Microsoft COO Relishes Windows on Mac at Retail Store

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Earlier on Monday, I covered an announcement from Microsoft COO Kevin Turner about the company opening 75 more retail stores. While watching the somewhat painful video, I noticed two other tidbits that warranted a mention: The first was a curious stumble at the beginning that I’m going to turn into a mountain, and the second was what struck me as a desperate attempt to find something good for Microsoft in Apple’s ongoing success in retail.

Let’s start with the first thing. If you head over to Microsoft’s World Partner Conference, you’ll find the Day Three keynote presentation. It’s there today, but I’m not sure if it will be there tomorrow, so check it out soon if you’re interested.

In any event, the first 28 minutes of this streaming video is a placeholder slide saying the presentation will begin later. TWENTY EIGHT MINUTES! That’s some fine production quality.

So, fine, skip ahead to the 28 minute mark, and you’ll see a commercial showing how awesome it is to be a Microsoft partner. Two minutes later, a cheesy piano starts playing and a disembodied voice tells us, “Ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome Universal multi-platinum recording artists, The Canadian Tenors!”

ZOMG AND I MISSED IT!? Yeah, the crowd seemed just as excited as me at this news judging from their lack of reaction.

Musical elitism aside, after their performance, Jon Roskill, Microsoft Corporate VP - Worldwide Partner Group, came out on stage and said the following, “Another fantastic ma…uhhh…musical performance…a magical musical performance from The Canadian Tenors. What do you guys think?”

Me? I think it’s a really bizarre choice for opening up a technology keynote, but rock on (or not, as the case may be).

What struck me, though, was the use of “magical” to describe their performance. It’s a weird choice of words. I know I could be reading too much into it, but it really seemed that Mr. Roskill had forgotten that he was supposed to be using the word “magical” in his presentation, and stumbled to make sure he got in. You know, like Apple has been wont to do for the last few years.

It’s not just that he stumbled — public speaking is VERY hard, and Mr. Roskill was otherwise very engaging, much better than his boss, CEO Steve Ballmer, when he speaks — it’s the way he stumbled. It made “magical” seem artificial and forced. It also seems like one of a very, very long line of things that Microsoft has done to follow in Apple’s footsteps, and like all the rest of them, it was hamfisted, clumsy, and seemingly out of place.

OK, let’s move on to the second, less nitty thing I noticed. I was skipping through the stream looking for information on Microsoft’s retail news when I got to a slide of an Apple reseller with Windows running on the Macs.

This came during another portion of the keynote from Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, another very good speaker (honestly). His presentation was all about how Microsoft is better than the competition. Google’s free stuff has hidden costs, money to VMWare is money out of Microsoft Partners’ pockets, and Microsoft can beat Apple in the “Consumerization of IT” (Mr. Turner’s phrase) — that sort of thing.

For instance, did you know that Apple has five platforms? Let’s look at the slide:

Apple's Five Platforms?

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner PowerPoint Slide on Apple’s Five Platforms

This is a fairly accurate look at Apple’s hardware product line, save for the disproportionate portion represented by Apple’s Apple TV “hobby,” but Mr. Turner told us that these are individual platforms.

“They’re a tremendous competitor,” he said. “This is my best description of their ecosystem. They have five different platforms, from the TV, to the iPod touch, to the iPhone, to the iPad, and certainly to their Mac platform. And they run, horizontally, iTunes across that.

He added, “And they have some ecosystem divides within those five platforms. And it’s your guess as good as mine on whether they’ll ever unify those platforms.”

His point is that Microsoft is going to unify its own OSes across X86 and ARM in the future. You know, because that’s somehow desirable. Because you want to have the same OS running your desktop computer as you do your smartphone.

Never mind that iOS was purpose-built as a stripped down version of Mac OS X so that it could be only what it needs to be. Apple didn’t try to shoehorn a one-size-fits-all solution for its different hardware. Apple has had great success with this strategy, but Microsoft sees it as a problem, and one the company can exploit by making it easy for developers to deploy over x86 and ARM with the same software.

Good luck with that.

But what about those five platforms? iPod touch and iPhone are essentially the same thing when it comes to apps, and iPad is a related subset. Apple TV doesn’t (yet) allow third party apps, but when it does, it’s still iOS. And then there’s the Mac.

That’s two platforms, not five, and they’re integrated far more than anything Microsoft has ever, ever, ever, ever done. Ever. So spin away, Mr. Turner, but you’re offering a counter solution to a problem that only you have.

And with that, we finally arrive at the titular point of my piece today. After making up a bunch of pointless crap about Apple’s five platforms, Mr. Turner brought up “a little fun stuff on Apple.”

Turns out that he travels a lot as part of his COOing at Microsoft, and he recently found himself in an unnamed South American country where he spied an Apple reseller who was doing the gosh-darned funniest thing: He was showcasing Windows running on a Mac!

“I was going to a mall to check out retail,” Mr. Turner said to explain why he was stalking an Apple outlet. “And so I go into this mall, and I was shocked to learn that the reseller is selling Windows 7 on the Apple Mac hardware.”

Shocked! Shocked, he was!

He added, “Now Apple has some great hardware. I love that.”

Boy, those South Americans do the darnedest thing! “When you look at it, he’s got it on laptops, he’s got it on desktops, he’s just selling the heck out of it,” Mr. Turner crowed.

While he was saying this, he showed the crowds his proof:

Circles & Arrows

Apple Reseller Showcases Macs Running Windows

In the screenshot above, Mr. Turner circled it for us, in case we missed it. See? It’s the Mac with the Windows logo. Get it?

Even iMacs run Windows!

Even iMacs Run Windows!

His conclusion is that this shows the importance of a great operating system, presumably to sell hardware. “Even the Apple franchise stores think so,” he somehow concluded.

I’ll be the first to admit that we jumped all over the fact that Microsoft was using PowerMac G5 towers to run their Xbox 360 demonstrations at E3 back in 2005. For those of us old enough to remember the Mac vs. Windows platform war, it’s fun when the other guy does something with your product.

But I fail to see how using a MacBook Pro and an iMac to show that Macs can run Windows is somehow proof that Apple’s third party retail partners are saying that Windows is better than Mac OS X. It smacked of sad desperation to find something, anything about Apple’s amazing retail success across the world that could be spun to make Microsoft feel good about itself.

For extra irony, this was the springboard that Mr. Turner used to tell the crowd that Microsoft was going to expand its fleet of retail stores in the U.S., yet another effort by Microsoft to ape Apple.

These definitely aren’t momentous occasions and gaffes by Microsoft that I’m highlighting, but I did think they warranted a mention. As a friend of mine recently told me, however, I tend towards the verbose, and I ask you, gentle reader, to forgive the length of what was intended to be a short, minor mention of Microsoft’s ongoing self-doubt and Apple angst.

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Comments

Tiger

Let them make a little hay while they can. Apple and Micro$oft are no longer “enemies”. They are many things…Rockstar collaborators…software co-partners…call it what you will. MS almost exclusively makes software, Apple “primarily” makes hardware, both of course having exceptions. The one fortunate thing that can be said is that both companies seemed to have matured and toned down the rhetoric toward each other, focusing instead on the “Goo”.

It’s probably not best to call them brothers at arms.

Stepbrothers maybe….

furbies

Were the Macs booted into windows or running in/under parallels/vmware fusion ?

Bryan Chaffin

Unkown, furbies, but I’d guess they were booted into Windows via Boot Camp. Apple’s market share in South America is much smaller than in the U.S., and it makes sense for a reseller to push this ability.

Brad Cook

It looks like the MacBook Pro is running something like Fusion, since there appears to be an OS X dock at the bottom of the screen, while the iMac seems to be running Windows via Boot Camp. And, yeah, I agree that it makes sense that a 3rd party reseller might emphasize a Mac’s ability to run both operating systems, whereas PCs can only run Windows (and various flavors of Linux, of course).

Dean Lewis

And it isn’t like Apple hasn’t touted compatibility through vmware and Boot camp for years… Oh, wait, they have.

Being shocked to see this? Either he was speaking in hyperbole or he is seriously out of touch with what is going outside the Microsoft-sphere. If the latter, it’s no wonder the company keeps misstepping and playing catch-up.

As for marketshare, I don’t know about where he was, but I know in Venezuela Linux is huge because the government requires it for government work—which means government workers and businesses doing business with the government will have the same.

mmac

The MacBook shown in Mr. Turner’s photo definitely runs Windows in some virtual machine. You can see the MacOS dock at the bottom of the screen and Windows taskbar above it.

Intruder

Looks like it is running in Parallels or VMWare.

d'monder

If MS studied themselves like they studied Apple, they could just be a world-class powerhouse (versus the sad commodity software licenser that they are today).

marsupilami

Microsoft seems to be in a pretty sad state. They’re reiterating their past errors. They just keep spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt - neglecting to acknowledge that world has changed. It doesn’t work anymore.

daemon

the sad commodity software licenser that they are today

Sad…. ? Microsoft isn’t Sun Micro, they aren’t Apple circa 1997, begging for an infusion of cash to keep themselves from collapsing in upon themselves.

Microsoft has made the most sucessful operating system ever, Windows XP. An operating system so great that Apple customers install it on Apple computers rather than just use the Apple operating system.

furbies

Microsoft has made the most sucessful operating system ever, Windows XP. An operating system so great that Apple customers install it on Apple computers rather than just use the Apple operating system.

Unless you’re joking, please wash your mouth out with carbolic soap!

The only reason I have for XP (under Parallels) is to firmware update some third party hardware. And even then it’s ‘horrid’!

As for “Microsoft has made the most sucessful operating system ever”, if you have the only OS in town that would have run on x86 hardware (pre Hackintosh), then it’s not “most sucessful operating system”, rather it’s the only show in town, and without an OS, a “PC” is just a door stopper!

daemon

LoL @ Furbies

You use Windows XP!

daemon

Oh, and Windows wasn’t the only OS that could run on x86 hardware, pre hackintosh.

Maybe you’ve heard of Unix?

furbies

Oh, and Windows wasn?t the only OS that could run on x86 hardware, pre hackintosh.

Maybe you?ve heard of Unix?

I’m referring to Oses that “ordinary users” could attempt to master/use.

And yes, I’ve got XP installed in parallels so I could as I said, do firmware updates etc on hardware that was/is without Mac support.

Other than as I said, i don’t “Do Windoze”. It’s bad for your state of mind.

kevinolive

To throw in my two cents, I have parallels and XP installed for the sole purpose of connecting to the office to work from home.  I no longer have a personal need for windows but I’m delighted that my mac can provide the support I need to run Windows.  For a short time I was dual-booting so that I could play some windows only games but have since moved most of my gaming to the PS3.

vpndev

Microsoft sees it as a problem, and one the company can exploit by making it easy for developers to deploy over x86 and ARM with the same software.

I guess this explains why Rosetta is gone in Lion.

Microsoft bought all the rights to it.

</sarcasm>

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