snydeq writes: "As PC prospects decline, Microsoft has been moving toward a hybrid, cross-platform future with an eye toward opportunities in the server closet and the cloud. But the question remains, How might Microsoft evolve to get there? 'It's tempting to say the past five years has seen Microsoft's desktop-centric strategy slowly give way to a pell-mell free-for-all made up of equal parts desktop, server, mobile hardware and software, cloud services, and auxiliary systems like the Xbox. Truth is, intention has always been present. It's only now, thanks to major upheavals in consumer tech and the cloud, that Microsoft's broad-spectrum plays are becoming more evident and critical.... What may be new for Microsoft is the need to better cohere its strategy around an ever-widening array of services and technologies, especially as the breadth of competition it faces widens. Most of all, if there ever comes a time to stop being a consumer-oriented company, Microsoft shouldn't flinch. A future where Microsoft doesn't make hardware or end-user programs seems remote, but there was a time when IBM abandoning its PC business seemed jarring, too.' And if Microsoft can't quite cohere its strategy, the best means to this end may be to divide."
snydeq writes: "DOS 4.0, Zune, and Windows 8 are but a few of the landmarks among 25 years of failures Redmond-style, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard in a round-up of Microsoft's 13 worst missteps of all time. 'Over the years, Microsoft's made some incredibly good moves, even if they felt like mistakes at the time: mashing Word and Excel into Office; offering Sabeer Bhatia and cohorts $400 million for a year-old startup; blending Windows 98 and NT to form Windows 2000; sticking a weird Israeli motion sensor on a game box; buying Skype for an unconscionable amount of money. (The jury's still out on the last one.) Along the way, Microsoft has had more than its fair share of bad mistakes; 2012 alone was among the most tumultuous years in Microsoft history I can recall. This year you can bet that Redmond will do everything in its power to prove 2012 naysayers wrong. To do so, Microsoft must learn from the following dirty baker's dozen of its most dreck-laden decisions, the ones that have had the very worst consequences, from a customer's point of view.'"
snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Serdar Yegalulp provides a roundup of nine Windows Start menu alternatives for Windows 8. 'Search as you might, you won't find a single bigger source of ire in Windows 8 than the new Modern UI (aka "Metro") Start menu.... Windows 8's Start menu has thrown many people — seasoned veterans, early adopters, and new users alike — for a curve. And Microsoft has been adamant that the old Start menu is gone for good. But where Microsoft doesn't go with Windows, others almost always do. Even before Windows 8 was released to manufacturing, various third parties were marketing add-ons that promised to restore a little (or a lot) of the classic Start menu goodness to Windows 8.'
snydeq writes: "Desktop users deserve a significant rethink of the Windows 8 gaffes and omissions for the next version of Windows, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard, offering 10 must-have features for Windows 9. From a "Get out of hell" modal dialog to prevent unwanted jumping to Metro, to a Control Panel that actually controls the kinds of things you would want a Control Panel to control, it's 'due time we diehards speak out.' What's your feedback for the Windows dev team as it puts together its Windows 9 (or "Windows Blue"?) specs."
snydeq writes: 'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'InfoWorld and I have been dumping on Windows 8 so much I'm not going to repeat the arguments. Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic.... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer.'
snydeq writes: "A billion users don't have the right hardware to run Windows 8, even if they wanted to. Here's how Microsoft could give them the best of Win8: 'Microsoft needs to get real and bring us a better Windows 7 ASAP, even as it works on the more-Metro Windows 9 that's a good two or three years away. Call it Windows 7.8. The truth is that the new Windows 8 Desktop has some very cool features for those living in the "legacy" touch-insensitive, keyboard-and-mouse environment. Maybe Microsoft can make money by selling us an upgrade to what we already have: a Windows 7.8 that brings the key new Windows 8 Desktop features home to Windows 7.'"
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Paul Ferrill outlines seven new and improved 'supersaver' features that will offer IT admins the biggest return on their Windows Server 2012 investment. 'Windows Server 2012 is a monumental release packed with new features that touch every facet of the operating system.... I've identified seven Windows Server 2012 features you might call "supersavers." Listed in order of impact, these features commodify high-end functionality, eliminate the need to purchase third-party software, reduce OS care and feeding, or in the case of PowerShell, offer the potential to save vast numbers of man-hours.'"
snydeq writes: "Windows XP's most beloved factors are also driving business organizations to Windows 7 in the face of Windows 8. 'We love Windows 7: That's the message loud and clear from people this week at the TechMentor Conference held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. With Windows XP reaching end of life for support in April 2014, the plan for most organizations is to upgrade — to Windows 7,' indicating 'a repeat of history for what we've seen with Windows releases, the original-cast Star Trek movie pattern where every other version was beloved and the ones in between decidely not so.'"
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Serdar Yegulalp offers tips for diehard Windows users on making the most of Windows 8 on existing hardware, i.e., a laptop or PC. 'If there's one consistent element to all the talk about Windows 8, it's about what's missing: the Start menu, the Aero transparencies, the many details people take for granted that make Windows, well, Windows. It's little wonder then that many folks are seriously considering skipping Windows 8 altogether. But what if you can't? Or what if you've decided to take the Windows 8 plunge and want to know not just how to get by but to thrive in this brave new Windows world? Here we discuss how to do just that: how a legacy Windows user, with existing hardware, can make the best of Windows 8, focusing on the most immediate and pressing changes that will impact your moment-to-moment Windows use.'"
snydeq writes: "A desktop OS for tablets and a tablet OS for desktops, Windows 8 is guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone, writes InfoWorld's Woody Leonard, in an in-depth review of Microsoft's Windows 8. 'Now that Windows 8 has arrived (today for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and tomorrow for Microsoft Partner Network members and Volume Licensees), the harsh analogies — "Windows Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde operating system" — may be applied conclusively. While Windows 8 inherits many of the advantages of Windows 7 — the manageability, the security (plus integrated antivirus), and the broad compatibility with existing hardware and software — it takes an axe to usability. The lagging, limited, often hamstrung Metro apps don't help.'"
snydeq writes: "Ever since the first beta editions of Windows 8 appeared, rumors have circulated over how Microsoft would revamp its other flagship consumer product, Office, to be all the more useful in the new OS. Would Office become touch-oriented and Metro-centric, to the exclusion of plain old Windows users? A first look at Office 2013 provides the short answer: No. 'Office 2013 has clearly been revised to work that much better in Windows 8 and on touch-centric devices, but the vast majority of its functionality remains in place. The changes made are mostly cosmetic — a way to bring the Metro look to Office for users of versions of Windows other than 8. Further, Office 2013 has been designed to integrate more closely with online storage and services (mainly Microsoft's), although those are thankfully optional and not mandatory.'"
snydeq writes: "Microsoft's plan to build its own Windows 8 tablets puts longtime allies in peril — and it may be the right thing to do. 'In announcing the Surface tablets, due to be released this fall, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cited Apple's advantage (without mentioning Apple) of integrated software and hardware. "Things work better when hardware and software are considered together," he said. "We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves."... Like Apple, Microsoft will hire a few PC makers to do the actual production work. But the need for 20 brands of me-too laptops, tablets, and convertibles is low. Manufacturing sophisticated electronics is a skill requiring manufacturing innovation. But all those branded-but-otherwise-undifferentiated PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just aren't needed in the vision Ballmer sketched out yesterday.'"