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The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the future!-future!-future! dept.
redletterdave writes: "The stodgy old enterprise company whose former CEO once called open source Linux a 'cancer' is gone. So is its notorious tendency to keep developers and consumers within its walled gardens. The 'One Microsoft' goal that looked like more gaseous corporate rhetoric upon its debut last summer now is instead much closer to actual reality. No longer are there different kernels for Windows 8, Windows Phone or Windows RT it's now all just One Windows. As goes the Windows kernel, so goes the entire company. Microsoft finally appears to have aimed all its guns outside the company rather than at internal rivals. Now it needs to rebuild its empire upon this new reality."
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The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

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  • Trolling? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Craig Cruden (3592465) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:17PM (#46728317)
    They have a long way to go, one user interface for all idioms is kinda stupid..... that is why they are getting all the bad press with Windows 8.
    • Re:Trolling? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:26PM (#46728381)
      Rather than one interface, they should just enforce what they did ages ago and maintain a consistent style guide(until they broke it with things like ribbons). The GUI can vary, but keep the flow, terminology, and the look as similar as possible.
      • I have a large monitor and I sit 2 arms lengths away, but Microsoft in their wisdom thinks that the interface for that should lean towards touch. If they treat the small phone screen the same as a large screen interface, and that everyone is going to use touch interface - then you're not creating a usable platform for any since you are constantly making compromises. You can use the same operating system core, the same API, and make things interoperate without having the same interface. If I wrote a deskt
        • Microsoft *thought* the desktop should lean toward touch. They seem to have revised their opinion on that.

          Of course touch can be useful on a desktop. I was able to start my father on Android as his first internet-connected device, and he was easily able to transition to Windows 8 on a desktop PC because of the touch interface. A mouse isn't intuitive to us all like touching a visible object with a finger is.
          • by JohnFen (1641097)

            Microsoft *thought* the desktop should lean toward touch. They seem to have revised their opinion on that.

            Or so they claim. I haven't seen much real evidence of that, though. Win 8.1.1 threw a couple of small bones in that direction, but those changes were pretty weak sauce. Perhaps Win 9 will show something more substantial.

        • by PPH (736903) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:46PM (#46728611)

          I have a large monitor and I sit 2 arms lengths away,

          Evidently, Microsoft's UI was designed for users with longer arms. The ones that drag on the ground when they walk.

          OK, gotta go now. [Ducking and running]

        • you're not creating a usable platform for any since you are constantly making compromises

          Microsoft has a long, proud history of compromising the usability of their products for power users for the sake of accommodating casual users who've never read the manual and expect everything to work like Word... even when it turns an action you're going to do a LOT into 40 seconds of drilling down through menus and dialogs to do something a non-Microsoft application might be able to do with ctrl-shift-rightclick and a few keystrokes. More importantly, though, is that Microsoft has increasingly gotten int

          • Microsoft SHOULD have taken MVC design to its next logical level, and built upon .net instead of throwing it all away in the blighted name of Metro... common model and controller code across all Windows platforms, with different views for desktop, tablet, and maybe mobile devices whose displays are too small to treat like a tablet. They could have compiled the code to CLR, then had the installer itself compile it to native code optimized for the local platform. But no... they just *had* to ruin a good thing, and try to ram touch down everybody's throats.

            This does not make sense to me at all. While I agree that's the way they should have taken (IMHO using MVVM instead of MVC), it is almost exactly the way they took. They didn't have all the ducks in row at the first iteration, but it was the plan all the way. They said so at the time.

            You did not belive the FUD about Microsoft abandoning .NET did you? .NET is very, very much in the game. At /Build// Microsoft just announced Universal Apps [pcworld.com].

            MSDN has documentation [microsoft.com]

            With universal apps you build one app for phone

    • They copied that trend from Ubuntu Unity.

  • the 8.1 update didn't fix all the issues with Metro, uh, Modern kicking your desktop and work to the curb when it feels like it. sucks. HULK HATE 8 !!!

    • Apparently the recent updates brought the Modern apps to taskbar and gave them an autohide title bar with minimize and close controls. When the Start Menu update (the most important piece) arrives later, it's gonna be pretty good already.

      By the way I actually like the idea of snapping the Modern apps to the side of the desktop. It's a good way to utilize a widescreen monitor by docking Twitter or something else there. I wouldn't care about Modern apps otherwise, but this is a fun feature.

      • By the way I actually like the idea of snapping the Modern apps to the side of the desktop. It's a good way to utilize a widescreen monitor by docking Twitter or something else there. I wouldn't care about Modern apps otherwise, but this is a fun feature.

        Of course. The whole problem with Metro/Modern was that they set their user-interface back to the DOS days with only a single application displayed at a time. As long as Metro apps work in Windows, Metro is no longer a huge step back.

  • Good for devs. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digsbo (1292334) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:26PM (#46728379)
    One thing this should help with is not making devs afraid to adopt a particular technology from MS, which is later trashed due to it having won a political, rather than technical, battle for promotion. For example, WCF was touted as the only way to do XML/HTTP services replacing the binary remoting protocol for several years, and then WebAPI replaced it. WCF devs are now irritated. Same with SilverLight, though WAY worse - "this is THE platform for Windows 8!", then, "Uh, not really.". I get the sense these teams have to compete for their platform to get noticed and marketed, instead of collaborate and take the advantages from two competing platforms.
    • If we went 'ad nauseum' with your example everyone will still be using COM and ActiveX

    • by bazmail (764941)
      True. So true. We narrowly dodged the WCF bullet by delaying so long in switching to it that it was dead by the time we were ready. Straight to WebAPI.

      For years MS was run like the UFC with battling stables of fighters constantly trying to fuck eachother up, ultimately at the expense of the Devs/Users.

      Remains to be seen if the new guy "gets it" and smashes the toxic and entrenched Fiefdom system that exists in Redmond.
    • Totally hit nail on head there. It's always been a gamble which of the different frameworks will mesh out in the petty internal battle. It's hard to bank on any MS tech because you never know when it might just up and vanish. I've seen some say, oh then I guess we should just stick to COM then. No, but changing the game as often as I change my phone isn't going to help you win converts.
    • by Jaime2 (824950)

      I don't see devs being hurt by this at all. Sure, Microsoft has changed what it is pushing, but their support of deprecated technology is still excellent. Not only is WCF still supported, but their SOAP stuff still continues to work just fine (and to be fully supported by Visual Studio), even though it hasn't been pushed for over ten years.

      As for Silverlight - anyone that thought that was going to work wasn't paying attention. The fact is, there are still two markets for Windows apps; corporate stuff that h

      • by digsbo (1292334)
        Regarding Silverlight, you are factually correct on all points, but even so, app store development is kind of a crap shoot as far as convertibility to money goes, and now those companies are left with "the new IE6" in terms of entrenched intranet applications which the engineering team can't convince management to give them budget to port to a forward-compatible technology, because it's in place, and it works.
  • doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:26PM (#46728383) Journal

    "The stodgy old enterprise company whose former CEO once called open source Linux a 'cancer' is gone. So is its notorious tendency to keep developers and consumers within its walled gardens.

    I doubt it.

    "If you want to use a Microsoft app, you can find it on whatever platform or device you are using, not just on Windows. Running behind everything is Microsoft’s Azure cloud and services."

    That sounds more like it, you can have any platform you want, as long as it's running on Microsoft. Seriously, who do they even think they are fooling? It' sounds like an employee pep meeting.

    "Time will tell if Microsoft’s overtures to the open source community are a real and altruistic form of doing business"

    They aren't altruistic. If you think they are, I am just flabbergasted.

    • Although come to think of it, this post is long-winded and adulatory, but it does give good insight into what Microsoft is planning for the future, and why the board chose the CEO they did. He is planning on making windows Azure the platform that runs the internet, and making a ton of revenue that way.

      I'm somewhat skeptical that they will be able to compete with OpenStack. Not because they can't make a better product, maybe they can; but because people are still wary after the destruction of VB. Why woul
      • Please define "VB" as used in your post. It usually stands for Visual Basic, but that hasn't been destroyed - even going all the way back to the pre-DotNet VB6 the apps run fine on Windows 8, so that can't be it.
      • ...He is planning on making windows Azure the platform that runs the internet, and making a ton of revenue that way...

        Their only hope is to bulldoze the Windows servers and put in nice Linux clusters like everybody else. Otherwise, the inevitable result will be high comedy. Except for those unfortunate victims who decide to throw their corporate fortunes in with Microsoft's big system expertise.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:26PM (#46728393)
    I still dont' trust MS. Once they start getting back large market share the old anti competitive stifling old fart of a company will emerge from behind the mask again.

    They need to just continue to wither away. The software industry has never been as vibrant or innovative as the last few years when MS was down.
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:32PM (#46728451)

      This would happen to any group that gains market control.
      IBM, Microsoft, Apple...

      If a Linux distribution somehow got a large foothold in the market, they will find a way to keep their dominance. Having a particular fork of the kernel, a distribution system that is a bit different, rename some folders around. Add a closed source install tool or Windows manager....

      • by bazmail (764941)
        Correct. You'll notice I'm not shouting for any particular company to gain a monopoly or near-monopoly, As none of the companies you mentioned have ever wielded, or indeed abused the kind of power MS had, they are not considered as dangerous or debate-worthy in this regard.

        The health of an eco-system can be measured by its diversity and MS has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be a diversity-killer.
      • This would happen to any group that gains market control.
        IBM, Microsoft, Apple...

        Not at all true. IBM and Apple both are strong contributors to many open source projects, so as they gain power lots of tooling and frameworks are produced that benefit everyone outside those companies.

        Microsoft traditionally had contributed little to open source, with everything being worked on held internally. That's changing to some extent, but that was the reason why the industry suffered under Microsoft dominance, becaus

      • This would happen to any group that gains market control. IBM, Microsoft, Apple...

        There is something to this post, certainly now that Google has gained traction with Android, they've begun making it less open (whether you think their motivations are sincere or not, that is what's happening).

        My ideal world would have 20% Linux, 20% OSX, 20% windows, and 20%BSD, with some room there for other interesting alternatives.

      • by dnavid (2842431)

        This would happen to any group that gains market control. IBM, Microsoft, Apple...

        Maybe, but not all companies are actually trying to gain monopolistic control of a major chunk of the computing market like Microsoft has always tried to do and has actually had in the past. Apple, for example, would love to own everything everywhere, but they clearly have not even the desire to do what would be necessary to gain the same control over the PC space as Microsoft once had, and has shown no willingness to compete head-on with Android for the entire smartphone space. Apple wants to make a ton

    • They never stopped trying. What do you think Secure Boot is? Anyone can design an effective vendor-neutral protection system against boot-sector rootkits - it's a simple matter of storing the EFI bootloader hash in config flash and requiring a new one be re-hashed manually after OS installation. Trivial. But somehow Microsoft and Intel instead managed to come up with an over-complicated solution that just happens to only work for OS vendors which have the market share to get their own public keys added to t

    • Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@cWELTYox.net minus author> on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:29PM (#46728425)

    Ein Windows Ein SDK Ein...

    err sorry.

    • Jest if you want, but the "One $company" slogan has been used by my last two employers and at least 4 companies I worked with.
      While it somewhat makes sense in the case of recent mergers, it's mainly just one of the recent CEO buzzwords.
      We know that most CEOs are sheep who just follow groupthink to be safe ("everybody else agrees it's the right thing now")
      Wouldn't you, if you had that much at stake?

  • by lord_mike (567148) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:35PM (#46728479)

    Their motto of "Developers, Developers, Developers" also disappeared with Ballmer's exit. Everything is now getting locked down to the max in their attempt to be like Apple. What makes it worse is that they don't seem to have a direction as far as application development goes. They were strongly pushing portable .NET when there was no need for cross platform applications, but as soon as ARM gets into their mix of products, they drop that strategy and go with a native code strategy. It's all mixed up and extremely confusing. Their complete lack of direction is certainly not welcoming to developers trying to figure out how they should target the Windows platform, and that doesn't even take into account their confusion on user interfaces as well.

    Microsoft's previous success was based on offering very cheap products that were friendly to developers. Yeah, their products were buggy and unfinished, but they were a bargain, and you could always "embrace and extend" them as you saw fit. Now, they are trying to market themselves as a premium luxury product like Apple (at least the consumer end) and walling the garden as much as possible. They're locking down the hardware, too, and alienating their hardware partners, who were the greatest drivers of their previous success. It's a big change. Can they do it? Hyundai managed to convert themselves from being a discount car manufacturer to a more upscale brand, but Hyundai didn't have the problem with their brand reputation that Microsoft has. Microsoft has made cheap crap for so long, I don't see how they manage to convince everyone that they are now an "upscale" high quality manufacturer of products and services.

    • by mbkennel (97636)
      | They were strongly pushing portable .NET when there was no need for cross platform applications, but as soon as ARM gets into their mix of products, they drop that strategy and go with a native code strategy

      I think that was driven by power dissipation motivations. The purpose of fast native code isn't speed, but low power consumption.
    • They were strongly pushing portable .NET...

      I thought that .NET was dead. [roundcrisis.com] Does anybody really know?

    • Microsoft's previous success was based on offering very cheap products

      I don't remember such time. Microsoft software has always been quite pricey.

      • by lord_mike (567148)

        Windows was cheap. For most people it appeared to be "free". A lot of their stuff seemed pricey at the time, but they were always cheaper than their competition. SQL Server cost less than Oracle. IIS cost less than Netscape Web Server. Windows Mobile cost less than Palm. Visual C cost less than Borland. Office cost less than Word Perfect. Mcrtosoft's pricing is what drove a lot of these guys out of business. Microsoft's products were cheaper quality-wise, too, which is why they have such a terrible

  • The new captain has set a new course, one that veers away from the rocks. But this ship will take a long time and a lot of leeway to make that turn.

    (Of course, I thought the old captain should have been 'relieved for cause' years ago, but since personally I'm neither a customer/user nor a direct shareholder in MSFT, it really wasn't my business :-)

    • I was saddened to see Ballmer go. I felt that all the Microsoft toadies richly deserved him. It would have been nice to see him go down with the ship, but I knew in my heart what rats do when the water starts rising. I sincerely hope that Nadella proves himself fully worthy to fill Ballmer's clown shoes.

      • I sincerely hope that Nadella proves himself fully worthy to fill Ballmer's clown shoes.

        I actually expect Nadella to be the best Microsoft CEO so far.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > I was saddened to see Ballmer go.

        Agreed. If nothing else, he was entertaining.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Really? Or has the captain issued a press release intended to placate passengers while doubling down on the course into the rocks?

      • Fair enough, and that begs the question whether the passengers on the ship could ever tell the difference...

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:35PM (#46728489) Homepage

    Microsoft: Yesterday's Technology Next Week

    They always reminded me of Yoyodyne Industries from Buckaroo Banzai, where the future begins tomorrow.

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      Actually, the first thing that came to mind for me was: "Last year's zero-day exploit ignored for a while, then eventually fixed in an upcoming Patch Tuesday".

  • Walled gardens??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:36PM (#46728499)

    So is its notorious tendency to keep developers and consumers within its walled gardens.

    What on earth are you talking about? Windows 8 is all about forcing people to get software from Microsoft's store. That's exactly opposite of leaving behind walled gardens.

    • I tried to figure that out too. The article is talking about the future, Microsoft's intentions, so it would be fair for them to say they intended to change it in the future.

      That was the viewpoint I used to read the article, and I looked specifically for that walled garden problem to see what they planned on doing about it. As far as I can tell, they are doing nothing about it, absolutely nothing. When they say they will let you leave the 'walled garden,' what they mean is they will let you use Microsoft
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > I tried to figure that out too. The article is talking about the future, Microsoft's intentions, so it would be fair for them to say they intended to change it in the future.

        And who, not under the influence of recreational pharmaceuticals, would actually believe that?

        • I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. By which I mean, I won't give them any money and watch them as I fully expect them to continue to deceive.
  • by Tough Love (215404) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:38PM (#46728507)

    Nothing about Microsoft has changed except its PR spin. It remains the same morally bankrupt skofflaw monopolist it has always been. Puff piece.

  • One code base is just the first step. The problem is how tightly the presentation layer is tied to the kernel. Microsoft would have been in a better position if they broke it out more like the linux pyramid with a common kernel at the base, plumbing in the middle and a display manager on top. Then, the presentation layer in that display manager could be swapped out as needed based on the form factor involved.

    KDE did this with their netbook and desktop interfaces. Regardless of which one you use, it is sti

    • Then, the presentation layer in that display manager could be swapped out as needed based on the form factor involved.

      It's still mostly experimental at this point, but there's ALREADY an active effort to port KDE to Windows as an outright replacement for Windows' native UI -- http://windows.kde.org/ [kde.org]

  • Windows operating system will be free for devices under 9 inches

    EOM

  • by Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) on Friday April 11, 2014 @03:58PM (#46728727)

    But GPL is indeed cancerous, intentionally so. Interacting with GPL code is a mine field if you don't want to GPL your code as well, there was no lie in that.

    • by JohnFen (1641097)

      Not like a cancer, because cancer isn't contagious. GPL is more like a virus -- consciously and intentionally so. That's one of it's primary benefits, imo.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:27PM (#46729021)

      If you want to use GPLed code but not GPL your application, you are the problem!

    • by Uecker (1842596) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:31PM (#46729051)

      If you "interact" (I assume you mean copy and re-distribute) with proprietary code is it even more a mine field, because if you copy proprietay code in your project without an explicit license which allows this you cannot do anything anymore (not even use it yourself - which the GPL allows). So if the GPL is cancerous, proprietary code is instant death.

    • You can "interact with" GPL code just fine, as long as your proprietary code isn't a derivative work of the GPL code in the copyright sense.

      So you can exec() it, you can call it from the shell, you can send packets to it and receive responses, in some cases you can even have proprietary code as a module/plugin being called by the GPL'd code.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      But GPL is indeed cancerous, intentionally so. Interacting with GPL code is a mine field if you don't want to GPL your code as well, there was no lie in that.

      Cancer spreads and is difficult to stop.

      The GPL is entirely opt-in, and a 4 year old can understand the so-called 'mine field':

      Do I want to release my code as GPL?

      Yes? Then feel free to use other GPL code in your code.
      No? Then don't.

      It is no more difficult than any other software development. Do you want to release something via the BSD license? Great.

  • One too many? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slapout (93640) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:05PM (#46728795)

    I would have thought they'd want a kernel optimized for small devices driving the phones and a different one for desktops. Maybe have them implement the same API. But isn't the kernel something you'd want optimized for the device family?

  • > No longer are there different kernels for Windows 8, Windows Phone or Windows RT it's now all just One Windows.

    Maybe not right now, but soon. And that's a good thing how?

    > As goes the Windows kernel, so goes the entire company.

    Um, yep. And again, that's a good thing how?

  • I don't care about a limited 2 aps at once, or touchscreen. The one thing Windows needs is the ability to fearlessly run applications. Windows should have been virus proof back since 98 when the Internet was becoming a big thing. It isn't as hard as you'd think to make an OS virus proof if that is what you're designing for.

    The moment your platform becomes a fearless platform to try new software, people will try software as a hobby. The way Windows is now, before aps are catching on, no one in their ri
  • by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Friday April 11, 2014 @04:23PM (#46728973)

    meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • Marketspeak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday April 11, 2014 @05:20PM (#46729453)

    95% of the article has no substance and is clearly a bunch of marketspeak, though it's not clear who the marketspeak is targeted at. Users? They're not gonna care about any of it because it's gonna make sense or doesn't affect them. Shareholders? Maybe.

    There's really only two bits that seem to mean anything:

    No longer are there different kernels for Windows 8, Windows Phone or Windows RT it's now all just One Windows.

    That's cool, and it actually means something. But do users care about this? Do investors care about this? How many Apple users know or care that Mac OS, iPhone, and Apple TV all share the same kernel? In general neither users nor investors know what a kernel is.

    If you want to use a Microsoft app, you can find it on whatever platform or device you are using, not just on Windows.

    That's means something too, but....are you freakin' kidding me? So if I'm making an Windows app, I'm required to design it to work well on a desktop, tablet, phone, and gaming console? What if it's an awesome app that sucks on a little phone screen? What if it's an awesome app that works well on a touchscreen but sucks with a mouse? What if it's awesome with a keyboard and mouse and sucks on a touchscreen? You get the idea...this is the whole thing they're trying to do with Windows 8 and surface and they're failing to hear users screaming at the top of their lungs DO NOT WANT.

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