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What is Microsoft smoking? (irrlicht3d.org)
188 points by irrlichthn on June 13, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 246 comments

Interestingly enough there is a point at which I thought Microsoft was really going to hit some home runs not all that long ago. Since then though the trifecta of Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and Xbox One has turned me away from their entire product line. Combined with my own movements over the years towards open source desktop software and web applications (Google Docs, etc.) and Microsoft barely rates a mention in my world on a day to day basis.

In short there is nothing Microsoft is doing now that is of interest to me.

Sure, WP8 has its quirks but I don't think it's all that bad? The interface is clean, the OS is smooth and the app store has quite a few useful apps (although a few major ones are still missing).

I've heard that what you say above is possible with the right third party apps but after trying it out I decided that it's Vista 2.0. Vista had good things going for it but they were cancelled out by the annoying features. IMO win7 is the best release Microsoft has ever made and I wouldn't be surprised if it had the same long lifespan as winXP while win8 languishes in obscurity. With the strides gaming has been making on Linux though I'm really hoping that I can make a permanent switch at some point soon.

He said WP8, so Windows Phone 8.

Thanks, misread that

Many would disagree (about being bad) http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/ Most apps have significant issues and causes for regular frustration.

I'm not a fan of most of their products, but I've heard good things about Azure, even for Linux hosting.

Disclosure: I was at Microsoft for a couple of months due to an acquisition.

I find the actual process of deploying stuff to Azure very costly and terribly slow. If something doesn't work as intended on Azure, your turnaround time is quite high. This is far too common a problem as well as the development services they offer for local dev aren't 100% the same as the target environment.

Not to mention things like no automatic logging, no automatic HTTPS, 20-60 minute deploy times, unstable dev tools. I've dealt with the quirks of MVC4 which I grew accustomed to, but the other problems are making deploying a solution (something I'm trying to do now) very painful.

With Azure websites (in preview) deployment of Mvc4 projects is in the matter of seconds (I have been using it for some months). If you fork a hosted service, yes deployment does take time if you use the official way. Afaik, you can also use the accelerator for web roles [1] to reduce this delay considerably [2].

[1]: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2011/07/12/now-...

[2]: accelerator is no longer being updated (afaik), chiefly because Azure websites are designed to handle the scenario it was developed for.

Cheers. Unfortunately while we have a web role we have two worker roles running long-background processes to deal with Exchange streaming subscriptions (this isn't really a website, it's an API). This is more than I found when attempting to search for a solution to a quicker deploy, however.

You can use accelerator for worker roles as well. Though it is not updated any more but it is open source.

I think you have to keep in mind Azure is not just a PaaS (which of course is still in beta as websites)

It's has an IaaS equivalent of EC2.

If I wanted to do IaaS I would have done so already, and most likely on EC2. However, I don't want to spend time doing devops, which is what makes PaaS so attractive in the first place. Actually the true PaaS is Cloud Services, which we've integrated along with the queues and tables. It's definitely not in beta - it's been out for quite some time. Most of my PaaS experience comes mostly with App Engine, which I liked as a platform (save for the odd quirk). When I first signed up with Azure, I was blown away by how good the interface looked compared to App Engine. However, over time as we've developed a non-trivial but not overly complex (internal) service, I found many things that I took for granted on App Engine had to be coded from the ground up on Azure (namely, logging and HTTPS).

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).

Sadly, this very much mirrors my experience. I love Azure and ASP.NET MVC4. But the moment my deploys went from 5 minutes to 20 minutes and more, I started hating myself for any random code or test I wish I cleaned up first.

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 wiring up is killing it for me - the wrong parts have been overengineered (MVC4, JSON) and not enough attention has been paid attention to the things that need to be stable (Azure dev tools). Overall the service has amazing potential, insofar as you can do a lot more than you can do on something like App Engine (which only supports HTTP - which after using Azure, was a good decision). But it drops the ball on all the basic features, whether they be buggy or missing.

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.

Way to go, this completely describes Azure (and MSFT web) development. We've been using the MSFT stack for the last 4 years and this is 100% consistent with our experience.

You nailed it. That is exactly spot on.

Once I started I couldn't stop. This is my therapy for the last three 16 hour days I've done debugging our Azure-based service. My compatriot (an ex-Microsoftie) has been working with it fully for the last two months, and I have no idea how he maintained his sanity.

But PaaS is what sells it to me as developer who can show something cool to his management. Now you say that I should drop all PaaS benefits? Why not start with EC2 from the start?

I did actually try Azure about a year ago - I built a few WP7 apps (just to see what the platform was all about) and used Azure as the back-end for one. While I didn't have a bad experience, I also didn't find anything particularly compelling about it compared to the competition (though I admittedly used it in a very simple capacity).

> I'm not a fan of most of their products, but I've heard good things about Azure, even for Linux hosting.

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!

You actually use the UI? I've been using Rackspace and AWS for a while (years?) now and I can't say I've logged into their web interfaces much at all. Not in months, for sure.

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.

Their UI is actually just a wrapper around their API, so while I haven't used Azure, I believe the answer to this is yes. Microsoft also publishes Node/javascript bindings to their API.

I don't know if that has improved, but at least a year ago their Linux servers were awfully unreliable.

Shame, I really loved the idea of having Microsoft host my Linux systems ;-)

Every Microsoft debacle peels off a few more users. I grew up on DOS as a kid and rode the Microsoft train through Windows 3.1, Win95, Win98SE, Win2K and WinXP but jumped ship to Ubuntu in 2008 after everyone had a chance to see just how bad Vista was. I was also increasingly conscious of the cultural shift in Microsoft: away from a legendary fidelity to API stability and toward an ever-shifting grab bag of disposable fashions and fads, starting with the compatibility break from VB6 to VB.NET.

My impression is that Linux is not some weard system that nobody uses anymore. Now it's a weard system that this or that person uses because they like to be different for difference sakeness.

I wonder how many more users Linux must gain untill people perceive it as something normal that they can just use.

>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).

I can't tell whether you're being facetious.

No, I can see that evolution as well. I started playing with Linux in 1993-95 era and in that time it has gone from something you could only get if you went somewhere geeky and found a table with Slackware CDs on it, to something that the geeks knew about but no one else did, to "that hacker thing I've heard my geek friend talk about", to "that alternative OS that also runs on my cable box and I hear it has something to do with Android", and finally to "yeah my friend runs that cuz he hates MS and Windows".

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.

Microsoft had all the cards to win the device war. But they forgot what made them win the PC war.

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.

What made them win the PC war was what landed them in federal court.

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 landed them in Federal Court was bundling a browser (the most advanced at the time) with their OS for free. Over a decade later, we all know that a consumer OS that ships without a browser is an incomplete product (as BillG testified in the case).

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.

They did more than bundle a browser, they gave OEMs financial incentives NOT to bundle Netscape.

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.

With the tablets there was a time (roughly a year) when Apple was the market.

> What landed them in Federal Court was bundling a browser (the most advanced at the time) with their OS for free. Over a decade later, we all know that a consumer OS that ships without a browser is an incomplete product (as BillG testified in the case)

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.

Not just the browser.

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.

My personal favorite is the MS OS/2 2.0 fiasco: http://yuhongbao.blogspot.ca/2012/12/about-ms-os2-20-fiasco-...

> They tried to emulate apple while forgetting that people that bought into apple ideology already had apple.

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.

"IBM that is their destiny"

Which means becoming a company built around professional services which will mean a lot of unhappy Microsoft partners.

I have always thought that being a Microsoft partner is already a corporate suicide note. They are ruthless when trying to earn more money from existing business lines.

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.

Their setup works well with companies that are willing and able to pay tons for a setup that works well top to bottom.

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).

Microsoft has no hope of becoming an IBM.

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.

Consulting, not so much, but they have an integrated, whole-enterprise stack that includes:

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).

The biggest (of many) problems with these offerings is that they only work in and of themselves and only on Windows. I cannot run any of them on my Linux desktop, an Android device, an iPad, etc. Microsoft will not port any of these things to alternate platforms because Windows is their religion.

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.

Yep. Using any of these locks you into Windows.

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.

And why specifically do you dislike, say, SQL Server? (except for price; obviously Microsoft wants to make money off of it).

I have several reasons but here's the top:

* 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.

MS lockin starts with Active Directory and Exchange. There are basically no competitors for AD, and few credible competitors for Exchange.

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.

"IBM manufactures lots of hardware"

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).

I didn't have time to dig for really accurate numbers, but Microsoft's Xbox sales, which might include revenue from game developers as well as hardware, was about $9.6B for FY 2012. (http://www.microsoft.com/Investor/EarningsAndFinancials/Earn...)

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.

I stand corrected, thanks. I often underestimate the crazy money still being made in IT infrastructure. This will teach me.

I see Microsoft in a position similar to RIM 5 - 8 years back. They have tons of revenue from big business that are kinda locked in to their stack. There is no need for large innovation in those very mature markets and they innovate by pushing more of the same. I may not be an office power use, but I see very little significant changes in Office since 2003, only small features tweaked.

Office has changed dramatically since then. The ribbon, while a superficial change, apparently has a huge impact on discoverability of Office features and usage. There's now an online version of the applications, and integration with Skydrive/SharePoint. There are tons of smaller additions that are very useful, too (e.g. Flash Fill in Excel, multi-monitor support in PowerPoint, etc.).

It's even worse than that. If you are a power user and turn off the toolbars etc, excel 97 isn't that much different to excel 2013.

If you can say this then you are not a power user. If only by one MASSIVE measure and that is the row limit increase between these two versions, but there are plenty others.

The BI stack is growing steadily.

Lots happening in Excel/PowerPivot/Data Explorer land.

The reasons why Microsoft fail seem so petty. They are technologically probably the most advanced company, but ruin it by dubious politics.

> They are technologically probably the most advanced company

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.

>It has absolutely zero technical superiority over everything else out right now.

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.

Yeah, so vastly superior that they can't even convince their enterprise customers to adopt their latest platforms (phones, tabets) and operating system (Windows 8).

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.

>Yeah, so vastly superior that they can't even convince their enterprise customers to adopt their latest platforms (phones, tabets) and operating system (Windows 8).

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.

> They are technologically probably the most advanced company

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.

Microsoft had all the cards back in 2008, maybe. The missteps started with Vista and Zune, and continued with Windows Phone 7, and were magnified with Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, and now XBox One. There's also the big non-step of trying to starve the iPad by not porting Office to it -- which has made it glaringly obvious how little we need Office to get stuff done.

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).

Why did Bluray loose? I love Bluray. And I buy them too...

He means disc growth is stagnant with all future growth apparently going to streaming.

i think he's referring to the fact that disc-based delivery of content is quickly becoming obsolete.

From my experience, Arch with KDE and XP/Win7 are extremely similar with regards to user experience quality, so that I myself wouldn't be willing to call one or the other better. At this point, a person more used to Windows might get annoyed by having to edit config files on Arch/KDE every so often, and a person more into Linux might be frustrated that in Windows, some things can't be easily fixed. But these are more differences in preference than in quality.

Quality really hits you when you have to set up postfix, dovecot-lda, dovecot imap, ldap auth and an NFS share to store mail on.

I'd genuinely rather use exchange and active directory!

Slightly offtopic but can you point me to a description of said font issues? My Android Studio (IDEA) fonts seem fine (on latest Kubuntu and Fedora w/ KDE).

IDEA-57233 Editor font antialising/appearance problems on Linux http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-57233

I had huge issues with swing fonts. Bad enough that I bought a couple jetbrains products that I wasn't using at all. Then when the Android Studio came out I installed it just to look at it and noticed it looked good. I fired up my other swing stuff and saw noticeable improvement. This is on Fedora 18 (64 bit if it matters, KDE is my desktop) with the Oracle JVM.

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.

Hi, have you tried the AAHack plugin? It made a difference for me when running IDEA on Arch/Gnome.

Arch's fonts can be prettified a lot with Ubuntu patches from AUR: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Font_Configuration#Ubun...

(I'm another Arch + KDE user - both at home and at work)

I used infiniality and the result is beautiful. From what I was able to deduce it was a mix of phpstorm bolding everything way too much, JDK refusing to use rendering and some dpi issues (a letter in storm is almost twice smaller than in kwrite)

But my experiences with arch are very positive so far.

You might want to look at System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014. There's some impressive technology there.

I don't think that Sony "won" E3, or that Microsoft lost. Instead, Sony called Microsoft's bluff.

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.

This is "signaling." Companies are not allowed to meet and align their strategies. E.g. car rental companies can't get together and agree to raise their rates 10% next year. (A few years back I think Budget got in trouble for basically proposing that other car rental companies follow their lead in raising rates in a conference call). However, companies can send each other signals in various ways. Microsoft may have been trying to send Sony a signal. If Sony agreed, consumers would have had to suck it up and deal with it, or refuse to buy the products.

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.

> It's probably a bid for market share more than a bid for consumer happiness, in my opinion.

What's the difference?

Motivation? In other words, a focus on market share seems to me like it's a much more selfish thing, and that Sony is perhaps only going in the direction that they are because they perceive that it will be better for their bottom line in the long run and not because they care whether or not their customers are happy. It's hard to see how they would not be the same thing, but at the same time I think there is an argument to be made that there have been times that Sony have done things that decreased consumer happiness (e.g. removing the ability to install Linux on the PS3) which did not have a particularly adverse effect on their market share (how many people actually stopped using PS3 or decided not to buy one when Sony made this decision? I do not actually know the answer, so my argument might be way off base, but I had the impression that it was some insignificantly small number).

> "they can all be pretty easily reverted"

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.

This isn't about Microsoft's bottom line, this is about the bottom line of GameStop, EA, Activision, etc.

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.

In the end, the publishers will go where the consumers are. And if we judge by the titles available on the PS4, I'd say that Sony has a pretty good hand right now.

Any pressure against Microsoft from the above retailers/publishers would be equally against Sony and Nintendo, since Microsoft doesn't own the market in any sense of the word.

Since Sony didn't implement it, it's fair to say the pressure isn't that strong.

I think the two strategies are not so much about Sony or MSFTs bottom line, but appeals to different constituencies.

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.

Im probably going to lose what little karma I have for saying this, but the XBox One's licensing model is more attractive to me than the PS4's model.

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

I think that idea probably works well...

...until you have to drag an entire BluRay disc over the Internet before Halo 14 will start.

I agree, but that that is a problem with the distribution method, not the licencing model. The most reasonable answer to this would be that the game disc can be used to install on any console, but only allow that disc to confer a licence once.

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.

It's gonna be a lot of fun when the master keys leak and someone writes a fake server that just authorises every game. Surely microsoft know that this is 100% going to happen?

I'm sure there will eventually be some form of jailbreak for the console that allows the execution of pirate games.

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.

That's just annoying though. It's like not being able to move your music freely around your devices. Granted that you probably will probably only have one Xbox one, but it's still a pain.

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.

Moving windows 8 around is trivial. Most of the time it just activates. Occasionally it makes you phone them which takes about 3-4 mins.

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...

Idiots guide to moving it from one machine to another?

Just install it from scratch on the new machine with the same key, copy your files over and delete the source installation. Don't ever move it or move disks - it will shit a brick.

Did I say that I had the professional upgrade! If I tried to do that, it would moan that there wasn't a copy of Windows on the other machine that I was trying to install it on. Even though when reading the license - I am entitled to move it. I guess there's always the hotline...

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.

Snag the image for the full version and use your key on it - it'll work fine. I've done exactly what you have.



Many thanks.

That would be awesome since it would mean there would be tons of consumer pressure to increase upload/download speeds and hopefully get ISPs upgrading service.

In one of their presentations they mentioned "instant start", i.e. it downloads just enough to get you started then downloads the rest in the background.

Its probably the same streaming tech office 2010 home and student uses. It basically makes it unusable. Every time you click something it lags for 30-40 seconds while it caches dlls. Horrible tech.

I doubt its the same tech as the code to do this in a game would be totally different than the code for a desktop application. There's a big difference between JIT downloading and prioritizing so that you can start the game. I swear some people will find any reason to get in a shot against MS.

I've used windows for over 20 years. I think I've earned my right to bitch about the bad bits :)

> - 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.

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[1] 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.

>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?

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.

>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.

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.

Microsoft's definition of family is extremely generous - in short it can include your friends, and doesn't appear limited by geography.

See the "It's a 'family' affair" side box: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/microsoft-defends-the-...

"You'll be able to link other Xbox Live accounts as having shared access to your library when you first set up a system and will also be able to add them later on (though specific details of how you manage these relationships is still not being discussed). The only limitation, it seems, is that only one person can be playing the shared copy of a single game at any given time. All in all, this does sound like a pretty convenient feature that's more workable than simply passing discs around amongst friends who are actually in your area."

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.

If it works like their current 'family' accounts do, then everybody is basically sharing the same gold membership. So you all pay for xbox live gold on the same billing information.

Thank you for posting this. This was how I guessed that "family" would work when I made my original post.

Yes, I think you've nailed this on the head. The licensing is all dressed up, but ultimately MS is the one trying to take a slice of every pie. Having said that, I'm not sure what and how they currently profit from their consoles? It's my understanding that Nintendo and other manufacturers sell the hardware at a loss and make their money on licensing - perhaps that's done on a per game basis, rather than a per unit basis.

I know that Nintendo traditionally has been selling their consoles for a profit, though I'm not sure if this carries over to the WiiU.

I know Sony and MS have sold consoles at a loss before.

Sounds interesting, and a lot like Steam (which, like you, I've spent a fair bit of money on over the years now.)

Ah, but PC game retail prices are much lower than on consoles, which is why most people tolerate the insanely restrictive Steam licensing conditions. Frankly, if they took licensing condition form anyone, i wish they'd stolen it form one of the app stores (which is closer to what they've done than steam), where you can have 10 simultaneous installs and users per purchase.

Price-wise I believe you, but that makes no sense IIRC the economic arguments for consoles, since developing for a single specific platform is supposed to be cheaper than debugging on a hundred different processors.

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.)

Who's to say console game prices won't go down in the era of all digital? If publishers make more money on their games there will be downward price pressure.

On the PC you have easier time pirating so buying a game is proactive choice - I like the game that is why I buy it. So it give the user the feeling that he is in control of the situation and is not feeling ripped off.

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.

While there is an air of convenience to being able to pull your games from thin air, it's not really that difficult to carry around your games. Perhaps being able to store them on an SD card would be a pretty good comprimise. I like the idea of not having a load of plastic - but it's no great hardship plugging in a cable, or carrying a TV from one room to another. I keep my gamecube (yes gamecube,) packed away, if I want to use it - I just pull it out. If I want to listen to music in another room, I carry a music player through to it. But these days we are sold overly technical solutions to problems, like wireless music systems (with klunky interfaces), and such, which don't really give you much back. I was still watching an old school CRT tv back in December before it died on me, and once I was ingrossed in what I was watching, I didn't care what I was watching it on. Same goes for SSD's on computers, sure they increase boot and load times - but who cares about 2mins vs 40seconds? It doesn't really matter.

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 agree with you about carrying around discs being easy. I am based in New Zealand, and carrying around a disc is alot easier and cheaper than always downloading the game. I think downloading games is an incidental feature when the game licencing is centrally controlled with cloud-based distribution.

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.

Only one person of the 10 with whom you share can play at a time. This will not restrict you from playing though. It's not clear whether you can play a co-op game together on a single copy. To me this seems better than actually lending a disk to someone since you can still play your game while you lend it out.

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.

So how does that work, your mate turns his PC on, and it kicks you out as you are fighting a boss? I assume not, but it does make you wonder.

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.

It may be obvious but to clarify only one of your family members can be playing from your shared library at a given time.

Exactly, the OP is completely glossing over the fact that it is not possible to 'share your game with a friend in another city', because that implies that he a) has to sign in using your XBL account, and b) you can not be playing the same game at the same time. This also holds for the whole 'family' sharing 'feature', which I don't really get anyway. If the XBox One is supposed to be the center of the living room media experience, I don't think many households will buy multiple, and even less so, play them at the same time.

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!).

> 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.

That's incorrect. Only one of your family members can play each of the games in your shared library at a given time.

So you can't have two people playing Halo 5, but you can have one person playing Halo 5 and one playing Forza 5.

Good spotting, it looks like I didn't read it thoroughly enough and misinterpreted it as a result. This does take away a bit of the power from this kind of licensing, but even so, playing co-op online with a single friend who hasnt bought the game is better than only being able to play with friends who have bought the game.

I just wanted to point out that, from the Ars Technica article above, "only one person can be playing the shared copy of a single game at any given time". That, to me, really sounds like its either you OR someone on your shared list, not you AND someone on your shared list.

> 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.

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."[1]

[1] http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/microsoft-defends-the-...

Thank you for correcting me

> - Access your entire games library from any Xbox One ... > > while you are logged in at your friend’s house, you can play your games.

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

> Interesting. But I'm not sure the value. How many homes have > 1 unit.

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.

>How does one define family? How do they prove it

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.

They have explicitly said that it can be anyone. It can be a friend across the country. It can be your cousin. It could be a sibling. You could even add your enemies and limit the sharing folder to only include awful games.

When companies make restrictions like that they almost always mean people in general with an upward limit on how many people to prevent abuse (a very generous 10 in this case)

Microsoft Is Spread Too Thin.

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.

> This is probably an incredibly incomplete list.

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 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.

This list confirms what I've been thinking about MSFT for a long time - their primary product is the Office Suite and has been for quite some time. As long as there are billions of people in the world vendor locked to the Office Suite as there currently is, MSFT will be around and kicking for a long time no matter how hard they fail on other fronts. It's no matter how badly Windows declines, as long as it runs Office and a web browser, (some) people will buy it.

The speed with which one technological company can fall is amazing as history has shown time and time again. According to joel spolsky Excel 4 made lotus 1-2-3 obsolete virtually overnight and that was the beginning of the end for them.

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.

> Excel 4 made lotus 1-2-3 obsolete virtually overnight

Isn't that the benefit of being "spread thin" though? Xboxone might die but at least they have the other stuff.

Actually, their substantial diversification beyond Windows means that it's very, very unlikely Microsoft is going to fall (easily or quickly). Microsoft could lose the entire consumer Windows business and be just fine (despite the hit their stock would take), particularly as they keep growing in other sectors while Windows becomes less important by the day (and is clearly done growing as a business). Consumer Windows is about 1/3 of Microsoft's profit these days.

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.

The vast majority of Microsoft's profits come from Office. Windows makes a little bit, and everything else loses money.

This is fundamentally incorrect. Only Online Services Division (Bing) loses money. Everything else makes money, and Windows definitely makes more than "a little bit."

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.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/investor/EarningsAndFinancials/Earn...

Even though Xbox (Entertainment) is now making a small profit, they've got a long, long way to go before it recoups the vast investment/losses of the early days:


> The speed with which one technological company can fall is amazing as history has shown time and time again.

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).

But Microsoft have single product. While they do sell it from 5 different department is combines to one interwoven whole.

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.

Microsoft has 12 billion dollar businesses. Apple has 6. Google has 1 or 2 I think (although I can't find a source for that).

Sources: http://www.businessinsider.com/microsofts-billion-dollar-bus...


If Microsoft has a single product, so do Apple and Google.

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.

Agreed, seems like way too many fronts to fight on. Back in the day when they were the evil empire (TM), this probably made sense - they were able to steamroll into new markets, right over the competition. Now that they're playing catch up in many of those areas, probably not so much.

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.

When you are in so many markets, your efforts will sometimes be ahead and sometimes behind the competition. It's the sort of normal Poisson distribution you'd expect to find anyhow.

Microsoft's business model is basically "we are all things to all men". It's all about vertical integration.

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?

"If you are running OS X desktops, why bother with it?"

Because you want to run applications that only run on Windows Server?

But a large chunk of the really compelling Windows Server applications are about management of Windows desktop.

> If you are running OS X desktops, why bother with it?

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.

Yah, but that's kind of my point. They are spreading themselves thin because their business model is all based around vertical integration.

I'm not sure I understand your point. How does making the Xbox hurt Windows Server or Windows Phone?

It doesn't , if anything it's the opposite.

So in what sense do you think they are spreading themselves too thin?

I don't really, they need the verticals to maintain their current position.

They can't really "hunker down" on a few core products in the same way that Apple does.

Aha, looks like I misinterpreted your original comment. I knew one of us was being dense - turns out it was me.

The really compelling applications are at a business level - ERP, CRM, finance, engineering etc. - and might not come from Microsoft.

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.

Yes, there are many business applications, that run o 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?

"why do you need Windows on client"

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.

True, but third party vendors can shift platforms a lot more easily than an entire enterprise on Windows 7 desktops.

So Xbox is half-assed because you don't like their all digital model? Come now. You may not agree with the model, but nothing I've seen from this generation xbox can be honestly called half-assed.

Well, except the entire dashboard and game purchasing system on the actual console. It's incredibly terrible. The cycle of update and reboot (I've watched my Xbox360 reboot 3 times for updates after turning it on once) is silly. The dashboard is extremely slow. You select something like "download game", and you can count several seconds between the rendering of every element on the screen that pops up. It's terribly half-assed.

I'm going to rant big time, and I expect downvotes, but this is my true opinion, has always been and will always be, so I see no reason to not write it down here.

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.

AFAIK you don't pay a Windows tax on most laptops. All the adware, crapware, trial software and whatnot that are pre-installed pay for the Windows license. This is why the few Linux laptops that do exist are not really cheaper.

In their 2012 annual report, they say 75% (which isn't all that different than 90%, it just gets rid of the probably). The os segment is about 25% of their revenues.

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...).

Ok, interesting claim. So, how much money has Microsoft been making from patents exactly? Since you've made a very dramatic statement, I'd like to see a specific figure.

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.

Building laptops from scratch. Right.

Requiring people to do the impossible or else they are "entitled" doesn't make for a very good argument.

So while we are here, why the entitlement to use Intel CPUs, right? They should go and and make their own silicon ingots and then their own CPUs in their own fab, right?

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.

Reminds of the days when Compaq etc built their own chipsets. Of course I am not expecting them to do it now, but I do wish they were still as willing to fix BIOS bugs.

They're apparently making about 8$ per Android device on the (secret) patent deals: http://www.zdnet.com/microsofts-most-profitable-mobile-opera...

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.

And since you asked for a specific figure, it seems as of 2011 they were making $444 million annually [1] just out of their patents on Android.

That's just out of the Android patents, a mere fistful among the more than 10.000 patents [2] they hold.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-microsoft-android-201...

[2] http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/11/microsoft_10000_pate...

edit: Also, are you seriously asking me to build my own laptop?

Even on Office, people use it because it's pretty much the only thing they can use. Not because it's a great product.

You work on a company and they have office. You didn't choose, you can't change it. It's just there.

Yea, but 98se was bulletproof.

I've been wondering the same thing. I actually bought an Xbox 360 last month for the kids at Christmas this year (while it was cheap). I'm slightly regretting throwing more money at them at the moment.

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.

Back when Windows 8 was announced I used to wonder why didn’t they choose the path of Apple, thus making one operating system for the desktop and a different one for mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). I think that they invested too much on the Surface tablet, hoping to produce a tablet that will have comparable capabilities with a desktop PC. In such a device the traditional Windows OS is not enough because we need gestures and a mobile OS is also not enough cause you need the file-system support and all of the facilities you’ve come to think as fundamental in a desktop OS. That’s where Win8 fits. If Surface had succeed I think Windows 8 would have justified its existence. But now it looks like a product without a context.

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.

I think that they still did something too Apple-y.

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.

He is exaggerating about the "big Windows 8 and Windows RT user interface failure". As a Windows user since version 3.1, I can say that Windows 8 is IMHO the best Windows version overall; they just made an arguably wrong decision to remove Start button from the Desktop mode. That will now be fixed in 8.1.

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.

No, start button is just the very beginning. Whoever thought a full-screen calculator app was going to be a good idea was an idiot.

This. Times a million.

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:


Fortunately I've managed to somehow miss out on the Metro calculator app. It looks to suffer from the problems described here, only worse yet than existing calculator apps, on account of the size of all the Metro widgets compared to the size of the 21+" (non-touchable!) monitor sported by your average desktop PC: http://prog21.dadgum.com/107.html

Really? I use Windows 8 daily and have never seen the full screen calculator. When I open the calculator, it opens in Desktop mode and presents the same calculator as what I used in Windows 7.

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...

The mistake was not removing Start button. The mistake was removing Start menu.

And that is not being fixed. Button that throws you into Start screen is not a fix for the missing Start menu.

They divided their interface into two halves, one of which is awful for productivity/multitasking, and built their adaptation of the start menu around that divide - while complete messing up its organisation and the search aspect.

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.

> Developer registration renewal every 30 days? Mandatory internet connection while programming Windows Store apps? really?)

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.

Xbox One: designed by executives, for executives

So it will run Java? And Office?

Seems weird for you, but executives are now moving to iphones and ipads too.

It has Java support as it plays bluray discs.

Whoa, I dind't know about the 21 countries thing. What are they smoking, indeed.

Region locking is one of the most evil things in our industry. Nothing more to say..

It's a great idea from the point of view of the seller. If you have people who have money and frequently travel internationally, you can force them to buy two (or more!) copies of every one of your products they use.

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.

Working in a .NET corporate dev shop, I'm shocked how many .NET devs now run MacOS at home as their primary OS. It starts out as a mac for some iPhone dev and then they just use MacOS by default and Windows in a VM when they need to.

Some of us run Linux as the host.

Everyone on reddit seems to be up in arms about used game sales, as in the ability to trade in a box + disk.

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.

The problem with Microsoft's approach the way I see it is that they're offering no value-add for the inconvenience. Gamers are used to discs being transferrable but MS is making a bold choice to devalue them and treat them as tokens to be redeemed (despite the fact this already happens with online purchases of 360 games).

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).

Physical media is much higher friction to transfer since you have to shift a physical box around which is slow , expensive and time consuming. I have a ton of original xbox games I could have traded in but never bothered because I was too lazy to put them on ebay or take them into the shop.

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.

Isn't the issue of being able to transfer licenses more of a problem with the First Sale Doctrine? To that end, do you think consumers would have the right to transfer books, CDs, DVDs etc. if they were indestructible?

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.

If physical disks/books were as easy to transfer as digital licenses we'd have seen efforts to kill the used market long before now.

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.

One of the guy introducing "The Crew" at the E3 told one journalist : "you have an iPad? How does it feel whan you don't have WIFI or 3G for it? It feels empty and dead right? I believe consoles are becoming about online now and in a few years you'll understand what I meant here".

When I still had an iPad, I spent many long flights playing games or watching films with it offline.

But poor comparison in that iPad is a mobile device you're supposed to carry around with you, while the consoles are stationary.

I didn't say it wasn't working when offline. It's like taking your laptop in the airplane/train without WIFI. You just feel like you're very limited.

Well, you're more likely to have a reliable internet connection in your home than you are when you are out and about.

But even without WiFi or 3G I can still play most of my games and watch downloaded movies on my iPad!

Because it was made to be taken anywhere you go. As I see it, Microsoft is marketing their new console for online gaming. It worked for Diablo 3 and Sim City, don't see why they wouldn't try to pull this one.

How about a second hand tax? (Ducks for cover)

The worst thing that could happen to Microsoft in the next 10 years is that they become the next IBM. MS is in danger of becoming irrelevant in the consumer electronics space, but they are deeply entrenched in enterprise IT, where they can make lots of money for years to come.

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.

They smoke pay checks and bonuses for an army of bone-headed managers, doing paper-pushing and finger-pointing to keep one's position, while the bulk of money comes from licensing to those idiots, who are too stupid to unhook themselves from MS in 2013 and would pay for any "new" even bigger (in terms of man-hours and LOCs) bloatware MS would "manage" to create..)

Mandatory internet connection while programming Windows Store apps?

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.

This one is certainly not true as a developer who spends his day job building Windows Store apps.

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.

This misfeature causes me more heartburn than the others. I have to manually touch all of my build slaves once a month to keep them compiling.

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.

Agreed it's still frustrating, but it's no where near the clusterfuck the OP implies.

I thought the mindless Microsoft/Xbox bashing was Reddit's job. The XBox One will sell and it will sell well - it has loads of blockbuster titles and is pretty powerful, and I personally love the idea of integrating my Sky box with my XBox.

I don't think thats how it works, at least not at the moment. I'm pretty sure its designed specifically or cable, so only supports a limited subset of networks. Unless of course there is a branded adaptor for each network. Since we know the TV tuner is another separate purchase it may end up as another PlayTV, cool, slick, but not very useful and limited to freeview.

Seems like Microsoft has repeatedly hit their developers (developers, developers) recently.

- 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.

If I get anything, it'd probably be an XBOX One. I have little kids who suck at using a controller to do anything. But they had a blast at a friend's house jumping around doing the little Kinect games (e.g. popping bubbles). The new Kinect is supposed to be even better. That's pretty much the selling point for me. The PS4 has a similar device, but you have to buy it separately, which puts the price on part with the XBOX One.

If you don't want to depend on the arbitrary decisions of Microsoft anymore, the Linux ecosystem welcomes you and your developments :)

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'm pretty sure the author of Irrlicht 3D is aware of Linux being a viable alternative.

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...

With its own set of warts.

Let's wait until both consoles arrive. It really seems that Sony is going to implement the same game lending restrictions what Microsoft - except they haven't told us explicitly. Recent news say that Sony will give the same opportunity for publishers to block lending.

You might have missed this release from Sony putting the boot in on the topic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSIFh8ICaA

For people who don't tend to click video links (like me, but I happened to already see this), it is a sarcastic and clever dig at MS.

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.

Sony has been pretty explicit about it


They are also encouraging developers to remove online passes


Sony's message on this has been a lot more clear than people are suggesting.

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.

The £429 price in the UK looks like a mistake to me - I know the launch price of the 360 was ~£280 and a Kinect is ~£100 but I still think that in these times of austerity it is a bit steep.

Mind you, I will buy one once Halo 5 (for me) or FIFA 14 (teenage son) comes out...

I think you may have answered your own complaint there.

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.

I wasn't thinking of my own situation. Whether it is £300 or £429 doesn't make much difference to me - but there will a lot of households where it does.

[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].

That's true enough, I guess those households will wait for a price drop or find one on the back of a lorry.

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.

The average consumer will care much more about the platform exclusive games than any DRM systems. You can't sell used games on Steam either, and they receieve very little flak for it nowadays.

Even though I would rather like to see them invest more in C++11 than C++/CX, Microsoft is not alone in this as all compiler vendors have their own set of extensions.

What would you rather have? Ownership over the living-room / home entertainment center, or ownership of the waning console game market that's being swallowed up by mobile games? I think Microsoft is making a calculated choice that they'd rather widen their audience to market themselves to users looking to control their TV/movie experience more-so than they're hoping to sell their console just to gamers. It's why their console (and Playstation's for that matter) look like they'll blend in with more-traditional home-entertainment components.

IMO people are badly predicting the future of the Xbox One. They already have a huge market of players who will buy it no matter how hard the DRM are. And they had a big "pirating" problem before. This only means they can now focus on making the Xbox One safe from hacking and also something more than a console. They did it. Some people are unhappy but they will sell and they will make a lot of profit from it.

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.

> they launched their tablet product

For the PC as well, if you recall.

"For me as developer, Windows is my "home" operating system"

This is your big problem. Liberate yourself - you won't look back.

What's wrong with the name 'XBox One'? Makes as much sense as 'xbox' or 'xbox 360.' Considerably more sense than Atari or Wii... And a focus on TV makes a good deal of business sense as more and more people are dropping cable in favor of streaming shows and movies. Something is going to replace that, for the most part people don't drop a service without replacing it. As far as where the games are...the XBox had 17 games on Nov. 14th (public release date). When it was retired it had 967 games. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Xbox_games). It has always been Microsoft's strategy to encourage outside development of games.

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.

It'll pass in time I'm sure, but everytime I hear 'Xbox One' i think 'Xbox 1'. Some people are going to think they get some pretty good deals on ebay..

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.

Ok. I can see that. Thanks for explaining.

"...more and more people are dropping cable..."

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.

You make some interesting points, but I don't think it really addresses the heart of the issue.

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 .NET is pretty amazing (to have emerged out of Redmond, at least).

Microsoft has a long history of putting out terrible products, improving them with the subsequent version or two, finally putting out a good product, and then promptly turning around and screwing everything up.

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.

Ballmer = Being Always Late + Letting My Ego Roar

Whatever it is they are smoking, where and how can I get some?

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