I have always liked Skype. Never really used messenger much so it's no personal loss to me.
I used Hotmail before MS had it and I loved it. Microsoft didn't seem to care much about spam and the mail experience so I went off with Gmail. However Outlook.com is probably the best in class right now. I am migrating to mainly using Outlook.com and, with the skydrive integration for big files (thanks for the tip) it is at least as functional a solution as dropbox plus email.
Xbox Music is unbelievable. The Zune client with Windowsphone 7.x was a pretty functional beast for me. It was less bloat ridden than iTunes and the sync functionality was good. It was also an excellent music manager. It was even great for podcasts. All Microsoft had to do was re-skin Zune as Xbox Music and everything would have been fine. However almost all the software now is 'beta test' grade whether you use the music 'app' or pretty much anything else with Windowsphone. The cloud functionality is barely functional and it's more likely to screw up your music collection than play it. Almost nothing works. On Windowsphone the music side is a little better than the Windows 8 'app' but it just doesn't work. Every music pass owner should get 6 months refund if they have Windows 8. I would feel a little better if they had keep the Zune web streaming side of things but they closed that down.
I am thinking of radical steps to get my music service back to functional. One option is to ditch Xbox Music completely and just get Spotify now it has a Windowsphone 8 client. Another option is to ditch my Windowsphone 8 (an HTC 8x) and get a Lumia 900 from ebay so I can go back to Zune and also get videos and podcasts.
So I have a little over a month until my annual pass for Xbox Music needs renewing and it really would surprise me if the subscriber list was heading down rather than up.
Paul: As a user of all of your examples, you are spot on! As a WP8 user, I sometimes feel that WP8 has taken a step back in terms of functionality and ease of use (e.g. podcasts). I would include some aspects of Windows 8 in this critique as well.
Your list, and my own, would say that the majority of transitions under way fall in a category other than "good." If right, this speaks to Microsoft's lack of effectiveness in managing these transitions. At best it is far too early to say that Microsoft is no longer slow-moving and behind the times.
Prompt (rapid?) and effective execution in addressing all of the shortcomings we Microsoft users face will tell us whether Microsoft has really changed and can adapt to the new market realities. Recent events are not promising...
The Zune to Xbox music transition is the worst for me. Nothing just transfers over. I can't authorize my WP8 to play music files from my music pass. The desktop software is horrendous, its all just so difficult and inconvenient, but I hold on to it because I still have my Zune HD which works fine.
The XBox Music one bothers me more since Id on't use IM and a shame that MS does not seem quick to try to right their wrong (or they are unaware, which I would doubt).
But XP will undoubtedly be still used by many since those are also the people who never update their software. I assume most transitions off XP will come from the business sector. My place of work is transitioning but I wish it would happen sooner, I am so past XP, but stuck for now til they flip it for me.
One of the things that makes me leery of MSFT is that they try things, and if they don't go well then they dump them. Part of the reason Apple is so popular is that they general haven't done big dumps (although they're getting worse - re old vs. new iPod connectors and lock-in licensing). With Microsoft:
- Plays for Sure doesn't play any more
- Windows Phone 7 was a dead end even though a quite new OS
- Windows Live is nearly dead
- Windows 8 is moving toward not having windows
Take win RT - what are the chances that this product and OS survive in 3-5 years? I'm sure some people want to buy new devices and SW every 2-3 years, but I sure don't. The >$500 you spend on your RT device could easily be an orphan. Not likely with an iPad. So people don't need to only consider the merits of the specific software and hardware, they *also* need to consider the viability of the support and the platform.
I didn't realize I could add messenger contacts to Lync. I never even used Lync. I forgot I had an O365 account laying around, so I'm having an aha moment replacing Skype and Messenger with Lync. When they get Skype video fused in with this, I will gladly be using this in place of Messenger and Skype. I'm going to spend the rest of today testing it out. Feel kind of dumb not having tried this before...
Hi Paul, why do you say 'erstwhile'? Is MS no longer a software giant? Cheers!
Microsoft describes itself as a "devices and services" firm, not as a software maker. Even its traditional software products (Windows, Office) are now installed and serviced like online services.
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