back to article 'One Windows' crunch time: Microsoft tempts with glittery new devices

Microsoft is announcing new Windows 10 devices at an event in New York today. This is crunch time for the “One Windows” strategy, the idea that presenting developers with something like a single platform across many device types will stimulate a strong ecosystem of applications. The company is expected to announce a range of …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Trouble is, no one trusts Microsoft with hardware. If it's not an immediate money spinner, Microsoft is happy to just kill their product and goodbye support.

    Google and Apple do software *and* hardware and are in it for the long term.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup they have long history of that.

      Mice, Keyboards, Xbox, Kinect all killed of after weeks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mice and keyboards, yay.

        Anybody bought a Zune recently?

        1. jason 7

          Erm actually my 2006 MK1 Zune is still going strong. Forget the bad name and the failed ecosystem, good hardware keeps going.

      2. King Jack


        You forgot their 'hip yoof' phone the Kin.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      I still have some old Microsoft keyboards, which are still working well, as well as current keyboard sets.

      I also have several mice, including a late 90s Intellimouse Explorer, which is still going strong (after having cleaned all of the gunk (old sweat and dead human tissue) out of the scroll wheel).

      I would say that they have a long tradition of making good quality, long lasting hardware and it is all still supported today...

      As to my Surface Pro 3, only time will tell.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I also have several mice, including a late 90s Intellimouse Explorer, which is still going strong (after having cleaned all of the gunk (old sweat and dead human tissue) out of the scroll wheel).

        TMI, excuse me while I barf :). Yes, especially the MS keyboards were good. That is no evidence that they can reliably control the quality of an an entire computer, though. If their quality control and subsequent patching of Windows is anything to go by it would suggest they would be better off skipping the whole idea of selling it to people and ship the result straight to landfill sites :)

        1. jason 7

          It's not Windows that's the problem. It's the crappy bargain basement bloatware filled £250 Acer its installed on that's the problem.

          MS is now finally addressing this. I await the toys thrown from the pram from the likes of Acer/Toshiba/Fujitsu etc.

    3. Irongut

      Hahahahaha. Oh that is funny, are you here all week?

      Google are famous for dropping popular projects with little notice for no apparent reason.

  2. LOW

    Microsoft Shot Itself in the Head with Win10

    In a post-Snowden world, why would any developer contribute the spyware used by the alphabet soup agencies?

    If Micro$haft had gone the other way, on the other hand...

    Nuff said?

    1. dogged

      Re: Microsoft Shot Itself in the Head with Win10

      Yeah, no dev will write Win10 apps or (looking at the PRISM partners) iOS apps or Android apps or OSX applications or Chrome plugins or....

      or you're somebody from an entirely different planet.

  3. Andy Non Silver badge

    No thanks.

    Microsoft have shot themselves in the feet so often lately they no longer have any legs left to stand on. I want nothing more from them... and I've earned my livelihood for more than thirty years by writing Windows application software. No more. The end. Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.

  4. Nathan 13


    No thanks MS, you cant be trusted anymore.

    1. David Roberts

      Re: Simply

      Can't be trusted ANY MORE?

      Bloody hell, yoof of today.......

      Microsoft have never been about technical excellence. Since day 1 they have been all about marketing and picking up 3rd party software from developers who have spotted a lack in the Microsoft environment and built a successful application to capitalise on this.

      Anyone remember Netscape, for example? Built a massive business because the Microsoft browser was so bad. After many years IE became good enough(ish) and Netscape slowly died.

      Microsoft Mail was dire and there was a whole industry of 3rd party mail systems and servers used by businesses to provide a decent service. Eventually Microsoft Exchange arrived and another set of third party businesses folded. Whatever happened to ccMail?

      Networking and file serving. Dire under Windows. Novell owned the world with Netware. Now Windows provides enough and where is Novell?

      So never trust Microsoft to do the honourable thing. Just trust them to slowly morph into the space occupied by others over a period of years. The Nokia take over should have seen them surge into the mobile marketplace. Perhaps next time?

      The whole mobile market is still a mess. Phones and tablets now have the screen resolution and processing power to match bottom end laptops but they are still lacking "full fat" applications. Linux software developers have missed a major opportunity here IMHO. If I could get fully functional versions of, for example, Thunderbird, Pan, and LibreOffice on my Android tablet then I wouldn't need a Windows netbook for travelling. One set of applications shared between PC and mobile would also be a push to get users onto Linux.

      [I haven't looked but how many popular apps from the Play Store have migrated to Linux?]

      So my gloomy prediction is that over the next 2-3 years Microsoft will slowly but inexorably expand into the mobile space. Perhaps 5 years down the line nobody will be really aware that they weren't always there. All they need to do is win one hardware refresh cycle.

      A real game changer would be if Intel produced a leading edge mobile platform which would run Windows cost effectively. Possibly more likely than a hardware abstraction layer being developed to allow Wintel programes to be run on ARM hardware. Then you could have Windows on everything and your problems with porting applications would go away.

      TL;DR You trusted Microsoft? When, and more important why??

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Microsoft browser was so bad.

        Wow talking about Bloody hell, yoof of today.......

        Netscape pretty much invented the browser. Sure Mosaic did the initial development work, but that knowledge was spun off to Netscape before anybody knew who Mosaic was. MS had nothing and only graduated to "so bad" after a long time. In the end MS won ONLY because they married a free version of IE to the OS and obfuscated in court long enough to bankrupt Netscape.

        Not all of their work was hugely bad. But it was only decent when they were still scrambling to make a name for themselves. Once MS was more important than IBM was in the PC eco system, it all went to hell.

  5. djstardust

    Worst company ever.

    No strategy. Privacy issues galore. Bad programming. Nor even remotely interested in what the *customer* actually wants.

    Simple as that.

  6. big_D Silver badge

    PC in a phone?

    I've been using the Windows 10 Mobile beta on my 1020 and I can't say it feels like a PC stuffed in a phone, it feels like a cleaner version of Windows Phone 8. There are subtle differences, but in general I feel it is an improvement and it certainly doesn't feel like the completely changed experience you guys are suggesting. Maybe I need some of what you guys are smoking.

    1. Morte66

      Re: PC in a phone?

      Desktop Windows 10 seems more like Windows 8.5. Is the phone version any more distant from its predecessor?

    2. dogged

      Re: PC in a phone?

      Agreed. I've been actively testing it on a Lumia 930 and seen absolutely zero evidence of this "PC crammed into a phone" scenario. The biggest change is that the Settings list now makes sense. The most annoying change is tile transparency because it seems impossible to fully replicate the front-screen of what I had on Win8.1 (which i liked) although to be fair, I may have missed something. The biggest "oh thank fuck for that" change is the flashlight available from the Notifications panel. Don't need it often but when I need it, I really need it.

      Has the author even tried WM10? Or is it just groovy to make up something that makes it look bad?

  7. Peter 26

    MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

    I actually think Microsoft are on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy. But to think they can just release an OS update and suddenly have success in the mobile segment is crazy. This is going to take years to gradually increase their growth and capabilities in each segment, and its not like Apple and Google are going to sit around and do nothing in all those years.

    So actually thinking that through, Microsoft probably realise if they play the long game they are screwed, most of us will have moved to a web style laptop in 10 years such as Chrome OS, leaving them just the office workers using desktop Windows. So they are frantically trying to make the long game a quick game, but I'm not sure that's possible... I guess they might as well go down fighting.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

      "most of us will have moved to a web style laptop in 10 years such as Chrome OS"

      What a dreadful thought. Not that I have anything against Chrome OS as such, it's the concept.

    2. nijam Silver badge

      Re: MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

      > I actually think Microsoft are on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy.

      You may be right, but perhaps they should go a stage further, and adopt the "Zero Windows" strategy. I've found it works rather well, personally.

      1. Chika

        Re: MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

        I suppose what they did with the GUI in W10 is better than the "One Window" strategy that W8 went with, but then...

        Oddly enough, I just finished venting my spleen about this elsewhere from Auntie's item on the matter. Read it if you must!

    3. Mark 110

      Re: MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

      Much more likely we will just be docking our phones to keyboards, mice and monitors. They seem to be trying to get ahead of the game in that respect. Yes there will still be a need for powerful workstations (well maybe, as those apps could run on cloudy infrastructure given powerful enough networks) but the average web, email, calendar, etc can happily run on a phone sized device.

      I am frankly amazed what we can do with a phone sized device, but then I am pushing 50 hard. I didn't get to touch a computer til I played Space Invader's in the chip shop down the road.

    4. Mikel

      Re: MS on to something with the 'One Windows' strategy?

      >I guess they might as well go down fighting.

      As long as they go down for good, however they go down is just fine by me. We will hold Microsoft a fine wake when the time comes.

  8. Tim 11

    two problems

    1. using the same ecosystem for such a broad range of devices will restrict developers to the "lowest common denominator" features (which should really be called highest common factor) i.e. developers can only access features common to all devices and will find it much more difficult to optimize for a specific class of devices.

    2. using the same ecosystem for such a broad range of devices is probably not desirable. contrast the success of iPad and iPhone (iOS having a completely separate codebase from from the desktop OSX) with the failure of windows 8 (trying to shoehorn desktop and mobile into the same UX)

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: two problems

      I disagree. The default / in-built apps like photos, maps etc are the same code between desktop on my 55" TV HTPC and my 5" Lumia 930. The UI controls scale with minimal code changes to the point that you simply build a UI as normal in VS and make a few small decelerations and then compile. The output gets added to the MS store and all devices can use it, suited to all device sizes.

      Even Office Mobile does that, which works brilliantly in scaling and functionality on desktop and mobile.

      Try using it, you maybe pleasantly surprised.

      1. thtechnologist

        Re: two problems

        I have been toying with development, and adapting to the screen was my biggest perceived challenge. It's bafflingly easy to implement, and even putting things on "automatic" works well enough to not need to fiddle with things too much.

    2. Nick L

      Re: two problems

      @Tim 11: have you looked even briefly at the universal windows platform dev guides? Your first point has been considered and addressed as one of the first topics of UWP... It's as if they've thought of that. As for the second "probably not desirable" across devices: having a kernel that works in anything from routers all the way up to whatever you can think of seems to have been quite popular for the Linux kernel...

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: two problems

        "As for the second "probably not desirable" across devices: having a kernel that works in anything from routers all the way up to whatever you can think of seems to have been quite popular for the Linux kernel..."

        Yes, the Linux kernel.

        Now imagine trying to tweak and cram, say, a full Trusty Tahr (Or any other full distro), into all of that.


  9. Kinetic

    A boring little-customisable one size doesn't fit all interface? Ooh, yes please!

    I want to know who thought this was going to fly with users. I suspect EPIC levels of wishful thinking were involved. I totally get why this would be awesome for Microsoft if it worked, but that's not the point is it? First it has to work. And for that I need to put down my Android phone + tablet, my Ps4, my Windows 7/8.1 and think:

    Hmm, what I really want here is exactly the same experience on all these different devices, even though I use them for totally different things in different situations with different people.

    Also, while I'm at it could I have some less choice in making my device less identical to everyone else's.

    What I really want is the feeling of renting a device off a faceless corporation who will control what and how their device functions.

    Ooh, ooh, and if you could catalog and go through all my personal information, track what I do and type and send it off to servers around the world for future usage .... that would be amazing.

    Yup, totally expect this to set the world on fire.

    1. Innocent-Bystander*


      Your bitching about cataloging your data / user tracking and your mention of your Android phone in the same comment is driving my common sense circuitry into an infinite loop...

  10. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    curious to see the phone price points

    The specs of the rumored/presumed 550 sound more or less identical to the 635 in my pocket and which currently sells contract-less for about $40. I'm definitely moving up to a better model but want to see the price point of the rumored/presumed 950. If the price is reasonable, I'll get one. If not, I'll stick to the current plan and get a 640 or something in the 7xx range.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Phone

    "...the platform seeming to be on the verge of a breakthrough from time to time"

    When was that then?

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: Windows Phone @ac

      You blinked - you missed it.

      Pay attention at the back there!

  12. Bota

    What if..

    I use a tablet FOR Google stuff, a laptop FOR Linux stuff and I only have a Winox because of work related stuff? I also assume that a security flaw on one of these may affect all of them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if..

      "I also assume that a security flaw on one of these may affect all of them?"

      That does tend to be the case with Linux based platforms.

  13. tiggity Silver badge

    MS have long had suspect form in the area of mobile development, making people wary of putting too much resources into it.

    e.g. Windows Phone 6.x left dead in the water, migration (unless code was very simple) required a major rewrite / re architecture. Hence there is still a market in rugged Windows 6 / embedded devices as lots of niche vendors could not justify the migrate / rewrite costs for applications with a relatively small user base as that would wipe out any profits.

    In theory the new model should be fine (bar the lowest common denominator risk of run anywhere) - until you start looking at some of the fine detail of universal apps e.g. the short time limit on suspend which could mean app has to close resources rapidly (issues if doing something talking to a database in the cloud, have to code suspend / resume logic with care or architect app to avoid any long duration network calls, as although you suspend and have background tasks on the go, no guarantee phone might not terminate a suspended app totally as it has that ability)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is Windows Phone 6 the same as Windows CE, or was that another mobile platform left to die?

  14. 0laf Silver badge


    I'm due a new phone early next year my 920 was a bargain when I got it will the 950 be a bargain too?

    Or will it be priced alongside the iphone since MS feels it needs to be 'reassuringly expensive'?

    Surface will sell ok but as a laptop replacement not as a tablet. Can't imagine anyone swapping an iPad or an Android tablet for a Surface except for work. I'm sure they'll sell just not in the numbers MS will have predicted.

  15. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Wishful thinking

    Look, I love the idea of having a phone in my pocket that when I walk into my office negotiates with the monitors, mouse and keyboard in there and starts acting like a desktop.

    I love the idea of that same phone doing that same trick when I get home and being a media centre.

    I really love the idea of it being able to do it when I get in the car, and provide all the smarts for my sat-nav, and my stereo.

    That all sounds fantastic.

    But it doesn't bloody work, does it? They've gotten carried away and tried to do all this before it was in any way ready. Baby steps, Microsoft. Baby. Fucking. Steps. "One Windows" is only useful to me when it _is_ ONE Windows. Same code, same device, all uses. You're not there. You're not even nearly there. What we have now is "One Windows, but only 60% of the time" which is just really annoying because to get that 60% of the time, you've made all the rest of the time a little bit less good than it was before.

    And all that is before we start getting into the "Trust" issue. How many different programming paradigms have Microsoft wanted us to use over the last decade? I've lost count. Just when you think you're getting the hang of whatever the language/IDE du jour is, they bloody change it, and you know what? You know what we all see coming? Intel. That's what.

    We pour a ton of effort into getting code to work nicely on ARM Windows, which I don't know _anyone_ who really believes that'll be as easy as "Take existing code, press the 'ARM' button in visual studio compiler" for anything but the most trivial cases, and in another 3 or 4 years we'll be looking at X86 in mobile devices.

    The power efficiency gains Intel has pulled off in the last decade are seriously impressive, and I for one am absolutely certain that when it comes to making perfect cross compatibility across their software, and simply changing their hardware supplier once it becomes economically viable to do so, Microsoft will prefer to change supplier, and we'll all get left in the lurch again.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Wishful thinking

      Dont forget kids - cloud first, mobile first, common sense last.

  16. Simulacra75

    Camera specs

    "20MB camera"

    That's a new one on me!

  17. John Sanders

    """PCs, a market which remains huge but where vendors are struggling to find growth."""

    A market from where MS siphons most of the profit...

    The PC OEMs did put all the eggs in one basket and now the basket is eating them and the eggs.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Sell signal!

    I've mortgaged my home as security to short £Ms of MSFT stock, after this epic fail I'm looking at 50% price fall by Xmas when I'll be a millionaire!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy to summarise new strategy here..

    .. please, please, PLEASE let us be a bit like Apple.

    Well, full marks for trying. I can't see it work, but I'm sure we'll laugh about this in years to come. We've laughed at everything else so far :).

  20. John Crisp


    Do I really want my personal mobile plugged into the corporate network and all it entails ?

    Just saying.

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: Unplugged

      I doubt the business wants your mobile filled with dodgy apps, knob pictures and cat videos plugged in either.

      But that's what everyone sells.

      Does anyone actually want BYOD other than phone sellers. And wouldn't they rather sell two?

    2. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: Unplugged

      I'd be perfectly happy with that assuming they implement PROPER multi-user support where user environments are effectively isolated from one another - none of this "roaming profiles" nonsense where your files get shotgunned all over the filesystem.

      TBH tho, I'm thinking more of a situation where work pays for my phone and my desktop as the same device. I already have to carry a work phone, so that would be pretty tempting. Dual-sim it and if they can do decent isolation like I said above, then that would be great, I can stop carrying two phones around.

      On the other hand, the idea of Microsoft successfully designing a system that doesn't require root to perform basic software installs and is capable of keeping userdata somewhere where ONLY that user can read it seems... hopeful, to say the least.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "One Windows"

    I'm neutral on this right now -- I don't use Windows on desktop, phone, or tablet. But...

    First off, the Win8-era plan was pure madness, letting desktop, phone, and tablet groups work totally independently and having 3 mutually-incompatible sets of APIs? Ugh (especially daft that Win8 would schizophrenically bolt on an unrelated desktop interface that is not compatible with either of the other 2.)

    That said.. I'm reasonably impressed that (in the length of time they've had) they've managed to get all 3 compatible enough that Visual Studio can emit something that runs on all 3. (I have the feeling they are probably just as incompatible as always and Visual Studio has some compatibility libs and contortions to make them compatible though.) This making them compatible really is the best way for Microsoft to have a reasonable chance of getting significant development for any of them though. I do still think calling this "One Windows" is sort of a fantasy, if the compatible level is only ~60%. Will it be enough? I have no idea.

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    They don't get it.

    Clearly there is only the need to purchase one general-purpose brush. This can be manufactured to the lowest common denominator design so that it can adequately perform all of the following functions:

    Clean floors

    Remove cobwebs

    Brush teeth

    Groom dog/cat

    Unblock drains

    Brush suit

    Dust kitchen surfaces

    Clean toilet

    Clear leaves from gutters

    Brush hair

    I just can't understand why people don't accept such an obviously practical suggestion. Even if I accept that the 'standard profile brush' may not actually be ideal for any of these tasks, I can't seem to convince people of the convenience factor and ease-of-use benefits.

  23. Bleu

    This idea has been around

    for years. Meaning the seamless device-to-device context and content idea.

    NTT researchers published good and realistic work on it in the early 2000s, Xerox had a faint foreshadowing of it years before that.

    Maybe people are simply not that interested.

    ... and the earlier work did not rely on the data all residing on giga-corporate tera-servers.

    Kudos to MS for having a realistic try at it, probably the smartest thing they've done since OLE and DLLs, or maybe DirectX.

    Will no doubt appeal to the people who stare at their phone screens around the clock, the phone interaction must be a prominent feature in their dreams.

    Seriously, I think MS is on a winner here, they just need to convince a critical mass of the 'sharing everything all the time' people to think buying a phone with MS OS is 'kewl'.

    If it happens, the resulting feedback process will return them to the phone business.

    Personally, I'll avoid win10 as far as is possible, an OS with a perpetual version number, effectively on lease, has no appeal.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Spyware OS

    If Microsoft hadn't weaponized Windows 10 against its' own users, some of what they're developing (price not withstanding), looks pretty good. I just can't stomach the thought of being on this OS. It's creepy as *uck!

    I do need to thank Microsoft for forcing me to switch to Linux full-time. I didn't think anything could be worse than Windows 8 (which I skipped entirely), I was wrong. Did not see the spyware-ridden pIece-OS coming at all. I didn't think anyone climbing out of the hole they dug for themselves could be so stupid. This is Microsoft, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

  25. Tom 13

    Until MS gives up on the One Windows strategy

    they can't win in the device and phone market.

    Different devices require different operating systems. It really is just that simple. There MIGHT be some very rudimentary core functionality they can share, but at best 30% of the code.

  26. Whistlerspa

    I'm using Windows 10

    My HP laptop purchased in March came with 8.1. Very quickly became unusable as everything slowed to a crawl. Shifted to Mint 17 but hardware and software issues occurred (video card crashes, Wifi connections to Windows networks, Libre Office incompatabilities with Ofice 2013). Clean installed Win 10 two months ago and everything now works just fine.

    For me it's about productivity and being able to do my work. The spying thing is just the way it is now. Every time you open a browser you're being spied upon,if you use e.g. Google, Social networking sites and e-commerce sites to name but a few.

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