Surface Pro X Discussion Thread (October 2019)

Discussion in 'Microsoft' started by JoeS, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Pick me :hi: pick me teacher :hi:

    Oh well, not called on in class but I'll answer anyway...Q1 - extremely doubtful, because of Q2 - there really is no strategic rationale to do this. Their foray into ARM won't increase the total number of devices running their cloud services and software, at best cannibalizing/replacing existing devices. Unless their goal changes to become a first tier OEM of Windows devices, what's the incentive? Better 5g performance or battery life? They can get there without Qualcomm. Keep Intel on its toes? Apple is doing quite well at that already.

    Maybe Duo or now dead Neo would have ushered in a chance to create a three device life, like Apple has done with iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but that was a stretch at best.

    Bah humbug...(ten months eraly says Scrooge)...
     
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  2. desertlap

    desertlap Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Jeff, those are great questions which I certainly don't have an answer too, and IMHO is something that MS itself is still working through.

    First of all I firmly believe that if MS chose to, they could release a ARM based Surface Windows device that could easily compete with Apple's M1 MacOS combo.

    The question is would they? And if no, why not?

    So a couple of relevant "data points" which to be clear and upfront are definitely anecdotal.

    There has been two times in recent, relevant history that MS in essence forged ahead alone, versus relying on their software and hardware partners to be the "tip of the spear" with innovation.

    The first example was Windows 8 which is/was by far the biggest change/innovation to core windows since at least windows XP. And if you remember there was huge backlash in the tech and general press related to it.

    Not only that, but in the way that matters to all involved bottom lines, there were unprecedented levels of returns of systems because of it. Not just at the consumer level (though it was extraordinary) but at the mainstream business market.

    My retail contacts at the time said the return rates prior to Windows 8.1 were in the neighborhood of 20% or more. That's compared to a typical rate of 1-3% more generally.

    And I heard, again anecdotal stories of enormous returns or cancellations at Dell and HP. ( I assume IBM as well though my contacts where much less with them).

    And any retailer or seller can tell you that returns are extraordinarily expensive across the spectrum, to deal with.

    The second time MS "went it alone" essentially recently was the last round of Windows Phone when they purchased Nokia's phone assets.

    Again a story of 7-8 times the normal return rates for devices, and this time it was the carriers wrath that MS faced . Again anecdotal so I can't speak to the veracity, but with AT&T for example, they allegedly had an agreement where they didn't pay MS until they actually sold a device and it was beyond the return period. Highly unusual when standard terms are Net 30 days.

    And last but not least, there have been stories of "landfills full " of unsold Lumias.

    However, Windows Phone is what also gives me a bit of hope. As anyone that has/had one can attest to, Windows phone was incredibly fluid and "snappy" even on the lowest end models and far better than Android phones at the time running on the same chipsets.

    And this is the potential advantage that Apple and MS share which is that they OWN the OS and thus could tune it to a specific hardware platform far better than any OEM could.

    Even Google can't really compete here IMHO due to the open source nature of Android unless they engage in a proprietary forking of Android (and there are rumors they might be headed down that path with their own chips as well)

    So to bring it back to top line, Could MS do it? Absolutely IMHO. Will they? I have my doubts. To again use an example, the iPhone was a once in generation "bet the company" moment that possibly only a company in Apple's at the time unique set of circumstances could/would do.

    And I'm certain that if the iPhone had flopped, Apple likely would be part of personal computing's past.

    So @lovelaptops , Jeff you once more have inspired a monologue from me :)
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    First of all, you are the class pet, and never need to raise your hand or be called-on to speak :newpalm::thumbsup:

    Now, to your point. I'm noodling over whether it is good for MS' overall business model if Windows remains as dominant as it is today. Or would they be, in this intentionally extreme hybothetical case, perfectly happy if the majority of users of their cloud platforms and applications software were accessing them entirely on Mac OS or IOS devices? I can see strategic/economic arguments on either side, but would love to hear the opinions of all the class on this. (My inclination is that Windows still carries significant strategic and financial benefits for MS for some time to come.)

    Why care? Because I don't think the issue is MS caring about selling devices. But the device future is clearly ARM and none of the Windows PC OEMs have the capital to invest in it, so MS developing - with partners - hdwe and sftwe to be then generously shared with the OEMs would enable Windows devices to retain their massive dominance. With the vast performance/endurance superiority of M! devices, I'm hard pressed to find a reason why anyone's 12 year old's first computer wouldn't be a $999 MBA. (It would seem that the best thing Windows OEMs have going for them is that Apple doesn't seek device dominance - just device profit dominance, of which it owns some 75% share worldwide with some 25% average device (weighted, all types) unit share.)

    I hope I haven't "LL'd" this comment beyond anyone's ability to make sense of it!
     
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  4. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    The biggest part of my problem is with "why" ARM is the future? It is "a" future, but it is a multi-streaming future. The Apple M1 is the classic example. They started forking development towards a desktop chip somewhere around iPhone 6, and have been able to expend untold resources on an SOC so customized for the operating system that they DEMOED their latest and greatest Mac OS on a Mac Mini without disclosing the hardware until the very end. There is a near fusion of hardware, firmware, and software to a degree that even a Microsoft reference design would be hard to replicate at the vendor level without the vendors being commoditized sellers like the early days of PC's in Computer Shopper.

    So, unlike @desertlap the consummate data driven engineer, I get to wax philosophic (sophomoric?) without the constraints of charts, graphs, and databases. However, I think this spring's/summer's release of "Windows in the Cloud" (or whatever they are going to call Windows and MS 365 as a cloud service) will solidify my belief there is no hardware future for Microsoft, because they will deliver their atoms to you on whatever terminal device you choose to use.

    But EVERY TIME your ISP is down, cell towers collapse under the weight of their traffic, or some weather Armageddon shuts down a whole state like Texas' Valentines Day massacre, the computing world and commerce will come to a screeching halt because everything is up up and away...



    PS - one saving grace - if I am right (5-10% chance) then our phones will become a primary computing device, as long as we can find a keyboard, mouse, and monitor to DEX to...
     
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  5. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops My friends call me Jeff Senior Member

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    1) love me some 5th Dimension :)
    2) so, you're gonna trade in your iPhone for a Samsung? :p
     
  6. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Only if the Galaxy Fold 3 has a siloed S Pen AND costs less than a M1X MacBook Pro 14...:p back at ya!
     
  7. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Since you asked the whole class, I thought I'd chime in to say, "those who use your hardware today, are users of your services tomorrow."

    Just look at the the recent posts by forum veterans seriously considering the full Apple dive. Is it because of the hardware? Partially (the hardware is nice, but still has its shortcomings), but it's the software—particularly the services integration—that gets people.

    When you cede the hardware side, you cede control of the software revenues. This is true of app developers (look at the current antitrust lawsuits), this true of services (Google has to dump truckloads of money at Apple's doorstep to keep Google search as the default), and it will be true of enterprise management software if Apple devices gain dominance in the business sector too.

    And once you give up the hardware race, there really isn't any going back. There's only trying jump in on the next devices trend (and we know how good Microsoft has been at that ;)).
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  8. desertlap

    desertlap Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Interesting point @Marty
    The open question is if the "eco system" has reached the point where it's the primary determinant of both hardware and software choice.

    I'd argue that we are there and that doing something like say having a windows laptop/desktop, an android phone and an iPad is just asking for frustration.

    Correspondingly, Apple is farther along the path than anyone in making it as seamless and frictionless as possible. And correspondingly creating lock in as the barriers to switching get correspondingly higher.

    And as much a MS touts the "we work on anything" mantra, they risk not playing in that realm where the default or included software and services is not theirs. eg. you have to download, and configure their stuff out separately.

    If I was a Surface marketing manager, that's the argument I'd be making right now, especially tying the Duo and Pro X as closely together as possible.
     
  9. dstrauss

    dstrauss Comic Relief Senior Member

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    Ding ding ding ding ding...and this is where Microsoft is caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place. For me, the frustration point just between Windows laptop and iPad/iPhone is enough to be driving me towards the walled garden, and as long as I get the Windows/Office 365 services I want on my chosen devices, then the integration of an all Apple life is the cherry on top. Of course, MS's mobile apps are BEST on iOS, even sometimes better than their own UWP efforts, and with small distinctions the MacOS applications have really overcome the Grand Canyon gap they used to have with their Windows counterparts.

    Since Microsoft can't afford to abandon a market as large as Apple's, I'm pretty sure their support will continue. It's just doubtful to me that the Surface marketing manager will come to Microsoft's rescue.
     
  10. Kumabjorn

    Kumabjorn ***** is back Senior Member

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    I can definitely see a future where Starbucks, MickeyD and others will introduce a table that lets you fold/switch up a monitor with a tray containing a keyboard and mouse (attached) and for every coffee you buy you get 30 minutes with those attachements and wifi access. ;)
     
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