Rule #1 – Thou Shalt not Throw a Tantrum at Work

It’s a moot point now, but I’m certain Ballmer is probably kicking himself…

SteveBallmer.jpgYa know… you have to ask yourself… What is it with guys named Steve that run world famous computer companies and their temper? Jobs was famous for it. If you disagreed with him, not only did you lose your job; but it was probably one of the most memorable firings of your career. Some of those are things of legend. I think the last guy that Jobs screamed at still has ringing in his ears.

Ballmer was apparently the same way. Interestingly enough, new information regarding his exit from Microsoft (I don’t like to say firing… it just gives me the willies…at least for Ballmer. I don’t know why.) is just now coming to light. Apparently during a June 2013 Board meeting where Ballmer outlined his acquisition plans for the Nokia buyout, the Board initially rejected the idea. They didn’t see what Ballmer saw when he proposed turning Microsoft into a hardware AND software company. When the Board initially said, “no,” Ballmer hit the ceiling. It was so bad and so loud that it carried out of (an apparently VERY well sound insulated) board room and could be heard down the halls. While the board eventually did back him, it’s obvious that they didn’t take well to Ballmer acting out.

There are other instances that my friend, Preston Gralla cites in an article regarding Ballmer’s temper (by the way, it’s VERY rarely acceptable to drop the “F-bomb” at work. I don’t care if you’re Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer…you just don’t do it).

Anyway, the current rumor has it that this particular rant is what ultimately lead the board to suggest that they and Ballmer part ways. It was the F-bomb that broke the camel’s back, and the last tantrum – among many over the years – that Ballmer (at least officially) threw at Microsoft.

If you look back at what happened to Jobs when he left Apple, it was largely because of his temper and mouth. As I said, I’m not sure what it is about computer companies with CEO’s named, “Steve;” but they sure do get angry a lot. Gralla sees this as poetic justice, saying that, “for once, the bully got bullied.” It may be bullying. I don’t know. I’ve never met either Jobs or Ballmer, so I really can’t say for certain. However, I would like to say that it wasn’t anger, or a bad temper, or anything else other than “passion.” Perhaps it was misplaced or mismanaged passion, but from what I’ve been able to see, I don’t think Ballmer MEANT to be a jerk. He may have thought YOU were one when you didn’t agree with him or couldn’t understand his message/point/vision, etc.; and that’s why he screamed at your, but I don’t think he meant to be a jerk. I think it may have been a bit different with Jobs. If you didn’t “get it,” I think he thought you were a moron and didn’t want you around.

But that’s (at least part of) the price of genius, isn’t it? Some of them are a bit “out there.”

I don’t know too much about Satya Nadella just yet, but it’s clear he’s making changes to how Microsoft works and functions. This isn’t going to be the same Microsoft that Gates gave to Ballmer. Nadella is definitely going to put his own mark on the company, which is good. He needs to if he’s going to be taken seriously and if the company is going to have any real chance at surviving.

We’ll have to wait and see how Nadella does. 2014 is going to be an interesting year for Microsoft. While it’s not necessarily going to be the making or breaking point, it’s going to set the stage for what is to come for the company, for certain.

What do you think? Are Nadella’s initial management changes good ones? Is his mobile strategy on target? Will he be a better CEO than either Gates or Ballmer? Why don’t you join me in the discussion below and tell me what you think

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It’s Official – Hell Froze Over

Or Microsoft really did get a new CEO with fresh ideas…

Satya-Nadella-700x325

Satya Nadella is starting to make his presence known at Microsoft. Not only did Tony Bates and Tami Reller leave the organization, with additional executive changes still likely to be made; but Microsoft recently announced that its going to make its Xbox Live gaming service available on iOS.

Yes. You read that right…

Microsoft is seriously looking to bring its Xbox Live gaming hub to not only iOS, but Android as well.  Now the platform will be available on every major mobile OS, according to The Verge. The news broke due to a job posting at Microsoft that indicated that, “[Microsoft wanted to] create a modern framework that is open-source, lightweight, extensible and scalable across various platforms including Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.”  Microsoft later confirmed the intent to revive social, mobile gaming. Currently, that effort is blocked by proprietary networks, like Apple’s Game Center.

There’s huge money to be made, here. Limiting mobile gaming to their own platform, Windows Phone and Windows Store, is hurting Microsoft right now.  There aren’t a lot of users on either mobile Microsoft platform, and there are literally millions on both iOS and Android that could provide a huge revenue stream for Microsoft. Xbox is an immensely popular console gaming platform, and not every Xbox user is a Windows Phone user. Being able to play Xbox games, with saved progress from your console and vice versa, will be a huge win on both the iOS and Android platforms.

It’s clear to me that this is a result of Satya Nadella’s new influence. Prior to that, I don’t think either Ballmer or Gates would have sanctioned this kind of move. Julie Larson-Green’s “One Windows” mantra also wouldn’t have supported this effort. It deemphasizes Windows, or at least would have in the eyes of the older organization.

So is this a good idea?  Do you have an Xbox and carry either an iPhone or an Android smartphone? Do you want to see an Xbox Live gaming hub on iOS and Android devices? Is that a good idea, or is this just going to make things weird?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole matter. Why don’t you join me in the discussion area below, and let me know what you think?

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BB10 Gives Enterprise Customers a Sour Taste in their Mouths

BB CEO, John Chen admits that BB10 and the Blackberry Z10 left enterprise customers feeling confused

Having a mobile OS that’s intuitive is key to keeping your users engaged. Its key to attracting more users. In short, its key to continued success, in what has become the hottest computing market this side of anywhere in the known universe. Mobile computing… it’s what buys dinner.

Unfortunately, for RIM/Blackberry, despite their best efforts over the past six years or so, their distraction with the consumer market, BYOD and CoIT has damaged them in the eyes of their enterprise customers. According to Chen, previous BB CEO Thorsten Heins’ focus on the consumer market damaged the organization’s reputation.

BB10

“It is not about us leaving the enterprise customers before my time, but I think it is about us spreading ourselves a little too thin,” he said. “We spread ourselves too thin and we were so preoccupied with launching that phone [the Z10] in that market, that we have done some damage, in my mind, to our enterprise focus. That is not going to be any more. That has been done.”

Chen also called BB10, “very good, but too complex for the user.”

I’m not too certain how to take that. I mean, I agree; but how do you recover from that? What do you do? In Blackberry’s case, they are going to focus on their strengths – the enterprise. BES 12 was announced at Mobile World Congress this past week, and should be released before the end of calendar 2014. BES 12 will support all popular mobile OS – iOS, Android, and now, Windows Phone, besides its own OS. Users of rival mobile enterprise servers will be able to trade in their licenses and get the remaining time on that license on BES 12 for a free. Current users can upgrade to BES 12 for free, too. An enterprise version of BBM, Blackberry’s messaging platform, will also be available, “before the summer.”

From a device perspective, Blackberry is staying in the hardware business. Its latest handset, the QWERTY enabled Q20, is said to contain the best classic features most loved by its veteran users. It’s also due for release before the end of calendar 2014.

I’ve been a Blackberry watcher for quite some time, as RIM was THE name in mobile enterprise messaging for a long time before smartphones really became smartphones, leaving the PDA days behind them. They were rugged, high quality devices that allowed mobile employees and busy executives to stay in touch with the office and their teams while traveling or away from their desks. Their Push notification system became the defacto standard that everyone wanted and need to copy in order to be competitive not only in the enterprise space, but in the consumer space as well. The notifications you get on your smartphone of choice today can be traced in some way back to Blackberry’s push notification system.

For me, they are the company you love to hate. I never liked their devices. They were always a bit too rugged, clunky, and just plain ugly for me. Early versions of the device OS was too text-based for me when consumer-based devices like the Treo or any Windows Mobile device had a bright, colorful and inviting GUI. Described to me as an olive-drab army Jeep that just got the job done, Blackberries were the device that nearly every Exchange admin loved to work with; and I just couldn’t stand.

Looking at the information here, I can see a structured, concentrated effort to turn the company back down the road of core competency. This is an excellent strategy; but I’m a bit skeptical. I am wondering after so long, if Chen can turn Blackberry around and get it to be [somewhat] the enterprise darling it was back in the day.

The road back will be long and very tough, in my opinion. I do not see Blackberry making any money with native hardware. I think that ship has long sailed, and think that the Q20 and other devices will be nothing more than a money losing distraction. I think Blackberry would be much better off just concentrating on its enterprise software products. If it must be involved in the hardware business, it could partner with HTC or other hardware vendor and have them foot the bill for making and marketing the hardware. Blackberry has had such a hard time with the Storm, Storm 2, and its more recent Z10 and Q10 devices that it must just be a better idea to leave hardware to a trusted partner that has better experience with it.

My biggest concern with this particular tactic is obviously… partial failure. BES has always been a huge money maker for Blackberry and I think they should be fine there. The added support in their MDM for Windows Phone is going to make that offering much more attractive – BES will then support all the major mobile device operating systems and should offer support to everyone. That should bring a lot of comfort to current enterprise customers and may actually attract new ones.

However, I see Blackberry’s continued dalliance with handsets as a huge risk. Since 2007 – and the introduction of the iPhone – they have not been able to get it right. Their Storm and Storm 2 devices were abysmal, and BB10 was too confusing in an iPhone like body (with no physical keyboard) to attract and retain any customers. While they’re going to give it another go with the Q20, unless the world has some unforeseen epiphany when the device is released, BYOD and CoIT based enterprises aren’t going to bother much with it. I don’t see the Q20 making any kind of impact on the Blackberry world at all. I see it being yet ANOTHER money losing disappointment for an organization that is desperately trying to maintain its relevance in a world that left it behind long ago.

What do you think? Am I totally off my nut, or does this story have legs? Will BES 12 attract new customers? Will its free upgrade cost to existing enterprise users make them want to extend their service contracts? Will the Q20 be a money maker or a money loser? I’d love to have your thoughts in the discussion area below. Please give me your ideas and thoughts and lets hash it out a bit more…

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Windows 8.1 Update 1 Coming Sometime this Spring

Well, I’m glad we got THAT cleared up

One of the greatest conferences in the computing world is MWC or Mobile World Congress. It’s held in Barcelona, Spain every year. It’s the kind of conference that makes you want to get your passport updated and ready to be stamped. I’ve never been able to go, and at this rate, it’s doubtful that I will; but if you’re into mobile computing like I am, then it’s something that you pay a lot of attention to if you’re unable to attend. Some really great innovations and products get announced at MWC.

This year, Microsoft is there, and they’re announcing details around the next version of Windows 8.1.  Joe Belfiore, head of phones, tablets and PC’s at the Redmond software giant is there and has currently revealed that the update is coming, “this Spring.”

windows_8

Wow.  Thanks, a lot there, Joe.  Way to be specific.

All kidding aside, the release, currently internally called, “Update 1,” as no real release name has been set EITHER (so, this could be called Update 1, Windows 8.2, or something totally different…), is focusing its updates on making the desktop experience more palatable to mouse and keyboard users. Users should see things like MetroApps with title bars, an easier way to launch and switch to running apps via the Taskbar as well as a new context menu UI.

The biggest improvement, however, is going to be totally behind the scenes. The OS will run on lower-speced machines.  PC makers will be able to put the latest version of Windows 8.x on machines with just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space.  This is going to allow OEM’s to offer tablets and other computing devices running the OS that retail somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 or lower. This is going to go a long way to helping Microsoft compete with lower priced Android tablets that are easy to find in the sub $250 range.  This is an area where Google and its Android operating system have enjoyed a complete monopoly. No OEM has been able to create a tablet with an OS other than Android at that price point or lower.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, that fact has been providing a great deal of heartburn.

If Microsoft can make the newest version of Windows 8.x run on lower speced devices, then it’s very possible that devices like the Dell Latitude 10 ST tablet that I reviewed last year might be able to run with better performance and provide a better overall experience. That would go a long way to making it easier to take to school, to work, or anywhere for that matter.  Windows tablets need a better overall experience.  Even native tablets like Surface Pro/2 Pro will benefit from an OS that runs better on less powerful components. You should expect to see quite the performance boost on existing devices, I would think.

Now, getting back to the “available Spring 2014″ thing… Microsoft Build is set to be held in April of this year. Its “largely expected” that Microsoft will announce and release the latest version of Windows 8.x to the world at that time.  My guess is that it should be available right after the opening keynote concludes.

What do you think? Do you think that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be something that’s worthwhile, or is Microsoft bring all of this to the party a year or more too late? I’m still not totally sold on anything related to Windows 8.x’s MetroUI. The “whole” Windows experience needs to be totally revamped.  However, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Why don’t you tell me what you think in the comments section below?

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Microsoft sets Windows 7 End of Sales Date

If you’re a consumer, you have until 2014-10-31 to get a new PC with Windows 7 on it.

windows-7

Microsoft’s been busy; and I’m not entirely certain that it’s a good thing.

They have a new CEO and a new technical advisor. They’ve announced a target date/timeframe for the release of Windows 8.1 Update 1. Oh yes… the ‘Softies have been busy; and I’m not entirely convinced that all of the developments have been good, either.

Case in point – Microsoft has set 2014-10-31 as the end of sales date for new consumer-grade Windows 7 PCs. This means that if you want a new PC with Windows 7 on it by default, you need to purchase it before 2014-10-31. This would include PC’s with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium or Ultimate. If you go look for one on 2014-11-01, you may not be able to purchase it. Interestingly enough, they have not set the do-not-sell-after-this-date for business machines.

Microsoft’s been trying to force its partners to stop selling an older OS to retail customers one year after the release of its latest desktop OS since at least 2010, after its release of Windows 7 in 2009. They are desperately trying to prevent the creation of another Windows XP-like scenario where users can continue to buy the OS long after 1-2 generations of successors has hit the market. Windows 8 was shipped in October of 2012, so the world has already gotten a bit of a reprieve.

The problem is that Windows 8…well, it kinda sucks. Windows 8.1 goes a ways to resolve some of the issues that Windows users have with Windows 8’s dueling and competing user interfaces, but it doesn’t go far enough for many. Windows 9 is supposed to put the issue to bed; but that’s after the release of Windows 8.1 Update 1, and the word that I’m hearing from people in the know, is that Microsoft seems hell bent on not doing itself any favors.

Windows 8.1 Update 1, based on the bits that have leaked thus far, seems to be a bit of a bust. Some of the UI updates that come with it are again, a third to a half of what you’d want to see in another “release” of Windows 8.x from Microsoft. The OS has a bad reputation to begin with. You would think with such large obstacles for Windows 8.x to overcome, Microsoft would be a bit more committed to righting them as quickly as possible. Instead, they are waiting until what the world is currently calling Windows 9, but is currently known, at least internally, as Threshold, is released to bring back the full desktop experience. While this includes a REAL Start Menu and more – and that’s all seen as a good thing by many business and CoIT/BYOD users – Microsoft IS going to make everyone wait at least another year for it all.

(Interestingly enough, you can get just about all of Threshold’s native features now with a few, low priced trialware titles from Stardock – Start8 and ModernMix.) Windows 8 isn’t a bad OS, in and of itself…that is, if you can find a way around MetroUI and the Start Screen. If you can, you should find that Windows 8 is more stable and faster than Windows 7; and its TabletPC features are better integrated, should you have a Surface or other Windows-based tablet.

If you’re looking for a copy of Windows 7, you can try Amazon or NewEgg. I hear both of those online vendors have ample supply of Windows 7 consumer editions.

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Android on Windows..?

Wait, what..?! Microsoft is going way past Project Normandy if they’re considering this…

Android on windows2

 The other day I wrote about how Nokia was pulling together the final touches on a low-end Android phone to compete in developing and emerging markets where high-end phones don’t sell well. That grinds against the traditional wheels in the Microsoft machine. Traditionally, thems is feudin’ words…at least in Redmond.

However, I stumbled across a couple other articles yesterday, including one from Mary Jo Foley (totally love her column), that really had me thinking, and I wanted to take a bit of time to try to wrap my head around all of it. Apparently, Microsoft is considering going well beyond an Android phone. They are actively considering – I think debating might be a better word, and strongly debating at that – not only releasing an Android phone, but they are considering the possibility of allowing Android apps to run on all Windows Phones, and on Windows tablets (think Surface RT/2 and Surface Pro/2 Pro) as well on traditional Windows laptops and desktops.

Wait, what?! That last part confused me…

The big problem honestly gets down to 3rd party development resources and the reach of Windows Phone. Windows Phone has a VERY small share of the smartphone market right now. In fact, its single digit small, where Android and iOS share double digit ownership of the number one and two spots, respectively. I’ve heard many 3rd party developers say that they would like to make apps for Windows Phone, but the sales just don’t justify the resource and development costs. As a way to get Windows powered devices (again not only phones and tablets, but computers as well) in the hands of more people, Microsoft is trying to figure out a way (the best way..?) to get Android apps to run on Windows devices. That could be Pokki, or it could be something else.

The first thing that crossed my mind was RIM/Blackberry, who (eventually) tried this strategy when they released their failed and much maligned Playbook tablet. Everyone thought they had figured out a way to make Android apps run natively. Instead, they had to run inside an emulator – a clunky, poor performing, and unfortunately buggy – emulator (and it totally tanked). Now with the release of BB10, Android apps can be installed OTA (over the air), but users have to find the application files (*.APK files) on their own. From what I understand, Microsoft would have to do much the same thing – run Android apps inside an emulator, and again, it may be Pokki – in order to get them to run on a Windows powered device.

I’m on the fence about this. I don’t like the idea of an Android app on a Windows powered device. I especially don’t like the idea of an Android app running on my Windows laptop or desktop. Android is a mobile OS, and as such, the apps aren’t as rich or full featured as those found on a traditional Windows laptop or desktop PC. I don’t think the end users are going to like what they get, or more importantly, what they don’t get, from the experience.

The reason why BB10 users can install Android apps OTA is because at its core, BB10 – or QNX – is just as Linux based as Android is. A GREAT deal of work would have to be done to Windows to be able to have Android apps run natively as they do on BB10. Unfortunately, you don’t see this feature creating a lot of BB10 device sales. In fact, you don’t see a lot of BB10 devices anywhere. I have yet to actually see one in the wild (and I am actively looking). Ultimately, I’m afraid that the same thing will happen with Windows.

If a user wants to run Android apps, a user is going to buy…an Android device. Period. They aren’t going to buy a BB10, or in this case, a Windows powered, device. Redmond isn’t going to create a draw or see a huge uptick in demand for Windows Phone or Surface RT/2 devices if it finds an acceptable way to run Android apps on them. It’s a nice to have. It’s something EXISTING users might find useful; but it’s not going to cause the masses to dump their iOS or native Android devices for a Windows powered device. It just won’t… History is replete with examples, too. If it wasn’t, the IBM PC clone market would have led to an Apple II clone market, a Commodore 64 clone market, etc. Blackberry also wouldn’t find themselves in their current situation, either. Users want to run native apps on native devices. They don’t want to use an emulator or have functionality limited.

All of this also goes against every bit of cultural norm I’ve ever seen come out of Redmond. However, as a devices and services company where the focus is now being placed on the software that powers both those devices and services, it’s clear that Microsoft has to do something. WHAT that is… I’m not certain yet; and I hope that they haven’t made their decision on it yet, either. Doing this would be a mistake; and it would really upset their development partners as well. Why would they want to develop for Windows Phone or in MetroUI/ModernUI if they can develop an Android app and hit both markets? I’m just sayin’…

However, it’s clear Microsoft has to do SOMETHING. They need to turn the tide around; and find a way to get more users on Windows powered devices. They need to find a way to get more mobile users. They need to find a way to stop people from using older, out-moded, outdated Microsoft operating systems and get them to adopt the most current version. They need a strategy that’s going to lead them into the future instead of milking profits from the past.

This is the biggest, root cause issue that Satya Nadella has before him. He’s going to need all the help he can get too, which is why I am glad that he has Gates around as an advisor. This is a sticky situation and they have a lot of work to do. They need to reengineer the company, their products and Microsoft’s identity. The faster they can do this, the better chance they will have at being successful.

In the meantime, the world is watching…. and waiting.

I’d really like to hear what YOU think about this whole Android on a Windows device thing. Is it a good idea? Will it inspire you to purchase a Windows device over an Android device, if they do it and do it right? I’d really appreciate you chiming in, in the comments below and giving me your opinion on the whole thing.

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Hitting the Emerging Market Sweet Spot

Apparently, Microsoft (Nokia, really) WILL be releasing an Android phone.

Microsoft and Android

If there’s one thing that I know well, its mobile devices. I’ve said many times, I cut my journalistic teeth on mobile devices and mobile computing. It’s probably the one thing that keeps me in the game.  There are so many different kinds of mobile gadgets and mobile convenience gadgets out there. It really doesn’t get old.

However, the US tends to be a high-end device market. Most people – even some of the poorer citizens of the US – would be considered filthy rich in many of the developing countries in the world.  As such, low-end smartphones and other low-end mobile electronics, don’t sell here very well.  In the rest of the world, however, that’s where the money is to be made.  Chasing after those emerging markets is where many of the larger smartphone manufacturers would like to put most of their attention.

Apple would like to seriously get involved in the developing/emerging smartphone market.  It’s been difficult for them, however, as their products are mostly high end, and manufacturing costs for older iPhones haven’t really decreased.  The iPhone 5c was rumored to be a lower costing iPhone for developing markets, though that didn’t turn out to be the case. The 5c was meant as a lower costing iPhone for the US. Sales of that device haven’t lived up to its initial expectations. Apple is still looking for a solution for their ecosystem in this lucrative market.

Microsoft also seems to be looking long and hard at the developing/ emerging smartphone market.  They have also hit a small snag.  Apparently, Windows Phone designs don’t lend themselves well to lower end handsets. As such, the current scuttlebutt has Microsoft’s Project Normandy moving forward.

For those that may not know, Project Normandy is an effort at Nokia for an Android based smartphone.  The device is said to be a low-end replacement for the S40 smartphone.  The device will run a version of Android with most of the branded, Google functionality removed. The device is also rumored to be heavily skinned and won’t have the standard and now easily recognizable Android navigation buttons.  The presumption is that the device would run both Microsoft and Nokia branded services like, Bing, the recently rebranded Office Online, and perhaps Nokia Here Maps.

It’s obvious from the description above, that the version of Android is likely forked. It’s also going to be heavily modified. However, this won’t be the first forked, heavily modified version of Android that the world has seen.  Amazon has done exactly that with its Kindle devices for a number of years.  According to ABI, 25% of all Android devices are shipped with a forked version of the popular mobile OS.  Perhaps Microsoft can do its best to make a Windows Phone like, tiled interface for Android and then phase it out. That way, they get a foot hold into the market, get everyone used to the interface and then give themselves the design, engineering and manufacturing time to get it all together.

It’s not known how well the Normandy device will fare, internally, at least. As Microsoft isn’t too interested in putting money in Google’s pocket’s.  As such, Project Normandy may not make it as far as Microsoft Kin phones did a few years ago.  However, Project Normandy represents a sizable investment on Nokia’s part and may help bridge the gap until Microsoft can engineer low-end devices that provide acceptable performance and features on the low-end handsets that are popular in emerging markets.  They need to do something…or else they’re going to miss the entire party…again.

However – and this is the sad part really – Nokia’s, and Microsoft’s past behavior and current company policy don’t have me thinking the device will have much time on the shelf. Nokia spent a lot of time and money developing Meego before it killed the OS shortly after releasing it on the N9.  Microsoft spent millions of dollars developing its Kin phones, which by many accounts were supposed to set its mobile efforts aright.  That effort totally tanked shortly after release. The devices themselves were really no more than toys, or so most of the mobile community thought when reviewing them.

So here we are… full circle again.  The developing/ emerging market sector is difficult to successfully get into.  Android was able to do it well because the OS can run on just about any mobile processor you can throw at it, and as such, manufacturing costs are LOW.  The OS supports skinning and can function well with and without Google services built in.  Heck… Amazon ripped out Google Play and its ENTIRE ecosystem and substituted its own.  And that essentially proves it – you CAN engineer Google out of Android and replace it with your own set of mobile services if you wish.

Given all of this, the ONLY chance that Normandy has of staying on a shelf long enough for Microsoft and Nokia to get a well-functioning, low end Windows Phone out there is none other than Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella.  If he is truly going to initiate a changing of the guard at Microsoft and have the company really concentrate on devices, service and the software that powers them, he has to push old company politics, motivations, desires, etc. to the side and insure that the device isn’t killed before it had a chance to make a serious difference.  Nadella is going to have to make certain that this stop gap is allowed to fulfill its lifecycle purposes and initiatives and gives both Microsoft and Nokia the opportunity to get its own device out there to take its place, without anyone trying to tank it from the inside.

What do you make of all of this?  Is this a good or a bad idea?  Would you like to see Project Normandy get off the ground?  Should Microsoft try to kill it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the discussion area, below.  Tell me what you think!

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Microsoft Wants You…

To help it kill Windows XP as part of the XP Army

winaccess denied2014-02-07 marks 60 days until support for Windows XP will officially die. After that, its malware defs only until that finally craps out sometime next year. After  2014-04-08, everyone running XP will be a target for hackers everywhere.

Oh, goody.

So, what’s a techie to do?   Easy… help Microsoft prevent the PC apocalypse by getting friends and family everywhere to upgrade to a different version of Windows – preferably Windows 8.x – ASAP.

Effectively, as suggested by Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc, you need to find a PC buddy, and if they’re running XP, get them to upgrade or help them purchase a new PC.

Wait… What?!

Don’t get me wrong. I am all about helping friends and loved ones. I really am…but when most people are so poor, they can’t afford to pay attention, let alone help someone pay for a new PC.   What’s more upsetting, is that neither Microsoft nor LeBlanc are offering any kind of price breaks on either Windows 7 or Windows 8.x or on new hardware.   While no one at Microsoft actually came out and said, “give your friends and family money so they can upgrade their rig,” the point was clearly taken.   They want everyone moving to Windows 8.x ASAP.

While Windows 8 was dirt cheap for a   while after its initial release on October 2012, it jacked the price back up to $120 bucks for the consumer version and $200 bucks for the enterprise version.   Microsoft also killed Windows 7 during this time, so you have no choice but to move to Windows 8.x at this point, whether you want to or not, whether you like it or not.

Everyone – from OEM’s, to security experts to tech enthusiasts, experts and journalists as well as the consumer community – has been pushing Microsoft to offer a (permanently) affordable SKU of Windows 8.x.   If they want the world off of XP, they need to make it super easy and silly not up upgrade immediately.

If this whole thing isn’t a stick in the eye from Microsoft, I really don’t know what is. While I don’t have any PC’s that run XP, either in physical or VM form, at home or at work, I know many people still do.   Its likely the 3rd  party development community will continue to support XP for a while until all of their customers upgrade, which may or may not happen any time soon.

I think the biggest scenario I’m afraid of, is someone who paid, like, $2500 for their XP computer, who refuses to upgrade, because their determined to get their money’s worth, and they get a huge virus that empties their bank accounts and files a civil suite against the Redmond software company; or worse yet, replace the consumer with a bank (many ATM’s run on Windows XP), and have the same thing happen. That could get ugly.

What do you think? Are you still using Windows XP?   Does anyone in your family? Will you buy an upgrade to the OS, or will you buy a new computer, if you upgrade at all?   I’d love to hear what you think of this situation, as well as what might happen  61 days from now in the comments section below.

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