01.06.11

Microsoft’s Hardware Ventures an Embarrassment

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mouse with Microsoft logo

Aside from “Microsoft”-branded peripherals, Microsoft cannot make hardware work economically

Summary: An overview of news about Windows Home Server, Xbox 360, Zune, and KIN

AN IMPORTANT POINT that was stressed earlier today is that participation alone is no guarantee of success. The statement rings true especially when it comes to Microsoft’s business in hardware and on the Web. This post will only deal with the former bit, based on the past 2 months’ headlines that somehow we missed.

Let us begin with the latest story of Windows Home Server. The Linux-based Drobo puts it to shame and the staff mocks it, with the CEO saying that “It Looks Like Microsoft Just Gave Up” (that’s the headline!). To quote: “Whilst the Windows Home Server community continues to rail against Microsoft’s decision to axe the platform’s core storage technology from the next release (with the exception of the Windows Team Blog where comments have been switched off for the last few days), Drobo’s CEO, Tom Buiocchi, today shared his take on Redmond’s decision.”

Here is older information about it and some more articles [1, 2, 3] about HP dumping Windows for Linux on home servers. A Microsoft sympathisers’ site published “The Vail debacle: Why Microsoft still doesn’t get the consumer” and it turns out that in other form factors too HP is dumping Windows in favour of Linux. In embedded devices there is little or no room for resource hogs like Vista 7, which is gradually being dumped/neglected by partners like Lenovo (it can be added that Lenovo complements with/aggregates Linux in some of its products).

"Microsoft products are dying quietly" is what we said very recently and the list is up to about 60 dead products by now. There are many failures in hardware, which means products where Microsoft is an integral part that is actively advertised (like “Windows Home Server”, not just Xbox). In our Wiki there is a page dedicated to “Microsoft – Consumer Hardware” and it includes a summary of posts about Xbox 360, which has just turned 5, suiting buyers of the same age pretty much (well, bar the gore and all).

Be very, very careful of disinformation in the English-speaking press. Microsoft characteristically uses US-only numbers to lie (by omission) about its position, leading to the illusion that the Japanese counterparts are suddenly losing. That’s not the case at all. “Xbox 360 sales take sixth in Japan” say this report and this report from December, whereas a January 2011 report states in its headline that “Xbox 360 demand drops to No. 8 in Japan”. To quote the older article:

Sales for Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 hardware ranked sixth among hardware in the latest Japan retail numbers.

Media Create Co. on Fri. reported that the Xbox 360 sold 3,497 units between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5 to rank No. 6 in overall sales.

Microsoft lost billions of dollars on Xbox. It doesn’t like to talk about it.

“Analysts can’t agree on whether Microsoft has blown its lead or not” says this other article’s headline wherein “DFC Intelligence’s David Cole believes that Microsoft is blowing it by not having a diverse enough range of titles and mainly concentrating on the American styled shooters and action titles. While PS3 has a much broader range of titles which helps explain it’s utter dominance in Japan and fight back in Europe.”

“Microsoft admits that Blu-ray is not so bad” and “Microsoft Grudgingly Admits Blu-Rays are ”Pretty Cool, I Guess”” say some other articles, noting:

It has taken a year but Microsoft has totally reversed its anti-Blu-ray stance.

The problem is, Microsoft has no Blu-ray support, but hypocrisy and double standard prevail nonetheless. “Microsoft takes swipe at Mac for not supporting Blu-ray” says a headline from ZDNet, which is funny because Microsoft used to promote HDDVD, a competitor of Blu-ray. Apple did not really participate in this expensive battle at all. To Apple, the digital downloads distribution model seems sufficient and Apple is a big proponent of DRM.

On we move to KINect. Those who believe the $500,000,000 (estimate) marketing campaign may actually have fallen for the illusion of KINect ‘success’. “Pop Stars Move Kinect In Japan” as part of this expensive marketing blitz and Microsoft sells only 26,000 KINects there (it is a technologically-advanced country with over 100 million people). Sony says that Kinect is mostly a bunch of tech problems, based on a recent report, which adds: “If you believe Microsoft, the world is creaming its little yellow pants over how impressive Kinect is, but Sony doesn’t think it’s that hot. Writing off the technology for its mass of technical problems, Sony Computer Entertainment engineer Anton Mikhailov believes Move is a faster, sexier, less problematic solution.”

As OpenBytes quotes from Gamepur: “Microsoft Kinect is giving sleepless night to many of the Xbox 360 owners as its causing a many issue to them and the most notably issue is “Red Ring of Death”. [...] Many such complaints on the forum points to Kinect as the main culprit for RROD problem, however there isn’t any solid and concrete evidence to proof the same. Microsoft is yet to comment on this.”

The MSBBC published the Microsoft excuses: “Microsoft has denied any link between Kinect and the three flashing light error signal, known as the “red ring of death”.”

Thank you, MSBBC. Thanks for the reminder of who runs the BBC (hint: former Microsoft UK staff).

Here is another funny example of Microsoft failing to sell hardware peripherals for Xbox 360. To quote some headlines: “Microsoft: Nobody Bought Xbox 360 Faceplates”; “Microsoft Says Xbox 360 Faceplates Were A Failure, But Still Not A Bad Idea [Microsoft Recognizes Xbox 360 Faceplates Were A Failure, Something We All Knew In 2006]“; “Xbox 360 Faceplates Were a Failure, Says Microsoft”; “Microsoft says Xbox 360 faceplates were a failure”; “MS: ‘Nobody bought’ Xbox 360 faceplates”; “Shocker: Nobody Bought 360 Faceplates” and “Why no removable faceplates on 360 slim?”. Microsoft even admits the failure. It’s the admission which is rare, not the failure.

Microsoft says there is no plan to create a new Xbox, based on a very recent report:

With the presence of Kinect, many observers thought that Microsoft is also preparing the next generation Xbox 360. But it was firmly denied by the software giant.

Well, there is another business model cooking here. “California man goes to court for modifying Xbox 360″ says one headline, another says that this “Xbox modder could spend three years in prison”, but finally — courtesy of a Microsoft booster — “Judge in Xbox hacking case frags prosecution, case killed”. “The judge “unleashed a 30-minute tirade” against the prosecution, criticizing potentially illegal acts by prosecution witnesses and faulty instructions proposed for the jury,” says this report.

So Microsoft is just wasting its time and pissing customers off. What on Earth was it thinking? It’s a sign of bafflement and frustration, so no wonder so many Xbox managers quit the company in recent years.

On we move to the Zune, which is a product so ill on its deathbed that Microsoft pretends it’s just a companion to the Xbox/Live universe. This enables Microsoft to pretend this product is still alive, but as CNET put it, “Is Zune dying, or more important than ever?” Another new headline that’s posing a question rather than saying the truth quite bluntly is, “Microsoft Zune: A Unique Innovative Idea?”

It seems like a rhetorical question. Given that even Microsoft does not support the Zune, what can the answer be? Yes, that’s right, Microsoft is ignoring its own products and reporters notice:

Unusually, the company chose to use Amazon MP3 and not its own Zune Marketplace

More here:

Once you’ve qualified, Microsoft will send out the gift code to claim the track, and you’ll need an Amazon account to claim it by January 24th. The strange bit is that Microsoft chose to use Amazon MP3 instead of its own Zune Marketplace, but you can bet that folks aren’t going to complain (too much) over freebies.

As one last item of relevance (or irrelevance rather), remember the KIN? “Kin’s quiet return a rarity among failed gadgets” said CNET at one stage when there was chatter about KIN coming back as a “Zune phone” or something along those lines [1, 2, 3, 4]. It was probably misreported or merely an attempt to deplete remaining supplies because Kin services are officially dead, leaving KIN buyers with a dud in their pockets/hands:

The closure of Kin Studio — an online companion service by which Kin users can manage their phones, post to social networks, and host photos and video — will maroon a few thousand Kin users without key services.

“Microsoft Kin named one of CNN’s top 10 tech fails of 2010,” says a headline from Zunited. “Microsoft Nukes Kin Studio” says this headline, which slams the door shut on KIN’s coffin.

A Verizon Wireless document (JPGs) obtained by Windows Phone Central reveals that Microsoft will permanently close KIN Studio on January 31, 2011. For the 500 or so consumers who actually bought the “social” phone, this means the backbone OTA feature set will no longer be available. Instead, owners will be reduced to sending texts and making calls. Brilliant.

Does Microsoft have a future as a hardware company? Not a fat chance if this performance carries in.

Mac Asay [sic], who left Canonical to join a proprietary software company (Asay was previously close to taking a job at Microsoft), now says that the hypePad “is awesome” and denies that it is under threat from Linux. To Asay, Microsoft tablets which are an utter embarrassment should be considered the greater threat to Apple’s tablet. So why did he work for Canonical?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2011/01/06/failed-business-in-hardware/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    January 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Gravatar

    I would say that Windows 7 is the biggest tech fail of 2010. Judging by people’s reactions and complaints, I was right to predict Windows 7 would follow Vista into oblivion because it inherits all of Vista’s design flaws. If it is true that Windows 7 sales have peaked, after a slower start than Vista, Windows 7 is an even bigger sales failure.

    According to the NPD Group, consumer electronic sales were down 10% last quarter from 2009 with computers particularly hard hit.

    notebook unit volume fell 9 percent with little to no discounting, as ASPs remained flat. Netbook unit volume declined 38 percent versus last holiday and accounted for 19 percent of Windows notebook sales, down from 27 percent during the prior year. Desktop sales also took a hit, dropping 16 percent in units.

    I would say that this is because Microsoft stuffed their brick and mortar stores with overpriced notebooks and netbooks running Windows 7. I bought three laptops for my family for Christmas, a EEE PC that came with GNU/Linux and two laptops that I scrubbed of Windows. Because of free software, I know they will all work well. The EEE PC is identical to two others I own that have run like champs for more than three years. The other two ran Debian without fuss and also have years of great service ahead of them. People who buy a computer with Windows 7 face lots of bugs and an uncertain future as well as a difficult to navigate GUI change. Microsoft and Microsoft boosters shot all of their credibility promoting Vista as their best and the most secure OS ever.

    twitter Reply:

    More evidence of Vista 7 failure is a price destroying glut of DRAM. DRAM makers made the same mistake when Vista failed to live up to Microsoft’s technical and sales promises. The Windows 7 sales spurt, if it was anything more than channel stuffing, is over.

What Else is New


  1. Was Microsoft Ever First in the Market?

    Confronting the false belief that Microsoft ever innovates anything of significance or is "first" in some market/s



  2. Links 1/8/2021: 4MLinux 37.0, IBM Fluff, and USMCA Update

    Links for the day



  3. Microsoft Knows That When Shareholders Realise Azure Has Failed the Whole Boat Will Sink

    The paranoia at Microsoft is well justified; they've been lying to shareholders to inflate share prices and they don't really deliver the goods, just false hopes and unfulfilled promises



  4. [Meme] Nobody and Nothing Harms Europe's Reputation Like the EPO Does

    Europe’s second-largest institution, the EPO, has caused severe harm/damage to Europe’s economy and reputation; its attacks on the courts and on justice itself (even on constitutions in the case of UPC — another attempt to override the law and introduce European software patents) won’t be easily forgotten; SUEPO has meanwhile (on Saturday, link at the bottom in German) reminded people that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have driven away the EPO’s most valuable workers or moral compass



  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 31, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 31, 2021



  6. [Meme] When it Comes to Server Share, Microsoft Azure is Minuscule (But Faking It)

    Don't believe the lies told by Microsoft's charlatans and frauds; Azure has been a total failure and that's why there are layoffs as well



  7. [Meme] Mozilla Has Turned From Technical to Marketing

    Way back, long before Mozilla and Firefox got hijacked by politics (turning Mozilla into a VPN reseller that lies about its stance on privacy), geeks were driving the company, not corporate lawyers and spying/marketing people



  8. Over 1,500 (Known/Unorphaned) Gemini Capsules and Over 160,000 Page Requests in gemini.techrights.org During July

    Techrights is expanding at gemini:// (Gemini space) and over 1,500 capsules are reported to have been found (less than 4 months ago it was about 1,000)



  9. Links 31/7/2021: Kernel Additions and Linux Mint 20.3 Release Date

    Links for the day



  10. Microsoft Azure Stagnating

    Reprinted with permission from Mitchel Lewis, former Microsoft employee



  11. For 17 Days (and Counting) António Campinos Has Failed to Respond to Call for Compliance With the Law

    Team Campinos has been so arrogant and so evasive that there’s no indication (yet) that it will follow court orders (Willy ‘Guillaume’ Minnoye openly bragged about ignoring court orders and he's still cheering for the EPO's abuses); therefore, staff of the EPO takes collective action



  12. Raw: Elodie Bergot Breaking the Law by Threatening Against the Exercise of Fundamental Rights

    Over the years we saw a number of rude letters from Elodie Bergot, the grossly under-qualified spouse of a friend of Vichyite Benoît Battistelli; most of these we never published (we already have these and can always publish if the need arises), but those paranoid and insecure “Mafia”-like ‘cabal’ need to be exposed for the mobsters they are; for nearly a decade they’ve illegally bullied EPO staff in clear violation of the law (and for over 3 years António Campinos has kept those bullies on board); why does Europe do nothing and why is it never holding high-profile abusers accountable (only low-level facilitators)? Is it because the EU too is being infiltrated by them?



  13. Linspire Should Be Avoided in 2021 Just Like It Was Avoided 14 Years Ago

    The brand "Linspire" was brought back, but the agenda seems to be more or less the same, namely pushing proprietary software and serving Microsoft's commercial agenda (in 'Linux' clothing)



  14. The Death of Freenode Would Be Freenode's Own Fault

    Freenode is going dark and now it’s asking people to create accounts at IRC.com (just to get back into the network that they may have already occupied for decades) as if Freenode owns “IRC” as a whole



  15. Links 31/7/2021: KDE Progress and Activision Catastrophe

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, July 30, 2021



  17. The Smartest Meter of All

    Yesterday a lady came over to take our power readings (electric/gas meter); secure these people's jobs as they help protect people's privacy (dignity) at home



  18. [Meme] A Web of False Dichotomies

    A reminder that Techrights is fully available (all blog posts and wiki pages) in gemini://



  19. Freenode Shrinks by Another Quarter and Gemini Continues to Grow (For Techrights at Least)

    Freenode continues to perish faster than we've imagined; it's a good thing that we've had contingencies set up; regarding the monopolised and increasingly centralised Web, we're still making baby steps towards weaning ourselves off it



  20. Links 31/7/2021: Wine 6.14 and Chrome 93 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. European Media Does Not Care About Europe's Second-Largest Institution Crushing Basic Laws and Fundamental Rights

    New video about the latest publication from SUEPO (the EPO’s staff union); it was published yesterday, seeing that the “Mafia” (what EPO staff actually calls the management!) hasn’t done anything to comply with a wide-ranging set of court rulings from ILO-AT; why has the media said nothing about this and what does that say about today’s media? The material is all in the public domain, in widely understood languages, and SUEPO spoke about it more than 3 weeks ago.



  22. Links 30/7/2021: Distro Comparisons and Tootle Introduced

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] Enforcing ILO-AT Rulings...

    We’re still waiting for a statement — any statement (direct or indirect) — from EPO management, seeing that almost a month has passed



  24. 'Open Source' as a Failed Initiative

    A closer look at the dire state of the Open Source Initiative, or OSI, which no longer protects Open Source (let alone software freedom) but instead helps openwashing, Microsoft entrapment, and a coup against the FSF



  25. [Meme] Rowan and António Sittin' on a Tree...

    How much longer can Team Campinos keep issuing tons of noisy and self-congratulatory puff pieces to (perhaps) distract from the elephant in the 10th floor of the Isar building (EPO HQ)? Staff won't wait for eternity.



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 29, 2021



  27. Half the People in This Letter Are IBM Employees

    IBM seems to be continuing its war on the FSF because IBM wants to own everything (CentOS being ‘canned’ was just part of the plan)



  28. The OSI Song

    The sad demise of OSI, which has become little but a front group of proprietary software companies in pursuit of openwashing services (and outsourcing to proprietary disservices looking to eradicate copyleft)



  29. [Meme] OSI is Doing Just Fine

    So what if OSI is run by someone who raised money from Microsoft (to sell Microsoft a keynote slot in a copyleft event — the thing that Microsoft attacks through GitHub!) while funnelling the OSI's funds to a serial GPL violator?



  30. The OSI's Defunct Elections (Privacy Breach), Conflict of Interest (Nicholson), and Other Lingering Problems

    The above, together with an email from the OSI below, serves to show they’re re-running a bad election and — yet worse! — there appears to be a conflict of interest implicating the OSI’s sole member of staff!


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts