Microsoft Introduces ... The Horse & Buggy Era

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.