Thurrott Daily: October 24

Posted on October 24, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile with 31 Comments

Tech tidbits from around the web.

10/24/2016 11:56:17 AM

Microsoft fires back, tepidly, at Bill Belichick

When Patriots coach condemned Microsoft’s unreliable Surface tablets recently, I figured the software giant would make like the Seattle Seahawks and just lose the big game. Nope: They’re fighting back. With a blog post.

Every week nearly 2,000 Surface devices are deployed at 34 stadiums, and used extensively at over 330 NFL games each year.

We know change can be hard and technology adoption typically has a growth curve. We’re excited to be working with some of the best IT professionals in the industry at the NFL to help with the transition.

Amidst the chaos, each week a team of NFL IT staff rolls out the equipment – sets it up to each team’s specifications; connects network and communications; tests the systems; simulates games between the test cameras and the video directors to test the systems end-to-end; recharges devices; ensures appropriate protection from all sorts of extreme weather conditions; and helps the coaches and players get familiar with the set-up.

It’s an ever-changing, fast-paced technical environment – truly one of the toughest IT jobs on one of the world’s biggest stages, with hundreds of millions of viewers watching. We applaud these hard-working technical experts and appreciate their great partnership.

My mistake. That wasn’t much of a rebuttal, actually. And while the words “Bill,” “Belichick,” and “Patriots” never appear in that post, the controversy is alluded to up front. This is about saving face and damage control. Which would be a lot easier if Surface didn’t have a legacy of unreliability.

Skype no longer works on 85 per cent of Windows Phones

This is rather incredible. MSPowerUser reports.

If you’re a Skype user on a Windows phone (8.x or older), Microsoft no longer supports your device as of this month. Users who activate Windows phone 8.1 devices, or suddenly seek to download Skype from the Store (as few as those may be) – would be surprised to see that Skype is no longer accessible for their devices. You may still be able to download the app via a direct link or installing the appx directly, but it will stop working in a matter of months in any case.

Microsoft lists Skype as being compatible with Windows 10 Mobile, [but] this is a half-truth. Skype officially only supports Windows 10 Mobile 1607, aka the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Now, while 14% (13.7% at last count) of Windows phones are running Windows 10 Mobile, 9.5% of these devices still run Windows 10 Mobile 1511.

So that is a struggle to read, I know, but the basic gist is that Microsoft is killing support for Skype on older Windows phone versions. Which, as the post points out, is most Windows phones.

Microsoft’s Surface PC event: what to expect

I can’t stress this enough. This week’s Microsoft event is about Windows 10, not Surface, and while a Surface AIO is expected to make a showing, that is not the focus. Anyway, Tom keeps doing what Tom does:

Microsoft’s big focus with this event is Windows 10 … This year’s show is expected to include less hardware, with more of a theme around 3D and creativity.

Ah. So it was just a clickbait headline then.

Note: Now it appears that the Surface AIO will be called Surface Studio. Which makes sense: The Studio name previously leaked.

“Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Surface Book 2 release date, specs rumors: Oct. 26 launch likely for both Surface devices”

Nope. Still nope.

What to expect from this week’s Mac event

As you may have heard, Apple is also holding a press event this week, and has been rumored, it will focus on the Mac. But according to a research note by KGI, the focus has been fine-tuned even further. And now it will just be about Mac laptops. 9to5Mac explains:

The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.

The new Retina MacBook Pro, expected to include Touch ID, an OLED function row above the keyboard and new internals, will be debuting in both 13 inch and 15 inch screen sizes.

New iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.

I can’t say that I’m too excited by this, but Apple’s Macs are all woefully out of date. This is long overdue.

“Pixel vs. Nexus 5X: Which smaller Google phone is best for you?”

The one that is still being sold?


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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Thurrott Daily: October 24”

  1. 5554

    "Skype no longer works on 85 per cent of Windows Phones"

    Further proof that Nadella & MS hate Windows Phone users and self-loathe their own platform.  Seriously, has any other platform holder ever gone as far out of their way as MS to sabotage their own platform?

    They never wanted it to succeed.

    • 5530

      In reply to PeteB:

      Windows Phone may have been mismanaged but Skype is a special kind of F-up. So put the two together and you pretty much get the worst of Microsoft.

  2. 4370

    No SP5, but it seems that SP4 will be upgraded, according to Amazon...


  3. 442

    I've read a lot of "Apple is growing Mac" stories this week.  Yet, on usage charts, both those I run and others from around the web, the growth is much slower if nothing at all.  Mac may be selling more hardware, but the usage just doesn't jive with sales.  Wonder why?

  4. 2036

    The Nexus 5x (and 6P) are still being sold through

  5. 5953

    The new Retina MacBook Pro, expected to include an OLED function row above the keyboard...

    Sideshow, anyone?

  6. 5485

    A Macupdate maybe long overdue, but the fact is that even without an update it handles the DPI across mulriple monitors just right :)

    Also instead of pretending that it a pen enabled tablet device, it simply isn't one. On the other hand it does not have much of a battery and other traditional Surface problems. Now put in the number ($$$$) and what is really more expensive?

    Mac Pro 15"

    2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
    16GB 1600MHz memory
    256GB PCIe-based flash storage1
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics


    Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - 256GB / Intel Core i7
    256GB / Intel Core i7 - 8GB RAM 

    Surface Pro 4 Signature Type Cover

    Microsoft Surface Dock


    So make you pick for a laptop.


    PS: No, the Surface Pro totally and utterly failed to replace the premum tablet. And it not that good of a premoum laptop. Average at most. It looks good though.

    The feature set on paper (both in number and conceptually) looks to be riddled to crack it.

  7. 5553

    How could Skype which they own not work on their own phone ?

  8. 5553

    Apple...thinner new colors ! ?

  9. 6956

    "Skype no longer works on 85 per cent of Windows Phones" Which is no problem since "Every Windows Phone 8 device will be upgraded to Windows 10.".... right?

  10. 1377

    Picky, but unless NFL teams are all playing intermural scrimmages, there's only 16 NFL stadiums with games each week. Also, there are 32 NFL teams, so where do the other 2 come from?

    Silly marketing people, acting like they can count or do math!

  11. 5728

    Huh? They certainly did mention Belicheat. "Every game is different – with some teams living by their Surface for critical plays at key moments – and others using them to blow off steam by banging their head on them." 

    Sounds like him to me!

  12. 214

    "Martin Hajek’s peek at what the new MacBook Pro OLED strip could look like."

    Brilliant - that's what we dreamed of for Epson's HASCI keyboard back in the early 80s - the ability to alter the "controls" of the tool to match the task. i.e. what you put on it matters.

    If true and well done, that could finally get me to want a MAC... (Holy crap - did I really say that?)

  13. 217

    I sure hope the new macbook pros get more features (other than spec bumps) than this supposed OLED function row. It will be required of 3rd party app developers to incorporate it into desktop apps. As someone who uses more web apps than desktop apps I don't see how this is such a big deal, but maybe I'm dismissing it too early. And let's face it, all laptop OEMs will be aping it next year anyway

  14. 1792

    With Windowsphone market share so small stopping Skype support on all Windowsphones wouldn't impact very many people now.

    Windowsphone - now in the last throws of existance as Microsoft switches off life support.

  15. 412

    “Pixel vs. Nexus 5X: Which smaller Google phone is best for you?”

    My Verizon rep forgot to order the XL for me, so  the standard Pixel arrived. It has taken me a good while to get used to the smaller screen and my XL isn't slated to be here until the 18th of November, unless they ship early. But performance and camera are amazing and if a 5" is more of what you need, can't recommend this phone enough. :) 

  16. 5234

    "This year’s show is expected to include less hardware, with more of a theme around 3D and creativity."

    i.e. "what you can't do with a Chromebook", no doubt.

    And no doubt with prices in the stratosphere.

  17. 5108

    And in all the time since WLM was dumped for Skype, I've never used it for anything on any device. Nor have any of my friends. Can Skype please die now?

  18. 5234

    “Pixel vs. Nexus 5X: Which smaller Google phone is best for you?”

    The one that is still being sold?

    Not sure what you're getting at here, other than being smug.  Google may not be selling the 5X anymore through the Google Store, but you can still get it through Project Fi starting at a monthly fee of $8.29/mth or as a flat purchase of $199 (the monthly plan has 0% interest, BTW).  You can also get it via Expansys and other unlocked phone dealers.  Ditto for the Nexus 6P.

  19. 5394

    Skype no longer works on Windows Phone by design. What else is new? It's like they want to kill Skype by lack of users. Just like they don't want people to buy Surface Pro or Book. "Sell it, Kill it." Microsoft's product strategy.

  20. 1775

    >Tom keeps doing what Tom does...

    Who's Tom?

  21. 5234

    "Skype no longer works on 85 per cent of Windows Phones"

    Anybody that says that Microsoft isn't abandoning Windows Phones should be given a royal slap across the chops.

    • 5554

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Evidenced by the occasional comments angry with Paul's Wmobile "reality checks", there are still a few sad WMobile clingers around that believe MS is just "rethinking" things and a new Windows Mobile strategy and devices are just around the corner.

      Eerie reminiscent of the japanese soldiers that became stranded on small islands, cut off from communication and still believed the war was going on long after it had ended.

      • 5842

        In reply to PeteB:

        This is dumb comment. Do you think people just keep hoping that one day Windows Mobile would suddenly become a top platform or something? Of course not. I am one of those "idiot clingers". I have my windows phone, I like it and will use it until MS decides to kill the platform. Then I will move to Android or maybe something new.

        It is never too late to switch to a platform that has higher market share.

        • 2175

          In reply to illuminated:

          You are right - it's never too late to switch. But why hold on? I'm moving on to the Google Pixel or Galaxy s7 (getting one of these today for my job). I was going to chose iPhone 7 but I just can't stand the iPhone OS. My Lumia 640XL will soon be a nice backup phone for our staff, or just in case someone breaks their phone

          Windows phone is a nice OS but the severe lack of support is unbearable. It'll be nice to finally have a phone that has strong developer support for apps. Even Skype support is being pulled for my 640XL. I'd already made the decision to change OS', but reading that today is the nail in the coffin

  22. 5496

    And Skype also work work on anything below iOS 8, and Android 4.0.3. So how about writing the rest of it, instead of half ot the story.


    Bill Belichick is an old man who just doesn't understand technology.

    The problems that he has can also be said about iOS and Android. No technology is perfect. Somethimes they are problems.

    It sounds like the problem it with NFL IT, not the Surface.

    Belichick just mad because he can't get video of the opposition sideline sent to it, and he can't use it to record the opposition0

    • 5554

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      Sorry, sparky.  Android and iOS are irrelevant to this Skype debacle - because here's the problem:  Windows Mobile 8.x and Skype are MICROSOFT'S OWN PLATFORMS.  And when 85% of WMobile users are abandoned in one fell swoop, that's a problem. 

    • 5641

      In reply to lordbaal1:

      I wouldn't bother. If you want unbiased Microsoft news, go elsewhere. You'll notice the comments have dried up as people stop biting.