back to article Microsoft still longs to be a 'lifestyle' brand, but the cupboard looks bare

Two contradictory ideas run through statements by Microsoft executives this week. One is that if the company focuses on growth areas in enterprise, without expensive distractions, then revenue and profits shoot through the roof. That much is evident in the fiscal '18 earnings. Microsoft made the cloud another platform, and as …

  1. JohnFen

    Know what you are

    "Microsoft risks becoming a Wang or a Computer Associates – a B2B brand miles from the bleeding edge."

    This made me remember what a wise man once told me: "Know what you are, and be that to the best of your ability." Microsoft is, and has been, primarily a B2B brand for a long, long time now. It's what they are. They should just be that and leave the rest of us alone.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Know what you are

      >Microsoft is, and has been, primarily a B2B brand for a long, long time now. It's what they are.

      Not 'just' a B2B brand, a brand for doing business stuff - whatever sized business, from home worker upwards.

      This is how MS got into business (both itself becoming a viable business and the market it addressed) in the first place and effectively partnering with IBM meant they were perceived as being slightly staid...

      The Xbox platform is sufficiently distinct in the market to become their 'leisure' product.

      Perhaps MS needs to stop chasing 'fashion' and 'consumers' and accept it's brand is a little drab/staid, but like IBM's reassuringly professional/business friendly. So this means things like keeping Office on the Mac, but not trying to compete with Apple on fashion and trendy image.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Know what you are

        Perhaps MS needs to stop chasing 'fashion' and 'consumers' and accept it's brand is a little drab/staid, but like IBM's reassuringly professional/business friendly.

        Whilst I follow your logic and agree with it, perhaps a better example might have been chosen than the tawdry dishevelled outsourcer that IBM have morphed into?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Know what you are

          >perhaps a better example might have been chosen than the tawdry dishevelled outsourcer that IBM have morphed into?

          That is a real problem: what a company morphs into...

          IBMs reputation wasn't exactly stellar in the late 1970s', but it did a lot better at the image management and ingratiating itself into the management psyche; something it was still rather good at in the early 2000's.

    2. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Microsoft risks becoming a Wang

      And as any marketer knows, a name like Microsoft is never going to cut it as an aspirational brand.

    3. deive

      Re: Know what you are

      I kindda think MS do much better hardware than software....

      1. adnim

        @ deive Re: Know what you are

        That's because they outsource the manufacturing of their hardware.

        Unfortunately the coding is in house.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: @ deive Know what you are

          "Unfortunately the coding is in house."

          yeah I can imagine what the 'Halls of Redmond' are REALLY like, these days:

          a) many employees in the break room a good part of the day, because game consoles and ping pong and foosball are SO important to a company's work environment these days...

          b) 'sharing in the experience' like a bad 'Marin County' light bulb joke (how many people from Marin County does it take to change a light bulb? 3 - 1 to change the bulb, and 2 to 'share in the experience')

          c) agile/scrum 90% of the time, actual work 10% of the time

          d) bureaucracy the size of MOUNTAINS, dwarfing the ones around Seattle even

          e) junior coders given as much design decisionmaking (or possibly MORE) as senior coders [this is obvious when you look at the diferences between 7, 8, and 10, and how it went DOWN HILL so fast]

          f) senior coders retiring and taking their stock options NOW, while the gettin's still good.

          g) no need to QA your work, there's the first round of 'windows update' for that.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Know what you are

      'Temet Nosce' - yeah I saw 'The Matrix' too

      Micro-shaft has been direction-changing a LOT these days. They anger their customers, anger the "Developers Developers" with moving targets, and FORCE their 'changes for the sake of changes' up our ass down our throats. And they FREQUENTLY make business decisions that have less to do with profit and MORE to do with "market control", to what end we probably don't want to know.

      What has been successful for Micro-shaft in the PAST (with the 'average' customer) is what the article mentions, things like XBox and Office, as well as what made Micro-shaft successful in the FIRST place: Windows.

      Windows 3.0 was successful because it was "pretty". I remember hearing people seeing the Solitaire 'demo game' playing on various monitors around a computer store, and how much they liked it and wanted Windows 3.0 BECAUSE of it. The 3D skeuomorphic appearance was a night/day difference from Windows 2.x's "2D FLATSO" and lousy color combinations, and you could personalize a LOT of things with respect to the appearance.

      Now Micro-shaft is back to 2D FLATSO and lousy color combinations, as well as 'data slurp' 'forced updates' and LESS user customization in Win-10-nic, in the name of CONTROLLING AND TRACKING THE CUSTOMER.

      WHAT! MAKES! THEM! *FEEL*! [not think] THAT! GOING! BACK! TO! THE! FAIL! IS! A! GOOD! IDEA???!

      And, it's REALLY too late to re-introduce "Windows Classic" and capitalize on THAT like 'New Coke' and 'Coke Classic' did back in the 80's. If they'd done THAT a year after releasing Win-10-nic, I'd have probably gone with it for my own stuff, assuming 'Windows Classic' would be very much like 7.

      So, in effect, Micro-shaft has blatantly abandoned the 'success' model (giving customers what they want/need) and replaced it with the "take over the world" model.

      Well, maybe THAT is who they REALLY ARE?

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Know what you are

      has rewarded companies that engage with tech-savvy professionals who bypass their fading IT departments, and introduce new technology products and services into their organisation

      Say by introducing personal computers onto every desk so you didn't need the mainframe guys to do a spreadsheet ?

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: Know what you are

        Recently had the higher ups decide that we had to use Exchange Cloud (or whatever it's called) rather than our own in-house email servers. And now they can't understand why it takes days to fix things instead of minutes. And why they are missing half the features the old system used to give them. Hey lads, next time, try involving IT in these decisions before unilaterally forcing change on the entire company.

    6. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Know what you are

      I agree. The IBM PC was designed as a business tool. Its success as a "home" device too wasn't in the plans, and happened only because clones brought the prices down, and "copying" software was simple enough - many "home" users wouldn't be able to pay for the pretty expensive software of the time (with a few exceptions, i.e. when Borland could sell Turbo Pascal well below $100).

      MS software, with the exception of "Flight Simulator" (mostly, a whim), was business software aimed at business users - it never really understood it outside that envelope.

      Every time it tried, it showed an appalling contempt for non-business users. Take "Bob". Did they really believe users in 1995 needed a UI designed for four years old? Even "Flight Simulator" was eventually dumbed down ("Flight"), and of course, almost nobody liked it. The "Kin"? Again, thinking "consumers" would have just needed a dumbed down smartphone. Windows 10 Mail? Again, they dumbed down their mail client as much as they could. And let's not forget Skype 8. Do they believe "lifestyle" just need an UI teenagers too would find "too dumb", despite the colours and emojis?

      It never worked that way - Apple understood it very well. "Lifestyle" often implying some "showing off", and people don't like what makes them look "dumber". Maybe some of them will use just a fraction of the power of the software/hardware they buy, but that doesn't matter.

      MS may be scared that better software and devices could impact the sales of more profitable business software or hardware, but again Apple has shown business users like "lifestyle" product as well, when they bring the "status symbol" advantage, up to having to cope with the lack of business features, sometimes.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first


    "Software and subscription access."

    Not for me.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Me neither

      It's my PC. I paid for the hardware.

      If Microsoft wants to control my hardware, then it should give me a PC. If it's their hardware, then I accept their control over it.

      But as long as I'm the one footing the bill, I expect to be able to use it as I intend without anyone or anything watching over my shoulder.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Me neither

        "If Microsoft wants to control my hardware, then it should give me a PC. If it's their hardware, then I accept their control over it."

        @Pascal Monet: don't go giving them ideas. Given the reduction in cost of low end devices, I can imagine a relaunch of the 'free device pay monthly' model for internet/software for laptops/tablets. Works ok for phones after all.

      2. Bavaria Blu

        rules of the road

        That's like saying "it's my car, I paid for it" so I should be able to make the rules of the road. You're using Cloud services and you have to follow the service rules. In turn your can expect the cloud provider to stick to the rules too - keep data secure and always available.

        1. NLCSGRV

          Re: rules of the road

          A fine example of reductio ad absurdum if ever there was one.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Huh!

      >"Software and subscription access."

      >Not for me.

      Indeed. A Netflix sub might have something new in the future that I want. I have no interest in a new version of MSOffice. If Netflix just keeps churning out Oceans remakes, no-one will keep paying. And quite right too.

      The whole reason for these subs is that people saw no value in upgrades - at least, not enough value to spend the cash.

      New stuff used to be better stuff for the user. Not anymore. Now its just, "keep ms in business" stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Huh!

        So paying for 1TB of OneDrive, improved features every year in Office and Office Online, the addition of Teams, Planner, and 25GB of email storage are not worth the cost of a Burger and Beer every month?

        Being stuck with one copy of Office for $250 for a version that won’t be updated for 5 years is not exactly a winning situation.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Huh!

          The pricing has to be right, which it is for Office, and isn't for Adobe Creative Suite (for example). I looked at the price to rent Adobe Illustrator, and decided to replace it with a €70 copy of Affinity Designer instead. (Seriously - you owe it to yourself to check this out).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft can never be an 'aspirational' brand

    as long as there are people out side of MS who have been burned by their half hearted attempts at so many consumer things. Zune, Kin and what the did to Nokia still wrankles with a lot of us IT Types.

    While what they did might have been ok, they never went all in on the commitment to making them a success.

    SatNad and his BOD must look at Apple and heave a big sigh and wonder why it isn't MS leading the way as the most valuable company on the planet (until Amazon takes over that it). What did they do wrong? (don't answer that...)

    Yes, I know it is not cool to say positive things about Apple here but they do do a lot of things right from a consumer POV. You buy an iPhone and it isn't obsolete the day after you start using it as what happens with some Android devices. The average consumer appreciates that but we, the IT Literate know that for us, there are better alternatives and actually enjoy poking fun at Apple.

    MS has an awful lot of bridges to build before they can even start to become an aspirational or lifestyle brand.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. James Anderson

      Re: Microsoft can never be an 'aspirational' brand

      They have dropped or abandoned so may "consumer" products over the years you would be foolish to pay good money for the latest ( latest as in last to market) attempt to jump on the consumer band wagon.

      Bizarrely the current Windows 10 release bundles the Groove music front end even though the service was dumped six moths ago. Does anyone at Redmond actually know what is going on?

  4. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

    However, there will be no warning before your lifestyle spontaneously reboots; you will not be able to change aspects of your lifestyle that SatNad thinks you must have; and every minute detail of your life(style) will be surveilled and data-mined in order to better understand how you use it (and to show you more relevant ads).

    So, win-win -- at least, from the point of view of Miscrosoft-Microsoft.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

      Have an upvote sir!

    2. John Lilburne

      Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

      Hardware fails and becomes obsolete far quicker than software. I have a 1999 CD containing the Lotus suite of software, spreadsheet, wordprocessor, presentation manager, etc for windows 98. All of those apps still work today on a win10 machine. I used the presentation (freelance graphics) just the other day. I have an install of Windows Live Essentials 2011 because I still prefer the photo gallery thing that came with it.

      From a home user's perspective one rarely needs the latest update of anything. It is why we all dread it when some software we use on a regular basis gets updated/upgrade as we never know how much of our existing workflow will be broken as a result.

      I suspect that it the main driver to subscription based models for software companies. They need to get you locked in to forking out regular payments.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

        I beg to differ - as a general, non-Microsoft-specific issue I find software far, far, _far_ more perishable than hardware. Excepting specific examples that might have a limited life as a given thing after which they wear out (such as how many times one can recharge a battery), my experience with hardware in general is that most of it is quite willing to outlive me and just keep trucking. I can't remember when was the last time I had a piece of consumer tech break.

        Software on the other hand is gone in only a few years, guaranteed. Not in the sense of suddenly stopping to work just as it did before - clearly, given the appropriate hardware, a DOS 6.22 install will work no differently today than on day one - but in the sense of it becoming utterly unusable in the context of the rest of the world. Security updates are merely the trivial example - software that was "fine" yesterday will paint a ludicrously large target on your back tomorrow unless you move on the new version - but one needs not use that specific issue to illustrate the point.

        Let's forget about security - you try surfing websites with a browser a few years old then come back to tell how well it went. In my experience, the current ESR Firefox fails to understand at least half of what the internet throws at it right now - some of it goes unnoticed except for error consoles, some of it flat out breaks everything on a website to the point of uselessness. Or how about watching a nice movie? I hope your vintage software is fine with HEVC / x.265 encoding, seeing as how my not-quite-up-to-date Mythbuntu definitely isn't. And surely your OS/2 CD can edit docx files, right? And view webp pictures...? And let's not mention how my slightly older grub swears an ext4 filesystem is a horrifying alien from outer space merely because it was created with current tools that casually added the "metadata_csum" and "64bit" features to it, because if I think too much about it I might start spontaneously dual-wielding chainsaws.

        TL;DR: BULLSHIT, Sir. Software is the absolute most perishable tech humanity has invented yet, rotting away within the year. Hardware typically outlives it by multiple orders of magnitude.

        1. John Lilburne

          Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

          I have a NERO backit up version circa 2008 that is more useful than the current version of the software. Indeed I could install the entire 2008 suite of software and wouldn't really miss anything from the latest offering.

          I know of a major aerospace company that uses manufacturing software from about 2010 because it works and the cost of re-certifying the latest release is prohibitively expensive.

          I have a version of PhotoImpact (c2006) which was replaced by PaintShop Pro it has functionality that is not available in the PaintShop version.

          As I said originally a wordpressor. spreadsheet, database, and powerpoint app from the 1990s contains all the functionality you really need.

          I doubt that if were to install a 1980s version of emacs on any of my machines that I would notice any real functionality changes.

          File formats are irrelevant. I can work with lotus lpw files all day without encountering any issues. I don't generally need to read docx files and if I do I can always use a docx viewer. It is the idiots that are buying into new file format versions that are the cause of trouble.

          HEVC / x.265 encoding why would I need that I'm not that stupid to pay for some bullshit 4K screen. Jeez just how dumb are people. Remind me what the figures are, something like needing to be within 5 feet of an 80 inch screen to resolve the difference between a 4K screen and a 1080p one. Most people using 4K screens have the display set to 150-200% just to see the text.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

            John Lilburn

            Agreed. Constantly updating software doesn't seem much like a great deal, unless and until some new feature gets added that you really need (and more often it's the reverse). I'm happy with Office 2010 and frankly, 2003 would have been better ( no ribbons and properly customisable menus) except that I use Onenote. Which makes 2010 more useful to me.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Upgrade your Lifestyle with Microsoft!

        John Liliburne

        Yes. cash flow. Or revenue to be specific. Sell Office 2016 get a few quid, shared through the chain. Sell a subscription and the money keeps rolling in. Directly. It's the same reason people buy property then rent it out. And why ,in the medium to long term it's usually better to buy freehold property than to rent it. If you can. But a small rental on a software package, year on year can seem more comfortable to the punter while end up costing many times more than buying outright.

  5. John Styles

    B2B means....

    "Bollocks to Bozos"

  6. IGnatius T Foobar ✅

    Microsoft = IBM

    Microsoft has been following in IBM's footsteps for decades. There's no reason to think that they won't stop now. Remember the TV commercials with those hip nuns talking about OS/2 Warp? Mighty enterprise brands go into that weird afterworld as the consumer space loses interest in them. The only reason this new Microsoft is interesting at all is because someone's got to keep Amazon from becoming the new monopoly.

  7. JLV

    isn’t there a risk?

    As author said, pure B2B seems risky. If MS surrenders desk/laptop OSs to Apple, that leaves it open to corporate users not caring much for Windows on their desktops.

    That gone, Linux servers on the backend seems less of a stretch.

    This could really snowball over time, esp with new companies.

    They’ve already fecklessly dropped mobile, which is a kinda natural counterpart to fatter clouds.

    But, hey, hadda scrape up the 26B$ for LinkedIn. Not to mention the 7.5 for Github. Which, even if you tend to be cautiously charitable about them rescuing a money-losing biz, is still a lot, for a money-losing biz.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: isn’t there a risk?

      "If MS surrenders desk/laptop OSs to Apple"

      Or Google with Chromebooks.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: isn’t there a risk?

        All the line of business office apps will go to the cloud.

        All the collaboration stuff is going to be mobile

        That leaves the desktop for content creation, video, photoshop, cad. People who don't care how much the HW costs as long as it is powerful and works. It's Apple's to lose

      2. Jedipadawan

        Re: isn’t there a risk?

        I stated on a Linux forum that the year of the Linux Desktop was upon us!

        TOTAL flaming!!! I vowed never, ever to mention the year of the Linux desktop. I also learned that a huge number of Linux users like being in a niche market and don't want to be mainstream.

        However... the joke of the Year of the Linux Desktop is not so funny any more. See, with the release of the ARM based Pinebook I made the argument that ARM and Linux were the way to go with the consumer less tied to Microsoft and office than once they were. I said there would be a "Pinebook MKII" That would compete with Chromebooks, operate like a Chromebook but would allow for the installation of standard Linux apps.

        I was nearly correct. Instead of the ARM Linux Chromebook competitor arising Google themselves saw the light and are in the process of developing/opening up ChromeOS so as to allow for the installation of standard Linux apps.

        Given just how popular Chromebooks are - outstripping sales of full laptops by a steep margin and generally replacing the laptop at home - the public are already choosing their "laptop as appliance" ARM/Linux based cheapo device. Given Joe Public only really wants a content consumption device with very little creation... the Chromebook (and I am NOT a fan of either Chromebooks or Google) is not the future, it is the NOW!

        Microsoft can't get into the ARM market because, worthy though Windows 10S might be, the ARM apps are not there while something like 60% of Linux apps are already ported over. That's rather game over for the home laptop - sans, of course, the power user who needs Photoshop ... it always reduces to Photoshop for Apple and Windows!!

        Everything I said in my hated post turned out to be correct except... I had not factored on Google working it out for themselves! [It was bizarre, it was almost as if hey read my post and went; "Hang on! He's right! We gotta move. The timing was bizarre! I'm sure they didn't.. there was no way, it was just wild how Google did what I expected someone else to do... exactly when I thought they would do it.]

        Yeah, I feel vindicated. Not 'arf!

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: isn’t there a risk?

      "They’ve already fecklessly dropped mobile, which is a kinda natural counterpart to fatter clouds."

      Which is pretty well what SatNad said when he got the job.

      I think there seems to be a sense of entitlement there now. They seem to have assumed that all they had to do was buy into the phone business and expect everyone to come running because of who they were. It doesn't work like that. They needed to put a good few years hard work into it to slowly build market share against a couple of incumbents. It didn't happen immediately so they dropped it.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    It's a sad story actually...

    "It's not surprising that Microsoft wants to have its cake and eat – it always has."

    In my opinion Microsoft is capable of doing some great things. I know there's sometimes also a bit of controversy involved but even so, some of their work was pretty slick. For example I still enjoy the new ribbon interface, and not just that: it has also been adapted by some of my other favorite software products (Visual Paradigm in particular; this is an UML modeling / IT design tool) and I honestly prefer the ribbon over the classic icon toolbars.

    Then I also think that Microsoft can also sell this product decently well. I still remember that classic OneNote commercial which I think was pretty funny (guy does shopping while using OneNote to maintain his grocery list and all sorts of stuff gets added (candy canes!!), then it finally hit him: his kids are messing around ;)).

    The main problem though is that Microsoft somehow can't make a decently appealing starting consumer product and / or environment. There's always something wrong. Take the very first Windows Phone: it didn't have a todo and you couldn't even sync anything with your desktop. To add insult to injury geeks such as myself couldn't even mess with their own phones, only after paying Microsoft $100 for that privilege. It's really strange how that never really took off....

    Now, they also know how to turn it around eventually. Many of their products started out in a horrendous way but ended up as small pearls (in my opinion anyway). Expression Web for example (web editor tool) was pretty much a disaster at first: not very stable, quirky interface, etc. But in the end it was really quite good. I even bought a license a few months before it was discontinued and made available free of charge, and I never regretted that because I honestly believed it was well worth the money.

    The problem: a bad start gains you bad publicity and bad experiences. And once people jump off your bandwagon then good luck trying to win them back again. That is in my opinion Microsoft's biggest undoing.

    If you want to gather a serious fanbase you should work *with* your customers, not make it seem as if you're working actively against them (anyone remember Visual Studio? "Now, without ANY distracting colors", it was a plain out disaster). I've chatted with many veteran Visual Studio users who even went further than my dislike (I eventually enjoyed VS 2012, I still use it today) and didn't even bother with that: they stuck on 2010 because that did what they wanted, and even had a good color scheme.

    As said: I honestly believe that Microsoft has the potential it needs to make this work. But they seem so caught up in their own twisted ideas of "change is good, change sells, we need change" and without ever bothering to think about what the consumer might think.... That is just a recipe for disaster.

    And I think it's a sad story because Microsoft could be a lot better and more respected than they are now.

    1. JohnFen

      Re: It's a sad story actually...

      "In my opinion Microsoft is capable of doing some great things"

      They are capable of it, which makes it all that more tragic that they so rarely actually do anything great.

      1. GBE

        Re: It's a sad story actually...

        They are capable of it, which makes it all that more tragic that they so rarely actually do anything great.

        The last couple versions of the Microsoft C compiler for DOS were great products. And some of the wired, optical mice were top notch. That's about it.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's a sad story actually...

          "The last couple versions of the Microsoft C compiler for DOS were great products."

          I quite liked FORTRAN for CP/M

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: It's a sad story actually...

      they stuck on 2010 because that did what they wanted, and even had a good color scheme.

      I have to agree here. Visual Studio 2010 was ~2 GB, and ~ 600 MB for the Express Edition's ISO (across four language editions, making VB Express as light as 200 MB!)

      Visual Basic 2017 is 6 GB as downloaded from Microsoft Imagine.

      And they've fucked up the installer hard. Instead of a single ISO, they've gone all Visual-Studio-as-a-Service and chopped it up like a fruit in Fruit Ninja.

      Today's excuse? To keep every single component up to date.

  9. jnemesh

    if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

    WebTV, UltimateTV, Zune, Kin, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone...just about every single consumer hardware product they have released has been an unmitigated failure. Even Xbox is struggling to remain relevant with NO exclusive titles being released from here on out (all will be available for PC as well), and even though MS is hiding sales figures and losses by lumping it in with other products, it's a failure as well. They aren't doing well with Surface either, although better than most of their other efforts. We will see where this goes, but shareholders aren't going to tolerate too much more of this.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

      just a *slight* modification to your point: If at first you don't succeed try SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

      Unfortunately, Micro-shaft has been re-trying the same FAIL thing over and over, expecting it to work "this time, for sure!"

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

        Albert Einstein's reportedly defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

          "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"

          I don't know the context of the original quote but I expect it was aimed at the uncertainty principle in particular and quantum mechanics in general which rather takes the shine off it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

            Due to my lack of understanding of all things to do with quantum mechanics I'll suggests that in that context you could do the same thing over again and expect a different result, perhaps unknown...parallel universes and realities and all that, or am I mixing theories(?) I'll wander off baffled with my little brain quite sore at the prospect.

            1. Jedipadawan

              Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

              I'll simplify it for you...

              "If at first you don't succeed.. Try another distro."


        2. DropBear

          Definition of insanity

 you're suggesting everyone doing the exact same dice throw is hallucinating getting different results each time...? Much of the world is chaotic, and getting different results by doing the same thing - to the best of your necessarily limited ability - is the very definition of a chaotic process. That quote is meaningless anywhere outside a science lab, and often even inside it.

          1. JohnFen

            Re: Definition of insanity

            Also, it's nothing remotely close to the definition of insanity. If Einstein actually said it as a blanket statement, Einstein was laughably incorrect.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Definition of insanity

              A rhetorical point-in-principle isn't meant to be taken as absolute rule. Nor is it valid to attack the principle as if it was posed as an absolute rule.

              See also;

              The gap between perseverance and perseveration in behaviour may be a matter of degree.

        3. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

          "..."doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"..."

          But...this is a company making US$110 BILLION...why, in their eyes, do they need to do something that is that different?

          (Note..I said in their view)

    2. Mike Lewis

      Re: if you don't succeed...try, try, try, try, try, try try try again!

      My grandfather always said "If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No sense being a damn fool about it."

  10. pixl97

    Microsoft will further entrench their lifestyle brand by forcing the Xbox live gaming platform to require setup and sign-in before Windows Server 2019 will allow SMB shares and server services like DHCP and DNS to run. Attempting to remove the service via power shell will cause Windows to format the c: drive.

    1. shedied

      Right, format the C: drive to install the latest update of Windows 10++. Relax, grab a cup of coffee, make that a Large, thank you. Also stop by the take-out window for a couple of breakfast burritos (that's the best guesstimate when the update will complete

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >Relax, grab a cup of coffee, make that a Large, thank you.

        Given the increasing size of HDD's perhaps, you might do better and simply start the weekend early...

        It bugs me that how stupid many installation programs are. We know they take a long-time to run so why not simply ask for all the relevant information up front - MS have shown they are capable of doing this by asking for the licence key, and then just get on with it. I'm not interested in all that time filling 'preview' of new features, I normally set something running and then go and do something else.

  11. a_yank_lurker


    Slurp's problem with consumers is they do not try understand the market and it various segments. They fail to realize that most consumers want reliable, long lasting products when they plunk down their cash that will be properly supported for a reasonable period. Generally they are not enthusiastic about having a variety subscriptions or about being on the bleeding edge. To them a computer in whatever form factor is primarily a tool to do something they want to do. If an elderly box still does the job with equally elderly software versions they often see little reason to upgrade to suit some vendor's bottom line. This also carries over to peripherals, they are not fond of buying a new one just because Slurp in their infinite stupidity decided to rewrite the device driver model for no good reason.

    Also, do not be seduced by the idea that most people are going home and user their personal box for work. Many companies will not allow this and if they expect employees to able to work remotely they provide a laptop for that purpose. So, for work, I have no need for any of the software on my work laptop (I do work from home some) to be on my personal computers. And the reverse is also true, I have no need to have any of my personal applications on my work computer. Thus, they can have (and actually do) different OSes. So Slurp explain to me why my home computers must have Bloat on them when I do not need any Bloat specific applications at home? The rhetorical question sums up their problem, they fail to understand that home usage is very different from work usage and they often do not even overlap. In my case I use mostly Linux at home with a Bloat7 partition kept around for a couple of elderly programs SWABO likes to use occasionally; a partition that is not connected to the net at all.

    1. DropBear

      Re: Clueless

      "They fail to realize that most consumers want reliable, long lasting products"

      I strongly doubt that. I suspect they simply see consumer's wishes for long-lasting products as directly conflicting with their own interests (as basically every other industry in existence), the resulting conclusion being "meh, they'll bend over...".

  12. Grade%

    Win 10 :(

    Made a lot of us sad. MS broke the covenant of an OS purveyor to respect and protect our trust.

    They want back in? Stop the snooping. Stop the unwanted intrusions.


    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Win 10 :(

      I say: STOP the:

      a) slurp

      b) ads

      c) threat of a subscription model

      d) forced updates

      e) 2D FLATSO mandate

      f) strong-armed 'Microsoft cloudy Logon' for your HOME COMPUTER

      g) removal of user customization

      h) "the Metro" in general

      i) "the Store" in general

      j) 'breaking the model' for 3rd party add-ons that attempt to un-do what you did WRONG to Windows

      k) "one windows" to rule them all, "one windows" to find them, etc.

      l) treating CUSTOMERS as if they are MINIONS

      I have more, but that's "a good start"

  13. Waseem Alkurdi

    There's no point even in pirating it, an Office family pack is much cheaper than the household Netflix sub.

    Subscriptions end up being much more expensive than that rotten antiquated pay-once.

    And no, some households (on the other side of the world) can't afford that subscription

    1. JohnFen

      Plus, the very idea of software subscriptions/SaaS is a nonstarter for some people. Personally, I prefer being able to have faith that software I rely on won't disappear or change underneath me.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Personally, I prefer being able to have faith that software I rely on won't disappear or change underneath me.

        Isn't that how software stability used to be defined?

        That functionality doesn't change or disappear overnight?

        Or is it all history and we're too out-of-fashion?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "And no, some households (on the other side of the world) can't afford that subscription"

      And some of us who could afford won't as a matter of principle.

    3. Trilkhai

      some households (on the other side of the world) can't afford that subscription

      A lot of households right here in the USA can't afford it, either.

    4. eionmac

      Some 1st world folks cannot pay subs either.

      In UK we have about 8% (rough guess from reports) of folks using food banks. They cannot afford to pay subs for children's use of computers. I

  14. Waseem Alkurdi

    I've got a solution - straight out of the automotive industry

    Can't Microsoft create a new company that focuses on consumer (or even luxury) hardware, like Toyota's Lexus, Hyundai's Genesis, or Honda's Acura?

    Or even closer yet, BBK's OnePlus (which was a huge success!)?

    1. stephanh

      Re: I've got a solution - straight out of the automotive industry

      They have XBox as "cool" consumer brand. It has been suggested at the time that Windows Phone should have gone for an XBox branding ("XPhone").

      It didn't look like desktop Windows anyway. And didn't have windows.

  15. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Arthur Brown....

    He would be a more appropriate evangelist for Microsoft, bearing in mind all those "burn" references mentioned.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Arthur Brown....

      I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you!

      BASIC, I'll take you to burn.

      ASSEMBLER, I'll take you to learn.

      Bill'll see you burn!

  16. Flakk

    The "consumerisation of IT" over the past two decades has rewarded companies that engage with tech-savvy professionals who bypass their fading IT departments, and introduce new technology products and services into their organisation.

    Not to mention the introduction of unsecured S3 buckets. Gosh, those tech-savvy pros sure are teh awesome.

  17. Terry 6 Silver badge

    As to Lifestyle. In Microsoft's Office Home versions they long ago included Powerpoint, something every SOHO user needs like a they need a rubber can-opener, but excluded Publisher, which is an ideal SOHO product for producing leaflets, birthday cards, invitations etc. that the SOHO user can use a lot.

    Which is to say, they are persistently clueless about what home and small office users would need. Which I guess is why they gave us Windows 8.x, "mixed reality portal" (whoever thought of that name deserves to be buried up to the neck at low tide and left for the fish), the realistically uncustomisable "Ribbon"* and Bing.

    Whereas the WinPhone was potentially a winner. Almost all of us who used them liked them, but MS couldn't bloody get the thing off the ground and ended up killing it.


    *No problem with the Ribbon as such. But they made it much harder/impossible to customise to how individuals work. Like maybe moving a menu element into a different category because that's where it fits in your work flow.

    1. JohnFen

      "No problem with the Ribbon as such"

      I have a big problem with the ribbon as such. It wastes a ton of screen space in exchange for making it much more difficult to locate the buttons that you need.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge


        yeah I wouldn't dispute that. I'm no fan of the ribbon. But some people are and don't care about the space it uses.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "Powerpoint, something every SOHO user needs"

      Sadly, since school and universities started to ask students to use it, it became a "home" product as well.

      I may agree about Publisher, but it's a strange beast in MS product line. It lacks some features (and some were removed) to be a real entry-level DTP, but it's still not squarely aimed at the home market. Another product outside their main line they really don't know what to do with.

      Anyway remember the O in SOHO means "office" - SOHO products are aimed at small "commercial" activities, while the "Home and Student" version explicitly forbid to use the product for them. Many SOHO users would need Powerpoint more than Publisher.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "Powerpoint, something every SOHO user needs"

        I'll sort of accept the school argument, though it is a sort of vicious circle-schools requiring it because it's there. But I am not convinced of the use case of Powerpoint for the small office, unless their small office is running a training company or a certain kind of sales team, the sort that does big presentations. And also, as you note, they are not licensed to use it for that. So for a product licensed for just home use, Powerpoint is a waste of 0s and 1s

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "But I am not convinced of the use case of Powerpoint for the small office"

          A "small office" means a lot of different situations - including many that may require the use of Powerpoint - maybe just to open someone else's presentation, or add your contribution to an existing one.

          In the years I worked as a contractor, I had often to work on parts of a larger presentation, and when not using my customer's systems, I had obviously to have my own software available.

          Don't get me wrong, I don't like how much many people and company rely on Powerpoint to deliver information, but that's what happens, unluckily. And it's even worse when it became used by schools, instead of delivering a properly written text.

  18. ThePhantom

    "Adobe too has made subscription access so cheap that pirating seems petty."

    Wait, what!? Adobe is a total ripoff to hobbyists who want to use their Creative Suite a couple times a year for tweaking a photo, updating a website, or editing a newsletter. An individual subscription is $600/year.

    1. tempemeaty


      I up-vote your comment with the power of a thousand suns!


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "total ripoff to hobbyists who want to use their Creative Suite a couple times a year"

      Evidently these are not their target market - do you really need a product like the whole CS for such simple, occasional tasks? There are other cheaper, or even free tools available. What's wrong with Serif software, or Gimp?

      Do you use an eighteen-wheeler to go on vacation a couple times a year, and complain about the costs? Or do you feel "diminished" if you don't use the software the "Pro" use? Or it's simple greed, you want high-end professional software but you don't want to pay for it?

  19. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "There's no point even in pirating it, an Office family pack is much cheaper than the household Netflix sub."

    Or for a lot of home users Open Office or Libre Office is more than adequate and costs nothing. I got rid of MS Office on my home and business PCs about 10 years ago and haven't missed it. There have been a couple of times where someone has send a document created in MS office where Libreoffice screwed up the formatting when opening, but compatibility gets better with every new version. And if formatting is important I can ask them to send it as a PDF

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And what's "lifestyle" anyway?

    For many it will be social network and web-browsing. That's on the phone and they lost that one. Add in streaming media and gaming. After that you get into a lot of individual interests which don't fit well with a megacorp's way of doing things. What they probably mean by "lifestyle" in Redmond is "consumers watching adverts".

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft's contradiction / schitzoidism

    Many comments cover concerns over Win10 Slurp. So why is the media giving Microsoft a free pass? First up below is Microsoft being presented as a biometrics-privacy human-rights-abuses champion. Next, is the MSM taking pot shots at Facebook for dressing up Onavo as a VPN when its really a sneaky analytics privacy violator. Yet isn't that what Win10 is?

    Its a work in progress at all the above! Ultimately we are all victims of Banksters. Its 2008 all over again, because of how big tech makes promises to Wall Street. Compare the Wall Street promises to what the Chairman thinks Microsoft does? How is this schitzoidism personality disorder escaping scrutiny vs Google / Facebook? All 3 are abusers!


  22. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Adobe can join Microsoft in hell.

    "Adobe too has made subscription access so cheap that pirating seems petty."

    "There's no point even in pirating it"

    Depending on which version of Office365 to decide to be victimized by, it's $70 to $150 a year. Every year. The sole exception is Office365 University, $80 for four years... but it only has two installs compared to regular Office365's five, and, as far as I know can't be renewed. The real price of Office365 depends on how many years you use it. I, personally, have an Office365 University install. LibreOffice is almost good enough to replace MS Office now; I figure that it'll improve before the four years of my subscription are up, and MS won't be seeing any further money from me.

    When last I looked Adobe wanted $60/month for Creative Cloud. That's $720/year.Not happening. This machine had Creative Suite 5.5 installed; everything except Adobe Acrobat Pro X is gone, now, and Acrobat will soon be gone, too. I paid $1000 for the 'education' version seven years ago, and have got my money's worth out of it. There is no way that I'm going to pay $720/year. No.

    And $720/year is NOT petty cash.

    1. tempemeaty

      Re: Adobe can join Microsoft in hell.

      @ James O'Shea

      I up-vote your comment with the power of a thousand suns!


    2. Skribblez

      Re: Adobe can join Microsoft in hell.

      The university edition can be renewed as long as you are still in academia. MS just makes it hard to find on their site when your four-year licence is coming due.

      Then again, if you are in academia, you likely have access to site-licensed or reduced-cost options.

      Hearts and minds and all that...

  23. jonathan keith

    Games too!

    Windows is the largest games platform in the world, even with Microsoft's repeated efforts over the years to rocket-jump both its feet off.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Games too!

      That alone is why Windows hasn't lost half it's installed user base.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Games too!

        "That alone is why Windows hasn't lost half it's installed user base."

        I doubt it. The majority of the installed base is surely in business and most corporations won't take kindly to their staff playing games (other than office politics games) at work.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once Upon A Time......

    .......there were overnight queues outside stores where fanbois (and girls) stood in line to buy a shiny new copy of.......Windows 95!


    The Micro$oft-created software was cr*p then, and it's cr*p now, but in that shiny long gone past, Micro$oft actually were a "lifestyle" brand for some people.


    The strangest thing is that almost all of the GOOD software under the Micro$oft brand was designed and/or written by other people:

    - they bought and re-badged FoxPro -- a really good dBase clone

    - they bought and re-badged Lattice C

    - they bought and re-badged Multiplan

    - they bought DEC staff and based Windows NT design on ideas previously developed at DEC

    - they bought and re-badged Powerpoint -- well maybe a bad example!


    As others have pointed out, most, maybe all, of the Micro$oft-created ideas have been awful -- Bob, Windows Millenium, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, "the ribbon". And it's not clear that buying companies like GitHub will return the company to the "lifestyle" glory days of 1995.

    1. stephanh

      Re: Once Upon A Time......

      You forgot the most famous one: they bought 86-DOS and re-badged as MS-DOS

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Once Upon A Time......

      Multiplan was developed at Microsoft. Word was brought in from elsewhere. Powerpoint was brought in from elsewhere. Multiplan was all Microsoft, and was a big flop until it became Excel.

  25. elgarak1

    Microsoft has long ago stopped caring about the end user. They only catered to those who brought in the money, which is enterprise. And in enterprise, the wishes were communicated by relatively high up managers (who do not spend 8hrs per day as Office drones), or the IT department (i.e., developers themselves). End users who just want to get their work done? Forget them.

    Hence they forget, or never even learned, how to cater to consumers/end users. For any application that requires me to produce anything beside executables, or games, Microsoft products are not the first choice. Even when I had to do administrative tasks (like fill out an Excel sheet required for purchase requests), I preferred to do it on my Mac, and not with Excel, because on Windows since Vista (granted, Win7 with all the UI bling like Aero turned off, and using an XP scheme it was kinda OK) with Excel it was just a pain.

  26. Jason Hindle

    Microsoft's quest to own work

    I'm struggling to find a link, but her premise of a cogent article I recently read is that Microsoft is on a quest to own work. They own the social network of work, the office tools most people use at work and home, the development tools used by a great many programmers and now they own the place where a lot of the source code goes, and everything can be done in Microsoft's cloud. Any consumer/lifestyle play, by Microsoft, is going to spring out of this setup. Like them or loathe them, Microsoft as has a lot to leverage when it comes to creating and selling (hypothetical) shiny new things.

  27. Emmeran

    Tools vs Toys

    When I buy tools I buy only top quality and for me that means DeWalt, Snap-On and the like, you can keep your cheap "DIY brands". When I finally made the jump to Android I bought a Cat S41 and when I buy IT tools I buy Microsoft.

    I have a lifestyle for you Microsoft - its called "Professional Grade", quit screwing around trying to be Apple and focus on the heavy lifting. When I drop my Cat phone on the table during a meeting all of the men with frilly Apple/Samsung phones cringe and just wish they had thought to act like a man instead of carry around delicate little frilly things.

    Lifestyle this - I build things that last.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Tools vs Toys

      Let me guess... you drive a Ferd Fteenthousand?

      1. Emmeran

        Re: Tools vs Toys

        Nah - I drive an SRT-4 cuz I like it.

        But my point is Microsoft already has a "Style" and the worst thing they do is "update" the MS Office interfaces and piss people off. We really just want to work.

  28. bill 27

    Microsoft Bob.

  29. N2

    Lifestyle brand?

    The further I keep Microsoft from my 'lifestyle' what ever that is, the better.

    1. JohnFen

      Re: Lifestyle brand?

      I agree, particularly since in my part of the world "Lifestyle" is a brand. Of condoms.

  30. SeanEllis

    Oh no, Sean's going to bang on about the Teams UI again...

    Oh, yes I am.

    This explains a lot.

    The idea that Teams is a professional product used in diverse environments and thus requires extensive customization options is a B2B requirement.

    The idea that Teams is a fun product which must be as easy to use as possible, and thus requires zero customization options is a Lifestyle requirement.

    Hence the conflict.

    Both of these are legitimate in their own contexts. The problem is that the Lifestyle stuff is completely swamping the B2B stuff, at least for the non-core products. SfB, Teams, and Skype 8 are big, bloated, "point-and-grunt" UIs suitable for phones, and unsuitable for desktop.

    No single UI will work for both sets of requirements - we need a choice. At the very least, an "advanced options" pane with a prominent "reset all advanced options to defaults" button would help an awful lot.

    1. mjhardisty

      Re: Oh no, Sean's going to bang on about the Teams UI again...

      Hi Sean

      Any way I can drop you a private message? I can be reached via The Classic Adventurer site:

      Thanks ....

  31. onebignerd

    Microsoft needs to stop trying to be the Windows of every tech market, phone, cloud, game console, computer hardware, search engine...etc. The only reason Windows still has a large hold on PC operating systems is that any other software maker that tries to challenge it gets pushed out or bought up by Microsoft. Their long history shows they don't like competition, even within the partnership with IBM creating O/S2 they couldn't play nice. Now with Windows 10 and the Edge browser they have resorted to bullying of their own users rather than embracing change and competition.

    Linux? Well I had high hopes for Linux in the '90s, but without standardization of the platform and consolidation on the fragmenting I don't expect it to make any inroads into the desktop market. Microsoft will never allow Linux to be anything more than a subsystem within Windows 10, an add-on, anything more would pose a direct threat to Microsoft.

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