Microsoft's Apple revenge: the pleasure and the pain
Schadenfreude offers no guarantees
Radio Reg Steve Ballmer's summer has been dominated by Microsoft's delayed response to the iPad and iPhone.
He reassured investors last month that Microsoft is energized and that nobody's sleeping until the job's done.
That said, the Windows slates Ballmer touted as coming this Fall are unlikely to be running Windows 7 and won't be using Intel's latest power-efficient Oak Trail chips. That'll be coming next year.
Which makes you wonder: what on earth will Microsoft offer consumers and businesses users this year? And where exactly the applications are coming from?
Microsoft was probably breathing a sigh of relief over Oracle's decision to prosecute Google for Android's claimed abuse of Java-related patents. But just how much upside for the coming Windows Phone 7 handsets is there in the fact the Android – the market's fastest growing smart phone operating system – could have its wings clipped by Oracle's case?
And with evidence mounting that Hewlett-Packard chief executive Mark Hurd's was ousted over a lack of vision, what are the chances Microsoft CEO could also be headed for the exit door with a decade of missed opportunities and strategic missteps in his wake?
Reg software editor Gavin Clarke and All-About-Microsoft blogger Mary-Jo Foley discuss what's really in store for Microsoft's Windows tablets and phone as we head towards their end-of-year delivery. And yes, we ask who at Microsoft might inflict an HP-style Hurding on Ballmer.
Their problem is more fundamental than that
"The problem with Microsoft's approach to mobile and tablet devices is it's been lazy or under-resourced."
The real problem has is that Microsoft have painted themselves into a corner. Every time Ballmer mutters phrases such as "The familiarity of Windows" he applies another coat of lacquer to his position.
They have spent years of marketing on trying to make the Windows UI ubiquitous with "computers" and convincing everyone to be "afraid of alternatives" that now new form factors have arrived requiring different wholesale changes to the user interface they are a position where they are too afraid to show the unwashed masses that there is more to "computing" than clicking on a "Start" button and saving files to a "My Documents" folder.
Even now they are continuing with that same old marketing push.
See Exhibit A:
*Channels Steve Ballmer from the 80's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL4hyATkQ74
YOU TOO CAN PURCHASE A MICROSOFT SURFACE FOR *JUST* $10,000!
*Returns from planet dipshit
I've seen those before at various Microsoft sales offices - and that's the only place anyone I know has ever seen them. It's a neat idea but a little too pricey for a toy/coffee-table IMO. That's really the problem with Microsoft "innovation" - a friend of mine worked in their Home of the Future for a while and what he told me sounded neat but mostly in a completely impractical Rube Goldberg sort of way. Do I really need RFID's in all my clothes and a virtual dress-up interface in my house... or a 3-D printer? The flexible/curved screens (as I recall the description at least - think Avatar) sounded interesting but still... Microsoft tends to "innovate" useless me-too crap. Their "Surface" UI was an evolution/knockoff of a University project as I understand it.
They have, of course, released the Surface Touch Pack for Windows 7 (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/US/touch-pack/touch-pack.aspx) touchscreen not included of course - which will probably be the extent of the Surface project's impact for the foreseeable future.
To your point, touchscreen on Windows is more of a minor (gimmick?) enhancement to the interface - it will never replace the mouse and keyboard. As we've seen with iOS, Android, WebOS, and the surprisingly decent Zune interface (no comment on the new Windows Mobile as I haven't used it yet), a really good touch interface pretty much has to be built from the ground up.
Upgrade Your Internet Experience?!?
Well, if it's got a fucking Bing Bar I want one!