It focuses on how Satya Nadella has respected the leaders of Companies he's bought out and invited them to key meetings. Using their insight not only for product and company direction, but importantly creating culture as well. Very key to Microsoft and any tech company's success.
I recall hearing many stories about how Microsoft had like 3 managers per programmer, probably exaggeration, but the point remains, who would want to work there if you skilled/lucky enough to choose? Looks like they may be changing in some good ways.
My personal experience, having worked on a few skunkworks projects over there with a couple of different teams was that there were two people to an office that was probably originally designed for one. It was a bit cozy in there for my liking but it wasn't cramped, it was quiet, and a couple of people could stand in various parts of common areas and have an actual 'stand up' collaboration. It actually seemed very collegiate. I recognize the fact that since it was an R&D group they probably had better accommodations for this type of stuff, and that they were in an 'old' building that had these personal offices probably helped too.
Note that the post you're replying to uses the past tense. The vast majority of my tenure at MSFT was in a private office, but that was over ten years ago. It is my understanding that things have changed since.
A large part is probably demographics of developers is now changing.
Demographics are a factor. Lots of devs, especially younger devs, and especially devs who've worked at other younger companies are asking for open floor plans. Not all of them, but a sizable chunk. That plus reduced cost for providing office space to devs is pushing the company in the direction of open office spaces. I haven't seen a building get significantly renovated and not end up with open spaces.
To support your point: a number of people have voluntarily taken over a former conference room to turn it into an open space office.
Personally I have worked in both and don't find one better or worse than the other. I actually value sunlight, direct or indirect, more than the layout.
Neruodiversity is a real thing that we should be thinking about.
It doesn't make sense to gut the interior just to make a slightly different private office configuration, so it probably isn't considered a "significant" renovation.
None of my friends (all in their 20s) prefer open offices.
I'm also not sure how old you think I am. I'm 34, not 74.
I'm 23, have heard of Extreme Programming, and absolutely want my own private office (and, failing that, a silent shared work space).
Although I should say our whole team works 1-2 days from home. Different people, different days and we're very okay with that.
We also like to leave developers who have headphones alone and only talk to them over skype/slack.
As a consultant, that office does happen to be in my home. But I wouldn't return to a FT gig without having a place where I can go, separating from "home", to work in productive quiet.
I don't know if .NET Core will catch up with Node, probably not, but I respect their effort and believe competition drives the best products and technology.
Comments like these always remind me of the vast the software development landscape is and how each stack is sheltered into it's own little cloister. People live and breath their stack and everything is framed against or in comparison to it.
The only thing I might stack in Node.JS' favor is their NPM package manager. Maybe. Possibly.
What exactly does it need to catch up to? C#/.NET already vastly exceed anything in Node in performance, features and flexibility.
.NET is one of the most documented platforms around. MSDN documentation covers everything at a deep technical level and the official .NET docs are full of tutorials and guides as well as in-depth detail. The asp.net site contains even more specific and use-case based walkthroughs with plenty of other blogs, forums, and even free video tutorials and online interactive courses. 
When I joined web diagnostics, it was a whole different experience. Nicest, smartest people I worked with. A different culture focused on building great products users love and helping people grow.
Microsoft is a great place to work with very interesting problems to solve if you're in the right team. If you are interviewing at MS, really ask about the team culture and dig deep into it.
Sometimes people forget the second part of the Borg's "You will be assimilated" announcement: "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own." Looks like this is being adopted as well.
A friend of mine worked in a startup that was bought by MS.
Somehow MS didn't want a few of the devs, but the CEO made a deal and they all got "included" into MS.
So if he weren't lucky, he probably wouldn't got a big corp job in the first place.
The window manager is tolerable (not as good as Xmonad, but equivalent to Unity). Windows subsystem for linux is letting me get my work done with no problems. Anaconda lets me do scientific python work natively from within windows. Emacs seems to work just fine. Cortana is actually pretty cool.
Overall, I haven't felt the need to race back to Linux. I'm surprised to say this, but Windows might be an acceptable linux.
(A while back I wrote about my failed attempt to use OS X: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1787411 )
I've got a Lenovo Y50 running Win10. With a HiDPI display, it is pretty much unusable. While OS elements scale rather well, most of the software doesn't, even using the "DPI fix."  There are also ads on lock screen.  The "terminal", PowerShell, is slow to launch, path completions are crawling.
The subsystem for linux is great, and certainly a move in the right direction. There's ConEmu with Bash, which is also usable. Admittedly, if it weren't for aforementioned DPI issues, which have been around for far too long, I'd probably use Windows as my primary OS.
Also have to mention that VS Code is a fantastic editor with an MIT license. So definitely there are strides in a good direction. Compared to e.g. Facebook's "open source" offerings, while great products, yet containing a `PATENT` file in every repo
You understand that you approved these ads when you set up windows initially, and that they can be removed with the flick of a switch in the lock screen settings?
It wasn't clear there might be ads there.
Glad you're digging Bash & WSL :D
May I ask which Win10 build you're running. If you're on Win10 AU (build 14393.x), you're not yet seeing the huge raft of changes that we've been releasing weekly to those on the Windows Insider program.
Key among the improvements that will be released broadly when Windows 10 Creator Updated ships (ETA spring 2017) include:
* MANY improvements to Bash/WSL enabling MANY more dev tools, platforms, an tech to work even more smoothly, plus fixes for networking features inc. ifconfig & ping, traceroute (incoming). Also adds ability to invoke Windows exe's from Bash and vice-versa.
* Lots of DPI fixes including many fixes to correctly scale desktop apps and pop-up dialogs (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/12/07/annou...)
They're not targeted ads, so they're not using a data profile on you to power them or anything like that. I wouldn't be surprised if they know how many screens displayed them, but there's not a lot of interaction tracking you can really do with a static lockscreen. So it doesn't have the sort of privacy implications of normal advertising either.
So, while you may not like their choice of wallpaper because it is related to a product they are releasing, it's not really much more egregious than the fact that it downloads daily wallpapers on the lockscreen to begin with: It's all stuff selected specifically by Microsoft. And as others have pointed out, it's really easy to shut off.
I would still consider this to be an ad.
We can both agree, I'm sure, that your OS tracking you is a clear problem, and I'm not unable to be convinced on this one here, but I'm going to need to see a line of reasoning on how it harms you.
Would it be using my computer as a marketing tool to promote a product? Yes. A more obvious example might have been if it said something like "Drink Coke".
It's a banner ad, but now bundled automatically into your machine. Even if banner ads didn't track you, I'd still block them. There's a reason marketers pay for them.
Powershell often seems to hang on startup when it's actually already up and running. You're left looking at an empty terminal, waiting for a prompt. If that happens, you can try pressing enter, at which point you'll most likely get your prompt, er, promptly.
But pretty much everything I listed above is Microsoft willfully doing things at the expense of the user for their own sake. I could list loads of other things that I'd prefer they did another way but I wanted to highlight things that weren't just subjective preferences.
(It will update itself whether you want to or not and reboot by itself unless you're on Enterprise, etc.)
There is something particularly sinister about your OS gathering your data. You can switch out any other software for an alternative but changing OS is a whole other ball game (and one only the technically minded would go through).
Back when Ubuntu brought in their Amazon spyware partnership I jumped ship for Linux Mint. Even turning this stuff off doesn't provide any peace of mind, the system for gathering your data is still in place and why should the user trust that turning the anti-feature off will be honored or that the switch won't be reset during an update.
I absolutely hate the constant force update/reboot from Win10 and the huge amount background / network activities/connections.
After most of the win10 background networks connections are blocked and force update/reboot is disabled with Windows firewall, the system are usable now.
I tried and found the new Linux subsystem not useful at all. Real Linux inside virtualbox worked much better for my own use.
Searching the net with firefox/google is much faster than Cortana. I found and installed the 8 year old discontinued "Google Desktop Search" Windows App and it can search files in my location system with 100 times better results and so much faster than latest Cortana/SearchUI.
VSCode is very good.
Visual Studio 2015 is just huge complex monster. Took hours to download and install. I tried download a few popular opensource packages (Python, winscp, ... etc) and used VS2015 community edition to build - all failed to build for one reason or another.
Really? How often? I have "active hours" set and I rarely get more than one reboot per month. Same with network connections, and what they're doing. Some recorded facts would be more interesting than your impressions...
MS really needs to get their shit together especially on the laptops.
Our laptops are not having problems but they are in regular use...
[dozzie@alojzy dozzie]$ uptime
02:29:42 up 53 days, 11:03, 2 users, load average: 0.11, 0.19, 0.18
[dozzie@wolfram dozzie]$ uptime
02:29:49 up 9 days, 14:20, 1 user, load average: 0.25, 0.24, 0.26
I block all those apps now with Windows firewall except firefox, chrome and Windows defender.
Also you can check out the default windows firewall config and see how many out going connections are allowed AND CONNECTED by default.
I always configure my system network security by default disable ALL and only selected app/ports are allow connect to internet.
Win10 firewall is completely opposite - its default configure for outgoing are "Allow ALL".
1) Most of the windows laptops doesn't age very well. By the 3rd year the computer starts feeling like its become quite old. I needed hardware upgrades every year to keep my computer running. One of my friends suggested me to try Apple. I am running a Mac pro which is almost 5 years old but still runs everything and I am confident that I can use it for 2 more years. I can't say that for Windows laptops, partly the reason is the hardware is manufactured by Dell/Lenovo or some other vendor. I hope Microsoft surface books provide some longetivity.
2) My internet experience with Microsoft pushed me to move out of Linux. There are so many viruses/malwares out there trying to corrupt your system. You cannot live without an anti-virus and even then chances are that you will end up corrupting your system and has to do re-install windows or format your hard disk. I am done with that shit now..I don't remember doing any OS re-install or formatting in last 7 years. As a developer I can focus on writing code and browing internet.
Just before writing this comment, I had to work in a client's remote windows machine and it was still a terrible experience. Windows still doesn't have a decent way to tail the logs!!!
One more thing If I am running a server, Can someone tell microsoft :
1) why I need a GUI running on it?
2) The user home folder has "Music" & "Movies" folders. What is the purpose of those folders in Windows Server OS?
I agree that Microsoft is becoming more open as a company and embracing new technologies. But I really think they should drop Windows completely and build a new OS from scratch(Just like they dropped IE & started edge browser) rather than doing patch works and improving it. It has some serious underlying architecture issues.
I'm finding this hard to understand. Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 all seem to be about the same, spec-wise, and it doesn't sound like you were upgrading anyway. I don't understand in what sense you would need to upgrade your hardware, which, in any case, is the same hardware used in Macs - Intel processors and so forth.
> You cannot live without an anti-virus and even then chances are that you will end up corrupting your system and has to do re-install windows or format your hard disk.
For many, many years now, Microsoft has provided Microsoft Security Essentials, AKA Windows Defender, which is all that most people need.
I have a laptop from 2006 and a desktop from 2009, both of which are my (a developer) primary/sole work and recreation machines. I have never had to reinstall Windows or format my hard disk. In my experience these were things you had to do in the Windows 95/98/2000 era, but not since, barring some catastrophe like a trashed filesystem caused by a failing harddrive.
 Though in the interests of full disclosure, I did elect to replace the laptop harddrive with a solid state drive, and at that time I did install a new version of Windows rather than bother with transferring data from the old drive. As to why I did this, well, in 2016, an Intel Core 2 Duo is pretty slow but the easiest thing to upgrade is the harddrive.
cat -Wait foo.log
While it's not bad, they blew the terminal completely!! Why couldn't they at least use something like cygwin's terminal?
You can't delete text properly.
Note: MS employee, doesn't work in Windows division.
A fellow Windows user (with a decent experience on Linux as well). Is there a way to use Cortana from PowerShell/cmdline?
As an outsider, I also think Apple seems to have spread their best technical minds thin, by adding the platforms watchOS and tvOS. While I understand the rationale behind watchOS, without the ability for developers to create the watch faces, it's not that exciting a platform, it's too controlled. Anyhow, the result of this talent dispersion, is that they have failed to maintain the MacbookPro's status as the most exciting development platform, which it had been IMO throughout the 21st century.
Do you know of a good supplier?
Your 3rd example is the one I bought, but it is clear, so doesn't show up on a black laptop. They don't seem to have a non-clear version of that one.
The non-clear ones they do have are just the spiral, without the word "debian", which seems a little vague for evangelical purposes.
One of these days, I may have to learn how to get stickers made.
I, my peers, and my co-workers just don't see it. With billions in reserve it's no surprise they are trying to buy popularity.
I love my Surface Pro 4, I love the fact .net is cross platform, I love that Azure is fast and easy to use, I love that Office on my mac is current and that Microsoft's mobile strategy is 100% cross platform unlike that of Apple and Google.. I love that MS is honest these days and its disappointing the community is largely dishonest in return.. often snarky.
(1) AFAIK, Microsoft continues to assert patents against Linux without giving the broader community enough information to resolve the supposed violations. (I'm not positive about this one.)
(2) AFAIK, Microsoft continues to apply for more software patents, without joining the Patent Commons.
(3) Microsoft seems to intentionally subvert its OS's users' attempts to disable snooping. AFAIK, Microsoft not only refuses to say what data are gathered, but also phone home to so many different IP names/numbers that it looks like they're trying to hide the activity from the OS user.
(4) Microsoft is now "embracing" Linux. Microsoft became famous for "embrace, extend, extinguish". People outside of the CEO's inner circle can't know if that's the plan here as well.
The manner in which Microsoft pushed Windows 10 may be a data point.
>what are the odds that the company's executive-level culture has changed?
So, quite relevant.
You jut made me feel old :(
You may see a "new" Microsoft, but all I see is a Microsoft which is making moves they HAVE to in order to survive. In this world of "the cloud" and the utter dominance of Linux in everything with a CPU that ISN'T a desktop computer, what else can they do but the things they're doing?
That Microsoft is executing WELL is a byproduct. If they didn't, they'd have become the IBM they defeated 20 years ago, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. (They'd offer legacy support for Windows XP, and we'd all wish we could cut them out of the budget, along with the mainframe.) I credit Nadella for this, but none of this is due to some sort of newfound egalitarianism or philanthropy. It's just business.
I find the bright and cheerful comments like yours depressing. They seem to belie a belief that the upper management of Microsoft has somehow been knighted with a sense of civic duty. I see it as the same business shrewdness they've always shown. They no longer have the power to dictate absolute terms to corporations, and must play nice with the rest of the IT world.
And I bet it chaps some of the old guards' asses.
So, how does that make the outcome any worse? RedHat isn't contributing to the Linux kernel out of a sense of charity. IBM isn't contributing to OpenStack as a philanthropic endeavor. Facebook isn't improving PHP because it's a fun hobby project. They're all doing the things that they're doing because it's good for business. Why is it any worse when Microsoft does it?
Another difference is that the other examples you've listed here are all free software. Of all the glowing coverage Microsoft has been getting of late, only .NET on Linux is comparable. But you're never going to get Windows-forms-like applications on Windows (which a surprising number of people seem to think will happen). It's only the web stack. Does ASP.NET really stack up well against Rails or Node.js as a web application stack on Linux? I don't know, but at the least, they have some catching up to do.
Yes; have a look at the language column one this page:
You absolutely will be able to get Windows-forms like applications. You just won't be using WinForms or WPF. Instead, you'll use Mono and its bindings to GTK or QT. This is exactly how it should be. WPF is an OS specific GUI library. Using WPF on Linux makes about as much sense as using Cocoa on Windows.
But, really, I think it's another example of my main point. Microsoft could have used some pre-existing open source project and built on top of that, but they chose to create another language for the future.
I think you're misremembering history. C# was created because Sun specifically cut Microsoft off from using Java. Microsoft had a project to write its own Java compiler. Sun took legal action to prevent Microsoft from doing so. And this was during the early 2000s. Python, Ruby, etc. were nowhere near mature enough to serve as the primary systems programming language for something like Windows.
Moreover, Microsoft gets a lot of criticism for making C#, but Google gets no criticism for making Go? Isn't that just slightly hypocritical?
Oh, I'm quite clear. My point is that, if the stack had delivered on the premise of the idea of WinForms-level-easy GUI development, why haven't Mono-based GUI apps proliferated on Linux? Yet, after many years of including Mono in Ubuntu, they've pulled it from the default install.
> Microsoft had a project to write its own Java compiler. Sun took legal action to prevent Microsoft from doing so. And this was during the early 2000s. Python, Ruby, etc. were nowhere near mature enough to serve as the primary systems programming language for something like Windows.
Fair enough, but even all the way back in 2000, it was obvious that, if you were going to start from scratch on a language, there was no point in making it closed. There wasn't any more real money to be made in compilers by that point. GCC was being made available on everything, and $1,000 proprietary compilers were dying out.
> Isn't that just slightly hypocritical?
I'd love one if I could put linux on it. or if I could buy an OEM pc without an OS (and yes I know there are some vendors that "allow" (just that word makes me cringe) you to do it, but it should be a right). If, by their own definition, it's "intellectual" (and not material) property, then if I dont use it I shouldn't have to pay for it.
If they want to sell Surface because it's an awesome product, why do they need to go out of their way to lock their software on it ? If it's so awesome, surely people would want to use it, right ? If the proverbial destination is so great, why do they need to lock their guests inside ?
"Something that sets the Surface apart from other popular tablets, is that it doesn’t artificially limit your capabilities. If you want to use it as a laptop, or install alternate operating systems on it, you are free to do so. I think the Surface is going to make a great Linux laptop, and I look forward to spending some time playing with it."
So either you want something that already exists or you want something new, and I'm very confused as to your initial post.
at least according to this  article, MS requires secure boot in win 10. and the criticisms about UEFI and how it makes linux much more difficult to install (which I have experienced firsthand) are documented on wikipedia . I'm going to enjoy my friday evening and not try to make a solid case, but of course microsoft denies that they ever intended to use UEFI to block competition (because they've never done that before :) ).
X11 and VNC help if you want a Linux desktop, but that's admittedly a less than ideal experience.
Of course, virtualization generally precludes USB peripheral access, so my suggestions are a pure software and web development solution.
It looks like most of the linux issues are due to MS doing some weird architectural things (touch calculations on the GPU, etc), but that's just what I was able to find out with 2 minutes on the first thing google popped up.
I don't know about "without an OS", but Dell is selling a laptop right now that comes with Ubuntu Linux out of the box: http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-9360-laptop/pd?3x_n....
And, like others have pointed out, the Surface isn't "locked". Yes, it has SecureBoot and UEFI... just like literally every desktop motherboard shipped within the last 5 years. You can go into UEFI, turn off SecureBoot, wipe Windows and replace it with whatever you want. It may not work very well, but it's totally doable.
If they want to sell Surface because it's an awesome product, why do they need to go out of their way to lock their software on it?
Because the software is part of the product. Apple has shown us that customers do not consider hardware and software to be separate entities. They consider both to be an integrated whole.
But yeah, I don't see either any major change in mobile MS usage around me.
As a JVM developer the .NET Core stuff is really interesting to me and I'd love to figure out a way to start using it.
I'd pretty much written MS off several years ago as a fading giant but they're cranking out products and services I want to use now and that I just need to figure out how to get them into my life.
In this regard I would not say they are "back" but better than Microsoft has ever been. Are they the best at everything... nah but heck the fact that I am saying many of their products are compelling is a big improvement
The quality of the machine blew me away. It's easily the best "laptop" I've used in a very long time, and it's become my downstairs computer.
I originally planned to dual-boot it with Arch Linux, but I ultimately decided against it because Windows 10 worked so well on it, especially for the form factor. Any advantages I would've had by running Linux were eliminated by installing Cygwin and KDE Applications (plus PuTTY to connect to my Linode). Since then, that's been augmented by bash for Windows, which is absolutely lovely. Thanks to b4w, it's become my main machine to use when working from home.
More recently, I've visited one of my local Microsoft Stores, and I'm really impressed by the Surface Book and the Surface Studio. Those are some really sweet pieces of hardware.
I used to be a diehard Microsoft hater for most of my life, and now I'm a convert.
My take on it between Amazon and Microsoft: Microsoft has less functionality but with an easier UI. Amazon is light years ahead of anyone but their UI scheme (from naming things to where they position features and options) is pretty lack luster.
GCP is generally a lot more consistent and modern, having benefited from a clean-slate design and Google's expertise in designing huge continent-spanning infrastructure solutions. Some examples:
* AWS Glacier looks pretty nifty until you realize that Google's equivalent, the coldline storage class, still gives you millisecond latencies (Glacier's is usually measured in hours), at a much lower price point.
* GCP is designed to automatically migrate VMs between physical hosts, with zero application downtime. This in turn is possible thanks to their rather amazing network stack, a completely transparent, encrypted L4 SDN. AWS, meanwhile, suffers on the awkward mess that is AWS VPC (unless one is still stuck on "legacy EC2").
* Google gets things like consolidated billing correct from the start. Other minor things like IAM management and the command-line toolchain are a breath of fresh air.
Not to say that it's all rosy, of course. GCP has its own set of issues, like any product offering, though no major ones come to mind. But it's clear that some of their services (the StackDriver tools comes to mind) are not up to their usual quality standards.
Of course, Google doesn't have counterparts to all of Amazon's offerings, but then AWS has a lot of odd products (much of it targeting enterprises with legacy infrastructure). Google's focus on Kubernetes and containerization means that some of the deployment-oriented services (CloudFormation, Elastic Beanstalk and so on) are less relevant, and for now Google seems to rely on the community/third parties to come up with their own solutions, which I think is a good call at the moment.
That's not only technically impressive, it's also really good customer service.
I think your information is quite out of date. GCP is competitive with AWS for many use cases and certainly is better than Azure.
The days of GAE even being the primary offering are long gone.
There's a reason that if you look at DevOps tools they all support AWS, most also support GCP, but very few support Azure.
>most also support GCP, but very few support Azure.
This might be a case of different tech stacks, but nearly everything I work with supports Azure. Sorry to ask this, because it might be easier for you to provide an example or two what you specifically know doesn't work with Azure versus me providing everything that does (and of course, these should be semi-popular tools in whatever "stack").
Huh? What does "consumer focused" even mean in the cloud space?
Google has made a substantial effort to buff up their cloud offerings in the past few years and it definitely shows. (AWS is still my first choice though.)
> This might be a case of different tech stacks,
That's true. If you're working with a Microsoft stack then of course Azure will come out ahead. I'm coming from a generic Linux background.
Nothing. It's their general company culture. They don't tend to actually create good API's/tooling in my experience. It always seems like an after thought. From google maps to their cloud offerings.
>If you're working with a Microsoft stack then of course Azure will come out ahead. I'm coming from a generic Linux background.
I work with Linux and Microsoft stacks on a daily basis, but certainly that could just mean I've chosen tools that explicitly won't conflict with each other. However, I'm still interested to hear what tools don't work with Azure (with the assumption that there is some quality about Azure that prevents/disincentives that tool from doing so).
Azure has tons of stuff thrown all over it. The UI is absolutely terrible. It's some weird tablet-esque thing that flies out to the side and requires so much clicking around. It's slow. And it's overpriced. AWS's UI, while involved, at least isn't someone's let's-resurrect-Windows-8-UI project.
I know two companies that get tons of free Azure credits, yet still pay for GCP in production just to avoid dealing with Azure. If GCP slowly keeps adding features while keeping simplicity and speed, they're going to make huge strides against AWS and Azure.
I find myself being really suspicious whenever something being used by thousands or millions of people is just waved off by other people as being terrible. To me being "terrible" usually translates as "I started with something else and it works differently than this and its what I'm used to has its own failings and workarounds but I'm at least used to them and more productive there and I don't really feel like taking the time to get used to how things work for this other system."
1. No managed option for MySQL or Postgres hosting.
2. Hard to find resources in the panel and lots of confusion on security practices.
3. Instances randomly dying at an astonishing rate.
You're right that "terrible" is hyperbole. I'm sure there are people who are happy with Azure, especially if they're using a Microsoft stack.
Your translation of "terrible" is how I feel about GCP: it's fine, but it takes me longer to do things because I'm familiar with AWS. Compared to Azure, where I would spend hours on trying to do something and still couldn't find a way to do it.
Like I said, if you're interested in the Microsoft ecosystem then Azure is probably great. I'm not. For running an open source stack, Azure is not competitive with AWS and GCP.
Seems like the teams behind the JS/TS stuff are pretty cool. Don't know about the rest.
Yeah, it's hard to see any innovation compared to your granddad's laptop ;-)
* runs sandboxed apps from a web store - Android(2008), IOS(2007)
* as well as traditional Windows apps - Only Windows obviously
* built in AI assistant - Apple(2011)
* excellent pen operation - Wacom(1992)
* built in accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer - Every flagship phone since 2005
* cloud integration with OneDrive, Office programs, email etc with the ability to continue work from different devices - Google drive, Google docs, Gmail (2007)
* face-recognition or fingerprint log-on - Available on circa 2000 Fujitsu laptops
* increased security features - SELinux(1998)
I'm not impressed. Most of this stuff has been done for over a decade if the version from 8 years ago is worse that isn't saying much.
Otherwise, the interesting point about Windows 10 is that so much of the technology was carried across from the smartphone industry, including Cortana and notifications from Windows Phone.
I'd have thought that creating a converged mobile OS to cover IoT devices, games consoles, smartphones and all types of PCs required innovation.
On the same basis, so did "PC innovations" that included features from minis and mainframes, and smartphone innovations that had already appeared in various PCs and handhelds.
Unless you're actually a research organization, pretty much every innovation will have more to do with implementation than with pure invention.
Going back to 1989, Microsoft had a stylus-operated tablet with the GRiDPad, which was running MS-DOS with Extensions for Pen Computing.
SketchPad was innovative. Otherwise, such claims generally tend to illustrate that the claimant doesn't know enough computer history...
Innovations come in small bursts. Take the Surface Hub as an example.
Maybe we can make all these things again in VIRTUAL REALITY!!!!
why grep, when you can grep over the network?
They were late to the internet party and then under the disastrous leadership of Ballamer (mindshare wise, not revenue) they completely lost the plot.
Now they are indeed enjoying a resurgence, less evil, more relevant and surprisingly accepting of Open source software. How the world turns....
The current course of Microsoft appears to have changed a lot, with open source being accepted and even "embraced". If someone can explain to me how embrace, extend, and extinguish could apply to Linux, I'd be curious to hear.
Or, what about if MS decides to make a "nice" "new" system call, whose implementation is closed source.
Will Apache now have to maintain a fork for Windows WSL and Linux?
Will Linux now have to create a Wine-like project to reverse-engineer and fix all the WSL bugs and copy features?
So I see no change.
Then we switched to office 365 at work. New app icons keep appearing. I love checking them out.
They still seem to release a lot of clone like software:
MS flow = ifttt 
MS planner = trello 
MS forms = google forms
"MS Power Apps" seems interesting but I haven't had a chance to explore.
FTA: After years of missteps, the software giant is among the few titans of the 1990s to figure out the new world of mobile technology and cloud computing.
Saying MSFT have figured out mobile is a little too much of a stretch. They have tried many things in the space, they have figured out more of what doesn't work than what does. Unfortunately the market doesn't reward learnings alone.
2016Q2: 87.6% Android, 11.7% iOS, 0.4% Windows Phone, 0.3% Others
The next generation of ARM-based Windows 10 tablets, 2-in-1s and laptops will also be much more SIM-friendly.
In 2000 no one was talking about Dell or HP/Compaq as leading mobile. They were selling what they still are selling, laptop computers. When Mobile came along people recognized it for what it was, something different than general purpose computing of the past.
To say Metro, Windows Phone, Lumia, the write off and destruction of Nokia or touch enabled laptops were anything but failures of MSFT to figure out mobile is misguided.
I personally like the:
Visual Studio Code, and
I enjoy Azure but I understand some people's frustration with it so I exclude it from the list above, I get that it's contentious so I'm leaving it off.
That's the problem with Microsoft. They make their money by holding on to their IP (Windows), rather than spreading it around (like Google, with eg. Kubernetes), and I don't think this will work for anything like it has worked for Windows.
For example, Microsoft didn't design the current default (dare I say) cloud runtime environment Kubernetes, because they would rather keep their technology within the Microsoft ecosystem, in order to attract customers to Windows (which is where they make their money). Google, on the other hand, is willing to let go of their IP (using the Kubernetes example), by donating it to a non-profit, and thus having it succeed because open standards always succeed in the end. It's just not possible for Microsoft to create some service within Azure, and have it become the "Windows of the Cloud". Companies just aren't willing to tie themselves to any particular vendor, and in that light Microsoft just doesn't seem that attractive.
The biggest issue with Hololens is it's field of view.
The limitations are real, and if they can't solve them and get the cost down it will remain a niche product for business, but I have no reason to believe that's the case.
Microsoft has taken some great steps since Nadella took over. Doing more projects aimed at regular developers and taking baby steps towards open source, but that is not enough to be a leader.
In fact, I think in 2016, we are in a much worse place when it comes to tech leadership than we were in the late 90s and early 00s. The tech world has been poisoned by money and everything is focused on maximizing profit. Almost nothing is being created because it's innovative or really life changing. The new products that are coming out like Google Home or Microsoft Office 365 which claim to be innovative, really aren't. They are repackaging an existing product in a new context. That's called marketing. That's not tech leadership.
In the 90s we had the launch of Linux, the web and home internet access.
In the 2000s all we've really had is smart phones. Everything else has just been building on what was done in the 90s because the people in charge are all marketers and profit seekers.
Do something truly innovative with all your billions Microsoft, and then I will buy that you are a tech leader. No amount of press releases or fluff articles will convince me.
What exactly are you looking for? Are devices like HoloLens and Kinect and Surface Studio not innovative enough for you? What would you class as 'truly innovative'?
Surface studio is just a big touch screen. Nothing new.
HoloLens is the most innovative but again this kind of AR has been around for a while, it's a refinement and I think it will just be a dead end like Kinect ultimately.
Truly innovative means something that actually changes things. I think the list I gave in my comment makes that pretty obvious; the web, home broadband, Linux and smartphones. Those changed the world. The Surface Studio will not.
Okay, but that's sort of technological shift is rare. Nothing else in my lifetime has come close.
Just a refinement of the web.
Linux is based on designs from the 70s, it was old before it was first released.
I hope you realise smartphones did not start with the iPhone. The smartphone has gone through a long period of iterative design improvements.
If you're looking for a product that emerges out of a vacuum, you won't find it, all products build upon their predecessors, even the web (which made use of existing telecommunications infrastructure and existing work in the field of computing).
What you will find are new forms that build upon the past. For example, quantum computing is a relatively new field, but has roots in the existing fields of computer science, physics and electrical engineering.
Would quantum computing count as 'truly innovative' to you? If so...
> Just a refinement of the web.
What? Not remotely. It enables the web but the underlying technologies are totally different. Home broadband also enabled a lot of other things. Your statement makes me think you don't actually understand technology at all.
> Linux is based on designs from the 70s, it was old before it was first released.
Again you're failing to understand what was revolutionary here. GNU had been around for quite a while. It's Linux that was revolutionary. It's a kernel that worked well and that people could contribute to and package up with GNU to enable operating systems of very high quality.
> I hope you realise smartphones did not start with the iPhone. The smartphone has gone through a long period of iterative design improvements.
Aye carumba. What were called smartphones before the iPhone were awful. WinCE was a disaster, and Blackberries were a niche tool for a niche market. iOS and Android devices made computing usable on a mobile platform by everyone for the first time.
Of course everything builds on the past, all of these things are based on integrated chips and transistors and on and on.
But some technologies are actually revolutionary (like the ones just listed) and others are not (Kinect.) This is obvious by the impact or the lack of impact that they have.
You are not fun to talk to because you are missing very obvious things, and I think you're doing it deliberately, so I'm done with you.
In terms of impact, which is seemingly how you want to measure how innovative something was, home broadband changed how much the web was used. Compared to the dial-up era it made the Internet something people could connect to 24/7. However, in my own personal experience I was already a heavy Internet user before home broadband, so it mostly changed how quickly things got downloaded. I still watched videos, listened to music, chatted to strangers, played games, etc... in the dial-up era.
>"Again you're failing to understand what was revolutionary here. GNU had been around for quite a while. It's Linux that was revolutionary. It's a kernel that worked well and that people could contribute to and package up with GNU to enable operating systems of very high quality."
If open-source was the thing you wanted to point to as innovative, then you should've said open-source. Other than the development methodology behind it and how widespread it is, there's not much that's interesting about Linux. As for 'enable operating systems of very high quality', that's debatable. High quality compared to what? Linux is far from perfect. To give one example, CoreAudio is far better than ALSA or ALSA+PulseAudio when it comes to flexibility and latency respectively.
>"Aye carumba. What were called smartphones before the iPhone were awful. WinCE was a disaster, and Blackberries were a niche tool for a niche market. iOS and Android devices made computing usable on a mobile platform by everyone for the first time."
Again, this seems to come down to you wanting to measure innovation in terms of impact. Quite a bit of the UI of the iPhone has its roots in the PDA market, which was arguably also started by Apple with the Newton. The iPhone introduced capacitive multitouch, and had a sleek design, but if it didn't become popular it would've been just another evolution of the smartphone, just like the LG Prada.
>"But some technologies are actually revolutionary (like the ones just listed) and others are not (Kinect.) This is obvious by the impact or the lack of impact that they have."
So it's not the design that's revolutionary but the impact it has? Was putting wheels on luggage revolutionary?
>"You are not fun to talk to because you are missing very obvious things, and I think you're doing it deliberately, so I'm done with you."
Feel free to ignore me if you like, I'm not fussed.
Not to mention the open source efforts they've put forth with .NET -- which admittedly is still in rough shape but certainly seems to have a future.
I don't think it's quite right to discount Microsoft entirely and see them as the next IBM.
Please browse https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/ and try to find a comparable resource from anyone else.
I have a fair bit of respect for Microsoft research lab's and it has also done a fair bit of interesting work in hardware, I was talking about Microsoft as a company in it's totality.
I always viewed Microsoft research labs as a spot of bright light in an otherwise relatively dark company, perhaps that is slightly schizophrenic of me.
They've caught on?
They don't want to disable that, because it's an easy and free way for them to rank higher in search engines.
The migration to a subscription model for everything is bad. Everyone ends up paying more over time and for it we're getting online software delivery that at some points doesn't even work properly or leaves you in the dust. What you end up buying is golden handcuffs.
There is so much fragmentation, it's unreal. As someone who deals with .Net a lot, there is no conclusive plan that lasts more than a few weeks. Tools are volatile, frameworks are fragmented, tooling is pushing more features instead of quality. The rate of churn is also so high, no one knows what the hell is going on. Add to that, reckless abandonment of the last few years is still a major policy. Even looking at Microsoft Office extensions, the bread and butter of many industries, no one has any idea what they hell they are playing at with VSTO and Office 365 at the moment. They plugged a half baked script API in it and consigned everyone to the side bar. No one talks about fight club, or VSTO either apparently.
There are still really bad quality issues. Not a single day goes by where anything isn't poking you in the eye to the point you want to throw your computer or handset out of the window. There is no way to report this or get it fixed conclusively. Even enterprise reps have no idea how to get products fixed at the moment. It has become worse than the days of Microsoft Connect which was a "write this down so we can close it and say fuck you". A lot of things simply just don't even work properly as well. Shit is shiny but it's still shit.
Customers are getting a pricing shafting across the board. Average Joe Consumer doesn't see this but enterprise pricing is paying for all of this. It's horrific some of the prices I've seen floating around recently.
On top of this there is also a new policy of telling the customer what they're getting and being permanently correct. Occasionally to appease the masses, one or two things a year in one of their uservoice type systems close to the business vision (which appears to be totalitarian cross platform domination) get chucked out half baked with a grand announcement. This is celebrated as a major success while a thousand new and old paper cuts, well actually proportionately speaking, eviscerations with a knife, go unnoticed.
I'm not saying they are worse than any of the other larger "tech leaders" but they are not worthy of the mindless praise that is slathered all over them by some members of the tech community and the media recently.
That could be the title of a horror movie...
Great comment from Mark stamp in the comments section.
Other than Apple, Oracle and IBM?
It has bought more than 100 companies to try to reverse its decline (including Softlayer), so maybe it won't get much worse. However, this is a company that used to be a titan when Microsoft was a midge on its PC division's backside...
Balmer ran MS from 2000 to 2014. Here's what the profits for that time period (since 2002) looked like:
So not incompetent, just focused on something else.
Search / Online Advertising... lost to Google. Google went from under $1B to $74B. Could have been Microsoft's. https://www.statista.com/statistics/266206/googles-annual-gl...
Smart Phones... lost to Apple and Google. During Balmer's tenure Apple went form ~$1B in to ~$54B. Could have been Microsoft's. https://www.statista.com/statistics/267728/apples-net-income... And... what did they even get for a $7B investment in Nokia?
Cloud Services... lost to Amazon. AWS has grown to $10B -- with no end in sight to the growth there. Could have been Microsoft's. http://www.recode.net/2016/4/28/11586526/aws-cloud-revenue-g...
Online Office Tools... including email servers for SMBs... lost to Google. Despite having a near 100% share in office tools prior to the advent of Google Docs. The UX for their first generation of "flat office" made it damn near unusable. Personally I still think Office 365 is weak compared to Google Suite. $9B investment in Skype... only to have it be less interesting than Google Hangouts or Slack.
Microsoft Project / Project Central is all but irrelevant at this point. Lost out to Atlassian, GitHub, Trello, Asana... 200 other tools.
So Windows 10 has been nice. Office 365 is getting there. Azure has been improving as well. It's clear someone lit a fire the last year or so to fix all the shit that was stagnant or fucked up during the last 15 years.
5.36B to 22B in 12 years = 11.7% annualized profit increase from 2012 to 2014.
However, MSFT stock appreciation was 22 -> 41 or 5.2% annualized. (Stock includes expectations of future growth, etc.)
Average S&P was ~7.8% for that time period.
Ballmer would have done better for investors by just investing in an index fund.
edit: because, if not, it's more like a 9.85% return on the stock
Express/Community versions, VS Code, typescript, open source, github, browser standards, Windows 10. So many good signs. I can't name the other company that have shown so many good signs in recent past.
This is still mostly true, and Amazon is in an even more interesting position than Microsoft will ever be in.
I buy cluster-compute time, movies, and sacks of organic flour from the same company.