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Windows: Not Doomed Yet 737

Posted by Soulskill
from the cash-on-hand-is-a-wonderful-buoy dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, ZDNet columnist Steven Vaughan-Nichols wrote an article, 'Windows: It's over,' that sparked a lot of passionate online debate. His thesis was simple: Microsoft's dominance of the computing market is coming to an end, accelerated by the incipient failure of Windows 8. Make no mistake about it: there's no way to fudge the numbers in a way that suggests Windows 8 is proving a blockbuster. But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft. After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years. So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"
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Windows: Not Doomed Yet

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  • Shrug... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:24PM (#43496779) Journal

    Of course Microsoft isn't doomed, and neither is Windows. In the enterprise world, Exchange-Office will still dominate for many years to come.

    The problem is on the consumer end, where Windows is heading quickly to irrelevance.

    • nope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iggymanz (596061) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:27PM (#43496831)

      the only reason they became accepted into the enterprise is because that is what consumers were familiar with, But now that model is going to rot from the ground up, at least three other major players have good inroads to eat Microsoft's lunch. Windows 8 marks the beginning of the fall of Microsoft.

      • Re:nope (Score:5, Informative)

        by tbannist (230135) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:31PM (#43496885)
        I suspect it was Vista that marked the beginning of the fall. Quite a few people got burned on new computers that weren't actually "Ready for Vista". People expect new versions of Windows to be bloated pigs on old hardware, but when it runs like a pig on brandnew hardware? That's an unforgivable sin.
        • Re:nope (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:45PM (#43498051)

          That would be false. The enterprise embraced OS/2 and Windows NT while the consumers were using Windows 95/98. Likewise, consumers were not using Exchange. One could reasonable argue that what made them accepted was not Microsoft at all, but IBM which introduced their enterprise customers to relatively low priced desktop computers compared to their offering of mini and mainframe computing back in the 1980s.

          Once Intel PCs were established in the enterprise, when the GUI was becoming standard, the question became which one Mac OS (not OS X), OS/2 and Windows NT. OS/2 was the favorite until Microsoft and IBM had a major falling out and Windows NT and OS/2 went their separate ways. Since Windows NT worked on IBM hardware plus all of the clones and IBM OS/2 mainly worked on IBM hardware (meaning the PS/2 line), Windows NT won out. Then NT became Windows 2000 and after that Microsoft merged their business and consumer products into Windows XP.

          Along the way, there were numerous failings - Windows 3.0, Windows 95 (while successful, was buggy) Windows ME, Windows Vista. Each time it was supposed to be the end of Microsoft, but that never happened. Why not? Because Microsoft also is exchange server which many businesses depend on. It is also SQL server and Office and a whole lot more than simply Windows. That is only the tip of Microsoft's iceberg.

          Does that mean that MIcrosoft will continue to reign supreme, no of course not. Neither will Apple. Both of them will succumb, like IBM did before them to somebody else. The problem is that when you are at the top of the heap, there is nowhere else to go but down. But even if they are no longer the dominate force, that doesn't mean they still aren't a force. Again, look at IBM as an example. Of course, IBM did have to take a hard look at the role they wanted to play in the industry. Whether Microsoft is willing to do that or not is yet to be seen.

          As for Windows 8 failure to launch, there are two reasons, at least in the corporate world. 1st, it is different and being different means money spent on retraining workers and increased tech support costs. Different is fine if it leads to productivity gains or something along those lines, but that gives us point 2 - Windows 7 is good enough. Windows 8 doesn't increase productivity and in a typical business setting often decreases it. Some argue that Windows 8 was a tablet design forced on a desktop. Maybe, maybe not. However, there is no doubt that it is a consumer design that corporations aren't pleased with as it doesn't fit their needs. Corporations don't buy into the consumer marketing hype. They have bean counters that look at the bottom line and things like ROI. In that scenario, Windows 8 doesn't cut it.

          The irony is that Windows 8 contains some great technology. The reason it has failed is not because of the technology or the engineering. The reason it failed is because Microsoft misread its market and produced a product that it's largest customer base (corporations) didn't want or need. If they get it right with their corporate customers with Windows 9, then Windows 8 is just a good product that nobody wanted. Maybe Microsoft should follow Canonical and have LTS versions that favor corporate use and use the intervening years to experiment with the interface. Those things that work and are accepted make it into the next LTS those that don't, well, don't.

          • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

            by s.petry (762400) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:56PM (#43498179)

            While well thought out, there is a very important aspect that you neglect. It was hinted at, but not bluntly called out. That aspect is that a huge part of the reason Windows went into the workplace was because people were familiar with it at home. Marketing played it's part too mind you, but not as much as an exec being able to do everything at work he did at home in the same way.

            The same can be said of applications. MS gave Word away. It was horrible compared to competitive products, but it was free. Everyone became familiar with it. Word Perfect required extra knowledge that a home user didn't have. The same exact statement can be said about Excel compared to Lotus 1-2-3.

            When MS loses dominance on home devices, people lose that familiarity. It will certainly impact the approach businesses take to OSes and Devices. In fact I'll state it already has, since most large companies are trying to develop any-device anywhere platforms.

            • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Friday April 19, 2013 @07:03PM (#43499301) Homepage

              I think you are on the right track, but I see it flipped. Most people did not have PCs at home. This was a device they had at work. They were trained to use it because it was a function of their job.

              Then one day this Internet "thing" arrived and they wanted a device to surf the web. The only device they knew was the PC - by now it was Windows-based. So Wintel PCs spiked in sales. But if we are honest, they really weren't ready for your average person - far too complex. But it was almost the only tool available, so that's what they got.

              But now tablets and smart phones let them surf and get email - without a lot of the problems. So consumers are slowly changing to that device. I say "slowly" because the sales curve continues to accelerate.

              I believe the end result will be the PC will return to being a mostly-business device. We'll look back on the last 15 years as an odd spike between the Internet land rush and the arrival of the Internet Terminal.

              Microsoft's mistake? Users have a tough time with change, and MS upset them greatly by creating a confusing interface. Users are much more willing to learn new controls for something totally different (airplane, boat, tablet) but get mad as hell if you change something they are already comfortable with (car, Windows).

            • Errr... that's a tad backwards I think. Home users have no relevance to the enterprise; to the contrary, they are historically driven BY the enterprise. You may have omitted the decade+ time where there WERE no "home users". We did not adopt PCs because "Sally the Secretary" had one at home.

              Windows made it into the enterprise simply because of legacy DOS applications. DOS was somewhat simple to write software on. And the PC was somewhat simple to build hardware for.

              Contrast that with a Mac. To write a

          • by thomst (1640045)

            dcnjoe60 averred:

            Along the way, there were numerous failings - Windows 3.0, Windows 95 (while successful, was buggy) Windows ME, Windows Vista.

            Windows 3.0 was not a failure. In terms of both enthusiastic adoption by consumers, and financially for Microsoft, it was a major success. Yes, it was buggy. That didn't matter to the marketplace.

            Likewise, Windows 95 was a major success for Microsoft, by the same metrics. It was, to borrow a term from a certain self-aggrandizing billionaire, HUGE, both in the corporate and consumer marketplaces.

            But you're dead right about ME and Vista. People reacted to both as if they were dead rats - and

          • IBM is far from not being player in the computing industry. Maybe not the OS segment, but they are doing just fine and they can always fall back on their typewriter patents.

            IBM's closing value of $214 billion on September 29, 2011 surpassed Microsoft which was valued at $213.2 billion. It was the first time since 1996 that IBM exceeded its software rival based on closing price. On August 16, 2012, IBM announced it entered an agreement to buy Texas Memory Systems. [34] Later that month, IBM announced it has

          • by mvar (1386987)
            It has been written again and again by many slashdotters, every time a stupid article came up about the supposed "downfall" of microsoft because of the Windows 8 failure and low sales. Ok tablets and smartphones are selling like shit, but most people still have their 5-year-old or so PCs/laptops around with windows XP or 7. Unless you're into gaming, there's just no need to do any fucking upgrade. Why go out and buy a new laptop with windows 8 or upgrade your existing windows to 8 ? Will it make browsing or
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anne Thwacks (531696)
              laughing at the idea of switching to a Linux OS because they want something that "just works".

              Well Linux "just works" for me. OTOH, Windows, other than as a pre-install, has persistently failed to work. It is a fatal error where the OS does not come with drivers for the network card, and expects you to download the drivers over the net! Assuming you can boot from a CD, you can install Linux (Or *BSD) in about 40 minutes, unattended. Good luck installing WIndows in 40 hours - with constant user interventi

        • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

          by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:46PM (#43498063)

          I suspect it was Vista that marked the beginning of the fall.

          Actually wasn't what is being said about Win8 identical to what was said about Vista? And before that XP was a failure until sp1 was released, ME before that and 95 before that. I think Bob and Clippy were also the death knell for Microsoft too. Oh, and the ribbon in Office, can't forget that one. Granted, they can't keep screwing over their customer base with every other release continually. But they still hold a lot of market share. They just don't have absolute dominance like they once seemed to (not that that was necessarily ever true).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the only reason they became accepted into the enterprise is because that is what consumers were familiar with, But now that model is going to rot from the ground up, at least three other major players have good inroads to eat Microsoft's lunch. Windows 8 marks the beginning of the fall of Microsoft.

        I think it's a some what accurate statement to say that Microsoft got into the enterprise because of home users. But they don't just have a PC as a foot hold in small to medium enterprises like they do in consumer homes. They have Active Directory, Exchange, MS SQL, SharePoint etc. The organizations build their business processes around these technologies and while there are replacements for all of them it could be very difficult to get business to buy in.

      • Until developers stop writing enterprise software for Windows, enterprise settings are going to continue to be dominated by Microsoft. Couple this with the fact that many large businesses are only just migrating to Win7 now, and only because XP's time is almost up--even if the every-other-OS-flops model isn't particularly sustainable, I think it's likely that Windows 9, or whatever they decide to call it, will arrive as the Win7 to 8's Vista and continue the cycle for some time to come. Also, regardless o
        • Until developers stop writing enterprise software for Windows, enterprise settings are going to continue to be dominated by Microsoft.

          Mind you, this is already starting to happen. While most normal office drones can't quite do it yet, I can do all of my ordinary sysadmin stuff without the use of Windows... and that includes managing Exchange, AD, what-have-you (usually via RDP if there's no direct equivalent).

        • Re:nope (Score:5, Interesting)

          by interval1066 (668936) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:56PM (#43497327) Homepage Journal
          I think a smart move would be to split Mirosoft up into 3 new companies. Microsoft is currently too big and dumb to move quickly. Time to split it up into 3 companies; let Ballmer have the big enterprise contracts, and keep developing windows servers and workstations. He likes playing with the big boys, smoking cigars, and golf. He can have that. Then they need to take the consumer-facing elements and create a consumer oriented company. Tablets, phones, & R&D. Get some new blood in there and let them innovate. Lastly; take the XBox crowd, marketing, and entertainment. Maybe even dip a toe in movie production. Certainly video games. I'd explore splitting Microsoft up as described. Yeah.
      • Re:nope (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:42PM (#43497093) Journal

        This, right here.

        The original rationale for Windows in the enterprise began when companies wanted cheap "personal" computers in the workplace. They wanted those computers with a drop-stupid UI and a cheap OS on them. Windows was perfectly poised to fill that need (Apples cost too much, GEM had issues, and Amiga was too much like an appliance to be flexible.)

        Nowadays, if W8/Metro is what Microsoft expects the planet to use, they may be in for a shock. No serious enterprise will touch it (outside of certain "Platinum Partners" who drink Redmond-flavored koolaid by the tanker-truck), since it (currently) hampers the hell out of work. When home users buy a PC, they want a frickin' PC - and not some over-spec'd tablet with a keyboard lashed onto it.

        While I won't say that Microsoft is dead meat, I will say that they're making one hell of a potentially fatal mistake here. They don't have room to bork things up like they used to (see also Steam's decision), and Apple is smart enough to stay expensive enough to make a serious profit, but just barely cheap enough to be within reach of anyone who could be considered a decision-maker.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oldlurker (2502506)

          Nowadays, if W8/Metro is what Microsoft expects the planet to use, they may be in for a shock. No serious enterprise will touch it (outside of certain "Platinum Partners" who drink Redmond-flavored koolaid by the tanker-truck), since it (currently) hampers the hell out of work. When home users buy a PC, they want a frickin' PC - and not some over-spec'd tablet with a keyboard lashed onto it.

          How does replacing a pop-up start menu with a full page start menu, but otherwise make the OS faster in every way (boot, sleep/resume, use) and fully backwards compatible "hamper the hell out of work". I get that the new start menu can be jarring, and that the need to click once to get to traditional desktop mode can be irritating, but I'm really lost in the Slashdot hyperbole of how extremely bad this is. I agree that metro and desktop could have smoother co-existence, and better defaults to stay with one

          • Re:nope (Score:5, Informative)

            by gl4ss (559668) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:39PM (#43497985) Homepage Journal

            it's extremely jarring because it serves no other purpose than to tie you into metro apps downloaded through the marketplace. for no good reason you can't run the apps (without 3rd party sw) in windows. that's the real beef, that it's so unnecessarely the way it is. and that it jumps on top of your work(that's a big issue actually). and that you have to do reboot tricks to install some drivers for more exotic hw. it comes bundled with a pdf reader sure. but it's totally unusable if you're trying to use it to read a pdf as a reference for doing actual work. it's just so almost there but yet so far away - technically it's better than win7 but not in any way that would matter to any user(stuff just worked in 7, stuff just works in 8) and the political decisions the management took when deciding how it should behave to the user just stink to high heavens.

            they'll just tone it down on next release, the boot times from win7 to win8 aren't that different tho.
            so I don't really see MS being in more trouble than they were in the '90s with linux, beos, os/2 and others.

            but suppose I'd be using anything else than windows.. could I run a binary hardware accelerated 3d program from 13 years ago on any current release of them ? I can on windows, it runs better than on any other windows yet too. If ms would take that away - go all windows rt - then sure, ms would be fucked, there would be zero reason to stick with it.

          • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

            by roc97007 (608802) on Friday April 19, 2013 @08:59PM (#43500077) Journal

            > How does replacing a pop-up start menu with a full page start menu, but otherwise make the OS faster in every way (boot, sleep/resume, use) and fully backwards compatible "hamper the hell out of work".

            Well, because it doesn't do that at all. Basic things work radically differently, the visual cues that help non-geeks navigate computers are gone, the fullscreen paradigm doesn't fit well on large dense monitors, and touch gestures don't work well with a mouse. And even if all of these things were surmountable, the training issues alone are nightmarish.

            When we (just recently) rolled out Win7, we did some pilot programs and app testing as part of due diligence, but we did not have to do user training or amp up the helpdesk because 7 behaved as people have been led to expect. 8 .... well, geeks can eventually figure out anything, so I'm sure there are alpha nerds out there that have put in the time necessary to learn to make 8 dance, but regular users don't want a GUI challenge, they want to run their apps and get their work done. It ain't gonna happen. We'll wait until something reasonable becomes available. Because 8 hampers the hell out of getting work done, for regular people.

      • Re:nope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:58PM (#43497389)

        the only reason they became accepted into the enterprise is because that is what consumers were familiar with
         
        Sorry but you're talking out of your ass. If a "consumer" owned a PC at all at the time that Windows started to make inroads to the enterprise it was either Apple, Atari or Commodore. Windows made inroads because MS-DOS was the defacto standard thanks to IBM and when the GUI was ready for primetime Microsoft was already embedded in the culture. Whoever modded you up doesn't know jack about computing in the enterprise. It's kind of pathetic when you stop to think of it.
         
          But now that model is going to rot from the ground up, at least three other major players have good inroads to eat Microsoft's lunch.
         
        It's going to rot? Really? Show me where MS's domination on a production platform is threated. Do you honestly think that people using Android phones and iPads are a threat to full functioning computers that aren't just running a bunch of small apps? Please. And Windows will still be the largest marketshare (by far) for the home user who still decides to support a PC into the next decade.
         
          Windows 8 marks the beginning of the fall of Microsoft.
         
        I seem to recall hearing the same thing around here when Windows ME was about a year old too. Lo and behold, the next release from MS made Microsoft more money and embedded them further into the end user culture more than any other product ever has.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Linux and Mac are both making inroads to businesses. Yeah, tablets and phones are part of it to, but trends towards BYOD don't have to be limited to those.

      • by alen (225700)

        nope

        Active Directory, Exchange and their other software is pretty easy to set up. AD is nothing but a prepackaged LDAP database that is pretty much guaranteed to work. unlike making your own from scratch with open ldap and buying other exchange clones or other software.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It depends on who you ask. When IBM introduced the PC with MS-DOS on it, it was for businesses. My parents, astute enough to see this (amazingly, they were computer illiterate) switched me from a Commodore to a PC Clone with MS-DOS because .... businesses used it. It would help me prepare for my future. This was in 1990. This is simply an anecdote, but I'm certain the logic was applied to more kids than me, and is still applied today.

        Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love Macs, but they are a niche market,

    • Re:Shrug... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:28PM (#43496845) Homepage

      I kinda remember similar stories of MS and all that being posted on /. back in '00. Didn't seem to happen then either, but MS does need to get it's head out of it's ass and actually listen to what consumers want. They seem to be suffering from the "Big3" mentality of the 70's, where in the auto industry they simply stated: "Consumers will drive what we tell them to drive, and love it." Of course that was pretty damn close to the collapse of the entire North American auto industry, and imports took off.

      • Re:Shrug... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by postbigbang (761081) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:38PM (#43497013)

        This is all the result of some pageview whores looking to stir up some hits in an otherwise pretty dull period. Yeah, people are buying tablets and smartphones. No doubt about it. Not buying Windows 8 because they're not strongly compelled.

        So, they do the death watch, change the CEO trick, pile on the the horrible histories, bring up the traditional rivalries, and rake the muck.

        That's you, ZDNet. You listening? Gonna put on the fishnet stockings and red lipstick again? You can do the same thing on Slashdot just by dissing all or any of the Sacred Cows here. The Google Ad revenues must have been stupendous.

        Nothing to see here. Move along.

      • Re:Shrug... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:42PM (#43497101) Journal
        As long as Microsoft has the strongest commitment to backwards compatibility, they'll retain their market position.

        Most people don't care about the operating system, they just use it to launch their apps. Businesses don't want to rewrite all their custom software just because they are upgrading to a new OS. Microsoft revenue is still going up.
        • 1. Windows RT on ARM doesn't have backwards compatibility with x86, and that's the flagship product that launched with Windows 8 (the "Microsoft Surface RT").
          2. Windows Mobile applications weren't compatible with Windows Phone 7, and Windows Phone 7 applications run in emulated mode on Windows Phone 8 but Microsoft is encouraging developers to rewrite them to be native for Windows Phone 8.
          3. Internet Explorer 9 and 10 attempt to be standards-compliant, which is a massive break from IE6 and IE7.
          4.
          • More importantly, I think many of the "killer apps" of the modern day are independent of operating system:

            This is important. The slashdot crowd can talk about how you can't run most apps on a tablet, but a lot of these apps you just mentioned are made for tablets. No one doubts that MS will maintain a strong presence in the corporate world for a long time, but increasingly people aren't computing with PCs any more, they're using mobile devices. In any case, even in the corporate world, people are losing interest in MS. I do get e-mails about training for ipad users, I have yet to get one for Win8. In fact,

    • by MickLinux (579158) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:42PM (#43497105) Journal

      Gotta remember when Carly came to HP. It didn't doom HP. What it did do, was turn HP into a typical fortune-500 company: that is, the compost heap of companies failed.

      HP is still around, and will still continue to take over failed companies, and compost them, losing value the whole way. Moreover, they will still be the "standard" for government agencies and colleges, regardless of value.

      And yes, they will continue to have bright people, and waste their prime years in irrelevance.

      Microsoft will be the same. Shoot, I expect Google to become that, too. After a certain size, good management is highly improbable; bad management is highly probable.

      But that doesn't mean they won't have occasional blockbusters again, and won't be a "force to be reckoned with". They are, and will be. They'll just be of marginal value to anyone who deals with them.

    • MS is as doomed as IBM. A company of such immense size does not disappear, its as simple as that. MS will be around for a long, long time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:25PM (#43496799)
    Fire Steve Ballmer
  • Lack of necessity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:28PM (#43496843)

    The only thing that could doom Microsoft (not Windows) is the lack of necessity for a new operating system. Microsoft makes money selling Windows, so they NEED to release new versions every few years. The need for a new operating system might not be a pressing issue for the end user and this will slow down the demand for new versions of Windows, not Windows itself.

    • Re:Lack of necessity (Score:4, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:52PM (#43497265) Journal

      The only thing that could doom Microsoft (not Windows) is the lack of necessity for a new operating system.

      Which is, well, what's going on now. Most folks would use XP until the universe's heat death if they could, and there's little reason for them not to. If they have Windows 7, that sentence ends with the phrase "no reason at all."

      Unless Microsoft starts getting stupid with making artificial barriers for old OS versions, it's lose-lose, and they don't have that kind of ability anymore - at least not in any meaningful, purchase-influencing way.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:35PM (#43497913) Homepage
      But most people only buy a new OS when buying a new computer. What's happened lately is that people stopped needing new computers. My desktop is 7 years old and I still feel no need to upgrade. My laptop is 3 years old and again, I feel no need to upgrade. Computing for most people has got to a point where things are fast enough. So they can easily go 10 years without needing a new machine, assuming it doesn't break so much that they can't just fix it.
  • by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:28PM (#43496849)
    that'll take care of everything.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:30PM (#43496869) Homepage Journal

    Just buy heavier chairs.

  • by morcego (260031) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:30PM (#43496875)

    The regular desktop PC, and even notebooks, are becoming more and more irrelevant. Yes, there is still a long way to go, but we are seeing more and more of a convergence between platforms, what with cell phones, tablets and whatnot becoming more prevalent and main business tools.
    Heck, I'm an IT geek, and I rarely carry my notebook around anyway. I do most of my work from my cell phone (hardware qwerty keyboard).
    I keep seeing more and more people ditching their notebooks for tablets.

    And I sincerely don't think Windows can survive outside the PC market.

    • I still do 100% of my in-office work on a PC. I do pretty much 100% of my casual and recreational computing on my tablet and my smartphone. The work I do from home can be divided between "emergency" work (ie. bind daemon crashed, VM Exchange server went down), and I'll use my tablet about 50% of the time if it's just a matter of "virsh start exchange", and if it's more involved I'll pull out my notebook, and the the other 50% being working from home, where I pretty much use my notebook all the time.

      So while

    • by _Shad0w_ (127912)

      I wouldn't enjoy writing software on a tablet very much. For, yes. On, no.

    • by DL117 (2138600) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:03PM (#43497483) Homepage

      I'll do all my gaming on my PC. I listen to music on my PC. I watch TV and movies on my PC. My friends do the same. I'm 19. The PC isn't dead in anyone's eyes but those of marketers who want to sell to cheap to build tablets for the price of a fully functional PC.

    • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:05PM (#43497519) Homepage
      Over and over again, how many times do we have to keep regurgitating this...
      Yes, we know, phones and tablets are consumption devices.
      PC's are "work"/creation devices.

      In the enterprise Apple or Linux or whoever is gonna have a HELLUVA time displacing Windows, Active Directory, Office, etc; and all the software that is written to run in that environment.
      For example, how many bioanalytical chemistry/drug testing labs are running LIMS or Lab Informatics software on mac's or google chrome devices? What about companies that process credit card transactions? What about inventory control software for food processing? Apple? Linux?

      Just because all these media consumption devices are "the new kid in town" and basking in their self-referential glow doesn't mean they are going to displace the framework that is in place that businesses run on.
      Agreed, MS blew it in the consumer space, but good luck dislodging them from the Enterprise.
      • by yzf750 (178710) on Friday April 19, 2013 @09:13PM (#43500171)

        What about companies that process credit card transactions? What about inventory control software for food processing? Apple? Linux?

        Actually those touch screen POS terminals you see in most bars and restaurants? Linux. Those touch screen bar top games? Also Linux. Now the computer in the back office that those communicate with for the managers and chefs? That's probably Windows XP. Some of the POS terminals are Windows embedded from years and years ago, but mostly the POS terminals are Linux. They do the credit card reading/authorizing and inventory if the system is set up for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:32PM (#43496891)

    No big move required, but they need to do a few things
    - Allow the return of the Start Button for those who prefer it.
    - Allow start to desktop
    - In multi monitor setup, allow one sreen to be locked to Start Screen and/or metro applications
    - Make it easy for developper to target Metro and Desktop within the same .exe
    - Make apps that with great value in metro, but they need to still show a status icon when in desktop
        - ex: if in desktop mode, the skype app need to show the alert if there is an unread message, particulary when we get back from a game

    • by Dr Max (1696200)

      i'd like to add to that

      - Be able to decide where applications open (whether they are opened in metro or desktop)

      - Embrace Linux, be the OS the manages the other OSs.

      - Better voice recognition, kinect, and AI elements (processing must be done locally).

      - Incorporate more virtualization into the delux (whatever it's called) package for quick sandboxed activity.

      - Personal cloud (maybe in the xbox, no one actually likes the idea of giving their data away).

      - Also get nokia to make a windows pro phone (full

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:32PM (#43496893)

    From what I see in friends and family, the consumer section of Windows is really doomed. I know the next time I buy a computing device for say my parents, it won't be a Windows PC. Maybe a tablet, maybe a Chromebook, but the average consumer...moms, dads, students, kids, etc. has probably had enough of Windows. Microsoft has effectively ceded the consumer market. They had a chance with Surface, but blew it on bad (expensive) pricing. Nokia and windows for the phone is their last, slim chance to reignite the consumer, but prospects are dim.

    On the corporate side...the horizon for Windows is much longer. All it takes are one or two key windows apps and the entire company is locked into the platform. Even if those apps are only used by only some of the employees, the IT staff are loathe to run a mixed desktop environment. So it would take a big shift, a real progressive initiative to move from Windows, at least at my Fortune 50 company. And Fortune 50 companies are not generally known to do that sort of thing...

  • by djdanlib (732853) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:32PM (#43496897) Homepage

    It would be nice if they would just ask us professionals what we need, and then proceed to deliver that, instead of doing all this trend-surfing.

    Who cares if people say Mac did feature X/Y first, or if it looks like a phone, or has / doesn't have some sort of fancy transparent chrome? Make it modern-looking but don't let that be the major selling point. I have to get work done on it.

    All I care about is that I can sit down and work efficiently, and that my computer doesn't interrupt me with idiocy. I don't care if I have to learn how to use something new - I'll do that - but efficiency means that I want it to stay out of my way, present the current state of operations clearly to me (something both Windows 8 and MacOS/X fail at), and not demand that I use it like a phone! I already have a phone, I'll use that if I want to use a device like that, but I want to use a desktop computer more productively.

    I know, I know... I'm using a Web browser and posting on Slashdot. Meanwhile I have a VS2012 situation happening on another screen and it is not pleasant.

    • by wisty (1335733) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:42PM (#43497091)

      They asked professionals what they wanted. The answer was "Windows 7, fuck another upgrade".

      Windows 8 is aimed at consumers, not professionals. It's not even aimed at making consumers happy, it's aimed at training consumers in Microsoft's touch UI, so the consumers will consider getting a Surface Pro / RT, or a Windows phone.

      Microsoft realised, after about 10 years of Apple kind its ass, that touch devices are here to stay. So they are trying to leverage their PC dominance to drive the sales of post-PC devices.

      Will this upset professionals? Most of them won't upgrade anyway. Windows 7 is good enough for them.

  • by msauve (701917) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:35PM (#43496953)
    A:Re-release Win XP, and call it Windows 9.
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:36PM (#43496969)

    Keep Ballmer.

    Whatever.

  • by davmoo (63521) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:39PM (#43497025)

    Yeah, Windows is dying. Just like this is the year that Linux takes over on the desktop. Or is this the year that Apple takes over? Or CP/M makes it comeback? OS/2? I forget, I've heard them all so often.

  • The PC isn't dying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobinH (124750) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:39PM (#43497043) Homepage
    Anyone who thinks the PC is in any sense dying hasn't worked in an office that does business with other companies. There is a *huge* amount of work that consists of physically typing stuff into databases (purchase orders anyone?) and retrieving stuff from databases, and all of this work is done with a keyboard and mouse. Spreadsheets. Forms. Stuff still gets printed out and filed! Nobody wants a tablet to do this. I think there might be room for tablets out in the warehouse, but even those are likely to be Windows based. Mac? Sorry, businesses look at the price difference and can't stomach paying nearly twice as much for the hardware. I'm certain that home PC sales are diving, and that's probably a good thing, but in our office we're expanding the number of PCs because we want access to information everywhere, and more data entry everywhere, and they're cheap! PCs are the work-horse of enterprise data. So what if we're buying them with Windows 7 Pro on them instead of Windows 8? MS still makes money.
    • Yes, but as software gets more advanced, tools to replace the people doing mind numbing data entry will fill more and more gaps. It will continue like that until the whole company is just the CEO with 3 buttons: "screw the customer", "screw the employees", and "screw the government".

      We will continue to praise them as a society for just how fast they can press those buttons.

    • And anyone who can't see outside the office paradigm can't see that MS is in trouble in some ways. Take my local coffee shop. In years past they may have needed a POS system running embedded Windows. They use an iPad and Square to handle payments. The owners may need a computer to look at the books each month but that doesn't require MS. They use a Mac and LibreOffice. Square has dramatically lowered the barriers for small businesses.
  • Steven Sinofsky was the head of the Windows division of Microsoft. He was probably fired. But he says he left for his own reasons. Yeah, sure. That should tell us that even Microsoft realizes they pooched this deal. Everybody I know that got a computer with 8 on it has begged me to put 7 on it for them. But I actually put OpenSuse 12.3 on a bunch of machines lately. UEFI is a pain in the a$$ too.

  • by Ubi_NL (313657)

    Please name an alternative for AD that is suitable for small businesses and that can be administered by junior admins ( i.e. the ones that small businesses can afford). Afpd is a joke, and linux ldap is just too complex for a small office. Im not trolling, I'd really like to know what i can switch to. ( samba is not an answer. I do not mind paying for the software, i just do not like the smb protocol and the windows acl system)

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:45PM (#43497149) Journal

    Innovation does not come from a company it comes from competition!

    The issue here is that Microsoft has killed the competition, No longer does innovation flow through competition.

    Back before windows 95 we had Windows 3.1 and Dos. Dos was produced by Microsoft (MSDOS), IBM (IBM DOS), and Digital Research (DrDOS).

    As one would come up with an innovative feature and gain some market share, the others would follow and add a new feature of their own. Each to try to regain the lost share and expand their market. When Microsoft combined Windows and DOS to create Windows 95 they killed the other dos manufactures. Thus creating there market dominance. From that point on they continued to flounder with few major innovations and more and more redesigned of the GUI or adding features that no one wanted or used.

    The money they have along with the "really smart developers and engineers" do not matter, they have no real competition. Linux is the closest thing they have had to competition in years and it has never really grabbed enough market share on the desk top to spur the innovation and product life cycles that Microsoft would need to keep going. Dont get me wrong, Linux is stellar and I run it everywhere I can but without the pressure there is no market force to force the innovation.

    On the server side, you can see Linux forcing innovation with Microsoft's announcement that admins should learn command line as Windows server GUI will be going away, as well as many of the server advancements that Linux has and Microsoft is implementing.

    Do I think Microsoft desktops will survive, no. I see a slow erosion to obscurity. What replaces them may be Linux, Mac, or something completely new designed to use the new technologies that are emerging. I do however see Microsoft continuing for many years, struggling with the desktop and pushing more and more to servers and the cloud.

  • Windows is dead in the same way COBOL is dead. Windows 7 and earlier have too large an installed base. Even if Windows 8 flops and Microsoft can't recover from it, the Windows and Office and IIS and SQL Server installed base will insure they've got a revenue stream for years to come. And Windows 8 isn't going to be an unrecoverable blunder, Vista proved that. At worst MS will tweak and fine-tune Win8 and Metro and turn it into a phone/tablet OS, with Win7 continuing as the desktop OS and Windows Server 2008

  • When you had to have windows and all the software and tools were on windows them they were unassailable. With multiple strong platforms, that monoculture is dying away and that's the real danger for Windows. Sites will continue to use it, but they won't have to so MS will have to compete on merit against alternatives that really can do the job. Sure, the office setting is probably still their strongest area but outside of that, what USP do they have? Oddly enough, Netscape presaged this day 20 years back

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:47PM (#43497183)

    But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft.

    Of course it isn't! They always retain the option of releasing a Linux distro. :)

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:53PM (#43497283)

    So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"

    Just because "fire Steve Ballmer" isn't a particularly original insight doesn't mean it is not correct. He's been a lousy CEO, and the manner in which he has jeopardized the company's vital enterprise business in a fit of Apple envy proves that he's the wrong man for the job.

    A large number of home users with modest IT needs (web surfing, social networking, simple games) have already switched to iOS and Android for most of their computing needs. That horse has left the barn; that ship has sailed. These users are not coming back to Windows. And the truth is that Microsoft can survive without them. What Microsoft cannot survive is the loss of business users. This is where the bulk of their revenue comes from, and it's also the least threatened area of their business. Legacy lock-in, the fact that most people are already trained on Windows/Office, and the interdependence between various MS enterprise products (Windows, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, MS SQL Server, etc.) means that businesses will find it difficult and expensive to leave the Windows platform. And most of them don't really want to, since it serves their needs where a smartphone/tablet OS would not. This is why Windows 8 was such a strategic blunder. Microsoft alienated the people whose support it needs in a failed attempt to reclaim low-margin, low-volume customers who already left.

    Microsoft needs to accept that it's a mature company now and that it isn't going to post stunningly high profits or make major innovations on the OS front. It should focus on incremental improvements to the Windows platform. If they bring back the Start menu and the option to boot directly to the Desktop in Win8.1 as has been rumored, it will help mitigate the damage.

    Companies in general ought to focus on their core competencies, and under Steve Ballmer, this basic rule of business has been forgotten at Microsoft.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:54PM (#43497295)

    Windows might be in trouble, but who is going to replace them? Android and iOS are pretty limited platforms and not exactly fun to program. OS X is getting very long in the tooth, has very limited hardware offerings, and Objective-C is less pleasant to develop for than C#. And just as Gnome/X11 looked like it was going to provide a fairly stable desktop platform, the Gnome, Wayland, and Ubuntu developers have screwed things up big time again. Much as I loathe Windows 8, I think it's still going to win by default on the desktop.

  • by sribe (304414) on Friday April 19, 2013 @03:58PM (#43497391)

    After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years.

    And really bad management, clinging to stupendously dysfunctional and wasteful project management practices.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:01PM (#43497449)

    Windows is pretty much competing with itself at this point, and Win8 isn't offering compelling reasons to upgrade. Metro is a compelling reason not to upgrade. Windows Phone is doomed to be an also-ran, no matter what MS does.

    Tablets are a fad in the consumer space which will fizzle out in 2 years. Microsoft won't be able to break into this market, just like their other consumer-oriented efforts (Zune, Kin, Windows Phone... everything except XBox) failed. However E-readers will continue to sell. Tablet equals fancy electronic clipboard... if you don't havea sue for a clipboard, you have little use for a tablet. In certain vertical business markets, tablets can make sense. In the end, tablets are for consumtion, not production, and touch UIs are a step backward. The PC isn't going to die any time soon.

    I suspect the OEMs are already looking for ways to hedge on Windows. They'll push back harder when their windows distribution agreements come up for renewal, because Win8 is a failure and MS is encroaching on their turf with the Surface. The big OEMs will start seeking partnerships with major Linux distros soon, preparing to launch hardware with Tux stickers in 2015 or 2016. And all of them will be begging Valve to let them pre-install Steam. Pressure from the OEMs will force AMD, nVidia, and Intel to get their Linux video drivers up to snuff.

    The units will be slightly more expensive because the OEMs won't have libraries of crapware at the ready, but most people on /. will agree that's totally worth it. Even now there's little reason for the average person not to drop Windows for a real OS, and by the time all this happens, it'll be even easier.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:03PM (#43497473)

    After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash

    ...and an idiot management team directing it all.
    If I've learned anything working for big companies, it's that it doesn't matter how great your grunt workers are, or how great your budget is.
    If you have shitty management/leads, you will fail.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:04PM (#43497505) Journal
    Both extremes miss the mark. No Windows is not going to go kaput like blackberry. But nor is it going to have a long life in the corporate world without problems.

    Root cause of the problem for Microsoft is that the truly committed talented players of the early 1990s, working hard to win marketshare and who had to implement just good enough software on puny little machines, have either burned out, or cashed out. Leaving behind mainly empire builders, insecure pointy haired bosses. These guys were promoted to high positions commensurate with their political abilities. Company is too big to manage, and there too many incompetent managers.

    Add to it the most screwed up compensation model. People who get promoted beyond level 64 are termed partner level, according to my sources. They get paid a fraction of the revenue stream of the product lines they manage. So partners often have a fundamental conflict of interest. Sacrificing a little bit of revenue in a product line like Office may be needed to squelch the upstart competition, but some partner level managers planning early retirement would rather squeeze what they can for the next three years instead of taking the long term approach. That is why they kept sticking the windows os everywhere. It is Rahul xyz or Sergey ABC who gets a cut from windows stream who sabotaged all competition from the inside.

    The Office/Exchange monopoly exists because they remain the king of the hill and all others work around the bugs, restrictions and the lack of features. But continually changing api, file formats security model, OS support etc to keep the upgrade treadmill going is going to grind to a halt soon. At some point people are going to say, if the next version of Exchange server can not be supported by Android XYZ or iOS ABC version, we are not going to upgrade. Already it is facing a severe revenue crunch due to the proliferation of Google Apps and other services. If the next version of Word does not work with Google Apps, guess what?, they are not going to upgrade.

    Microsoft has fundamental problems. But it is too big to fail immediately. It will wallow, evaporate and decay into irrelevance in its own sweet time.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:10PM (#43497583)

    Business markets and consumer markets are wildly different. If they decide to continue on the consumer market, they MUST do a better job of actually paying attention to basic human psychology. It's not brain surgery. A superficial familiarity with virtually any college text on human factors would have prevented the whole interface fiasco. I was taught the exact principles that would have prevented this in the 70s. Three mile island was our favorite example. The meters that provided feedback were across the room from the controls, facing away from the controls. Kind of like the properties window being at the bottom of the screen relative to what you're clicking on.

  • by RocketScientist (15198) * on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:12PM (#43497611)

    I've been thinking about the saying "A poor workman blames his tools" a lot lately.

    My conclusion after a lot of thinking is that it isn't that the workman who doesn't like his tools isn't skilled, or doesn't take care of his tools Maybe his set of tools is just worn out and it's the workman's duty to acquire a new tool set. The tools change over time.

    I'm a SQL Server DBA. SQL Server as a product is great. The tools, however, suck. Random crashes. Random issues. Inconsistent UI. Example 1: Mouse wheel doesn't work in a combo box. Why? Who decided that was "OK"? Lots of other piddly issues that just tick me off all day long. I hate my tools. It's probably time to try something else. This really came to roost when we put Windows Server 2012 on a box so we could do cross-subnet clustering. Love the cross-subnet clustering. The UI, however, is Metro. "Go hover over an invisible spot on the upper-right-hand corner of the UI to get to something sorta-like a start menu so you can run SQL Server Configuration Manager". Why? Why?

    The user interfaces, now "improved" through the use of Visual Studio integration, are absolute crap.

    I'm getting tired of being stressed on poor tools when I'm stressed on a ton of other things that actually I should be stressed on, like data integrity, performance, and efficiency. Instead I get to spend a ton of time figuring out how to start applications? Every single day I start working and I find something new that makes me go "Why do these guys think they can make good user interfaces that work consistently? Who allows them to do this?"

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:39PM (#43497983)

    Microsoft is no more doomed now than IBM was 20 years ago, but like the IBM of the past, their dominance is fading. I think Microsoft might be around for a long time, but they won't be as ubiquitous as they once were.

  • by vinn (4370) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:52PM (#43498143) Homepage Journal

    So, speaking of frustrating Microsoft OS's, anyone else tried Server 2012?

    It seems to be quite a bit faster than 2008 and set up to run as a VM well. HOWEVER... it has taken a giant step backward in usability. No Start menu? Ok, I can adjust to that. However, getting to all the tools to administer a system is frustrating at best. What the f*ck were they thinking? Right now our average 2012 desktop consists of 20 - 30 shortcuts to administrative tools so we can get into things as basic as a control panel or an Event Viewer.

    I understand Microsoft wanting to move everyone to using Powershell, I get how powerful the commandline is - I've been using Unix/Linux for 20 years. However, using bash and other commandline tools makes sense. It seems sane and has always been intuitive to pick up. A quick man page look up usually fills in any details that are out of the ordinary. Powershell and Microsoft's objects? Wow.. no idea who designed it but intuitive is not a word I would use to describe it. I suppose the command names themselves are ok, a lot of times you can guess them with a "Set" or "Get" prefix, but the way you pass the object references and the various command parameters are a complete pain the ass. Powershell is a nice feature, but completely ripping out nice graphical tools to do complex and infrequent tasks makes no sense.

  • by houbou (1097327) on Friday April 19, 2013 @04:54PM (#43498157) Journal
    For home users, make a free windows version which isn't watered down. But, charge for support however.
    With Ubuntu and other OS out there which are FREE, the only way for Microsoft to stay relevant on the PC front is to stop gouging people for money, however, no money, no support, no liabilities, nada, zilch. Use at your own risk.
    Also, considering the typical keyboard, mouse, monitor desktop PC configuration, the last thing Windows needs is a new revamp which would make it behave like a tablet or a phone.
    The START button IS windows, and that should be back in force.
    At the very least, do like Windows 7 and other previous versions and offer the 98 style GUI when you remove all the glitz and bells and whistles.
    For now, until desktops and mobile devices are equal in processing powers, they are better off with different types of OS, than trying to do a 'one fits all' OS, which clearly isn't being look well upon.
    Here's the awful truth.
    • Win 95.. we got in.
    • Win ME... sucked and well and was definitively forgettable
    • Win 98 second edition, good stuff
    • Win 2000, until SP4, kinda sucked and wasn't really worth moving too
    • Win XP SP2, (YES, was good)
    • Vista (Garbage)
    • Windows 7, worth the upgrade
    • Windows 8.. Yawn, not worth it

    Windows 7 will become the new XP. Nobody will want to migrate from it and I can't blame them, because I'm in the same boat!
    Those who will get new PCs and Laptops, more than likely, will force their suppliers to put on Windows 7. Reason? "My work uses Win 7 and our apps aren't compatible to Win 8, or something like that.
    Microsoft's expectation of people wanting to upgrade their OS every 2 or 3 yrs, is simply ludicrous. Consider the amount of time it takes them to 'get it right', meaning the amount of service packs and updates one goes through, eventually, when you have a stable OS, you stick to it.
    Let's not forget the old engineer's motto: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder. -- James H. Boren

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