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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Move over, Windows; Google and Apple are movin' in




    TOP STORY

    Move over, Windows; Google and Apple are movin' in


    By Woody Leonhard

    With nearly infinite and virtually free cloud storage available, and with archrivals Google and Apple offering big ecosystems of apps and media, Microsoft seems to have the short end of the stick.

    Will Windows be able to compete in this brave new world? Or has it already been relegated to the technological bench — by consumers and, increasingly, companies?

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/move-over-windows-google-and-apple-are-movin-in/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

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

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Thumbs up

    Although they are trying and, what they have done so far is good, they are not doing it fast enough or being "cool" enough and they need to get a move on. I fear as you do - if it doesn't happen soon, they will remain irrelevant in the eyes of the general consumer. If Google were to bring out a fully fledged desktop operating system tomorrow, I think that would seal the fate of Windows with the general consumer - The majority of general users will move to Google by the end of the year.

    It all seems to have gone downhill since Steve Sinofsky left the organisation.

    Microsoft need to hire developers to create Apps, because no one else seems to be doing it. The quality of apps doesn't really matter - if you can just say that "we have 1.5million apps", that should do it. The public at the moment are quite shallow, and anyway, as if you will be able to fit 1.5 million apps on your device.

    So, yes, I think your observations are spot on. I'll continue to support them, though and hope that they will come thru.

    All the best


    Tim

  3. #3
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    At the outset I'll say I I know nothing about Apple products, but I do use Windows and Android OSs. And I've yet to find an Android app with the capabilities of, say, Photoshop. Or even an Android device powerful enough. For desktop publishing, graphic design, image and video editing and many more power-hungry programs, we still need Windows (and of course, Macs).

    If, as my namesake points out, we get a proper Android desktop system, maybe that will change. However, MS and Apple have a long lead in that area. Such users of the above mentioned programs maybe a niche market, but still consumers.

    As for the cloud, imagine even for those lucky to have fibre optic connection, trying, say, to upload a long video to be rendered.

    So I don't see Windows dying, but maybe contracting.
    Tim

    (Asus Transformer Aio. Win8.1. Galaxy S4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5)

  4. #4
    Lounger Will Fastie's Avatar
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    Technically and functionally, Microsoft's position in the cloud is much stronger than Apple's or Google's. Microsoft's integration, from bottom (phone) to top (cloud) is simply unsurpassed. If Apple had anything close it would not need IBM.

    This isn't about Windows and Office. It's about the size of Microsoft's share of the phone market.

    The Windows Phone integrates beautifully into the Microsoft world. It is a far better integration story than iPhone or Android. And that pays huge dividends when a business user switches from an iPhone to a Nokia Lumia and sees those benefits.

    I think all Microsoft needs to do to secure its position is reach critical mass in the phone market. Microsoft has the deep pockets to make that happen.

  5. #5
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    It's All About Interoperability

    Quote Originally Posted by timsinc View Post
    At the outset I'll say I I know nothing about Apple products, but I do use Windows and Android OSs. And I've yet to find an Android app with the capabilities of, say, Photoshop. Or even an Android device powerful enough. For desktop publishing, graphic design, image and video editing and many more power-hungry programs, we still need Windows (and of course, Macs).

    If, as my namesake points out, we get a proper Android desktop system, maybe that will change. However, MS and Apple have a long lead in that area. Such users of the above mentioned programs maybe a niche market, but still consumers.

    As for the cloud, imagine even for those lucky to have fibre optic connection, trying, say, to upload a long video to be rendered.

    So I don't see Windows dying, but maybe contracting.
    There already is a desktop Android OS. It's called Linux.

    Linux doesn't scale down to small tablets and phones very well, with the current desktop interfaces. But that could be changing.

    Android definitely does not scale up to a true desktop, especially if touch is not an option. The same "blockiness" which plagues Windows 8 Metro would limit Android on the desktop. And many other details which do not scale up.

    As for Windows' strategy of one user experience on every device, everywhere -- well, we have seen this concept, and it is a flop. Whoever tries to be everything to all people with one GUI will end up being nothing to anyone in any platform. A phone or small tablet simply must have a different GUI paradigm from a desktop or workstation platform. Nothing can change the physical ergonomics involved in this observation.

    As for the applications themselves, I think Microsoft recognizes that you need smaller, less comprehensive Apps for smaller devices, and bigger, more all-encompassing applications for larger platforms. Apple seems to get this too, but in a different way. Android only does Small, and Linux does Bigger better than Smaller.

    Apple may not agree, but Microsoft and Google seem to recognize that they need not only all sorts of devices in all sorts of sizes, but they need Apps and programs which can be used cross-platform, or at least with data compatibility through The Cloud. It's called interoperability, and in business, this is tied with the BYOD paradigm. The days of being tied to a Company laptop or an at-work Workstation are going or gone in many organizations. Personal and portable devices are the bridge between work and home for most users.

    As for Upstream Bandwidth, if the demand is there, the ISPs will build it out. Last I read, Fiber Optic connections in the US are under-utilized to the tune of 4/5 of their capacity not being used at the present time. This is from the Wall Street Journal, concerning a new boom in Fiber Optic Network construction recently:

    But already some skeptics caution whether enough demand exists to warrant more building. While trading firms are currently willing to pay a premium for faster connections, some worry that potential new regulations governing high-frequency trading could crimp the market. Skeptics also question how large a mobile traffic surge will materialize given the high cost of delivering wireless data.
    Clearly, there is plenty of capacity now and being planned, to vastly increase available Upstream Bandwidth, thus reducing the issue of time lag in transmitting large files through The Cloud.

    So Microsoft needs to expand and improve their Store offerings, no doubt about it. Google Play needs to focus on more useful desktop applications. And Apple needs to come out of its walled-garden shell and socialize with the other operating environments. This includes making MacOS and iOS available for use as Virtual Machines under other OSes.

    Anyway, that's the way I respond to the issues raised in the article. Very interesting possibilities for one and all, if all companies have the foresight to roll with the changes. I think in spite of their inertia, Microsoft will in the end be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

    Just my opinions.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-07-17 at 05:58.
    -- Bob Primak --

  6. #6
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    My computing includes much financial "stuff" that I wouldn't want in the cloud. I want to keep it on my own SSD, encrypted, and with redundant backup. A cloud-only Chromebook is not an option. Plus, if you can't connect to the cloud, how can you access ANY of your data? Even if we have a power loss, I can access my on-computer data by battery- and with my generator, if the power loss is prolonged.

    When I bought my last laptop, I considered a MacBook, but I found a major problem in that Quicken for Mac doesn't mix well with Quicken for Windows. I would have risked or lost decades of financial records, had I switched, or would have been forced to keep my old Windows computer just to keep access to those records- a classic garden wall problem.

    I DO use an iPhone for access to e-mail when traveling locally, checking weather when biking, playing a few games, and I can sync my Outlook data to it through the dreaded iTunes. Anything else can wait until I get home, and with that usage pattern, who needs a bloody tablet? If I'm doing "distance traveling", I can take undock and take along my 3-pound Toshiba laptop, which I chose as it has all the capabilities, except a few less USB ports, as other laptops weighing 1-2 pounds more. I run my own business, so interoperability with the "boss's" computer is tautological.

    I actually WORK on my computer, and don't just want to use it as an Internet social connection device. Even if I were to keep a "legacy" Windows computer & go to Apple, it would cost me at least twice as much to gain the same capability as I get with a computer running Windows. So why would I ever leave Windows? Google will have to build a true computer you can use without Internet access, and Apple would have to reduce prices markedly, before I'd ever consider such a move!

  7. #7
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    I use Win8 on my desktop, smartphone wireless and take my iPad on trips. I enjoy the mix of different software on my devices. I think it makes the companies more competitive and interesting.

    Microsoft knows it has to change and I think the last few years show they have tried (Win8 for example). I recently switched to Win8 and after a few weeks had it tweaked to include a lot of the Win7 features. Win9 should include the capability of using a Classic or the new Metro interface. Or, perhaps, include the capability of toggling each. I do miss my gadgets on Win8.

    It's difficult to imagine our digital future without MS in it. It could happen, but I believe they will continue to be a major player in our digital lives.

  8. #8
    Star Lounger burger2227's Avatar
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    Well on my email REIMAGE MOVED IN to tell me that I have 425 problems all on it's own thanks to your latest newsletter. BUY NOW with NO X BOX either!

    Google Chrome says: message contains content that's typically used to steal personal information.

    Is this your fault or was my email hacked?

  9. #9
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    "Apple's approach is about a dumb cloud enabling rich apps while Google's is about devices as dumb glass that are endpoints of cloud services." I am not sure what this means. What is a "dumb cloud?" What is "dumb glass?"

    But the article is very good for those of us "out of the loop." In fact, it a superb article. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    I've raised this before but the biggest issue I see with all of this is that more and more, you need a robust Internet connection to work. That may not be a big problem if you are home or at the office and have WiFi, but once you leave then you only have three options. Go somewhere that has WiFi, invest in expensive 4G equipment and data plans, or don't work.

    The cost of this new paradigm has not yet been felt. In 5 more years, as more and more business become dependent on cloud based services, the cost of bandwidth is going to go through the roof.

  11. #11
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    This article is nothing more than a rewrite of what the naysayers have been spewing for a long time, just to get reader's eyeballs. WS disappoints again.

    The fact is that MS is still dominants overwhelmingly in the global business community with is well documented ~ 95% market share in the productivity software market, 75% share in the operating system market and approximately 75% share in the server software market.

  12. #12
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    I wouldn't be too quick count out the future of Windows

    As long as Microsoft can control the corporate desktop market, most home users will want to 'use what I use at work' and will get a Windows machine.

    Running Office on a phone or tablet may seem nice for viewing documents and tweaking content, but for doing serious content creation, nothing beats a large screen and full-size keyboard.

  13. #13
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    A lot of this article focuses on the cloud in the context of apps and the individual user experience. In that sense, it does explain why Microsoft views the cloud as a Windows appendage (OneDrive, Windows Store). The Windows OS has to be all things to all people and Microsoft's version of Cloud implementation for that is fairly "day-to-day" in nature. But when it comes to business, the game changes. The way you could use Azure for SharePoint, for Visual Studio and/or Team Foundation Server, or simply for content hosting, is extremely robust--the fact that I hate using the word 'robust' should emphasize the point--it's laid out for businesses as a stepping-stone to take as far into the Cloud as they are willing...and Microsoft deserves credit for trying to make this affordable to smaller businesses too.

    And yet, we have Office 365 sitting somewhere in between, because it has to have a foot in both worlds. And as a result, it's probably the best place to look if you want to see where Microsoft intends to go with Cloud implementation of apps: it is a fairly big suite of apps, their most heavily consumed product outside Windows, and I get the impression it hits all of the rough spots of Cloud implementation for Microsoft.

    Personally, I keep waiting for OneDrive to get easier to work with--and yet both it and the Windows Store apps are just as the author describes them--not well written to the user's experience.

  14. #14
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    Without getting into a defense of Windows, I believe that any article predicting the demise of Windows as the dominant computing platform, both personal and professional for years to come, is grossly over-simplifying the situation. As you point out in your article, all three platforms (Microsoft, Google, and Apple) have built “walled gardens around their products”. While Android and iOS devices are now more accepted in the workplace, their presence is nothing close to dominant.

    I own an iPad (1st gen), but every time I use it, I wish it were a Windows tablet! The only thing I use it for is taking it on the road for surfing the web and for reading e-books when I don’t need the power of Windows. I own three Windows devices – a desktop, a large tablet when I’m going to be at a client site for more than 1 day, and a 14” hybrid for other road trips. Would any Android device be as convenient and powerful? No.

    I’ve written two books about Windows 8 and Windows 8 apps, and I certainly believe that Microsoft missed the boat with this one. However, they have the resources, and time is still on their side.

    I’d be interested in knowing what others think about your assertion that “most users are now comfortable using different platforms for personal and work applications.” Aside from email and Web browsing, exactly what applications are you talking about?

    For those of you who disagree with me – a challenge! Spend at least a day, or better yet, one week – without using a Windows device, and tell me how productive you are. While Android and iOS devices give us wonderful short-term alternatives to Windows, for longer periods of time, they still don’t compare.

  15. #15
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    Ain't gonna happen, Woody. Business runs on Windows platforms, and will for a long time. The notion that Linux will replace Windows in the business world is preposterous. And expecting Fortune 500 companies to align themselves with overpriced Apple products or half-baked, intrusive Google products is pure fantasy. It may be a really hot idea for technoids and pimple-faced gamers to argue forever, but that's not the business world. I have yet to see anybody prepare a 100 page business report, a new drug application or an SEC filing in a business setting using an iPad, and we're very unlikely to see it happen, primarily because an iPad is poorly suited for that kind of task.

    I only hope Microsoft does a better job with Windows 9 than they did with Windows 8. They sure screwed the pooch with Windows 8.

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