Windows 8 Sales Well Below Projections, Plenty of Blame to Go Around | Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows
Windows 8. It’s a floor wax. No, it’s a dessert topping. Microsoft’s new whatever-the-F-it-is operating system is a confusing, Frankenstein’s monster mix of old and new that hides a great desktop upgrade under a crazy Metro front-end. It’s touch-first, as Microsoft says, but really it’s touch whether you want it or not (or have it or not), and the firm’s inability to give its own customers the choice to pick which UI they want is what really makes Windows 8 confounding to users. I actually like Windows 8 quite a bit and can’t imagine switching back. But I do understand the complaints of customers who aren’t getting what they wanted or asked for.
Windows 8 was never (primarily) about driving PC sales for the 2012 holiday season. It’s a long bet on a future in which most PCs have touch capability and many of them are tablets. As such, any current conclusions about how it’s doing are hopelessly premature.
Windows 8 as a Long Bet | Daring Fireball
But why put the touch/tablet UI on all PCs? A touch-optimized UI makes no more sense for a non-touch desktop than a desktop UI makes for a tablet. Apple has it right: a touch UI for touch devices, a pointer UI for pointer (trackpad, mouse) devices. Windows 8 strikes me as driven by dogma — “one Windows, everywhere”.
“He had no factions, except those who worked for him,” said one source. “He picked a lot of fights.”
That included with former chief software architect Ray Ozzie — who left Microsoft in 2010, in part after battling against Sinofsky over how the cloud-based world was shaping up and how Microsoft should respond.
Likewise, former Entertainment and Devices unit leaders Robbie Bach and J Allard also found themselves on the losing end of a corporate battle with Sinofsky, as Microsoft axed their planned Courier tablet and agreed to give tablet responsibilities to the Windows team. Both left the company in 2010.
Sinofsky also clashed with former Microsoft Business division head Stephen Elop, who left the company in 2010 to run Nokia, now an important partner in the smartphone business.
Having sided with Sinofsky in all those fights, though, Ballmer belatedly decided that he wasn’t the right choice to bring the company together in the future. Sources said Ballmer raised those concerns with Gates, who agreed.
Of course he did. No way could Ballmer have done this without Gates’s (and thus, the board’s) approval. That’s a lot of heads that have rolled at Microsoft in recent years.
The Sin(ofsky)s Of The Father | parislemon
Yes, there are obvious parallels to the Scott Forstall situation inside of Apple. But the overall situation is different as Tim Cook is only one year into the job and felt the need to consolidate power while streamlining internal processes (his M.O.). Ballmer has been on the job (as CEO) with Sinofsky for 13 years. Again, what changed?
My (unsubstantiated) guess remains Windows 8 and the Surface. I think we’ll see this play out in the months ahead.
Sinofsky was the driving force behind the “no compromise” approach to Windows 8. I believe that approach is at the heart of the ultimate problem with the OS. As two separate halves, Windows 8 and Metro seem fine. As a whole, the OS seems like a schizophrenic mess. Microsoft should have copied the Apple approach with OS X/iOS, keeping them separate and slowly merging them over time by taking the best of both.
Ultimately, I have this strange feeling that the strict adherence to “no compromise” with Windows 8 is what led to there being no compromise when it came to Sinofsky staying with the company. We may never know if my feeling is right or not, but the numbers over the next few months should be at least directionally revealing.
Shares of Microsoft Corp slid on Tuesday after the surprise departure of a key executive, who analysts said marks the loss of the driving force behind the company’s biggest product.
The shares were down 2.8 percent in afternoon at $27.21.
Wall Street took Apple’s executive changes in stride when they learned that Jony Ive and Eddy Cue would assume some of Forstall’s duties. It had a calming effect on everyone. Microsoft, indeed most companies, don’t have that.
Ironically, in order to compete with Apple, HP is taking a page from Apple’s playbook. Steve Jobs’s strategy has always been to control both the hardware and the software it runs on. While other PC makers, including HP, have relied on Windows, Apple’s Macs have always come with Mac OS, an operating system designed specifically for its hardware. Apple has followed the same approach when expanding to the iPhone and iPad with iOS. “Everyone is figuring out that if you want to survive, you really want to control the experience end to end,” McKinney says. “The ability to control both the hardware platform and OS is absolutely critical.”
HP Gets It | Daring Fireball
Music to my ears. Here’s what I wrote about HP back in October 2009:
“Operating systems aren’t mere components like RAM or CPUs; they’re the single most important part of the computing experience. Other than Apple, there’s not a single PC maker that controls the most important aspect of its computers. Imagine how much better the industry would be if there were more than one computer maker trying to move the state of the art forward.”
Hands on with the HP TouchPad [Jason Snell] | Macworld
Jason Snell Reviews the HP TouchPad | Daring Fireball
Best review of it I’ve seen. If you’re only going to read one, make it Snell’s. He covers it all: the great UI design, WebOS’s excellent card-based switching interface, the solid hardware, the shortcomings, what seems unfinished, WebOS’s seemingly endemic lagginess, and the miserable performance of Flash Player.
The HP TouchPad has a case that’s easy to open and replaceable components. This tablet is built more like a PC than an iPad.
H-P TouchPad Tablet Review [Walt Mossberg] | AllThingsD
H-P stresses that webOS is a platform and that the TouchPad is just one iteration of it. The company plans to add the operating system to numerous devices, including laptops, and hopes that this scale will attract many more apps. And it pledges continuous updates to fix the current shortcomings.
But, at least for now, I can’t recommend the TouchPad over the iPad 2.
First of all, the TouchPad is beautiful. It’s iPad beautiful. The case is glossy black plastic — a magnet for fingerprints, unfortunately, but it looks wicked great in the first five minutes.
The WebOS is beautiful, too. It’s graphically coherent, elegant, fluid and satisfying. That, apparently, is the payoff when a single company designs both the hardware and the software. (Android gadgets, by contrast, are a mishmash of different versions and looks.)
It supposedly has a blazing-fast chip inside, but you wouldn’t know it. When you rotate the screen, it takes the screen two seconds to match — an eternity in tablet time. Apps can take a long time to open; the built-in chat app, for example, takes seven seconds to appear. Animations are sometimes jerky, reactions to your finger swipes sometimes uncertain.
Pogue on the TouchPad | Daring Fireball
Very strong consensus among all the reviews I’ve read.
After Spurning Android, HP May Offer Windows 8 Tablets | Fast Company
“I’m limited to what I can talk about with Windows 8,” McKinney says. “We’re working very closely with [Microsoft], and I’m going to leave it at that or I’m going to start getting myself into trouble.”
Any chance of a Windows 8 tablet, though? “We currently have a product shipping today called the Slate 500, and to be quite honest that product has been doing quite well,” he says. “So that’s a Windows 7 version, and then we’ll have the TouchPad coming out [with WebOS].”
So is it safe to assume there will also be a Windows 8 tablet? A long pause.
HP’s Uncomfortable Relationship With Microsoft | Daring Fireball
HP is the number-one seller of Windows PCs in the world, but they’re charting their own course in mobile with WebOS. They might even license WebOS to other hardware makers — whatever you think of the merits of that idea, there can be no argument that doing so would put HP in direct competition with Microsoft.
HP acknowledged Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, but said Apple wasn’t its target with the TouchPad.
“We think there’s a better opportunity for us to go after the enterprise space and those consumers that use PCs,” said Kerris. “This market is in its infancy and there is plenty of room for both of us to grow.”
HP Says Apple Is Not TouchPad’s Target | Daring Fireball
Smart. Reminds me of that Steve Jobs mantra from the late ’90s: “We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job.”
Restated for today, mobile OS competitors need to let go of the notion for them to succeed, Apple has to lose. Compare and contrast HP’s attitude with RIM’s.
［Building “Windows 8″ – Video #1 | YouTube］
Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad | Daring Fireball
But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows. The idea is that you get the new stuff right alongside Windows as we know it. Microsoft is obviously trying to learn from Apple, but they clearly don’t understand why the iPad runs iOS, and not Mac OS X.
Microsoft’s demo video shows Excel — the full version of Excel for Windows — running alongside new touch-based apps. They can make buttons more “touch friendly” all they want, but they’ll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren’t “touch friendly” versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.).
Apple’s radical notion is that touchscreen personal computers should make severely different tradeoffs than traditional computers — and that you can’t design one system that does it all. Windows 8 is trying to have it all, and I don’t think that can be done. You can’t make something conceptually lightweight if it’s carrying 25 years of Windows baggage.
Previewing ‘Windows 8’ | Microsoft.com
The iPad, like the iPhone, was a success because it did not attempt in any way to replicate the desktop PC experience in the way that Windows tablets (and Windows Mobile) did. Apple used the underpinnings of OS X to form the basis of iOS, but at no point in iOS do you see anything that could be remotely mistaken for a Mac. On Windows 8, in contrast, Sinofsky says that there’s no way to kill the Windows desktop: “It’s always there.”
Beyond the basic device experience, imagine if Mac developers didn’t need to do any work to get their apps to run on the iPad. Many of them wouldn’t have bothered. The rest certainly wouldn’t have rushed.
Ice Water Enthusiast | Daring Fireball
Gruber, ice water, hell, and Windows 8 | The Loop
Here’s a lesson for people that want to write for a living or even for a hobby — if you are going to quote somebody to make your point, make sure they actually said what you claim they do. Time Techland’s Jared Newman made the mistake of wrongly quoting Daring Fireball’s John Gruber and Macworld’s Jason Snell in a recent article and Gruber sets the record straight. [...]
It’s just a classic article. A must read.