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.

Lots of good nuggets from Dina Bass, Beth Jinks and Peter Burrows on the end of the Steve Ballmer tenure at Microsoft:

Several directors and co-founder and then-Chairman Bill Gates — Ballmer’s longtime friend and advocate — initially balked at the move into making smartphones, according to people familiar with the situation. So, at first, did Nadella, signaling his position in a straw poll to gauge executives’ reaction to the deal. Nadella later changed his mind.

Strike 1. And in other words, Nadella was against it before he was for it. We’ll see how that ends up playing out now that he’s the man…

Ballmer was so loud that day in June his shouts could be heard outside the conference room, people with knowledge of the matter said. He’d just been told the board didn’t back his plan to acquire two Nokia units, according to people with knowledge of the meeting. He later got most of what he wanted, with the board signing off on a $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia’s mobile-phone business, but by then the damage was done.

Strike 2. But:

The tablet Microsoft finally came out with in October 2012, the Surface, was a dud. Windows 8, with a touch-based design, was released to mixed reviews. The smartphone operating system, Windows Phone, wasn’t a hit either — but Ballmer remained committed to it. A deadline was looming that would result in one of his last rolls of the dice.

Nokia made about 80 percent of handsets using Windows Phone, and the arrangement was set to expire in February 2014. Nokia had been dropping hints it might start making devices to run on Google’s Android platform. Ballmer needed a way to keep Nokia in Microsoft’s world.

Hard to see what other choice Ballmer had. Without Nokia, Windows Phone was effectively finished. Instead, Ballmer was. He struck out.

One more thing:

As Microsoft continued to lag behind rivals, some directors grew more unhappy. Ballmer had introduced Mulally as part of the company’s succession planning, and those on the board looking for ways to move Ballmer out talked in July about hiring the Ford CEO as a way to persuade the CEO to step down. In August, Ballmer, 57, announced he would retire, earlier than planned.

Interesting that it was Ballmer who ushered Mulally into the Microsoft mix, effectively sealing his fate…

Emil Protalinski:

Windows 7 launched on October 22, 2009. In October 2010, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 240 million Windows 7 licenses in the operating system’s first year, and in January 2011 that number grew to 300 million at the 15-month mark.

Windows 8 launched on October 26, 2012. In February 2014, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 200 million Windows 8 licenses in the operating system’s 15 months. No matter how you slice it, that’s not good news for the company.

No, it’s not.

Mary Jo Foley:

The extension of the Windows 7 Pro preload-cutoff date is not related to the looming end-of-support date for Windows XP, said Shad Larsen, senior business program manager, Windows business planning team. Nor is it because of business-customer reticence to adopt Windows 8, Larsen insisted.

Instead, Larsen said that because Windows 7 remains the largest part of Microsoft’s installed base and is still in the midst of being deployed by business customers, Microsoft wants to make it easy and possible for businesses to continue to obtain it.

Those logic gap in those two paragraphs is hilarious. Microsoft is not extending the life of Windows 7 because of customer reticence to adopt Windows 8 — but rather it’s because Windows 7 remains the largest part of the business install base. But wait. Why is that? Because no one in their right mind wants a business machine that runs Windows 8!

Nothing to see here. Nothing at all.

Tom Warren:

Since it’s not at the show, Microsoft has left it up to its hardware partners to push Windows 8. This year there’s an absence of new Windows PCs, especially exciting ones, and it’s noticeable. With a lack of new products and no presence on the floor, Microsoft and its platforms are almost nowhere to be seen.

Hard to see how this is anything other than a sign of the times.

Anonymous asked:

I am not a Windows user, but almost everything you say about Windows 8 strikes me as also being true of iOS 7, and I have been using iOS (and Mac OS X) since the very beginning. For example, iOS 7 is the reason I did not buy a new iPad and iPhone this year. I know Apple is hot and Microsoft is not, but other than that, are Windows 8 and iOS 7 really that different to you?

While I see where you’re coming from with this, and I actually agree about iOS 7 being kind of a nightmare, the difference in my mind is that one is about bugs (in particular with the interactions between the OS and the new 64-bit chips), the other is about a fundamental miscalculation of what the software should be.

I’m confident that Apple will be able to fix the bugs (word is that “iOS 7.1 is the true vision of iOS 7”), I’m not confident that Microsoft will be able to fix Windows 8. In fact, it sounds like they’re already admitting they can’t.

Bottom line: I’m a fan of the vision of iOS 7, I just can’t believe how buggy it is. When you consider that they were trying to keep the new 64-bit chips a secret leading up to launch, you likely have some sort of explanation for the bugs (though still incredibly un-Apple-like from a quality perspective).

Windows 8 should never have shipped the way it is. The “no compromise" approach was actually the opposite — it was a huge compromise. They should have picked one vision. Instead, we have traditional Windows users who hate all the Metro stuff and new Surface users who hate the traditional Windows stuff. It’s the worst of both worlds. A shitshow.

A Clear And Present Shitshow

October 9, 2012, perhaps emboldened by a few tasty beverages, I went on a bit of a rant on Twitter:

11:45 PM Apparently tip-toeing around it isn’t enough so I’ll just come out and say it: Windows 8 is going to be a shitshow.

11:46 PM One man’s opinion perhaps, but it’s not really. I’ve talked to a lot of folks on both sides and as we get closer I’m much more confident.

11:46 PM Total. Shitshow. Just wait.

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Ben Thompson:

In other words, instead of alleviating the problems facing PCs – no reason to buy – Windows 8′s increased complexity added a reason not to buy. That was certainly the case in my family: in early 2013, when my father asked me for advice on a Windows computer, I found myself advising him to seek out Windows 7. Were he to have had a suitable computer, I likely would have advised him to do nothing at all.

Good to see the shitshow I called right before the Windows 8 launch is now becoming crystal clear to everyone.

Alex Wilhelm:

If Apple were to charge for the update to OS X after Microsoft — a company notorious for high software prices — made its own update free, Apple would appear quite miserly.

I like the notion that Apple followed Microsoft’s lead here — and was actually forced to — as if Microsoft had any choice other than to try to correct the shitshow that has been Windows 8 with a free update. (Much like Apple did way back in the day with OS X 10.1, by the way.)

You could also argue that these Windows 8.X releases are more akin to OS X 10.9.X releases, which have always been free.

But the key point is that Apple has now stated that all versions of OS X are going to be free going forward. Do you think Microsoft is going to do that with all future versions of Windows? Considering that selling that software is one of their core businesses, it’s hard to see how they could possibly do that. Which is why they need the hardware business to work.

Brook Crothers:

First, a mea culpa. I wrote a story or two last year about Surface selling out. While technically accurate, it belied the catastrophe in the making for the first-generation Surface RT.

And here we go again. “It…looks like pre-order stock of the Surface 2 (64GB) and Surface Pro 2 (256 GB and 512GB) are close to selling out,” Microsoft said in its official Surface blog on Wednesday.

That’s good marketing, if nothing else. But I’m guessing that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s lots of demand for the product. It means that Microsoft doesn’t have that many on hand.

I wouldn’t say anyone is missing them.

Tom Warren:

While Microsoft is offering its discounted Surface RT hardware to schools directly, the Bing for Schools initiative also allows classrooms to earn free tablets for using the service. Classrooms, teachers, parents, or anyone can use the Bing Rewards program to collect credits towards free Surface RT tablets for schools. Each school will be rewarded a Surface RT when they reach 30,000 credits, which Microsoft says is the equivalent of around 60 Bing users using the service regularly for a month. The pilot kicks off today, and schools can register their interest in future plans through Microsoft’s Bing for Schools site.

Indirectly pay schools to get their students to use a service they don’t want to use by offering them a product they don’t want to use. Just sad.