#microsoft

Dina Bass and Ian King on why we didn’t see a “Surface Mini” at Microsoft “small" Surface event this week:

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President Stephen Elop decided that the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans weren’t public. Engineers had been working on the device and had planned to unveil it as early as today at an event in New York, two of the people said.

This is important. It finally seems as if Microsoft has someone in place to say the all-important word: “no.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. I’m still not sold on the Surface Pro 3 being the right call either, but at least it makes sense to try to market that as a full-on laptop replacement. The “Surface Mini” would have been another embarrassing flop. Good on them for realizing it before it was too late — even if it was at the last minute.

Reuters:

The Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban on installing Windows 8 on Chinese government computers as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.

The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.

Neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated on how the ban supported the use of energy-saving products or how it ensured security.

Insult, meet injury.

Microsoft made a gaming box that didn’t game well, banked on controlling the content gateway with an expensive peripheral that customers despised and resented paying for, and wondered why it didn’t sell.
Charlie Demerjian, on Microsoft unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One. The whole post is well worth the read for his take on how Microsoft has grown “irrelevant to computing”.
I don’t think that’s an important topic, actually. It’s certainly not important to me. Microsoft is still like a child to me. So the fact that people are loving it, that’s all that really matters.

Steve Ballmer, when asked by Shira Ovide if he cares that he’s not getting any credit for Microsoft’s latest announcements, many of which he set in motion before he left. It’s a good answer by Ballmer, the exact way to handle such a question.

His answer about potentially buying the Los Angeles Clippers (and apparently not moving them to Seattle) is interesting too.

Chris Kohler on the news that Microsoft will soon begin selling a $399 version of the Xbox One without the Kinect:

Price is the problem, as others have learned recently. Getting Xbox One’s price in line with PlayStation 4′s was paramount, and matching Sony in terms of online video streaming features was as well since that is also an extra cost associated with Xbox ownership. Microsoft having to suck it up again and roll back a feature to get the price down illustrates that this was really its only feasible move. (Getting rid of an unpopular peripheral has got to hurt a lot less than Sony having to ditch backward compatibility to get PlayStation 3′s price to a palatable level.)

I’m not sold that price is the only problem here. As I’ve said from the outset, this latest generation of consoles sound like mediocre upgrades at best. They’re not Wii U-level disasters, but they’re just too “meh" to compete in a world that is increasingly mobile.

Further, I think Microsoft just created a quagmire for developers who were told time and time again that all Xbox One’s would ship with the Kinect. With the change, who in their right mind would create a game that takes full advantage of the device? And that, in turn, will ensure the device itself is not a success.

Dawn Chmielewski:

Interviews with several entertainment industry executives who have attempted to do business with Xbox Entertainment Studios describe an operation with big ambitions to dominate the living room, but one that has gotten off to a rough start.

Sources paint a picture of a disorganized studio that struggles to close deals and lacks a fully fleshed-out business model. This inability to execute has turned off potential studio partners, they say, complicating the process of securing premium content.

Welcome to the land war in Asia, Microsoft.

Tom Warren:

Nokia sold nearly 251 million handsets last year, a mixture of feature phones and smartphones. While the Lumia lineup of Windows Phones only accounted for 30 million of that 251 million, Microsoft now has to plan and manage how it handles the millions of other devices that Nokia produces that do not run Windows Phone. That’s a mixture of Asha handsets, feature phones, and Nokia’s new Android-based X range. It’s a big worldwide business that places Nokia in second place behind Samsung in the top mobile phone manufacturers. Microsoft is now the world’s second largest phone manufacturer by sales.

Not sure which is crazier: that Microsoft is now the number two phone manufacturer in the world — or that only 30 million of the 251 million phones Nokia sold were Lumias?

The vast majority of people do not have, nor will they ever have a personal computer. They haven’t been exposed to Windows or Office, or anything like that, and in their lives it’s unlikely that they will.
Stephen Elop, Microsoft’s new executive vice president of Devices, in the post announcing the completion of the deal to acquire Nokia. This is not your father’s Microsoft.

Ina Fried:

Indeed, Microsoft does offer Office 365 subscriptions within the just-released Word for iPad and the other Office apps and, yes, it is paying the 30 percent cut, Apple confirmed to Re/code. Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.

Microsoft is giving Apple a 30 percent cut on sales of Office 365 through the iPad apps. Let that sink in for a minute. And then realize that both sides are probably going to make a ton of money as a result.

Satya Nadella:

A great idea shouldn’t have to wait for you to get back to a particular device. An impromptu call with a customer shouldn’t be delayed because you don’t have the right data on hand. Life moves too fast to put limits on where and how you work. Just as the best camera is the one you have with you, sometimes the right device is the one closest at hand. Simply put, our vision is to deliver the best cloud-connected experience on every device.

A few buzzwords aside, this is a great post. Clear and fairly concise. It seems like he gets it.

52 Days

A few tweets of mine today about Microsoft releasing Office for iPad seem to have people up-in-arms. So allow me to clarify.

First, I do think this is an important moment. Not for me, personally, because I still won’t use Office — haven’t in years — but for millions of other people who do and want to use it on their own terms, on their own devices. More importantly, this is important for Microsoft. It’s a grand gesture to suggest they’re finally taking their head out of the sand it has been in for the better part of a decade.

"But, but, but, Microsoft clearly didn’t make Office in 52 days!," they whine. No shit. I’m not saying that Satya Nadella has been the one man hand-coding Office for iPad with both hands tied behind his back for the past 52 days. I’m saying it takes balls for Microsoft to even release Office for iPad at all. Especially now.

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