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simon collis

musings of an omnivorous biped

Just a few random links I’ve posted on Twitter during the month. They bear repeating though.

  • The Hero’s Journey, Puppet-Style is a good explanation of the “Hero’s Journey” plot hypothesis, and how it relates to many, many well known novels and films. Extremely well done, and slightly sweary.
  • Seth Godin pretty much nails how to think about money. I’ve been reading “how not to be an idiot about money” and such like blogs for years, but never seen a post like this. I might even print it and frame it…
  • Glenn Greenwald speaks out about Snowden, the NSA and reminds everyone that good journalism is the protector of democracy.
  • Can Apple Survive 2013? is an interesting, if slightly mistitled, article from Apple Insider. More accurately, it should be “why Android and Windows Phone’s business models are about ten years out of date”
  • The tumblog Jony Ive Redesigns Things pokes exquisitely designed fun at iOS 7’s graphical revamp. Disclaimer: I have no opinion on iOS 7 as yet, but I think any problems with iOS are more functional than aesthetic.
  • In Utrecht, people put party hats on CCTV cameras in memory of George Orwell’s birthday. So awesome.
  • I fell in love with this record when I heard it on WFMU: Wrong Treatment and Biking Girl, the only release by the Four Plugs.
  • Stray Trains by Milieu is a rather nice EP. And it’s free, too.
  • My favourite Philip Glass piece is Symphony 3, Movement 3. There’s a great live performance on YouTube, and it’s fascinating.
  • Finally, one of my own. The Jehovah’s Witnesses left a copy of the “Watchtower” pinned to the notice board, with the headline “A World Without Prejudice… When?“. Interesting to note the cover didn’t include any women…

21 Reasons Why Microsoft Might Be Dying

Posted by simon on 2013/04/08
Posted in Technology  | Tagged With: , , , | 1 Comment

As someone who develops with the Microsoft tool chain – particularly with .Net – the signs from Microsoft recently haven’t been overly encouraging recently. And that worries me – I’ve been developing using the Microsoft stack for 18 years and if they disappear, so does my career. But the writing’s looking to be on the wall:

  1. Some people at IBM think Windows 8 might be Microsoft’s OS/2. Ouch.
  2. Windows Phone is only 4.7% of the market, and while it’s growing, the top 2 players take 94.7% of the market – up from 92.4% last year
  3. In China, the world’s largest mobile phone market, the news is worse – Nokia sales are crashing, while Samsung is tops
  4. Another revenue stream dries up as Google stops licensing Exchange ActiveSync for its GMail product
  5. Facebook Home might be a clone of Windows Phone’s ‘people-centric’ UI, but it just brought Windows Phone’s consumer USP to their biggest rival. Ooops.
  6. Despite rumours since September and a petition on change.org, the Facebook (and therefore indirectly-part-Microsoft-owned) Instagram still isn’t available on Windows Phone
  7. As of January, Nokia were still selling twice as many Linux-based phones as Windows Phone ones
  8. Indy game developers prefer Sony to Microsoft these days, removing one of the Xbox’s key selling points.
  9. Microsoft have slashed Windows 8 OEM prices to try and revive the market, knocking 75% off the price of their biggest profit centre.
  10. Gartner predicts a fall of 7.6% in PC sales in 2013, while Apple Mac sales rose 31% overall last year, despite a weak start to 2013.
  11. Google are now a hardware player, and their Chromebook starts at about the full price of a retail Windows 8 licence
  12. You couldn’t make this up: Thieves broke into Microsoft. And just stole the iPads.
  13. Microsoft’s smartphone market share dropped after the launch of Windows Phone 8.
  14. The Surface tablets have sold about a third the number Microsoft ordered
  15. Actually the news for Internet Information Server isn’t all bad – it’s back to 20% market share, its highest since October 2010 – but still lower than every survey since 1996.
  16. Dell told the SEC that slow sales of Windows 8 and Windows 7 are a prime factor in its recent troubles that might lead to a takeover.
  17. The EU fined Microsoft $731 million for breaching their antitrust agreement over the browser choice screen – presumably one of the costliest oversights of all time.
  18. Apple’s App Store takes 74% of app store spend, while Google Play is 51% of all downloads. Even the BlackBerry store is over 100,000 apps now.
  19. SharePoint is being replaced by third party apps at multinationals on an almost daily basis
  20. 40% of PCs are still running Windows XP, despite this being three versions out of date (I wonder how many are still running Windows 2000?)
  21. Microsoft just sold their IPTV business, just as the consumer-savvy Apple might be going into the IPTV business.

This is depressing.

You know I could go on and on with these, and I haven’t really found any good news. As someone who relies on Microsoft for a living, this is really really depressing – and a bit scary.

Please, Microsoft, get your act together – I need some good news!

Google Android is the worldwide leading smartphone OS in terms of shipments. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. iOS is the leading smartphone OS in terms of developer revenue, and I don’t think anyone would dispute that either. That Apple hates Android and would like to kill it – well, that may have been true under Steve Jobs.

But things are changing – Apple are introducing 4G, and beefing up Siri. Voice recognition and voice search are areas where Google do have quite a big patent portfolio, and both Google (through Motorola) and Samsung have 4G patents. So this could run and run.

The problem is, as has been pointed out in a few news sources, the Apple v Samsung trial hasn’t really hurt Samsung’s image, whereas even the Apple faithful are turning on Apple over this one.

If they keep hitting out at each other, there can only be one winner – Microsoft. Read more