What is Microsoft smoking?

Seeing all the strange decisions Microsoft made recently, focusing currently on their "XBox One", it seems to me that they are actively trying to destroy their company. Starting with the weird name "XBox One", the focus on TV (where are the games?), the strange pricing (PS4 will be cheaper while apparently having superior processing power), the DRM preventing people from reselling games, and now the region locking to only 21 countries, preventing lots of people to buy/use the XBox One at all. Not sure who will ever want to buy that thing? And why?

This disaster now comes after this big Windows 8 and Windows RT user interface failure. Windows RT devices still don't have many apps, and the tablets themselves are very, very, expensive. The touch based user interface makes no sense on desktop, and the Apps sold in the Windows Store are fullscreen apps. I cannot even imagine how the decision makers at Microsoft are able to come up with such an amount of weird decisions. What are they smoking?

For me as developer, Windows is my "home" operating system. All apps I create are usually written first on Windows, and then - if I want at all - ported to other platforms. I still love Visual Studio, even although Microsoft started to destroy that thing as well (monochrome icons? Developer registration renewal every 30 days? Mandatory internet connection while programming Windows Store apps (update: Other developers don't seem to have the last problem, maybe its only me) ? really?) I would want to continue developing for the Windows OS family, but it seems for me that Microsoft tries very hard to alienate me from that.

33 comments, already:

They have too much money. And too many managers. They have to fail hard before it will get better.
Jameeeera - 13 06 13 - 10:14

The irony of this, is MS has so much cash they can never fail.
personax - 13 06 13 - 10:39

windows? run :)
brm - 13 06 13 - 10:39

Nokia also had loads of money, an almighty pisition and still they accomplish to fail by mismanagement.
Nokian - 13 06 13 - 11:01

I’m a Mac Fans users, but i’m using Visual Studio .Net to develop my Office Project.

Xbox One it’s one of their early decision, perhaps after they sold less compare to PS 4 they will bring back again.
The learning curve in microsoft is expensive each mistake they make it’s going to cost them.
FalconCoder - 13 06 13 - 11:10

Since Apple is also on same path maybe the future lies on Google and/or Linux?
jp (link) - 13 06 13 - 11:12

Yes, at some point they seem to have forgotten why they make products. There are so many examples of things where they have invented something and then persisted in trying to force people to like it even when it’s clear they made a mistake. All the things you said, the “ribbon” interface. Windows 8 in general. They all have good things about them but mostly they seem to exist because microsoft thinks they are a good thing, not because of any benefit to customers.

Another one is the winRT api. They started talking about how it would be back to native code again. Great! Except they made it really really hard to use from C++. You have to use their proprietary c++/cx language if you want it to be easy. We all want a better API than win32 for native code, but winrt is frankly a horrible mess if you want to use it from c++.

They have managed to invent a whole load of language extensions for this and yet still haven’t implemented c++11 properly. Their priorities are horribly wrong.

They basically seem to have lost the plot in all areas. Which is a real shame as they are making some very nice things. If only they were putting that skill and energy into the right things.
John Burton () - 13 06 13 - 11:14

Xbox One has better games than PS4, they made a big deal about TV because it was pre-E3, would you rather they had used E3 to talk about TV? Or maybe not even mention it at all? That wouldn’t make sense. The reason PS4 doesn’t make a big song and dance about games and tv is because they can’t, amazingly though that’s worked out brilliantly as a marketing exercise.

Also “Mandatory internet connection while programming Windows Store apps?” – If that’s what you’re experiencing, something isn’t right with your setup.
Rye - 13 06 13 - 11:22

That is a good question, they seem set on destroying their customerbase on purpose. The sad thing is, who will step in?
I personally am using Linux for everything and it works great for me as a developer. But what about “normal” desktop users? The only alternative there is the Mac, with all it’s drawbacks.
Fritz the Cat - 13 06 13 - 11:22

What’s the source for “Mandatory internet connection while programming Windows Store apps”?
Bobby - 13 06 13 - 11:28

About the “Mandatory internet connection”: I’ve updated the blog post. Seems like other developers don’t have that problem. I couldn’t remote debug my apps on the device without visual studio being able to connect to microsoft. (Maybe for some license checking, I thought)
niko - 13 06 13 - 11:35

I have been using Linux for 2 year now almost exclusively and I have to say I love the freedom.
I would never work with windows if i have a choice in the matter.
Sadly still required to use windows at work :(

Some linux distros are just so elegant and beautiful that I just can’t go back to the nightmare that is windows.
Fuxy () - 13 06 13 - 12:24

Your only choice is to stop developing for the windows OS’es.

The only thing MS will ever recognize is loss of market share. The only way you will contribute to their loss of market share is by halting all further development on your part for windows.
Anon - 13 06 13 - 12:30

Not sure what your gripe with C++/CX is, given that all C and C++ vendors do have language extensions.

Actually C++/CX is only offering what C++ Builder already has since ages.
pjmlp - 13 06 13 - 12:58

“where are the games?” Seriously?? I know indie games aren’t coming for a while but you must not have noticed all the exclusive title announcements at the launch event and during E3!
Bill - 13 06 13 - 13:20

Safer to wait for Xbox One.Five
Someone - 13 06 13 - 13:35

The pricing is because the Microsoft is bundling with the Kinect with the XB1, while Sony is taking a different route and making the PS Move optional. In addition, the focus on TV stems from Microsoft wanting to position the XB1 as the “only” device you would want rather than buying a PS4 for games and buying GoogleTV or AppleTV to complement it. So, I would say that Microsoft is doing what they have always done (and that is trying to please everyone which we all know is impossible). Personally, I think it should have been called the Xbox Möbius or Xbox Infinity.
A bored reader - 13 06 13 - 13:47

weired => weird
Two places I spotted.

Also has a former Windows developer… the time has passed to cling to non portable development. You’re losing a significant chunk of revenue with that, “because it’s better,” sentiment and I highly suggest moving on or becoming diversified.
Ryan () - 13 06 13 - 13:53

thx, corrected.
niko - 13 06 13 - 14:22

VS.NET is still one of the best IDEs out there – but how long will this last unique “feature” last?
The new color/icon design is just a PITA, i’ve seen it at a collegues machine – thanks, i didn’t update to the 2012 Version, instead i keep the old 2010 version.

Microsoft did so many things wrong in the past – maybe they are looking forward to go bankrupt?
SteveB should step down from his CEO position. (But honestly, currently i do not know if this will bring any advantage in the current situation?)

Lelala () (link) - 13 06 13 - 15:54

Linux is the way to go. Linux Mint and Slackware are my recommendations for users switching from Windows – the former being good for novices (or those wanting Ubuntu compatibility), and the latter being excellent for those willing to dive head-first and truly understand the Linux world.
YellowApple () - 13 06 13 - 20:22

Using an IDE for a build system is not very good. You’re totally at the whim of the IDE developer.. I’ve had this happen over and over over the last 20 years as a coder…

I used to be “windows only” but now I develop on Linux.

What I found was Windows has really horribly crappy debug tools, you’ll get more done if you code using GNU/Linux (psst: I’m talking about valgrind).

Also QtCreator or Kdevelop with gdb for traditional debugging works pretty well.

Cross-compiling windows binaries with mingw-w64 and cmake under linux is a breeze. You get a hit once when you port your stuff to cmake (for all platforms) but it’s well worth it…

Cmake even generates NSIS installers for you!
jaw - 13 06 13 - 21:26

The C++ programming experience is way better on Linux than on Windows. It takes a while to get used to, but using commandline tools and a simple texteditor really makes you a better programmer.
Nowadays I’m almost at a point where I don’t need a debugger anymore. Unthinkable back in my MFC days.
Fritz the Cat - 13 06 13 - 21:57

Microsoft’s message is clear: They are not worthy of your time as a developer. It’s time to switch to Linux for your desktop along with the web and “apps” for your software. Just view the switch as an adventure in a world where you can really make a difference.
riskable - 13 06 13 - 22:23

microsoft has a tough time—they dont need the moneythey made too muchsoft—soft
aas - 14 06 13 - 00:13

FF10 yrs—->kodak—polaroid—pets.com
aas - 14 06 13 - 00:14

What Microsoft is “smoking” is called “build a high-quality product, charge a premium price and market the Hell out of it!” Only time will tell how they do with the Xbox One, but that’s really their only hope.

Yes, Windows 8 got off to a slow start, but 8.1 will be competitive. Yes, the Surface RT is overpriced for its capabilities, but the Surface Pro is competitive with other ‘Ultrabook-class’ systems running Windows 8.
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky (link) - 14 06 13 - 03:28

the best thing to fight microsoft is microsoft itself.
A fsf member.
leroy - 14 06 13 - 06:37

I share the writers feelings. MS has made some inexplicable dumb decisions during the past few years. Especially by practically destroying the Windows desktop with the fullscreen RT apps that only make sense on a tablet (and btw, i dont know anyone who owns a Win 8 / RT tablet).

Windows has been my dev environment thorough my career, and I am also worried they will start shoving some weird UX that nobody wants into our throats.
Jarkka () - 14 06 13 - 11:03

Serves you right!
Tomoko - 14 06 13 - 11:22

Using Linux for work since somewhere in 2001 and never looked back, the Windows’es on my machines since then got booted sparsely only to play games that wont work with WINE and these are getting less and less.
Markus () - 16 06 13 - 11:08

Love your blog – please do all of our eyes a favor and add these styles to your page to break up your contents and make them readable!

#main .entrycontent p {
border-bottom: 1px solid #888;
padding-bottom: 10px;
Anon - 28 06 13 - 12:14

Ronny () (link) - 11 01 15 - 14:20

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