Microsoft Introduces ... The Horse & Buggy Era

| Particle Debris

The saga of Windows 8 continues this week with a gloomy outlook for traditional PCs. An analyst has cut his estimate for Microsoft's growth in 2013, PCs are in trouble, customers want svelte, light pure tablets, and Microsoft has just announced how power hungry and expensive the Surface Pro tablet will be. How long can Microsoft keep a straight face?

The story of Windows 8 just gets weirder. First, Microsoft ignored what happened to Apple when it tried to push some iOS-ification agenda down the throats of its users. Windows 8, however, is fully ossified. As a result, we see that Windows 8 is "off to an awkward start."

Microsoft also shipped a Windows 8 tablet (well, maybe a notebook computer with a detachable keyboard) that doesn't run x86 Windows binaries. Huh?

Now, for an encore amidst the chaos, Microsoft has announced that the Surface Pro, the real Microsoft tablet that runs legacy Windows software, will be expensive and have half the battery life of the Surface RT. With 128 GB of storage and a keyboard, we're looking at over US$1,100. (Then you'll need to cough up more for MS Office.)

Here's what Warner Crocker just wrote about Microsoft's clueless marketing.

For those who say the price point makes sense because of USB ports and the ability to run x86 Legacy Apps, you are part of the problem. The mobile computing world is moving (has moved) far beyond that kind of thinking. We’re not talking horse and buggy vs automobiles just yet, but we’re damned close."

Henry Ford may not have uttered that wonderful quote, but still...

The source of this problem is the idea that Windows 8 has to do double duty as a desktop and mobile OS in order to preserve both the Windows legacy and MS Office. Here's what I said about that.

And now we're seeing the very first fallout from Microsoft's decisions. What do you do after you ship a tablet that no one wants? Ship an even more expensive version with a power hungry i5 CPU that cries out to be slaved to a desk and power adapter.

Cough. Horse and buggy indeed.

Tech News Debris

If you thought Crapware had been embarrassed out of existence in Windows 8, think again. Here's why based on some investigation with the PC Vendors. "Crapware Lives On Windows 8."

I know that there are a lot of satisfied Apple customers who use iCloud. I use it on a very, very limited basis, and it's been very helpful for syncing my calendars and contacts across Macs and iDevices. But, on a deeper level, one has to wonder what's going on when some users get into real trouble. It's one of those things where, when it works, it's great. But disasters are awesome and virtually unfixable. I'm not condemning here, just offering some food for thought. "Apple needs to learn how the Internet works before iCloud evaporates."

One reason I may be one of the lucky ones is that I've always used the exact same user name on every single device. Mr. Agreda speaks to that.

A trend we see today is that Apple's competitors have learned how to sell smartphones and tablets. That has Wall Street worried. Can Apple survive? Thrive? Or is Apple doomed?

It's too bad the analysts don't read Jonny Evans, one of my favorite tech columnists. Jonny actually thinks about what's going on and draws reasoned, insightful, experienced conclusions. This is must-reading: "Apple 2013: iPhone diversifies as Cupertino fights back."

Do you have a fear of losing your iPhone? How long can you go without checking on it? Or checking your messages? Are you concerned that an electronic wallet, in your smartphone, if lost, would be an even larger disaster? There's sooooo much to worry about. I have a feeling I'll be writing an article in 2013: what to do when your iWallet is gone, gone. Meanwhile, if you're in good spirits, check out, "Fears of losing your iPhone may only accelerate with iWallet."

Finally, with iTunes 11 now available, Jacqui Cheng has written a charming retrospective on "iTunes through the ages." Very nice.


Horse & Buggy images via Shutterstock.

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I couldn’t believe what Microsoft announced. Are they deliberately trying to lose money? Maybe they don’t intend to make many of these bricks.

I too still use .mac for all these ID things.


I have yet to see a Surface. One of my co-workers just got a Windows 8 tablet. He HATES it. He spent the first few days figuring out ways to make it work like Windows 7. As he said “More money to go backwards.” It’s not only the interface. He has a new taqblet with the latest processor, lots of RAM, and an SSD and he heels it runs no faster than the XP machine he replaced. This does not bode well for MS.

For $1100 I can get a really good Windows laptop with more RAM and drive space and probably a better processor. Surface: expensive as a real laptop but with less capability and a funky interface. Yeah that’ll draw the crowds.

*sigh* I though the days of automatically nuking and paving a new machine were over. No such luck I guess.

So far I’ve not had any trouble with iCloud BUT I only use it for Notes and a couple of other things. After getting burned over and over with Apple’s previous offerings and their abrupt switch from this to that that changed and eliminated services I relied on I haven’t been quick to go whole hog into iCloud. So far no issues but I don’t ask much of it.

See my iCloud comments. Until it’s been proven reliable for YEARS I will hold back.


Hmm, are we getting close to dusting off that old favorite word of ours, “beleaguered?” Looks like we might need it for Microsoft sooner than expected.


128GB of RAM? Surely you’re talking about storage, not memory?

John Martellaro

eolake. Ahh… corrected.  Thanks.

Paul Goodwin

I haven’t any personal experience with a Surface, but if it’s half as bad as it sounds above, it doesn’t bode we’ll for MS.

And I don’t use iCloud for anything except syncing Notes, and Mail.


I’ve played with Surface—went to a Microsoft Store and everything.  Surface is interesting, but I wouldn’t buy one.

Now, I’m a long time Mac guy—my first “Mac” was a Macintosh.  I know very little about Windows.  So I wasn’t coming in with too many preconceived notions about how Windows is supposed to work and I didn’t have a difficult time at all getting used to Surface.  Once I was told that you can swipe from the edges, that pretty well relieved most of the problems that I had.  I liked the updating and customizable tiles.  It didn’t seem particularly slow to respond to gestures, though the result of those gestures sometimes caused a painful delay.  The keyboard was nice and I was able to type far more comfortably than I could on an iPad screen.  The kick-stands and things like that really help when you have a desk handy.  Microsoft Word worked nicely and the keyboard has a built-in trackpad which is far more convenient that using Pages on an iPad.

What made me laugh, though, was the hardware.

So here I am in a Microsoft Store sitting in front of a Surface.  I want to download a Modern Metro version of Remote Desktop Connection and connect to a Mac at work (this should be good for a laugh—a Mac desktop on a Windows RT tablet, right?)  So I go to the Microsoft Store, find RDC and proceed to download it.  It asks for a password, just like Apple’s Store does.  I go to type in the password that the Microsoft person has helpfully set up and…

Nothing.  The keyboard has stopped responding.

Helpful Microsoft person disconnects and reconnects the screen.  Still nothing.  Microsoft person restarts the machine.  It begins downloading an update.  Sit, wait, finally we’re ready to try again.  Go to The Store, download RDC, get password dialog, and…

Nothing.  They keyboard has stopped responding.

Helpful Microsoft person clicks the screen out and back in.  Nope.  Does it again.  Nope.  Does it a third time.  Finally!  It works!  We download RDC and I connect to my Mac OS X desktop session at work.  Works nicely and gives a few people a laugh.

So, yeah, the hardware seems a bit shaky.  I’d wait a few versions until they get that fixed.


”..Microsoft ignored what happened to Apple when it tried to push some iOS-ification agenda down the throats of its users.’

Glad I could have been of service.  grin

Lee Dronick

“I’ve played with Surface—went to a Microsoft Store and everything.  Surface is interesting, but I wouldn’t buy one.”

I to played around a bit at the MicroSoft Store. I didn’t have much time on it and want to go back try it some more. Thus far I don’t care for it, overall I found it clunky, but some of that of course is unfamiliarity. However, some is my general distaste for things that are not aesthetic.


Microsoft would probably own the tablet market if they had gone ahead with their Courier project.  That was a cool device IMHO.  I used to be a Microsoft guy, learning enough about the O/S to fill in for our PC support when our regular tech guy went on vacation.  I resisted Apple even though my boss was a former Apple dealer and had been busy trying to integrate Macs into our office environment.  Now I wouldn’t touch Microsoft with a ten foot pole.  What happened?

Simple.  I got tired of HAVING to constantly mess “under the hood” (registry files).  Add to that, the constant headache of dealing with different antivirus products which themselves added yet another level of headache and cost to the situation.  So I reluctantly broke down and bought the CHEAPEST Mac I could find (1.5ghz Single core MacMini).  Took me awhile to figure out what was what, but the learning curve wasn’t that bad.  I was pilloried by many for “spending too much for too little”, but at the end of the day (and several Macs later), that original MacMini was given to my mother-in-law.  I saved enough in the five or more years of having that machine and not having to buy antivirus software that whatever “Apple Tax Gouging” I supposedly paid has been returned many times over, and that is even before accounting for the happiness in running a stable O/S I didn’t have to piss with every other day.

I’ll be getting my first real tablet in a couple weeks.  An iPad mini.  Of course I have extensive experience with their “smaller” tablets, having owned several iTouches and currently using an iPhone4.  I am looking forward to it.  FWIW, I panned the original iPad (which I correctly guessed the name for the day before launch on my website)


Lee Dronick

See today’s Joy of Tech comic

Sidebar - Can we use BB Code or HTML in comments? I wanted to link to that comic.

David Grant

@Lee, I’m guessing no. But just in case, I’ll do this for you.

tech comic


tech comic

If those create a mess, accept my apology. I did a night course on web page design. Not sure if I learned anything or not!!

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