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  1. #1
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    Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users




    WOODY'S WINDOWS

    Turmoil at Microsoft; implications for Windows users


    By Woody Leonhard

    Microsoft in general, and the Windows group in particular, have gone through enormous changes in the past year. All the key Windows 8 players are out.

    Most of us can only speculate on the reasons for the massive turnover, but one point remains clear: under new management, Windows is in for changes.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/woodys-windows/turmoil-at-microsoft-implications-for-windows-users/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Thanks

    Thanks Woody for a comprehensive overview of the Microsoft hierarchy whose names, for the most part, meant nothing to me.

    Personally I like the operating speed that the Windows 8 family has given me, I intensely dislike 'Metro' and have reverted to the familiar 'desktop' using one of the many 'converters', thank you Microsoft for leaving that element of code into the 8/8.1 background.

    I look forward to a Win 7 replacement that maintains the speed of the 8's with the comfort of the 'desktop' and improves dramatically the voice input/output element using an improved version of Speech (Nuance Dragon) and Reading (NaturalReader) thus contributing further towards output for the professionals and ease of use for the older client like myself.

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  5. #3
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    I have thought for a long time that Windows 8 would be the modern equivalent of DOS 4. For those too young to remember it, MS-DOS 4 was released in the early '90s to almost universal puzzlement and disinterest in upgrading from DOS 3.5 which was a good and stable version. Matters got so bad that the much improved DOS 5 appearred after only a short gap. Sound familiar?

  6. #4
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    Why are MS so confused? All this chopping and changing does them no good whatsoever in the long run.
    And shuffling people from a position they excel in to one they don't is just plain daft.

    Windows : 7 was/is great, it just lacked a Touch overlay which should have been just a large add-on to the standard OS, but instead they decided to release a whole 'new' Windows 8, and cocked up the fact that millions of users need just keyboard and mouse, not touch. The reasons are no doubt because MS see releasing a 'New' OS as a great advert for Windows, and hope to sell loads just on the "ITS NEW!" factor, which may appeal to new users, but in the present 'Device-led' market, that group is pretty small, and not a huge earner in itself as the traditional PC market shrinks.

    Windows Versions : Windows, WindowsRT and Windows Phone are too many OS's, MS need to slim down their product line, and make sure Apps and Programs run on all of them as much as possible. Having fewer OS's would greatly simplify all that cross-coding. Surely WindowsRT and Windows Phone are aiming at all-too-similar devices?

    Office : For too long MS have held the view "If you want to use Office, you must have a Windows PC", which in the days before 'Devices' was probably a justifiable limitation. But for a few years now people have had to use alternative Office products to do work on their new devices if they were not near a PC. As Office is a good earner in itself, MS should have released Office versions for iOS and Android long ago, and made more of the sales, but also to keep people using its core Office product, and not wander off to the Office alternatives. Keeping people in the fold applies to Windows and Office separately in my view, as they are two completely different products, which just happen to come from the same company.

    IE : As most people realise, a Browser is just a Browser, there is no huge divide between them, they all do pretty much the same thing. It is not worth the effort at MS to waste money on adverts for its new "Amazing!" Browser, or even develop it, as it is free, and included with Windows, it is just a small add-on. I know people use their Browsers a lot and can form an attachment to them, but a web page is still just a web page, whatever browser you use.

    Sync and Exchange :
    Office in its plain form does not sync with other systems. You can import and export some stuff, but this is not Sync, where you set-and-forget and it just does it in the background. MS want to keep too much exclusive control to themselves, but these days people need more co-operation between their disparate devices, and Office does not cooperate.
    As a Home user who is an Admin through necessity not desire, I have no wish to delve into Exchange just to get some kind of Sync working. I waste enough life time already with Backups, clean-ups and general file-tidying, so Exchange is not an option for me when a simple Sync would do.


    So to sum up, MS should :

    Release Office - the full-fat version - for iOS and Android. Users will find the bits of menus they need, no matter what the screen size is. And it is a good solid earner independent of any OS sales.

    Stop releasing a 'New and Amazing' Windows every 2 years, and just concentrate on improvements and bug fixes.
    People really don't care what the version number is, they just want to get on with using an OS.

    Incorporate a simple Sync that cooperates with other systems, independent of Exchange.

    Stop pretending IE is Really Important. It's not.

    And get rid of either WindowsRT or Windows Phone, or integrate them into one OS? Too many programmers doing similar things to each other, instead of working together.


    Phew!

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    I enjoyed your article. It's interesting to know that MS is begining to get a clue. I am down to my last two Windows machines. Perhaps I'll look at MS again after Windows 9 is released.

    Having tried Windows 8 for about a year, I am switching to Linux. (I was unsuccessful in updating to 8.1 and there is NO tech support for it.)

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    Thanks Woody for a great article on the turmoil at Microsoft. As a long time Microsoft user (back to the MS-DOS 3 days) I was extremely disappointed in Windows 8. My wife purchased a new laptop last year and I have spent hours tweaking it trying to get Windows 8 to act like Windows 7. For laptops without touch screens, Windows 8 is pretty useless. I recently updated my personal PC to Windows 7 and it is working fine for me. I have decided that should the next version of Windows be a continuation of Windows 8, I will switch to a Mac when the time comes to change hardware again. Your article gives me hope that the switch to Mac may not be necessary. Thanks again Woody for all that you do!

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    Windows 8 is wonderful

    Mr. Leonhard, Your article gave me a good chuckle, as did the other modern haters below. While not perfect, Windows 8 serves as an introduction to a new interface to get users accustomed to the ever-increasing universe of touch devices... using MSFT of course. When I encounter a customer with a new computer it takes about 5 minutes before they understand the 2 computers in 1 concept and that they do not have to go to the modern side if they do not wish to. I show them how to go back and forth from the modern and traditional sides, explain the differences between a modern and a traditional app, and show them that if they do not see what function they are looking for on the modern side - to right-click - and presto new functions appear. I expect that MSFT could have allowed greater configuration available so users can modify to suit their own needs and desires, especially for people who do not like change.

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    How to Love Windows 8.1...

    Your article is most informative of the Microsoft turmoil, but I would like to comment on the acceptance, and more, the dismay of Windows 8/8.1.

    I am a long time PC user and developer... starting when it was first introduced with DOS, through the various iterations of Windows. I also had a period of "Apple infusion", when I ran networks and workstation support for a major corporation.

    I avoided looking at Windows 8 at first, as I was quite happy with Win 7 and with all of the negative press, I did not want to participate in the first release of a new MS version, which I've always considered beta testing.

    Microsoft made Win 8.1 Preview available for free, so I decided to do a dual install on my Win 7 PC. At first I found it cumbersome, but then I started to realize that the OS itself was fantastic... faster than any of the previous versions of Windows and a lot of useful features... BUT the default installation parameters were terrible. I have stepped back and observed the philosophy and overall intent of Windows 8. The folks at MS who wrote the OS did an excellent job, but the marketing group who decided how to roll it out should have been tarred and feathered. From you article, it appears that they through the baby out with the bathwater.

    These marketers, with their goal to play catchup in the phone and tablet marketplace, shoved horrible full-screen apps at PC users. They convinced everyone that they needed a touch screen to make use of the new OS, so everyone would run out and buy new hardware. This was a disaster, and it backfired on them. What's sad is if users knew a few things and made a few changes, I fully believe they would prefer Win 8 over the other versions.

    As a result, I started showing others what could be done with their new Win 8 computers. I discovered that everyone who came to understand a few basic concepts agreed this was far better. (It's just a shame that MS didn't understand this). As a result of all of this investigation I wrote an article "How to Love Windows 8.1... without replacing it with Windows 7" and created a blog where I share this and other pertinent facts and discoveries.

    As I am retired now, I don't feel the need to go on a big campaign, but offer this blog and it's information to anyone who wants to see what Win 8 can really accomplish... http://lentechnotes.blogspot.com
    I suggest you specifically, take a look at the Pages listed on the right: "How to Love Windows 8.1..." and "Windows 8.1 Quickstart"

    Thanks for listening, and comments and suggestions are appreciated.
    Last edited by azlen; 2014-02-27 at 10:35. Reason: add title

  11. #9
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    Thanks
    for that factual post, Woody!

    I've been an MS User
    (and reader of your great columns),
    since the days of DOS...so,
    I'm also an experienced MS User.

    My opinion?

    The new MS team
    might be brilliant and have the best intentions.

    But in the last 10 years,
    Microsoft has shown a lack of perception and respect
    of what OS ***Users***
    really need and want.


    For example:
    dropping approx. 750 million Users of Win XP (a perfectly functional OS),
    "under the bus".

    (including the entire UK National Health System PCs,
    and also a billion ATM machines...).

    To those who say:
    - "But...but...just buy new hardware and Win 8,
    because XP is old and not secure anymore!...."

    I say:
    - "Well, then MAKE IT SECURE and modern
    ...don't just drop a billion paying XP Users!".

    As mentioned in my previous comments,
    our small company
    has been preparing for a year now,
    and moving to Linux Ubuntu and Mint, next April...

    We have no time for MS politics and incompetence,
    and "future" OSes from them.

    As ***paying Users***,
    we have completely lost our confidence
    in Microsoft Corp.

    No more time to wait
    for MS to "get their house in order".
    There are better OS alternatives, now.

    And that's a fact and my opinion
    Last edited by SF99; 2014-02-27 at 11:03.

  12. #10
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    I knew Windows 8 had received adverse criticism when my 2yr-old Win 7 (touch-screen) AIO Dell was replaced under warranty last August. Yes, the new AIO touch-screen PC arrived with Win 8 (and no option for Win 7). A mature touch-typist, I had to wait until mid-August for Win 8.1, which needed even more third-party apps, and it is still short of some familiar features.

    For six years I have been adding a .pdf document Community Association newsletter to the cloud (latterly to SkyDrive) and, owing to the hijacking by MS's .pdf, now find that one of three pages will not appear. I now have to upload Word Documents for online reading (although .pdf downloads are still possible).

    Woody has now given me hope that a Win 7-like OS will be available, albeit it a year's time. Like Whisperer14 says above, I look forward to a Win 7 replacement that maintains the speed of the 8's with the comfort of the 'desktop' ....... thus contributing further towards output for the professionals and ease of use for the older client like myself.

  13. #11
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    The changes are to late for me! I have been enjoying computers for over 40 years up until the "Ribbon" and windows "8" and because I service computers as a hobby during my retirement, I had to purchase a "8" (UGH) I personally have a volume license for XP64 Pro and do not plan to upgrade any of my working systems. I agree with every word of your article. I have had to move several of my old (70+) clients to Ubuntu because the"8" was way to confusing. If I still teach at a local community college and have access to all MS products at no charge, but have no interest in them because I took and intent dislike to the "Ribbon" Thank you for being a voice of sanity. If you really want the best of MS get XP64 (uses most of the same drivers as MS server 2003) BTW: MS sent two people to interview me several years ago, I suggested they go easy with the ICONs, my experience had been people work quicker from words and phrases, I think they should have saved the travel expenses.

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    Thank you, Woody, for your insight. You are certainly fully qualified to speak on this subject! I have been plugging along on my old desktop, using XP Pro, for a number of years; quite happily, I might add. All the bugs were out (?) and all the security has been covered, so I saw no real reason to 'upgrade.'

    With the end (of XP) soon in sight, I started looking for an alternative. A laptop was my first requirement, in order to save energy. My old PC was a power-hungry monster, and noisy, too. Wanting to have the latest and greatest, I thought, Win 8 was the choice for an OS. I finally settled on a very nice 'refurbished' Asus K55N unit. Right away I had problems. It seemed to me to just be a lot of eye-candy and it certainly wasn't any faster OR easier than my old AMD machine! Now, I've discovered that booting up IS a lot faster, and some of the slowness is because of DSL connection.

    The first screen (Metro?) is a total waste for me. I am used to working off the Desktop, and all my work is now there. Who NEEDS Metro? I have removed almost all the crap-ware and setup the Data partition the way I like to work. Just this week I turned off the old noisy beast (my PC) and I'm using the laptop full time. WHAT a difference! I can actually HEAR things, now, like the front door bell! I fully expect to see a big drop in my power bill soon. I have my printer working, too.

    Overall, I guess I'm about as happy as I can be. BUT! Since I made a quantum leap ahead in processor power I would have expected to see a HUGE improvement in power and speed, both from the hardware end AND from the software end. I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing it! It has always seemed to me that when MS comes out with a NEW JIM-DANDY OS, the actual improvement, if any, is quite small. I missed (?) ME, Vista and Win 7, so I would have expected to see SOME improvement, but I don't. I also go way back to DOS 2.5 or so, and I 'tried' Win 3.1, which I also didn't like. DOS was a good, efficient and WORKING OS! I have tried, MANY times, to get Ubuntu working, with mixed results. Maybe it's time to try again, one more time?

    As a died-in-the-wool keyboardist, I will never be interested in a touch screen! I also don't like virtual, on-screen keyboards! What I really would like is a NEW, UP TO DATE system that works as fast (or faster) as XP Pro, with ALL the bugs out, that is fully supported by MS, that doesn't crash and just WORKS!! Yeah, that's probably asking too much! Thinking about it makes me so mad I think I'll go check out Ubuntu 64!

    PC Bob

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    Bon Voyage Windows 8

    I don't make it a habit of posting, but this news provokes me to ad my voice.

    Possibly, the single best piece of reporting I've viewed at WindowsSecrets ... Congratulations. In a single read, I learned more about the MS org chart than I knew when I lived in Seattle.

    Just to reinforce your perspective: I concur on several of your points -- not only philosophically, but functionally.... For example, I did not purchase a W8 appliance. Instead I think W7 has been excellent and I've been concerned with keeping it going (which I've accomplished with passable results by continuously stripping out stuff that slows it down.)

    As a prior owner, I recently re-invested in iMac for my home office desk top, and now live almost exclusively in the cloud (drinking Google Cool Aid.) My smartphone and tablet gear work seamlessly - I don't carry a notebook out in the world any more. I remember many a walk on and off the Washington State Ferry with bag so heavy it gave me neck cramps. No longer.

    I also no longer give much thought to the vagaries of updates, patches and wonky baloney. I haven't booted my W7 deck in weeks because before shutting it down, I boosted all my files to my Buffalo NAS. I particularly enjoyed how quickly Apple responded to the security hole in their code this past week. I read the story in my news feed and hours later my phone was already updating.

    The only thing I can think of that I might need to fire up the old notebook for -- would be to burn a DVD.

    Those characterizations aside, I am looking forward to what Microsoft will counter-punch with.

    Personally, I believe that we see an example up in Everett -- Boeing recent announcement of their "Black Phone" -- as a possible direction. If MS would focus on my privacy and design from security first, I'll be their customer.

    Another area of fractured services I would suggest MS begin to "converge" is the home entertainment, security and infrastructure operations space (HVAC, Power, bla, bla, etc..) SMB consultants who aren't focused on a footprint in this space will need to catch up -- it's what may follow Small Business Server, in my opinion.

    Thanks Woody. Glad to read ya.
    David Gerhart

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    "How hard can IT be?"

  16. #14
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    The Best & Most Honest MS Reporting Ever

    This is quite possibly the best and most honest reporting on Microsoft from any source I have ever read and that includes the pieces from Mary Joe Foley who frequently provides inside looks at Microsoft.

    I have to point out your comment about the Ribbon fiasco. I feel vindicated now for I am one of many who frequently had to listen to (or read about) negative replies to any and all comments made about the Ribbon that were negative in any way. From the first day I saw the Ribbon I called it a fiasco. Jump ahead to several years later and the Ribbon is now being accurately labeled a fiasco. The problem with the Ribbon is just like the problem with Windows 8. Its not that the interface is bad but that the attitude behind forcing it on existing users regardless of whether they want it or not simply because Microsoft knows better (then we the user) what the user needs. That level of arrogance is hard to beat.

    Thanks Woody!
    Last edited by edcarden; 2014-02-27 at 12:43. Reason: forgot to fill out Title

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    Hi Woody,
    Thanks for a great, insightful article! For a long time I had the impression you didn't mind Windows 8 too much but am glad to see that you firmly have stated now that you are not a fan of 8. If by "infamous ribbon" you mean that menu they use for Office 2007 and beyond -- I hate it, bought Office 2007 and installed it, tried and tried to like it and gave up and reinstalled Office 2003 which is what I still use today, on Windows 7. I loved xp and had a hard time starting with Windows 7 but found ways to make it work more like XP and have been very happy with 7 ever since. I have my own copy of 7, so if I have to get another computer, I will remove 8 and install my own 7. Thank heavens I bought it. I use Outlook Express (Vista's Windows Mail) on Windows 7 and it works perfectly. I will attempt to install it on any new version of Windows they come up with. That Windows Live Mail stunk and I will never use webmail. If forced, I will switch to a Mac and use Apple Mail, but I don't really want to. I am hoping that Office will return to the menu bars we used in 2003. I no longer care what they do with IE because I moved to Chrome and Firefox years ago.

    I appreciate your describing the three possible versions of Windows... Enterprise would be the one for me. I like tablets, like touch screens, but on my computer, I want keyboard and mouse. I wish MS would give up on phones and tablets and stick to satisfying the business users (including small at-home businesses), and those non-business users who where happy with Windows before MS went off on a crazed hunt for market share in tablets and phones.

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