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Microsoft CFO Says Company Has No Mobile 'Plan B'

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February 14, 2013 6:26:56 PM

What do people expect would be a plan B?
February 14, 2013 6:43:14 PM

Dvelopers and the market are about 4 years away from producing anything other than an e-reader or internet browser/email reader. Spending 500+ to check the internet and read email seems a bit out of touch. Remote Desktop/VNC service is a pain on touch screens...I think i.t. geeks world wide are very hesitent to jump on any new "lets folllow Apple" bandwagon that MS, Amazon, HP or whatever is next is trying to do.

HP's quality, especially in printer drivers (which they started with, printers) is crap now. Their servers are crap (crummy less then consumer grade internal parts), the workstations. Bah anyways, off topic. This whole tablet/phone hyrbrid thing seems to be about 2 things. 1) paying stock holders happy and 2) trying to magically find the next best thing at the expense of consumers. Great Apple has a nice quality tablet....what can power users do with it? Nothing worthwhile. It doesn't make life easiest unless it's for easy stuff, but im not paying (and most consumers who know better would agree) 500+ USD to just browse the web/check emai. No thanks.
February 14, 2013 6:44:19 PM

making stock holders happy, grr
February 14, 2013 6:54:52 PM

Microsoft: I'm having a rough time taking care of the new baby, but it'll be worth it! We just got to power through a few months of transition. I've thought about the future a lot these last few years, and have changed everything to be ready for this. It'll be rewarding once we get where we're going

Goldman Sachs: Have you considered just "putting it down", and starting over?
February 14, 2013 7:25:42 PM

Does Apple have a plan B? What a ludicrous question. You decide on a path and you take it. Simultaneously working on a Plan B only dilutes Plan A and ensures you have two crappy solutions instead of a chance at one good one.
February 14, 2013 7:28:40 PM

They need to forget about Metro as Design solution and come up with something smarter. MS should build Mobile/Tablet OS using Linux Platform than trying to bring NT Technology to it. Memory and Disk 'foot' print of NT OS is ridiciolously high for devices such as Phone and Tablet. Not sure in what category to put Surface Pro at this point. Price point of Surfece Pro 128 is what? $900? Too expensive for device which is trying to be anything and at the same time is not good enough for anything. Weird!
February 14, 2013 7:28:40 PM

a cheap windows RT tablet acting as an extension of a windows desktop might actually do well. native vpn/remote desktop. have the tablet act as a touchscreen for metro while having the desktop on the main monitor.

i might be interested in a cheap RT tablet if it meshed perfectly with my desktop.
February 14, 2013 7:31:02 PM

The way Metro doesn't belong to Desktop PC same way Desktop interface doesn't belong to device such as Surface. I go to Best Buy and i play one of those and i wonder how MS failed to deliver 4 basic elements of OS.
February 14, 2013 7:40:22 PM

"We have a long history of participating and supporting the ecosystem"

How about they support the desktop ecosystem that made them what they are. Transitioning all
your products to appeal to phone users will not end well. Also preventing software that you made (halo 3)
from even getting to your own OS was an opportunity loss. They keep going like this and all the professionals and gamers will move to linux; eventually casual users. Microsoft need to innovate and
need it now. Let's even say that microsoft's next OS is another good os, will it be enough. With valve making a linux push we might finally see a waterfall of users pour into linux. *maybe
Anonymous
February 14, 2013 7:42:29 PM

They have done a ruddy good job on windows phone 8, my lumia is the best phone ive ever used and ever seen, it destroys the iPhone 5 and looks stunning on screen and the device. Its so slick and smooth especially for a 3rd party device. I think they should have maybe only slightly added metro to the desktop, like making the shortcuts on the desktop more metro like and some of the interface, the main thing people seem to dislike is that they have to go to the metro screen each time, I have yet to try W8 on a desktop yet though, but I really want to try it
February 14, 2013 7:44:48 PM

- make your phones available unlocked via online stores, direct to customers, at reasonable prices;
- Developer support: make tools available that can facilitate application porting from other OSes; for instance, only lack of a few specific professional apps are preventing me (and others in my profession) from adopting WinPhones.
- launch same phones on multiple carriers, as well, simultaneously. No exclusivity deals.

That's your plan B. You're welcome.
February 14, 2013 8:37:26 PM

thor220"We have a long history of participating and supporting the ecosystem"How about they support the desktop ecosystem that made them what they are. Transitioning allyour products to appeal to phone users will not end well. Also preventing software that you made (halo 3)from even getting to your own OS was an opportunity loss. They keep going like this and all the professionals and gamers will move to linux; eventually casual users. Microsoft need to innovate andneed it now. Let's even say that microsoft's next OS is another good os, will it be enough. With valve making a linux push we might finally see a waterfall of users pour into linux. *maybe

I still remember the old Windows NT 4.0 would take no more than 20MB RAM and 100MB disk to run. So I guess Microsoft never needed to write an OS from scratch to enter the smartphone/tablet arena. It's always nice to see something new but at the end of the day most people would still prefer what they're already used to.
February 14, 2013 8:51:15 PM

K2N haterI still remember the old Windows NT 4.0 would take no more than 20MB RAM and 100MB disk to run. So I guess Microsoft never needed to write an OS from scratch to enter the smartphone/tablet arena. It's always nice to see something new but at the end of the day most people would still prefer what they're already used to.


It's a shame too. Unless microsoft makes more major missteps, they will retain control of the desktop os market due to that familiarity. Really the best case scenario would be microsft's OS division being split in half to generate more competition. Until then microsoft has no real reason to innovate so we will likely see the every other good OS pattern continue.
February 14, 2013 9:50:52 PM

You really can't start over with a plan B at this point. It is very clear you cannot enter the market with something completely new and expect people to jump on board. It takes time for people to feel confident with your platform and they expect a large market place. Starting over means everything you spent building is lost and you will still get poor adoption rates.

It took a long time for Android tablets to catch on too. Same with their phones, but it did eventually. And Android had the advantage of people hoping for an alternative to Apple. MS has to start from scratch in a market that is quite full already. It won't be an instant success, but what they have, has potential. A few tweaks can go a long way, and just some more exposure as well.
February 14, 2013 9:54:56 PM

thor220"We have a long history of participating and supporting the ecosystem"How about they support the desktop ecosystem that made them what they are. Transitioning allyour products to appeal to phone users will not end well. Also preventing software that you made (halo 3)from even getting to your own OS was an opportunity loss. They keep going like this and all the professionals and gamers will move to linux; eventually casual users. Microsoft need to innovate andneed it now. Let's even say that microsoft's next OS is another good os, will it be enough. With valve making a linux push we might finally see a waterfall of users pour into linux. *maybe

Users aren't going to migrate to Linux.... Apple, maybe, but Linux has far too many drawbacks for the average user to even consider it without OEMs trying to force it on people. Linux is just as fragmented as Android...and the average user doesn't want to deal with an OS that requires them to actually learn something about their computer.
February 14, 2013 10:22:33 PM

They probably do have a Plan B, but it's a good idea not to mention that they do. Every time Microsoft announces something alternative, a lot of developers, developers, developers, developers panic
February 14, 2013 11:48:32 PM

Theres a few reasons RT has not done well:
1) MS stores only. MS stores are not exactly popular places, so it is highly unlikely that people are going to change their routine just to get a new product. Besides, if the rest of the MS stores are anything like the one out my way (Cincinnati) then they have a looong way to go before they are going to be useful. They need some intelligent life there that is capable of understanding a user's wants and then selling it to them rather than going by the book and saying 'well these devices come in different colors!'. Got to hand it to them though... they are enthusiastic. Now that there is a little more general availability I think it will help... but there are other issues as well.

2) No desktop apps other than Office. Seriously, why on earth is the MS Store limited to Metro apps? Open up the platform to allow for metro AND desktop apps. RT has a perfectly functional desktop environment, open it up for development! If there were desktop apps in the MS Store on Win8 I would definitely throw some money that direction because desktop apps do not consume your full attention like a Metro app does. As it is now, most of the Metro programs are just flash or phone ports that I would typically run in the background while doing something else. It is not that I do not like Metro, it is a fine idea, but the desktop is often better for a lot of things, and if it is there then it ought to be usable.

3) It's a Tablet. I do not know a single person who has actuially enjoyed their tablet purchase. Be it an iPad, or an Android, or winRT, tablets up to this point are just cute little devices that are good as a supplement to a PC or laptop. You can browse the web... so long as you don't need flash, or the web based programs your are running are not too big. You can listen to music... but it is too big. You can watch movies... but the TV is generally right there anyways. You can play games... so long as they are just glorified flash games... but without flash. Generally speaking, most things done on a tablet are simply better done on a laptop or a phone in the first place, and even Android tablets are not exactly big sellers. The only reason the iPad sells well is because it is trendy. I have to use them on a regular basis, and they are frankly not useful except in rare and niche cases... and even then a different device would often suit the job better. I think this changes with the Surface Pro, and will really change with later generations of it as it does not have the limitations of most tablets (granted at the sacrifice of battery life and weight).

4) ARM. Nothing against ARM itself. ARM is in my phone, my car, my kitchen appliances, my stereo, my TV, my HVAC, etc. ARM is the chip that makes life work. It is a beautiful low power limited instruction chip that is extremely stable because of it's simplicity, and so it works its way into all sorts of things. But once you start talking about something more complicated than a phone then ARM starts to choke. ARM is simply not efficient. It is extremely low power, but it is not efficient with what power it uses, and so when you blow an ARM chip up with all of the extensions you need to run a computer then it's advantages over x86 dry up very quickly. The point is that iPad and Android users don't mind the limitations because it is not a huge limitation on those platforms. Windows users however tend to be heavier users. We keep lots of things open, we let programs chew on things in the background while we do something else, we play games while watching movies. Even normal Windows users are heavy users compared to those who are accustomed to more mobile platforms, and so then when we look at the RT we are instantly annoyed that we simply cannot do as much at the same time from both a software, and a hardware perspective. Maybe ARM gets insanely better over time? I'm not sure, but as it sits now RT is simply not a particularly useful device for multimedia, or work, much less both at the same time. It is a beautiful first attempt... but it is missing something.

5) Other than the Xbox product line, MS is not known for being a hardware company. Their Keyboards and mice are OK, but not great. Their webcams are OK but a little expensive for what you get. The Xbox itself was plagued with the RROD, and even though that problem is not such a big deal anymore, people are still a bit scared of it. The Zune itself was actually a great little device, but MS did not support it well with advertising or updates (or a decent name that could attach some meaning as to what it is). Windows Mobile always had lack luster support (though it could do anything), and it has taken a few years for WP to really seem to get the full backing of MS behind it for a dev and support cycle. Even the original Xbox had a very short life cycle and was replaced fairly quickly (4 years). So with all of that history and baggage it is perfectly understandable that MS would have a hard time convincing people that it is going to have good hardware that it will stand behind for any length of time.

6) The general public does not know who MS is. Living in the tech world it is hard to believe, but the general public has no clue that the company that makes Windows is also the same company that makes Xbox or Office. MS has done a phenominal job at making its sucessful products ubiquitous and household name products, but it has done a terrible job at the corporate level at letting people know that they make other stuff. I think that is what I am most enjoying about MS with their changes over this last year or so, they are making a conscious effort to unify their products as much as possible. When you look a Win8/RT, WP7/8, and the Xbox360 there are some definite cues that these are all products of the same company rather than individual products. Same goes for their redesign of the services that use to go under the 'Live' brand (email, skydrive, etc.). MS is doing an amazing job at bringing it all together so that people recognize a parent company rather than a product that has some form of preloaded software on it (that is REALLY difficult for a large company with a lot of very separate product divisions). I think that this branding and integration will feel a lot more complete when Windows Blue comes around later
February 15, 2013 3:29:22 AM

Die Metro die
February 15, 2013 5:57:40 AM

Plan B:
1) Fire Ballmer
2) Buy BlueStack so you don't need to kill Windows business to play Angry Birds
3) As consequence of 2, bury Store and Windows 8 dancing naked around a big fire yelling "die Metro die!"
4) Stop complaining with OEMs and come out with a good operating systems the people can again love to use and to buy. You can just go with 7 rebranding it 9 if you have to spare time to kill 8 as soon as you can - and believe me, you have to!
5) Use your 5000+developers to go on par with Google for search and services instead of using them to reinvent the wheel breaking up user experience at each system update
6) Use the rest of your developers to read and understand CE codebase and come up with a real update so you can have back a two digit share of embedded market: the market is not going to have a 40GB disk space (maybe 80 at next update?) for the embedded system of my microwave oven.
February 15, 2013 8:35:30 AM

A Synergy-like communication between devices, with file/clipboard transfers other than keyboard/mouse, that is what would make me go for MS solutions in mobile space. Not making a single ugly interface for everything.

Synergy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synergy_%28software%29
February 15, 2013 9:10:25 AM

This is the plan B. The plan A was Zune. Guess how it went.

I vote for plan C:
Fire Ballmer
Keep Metro to where it belongs: Surface.
Fix Surface Pro: cheaper prices, optimize the OS so that doesn't weight so much and/or separate the storage for the OS.
Bring back the Service Packs.
Work alongside OEMs instead of tossing blame around.

Just my two cents.
February 15, 2013 10:00:49 AM

With so many people suggesting to fire Ballmer, I really wonder why he is still there?
Not having a closed company like Dell, and not bringing the profits and success MS deserves... what are the good parts Ballmer has?
February 15, 2013 2:19:50 PM

Here's a plan B. Make a decent tablet that sells for $350 and has user upgradeable RAM(pipe dream I know). People are tired of laying down $500 to $1000 or more for a device that seems to be only good for check Facecrack and watching Netflix.
!