Microsoft doesn’t like Windows anymore


The more I think about Windows the more I get the feeling that Microsoft doesn’t like Windows anymore. I have to wonder why because the only things that are wrong with Windows are things they easily could change. How can Microsoft take something that is so good and make it so bad with ads, bloatware, telemetry, forced updates/upgrades and a crazy release model (aka WaaS)? I don’t get it. This affects the family members of people working at Microsoft too. There must be a hidden agenda… Kill Windows and move people to the cloud. One problem; Microsoft doesn’t have a mainstream CloudWindows solution yet…

One reason Chrome OS is still alive is that Microsoft made Windows 10 painful for normal people. Microsoft should be proud of Windows because it generates money. I doubt Chrome OS generates money, only in an indirect way through services. Why degrade the Windows user experience when it’s a paid product that is profitable? Are those people responsible for the Windows 10 user experience complete morons costing Microsoft billions of dollars per year? Maybe this is how Microsoft fights piracy???

What is the price of losing 500 million users – short term and long term related to revenue and software ecosystem? Why does Microsoft want to kill Windows? There must be a greater plan, but what?

Comments (66)

66 responses to “Microsoft doesn’t like Windows anymore”

  1. BlackForestHam

    Relax, Longhorn. People will always need that troublesome layer between their hardware and a game/Office/Chome/crappy enterprise WinForms application. Windows will outlive our grandchildren.

  2. curtisspendlove

    I don't think it's a matter of them not "liking" Windows. Windows is simply just not shiny and attractive anymore; the consumer space has moved on. Windows is setup for a revenue decline over the coming years. "Cloud" revenue is the focus for all of the big tech companies nowadays. (This really shouldn't surprise anyone that is a technology enthusiast.)

    I don't think there's any hidden agenda at all. I think Nadella has been pretty forward about downplaying Windows' role in the future of Microsoft. (I expect them moving its organizational and financial reporting category is further evidence of this. They want to bury Windows revenues in the "cloud" revenues as it continues to decline.)

    I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. And in fact, they are shoring it up for the main user roles whom it can help the most (primarily engineers of whatever flavor).

    I expect that they are trying to milk as much money as possible out of Windows until they set it free in its pastures. I'm increasingly convinced that most traditional operating systems will become open sourced in the next decade or so as they lose ROI value, especially compared to the old "glory days".

    As far as the money goes, I think the price of losing 500 million consumers pales in comparison to the revenues generated by a million businesses moving on the Azure platform. I think you overestimate how much money consumers are currently generating for Microsoft. Remember, they have telemetry to forecast this stuff, and this isn't new; it's been a while coming.

    • longhorn

      In reply to curtisspendlove:
      Windows is simply just not shiny and attractive anymore; the consumer space has moved on.

      Thanks for an interesting comment. Has Windows ever been shiny and attractive? Should Windows be shiny and attractive? Should Windows really chase the consumer space? This started with Windows 8 and mobile apps everywhere just like a smartphone. This was a big mistake I believe.

      Windows has never been a true consumer platform such as smartphones or the iPad. Before the iPhone many people used Windows to pay bills and surf the Internet. Windows was usually managed by the geek in the household. People who wanted something easier bought a Mac. The Mac was more consumer focused than Windows although today it's very expensive and has been re-positioned as a workstation.

      I would like to argue that Windows has always been a workstation OS. Trying to fit it on tablets and filling it with apps was probably the biggest mistake Steven Sinofsky ever did. It's pretty crazy that he didn't realize that Windows isn't a good tablet OS. I guess because the Courier tablet failed he felt Windows was the only alternative. They had to get something out fast because the iPad had already been launched.

      I don't think there is a coherent strategy for Windows. I think Microsoft forgot where Windows comes from by chasing the consumer space. There is still a huge need for workstations in business environments, but even at home when people just want to run a few productivity applications. People do taxes, write, design and do administrative tasks at home too. They don't need/want a new build twice a year, they just want to be left alone without surprises and exciting features.

      I think Microsoft misunderstood on a fundamental level what Windows is and what people want from it. There will always be a need for a billion workstations even if some of the workloads are performed in the cloud. The consumer space on the other hand has already been served by other players. UWP never made sense on a workstation. But workstations do make sense even in some people's homes. The consumer space is basically smartphones and tablets now. If you buy a Windows laptop in 2019 it's usually because you have work to do, not because you want surf the Internet or pay bills.

      Workstation and gaming, that's what Windows is used for today. If you look at WaaS and UWP, it's a bad fit. Microsoft optimized Windows for non-existing users.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to longhorn:

        Workstation and gaming, that's what Windows is used for today.

        Agreed. I do think Windows was shiny and attractive, but it was a long time ago. And computing is just plain different now.

        I'd say around Vista was when Windows hit its high point in the consumer space. Windows 7, arguably was what came in and “perfected” things for a while.

        However, I’m one of those guys that liked Windows Phone 7. So we may not agree on consumer space Windows.

        I think Microsoft saw the writing on the wall a decade ago. They knew Windows as it was wasn’t going to stay strong so they took a risk. I think the problem was assuming that the Tiled UI was fully applicable to desktop use. But I’m really not sure how to balance all of that out.

        Apple is is about to tip their toe in that volcano this year...and we will see just how well IOS apps on Mac are received. (Spoiler alert: unless they have significantly improved Marzipan the answer is “not well”.)

        I think Microsoft has a gargantuan, nearly impossible challenge. And I give them kudos for trying, at least.

        :: shrug ::

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          I think Microsoft saw the writing on the wall a decade ago. They knew Windows as it was wasn’t going to stay strong so they took a risk. I think the problem was assuming that the Tiled UI was fully applicable to desktop use. But I’m really not sure how to balance all of that out.

          Depends on the precise definition of strong.

          If that means significant revenue growth prospects, agreed. If that means desktop usage share, that's becoming irrelevant.

          MSFT's problem with Windows may be 1.5 billion Windows PC users set in their ways, who just want to run existing/old Windows applications, and they don't appreciate unnecessary changes in how to launch those applications. No one uses Windows just to use Windows, and it also seems damn few use Windows to explore the wonderful alternative of UWP.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Depends on the precise definition of strong.

            I should probably have used the word "dominant", but yes, basically the gist being revenue generation is pretty much guaranteed to decline over the next decade, definitely two.

            I don't think anyone other than enthusiasts (such as those of us commenting on this site) really use any given OS (particularly the "traditional" OSs) just to use it. That goes for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The ones that enjoy using an OS have their reasons.

            I actually enjoy various aspects of all three OSs. I actively dislike Android for many reasons. And I constantly desire iOS to be far more powerful (not full OS-style powerful, but just to do a few more things, even if it's a more "modern" take on those things).

            But all of those reasons are personal reasons, because I loved computers from the time I was barely able to walk; maybe even before then. ;)

            So I doubt there are 1.5 billion Windows PC users set in their ways. I expect that there are a fairly large number of enthusiasts, gamers, etc who very much like Windows (at least as a concept, even if they might be a bit grumpy about current versions). And the rest of that 1.5 billion probably neither necessarily actively like nor dislike Windows, or macOS. (And I doubt many of those use Linux desktop unless forced to by the family nerd.)

            They just use it because it helps them accomplish some sort of task. This is why they don't really care what they use, for the most part, as long as they can accomplish those tasks. These are the vast majority of people, who a more "modern" OS is perfect for.

            As someone else mentioned elsewhere (maybe it was you, don't remember), Windows use is probably broken down into a few major (consumer) categories:

            • Productivity: "professional" use for entrepreneurs, etc; TurboTax, Quicken, finance spreadsheet, etc
            • Gaming: obvious, Windows is the primary OS for gaming, hands down (and this is from a "Mac" guy--I'd love for that to be different, but Apple needs to care first, and they don't seem to)
            • Enthusiast: us; those who like it because it's the best, duh!
            • Casual: people who just have a Windows PC around because they do; it's always been that way and they don't care to contort themselves into using newer tech to do whatever they need to do every once in a while

            It seems to me that all of those categories are shrinking. And will continue to do so as new alternatives come out. (Actually, thinking about it, Gaming / Enthusiast might be maintaining numbers, if not growing a bit. But I don't think enough to counteract the shrinking of the other two categories as more and more stuff moves to the web. I still think the trumpet call of "PWAs for Life" is a bit counterproductive to traditional PC usage.)

            Anecdote, my Dad frequently tells me how much he loves his Android phone and tablet being able to print directly to his new(ish) printer. He doesn't miss a Windows computer at all.

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              Given your 4 usage categories,

              • Productivity: if this involves Office or anything from Adobe or Intuit, then one's options are Windows or macOS, and price, features and flexibility favors Windows. If this involves stats software, databases, and markdown editing, Linux us a serious option. In large enterprises with application servers accessed by either Citrix or VMWare, MSFT licensing may be the only reason there hasn't been more transition to thin clients.
              • Enthusiast: likely to be the main group which has explored alternatives. FWLIW, I've probably spent the equivalent of years working with alternative desktop shells for Windows (LiteStep, BBWin, Emerge Desktop), not to mention console environments (MKS toolkit, cygwin, MinGW32 with bash and zsh). Plus I use Linux most of the time at home.
              • Casual: if one's casual usage doesn't require desktop Office or anything nonfree from Adobe, one may not need Windows. Except for Edge and Safari, all browsers with significant usage are available for all major OSes.

              To the extent #1 is shrinking, it'd be doing so very slowly. IT department inertia is MSFT's friend just as it was for IBM in the 1980s. Of course that means there's also risk that something else could catch on. I suspect #3 isn't shrinking for the same reason #2 Gaming isn't. OTOH, #4's shrinkage may be most rapid as people switch to phones and Chrome OS devices (FWLIW, tablets have had their day); one PC per family rather than one PC per family member implies substantial decline in consumer PC numbers.

              Even had MSFT managed to establish itself as a strong #3 or even #2 in smartphones, most of MSFT's prospects for revenues growth would still have come from Azure, AI and other B2B software and services. A cold-blooded CEO not in either #2 or #3 groups would have to pay a lot less attention to Windows.

              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to hrlngrv:

                To the extent #1 is shrinking, it'd be doing so very slowly. IT department inertia is MSFT's friend just as it was for IBM in the 1980s.

                I was thinking mostly through the filter of consumer based, not business based.

                For most companies that need traditional computing platforms it makes the most sense to stick to the Windows platforms.

                I expect the number of standard consumers who do traditional “productivity” tasks on PCs or Macs is shrinking. Slowly, yes, but definitely shrinking.

                I don’t know a lot of people who want to do their taxes on a phone or tablet but I wouldn’t put anything past my 20 year old kids. ;)

                • wright_is

                  In reply to curtisspendlove:

                  Our ERP solution has just finished the transition from UNIX to Windows. The orignal version we had ran on UNIX servers and terminals, then it migrated to POSIX on Windows with an ISAM database.

                  We are currently roling out a new version that is 100% Windows based.

                • curtisspendlove

                  In reply to wright_is:

                  Our ERP solution has just finished the transition from UNIX to Windows.

                  Congratulations. I imagine that was a large undertaking. The only ERP acronym I’m familiar with is Enterprise Resource planning. And from your other posts elsewhere I assume it has some sort of manufacturing industry vertical market specialization.

                  This is the exact sort of thing I would assume would run as a wide scale UNIX or Windows platform. But I don’t se what it would have to do with the consumer Windows space.

                • wright_is

                  In reply to curtisspendlove:

                  For the consumer space, nothing. But the discussion in this thread has been around business not moving to the cloud quickly, compared to consumers and many businesses not having a quick way out of the Windows domain.

                  Yes, it is a vertical solution for our industry. The makers of the software are only just getting up to speed with Windows technologies, it will probably be another decade before they would be cloud ready.

                • curtisspendlove

                  In reply to wright_is:


                  When there are millions or billions on the line to make any sort of change, that obviously can’t be changed quickly. There will be many businesses and enterprises that rely on Windows for quite a while.

                  My concern there is how much internal pressure is the Windows team going to start getting to slowly increase licensing costs over time to offset declining consumer space revenues.

                • hrlngrv

                  In reply to curtisspendlove:

                  I expect the number of standard consumers who do traditional “productivity” tasks on PCs or Macs is shrinking. Slowly, yes, but definitely shrinking.

                  Work from home was the original reason to buy a home PC, at least one without a modem (thinking in terms of 30 years ago or more for those not even born then). I figure that'd be a hard floor for consumer PC usage, probably several hundred million worldwide. However, that group may be the most hostile towards change for change's sake. They want to get work done rather than explore new features.

                  I don’t know a lot of people who want to do their taxes on a phone or tablet but I wouldn’t put anything past my 20 year old kids. ;)

                  20-30 taxes should be simple enough to do on a phone. It's after 40 with a few kids and finally beginning to think about retirement which leads to complex returns with lots of schedules. Anyone who needs to calculate their tax due using Schedule D is unlikely to do so using a phone.

    • wright_is

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      Except cloud is a big no-no in many places.

      We have Microsoft 365, for example, but all the cloud goodness (and therefore also Windows 10 Enterprise) is deactivated. We can still use the local CALs and Office Pro Plus (without OneDrive).

      Some companies working in some industries have even more strict rules about cloud services and remote data centers.

      Windows is still the consumer space for operating systems. Linux and macOS still have very small market share and they, in turn, dwarf ChromeOS.

      Of course, with the advent of smartphones and tablets, some people don't need a PC any more or don't need it as often, but some tasks are still not suitable for such small displays. We are still waiting for the next evolution (or revolution) in "full power" operating systems that would make Windows, the desktop PC, keyboard and mouse redundant.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to wright_is:

        Of course, with the advent of smartphones and tablets, some people don't need a PC any more or don't need it as often, but some tasks are still not suitable for such small displays. 

        Agreed. “Trucks” aren’t going away this year. But all traditional OSs are going to decline.

        Apple has already distanced themselves from macOS. They are in the middle of a decade long push to escalate IOS in the consumer space. (They, of course, will never admit this...macOS is the most amazing thing since sliced bread—unless you count IOS, which is bread that slices itself.)

        The only one I think has any chance of sustained growth is Chrome OS. I know most people here disagree. But keep in mind most consumer PCs are currently Chrome devices with maybe a few vertical market win32/64 apps. (The consumer versions of which are all moving toward the cloud and have been for a while.)

        Even Microsoft gave up in competing with a browser engine and brought Chromium into the fold. (Which I think is a good idea.)

        Regardless, there will always be workloads regulated to be on-prem and locked down. Those folks have their work cut out for them. And will probably be giving Microsoft a lot of money in the future (expect CAL costs to rise as revenue from Windows declines.)


        Addendum to the Chrome OS stuff... Also keep in mind that Google are doing a lot of very clever things with Chrome OS, namely: Android / Linux integration. Both of those initiatives help alleviate offline-status drawbacks with Chrome OS. And PWAs address the rest. Everything Microsoft wants PWAs to do to help Windows helps Chrome OS at least as much (if not more).

  3. crp0908

    Our enterprise has been struggling with WaaS since 1511 and 1507 LTSB. As of this day, our WaaS 'process' is still a work in progress due to horrible inefficiencies. Windows 10 and its cumulative updates is supposed to defragment the ecosystem according to Microsoft. Yet we're currently managing 8 different varieties in our environment (from 1507 LTSB to 1903).

    As Longhorn stated in another comment - The WaaS model does not inspire confidence for (a production enterprise environment). All our users want is a stable and reliable OS to run their apps on. I argue that Windows 10 SAC does not currently fit that description. But where is the competitor client OS that is suitable for enterprise environments? The problem is we have critical apps that only run on Windows and the alternatives to those aren't suitable for enterprises. As far as I can tell, Windows is a monopoly so Microsoft can do whatever they want with it.

    What does Microsoft expect when they are constantly adding additional complexity into the ecosystem? That somehow everything will just magically work? IT's hands won't be tied up with WaaS? Our users won't be disrupted by bi-annual upgrades? WaaS is just a hamster wheel for IT departments. We long for the simpler, more stable days of Windows 7 and its occasional service packs. Our IT department was less stressed and our users were more productive back then.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to crp0908:

      Wow, I really feel for you. Our company has only recently started deploying Win10 (not out of choice I might add). We started with 1607 LTSB, and are now in the final stages of testing 1809 LTSC before deployment. The absolute last thing we want are dumb WaaS feature updates trashing machines all over the place and creating a fragmented workplace. We don't want Cortana, app store or anything like that - we can't have any telemetry collection either. Managing 10 in the enterprise is a pretty horrible experience. Like you, we just want something that's consistent and reliable - security updates are a must, but that's about it. We already have a lot of Linux - I can see that growing over time too.

      • wright_is

        In reply to ghostrider:

        For a business that should never be a problem.

        You have a central, internal update repository, whether it Microsoft WSUS or some third party. You just put the PCs in the relevant groups and disallow any feature updates to those groups. Add the Group Policy that the PCs should never look at Microsoft's update servers (even with WSUS, there is a default option that says they should check in with MS every now and then, just in case they aren't getting local updates).

        We have groups for our industrial control PCs, which can only have updates approved by the third party software vendors (E.g. Siemens). These PCs don't even get the monthly security updates until they have been certified by the 3rd party software developers.

        All of the other PCs get monthly security updates, some get the quality updates as well and we then have a "Feature Update" group, where we authorize the WaaS feature updates and we can then assign test PCs to the group and, when they have been tested, we just move the other PCs temporarily into the FU group, until the FU has been applied, then remove them again. We also do this half a department at a time - so that if there are problems, at least some of the PCs in the department are still running.

        • Tony Barrett

          In reply to wright_is:

          Yes, we do all that (WSUS and SCCM), but if you deploy on non-LT version of WIn10 in the Enterprise, your locked into this 18-month upgrade cycle, which is unsustainable (our Enterprise has over 1000 PC's). We looked at this, and as we have Microsoft SA, we deemed the LTSB/LTSC versions a better fit. More secure, no WaaS, unwanted features already removed, and supported for 10 years. I don't care what MS say, if you have to run Win10 in your business, these versions are really the only ones worth considering.

    • Kevin Costa

      In reply to crp0908:

      Your enterprise really should focus on a couple of Windows 10 versions at a time (One LTSC and one 'standard version'). At my workplace, for example, we are still on version 1703, with the latest updates for that version. We have ignored 1709, 1803 and 1809 until now. Our next step is to test and deploy 1903, and keep our 300 domain computers in that version for at least 2 years, until "version 2103" comes out.

      • crp0908

        In reply to Kevin_Costa:

        We're also concerned about staying on a supported version of Windows 10. If we had stayed on 1703 until now, we would be in panic mode since 1703 goes out of support this October. Perhaps Microsoft and Accenture can do it. But it really is not practical to expect a non-IT company to be able to upgrade 40K+ Windows 10 computers in only a few months of time.

        And as far as I know, Microsoft will only support 1903 for 18 months. So if your plan really is to keep using 1903 for 2 years, you would be running on an unsupported version for 6 months.

        When a process control Admin in our enterprise installs LTSB 2016 on a PC and expects it to stay the same and supported for 10 years, we don't go and upgrade it to LTSC 2019 when that comes out. Hence we have to support every version of LTSB/C since we started adopting it.

        • Kevin Costa

          In reply to crp0908:

          Yea, I get your point. My workplace is not a critical one that need the latest protections from cumulative updates, so running a unsupported version for 6 months it's mostly 'okay' here, because is a high-controlled student environment with strict group policies rules (students can't mess with things easily). But yeah, your case is different, and 40K PCs is a lot. My advice to you is to install LTSB/C where you can, and keep the rest of the people on the 'XX09' releases, to get 30 months of support (for Enterprise/Education edition of course). Good luck!

        • wright_is

          In reply to crp0908:

          How can a company with 40,000 computers not have the expertise to update them in a controlled manner?

          We are an IT team of 4 and have several hundred PCs to update. That is all controlled centrally and releasing a new version is quick and easy. It also scales up easily (we have satellite WSUS servers on our other sites, for example). The last time we rolled out a big update, we had to manually visit 2 PCs that got stuck (the user was inpatient and turned off the PC, while the PC stated it was busy and not to turn it off).

          • crp0908

            In reply to wright_is:

            Don't get me wrong, we do attempt to update our PCs in a controlled manner. The majority of our fleet is 1803 as we currently desire. We treat the new versions of Windows 10 as we did Service Packs for Windows 7 and older OSes. We consider an out-of-date 1607 PC as vulnerable. It is a priority for us for troubleshooting. There are currently 1607s and 1703s that still linger. Addressing these is often where our hands are tied. There are many circumstances that remain out of our control. Here are just a few:

            1) What do you do about 1607 devices that are in a drawer and brought out temporarily on rare occasions, only to be shut down before they can download and install the upgrade?

            2) What do you do about remote users located in countries that have minimal bandwidth or are charged for their data usage?

            3) What do you do about PCs located at sites that have such terrible bandwidth that we anticipate releasing an upgrade via WSUS to all at once would bring down the site's network? I know the answer - but suppose they don't want to pay the costs for a better network? And yes, we're already aware about Delivery Optimization. That's currently not a viable solution for us (maybe someday when we're 100% 1803 and newer it will be).

            4) What do you do about PCs that refuse to install the upgrade but the user thinks there is nothing wrong with it because the PC still works for them?

            5) What do you do about troubleshooting PCs of the remote users on Direct Access that refuse to cooperate and ignore your emails?

            6) What do you do when setupdiag can never diagnose the result of your upgrade failures?

            These are just the things I can remember off of the top of my head.

            • wright_is

              In reply to crp0908:

              1) we capture them in AD or AV or WSUS and when we see they are not being updated, we contact the user or department and get them to put the machine online and update it - we usually do it with TeamViewer, so we can be sure it goes through.

              2) It depends, they are usually travelling sales people, so when they get into a country with bandwidth, or when they get back home we run the update.

              If they are in a country permanently, then I would send out a USB stick with WSUS-Offline and/or the Media Creation Tool .iso to get them updated and or upgraded. (If security is a worry, I'd encrypt the stick with BitLocker.

              3) I would never do that. I'd set up a WSUS satellite server on that site and let it take care of the updates locally.

              Or if you mean the on-site network is so poor / too many devices for the network to handle all at once, like I said above, we update them in blocks anyway, never all-at-once. That is a business risk. We update half a department at a time, ensure their machines are updated and up and running, we remove them from the FU group and move the next set of machines into the group.

              The same goes for WSUS in general, we have different group policies for different departments / groups of PCs, so that one group get updates on Mondays, the next group on Tuesdays and so on. This stops the problem of network overloading.

              4) These are generally reported in our AV and in WSUS. We arrange a time for looking at them and repairing them. Luckily we have very few that have these sorts of problems (<1%).

              5) For us, in the IT security policy, it is a disciplinary offence to use a computer that is not updated and it is the employees duty to work with the IT department to ensure their PCs are compliant - so if IT contacts them and arranges a time and date to sort out the problems, the employee has to abide by it.

              6) Then you have to do some manual diagnosis.

              The problem will be the scale, with around 500 devices, we get maybe half a dozen over the course of a year that cause problems.

              We also have in the IT policy that no data is to be stored locally, the employee has to ensure all data is on the file servers. That means that in the worst case, we just re-image the PC or replace it.

              • crp0908

                In reply to wright_is:

                Thanks for your feedback! I wish we made it a disciplinary offense to use a computer that is not updated. IT can make threats, but those threats usually have no teeth and the user knows it.

              • Tony Barrett

                In reply to wright_is:

                Wow - you have an answer for everything. Either you have the most disciplined IT department ever, or maybe some of what you say is an 'ideal world' situation, because I can tell, you, as someone who works in a busy IT department, we don't have the time or resources to chase staff continually about patching and updates. We have a guy whose sole job it is to monitor/patch just WINDOWS machines, and he cannot get the estate anywhere near fully patched - especially with Win10.

                • wright_is

                  In reply to ghostrider:

                  That is the real situation, now. It has been a fight. When I first started, all Win 10 machines were on different versions and a lot of Win 7 still kicking around. We have gradually moved all the internet facing machines to a currently supported version.

                  The production machines that have to get security patches certified by the production software maker are on an isolated network with no access to the Internet or the intranet.

  4. Alastair Cooper

    I wouldn't be surprised if in a new years the base technology underpinning Windows is an open source product Microsoft support for legacy uses whilst the rest has been spun off.

  5. garumphul

    I don't think it's a case of like or not like. They are a business who have to allocate resources appropriately.

    Windows is a mainstay of desktop (and laptop) computing, and that's probably not going to change dramatically any time soon.

    The problem for Windows specifically is that the general consumer is able to do a vast majority of their non-business activity on a phone. That includes everything from browsing, playing games, social media, workplace collaboration (Teams, Slack, etc). Certainly a huge number of people still prefer to do those things on a laptop, but that number is shrinking and isn't going to stop shrinking.

    Enterprises are going to rely on desktop Windows for their internal activities for a really long time, I would imagine. Application / web development is obviously going to need Windows forever because Windows has the best development tools. It just does. Don't argue with me. It does.

    But in terms of where the money is, Windows ain't it. PC sales are falling, so retail sales of Windows are falling. Enterprise revenue is going to be relatively stable because they're all on support contracts.

    The real money is in services. Everybody knows this. Disney would rather sell you an $8/month subscription than a $20 BluRay. Microsoft would rather sell you Office 365 every year than a disc with Word on it. Apple will happily gouge you on your iPhone purchase and your Music, Movies and News subscriptions. Amazon will take that annual Prime subscription and throw in so much stuff you can't keep track of how much you're getting.

    The fact is that Azure has the potential to take in SOOOOOoooo much more money than Windows over the next decade or so.

    Windows doesn't have to die for Azure to succeed... but on the other hand, if MS put out a linux distro with a Win10 skin and some WINE-type emulator for Win32, would your average consumer know or care?

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to garumphul:

      Windows doesn't have to die for Azure to succeed... but on the other hand, if MS put out a linux distro with a Win10 skin and some WINE-type emulator for Win32, would your average consumer know or care?

      As long as the emulator was fully compliant, and not haphazard like WINE (kudos to the WINE team though, they are amazing without official support) I doubt most people would notice.

      And it would instantly become a significantly better web development platform. :p

      :: ducks ::

  6. hrlngrv

    Windows is no longer MSFT's Duchy of Moskovy, more like the Irkutsk Oblast. Further from the center, perhaps not as valuable as it once was, but not to be discarded.

    As for what's wrong with Windows, ads may be here until every Windows user becomes a subscriber. As for bloatware, it could be argued it has ever been thus. As for forced upDATES, I have no problem; bug fixes and security updates should be automatic. OTOH, it should be easier to skip or avoid upGRADES with new features.

    As for Chrome OS, it obscures the really big question: with networking becoming ubiquitous, fast and cheap, how long before local disconnected computing begins to look like single-purpose portable DVD players? That is, how long before most computing devices become augmented thin clients connecting to hybrid web-application servers?

    MSFT is becoming less keen on Windows because Windows revenues aren't growing like they used to. The Windows business unit is becoming a utility, earning steady money, but more likely to decline slowly than grow at all going into the future. MSFT isn't killing Windows, it's just not going to invest much in it going forward.

  7. noflames

    To me Windows 1903 is the best windows ever. I think they have made some mistakes in the past, but they are at a point now where I think they have learned some lessons and I see that changed after Windows was given to the Azure team.

    • anchovylover

      In reply to NoFlames:

      Once all tiles, all Cortana, old MSEdge is removed assuming that possible, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is installed, telemetry is set to basic, all task bar cruft is removed like Cortana and the Store just to name a couple , once email pictures are set to open in Chrome and several more duties that escape me at the present then I agree, W10 is indeed ready for prime time and is an excellent desktop OS.

      Unfortunately it still sucks on tablet and MS themselves are killing it on mobile.

      Oh, and stop spying on Office and Bing Maps would be helpful if MS wish to continue taking the high ground in spying over the Lord Google.

  8. Tony Barrett

    Windows is definitely not Microsoft's #1 poster child anymore - it's just a means to an end, and it keeps people off competing platforms, and more likely away from competing platform services. I think MS updates Windows 'as a service' now just to keep the interest ticking over, keep Windows in the news and drips features in to keep it interesting. Windows 10 surely generates a lot more news headlines than Win7 or even 8 ever did! If MS still had their old monolithic 3 year dev cycle (which did actually mean the products were better designed, stable and reliable), many would move elsewhere as other products - specifically mobile - took over.

  9. PeterC

    Microsoft don’t want to lose 500 million users. They just accept and understand the future isn’t about one dominant OS anymore and their business needs to cater for a far more fractured OS breakdown among its corporate and consumer user base. Therefore their profitable business needs to be able to work on whatever OS someone’s using. Hence the emphasis away from windows as it will be one os choice in a varied marketplace. In many respects it was this understanding that killed windows mobiles aspirations. What’s the point spending money on platforms when what you need are services on all platforms....

    The big BUT though is someone’s gotta develop platforms for people to use. I reckon Lite OS will use a fine tuned MS launcher as a skin and all MS android apps Out of the box or can be configured chrome edge style to connect to all ms 365 services. They will seek to give a unified UI feel whatever platform your on, or at least the opportunity to choose that. It will likely also run full fat office desktop applications too if your a paid subscriber and that same product will likely also work on iOS pro devices and chrome os too.

    Everyone can can be one big happy family of consumers skipping down the yellow brick road eating ice cream and paying monthly for everything from everyone and feeling like a new dawn of techie nirvana has arrived........ hmmmmm....

    • anchovylover

      In reply to PeterC:

      "In many respects it was this understanding that killed windows mobiles aspirations. What’s the point spending money on platforms when what you need are services on all platforms"

      You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. WM failed for many reasons including a shitty tiled UI that most people despised, a lack of important apps and retailers actively encouraging prospective WM purchasers to iOS and Android.

      Don't even get me started on the multitude of missteps MS themselves made in the history of abandoning loyal users.

      MS has one company to blame for the dismal history of Windows Phone/Windows Mobile and it's acronym is MS!

      • illuminated

        In reply to anchovylover:

        I strongly disagree with "shitty tiled ui". For me it was the best UI. It somewhat forced to select only the most important things on the front screen. With tile notifications on top of that it was just perfect. I now have android and it is a mess. Icons all over the place. Phone slows down just sitting and doing nothing. Every app wants to send notifications and there is no difference between important SMS message or some app trying to guess if I would like to have some piece of spam.

        • anchovylover

          In reply to illuminated:

          Your 'best' UI is so reviled even on desktop Zac Bowden himself has seen internal MS documentation most users neither open the start menu let alone interact with tiles.

          Best UI. Don't make me laugh.

        • jumpingjackflash5

          In reply to illuminated:

          Yes! Tiled UI is the best for mobile and touch. If you miss it as I do, install Launcher 10 on Android. Works very well. This is how MS launcher should have looked like.

        • boots

          In reply to illuminated:

          "forced to select only the most important things on the front screen"

          How is that a good thing?

          If I wanted to read the first 8 words of my most recent email, I had to make the tile so big that it took up over a quarter of the home screen. If I wanted the same thing for SMS as well, then that's half the screen gone. Yes 8.1 let us fit in more tiles, but there was rarely a time when I didn't have to open an App anyway to read the whole message.

          In Android if you don't want icons all over the place, then put the ones you use on the home screen and put the ones you don't use in the App Drawer and only open the App Drawer when you need them. Simple!

      • yaddamaster

        In reply to anchovylover:

        Good grief - what a load of crap. Windows PhoneMobile failed because they restarted their platform so many times that developers threw up their hands and gave up. That and it took Microsoft waaaaay to long to realize that people really didn't want to have a mini version of windows with tiny dialog boxes popping up on their screen.

        I still remember 6.5 and these stupid tiny dialogs popping up everywhere while Droid people were already enjoying a proper mobile experience.

        MS failed because they clung to an antiquated vision of Windows that assumed the UI needed to be consistent from device to device.

        • illuminated

          In reply to yaddamaster:

          WM 6.5 and earlier was from a different era. It started as a competitor to palm and stylus then was the proper way to do the input. Small dialog boxes kind of made sense since you could hit it with stylus. Nowadays some mobile devs think that our fingers are stylus-sized but that is another topic. Anyway, you should look only at version 7 and later. It is the time when MS got into serious competition with iOS and Android. You are right that there were just too many platform changes. Version 7 was somewhat understandable but breaking changes in 8 and 10 were just too much. So called "partners" also did not help. For example AT&T blocked system updates for months after release. In the stores it seemed as if people were paid not to mention WM phones.

  10. anchovylover

    The problem imho MS has with Windows is far too many users are legacy users who want nothing to do with new MS apps or any version of RT Windows.

    MS are screwed, very few want or even care about their new Windows products. Even the Surface line while making shitloads of money don't actually sell that many units.

    Even the Surface Go which showed so much early promise has petered out due to , I think, a poor battery.

    Yes, without question MS is a hugely successful company and thanks to Office, Cloud and the growing gaming revenue will remain so for a long time. Traditional products though? Their future is not as assured and yes that includes Windows itself.

  11. Bats

    How does Windows 10 makes money? It was free.

    Dude....where have you been? A greater plan?

    Did you make these issues up in your head? The most used operating system in the world is Android, by a lot. People clearly use Android and other non-Windows computer devices far more in the real world than a Windows box. You don't believe me? LOL....step out in the street, go to a mall, ..... go to some place with people and you'll see the proof.

    All of that stuff people are doing is from the cloud. Music is from the cloud; Video is from the cloud; Accounting is from the cloud. They could do all that stuff from an App or through a Browser. The days of needing to buy Microsoft Expedia disk or PictureIt software are over. All the great developers are doing it as evidenced by the barren Windows Store.

    Windows 10 is painful for normal people? Are you kidding? So was Windows 7, Windows XP, 95/98/ME, 3.1, etc...... Do you know WHY those Windows OSes were also painful? You are probably an IT/Tech person, so you probably don't understand. You can tell that THEY were painful because throughout the years......TRAINING was needed for those operating systems. I remember training classes on CD/DVD, in classrooms, on-the-job......Windows is not easy. People and businesses realize when they iPhone/iPhone OS came out, because it was the one handheld computer device that non-techies could instantly understand and use.

    Don't worry, Windows won't be gone anytime soon. Because businesses are afraid to migrate their corporate computer ecosystem to something new, Windows will be around for a while. However, that's not stopping developers creating robust web apps or what I like to call "UWAs" Universal Windo...Ooops....I mean Universal Web Apps.

    It's not that Microsoft doesn't like Windows anymore. It's because they see more people using "Chrome OS" in Windows. It's called the Chrome Browser.

    • longhorn

      In reply to Bats:
      Don't worry, Windows won't be gone anytime soon. Because businesses are afraid to migrate their corporate computer ecosystem to something new, Windows will be around for a while. However, that's not stopping developers creating robust web apps or what I like to call "UWAs" Universal Windo...Ooops....I mean Universal Web Apps.

      Those applications used to run on Windows because it was the best platform and offered 10 years support. It's great that developers think more tech agnostic, but they still need a stable platform to develop and run those Web applications. Windows used to be the natural choice, but the WaaS model does not inspire confidence for production.

      My point is that Windows used to be a truck that was very useful and dependable. Now it tries to be all things and changes all the time. This is confusing not only for large deployments, but also for individuals trying to keep workloads running for extended periods.

      The world doesn't need another consumer OS: Android, Chrome OS, iOS etc. The world needs trucks and Microsoft stopped selling them. Windows 10 can still perform like a truck, but WaaS and all the consumer focused "entertainment" do not fit in a production environment. The main problem of Windows 10 and WaaS is that one size doesn't fit all.

    • MikeGalos

      The most used operating system in the world is Android, by a lot.

      Probably not and certainly not "by a lot".

      Crunching the latest NetMarketShare numbers including device categories and usage in each category, you get:

      Android - 40.2%

      Windows - 36.4%

      iOS - 17.2%

      macOS - 4.1%

      Linux - 0.9%

      Other - 1.2%

      A 3,8% difference in total number of devices is certainly not "by a lot" and seeing their methodology involves only counting Internet connected devices that leaves out a very significant number of servers and embedded devices so it may not be at all since Android is hardly a major server operating system.

  12. codymesh

    I'm pretty pissed off when people say Windows has ads now - what exactly are you people talking about? OneDrive? Is that what is considered as an ad now?

    You can remove most of the built-in apps in 1903, and even prior to that, the games that come OOBE could always be removed with just 2-3 clicks. If right-clicking a tile and uninstalling it is too much work for you, then i'm afraid you might have other problems in addition to Windows.

    I don't believe that telemetry is the reason why someone might find the Windows 10 user experience poor. Nvidia's graphics driver has telemetry. Even Ubuntu has telemetry.

    • Winner

      In reply to codymesh:

      User experience poor:

      1 - reboots spontaneously, can't leave system up for days at a time (yes, I know they're supposed to be at least fixing this a bit)

      2 - two recent releases with major problems (that home users can't prevent)

      3 - photo viewer inferior to Win7 version

      4 - UI inconsistent, how many years/decades does it take to merge control panel and settings?

      5 - Skinny scrollbars hard to see

      6 - tries to push Microsoft login over local login

      7 - shoves OneDrive to front and center in "save as" dialogs even when I don't want to use the cloud

      8 - You have an advertiser ID. MY OS GIVES ME AN ADVERTISING ID.

      9 - Bing ad on login screen

      10 - Big toy calculator, can't be shrunk to small size like the one in Windows 7

      11 - popup messages for the most annoying things

      12 - Resets default browser to Edge after an upgrade

      Seems like Microsoft views me, a paying customer, as a piece of meat to advertise to, to foist their browser upon. There was a time when an OS managed files and launched programs and stayed out of the way.

      OK, many of these items can be corrected. But most users aren't going to do that, so it is just annoying. As a default.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Winner:

        #3 - subjective. I agree with you, but I can see why others may prefer something else.

        #4 - fair point, though as long as Windows 10 is meant to support pre-existing hardware which only has Control Panel configuration applets and the manufacturers, er, prefer you to buy new hardware than provide modules for Settings, that won't get built into Settings. Tangent: my understanding is that all it takes to add a .CPL module to Control Panel is adding a subkey in the registry and putting a .CPL file under C:\Windows. Is it that simple to add 3rd party configuration sections to Settings?

        #5 - buy Window Blinds and make your own themes. Bias on my part as I used to be very into LiteStep and its themes. Don't complain, tinker.

        #10 - subjective to an extent, but easy enough to uninstall the UWP Calculator and install Calculator Plus. FWLIW, I liked the XP Powertoy Calculator, a graphing calculator which allowed for definition of simple functions. FWLIW too, there are some simple taskbar calculators if you want minimalist screen space, and MinGW32's port of POSIX bc to use in a console to have arbitrary precision and ability to define relative complex functions. Or just use Python in a terminal. Putting this differently, this is easily fixed.

  13. jules_wombat

    Better call 1998, the last century is calling for you. Seriously, are you not aware of computing migration to the cloud. Windows is just a client platform, Microsoft #1Trillion valuation is testiment to that being the right strategy.

    • longhorn

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      It doesn't matter if you are doing business in 1998 or 2018. Losing 500 million users is never a testament to "being on the right track". I brought up the 500 million number as a wake-up call because I think it can happen over the coming 5 years. We'll see in 2024 if Windows has more than a billion users. I think best case scenario is around 1.2 billion so between 300-500 million Windows users will be pushed to iPads, Chromebooks, Linux, Mac and smartphones. I blame WaaS for that.

      If you push something as radical as WaaS you need a fall-back option, but Windows is Windows and LTSC is not available to consumers. So one of the things I tried to convey is that WaaS is NOT pushing people to the Microsoft cloud, but to platforms controlled by competitors.

      • wright_is

        In reply to longhorn:

        The idea is, that those 1.5 billion users will continue using Microsoft services, just not on a full-fat Windows desktop experience.

        The problem is, there still isn't a credible replacement for the full-fat desktop experience. And many industries make using the cloud illegal, so there is still a very real need for local processing and on-site servers for the foreseeable future, it will just be a declining number.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to wright_is:

          The problem is, there still isn't a credible replacement for the full-fat desktop experience.

          Granted, but what requires full fat, and how many really need it? MS Office, Visual Studio, Adobe's nonfree products, and various Windows-only utilities are all I can think of which require Windows or macOS and a full-fat desktop. Due to price, macOS isn't a practical alternative to Windows.

          The question is how many people NEED Adobe stuff? I work in financial services, and from my perspective the answer would be zero outside the marketing department. Visual Studio? No more than 2% outside IT, and that 2% mostly writes F# code, and could be using ocaml if there were comparable development environments for it.

          Finally, MS Office. There's no alternative to Excel, but most people in the workplace don't create anything with Excel which they couldn't create with a table in Word. Most people simply make entries and print exhibits in workbooks developed by fewer than 10% of Office users. Word and Outlook may have most usage, but there are alternatives for both which would be better suited to people who seldom need tables of contents, indices, footnotes and endnotes, or multiple sections. As for PowerPoint, it stands as persuasive proof that good presentations do indeed require some training in design which PowerPoint has never provided and for which it will never be a substitute.

          tl;dr -- as long as people at work need to use pre-made Excel templates, they'll need a full-fat desktop. Perhaps another 10% need Adobe stuff or Visual Studio.

          And many industries make using the cloud illegal, so there is still a very real need for local processing and on-site servers for the foreseeable future, it will just be a declining number.

          Does cloud mean single-organization intranets? As I mentioned above, I work in financial services, in the US, and there's damn little restriction on storing files on remote file servers (some physically located more than 4,000km away), using virtual desktops accessed by Citrix clients, using SalesForce software through browsers, or using a lot of other software on the intranet and accessed through browsers. Those application servers are physically located more than 2,000km from my workplace.

          There's a trade-off between security and flexibility/efficiency, and some parts of the world have deliberately chosen the former over the latter.

          • wright_is

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Our CTI solution is windows only. ERP solutions, a lot of business software, such as CAD/CAM software. Manufacturing software.

            And that is before you get anywhere near Office, Adobe or developer tools.

            All our software has to be in our server rooms. We have VPN bergen sites, but all data has to be on our servers on our premises.

            Cloud storage is not allowed by our company. By law, only if the data is stored within the EU.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      Those will long memories will recall the concept of what we now call 'the cloud' isn't new - it's all been done before. It's just re-packaged now, called something different, and re-sold as the current 'must have'. Trust me though, cloud providers are a massive target for hackers, and are relatively fragile as we see with the almost continuous service interruptions (MS are probably the biggest culprit here). There aren't many companies who will save money moving the cloud either - and once your in, getting out will be hard. It's all about continuous revenue for the cloud providers if you haven't gathered - subscriptions, subscriptions, subscriptions. Cloud providers like it, shareholders like it.

      At some point, the one (or more) of these major cloud providers is going to fall flat on it's ass, and take out a large number of companies in the process. Lawsuits will fly, and it will be a big wake up call for enterprises who've sold themselves to the whole cloud concept. Enterprises will finally realise it's not what they were sold it to be, and go scuttling back to on-prem or at least hybrid systems. Nobody want's all their eggs in one basket - you're just asking for trouble.

      • tsay

        In reply to ghostrider:

        "There aren't many companies who will save money moving the cloud either - and once your in, getting out will be hard. It's all about continuous revenue for the cloud providers if you haven't gathered - subscriptions, subscriptions, subscriptions. Cloud providers like it, shareholders like it."

        The straight arithmetic pans out that the cost of using like for like functionality and performance of existing business COMMS, HW, OS, ERP, CRM, other LOB SW, Storage, etc., that are traditionally purchased from CAPEX and treated as capitalised assets amortised over 5 years but sweated for over 7-10 years after being fully depreciated is....but now treated as OPEX, which initially

        3-5 years depending on breadth and level of cloud services used.

        Cloud subscriptions then become greater in total year on year aggregated expenditure.

        But in house comes with it's own particular baggage.

        5 years means only 20% of the capital costs can expensed each year and offset against corporation tax.

        Operating costs of maintenance, labour, buildings, energy, support services etc., can be expensed in the year.

        Then there are the incidental operating "sunk" costs that are unrecoverable:




        Reduced Working Capital (capital asset upfront purchases, either from cash reserves or interest bearing loans - either way reduces investment capacity to grow the business, generate earnings from cash reserves and increases gearing and incurs costs against borrowings.

        Asset Management and Tracking

        Management time on HW/SW/Services CAPEX spent Budgeting, Tracking and Reporting

        Increased complexity in accounting and statutory reporting including higher labour operating costs to run/manage.

        And the killer - at some point you have to upgrade and you do it all again, normally bigger (better?) and increased CAPEX than previous.

        Cloud subscriptions offer the glossy (perceived and sold as) utopia of:

        Axe swathes of CAPEX budgets of inhouse provision and replace with OPEX, all OPEX costs fully expensed and offset against corporation tax in the tax year and simplification of accounting and statutory reporting.

        Reduce IT personnel either inhouse or 3rd party and associated employee costs by reduction of personnel recruitment/management, Server HW/SW costs install/run/maintain.

        Reduced office/building costs

        Reduced Energy costs

        Benefit from Tin and SW under continuous upgrades from cloud provider - formerly incremental CAPEX now covered in monthly subscription fee but cloud provider's economy of scale delivers the necessary service provision but at comparative operating costs not achievable through inhouse provision

        Increased working capital

        Reduced corporate taxation

        Recover time previously lost in senior management to design, budget, procure, operate in house capacity and service provision that allow the company to run.

        Reduce costs of maintaining inhouse up to date specialised knowledge, training and certification required to operate previous core infrastructure

        Redeploy management and improve productivity of management with greater focus on the company business (customers, products, processes, efficiency, productivity and capacity growth) and reduce time spent on all aspects the core nuts and bolts of Corporate IT necessary to facilitate the business to ply its trade.

        Basically, it's about making the CFO and COO jobs simpler, more fun, less stress.

        Whether it DOES actually deliver the corporate benefits that it sells, I shall leave that to others to comment on.

        One simple thought….employee well-being, happiness and job satisfaction often arises through knowing they are supported and have direct person dialogue/interaction and therefore someone for them to offload to about their daily gripes and issues. Often as an Agony Aunt rather them being able to drive wholesale change.

        The wellness factor of your workforce is the single biggest driver of employee productivity, efficiency and process optimisation and innovation.

        If they just turn up to work, but don't believe they are part of a greater whole, they'll just do the time until their day of work is done.

        People talk to people.

      • wright_is

        In reply to ghostrider:

        You mean time-shared computing? Or mainframes? Or thin client a la Oracle / Java? Yep, been there, seen them come and go.

        Security, sovereignty and data protection are the biggest hurdles to cloud adoption at the moment.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to ghostrider:

        If you have architected things properly you aren’t dependent on any single “cloud” provider.

        In fact the more paranoid teams usually have an automated (or at least manual) failover option to a different cloud platform.

        I think your doomsday scenario is a bit contrived. ;)

        • wright_is

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          A lot of cloud services only come from one provider or the data is siloed.

          If Salesforce goes offline, do you already have all your contact history in a secondary CRM system for the hours it is down?

          If Office 365 and OneDrive go down, do you have everything mirrored in Google's offering?

          If you are writing your own bespoke applications and replicating them across Azure, AWS and Google, that is another matter entirely, but most companies don't have the resources for that.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to wright_is:

            A lot of cloud services only come from one provider or the data is siloed.

            True. And that is a big problem, if it is a problem.

            And if that is the case, I hope the IT department is experienced at running their own secure “cloud”.

            You either risk the downtime and calculate it into risk assessment, or roll your own if it has to be bulletproof.

            I don't have much experience with that though. I have used own Cloud or nextCloud or whatever it is called. Seemed solid, was able to be run behind a VPN for security. Though I’m sure there are industries and sectors where even that is too much risk.

            I do have experience moving custom workloads into failover clusters that can be rapidly warmed and fired up in case of an emergency. (The problem there, of course, is that at some level, pretty much everything is tied to one of a few base service architectures.)

            • hrlngrv

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              In reply to wright_is:

              >> A lot of cloud services only come from one provider or the data is siloed.

              > True. And that is a big problem, if it is a problem.

              Windows is an OS which comes from only one provider, macOS also from only one provider, as well as MS Office and Adobe software. If all one's eggs in a single basket is always a problem, they why isn't this a problem for local computing?

              If Amazon failed, would no one acquire its AWS assets? Likewise, MSFT and Azure? OTOH, I could see GoDaddy collapsing with no takers.

              • karlinhigh

                In reply to hrlngrv: If all one's eggs in a single basket is always a problem, they why isn't this a problem for local computing?

                Maybe because there are examples of local-computing software that remains usable long after its maker lost interest and wandered off. How common is that with cloud services?

  14. Lordbaal

    What are you talking about?

    Windows is not at all bad.

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