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  • Crono - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    " I have to wonder if household subscriptions to Windows are next on the auction block."

    I hope not. The subscription model might work for occasional use of professional grade software like Photoshop where I might need only a month or two of usage for a project, but for a fundamental product I use daily, like an operating system, it is not something I want to see charged to my account on a monthly or yearly basis. Software companies might benefit from the product-as-a-service mentality that seems to becoming popular, but I'd rather not worry about having to pay month-by-month. I like owning software, even if it means it isn't up-to-date in a few years time.
    Reply
  • N4g4rok - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    It does make dealing with software licenses a bit nicer. Reply
  • Omoronovo - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    This is more to do with the horrible state of current software licensing than there being any real advantage to a subscription based license. The only people this benefits directly are Microsoft; if you stop paying, you lose access to the software even if you have already paid more than the original "sales price" for the indefinite license. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    I suspect that they wouldn't be able to get away with that, it's more likely that Windows will move closer to Android's pricing model. Either that or people will move to cheap OSes when they start charging yearly. Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    If MS sends me a bill each year reminding me that it's not free, I'm far more likely to switch to OS X or Linux before that bill comes due.

    If I eat the whole cost of the OS up front, I'm less likely to switch since the cost going forward is zero.
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    "$100 for an entire year" for office productivity doesn't sound like such a good deal to me. We're at least a couple decades into the personal computer era and the basic functionality needed was completed many years ago. I've paid for office suites several times already and don't see why I need to pay again so soon, and certainly not every month for the rest of my life.

    I don't think its good for our economy and I know its not good for me that we're trying to greatly expand the price of basic things by changing them from a pay once and done model to a must subscribe for life mode. Companies seem to have gotten that smaller size and lower power consumption are important, maybe they'll get lower cost consumption next.
    Reply
  • jlaforge - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    I pay for Office 365 and find the desktop apps to be worthwhile. However, the basic functionality that you describe is available for free online as the Office Web apps that are part of Skydrive. These applications are constantly improving, and have already reached the point where light office productivity users will find them feature complete. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    You also have skydrive integration if you already has Office 2010/11. So your documents are already there hosted online, if you like to and it's not like the home/student versions of Office 365 has sharepoint online. Reply
  • Thornik - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Key point of MS fail are:
    1. It's "online" means Internet ALWAYS have to be ON. Needless to say how stupid this assumption.
    2. "Hook" like subscription is an obvious agony of MS while their income falls, but products cannot offer anything new.
    3. I won't pay for "online service" just by principle: damn editor is not a "service", but a simple program! I start it, edit and close, that's it. Who the hell overcomplicate simple things??
    Finally if MS will continue their self-killing, they will reach the goal :)
    Reply
  • cupholder - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    If you need even 2 licenses for Professional, it becomes incredibly worth it. (It'd take you 8 years to cover that cost at full value)

    Heck, even one license makes it pretty worth it for that same reason. Families who need 2 versions with outlook and have a kid going to college? Worth it.
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    But why do we need a "license"? I'd imagine virtually all of us readers here have already bought one office productivity suite. Have there really been new developments in the actual practical use of office memos, spreadsheets, presentations etc that require a full priced entire new set of applications? I doubt it, and if there were the appropriate price for them seems perhaps much smaller, to cover the incremental add.

    Or take your college kid. OK, new young adult, let's say this will be their first purchase. Is $100 for life -- say roughly $7,000 in today's dollars, vastly more after adjusting for inflation -- for basic office productivity an appropriate use of resources for functionality that was mostly completed before they were even a teen?
    Reply
  • johncbennett - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Actually, the present value of a series of $100 annual payments for sixty years, assuming a 3% annual rate, is closer to $2,700, not $7,000.

    Of course, I'm using Microsoft Excel to calculate this, and given that Excel has an incentive to keep me as a loyal user, you should take the result with a grain of salt.
    Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    If you think they're not going to ever increase the price you're living in a dreamworld. Reply
  • Dug - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    "But why do we need a "license"? I'd imagine virtually all of us readers here have already bought one office productivity suite. Have there really been new developments in the actual practical use of office memos, spreadsheets, presentations etc that require a full priced entire new set of applications? I doubt it, and if there were the appropriate price for them seems perhaps much smaller, to cover the incremental add."

    Yes there has. If you are an Office user then the upgrades in just Excel are worth the price. If you are paying someone $20/hr and you can get a project done quicker because of $100-$144/yr software then it is worth it. If I'm using the software and can save an hour of my time in one day then its worth it.

    Right now Office 2013 costs us $379 for an open license. That's for one seat.

    With Office 365, we can let a user put it on a desktop, laptop, tablet, etc. because the license is per user with 5 devices. They can log into any computer with their credentials and run the Office suite from anywhere. Our Mac users that also run bootcamp can have Office on both sides for no additional cost. Not to mention that by the time 3 years is up, there will be a new version that will have features that will help users. With 365 you can automatically upgrade.

    So buying once really doesn't save any money. Especially with people or employees that have more than one device. Or even a family that has multiple computers. I have a wife and two kids that need office for school. That would cost me a minimum of $600 for a basic version for all of us.
    If they need to upgrade in a few years, I've lost $300 dollars right there.
    Reply
  • name99 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    So you are running Word 1.0 and Excel 1.0, on Windows 3.0?
    No?
    Then your comparison is BS, isn't it? You're ALREADY paying to upgrade every three years or so.

    There are plenty of things to complain about with Office, even about Office pricing, but your particular complaint is nonsense.
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    While I have a relatively current Office, I find increasingly that I'm just using Google Docs because that's what's compatible with some of the people I'm working with. Without trying to be pejorative to that service the feature set there does feel roughly like what I remember Word 3.0 and Excel 3.0 being. And you know what? It turns out that's fine most of the time. There's a few QoL things I occasionally miss but nothing that would come close to adding up to "hours" of actual gained productivity in a week or even a month. And I'd expect same would be true for most users most of the time.

    I'm not going to respond to 1.0 or 2.0 because I think those versions really weren't feature complete yet. I think 3.0 was getting there with rapidly diminishing returns since then. While its true few users are actually running versions that old, I think in most cases that's because of artificial reasons like staying compatible with work mates, staying on a supported version, having the version that was updated for the current platform, etc vs. actually having received beneficial new features.

    Going even farther back -- on unix shells I still frequently use vi. I'd don't know if there's been new features in the last 25 years but if so I doubt I'm noticing. I'm sure glad no one was trying to charge me $5/month for all that time though.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Not true.

    I'm still using my copy of Office 2007, that I've been using for years.

    I recently added Visio to it too, no problem.

    Before that I believe I was using a copy from 2002.

    No drama, just getting good use from your purchases.
    Reply
  • bountygiver - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Not to mention that you get upgrades as new versions are released if you stay subscribed to the service. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    What, are all MS employees online today? Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, July 19, 2013 - link

    Anandtech is being Reddited.

    I got 3 licenses of Office 2010 from work for $10, but I'm using LibreOffice on my home laptop (yeah, it's pretty sucky UI-wise) because I don't want to be held hostage to Microsoft's price structure.

    Once all my core Steam games get Steamplay and Linux support, I'd like to make the switch to Linux, too , although the transition and learning curve so far has been too steep for me to step into - and this is from someone who's used AIX and hpUX in the work environment for several years, and who ran OS/2 Warp as his main OS for a couple years.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, July 19, 2013 - link

    PS Two things about Jarred's article don't gel with me.

    If MS is moving to a more rapid schedule of OS and Office releases, why are they still charging the same price for a product that is going to be superseded much quicker? I paid $99 for Win 7 on my desktop (still going strong), and $15 for Win 8 upgrade on the wife's laptop (promotion price). $15 sounds about right to me for a proprietary OS in the current market of free OSes.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Saturday, July 20, 2013 - link

    Standalone Office used to give you 3 licenses FOREVER for $129. You don't need Pro for most home, school and small office use.

    New pricing scheme is a ripoff.
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    Who cares? SAS is the way to go. You own nothing and and control nothing. They'll do it if they can get away with it. It's literally just a matter of time. They tried it on xbone where they have an equal competitor. What makes you think they won't try it with Windows where their market share is ~90%?

    Why should Microsoft continue supporting XP? Redhat charges money for support. Why should Microsoft provide Windows Update or anything else for free? In the age of Netflix, a small monthly fee is not a big deal for most people, especially if it disappears the upfront cost.
    Reply
  • Da W - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    You pay 100$ a year for the whole office suite, which used to be called professionnal and cost 599$. So it's not a bad deal, it depends what you need. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Most people don't even pay $30 for Antivirus!

    Many, many, many people I know are running things like AVG Free. Wake up.
    Reply
  • eanazag - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Keep in mind that the $100 a year is five copies of Office and installable on Windows and Mac. They are bundling 20GB of Skydrive, which I haven't really used. And at least one email account from my understanding. Their new mobile app is also relying on buying into the Office 365 deal.
    I dont have a subscription, but I am considering it at some point only because I have more than one computer I'd like to have Office licenses on.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Who in the right mind would use Skydrive, after they gave the NSA backdoor access? Reply
  • Jammrock - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    The Office 365 license is $100/year for up to five devices, PC or Mac. If you are in a home with 4-5 computers, like mine, it can be a good deal.

    With four computers on the traditional model you'd pay $560 ($140 * 4) for Office 2013 home and student to be licensed. That's nearly six years of the subscription, not including the extra SkyDrive storage and Skype minutes you get. Assuming you upgrade Office at least every 5 years or so it is worth the cost.

    For people who rarely upgrade or only have one or two computers it's not really worth it. Unless you absolutely have to be on cutting edge all the time. Which is why the stand-alone product is still available.
    Reply
  • webby7 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    "could care less"

    *Shudder*
    Reply
  • mga318 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    The professionals are rolling their eyes at your shuttering. Do you struggle with evolutionary change, too? Or just the naturally occurring language change that's been going on for the past 40,000 years?

    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archive...
    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2748
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archive...
    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Funny enough, I spoke "couldn't care less" into my microphone with Dragon Naturally Speaking (working on that after playing with funky keyboards for a few months), and it transcribed it as "could care less". If Dragon thinks it's acceptable, who are we to argue? ;-) Reply
  • novastar78 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Wow... first world problems... I couldn't care less.... Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    If you could care less, but don't, then that means the topic holds some interest to you. There is a distinct difference in both connotation and denotation of what you said, and intended, based on the rest of the article. Reply
  • Tegeril - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Your list of links is amusing. Two to the same place, two both talking about the same Boston Globe article (that references the former duplicated link).

    The illogical 'could care less' (when describing something that you could not care less about...) does seem to have won a place in US speech, but that doesn't make it any less shudder-inducing.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Whatever.

    "could care less" simply makes absolutely no sense when the person actually means the opposite. And "could" and "couldn't" have very specific meanings, look it up in a dictionary. Theres evolution of language and theres plain stupidity.
    Reply
  • Friendly0Fire - Saturday, July 13, 2013 - link

    "Theres evolution of language and theres plain stupidity."

    And apparently another evolution is the disappearance of apostrophes :)
    Reply
  • tcool93 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    A subscription required for any of their software WILL destroy Microsoft. No one will ever upgrade again, or will switch to an alternative operating system. If they think PC sales are slow now, it will be nothing compared to what will happen with a required subscription. Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Hahaha what a load of fucking stupid BS :))) LOL hahaha so funny clownie :))

    Of course no one will be against subscription. Everybody is subscribed to some sort of a wireless plan, people subscribe 'cause they can get unlimited voice, data and cheapo new flagship handset. With SAS it's going to be exactly the same. People will subscribe en masse for exact same reason - they all need some software, some device and some services, subscribing for a low monthly fee makes totally perfect sense for this very common scenario. Right now people get just the smartphone with a plan, but wait a few years and MS will sell Surfaces with the same wireless plan. Want Surface Pro with wireless data? $1000 upfront or $200 on contract with unlimited voice/data. Pay off your three year contract and get a free or cheapo upgrade to the new version of Surface Pro, trade in your old one, get some reimbursement or something, keep using the fresh new one under the same subscription. Everybody will LOVE this arrangement, no big upfront payments any, use the best tablet ever with data/services/software that is regularly updated by MS for free, just keep paying subscription fee every month. Then later MS will introduce layers of subscriptions, like gold, silver and bronze, guys with gold will get pampered red carpet experience with next day Surface replacement in case of loss or damage, accelerated hardware upgrade programs (like every year or two years, faster than the other lower layers), preferred phone support, preferred expert support at the local MS store etc etc. Silver ones will get some light discounts in MS App Store and other minor promotions and bronze guys will get nothing but the replacement for old Surface every X years. This is all obvious, this is where the whole world is moving, your stupid little kiddie cries will change nothing. Be prepared, grow up and deal with it. You can't stop the march of progress, whiner :P
    Reply
  • fanofanand - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Don Matrick, is that you???? Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, July 19, 2013 - link

    I think Don Mattick and Adam Orth just had a baby. Oh wait, this is Pirks, maybe it's the other way around? Reply
  • bji - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    "use the best tablet ever with data/services/software that is regularly updated by MS for free, just keep paying subscription fee every month."

    How can you write a sentence with such an obvious logical contradiction?

    Also, subscription schemes have existed for a very long time, it's not like it's some new idea that is just waiting to catch on. And it's harder to convince people to start paying a subscription fee for something that they are used to having for free than it is to introduce a new product type with a subscription fee model from the beginning. People were used to paying monthly phone bills before cell phones were invented so nobody batted an eye when cell phones came around and the service plans required a monthly fee. Believe it or not in the good old days people didn't even own their landline phones, they were rented from Bell.

    On the other hand, nobody has ever had to pay a subscription fee just to use their personal computer, and that's what a subscription fee on the operating system would introduce.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Quote: "On the other hand, nobody has ever had to pay a subscription fee just to use their personal computer, and that's what a subscription fee on the operating system would introduce."

    ^^ My point exactly.
    Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    The subscription cost exists whether Microsoft introduces upgrades within the period or not. The upgrade is therefore free relative to the baseline cost. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Agree, absolutely. Reply
  • Taurus229 - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    If we continue to go in this direction, and not just computerwise, but all industries in our country, computers will only have a place for the upper class. The middle and lower class will not be able to afford all the add on fees and rising costs. Business is getting too greedy, and our country is already feeling the brunt of it coming out of the worst recession since 1929. The people just won't take much more. Where will this leave Microsoft ??????????????????????? Reply
  • todlerix - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    There are a lot of solutions for different problems. If money is as alarming as you are portraying go with a no cost solution. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Can I pay for access to my hardware too?

    Well, it does have firmware, that requires updating from time to time...

    I must live in a South African township or something, as I know l o a d s of people not paying for antivirus, and I simply couldn't see them paying to use the base OS, that shipped with a machine they paid for.

    I've never thought I'd say this, but Linux has a future, and it is bright.
    Reply
  • Metaluna - Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - link

    It's already going in that direction, but the revolution is from below. The average joe wants tablets so they can do Facebook and a few social games and not much more than that. This is killing off the low and midrange PC market, and the accompanying software markets, faster than any corporate conspiracy (and it's not MS leading that charge...at best they are playing catch up -- badly). Hopefully it won't regress back to the 80's and before, when if you needed to do "real work" you (or more likely your employer) had to drop $10K or more on a "workstation". Reply
  • bountygiver - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    subscription for OS will never work, because it is something required for all other things, unless you are renting the hardware. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    None of this gets rid of Microsoft's biggest problem: Steve Ballmer. Reply
  • versesuvius - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Am I wrong in thinking that all that Microsoft is talking about is a new user interface? Like create 3 new icons and a new swap method and they are good to go? Like Apple? The fact of the matter is that about half of the software industry, the money making part of it at least, is about doing just that. A new update for the OS every 2 months? That sucks. The "users" will always be upgrading and worrying the wits out of themselves over nothing, trying to get the latest upgrade and learn to use it to achieve the same result that they were getting before. Computers are there to simplify things not complicate them more for the net sum of nothing. Reply
  • Nagorak - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Since when are frequent updates a good thing? The fact that there are a billion android updates actually sucks. It means your device is almost immediately out of date, and then apps sometimes don't work if you have an older system version. Not to mention support for phones and tablets is regularly dropped only a year or two after release. Then you have to hope that some altruistic programmer(s) out there are making a hacked version for your device, which then may or may not work well.

    I'm sorry, but frequent updates to an OS is far from a good thing. It's one thing if it's bugs/security fixes, but wholesale changes to the OS just cause problems, and "confusion" as mentioned in the article.

    Secondly, $100 for a year of Microsoft Office is an absurd rip off. You'd be hard pressed to notice any real vital changes from the office version that came out 10 years ago. I would say that the first Office version that came out with Win95 is probably more than sufficient for most people, even most businesses. So, frequently, relatively pointless updates are in no way worth $100 per year. If Microsoft ever goes subscription only with Office, I see Open Office and every single other alternative getting a lot more business.
    Reply
  • ATimson - Friday, July 19, 2013 - link

    I'd argue that the changes in Excel 2007 to allow more than 65,536 columns/rows was a "real vital change", at least at work. The built-in PDF generation starting with Office 2007 was nice too.

    2010/2013 didn't have anything particularly earthshattering, I'll admit, but I wouldn't want to go back to anything earlier than 2007. :)
    Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    Personally I can't handle the 07 interface very long. I strongly prefer 10. I also always felt 10 was natural, while 07 was... fake. It looked shoddy and felt shoddy, even though it behaves almost identically to 10.

    13, I need some experience with before I can say, but 10 is my favorite yet.
    Reply
  • critical_ - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    This may make sense to individuals that don't care about upgrading there main device mere seconds after an update is released but this is a nightmare for those in support. Rolling out updates is messy. Making sure every one of our applications and tools work with the next update takes time. Many business have only recently rolled out Windows 7. Windows 8 isn't even on the radar until all necessary validation is completed and re-training of end-users is taken into account BUT Microsoft is releasing Windows 8.1 rather soon. Guess what? Windows 8 will get skipped by many for this reason alone.

    Unfortunately, the gotta-have-it-now mentality is where we run into problems. How many of us had to deal with Apple's latest iOS that broke Microsoft Exchange? End-users complained but they had other ways to access their email and calendars. For those in support who already deal with the mess of BOYD (bring your own device), it was pure hell. Apple takes its sweet time (relative to the clock the support world works on) to put out fixes but we have to deal with it until the problem is fixed. Also, how many times have we dealt with Apple messing up time-changes and leap years? You'd think they'd get the problem fixed.

    I hate for this to turn into an anti-Apple rant but Microsoft needs to keep focusing on the business world. Windows is configurable enough that those of us who need to power can use the "raw" system but Microsoft can cater to various markets (a la Windows Server Standard vs Windows Home Server). Let's just hope they don't take away that power (boot-to-desktop removal in the preview vs. final Windows 8).

    Finally, software subscriptions are terrible. I understand that the model makes businesses happy but I like to "own" the software I use rather than have a certain amount of money deducted out of my checking account every month for the "privilege" of keeping a system running. I'm happy to pay for a subscription for services like road-side assistance, cell phone (although pay-as-you-go exists), etc. but software is not one of those things.
    Reply
  • Grennum - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    I disagree about the rolling updates being messy. They require a different method of administration. For example our CAD software gets a major update yearly and at least 5 different service packs a year. This is a great model because no single yearly jump is a huge upgrade effort, things evolve very incrementally.

    Contrast this with our Dynamics AX upgrade scheme. That software is upgraded every 3-5 years, and each upgrade ends up being almost an entire new implementation. This is a terrible model to admin, maybe it is great if you like the set and forgot IT approach but that doesn't continually improve the value provided to your users.

    I like rolling updates, I hope Microsoft can execute them in a reasonable fashion so more companies can stay up to date.

    As for subscription, we already have an Enterprise Agreement with MS, as due many companies so the subscription idea is already here.
    Reply
  • mrdude - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    The difference here is that it's a ploy to get your average consumer to adopt to that same model, and that's a far riskier proposition. The enterprise has a long history of subscriptions, but is Joe Average going to buy into that?

    Rolling updates certainly do help, but they have to provide incentive to buy into that subscription model. I use AutoCAD for work, and although the program has evolved tremendously over the past decade, for my line of work most of those updates have added nothing but an additional sub-menu to sift through and ignore. For most people, the only changes they've seen in Office in the past decade are the minor face lifts, and I'm not sure jumping to a subscription model is going to make upgrading any more attractive. If it can open .docx, it's probably good enough

    I'd like to see MS release devices, applications and features that aren't found on other competing devices and OSes/app stores. Rather than "we can do tablets too!" they should be pushing and developing technologies that others lack and truly could revolutionize how people interact with their devices; Kinect is a perfect example of MS sitting on a gold mine and not doing much with it.
    Reply
  • Beenthere - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    By 2015 Microsucks may be nothing more than a dirty bootnote in the annals of PC history - at least we can hope so. Reply
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    "Apple doesn’t get it right in every case either, but I know people that have MacBook laptops, iPads/iPods and iPhones, Apple TV, iTunes, and an AirPort Extreme router, and they are willing to pay more for what they perceive as a better and easier overall experience."

    I'm perceiving it being easier, every day. It does work well and is easy and I haven't found it significantly more expensive.
    Reply
  • mrdude - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure how a game of musical chairs is going to help them adapt to the current landscape and pave a brighter future for MS.

    I've read parts of the memo, and it reads more like a motivational speech rather than a "we're going to do things differently now" agenda. The move towards subscription-based models is a smart idea, but only if you can make it work and provide incentive to the user. Mirroring the Adobe trainwreck isn't a good business model and requires a lot of care to not piss off your consumers. Given MS's recent moves, though, I somehow doubt they really care about consumers in the first place :P

    What worries me most, though, is that Windows is their bread and butter. If MS is looking to adopt the 'devices and services' model, then they really need to get over that '$$$ for Windows' roadblock. Charging OEMs $30-$100 for a Windows license on a device that costs $200 isn't going to cut it, and when you can't sell your devices at the high margin end of the market, it gets even worse - check out the fire sale on Win RT tablets. On one hand, they've introduced Bing-sponsored ads into the OS itself, which can be seen as a move toward making Windows free and making up that licensing $$$ elsewhere (ads within the OS), but they're still charging an arm and a leg in a market that runs on razor thin margins and high volume, cheaper (relatively speaking) tablets.

    One MS with a single agenda sounds all fine and dandy, but if the accountants have the final say - ads in 8.1, XBox One debacle, overpriced tablets - then it's never going to work.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, July 19, 2013 - link

    >check out the fire sale on Win RT tablets.

    I don't think $450 (with Type cover) for a last-gen SOC and low-resolution tablet counts as a "fire sale", especially when half the storage space is used up by the recovery partition. If anything, it's another sign of Microsoft's ongoing delusion over the exaggerated value of their brand.
    Reply
  • blacks329 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    The rumours of Apple making iLife and iWork free on the mobile platforms (and possibly Macs as well - iLife already is free with a Mac) makes this very interesting.

    On the Mac, Office is pretty pathetic, I happened to come across Pages (the iLife Word equivalent) by chance and was astonished just how much better it was than Office (even on Windows) for at least 95% of my needs, Word still has significant depth with their macros, but that fullscreen mode on Pages completely blows away anything in Word. Whether it be for heavy document editing or reading, it makes it so much easier to concetrate and just write/consume. And Keynote is also a better PowerPoint. But Excel is still untouchable.

    I'm hope Apple makes iWork for iCloud free and they make their iWork suite free as well on the iPad and iPhone like the rumours suggest (a page was found in the iOS 7b3 German App Store which indicated that these apps would be free).

    iWork is quite sufficient for most casual workloads for page or presentation editing. Although when it comes to number crunching nothing beats Excel on Windows, if only they could make that experience better on the Mac.

    It would be interesting to see how a free across all platforms iWork suite would affect MS.
    Reply
  • name99 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    About as much as GDocs has affected MS...

    The problem with Office is that everyone hates it (except Excel, the one part that is overall a pretty good product) but everyone is forced to use it for compatibility with everyone else. That's a hard barrier to get around, especially since for most of the people paying (large organizations) it's just not that much of an expensive, and worth it for the compatibility.

    So who CAN switch? Basically individuals who don't need compatibility. Which means
    - people giving presentations by themselves
    - people making spreadsheets for themselves
    - people writing documents which they submit as PDFs (ie read only format)

    Basically home users and students. Not a market MS ever gave a damn about anyway --- they're cheap, they're happy to use some version of MS Office from 10 years ago or some bootleg copy. That's why MS offers those cheapo home/student packages in the first place. At least that way they can make SOME money occasionally from these people --- if they charged full price, no-one would pay and MS would make nothing.

    The way this changes is some LARGE organization (The Pentagon, UCLA, Boeing) decides there's value in switching from Office to GDocs to iWork. I don't see that happening. These organizations are full of drones who have zero initiative and whose only skill set is that they happen to know how to click a few buttons in Office. Switch them to anything else and you'll be in for a year or more of zero productivity and never-ending whining about how the old way of doing things was so much better.
    Reply
  • Subyman - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    I'm wondering if fast iteration is sustainable. The article compares iOS to Windows iteration, saying that Windows takes years between updates but iOS/Android are constantly changing. I think that is a poor comparison. iOS/Android are in their infancy and need to be iterated on quickly. But if you look at OSX, Ubuntu, etc, they have major releases every 2 years or so instead of every 6 months. I think there is room to tighten the releases, but I'd hate to have to move onto a new OS every 6 months on my main computer. Windows going sub would be a one way ticket to OSX/Linux for me. Reply
  • blacks329 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    Apple has also indicated they're accelerating their OSX release cycle to about 1/year. Although they've been only charging in the realm of 20-30 bucks for the past 2 or 3 major OSX updates.

    In a sense a similar $20/year for the latest greatest Mac OS without them explicitly saying as such. Although $20 is pretty easy to digest yearly.
    Reply
  • fanofanand - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    The subscription model will not work for the vast majority of consumers because really, do we need a constantly evolving operating system to watch netflix and "like" stuff on FB? The average Anandtech reader needs significantly more, but to most people out there, computers are nothing but media consumption devices which are occasionally used to play Candy Crush or Angry Birds. If Microsoft attempts this, I would expect either new competitors to emerge or Google will figure out a way to capture the majority of that market share. Microsoft has had quite a few blunders in the last few years, but I think this would be the most harmful to the company's long-term prospects. What works for Enterprise is not necessarily what will work for consumers. Besides, people have gotten spoiled with free updates to Android etc., and without the need for x86 programs why would they pay for what they can get for free? I think if most people didn't have Windows pre-installed on their laptops you would see a significantly smaller market share going to Microsoft. Maybe it's time for a new OS to appear on the market? Reply
  • blacks329 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    I don't know what other company out there, besides the afformentioned 3 (MS, Apple, Google) could possibly succeed on a world wide level with a consumer oriented OS. (Succeed = sales + developers support). I honestly don't think we need more OS' on the PC or mobile front for that matter.

    While web based programs may be the future, we're still at least a decade away from seeing that as plausable for >50% of the population in North America (bandwidth, local computational power among various other things) and even longer for world wide adoption. So if Google plans to stick with that approach for the PC side of things, they're not really going to be all that significant of a player beyond the ultra low end market, who would likely be better off getting an N7 or iPad mini or something. The other approach for them could be to adopt Android to the PC, they already have an ARM based Chromebook, would be interesting to see how that would play out.

    That leaves MS and Apple for the traditional PC OS's. And there really won't be any new players coming in to this market, since first and foremost its a dwindling market, it'll always exist, but its shrinking in size. And even if a new player did come out, getting the amount of developer support that MS and Apple have at this point would take 5 or more years, it took Apple about a decade to shake that 'oh but will I be able to run X, Y and Z on a Mac?' I don't think any one would have the patience for a new player, especially considering how good W7/8 and OSX are.

    "if most people didn't have Windows pre-installed on their laptops you would see a significantly smaller market share going to MS"
    - thats been true for that past 15 years, lol.
    Reply
  • danjw - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    What they really need to do is go the same route as apple with a mobile OS and a Desktop one. They also need to throw out their current culture that is stagnating their OS performance. They need to start advancing the performance of Windows for it to survive. Reply
  • tonyn84 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    The consistent user experience across platforms is actually something I'm very much against. I have different devices because they each specialize in certain things, I don't want them gimped on the interface to make the experience similar. A phone will never do everything my desktop or gaming console does so it should focus on being a phone first. Reply
  • name99 - Friday, July 12, 2013 - link

    You might want to look at what this actually MEANS in the context of Apple, rather than simply dismissing it as nonsense...
    The fact that MS can't do it right, and that Google can't figure out what the hell it's plans in this area are, doesn't mean it's impossible.
    Reply
  • twtech - Saturday, July 13, 2013 - link

    The right way to do it would be to have one application/core, multiple interfaces. Desktop, phone, tablet, and 10-ft are all different use cases, with different types of input, and deserve different dedicated interfaces.

    There's no reason though why you couldn't have the same underlying core OS tech for all of those devices though. That's a good idea. But trying to force someone to use a phone interface on a desktop with a 30" monitor though is a terrible idea.
    Reply
  • twtech - Saturday, July 13, 2013 - link

    I really want to get rid of Microsoft products. It's just that there are no viable alternatives.

    Linux is not there and may never get there as long as Linux developers continue to think it is reasonable to expect average people to enter in sequences of complex shell commands and modify configuration files in order to accomplish relatively basic tasks.

    MacOS is even worse than Windows in terms of going down a rabbit hole and getting stuck tied into one company's system with limited options.

    There's not really anything else available. Again, I would love to completely separate myself from Microsoft products, but it's still not an easy thing to do right now.
    Reply
  • Calinou__ - Sunday, July 14, 2013 - link

    Linux is there. You're doing it wrong. Also, command line is part of life; deal with it. Hiding it is not a good thing. The only configuration file I had to edit (/etc/fstab) was to enable TRIM on my SSD. That is _not_ hard unless you're stupid.

    Oh, by the way, it's OS X, not Mac OS X, Mac being Apple's computer brand.
    Reply
  • maximumGPU - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    "Linux is there."
    "Also, command line is part of life; deal with it."

    right on both counts, as evidenced by the massive adoption rate in the Linux user base every year.
    Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, July 22, 2013 - link

    I'd say it is, given that I was able to stick my grandparents on a Linux machine (KDE) and they couldn't tell the difference until I told them. Ironically, they started having problems right after I told them. With things they had figured out successfully. Reply
  • Thornik - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    > a consistent user experience across all of the devices

    Most stupid thing I ever heard. Like creating flying-running-swimming-jumping car.
    I understand when MS tries to avoid writing applications for every device, but as soon as these devices has different nature, it's IMPOSSIBLE to make "one fit all" UI. I don't think MS beliefs to itself.
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    I see the benefit in a UI that is familiar to people, but I am not certain it applies across all devices. All the rage is everything moving to a smartphone accessing SaaS apps. Well I don't see how anyone can be productive editing full page documents on a 4 inch widescreen. If people are editing full page Word / Excel documents on mobile devices then they must have far better eyes than I do and remarkably dexterous fingers for typing on a touchscreen. I call BS. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, July 15, 2013 - link

    Wow, I don't know where to start with this one....

    $50 to $100 might be a barrier to adoption, but annual subscriptions to Office are easier to swallow?

    So, I have two laptops, one I decide to use more than the other, and just over a year later, when I have problems with one, I whip out the spare on the way to my meeting - but wait, it needs to sync like 'Steam', and gain further payment before I can use it? Now where did I put that Linux disk?

    I have to say I'm really not surprised. After the fowl taste that Win 8 left in my mouth (yet more bloat, more cpu usage at idle, larger OS footprint), not to mention the amount of work they spent removing the Start Menu, that everyone I know says they want there. With such a mental disconnect from their users such as that, I'd fire the entire research & marketing team.

    As an MCP I say this from the heart - MS reminds me of many governments, paid by us, depending on us, but always behaving in a manner that we don't like or agree with.

    If you don't agree with me, then where do you get your research from. I know of businesses in Denmark that have moved entirely over to Open Office. I know of Asian high-street computer stores selling their machines with Linux, a first for my eyes.

    So despite being pro Windows for many years, I say to you Microsoft, begin subscriptions for Windows, and watch yourself sink like rock.

    They even killed Forefront Threat Management Gateway, a very useful product, despite a campaign calling for them not to do so.

    *shakes head in disbelief*
    Reply

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