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  (Source: Bloomberg)
Microsoft CEO defends cross platform approach, jump into tablet market

"Surface is a real business. In an environment in which there’s 350 million PCs sold, I don’t think Surface is going to dominate volume, but it’s a real business," commented Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer in a recent interview with TechRadar.

The embattled CEO has suffered recent shareholder unrest as Microsoft has struggled in the smartphone and tablet markets.  But Mr. Ballmer is convinced that Microsoft's new unified approach -- which will culminate in the late summer 2013 launch of Windows/Windows Phone "Blue" -- is a solid route to market domination.

He explains, "Increasingly, people access the same content and services from multiple devices or use more than one device at a time. [Having] the same look and feel shortens the learning curve and creates a more seamless user experience."

Microsoft is rumored to be working on a Surface Phone, a device designed to encourage third party OEMs to step up their game.  When it comes to the Surface tablet, Mr. Ballmer says it showed OEMs what could be done with a Windows 8 tablet.  He comments, "I’m super-glad we did Surface. I think it is important—and not just for Microsoft but for the entire Windows ecosystem—to see integrated hardware and software."

Surface RT ($499) has been criticized for its poor resolution (1366x768), while Surface Pro ($899 USD 64 GB; $999 USD 128 GB) has been criticized for offering too little free space to the user. Still, both tablets are very popular for their slick looks and solid hardware; the Surface Pro is currently sold out.

The CEO claims that Microsoft understands very well what consumers wants, but sometimes is just a bit lacking in execution.
He remarks, "So is there a lack of understanding, or in some cases do I wish our execution had been better? I would say the latter. In cases where we’ve embraced end-user needs and really sort of dived in, like the things that we’ve done with Kinect and the Xbox, I think we’ve done a heck of a job."

While no official announcements have been made Microsoft has come under fire for reportedly locking out used games from its next generation gaming console, the Xbox 720.  The console, which is expected to launch later this year, is also criticized as being harder to develop for and less popular than Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) upcoming PlayStation 4, according to industry sources who've worked with early dev kits.

Source: TechRadar



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Storage claims still unfair...
By txDrum on 2/20/2013 1:05:17 PM , Rating: 5
Nice article, but it's still silly to complain about the storage of the Surface pro. It's much more similar to other win8 ultrabooks, and in the case of the macbook air, actually offers more storage (at least when the recovery partition, of which mac does not have, is removed, which is super simple to do).




RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Nortel on 2/20/13, Rating: 0
RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By NellyFromMA on 2/20/2013 1:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, if you are gonna pay that money, maybe use your expertise to evaluate the space isn't enoguh and go with the higher model.

It's like part of your assessment is from a professional perspective and part is from a novice.

Assess your needs and purchase accordingly. Pony up extra for the convenience of Surface form factor or purchase a competitor model.

Also, for files, theres expandable storage. An awful option to install programs on, but for what you're talking about its exactly the point.


By Shadowself on 2/20/2013 2:21:18 PM , Rating: 2
Your comment makes no sense to me. The prior poster was saying that 89 GB left after the OS install is not enough. To my knowledge the largest Surface Pro you can buy today is 128 GB which leaves the aforementioned 89 GB. Thus your statement "maybe use your expertise to evaluate the space isn't enoguh and go with the higher model" makes no sense to me as he's already talking about the higher model.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Voldenuit on 2/20/2013 2:33:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Honestly, if you are gonna pay that money, maybe use your expertise to evaluate the space isn't enoguh and go with the higher model.


What higher model? Nortel is referring to the 128 GB Surface Pro, which is the highest capacity model. And which still only has 4 GB of non-upgradable and non-configurable RAM, which is nowhere near enough for power users, and seems like a lousy upgrade from the 64 GB model when 128 GB SSDs are only $20-30 more expensive than 64 GB models in retail.

quote:
Also, for files, theres expandable storage. An awful option to install programs on, but for what you're talking about its exactly the point.

It's also an awful option for media files on Windows 8, as Win8 doesn't let you add removable media to your libraries, and it doesn't allow ModernUI apps to access files that are not in your libraries. There are workarounds (such as making softlinks to removable drives inside existing directories) but they're a kludge, and not something users should have to go through the trouble of doing/figuring out.

Surface/Surface Pro may be showing OEMs what Microsoft can do, but it's definitely not showing them what they should do.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 3:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it doesn't allow ModernUI apps to access files that are not in your libraries.


I totally agree here! This was a total pain for me and put a dead stop to a very cool media player I was developing for Windows 8 UI (Metro). There's no point developing a media player that can't reload your playlist when the app is opened if the files in said playlist aren't in your libraries.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By inighthawki on 2/20/2013 3:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and it doesn't allow ModernUI apps to access files that are not in your libraries


Uhm... this has never been the case. Metro apps (Video, music, and a couple apps I've downloaded before) certainly let me access any file on disk or via removable media. I've played videos off of both a usb stick and my SD card before.

Also I'm pretty sure I've added themto my libraries (Or maybe I just moved the default location of the primary folders to the SD card...)


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 4:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
You can access files from anywhere via a metro app as long as it uses “ filepicker” utility (ie: user intervention). You cannot build a metro app that will automatically access these areas of your disk without user intervention. This is for security purposes and is generally a good thing, however this makes it incredibly hard to build a playlist the persists after the app is closed and repopulates when the app is reopened as the files are inaccessible during automatic repopulation.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Fritzr on 2/21/2013 8:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's also an awful option for media files on Windows 8, as Win8 doesn't let you add removable media to your libraries, and it doesn't allow ModernUI apps to access files that are not in your libraries. There are workarounds (such as making softlinks to removable drives inside existing directories) but they're a kludge, and not something users should have to go through the trouble of doing/figuring out.

Microsoft disagrees with you. According to Microsoft, any folder viewable in the File Manager can be added to a Library. Yes that means that removable media that has been removed cannot be added, but that is because it is missing...
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/add-f...
quote:
To add a folder to a library

If the folder is on an external hard drive, make sure the drive is connected to your PC and that you can open it.

If you're viewing the New Library page in File Explorer, tap or click Include a folder, select the folder, and then tap or click Include folder. You're done. If you don't have the New Library page open, continue following these steps.

Open File Explorer by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering File Explorer in the search box, tapping or clicking Apps, and then tapping or clicking File Explorer.

Expand the location to find the folder you want to add, and then select it. (For example, if you want to add a folder from a network, expand the network location and select the folder.)

Tap or click the Home tab, tap or click Easy access, choose Include in library, and then select the library to which you want to add the folder.

Note: "Hard Drive" in this article includes USB attached storage & memory cards ... essentially anything that is viewed by the File Manager as a file folder.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By NellyFromMA on 2/20/2013 1:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
Dont' get me wrong, between Google Apple and MS, I know MS is best suited to deliver businesses needs in the short and long term and isn't likely to cede that territory in the next decade.

That said, don't you think the 64GB Surface Pro IS a little under-provisioned storage wise? I base this on the fact that I don't think any programs would appreciate being installed on the expandable storage drive and so 20GB or so really isn't much for the target audience.

If the above is true, I think saying the claim is unfair isn't exactly, well, fair.

Are you saying comparable ultrabook offer similar capacities at similar pricing? Idk myself because I'm not much of a ultrabook kind of guy but if so I think the claim applies to those models as well.

It wouldn't be so bad if actually upgrading the SSD wasn't a chore in warranty removal and possible device death. I'm definitely a huge Surface and even MS supporter but I do so in fairness.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Nekrik on 2/20/2013 1:49:03 PM , Rating: 4
Just to add some details for this thread:

http://www.zdnet.com/surface-pro-versus-macbook-ai...

The 11" Mac Book Air is $1099 with a non-detachable keyboard, and ultimately less storage (since calculated at base 10) if you offload the restore image from the Surface.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Tony Swash on 2/20/13, Rating: -1
RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By jnemesh on 2/20/13, Rating: -1
By themaster08 on 2/20/2013 5:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
Apple will keep Microsoft in business since iCloud runs on Windows Azure.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Shadowself on 2/20/2013 2:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
With OS X Mountain Lion the Macs do have a recovery option on the drive sitting there taking up space. Remove both and compare again.


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By Nekrik on 2/20/2013 2:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
That is for the online restoration, an entire system image is not stored on the system. To use this option you have to have 13GBs of free disk space, so actually 13GBs should be subtracted from the usable total, otherwise you have no otion to restore. Also, No web access, SOL.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718


RE: Storage claims still unfair...
By tayb on 2/21/2013 3:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure it's actually a very good idea to remove the recovery partition. The "reset" is a pretty prominent feature of Windows 8 and with the new licensing being shoved down our throat it may not be very simple to re-install the OS. You don't get recovery media any more, after all, though I'm not certain if it is still possible to produce your own...


I won't count MS out of the phone or tablet market
By chizow on 2/20/2013 12:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
Because of this statement:

quote:
In cases where we’ve embraced end-user needs and really sort of dived in, like the things that we’ve done with Kinect and the Xbox, I think we’ve done a heck of a job.


MS did manage to turn one of their greatest failures into one of their greatest successes with the XBox, so I won't count them out of either market. I do think they know what the end-user wants and if they don't execute well the first few times, they do tend to get it right in the end (see XBox, Vista/7).

They've got resources and the staying power to give us assurance they're not going anywhere, but the smartphone market will be a tough nut for them to crack. Maybe Surface gives them the foot in the door they are looking for? I won't count them out.




By mcnabney on 2/20/2013 1:27:46 PM , Rating: 3
The success of the X-box 360 was heavily assisted by the colossal failures of Sony.

MS was out a year in advance
360 was significantly cheaper than PS3
MS pillaged PC gaming for titles and exclusives
Sony's use of the Cell architectural made life difficult for developers
Sony screwed up their marketing early on

Even then - Microsoft's adventures in consoleland probably haven't made them a dime after all expenses are factored.


By NellyFromMA on 2/20/2013 1:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
It was a run away success because of Sony's failures but also beccause of MS success. To deny that is essentially ignoring facts.

Xbox Live is a critical part fo their success and it's executed extremely well for the size of its user base.

Sony didn't even beleive that made sense and was late to the part thereafter, and even then failed in the regard of delivering a smooth online experience.

So, its both.


By dagamer34 on 2/20/2013 1:53:06 PM , Rating: 1
Considering both consoles have sold roughly the same number of units but the PS3 did so in a year less, I don't think MS is on such high ground here. Plus, I think it's impossible to follow up the domineering strength of the PS2.


By NellyFromMA on 2/20/2013 1:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
The first xbox wasn't a failure. It was a first iteration. how many companies do you even know that enter established markets and become first place first gen?

I know of none.

The first Xbox was actually a success in MS eyes and anyone who understands market-penetration in general because it created a following for subsequent products to become succesfuly, even MOST successful (xbox360).

Gotta look at the big picture here...


By jnemesh on 2/20/2013 5:18:21 PM , Rating: 3
Um, the original Nintendo Entertainment System and the PS1. Both of those were first gen consoles that DOMINATED the competition. Try again.


By Nekrik on 2/20/2013 5:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
That's specious logic at best. They didn't so much dominate, there was much less competition for the market share so they and others (like Sega) all did well for what they were. Back then they also did not sell the hardware under cost just to gain market share, the hardware was profitable or they ceased to exist in the next generation. Part of what contributed to it was that the game development industry was not as competitive and cut-throat then.

The Atari and the Commadore 64 also shared the market in a similar sense.


What is everyone talking about?
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 2:27:10 PM , Rating: 1
First off, I’ve seen many people griping about the storage space on the surface pro. 1. The iPad only has 128GB at its top most model. I don’t know how much of that is used/available but I do know the iPad also uses a recovery system. 2. Who actually stores high definition movies on their actual tablet? My tablet has 32GB, runs windows 8 and has about 16GB left now. My movies are kept on a central shared drive on my main computer. A 1TB external drive if I want to take it with me for some reason, but the number 1 way I watch movies on my tablet is Netflix/Streaming/Remote Access. All of these take ZERO storage capacity. Anything over 80GB is more than enough for a tablet in today’s world unless you’re trying to use it as your only computing device, which you shouldn’t be. Also, unlike your iPad, I can easily pull my tablet apart and change the hard disk to something more roomy.

Secondly, the Xbox: I hope they do kill the used game market. I despise the used game market because it’s one of the reasons new games are so expensive. It’s also one of the big reasons the PC game market has gone south, because companies like GameStop quit pushing them as there’s no used market for PC games for them to rape again and again, and there hasn’t been for a while. Consoles aren’t killing the used market; they’re catching up to the PC and doing what should have been done a long time ago, killing GameStop. GameStop preys on children who want new games but have crappy allowances and can’t buy online without their parent’s help, so they buy the kid’s old games and a complete steal (5 to 10 bucks if you’re lucky) and then mark them up to 20-30 bucks and resell them. I’d rather just buy a new game for 40 bucks, but you can’t because the used game market squelches so many potential sales that the new game market has to raise their prices to compensate. As a developer and a consumer… screw that!

As far as developing for the Xbox, what are these crack heads talking about. Visual studio express (free) plus Microsoft XNA game studio (also free) and you can officially develop for the Xbox. I don’t see why the “720” would change this especially with Microsoft’s current direction of “unify the platforms”. C# + XNA + .Net is EASY. If you can’t figure out how to code for that then you don’t get to call yourself a coder. And no, you aren’t screwed into using C# as far as I know. Direct3D works with C++ just fine and you can use that too. Now to be clear, to develop professionally you'll want the Microsoft Xbox SDK (probably not free) and the full version of Visual Studio 2010 (probably 2012 for the 720). While I do have the professional Visual Studio 2010, I do not possess the Xbox sdk. I can say that it would be very odd if the SDK was that much harder to code for than any traditional DirectX programming (since that's what Xbox uses) and would be very surprised if it were much different at all.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2971507/tools-e...

If I had to take a stab at it I'd say the coding for the Xbox “720” will probably use languages and tools *similar* to that of Windows 8 UI (Metro) development. As that seems to be the direction Microsoft is going with everything, in which case it's even easier. There's an adjustment period but the code is very easy to work with.




RE: What is everyone talking about?
By tng on 2/20/2013 5:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I hope they do kill the used game market. I despise the used game market because it’s one of the reasons new games are so expensive
You might get your wish, but new games will not come down in price as you might hope. Chances are that new will continue to increase in price since with no used games, there is no competition.


RE: What is everyone talking about?
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 8:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
Because new games don't compete with... each other? Between morons who buy into angry birds appstore games and believe all games should cost 99 cents to the everything should be free or ad supported crowd the future of gaming looks rather bleak, honestly. If games increase in price it will be because of inflation or our ever increasing demands for gaming graphical perfections and ideas like "amazing gameplay", "story", and "substance" will continue to get kicked to the way side to placate us with pretty graphics and nice special effects. This drives up game purchase costs because it drives up game development costs. Between that and proprietary formats and the idea that everything delivered must come from some god awful appstore there's no room for the traditional model that made gaming great in the first place. Every game comes with it's own crappy app store on windows, because we *want* to install a different app store every time we purchase a game from GameStop... pfft.


RE: What is everyone talking about?
By jnemesh on 2/20/13, Rating: 0
RE: What is everyone talking about?
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 8:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously have not reading comprehension skills. fist is NEVER said games are "expensive" in a general sense. I said games could likely be made cheaper if companies sold more original copies than if the used market stole 3 of every 4 sales. In the PC land used games have been all but dead for a long time. The consoles are just following in their foot steps.

second, I NEVER said used games "diminish the success of a good game", I doubt very seriously they diminish the success of a bad game. I simply said again, that a game could be potentially cheaper in the new form if the used form went away, and I stand by that.

Lastly, if you read my post you'll understand why your last sentence is retarded. I never said XNA would be used for the next generation, stop putting words in my mouth. I said XNA WAS used this generation and that Microsoft would likely push the Windows 8 UI style development into the 720 because Microsoft has been on a "unify the platforms kick lately". At any rate the Xbox has used coding technology that is very similar to windows development thus far and I don't see them changing that anytime soon. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Xbox will be "difficult", per say, to code for.


RE: What is everyone talking about?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2013 8:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Secondly, the Xbox: I hope they do kill the used game market. I despise the used game market because it’s one of the reasons new games are so expensive. It’s also one of the big reasons the PC game market has gone south, because companies like GameStop quit pushing them as there’s no used market for PC games for them to rape again and again, and there hasn’t been for a while. Consoles aren’t killing the used market; they’re catching up to the PC and doing what should have been done a long time ago, killing GameStop. GameStop preys on children who want new games but have crappy allowances and can’t buy online without their parent’s help, so they buy the kid’s old games and a complete steal (5 to 10 bucks if you’re lucky) and then mark them up to 20-30 bucks and resell them. I’d rather just buy a new game for 40 bucks, but you can’t because the used game market squelches so many potential sales that the new game market has to raise their prices to compensate. As a developer and a consumer… screw that!


So like...are you just trying to sound like a complete dumbass or does it come natural?


RE: What is everyone talking about?
By Luticus on 2/20/2013 10:09:12 PM , Rating: 2
So like... are you going to offer a rebuttal or are you going to resort to childish name calling like a little school girl?


Sure it is, Steve, sure it is....
By jnemesh on 2/20/2013 5:15:32 PM , Rating: 4
And Windows 8 is a "good OS" too, right?




Serious...
By damianrobertjones on 2/20/2013 2:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
Then PLEASE release a battery cover to improve battery life. All other issues will be resolved but MS, really, you do have to make that happen as I went ahead and purchased an 8470p and Samsung 500t to cover my options.




Storage capacity vs cost
By eagle470 on 2/20/2013 3:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
Do you people ever realize what your complaining about? I want you to stop and think about what it would take to get more storage into the device to appease your childish rants. FIRST it's windows, it's always going to be bloated, especially on x86. That not with standing:

The ability to put more storage in the device would have to go one of two ways, either they upgrade to a bigger SSD, which would price that tablet WAY out of line with market prices and the thing would be DOA.

OR they could have done a 128GB SSD with 32GB Flash for the OS, which would have made the tablet thicker and then you all would be whining about how the tablet is to clunky, and you might as well have a laptop.

It's a media consumption device, if you really need to store that much pr0n, you either need a laptop/external HDD, or you have a problem.

Dear god you'd think that only children were allowed on the internet.




By Arsynic on 2/20/2013 1:05:49 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
While no official announcements have been made Microsoft has come under fire for reportedly locking out used games from its next generation gaming console , the Xbox 720. The console, which is expected to launch later this year, is also criticized as being harder to develop for and less popular than Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) upcoming PlayStation 4, according to industry sources who've worked with early dev kits.


#1 Just a little research would help the author to see that this is just a rumor and Sony actual has patents to lock out used games.

#2 How the fuck is a console with AMD hardware and using the DirectX 11 API harder to develop for? Stop spreading FUD, Jason. You're like a fly flying from shit pile to shit pile spreading filth everywhere it lands. Keep the VGLeaks and Kotaku shit in their respective piles.

And "less popular"? By what fucking metric? Sony announced the PS Meeting weeks ago and MS has announced nothing. Of course they'll be more buzz surrounding the PS4 which will hopefully be announced tonight.

Sorry for busting your balls, Jason, but this is nothing but a FUD-laden "M$" hit-piece.




720 degrees of fail
By Shadowmaster625 on 2/20/2013 3:38:47 PM , Rating: 1
If they think tying game purchases to a single console is a winning strategy then they are going to be the failure of this generation. So much fail from microsoft. Even by their standards they've had a bad time. A tablet with fans? lol. More expensive than apple? lol. What a joke.




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