thought it was piffle. Tripe. Nonsense. I was entirely convinced of two things:

        a: computers would consistently beat the best humans in about a decade or less, and

        b: chess is *NOT* a sign of "intelligence".

        I was nearly right about point "a". I am certain I'm still right about point "b". Chess, like many other simple "wargame" simulations is simply memory and extrapolation from the current position. It is no more a sign of intelligence than is a bubble-sort or a Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion table.

        A sign of true intellect is getting utterly bored out of one's skull when first *watching* chess being played, deciding that it is simply not worth the intellectual effort to learn the rules for such a stupid, unrewarding game and buggering off to party, instead.

        When machines do that we can call them AI's.

        Yes, AI's are excellent at mimicking some aspects of what we generally look upon as intelligent behaviour but so are *politicians* and no one ever accused them of having any great wit.

        I am firmly of the opinion that there is an ineffable quality to intelligence that binary digital machinery can not ever have. I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it. My cat had some. My wife had masses of it but no machine I've yet seen has any.

        Though I'm sure even a ten-buck toy chess-playing machine could beat me today.

        1. P_0

          Re: Integent ... Running Windows

          Chess, like many other simple "wargame" simulations is simply memory and extrapolation from the current position. It is no more a sign of intelligence than is a bubble-sort or a Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion table.

          In this case how is anything a sign of intelligence? And I think you'll find there is far more to it than memory and extrapolation. You do need insights into how other people think etc.

          What you are saying reminds me of when people say Poker is a game of luck. In that case why do the same faces keep appearing at Poker Series Finals?*.

          *example taken from the film Rounders (a good film by the way).

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Integent ... Running Windows

            You need insights into how people think because the reasonable human approach isn't 'search the whole space', it's a number of learned shortcuts. So determining how your opponent is shortcutting and using a strategy they won't detect can win.

            That doesn't work if your opponent has the ability to search _all_ strategies, even he's rubbish at evaluating yours.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Integent ... Running Windows

            "In this case how is anything a sign of intelligence?"

            Once we have an answer to that question, we'll have taken our first baby steps towards AI. A related question is "What is intelligence?" and we don't have an accepted definition for that either. I suspect that once you have the answer to one then you have the answer to another, although I can't prove that since I don't have the answer to either and nor do I have sufficiently rigorous definitions of the terminology to reason about it. Nevertheless, different formulations may be equivalent and yet more or less useful than each other. I suspect that your formulation is more useful than mine, since "How do I tell?" is a call to action but "What is?" is merely an invitation to talk about it.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Integent ... Running Windows

        There's something wrong with your memory then.

        Chess was always seen a brute force problem, and nothing to do with AI except for grabbing headlines.

        The AI community from the 60s on though very seriously underestimated the complexity at which any emergent behaviour of simple techniques like fuzzy logic, tactical functional programs, logic databases, and neural networks, becomes a structured intelligence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Integent ... Running Windows

      Slightly OT, the "Smart" in a smartphone is the way it integrates all the different messaging, calendars, contact details and so on, allows customisation of notifications, and can be made context aware so it knows, for instance, not to ring under certain circumstances. These are all things your PA used to do for you that you can now get the phone to do without thinking about it.

      Being able to see email accounts, sms, bbm, Linkedin and calendar in a single view and drill down quickly is a big time saver compared to the basic phone + SMS + email client on computer.

      This, of course, is what Microsoft never really saw coming. Much of what is communicated via .doc/.docx never needed to be. Text + pictures is easily good enough for most business communication; Word is a hangover from the typewriter. The effort they have put into putting their Office applications onto unsuitable devices must be part of the problem; dicking around with ribbons and so on is avoiding the fundamental truth, that Word and Powerpoint contribute very little to business. WW2 was fought with voice telephony, teleprinters and typescript. Yet the pace of innovation was enormous. Microsoft has tried to do a McLuhan and turn the medium into the message. It's failing.

  8. JimmyPage

    Cycles ...

    Microsoft are where they are today, because they thought they could manage the markets. They may as well have tried to manage the weather.

    All things go in cycles. You have development, expansion, consolidation, and decay. Where the decay starts, you get development expansion, consolidation, and decay. Incidentally these aren't necessarily linear - you can have development continuing, while expansion starts...

    1970s - development of microprocessors. Computing scaled down

    1980s - expansion. Microprocessors become more available. Concept of PC becomes reality

    1990s - consolidation. More people use PCs at work - home market grows

    2000s - decay. Concept of PC outdated as phones, tablets become extant.

    Now of course phones started in the 80s, expanded in the 90s ....

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Cycles ...

      I don't even think we've gone to decay. I think we're just in sustained equilibrium. It's just that since the development and expansion of the computing industry was so dramatic from the 1970s until 2000 that we've come to assume exponential growth is the norm instead of the exception. I think phones and tablets are in a similar exponential growth phase, so we've mistaken them for displacing PCs. But that's always been the problem of projecting a life cycle based on less than 3% of the initial curve.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What language is this?

    ""The scenarios that we had in market as we were innovating haven't taken as much share, I can't put the adjectives behind the why," he told The Channel."

    Where do they learn to speak such gibberish? I could have a guess that this means something like "Our new products didn't sell, and I don't know why", but is that what he meant, and why does he feel the need to encode his thoughts? Actually, it's fairly worrying that he just might actually think in fluent Nonsense.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: What language is this?

      High-risk route up the greasy pole. Say what you are going to do in clear and plain language. Get some of the credit if it all works out. Get all of the blame, and then some, if it doesn't.

      Low-risk route. Talk plausible-sounding gibberish that's as content-free as possible. Claim credit if something good later happens. Deny all responsibility if something bad subsequently happens. No-one will be able to gainsay you.

      I can't bullshit. That's probably why I'm a programmer not a CEO.

    2. Charles Manning

      Re: What language is this?

      ", I can't put the adjectives behind the why," he told The Channel."

      Well perhaps that's because Ballmer only bought "verbs".

    3. Lapun Mankimasta

      Re: What language is this?

      It _is_ Gibberish, which is the language spoken by the Gibbers. Gibbers fled the Oompa-Loompa Common-Sense Invasion of the x-to-the-nth century and are now refugees; but they have been widely appreciated in political and management circles ever since. So consider that your boss may well be a refugee from Common Sense, and you'll find it easier to get along with him or her.

  10. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Ahem I think I can explain?

    <cough, cough>

    Ms did have portable devices - pocket PCs and a sort of system on a chip operating system (WINCE and wince by nature?). HP2210 anyone?

    And they were great, pocket word, excel, synching, ... some models even supported a SIM card and mobile technologies with their big brother commercial variants with humungous battery pack probably being used as portable stock control device at a supermarket near you (even till today?)

    But for the WINCE 2003 user all of that had to stop - it was too good and chucks of it might be sold off under IP and its streets or terrain satnav GPS just impacted too much on emerging markets and emerging products.

    So, Ms pulled the plug. Bit-by-bit, relentlessly onward, fantastic kit rendered junk as it could not talk very well to stuff on PC (it was a time when software with synching meant part went on PC part went on mobile device... )

    Upshot: Ms killed it. And when others took it on Ms may have thought Whoah! Sit back - let them take on the hastle dood! So they sat back and let a plethora of others take on the hastle, dude.

    But Business Plan 3 did not kick in - the one to wait until the market matured (HP2210 & WINCE did not really grab the public eye then).

    And then Ms seemed to forget Businesss Plan 3 altogether?

    </cough, /cough>

  11. Mage

    Screen Sizes


    But not the only ones.

    A very small screen, 4" approx touch, 6" to 11" touch, 10" and up keyboard/mouse, TV screen with Remote all need radically different GUI.

    Once they stupidly tried to fit the Win95 GUI on 320 x240, now the other way round. The Zune/Metro interface isn't a bad idea for more featured PMP, PDA, Phones with touch. Stupid for TVs, Tablets, Watches, PCs.

    The Win9x / XP interface is a reasonable improvement of Win3.x and NT prior to 4, but not only is it only suitable for 10" (with 1024 x 768 min) and up screens with no touch, keyboard and mouse, but actually quite good (so are OS X, Risc OS, Gem, KDE, Gnome etc in various more sane incarnations).

    Idiots. More concerned with "Branding" and a single appearance than the best GUI for the form factor / Application.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Screen Sizes

      You know, if Phil Sorgen took just that last sentence from your post to heart they'd have a chance. It's the heart of their problem.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft initially missing the internet boat, and it had set sail in search and online advertising, but just how did the folk in Redmond fail to react to mobes and slabs?

    Let's just be thankful they did!!

    Imagine what type of industry we'd be working in if Microsoft got their grubby hands on the Internet first?

    They got lucky in the 80s by ripping off CP/M and shafting IBM. Their whole "success" has been based on milking that monopoly ever since. Apart from a very few (which no doubt people will respond with), everything else they've done is break-even at best. They milk and destroy anything that becomes even vaguely popular, dragging people to their next venture.

    Innovation? Oh yes, very innovative contracts and under-handed deals has been the number one contributor to their "success".

    That said, I've made a very good career out of that company... although only financially rewarding.

    Feel free to down-vote me, fanbois... but I bet most of you who do haven't been using MS software as much as I have. My excuse? they had no history when I started.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


      Microsoft DID invent the internet. Well, at least that is how the head honcho's in Redmond think.

      Because they invented it they just go all out to make it harder for everyone to use.

      May I humbly suggest (get those downvotes ready fandroids) that you look at how easy it is to tether an iPhone to a Macbook. Ok, it is the Apple walled garden at its best but wtf... it is really stupidly easy to setup and use. So unlike anything to come out of Redmond where their modus operandii seems to be to make everything as hard and unintuituve as possible.

      We should be making things easier to use not harder. With TIFKAM/Metro/Modern wtf are those charms and what is it with finding s few small pixels in an unmarked par of the screen to get access to things that just needed a right click before?

      It all boils down to the simple fact that Microsoft have lost 'IT' big time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But...

        "Microsoft DID invent the internet." Yes, in their minds they might have, because they needed it to distribute the monthly tranch of security fixes for their shoddy programmes, not to mention the functionality updates for their "just good enough to ship" software.

    2. HelpfulJohn

      "That said, I've made a very good career out of that company... although only financially rewarding."

      I had almost thirty years of quite lucrative work out of Microsoft. It was easy in the old days when even their "help" files weren't very helpful and as they got better so did I. I learned oodles of stuff about how to break computers and other kit, and how to make it go again, which I then used to help others.

      Microsoft gave me an income and a career, fed my family and bought me a house and a pension.

      Not on their own. I did learn a little about other stuff, like Unices and Macs and mainframes and routers and other blobby bits, but being able to make Microsoft's outpourings go when others were just standing about scratching themselves with the hood up (bonnet up) on a stalled machine was a great big chunk of my meal-ticket for *decades*.

      I consider them well thanked for this as I've bought personal computers for my hoe use with Windows on them.

      I *like* that Microsoft are inept. I *like* that they screw up big time. It's fun. It's a learning experience and it's a living. A fairly good one with no outdoors work, no heavy lifting and I can often work without any bosses interfering.

      Microsoft are a *good* thing.

      Bless them.

  13. John Tappin

    basic issue is the different API's

    there is little point in investing in the "windows" ecosystem if each flavour is effectively a new platform - hardly worth calling them all "windows" for s start.

    As mentioned by another commentard microsoft works its magic by co-opting manufacturers rather than making a product that will create its own demand via features of some description.

    Complex and differential licence models

    Lack of integration with home entertainment and other domestic "smart" devices effectively makes the "windows" brand just a word rather than a function environment that can be adopted across all the consumer devices.

    Making a PC pretend to be a tablet does not help matters much in their core market either...

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: basic issue is the different API's

      > Lack of integration with home entertainment

      Interestingly MS had a survey taken back in the early 90s that showed most households had their PC and TV in the same room. Bill concluded that this was because they want to watch TV and use the PC at the same time so he 'innovated' a device that was both by including a broadcast tuner controlled by software.

      The actual reason they had both in one room is that, unlike Bill, they didn't have a 22 room mansion.

  14. Defiant


    "Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk" = Windows 8

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Partly by retcon

      For decades, all the analysts were saying Microsoft had about 100% of the Windows market. A few years ago, analysts started saying Microsoft had a pitiful share of the device market. They backdated their graphs as far as they had convenient data for devices. Microsoft still has about 100% of the WIndows market share, but that market is smaller. PC's became fast enough for the majority of users a decade ago, so new PC purchases slowed to a craw. Vista taught people not to upgrade a functioning PC, and Windows 8 hammered the message into all but the thickest skulls.

      Any successful (cheap and functional) Windows device cancels the sale of an expensive PC license. Microsoft execs must hunt down such threats and increase the price - or destroy the functionality. They can counter their shrinking market by increasing the prices and reducing rewards to resellers. In the mean time, analysts get better at counting devices that are not part of the Windows market.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: idiot

      It's not just Windows 8. It's more pandemic than that. The ribbon in Office. The fiasco that was Vista. Missing the internet, then recovering by using their monopoly power to bury Netscape and lie about it in court. RT. Silverlight. VB to .Net. IE6 until Firefox was eating their lunch and starting to work on their dinner. (Heck, if Netscape hadn't mouthed off about replacing the OS as the primary point of programming interface they might still be around. Not that Netscape was all that wrong, just a bit too forward about what was coming.) And through it all the customer can't help but get the feeling he's at best an afterthought and most likely just feeling like he's being shaken down.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. deadlockvictim Silver badge


    To be fair to Microsoft, they have been innovating quite actively over the last 6 years. Before that, Microsoft's policy was to give people a nicer, more stable version of what had come before (with a few exceptions — Word v6 and Windows ME spring to mind). Each iteration of the software also had more features and was glossier. And their users got used to this.

    Then with Office 2007 they introduced the ribbon which pissed their users off royally. The ribbon was very innovative. Being of vintage Mac stock, I quite liked it, but the loyal MS users hated it. It was a break from the past. Innovation is supposed to be change for the better, but change for the loyal users is not good. Why, with this sort of change, they could bugger off and try Mac OS or Ubuntu, like their children keep pestering them to do.

    Microsoft, though, was on a roll with Office 2007. Windows 7 was more of the same and it has become beloved. 'We need to innovate', cried MS management and out came Windows 8. Although our sysadmins tell us that it is faster and more stable than Windows 7, it is very different from what went before. Why even Mac OS X is more familiar to what went before than Windows 8.

    Microsoft's problem is that they have very little experience listening to the end-user. They've rarely done so in the past, why should they do so now? MS products were usually foisted upon people, not necessarily against their will, mind you. Apple is also like this but unlike Apple, MS's CEO didn't know what the people wanted. That being said, Apple's (previous) CEO has said that the people don't know what they want, but that is another story.

    Microsoft need to ask themselves if they really want to be in the tablet space. Being late to the party is no bad thing. Having a very desirable product is.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: innovation

      Innovation in a GUI needs to be done by slow and careful incremental improvement. New features should be inserted somewhere that they won't cause a user any difficulty until he is ready to try them out. Menus (be they start, right-click, or hover) are a good way to accomplish this. Magic pixels that dump you into something you've never seen before when you get your mouse near to them, are a very bad way.

      If the GUI won't work on some other class of device, you need a new GUI for that class of device. Or you can implement a mode-switcher, provided it's hard to get into if you don't know what you are doing, and easy to escape from if you blunder in to its first stage without knowing what it is.

      An example that's only tangentially Microsoft. I was recently called in to look at two "broken" laptops where the mouse-pad had stopped working. It took a while to discover that Alt-F-something disabled the mousepad PERMANENTLY in one easy mis-type. Not even re-booting could "fix" it (not that it's easy to log in without a mouse), and you needed that one magic keystroke again to get it back. Idiots (no, not the users, Toshiba! ) The users were seriously contemplating scrapping and replacing them. If this had happened Toshiba would have lost a lot of custom because of "crap mousepads" -- maybe elsewhere, they have.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes, it's the 3 API's that make the Windows failure it is today. Keep up with this sort of thing, it will make watching you more interesting.

    I was with you in the early days, first to install NT in the face of Netware dominance in the Uni I worked at. I liked the improvements in NT4, W2000 and XP, but the crap that came from basing the servers on the client OS's that you were producing pushed me away. Now I laugh at you chasing the 30% margin on everything that Apple gets from it's ecosystem.

    I will happily stand around an watch you go downhill, clutching to cash cows and sinking into irrelevance. No doubt it will be a long road, but I have some years left.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intelligent device...

    As soon as you put a Windows on an intelligent device, it's just a device.

  18. hammarbtyp

    Let me explain...

    You had a monopoly and got lazy and started thinking that you, not your customers, made the market.

    Your customers got tired of being talked down to, and being charged extortionate fees for increasingly poor products that suffered from lack of innovation. Then at the 1st possible opportunity jumped ship vowing to never go back if at all possible.

    Your management on the other hand stuck their head in the sand, ignoring the new realities, and pretended that nothing had changed.

    Is that clear enough for you?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Let me explain...

      I puzzled for years over why customers bought windows a second or third time. Didn't they ever learn that every update created as many problems as it solved ? I decided it was like the adage about re-marrying : "a triumph of hope over experience".

      Apparently Microsoft never realised the resentment they were building. Now, whatever was keeping their customers (lock-in, perhaps) is weakening. And, as you'd expect, they're going.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shit expensive OS which focussed on trying to fix the problem of marketshare instead of being focused on the user.

    Windows Vista - Strategically trying to be more Apple like. But performance sucked.

    Windows 7 - Fix to Vista with some tweaks.

    Windows 8 - Trying to be an iOS style device.

    Spot the problem above? making your desktop product like someone else's tablet.

  20. BongoJoe

    Public Impression

    You give people a version of Windows which fewer and fewer like, add in bits into Office (the Ribbon for a start) which annoys a good number of users. Bring out the initial MS phone which doesn't take off and then right in front of almost all of your intended market you have examples of how things have not improved but have become worse.

    It doesn't help that MS bring out half baked products that don't work properly or they remove from public view and the trust goes. For example here in the UK we were going to have Media Center (sic) which was going to be brilliant. But it never went all of the way and couldn't do half of what it was supposed to. So it flopped.

    I had Mcrosoft Money, a fairly decent financial application. And then they decided to pull it from the UK market. So I went to use Microsoft's Accounting which fitted into the Office suite. Remember that one? Well, if you did then you're good because that lasted for all of five minutes before getting pulled.

    So why would I now want to look for a Microsoft product if I can't rely on it being here next year or even next week?

    We now have a current batch of happy users with XP (the unhappy ones would have moved to Win7/8 or Linux long ago) and the less tech savvy are worried that their lives are going to get worse because of the doom mongering by, er, Microsoft.

    Is it any wonder why when people want something and look at the options they tend to go for Android. Years ago I would have loved a Windows tablet but I wouldn't trust MS with making me one that I could tolerate for more than five seconds.

    It's been downhill for almost a decade now and the board are only just asking why? Ten years ago I was happy to use anything Microsoft produced. XP worked as a good update from NT. The servers worked, Visual Studio worked and produced good code and then, somewhere, someone decided that we needed more glitz. more bloat, no backward compatability, no longevity, no support and to drop everything that Microsoft forced us into.

    I am stunned that the board asked this question because if they aren't aware of what they have done and the perception of their company then they deserve all that they get.

    Now, ten years on, I wish that I had never touched Microsoft for anything at all but am stuck with it because of, well,Microsoft.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Public Impression

      Microsoft accounts.

      fantastic package, i mean blinding for a small business. and its free. (you can get the pro upgrade by doing a survey / small exam which is piss easy)

      i still use it. it does everything i need. (i use MOA 2009). its multi user, integrates with word and excel and access seamlessly. it is absolutely fantastic.

      annoyingly, support for it got pulled the year after i started using it, but it still works just fine.

      i look after a lot of customers with many different sage products. this is the reason i didnt use sage when i was looking for an accounts package...

      such a shame they sold it to mammoth or something similarly named.

  21. Herby

    This just in...

    Microsoft buys ICANN, claims internet for themselves. Will "innovate" further.

    Also announced: IPv8, an attempt to wrestle control from above acquisition.

    Who knows: could happen. Of course I hope not, but with the $$$$ that Microsoft slings around trying to buy market/mind share, it might happen.

    But it all boils down to "Microsoft Innovation", which is a pretty guud oxymoron!

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    When your software costs are a similar to the hardware cost

    and other software is almost free then the devices with the other software on are going to sell.

    When people find that the other software does all they want and your empire is built on ... well your empire... you dont have many moral or legal options left.

    If I was MS I'd give 90% of my cash pile to the shareholders and staff to get rid of them and spend the rest trying to actually do some real innovation. Its gonna take a while for the customer to recover from the idea that IT is data with style on A4 and realise that data with semantics is a lot more compact and efficient but if you take 10% of your current worth and have the best of the best working on the problem you may, just may, come up with some ideas that are good for the customer and possibly unique.

    But I doubt it but please dont stop the rest of us having fun because its not your ball to take away.

  23. Roger Mew

    Oh what! so they are openly admitting that they have degenerated. I had the bad luck to have to use windows 8, it was slow, confusing not just me but itself, frankly it was not fit for purpose.

    I was using also in the last week with the same type of task , 98, XP, Vista, and 7 along with 8 and of them all XP and Vista were about equal. One expects poor old 98 to not be in the frame but it was useable. But 8....

    Now if I was setting up something like machine control then certainly MS would NOT be on it.

    Taught electrical / electronics / radio and radar and frankly the systems are just too heavy.

  24. Richard Jones 1

    Do Not Understand Customers?

    For me it is easy, they simply stopped making products that large numbers of customers could tolerate while at the same time making products that could not pull new customers. Previously I had updated regularly, through DOS then Windows, though Windows 95 was the first really useful version. I tried early candidates of Windows 8, it felt more like medicine or a gym work out it was such hard work. Then they down graded it so I could not longer run it on an elderly but otherwise capable rig. For me that was the kill off point, Windows 8 was only intended to sell new hardware not delivery better functions to me. OK it appeared to come with the 'run up large bills feature' that Apple and Google pioneered but for some odd reason I was NOT interested in that.

    I wondered why I needed a system that looked like the tablet I did not want or need or a touch phone that was hopeless. The touch phone I had traded what I needed, for a touch interface I did not want or need, after two days I abandoned that pile of carp.

    Now I may not be typical but here is a thought, by coming late to a market segment and abandoning one in which they were at least moderately successful they failed to win new uses and cut off large numbers of previous more or less contented folks.

    No wonder getting rid of XP is such an uphill grind, too many people see the possible replacements as delivering nothing of use or obvious benefit. This may not be correct but the cost of chucking out van loads of hardware for a device that looks like a steep learning curve is surprisingly unattractive to many.

    The marketing drive that suggested you had to be an airhead that does not actually use your Microtat device to sit down and work may have been a bit too successful.

  25. Tom 13

    I missed this bit in previous articles

    But as El Reg previously pointed out, Sinofsky failed to tell anyone that all the APIs were incompatible, and delayed the release of WP8 software developer kit until the last minute.

    Instead of one API that ran across PCs, slabs and phones – with minor tweaks for screen sizes – Microsoft introduced three largely incompatible APIs.

    Developers had to write the same app three times.

    But seeing it now I have only one question:

    How did they f*ck this up?

    The only point at which I could see you having something integrated across all device types is the IDE for application development. Set the switches to use the appropriate modules for the given device and it compiles the optimized code for the device. Even at that I don't imagine it would be easy to code the IDE, let alone use it to develop code afterward. But it's the only point of attack on the problem.

  26. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    What he does know...

    "What I do know is that we are listening to our customers and partners and innovating"

    Interesting. Perhaps he should try listening to non-customers, like all the people who didn't upgrade to Vista, or Win8. It's rarely a good idea to confine your listening to people who like you or who are financially committed to your choices.

    They had a big beta program for Win8. Thousands of people spent quite a while trying it, and both the Tech preview and Consumer preview got totally panned by just about everyone. I really don't see how he can argue that "we are listening".

  27. Vociferous

    Madness? This. Is. STATISTICS!

    Or not.

    Spot the logical flaw: "Microsoft operating systems ran 93 per cent of traditional PC clients in 2013, but the share fell to 58 per cent when tabs were rolled into shipments."

    Does anyone here think Microsoft operating systems do not still run on at least 93% of traditional PC clients? You know, the hopeless, dying, platform which sold a measly 270 million units last year?

    Hence, this article can be rephrased as follows: "Microsoft is dominant in one class of computing device, but not in two other, different, classes of computing devices. Microsoft is baffled why people do not like Windows RT and Windows Phone as much as they like Windows Desktop."

    (And one may add: "...despite Microsoft's best attempts to make Windows Desktop more like Windows RT".)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Madness? This. Is. STATISTICS!

      Agree, definitely flawed logic which makes the statistic's totally meaningless.

    2. Belardi

      Re: Madness? This. Is. STATISTICS!

      *sigh* Hence, someone like Vociferous would be popular in Microsoft and be confused to why they are failing. For 2013, MAC sales dropped by about 14%, meanwhile Windows sales dropped by 30~40% (I don't know the latest figures) since the introduction of Win8. Had Windows 7 continued to be sold or Win8 worked & looked like Windows 7 (which I and most others would have been happy with) - then PC sales might have dropped by 14~15%. But as we know for a FACT, that after the release of Windows 8.1, Windows 7 market-share INCREASED! I and others *WARNED* Microsoft publicly that Win8 will HURT PC sales and IT DID. "We Listened, and fixed everything in Windows 8.1" - blah, they did nothing... oh, yeah, its *IS* a good improvement to make a hidden single pixel in a corner into a normal size button, but that's about it. This causes people in the field to not HAVE confidence in Microsoft's ability to produce and ship a usable product. In case you haven't noticed - many suits, including Monkey Man Ballmer are gone.

      If Bill Gates was dead, he'd be rolling in his grave... man, it would be hilarious if they made some new "I'm MAC, I'm a PC" TV Ads. So, lets get back to numbers.

      Does Microsoft still own about 93% of the PC market? Yes. But with ChromeOS, a noticeable dent has started. 270 million is healthy? Many years ago, 350+ million was typical. As we see, PC companies are dropping like flies. Dell is not stable, HP almost threw in the PC towel, ACER - which bought up Gateway, e-Machines and others is suddenly struggling. Hmmmm.

      Now, lets look at why Windows is a dying platform... No, it won't die completely. Hey, there are people still using Amigas today! But it will become nothing much more than a corporate application launcher for legacy software. You see, Micorsoft and Windows has never been a company or product that people LOVED... its just a tool we use to make a living.

      And as someone had posted, for many in the industrial/corp sector - the workers barely know what they are on. They don't interface with the OS, just the hand full of programs they are ALLOWED to use.

      So why is 270 weak? Apple sold that many in iPhones and iPads in 2013 and Samsung sold about 500m phones in 2013. So out of about 2 Trillion devices sold in 2013, only 270m was microsoft...

      Now, that WOULDN'T matter if these NON-Windows devices were accessories. Think of the OLD PDAs like Palm or the dumb cell phones that only worked like a phone (not even a camera). No problem.

      The issue is that PEOPLE, real customers are using these as desktop replacements! And as more companies realize this, the more dangerous it is to Microsoft. So yes, Windows OS is going to collapse. I have several Windows 7 PCs, a Linux notebook (because Win8 made me start learning Linux) and I gave my wife a notebook. You know what she uses for 95% of her computer time? An Android Cell phone with a 4.5" display. The Notebook is for work and its running Linux.

      Many of my clients have NOT upgraded their notebooks... instead they are buying iPads, iPhones and Android devices. I do more reading of The Reg on my Android phone than my desktop.

      Microsoft themselves have damaged PC gaming... look at all the XBoX games that are NOT available for PC. Halo 3? Gears of War 2~3, etc? Why should I SUPPORT them? So the PS4 will be my new gaming platform. My intel i5-3570 will become my legacy Windows7 Media PC hooked up to my PC. My future WORK computer will be a small box running Linux.

      So yeah... Microsoft OS is less than 24% marketshare... and that is a problem. One of my projects is a custom APP. We're making it ONLY for iOS and Android... PERIOD.

      As you say: ""Microsoft is dominant in one class of computing device, but not in two other, different, classes of computing devices." - And if that class of devices is replaced by another - then it doesn't matter. Hey, remember when Toshiba dominated HD-DVD players? Compared to 15+ companies making blu-ray? Remember when Cassettes were in all cars? Then replaced by CD players... which are now replaced by MP3 players/inputs.

      Why do you THINK that MS spent so much effort making Surface/RT and buying up Nokia? Because WindowsRT failed, Windows tablets are not selling and other than Nokia, nobody is buying their Phone OS. The only thing that makes MS money is Windows and office... and Windows is used as a launcher. If/when MS-Office, Adobe and Intuit software was made for Linux - who'd buy Windows? Everything else MS does, loses money... only being supported by Windows...

      I and other do NOT see how MS will change this... Metro did look promising, it looked like it would make sense. But in reality, they failed and people no longer care.

  28. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton


    I wonder if all of the above merely indicates a timeline somewhere in the past where individual user customers were ditched by Ms in preference of mega-commercial type customers? (Is Dell going from strength to strength anyone? )


  29. Charles Manning

    This, from an Exec?

    Surely it should be a MS priority to understand loss of market share. It has been going on for a long time now.

    If the executives have not yet figured this basic question out, then the shareholders should fire them all and get a fresh batch that have a clue.

    Any executive that can't figure this shit out is not worth keeping.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: This, from an Exec?

      There is no loss of marketshare. That's the point I made above. There is failure to gain marketshare for two completely new products in two completely new segments.

  30. Mikel

    At least they know they're looking for something

    They don't know what it is, but at least knowing you're looking is a start.

  31. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Apology in advance

    Recently someone asked me the difference between Windows and an abacus. It totally threw me for a while, but the answer is quite simple really.

    An abacus helps you solve problems :)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS was a Cult...

    MS had a leader whose pawns believed he was God and the product line was the Second Coming. Anyone who went to work there got caught up in this belief and held a profound view that MS could do no wrong. So roll on the next 100 or 1000 years....

    But it was all delusion. It was all market dominance and abuse dressed up as attractive compelling products. Instead history has shown us the corpses. History tells us of demonic IP theft, with graveyards full of fallen soldiers from Lotus to WordPerfect to Xerox-Park.

    Even then MS couldn't get it right! There were so many holes it could have been a "Dell-Boy" operation. But history asks, how did we let them away with it?.... Why did we absorb the exorbitant fees along with the hardware and manufacturer lock-step 'lock-in'?...

    During this time the cult cloaked its followers. They remained blissfully unaware of how hated they were, and naive to how this hate could fuel the rise of competitors such as Google who pretended to be their antithesis. Who could foresee a fun anti-corporate start-up turning into the devil? But just then history would deal us another blow... And as we know those who don't learn from it are doomed to be pwned...

    MS like the NSA, were oblivious to the affects of their actions in pursuit of their goals. Now they're only waking up from their comas, vis a vis 'why doesn't anyone want our products'... MS staff had to be 'deprogrammed' to see this. The deprogramming came in the form of Internet Irrelevancy, along with brutal margins & haircuts, all the while enduring the rise of Google, Apple and Samsung.

    But the MS share price is still rising you say? True! But MS futurists see the writing on the wall... Once the corporate customers have gone, once open-source FOSS and Linux prevail, what will MS have left?... Will there be a Windows 2095 never mind a Windows 9500... History has taught us yet another lesson about the Cult of Personality....

    1. P_0

      Re: MS was a Cult...

      Once the corporate customers have gone, once open-source FOSS and Linux prevail

      Go where? Who in an office can work with Linux? I mean admin, HR, office drones etc. Why would any medium to large company inflict that on themselves?

      Servers? Maybe. Because RedHat, CentOS are realistic alternatives.

      MS has lost the phone/tablet war. Server OS is still being fought. Office desktop? Only the most insane lunatics of the most depraved kind would force their staff to use Linux.

      Mac? Save that for the receptionist so any visitors think the company is hip. But everyone else, give them a Dell with Win7.

      1. Chemist

        Re: MS was a Cult...

        "Only the most insane lunatics of the most depraved kind would force their staff to use Linux."

        Like the French police, Munich council etc., etc.

        Before I retired (And that's 6 years ago) we had hundreds of Linux Desktops (Dell dual Xeons) running RHEL at a major Pharma. We wanted them BTW

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: MS was a Cult...

        But 'normal' people don't use the OS. They use the applications. Many don't even realise there's anything except their favourite applications, and use Word to copy files etc.

        It really doesn't matter to most people what's underneath. If they have a familiar interface they feel comfortable. Put anyone used to Firefox or Chrome on Windows in front of the Linux version and they won't even blink. Even the browser can be changed, because there's not a great deal of communication with the browser : it's mostly with the web pages. Only when you start to get into bookmarks or other settings does the browser UI start to be noticeable to joe public.

        Microsoft know this. That's why they protect their office apps : sell those to the end users who are locked in by familiarity, and you can force the OS on manufacturers. But change something as commonly encountered as launching the application and it seems even those users will moan.

      3. Richard Plinston

        Re: MS was a Cult...

        > Who in an office can work with Linux?

        You are confused. Office workers don't use 'Windows', they use applications. HR uses payroll and personnel applications. Office drones use purchasing and order systems, transport and despatch systems. They may type up the odd memo. Accountants may fiddle with spreadsheets, but in general the OS is irrelevant except as a launcher for the real work programs.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's Microsoft's problem

    They saw smartphones and tablets coming. They had both on the market before Android or iOS existed.

    But theirs were not designed for consumers, they were designed for Windows geeks. They didn't think normal people would want one, so their needs weren't taken into account when designing them. Those Windows geeks like Paul Thurrott happily eat whatever shit Microsoft puts out, so Microsoft got great feedback and thought they had a winning product. For the market they targeted, they did.

    They didn't realize that normal people would ever willingly buy and use a smartphone or a tablet. Sure, there was Blackberry, used by a combination of PHBs and teens who text like its their job, but they didn't think that market was worth trying to take. When the iPhone was announced, they thought Jobs was crazy trying to sell a smartphone to normal people.

    By the time they realized that's exactly what he was doing, and that Android would be able to take a similar product with similar appeal to the mass market instead of being restricted to Apple's high end market (I'll bet it wasn't until spring 2009 they figured this out) they were too late. They had to start from scratch, and were destined to be an asterisk in market share at that point.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Here's Microsoft's problem

      As Microsoft said publicly after the release of the first iPhone and later the iPad... they were just fads.

      The smart phone and tablet are eating the traditional PCs. Remember when the Netbooks were becoming a poplar craze... that was a FAD! I mean, they had 10" screens, dinky little keyboards, decent battery and were fine as net-based consumer device... but they simply SUCKED compared to a tablet... which was thinner and lighter.

  34. ThePhantom

    Choice versus forced...

    It was pretty obvious that Microsoft software was designed from the ground up to be complicated enough that it kept IT staff and helpdesk agents employed. Therefore, their software was mandated by many IT departments. If you've tried to add a printer on Windows versus a Mac or iPad, you know exactly what I am saying.

    Now that the end users have a choice, they have voted on this strategy by buying products that are intuitive to use and don't need an army of sysadmins to configure and use.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Choice versus forced...

      "It was pretty obvious that Microsoft software was designed"

      Ah- I can see your problem right there...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft exec, you DO know why... you're just to cowardly to face the truth

    Microsoft has always thrived on being a monopoly - not making quality software.

    The realm of mobile devices is not Microsoft's monopoly. Consequently, it had attempted to leverage its desktop monopoly onto the mobile market... and the monstrosity known as Windows 8 was born.

    Like Baldrick, your little 'cunning plan' had failed to work and you're left scratching your head. Only this time, you have lost your head. The days of being a behemoth in a monopoly are over, Microsoft. Get used to it.

  36. Tufty Squirrel

    3% of mobile devices? Surely that can't be right?

    After all, there's all those Zunes out there. They've gotta count, right?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The headline reads: « Microsoft exec: I don't know HOW our market share sunk. »

    I notice however that the "I don't know ..." bit is not quoted, and also that it does not appear anywhere in the body of the article. Therefore, may I ask the author or one of the editors if they would be kind enough to clarify whether that is an actual quote from a Microsoft executive?

    I'm very doubtful than an exec would say something like that, especially to the press.

    In any case, the article could do a better job of making clear that what is being talked about here is not Microsoft losing customers (they may or may not have lost them, I've no idea), but about Microsoft failing to achieve penetration on the newer platforms. In other words, market share can only be said to have "sunk" if one considers that the market has expanded, by taking into account the diversification of consumer computing devices (phones, tablets, TVs, in-car entertainment systems, Amstrad CPC-64s, etc.)

    While I do not really follow Microsoft's ups and downs on the OS arena (my professional life occurs entirely in the Linux ecosystem--I am also a Linux enthusiast and occasional FOSS developer), it appears to me as if their fortunes were a bit too connected to Intel's x86 platform for a bit too long. Yes, I am aware that certain versions of Windows (or rather, certain operating systems marketed under the Windows brand, regardless of actual API compatibility) compile under ARM and perhaps the odd other chip, but how much effort went into that and at what point? Apparently not enough to achieve dominance (or for that matter, even a comfortable position) in those markets that do not rely on Intel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misrepresentation?

      I notice however that the "I don't know ..." bit is not quoted, and also that it does not appear anywhere in the body of the article. Therefore, may I ask the author or one of the editors if they would be kind enough to clarify whether that is an actual quote from a Microsoft executive?

      (I'm not the author, just someone who's able to read)

      In the article:

      "I can't say how we found ourselves in this ..."

      " I can't put the adjectives behind the why..."

      Plus the following "What I do know is ... " confirms that the previous content was about something he did not know.

      I think "I don't know" pretty much sums it up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Misrepresentation?

        > I'm not the author, just someone who's able to read

        I wouldn't mind you using text-to-speech, don't worry. Unfortunately, that does not seem to have helped you reply the question above.

        > I think "I don't know" pretty much sums it up.

        The question is whether the sentence concerned was an actual quote or not. As opposed to paraphrasing, for example.

        In public speaking, there is a massive difference between saying something and merely implying it, as no doubt you know.

  38. Belardi

    Can Microsoft save itself?

    I really don't see what they can do? Sure, they won't just up and die. As we see today, pretty much ALL major PC brands are selling Android and or chrome hardware as well.

    Only thing that MS makes a profit on is Windows and Office. Xbox1 is getting its ass kicked by the PS4 (I will never buy ANY xbox - period). The phone company they bought, is also selling Android Phones for some odd-reason, so they only have about 1~2% of that market. Surface is too expensive for what it does and the RT is plain useless. They burn their developers again since we KNOW that RT is canceled as WP will simply gain tablet screen functions (Why they made RT to begin with was stupid).

    WHAT can MS do? I think their best best is to Make Windows9 fix all the crap that Win8 came with. Hold on to the business sector clients... but even that is a shrinking market. There is simply nothing that MS can do on the mobile end that isn't already being done by Apple or Android. None of the PC companies can survive in the just the Windows market.

    Other than some old games and a few programs... there is simply not many reasons to keep paying $150 for an OS that has a 16Key activation crap to deal with... Installing Linux last year was a breeze... and it MADE sense as a desktop OS in functionality. No activation, no keys and a much better price.

  39. ben_myers

    Windows 8 as envisaged by Microsoft is not for doing real work

    The Metro interface and its bright and shiny apps are not for people doing real work. Microsoft was misguided by its own hubris, arrogance and imagined invincibility into designing something that has been largely rejected by the business world. They actually thought that people would run right out and buy a lot of Windows 8 computers. Even with a touch screen, which 90+% of the computers in the world lack, I am not how how productive one could be trying to do real work with Win 8. Microsoft was able to recover from the earlier debacles of Windows ME and Windows Vista, largely because the world of computing was a little smaller back then and because tablets, smartphones and other fondleslabs had not yet made serious inroads into our mindshare. I have real trouble even imagining how (and if?) Microsoft will recover from this self-inflicted wound of Windows 8. Probably in a way that Malcolm Gladwell did not imagine when he wrote the book, Win 8 might be the tipping point for Microsoft. Of course, the large amount of ill will felt toward Microsoft by all manner of folk does not help the Redmond borg either.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Windows 8 as envisaged by Microsoft is not for doing real work

      You said "Microsoft was able to recover from the earlier debacles of Windows ME and Windows Vista, largely because the world of computing was a little smaller back then and because tablets, smartphones and other fondleslabs had not yet made serious inroads into our mindshare"

      Pretty much right. Windows ME was colorful and a short bridge before XP... it was garbage, unreliable. I still have my ME disc. :) It lasted 1 week before I reinstalled Win98se. (Why didn't MS call it Win99? Or OSR2 as Win97?) So many retailers simply sold Win98se systems until XP was released.

      With Vista, it sucked - and some companies sold WinXP systems. Win7 was fast-tracked and released 2 years later. But back then, when it came to ALL computers - Microsoft controlled the market. Vista was functionally usable, it was just unstable memory-sucking garbage.

      But Vista came out 6 months before the first iPhone. And a few years before the iPad. Blackberry had its niche market - but it always was an unstable and troublesome device for most people to bother using. When the iPhone 3G came out, people started dumping their BB.

      With FAR more Android and iOS devices selling over MicrosoftOS in the past few years - MS fracked up big time with Win8. Most humans don't LIKE computers... not the way geeks do. They want to get to facebook, send emails and look at porn... any $50 phone can do that.

      For PC makers... why pay the $35 OS tax to MS? or for us end-users or small PC business, pay $100~150 per WindowsOS lic? When Linux is free or buy an Android device.

  40. Goat Jam


    I am fucking sick of that word.

  41. wahankh


    "we invest nearly $10bn every year in R&D to make sure we keep evolving the platform"

    Wow 10bn for R&D, I could copy&paste for them for less than that!

    I think microsoft need to cut their losses with everything they have done in the last ten years or so, go back to the roots of xp, and expand/continue their customers most loved microsoft product to date, as they have been asking.

    "What I do know is that we are listening to our customers and partners and innovating"

    Obviously they dont, or they wouldn't be where they are now. Nor would they have produced the failures of vista/windows8 or wp!

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