Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows (theverge.com)
244 points by kanishkdudeja 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 216 comments

Microsoft could extend Android with an open sourced replacement for the various Google Play Services.

Paying for Microsoft to host a replacement services layer for your app on Azure would be cheaper than paying Google a 30% cut once you got past a certain use threshold.

As a bonus you can mitigate Google's decision to walk back Android being open and simultaneously give people who have decided to un-Google their lives an alternative to moving to iOS which would risk them moving to a Mac at the same time.

Google could simply block services like Gmail and YouTube. Microsoft tried it with Windows Phone.

I'm honestly surprised that there isn't already an EU antitrust action in progress based on Google blocking YouTube access on Windows Phone and some of the Amazon Fire devices.

It seems like YouTube should have more than enough market share for EU competition law to apply.

If I remembered correctly, windows phone users can use web version of YouTube just fine. The app was not developed by Google and based on undocumented API.

I'm not speaking for Google but if I'm building a streaming app, I won't like other people make "clones" without my permission or review. Reasons are:

1. Customers who meet bugs on these clones may blame me but it's actually bugs in these clones.

2. Compability may be a pain because I have no idea how these clones use my "API". This happens a lot when Mint is scraping webpages for data and fails on webpage redesigns. "something appears to be working" is a light year away from "what guaranteed to be working".

3. One solution may be building the official app for windows phones but it just doesn't financially work out. WP never got traction to justify the cost of migrating a big app like Youtube to some totally different platform. Might be chicken and egg problems though.

What do you think can be solutions for the problems above? Standardization might help but online video site is not something you can easily carve out a "standard".

I think I am the only person on the internet who remembers this, but ten years ago Google had some damn good WinCE apps on the old Windows Mobile. The Google Maps was especially good, and saw updates well after iPhone had stolen everybody's hearts and minds. Then MS killed Win32 on mobile in favor of the Silverlight-based SDK for WP7. I always see that as the turning point. I imagine someone at Google seeing this forced rewrite and saying, why waste our time?

Whoever signed off on WP7 sealed Microsoft‘s fate in mobile. Always easy in hindsight but I remember lots of angry articles by developers from back then - the signs were clear.

The people behind Windows Mobile were beyond arrogant. They even held a funeral for iPhone: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-celebrates-windows-p...

I wish people would stop repeating this BS. It was an internal ship party for WP employees. Hyperbole and trash-talking is common at such things. As it should be.

> Hyperbole and trash-talking is common at such things.

Where I walk, the only trash talking is about management and how fucking far behind we're lagging re. the competition. Burying the competitor's product is narcissistic and pathetic. Maybe this had been ordered from above.

> Hyperbole and trash-talking is common at such things. As it should be.


I've worked at places that are traditional soul sucking enterprises, and people generally still joke around.

Why should it be common ?

What good is a morale event for a team where everyone talks about how far behind they are ?

Maybe not talk about either then?

I often felt they saw Apple being successful while being demanding of app devs, and erroneously thought that it either didn't matter or even more extreme that there was a causal relationship there. They didn't realize the need to counterbalance that arrogant attitude with better execution than they delivered.

By this I mean only the app platform. WP7's built-in UI and apps got lots of praise for being buttery smooth because they weren't using .NET or Silverlight, they had a private ui framework.

I had HTC HD2 and I sadly don't remember WP7 being smooth at all.

I had one too and as I recall, the highest OS one could run on it was WM 6.5, which was a completely different beast than W7+. I remember that the best improvement I made to this HD2 was install an early version of Android on it a few years later.


Yeah you're right, I confused the versions. I had Android on it as well, good times. Bought Samsung Galaxy W after that (yeah, W!).

I thought there was a hack to put 7 on the hd2. Unofficially of course.

There was also the hd7 which was a very similar device.

Yes, MS seems to believe having a profitable store and killing win32 everywhere are both entangled.

But Steam has proven them wrong. Win32 is still strong and Steam makes millions.

That lesson was learned. Since two years ago, Microsoft Store can (and does!) have Win32 apps in it. At the most basic level, it can be just a simple download link, so the Store is only used for discovery. But you can also "package" desktop apps so that they can actually be downloaded and installed from the store, as well.


For example:


Windows 7 and Vista did not get a ported version of Windows store nor a ported version of uwp apps. While win32 can do both platforms. That was what killed the windows store.

Windows 8 1st edition was just a start menu with a uwp focus, with a desktop as a third class citizen. When win8 start menu with uwp could have been offered as a single app for Windows 7 platform. That would have been a great buzz pavong the way for Windows phone and windows rt.

The strength of windows market-share lies in the backwards compatibility with win32.

Users don't want uwp or whatever new stack MS wants to impose. They want continuous access to their existing purchases of win32 apps. That MS calls win32 'legacy' matters very little.


Win32 lives because there are millenia of man-hours invested into Win32 applications. If one day Win32 would disaapear, they would be not ported to UWP or other framework of the day.

Whey would be ported to the Web. But while Win32 lives, the cheapest path is to maintain them as Win32.

The problem that Google stated was the YouTube app for WP (written by Microsoft) did not display any ads. Microsoft countered that Google wouldn't make a YouTube app themselves. But of course no business is compelled to create apps for their platform.

Under antitrust law, once you have a large enough market share in one area, you may not use that as a weapon against competitors in other areas.

In the EU, a 40% market share is large enough to place your conduct under these restrictions, so actions that would be perfectly legal in the US can be quite illegal there.

Also, the chance of the EU competition commission buying the advertising argument is approximately zero.

>Microsoft agreed to Google’s terms and in version 3.2 of the YouTube app, released earlier this week, they had enabled Google’s advertisements, disabled video downloads and eliminated the ability for users to view reserved videos


I didn't really buy the excuse either, and the demand that it be written with certain technologies seems quite ridiculous. But are you saying that they could force Google to reveal some of their internal API details for Microsoft to make a YouTube app, even if the mobile website had the service's full functionality?

I'm saying the EU can force Google to stop behaving in an illegal manner.

Your idea of a potential remedy for this behavior may not be the one they land on.

However, it is certainly a remedy which they have employed in the past, something Microsoft is very much aware of:

>The 2004 [Microsoft antitrust] ruling ordered the company to open up source code for server communications protocols to rivals, in order to allow them to build server programs that work as smoothly with Windows as Microsoft's own software.


The mobile website didn't have the full functionality of a mobile app. It couldn't play in the background, for example.

That would be a very dangerous precedent.

If Microsoft could do that to Google, can we do that to other companies? Can we write custom Netflix clients for unsupported platforms too? Or for another services? That a deep rabbit hole to follow.

I don't see what's so dangerous about that precedent. Google would basically be forced to either make an app, or enable someone else making such an app (e.g. by providing a public API).

And it would only apply to companies that are so big, they act as a monopoly in some market segment. I don't see why forcing those to use open standards and documented APIs, so that everyone else can interop with them, is a bad thing.

I mean, imagine this being applied to Facebook. I suspect that if you could do everything that you can on their website through an API, that alone would be sufficient to defeat the barrier to entry to the social network market that is practically insurmountable today, and thereby create more healthy competition. Isn't that a good thing?

Antitrust law is not applied randomly.

You must have a large enough market share for it to apply, and you must be using that market share as a weapon against competitors in another market.

> Antitrust law is not applied randomly.

> You must have a large enough market share for it to apply, and you must be using that market share as a weapon against competitors in another market.

I think Netflix is big enough for it, and yet they prohibit every custom client (thanks to DRM).

If you want to make a legal youtube app, you shouldn't use any youtube apis. You can only access things that a browser can access. That's how newpipe does it, and it works fine. I don't know if MS took that route.

You're saying that using Newpipe to download a video doesn't break YouTube's TOS?

I don't know about Youtube's TOS, but Newpipe in it's github repo says that the app violates playstore TOS.

IIRC it is because Play Store terms of service are incompatible with the GPL license.

There are plenty of GPL apps on the play store. There was some drama over vlc in the apple store due to GPL concerns, but I don't remember if there was real merit to that. In any case, newpipe's issue is different. For one, it doesn't show ads. So that would disqualify it from playstore anyway. Playstore is google's walled garden afterall. That doesn't mean that newpipe is doing something illegal.

You do not download videos under standard license, only download videos under CC-BY-SA (which do have download button on the web).

How is that ads are not in your list of reasons?

I am sure they are the top priority for Youtube.

Google blocked WP users from Maps. Lied that WP's browser couldn't handle maps. It worked perfectly if user agent was changed.


YouTube still works great on WP, but I've never tried looking for an app.

> based on Google blocking YouTube access on Windows Phone and some of the Amazon Fire devices

Are there any good alternatives to YouTube at all? Isn't YouTube already filled with so much of culturally-significant content (lectures, music etc) that blocking particular people (i.e. Windows Phone users) from watching it means putting them in a huge disadvantage like if they were not allowed to read any kind of books?

No offence but the EU does have more important things to do than suing American tech companies. Unless it actively hurts the people or economy of the EU, and who gives a fig about windows phone?

Google cannot block Gmail and YouTube. These are and will be accessible through web browser. What Google can do is not spend engineering time to build a special version of mobile app to support the platform, and block other apps that access them that don't conform to Terms and Conditions.

(disclaimer: I work for Google on GCP)

> Google cannot block Gmail and YouTube. These are and will be accessible through web browser.

Well, through web browsers that Google chooses to support, given at least Gmail uses UA whitelisting (and, at various times, various non-Chrome Chromium based browsers have been excluded). If Google chooses not to support any browser that runs on the given system and blocks access to any other browser, then Google absolutely can block access to them.

They backed down almost immediately, but after Google removed the YouTube app for Amazon's Fire TV, Google also blacklisted the Fire TV web browsers from accessing the YouTube webpage that had been optimized for televisions.

>As discovered by The Verge, the TV-optimized web version of YouTube is no longer accessible on the Fire TV. Instead, visitors using both Amazon’s Silk browser and Firefox for Fire TV are being redirected to the full desktop client.



Maps is a tricky beast. Given Google Maps has been around for so long, there may be a lot of licensing going on with the images. You also have to comply with various government requests to be able to host images of specific areas.

Email is an open protocol. Anyone can write a client. All major ones work with Gmail. For YouTube, see newpipe. The main missing piece is Google maps (at least the navigation bit) which you can't legally get without explicit cooperation from Google.

Until Google deprecates IMAP for @gmail accounts. It's already disabled by default for new accounts.

It's been disabled by default for years, as far as I know. Not sure why they'd deprecated it now.

EDIT: A quick search shows it was always disabled by default, since 2007, when it launched.

Doesn't that support GP's argument? Seems like they really don't want anyone to use it, since the beginning.

The replacement API that GMail offers (which reflects their different approach) is open and free to use, so it's not really an issue, as third-party apps can support it. And many, in fact, do.

That's not the case for YouTube, though, which is exactly why it's a problem when GMail isn't.

The Gmail concepts do not really map very well to IMAP and traditional mail clients. They do provide a custom API that does mirror their semantic for that.

Not today, I agree. It was just an ordinary email up until a few years ago though.

Gmail's labels have always been an arse to map on to normal IMAP-based email.

I don't know people here noticed but they are already doing so by bringing "confidential email", etc to all users which explicitly require WEB VERSION or Gmail app.

They also have a regular alert which nags you to "improve your security settings" if you use 'insecure' IMAP. I'm glad I don't use gmail any more.

Google services being refused on the windows mobile platform contributed greatly to its death.

Who would ever make an app for something that doesn't even have youtube--when trashy tv boxes do?

Who would get and keep a phone that doesn't have the apps they and their friends use?

YouTube not being on Windows Phone is really Microsoft's fault. They wrote their own "YouTube" app that removed ads and allowed downloading videos. Google rightfully was like "No way" and Microsoft continued to be belligerant.

Google didn't want to let Microsoft develop their own YouTube client because Google frequently changes how the YouTube client works. Microsoft could have wrapped the web client, but after they acted stupidly Google didn't want to further cooperate.

Ah, YouTube API's do not supply ad's. Google refused to make an app for Windows Phone. MS created an app with the available API. Google didn't want to work with MS to address any issues Google had with it.

Maybe I’m weird, but I probably use YouTube even less than twice a month.

You are. 18-34 year olds in the US spend an average of 19 hours per month watching videos on YouTube. https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-still-watch-tv-d...

YouTube website is not a replacement for a web app, and anyone who used the app on, say, Android would know. The most basic thing I expect from any YouTube mobile app is being able to play things in the background. Mobile browsers don't allow websites to do that, and for very good reasons.

As for "don't conform to Terms and Conditions" ... well, if you guys don't offer an API to build a conforming app, then such a complaint is misleading, because there's no way to build one. So what you're really saying is that you will block all apps except your own, or made with your blessing. And then we're back to square one - your refusal to grant such a blessing to an app on a competing platform is abuse of your monopoly position wrt YouTube.

>Mobile browsers don't allow websites to do that

Mobile browsers do allow that, YouTube just breaks that functionality for reasons unknown. They do it on mobile only as well, videos do play in the background when I use the desktop site.

> They do it on mobile only as well, videos do play in the background when I use the desktop site.

Or if you use a browser that supports add-ons and install something like https://addons.mozilla.org/android/addon/video-background-pl... to block Youtube from accessing the APIs it uses to detect when a tab has been backgrounded.

And the reasons aren't that unknown - if I'm not mistaken background playback is one of the selling points of a Youtube Premium (formerly Red) subscription.

If the terms and conditions were onerous enough that Microsoft could not conform to them then I feel like this rounds to "Google can effectively block the native consumption of YouTube and Gmail."

It's probably tied to the play store. If they want to have it in their version of Android, they should be able to install Youtube on those phones. If they want to roll their own, they'd probably end up in a similar situation as WP.

Didn't google block various Amazon devices (like Echo Show) from accessing Youtube?

YouTube without an app is just not the same.

It’s better.

I deleted the YouTube app from my iPhone and iPad because I would rather use the website and if you click on a YouTube link it will launch the app. The YouTube app doesn’t support background playback without paying for YouTube Red and it doesn’t support picture in picture mode on the iPad - I use a third party app.

This doesn't help them get users on their services. It would just be another Fire Phone. The next step beyond their current strategy would be to sell devices (regardless of who manufacturers them) that come preloaded with both Google Play and their launchers and services.

I think this disregards the fact that it is very hard to sell an app outside the play store.

Sounds like an opportunity for competitors to advertise their competing services. Especially under Microsofts wing it could get more exposure on the Windows Store as a result.

This really isn't possible as long as Google has exclusive agreements with most of the manufacturers. I mean, maybe they could talk Dell and HP into making Android variants, but there's no way Samsung, Motorola, LG, etc. could join that party while Google's iron grip remains. And as the other commenter pointed out, Google will heavily disrupt access to things like Gmail, YouTube, etc. for people not using "proper" Android phones.

That being said, the option may be available soon, since the EU and Russia have both fined and prohibited Google's agreements with manufacturers, and the Department of Justice is rumored to be considering opening an investigation here in the US.

I saw an interesting suggestion on the MetaFilter thread about the SuperMicro hack allegations [0]:

> Why we thought it would be possible to have all our hardware made in China without the Chinese compromising it is beyond me.

>> MmmHmm. Texas Instruments should really consider making a smart phone.

Between populist protectionism on one hand, and espionage fears on the other, it would be interesting if we see more American OEMs crop up in the next few years.

[0] https://www.metafilter.com/176872/Spy-chips-found-on-server-...

Yes, the antitrust ruling could make things very interesting. Samsung would definitely be interested in replacing various google play bits. They've tried and failed with tizen. This would give them another shot. Admittedly, samsung's crap is going to be far worse than google's play services, but in the long run, it may lead to more cross-compatibility and openness because devs aren't going to support every reimagination of play services.

As terrible as Java shared development has been, it's at least a plausible model.

"We give up the ability to monopolize this technology in exchange for creating an alternative that the marketplace accepts."

I can't help but think that a Microsoft-branded "Google-free" phone that is compatible with all Android apps out there would do a lot better than Windows Phone ever did.

They could do it with the foldable Surface Phone that is in development.

The foldable Surface is designed for Windows Core OS. Given how poorly Android has historically done with tablets or other non-phone form factors (nearly all unique Android devices have been purged from the market), I don't think that would work out well.


I wonder how viable that is.

It is totally possible to reimplement play services, Amazon does it anyway.

You would need to duplicate gmail and youtube though.

And also kickstart an app store good enough so that all the apps 99% of the users are looking for are there.

Even for a company as big as Microsoft, this looks like a huge task.

And also kickstart an app store good enough so that all the apps 99% of the users are looking for are there.

This was precisely how Windows Phone failed, so...

Forking Android is not the same thing as having a third completely incompatible platform when it comes to attracting third party apps.

I had hoped that one day we would have a well-maintained open source implementation maintained by a consortium including Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and others. Doesn't seem likely anymore.

It became an ad platform. As long as customers are OK with ads, it's not going to happen.

As long as customers are OK with ads, I agree there won't be massive pressure to develop alternatives. But if other factors were changed, the necessary level of "I hate ad platforms" pressure might be reduced. I can imagine a world with only 10% of people using the alternative platform, but still having it survive.

I think the larger problem with my vision is simply that its not in line with the visions of the various competitors I listed. Everyone believed they could create their own separate mobile fiefdom (Amazon's Android fork, Windows Phone, Tizen, etc).

If MS ends up launching phones based on AOSP like amazon, it could be interesting. Anything that reduces the near universal dependence on google play services really. My wishful thinking is that if AOSP ends up getting forked by 2-3 major players who become somewhat successful, we'll either get to some open standard for stuff that google play services provide, or webapps will become good enough that we won't need them.

Except Amazon's replacement sucks pretty hard. They are consistently multiple versions behind, and you can't even use applications like native YouTube.

Of course you can't use Youtube? Its a Google product. Its built ground up to depend on Play Services.

That being said Youtubes mobile site isn't abysmal and I'm not a fan of how the last decade saw the open web replaced by proprietary apps. A lot of sites work fine in a browser on a phone but still push users to use an application to interact with them.

FireOS on my Kindle Fire is still at Android version 5. Fortunately, I was able to install Google Play Services so that I didn't have to use the Amazon AppStore, however multiple profiles doesn't work well on the Kindle Fire. F-Droid is pretty awesome and the ADB toolset is pretty powerful too. I'd love to find a wrapper that just uses the core Android tools for management.

cough - LinkedIn - cough

Google intentionally prevents YouTube from working well everywhere but in their walled garden.

I sincerely hope they get slapped hard over this. You're not supposed to be able to abuse a monopoly like that. Your sentiment shows exactly why it's detrimental - because it's a major barrier to competition.

youtube-dl works great so far with mpv.

They don't need to form the OS, just replace Google Play services.

Just is definitely a 4-letter word here.

Although personally I'd rather they target getting the x86 phone chip manufacturing restarted and get us full win10 handheld devices.

> full win10 handheld devices.

I feel like this is something everyone says they want (including me), but history doesn't prove the demand is there.

There hasn't been a practical demonstration of the product yet, so there can't be a demonstration of demand.

Yeah, this. My dream device would be a side-slider phone with a rear trackpad like the PSVita. When collapsed it operates in tablet mode, when slid out it operates in desktop mode.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like bing maps does not support turn by turn navigation. They would most likely need to build that out too just like how Apple did and that is not cheap.

It does support turn-by-turn navigation.

The quality of the maps is another matter. It's hard to compete with Google on this, just because of the headstart that they have (Apple has the same problem). But it's certainly possible.

Microsoft should re-start the Android emulation project (the project that eventually became the Subsystem for Linux in Win10) and make Windows 10 the ultimate OS that can run anything.

Except that the ultimate OS is open source, completely under my control, and not riddled with spyware and other malware.

They should fix Console or the PowerShell app first to be on par with Linux/Mac terminal applications.

While we're talking about Windows console / terminal apps, is there anything like Cathode [1] but for Windows? I don't really like using the console, so when I have to it's nice to have something delightful, with the CRT scanlines, static, burn-in and jitter emulation. The retro sounds are nice too, like the sound of the hard drive spinning up.

[1] http://www.secretgeometry.com/apps/cathode/

Perfect! I didn't think of trying to run Linux software via WLS! Cool Retro Term is exactly what I'm after, thank you.

I think he means more than just fixing the ANSI characters.

Actually, I don't think that was the article I was looking for. Anyway, Microsoft has completely overhauled the console subsystem in exactly the way everyone wants.

I think the main note on the article sequence was the ending article (PTY support) but the ANSI support is nice too :).

The only thing I've found close to what I'm looking for is WSLtty. You can't even get proper mouse support in Windows Console or Nerd Fonts:


> Note: These both work fine with WSLtty

powershell is a great wrapper around bash in WSL

Not if you want mouse support for Vim or descent font support.

The ultimate OS needs to be open source 100% and under my control. Windows 10 will never be the ultimate OS unless very drastic things happen.

> the project that eventually became the Subsystem for Linux in Win10

Do you have a source about that? The Android emulation on Windows 10 Mobile was actually Hyper-V based. IF you just started your phone, the emulated Android was not ready (started) yet, and if you attempted to start an app you got that message.

> WSL is a continuation of the kernel ABI part of Project Astoria. Astoria also had lots of user mode code that made Android apps feel native.


I believe the Hyper-V based Android emulation is separate from Project Astoria and came later.

If you want to run Android or Linux, why don't you just run Android and Linux?

Your company wants to manage their personnel using active directory, you want access to the office suite, you want to be able to play modern video games?

Instead of one machine running everything, you want me to run 3 different machines? It's technically possible to do better than that. One OS that run anything we want would be amazing.

This looked to be MacOS for a while, but then came the iPhone...

That is true, though I still think that macOS still is the closest to that and that is one of the reasons I keep using the Mac. Mac+VMWare is a pretty flexible setup. I wonder, if anyone has a project going to implement a wayland server for Metal2? On the other side, the WSL looks very promising, so Windows is becoming more and more interesting, if one is a Unix guy.

I‘ve switched from Mac to WSL. You‘re using a lot of integration with GUI layer and a lot of polish, especially keybinding, tabbing and nice fonts. But it‘s useable and being able to use Linux package managers instead of homebrew is a big plus. Also, Thinkpads are so much nicer than current MBP - best of breed keyboard, all the I/O you need, nice case, 1TB SSD, 24GB Ram, 2300 USD pricepoint, everything else good enough.

I think WSL would quickly become a killer if MS added a Wayland server integrated in the native Windows UI.

this is obviously the next step I think.

In the meantime, there are already solutions to running X in WSL that are almost single-click:



The ability to run foreign software is a goal even Google embraces with their support for Android apps and 'Linux' within their Chrome OS sandboxes.

(If you're asking why Windows in the first place, well that is another discussion entirely.)

Running everything half-assed? You didn’t learn from the java “write one run everywhere” bullshit tornado sandwich did you?

Microsoft doesn't need to be pushing their own Android distribution to be successful here. They're building a very compelling set of software that runs atop Android on any device, and this can be done while complying with Google's requirements for having Play services. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft's existing relationship with Samsung evolves into something where you can buy a Samsung device through Microsoft that comes preloaded with Microsoft Launcher, SwiftKey, Cortana, Edge, Office, etc while still including Google Play. They could also pursue this with other manufacturers or even with their own devices if they absolutely had to. Microsoft wants to get Android devices integrated with their services, but they don't need to be the app store in order to do that. That strategy is doomed to fail as Amazon already proved with Fire Phone.

> Edge

Why would anybody but legacy-encumbered enterprises actually use a web browser by Microsoft nowadays?

> but they don't need to be the app store

But wouldn't it be good if there were more than one fairly-big and well-advertised app store? In fact the situation when there is just one seems worrying, e.g. Apple is already misusing their monopoly on iOS devices actively.

There are alternative app stores on Android (Amazon and Samsung) but they suck and nobody uses them. It's a waste of time for Microsoft to pursue that IMO, and even if they did it, it wouldn't be a viable replacement for the Play Store.

As for Edge, the mobile browser doesn't use Microsoft engine. Edge on Android is based on Blink but has Windows desktop integrations. Personally I use Edge on my laptop because it's much lighter on battery life and I rarely encounter compatibility issues with sites.

> Why would anybody but legacy-encumbered enterprises actually use a web browser by Microsoft nowadays?

I expect people have various reasons. Personally, my installs of FF/Chrome/Vivaldi are locked down in various ways to not accepts cookies/scripts, so I use Edge for sites that break in my other browsers that I don't need to access often enough to bother whitelisting. Same way I use Safari on macOS.

You don't have to disable cookies, there is Vanilla Cookie Manager to delete cookies set by any but whitelisted sites as you close them. You can also use incognito mode (which starts with no extensions enabled by default) - I use it when I have to view a site that gets broken by my ad-blocking and privacy-enforcing extensions set-up. And there actually are so many Chrome-based sites you can always install one more if the number you already have is not enough and you don't like Chrome's built-in user switching. MS browsers have a long history of being not just outdated from the compatibility point of view but also vulnerable to malware so I personally wouldn't trust them. I would actually love to learn there is a real (using a different engine) alternative browser but I feel skeptic about Microsoft building one.

Its ironic, since Java and Linux used to be the absolute kryptonite for Microsoft in the 00's

The change from Windows server licenses to the cloud (Azure) forced this upon Microsoft.

And a majority of Azure runs on Linux, and the major selling points for Windows now is it runs Linux and works with Kubernetes/Docker. Containers still run poorly compared to Linux though and mounting volumes is mostly broken from anything but PowerShell.

> and the major selling points for Windows now is it runs Linux and works with Kubernetes/Docker.

The major selling point for Windows is that it comes preinstalled on the Dell/HP/Lenovo computers our muggles buy. For corporations, the ability to manage identities and lock down the machines from a central location is a killer. The main selling point of Windows for web developers is that it can do that and still run Office well.

As a developer, I'm unconvinced about the value of that second part though. And not convinced at all about the first one too because Macs are Linux-like enough and Linux machines, well, are Linux machines (even when they come with Windows, installing Debian, Ubuntu or Fedora is a zero-effort thing).

The major selling point for Windows is MS Office (even the Mac version is not complete), Visual Studio and Windows-only games in Steam. if only GNU/Linux would became an officially supported platform for full and up-to-date versions of MS Office, VisualStutio, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator and best-selling games then Windows would be forced into a fair competition which would be fairly hard for it to win.

Visual Studio is great if you develop for Windows and less than useless if you don't. The vast majority of humankind does not need the full feature set of Office (most, in fact, would be quite happy with Google's or Microsoft's web based counterparts). As a developer, I don't need Photoshop or Illustrator - I can get away with Inkscape and Gimp - even when I work on a Mac, where the Adobe apps are available.

As for games... Well... Just buy a gaming rig or a PlayStation. I don't want games on my work computer.

I'm impressed how quickly they jumped on board and started working on support though. OSX is supposedly the developers environment of choice these days; where is Apple on native docker support?

You mean Docker running under a native hypervisor (Docker already supports Hyperkit), or a Docker machine running something other than Linux?

Docker is so dependant on Linux that any attempt to write a native containerisation for another OS would mean starting from scratch. And the licensing of both Windows and MacOS would make it a non-starter.

This is the only way I could get Docker volumes to work correctly with WSL, and it only works about half the time:


Microsoft already has a version of docker that runs Windows on host and guest

Windows Server Containers are a ground up build of containers, not a port of Docker. You don’t even need Docker to manage them.

Yes. But there is a port of docker to manage them so people who insist on using only docker can continue to do so without having to risk learning a new technology.

Docker on windows host runs in a virtualbox running linux last time i checked.

There are two different editions. The more popular runs a Linux kernel in a spun up HyperV instance, but the Windows-only solution has images built off of Windows Nano Server instead of Linux. Their docker images/apps are incompatible.

Ah ok, but HyperV is not available on Windows Home editions :( Do you know if it's possible to run Docker with high performance on Windows Home?

No, docker toolbox is broken. The best option right now is to upgrade to pro or dual boot.

HyperV is outstanding and I don't regret paying for the Pro upgrade to get it.

This, although I wish running a desktop guest Dev environment were a better experience :| The new enhanced session Linux turned out to be pretty lackluster.

There is native Docker support for running Windows containers, either using Hyper-V on Windows 10 or natively without any virtualization on Windows server.

Technically a native OSX Docker port is possible, although with some limitations (no bind mounts is going to make it a bit weird). There is not really much call for it, as it is not a server OS.

Do you have a source for the majority of of azure running on Linux? Would be very interested to see this.


"Today, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said in an interview, "it's about half now, but it varies on the day because a lot of these workloads are elastic, but sometimes slightly over half of Azure VMs are Linux." Microsoft later clarified, "about half Azure VMs are Linux.""

So Linux running on Azure, not Azure running on Linux?

I think they meant majority of azure clients (i.e., people running vms on azure) running linux, not that azure itself runs on linux. Linux was above 40% sometime last year in azure stats, and I think it crossed 50% sometime recently.

Outside of a forklift migration, why would you run a Windows Server VM?

This is the only article I could find doing a quick search:



However, I could have swore I read semi-recently that Azure itself was primarily running on Linux, but I could be wrong here in some regards.

"Lose the battle, win the war."

Cool, don't forged about forced updates, telemetry and the "new version of OS - new device principle"; and M$ will repeat their Windows Phone success!

scrcpy : https://github.com/Genymobile/scrcpy

This application provides display and control of Android devices connected on USB (or over TCP/IP). It does not require any root access. It works on GNU/Linux, Windows and MacOS.

Did Microsoft have a choice?


This app is amazing. I find myself replying to texts with this quite often. It works well on wifi too :-)

Mind sharing the statistic in that last link?

First of all, Microsoft gets a cut of every Android phone sold[0].

Secondly, does anyone know why Microsoft quit competing when it came to mobile? It seems something so odd that future history books are going to point it out. I mean I really don't get it. Unless if they are planning to ramp up and go whole hog on Continuum and they don't want to worry about supporting older phones, which this lull allows them to do.

[0]: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-is-making-2bn-a-year...

My take on this is because Microsoft cannot match google's monetize scheme, and afaik this is the reason wphone can't be cheaper than android. Furthermore there already iphone on premium level that replace blackberry at that time.

They need to target for specific market segment (lets say phones for corporate and office, or phone for developer) that has minimum apps (whatsapp, etc) and easy to port from other platform (ex: from xamarin / android app). Of course they need to rethink the monetization scheme to match android's price.

Microsoft did quite well on mobile back in the pre-iPhone days, the battle for the today generation of smartphones has long been lost for them and all the attempts were futile. Perhaps they've chosen to retreat and prepare for the next big battle silently.

The article doesn't explain why the OEMs give Microsoft a cut- do you know why?

Sorry that was a bad example link. I believe most of the cut comes from the fact that Linux 'infringes' on Microsoft patents, so to distribute Linux you have to pay them off.


It was in the news more several years ago. They shakedown companies using Linux claiming they own various patents covering Linux technology. Microsoft made an example of TomTom who refused a licensing deal and was sued and lost over an obscure FAT filesystem patent.

FAT32 royalties. I would assume this does not apply to Android phones without an SD slot though.

Here is some hope they extend it.

And we know what happens after that. [1]

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extingu...

Except in this case it's a 800 lbs gorilla trying to extinguish another 800 lbs gorilla. Where Microsoft had a giant weight advantage on a lot of the other guys, here it'll end up in an awkward prolonged hug.

Whilst gorillas may and do battle one another, they do not do so for the benefit of ants.

Even, or especially, if they say otherwise.

Lighten up. Are you all missing the irony?

The OP is about MS. The title is about embracing. The parent comment mentioned extending it. I must be old and just couldn't pass up the historical hacker pop culture references. My apologies.

Don't sprain your wrists while shaking your pitch forks.

This is not Slashdot circa 2004, posting “OMG, EEE!” is not a substantive reply and for years hasn’t reflected how contemporary Microsoft does business. It’s just a cheap grab for upvotes with no thinking behind it. Please explain how Microsoft is going to EEE Android, which is run by an equally large and influential company and runs on way more devices than Windows does, or consider removing this comment if you can’t.

Google are an incredibly sinister privately run surveillance system, and are pushing AMP to EEE the web, but you know, MS are still the bad guys, because we’re stuck in 2003.

> because we’re stuck in 2003

It's called learning a lesson (repeatedly). Don't trust Google. And don't trust Microsoft, now or in 2003. Don't trust companies, period. Always have an exit plan and try not to get locked inside their boxes if possible. These companies exist to make money, so power and control is what they want. That doesn't mean we can't appreciate good products or initiatives, just keep in mind that the boot and the giving hand belong to the same entity.

Microsoft sell an incredibly sinister surveillance system. But it's impressive how they manage to market it as a Good Thing to companies. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/privacy/configure-w...

This, the fact that their technology spreads like a cancer through an organisation (through dependencies), and the extent to which corporations are completely at the mercy of their byzantine licensing system has often made me wonder why Redmond hasn't been bombed by some military yet.

Microsoft introduced privacy-disrespecting "features" into their products long after they were established on the market and their users couldn't switch.

Google did that with a newly introduced products, which you could simply not start using.

So yes, Microsoft are still the bad guys.

Do you have some reason to believe that Microsoft wouldn’t tie into or conduct the same level of surveillance if they were in google’s current market position?

Contemporary MS are trying to lock you into their hardware, software, development and deployment platforms.

They are doing this while making the tools to do so Open Source.

You are not free to control your computing in this ecosystem, but hey that's a small price to pay.

And people are eating this up. Precisely because they aren't worried about history.

As for how embracing Android fits into this, it's not clear how it doesn't.

To be fair, aren't Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. all pretty much doing the same thing these days?

Everyone wants to own the ecosystem. Everyone is patient enough to integrate with others', but with experiences that are just a little worse than going all-native.

MS gets the worst hate because of history, when it was the only juggernaut. But now we have many juggernauts, and they all behave more or less similarly.

You can cut google some slack though. They walk a fine line. You can use AOSP without any google play services. It works great. Sure, they won't make it easy, but something has to pay the bills. So things are in a very fine balance right now wrt AOSP. They also earn a bit of goodwill because, as I discovered recently, you can still use carddav, caldav, and xmpp for accessing google contacts, calendar and hangouts although google has officially deprecated all the open protocols. So they haven't gone full evil just yet.

AOSP also send telemetry to Google, also like Chromium does, and use hardcoded Google DNS and internet-checking services.

> you can still use carddav, caldav, and xmpp

Xmpp is gone, *dav only via 3rd party apps. Also Google doesn't delete Chinese and other apps which stole user data like Apple does.

xmpp works as of today. Not sure about which chinese apps. AOSP doesn't come with any. Neither do the phones sold by google in their stock configuration.

Ah, the good old “b-but VS code” argument.

I think what MS has done with open sourcing .NET is more indicative of the new MS.

Similar to the integration of a linux desktop with kde connect.

Does this mean they'll finally stop trying to foist the 'metro' blight onto desktop?

I have a feeling they will double down and it will now be an Android blight

'Metro' is the only design concept Microsoft has come up with in the last decade.

Y'know Windows 10 has loads of great little improvements say on Windows 2000.. You only really notice them when u try to use an old machine running 2000 or XP or whatever and theyre not there..


can cut/copy and paste files mutiples times and it will queue them up..

When copying files it shows progress + graphs the speed.

Right click on windows button to get list of loads of common management tools (that b4 u had to dig down to in various weird places)

Alt-tab shows little thumbnail of each program running.

thumbnails of image files and whatnot in explorer

loads of option in the explorer GUI for searching and displaying files


drag window to side to have it take up half the screen

etc. etc.

These are all great useful and non intrusive design ideas. Thats good design. And I reckon they came about from more grassroots action, eg. customer feedback or boots on the ground engineers.

'Design concepts' like Metro are the kind of shit that marketing or upper management come up with as part of some dubious business or marketing scheme, and then are awkwardly and irritatingly foisted upon the engineers and users alike. That kind of BS is utterly regressive.

Oh yes, I think Microsoft made incredible strides in the UI/desktop design front from 98 to XP and even on Windows 7 (2009). Windows Phone and Windows 8 introduced Metro to the world, and Microsoft seems to have plateaued there.

There are still nice little features like that in 10 from 8.1.. Thankfully the Metro stuff u can all be eliminated with some registry scripts, without affecting anything else, and u now have a nice OS. Just doing it every time I install Windows is a big annoyance.

Besides the copy and paste and search improvements many of these features are present in Windows 7. Seems each Windows release is similar to a contract where the big print gives and the fine print takes away.

MS already makes billions every year on hundreds of existing Android patents.

I hope they can give themselves a price break.

Billions? I a source for that would be nice.

This is from 2014 and says they make about $2B per year.


But later reports suggest they're making a lot less now.

At a time when Google is going to disown Android.

Linux should have embraced Android as its GUI, as well.

Android doesn't really have much similarity to Linux beyond the kernel so this doesn't make much sense. They are 2 quite different userland operating systems.

Android's GUI is made for touch. We saw with Windows 8 how people love when you put a tablet type GUI to a desktop computer

...and Google plans to replace Android with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Fuchsia OS in the future, does that makes any sense for Micro$oft, whats their plan?

Does google actually plan to do replace android with that, or is it a "you've burnt out on what we hired you for, but letting you leave would give our competitors a leg up so do whatever you want" project? It really feels like the latter.

It's a platform for IoT devices. Whether it ends up in consumer handhelds remains to be seen.

No, it's not. It's already booting into a desktop like UI on the Pixelbook and they've even ported parts of Chrome to it.

It's more like some universal OS for Google products that'll probably be ready for launch in 2-3 years or so. Sure, IoT may be one of the goals of Fuchsia, but I'm sure it's meant for future phones as a step by step replacement for Android and future Chromebooks, probably starting with Pixel devices or whatever they'll rebrand to next year.

Everyone knew Android made technical compromises for market share (eg security model).

It remains to be seen whether business (legacy Android) or technical (new system arch) will win out at Google.

Regardless if Fuchsia has a future, it's highly unlikely that they'll want to stick with Android for over another decade.

source ?

Just the idea of a smartphone OS being around for over twenty years.

I think we're on the cusp of a lot of rules changing in that regard. The stagnation of Moore's law would result in some degree of stagnation in software architecture.

We're at the mercy of chip process engineers to a greater degree than is generally recognized.

Well I would have said the same before the last versions of Android have aimed at paving the way for the 10 years to come.

Stuff like project Treble have taken most of the engineering time on that release .. it seems that at least for now the plan is to still have Android in 10 years

(it should be noted that Fuchsia and Flutter are AFAIK teams that are completely separate from the Android framework team)

And well, the state of the OS is .. ok I guess ? Like all projects of this size, building APIs is building future regret.

Some can be rewritten. Some are so bad they are revamped. Some are meh but not bad enough to warrant the trouble of changing them.

The smartphone market has stabilized. And once the hardware stabilizes, the OS almost never changes. Source? OS/360, MS DOS, Windows.

It depends on how permissive Fuchsia becomes, and whether Google wants to play nice or not — at this point it could go either way. The sticking points (I think) will be security policy and market positioning.

What will be in Google's interest?

Friday nonsense. I can’t conceive that MS would yet again hitch themselves to a failing os.

If you want to make money in mobile, you have to prioritize iOS.

Android’s global market share is 80% and climbing. Android phones are moving up in the market, with many luxury models. Few people switch ecosystems after 1 year or so and guess what will happen when the poor Indian or Chinese dude who used to use Android Cheapo will get a decent job that will allow him to buy a $500+ phone? Only a small percentage of those will get iPhones, most will get Samsungs or high end Huaweis.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact