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July 1, 2010 12:12 AM   Subscribe

In February of 2008, Microsoft acquired the maker of the Sidekick, Danger Inc., for $500 million dollars and rolled the company into its Premium Mobile Experiences division, led by Roz Ho. The Sidekick retained a dedicated following after the merger despite some hiccups along the way. Twenty-six months after the acquisition, Microsoft unveiled the KIN One and KIN Two devices which would launch in May. The devices were backed by a huge and mildly controversial marketing push aimed at the young, hip social-networking addict niche. Reviews were generally negative and often cited needless complexity, software that was lacking basic functions and no support for third party applications. The devices ran a fork of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's rewrite of their aging mobile operating system that had been rapidly losing ground to RIM, Apple and Google. Just seven weeks after launch, the KIN is dead. Engadget has some insight into the failure and the subsequent shake-up at Microsoft.
posted by cgomez (98 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
My God; that Engadget piece makes Microsoft seem like a total clusterfuck of a company.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:18 AM on July 1, 2010


What? No mention of how, before Microsoft acquired it, the founder of Danger left to start a company called Android?
posted by eye of newt at 12:25 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


One thing stuck out for me ... The Kin ads that aired most recently featured a guy accidentally bumping into his ex-girlfriend. She looked really unhappy and tried to block him from taking a picture. He looked a little perplexed, not so happy as he looked at the photos later. Why am I supposed to be buying a smart phone? To experience that? Those people sure didn't look happy at all.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:25 AM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I bought a first gen Zune when they came out.

Learnt the hard way to never buy another Microsoft product again.

Craptastic customer support, horrible community engagement, lack of development/updates, mandatory firmware updates that brick it. A pretty good piece of hardware crippled by the software thats been stuck on it, and sadly nobody cared enough to figure out how to get an alternative OS running on it.

Microsoft just wanted to rush a product out without having a plan for it beyond "get some suckers to buy it". Looks like they just pulled the same stunt.
posted by xqwzts at 12:26 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does Steve Ballmer still have a job?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


I would be surprised to learn that it is possible to fire Steve Ballmer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:35 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I really hope for a more-competent Microsoft. They make some great tech in terms of their platforms and development tools (and finally a decent modern OS with Windows 7.) It seems lately that they're running out of ideas people who can execute effective clones of Apple ideas, though. I thoroughly despise linux as a desktop OS, and since there's no (official) OS X for system-builders/enthusiasts, Microsoft is really the only game in town for one of my favorite hobbies (and as I said, I like W7, so I'm not really complaining.)

I've heard a lot of good things about the Zune from various friends who own them, and have been considering one to replace my gradually-dying frankenPod, in which the only original remaining part is the logic board. The xbox has been a huge success, in terms of mindshare. I just hope they can find some way to break into the mobile (tablet/phone) sector successfully.
posted by !Jim at 12:37 AM on July 1, 2010


How does Steve Ballmer still have a job?

Eh, personally I'd rather have a Microsoft flailing around randomly then one that was totally on the ball. I don't own Microsoft stock. I hope Microsoft keeps Ballmer on the job forever.

--

The irony is that it seems like they finally managed to get windows right. Of course no one cares about desktop operating systems anymore, but there's still a ton of money out there for Microsoft to make on server stuff. As far as I know they're the only company that makes any money selling closed source server stacks, right? I mean, other then Linux and Apache, what competition is there for OSes and Web servers?

So A big part of their continued success comes from the corporate world, at least as far as I know. Their desktops integrate really well with their file servers and so on. But if I was going to start a company today I'd give everyone everyone PCs like this, run Linux, and keep all my apps on the web.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 AM on July 1, 2010


Of course no one cares about desktop operating systems anymore

I'm not typing my dissertation on an iPhone.
posted by dibblda at 1:03 AM on July 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


One of the lines from the Engadget article:
It seems that after doing some initial work on these phones based around Danger's proprietary Sidekick OS, Andy Lees -- the SVP of Microsoft's mobile division -- instructed everyone to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the OS based on Windows CE.
Then why on earth did you spend 500 million dollars on a product you weren't even going to use? I mean, what are they thinking? The software is about 3/4 of a phone, and most of the value in that company would have been that stack... which they promptly threw out and substituted their own inferior version.

It seems like Microsoft has turned into a bunch of warring fiefdoms, and when someone has a good idea and tries to make it happen, the other powerful people get threatened and make sure the product fails.

From what I can see, the breakup would have been the best possible thing for Microsoft. By continuing as a single entity, very little comes out of it anymore than anyone wants. Windows 7 is quite good, but that's only because Vista failed so dramatically, and thus got very senior management attention, which forced everyone to row the same direction on that product. But for the routine, day-to-day products, the internal squabbling and factionalism ensures that very little gets out the door with a coherent feature set.

The best example I can think of is that their Zune product didn't work with their "PlaysForSure" DRM. No kidding.... Microsoft itself refused to support the DRM format it had been selling to its partners. I cheered the death of another way of removing fair use rights, but I also shook my head at their pure incompetence. "PlaysForSure" didn't play on Microsoft's own products. How much bigger of a fuckup could you possibly engineer?
posted by Malor at 1:13 AM on July 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


Microsoft has always struck me as having too many fingers in too many pies. Personally, I don't think they do any one thing well, much less great but that's mostly a matter of personal preference. There are, however, areas where it's been clear they had no idea what they were doing, and seemed to be tossing out products just in case that tech sector becomes a big deal at some point.

Does it really just come down to the mission Bill Gates stated 20-some years ago "I want Windows on every computer in the world"? To what purpose? If it's all about money - how do you explain this chart, showing that their "Entertainment and Devices" division hasn't covered the amount of money they've lost with it? Ditto their "Online Services" division, which apparently hasn't yet made them a single dime. Has Internet Explorer every actually made them any money? It doesn't ship with an ad delivery system, and their push for ActiveX seemed destined to just keep programmers and users locked into the Windows multiverse but that's since backfired on them (and while I dig what they're doing with IE 9, I still hope IE dies a painful death).

This whole Kin thing looked like a terrible idea from the get-go, and I applaud them for realizing it soon enough to pull the thing before they try relentlessly to trudge along for no good reason.

To me, it's just further proof that Microsoft doesn't really "get it" - and probably doesn't care. Maybe it's an issue of middle management; No one with any real passion and understanding for a project has any actual hand in its making. That, I think, has and will continue to be their downfall.
posted by revmitcz at 1:15 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I really hope for a more-competent Microsoft. They make some great tech in terms of their platforms and development tools (and finally a decent modern OS with Windows 7.)

I wrote a longer comment earlier, but all I need to say is, Windows XP really, really needs to die, and so does IE 6, for everyone's sake. The security problems are serious, and they're the biggest, easiest targets. So many zombied machines ... They really need to start getting on their development cycles better. XP is 10 years old, and they're only now officially dropping support.

Yeah, Windows 7 is better, but Windows XP isn't going away anytime soon.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:17 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The territorial infighting at Miscosoft under Ballmer never ceases to amaze me. the departure of Allard & Bach is something that is going to come back and haunt them for years. And Andy Lees can eat a bag of dicks as far as I'm concerned-- the fact that he still has a job, after delaying the Zune Phone/Kin for 26 MONTHS by insisting that they use WinMO kernal while taking his sweet ass time to come up with Windoows Phone 7 (which, by the way STILL ISN'T RELEASED) is mind boggling. If I'm a mobile carrier, I would hesitate to do business with them.

The frustrating thing is that it is very obvious that Microsoft has a vision for the integration of their entertainment, mobile and corporate software and devices. The problem is that there are some very powerful VP's who feel threatened by that vision who keep throwing roadblocks up to prevent it from happening, driving innovative talent out of the company and alienating their business partners. Ballmer needs to have a come-to-jesus meeting with his execs NOW.
posted by KingEdRa at 1:17 AM on July 1, 2010


Another way of putting it: most products that actually get out the door at Microsoft have a feature set that's determined by Microsoft's needs, not the customers'. Switching the Kin to Windows CE would have been primarily to benefit the CE division.

That's why Vista was such a disaster.... they ran out of time, and the features that actually made it were the ones to suit their corporate goals, not the ones that end-users actually needed. Customer benefit is so far down their priority list that their products usually end up worthless.
posted by Malor at 1:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


How does Steve Ballmer still have a job?

As long as Office and Windows keep printing money, his job is probably pretty secure. If we're going to shift this into a larger Microsoft discussion, then a good starting point would be Shaw's Microsoft by the Numbers post from last week.
posted by cgomez at 1:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My God; that Engadget piece makes Microsoft seem like a total clusterfuck of a company.

From what I've heard (friends who worked there), they've got management issues -- they don't have a good way to manage their resources. The company's too big to manage.

Microsoft Research, on the other hand, is actually pretty cool.
posted by spiderskull at 1:23 AM on July 1, 2010


It seems like Microsoft has turned into a bunch of warring fiefdoms, and when someone has a good idea and tries to make it happen, the other powerful people get threatened and make sure the product fails.


You may or may not be surprised how common this is with many large multinationals, especially in the IT sector.
posted by smoke at 1:27 AM on July 1, 2010


Back to the drawing board...

``I managed developer teams in Windows for five years, and have only begun to reflect on the experience now that I have recently switched teams. Through a series of conversations with other leaders that have similarly left The Collective, several root causes have emerged as lasting characterizations of what's really wrong in The Empire.'
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 AM on July 1, 2010


I wrote a longer comment earlier, but all I need to say is, Windows XP really, really needs to die, and so does IE 6, for everyone's sake.

Dude, check out Chrome Frame. It's a plugin for IE 6 and 7 that replaces the rendering engine with chrome, if the website requests it. It's a plug in, just like flash. Except instead of a propritary system, it's a plug-in that uses modern, standards complaint HTML. Everything still works the same way, and users don't need to 'switch browsers'.

I've always said websites are just going to start downloading their own rendering code (obviously there would be a few standard ones and they'd get cached, just like JavaScript libraries today), rather then relying on working around different buggy systems. This is a move in that direction.
posted by delmoi at 1:34 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just seven weeks after launch, the KIN is dead

Huh. That was fast.

How does Steve Ballmer still have a job?

Because he works for a firm that charged $5 for DOS if you bundled for all machines or $80 if you didn't, has an 'interesting' history with Seattle Computer Products/BASIC/whatever that email product from Digital was called,

Its not like they've had to compete "in a free market" - they've used contract law to beat on partners as the partners are their customer. The End users are the customer of the partner and its a game of pass the buck.

Learnt the hard way to never buy another Microsoft product again.

Huh. You'd think the trail of bodies and reading the EULAs woulda been enough. (if the base OS is not 'properly licensed' your license of Office is null and void/if you as a developer and Microsoft are sued - you pay for Microsoft's lawyers are 2 examples that stick in my head)

The kiss of death for many firms has been becoming a Microsoft partner.

If I'm a mobile carrier, I would hesitate to do business with them.

Ahhh, but the 'pass the buck' nature allows the carrier to blame Microsoft. If the contract allows chargeback for unsold hardware/loss then why would they care?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:51 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not typing my dissertation on an iPhone.

True, but I think delmoi's point is that you won't be writing it on an integral part of the Windows operating system, either. You might be writing it using Google Docs, in which case your whole experience of writing your dissertation is based on your browser - you could be writing it on a PC running any OS and it would make a smaller difference to your experience that whether you were using Firefox or Chrome. If you're using Microsoft Office or OpenOffice or Pages, then the OS you have impacts what software is compatible with it, but the actual experience is based on a set of conventions about what a word processor should look like.

I think we're a good way away from all consumer desktops looking like an app store, or indeed from having functionally thin clients in most homes running an Internet-based OSlike experience. But if what you use your computer for is writing dissertations, then why would you need to upgrade the hardware (with a new OS bundled) or the OS software? Why not spend that money on a really good smartphone instead, for example?

(Obviously, if your dissertation is on OS programming you are probably using your PC for other things also; but a lot of people, it turns out, don't need a lot of computer to get by. My 12" 1.5GHz PPC Powerbook is still holding its own as a sofa computer, because it runs the same software at the lowest end - Scrivener and a web browser - as my desk computer).
posted by DNye at 2:47 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Windows XP really, really needs to die

Why is that? Because it's old? Software doesn't get rusty, you know? XP and Windows 7 are fundamentally the exact same thing. Windows 7 has a few more desktop widgets and makes things slightly more annoying to get to when you need to fix something, but that's about it. Everything runs on XP. Every piece of Windows software that is written is going to be tested against XP first. XP has been on the market for much, much longer than Win7, which means it's had more years of people trying to hack, crack, subvert and otherwise compromise the OS than Win7.

and so does IE 6, for everyone's sake

Yes. No argument here.

Yeah, Windows 7 is better, but Windows XP isn't going away anytime soon.

OK, grammar nazis, I just want to make sure I've got this right: this is begging the question, right? I think I finally got it, I just want to make sure.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:23 AM on July 1, 2010


XP and Windows 7 are fundamentally the exact same thing.

That's actually not at all true. Vista was a near-total rewrite; most of the code was replaced entirely. It was such a major overhaul, in fact, that a whole lot of stuff broke quite spectacularly, and it took driver writers a long time to really adapt to the new models. Result: instability and a poor reputation. Add to that the fact that pretty much the entire feature list of Vista was for Microsoft's benefit, and there just wasn't much reason to buy it.

7 is Vista with a facelift, basically. They finally got around to adding the stuff that people actually needed. It looks good, it's got a nice interface, and it's typically as fast or faster than XP on the same hardware. And the internal security model is MUCH better.

Unfortunately, they made one enormous mistake in 7... they turned UAC off. In Vista, you run as a regular user by default, and have to type in a admin password to make changes that affect the whole system, or which could compromise the OS itself. This is a much more secure approach. It's also inconvenient, and people didn't like it, even though it gave them so much more protection.

The biggest reason for the rewrite was to improve security, and they succeeded quite well. Vista and later haven't been perfect, but they've been quite markedly better than prior offerings. And UAC would protect you from many of the exploits. But because Marketing doesn't like immediately-unhappy customers, they promptly wasted a couple of billion dollars in development effort by butchering UAC.

Win7 is really much better than XP, as long as you avoid anything that triggers the Protected Code Path (aka Windows DRM.) It's faster, more stable, and if you manually re-enable UAC (which is harder than it should be), much more secure.

XP was a reskin of Win2K, and Win7 is a reskin of Vista, but the transition from XP to Vista was enormous.
posted by Malor at 3:37 AM on July 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Microsoft seems like a textbook example of skewed incentives, staff chasing targets instead of goals.

Managing a company of that size is a hard problem. Gates knew how to do this, and turned the ship in six months with his famous internet-refocusing memo. Ballmer appears to have no idea, so different departments are pulling in completely contrary directions. Each passing month makes the problem worse, because the company comes apart and the base to build on gets correspondingly weaker. Trying to build something new that includes Live, Office and Windows just results in unholy disasters.

I think they're scared of the fundamental change that's needed -- they really need to reinvent themselves in the same way IBM did -- because right now, they're absolutely without purpose.

For a long time, the company's goal was "a computer on every desk and in every home". They did that, astoundingly well. So what are they trying to do next? They want to "help people and businesses realize their full potential".

Someone needs to find a real, non-MBA answer, quick. It isn't going to be Ballmer.
posted by bonaldi at 4:51 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does Steve Ballmer still have a job?

He is Bill Gates' golem and will do Microsoft's bidding until he returns to the earth.
posted by KS at 5:11 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Microsoft should just give up. Stick a fork in it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:13 AM on July 1, 2010


fourcheesemac: "Microsoft should just give up. Stick a fork in it."

They're still making almost $50 billion in profit every year, there're not going anywhere anytime soon.
posted by octothorpe at 5:18 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not typing my dissertation on an iPhone.


Ha, I typed mine on a 1992 Powerbook Duo with a 9" screen. My phone of today would be better (albeit it's a Nokia with a physical keyboard; I agree that typing anything longer than an email on a touch screen is absurd).

Anyway, we'll all be typing dissertations and the like into Google Docs (by whatever physical means) in short order. When the MS Office franchise collapses, which has to be fairly soon, that will be it. MS will be a gaming company that used to make a popular OS.

I'm amused at the comments in favor of Windows 7 as finally getting the desktop OS right. About 5 years too late, sure. And after the Vista debacle, who cares?

Too late. Way too late. At some point, don't the people who bought Zunes and Kins and Windows Vista become pissed off at the company?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:23 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


a what? seriously i've never ever heard of theses things. Kin? where they released in the UK?
posted by mary8nne at 5:34 AM on July 1, 2010


Yeah, Windows 7 is better, but Windows XP isn't going away anytime soon.

OK, grammar nazis, I just want to make sure I've got this right: this is begging the question, right? I think I finally got it, I just want to make sure.


No, I think that's just a simple statement. Begging the question is when an argument requires you to accept the conclusion as one of the premises of the argument.
posted by Narin at 5:39 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know about Vista "Classic", but as a Vista SP2 user, I keep waiting to find out what I'm supposed to hate about it. I like the Ribbon too.

I wonder if a lot of the MS hate is an historical reflex.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:41 AM on July 1, 2010


Microsoft does very well at making things that people have to have, like a desktop OS and office suite. Nobody gets excited over them because they don't notice them. They're like your chair or the walls of your cubicle, noticeable only in their absence. And that never happens.

But when it comes to things people want to have, they don't do so well. Maybe it's because of their internal organization or the company's history but they Just Don't Get It. For any other company this would be a non-story but Microsoft has the ability to lose billions of dollars and not even notice. They continue to fail long after most companies would have been in receivership.

The funny thing is Microsoft could drop all of the money-losing divisions (leaving Windows and Office) and actually make more money.
posted by tommasz at 5:55 AM on July 1, 2010


I wonder if a lot of the MS hate is an historical reflex.

It takes a special kind of person to ignore the past.

Only a fool would cite what happened in the past and claim that a Corporation would do the same kinds of things in the future. A fool with a grinch-like heart would claim that the future as provided by a large corporation would be worst than the past provided by said Corporation.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:55 AM on July 1, 2010


...aging mobile operating system that had been rapidly losing ground to RIM, Apple and Google

"Google" here being Linux. I mention it because Linux runs a lot of mobile devices, in one form or another.
posted by DU at 5:57 AM on July 1, 2010


Microsoft does very well at making things that people have to have, like a desktop OS and office suite.

Really?

Guess you've never used UNIX before you used Microsoft products. And in my book a paperclip that pops up and says 'it looks like you are typing a letter can I help' isn't making something very well. "very well" is also not propagating a platform that has security issues.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:58 AM on July 1, 2010


I always thought the kin was sort of interesting as a concept but would live or die by it's pricing - which has been way to high from the start, particularly the dataplan, And let's face it, the market segment they were after is probably just going to go out and get an iPhone if they are up for that sort of thing.
posted by Artw at 6:03 AM on July 1, 2010


Nobody gets excited over them because they don't notice them
That's now. People were plenty excited when Word 5 came out; same with Office, and Win 95. They became boring, but after MS ate all its competition it stopped pushing into the future (its huge R&D dept was, but those guys just can't ship).
posted by bonaldi at 6:08 AM on July 1, 2010


I saw the Kin commercials. I didn't understand what the phone was supposed to help me do better. In fact, at first, I didn't realize it *was* a phone; the early commercials weren't very clear. In my opinion, the marketing failed spectacularly. If you don't know what it does, why do you need it?
posted by cass at 6:19 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


They make some great tech in terms of their platforms and development tools (and finally a decent modern OS with Windows 7.)

About those development tools...

I've used Visual Studio from version 5.0 to 2008. I have never experienced this 'great tech' you speak of - it's had a consistently awful implementation of the STL for C++ (technically provided by DinkumWare, but that's no excuse), a hilariously frustrating scoping bug for variables declared in loops (version 5.0) that should have prevented the compiler from ever being shipped, and more recently I've been 'entertained' by working with XAML and finding that different editors permit you to do different things with the code, but can't be used together. The overall experience when using VS 5 and 6 simply didn't compare to using tools like emacs and the SGI C++ compiler I had available at the same time (who wouldn't love an auto-parallelizing compiler?). I think the kindest thing I could say to describe their development tools is that I've used worse, and that they do try to improve the tools on each release.

A few months ago it pained me when a fellow software engineer mentioned this cool plugin he had found for Visual Studio that made refactoring code work almost as well as Eclipse. A third-party commercial plugin for a commercial tool to make just one part of the user-experience as useful as a free tool that has had the feature for a rather long period of time. Microsoft does attempt to make development of software for their system easier each release cycle, but they are well behind the curve in terms of functionality and integration that tools like Netbeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ have been providing for years.

This article really portrays Microsoft as a classic large organization with no clear direction. The groups working on Microsoft's software tool chain (compilers, linkers, editors, and so on) seem to have been exhibiting this behavior for decades now.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 6:22 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


People were plenty excited when Word 5 came out; same with Office, and Win 95.

The rational of Win95/Office as I remember was "go get the new machine with the BUNDLE as you'll save money". The cost of a new Windows95 and the tricked out Office95 was sometimes the same as going out and buying a new motherboard/CPU/Memory. The pitch of 'you were gonna get the hardware - the new software is bonus' or the 'you were gonna upgrade to the newest Office, why not get the faster Pentium hardware for what you'd spend on software' were the pitches I remember.

The 'excitement' was faster hardware/more memory....not as much 'new Windows'.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:22 AM on July 1, 2010


I saw the Kin commercials. I didn't understand what the phone was supposed to help me do better.
As far as I could understand, it was a concert-alert system for ?uestlove and all his pretty hipster friends in NYC.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:24 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


What Microsoft does well is filling out feature checklists.

Their customers want something, they make it.

Apple does not do that. They tell customers what they need, and don't care what customers want.

This is why most corporations run on Windows, not Apple.
posted by empath at 6:25 AM on July 1, 2010


Previously.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:27 AM on July 1, 2010


And in my book a paperclip that pops up and says 'it looks like you are typing a letter can I help' isn't making something very well.

Clippy's been turned off since 2004 and gone completely since '07.
posted by octothorpe at 6:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, starting this product seems moronic, but ending it seems like a masterstroke. So that's progress.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:37 AM on July 1, 2010


In all fairness, Microsoft Office is often just better than its current competitors. Having used recent versions of WordPerfect, OpenOffice.org, iWork, SoftMaker Office, Gnome Office (AbiWord, Gnumeric), and KOffice, the only pieces that I like better than the Microsoft offerings are Keynote and Gnumeric... and even Gnumeric has weird deficiencies. (Not as many weird deficiencies as Excel, however.)
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:45 AM on July 1, 2010


This is why most corporations run on Windows, not Apple

Apple is committed to maximizing shareholder value. (per Micheal Spindler) That means charging a whole lot more than one needs to for the product to just be 'profitable'.

A more expensive product to 'take a letter' - if $20,000 buys you a few more machines with the Microsoft centeric choice that is the way most companies will go as most companies are trying to maximize shareholder value also.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:49 AM on July 1, 2010


> Apple does not do that. They tell customers what they need, and don't care what customers want. This is why most corporations run on Windows, not Apple.

Then how might you account for all those Microsoft employees that must be discrete about using their iPhones at work? Surely if there were any group of people that had access to quality, non-Apple gadgets that truly met their needs, it would be them.
posted by JohnFredra at 6:49 AM on July 1, 2010


I don't see how that at all goes against what I said.

Corporations buy stuff based on checklists. People buy stuff based on intangibles.
posted by empath at 6:51 AM on July 1, 2010


Given that Microsoft took literally nothing away from the Danger acquisition, I wonder if there could be a potential antitrust suit in the works? Certainly it's illegal to buy a competitor with the sole intent of shutting them down?

Similarly, the deaf community can't be too pleased with Microsoft's decision to allow Danger's product line to languish. The sidekick was revolutionary for that community.
posted by schmod at 6:51 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, ok -- I thought by 'customers' you were including individuals. I'm not sure how you can so readily discount them, but i'll concede your point.
posted by JohnFredra at 6:57 AM on July 1, 2010


Yeah, I could have phrased that more clearly, I guess. Corporations don't generally care about brand or look and feel. They just want something that costs < x$ and does things a, b and c.

This is why companies keep giving me goddamn blackberries and I keep chucking them in a drawer and setting up my iphone on the corporate network.
posted by empath at 7:00 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heh -- you're exactly the kind of person I had in mind when I made my original comment. My condolences. :)
posted by JohnFredra at 7:02 AM on July 1, 2010


delmoi: As far as I know they're the only company that makes any money selling closed source server stacks, right? I mean, other then Linux and Apache, what competition is there for OSes and Web servers?

Well, Oracle bought Sun, and they're selling the hardware/OS/app stack. Even though you can get some (all?) of the software for free, the support costs more than Ballmer could ever hope to extract in CALs and automated renewals. And I got an email from Oracle this week blowing smoke about how much money they've made since the deal closed. *shrug* (Customers like me are pretty chapped over the sky-rocketing costs, but we're pretty much stuck. Whatcha gonna do?)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2010


Believe it or not, organizations use Mac OS X Server and Solaris. Linux and Windows Server are not the only server OSes in town.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:19 AM on July 1, 2010



I'm amused at the comments in favor of Windows 7 as finally getting the desktop OS right. About 5 years too late, sure. And after the Vista debacle, who cares?

Too late. Way too late. At some point, don't the people who bought Zunes and Kins and Windows Vista become pissed off at the company?
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:23 AM on July 1


At some point, don't the people who bought SCSI peripherals, or PowerPC-based software, or AppleTalk networking hardware, or IphoneOS 2.x app developers, etc., dissatisfied AT&T customers, etc become pissed off at the company for selling them proprietary locked-in hardware and SDKs that the company fully intended to render obsolete even as they were selling it become pissed off at the company?

Or how about all those endless message board screeds about how much more powerful the G4 was than anything intel could produce? How did they feel when Jobs basically threw a switch and announced that PowerPC was done, Apple will run the Wintel hardware you've all known and hated (minus the Win), thereby endorsing the very hardware platform he had been mocking only months earlier?

And really, no one needs a deskop OS? Desktop OS file access happens over SATA at up to 6.0 Gbps. Cloud/web/VC-bullshitspeak file access happens at maybe 10-20Mbps. You're going to edit a 21 megapixel photo in online photoshop? Edit a 1080p AVCHD video on Youtube? Call me in 3 days when it's finished uploading. Do Google's server farms have GPU-accelerated video encoding? Because Windows 7 has that. OpenOffice couldn't beat Microsoft Office, and Google Docs isn't up to the standards of OpenOffice yet.

Let me tell you something, if web OSes couldn't replace desktop OSes when photos were 5 megapixels, videos were mpeg2 720x480, and disk bandwidth was languishing at sub-200Mhz, they sure as hell won't do it in the future.

There was a magical time when the linear growth of broadband speed conincided with the end-of-life of a number of key decades-old desktop techologies. But that time has passed, and on the desktop, exponential growth is back in full effect. Moore's law applies to everything except internet access speed. The latter is controlled by the likes of Verizon and Comcast. Good luck betting your future on them.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:28 AM on July 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


At some point, don't the people who bought Zunes and Kins and Windows Vista become pissed off at the company?

You pretty much got what they promised and Microsoft is pretty good at supporting what they sell, so I don't see why you'd be upset.
posted by empath at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2010


Edit a 1080p AVCHD video on Youtube? Call me in 3 days when it's finished uploading.

Well the .1% of computer users that need that will continue needing a desktop PC.
posted by empath at 7:38 AM on July 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The thing that struck me about the Kin was that it did things that required almost all the same amount of resources as an iPhone or Android phone. They used this power in service of creating a really cool social networking application. Then they said that's all you can do.

It would be like if you bought a playstation 3 and it only played the game Demon's Souls. That's a pretty good game. But why would you ever buy a Demon's Souls machine when you can buy a machine that's just as powerful for pretty much the same price that plays lots of different games and lets you watch netflix and stream music from your computer? The lesson of kin is don't make your devices worse than they have to be on purpose.
posted by I Foody at 8:14 AM on July 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Microsoft is going to be able to reinvent themselves, the way IBM did in the 90s. What they're doing now is obviously not working for them. Well the core business (Windows, Office) is fine, but they know and we know that's got a limited future. Even when they execute new things well technically (Xbox, Bing) they fail to grow meaningfully into new markets.

I also wonder when Google will suffer similar problems. They are doing amazing now, but at some point they will get so big, so balkanized, or so ossified that they'll start looking like Microsoft. That'll be a sad day.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on July 1, 2010


It seems like Microsoft has turned into a bunch of warring fiefdoms, and when someone has a good idea and tries to make it happen, the other powerful people get threatened and make sure the product fails.

This. And also this:

Microsoft seems like a textbook example of skewed incentives, staff chasing targets instead of goals.

I've known several people who have gone off to work in Redmond. In each case, they've come back some months or years later, richer and full of stories about how screwed up a company it is. On one hand, they hire quite brilliant people and pay them well. But they also apparently have a controlling bureaucracy with layers upon layers of internal politics and conflicting ambitions. Executives have no problem screwing other executives' divisions in order to help their own; organizationally they are so big that virtually everyone has stopped seeing the forest for the trees.

My feeling is that as a company it is wholly lacking in anything resembling unity of command. It's admittedly one of the most difficult things to preserve as an organization scales up, though. And emphasizing it too much makes the organization inflexible. It's entirely possible that they're in a no-win situation: if they restructure for better coordination and more unity of effort, they run the risk of becoming inflexible and uncompetitive; if they don't, they begin to resemble more and more a centipede dosed with neurotoxin, with a hundred legs all jerking uncontrollably, all trying to drag the body in a different direction. It doesn't seem like a recipe for success.

If you look at other competing organizations, Apple seems to have solved the unity/flexibility problem in a very traditional way: by putting all the power in one Great Leader. This works fine in the short term but seems as though it's bound to create a succession problem. Google, at least as far as I can tell (and I don't know any Google employees directly so perhaps this is off-base), seems to try and instill in its employees a certain ideology (better living through Search, "don't be evil", etc.), and that this ideology allows individual engineers and teams to work on their own but towards a common, or at least not contradictory, purpose. It seems like the better route, but time will tell.

[...] why most corporations run on Windows, not Apple.

I think most corporations run Windows because other corporations run Windows and they want to be compatible. And those other corporations run Windows because other corporations run Windows, and those corporations run Windows because they used to run DOS, and they ran DOS because they had IBMs or IBM Compatibles, which they had because Nobody Ever Got Fired For Buying IBM.

You can trace the 'path of least resistance' (or "path of greatest ass covering") in business computing from the late 70s to today, and it takes you right along Microsoft's product line. Apple never really had a chance of breaking into business computing except in certain niche areas (graphic design departments, primarily); IBM had the market cornered from the get-go,* and when they dropped the ball, Microsoft and the commodity PC assemblers picked it up and ran with it.

* At least from 1983 onwards. You can make an argument that if Apple had made a more aggressive play for business customers during the VisiCalc era that they might have kept their niche there longer, but I find this pretty hard to swallow.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:35 AM on July 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Someone decided the marketing look was mid-90's Details magazine, only the people look sad and sweaty and distorted. There seemed to be some cancerous focus-group process devouring the whole thing. That, and randomly crippling the phones and then charging full cost anyway — how did they sell any?
posted by argybarg at 8:57 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is that? Because it's old? Software doesn't get rusty, you know? XP and Windows 7 are fundamentally the exact same thing

No, they are not. Windows XP is based on the same codebase that Windows 2000 runs, and Vista and Windows 7 are similarly related. Windows 7 is a different codebase than XP.

It's not that something is "old." It's that security issues force patches, and after several service packs the thing gets pretty creaky and bloated. But a lot of people don't ever update or install service packs (or are aware of them at all), so many thousands of those machines are infected and online, zombied or otherwise under someone else's control. They act as mail servers for spammers, among other things - a significant portion of spam is sent this way now, if not the majority of it. It doesn't support 64 bit natively, so you can't use more than 3GB of memory - this is a problem for me, as I use my Win machine for sound production, and I use more memory than that.

If you buy a motherboard today and build your own machine, there's a good chance that Windows XP will not be supported. The hardware industry is moving forward, and today's computers are far more efficient compared to any P4, which are the most common. I can understand not wanting to buy into the throw-away culture, but there isn't a lot to gain from keeping an old Windows machine around too long - this has been true for all previous Windows versions as well.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:24 AM on July 1, 2010


XP was a reskin of Win2K, and Win7 is a reskin of Vista, but the transition from XP to Vista was enormous.

Yes, and as is typical they failed to set a high enough minimum tech requirement, so nearly anyone buying a base model with Vista got a slow-as-molasses computer with a shiny interface. Thankfully, hardware has caught up for now, so almost any Vista-ready machine can easily run Win 7.

BTW, anyone really wanting to keep an old P4 around should consider running something like Linux, Ubuntu or something easy maybe. It can be lighter on the hardware and much more secure.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:29 AM on July 1, 2010


And really, no one needs a deskop OS?

I don't think anybody said that. Delmoi said "Of course no one cares about desktop operating systems anymore" and I agree with that. Desktop OS's are firmly into the "good enough" territory now, and some of their problems are pretty much unsolvable in the current context.

So, yes, while people will still need them for heavy lifting and work, they're about as exciting as Excel. The OS development people care about now is all in touch and mobile interfaces. The desktop development people care about is in browsers, not operating systems.

don't the people who bought SCSI peripherals, or PowerPC-based software, or AppleTalk networking hardware, or IphoneOS 2.x app
These are odd choices. SCSI is still supported. Devices are rare enough that you have to order a card now, but it all still works. PowerPC-based software runs in Rosetta, distractingly well. AppleTalk networking hardware was supported in software far beyond its useful life, and almost a decade beyond any machines that shipped with non-Ethernet hardware. OS X Touch 2.x apps still compile and work fine on 4.0, too: I recompiled one without changing a line of code last night.

I don't think you're necessarily wrong, though. Apple is very good at leaving people in the cold in the interests of what it decides is progress: witness floppies, PowerPC hardware, ADB, iPods that never get software upgrades, original iPhone etc. It frees them from the shackles of backward compatibility that bog Windows down so much, but it comes at a cost for users (often a literal one).

It's Microsoft's dedication to backward compatibility that makes the PlaysForSure/Kin/etc stuff so surprising. They used to be much better at this sort of thing, even when it meant cruftifying Windows more than necessary. That they now don't doesn't show decisiveness, it shows that they're all over the plot without a map.
posted by bonaldi at 9:42 AM on July 1, 2010


Guess you've never used UNIX before you used Microsoft products.

MS has concentrated a lot more on the desktop than any UNIX-like system, for better or worse. Apple has done the UI much better than MS, no question. As far as Office, however, there is nothing that matches what Excel can do, unfortunately. OpenOffice's Calc is fine for simple spreadsheets, but any spreadsheet requiring accuracy with enough complexity requires Excel (even though accuracy has occasionally been a problem for MS, too). Google's spreadsheet is only usable for the most simple tasks. MS Word can bite me for all I care. I don't need it (I understand some of the editing features are useful). Also, nobody else has established the somewhat universal standard of a business network with a MS domain controller, Exchange server and Outlook clients - I don't like it, but people expect it now.

I'm typing this from a FreeBSD machine with an xfce desktop, so it's not like I'm a fan of MS.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:43 AM on July 1, 2010


Just seven weeks after launch, the KIN is dead

I sort of feel like I called this one early. When I saw the first commercials for it, my immediate thought was "What the hell, did they go to an mid-'90s pager for inspiration? There is no way this takes off."
posted by quin at 9:46 AM on July 1, 2010


BTW, anyone really wanting to keep an old P4 around should consider running something like Linux, Ubuntu

If you can run XP okay on a piece of hardware, Win7 will probably be about as good, as long as you can get drivers for your hardware. If you're memory-choked, you might be better off with XP, but if you're at a gig or higher, Win7 is fine. 2 gigs is better, but one is enough for reasonable functionality.

Linux has turned into a bloated pig in comparison. It used to be svelte and very light on the resources, but Ubuntu is not a good distro for slow computers. Most distros aren't, anymore. You have to pick specific ones for lightweight computers, like Puppy Linux. And then you'll be off in one of the old, ugly X desktop managers.

KDE and Gnome use a LOT of RAM.
posted by Malor at 9:47 AM on July 1, 2010


Who was the idiot prophet who named Microsoft's mobile operating system WinCE?

(It rhymes with "Prince".)
posted by erniepan at 9:50 AM on July 1, 2010


Thin clients are ok, but they
1. Assume that everyone has broadband access which is far from the truth in the us.
Anyways what if I want to type away in a cabin in the mountains? Why remove functionality from a computer like that? That's seems like a step backwards not forwards.
2. Do you really really trust google enough to hand over complete autonomous control of your computer to them over a network connection? Amazon pulled a book from everyones reader over licensing issues with the publisher. What if google lost interest in google docs and shut down access in the middle of writing your book?
posted by dibblda at 9:54 AM on July 1, 2010


Or how about all those endless message board screeds about how much more powerful the G4 was than anything intel could produce? How did they feel when Jobs basically threw a switch and announced that PowerPC was done, Apple will run the Wintel hardware you've all known and hated (minus the Win), thereby endorsing the very hardware platform he had been mocking only months earlier?

He was right about the G4, and he was right to switch to Intel. It's possible to be right on both counts. It's a cat and mouse game, and Intel caught up. Anyway, Intel is the industry leader now for CPUs, and they have a very wide moat. Apple can pick their hardware manufacturers, but for them to come up with another non-x86 architecture when Intel could provide one a lot cheaper doesn't make a lot of sense, especially when they can lure more Windows users with Boot Camp and Parallels. Let me tell you- as a tech it's great. My preferred system is FreeBSD, and OS X has BSD userland tools. With a x86 architecture, I can do all sorts of things I couldn't when OS X was PPC.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:56 AM on July 1, 2010


If you can run XP okay on a piece of hardware, Win7 will probably be about as good, as long as you can get drivers for your hardware. If you're memory-choked, you might be better off with XP, but if you're at a gig or higher, Win7 is fine. 2 gigs is better, but one is enough for reasonable functionality.

Yeah, but this is where I ran into problems, with old hardware and driver support. 1GB is pushing it. I wouldn't recommend that to a client.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:57 AM on July 1, 2010


You people. I came here for the hate and to make fun of the commercials and their sad attempts to make "kin" a verb - and all you do is talk about tech stuff that I don't understand.

sigh. *walks off*
posted by Think_Long at 9:57 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A bit late...buuuut:

As far as I know they're the only company that makes any money selling closed source server stacks, right? I mean, other then Linux and Apache, what competition is there for OSes and Web servers?

HP-UX, AIX, Solaris, Websphere, Weblogic, etc etc. While there is a lot of of LAMP stacks out there most major e-commerce sites do not, in fact, run on LAMP. It's generally Redhat/Centos/Suse for the web tier, backed by some sort of commercial application stack on possibly linux but also possibly solaris (lots of threads/cores are really good for app tier), standing on top of DB2 or Oracle on solaris, hpux, aix hovering comfortably on big iron. Web servers are there to shoves bits out the front end, within the app/db you still see a LOT of proprietary operating systems, application stacks, custom written code and high end databases.

In about 10 years of e-commerce I think I have seen maybe 2 customers actually try to go to market on an IIS/windows stack...and they weren't even big by most peoples standards.
posted by iamabot at 9:59 AM on July 1, 2010


KDE and Gnome use a LOT of RAM.

Gnome uses less. But you don't have to use either. Xfce is a good choice for the P3-P4 era. Earlier than that and you're better off making it a server with a console, if you really must use it.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:00 AM on July 1, 2010


You people. I came here for the hate and to make fun of the commercials and their sad attempts to make "kin" a verb - and all you do is talk about tech stuff that I don't understand.

Oh, well, the Kin still sucks.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:01 AM on July 1, 2010


And really, no one needs a deskop OS? Desktop OS file access happens over SATA at up to 6.0 Gbps. Cloud/web/VC-bullshitspeak file access happens at maybe 10-20Mbps. You're going to edit a 21 megapixel photo in online photoshop? Edit a 1080p AVCHD video on Youtube? Call me in 3 days when it's finished uploading. Do Google's server farms have GPU-accelerated video encoding? Because Windows 7 has that.

Most people do not need to edit a 21 megapixel image or even own Photoshop. I don't think thin clients would be useful for people who need a lot of power and control locally, like graphic designers, developers, etc., but I can think of a few offices I do IT for right now who could switch to thin clients with a local application server and Google Apps, if they were willing to take the plunge. I'm not willing to lead them there just yet, and I don't want a situation where all the serving is offsite, but it will happen sooner or later, if for no other reason than cost savings in power, IT maintenance and hardware.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:10 AM on July 1, 2010


I think most corporations run Windows because other corporations run Windows and they want to be compatible

Many years ago (okay, 8) I used to have to transfer documents from the Max loving graphics department to the PC loving WebDev department via a Mac format Zip Disc (because the PCs would read Mac format, but the Macs wouldn't PC one). In that world, I think I agree with you to a certain extent, butI don't think that's true any more.

The Internet and our modern simple office networks have replaced those Zip Discs. There is no problem with compatibility between computers.

The problems are compatibility between differing software packages. Word between PC and Mac is pretty solid. It's the Photoshop to PaintShopPro to Gimp that has compatibility problems.

That and the fact most corporate helpdesks seem to only support their own favoured OS.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2010


And really, no one needs a deskop OS?...

"web" can be taken as a stand-in word for "something I can run in a browser" which includes increasingly powerful tools for layout, graphics and real-time communication, and also the ability run these "applications" offline and sync data back to an internet site when possible. you could use a "web" game or photo/video editor on a bleeding-edge browser offline in a cabin in the mountains, then sync back when you're next online so you could use the data on other computers
posted by crayz at 10:15 AM on July 1, 2010


In musing about Microsoft's general development process, it occurs to me to expect Windows 8 to really suck. Windows 7 was only good because Vista was such a market failure, which got the attention of very senior management. I suspect Windows 8 will be back to business as usual.... the OS will be loaded down with features that serve only Microsoft, not you, and are primarily there to let them put their fingers in your wallet.

I'm sure there will be something App-storish, and it will use the built-in Windows DRM.
posted by Malor at 10:49 AM on July 1, 2010


AppleTalk networking hardware

Seriously, AppleTalk routing across domains was painful for network administrators. Painful and expensive and chatty. Moving to TCP/IP was a godsend for everyone involved, including people who otherwise liked using the world's first zero-configuration networking protocol.

Complaining that dropping AppleTalk software and LocalTalk hardware support is a sign that Apple sucks (dropped well after the protocols outlived their welcome, I might add) is probably the least compelling technical example one could find.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2010


And then you'll be off in one of the old, ugly X desktop managers.

That's not true anymore. XFCE and LXDE are both attractive, modern window managers that are extremely lightweight. There's also a whole slew of tiling window managers like xmonad, awesome, and wmii that usually come in at under a thousand lines of code. There's a bit of a learning curve, but they're great.

So, as far as distributions for older systems go, I'd recommend something like CrunchBang or Xubuntu.
posted by signalnine at 11:35 AM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is that? Because it's old? Software doesn't get rusty, you know? XP and Windows 7 are fundamentally the exact same thing.
Windows XP is basically a honey pot for spyware. Vista and 7 change the default security settings. They do things you could do in XP if you set things up right, plus things like the UAC that make it a lot less risky.
I'm amused at the comments in favor of Windows 7 as finally getting the desktop OS right. About 5 years too late, sure. And after the Vista debacle, who cares?
I have to be honest; I don't really see what the problem was with Vista. I found the UAC more reassuring then annoying, so maybe that was part of it. Everything else seemed fine. Maybe it was because I got it with all new hardware rather then trying to upgrade. And my desktop was definitely on the high end when I got it, it's still a lot more powerful then most PCs (8 cores at 2ghz).

I think most of the Vista hate was about the UAC. Microsoft should have set things up not to 'ask again' about a particular app, which I think is the case now
delmoi: As far as I know they're the only company that makes any money selling closed source server stacks, right? I mean, other then Linux and Apache, what competition is there for OSes and Web servers?
Well, Oracle bought Sun, and they're selling the hardware/OS/app stack.
Except Sun open sourced Solaris, and they are happy to sell you either Linux or Solaris on their machines.
And really, no one needs a deskop OS? Desktop OS file access happens over SATA at up to 6.0 Gbps. Cloud/web/VC-bullshitspeak file access happens at maybe 10-20Mbps. You're going to edit a 21 megapixel photo in online photoshop? Edit a 1080p AVCHD video on Youtube?
Why do you think Google is so interested in installing gigabit networking into people's homes. Anyway you're not going to any of those things on a netbook either, but they're still popular. The majority of people don't need to do those things on a daily basis, or even know how too. But that said, people will still do desktop computing, they just won't care about the OS, so long as it runs the apps they need.
posted by delmoi at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2010


Moving to TCP/IP was a godsend for everyone involved
AppleTalk over TCP/IP was; dropping it and pretending Bonjour was a replacement not so much. What happened to a neat Chooser full of zones, with Macs inside? Now you get a sidebar full of crap, leading to a weird /Network directory that hasn't known what it is for since 10.3 came out.
posted by bonaldi at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2010


Many years ago (okay, 8) I used to have to transfer documents from the Max loving graphics department to the PC loving WebDev department via a Mac format Zip Disc (because the PCs would read Mac format, but the Macs wouldn't PC one).

Really? It was always the other way round with floppies...
posted by GeorgeBickham at 1:04 PM on July 1, 2010


I think most of the Vista hate was about the UAC. Microsoft should have set things up not to 'ask again' about a particular app, which I think is the case now

My Vista hate was partially Dell hate and partially MS-hate. The Dell hate was having a two year old computer that was un-upgradeable on the video card (2X AGP) without buying a new motherboard, and having Dell nearly incapable of telling me this--blithely shipping me 4X & 8X AGP cards that they should have known would not work. Until I escalated to a tech manager in Austin, I was trapped in an endless loop of outsourced tech help that kept telling me I had a memory chip problem. When it finally became obvious to me and to Dell that my still-under-service-warranty PC could not fully run Vista, I decided to "upgrade" back to XP.

Yes, that is actually what they called it, UPGRADE. And in so doing, despite following all of their instructions carefully, I lost tons of data, and about 15 to 20 programs that no longer worked on the reinstalled XP, which took me around 60 hours (over the course of about 3 months) to rectify. Granted, if I were better at technology issues, I may have been able to prevent some of these problems. But as a believer in Michael Dertouzos, I get upset with companies that make it MY problem when I try to install the products they have sold me. If their tech were as good as their marketing, I would happily be running Vista on my 2004 Dell.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:20 PM on July 1, 2010


I have to be honest; I don't really see what the problem was with Vista.

That was my reaction too. Built a new machine in 08, threw Vista on it, and it just worked. Made an admin user, made a nonadmin, and UAC only shows up when I reboot every month or so, mostly to clear updates, or when I install new software.

My only real bitch about it is that getting focus to follow the pointer without lifting the window, x-style, was a royal pain that involved registry hacking.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:03 PM on July 1, 2010


The Internet and our modern simple office networks have replaced those Zip Discs. There is no problem with compatibility between computers.

LOL as if. Apple's default Samba installation is OK, but crashy and slow. You can upgrade it manually, but you run the risk of other features breaking. Windows clients don't speak AFP and you can't get them to authenticate to an Open Directory server trivially. Even at that, the way OSX handles ACLs +POSIX on HFS+ is confounding at the best of times. But with Apple clients, OSX server works well.

Windows servers do SMB/CIFS really well. AFP not so much. Apple clients can authenticate to Active Directory servers and access windows shares, kinda sorta sometimes, but it's not what you'd call reliable. Windows clients are much better.

Naturally, OSX servers and OSX clients work pretty well together, and so too do Windows servers and clients. But neither Apple nor MS has much interest in interoperability and it shows. *

*(yeah, NFS and WedDAV, et al work OK sorta, but you will sacrifice features and usability for it).

So, no, there are still huge interoperability issues and that's on something that should be a solved problem this far into the 21st century - simple workgroup file sharing and authentication/access control. Apple has no real interest in fixing that, and neither does MS.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:31 PM on July 1, 2010


Really? It was always the other way round with floppies...

I'll happily admit that I could be wrong about which way round it was - but it was a pain in the arse, whichever way round it was.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 2:44 PM on July 1, 2010


Why would you need a desktop OS when you could store all your files on Google's server, where they have a convenient interface for law enforcement to access it. Indeed G is the future of freedom!

At least Microsoft and Apple make word processors that I can use without anyone else seeing what I'm writing.
posted by Wood at 3:23 PM on July 1, 2010


Engadget posted up a more in-depth insider look on the KIN saga this afternoon.
posted by cgomez at 4:40 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Engadget posted up a more in-depth insider look on the KIN saga this afternoon.

So did Ars Technica.

All this attention. But then again, Microsoft spent half a billion then pulled the resulting product after seven weeks. They could have saved their money and hired me as a consultant instead for 10% of that--heck 1% 0.01%?
posted by eye of newt at 9:25 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a very interesting comment after the Ars Technica article by bo3b, an employee of Danger.
posted by eye of newt at 11:10 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh Lordy. That's just horrible. This one is going down in failed product history.
posted by Artw at 12:24 AM on July 3, 2010


Microsoft Calling. Anyone There? - A NY Times article that has Tim O'Reilly pissed at being severely misquoted.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on July 8, 2010


I got to play with the KIN a few weeks ago. It actually wasn't all that bad for a first generation budget smartphone. I'm not sure how that market niche makes any sense though, considering the phone is a drop in the bucket compared to the data plan cost.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:08 AM on July 21, 2010


Windows Phone 7 technical preview released to developers
posted by Artw at 6:18 AM on July 21, 2010


Windows Phone 7 in-depth preview
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on July 21, 2010


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