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back to article 'It's not a post-PC world: Just a post Windows one, maybe'

Channel watchers Canalys celebrated the launch of Windows 8 this month by declaring we are now in the "post Windows" era. Canalys CEO Steve Brazier kicked off the Channels Forum conference with a state of the industry keynote which questioned how much success Redmond could expect on the back of the Win8 launch, particularly as …

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eh?

>While Windows 8 was getting great reviews on touch devices,

Oh? care to point to, say, 24 of them? I've not read above 2 that could qualify as a 'review' in any sense of the word.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: eh?

Let me guess: If it's positive about W8, it's shills and therefore not a review, if it's negative it's an accurate review?

Every review that I've heard has been pretty positive. Most of the comments however are negative.

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Unhappy

Re: eh?

No, I've seen loads of reviews about desktop users, but none based on a proper touch-only device. The odd mention of desktops with touch monitors, where it seems to do well what it is supposed to do well. But nothing about touch devices. Still not sure that many exist.

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WTF?

Re: eh?

I went to an Insight event in Manchester the other month where Microsoft had a stand.

I'd previously tried W8 on the PC and was horrified by it. All the usual stuff, where's the start menu, how do I shut down? Fucking hated it.

When I tried it on the Surface it kinda made sense. However, when I tried to put it into Desktop mode the guy watching stopped me.

My only conclusion is that it's just not ready for either platform. They're sacrificing both for the benefit of neither. I just can't understand the business model.

Also mate, if you're reading, cheers for Keith.

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Re: eh?

> I just can't understand the business model.

It's the same one they've been trying for a good few years now.

When they launched WinCE/WinMo/WinSmall/WinWhatever they had two major selling points:

1) It looks just like your desktop PC interface.

2) It uses the same Windows kernel, so all developers have to do is re-compile and you can have access to all of the same software you use on your desktop while on the move.

Sounds like a great idea, except:

1) The desktop screen is designed for a 15" almost square screen and a mouse (I'm talking about >10 years ago), not a 3-3.5" rectangular screen being used in portrait mode with a stylus. What you get is a very cluttered and fiddly interface.

2) Mobile devices tend to use solid state storage, which is expensive, so they use as little as they can, so your bloated desktop OS needs to be cut down to fit. That meant taking out half of the API and library functions and *that* meant that you couldn't just "re-compile and go" from the desktop - even MS worked this out eventually, the pre-launch hype of being able to have MS-Office with you on the road changed to "Pocket" versions of Outlook, Word and Excel. All with about 2% of the functionality of their desktop equivalents.

All Win8 shows is that MS haven't learnt the lessons of the past and they're trying to integrate from the UI first instead of from the kernel first, which is a bit like putting a teabag and milk into a mug of cold water and then heating it all in a microwave to make tea; technically it works and you might even find some people who like it, but most people will just think you're a bit mental.

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It will be post windows when we don't have Windows only DRM shackling digital content.

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Unhappy

I'd love it to be true, but....

There are far too many people in corporate IT departments who know nothing but Windows, and what MS tell them. Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM^w Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd love it to be true, but....

But you can easily get outsourced

Anon as many functions of my job have been outsourced

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Linux

Makes you wonder if the efforts of Steam to bring games out of Windows and onto a more open platform won't kill the last thing that keps it on a lot of home PCs, gaming ...

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Out of Windows?

"...bring games out of Windows..."

I hadn't noticed Steam dropping support for Windows myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Didn't happen when Steam started to support, and Valve created, Mac games. So if it does happen it wont be fast. You have all those old code libraries and legacy engines that companies wont be too happy about rewriting.

Look at Bethesda, their UI and input system is a bad console port (Right button = left and left button = right by default?!), they are showing terrible support to PS3 owners and they just created a new engine that that probably intend to use for at least one more game.

Not to mention there are many years worth of games, software and 3rd party tools that are Windows only.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mad Chaz - I don't quite understand

why Steam a heavyweight DRM proponent would turn its eyes to a more open (a.k.a cancer) FOSS platform ? Did they not learn anything from Sony PlayStation fiasco ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Mad Chaz - I don't quite understand

because they sense they're being locked out of Windows, slowly but surely and would rather be at the top of the chain of control. DRM of any kind is only your friend if you're the one in control of it.

The Sony fiasco was just an excuse, an open OS can be sufficiently locked down at hardware level, and if Valve are to develop their own games box / system what better way than to build it on top of a reliable existing royalty free platform? You'll notice how they've been plugging Open GL, and saying how good performance is on Linux over DirectX on Windows too.

Valve's entire business model relies on Steam and having their 'store' at the forefront and right now it's the primary content delivery platform on Windows for games etc. Microsoft forcing the modern UI and Windows 8 Store in faces can be seen as nothing but an act of war and an attempt to swing that balance.

Maybe Linux users will get games at no extra cost, but the movement and promotion of Linux is almost certainly about having their own platform, not because they believe in 'Year of the Desktop'

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Re: @Mad Chaz - I don't quite understand

Steam doesn't need a locked down platform, it operates quite well on Windows and Mac; there's no reason it should do worse on Linux.

Valve's problem is that Apple and MS seem to be moving more to a closed model. Valve don't want that and neither do the other game vendors since they have no intention of coughing up 30% to Apple or MS in order to sell on their respective platforms. Given the home-market target of gaming it makes sense for Valve to go linux and provide a distro/app delivery service. The home market is less demanding and lock-in via complexity is less of an issue, as Apple are currently showing MS in the upper end of the home market.

The game vendors don't need linux to be a resounding success, just enough of a threat that MS won't be willing to annoy customers with a locked-down environment.

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Re: @Mad Chaz - I don't quite understand

> Valve don't want that and neither do the other game vendors since they have no intention of coughing up 30% to Apple or MS in order to sell on their respective platforms.

But the other game vendors do have the intention of coughing up 30+% to Valve in order to be on Steam? What difference does it make? Unless you go it alone, you will be coughing up a reasonably hefty percentage to somebody.

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Re: @Mad Chaz - I don't quite understand

The difference (from my personal perspective) is that though I don't particularly like having software crippled by DRM I've found that Steam does offer enough benefit (fantastic specials, steam chat, voice chat as well as easy access to low cost indy stuff) that I've now found myself with a substantial Steam library despite my initial reservations.

Getting BioShock for $4.99 is hard to pass up.

Consequently, I have found that now, Steam is my go to place when I want to play a game.

Not EA Origin store, and not whatever MS are calling their game store this week.

Basically, if it is not on Steam, I'm not going to buy it.

I have no intention of changing this stance so if MS manage to marginalise Valve by forcing their own store in their users faces then I will be in a bit of a pickle.

Being primarily a Linux user (my Windows partition does nothing but Steam and Itunes) I'm hoping that Valves work on moving Steam to Linux is a big success, and I intend to support it as much as possible by buying just about every game that receives a Linux port.

Well, at least at first.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple lead world? I don't think so. Maybe if you see the future of computing as tablets, but the iPad isn't going to lead forever. Apple could dominate in MP3 players since most people really did just want a simple, easy to use music player like a walkman.

But computing is a different thing altogether.

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Anonymous Coward

Computing is different...

@AC: "But computing is a different thing altogether."

I completely agree, although I think this is exactly why the iPad has been popular. Professionals (and people who read sites like this) want - and need - general purpose computers, but I think the vast majority otherwise don't. Yes, they want communication, media, and organisational apps (calendar etc) but only at the level of an appliance, i.e. you tap on an image to do a task. By design, it is not necessary to know anything about software/OS maintenance, security risks, or a host of other technical issues that professionals have to understand and deal with. You can use to whatever extent you feel comfortable with and there is never any risk that something awful will happen (in the same way that you don't expect to be routinely electrocuted by other household appliances). The PC is not dead, but I think it's destined to play a vastly diminished role in the future.

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Think again

"Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to describe the history of the computer industry for the past decade as a massive effort to keep up with Apple."

- Byte, December 1994

Still true to a large extent ...

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Anonymous Coward

windows is a niche OS

for people who want a slow heavyweight OS thats very good at being a client OS in 1996 style slave labour office arrangements, if you dont mind getting the pwnage shown to you every now and then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: windows is a niche OS

well clearly the 1% of Linux desktop users will suddenly swell to 90%, just like they said back in 2001.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

I used a work's Apple machine years ago, it was what I called the crashmatic. It fell over at least once a day, several times most days. An old 286 running DOS was more productive, but then I needed to do things, not sit and consume pretty pictures. I still need to do things and Windows 7 has crashed less in several years than the 'bomb proof' apple did in an afternoon. I have no use for an iPlod or any other iCr*p devices, I do, I don't just sit and consume.

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Re: windows is a niche OS

"well clearly the 1% of Linux desktop users will suddenly swell to 90%, just like they said back in 2001."

That's not a nice thing to say.

Articles pedalling the sort of twaddle as "we're now in a post Windows world" are obviously aimed at people who want to bash Microsoft.

I call it twaddle for these simple reaons:

1) Windows has around a 90% market share at the moment.

2) Business users who don't want Windows 8 will simply stick with Windows 7.

3) Home users buying a new computer will still have Windows 8 slapped on them by the manufacturers.

4) The only real alternative for your average consumer is to go Apple, at about 3x - 4x the price, oh wait, that stops making it a real alternative for the average consumer.

5) I bought an HP Touchpad and it runs Android ICS now as well as WebOS, I love my tablet, but I'm not using it right now. I'm using my PC because of it's superior 22" screen, keyboard (with tactile technology) and ergonomics (my neck, shoulders and arms are perfectly comfortable).

I use linux on my desktop (in a VirtualBox VM) for some development work, but let's be honest. We can start talking about linux on the desktop when consumers start buying linux on the desktop, until then... *shrugs*

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 14:44GMT - Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

So you're comparing a MacOS from 286/dos era to modern times Windows 7 and you found Apple products are crap ? Now since you're that great, can you also try comparing latest MacOS with Windows 1.0 and see which one is best suited for daily work ? This should compensate for any error that might have slipped in during your thorough analysis of the two platforms.

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Re: windows is a niche OS

We can start talking about linux on the desktop when consumers start buying linux on the desktop.

So can we talk about my mum and her Linux Mint desk top then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

Same here.

Out of about 400-500 computers we have at work, there are only two Apple computers, which are in the Marketing Department, but even the Marketing Department hardly use them.

Windows isn't going anywhere and businesses certainly aren't going to just switch from Microsoft to the newest shiny thing or latest fad. They're interested in tools, not toys.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 14:44GMT - windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

At the time I was comparing like with like, except the 286 was already ten years old and out of date but still better and faster than the then current apple crashmatic.

I don't need 'pretty' so, as I said I will not be wasting shed loads of money on an iCr*p device that will (a) cost a load of money and (b) not do anything I want, but (c) does things that are of no use to me. Currently Windows 7 is (a) stable, (b) does what I want, (c) does not appear to be over burdened with stuff I will never need, want or use. It also interworks with almost all of my legacy devices.

I have no need of clouds, remote storage or other frippery that would chew up bandwidth for no purpose. I have no need to work on a load different devices using the same data.

Could a modern apple do what I need? Maybe it could. Perhaps it has caught up, but if iTunes is anything to go by I doubt that I would be happy with it, I would certainly NOT be happy with the apple tax price list.

As things stand, if necessary I can even work on my system and upgrade the hardware as needed, without needing to double the national debt!

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Linux

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

Windows is the new legacy platform. It's that nasty old mainframe running COBOL. You don't really like it but you can't really get rid of it either. There are piles of old apps that are written for it and only for it and they aren't going to get migrated to anything else.

Apple has slim prospects of reversing this. Slightly more than Linux. Steam is a good example.

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Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

I used a work's Window machine years ago, it was what I called the crashmatic. It fell over at least once a day, several times most days. An old Mac running Mac OS was more productive, but then I needed to do things, not sit and consume pretty pictures. I still need to do things and Mac OS X has crashed less in several years than the 'bomb proof' Windows did in an afternoon. I have no use for an Zune or any other iCr*p devices, I do, I don't just sit and consume.

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FAIL

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

"I used a work's Apple machine years ago"

Are you talking pre-OS X? If so then you're spot on, but unfortunately also totally off target since MacOS *was* flaky, but is like comparing a Ford Anglia with a Ford Focus.

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FAIL

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

Years ago, meaning OS 9 or earlier I assume. Nice troll.

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Facepalm

Re: windows is a niche OS

Well that 1% need to have more kids if they ever want it to grow cos I can't give Linux away to my customers that have used Windows, even if it means they get a PC for £100 less.

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MIc
Facepalm

Re: windows is a niche OS

The dumbest of dumb.

by niche you mean > 90% market share?

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Bronze badge

Re: windows is a niche OS

@John G Imrie

"We can start talking about linux on the desktop when consumers start buying linux on the desktop." - Me

"So can we talk about my mum and her Linux Mint desk top then?" - You

I'm not sure, was this some sort of attempt to undermine the logic of what I was saying? I mean... I think it was, but I really don't see how anyone with a grasp of the stats would see it as one.

Particularly if it was older hardware, I'd gladly set up a linux box for a relative for web surfing and the like. I'm not trying to poo poo your pride and joy here. When I want to get low down and dirty with a disk's MBR, I won't look anywhere else.

Let's step back though. How much of the market for new computers do the mums of linux enthusiasts make? Half a percentage point perhaps?

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Happy

Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

Sorry about your windows experience, perhaps you were not holding the mouse the right way?

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Re: windows is a niche OS or Is 'Touching' just for perverts?

"I used a work's Apple machine years ago, it was what I called the crashmatic. It fell over at least once a day, several times most days"

But that was true of Windows and Linux too, back then. Okay, Linux was somewhat more stable but any DE you ran on it kept crashing. You can't fairly compare Windows 7 (which has been very solid for me) with Apple in the mid-Ninties, just as you can't really compare the current OSX with Win98.

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Re: windows is a niche OS

> 3) Home users buying a new computer will still have Windows 8 slapped on them by the manufacturers.

Microsoft is trying to emulate Apple: app store, high street shop, premium tablets, phones. They will be taking revenue and profit from their OEMs and will still be taxing them on everything they make, and controlling what they can make. OEMs will eventually wake up that they are the slaves.

OEMs could decide that they could become another Apple. They make the hardware, have online sales. They could use Google app store plus one of their own. Given it is the OEMs who have relationships with the retail stores they may not need to open their own.

HP are still active with WebOS, they could go back to making these (with an Android environment on top).

But the main issue with your state 3 is the assumption that home users are mindless drones that walk into a shop every three years or so and buy a new computer and it turns out to have Windows on it. That used to be the case in previous years, they did it because their existing computer became clogged up with so much stuff that it was slow and unresponsive. The only option they saw was to throw it out and buy a new one. Computers that were spritely when new became tired and useless after a couple of years or less. It is almost like the OS was designed to do that.

Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 mostly fixed that problem. Fewer machines are being replaced. iPad fixed that problem. Less use is made of the PC as the iPad does the email and browsing, so the PC is less annoying.

Given that their budget only stretches to one machine they may buy an iPad or a Samsung this time rather than replacing the old PC.

So home users may well go into a shop, but they may buy something other than a Windows PC, or in hard times they may buy nothing.

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Thumb Up

Re: windows is a niche OS

> Well that 1% need to have more kids if they ever want it to grow cos I can't give Linux away to my customers that have used Windows..

Although I bet they would be happy to use an Android phone.

It's all perception.

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Re: windows is a niche OS

I liked your post, but I think at point 4 you refer to purchase price as opposed to TCO, We moved to Apple Macs in 2006 & since then have spent a lot less overall.

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Anonymous Coward

@Sabon

Laaaame ...

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Stop

What the Steve Brazier actually means is that's an era in which the cost of software is plummeting, sold direct and in which the channel has no part. Whilst Microsoft has successfully dumped a lot of legacy cruft (at last), it's definitely here to stay in the form of W8.

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Facepalm

Ahem...People tend to buy PCs less frequently than they do laptops/phones and tablets.

Why?

They last longer. More powerful. Not so prone to fickle obsolescence and the "must have the latest version (for some reason that I'm not quite sure of) phenomenon.

Plus you can usually install any OS on them over a 5-8 year period. Try doing that with a phone or a tablet.

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Re: Ahem...People tend to buy PCs less frequently than they do laptops/phones and tablets.

>They last longer.

If you left your cellphone or laptop on a desk for its entire lifetime, I'm sure you would find that they last quite a long time. Conversely, if you tote your desktop everywhere, I'm pretty sure the failure rates go up (at least from personal experience when I used to do LAN gaming with friends and moved the gaming machine around commonly).

>More powerful.

We're to the point where the average desktops processing power if far beyond what most people are going to use. This will reenforce the 'post-PC' world, who will make any money off desktops when they last 5 to 10 years of useful life.

>must have the latest version...

In cell phones, in America at least, you can blame the mostly 'free' cellphone with an extended contract. If people had to pay the real cost of them, they'd tend to use them for far longer periods of time. Also, cellphones and tables are 'social trendy' devices, your desktop locked in a room somewhere with a little crust on the keyboard isn't so much.

>install any OS on them over...

Most people will never do that. Most people will never jailbreak their phone either. Most PCs will run the OS they were installed with simply because most modern operating systems are supported for the life of the hardware. In tabs/cellphones manufactures have left a graveyard of unsupported devices as OS of the month or hardware of the day was rolled out, but the same thing was true for a lot of computer hardware over time. Given time, tables will standardize to a few manufactures and then people can develop operating systems for them (as long as the DRM is bypassable). Smartphones and tablets are still young markets.

Manufactures will just have to face that the PC market is a shrinking market. Capital markets don't like investing in shrinking markets so a lot of investment money will go to other technology instead. This is why Microsoft is so desperate to get in to another market. People aren't buying first PC's anymore, they are replacing ones that are dying or slow.

I'll still have a PC for a long time to come, but it's not my go to all the time electronic device it was at the start of the 21st century.

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Facepalm

Re: Ahem...People tend to buy PCs less frequently than they do laptops/phones and tablets.

So you are saying that if EVERYONE carried their PC around like they do their phones then they wouldn't last as long.

That's just genius! Who would have thought it!?

Erm except they dont, do they. Hence my point.

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Re: Ahem...People tend to buy PCs less frequently than they do laptops/phones and tablets.

For the most part I was stating that there is not magic in desktop PCs that make them tougher then laptops/etc, just that they see less abuse.

The stationary PC market has peeked. The PC market isn't dead. There's a big difference. The fact that a years old PC is still 'fast enough' will Consumers demanding that PCs last longer then in the past will shrink the market further. This means different things to different people. To me this means I get to spend less money less often. To Dell this means they get to make less money less often and that they should really focus less on the desktop line and put more effort in to tablets.

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WTF?

Why do people find it so hard to see ...

Why are people finding it so hard to see that Tablet devices and PCs are two different classes of device, and that many folks will use one of each (plus a smartphone making three).

Apple gets it. That's why the UI on an iPhone is not exactly the same as on an iPad, and why the UI on an iPad is not at all like the UI on an iMac.

Touch devices are for data consumption, for output-mostly usage with small amounts of clicking and even less typing. There are some business applications that fall into that category. For these, going to tablets makes sense. I recently visited a sofa shop where the salespeople all had iPads. They could show you what any sofa would look like with any fabric, and then take your order while sitting on the sofa. Neat! (Pity the sofas were crap).

But for serious data creation you need a keyboard and/or a precise pointing device (mouse). For many classes of serious work you need multiple windows open at the same time nxet to each other, or overlapping. For 6+ hours/day working with the computer, you need a big vertical screen and ergonomically acceptable keyboard and seating. A company that expects staff to work those hours on a tablet, will soon be sued by staff suffering from RSI. (And even if they don't sue, productivity will be way down and "sickies" way up).

Two different tools. Why does Microsoft and half the rest of the world think that they should be forcibly merged? It's possible to build an amphibious car, but most people know that they need a car, or a boat, or both.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why do people find it so hard to see ...

I think that you have nailed the issue. Whether Windows 8 will manage to bridge that divide is an open question. Will making 'a not quite a PC', PC in order not to confuse those used to tablets and mobiles succeed, probably not too well.

The risk is that it will fail to impress the tablet information consumption crowd and those already using a PC. There may well be a bridge market that has neither settled in one camp or the other, but those on one side of the divide or the other need to be persuaded to cross over and that may be a serious problem. Certainly making people pay for something as challengingly different as Windows 8 will not be an easy sell

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to see ...

>Why does Microsoft and half the rest of the world think that they should be forcibly...

Microsoft is still drunk on monopoly power.

They have so long forced users, customers, OEMs, etc in to doing what they want, that is how they operate. They want to take their desktop monopoly and jam it in to the cell/tablet market where they are desperate to establish a foothold. If they can't capture a good part of the cell/tab market by force they are in trouble, they have shown no ability to capture the market by merit. Who knows, it might work out for them in the end since Apple doesn't strive to meet businesses needs.

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Re: Why do people find it so hard to see ...

Too right, I've just said the same thing on the

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2012/10/09/hp_windows_8/ comments

I also have a suggestion as a part solution, RDP. For those times when you do want to run full office or just use the old UI on your phone / tablet / net book run it on a real PC & RDP into it from your device.

Both UI's, all legacy apps all available.

Using the Windows (or Linux) UI on your "device" is messy but you' only do it on odd occasions, if you need to do much you go to the PC

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Meh...

Microsofts "downfall will be the developers. With everyone switching to web based services and delivering content through a browser elementary IT folks could teach a user to log into a Linux box and fire up Chrome or FF.

If your applications are going to be based around web content, I'd rather spin up a Linux Server.

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