In short there is nothing Microsoft is doing now that is of interest to me.
Disclosure: I was at Microsoft for a couple of months due to an acquisition.
: accelerator is no longer being updated (afaik), chiefly because Azure websites are designed to handle the scenario it was developed for.
It's has an IaaS equivalent of EC2.
Who writes a cloud platform thinking that logging is not important, and instead gives me a dashboard with pretty graphs with information no-one ever uses? Instead you have a separate Diagnostics module which intermittently works and then the best you can do is store as a blob or to a table, which must then be read out with another tool. Which you need to write yourself, or Azure Storage Explorer, a bare-bones table reading tool on CodePlex.
Then there's the crown jewel of the Azure clusterfuck, the Azure emulator. Deploys take anywhere between 20-60 minutes, after coming from App Engine's 30 second deploys (they used to take about 2 minutes to upload and begin serving - the difference it makes is astounding in being able to keep in flow). If there's no way around that time, then your local dev tools need to be rock fucking solid, because if you deploy, you want to make sure that you've got all those really dumb mistakes out the way. Instead, random roles intermittently stop logging, and the Azure emulator craps out with random shit after a few Build and Runs. So then it's time to restart. That's if VS2012 doesn't suddenly decide to hang when I right click on the Solution name to publish, after which it comes up with the most bizarre message "VS is currently completing an action - you'll have to wait" (paraphrased). It never does finish so Ctrl-Alt-Esc we go, kill the process... except the process still hangs around. So you restart and you end up with the same problem, except you now get another process of VS chewing through 180Mb of RAM for no reason. Okay, time to restart.
I've had my issues with the App Engine tools running on OS X (mainly a really odd issue with pytz, and the single-threaded local webserver which was slow as shit until 1.7.6), but I've only had to restart my computer a handful of times in a year and a half of development. Two months in Windows and I'm restarting 5 times a day.
After dealing with all that, the annoyance generated by every other minor issue becomes magnified by an order of magnitude, and you begin to ask yourself, who the fuck is designing this shit? ASP.NET MVC4 ApiController. At it's most basic settings it allows you to do REST. You get model binding on static objects, which is good for the most basic of validation. There are a billion tutorials on how to specify routing rules so you can specify "/api/objects/" or if you're being adventurous, "/api/objects/action", because that's all you'll ever need. There's a whole heap of magic, but it's the wrong fucking magic. Aaron Swartz showed the world how to do this in 2005 with web.py, it's not rocket science. To make development bearable, I have to add an insane amount of NuGet packages. You end up with masterpieces like AttributeRouting, for which I could never thank the author enough, but I shouldn't need to add a package to get sane routing. And model binding? The moment I move from static objects, it breaks. Looks like you need to write your own custom fucking model binder now (although I may not have to - still looking into it - Scott Hanselmann had a blog post about it somewhere). Oh, and sending something as JSON? Microsoft were at least smart enough to add in JSON.NET over their own overengineered mess, and yet somehow I still need reams of code just to be able to send an object as JSON. Just restrict the damn types to JSON types when you send it and be done with it! I don't want to type three pages to send serialised text when in Python all I have to do is json.dumps()!
In all this mess, the reason we went with Azure is because we have to connect to Exchange and Microsoft were smart enough to put out the EWS (Exchange Web Services) Managed API, which is actually works as intended. It was either that or write a SOAP handler in Python for the 5 different Exchange schemas (which are similar but not exactly the same). In the end dealing with Azure and not having to maintain an internal Exchange library is worth the trouble (but not by much).
Overall though, Azure is a great product and once you wire things up correctly, it makes out to be a fantastic hosting service. I do not have experience with Amazon's hosting stack, but I plan on sticking with Azure for the long haul.
The big issue I have with MVC4 (and many other Microsoft things with which I've been working) is that MVC4 doesn't work to fit around me - I need to work to fit around it. Compare that to working with Flask - supporters say it's a "beautiful API", but really what it comes down to is that Flask is minimal enough (not minimalist), gives you everything you need to work with the web, and if you need to do something complex, doesn't get in the way. It's at the appropriate level of abstraction. MVC4 is not.
I guess we'll see how the cost goes over time as well - not sure how that will pan out. I wish I had better stuff to say, because I was quite excited about it when I first started using it, but I have soured on it and won't use it for anything not Microsoft-centric.
I have to agree on Azure. It's simply amazing for Linux VM hosting. I urge everyone to try it (whether you like MS or not). The UI for this service is simply amazing!
How's their API? Can I whip up (and down) servers and DNS from a Python script in a few minutes? That's what I do with AWS and Rackspace and franky, I won't use a cloud provider that doesn't give me that power. Automation is critical for any use of the cloud these days.
Shame, I really loved the idea of having Microsoft host my Linux systems ;-)
I wonder how many more users Linux must gain untill people perceive it as something normal that they can just use.
If that happens, it will happen after the people no longer notice what OS they're using and don't even know that they are using Linux (E.g. android, chromebook, etc).
In other words, it's true that to the average person, it's still kinda 'weird', but SO many more people know about it now and seem to always have "a geek friend that runs it" that I also wonder if we are approaching some kind of critical user mass.
If we get more Steam games on Linux, I can see this happening MUCH quicker.
They tried to emulate apple while forgetting that people that bought into apple ideology already had apple.
If the W8 arm was unlocked it would have been a big winner. WP7 just needed fast moving instead of stagnation and they almost got everything right with the original xbox and X360 in the beginning.
But I am moving away from microsoft right now even as a desktop. Arch with KDE is almost as good. There is surprising gaming support and the only real show stopper is the terrible fonts in JetBrains products.
By controlling the Windows ecosystem they could "disrupt" any competitors trying to produce applications, pushing Office while alternatives struggled, and they could use Office to push Windows.
Charging OEMs a flat "per-CPU" fee for licensing meant that Microsoft was getting paid regardless of the OS being shipped on the system. They eventually had to stop doing this, but came up with other ways of achieving the same effect.
There's no Office for game consoles. No matter how popular your title is, another platform will have an exclusive of their own that's just as compelling. They can't strong-arm OEMs because they are the one making and selling the hardware.
Linux has all the technology needed to overcome Windows, lacking only fit and finish.
What Apple is doing now with dictatorial actions in its app stores is just as, if not more, overreaching IMHO. Does that make it OK? No.
But keep in mind why people were actually interested in what MS had to offer back then. Just as we still buy Apple products despite their anti-competitive behavior, people bought MSFT products in the largely because the product addressed their needs better than others and the price was right.
The reason why Apple's dictatorial actions don't bother me is they're only a small part of the market. If I want to develop a mobile web browser, I can still use Android and have a market.
With Windows, Microsoft WAS the market.
no. it was never a problem that Microsoft bundled IE or any other product in with their own software. The problem was leaning on other companies, that Microsoft was in a business relationship with, to encourage those companies to exclude software offered by Microsoft's competitors.
They also had pricing schemes with OEMs that made it impossible for the box builders to release any products with alternative OSes preinstalled (as it would raise the price of their Windows license). And a box builder that couldn't sell a competitive Windows machine was effectively useless.
Hitachi backing out of pre-installing (the technically amazing) BeOS is what eventually killed the company. Years later the shareholders won in court but by then Be was dead.
Agreed. Their enterprise offering is strong. And one day they will realize it is IBM that is their destiny, and drop out of consumer market.
Which means becoming a company built around professional services which will mean a lot of unhappy Microsoft partners.
Here we were customers of some company who sold Exchange hosting, now we login into outlook.com.
And all this without having into account the discontinued products because of internal politics. Think XNA Game Studio.
Last job used MS for everything, but they got a setup which worked well and anyone they hired could use. Plus it's well supported (although they were stuck on XP still, that's going to be lots of money).
IBM manufactures lots of hardware, produces new technology it licenses, and has an enormous software consulting division. Microsoft does none of these things.
If anything, Microsoft will become like Computer Associates (CA Technologies), a company that milks products enterprise is hooked on and can't quit, squeezing money out of these things for decades to come.
Office (especially Word / Excel / Outlook trifecta which practically everyone uses at work for documents, scheduling, e-mail)
Lync (text, voice, video chat that is integrated w/ Outlook contacts)
Sharepoint for intranet portals, content management, collaborative documents with version control
Dynamics ERP & CRM for accounting and sales
SQL Server, which has a sophisticated BI stack for reporting & analytics
Visual Studio for developing custom applications that can interface with the APIs of all above products
Now they have or are working on cloud versions of basically all of these products so you don't even need any hardware if you want to go that route.
Personally I am not a huge fan of Microsoft for a lot of reasons, but no other company, including IBM, comes even close to offering such a comprehensive enterprise stack. They're the only company that has a product for everything (except hardware).
So the less people use Windows the less appeal there will be for these products. They are all anchored to the same sinking ship.
Also, SharePoint sucks. I had to say it. It's a worst-in-class product in a sea of vastly superior web application and document sharing platforms. I can't believe you included it in your list. I severely dislike many of those other products (Outlook, Exchange, and SQL Server, specifically) but even I'll admit that those products actually do what they're supposed to. SharePoint is nothing but a black hole where documents, time, and energy go in but nothing useful ever comes back out.
Sharepoint kind of sucks, but it sucks less than most proprietary corporate intranets. It's an out-of-the-box intranet server app and it's pretty good for small-medium enterprises. Beats Lotus Notes anyway.
* It runs on Windows and carries with it all that baggage... An unnecessary GUI is always running. Endless security issues. You'll need to reboot regularly to apply patches. You'll also need to deal with things that are unnecessary on other platforms like antivirus packages and--because it comes with that aforementioned GUI--probably a zillion little background daemons (usually with systray icons) that only keep one particular piece of software up-to-date. If your database server asks you to install the Ask Toolbar you've got a problem (haha, Java how I despise thee).
* Lack of built-in pagination or LIMIT-like mechanism. Grabbing a limited subset of any given query in SQL server is like pulling teeth! Just look at this StackOverflow question/answer on how to do pagination with SQL server: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/109232/what-is-the-best-w... If you didn't find that answer by googling you'd be in hell trying to figure it out!
* If your software isn't built on top of Microsoft tools/frameworks working with MS SQL Server is a huge pain in the ass. You'll quickly get into dependency hell just trying to get the necessary modules/libraries working and you'll never get anywhere near as good performance as Microsoft's frameworks. Whenever I'm in this situation I feel like SQL server is a nail and if you're on Windows they give you a hammer but on any other platform they give you a screwdriver and say, "just hit it with the handle really hard. Oh, and use soft wood or plastic."
* Growing SQL server is expensive. Not usually my problem but it is always a concern. It's never as simple as "just adding more servers" because you not only have to pay for the SQL Server licensing you also have to pay for the Windows licensing and all the other licenses that are intrinsic to any Windows install in any given enterprise environment.
From there they jump to the products you mention. Sharepoint is terrible for building websites, but recognizes and uses AD permissions out of the box. So does Office. So does Lync. Etc.
I bet MS makes and sells more hardware. XBox alone must outnumber all IBM hardware sales. (ThinkPad hasn't been IBM for several years now).
IBM's system hardware revenue for FY 2012 was $17.6B. (http://www.ibm.com/annualreport/2012/bin/assets/2012_ibm_ann... page 30). IBM also manufactures components and licenses hardware designs, such as the CPUs used in the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Microsoft is still not as big a hardware player even compared to an IBM that has sold off a good chunk of their hardware manufacturing.
Lots happening in Excel/PowerPivot/Data Explorer land.
What?!? How could you possibly believe that when you know they're all using Windows in Redmond. It has absolutely zero technical superiority over everything else out right now (e.g. Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, etc).
I don't want to say which company is the most technically superior right now but I'd probably start my investigation at Google because of things like Google Glass, Google Now, self-driving cars, Maps & Street View, and a search engine that still bests everything else out there by huge margins.
Not necessarily in the enterprise market. Based off my experience, their enterprise softwares are vastly superior other alternatives.
May I also mention the advancements of Kinect? The ability to scan and display with a great deal of accuracy: your body skeleton, your heart rate, muscle maps, etc is pretty awesome. I find whatever comes out of Microsoft Research to be very exciting. However the truth is most are killed even before they make it to the market (remember Microsoft Courier?), thanks to their internal politics.
Also, do you realize that the Kinect technology was developed outside of Microsoft? It was invented by an Israeli company: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PrimeSense
Microsoft just licensed their technology for use in the Kinect. So if you consider licensing someone else's inventions as, "the most technologically advanced" then yeah; Kinect is pretty good as far as game-playing technology goes.
If you have ever worked in a corporate world, you will realize the main motto is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Windows 8 doesn't add anymore to their value that what XP and Windows 7 does. Also, Windows 8 was built with consumer centric point of view.
>do you realize that the Kinect technology was developed outside of Microsoft?
The chip was but not most of the software. There has been a lot of work that went into it. As someone who is interested in Imaging Algorithms, what is the next best alternative? OpenCV? It hasn't moved a square peg in almost a decade and I am glad this stagnation is ending or changing because of Kinect.
Did you know Youtube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Driverless Car, heck even android was all built on top of already bought technologies? However, there was a lot of work put into them just like the Kinect and I am not going to belittle that.
I disagree. Their technology is mostly OK, and, surely, they seem managed by idiots, but I wouldn't dare to call them "the most advanced company" when compared to even most software companies.
I'd say Microsoft's problem now is pretty intractable. I think it's quite possible there will be no victor in XBox One vs. PS4 just as there was no victor in Bluray vs. HD-DVD (Bluray just lost more slowly).
I'd genuinely rather use exchange and active directory!
I don't know what changed - if it was something in Fedora, Java or what - but I'm pretty happy with how things look now, whereas before I couldn't stand it. I tried all the java switches and what not to no avail - but now it just works.
All that said, KDevelop has made such great strides I can see it becoming my primary environment for all my development.
(I'm another Arch + KDE user - both at home and at work)
But my experiences with arch are very positive so far.
Stay with me here. All of the restrictions that Microsoft has put forth are enforced by software - they can all be pretty easily reverted. I'm willing to bet that Microsoft was really hoping that Sony would see this as the future of console gaming, and would follow their lead at E3. This way consumers would have been given two relatively equal choices, and both Microsoft and Sony would have higher revenue streams and control over their products.
Sony, though, decided to appeal to consumers instead of their own pocketbooks, and now I feel that in order to be successful, Microsoft will have to follow suit, and slowly back out all of these restrictions "after further consideration".
It was a good gamble, (let's face it, there was a time not so long ago that betting on Sony opting for more control over their devices was a sure thing) and Microsoft lost this time. But in a year, when the new consoles are out, and if Microsoft dials back the restrictions, nobody will care what was announced this year. They'll be playing Halo4, MGS (RDR style), and COD: Ghosts, and couldn't care less about where Microsoft's stance started.
So, Sony doesn't want to play along. It's probably a bid for market share more than a bid for consumer happiness, in my opinion.
What's the difference?
Can they though? Sure, it's pretty trivial to remove the code that enforces these restrictions, but I don't think it's Microsoft enforcing it.
Think about it - used games (mostly) go through authorized retailers, can only be sold once, where said retailers collect a cut, and Microsoft collects none. This isn't about Microsoft's bottom line, this is about the bottom line of GameStop, EA, Activision, etc.
There's no way MS would enforce this kind of DRM scheme on their own - they don't stand to benefit at all. If this was promised to retailers/publishers, they cannot just unilaterally walk away from it. Knowing no secret information, it strikes me that they may have legally painted themselves into a corner.
And it's them that will make or break this choice. If they deprioritise the Playstation platform because it allows customers to sell used games, MS could still win out. If they back down and support the Playstation just fine, MS loses. So it's not even in Microsoft's hands.
Since Sony didn't implement it, it's fair to say the pressure isn't that strong.
Retailers do not want online DRM because they make most of their money from used game sales. Developers want online DRM because they make their money from first time sale only.
I'm getting all of my information from here: http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/license
These are the points I find interesting:
- Access your entire games library from any Xbox One ... while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.
From this, i can see that I will not have to carry around discs at all when I go to a friend's house. I can play any game that I own from any console.
- Share access to your games with everyone inside your home .. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.
On my console, anyone can play my games, whether I take the disc to a friend's house or not. This is hugely beneficial for me and my brothers who, until this point, have been sharing a single console.
- Give your family access to your entire games library anytime ... Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.
The key word there for me is that people can play my games, once I've shared then, from any console. So I can be in another city to my friends, buy a game, and immediately say to them "This game is awesome, check it out in my shared library." and immediately they can download it and start playing. This will be even more impressive if they can play online with me. Consider the case that I buy a game that has co-op play. This means that I can coop with my friends (almost) anywhere in the world even if they havent bought the game! I think this will be a huge feature.
Ofcourse, there is the limitation on reselling games. But honestly, I have had an xbox 360 and ps3 for years, and I have never sold a game, and only bought one or two pre-owned games. This limitation also hasnt stopped me from pouring many hundreds of dollars into Steam-distributed content.
So, from my perspective, I admit that I am giving up a few advantages of the traditional game disc distribution method, but what I get in return is an amazingly powerful licencing model, and I cant wait to see how it works in the real world.
edit: i have no idea how to format comments
...until you have to drag an entire BluRay disc over the Internet before Halo 14 will start.
I do not know how it will actually work, but I am actually excited to see what happens.
edit: actually, thinking about it now - I think this is where the always online requirement comes from. If i was implementing this feature, I would allow the console to install the game content and have it associated with a unique ID for that disc. But I would have to check with the servers to see if that specific disc ID was already used elsewhere. If this is correct, then I think the always-onlne "feature" could be relaxed in the case where there are no unchecked games installed. This is just pure speculation, however.
However the number of people who are willing to jailbreak will probably be small enough that they don't really care.
The beauty of online activation is that the console doesn't need to store the activation key, so you can't leak it by hacking the console as was done on the PS3.
You just sign game activations with a hardware encryption module in a high security datacenter. The console then only has to know the corresponding public key which is not enough to authorize a game for a console that has not been jailbroken.
MS don't seem to have sorted the licensing model, to make it convenient with their OS, I have a copy of Windows 8, that I want to move from one machine to another at some point, and I'm sure it will be non-trivial. Not to mention that I'll loose Windows media centre most likely in the process. Even the install for Windows 8 for me was an incredibly convulted process at the time.
When DRM impinges upon usability, and convenience - it's just a complete pain in the backside.
However when you have a VLK and you don't notice that the KMS server has fallen over, shit hits the fan on an epic scale...
The other point that I raised was that I suspect I'd loose my media centre upgrade - well I assume I would, which frightens me a little, as it was the main reason for grabbing Win 8 in the first place. But I digress.
> On my console, anyone can play my games, whether I take the disc to a friend's house or not. This is hugely beneficial for me and my brothers who, until this point, have been sharing a single console.
That's hugely depressing. I have a DVD. I can lend it to anyone in my home to play. I have a book. I can lend it to anyone in my home to play. Why is it different for a game?
> Give your family access to your entire games library anytime ... Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.
> The key word there for me is that people can play my games, once I've shared then, from any console. So I can be in another city to my friends, buy a game, and immediately say to them "This game is awesome, check it out in my shared library."
They use the word "family", so I wonder what they mean? I guess they mean "people in the same house", but I could be wrong.
> Ofcourse, there is the limitation on reselling games. But honestly, I have had an xbox 360 and ps3 for years, and I have never sold a game, and only bought one or two pre-owned games.
Well, that's great for you. Unfortunately, it sucks for other people.
Ann is not as wealthy as you. She loves buying new games, and knowing that she can sell games she doesn't like gives her power and confidence. She can risk $40 on a new game that she might not like.
Bob is not as wealthy as Ann. He buys most of his games second hand. None of that money goes to the game devs - just as when he buys a second hand car none of the money goes to the car manufacturer, or when he buys a second hand book none of the money goes to the publisher, or when he buys a second hand chair none of the money goes to the carpenter. Except, the money does go back, indirectly, through Ann. Being able to buy cheap games means that Bob can buy more accessories, or spend money on online play, or on Indie games.
$GAMESHOP sells new and second user games. They love Ann for buying new games. They love Bob for buying second hand games. They make a bit of money off each of them. Having more customers makes it easier for them to stay in business.
I dunno, maybe MS hates $GAMESHOP and only wants to sell games through an XBOXONE web-tv-interface-app-store thing.
Perhaps I'm just too old for video games. I got depressed when Nintendo added region locking to 3DS.
The link I referenced before also mentions that on your Xbox, any user can play any game:
>Your friends and family, your guests and acquaintances get unlimited access to all of your games. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.
So anyone in your household can "borrow" a game from you just by using your Xbox. I guess this also introduces the idea of someone having a "main console" that is particularly linked to them.
>They use the word "family", so I wonder what they mean? I guess they mean "people in the same house", but I could be wrong.
I also saw this, but restricting it to "people in the same house" doesn't make sense in light of the previous points.
Regarding the issues you raised about Ann and Bob, they are completely valid points. I guess the most honest response I can have to that is that they, for better or for worse, just don't seem to be Microsoft's target market for the Xbox One. Luckily for them, however, the PS4 looks like it will be able to suit their needs much better.
That would be really something if that wasn't possible :).
But a big difference with the traditional media is that I can borrow a game from a friend and play it on MY console at my home.
Would be really cool situation dough. A family member in your household would like to play a game you bought and by ways of kinect it would disallow it because he/she wasn't the one who bought it :)
Another thing is that at the moment XBOX Live network is dog slow I once had to D/L a game for 24 hours and I have a 60MBit connection... Also most new games are more expensive on the Live network than in a shop. So for me that was a one time thing. I did like the episode experiment with Fable would love to buy games that way.
See the "It's a 'family' affair" side box: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/microsoft-defends-the-...
That is nice. Just wondering how it works, hope you can lend a game to someone. Not that if your library is shared any one of you 'family members ' can play just any game form your library at any time, would totally suck since only one can play the game at the time.
I know Sony and MS have sold consoles at a loss before.
Presumably those days are long gone, now that games aren't written in assembly anymore, which is what made Xbox/PS/PC releases plausible (which begs the question, why would anyone buy a console system anyway? Exclusive titles are the only reason I can think of.)
They tacled the problem of piracy (the equivalent of second hand sales in consoles) not by going berserk control freaks but by just making steam giving so much value that even with the restricted licensing it just makes for better experience than the alternatives.
Also Valve are generally pushing gaming for the better. Every addition to steam was something that the community needed or wanted - big screen, linux ... the Greenlight is the only weird thing but there they just have the problem with tuning the execution and not the idea.
the current Microsoft don't get gaming. The first XBOX was brilliant. Cheap PC hardware with MS quality sdk. X360 was acceptable and the team in the beginning had good ideas XBLA. And then came GFWL and the later part of the 360 lifecycle.
So it is a lot like Steam doesn't matter because everything else is unlike steam.
I'm not following the sharing idea - can you share a title at no expense? Can you lend a title? That sounds great. Don't get me wrong, I'm up for a little added convenience - but as other's have said - downloading a few Gigs to play a game - is currently more difficult (and probably wasteful,) than just copying the game onto another medium and walking somewhere with it.
I think Microsoft's biggest failure is the marketing around the Xbox One and their failure to explain how the game sharing works. Just from my personal understanding of the link I posted, it seems to me that you can let up to ten people play any game that is owned by your account. So, once you buy a game, any of those ten people can play it without purchasing it themselves.
I have no idea why Microsoft are saying outright you can't lend games, since you can share them. I think their messaging has been absolutely awful.
This basically means that Microsoft will know exactly what you are playing, which machine you are playing it on, and when you are playing it. That combined with the connects camera is quite frightening.
One thing that MS apparently does allow you to do is lend the game disc to a 'friend' (someone who has been on your XBL friend list for more than 30 days) and play the game as long as the disc is in the console, and it can phone home every hour for some kind of DRM check I don't understand...
I don't blame the OP for getting confused by the ToS on the Microsoft site, which obviously have been carefully crafted to make them sound more reasonable. The whole licensing model of the XBox One is one big, crazy and hard-to-follow mess. What I understand from it, is that it doesn't allow you to do anything the PS4 doesn't allow, except going over to someone's house and play a game without having to bring the disc with you (yay, big deal!).
I doubt it'll allow that, simply because it's not practical. You'll still need all the data at the disk, and MS probably won't add a very expensive network service to make it easier for you to not buy a game.
That portion of the ToS probably means that the XBox won't refuse to play your game once you put the disk in a console and log with your account, even if the console isn't yours... Maybe restricted only to a friend's machines, but the part about any XBox One implies that they won't check it. Anyway, you can't just make that kind of assumption from MS licensing terms, the word "any" there could mean anything and we'll only know the exact meaning once somebody tries it.
So you can't have two people playing Halo 5, but you can have one person playing Halo 5 and one playing Forza 5.
Everything else you've said is correct, but this is not true. Unfortunate, but understandable.
"The only limitation, it seems, is that only one person can be playing the shared copy of a single game at any given time."
This applies for all PSN games also.
> - Share access to your games with everyone inside your home .. Anyone can play your games on your console--regardless of whether you are logged in or their relationship to you.
Interesting. But I'm not sure the value. How many homes have > 1 unit.
> Give your family access to your entire games library anytime ... Up to ten members of your family can log in and play from your shared games library on any Xbox One.
How does one define family? How do they prove it
I don't see how that has any relevance to what you quoted. What you quoted says that there's a console license for the game (as well as an account-license for the whole play at a friend's house) and that anyone can play the game on the console it's licensed to, regardless of if you're signed in or not.
That is something I am also wondering. The worst case would be that they ask for proof of a familial relationship of any form. That is something even I am not prepared to give Microsoft.
That's it. That is the reason most of their products are half-assed. They have database systems. Server, desktop, and tablet/phone operating systems. Web, desktop, mobile development environments, all in multiple languages. They have their IaaS and PaaS offerings. They have end user services like Skydrive and Outlook. Then there is everything Office. And games, both PC and Xbox. Also, Bing. And Skype.
Edit: And hardware: Xbox, peripherals and the surface.
This is probably an incredibly incomplete list. Try making this list for Apple, and you'll get my point.
You've actually hit Microsoft's five business units. In order of revenue:
Business Division (ie, Office): $24B
Windows & Windows Live: $18.8B
Server & Tools: $18.7B
Entertainment & Devices: $9.5B
Online Services: $3B.
With the exception of Online Services, each of these business units alone is doing enough revenue to qualify for inclusion on the Fortune 500 list.
Entertainment & Devices makes more revenue than Yahoo does in total. More than Hertz and Barnes & Noble.
I would love -- love! -- to be spread so thin.
I think the argument is that thinness is evaluated by a width/height ratio so while it sure is heighty, taken globally it lacks so much focus that the width dwarfs the height. Besides, given the sheer size of it, it's really hard to get a good perspective.
By comparison, Apple is incredibly focused and generates more revenue while still being way less 'everywhere'. Looking at it that way, it seems Microsoft is aiming for a long tail effect.
The fact that MS is strong now means nothing in the long and even midterm.
The total share of world computing that Microsoft controls now is lower than in the 90s. They have trouble getting good products out except in Server and Azure divisions. They are bleeding developer loyalty and they are turning into Apple style control freaks without having the charm of Apple.
Isn't that the benefit of being "spread thin" though? Xboxone might die but at least they have the other stuff.
Apple by comparison gets about 3/4 of its profit from the iPhone. Google is even worse, 95% of their profit comes directly from search.
Operating Income by Division FY13 Q3:
Windows: $3.46 B
Server and Tools: $1.98 B
Online Services: -$262 M (loss)
Business: $4.1 B
Entertainment and Devices: $342 M
It is interesting that people perceive so many businesses at Microsoft as "failing" even when they have healthy income and growth year after year.
I disagree. The speed with which companies relying on a single product can fall has been shown again and again. Companies which are diversified have lasted much longer.
Lotus is gone, Borland is gone, Apple almost died -- but Microsoft are still around.
Microsoft are no longer the absolute masters they used to be (and that IBM were before them). But they, and IBM, demonstrate there is "a lot of ruin in a great company" (to paraphrase Smith).
That is great on the rise but can be terrible when every customer lost means losing network effects. The more google apps/ Libre gain traction the less valuable the windows desktop becomes. The less valuable the desktop - the server becomens less valuable and from there the DB.
Computer ecosystems are like the real stuff - they can implode with a few strokes of stupidity and bad luck but are hard to be wiped out. And microsoft have somewhat bad track record in the last few years on quality decisions. There is no future in which there does not exist sizable deployments of microsoft software.
But also metric of a company is their relevance. MS lost their ability to be trendsetters and are playing catching up.
Unless there is strong change of direction coming I think that MS will have their soviet union moment in the next few years - they will vomit a lot of territory and they will still be huge and powerful afterwards, but just not among the superpowers.
Your summation of Microsoft's position is way off. Microsoft was never much of a trend setter. They tend more to come into an established business and try to dominate it and they do that well.
Also, there's more: They're quite a bit into hardware, making input devices and, lately, Surface. They're also a big name in the enterprise software world, offering their own CRM and, I'm sure, tons of other things. They really do everything.
They aren't attractive because their products are necessarily that compelling on their own, it's that if your entire computing is Microsoft (as it was for many people late 90s-early 2000s) a lot of problems go away.
The killer app for Windows server is that it is designed for managing Windows desktops for example. If you are running OS X desktops, why bother with it?
Because you want to run applications that only run on Windows Server?
If you are one of the small minority of people running OS X in a business environment then of course Microsoft's vertical integration is less useful. But well over 90% of business desktops/laptops are Windows based, so Microsoft has an attractive model for many businesses.
They can't really "hunker down" on a few core products in the same way that Apple does.
There is a huge world of specialised business applications out there that are ignored on HN (often for good reasons) that any large enterprise will have hundreds of - a lot of these run on Windows.
However, there are two trends now:
1) Move the application to the web. Many of them are getting HTML frontends, and the backends are OS-independent.
2) Those, that are not getting ported, are being thrown into Citrix XenApp (or into other desktop virtualization environment). It is actually very interesting to see using your business app on device like Asus Transformer. And then you start question yourself - why do you need Windows on client and all the heavy infrastructure in the server room it needs?
I was only addressing why people want Window Server - clients are something else entirely. In my experience, in large enterprises almost all "business" applications (except for Office) are served over Citrix or RDP.
I don't think Microsoft ever cared at all about customers or products. Microsoft has been making money out of patents and white-gloved mobbing for ever, not out of customer happiness. Probably around 90% percent of what they earn in OS licenses comes from preinstalled laptops and desktops, where the user doesn't even have the choice to reject paying for them because they gently mobbed all manufacturers into shipping with their crapware installed, so they don't even need to care about making a great product, just one that's good enough and works most of the times.
I've paid for at least 5 Windows licenses that I never, not even for a split second, have used. First thing I do when I get a laptop is install Debian on it. I have NEVER even seen the Windows logo come up in any of my PCs, yet I've still had to pay their mob tax. No matter how much you fight with the clerk or how many emails you send to the manufacturer. They can't do anything. It all comes from above. The hardware and the software are a unit. It's a bundle, you can't separate it.
Xbox one sucks, alright. So did all Windowses from 1.0 till 3.1, Windows 95, Windows Me (especially), Windows Vista, and uncountable other terrible decisions that, somehow, didn't manage to sink the company. I don't think yet another awful product will even manage to make a notch to their massive fortune.
It would be interesting to see how much of that revenue is from licenses that do not end up being used (My assumption would be very little of it. Which doesn't say anything good about there being a monoculture, but the unnecessary license problem is probably a narrow edge case...).
And then I'd like to see that compared to Office, Windows, Server & Tools, etc.
Why would anybody buy hardware with Windows on it, only to install Debian? Build your own systems, that's the really obvious and really simple answer. You're blaming Microsoft for your bad choices. You don't have to pay any fake tax that you're making up - simply stop buying the products that you are. You have no right to any particularly configured product to begin with; you're not entitled to any such thing. Create your own laptops if you're so bent about it. Sounds like you're taxing yourself. You can rant like a champ, but you can't custom build a Debian laptop? Whose fault is that exactly? I fail to see how that's Microsoft's fault, or how they owe you or Debian anything.
Requiring people to do the impossible or else they are "entitled" doesn't make for a very good argument.
There is a reason why the world is organized around this 'division of labor' concept. Excluding someone from it and then calling the complains about it an entitlement is not a good way forward.
According to Google's 1 billion activated Android devices, that would make patent revenue of 8 billion $ just on that platform. This compared to the about 70 billion $ yearly revenue they're making overall.
That's just out of the Android patents, a mere fistful among the more than 10.000 patents  they hold.
edit: Also, are you seriously asking me to build my own laptop?
You work on a company and they have office. You didn't choose, you can't change it. It's just there.
I sit in front of Windows 7 all day, have a Windows Phone and mostly use Visual Studio but I genuinely get the feeling that they are tailing off when it comes to common sense. Despite the vast wads of cash they are still earning, they have lost direction and have reverted to predatory tactics again.
I won't be staying around this time.
Why did they chose a path of an enhanced tablet? Probably because they didn’t want to compete with Apple in the $500 price tag. Or because they thought that there is market in the high end of tablets.
The thing is that their tablet strategy has failed and along goes a line of products designed for it, namely Metro, Win RT and Windows 8. Add their inability to penetrate the smartphone market and you begin to realize why Microsoft is considered irrelevant these days.
The only aspect where I read interesting news from MS is their development platform. Perhaps they should stop jerking around and return to their core, aka make software for the enterprise.
Not a totally different operating system, but a totally different runtime called RT for new apps.
What I do think is the right approach? I recommend you to see the Ubuntu Phone videos.
I also happen to like the monochrome icons in the newest Visual Studio (where there are a lot of other improvements as well, comparing to 2010).
Microsoft should be criticized, but for something else - that they brought Win8 about 2 years too late.
I actually knocked up an image of my calculator (HP 50g) against my TFT screen both scaled accordingly as an illustration of this shit crock:
Edit: Hrmmm... Looking at the screen shot in the other comment, can't you just dock the calculator to the side like other metro apps?
A quick Google brought this example - http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-dock-and-undock-apps-in-win...
And that is not being fixed. Button that throws you into Start screen is not a fix for the missing Start menu.
Metro could have been so good, the idea of a full screen start menu is good, the idea of larger tiles that update as an obvious replacement for the current set of icons is excellent. But they went and messed it up in such a way that I can't really imagine using it being an advantage over current use of 7 - "Oh you can use it like 7. If you work around Metro." Is the most common response I've got on its various user-interface screwups, but you can do that with 7 too so.... yeah.
They even managed to mess up the explorer interface more than they already had.
Hah. This has to be the most ridiculous thing ever. I always despised the windows platform for development (except maybe for DirectX), but damn, this is going to affect the number of native apps, making their platform obsolete much quicker.
You can also do price discrimination. Those rich guys in the US and Japan can afford $100, so you'll charge them that much. The up-and-comers in China might be able to do $50, so that's the price for them. Africa? Since $20 is like a month's wages for a whole village or something, that's probably all you can get out of them, and with those prices you're only making three fiddy after you cover the per-unit support costs for that always-online thingy. But you really need that so you can do geolocation, and can keep all the annoying entrepreneurs on HN from buying a million African copies when they're on safari, then eating your lunch by reselling them to the US and China for $30.
This is assuming customers want the product badly enough that they're willing to put up with this garbage. Which they generally do -- most people don't travel internationally and aren't affected; furthermore, software is not a commodity and there may not be completely interchangeable alternatives so their only choices are to put up with it or make do without.
But really, this will likely be the last generation of consoles to support a physical disk.
I imagine that by the end of this "round" of consoles 60%+ of game sales for these consoles will be digital downloads.
What do use game sales look like in a digital marketplace?
If you allow gamers to freely transfer licenses then what is to stop me selling my game to someone in singapore at 1AM when I have finished playing and then coming back the next day and buying the same game back at a reduced rate from someone in australia who has just gone to bed and picking up where I left off?
The only sensible way to allow this would be via DRM which makes /r/gaming shit the bed.
Since they're going with the requirement for 24hr checkins it would seem that going digital-only would have been an option. I daresay if they'd have done that there'd be less of a fuss.
w.r.t. the use of transfers to share copies, why is that a problem specifically? The same ``problem'' exists with on-disc media (for the current consoles at least).
There is also the risk that the disk is scratched which puts people off buying used.
OTOH a digital license can be transferred across the globe in a matter of seconds and the product does not degrade with use or get damaged in transit.
This means that there is no point buying a new game, just buy the game when you want to play it and sell it when you don't. The total number of new licenses bought only has to support the number of people who want to play it concurrently, not the total number of people who want to play at all.
The only way around this would be to impose artificial restrictions on used game sales. For example, you can only sell to people in your own country, a license can only be transferred a fixed number of times etc.
Perhaps we disagree, but I think this should be seen as an encouragement to change approaches rather than an opportunity to change a market because it doesn't suit the producer.
I'd be amazed if Microsoft would happily let used sales kill their highly profitable market in such a way.
In the case of Sony they seem to be using the physical disks themselves as the license, actually storing the data on the disk is simply a convenience. In theory the disk could only contain ~1mb of metadata that triggers a digital download.
Will be interesting to see if they keep with that model, I can see having to go out and buy a physical disk or waiting for it to arrive in the mail seeming very antiquated in 5 years.
But poor comparison in that iPad is a mobile device you're supposed to carry around with you, while the consoles are stationary.
I don't think the Xbox One is that bad. No one has figured out the formula of owning the living room yet (or taking it away from cable providers) and MS is giving it a shot. I applaud them for that.
Microsoft's strategy is to own the living room.
Sony's strategy is to take the enthusiast gamers back from MS.
Nintendo's strategy is to...well frankly I don't know what the hell Nintendo is trying to do.
Microsoft is so out of touch with what people want and how to respect their current users. They're like old people trying to mix in with hip adolescents.
They remind me more of a bank than an IT industry leader.
Seriously, how can a collective group of people decide that enabling publishers/developers to manipulate the users of the their platform a GOOD IDEA?
I have no use for MSFT anymore except Windows/Office. Hope the day comes that MSFT wakes up, or someone actually competes against those products.
This one beggars belief. What happened to 'developers developers developers'? At least with the online requirement for gamers, there's a certain interal logic to it (however crazy and wrong) but there seems to be no sense in making it harder for developers to create content for you.
You will need an internet connection to acquire a developer license once every thirty days but that takes about two minutes and that's about it.
Furthermore, you can't run unit tests without an interactive session, so the build slaves would have to auto-login on boot; we chose instead to not run the unit tests automatically on checkins.
- They're beginning to lock down their platform
- They effectively killed the once hailed .NET for desktop development
- They're killing other popular technology, like XNA
It appears as if they're in the process of migrating away from their island of proprietary technology, adopting stuff that has become popular in the rest of the world. I wouldn't be surprised if they killed off DirectX in favour of OpenGL at this point.
And that'd be good, of course. But I'm wondering if alienating all those MS-only developers is a good idea.
You won't find Visual Studio, but I think everybody agrees Linux is a fine dev environment. And if someone makes a controversial change, a fork almost always happens, which is simply impossible in the Microsoft world.
I guess the thing is, Visual Studio is actually quite a good C++ IDE. The best one out there, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not a big fan of IDEs, but if you're into that stuff...
The introduction is the start of an "instructional video" for how to lend games to your friends, complete with "Step One" and dramatic PS4 music, and then the guy just hands a game to his friend who says, "Thanks."
I think it is a clever ad, and a good position to take. I'm not much of a gamer so I am not their core demographic, but I tend to buy something from each generation of consoles and "less-obnoxious DRM and no region-locking" would be a no-brainer for me in terms of choosing.
They are also encouraging developers to remove online passes
The PS4 will work just like the PS3 for disc games. This means that EA might go and re-implement their "online pass" system and Sony won't get in their way and try to force them NOT to do this, but there will be nothing built into the console for this and the implementation and blame for it are all squarely on EA. Sony can (and has) only stated for sure that their first party games won't have something like "online pass", if external publishers do it, that's on them, just like it was when EA implemented "online pass" for the 360 and PS3.
Mind you, I will buy one once Halo 5 (for me) or FIFA 14 (teenage son) comes out...
IIRC the PS3 was even more expensive when it came out.
One advantage of a console is that it is an "investment" in that you know buying one will give you at least 5 years worth of supported gaming. Compare that to buying an iPad, the first gen iPad was released in 2010 and it basically obsolete now.
[Even my teenage son, who thinks that money magically grows in the Bank of Mum & Dad thought that £429 was a lot - if he noticed then MS probably have a pricing problem].
I remember when I was a lad, the "posh" kids would get the new gaming systems when they came out. Everyone went over to their houses to marvel at them, so when the price drop came next xmas they went on everyone's list.
As for Windows 8. It's not a failure, they launched their tablet product, windows phones, they're in two markets they weren't before.
For the PC as well, if you recall.
This is your big problem. Liberate yourself - you won't look back.
The announced pricing is indeed high compared to previous releases. I don't worry that it won't come down though. The XBox and 360 did. Furthermore, since the release isn't until November I wouldn't worry about it until we have reality. There's a million reasons to announce a price early knowing you might change it.
DRM and region locking are your strongest points yet, and yet I'm inclined not to worry about DRM until the product is out and irate would-be-sellers have been emailing microsoft for a few weeks. As for region locking being a reason not to buy it at all that doesn't hold up: if you're in the US, Europe, or any of the 21 countries they've enabled you've got no reason not to buy it because of region locking. Do you seriously take your XBOX with you abroad!?
It's a bold move calling the Windows 8 experiment (yes; that's what it is) a failure given the number of copy cat interfaces we've seen. (iOS7 anyone?). Their implementation had kinks to work out, and yet we're already seeing other people improving on it. If someone as big as Microsoft can't afford to experiment with UIs we're in trouble. Forward motion! App development depends on platform adoption, and it doesn't look like W8 tablets have much adoption yet. No sense wasting development hours on something no one will pay for or through. I really don't understand your problem with this: "... the Apps sold in the Windows Store are fullscreen apps ..." Tablets are designed for fullscreen. If they weren't fullscreen would you complain the opposite? Right now all I'm hearing is that you don't like windows changing...not a coherent argument.
In your last paragraph you finally get to what I think is the main point: Windows is your 'home' operating system. And it's changing. And you don't like those changes. You liked Windows development on XP through W7. (Although I'm willing to bet you ignored Vista: changes are hard to get right, and from what I can observe Microsoft usually just goes for it and then adapts in the next version). Experiments aren't always successful, but let's give Microsoft some credit for doing them.
Thank you for sharing your frustrations, but let's be a bit more positive here: we're making leaps and bounds forward, and experiments are the quanta of those leaps and bounds.
I don't know why they just couldnt have gone with 'Xbox'. Not like there is one coming out every year (let alone every decade) , like the iPad people will just say 'the new xbox'.
"Xbox One" just seems like some marketing guys idea of a good thing to patronise people and make them think it's 'the only one', 'the single device to do it all' etc.
Exactly -- this is why it was baffling that they spent half the intro event showing features that only work with a separate cable box hooked up to the Xbox, so that you control your cable box via Kinect voice commands. I can completely understand why someone who didn't watch the intro would be reluctant to believe it was mostly about cable television, but it really was.
In terms of marketing, the Xbox One isn't as pleasing to many people as one would come to expect (but then again, Wii U isn't doing much better). I think the naming should have been given a little more consideration, but I don't think that's really anything more than a sub-issue with the platform.
The pricing, however, is. As a marketing team, what needed to be done was addressing the newer generation of consoles and "outdoing" the other competing consoles. The ps4, to be frank, is more superior. I think Microsoft did a splendid job on design and pricing given the time they had to compete with the ps4, so they'll be given credit here. But certainly no real "wins". All of these are foothold attempts, that didn't catch on as much as they expected.
THEN the real issues start. DRM is always considered poorly received. Region locking as well, especially given the prices that are adjusted for European countries. I think the move they made wasn't rash, but it did affect a minority. I'd like to highlight this wasn't the real issue.
Your real issue is
"It has always been Microsoft's strategy to encourage outside development of games."
This is the problem. They reason Xbox 360 has SO MANY fantastic games is the Xbox indie development groups. This has helped Google's Android, this has helped iOS. Creativity is what really fosters a community of gamers. But now that indie developers must get publishers for Xbox One, the market will not be as strong.
All in all, I could nitpick over calling windows 8 an "experiment" or the use of apps in the store, or any of that, but I don't think that's the key issue.
The key issue is that Microsoft is getting competition, and we just witnessed them losing quite a significant chunk of the gaming market. The businesses went from 5+ years of XP, and only about 2 years of Vista, 7, 8, and now 8.1 .
I don't think Microsoft should be punished for moving forward, but instead they should be punished for moving in the direction that people haven't liked.
I think they have an amplified version of the 'need to be the underdog to do good work' syndrome. Once they finally climb that hill, they become their own worst enemy every time.