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Microsoft Gives Windows Device Makers Their 2017 Marching Orders (zdnet.com) 171

Microsoft officials have some fairly specific ideas about what they want their Windows-device-making partners to build in calendar 2017. From a report: Microsoft wants its OEMs and ODMs to make more Windows 10 detachables, convertibles, and ultraslims. They also are advising their partners to make devices and peripherals that highlight the "hero experiences" of Windows 10 involving Cortana, Windows Hello authentication, and Windows Ink. And another wish-list topper: Microsoft is looking for more Windows 10 PCs that can power mixed-reality peripherals and that are ready for gamers and "media fanatics."
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Microsoft Gives Windows Device Makers Their 2017 Marching Orders

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  • So.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:44PM (#53788635)

    Microsoft is asking it's OEMs to make Surface Pro competitors?

    • Re:So.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by HideyoshiJP ( 1392619 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @02:03PM (#53789157)
      Yes. If I recall, the point of the Surface was to kick other manufacturers in the butt so they'll start making quality and innovative hardware. If you recall, at the time, most manufacturers were only pumping out bargain basement Windows 7 machines that were barely qualified to toss into the scrap heap.
      • That's what most people are buying, including businesses, well they have slightly better crap, but the point stands.

        Very few people are willing to pay what "quality, innovative hardware" costs nowadays.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Microsoft is asking it's OEMs to make Surface Pro competitors?

      That's what it sounds like. I wonder who gets to take the loss on the sales or how that part of the OEM agreement works. Ramping up production isn't going to create additional design.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        M$ is attempting to force OEM and ODM into the xbone licensing scam and make no mistake, if end users no longer own the PC once the install windows 10, what makes you think M$ will allow anyone else to own it. Licence fees for anything hooked to windows 10 including content (the promise for content providers, anyone installs content on a pc owned by M$ as a result of naive user installing windows 10, will see that content deleted at the next compulsory upgrade and FOSS of course banned outright). Make no mi

    • No seems Microsoft is asking OEMs to make cheap gimmicky underpowered laptop variants with power efficient processors that also have the processing power and expandability of a top end gaming system...

      If any of them pull that off i'll be impressed

    • Microsoft have always wanted them to make surface pro competitors, right from the start they stated they wanted to show OEM's what is possible and for them to expand on the vision making devices that are better, be that by being more powerful or lighter or cooler features. Surface was supposed to show them they didn't have to just race to the bottom and could instead compete with the apple highend devices.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:44PM (#53788641)

    Can't Microsoft just offer PCs with Windows 7 once again? I don't like Windows 8, or 10.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Just switch off Metro and Cortana to use Windows 10 as a desktop OS. Not that much different than Windows 7.
      • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:54PM (#53788713)

        You also have to add a few third-party applications to fix the rest of the stuff that Microsoft broke, such as the Start menu.

        • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:01PM (#53788755) Journal
          They forced us onto Windows 10 at work, I installed Classic Explorer and that gets rid of their retarded implementation of a start menu.
          • I didn't really have that big of a problem with the start menu in win 10, I killed all the stupid live tiles, shrunk it down to two panes, pinned my most used programs to the right pane, the left pane has all programs in alphabetical order, then personalized which folders appeared in start menu. they are collapsed into icons on the left or click start at the top and it expands them while it hides the programs. If not for the fact that the start menu is collapsed to icon and the all programs are exposed by d

            • If not for the fact that the start menu is collapsed to icon and the all programs are exposed by default and you can't change the right panel into text instead of icons it's really similar to the old start menu in function.

              True. Ignoring all the stuff they broke in the new Start menu, it's really similar to the old one.

              • I'm not sure which stuff you're referring to that the old one did and is now is broke in the new menu. It's more like missing or changed.

                In Win 7 you had two panes, pinned items an recent on the left and on the right was your regular folders and settings and it hid the pinned and recent in the left pane and displayed the all programs when you hit all programs. if you held you mouse over something in recent or pinned it would should you a list of files you recently opened with it.

                In win 10 you have two panes

        • You also have to add a few third-party applications to fix the rest of the stuff that Microsoft broke, such as the Start menu.

          That's true for Windows 8. I don't have any third-party application installed to use Windows 10 as a desktop OS.

          • It's true of Windows 10 as well. Microsoft did bring back a start menu -- but the one it implemented in 10 is not the one it got rid of in the first place. The new one is inadequate (for my needs) and therefore must be replaced with a third party one.

        • You also have to add a few third-party applications to fix the rest of the stuff that Microsoft broke, such as the Start menu.

          I only had to do two things, install Start 10 ($5) and Spybot Anti-Beacon. There is free software out there to fix the Start menu but my personal preference was Start 10.

          Also, I'm running Windows 10 Pro which allows me to defer updates until I am ready to install them. It cost a bit more than Home, but the added control is worth it.

        • Not to mention use the Windows 10 machine ONLY behind a hardware firewall that blocks all of the "Orwell-approved" spyware bullshit that MS keeps trying to spin as being beneficial for the user...

      • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:04PM (#53788787) Journal
        You can't uninstall Cortana though, it's embedded into the entire OS, and you can't just 'turn it off', either. The closest I've been able to come is a very brute force/nuclear option, which was to deny Windows the ability to execute anything in the subdirectory where the Cortana core files are, so there ends up being a bunch of errors in the System log because it can't start Cortana up, but it does keep it from running it. This also breaks a couple other things at the same time, but I can't say I've really been affected by that.

        You should also go through all the Task Scheduler entries, too, if you're worried about the 'phone home' problem, much of it is triggered through Task Scheduler entries, which you can go through and delete.
      • by iampiti ( 1059688 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @02:29PM (#53789327)
        To get something like Win 7 you'd also have to remove the following things:
        - Ads for Office and Edge built into the OS.
        - The infamous telemetry that can't be completely turned off.
        - The annoying push to use MS' services (Ms account for login, Cortana, Bing, the Store...)
        - The "bug" that resets your default applications to Ms' ones every major update.
        - The inability to reject updates.
        - The built-for-touch apps that are the defaults (and, in some cases like the Settings app, the only option) even on desktops without touchscreens.
        • Oh, don't forget "The misfeature that shares all your wi-fi passwords with friends, acquaintances, and random strangers in the subway".
          • I recall that Microsoft changed its mind after an outcry and decided it was a bad idea. I don't know if they removed this feature or just turned it off by default, but they did do a change to this feature without ever quite admitting that it was fundamentally a stupid idea.

    • Windows 8.1 is a good compromise between 7 and 10, with ClassicShell it works a lot like Windows 7 and any other objections can probably be tweaked to disable those or worked around in some manner. All three of my office computers are running it and they work pretty good.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:45PM (#53788643)
    Microsoft really should be listening to the device makers, not commanding them. Why is Microsoft still so friggin' arrogant towards its customers (a.k.a., product) and users? Hasn't the Windows 10 fiasco taught them any humility?
    • by thebullshitpatrol ( 4673009 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:48PM (#53788677)

      excuse me, it's called "bravery".

    • Why is Microsoft still so friggin' arrogant towards its customers (a.k.a., product) and users? Hasn't the Windows 10 fiasco taught them any humility?

      What makes you say this? Have you looked at MS's financials lately? They're doing great. They're arrogant because they can be: people like you happily continue to buy their products, no matter how they treat you. So why should they change? They're doing exactly the right thing: bossing their customers and users around, and in return getting lots of money f

      • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:58PM (#53788741)

        ...What makes you say this? Have you looked at MS's financials lately? They're doing great. ...

        Microsoft's enterprise cloud business is doing great. Microsoft's Windows' business is doing far less great.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          Microsoft portable business is in the shitter. even uptake of the surface 4 is lower than expected.

        • by caseih ( 160668 )

          Can you provide a citation?

        • It's doing fine. They're still on roughly 90% of all desktop/laptop computers, and there's no sign of them going anywhere anytime soon. No, this market is not a big growth market any more; that doesn't mean the company is in trouble, just like Comcast isn't in trouble just because the population isn't exploding to provide them more homeowners to sell their cable service to. MS is succeeding in getting people and companies to upgrade to Win10, and they're making even more money with its integrated spyware

    • Microsoft is following the Apple model.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@w o r f . n et> on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:27PM (#53788923)

      Microsoft really should be listening to the device makers, not commanding them. Why is Microsoft still so friggin' arrogant towards its customers (a.k.a., product) and users? Hasn't the Windows 10 fiasco taught them any humility?

      Device makers generally make "safe" devices. They'd churn out crappy ass laptops all day everyday.

      It took Intel a couple billion dollars to get OEMs and ODMs to make more than just $500 craptops and start considering making higher end laptops with nicer screens, thinner form factors etc. (This became the "ultrabook" form factor).

      But they were happy making $500 crappy laptops with crappy screens. Intel's investment let them build higher end machines that competed with Apple's machines and got people spending more money per laptop.

      Microsoft's just trying to urge manufacturers to stop making just laptops and consider other form factors, as well as add features like IR cameras (Windows Hello requires it for biometric photo ID). Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to ask manufacturers to add certain features and then offer discounts on stuff like license fees.

      Microsoft has also been encouraging PC makers to offer a "Signature Edition" not exclusive to Microsoft stores - these PCs have no crap ware installed at all and are basically Windows, necessary drivers and applications only.

    • by ChatHuant ( 801522 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:53PM (#53789103)

      I don't think listening to device makers is always the best way to go. Until a couple of years ago the Windows computer hardware field was stale, with hardly any innovation. Most makers were engaged in a race to the bottom, trying to pump out the cheapest machine they could, while a few others, like Alienware, were looking at niche areas, like machines optimized for gaming. Microsoft had to jump in with the Surface line, which gave device makers quite a kick in the pants. The new line was quite successful, and it revitalized the field.

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        The problem with considering that a problem for anyone but Microsoft is that the market for PC's has gravitated to those 'race to the bottom' cheap machines.

        Except for those niche Alienware gamers, most people treat their PC's more or less like 'Chromebooks that can run MS Office when I need it'. That's why Microsoft is developing their new 'Cloud OS' thingy that essentially does the same thing. But the high-end PC has become a niche that most people don't need. And the vast market is spending their buck

      • Race to the bottom? You say it like it's something bad. It's consequence of competitive market existing. Once computers stop being relative novelty we can expect them to become somewhat longer lasting. Any other outcome is more than unnatural. After all you don't need to replace your hammer or screwdriver every year because it became obsolete. It's just a tool and you keep it as long as it does its job, and computer is in grand scheme of things just a tool too.
        • Yes, this.

          While there certainly is (and should be) a market for high end, cutting edge machines, it's relatively small. For most people, the hardware (in terms of its ability to meet their computing needs) matured many years ago. Those people want computers to be commodity items, because it minimizes what they have to pay to be happy.

          And there's nothing wrong with that. It is, in fact, how it works for almost every class of products and services that exist.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )


      Microsoft has never had a clue. They desperately want to be Apple and trying to force changes instead of doing what people want.

    • Hasn't the Windows 10 fiasco taught them any humility?

      Windows 10 is the second most popular desktop OS in current use. If you want to teach them humility you actually need to have a lesson for them.

  • by thebullshitpatrol ( 4673009 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:47PM (#53788669)

    >microsoft is trying to force hardware manufacturers to build a cohesive apple brand image and UX for them (spread across 20 brands)

    They have TOUCH SCREENS guys, how can they not be flying off the shelves?

    • It's crap, it takes over your computer, it spys on you, it has adware embedded in it, it 'phones home' constantly with details about everything you're doing, and Miscreant-o-soft can remotely take control of your computer and do whatever they feel like to it and you have NO say in the matter unless you never connect it to the Internet. Get some version of Linux instead, I recommend Linux Mint.
      • Get some version of Linux instead, I recommend Linux Mint.

        Google linux mint laptop leads to Linux Mint's partnership with ThinkPenguin [linuxmint.com]. But there isn't a wide selection of laptops [thinkpenguin.com]: nothing bigger or smaller than 14 inches. What company that isn't a Linux Mint partner makes laptops that work well with Linux Mint?

        • by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @02:40PM (#53789397)

          Linux Mint installs on a very wide range of laptops. Those few that it won't install on (I can't even think of one offhand) are definite exceptions. Linux Mint surely installs on more devices than Windows 10 (such as legacy PCs and laptops).

          Is your point that it isn't easy to buy a machine with Mint preinstalled? That is certainly the case, but installing it yourself, or finding a friend to install it for you, isn't so hard.

          It was a great feeling (at least for me personally) to buy a new Asus laptop, wipe the SSD of all vestiges of Windows, and install Mint ... and that took maybe an hour to do and a few more hours to get things customized the way I wanted.

        • What company that isn't a Linux Mint partner makes laptops that work well with Linux Mint?

          System76 [system76.com]

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            [thinkpenguin.com]: nothing bigger or smaller than 14 inches. What company that isn't a Linux Mint partner makes laptops that work well with Linux Mint?


            On System76.com, I see 14", 15", and 17". You have a point on the bigger side but not on the smaller side.

            Last time I checked, Dell sold a 13 inch XPS that runs Linux, but I've read elsewhere that Dell requires buyers to provide a valid company name.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Lenovo make an effort to ensure that there are linux drivers for their stuff. I think ASUS do as well but don't take my word for it, my information could be out of date.
  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:48PM (#53788675)

    "Hero Experiences"??

    That's the best laugh I've had this week! Thanks, Microsoft!

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:24PM (#53788905)
      Everyone knows that Master Chief is the Hero, not Cortana.
    • by Kenshin ( 43036 )

      "Hero" is the new "Premium".

    • It seems that a certain kind of heroism is necessary these days to use a Windows box.
    • I'd change to that "Zero Experiences"..... Somebody's gotta say it... FUCK MICROSOFT!

      Linux FTW... Been Microsoft-Free for 6 years...

    • Think back to when MS used "Start me up" from the Rolling Stones in their ad campaigns. The line from that song they didn't use "it makes a grown man cry" sums up what happens with frustrating OS problems.
      With all the shit and malware you have to go through to keep MS stuff going I suppose you could play it as "Hero Experiences" despite it being utterly trivial in comparison to the world around us. All the frustration of heroic acts without any actual danger (or achievement).
  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @12:52PM (#53788705)

    These bets are familiar ones: [...] a constantly updated version of Windows [...]

    Microsoft really thinks that the constant updating of Windows is a desirable feature? I disagree -- that "feature" is one of the top three reasons why I despise Windows 10.

    • Microsoft really thinks that the constant updating of Windows is a desirable feature?...

      I wouldn't mind constant updates if Microsoft also had said something along the lines of... "in order to improve our customers' experiences, we will be significantly upgrading our Quality Assurance capability, instead of using our consumer-products user base as beta testers."


    • If for some reason you're forced to use it, you should be able to go into This PC/Manage/Services, then Stop and Disable the Automatic Updates service. Of course that's just a stop-gap, you still don't get to pick and choose which updates you get if you turn it back on.
    • Agree. An OS should be stable, not something updated every few days/weeks.
      Also, every update should be well tested not like current Win 10 updates where each one adds 3 new things, fixes 2 bugs and adds 5 more.
      That development model might be ok for an unimportant mobile app, an OS is what makes your PC run it must be stable.
  • I would definitely buy what they smoked.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:03PM (#53788763)

    ... generally make me want to "an hero".

  • "We need you to flood the market with gimmicks to distract people from the fact that we want to abuse the fuck out of them and profit off of them like the cattle they are."

  • Dear Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:12PM (#53788831)

    Hi Microsoft,

    Thanks for all the features you're working on. I can tell you're trying and that's great. It's just that all I really want from windows 10 is windows 10. I know this is hard to understand, but when I read things like 'windows ink', I already know I don't want it despite not knowing what it is. To be clear, this means I want no cortana, ms account, hello, tiles, ads, edge, forced updates or telemetry. The OS I just described is win 10 enterprise LTSB, but you won't sell it to me (I've really tried to buy it too - your volume licensers won't even quote me for one license)

    Windows 10 base OS is a GREAT OS. I want to buy it. You won't sell it to me. So my new Skylake build is running Windows 7.

    I hope this feedback helps.


    Anonymous Coward

    • Why don't slashdotters form an enterprise?

      I'd pay a hundred bucks for a copy of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB.

      • Agreed

        To me, the options are either purchase a copy of Win10 Enterprise LTSB, or stick with Windows 7 until the wheels fall off.

        The only question that remains is whether or now MS is willing to sell the version I want (on a non-enterprise scale)

        • Back when Microsoft Office 2000 was selling for four or five hundred dollars [microsoft.com], I got an email offer from them...for $100.

          MS, if you're listening, my email is above. Send me such an offer on WXELTSB and you've got yourself a happier techie.

          Yes, I can be bought, or at least muzzled.
    • Unfortunately, despite what you read, you are in a super minority with this. Linux is that way >, I suggest just giving up, the masses have spoken.

      • The super minority still provides money.

        My options are: buying win10 Ent. LTSB, or buying nothing (sticking with Win7). It seems like MS should be willing to sell, even if only 1% of 1% of MS users agree with me, that's a lot of sales they're missing out on.

        It's not a wholly new version of windows, it doesn't take any new coding or testing (beyond a slight change to the licensing scheme). They can just take what they already have, sell it to me, and make that money. Or don't.

        • That's a lot of extra support as well. They have to have ANOTHER fork that has to be maintained, tested, etc. Another fork of the insider program as well. What do they get in return? laypeople stopped listening to the tech savvy years ago so that's not really good for them. Those users with this crippled version aren't going to be buying apps in the store either, or any media, etc. It's a market no one wants because those types of people tend to be cheap or pirates anyway. I am one so I would know.

  • by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @01:51PM (#53789073)

    Giving someone their 'marching orders' basically means firing them. Therefore whoever wrote the headline has given a misleading spin to the story. As I read it, the headline says that Microsoft have sacked all their device makers. This is clearly not the case.

    • I looked it up [thefreedictionary.com], and "marching orders" more generally means "orders to move on". Microsoft wants laptop makers to move on from excessive focus on feature-poor laptops toward making PCs that take advantage of new features in Windows 10.Anniversary.

      • by martinX ( 672498 )

        The great Googly Moogly says this:
        marching orders
        plural noun: marching orders
        orders for troops to depart.
        "soldiers got their marching orders for 24 hours at the weekend"
        a dismissal or sending-off.
        "the ref called me over and gave me my marching orders"
        Since MS isn't the army, I took it as meaning #2. I have only ever heard it in the context of someone being sacked.

    • In this context, it should have probably been "MS are giving device makers 'an offer they can't refuse'". It would be a shame if something were to happen to their OEM deals.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, "marching orders" is when you tell someone what to do and give them no choice in the matter. Much like in the military, when a commanding officer gives infantry an order to march.

      Just because some dipshit has used it incorrectly to mean "fired somebody" in the past doesn't mean that it actually means that to anyone else.

    • Giving someone their 'marching orders' basically means firing them.

      That's one common meaning, but not the only one. I hear it quite regularly in the sense of "being assigned a task".

  • Are they going to use Bing videos instead?

  • Windows is like the tax software used to save time filing taxes only to have it take longer once you factor in brain-damaged UX interspersed with advertisements, repeated attempts to upsell forcing users to carefully navigate minefield to avoid being tricked into agreeing to additional services or "sharing" your information with god knows who for god knows why.

    At the end of the experience you wish you had just filled out the damn form yourself and mailed it to the IRS.

  • What are Hero Exp... OHHHHH! They're removing the headphone jacks!

  • When are they gonna produce straightforward machines that run Windows software well, don't get in the friggin way, have an app launcher that doesn't have ten tons of stupid AI in it, where a simple user-configurable menu (with a simple search facility) suffices, and so on. Like Apple, they are chasing the smartphone shiny consumer market and near-abandoning everybody else.

  • Low-cost, wearable hardware to enable 3D-waifu/life assistant A.I.

    Gatebox seems like a neat first step, but it's trapped inside a box and it's not even a real hologram, just a flat display.

  • MS is just likely to piss off OEMs with these demands. Windows has been a failure on mobile devices and OEMs cannot afford to build devices that will not turn a profit. Windows is only hanging on the the desktop/laptop market because everyone just sees it as the default OS, even when they hate it. If MS can convince OEMs that there is a market, by backing up the targets with tangible market research, there is a chance that they will get their way. Bullying OEMs that are already selling products with alt

  • Guess "Microsoft issues design guidance to device makers" wouldn't get enough clicks.

    • Nor would it give me another opportunity to shout my frustration about what's become of Windows and my powerlessness to do anything about it.

  • I think that must be a typo. Surely they mean zero, since the first thing that anyone concerned about security or performance should do when the get Windows 10 is disable Cortana.

  • Microsoft has to do something, because the OEMs typically flood the market with cheap desktop/laptop/all-in-one machines.
    The end result is a cheap machine that barely functions, thrown onto the market, and bought by someone thinking that these computers are even fit-for-purpose.

    Case in point: Anything with an AMD-E1 processor.
    Those machines are barely usable and it makes Windows 10 look and run terrible, hurting OEM and Microsoft alike.

    I've seen too many people buy them because of their price, and then real

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Those things will run MS Win7 tolerably, the only problem here is that MS will not sell it to the OEMs.
      The "netbook" type machines basically had to jump directly from MS WinXP (up until only a couple of years ago!) to a resource hungry MS Win10 that they cannot cope with.

      Before the fanboys jump in about how MS Win10 is not resource hungry I suggest you think of the context - machines not much more than 1GHz in speed on boards with not much memory installed. It's not a criticism of MS Win10 just pointing
  • Consumers buy 2 el-cheapo machines @ $500 each. MS gets 2 Windows licences worth of revenue, and Intel sells 2 sets of chips. OEM gets very little profit.

    Consumer buys 1 "ultrabook" @ $1000. MS gets 1 Windows licence worth of revenue, and Intel sells 1 set of chips. OEM gets a higher profit margin.

    The OEMs may be better off, but MS sells fewer licences, and Intel sells fewer chipsets. WTF would Microsoft deliberately hurt their bottom line???

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.