Moving to the dark side…


This is the sequel to Microsoft – So long and thanks for all the fish. Also, this is my journey, and I’m not suggesting for a second it would work out for anyone else (I’m nobody’s evangelist).

My frustrations with Microsoft finally came to a head with the axing of the Groove app for Android. I’d literally just dumped my aging Windows phone and moved to Android, but wanted to keep using MS services as much as possible. I’d just got it set up perfectly, and by far the largest volume of data on my OneDrive is music. So I was spitting feathers when MS dumped me yet again.

For now I’ve managed to Cobble together a solution using Google music whilst my data is still on OneDrive (though essentially only as a backup). I’ve never been a fan of Google, the old maxim about you being the product if you cannot work out what the product is seemed very pertinent. But you know what cheeses me off even more than lack of privacy? A totally unreliable supplier who capriciously withdraws their services at a whim (and yes, I am aware that Google have form in this regard as well…). So I’ve done it, I’ve gone to the dark side.

My red lightsaber of choice is a 10-inch Chromebook. I can honestly say that Chrome OS on it’s own would literally do nothing for me. But with Android apps the picture changes big time. I’ve now got a laptop with app parity on my phone (something MS used to be able to provide – no more).

And it’s great. I’m loving the light airy feel of the OS and the HUGE number of apps available (I’m actually playing a few lightweight games for the first time in ages). Will it replace my PC? Er, no. But before I was probably 30% phone, 70% PC. Now it’s more like 30% phone, 40% Chromebook and 30% PC. Is it perfect? Hell no! I cannot get the OneDrive app working at all, and I cannot map to shares on my NAS (even with the Google supplied extension for this purpose). And the start menu keeps losing my folder names and rearranging things whenever I restart. It does feel a little lacking in polish in places. But despite all that I really like it. Once the wrinkles get ironed out I can see my PC being relegated to the occasional heavy lifting tasks (maybe once a fortnight?).

My next task is to take Google office for a spin. If I can live with that offering, and once Google One with it’s more flexible storage options arrive then I’m gone. MS don’t deserve any more money from me for providing a shrinking service offering. MS will always be there (on my gaming rig for proper games if nothing else), but day to day I reckon I can do better than what are currently offering.

So I’ve finally got my answer to the question: what will it take for MS to alienate me entirely.

Comments (14)

14 responses to “Moving to the dark side…”

  1. StevenLayton

    Welcome to the Dark Side. We have cooler looking spaceships!

  2. MrRich

    Speaking of the dark side... <rant> I spent over an hour setting up a new %P printer last night on Win 10. I then set it up in less than 5 minutes on the Mac. Just a bit frustrating (oh and this is what I do for a living!) Not purely a Microsoft issue of course. Oddly I find the Mac environment frustrating in many ways too. I think Windows 2000 or System 7 would find a great audience today! Too much wonky junk and advertising in the interface... Stupid "Easy Start" vendor apps that don't work. </rant>

  3. wolters

    I've had a similar journey moving from the pinnacle of being "all in" with Microsoft at the height of Windows 8.1 / Windows Phone 8.1 to being a balance of Google and Microsoft.

    Quick Note on "What I Use":

    Dell XPS Tower for Media/File/Plex server and once in a while gaming

    Surface Book 2 13.5 with 512GB as my primary PC and gaming machine (when I get to game.)

    Pixelbook 128GB Model.

    XBOX One X (Primary Media Center)

    Pixel 2 XL 128GB Phone

    Office 365

    YouTube Premium

    Google Play Music / YouTube Music

    YouTube TV

    Nest Hello

    Google Home

    All of this works for me but I tend to want to continually simplify. Both the Surface Book 2 and the Pixelbook are a joy to use and both have their benefit but I tend to prefer the SB2. The Pixelbook is so much faster at surfing and doing general work. The keyboard and trackpad are among the best I've ever used. Android apps work very well and better than expected. However, the app drawer is horrendous. I understand you can just go to a website or click on the start button and type what you want or app need but I really want more control of how to sort that app drawer. So when I use the Pixelbook, I always feel messy.

    I don't have much time these days to play games but when I do, it tends to be on my Surface Book 2 via Steam or GOG. I have plenty of XBOX games collected through the years and with Games With Gold but I always preferred PC gaming over console. }

    I love my Google Home devices, especially the MAX as the centerpiece to my living room. The sound quality is amazing.

    Often, Google Services feel unfinished, often like Microsoft services feel. But, I'll remain patient, especially with YouTube Music.

    Being in a google services world makes me wish there was an ideal device for it. The Surface Book 2 can do most of what I need in the Google world except for the Assistant.

  4. Jules Wombat

    Matter of fact it's all dark.

  5. F4IL

    I think the lesson to be had from your new master is to not go all in and become heavily invested in the particular ecosystem. As another reference to the title of your post, whatever path you choose to follow, it is important to remember that nobody guarantees that you won't be alienated / disappointed again in the future. You should play it smart and keep alternatives handy, just in case.

    • Daekar

      In reply to F4IL:

      This. You got burned by Microsoft and it hurt more because you were heavily invested there. Keep your critical stuff spread across multiple ecosystems, especially with companies that are multi-platform. If you can't drop everything from a vendor at the drop of a hat and migrate somewhere else while losing almost nothing, you're doing it wrong.

  6. ErichK

    I'm entertaining the notion of my next laptop being a Macbook Air ... I'd love to be able to dual boot macOS and Windows on it.


      In reply to ErichK:

      The spiritual heir to the MacBook Air is rumored to be nearing completion. Apple hasn't updated a single Mac product yet here in 2018 - a fact that is not sitting well with many users. If I were a betting man (I'm not by the way) I would wager there is a Mac event coming in July in time for the Back-To-School shopping season. The current MacBook Air has a woefully out-of-date display - it's the only non-retina product they still sell.

  7. ins1dious

    After 10 years of exclusively using Apple devices, I finally got a refurbished Thinkpad X240. Best 300 bucks I've spent in years. Upgraded with 8 gigs of RAM, SSD and a Win 10 Pro license.

    Updated yesterday to 1803. Still speedy fast with cold startups/shutdown, opening closing productivity apps and Firefox.

    The OS, I'll admit is a bit jarring for me. Even though I've used every flavour of Windows right from DOS 3.1... after 10 years with OSX... there are some things I find easier to do in macOS.

    I bought this X240 for my primary school going daughter use. And also for me to dip my toes back to what I consider the "Dark Side" :)

    It's pretty decent. I can see myself using Windows full time if Apple don't start releasing credible hardware soon.

    My Mac mini is from 2014

    My 13" MBP w/touchbar keyboard is a damn pain after their sublime 2012 retina MBP.

    My old daughter uses a MB Air with its crap screen which I feel is overpriced given the dated design and innards.

    On the plus side;

    1) my old mid-2009 13" MBP that my wife uses happily runs High Sierra... though I think Mojave is out of the question.

    2) I've got back more than half of what I paid for every Apple device I've owned since 2008... even after 2/3 years of use... which is great for total cost of ownership

    I can't say the same for the first 20 years of my PC buying experience... all had to be given away for a pittance.

    Probably the only thing holding me back going all in to Windows is my innate distrust of everything Google >< :D

  8. PeterC

    Its funny I went the other way - IOS for devices/services and mobile and remained Windows/Office for Desktop/Surface etc. Its fair to say I have deep reservations about Google. (some do, some don't, c'est La Vie).

    However in this process I deleted all my Google account(s) & data, and FB accounts & data. Removed Chrome (shock horror!) and used Firefox and MS Edge browsers. Used Outlook not Gmail that kind of thing.

    Well its like the SPAM/targeted advertising tap has been turned off completely. Its fabulous. We're 6 months into this change and all our inboxes remain really clean. Its pretty clear to me that Google might not technically sell your data (to others) but they certainly charge a lot of companies to access your data and maybe "rent" their systems to target you/consumers.

    Anyways that's what ive done and im happy with my moves. Like you Groove musics demise tipped me over the edge after being all in lumias/Band/Surface/Office/Groove/Xbox etc.

    It would be really interesting to know/see the data for the consumers who were all in MS/Windows/Mobile and see what they've moved to/bought into and how it all stacks up.

    I wonder if Paul has any knowledge on this data from MS?

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