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  (Source: klamtech.com)
However, hardware and software units will be kept separate

Microsoft announced a restructuring plan back in July that would shift the inner workings of the tech company, and now, we're getting a glimpse of the changes that will take place as this plan is carried out thanks to AllThingsD

The new restructuring plan is called "One Microsoft," and the main idea is to bring the Windows Phone, PC and Xbox units closer together for a more seamless experience across multiple devices. This unified approach would make using multiple Microsoft devices easier for users who want a similar experience with details unique to each machine. 

To execute this sort of unification, Microsoft is adjusting executive roles. For starters, Windows and Windows Phone head Terry Myerson will have at least seven direct reports under the new plan. They include leaders for development, test and program-management positions; those heading Microsoft's phone, tablet, PC, Xbox and service departments, and a person in charge of future special projects (such as smart watches).

Other leadership changes include putting Henry Sanders (who had worked with Myerson on Windows Phone) in head of development; having Joe Belfiore (also from the Windows Phone team) lead a group focused on phones, tablets and PCs; putting Marc Whitten in charge of the Xbox team, and allowing Chris Jones to continue heading services.

Some big executives were left out of the list, such as Windows testing head Grant George, Jon DeVaan and Windows services head Antoine Leblond. It's not clear if they will move to other positions in the company or leave quite yet, but their absence from the list of those being repositioned within raises a few red flags. 

While Microsoft is looking to bring device departments together, the company will keep hardware and software units separate. This is a move contradictory to that of Apple, which only recently started pushing software and hardware units together in the development of devices like iPhones and iPads for a more integrated experience. 

Microsoft is in a serious transition period, and many believe that it's much needed. Microsoft has had a difficult time stirring up enthusiasm for Windows Phone against competitors like Apple and Samsung, and the Windows maker was late to the tablet game -- releasing its Surface tablet in October 2012 after the iPad had already been out for over two years.
 
To make matters worse, Microsoft's Surface was initially released with the Windows RT operating system (the full Windows 8 Pro-powered Surface wasn't released until February 2013) and it was a major flop. Many say RT isn't a full Windows 8 experience, lacking the ability to run legacy apps.

While the decision to restructure Microsoft was helped by current CEO Steve Ballmer, it was announced last month that he would be retiring sometime in the next year. While he has said that he planned to retire himself, he's also made other statements that show he wasn't ready to leave so soon -- and that Microsoft's board may be pushing him out as part of the transition period. 

Source: All Things D



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Why?
By Motoman on 9/9/2013 1:43:41 PM , Rating: 5
Why is it that MS thinks that what the world wants is a "similar experience" when using a phone, a video game console, and a computer?

The reason Win8 has been such a massive failure is because of that.

If I look in my kitchen, I have a refrigerator, a stove, and a can opener. Would it make the slightest bit of sense to have a "similar experience" for the UI to those devices?

There's no need to make phones, consoles, and computers look/work the same way. In fact, there's all the reasons in the world to make them *not* look/work the same way. Specifically...the fact that they all have vastly different intended purposes, form factors, and methods of human interaction.

This is kind of like Burger King deciding that they could somehow boost sales by making all their different types of food give a "similar experience" to the consumer. So all of a sudden everything is in french-fry format. Which works for french fries...and maybe chicken. But burgers? Salads? Drinks? Ice cream?

Just. Stop.




RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 1:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
"This is kind of like Burger King deciding that they could somehow boost sales by making all their different types of food give a "similar experience" to the consumer. So all of a sudden everything is in french-fry format. Which works for french fries...and maybe chicken. But burgers? Salads? Drinks? Ice cream?"

Agreed... Also, now I am hungry.

MS desperately needs to get some outside help. The internal team has been internal too long and they seem to have completely forgotten what normal humans want and need in their tech products... Oh well, it's thier own foot they are shooting.


RE: Why?
By w8gaming on 9/9/2013 9:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
Outside help is not going to help if this key decision comes from the very top of the senior management, which all sorts of rumors seem to suggest that. It will need a change of heart.


RE: Why?
By Reclaimer77 on 9/9/2013 2:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
MS is lost, so they think if they Apple'fy everything and boast about "synergy" across all devices we'll bite.


RE: Why?
By cfaalm on 9/9/2013 2:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
It remains to be seen to which degree the "same experience" will go. I think they need to strike a balance somewhere. Apple also unifies iOS and OSX to a certain degree, mixing and matching best of both worlds. And there lies the key obviously. MS has unified a bit too much for most or maybe they even left things out that needed unifying more.


RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 2:22:10 PM , Rating: 3
"Apple also unifies iOS and OSX to a certain degree, mixing and matching best of both worlds."

A big difference being OSX's UI isnt broken and irritating as hell for non-touch screen devices. It's the same as it always was. MS cannot say the same thing. I hate the tile based UI so much on the PC, it makes me not want to use WP8 (where it actually makes sense and works nicely).


RE: Why?
By StevoLincolnite on 9/9/2013 8:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
I have a Windows Phone 8 phone, it's a stupidly awesome OS for that form factor, it's also arguably a bit different than the regular Windows 8 too.

Got an Intel Atom Tablet with Windows 8 on it and it's great.

Windows 8 on my Triple Monitor Desktop, was a downright nightmare, I built the Desktop as a work horse, Windows 8 lowers my productivity by introducing Ribbon to Windows explorer and removed some shortcuts and features.

If you use Metro apps at 7680x1440, you will quickly be blinded due to all the white empty space which could have been used for something meaningful.


RE: Why?
By Dug on 9/10/2013 3:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
You nailed it. Useless space that you can't customize to your work.
I wouldn't mind having some tiles for certain apps, but not the whole thing that I can't arrange the way it would make sense for productivity.


RE: Why?
By FaaR on 9/9/2013 6:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
Apple makes their iOS and OSX unification optional. You don't have to use their launch centers and whatever the eff it's called if you don't want to. (I don't, on my macbook. I stick with the regular dock, it's good enough for my needs.)

MS ripped out the start menu, which perhaps wasn't a masterstroke of genius, but at least functional and useful, and replaced it with a giant heap of utter bullcrap which has no structure and no overview. The start screen is the worst UI I have ever had the misfortune of using. It's just terrible from every concievable angle, and there's literally NO WAY to avoid having to use it in win8.

It sucks. It stinks. It's awful. It needs to die.


RE: Why?
By Zstream on 9/9/2013 2:03:41 PM , Rating: 3
I'm very confused... Why wouldn't people want a similar UI? Have you seen kitchens with a LG, GE, Kitchen Aid, Frigidaire appliances? It's a gross mismatch of things.


RE: Why?
By Rickroll on 9/9/2013 2:16:21 PM , Rating: 3

A fridge is a fridge, a toaster is a toaster. They are different products and can have different features on their own. Simular UIs would make ease of use better for all across the board. Innovations could be still handled, the best UI wins.

Its like saying I dont know why my Android Tablet UI is the simular to my android phone? or IOS, or Windows..

We are talking about products from one specific company..


RE: Why?
By ClownPuncher on 9/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 2:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
"I'm very confused... Why wouldn't people want a similar UI? Have you seen kitchens with a LG, GE, Kitchen Aid, Frigidaire appliances? It's a gross mismatch of things."

That isnt the best way to describe what MS is doing... Try this.

In an effort to solidify the UI of the refrigerator and stove, MS kitches division would release an Fridge8 - it opens from the top down like an over door, smacks you in the face and reminds you that MS's descision making has gone out the "Window"


RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 2:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
Damns I cant type today. Let me fix.

In an effort to solidify the UI of the refrigerator and stove, MS kitchen division would release a new "Fridge8" - it opens from the top down like an oven door, smacks you in the face and reminds you that MS's decision making has gone out the "Window".


RE: Why?
By Motoman on 9/9/2013 2:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
You've completely missed the point.

It's like this: there's a numberpad on my microwave, because it needs one to figure out how long you want to cook something for. Say MS latches onto that UI feature as being "the" UI.

Then they put one on your can opener - and you have to use it to specify the diameter of the can you would like to have opened before the device starts to do anything.

They put one on your fridge...and you have to use it to specify the collective weight of the produce you're going to put in the fridge, and if you get it wrong the fridge reboots itself and loses all it's settings. Like, "stay cold" for example.

Then they put one on the coffee grinder...and you have to tell it how many beans you want it to grind, the size of the particles you want it to grind to (in microns), and the price you paid for the coffee and the number of cups you intend to brew, so that it can helpfully show you what your cost-per-cup is. Whether you want to know or not.

How does that sound?


RE: Why?
By Flunk on 9/9/2013 2:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
I actually think the fryification thing might actually work. A fast-food place where everything is shaped like fries (as long as they all taste right) would be a refreshing change from the normal and I could see it doing well.

It's not like Burger King is going anything right at the moment, they've done from competing with McDonalds for most popular fast food chain to competing with Arby's for least popular fast food chain.


RE: Why?
By 91TTZ on 9/9/2013 2:11:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A fast-food place where everything is shaped like fries (as long as they all taste right) would be a refreshing change from the normal and I could see it doing well.


Why is it that some people think that change = better?

Change can either be better or worse, it all depends on what the change is. Making food all take 1 form isn't "refreshing", it's stupid. It would remove all variety.


RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 9/9/2013 2:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... They need to work together not work in the same exact way. Two totally different things.


RE: Why?
By InsGadget on 9/9/2013 3:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
They did this, with the "chicken fries". They are horrible. Bad idea.


RE: Why?
By XZerg on 9/9/2013 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
i seriously hope Microsoft gets his right this time around. Build the underlying on the same technologies and security, and cater to different products and markets by providing interfaces that suit them best. One of the prime reasons Windows commands such a high market today is simply because it unified and standardized the experience. But there is a shift coming due to change in user-interaction interfaces (touch vs mouse/kb, small and portable vs desktop), a shift needs to be done to capture that market but not at the cost of breaking the existing world - contrary to how and why Microsoft became the king of the hill.

i honestly felt that Windows 8 was a great idea at first - a common OS to unify all compute process - alas in reality it was not so and it did the exact opposite, create one more stream/ecosystem. It would have been awesome to be able to run the same applications on any device the users chose to do so without needing a special version for it. It would need the OS/GUI theme handle providing some extra enhancements to suit the device usage better.


RE: Why?
By techyguy on 9/9/2013 4:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
One answer is malware.

As an independent I.T. Consultant I am tired of all these scam programs that continue to intrude on the Windows Desktop. Microsoft had to do something, because some of these are actually operated by American companies, and not flagged by anti-malware scanners.

Another answer is better resolution.

What would the Windows Desktop look like with 3200x2400 resolution on a 14 inch screen? Desktop Scaling will cut off the bottom of programs, so you can't even interact with necessary buttons.

Yes, it's a big change with questionable choices, but lack of change was causing Microsoft to stagnate.


RE: Why?
By Motoman on 9/9/2013 4:54:57 PM , Rating: 3
...what?

Nothing you mentioned is an excuse to make a desktop UI look like a phone, or vice-versa.


RE: Why?
By Zak on 9/9/2013 4:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed too. I don't want my phone work the same as my desktop does and vice versa. This is completely stupid and out of touch with reality. If you follow this logic you end up either with crappy phone OS or crappy desktop OS. Sure you can unify them via some online services for data sync, but they are different devices and they need different GUI's.


RE: Why?
By inighthawki on 9/9/2013 6:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that this article is SUPER vague and the definition of "similar experience" is not defined at all. "Similar Experience" does not necessarily mean same user interface. It can mean a common cor eplatform, so all devices are based on the same programming model, and share a common centralized set of services. An example of a "similar experience" that already exists today on their platforms is skydrive. A cloud storage service that is synchronized seamlessly across devices. Users have a similar experience with the application and its interface across devices.


RE: Why?
By YearOfTheDingo on 9/9/2013 10:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I concur wholeheartedly. Life is composed of multiple, different experiences. In general, people like to keep them apart. Personally, I have a Windows phone and absolutely love it. Windows 8, meanwhile, just drives me crazy. It's like your cute girlfriend suddenly starts popping up at your workplace. "Look hon, I love you but I can't let you intrude into my professional life. I'll lose my colleagues' respect just because you're prettier than an autoconf script."


RE: Why?
By hartleyb on 9/10/2013 8:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
I would disagree with your statement as similar experience across devices is what made Apple the power house it is today. Microsoft would benefit greatly by having systems that can seamlessly share data and applications across devices. One of the main reason I use apple is I can run an app on my phone, open an app on my IPad and start where I left off on the IPhone, and in most cases I can open the same app on my IMac and start where I left of on my IPhone or IPad. From a gamers view if I could play my games on XBOX, transition to surface, or the windows 8 it would be awesome. The one problem that Microsoft has always had is third party support, and hardware devices for the masses. The Zune HD was on par with the IPOD and in some ways more advanced at the time of its release, but lack of third party support crushed the device in sales. The same think is happening with Windows based phones and surface as there are few third party devices that work with exclusively with these devices. It's it getting better as the third party devices being sold on the market today are being designed to use a common standard like blue tooth or Wi-Fi so they work with most phones, tablets, and computers, but Microsoft unlike Apple puts no effort or money into third party devices which has always hurt the company’s bottom line. I can’t walk into a store without tripping over a huge amount of third party devices that support Apple products.


RE: Why?
By ArcsinZ on 9/10/2013 6:31:48 PM , Rating: 2
Stop taking it quite so literally. Let's take your example of the kitchen. In my kitchen I have a stove and a dishwasher and refrigerator all made by Whirlpool. There are buttons on the stove that control the oven portion, and buttons on the fridge that control the ice maker, and buttons on the dishwasher. All of those buttons look very similar, and work ostensibly the same way. There is a common design language between them. It's part of what makes using them intuitive. Once you know how one works, the others all work just as easily. Yes, buttons are buttons, but you can extrapolate the idea from that simple button paradigm into the idea that if you create systems where things are in the same place, they won't be intimidated by the idea of learning something new...again.

Right now, let's say you have Windows, and an Android phone and an iPad. You have to learn three new systems to use them effectively. None of the language is similar, and everything is in different places. If MS can get people to recognize how to use Win 8 and enjoy the experience, then when they look for a new phone and see something they already know and understand, they will love it. If people buy the new Xbox and enjoy the experience, they will want a Windows Phone to go with it to do the cool stuff you can only do with a Windows Phone and an Xbox. If they tie in that same usage with Windows on the desktop and tablet, people will buy into the ecosystem.

The only way to excite people is by having devices that do things that are different. If you can create a system where the Windows Phone is cool by itself, but incredible with an Xbox (and follow that logic that adding a Windows 8 desktop adds something else amazing, etc.) then you can get people to buy into an entire paradigm. It's actually quite a brilliant strategy that MS has the capability to do that no one else does. They have just failed at the implementation.


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














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