Surrender as a strategy


Out and about at the weekend I encountered some of my friend’s kids. In a small church hall I was temporarily being “entertained” by a 11 year old twin girls using their ipad. I was curious if they knew about social media. I was helping them connect the ipad minis to the internet by tethering my phone while their parents were doing something else. 

They explained that Facebook was for old people. Like me I suspected they wanted to say but were being polite. What about Snapchat I asked? Apparently that is “for kids”. This was the authoritative view of the 11 year old experts. I then asked what they used. It turns out that it’s all about Instagram and iMessage. Everyone is on iMessage. 

The next day a friend of mine was talking about her daughter’s Christmas present. Her 16 year old needed to update her iPhone so where could you get a cheap one. I told her such a thing didn’t really exist why didn’t she get an Android phone like the £200 value phone that mam was using. It was explained to me that her daughter had to have iMessage because it was the only thing the teens were using at school apart from Instagram. We talked about refurbished iPhones to get a good deal.

Thinking about this I noticed no one mentioned Skype. The mums mentioned using Whatsapp between the adults but Skype wasn’t even raised. 

The next generation seem already lost to Microsoft due to their strange consumer strategy. However, they have the enterprise cloud and they don’t seem to mind surrender as a strategy.


Comments (22)

22 responses to “Surrender as a strategy”

  1. curtisspendlove

    Heh. Yeah. “Kids these days”.

    I’m constantly entertained when my 13 year old grumbles about the “stupid kids” while playing Fortnite. He was so very indignant the other day when I chuckled. He wanted clarification about what I was chuckling and told him he is “a kid”.

    I was kid-splained(?) that he was, in fact, a teenager (which is true) and was no longer a “kid“. I guess we were going by “spirit of the law”. :D

    Regardless, and I know this is because I have my “get off my lawn” pants on most the time, I’m baffled as to how these companies have turned “messaging” apps into clique ecosystems. Crazy. I send a few emoji and stickers or whatever, but is usually an ironic usage between my wife or my tech friends and I.

    Unfortunately most of my family and friends have settled on Facebook Messenger. And yes, my older kids (20s) have flat-out told me Facebook is for old people, like me. I reminded them they were welcome to start reimbursing the old guy for their fancy mobile phones and the privilege of typing to their old dad on Facebook Messenger.

    • Truffles

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      It's a revelation to scroll through a tweens and teens iMessage conversations - they're full of impenetrable hieroglyphic animations, memes and emojis. It makes perfect sense for Apple to be on the leading edge of encouraging this, I just wonder if they've got a room full of hip 11 year olds making multi-billion dollar design decisions that are entirely opaque to adults.

    • Jackwagon

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      I think every generation has that sort of "kids these days" lamentation. Millennials, Boomers, Gen-Xers, all the way back to the days of the polis back in ancient Greece.

  2. Daekar

    What blows my mind is that these companies have somehow convinced people that any of these services are materially better than email in conversation view via a modern client. Bonkers.

    • Tim

      In reply to Daekar:

      Because no one else can see my email. Narcissism is the cornerstone to all of these services.

    • Minke

      In reply to Daekar: Yeah, I agree, but that means you are officially "old" now since you can't comprehend the appeal of Snapchat, Instagram, and iMessage. Personally, I love email and can't understand all the hate it gets. What other service provides a universal communication channel between practically everyone in the world? I can guarantee you that every single person using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. has an email address. It is also the #1 way that people say they want to receive important communications from businesses. The in thing though will always be a communication channel that is not mainstream with us old folks.

      • Daekar

        In reply to Minke:

        So, it's not that I don't understand that they have any appeal at all, especially iMessage, but they're so much trouble. Why on God's green earth would I want to jump between platforms all the time, or worse, try to keep track of multiple messaging platforms because everyone is fragmented?

        Who knows? I never understood kids even when I was one.

      • illuminated

        In reply to Minke:

        For "young" it is very important to be "cool" as defined by some random collection of "cool" people. This means being as similar to them as possible, copying their behavior, having the same clothes, phones, apps, toys, etc. There is no such thing as "features are the same". The old people do that. Old people look at prices and features :) Young have to keep with the cool crowd.

    • harmjr

      In reply to Daekar:

      I agree with you. Dont know why the down vote.

  3. maethorechannen

    Not too long ago BBM was the must have messenger amongst teens (in the UK at least). Now it's iMessage. It'll be something else 10 years from now (though probably still not from Microsoft).

  4. harmjr

    When I was growing up Skype was this video conferencing service. People only used this to avoid telephone charges when calling across borders. To me it was never a messaging app. I never saw it that way. Now today I see it as the new yahoo messenger for businesses on the consumer end I see it as a long distance phone service.

  5. Tony Barrett

    Facebook is for old people - my kids say exactly the same. Not buying it for the 'all the kids use iMessage' though. Never heard that one. Kids will use Instagram and Snapchat mainly these days. They don't even use WhatsApp anymore, and only use SMS to reply to their parents (ie me!). Funnily enough, kids don't even seem to use Twitter either. How times change!

  6. jules_wombat

    Don't fret. Microsoft is right not to respond to the latest consumer fashion. The smartest strategy is to concentrate on business, enterprise and the cloud, where Microsoft is doing pretty well.

    Old story, Microsoft are not in the consumer space. Just accept the reality.

  7. Minke

    Not worth it to personally obsess about what young people are doing because it will be whatever the old people aren't doing. That's the way it always has been and always will be. I'm sure early humans were chuckling about that crazy talking thing when the young ones started doing it--makes it a lot easier to get a date! I communicate with my mid-20s children via email and SMS mostly since I am on Android and they are on iPhones, but I don't really need to know or care how they communicate amongst their peers. I suspect Microsoft feels a bit the same way--they want to be a big player in how businesses communicate and they aren't too worried about what goes on socially.

  8. Jeffery Commaroto

    I don't know that Microsoft was ever really that big of a leader in the consumer focused services/communications space. Also people have been quite quick to ditch messaging/social apps and services even though throughout all of Internet history there were concerns about lock-in and lack of "interoperability" which I remember was a giant buzzword for a spell.

    From the mid-90's to now you have IRC, PowWow, ICQ, AIM, CU-See-Me, Jabber, Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, WeChat and WhatsApp. Plus there was a whole world before with the Commodore 64, Bulletin Boards etc. I imagine ten years from now we will be looking back going, "Oh yeah, I remember that" on a lot of things that seem destined for longevity today.

  9. Paul Thurrott

    It's not necessarily a horrible idea to stick to your strengths.

    • Tim

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      In the case of Facebook; nut cases, pyramid schemes, and grandmothers making google searches as their status updates.

      You know...I remember when I didn't get on Facebook until I got my .edu email. Back in my day....

    • ponsaelius

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      Exactly. I just find it interesting to get the opinion of the next generation, get out of my bubble and my day job managing an O365 environment, and just listen. Microsoft have certainly lost the consumer. Not necessarily a bad thing but maybe a slightly sad thing.

  10. hrlngrv

    Apple's plan: pay for an expensive phone, and the fun services are included at little or not cost.

    Now that MSFT is no longer making/selling phones, how would they monetize Skype in a manner in which they could attract and retain much of a customer base?

    Then there's simple bureaucrat-think: if consumer ventures would be quite small relative to MSFT's overall size even if profitable, what's the point? OTOH, if a small and profitable unit became LARGE and profitable, it could make the managers in other divisions look bad, and that should be avoided at all cost. Last option, small or large and not profitable makes everyone look bad.

    As MSFT was establishing monopolies with Windows and Office in the late 1990s, it was also shedding consumer titles like QuickBASIC, Entertainment Packs, etc. With all that lovely regularly in-flowing revenue from effective monopoly operations, MSFT cemented a corporate culture that dismisses everything small. [OK, it's a pleasant mystery why there are still MSFT-branded keyboards and mice; maybe that division's manager has blackmail info on all the senior managers.] I figure you'd need to replace Nadella with an outsider (as in, someone who had NEVER worked for MSFT before) as CEO before MSFT could rediscover the benefits of playing in consumer markets.

  11. Bats

    In all honesty, I don't think Microsoft cares.

Leave a Reply