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Microsoft Portables Windows

Microsoft's Mission To Reignite the PC Sector (nytimes.com) 267

HughPickens.com writes: Sales of personal computers have been declining for so long — 14 consecutive quarters — that it's hard remember a time when PCs ruled the tech world. Now Nick Wingfield writes in the NY Times that Microsoft is leading the way on a mission to re-ignite the PC market by taking the once-unthinkable step of competing with its hardware partners. This week, Microsoft dived even further into the business with a laptop device, the Surface Book. The stated reason that Microsoft got into the PC hardware business three years ago, with the original Surface, was not to put PC companies out of business — but to better illustrate the capabilities of its software, providing devices that would inspire PC makers to be more innovative.

One of the most remarkable things about Microsoft's growing presence in the hardware business is that it has not led to open revolt among its partners. Initially, many of them were not happy about Microsoft's moves, complaining in private. "It's positioned as a laptop, very squarely against the MacBook Pro as an example. But that could also be extended to a Dell XPS 13, or an HP x360," says Patrick Moorhead. One reason there hasn't been more pushback from OEMs is that Microsoft's Surface business is still relatively small. Another is that the money Microsoft has poured into marketing Surface has raised the broader profile of Windows PCs. While Microsoft obviously risks alienating its partners, it's doing so with a much bigger fight in mind. "Right now Microsoft really believes that it has to have a combined hardware, software, and services play to go up against the likes of Apple," says Moorhead. "That's why it's doing this. That's why it's taking such an aggressive stance now, moving to laptops."

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Microsoft's Mission To Reignite the PC Sector

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  • ignite or ignore. either way works.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:29PM (#50695955)

    Microsoft is "igniting" PC sales like the KKK "lights" a cross.

    OK, that's a bit over the top; but *nothing* MS has done implies that they're attempting to drive PC sales. They're doing everything they can to kill the PC; to transform it into an iPad that just happens to be sitting on your desktop. They're pushing spyware on it, making it a fascist data collection device instead of the PERSONAL computer that WE OWNED. Get it, MS? If you want this "ignition" to be something other than a funeral pyre, you need to get back to your roots.

    • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:38PM (#50696019)

      They're pushing spyware on it, making it a fascist data collection device instead of the PERSONAL computer that WE OWNED. Get it, MS? If you want this "ignition" to be something other than a funeral pyre, you need to get back to your roots.

      That is a concern of the fringe minority, those who post on Slashdot perhaps, but it isn't a major concern of the average Joe.

      If Snowden's NSA revelations didn't cause mass riots, nothing MS does is going to do so.

      Besides, Google has been doing it for years, and look how popular Android is.

      • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:33PM (#50696277)

        That is a concern of the fringe minority, those who post on Slashdot perhaps, but it isn't a major concern of the average Joe.

        Assuming only people who are into computers care about being spied on seems rather silly. Seems more likely perceived lack of concern is driven by ignorance not indifference.

        Thankfully polling has been done on privacy issues with results freely available to all:
        http://www.pewinternet.org/201... [pewinternet.org]

        If Snowden's NSA revelations didn't cause mass riots, nothing MS does is going to do so.

        I forget, how many billions of dollars was Snowden revelations estimated to cost US tech companies?

        Besides, Google has been doing it for years, and look how popular Android is.

        Android is an open source Linux based operating system free of Google spyware. Spyware comes separately with google play services or with installing just about any app from the cesspool that is the Android app store.

        • What I always find interesting is how people can read what they want to read, rather than what was written.

          People claim in polls to care about privacy, but actions are worth more than words, and people's actions indicate they don't really care.

          The NSA is still here, still spying, and life marches on.

          • What I always find interesting is how people can read what they want to read, rather than what was written.

            People claim in polls to care about privacy, but actions are worth more than words, and people's actions indicate they don't really care.

            There is a difference between not caring and not knowing. For example the fact millions of people have unintentionally been suckered into installing malware/spyware or conscripted into a botnet army does not mean millions of people don't care about having their systems compromised.

            Just because a repairman takes advantage of the ignorance of a customer does not mean people don't really care about getting ripped off.

            Just because an electric utility massively hikes service rates does not mean people who pay t

        • Thankfully polling has been done on privacy issues with results freely available to all: http://www.pewinternet.org/201 [pewinternet.org]...

          Here's the problem with the poll - they ask people about privacy, security and surveillance - but they don't test to see if people understand those topics, or how much they REALLY care about it.

          For example, people claim they care about things being made in America - http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/05/01/gallup-60-percent-of-u-s-willing-to-pay-more-for-american-made-products/ [cbslocal.com] - However, one look at how much we import from overseas, and it is obvious how much they (don't) care.

          Here's a (bad) car analogy -

          • Here's the problem with the poll - they ask people about privacy, security and surveillance - but they don't test to see if people understand those topics, or how much they REALLY care about it.

            Here's the reality - even people who are aware of their data, how it might be shared, and are actively trying to protect it, are leaking data like a sieve. Most aren't willing to go to the lengths necessary to protect their information properly. Using gmail or any web mail provider? You are leaking information. Carrying a cell phone? GPS location and contacts.

            Lets say I was born in North Korea in a forced labor camp under three generations of punishment rule. While I may not be willing to make little flags or mine coal in a way that violates every possible OSHA rule on the books you can bet I'll be doing it anyway.

            Obviously circumstances and environment in which people find themselves can depending on forces within or beyond their control which differ by any value between 0 and infinity. Generating specific examples of this concept don't communicate much in th

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        It is not a fringe minority on Slashdot by any stretch of the imagination. The Snowden leaks have had legal ramifications world wide and changed how US companies have to do business across the globe. Even the nanny State of California just had to sign a No SPY-ON-US bill because even the far left is afraid of the behavior demonstrated by the NSA. (And of course the turds holding office that are allowing and pushing this behavior.)

        Because people were not out burning buildings and killing people you believ

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The completely absurd idea that "That is a concern of the fringe minority, those who post on Slashdot perhaps, but it isn't a major concern of the average Joe" is just so patently absurd. Hint FUCKING Hint, the cheetos crowd do not buy PCs, they buy smart phones and game consoles (they do buy notebook for the equally techno limited children for school use) but they are not PC buyers now now will they ever be PC buyers (some of them were for a short while but that was because it was all the market had to of

        • Time will tell... I don't agree with your viewpoint, but only time will show who was correct...

          I'm in the "computer geeks and nerds" group and I have no problem with what Microsoft is doing, so there you go...

      • Besides, Google has been doing it for years, and look how popular Android is.

        Actually, Google works hard to make sure that users *do* own their own devices, or at least can. All Nexus devices are unlockable, and Google encourages OEMs to allow unlocking as well. Plus the whole open source thing.

        Also, the common /. meme that Android reports on everything you do is simply false. Android the OS doesn't talk to Google at all. Google apps do, to the degree that you want to use them.

        (Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, I work on Android, but I'm speaking only for myself, not for Google

        • While that is all true, it ignores the real world...

          The Samsung Galaxy line for example, comes with all kinds of stuff installed... like the Google Play store, GMail, Maps, etc...

          Do you honestly think very many people do anything with a Galaxy other than run what comes on it from Google?

          Open source sounds nice, but what percentage of Android phone users run a truly clean copy of Android?

      • by shione ( 666388 )

        I wouldn't buy a microsoft pc because they have a locked bootloader preventing you from installing other OS. Fair enough that ms doesn't want you installing other OS but when they cancelled windows rt and gave their own customers no way out to keep using their hardware, that was a dick move.

        • If you had previously used WinCE or WinMobile, or indeed, any previous portable device with MS software anywhere near it, you should have seen this coming.

          Shafting their customers is what Microsoft do!

          WinPhone users can expect the same shafting any day now.

          Meanwhile, MS have gone into the machines belonging to Windows users and fucked with the systems. This is a criminal act in most jurisdictions, which has been cited as the reason why MS had not previously made any serious effort to stop viruses, and w

    • +1 Insightful. The way to ignite PC sales is to treat them like a PC, not to pretend they're a cellphone. To date 100% of my friends-and-family circle that I support IT-wise have decided to stick with Windows 7 because it's Windows, not some bizarro hermaphrodite Windows/iPhone crossbreed.
  • My suspicion is that there just wasn't enough profit in the non-Mac PC world to motivate PC makers into taking the risks that innovation requires.

    Kind of sad, really. The fact that PCs are affordable means they're doomed to be... kind of boring. (At least until Microsoft's money shakes it up.)

    • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:42PM (#50696045)

      I don't think PCs are boring, no more than your average Mac, which is the same thing.

      There is nothing overly special about a MacBook, other than it costs a lot and says "Apple" on it.

      If you want the ultra light, ultra thin formfactor, sure, go for it... but frankly you can get a really nice PC for a whole lot less money and it works just fine.

      I'm typing this reply on an ASUS 15.6" Core i3 notebook that was $349.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com]

      4GB of RAM, 500GB HD, AC Wi-Fi, DVD burner, 1080p display, Windows 10.

      The only upgrade I did to it was replace the 500GB SSD with a 256GB Transcend SSD that I picked up on sale from Amazon for $72.

      Turns the machine into a rocket for basic tasks. No, it isn't a gaming machine, but it runs everything else as fast as is needed, for less than $450.

      If that is "boring", I'll take it.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        My first ultra light, ultra thin laptop was a Sony from 2001.

        Everything that Apple has done with it's PCs was done by someone else first. That includes weird WTF form factors for workstation class machines.

        • True, most of what Apple does was done by someone else... Apple has better PR and marketing however...

          The iPod was not first, but it ran off with the market...

    • PCs *should* be kinda boring. They're like shoes. It's not what you have, it's what you do with it.

  • This is an interesting way for Microsoft to throw away bags of money for nothing. PC sales are declining for a reason. It's interesting to see how they've become exactly like IBM.
    • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:47PM (#50696069)

      PC sales are declining for a reason.

      You make a statement, but don't give the reason.

      IMHO, one of the biggest issues is that PCs have been "good enough" for some time now for everything but games, and even then they haven't been growing much.

      Office 2016 doesn't run noticeably faster for 95% of what people use it for on a 6700K Skylake than it does on a Core2Quad Q6600.

      Windows 10 also runs just as well on a Q6600 as it deos on a Core i7 whatever. Oh sure, it IS faster on the newer machines, but not by so much to make millions of people throw them out.

      I have a dozen computers of various power levels, ranging from the above Q6600 up to a Haswell i7 4790K refresh, having recently retired the last Athlon X2 5000 machine a year or so ago (it was just so old that it wasn't worth testing against anymore, if you're using something 10+ years old, it is time to upgrade).

      Windows 10 runs beautifully on all of them, and while I can see a difference when they are side by side, on a stand alone basis, they are all "fine".

      That is the real problem, IMHO.

      • by BaronM ( 122102 )

        Yep - nailed it.

        I'm shopping for a new laptop now for homework (elementary school), replacing a 2006 Dell D620 (C2D, 2GB RAM, upgraded to SSD). The only reason I'm replacing it is that it died. Otherwise, for what it did, it was still 'good enough'.

        I'll grab another business-class laptop (yes, they are worth the premium IMHO), probably a factory refurb, and I bet that will be 'good enough' for schoolwork until the day it dies.

        • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:45PM (#50696339)

          The SSD is the last most "amazing" upgrade IMHO for PCs in awhile...

          It brought back to life a number of machines that felt "slow".

          Put a SSD in a Core2 machine and suddenly you've removed the major bottleneck for a lot of things.

          My Mother-in-Law has a 2008 era AMD notebook, it runs some dual core something or other (I haven't looked at it in about 2 years). I dropped a 120GB SSD into it 2 years ago and she sees no reason to replace it, it is "Fast enough".

          She uses Facebook, the web, plays solitaire, etc. She recently upgraded it to Windows 10, runs perfectly.

      • Stating the obvious shouldn't require a reason.

        Back in the day, PCs are all you had. So if you wanted to connect to AOL in 1993 you had to have your PC. Since then, a vast majority of consumer tasks have moved from the PC to the laptop and now to the tablet or other consumer electronic device. Sure, there is a need for desktop machines in some work environments but even those are being supplanted by laptops in most companies. Hell, a lot of the modern PCs aren't all that far removed from laptop class ha

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          The primary differences between tablets and PCs are the fact that the PC is an open platform and PCs use different inputs. Most PCs are also vastly more powerful than their tablet counterparts but most people don't care about that.

          A tablet simply isn't suitable for all tasks. At some point you want a proper graphics terminal. At that point, it doesn't cost much more these days to just include the PC parts.

          Tablets provide some relief for those that thought they were trapped with Windows but the form factor i

        • Game mods? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:19PM (#50696215) Homepage Journal

          Even the laptops are giving way to tablets

          If you want to type anything longer than a paragraph, you need to add a keyboard, which turns your tablet right back into (yes) a laptop.

          Gaming has moved from the desktop to the laptop or game console. And at some point, it will be in the domain of the tablet/console.

          Let me know when tablet or console games have (legit) mod support nearly as thorough as that in PC games. If your answer is Super Mario Maker, let me know when it has tools to create new block types or new enemy types.

        • The PC isn't going away any time soon, but I don't see sales rebounding for a long time. There are things best done with more powerful systems like desktops and laptops. There are tons of software written for Windows and maybe Mac, and that's not something to throw away lightly. There's lots of roles for computers with good keyboards and good screens.

          IBM still sells mainframes, the hardware alone bringing in about $20 billion in first quarter 2015. That's not peanuts. Mainframes are expensive, but v

        • Gaming has moved from the desktop to the laptop or game console.

          That comment has been made before... many times...

          You know what? The irony is that a PS4 or XBox One is really a desktop PC, abit one that you can't modify or upgrade much.

          Yes, much of what the average person does with a computer works fine on a tablet or laptop, nothing wrong with that. The one area that will have problems for a long time to come is games.

          And by games, I don't mean solitaire or candy crush, I mean Call of Duty type games. Those need lots and lots of power, something you can't get in a

        • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:57PM (#50696397)

          > Gaming has moved from the desktop to the laptop or game console.

          Uh, no. One might temped to think so with Best Selling Video Games [wikipedia.org], but the PC Market [wikipedia.org] is holding its own.

          Some genres are significantly superior on PC.

          i.e. Let me know when I can play Starcraft 2 on a console.

          > The PC simply has no future.

          Content creation isn't dead.

        • It struck me that you seem to be making a distinction between "PC" and "laptop", whereas most discussions I've seen tend to lump them together. For instance, in the article listed, Microsoft is not building desktop machines. They're building laptops or hybrid laptop/tablets. The article is still calling those PCs.

          So, even substituting "desktop PC" everywhere you said "PC"... I agree with everything except your conclusion. The PC (both desktop and laptop) isn't "dying". It's market is shrinking, but tha

      • The faster based on specs fuel innovation is looking at it thru a 1990s glasses. PC makers don't get it.

        What is innovation? Apps that do new things, smaller, power efficient, shareable work flows, cloud integrated, high dpi, more mobile, better asthetics, etc

        Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf . Bulky plastic, mechanical disks, etc

        Office 2016 you quote? HUGE upgrade. Shared editing in real time with integrated Skype and chat is sweet for college students and groups. You can write a paper in re

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:20PM (#50696219) Homepage

          > Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf . Bulky plastic, mechanical disks, etc

          PCs are faster and bigger in all respects. That includes displays, storage, CPU power, and just app/gaming potential. Phones are terribly limited. The one key advantage they have is portability. They're ubiquitous. Beyond that, they're actually pretty crappy.

          Phones are just (crude) terminals really and sooner or later you need a real machine of some sort to support it.

          • Ask a Mom or Joe six pack which he uses Facebook more on? The answer is their phone followed by an ipad.

            Better graphics, battery life, starts instantly etc. MS has to make the surface and surface laptop which has ssds, thin, boots quick, has 200 dpi, and modern chips are more power efficient.

            Sorry phones are innovation. PC is mainframe and lame for the users.

            • by msobkow ( 48369 )

              So you're suggesting people choose a device based on whether they can use Facebook on it?

              I feel oh so very sorry for anyone who lives such a shallow content-consumption life. :(

        • Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf . Bulky plastic, mechanical disks, etc

          Who gives a flying toaster about useless gimmicks? You know what really sucks? Squinting at a tiny little display while trying to enter text into worse than membrane class on screen keyboards. Phones are better than nothing when your on the move..otherwise a torturous waste of time.

          What is innovation? Apps that do new things, smaller, power efficient, shareable work flows, cloud integrated, high dpi, more mobile, better asthetics, etc

          Innovation is monetizing the user.

          Office 2016 you quote? HUGE upgrade. Shared editing in real time with integrated Skype and chat is sweet for college students and groups.

          If people actually cared it would have existed a long time ago. See also google wave which nobody gave two shits about either.

          Truth be told it is night and day compared to a bulky core laptop with battery life and boot up time thanks to ssd and efi booting.

          When people mention boot up time I tune out. Who turns off their

        • Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf . Bulky plastic, mechanical disks, etc

          Not really sure what purpose more than 100dpi would solve on my 2560x1440 monitor, but then again, I sit further from my monitor than I use my phone. It makes much less sense to have 100 dpi on a monitor, and less still to have it on a TV.

          And what? Mechanical disks? You're aware that flash disks for PCs are a thing, right?

          Shared editing in real time with integrated Skype

          What on earth is the point in that?

          I've done lots

        • Compared to phones pcs suck!! 100 dpi in 2015 wtf .

          Are you buying shit screens and then complaining about the result? Also do you sit 6in from your 24" monitor?

          Bulky plastic,

          Huh? Wtf are you buying?

          mechanical disks, etc

          No! STOP! Really just stop!

          Get out of the second hand thrift shop and actually go to an electronics store.

      • IMHO, one of the biggest issues is that PCs have been "good enough" for some time now for everything but games, and even then they haven't been growing much.

        I also see a major reason is that for a long time, PCs were the only way to do things. Want to see videos, read email, visit a website: You had to have a PC as smart phones/tablets sucked. So people had to get a PC. Really the average consumer didn't need it; they just needed something that would work and PCs were the only solution. These days tablets and smartphones fulfill what your average consumer needs. Add to that other features that PCs are not good at doing: ebook reader, jogging tracker, etc, its

    • Microsoft: Yesterday's technology, tomorrow!
  • four simple words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:42PM (#50696041)
    Day late. Dollar short.
  • by Pseudonymous Powers ( 4097097 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:51PM (#50696097)

    Sales of personal computers have been declining for so long â" 14 consecutive quarters â" that it's hard remember a time when PCs ruled the tech world.

    "Please, Old One, tell us again of this wondrous age of 'Early 2012', when the great 'Peesees' roamed across the tops of the desks all over the world."

  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:55PM (#50696111)
    IBM tried to compete with hardware using the proprietary Microchannel buss [wikipedia.org] to replace the ISA/EISA buss. IBM refused to release documentation on the buss and sought to profit on licensing the standard through a certification program. Third party OEMs scoffed. IBM permanently lost market share as 3rd party MC cards, developed from unofficial specifications, proved to be incompatible which drove customers away from IBM towards clone makers such as Compaq and Gateway who stole the market with non-MC systems. The MC debacle ushered the end of personal computers for IBM.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2015 @05:59PM (#50696127)

    For a few decades, it transpired that content creators and content consumers were both using the same kind of device: the desktop PC. But content consumers never, ever wanted that kind of device. They wanted a media consumption platform they didn't have to understand or think about. Basically, they wanted TV 2.0.

    Content consumers, on the other hand, wanted a powerful and open computing device.

    So these two camps want very different things, and we're seeing the start of a market split into those camps. It is inevitable that when the PC market falls down below a point, economies of scale won't be there and the prices will rise, but there WILL still be a market, because content creators are not going away. It just means that, like in the 1980's, if you want a heavy-lifting creator device, be prepared to shell out for it. Most of the world is going to mobile, and that is where the economies of scale will be found.

    Think that won't happen? Well, guess what? You have good company! The mainframe guys thought Unix workstations could never undercut them in the market. Then the Unix workstation guys thought the PC could never undercut them in the market. Just as now, some PC people think their cushy little world will carry on forever as it was. Just as then, there will still be PCs just as there are still mainframes today. But the market moved on, just as it will now, and not all the naysaying in the world will stop it.

    • content creators and content consumers

      The use of the loaded terms "content", "consumer", and "creator" [gnu.org] is slightly confusing. I prefer "users who create works" ("authors") for short and "users who view works created by others" ("viewers" for short). But terminology aside:

      So these two [author and viewer] camps want very different things, and we're seeing the start of a market split into those camps. It is inevitable that when the PC market falls down below a point, economies of scale won't be there and the prices will rise

      At first, I sort of agreed with your core sentiment that the economies of scale for devices for creating works may evaporate as walled garden mobile devices continue to gain popularity among pure viewers. But there will still be a need for devices on which university students c

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:01PM (#50696141) Journal

    I think what Microsoft may not be understanding, or may be trying to ignore, is that people aren't buying new hardware because their old hardware meets their needs. In the early days, there were two major factors that drove the PC industry -- (1) low saturation. PCs were a relatively new thing, and there were a lot of people who didn't have one yet. (2) PC hardware and software were in relative infancy -- we were on the steep end of the curve -- and resources didn't meet the needs of what people were trying to do. Software drove hardware in that each new release of the OS needed faster hardware and bigger disks to run reasonably. UI was still on the steep end of the curve, with new features coming out that were actually -- you know -- relevant, and not just eye candy.

    All of that is long past now. Microsoft doesn't understand that the UI curve has flattened out, as their recent attempts to make the UI Really Different hasn't met with a lot of enthusiasm. About the time PCs routinely sold with quad core processors and terabyte drives dipped under $100, hardware stopped mattering for most people. What people could *do* with these resources started mattering more than the resources themselves. Hell, I do compute intensive work on a motherboard from 2005 sitting in a case from 2000, (running Win7 Pro) and I have no desire to upgrade anything except perhaps disk space. I do vacuum it out once in awhile.

    So, Microsoft tries and fails to develop the hipster mindshare of Apple, so they need to try something different, and they see an over-saturated market, with a plethora of hardware overdesigned for most people's needs (given that "most people" do web browsing, facebook and email and other social media, and maybe a game or two, and perhaps a movie, and that's pretty much it), and decides that's the field they need to go into.

    So... wow... I mean,... How is it they're still alive?

    Someone I know works for Microsoft, and he's really been crowing about Microsoft's new laptop and how it's the greatest thing since, I dunno, Windows for Workgroups. And I look at it, and you know... it's just a laptop.

    In summary, "reigniting the PC market" is problematic because the PC market is already saturated and over-built, and has been for years. It's like, when toasters first came out, everyone had to have one, and growth was steep. But now, everyone already has a toaster, and we only replace them when they stop working. Sorry, that's the nature of industry.

    You want to create a new market, make apps for content creation on tablets (as opposed to content consumption) and maybe tablets will see a new renaissance. I don't own a tablet precisely because most of what I use a PC for is content creation, and the apps aren't there on tablets even now.

    But PCs? They're toasters. Pick a size and a color.

    • Basically the only thing that the average Joe might be doing with his PC where the machine he has isn't by default "good enough", no matter how old it may be, is playing games. Everything else Joe Average may be doing with it is nearly certainly going to run sufficiently fast and stable on whatever crate he has.

      It's been that way for quite a while now, actually. Since XP there has not been any big step ahead that the average person would notice in his (Windows) OS.

      • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:43PM (#50696329)

        Basically the only thing that the average Joe might be doing with his PC where the machine he has isn't by default "good enough", no matter how old it may be, is playing games.

        The funny part is that few modern PC games need fast hardware because most of them are designed for consoles. Microsoft's push into the console market killed the need for PC upgrades by crippling PC gaming to the level of a five-year-old PC.

        Pretty much every time they've tried to control the market, they've just ended up screwing themselves.

    • I think what Microsoft may not be understanding, or may be trying to ignore, is that people aren't buying new hardware because their old hardware meets their needs.

      Their old hardware meets their needs for now but wait till everyone and their brother wants portable augmented reality in their pocket and fully interactive VR rooms in their homes. I was hoping to see Linux become the dominant platform for this emerging scene but politics prevailed (Linux support from Oculus/Facebook has obviously taken a back seat to DirectX); there'll come a day in the not-so-distant future when families will be getting second mortgages to finance upgrades of their Microsoft Home Worldse

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        I think what Microsoft may not be understanding, or may be trying to ignore, is that people aren't buying new hardware because their old hardware meets their needs.

        Their old hardware meets their needs for now but wait till everyone and their brother wants portable augmented reality in their pocket and fully interactive VR rooms in their homes. I was hoping to see Linux become the dominant platform for this emerging scene but politics prevailed (Linux support from Oculus/Facebook has obviously taken a back seat to DirectX); there'll come a day in the not-so-distant future when families will be getting second mortgages to finance upgrades of their Microsoft Home Worldservers or whatnot...

        Too much Science Fiction in your statement. VR has been out for quite a while in TVs. Sales of these never spiked, and people don't run out and buy 3d movies. Soldiers use some of the augmentation technology, but that is a very special case market. Joe Coder, Chef Jane, and Pat the Welder don't want or need VR and/or augmented information. Well, Joe the coder might want a nice eyeball display, but that is only for the pr0n and not because of work.

    • I was going to post something very similar. There's a reason why Microsoft is having a hard time getting people to upgrade their OS and is now effectively giving it away now. With Windows XP people got most everything they need to run their computer today.

      There was a time when I'd have friends and family give me their old, yet quite functional, computers just to get them out of the house. Computers got real cheap, real fast. I noticed that at some point no one would give me a working computer any more.

    • It's like, when toasters first came out, everyone had to have one, and growth was steep. But now, everyone already has a toaster, and we only replace them when they stop working.

      But in this market, even replacements can often be hard to find. I have a 10 inch Dell laptop running Xubuntu that I use to work on hobby coding projects while riding public transit to and from my day job. But since December 2012 [slashdot.org], it's hard to find a 10 inch laptop. With what should I replace it once it stops working? I looked around, and unfortunately, the 10 inch 2-in-1s such as ASUS Transformer Book don't seem to work well with any X11/Linux distribution that I'm aware of.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:07PM (#50696167) Homepage

    Wow, a laptop with a removeable keyboard!

    So unlike the old Surface, the tablet with an attachable keyboard...

    Not only that, but "it’s impossible to close the laptop all the way." Just what I've been looking for!

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:31PM (#50696263) Homepage

    My parents use their computer to browse the internet, connect with people via social media and play browser based games. All these things are achieved with an average smartphone / tablet.

    I use a computer to make software, do business, make artwork, play video games. A phone is nice but it will be along time before I'm running Visual Studio off it, a PC fits my needs.

    I'll take a wild ass guess that most people don't need a desktop computer to do what they need, and that's why there is a shift, and why there is no need to realign them.

    There is a market for desktop computing, it's just not nearly as big anymore.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:31PM (#50696265)

    Sell me an OS instead of using the OS to sell me.

    Somehow people don't wanna be a product, ya know...

  • by ISoldat53 ( 977164 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:31PM (#50696267)
    14 quarters of failing to meet the expectations of their customers.
  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:39PM (#50696309)

    Wasn't there an article the other day about the PC sales slump continuing because Win10 got pushed out as a free upgrade? Anything MS is doing with their own hardware isn't a market rejuvenation, it's a land grab. I predict within 2 years Redmond will outright buy an OEM, possibly with a Nokia-style Trojan executive scheme.

  • First they refused to go along with windows rt and undercut win8 every chance they could. Then they shoveled a bunch of crappy chrome books out the door. None of that helped, though they were right about winrt. So now they have nowhere to go. It's not like Apple will let them ship osx so what are they supposed to do? Ship Linux systems? Good luck with that...

    Nope. They're still hitched to windows because that's what people want, especially now that Win10 is a huge hit.

  • I looked at the store in windows 8 and most of it was boring to scary (viruses). They need to get interesting app. ms office just isn't going to do it.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @06:48PM (#50696349) Journal
    Microsoft entering hardware business will lead to bad blood between HP Acer Asus Dell Samsung and the like and Microsoft. No matter how much it assures the partners, things will sour. The culture in Microsoft, the incentives it sets up, the way it administers incentives etc leads all the Microsoft employees to game the system and get any advantage they can get from other divisions to win over the competition. That tiny division will have some VP who would do things to get an edge over the rivals, and it would snowball. Microsoft does not know how to play nice.
  • I want a pc that fits in my pocket and has a touchscreen. It needs to be able to make phone calls and receive texts. It would be nice if I could also listen to music and if it could connect to things via bluetooth. Wi-fi would also be a good feature.

    Someone told me that such a PC might already exist.

    But in reality there is a PC that I would like that is close to the above. I want a PC basestation that is effectively my phone. Something that is just a keyboard, mouse and monitor but gets its computing power from my phone. I would snap the phone in and boop, I have a good computer, I pull it out and I have a good phone. Ideally though when it was a computer it would actually be a computer with proper mouseclicks, complicated interfaces, and whatnot. But when it was a phone it wouldn't be a crappy little computer but a good phone. But the real killer is that the basestation would not be proprietary to just that company or even just that phone series but general to all makes and models that supported the standard.

    Oddly enough one of the things that has hurt the PC market is that about 8 or so years ago most cheap laptops and desktops were good enough for most people's purposes. They could watch 1080 videos without stuttering, they could connect to Wi-fi faster than their ISP would feed them data, and the USB standard means that few devices shortly before or anytime after wouldn't work. Unlike the 90s when this year's computer could do things that last year's couldn't we have nearly a straight decade where 99% of people don't need more power than is available in any of the latest machines.

    We are now crossing that threshold with phones. They are crossing a power demand for most people. More than 1080 on a typical phone is nonsense, more than a quadcore 1.5ghz processor is nonsense, more than G wi-fi is nonsense, more than LTE data is nonsense. The few features that people really want are more battery, more durability, and lower price.

    So why not take this ever growing pile of power and combine it with the generally minimal needs of the laptop/desktop world?

    With a proper keyboard, mouse, and interface tied into a smartphone I know of few people who would need anything more than that.

    Then the era of the PC would simply have a new chapter.
    • Sounds almost like you're asking for this: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

      But that can't be right!

      • Actually other than it being by Microsoft that is pretty damn close. The key is that the docking hardware is of such a common standard that I could hook up my iPhone, android, MS phone, etc and they would just go, "Oh look a docking station; now I'm a desktop,"

        If I had to make a prediction this hardware probably costs way too much and thus it would be cheaper to go get a halfway decent laptop and/or the thing is going to be so proprietary that it will only work for even a limited number of MS phones of a
  • Apps for Window Phone and Windows 8+ will take a long time for a adoption. But once some good ones are out there, people will like Windows for its ability to run apps without getting a virus. If Microsoft designed Windows98 from the ground up for the Internet, they could have made it so .exes could have been run safely without getting a virus. I'm surprised they waited 15 years before making the apps that are run unable to give the computer a virus. It should catch on eventually, but adoption is slo
  • The PC has it's place, but basically when you have near the power of a laptop at your fingertips with broadband speeds, things that you would normally go "check on the computer" just aren't done any more.

    Sure when you have work to do you need an actual workstation but the days of the Desktop (Personal Computer) let's not forget what PC stands for... are gone your real "personal computer" sits in your pocket.

    If MS really wants to reignite the PC industry they need a compelling reason for you to sit your @#

  • "Hey! Cars aren't selling! We'll try making some too!" "They'll also have a bicycle and roller skates and a jet pack built in!" You would walk away from them very fast.
  • The field has changed, anything they make can be made to run only what they expect and nothing more.

    I have a Laptop with an UEFI I can't access it to change it, so it's stuck to 8.1; a worthless POS, I dislike very much.

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