back to article Finally, with W10, Microsoft’s device strategy makes sense

Microsoft stubbornly refuses to let go of making hardware, but now the reasons why CEO Satya Nadella has not followed his clear instinct to ditch devices (except Xbox) are becoming clearer. We have analysed many times why Microsoft should not make smartphones and tablets, mainly because of conflicts of interest with the OEM …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Unhappy

    But...

    What if I don't want a "unified experience". What if I enjoy diversity?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      Biology 101, a species with identical DNA becomes extremely susceptible to nasty pathogens. You're quite right in wanting diversity as it protects against total wipe out.

    2. Hellcat

      Re: But...

      Then pick and choose as you wish - just don't expect seamless ingegration between platforms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Hellcat - Re: But...

        I think the point is that many (me definitely included) don't want seamless, or indeed any, integration between platforms. I guess that's why I don't share their vision of the future as expressed through Windows 10.

      2. tony2heads

        Re: But...

        maybe just stick to:

        - well defined file formats

        - similar icons for similar concepts

        But don't use identical code base for servers, desktops, tablets, phones, TVs, game consoles, fridges etc.

        1. Bleu

          Re: But...

          Why do you need anything more than a non-connected microcontroller in a refrigerator?

          Actually, why do you even need a microcontroller in a refrigerator?

          Really, thermostatic controllers, simple circuits, should be fine.

          Manual adjustment of the setting on my old one seems to do alright, too, except on overnight violent changes in temperature, which sometimes ruins green vegetables by freezing them.

          1. Nolveys
            Happy

            Re: But...

            Actually, why do you even need a microcontroller in a refrigerator? Really, thermostatic controllers, simple circuits, should be fine.

            That's ridiculous, we know what you really want. You want the dream kitchen from Terry Gilliam's hit film, Brazil. It's being installed at your house right now. You're welcome.

            We're also taking the opportunity to replace all of those old, out-dated controls on your vehicle's dashboard with a new touch screen. Our conveniently nested menus will replace those cumbersome radio knobs and buttons, temperature and fan control, seat settings, window control, wind shield wiper control and steering wheel.

            Again, you're welcome.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But...

          But don't use identical code base for servers, desktops, tablets, phones, TVs, game consoles, fridges

          Why not? It's been working well with Linux for years.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: But...

            "Why not? It's been working well with Linux for years."

            The interfaces differ and that's the layer which needs to respond to form factor. My laptop runs KDE4 with keyboard & mouse. My MythTV box interface is menu based with a remote control. My router has a web interface or alternatively a command line for better customisation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      But they have a prioritized plan to give you everything FIRST.

      Cloud FIRST

      Mobile FIRST

      Crystal Clear Strategy FIRST

      Unified User Interface for Nursery Schools FIRST

      Unified Code Base For All Processors FIRST

      Unified Application Code Base for Nursery School Coders FIRST

      Software As A Service For Sadists FIRST

      Walled Garden For Weeds FIRST

      Security Holes On Subscription FIRST

      User Support On Hold or Gone Lunch FIRST

      Unknown Updates On A Random Basis FIRST

      Unwanted Stealth Downgrades FIRST

      Borking Platforms FIRST

      Buying Burning Platforms FIRST

      Building Burning Platforms FIRST

      Dumping Burning Platforms FIRST

      Dumping Employees FIRST

      Dumping On Customers FIRST

      Share Buybacks FIRST

      As Paper clip Bob first said: What could possibly go wrong?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But...

      That's fine, there isn't a unified experience anyway, is just the illusion. Back in the real world, there are universal apps which are crap and nobody wants, and then there is win32 which everyone wants but very few windows 10 variants use.

  2. x 7

    was there anything new in that article? Anything that wasn't at the blunt edge of the bleeding obvious?

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Upvoted, if only for the line: blunt edge of the bleeding obvious

    2. Bleu

      I made the

      same bleedingly obvious points in a post a few weeks ago, and far more concisely than this article, also with a little history, and a couple of comments about the possible scope and results, a little deeper than those in the article.

      Does not mean that I will be buying integrated MS technosystem, but as I said in the earlier post, kudos to them for really trying.

  3. Joe K

    Obvious MS surface ad

    You are supposed to declare advertising in the UK.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Obvious MS surface ad

      The Reg has also reported on Macs, Chromebooks ( and has done so in this very article, FFS!) and today has reported on a possible Linux laptop from Xiaomi.

      The nicest thing that this article said about the Surface Book was that "The Surface Book has a decent chance of becoming a successful device in its own right", which is not an unreasonable assessment.

      If other laptop vendors follow MS's example - which is the gist of the article - we consumers will have a greater selection to choose from. As it is, most of them only offer 16:9 screens, whereas the Surface Book has 3:2.

      You might prefer 16:19, you might prefer 3:2 or 16:10, whatever; choice is good.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This just in

    Clean installation with win 8, 8.1 or 7 product codes available after the upcoming 10 service pack in a few weeks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This just in

      Honorable downvoter (s),

      Please extract your thumb from wherever you're keeping it, cut it off and have it express delivered to Microsoft. I've got nothing to do with this business whatsoever and have no influence over the goings-on. I am simply reporting, somewhat topic related.

      1. x 7

        Re: This just in

        but shooting the messenger has a long tradition and is so much fun

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This just in

          @ x7

          Jolly good shot old chap, you got him right in the arse.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Peter R.1 - Re: This just in

        I didn't downvote you, though your news doesn't exactly excite me. But I was wondering if you have a helpful link to something that elaborates on your statement? It sounds like Microsoft have finally realised that in-place upgrades is perhaps not the best way to shift their product.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: @Peter R.1 - This just in

          @JustaKOS

          This would appear to be what Peter was referring to:

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/10/13/microsoft-windows-10-new-upgrade-rules/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Dave 126 - Re: @Peter R.1 - This just in

            Thanks for that. I guess If I hadn't left the Insider program I would have seen something about it.

    2. x 7

      Re: This just in

      Interesting point actually.......Microsoft have had downloadable img image files available for a couple of months. Were they not clean installer?

  5. Chika

    Makes sense, does it? (If the original article can state the obvious, so will I)

    Maybe. It's a risky strategy though given that any pincer movement is only possible if each side is big enough to surround the enemy and is strong enough to avoid a break out.

    I'm not yet convinced that Windows 10 is going to do it. I'm not saying that it can't - it's still relatively new and can change - but the various criticisms made of it so far will make it difficult to justify going down that route on all platforms, not to mention that some form factors will be difficult at best to overcome.

    As far as the smartphone market is concerned, the only way that Microsoft's laughable market share can improve is at the cost of one of the competitors but I suspect that Apple may be more vulnerable given the sheer number of companies using Android on their devices. To look at Android purely from the Nexus point of view isn't really a realistic way to do it, especially given the increasing effect of Chinese and Indian involvement in the market. The thing is that the brand loyalty of Apple and the size and variety of devices across the price ranges of Android will continue to make heavy going for Microsoft.

    As far as gaming goes, I doubt that gamers are as interested in the system that is being used to run the system as they are in what the system is being used for. Microsoft needs to be very careful about what they do here as they have already had one disaster with the XBone which left a degree of mistrust in the gaming community. Forcing a cross-platform infrastructure on them that might cause a similar backlash could kill the XBone and any successor.

    But then we get back to this whole business about the convertible laptop/tablet system such as the Surface and others and what will become of the traditional desktop and laptop. As ever, we are being nagged at that the traditional PC is on its way out. For years the press and manufacturers have been going on and on about replacing the desktop PC with mobile devices including the laptop, the netbook, the ultrabook, the smartphone, the tablet and whatever comes up next. Yet the PC is still here.

    There's reasons for that. Yes, all of the other devices have their uses but they fail because the PC has a number of advantages that these mobile devices don't have. At the very base, the PC is a general purpose device that can be used to do many different things. It's only disadvantage, when compared to these other devices, is that it is not portable. Because of this, however, there are plenty of jobs that the traditional PC does that people will continue to do for some time yet with a PC. Windows 10 is a better fit for PC use than Windows 8.x was but it still insists on pushing users towards a mobile platform in some places, hence why some Windows 7 users are reluctant to shift (I'll say nothing here about the other reasons; that's been hammered into the ground!)

    So Microsoft's strategy makes sense only in that it is trying to bind users to one system which means money for Microsoft. If it works, then I'll say no more, but it makes too many assumptions and could mean that this strategy could be a much bigger failure than Windows 8, the XBone, Vista, the original Longhorn, Me, Zune or Microsoft Bob.

    1. adnim

      Re: Makes sense, does it? (If the original article can state the obvious, so will I)

      It will work to some extent. Even if only from the spillover of retired legacy systems and blind customer loyalty. MS have a huge share in the desktop market from which we seem to be rapidly transitioning.

      Perhaps Win 10 is 2-4 years too late?

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Makes sense, does it? (If the original article can state the obvious, so will I)

      """As ever, we are being nagged at that the traditional PC is on its way out. For years the press and manufacturers have been going on and on about replacing the desktop PC with mobile devices including the laptop, the netbook, the ultrabook, the smartphone, the tablet and whatever comes up next. Yet the PC is still here."""

      This is because it is easier to say; "look!, something else shiny, buy!" than making a better version of a product people want to buy.

      Add to it the fact that MS for decades has dictated to the industry what was acceptable and what was not, nothing escaped their iron grip, back in the day if they announced they were coming into your market segment, all you could do was either escape, prepare to get eviscerated or sell your business.

      Eventually the chickens are coming back to roast.

      The IT industry needs to accept the fact that it is more or less like any other industry, mature and boring, they have to recognize once and for all that people will use their computers like any other device, it will be used while it lasts and provides good service, like your dishwasher or your car.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Makes sense, does it? (If the original article can state the obvious, so will I)

        "Eventually the chickens are coming back to roast."

        Nice one.

    3. Palpy

      Re: Makes sense, does it? (And the oft-heralded demise of the PC)

      Have an upvote.

      My home and work setups include large-screen and multiple monitors. Not portable in the least. So I might as well use a desktop box, with its easy-to-swap hardware, longterm reliability, etc. For this use case -- a very common one, methinks -- tablets, laptops, and laplets are irrelevant.

      How much user-monitoring telemetry is baked into Windows Phone? Anyone know?

      1. dogged

        Re: Makes sense, does it? (And the oft-heralded demise of the PC)

        > How much user-monitoring telemetry is baked into Windows Phone? Anyone know?

        Nobody knows with regard to WM10 because it's not released yet.

        WP8.1 is actually pretty clean unless you go mad with Cortana. Considerably cleaner than a Nexus in terms of packets sent home. Switch on Google Now and the Cortana exception goes away, as you'd expect.

        I expect WM10 will have more telemetry than WP8.1 because that's the way it seems to be going.

        If it does, I'm buying a Blackphone.

        1. dogged

          Re: Makes sense, does it? (And the oft-heralded demise of the PC)

          Is the downvote for owning a WP8.1 device or for planning to get a Blackphone?

  6. dogged

    I beg your pardon?

    which has established and capable customers such as Acer

    Yeah, there's advice for you. Don't make premium devices, leave it to Acer with their gift for 99p Shop Chic.

    1. x 7

      Re: I beg your pardon?

      Acer, the Ratners of home electronics

      So bad, they make Amstrad look good

      1. DJV Silver badge
        Devil

        "So bad, they make Amstrad look good"

        Having experienced both in my time, I'm not sure exactly which one is worse - all I know is that any future interactions with either company will be performed using a hands-off approach whether or not I am in possession of a barge steering implement.

      2. ben_myers

        Re: I beg your pardon?

        Never had the bad luck to own an Amstrad, but Acer produces pretty awful laptops. Acer Veriton mini-towers are pretty nice. Then Acer has the stupidity to continue to sell its boxes under the more poorly regarded eMachines, showing its total lapse of good judgement. If anything, eMachines ranks down there with Amstrad, the U.S. Packard-Bell, and numerous other brands now out of existence.

        And someone has the lack of common sense to identify Acer as an important Windows OEM? Holy crap!

        1. x 7

          Re: I beg your pardon?

          "U.S. Packard-Bell"

          Packard Bell was always a Hong Kong company, and for the last ten years has been part of Acer

          Its name was a rip-off of HP - in reality there was no relationship.

          1. Naselus

            Re: I beg your pardon?

            "Packard Bell was always a Hong Kong company, and for the last ten years has been part of Acer

            Its name was a rip-off of HP - in reality there was no relationship."

            Aside from the Acer connection, almost none of that is true.

            Packard Bell was founded in LA in 1933, 2 years before HP was founded. It's not Hong-Kong based and it's name has nothing to do with HP and a lot to do with the founders being called Mr Bell and Mr Packard.

            1. x 7

              Re: I beg your pardon?

              thanks for the correction.....its what happens if you believe Acer salesmen. I should have checked.

              I think there may be a grain of truth there somewhere - I strongly suspect that when the Israeli company purchased the name from Teledyne to use on PCs it was with a view to create confusion with HP's products.

              Whatever, the point remains their products were crap and they are now part of the Acer range of crud.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: I beg your pardon?

        Not possible ever

  7. David Pollard

    Ergonomics?

    The "unified experience across all screens" seems to me to neglect the important part of all equipment design, that of matching the interface to the human form. For reading and writing documents, something around A4 size is near optimal for human eyes. Pen and paper and full-size keyboards suit adult hands reasonably well. For mumbling sweet nothings, "I'm on the train ... love you," and so forth, a tiny, lightweight box with a few buttons may be rather more appropriate.

    Readers will doubtless think of other examples where the singular Windows I/O paradigm is not optimal. What the world really needs is a simple, consistent and reliable operating system onto which appropriate interfaces can be grafted to match our hands, eyes and ears to the various new devices that are supposed to enhance our lives.

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Ergonomics?

      ""What the world really needs is a simple, consistent and reliable operating system onto which appropriate interfaces can be grafted to match our hands, eyes and ears to the various new devices that are supposed to enhance our lives.""

      An OS is far from a simple thing.

      I agree with you completely, you can build the best hammer in the world, but if the handle is too small is useless.

    2. Hellcat

      Re: Ergonomics?

      The unified experience doesn't mean A4 size phones or wallet size tablets. The universal apps scale and adjust depending on device, exactly in the way your final paragraph suggests they would need to.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Ergonomics?

        > The universal apps scale and adjust depending on device

        I totally need unified versions of Photoshop, 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, Pro Tools, Media Composer, and Ableton Live on my phone - just as I need a 32" monitor to really enjoy Candy Crush or to send an SMS.

        Here's an idea: perhaps the basic premise is stupid and wrong?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Ergonomics?

          >Here's an idea: perhaps the basic premise is stupid and wrong?

          Maybe. But maybe the truth lies in the middle?

          Some of your productivity apps have a place on a tablet - especial things like Photoshop (stylus) for roving photographers, or a slider-heavy work space in Ableton (multi-touch). Indeed, maybe your workspace is spread across a PC monitor and a tablet, as Photoshop and DAW applications already support?

          Interesting times.

        2. P. Lee

          Re: Ergonomics?

          It isn't just the screen which needs to scale.

          I'd dread to think what a "unified app" version of outlook would do to your phone battery... unless the application runs in the cloud and "unified app" is just MS replacing HTML with a proprietary windows GUI.

          Hmm, I think that might lend clarity to proceedings.

          Don't get me wrong, I can definitely see a case for a remote gui which isn't based on hyper-text transfer protocol tech - but I don't want to see various sorts of CALs attached to it. It should be free, or people won't trust it and it should be portable cross-platform, not subject to a corporate whim.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Ergonomics?

            >"What the world really needs is a simple, consistent and reliable operating system onto which appropriate interfaces can be grafted to match our hands, eyes and ears to the various new devices that are supposed to enhance our lives."

            >>What? Like the Symbian OS?

            That sounds like Linux plus your GUI-of-choice paradigm... dunno why you assumed Symbian.

            What is harder is getting developers of applications (for Windows, or indeed Linux) to play ball. For example, it's 2015 and Photoshop still doesn't support ultra high resolution displays on Windows (Adobe blame MS, I wish I could knock their metaphoric heads together til they reach a solution).

            Apple's history is a bit different - they have always published guidelines for 3rd party application UIs. Indeed, MS Office for OSX still has, gasp, real menus!

    3. Mellipop

      Re: Ergonomics?

      "What the world really needs is a simple, consistent and reliable operating system onto which appropriate interfaces can be grafted to match our hands, eyes and ears to the various new devices that are supposed to enhance our lives."

      What? Like the Symbian OS? That went well. Shortly before that company disappeared up Nokia's backside, the "leaders" were talking about convergence. Even though Symbian had spent painful years making the core and UI systems work on diverse devices.

      So Microsoft is demonstrating similar Schizophrenic thinking. Probably misplaced megalomania in the face a shrinking market share.

      I wonder what windows 13 will be like?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: Ergonomics?

        What ever Win13 will be it wont be called Win13 for the same reasons there is no Win9, possibly be called Win14?

        1. x 7

          Re: Ergonomics?

          "What ever Win13 will be it wont be called Win13 for the same reasons there is no Win9, possibly be called Win14?"

          well actually.......Windows 9 was skipped to prevent versioning numbers problems with respect to Windows 95 / 98 / Me

          but if you think out it, there has already also been Windows 1-3, with several subreleases, so by the same logic anything new named Windows 1x - 3x should also be blocked. I wonder if there are any programs left from Windows 1.0 which will run on Windows 10?

  8. Permidion
    Thumb Down

    ignoring people is good for business ?

    "It is imperative that W10 – Microsoft’s last chance to remain a company with its own OS rather than just a multi-platform service provider – succeeds.."

    how? by forcing the OS to its user base? is that a sign of success?

    since most people either don't bother or are not tech-savvy enough to know better, it may work.

    but if M$ continue to ignore their users, more and more people are going to look elsewhere, as many comments of TheReg articles have shown ...

    I don't envision any improvement in M$ business result, if they stubbornly continue in their current track. Though with their size, it will probably take some time before ill effects start being really noticeable.

  9. LDS Silver badge

    You can't really expect Acer and Asustek deliver pro products

    Sorry, but both Acer and Asustek are too oriented to a market which won't buy high-end products with an MS OS - products that after all broke ground in the pro market first, and not the mainstream consumer one.

    I understand why MS had to design and sell the Surface itself. Maybe Dell could have made something alike the Surface Pro, but nor Acer nor Asustek.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: You can't really expect Acer and Asustek deliver pro products

      "Maybe Dell could have made something alike the Surface Pro"

      Well Sony definitely could of - from a design perspective the Viao's were always highly desirable machines, but that wasn't enough to stop Sony exiting the PC market. I suggest that there probably isn't much demand for pricey stylish Window's machines. Whereas Acer with the Aspire range has shown that a certain amount of distinctive styling can work in the mass market, provided the price is competitive with the more traditional WinTel boxes.

      I think what MS have consistently missed is delivering a polished OS platform, something I'm reminded of everytime I play with iOS or OS/X.

  10. Tom 13
    Facepalm

    That's some good shit you're smoking.

    You sure it's legal?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So a unified experience

    ...means unlimited security holes, defective code, BSOD and slow PC operation for which we should all be thankful? I don't think so. Consumers are voting with their wallet and most are just saying NO to Microsucks and Loser10.

    1. Champ

      Re: So a unified experience

      The 1990s called. They want their whine back

    2. Naselus

      Re: So a unified experience

      "Consumers are voting with their wallet and most are just saying NO to Microsucks and Loser10."

      Yes, they barely have 80% market share in the desktop field and it's taken them nearly 3 months for their newest O/S to overtake Linux and Mac O/S combined. Truly, this is a disaster.

      Let's be honest with ourselves for 5 minutes. No matter how much you hate them, MS are still an unstoppable juggernaught in the desktop space and no one else even scores high enough to appear in a list of 'also-rans'.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paid for research

    Never balanced.

  13. ntevanza

    Show me you care

    This unified thing would ring true if MSFT were selling a credible business phone. With the disclaimer that I haven't seen W10 or the new 900 yet, the list of basic business requirements set by Blackberry five or more years ago is still not met by any other manufacturer.

    3 day battery life, in use

    local public private key encryption

    programmable notification LED

    auto end of day power off

    power on alarm

    charge while off

    Exchange integration that works, particularly for calendars

    no bloody beeping in meetings

    <add your favourite BB feature here>

    plus

    app signing

    remote power off

    update control

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A question (dumb maybe)

    Is there any practical reason why Microsoft can't do a deal with all of the major phone suppliers to allow Win10 to be installed as an alternative to Android?

    Here I am with a Galaxy S3 that is stuck on an out of date and vulnerable version of Android. Why not make it possible to upgrade the thing to Windows 10. I might even bite (having first of all done a comparative analysis of Microsoft and Google's privacy-invading terms and conditions).

    1. bobgameon

      Re: A question (dumb maybe)

      They are actually trying to do that. There is a rom for windows 10 mobile which can be flashed onto android phones. Right now it only works with Xiaomi phones but rumors suggest it will be widely available soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A question (dumb maybe)

        Ahh. Interesting...

        I've been thinking for a while that the contradiction between Microsoft's obsession with Windows as a Phone OS and their apparent lack of interest in making Windows phones, could only be explained by them having a plan to make it available on other phones. I said nothing for fear of being called a crackpot.

        I wonder if we can look forward to the day when we have to scrutinise updates from (eg) Samsung for signs of the dreaded GWX (Mobile) app?

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: A question (dumb maybe)

      > Is there any practical reason why Microsoft can't do a deal with all of the major phone suppliers to allow Win10 to be installed as an alternative to Android?

      Yes. Each model of phone is unique in having one of a large variety of SoCs complemented by different system components such as screens, audio, buttons, etc. This is not a problem for Android because the source code is available and the integrator can modify as required to suit.

      Windows Phone is built by Microsoft to suit a limited set of SoCs with a particular set of other components. This has always restricted manufacturers in how they can build Windows Phones. In some cases Microsoft has dictated to OEMs which SoC maker they are allowed to use. Because MS has been slow to incorporate newer components into their OS it has often meant that WP models are half a generation behind Androids.

      For example WP7 could only work with about 5 particular single-core SoCs. WP8 only supported half a dozen dual-core SoCs. WP8 would not even run on WP7 hardware let alone contemporary Android devices. The only way to get W10M onto Android phones is to start by building a phone that actually works with W10M and then putting Android on it, but that would limit what the phone can be.

      You can upgrade your S3 to Cyanogenmod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2o_LEc04RY

      1. remyj

        Re: A question (dumb maybe)

        Good point. I have a limited understanding of Smartphone architecture but I have always wondered why ARM devices have to have the OS ROM tailored for the device. Yet, any Windows PC x86 hardware can load Windows as long as drivers are available. Why can't this be the case for ARM devices?

        If one could re-purpose all the obsolete and semi obsolete Android devices by loading W10 on them, I'll bet there would be a lot of takers. If you could just plug a USB drive with the W10 set up package into your Samsung S3 or S4 and wipe Android Jelly Bean and install W10 it would make a lot of phones that Android makers won't upgrade into decent devices. How about all the Amazon Fire devices out there not being used because they are so locked into the Amazon system? Wipe 'em and load W10 and get your Google and Windows services and accompanying apps running on them. Suddenly, all those Amazon Fire Phones could be uber useful and desirable.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: A question (dumb maybe)

          > any Windows PC x86 hardware can load Windows as long as drivers are available. Why can't this be the case for ARM devices?

          Any _IBM_PC_derivative, that is any Intel x86 or AMD x86-64 with an IBM-PC compatible BIOS (or UEFI) can boot Windows. That is _one_ type of computer.

          In the early 1980s there were large numbers of different computers with quite different architectures: S100 bus, DEC Rainbow, Wang PC, ICL PC2, DRS300 SCSI bus, and those are all x86, there were many other CPUs*. The only way that they could run MS-DOS or CP/M-86 was the manufacturers wrote their own BIOS (which was part of the OS). IBM built a BIOS into the ROM of their PC (which still required a stub MS-BIOS). It was Lotus-123 which required the IBM BIOS that meant that manufacturers had to clone the IBM PC. MS-DOS 5 was the first that dropped support for other architectures.

          Because Linux and Android have source available it is relatively easy to implement on whatever SoC is used so there is no pressure to make ARM into a unified interface with a single BIOS.

          * There are still dozens of different architectures but many of them are not found in shops.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A question (dumb maybe)

        @Richard Plinston

        Thanks for that explanation. I guess Microsoft would need to work tightly with the manufacturers to get W10 onto any of the existing phones. Cyanogenmod is an option that I was aware of and, as it stands, it is the most likely next step for me. There's lots of life left in my S3 and I don't particularly want to junk it for anything newer.

        @remyj

        Yep, that was the sort of thinking that I was coming from. Not so likely, though, given what Richard Plinston says. It would be interesting to see it happen, though - I wonder how Google would take it seeing Android wiped from millions of phones in favour of Windows 10?

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A question (dumb maybe)

        "> Is there any practical reason why Microsoft can't do a deal with all of the major phone suppliers to allow Win10 to be installed as an alternative to Android?

        Yes. Each model of phone is unique in having one of a large variety of SoCs complemented by different system components such as screens, audio, buttons, etc. This is not a problem for Android because the source code is available and the integrator can modify as required to suit.

        Windows Phone is built by Microsoft to suit a limited set of SoCs"

        But the question was about Win10, not Windows Phone. And Windows 10, like their other desk top OSs runs an a wide range of hardware by having installable drivers. If they are really set on providing this platform agnostic user experience than Win10 should surely work the same way. In fact it should be a test case for how well they've done that or whether they've simply applied the same interface over different foundations.

        1. Richard Plinston

          Re: A question (dumb maybe)

          >> phone suppliers to allow Win10 to be installed as an alternative to Android?

          > But the question was about Win10, not Windows Phone.

          The question was about phones. Microsoft is attempting to look unified by calling everything 'Windows 10' whether it be desktop, tablet, phone or IoT. People were confused when Windows RT did not run Windows programs, they will be even more confused (as you are) when some 'Windows 10' (mobile, IoT) also does not run Windows programs.

          > And Windows 10, like their other desk top OSs runs an a wide range of hardware by having installable drivers.

          Windows 10 desktop _only_ runs on X86 or X86-64* derivatives of IBM PC, that is not a 'wide range', it is not even the majority of CPUs in use (ARM is). It may support many different GPUs or other peripherals. Just because there are many 'PCs' does not make it a wide range.

          Phones and tablets are usually ARM (some MIPS, a small number Intel/AMD).

          > If they are really set on providing this platform agnostic user experience than Win10 should surely work the same way. In fact it should be a test case for how well they've done that or whether they've simply applied the same interface over different foundations.

          Windows 10 Mobile (ie Windows Phone 10) is just like WP8.1 with some changes. Windows 10 IoT is nothing like other Windows - no UI, no launcher, it simply boots into one 'Universal' app (which is not universal because it is IoT and thus to be useful accesses and requires a GPIO).

          * Windows NT did also run on MIPS, Alpha, Itanium and PowerPC but that was a couple of decades ago.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: A question (dumb maybe)

            "> But the question was about Win10, not Windows Phone.

            The question was about phones."

            The question was about Windows 10 on phones.

            And MS is positioning W10 as being the same on all its platforms so the question was a good one.

            Of course in practical terms running Windows on different PC hardware often requires the hardware manufacturers to ensure drivers are available so the same thing would apply with phones so such an idea would still require MS & Sammy to cooperate.

            1. Richard Plinston

              Re: A question (dumb maybe)

              > The question was about Windows 10 on phones.

              > And MS is positioning W10 as being the same on all its platforms so the question was a good one.

              You are confused. That may be due to a deliberate action of Microsoft. They are calling every version as 'Windows 10' regardless of it being desktop, mobile, phone, or IoT. These are _NOT_ the same on all platforms. Mobile (phone) has no traditional desktop that 'desktop' has, it does not run Windows desktop programs. IoT does not even have the 'Modern' UI, or indeed any operating system UI.

              The only 'Windows 10' that runs on phones is 'Windows 10 Mobile' which is equivalent to Windows Phone 8.x.

              The only thing that is 'the same on all platforms' is 'Universal apps'. These are supposed to be able to run on each different version of 'Windows 10', though in fact they require the developer to create different user interfaces for different sized screens and some won't be universal due to hardware differences (eg IoT with GPIO)

              > running Windows on different PC hardware

              This may be news to you but phones are _not_ "PC hardware".

              > requires the hardware manufacturers to ensure drivers are available so the same thing would apply with phones so such an idea would still require MS & Sammy to cooperate.

              It is entirely possible for MS to develop a version of 'Windows 10 Mobile' (but not Windows 10 PC) that would run on, say, a Galaxy S3. But why would they ? Who would pay for it ? Where's the profit?

  15. jzl

    Markets?

    Never understood analysts who talk of markets, segments, partners and the like. You're over complicating it.

    It's all about product. Either you sell stuff, people buy it and you make money, or you don't. Microsoft clearly believe they can have a good chance of selling stuff. Hence, they're making stuff.

    Let's see if they're right.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Markets?

      > Microsoft clearly believe they can have a good chance of selling stuff. Hence, they're making stuff.

      You misunderstand the Microsoft culture. It is not only about selling stuff, it is also about stopping others sell stuff. They have done this with vapourware, with contracts, with per-box pricing, with bundling, with simply buying the competition, with 'free' (eg IE to stop Mozilla and Spyglass), and by complaining to the EU commission.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Unspeakable wickedness from Microsoft. FACT!

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "110 million people using Windows 10 right now"

    If that is true, it still is not the success Microsoft was expecting. Apparently, the Windows share of the market is sliding, and has been for 5 quarters in a row now.

    What I would like to know is how many of those installs were pushed to people who didn't actually want them, and got reverted to some prior version of Windows. We know 1 0 is being very aggressively pushed out, the question is : how long does it stay when in place ?

  18. John Savard Silver badge

    The iPad Pro?

    Except for having "Pro" in the name, I don't see how the iPad Pro is even in the same market as Microsoft's Surface Pro. The Microsoft Surface Pro may not be good enough in some respects to "replace your desktop", as a recent Ars Technica review claimed, but it does run real Windows software, rather than tablet and smartphone apps, since it has Windows 10 on it, not Windows RT. The iPad Pro, though, has an A9X processor - it runs, therefore, iOS, not OS X, so it can't run real Macintosh software, only tablet and smartphone apps.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The iPad Pro?

      >The iPad Pro, though, has an A9X processor - it runs, therefore, iOS, not OS X, so it can't run real Macintosh software, only tablet and smartphone apps.

      It can't run OSX apps, but there is nothing stopping developers from creating 'Pro' applications for it. Indeed, Adobe have been working on some even before the iPad Pro's announcement.

      It will find a place in some content creator's workflow.

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    First there's an assumption that computing is now in a post-PC phase. This is the view from people who sell stuff as opposed to people who use stuff. If you've got a PC that works you use it but tough for the people who want to sell you another. The market is more or less saturated so people flogging PCs and their bundled software have either got to put up with it or offer something new and desirable. In order for it to be desirable they really need to pay attention to the users and I'm not convinced they're doing that.

    As to the idea of a unified experience that reminds me of icons on a lot of consumer hardware - designed to be equally incomprehensible in all languages.

  20. Deltics

    "Unloved Surface RT"

    Nope, not true.

    I have one and love it and everyone that sees it and plays with it also loves it. Especially the battery life measured in DAYS rather than hours and the price which unlike it's "Pro" brethren is not in the Apple extortion bracket.

    Just because the tech media decided to empty their collective bowels on the device before properly understanding it resulting in its still-birth in the marketplace does not mean that it was not loved. Only that it was not given a fair chance.

    1. Mellipop

      Re: "Unloved Surface RT"

      I think the lenovo yoga 11, the windows 8RT laptop, to be the finest laptop PC. It might have been the Nadir of PC-dom.

      When I have to use a PC, I like using the Yoga. Otherwise I prefer almost anything else... So windows is now below android on a tablet, a Chromebook, a macbook and even a Linux laptop. It's just that few suppliers have resources to produce such stunning hardware.

      Perhaps I can re-image my yoga with mint?

  21. Schultz

    I am not against the idea of a consistent user interface ...

    but MS invented the ribbon and regularly invents stuff to enhance the user experience (i.e., to annoy the shit out of those who want to get work done). Count me out.

  22. ben_myers

    Price of Win 10 to OEMs is negligible

    For any Windows OEM considering a higher end luxury product like the Surface Book, the tribute extracted by Microsoft for a Windows 10 license is negligible compared to the cost of all the hardware that goes into a fondleslab with keyboard.

    Were I a major supplier of laptops (Lenovo, Dell, HPaq), I would not think one picosecond of the Surface Book as competition. I would simply design and manufacture one myself, with superior product quality at a selling price at least 1/3 lower.

  23. wisiwig

    User Comment

    I have used 8.0, upgrade 8.1 and now 10 on a 7" Lynx Tablet. With a quad processor, the interface is lightning fast and very pretty.

    However, the software has a mind of its own, always off doing anything else, but respond to me and my needs! For example, I cannot seem to get it to do anything useful like open and actually use OneNote an MS product. I cannot use any screen in the way I want to, including buttons, re-sizing or actually read anything useful. I try desperately to centralise and perhaps read a piece of text, but there it goes again! Email downloads like lightning, but I am unable to read the microscopic text that is within each email no matter what I do (I have a note3 which is marginally smaller, but experience no problem with each of these features).

    I also have to continually close applications in the background to clear the work area.

    I use MS at work and at home, but the concept (which I think is fabulous) has not been converted to the real world in anything like a usable way.

    I have added a software mouse and a real keyboard (both bluetooth and USB), still with no resulting control. This rather degenerates the benefits of a tablet, but I thought I would try. I might add that I have a windows 8.1 laptop with touchscreen as well, which suffers many of the same user problems.

    I will await the next version of windows, perhaps w16 will finally get there....

  24. All names Taken
    Alien

    I saw this and ...

    ... thought of u

    The link goes to a smallish, cheapish and probably not very goodish computational device.

    See, one problem with streaming is buffering - Windows store lets you download a movie but Windows, as yet, will not cast to a tv box and it is the same for Store streams. Partial solution? A windows box that has hdmi out for HD downloads straight to your tele with Android contingency well, just for fun and: what - is - wrong - with - that?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/PIPO-1920x1200-Windows-Android-2-16GHz-X9-64G/dp/B015FPKC34/ref=pd_sim_sbs_107_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=470RCK4G1YSZMSFDXHKJ

    (well for a start anyway)?

  25. All names Taken
    Alien

    Almost rant - part 2

    or even

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01KXSK1HA/ref=s9_acsd_hps_bw_c_x_5

    The fickleness always seems to be what catches the public's eye, attention, purchasing aspirations and then: hard cash.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021