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Ask HN: Anyone else planning to head back to Microsoft?
54 points by jebblue on May 22, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 106 comments
With Microsoft's improvements in how they do business and greatly improved understanding of open source I'm really starting to think more seriously about heading back into their technology realm for some years and see how it works out.

Not a chance. Once bitten twice shy.

Switching to an all-open-source ecosystem did not come without costs but now that I'm there I'd have to make all those costs again and run the risk of another repetition.

Open source software is about as stress free as it gets and less stress is a good thing in my book, a factor they never mention in those 'total cost of ownership' graphs.

Stuff usually just works, usually works good enough and if it does not you can change it, it's like building things from clay rather than from blocks that won't fit together unless they were intended to fit together from day 1 (and they usually aren't).

You couldn't pay me to switch back to either Microsoft, Apple or any other closed source software provider and I try very hard to stay away from SAAS components for much the same reasons.

I was bitten too and I'll probably avoid their products & platforms in the future. What I see very positive from them is the act of contributing back. Perhaps they are maturing...

Nonetheless, you can be a SOB of a profit and world domination seeking corporation and embrace open source at the same time. Think Oracle or Google (and many others).

Also I fear this new wave a little bit more.

When Windows 10 comes out I'll probably pull the trigger and get a Microsoft Surface for testing, but I don't think I'll ever leave OS X for Windows.

(to name a few) 1: Recently helped a friend install a new hard drive in a Lenovo Edge 15 only to find out the laptop has problems with Crucial SSDs (it brought back to many driver / hardware compatibility issues from my past jobs)

2: Features like Dashboard, Expose, Notifications have become real workflow time savers in OS X and I've never seen as good implementations in Windows.

3: I've never seen a PC laptop with a touchpad as good as on a Mac

4: the BSD / *nix base of OS X is to valuable to be without

5: Web development tools are just hands down better on OS X - Transmit, Sublime Text, color pickers, etc... theres just no equivalents on Windows.

6: Handoff in OS X with my iPhone is such a great convenience.

and to many more... I think Apple has lost they're way a bit and really need to focus on making OS X better; in recent years, iOS has received to much focus (IMO), but things are fine for now (so long as it doesn't get much worse)

And I can always throw Windows into a VM or bootcamp - it's much more difficult to put OS X into a VM on a PC.

#2:I feel that Windows 8.1, and the coming 10 has much much better workflow savers. One such example is having grouped apps in the task bar where I can hover and select is wonderful, whereas in mac I have to go to another screen with some hidden finger incantation to see the current windows in an app. Perhaps I'm too windows focused, but as someone that spends about 25% of their time in Mac, I feel trapped and frustrated when working in OSX.

#5: There's SublimeText for Windows, Komodo, Notepad++, and most other tools. Transmit is nice, but there's ExpanDrive for both mac and windows which is equivalent, not to mention open source tools like WinSCP (http://winscp.net/eng/docs/interfaces). MobaXTerm (http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/) is hands down better than iTerm or any other mac terminal that I've seen.

Regarding your response to #2: Hyperdock [0] gives dock icons the same kinds of superpowers that Windows' Aero Peek gives.

[0]: http://hyperdock.bahoom.com/

Thanks so much! You've reduced my suffering a bit.

Regarding number 1... Installing non-apple SSD in a macbook isn't smooth sailing either. The difference is that in windows the OS isn't necessarily playing against you.

I run two MacBooks with non-apple SSD's (and Linux). What goes wrong for you? (serious question)

(Disclosure: I'd prefer to run a ThinkPad or something, but meh, boss-provided machine.)

The problem that the parent is referring to is hardware compatibility in OS X, which using Linux obviates.

Long-time OS X user here. I bought my wife a Surface Pro 3 recently. We both love it. The pen is beyond excellent. The touch-screen works as well as Apple's own touchpad. The new start screen works as a fine replacement for Dashboard. Installing CygWin lets me use all the linux tools I want. I'm sure the new start menu and continuity stuff in Windows 10 will be just as good as with Apple, if not better. Sublime Text works fine on Windows, my son uses it all the time with CygWin. Haven't had any driver issues, granted we're only using the built-in hardware. I even installed Emacs and it works just as well as on my Mac.

Same here. I actually moved from a 13" Retina MacBook Pro to a Surface Pro 3. Can do everything and love it.

Hardware concerns are really a moot point, as you can always run Windows on your favorite flavor of Mac hardware. That's really the only way that I ever run Windows these days.

Couldn't agree more. The reason I'll never go back to windows is simple: no POSIX, no deal. I want my ZSH and gnu tools. And no, cygwin doesn't count.

Why not Cygwin?

> 3: I've never seen a PC laptop with a touchpad as good as on a Mac

I've customized mine with touchegg (made for GNU/Linux systems) and it does everything I've seen Mac users do and more. Need no Apple for that one, and there are probably Windows tools as well though I wouldn't know which.

> 6: Handoff in OS X with my iPhone is such a great convenience.

I don't know what "handoff" is, but regarding interoperability, a rooted Android phone running GNU tools (e.g. Linux Deploy app) is a dream when you have a GNU-based laptop/desktop operating system as well. I can browse my phone like a network drive and getting a shell is as easy as connecting to any old linux server.

This doesn't make your other points less valid, by the way. There is surely a good argument to be made for OS X.

> I don't know what "handoff" is,

I think this refers for your phone and computer to integrate. For example:

- When your phone is near your computer, your phone ringing will pop up a notification on your computer, which allows you to answer it via OSX (e.g. using headphones plugged into your computer).

- When your phone is near your computer, Messages.app can text message via your iPhone.

From here[1]:

> When your Mac computers and iOS devices are within Bluetooth range of each other (about 33 feet or 10 meters), they can automatically “hand off” what you’re doing from one device to another. For example, you can start writing an email in Mail on your iPhone, then instantly pick up where you left off in Mail on your Mac.

> Handoff works with several apps that come with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8: Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, Phone (iOS only), Reminders, and Safari. It also works with Keynote v6.5, Numbers v3.5, and Pages v5.5 for Mac, and Keynote, Numbers, and Pages v2.5 for iOS. Third-party apps may also work with Handoff.

[1] https://support.apple.com/kb/PH18754?locale=en_US

Handoff lets you continue your current task on another device, from where you left off (it hands off the task). So if you have a text document open or you're writing an email on a mac, it will let you continue doing that on an iphone, with the text you entered on the mac already being there.

You can also make calls or send texts from a mac if your iphone is nearby.

Regarding #6, what is different between OS X and Windows versions of Sublime?

I think you mean #5, and while I've had good (limited) experience with Sublime, but one of my other favorite tools (SourceTree) is absolutely horrendous on Windows. Just a single data point.

I had the opposite experience with SourceTree going from Windows to OSx. The lack of tabs on the OSx version is horrible.

I don't really care for the tabs actually, haha. I was surprised they made that choice when I first used it on there, after getting used to OSX.

But the UI aside, the problem I was having is that it would just entirely hang the app if you had a large number of changed files or large diffs. This was about three months ago, so it's possible the performance problems have been fixed.

Unfortunately, SourceTree is still horrible on Windows. I've written them couple of times, but no feedback. Guess Atlassian doesn't care.

Haven't found a good alternative on Windows for a Git GUI tool that comes with Git-Flow.

I think (no proof, but I seem to remember) that there are a number of plugins that are only available for Linux / OS X.

Also, I think that point was less about Sublime and more about the other development tools that are Mac only.

Surely non of the Mac only tools are non-replaceable, are they??

When I moved from a Windows/Linux setup to Mac, I was shocked at the quality of the software, including the various development tools. It felt like I'd been lied to a bit: the common thought at the time was that Macs had no software, at least compared to Windows, but after switching I found that there wasn't really anything I missed (besides some games) and that there was a lot of software that was vastly better than the equivalents on Windows.

I'm sure most of the tools have alternatives on Windows, I don't think it'll be anywhere near as good, however. Examples include software by the OmniGroup and Panic, which make some of the best desktop software I've ever used.

My experience is the same as yours, except the opposite. I kept hearing how wonderful the Mac software world was, until I had to work on one for work. Everything was a lie and a lot of software was subpar to the Windows equivalent (Github app for instance, Finder is almost unusable, Eclipse is a memory hog and IntelliJ keeps crashing because it's not fully compatible with Apple's Java version). Just my experience.

"there was a lot of software that was vastly better than the equivalents on Windows."

The reverse is true as well.

"Examples include software by the OmniGroup and Panic"

Coda is so overrated IMO.

Even the feature screenshots on their website look like a lot of oldschool Mac software. There's nothing "best desktop software" about it. I'm genuinely curious what specifically you think it's good about it.

Is it how their window buttons are vertical "just because", spitting in the face of good UX?

Is it how they recommend you connect via FTP to a remote server as soon as you open the app to publish your files directly from your computer? Do you have any idea what a horrible practice that is?!

Oh and let's just put the browser in our app, I'm sure that is a genius move, nothing wrong with that! /s

Oh yeah, and Panic's SSL certificate expired, not very professional if you ask me.

Right... well...

TLDR my point is I don't believe you when you say Mac has better software on average and your examples don't convince me. I work on a Mac too. But hey, we all have preferences.

Nothing I'm sure - just on my list of tools I use

btw, Expose is now called Mission Control

1. At least you can replace the hard drive easily in a PC. I had to remove 21 screws with a special screw driver to get an SSD into my MBP.

2. Windows doesn't need Expose because Alt+Tab actually works. There are equivalents available for Dashboard and Notifications (like Growl).

3. I've never seen a Mac with as much freedom and flexibility as a PC, but I have seen touchpads that work well. Who wants to use a touchpad at all though unless you're forced to? I'll take a 5 button vertical mouse over a touchpad any day.

4. Maybe. I like running a Unix that's closer to production though and nobody runs OS X on servers. A VM is better IMO.

5. Visual Studio with Web Essentials is hands down the best web development tool there is. Javascript, CSS and HTML autocomplete throughout the entire project. Go to definition that actually works...throughout your entire project. There is no equivalent on any OS.

6. ~~Android Chrome and a PC can do the same.~~ (OK, it can't really but I don't need it and there are too many things that I do need on Windows that are so much more important, like a window manager that doesn't work against me.)

Instead of Growl, consider Snarl. I found that it works as well, if not better, and is actively developed, where Growl seems to have stagnated. Growl also hijacks an important Emacs hotkey. Personally I'd like to see Snarl/Growl integrate with the new Notifications center in Windows 10. This way you could have applications written for Windows and other Operating Systems share a common notifications API that is exposed through native implementations on each OS.

Nope. The Unix underpinnings of OS X are way too valuable for me.

Powershell is (imho) a verbose mess and is the current best attempt at making a working scripting language for Windows. I use Powershell all the time but its..inelegant. Give me bash scripting any time.

MS is always flirting with new technologies and sexy R&D, but at their heart they're never going to change.

Not only the base Unix underpinnings, but the sheer lack of support tools on Windows vs. Mac is frustrating. - network problems? just try a quick curl (not on Windows) - did a file transfer properly? do a quick md5 hash (not on Windows) - need to do some quick data manipulation? write a quick Perl, Python, or Ruby script (not on Windows) - connect to one of our remote servers? bring up terminal and ssh (not on Windows) - move files around with sftp (not on Windows) - remove all files in a directory tree older than 60 days? bring up terminal and do a quick find... -delete. (not on Windows). - etc, etc, etc. Yes, all these tools can be installed on Windows, but they are on every Mac by default.

I have pretty much all of those tools on windows and all I needed to do was install Git for Windows, which is super easy.

It was a bit more work to set ansicon + Console2/ConsoleZ (although cmder might be an easier option), but now I can use standard bash scripts and do most of what I need easy.

In addition, this process was a one time deal. It's not like you have to set it up each time you want to ssh somewhere.

Why do I really use windows (vs some linux, I have no interest in Mac)?

Play most games (not on Mac or Linux)

Anything else that cygwin can't get me, I have Vagrant and VirtualBox.

Windows isn't that bad.

Git and Console2 are the first things I install after Chrome on Windows, but Git Bash only gets you so far. You quickly run into a wall because Git Bash is not Unix.

Although my opinion of OSX has soured with each new unstable version, it's hard to give up the Unix underpinning + mainstream app combo (Office and Creative Suite). PowerShell with Unix aliases aren't the same.

I bet you still have to install things that you need on your Mac though. Why the false dichotomy then? Install what you need on Windows and you'll be able to do all of those things.

I find that you can get the same types of programs on Windows, but you have to deal with every UI being a unique snowflake and the (subjectively) high chance of malware from my experience.

Also the installing of CLI programs seems to be really hacky through powershell.

For installing, don't forget about Nuget. Use Chocolatey today and although I don't know what the Windows 10 system will be called, they've already announced an OS system based on that tech.

You're not limited to powershell though. There are at least 4 options that are more appropriate for someone like you like Cygwin, git bash or one of the terminal emulators (ConEmu).

Anyway, I think it's a tradeoff in either direction - Programming on Linux, the way it's most commonly done now, means cobbling together a tool-set to do that work. Windows programming tools are typically more streamlined. However, on Windows you have to cobble together your kit for other things such as advanced command line tools that you may depend on.

While I would agree that ad-hoc bash pipelines are very elegant, actual long-form scripts that run safely turn into horrificaly ugly sludgy messes.

As poor as Powershell's verbosity is for an interactive shell, it's pretty reasonable when writing scripts.

Bash + Perl/Python is certainly a more standard/sane combination on Unix, but not really a fair comparison at that point. :)

What about cygwin or mingw? They give you a pretty full-featured bash scripting on Windows.

I was playing around with a Surface Pro in a store a while back and genuinely loved it - I can imagine being very happy with a docking station at my desk that turns it into a full machine and just carrying it around as a tablet the rest of the time.

Two things hold me back. One is the lack of a POSIX console - I know that there are some possibilities to bring equivalent functionality to Windows, but I don't yet know enough about them to know if they're sufficient. The other much more significant issue is that testing on iOS devices is essential for my job, and something tells me Apple aren't about to release the iOS Simulator for Windows.

It's disappointing because when I switched from Windows to OS X (back in 2006 if I recall) it was a giant breath of fresh air - the OS felt so much simpler and cleaner than XP. But these days it's the reverse - every release of OS X feels messier and less reliable.

I would suggest playing with Cygwin - I use it all the time for access to Unix command line tools.

I work exclusively with Microsoft at work (MS Gold Partner consulting firm BI focused and also app dev). Thus, anything I build for a client or internal use won't be Unix-based, but I have to do a good amount of ad-hoc text munging and data transformation (a good number of CSVs and log files in various formats as data sources) where I can use any tools I need. I appreciate the strength of Unix tools for this.

Yes. I'm not about to leave Apple entirely but can see myself placing OS X, Linux and Windows on even pedestals in 2016. I went into OS X wholesale in 2004 and didn't look back until now. Windows 10 and the new direction they seem to be taking code-wise (wrt VS, IE/Edge, git & more) is appealing. What's also appealing is the wider range of hardware. I've bought almost everything Apple releases and am starting to feel like they really don't care for pro users or regular buyers, the new MacBook release was such a mess - it's all about being a mass market media company now.

The main thing that still bugs me about Windows though is the hideous text rendering (I know it's switchable with hacks, but hopefully 4K will resolve the default for me).

I'm idly curious about whether Microsoft will ever "pull an OS X".

In my imagination, they'd drop their whole legacy OS except for an emulation layer, and port their Windows Store stuff to a new platform.

The new platform, as I imagine it, would be based on Linux and focus primarily on web apps and games. One part web-based cross-device UI runtime, one part serious gaming support.

The idea of Microsoft embracing Linux on the desktop is, I think, a popular April's Fools joke, but from my naïve perspective, it seems like a pretty reasonable idea.

I thought OS X was really cool in 2006, and since then I've become gradually more and more annoyed with it. I'm more and more confused by why I need to use this complicated operating system... I feel like its whole paradigm is dated and tedious.

Like when I run out of hard drive space. OS X will tell me with some ugly alert box that "you're out of space." No clue why. I have to download some external software that can figure this out by scanning my drives. Junk keeps accumulating in weird folders that I didn't know existed. I feel like I'm dealing with a huge bureaucracy.

And when I open Finder, for some reason I am presented with a (rather slow) list of, like, all files, in an intimidating and overwhelming way. Of course I know how file systems work, but in the shoes of an everyday computer user, the whole thing is unfriendly and weird.

Then there's the issue of all the overlapping windows that I'm always fidgeting with, resizing, moving, maximizing and unmaximizing. For some reason maximizing and unmaximizing feels like an extremely heavy task for the computer. I don't know why it takes more than a millisecond. It all adds up to make my user experience annoying and like I have to do unnecessary work.

Not to even mention iTunes and the App Store... Jeez! It's enough to make me question the whole narrative of technological progress. I think Microsoft could pretty easily make something convincingly better than all this.

Windows isn't a legacy OS. The old 95/98 was the legacy OS and it's long gone. Windows is one of the most advanced operating systems and rivals Linux and OS X in many ways.

But Microsoft is trying to get out from the shackles of their Win32 history -- the "modern" store apps are only allowed to use a subset of the API.

Said "emulation layer" would basically be Wine. I'm afraid this whole MS-Linux speculation is just nonsensical, far fetched fantasy.

Dropping Windows entirely is certainly plausible, but they'd probably do it in favor of the Midori OS their research lab has been working on based on the managed runtime aspects they've been learning from Singularity.

Of course I know how file systems work, but in the shoes of an everyday computer user, the whole thing is unfriendly and weird.

If you consider this to even be a problem, then switching to Linux will not help with this. At all. It will only exacerbate it.

Thanks, I didn't know about Midori.

Yeah, it is fantasy. I don't know enough to say whether it's far-fetched. I don't think it's obviously nonsensical.

Linux of course has tons of advantages. A huge community, lots of hardware support, open source, etc. Microsoft has been talking about how they "love Linux." Why wouldn't it be a reasonable base for a new platform? Like how Apple went with XNU/Mach/BSD?

I'm not really talking about "switching to Linux". I'm talking about building a new operating system that uses Linux as the underlying kernel. Since it's my fantasy, I declare that this new operating system has a very clean and well-organized file manager...

WinRT and Metro was kinda an attempt of what you describe. NT as a kernel is not that bad compared to eg. classic MacOS that it would be in dire need of replacing. Longhorn and WinFS also was supposed to provide a new paradigm, but that didn't really pan out and we ended up with Vista...

I've already been on the ASP.NET MVC stack for almost 2 years now and haven't looked back!! The tooling is just EXCELLENT!!! and honestly having used so many different languages, C# is hands down the best I've used. It just feels like they cherry picked the best features of all languages and packed it into C#. And Win8.1 (defaulted to desktop mode) on my new ThinkPad X1 Carbon is pretty damn good too!

I'll get Surface 4 Pro if it'll ship with powerful enough processor and 16 gigs of RAM.

As for developing side, I already switched to C# and am very happy. It's clean, fast and reliable. LINQ is a beast.

I know several people who love the tight integration that Microsoft's tools have, from the .NET environment (and multiple languages) to their cloud tools to their database integration. If you buy into their way of doing things, it seems to be a pretty great work environment all around. Granted none of this really has anything to do with their "improved understanding of open source" or "how they do business", so take it for what it's worth (anecdotal evidence).

Nope. As long as we keep deploying on Linux there is no point in developing on Windows. I'm perfectly happy to use Ubuntu as my desktop, most people around me use Macs. A VM for testing with IE will be enough and there are web services for that.

With the open sourcing of .NET we're probably going to see .NET applications running on Linux servers too. So Windows clients get less and less valuable. Remember that there is also a reduced version of Visual Studio for OS X and Linux now. Chances are that MS is sacrificing Windows (for developers) to increase the market share of Azure (Linux servers there).

The general public will keep buying whatever they find at the mall.

(Edit: typos)

Visual Studio Code (for OS X and Linux) are glorified code editors, not full-blown IDEs. They appear to be well done, and a similar experience to Visual Studio for editing code, but Visual Studio as an IDE is much more than an editor.

Nope. As long as we keep deploying on Linux there is no point in developing on Windows.

True, but in the Dockerised world we're all moving towards your development machine doesn't matter too much anyway - you can just stick everything in a VM.

Last I checked, running a unix environment was still a difficult experience without running a VM. That's a deal breaker for a development platform.

Good games, though.

I maintain a 250 Gb partition on my Mac that's dedicated to Windows. While I primarily use it for gaming, I also intend to install both Windows 10 and VS2015 on it. Bootcamp was a key selling point to me for purchasing a Mac when I was in the market for a new desktop.

This is actually a really good point, and perhaps one against OSX. I'm not really a Windows guy, but I can keep a partition with Windows super easily for the things I do need Windows for. I can't do that from Windows to OSX. That's not Windows fault, because Apple prevents you from doing so, but if you're on Windows, you can't (concurrently) run OSX.

Well not officially. There are easy workarounds though and I'm running a OSX VM right now on my Windows box for example.

Fair enough, I guess I was only referring to "official" channels.

I initially read this as returning to work for Microsoft.

I actually never left their tech realm. Even though both my work and home machine run flavours of Linux, I fell in love with Windows Phone back on WP7 and haven't been able to go back to Android of iOS since. If the integration between phone and desktop are really as tight as they look to be in Windows 10, I may consider converting my home machine to Windows, but at work running the same OS on my box as I do in prod is way too valuable.

I built a PC -- my first in ~10 years -- because I want to follow what will be going on with Windows 10. I won't get rid of my Mac anytime soon, though, but I do agree with the sentiment that Apple has lost its way in parts. I don't feel the level of excitement for OS X as a couple of years back.

I don't think that's Apple losing its way, more just the operating system having matured. They're still adding some cool features (Continuity being the latest major new thing) but for the most part, it doesn't change much.

The same is happening on iOS really. It's becoming more and more boring - in a good way. It's reached a point where it's pretty much complete and now they're just tweaking bits, adding a few new features as things become possible, etc.

Windows 8, on the other hand, was really exciting - but not in a good way.

No, because every time I interact with something they make, it's a crappy experience. Documentation is awful. Everything they do is crazy verbose and feels overengineered and underengineered at the same time, somehow. Windows is unpleasant to use every single time I dip my toe back into it.

I've been flirting with it. I've been a Windows desktop user throughout, but the big appeal to using their platforms more is that Microsoft always makes it's "cloud services" features optional, rather than strongarming people into storing data on their servers.

I might get a Surface or a Yoga or something to play with, but I'm sticking with Arch Linux for my actual desktop because it best suits what I do.

Not really, if any I would migrate to Linux (Ubuntu). But OSX apps really spoiled me.

I only use Windows for Steam. Boot, play, logout, hand sanitizer, back to OSX.

I just hate Windows UI, that metro thingy. The explorer and button layout is just a mess. Buttons with icons, difference sizes.





I really hope windows 10 cleans that mess.

Yep, i have one windows partition on one machine to run steam. My macbook runs linux, not in a vm, wiped osx off the drive and installed linux in is place.

Has anyone gone through the horror of doing things like installing python or mysql on a windows machine? Maybe it's easier nowadays, but last time I tried installing python I had to follow multiple tutorials, one of which actually worked. Installing mysql was a little more pain-free, but still too much work.

Also the lack of a linux/unix/whatever shell in windows? There's no way to measure the infinite utility in having a shell at your fingertips on a mac. I use the shell everyday, not sure how anybody could get on without one.

For the 2 specific cases you've mentioned, there are installers for both Python and MySQL for Windows. You could even use the unoffical Windows package manager, Chocolately to get them.

As for the lack of a *NIX shell, PowerShell is an acceptable alternative, but with both GoW and msysgit, it's easy to use the most common shell tools.

I would be really curious to hear what issues you have had installing Python on Windows? As far as I can remember it has been just clicking through wizard and nothing more.

Last time I did was at least several years ago. The experience was terrible enough that I ran and never came back. To be honest I don't remember what exactly I had to do, but it wasn't as simple as following an install wizard. Lot's of little hack-ish type stuff.

Many people have been burned by Microsoft's grandiose promises and biting the bullet early on. See Kinect, Surface RT adopters, Windows Phone 7 adopters (no WP8 update), Windows 8 adopters (with the promise of 100,000 apps in the first 90 days), HoloLens which I'm sure will disappoint many after they buy it and they see it's nothing like what Microsoft showed on stage, and so on.

The best advice is to wait a few years and see if Microsoft is really following through on its promises instead of just buying its hype.

Besides products that get killed, Microsoft has a decades long history of documented bad behavior in every arena they operate in. I'm not about to reverse my distrust of them this quickly. I'm open to changing my opinion, but as of today, this feels like an abused spouse asking their friends to forgive their abuser because of an empty promise and a relatively short term change of behavior. No. If they can keep up the good work for like 5 or 10 years, then maybe the ship has really turned around, but right now this feels like a company feeling irrelevant doing anything they can to bring attention back on themselves.

edit: Thanks for the downvotes on a Ask HN.

There's a really good chance this is a "new" Microsoft. Gates and Ballmer were the "old school" Microsoft that only thought that obstructing the competition was the best path to success. The new CEO Satya Nadela built the Azure platform, the most "open" technology that Microsoft has. His mantra is "mobile first, cloud first". This outlook is the opposite of Ballmer's, which was to drive everybody back to Windows.

Microsoft is now a multi-device, multi-technology company that is focused on getting their software and services on as many platforms as possible. The cloud and their services are their future, if they cannot make the transition to interoperability, they will collapse. Prior to this, Microsoft was structured in such a way that everything depended on their OS, so Microsoft declared war on OS/2, Linux and MacOS.

Windows sold Office, and Office and NT sold the enterprise market.

Now, any platform sells office, mobile and desktop. Windows sells Microsoft's cloud services like OneDrive and Office 365, but so does OS X now. NT drove enterprise revenues, but now it's Windows Azure running Linux or Windows, either way Microsoft makes money in hosting it. For consumers, Windows licenses were a cash cow for Microsoft, but Apple has set the price of Operating Systems to $0 with their upgrade policy, now Microsoft is following with free Windows 10 licenses for a year. My guess is that they will bundle Windows licensing as a service that gives you access to Office , XBOX Live and other Microsoft properties, so it will is less of a Windows license and more of a Microsoft Experience license. Either way, if you use Microsoft's services on any platform, Microsoft will still earn their revenue.

To sum that up, Microsoft's interests are no longer in opposition to the rest of the computing market, it is in alignment with it due to their multi-platform strategy. They are in a position to more easily do things to earn your trust, as those things will also add to their revenues.

Ok... but we've seen this new, better Microsoft behavior for like 2 or 3 years while they've been in a pretty down or leveled position after a history of bad behavior dating back to basically their inception. Have they genuinely changed or are they just being forced by their new market positions to behave better? None of your examples point to a MS doing things for the right reasons and trying to regain trust, they point to a MS that ran out of options. I don't trust a dog to not run away while he's locked in a kennel, I trust him to not run away because he has no choice.

What happens if they gain a dominant or monopoly position in something again, are we just supposed to trust that they won't behave badly once their market pressure is gone? A new CEO and a company the size of MS won't magically change their company culture overnight (especially with a CEO who was previously a longstanding MS employee who participated in past wrongdoings). Rebuilding trust takes more time than this.

Well, I said they are in a better position to do the things to earn your trust, I didn't say you should necessarily have it yet.

Microsoft picked Satya because they were backed into a corner, but everything I've seen from this man tells me he's the real deal and believes that a multi-platform strategy is the right then and the best way to earn revenue. However, as with any company, expect them to have a bias towards things that will make them the most money. At the present time and the foreseeable future, for me, it appears that the interests of Microsoft are in alignment with the interests of users of all platforms.

If they gain the dominant or monopoly position in something again...what would that be, and in what decade do you suggest it will happen? If holographic computing somehow takes off, that appears to be the only place where they are positioned to lead a market in the near future.

If it's a question of Apple or Microsoft, Microsoft appears to be the good guy these days, as Apple is still building their walled garden. Microsoft is being a major contributor to Open Source code though. Everything on the new Microsoft stack is getting open sourced as quickly as possible. They make the best commercial software tool in the world for making software (Visual Studio), and it is particularly adept at deploying .NET software, so they are opening that up to the world to get .NET in as many places as people want it. They are also opening up Visual Studio to a variety of languages, and making it a development tool for cross platform development for iOS and Android. They want to sell Visual Studio.

Trust takes time though. Keep your eye on them and compare Microsoft to their peers, you may be surprised by what you see.

nope, cant say ill ever trust a corporation like Microsoft to do my thinking for me, i doubt theyll ever outlive their legacy for being the mcdonalds of software, and i really cant ever imagine software development being better in any Microsoft environment that it is in a linux environment.

Well, I haven't found anything as good as Visual Studio on either Mac or Linux. I work at a games studio and everyone works on Windows. Back when I was a CS student I would swear by Linux for development,but nowadays I would rather not bother - everything just works for us on Windows.

Anything by Jetbrains, i use phpstorm and clion.

I'll happily use their open-source tech if it is compelling (e.g. TypeScript). That doesn't make me want to leave OSX as dev platform though.

Once Windows 10 is released, I'll be clearing out my HDD and upgrading. While my "main OS" is Elementary, I still have a partition available for Windows so I can play games with my friends. And if the future Surfaces are as pleasant to use as the Surface 3 is, I may save my pennies and buy one. We'll see.

THe one killer product that microsoft still do is AD.

I'm 100% linux, however if I ever want to do any sort of centralised user database, AD is the key product I'd use.

Unlike most other things, it just works. It's also really simple to integrate with OSX and linux (assuming you bind directly with SSSD, and don't do any silly translation.)

I always try to keep a few fingers dipped into a current Microsoft system. I'm not a 10xer, my value to a company is in being able to communicate with my coworkers, smooth edges, give ideas, et cetera. The better I can understand what other people are working with, the more valuable I can be. I'm not a "windows person" but I am still able to get around because I can bring my unixy debugging stuff as a general technique.

Knowing some Windows is basically like trying to stay current with which "sports" are being played - my coworkers know I'm not really into either, but being able to follow along reduces the impedance mismatch significantly.

I only use Windows for gaming and it's going to stay that way unless OS X completely drives me away. Each person's preference is different when it comes to OS, and I am not loyal to any (have used Win/Mac/Linux and they all have their strong points). When it comes to day-to-day use, though, I prefer Mac OS by a long shot. I just prefer the aesthetic, apps, and other small things it offers vs. other platforms. It's not necessarily "better" it just fits my preferences more than any other OS.

No. I don't play games, and I don't use any high end platform specific software, so I have no reason to even consider it. Also, the thought of using Windows again makes me cringe.

I'm forced to use Windows for the moment, and even with their current change in direction, I'm still headed towards full-time GNU/Linux as soon as possible.

Never left them in the first place. Great products actually.

Also lots of hardware available, everything is upgradeable. Not like MBP with soldered RAM, soldered SSD, weak ventilation system, no LAN and just 2 USB ports. Can buy a laptop or assemble your own desktop workstation.

Linux I don't know. It still looks ugly and no great apps available for it. Visual Studio for Linux? Adobe tools for Linux? Of course not. Just amateur toys and fonts with ragged edges. Thanks but no thanks.

What puzzles me is that MS refuses to get away from the OS in many many versions: Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education, Mobile and Mobile Enterprise. You would think that they would have copied Apple on OS and Server and be done with it.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_10#Editions_and_pricing

Most people only need Home. That changes when you need to log into an Active Directory, but suffices for most personal use. This differentiation allows Microsoft to sell two different SKUs and makes Windows more cost effective for 90% of households. For most users, the question will be Home or Pro. It also shouldn't be a surprise that for the last several years you can buy a Pro Pack for Home that will upgrade your system to the Pro SKU for about the same cost as the difference between Home and Pro.

If you need one of the other SKUs, they are special circumstances and you probably already know which version you need, and you also will be getting those licenses through non-retail channels.

I may pick up the next iteration of the Surface with Windows 10 once it's released. I may also install the Windows 10 beta on an old laptop...

> With Microsoft's improvements in how they do business and greatly improved understanding of open source I'm really starting to think more seriously about heading back into their technology realm for some years and see how it works out.

I never completely left it, especially not at <dayjob>, but I certainly feel more interested in it then I have for a while.

No matter how great Windows becomes, until there's a machine with a trackpad on par with the Macbook, I won't be switching.

I'm already there. Considering the moves MSFT is making towards open source, I think their future is a lot brighter than a lot of people might think. We could very well see a total renaissance for the .NET stack, with MSFT ultimately delivering cross-platform development tools that will run on Linux just as well as they run on Windows.

No the best UI. Not Unix. Not a major mobile platform. Dominates a huge but dying market. Why would you do that?

The desktop isn't going away any time soon. When you have work to do, you get out a keyboard and a PC.

As far as mobile platform goes, Windows 10 mobile runs the same apps that the Windows desktop does. There's now a dynamic view engine and you simply create a tablet view or a mobile view of your app and it runs the same executable.

Businesses are going to run to this because it will bring their internal app development costs way down because they don't have to have multiple version of apps they don't care to run as web sites. Companies who develop apps for the Windows desktop will have an incremental effort to also deploy to mobile.

Additionally, Microsoft is releasing tools to cross compile Android and iOS apps for Windows, so expect the availability of apps for Windows Mobile to increase significantly as the barrier to publishing to that platform is torn down. Yes, you can take Objective C iOS app and compile it on Visual Studio and deploy it to Windows Mobile now. The same holds true for Android.

I'm curious about what elements of their markets that you believe are dying?

I work for an MS Gold Partner consulting firm, and many of our clients are transitioning to the MS data/collaboration stack (SQL Server and all associated services; SharePoint and associated services) for both OLTP and BI. We see customers transitioning from other traditional enterprise solutions (Oracle, DB2, and others) as well as open source solutions (Vended and homegrown MySQL and PostgreSQL).

I am just curious where you see the market dying - it seems to me that Microsoft is competing effectively, gaining some new customers and losing others.

I always over time consider options, Microsoft doesn't have Gates running it any more so maybe they really are turning over a new leaf. It was heavy on my mind this week and lead to the question, not making any hasty moves.

Gates hasn't been at the helm for a decade as he's been working on his foundation ... until recently -- now Gates is actually back but not running things. I think you meant Balmer.

Dying? Tablet sales are declining.

Over the next year, I'll be switching to a 2015/2016 Surface Pro with windows 10 and a desktop tower dual booting win10 and ubuntu. If necessary, I'll continue to buy second hand Apple laptops for iOS development.

enjoy powershell

no matter how hard they try, it's still a Microsoft vs Sillicon Valley fight. very few ppl will bet on Microsoft.

Who developed the language Angular 2 will be using?

Nope :)

on it its so much fun on sp3

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