Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

To Partner or Not To Partner

To Partner or Not To Partner

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Last summer Mike Calligaro posted an interesting article on the Windows Mobile team blog.  He lays out the Pros and Cons to “go it alone” or not.  Although the article was written months ago, it’s still very relevant for a variety of reasons and I’m not just talking about the mobile cell device scenarios.

Recently Wired Magazine published an article about Apple. “How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong”, written by Leander Kahney, is an interesting view of Apple and how they build products.  It does a good job of discussing management styles and results.  Obviously Apple is producing, now. 

winvista So what does it take to compete?  How aggressive should a company be?  Should you be secret about your plans?  Evil or not evil, that is a question.

As Mike points out in his article on Windows Mobile, there are many variables.  It’s interesting the article was written eight weeks after the Apple iPhone launched.  Do you think the timing was coincidental?  I think you can answer that one for yourself but the iPhone, iPod and MacBook continue to bring up a question…

Should Microsoft go it alone?

I don’t see that happening anytime soon, but I often wonder if we should build a laptop.  It would be interesting to have a slim powerful laptop running some flavor of Windows that boots quicker, suspends/resumes quicker, consumes less power, runs cooler, and runs more applications in the box and more reliably than the MacBook Pro OS X combo.  It would of course have to have a backlit Windows logo.

Could we do it?  Should we do it?

I’m on the fence.  Part of me would love to see smoking hot (not temp mind you) Windows logo’d laptop that runs circles around the MacBook Pro and demonstrates Windows superiority.  But why bother with all of the R&D that would be needed when we clearly have some killer machines already in the channel, the partner channel?

I have an Apple MacBook Pro.  I also have the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.  The have equivalent speed.  The T61p runs Windows and every other OS on the market with OS X being the exception.  The MacBook Pro (MBP) runs every OS on the market only because it’s the only legal way to run OS X.  There are other laptops on the market that are as fast or faster than the MBP.  Both of my machines are very reliable, but I have seen rare hiccups on each.  If I were actually counting, I’d have to say the MBP has probably scared me more times than the T61p.

So who’s going to knock the iPhone off it’s perch?  Is the iPhone the device to beat?  Should Microsoft make a phone?

To Partner or not to partner, that is the question.

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  • YES! This is exactally why all of the sudden Apple since OS X has been increasing in popularity so quickly! They control all aspsects of the system from hardware all the way to what software will the system be installed with when you get the computer by default.  Obviouslly, you can add whatever software after that but what shows up in the box is what they delievered on and MS LIKE apple would be able to control that similar to what they already do for the Xbox 360 although, the choice to rush it out the door to get first to market wasn't probably the best move vs. sony who took longer but was rock solid.  so YES... I would love to see what MS could do with there own hardware and see what they can deliever on.  ALso, think of all of teh bloat that you could get rid of to make it run faster and make the experience so much better than any other vendor our there is currently doing.  So please do this!  also make sure x64 is what is delievered, it is about time to put pressure on this and make sure its x64 ONLY so that the applications and rest of the drivers out there get released with x64 bit drivers.. We need this to get beyond the 3/4gb ram limitation with x32 bit but the issue is there is NOT enough x64 bit stuff out there.

  • YES! I would love to see what MS could do if they released there own computer hardware exactally like Apple does so there should be no reason why you cant.  

    This way you can control the whole process and deliver a WAY better user experience than perhaps what is currently done with the IBM/Dell/Hp/etc. of the world with as much bloat as they put on it.  Clearly I think MS would be much more passionate about making sure all parts of the system work 100% are rock solid, easy to use than some of the partners currently do.  

    Yes, MS did the 360 althoug it started out rough, I think its a great product and MS clearly stood behind the support of it when things started to fail on it and XBox Live is awesome.  You could integrate a hardware unique ID chip similar to what Mac does to make sure its not just any x86 computer (thats fair right)  and tie the Windows license to the users Windows Live Userid?? and allow unlimited # of installs on that unique id, plus allow unlimited # of transfers since hey.. MS would support the hardware right? so you will know when a new motherboard would be need to be put into the system?  That was one of the huge reason why people did not like Windows or if you totally go only Windows x86 hardware than that could probably be totally eliminated no?  The second big thing was how big the OS is getting in size, yes not a big deal as hard drives get bigger and bigger but the perception of bloat is there.  

    I love where you are going with Windows 7 and the componentized i.e. modular windows system to load only what you need again which again was a big issue for a lot of people.  I think you hit the nail on the head though and been wondering this for a long, long time... on why MS is not selling there own branded hardware similar to Apple.

  • Keith,

    Yes to more detailed and enforced logo certification, not made-up WHQL tests, x64 drivers with real .inf installers.

    No to Microsoft-Book :).

    On the other way, WM devices (and I've seen and played with almost all of them, both US-carrier branded and generic/unlocked HTC,HP, Asus and Samsung) are losing on the market from Apple in US and from Nokia/SonyE(Symbian) in the rest of the world. So one may wonder..  

  • I think that the competition a Microsoft developed laptop/desktop/tablet would provide would help break some of the complacency that current hardware vendors have. Look at the driver issues that Nvidia and Creative have had with Vista, yet it all gets blamed on the OS. If Microsoft could provide a rock solid hardware platform then it would raise the bar and force other vendors to provide more stable platforms. As has been mentioned the main source of stability for the MAC platform is the controlled environment it runs in.

    As for the iPhone, in my opinion it's main strength is its ability to receive software updates. I am getting really tired of being required to buy a new phone to receive software updates.