Could the sadness Microsoft feels with their OEM partners make the whole company feel just a little Blue?
I have been thinking about this while reading the latest news from Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet. This has not been the first time that we have mentioned the color. Blue was, and still is, a codename for the first major feature-update of Windows 8. What we learned is that now it seems that “Blue” covers much more.
As many know, Microsoft has shifted their branding into four color-coded divisions: blue is for Windows; red is for Office; green is for Xbox, and yellow has yet to be disclosed. As far as we know, the Windows division encompasses Windows Phone, Internet Explorer, official apps, and so forth. Apparently “Blue”, the codenamed update, will start Microsoft on an annual update schedule for the Windows division. This means that Internet Explorer as well as the Mail, Calendar, Bing app, and other “Windows Services” such as SkyDrive and Hotmail will shift towards the yearly timer.
As I read Mary Jo's article, I focused on a point buried late in the second act of the column:
Instead of RTMing a new version of Windows once every three or so years, and then hoping/praying OEMs can get the final bits tested and preloaded on new hardware a few months later, Microsoft is going to try to push Blue out to users far more quickly, possibly via the Windows Store, my contact said.
While I have speculated about Microsoft and their desires to shift business models to a subscription service for quite some time, I have not considered OEM partners as a prominent reason. Microsoft has been wrestling with their manufacturers, that has recently been made obvious. The release of a new operating system drives users to go out and purchase new hardware. The PC industry bounces forward with software and hardware enhancements chained in lockstep to the three year Windows cycle, even the enthusiast market to some extent.
Perhaps Microsoft is trying to let the hardware itself drive the market. Instead of pushing the industry forward in big leaps, would it be possible that Microsoft wants the hardware to evolve and a new version of Windows to be there waiting for it?
I believe microsoft have
I believe microsoft have decided they can’t continue to coast along relying on OS sales to OEMs as they have done since the mid to late 90s. The “Ipad” and tablets in general have changed the perception of computing in the minds of the general public. Traditional PC sales are waning more and more as Joe Average realizes his typical use case for using a computer such as surfing the web,checking and sending emails and facebook can now be achieved in a less complicated and more diluted manner by taking the tablet or even just smart phone route. This scenario is only going to become worse as the SOCs(System On A Chip) become more powerful and affordable.Microsoft IMHO correctly don’t see the OEM business as a sustainable revenue flow for any longer than the next 2 to 5 years at most, which only gives them a short window(no pun intended)in time to secure what remains of the mobile industry.The only way to do this is to somehow “lock” the consumer into their ecosystem.If they can get people to spend the next couple of years spending money in the microsoft ecosystem they will be more invested and less likely to move to apple or any other system the day they decide the only connected device they need is a mobile one.
I am not sure if windows 8 or a yearly upgrade cycle is the answer to microsoft’s prayers or not, but it is definitely exciting to see them come out punching rather than ignoring the signs and slowly fading away as companies such as RIM have managed to do from such a demanding industry lead.
microsoft drives sales in the
microsoft drives sales in the enterprise with a yearly subscription- though the enterprise does not upgrade on the cycle it is the only way the enterprise license works (software assurance)
so though it might sound nice- the new Blue plan would need to run a check on all software each time to see if it will still work PRIOR to install-
because that is why the enterprise does not upgrade much- the software cannot just upgrade each time microsoft does.
I really think Microsoft did a misstep by releasing Win 8 with metro as a 2 OS- RTM and desktop- what they needed was a strong tablet contender and not a new desktop right now. all they have done is confuse the market place and disappointed their users = as for enterprise- most are still moving onto WIN7.