M$ Has No Hope To Compete Against Small Cheap Computers

As the small cheap computer grows in numbers and capability, M$’s monopoly on IT is on its last leg.“Microsoft called off its plan to mass-produce and launch the Surface Mini tablet back in May. According to the report, the decision to cancel the device was made because the tablet lacked differentiation compared to other small tablets, and also because the company received “negative responses” from its various brand vendor partners.” The last straw was an attempt to push “8” out into the world of small tablets. Against Android/Linux and GNU/Linux selling for $0 on generic tablets, M$ has no hope at all. According to StatCounter, recently M$ had just 0.2% share of tablet-page-views. In countries like India, M$ is down to just 0.09% share.

You just can’t sell generic tablets in a free market with a big hit for a monopolist’s software licence. Even M$ charging itself $0 for its own software could not make any money in this market because consumers just weren’t interested. Life is hard when your big brother doesn’t grant you a monopoly, eh? Get used to it, M$.

See Microsoft Surface Mini Release Date Cancelled, Report Claims.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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28 Responses to M$ Has No Hope To Compete Against Small Cheap Computers

  1. oiaohm says:

    JD has not handled wordpress a lot. Static css files are not that common.

    Debugging wordpress CSS is why I recommend people with wordpress to run a local version. Between Plugin and Themes messing with CSS is really easy to end up in a CSS mess with wordpress with very little clue exactly what was the little bit that sent it south.

    WordPress could really do with a CSS debugger showing exactly how X version CSS file was generated.

  2. DrLoser says:

    Well, somewhere between those two divergent opinions … there’s a good-sized gap … I think you can probably find the sweet spot, Robert.

    I’m with you on so many of today’s “web frameworks” being like putting twenty wheels on a motor-cycle (to paraphrase you slightly). Regrettably, I think the situation is only getting worse. I looked into picking a blogging framework myself about six years or so ago, and actually WordPress was the best one I could come up with … which is not a recommendation for the thing, as JD will no doubt agree.

    If tweaking the CSS doesn’t work directly, I do suggest that you look into the possibility of editing a template or two. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a “single comment” template — called goodness knows what — and it would be genuinely amenable to a simple hack like a wrap with <span>s. You can even add an ID to the span and use it to attach specific CSS behaviour later.

    I, like you, am not a fan of this mystical “let’s tweak an inheritable attribute in a cascade of things I don’t have the time to achieve Zen Mastery of, and see if it works.”

    I prefer a simple solution that works first time.

  3. JD says:


    And dynamic web pages are generated where exactly? Thats right, on the server, which is what I was saying as well. Thank you for proving my point.
    CSS is usually a static file on the server. It has nothing to do with PHP whatsoever, nor with the actual building of the output to be rendered, except for getting inserted itself into the output at some point.

    1, 2, 3, 4 – Again, thank you for proving my point. I would like to refresh your memory here and point out that this wasn’t your original conclusion.

    A) You self proclaim yourself as a Windoze user. Would you claim to understand every line of code in Windoze, or any other program you use for that matter?
    I did not send Mr. Pogson a compiled binary of some sort and claim it would magically fix the problem (which is how closed source software like Windoze works by the way). What I
    did was offer a suggested edit to a file on Mr. Pogson’s server. He is free to make the change right away, do his research before implementing it, or ignoring it completely.
    My suggestion simply points him to a solution saving him time, with NO adverse effects whatsoever (or easily reversable if any) which is what you so desperately seem to be getting at.

    Whether he chooses to research and understand the root cause of the problem is up to him. Whether that knowledge would be useful to him in the future is questionable.

    B) Making statements like this simply shows how ignorant you are of CSS, PHP or WordPress. If I were you, I would give up now and stop embarassing myself.
    C) OK

    Thats your opinion and you are entitled to it. I would rather he spend less time learning to code CSS and spend more time doing what he does best, which is showing the world how much M$ sucks.

    Arrogant? Me? I actually offered a working solution here my friend. One that would actually fix the problem.
    All you offered were empty words and vain claims of inserting random DIV’s which if you actually knew a thing or two about HTML and CSS, would probably cause more problems than fix the problem at hand.

    If it did actually fix it, it would be purely coincindental.

  4. JD says:

    Mr. Pogson, if you need a hand at all, please let me know, I would be happy to help.

  5. DrLoser wrote, ” Without understanding the basics of CSS (thus my link), all Robert will be able to do is to “trust the community,” “.

    I do understand CSS well enough to figure things out with W3Schools and my browser but WordPress is one Hell of a deep pile and rational experiments often seem to have no effect on the rendering at all, like needing to tweak this-similarly-named file to that and all kinds of stuff is inherited from layers above. I have notes on things to put right after each upgrade, for instance… WP is, like some other FLOSS projects, going towards bloated beyond all recognition. I only use less than half the knobs on my “toolbar” in the admin panel. There is just too much code for me to parse to debug stuff like this. The browser tool too has recently changed and I can’t get the same feedback that I used to do. Perhaps, I’m just too old but change for the sake of change is a sin in my eyes. WP as far as it goes works pretty well but I can see me dropping it for something else in the next year or so if this pace of updates continues. At some point, they should call it good enough and just fix bugs… It’s like they want to put 20 wheels on the family car, for Pity’s sake.

  6. DrLoser says:

    Just as Kurks said, JD.

    PHP is server side software. The problem we have here is with how the content is presented in the client aka the browser. All the source code you need is already readily available by navigating to View->Source, like you said.

    That’s a rather peculiar way to look at PHP, isn’t it?

    Perl is server-side software. Java is server-side software. Hell, even Pascal is server-side software.

    But whilst it’s possible to use PHP strictly on the server (if you’re a dribbling idiot), the whole point of the language is to generate dynamic web pages. PHP has evolved since the early days, when it was mostly used as glue in between actual HMTL output — and this is largely thanks to CSS, I think — but the best you can say about it, server-wise, is that it’s Turing-complete.

    Look, one of the following is true:
    1) This “server-side” software is borked. Unlikely. PHP is ugly as sin, but, carefully used, it is known to do the job for billions of web pages.
    2) The framework running on this “server-side” software is borked. Also unlikely. WordPress is also ugly as sin, but … etc.
    3) The templates used with the framework are borked. This is actually quite possible. I’d have to analyse the templates before coming to a conclusion.
    4) The CSS used with the templates is borked. I think we can both agree that this is the most likely issue. It can be solved with what I freely admit is a bit of a bodge — ie, inserting <div>s or preferably <span>s in the template(s) at appropriate points. Or it can be solved by configuring the CSS properly.

    Now, I have three points to make here:
    A) I’m sorry, but your “community advice” is next to worthless. Without understanding the basics of CSS (thus my link), all Robert will be able to do is to “trust the community,” in this case you, and cut’n’paste Teh Codez. I’m given to understand that Robert “likes to think for himself,” and I would encourage this behaviour.
    B) Even this might be difficult. I’m assuming (without looking or even caring) that the CSS on this site is generated by various configuration options within WordPress. In this case your “community advice” is utterly worthless.
    C) Robert was very possibly correct in identifying “cascading CSS” as the issue. (The clue is of course in the name.) He was incorrect, I believe — though understandably so — in calling out the site of the cascade.

    Call me a bloated M$ shill if you want, JD, but in this case I think it’s possibly more helpful to suggest that Robert adjusts his templates with <div>s or whatever, than just to offer up some contingent bit of crud without any context and, effectively, boast that you know what it means to inherit a particular CSS property, and Robert does not and never will.

    That’s a tad on the arrogant and unhelpful side, isn’t it, JD?

  7. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr just because Microsoft gives OS away for under 9 inch for free does not mean vendors providing it don’t have to pay other parties extortion fees. Patents work for no one bar patent trolls in the current age.

  8. kurkosdr says:


    Protip: When you make so juvenile posts, don’t have a pic of a kid as an avatar.

  9. JD says:

    At least the comment cleaner is working well, it keeps stripping out my tags.

  10. JD says:

    … adding …

  11. JD says:

    The whole point of community assistance is that an expert fixes the problem so you can get on with your life. If indeed a tutorial on CSS is what you are interested in, give me a shout, my rate runs as $30 an hour. Judging by your posts here, you should master the subject in only a few short years.

    PHP is server side software. The problem we have here is with how the content is presented in the client aka the browser. All the source code you need is already readily available by navigating to View->Source, like you said.

    The M$ jokelet still stands. Try adding to the rest of your post, the add rant { display: none; } to your css.

    Have a nice day.

  12. DrLoser says:

    Excellent, JD! Offer Robert some magic long PHP codes (in this case, fairly brief CSS codes, I admit)!

    Don’t bother to explain anything, will you? Don’t bother to offer Robert advice in how to actually understand what is happening (eg a link to a tutorial). Community assistance at its finest!

    Not having access to the source, and indeed not caring a rat’s patootie about primitive dross like PHP or WordPress, I chose the most straight-forward and generic way of testing a fix-up. You’ll remember that I did suggest it as a test, using emacs … I didn’t propose hand-crafting the result, did I?

    And what a fine jokelet about “Microsoft bloat” that was. I’ve just done a wc on my copy of the “view source,” and it comes out at 56K characters … to which I added precisely 88, or it might have been 99, by wrapping each comment in a <div>. Oh, the bolat, the bloat, the unspeakable bloat!

    There’s just a tiny possibility that this is massively outweighed by all the adware and various links to non-minified javascript, isn’t there? I’d say by roughly in the order of 100-1.

    Not to mention that <div>s and <span>s are a nice simple way to implement layers and other class-selector activities, which Robert might choose to do in future.

    But, hey, I generally leave this stuff to professionals in the domain. And so does Robert.

    Which probably explains how he ended up with the borked HTML/CSS on this site in the first place.

    Oh, and JD? Run the next version of the site through Jigsaw for us, will you, and report back? There’s a good fellow.

  13. JD says:

    Actually that should fix the text selection problem as well.

    Loser, in true M$ fashion, has to add bloat to fix problem, which will cause more problems which will need more bloat to fix which will cause more problems … Well you get the idea.

    I am surprised they booted him/her/it out of M$, he/she/it would have been right at home there.

  14. JD says:

    Looks like Loser loses again. The link thing atleast is completely a CSS problem. Of course he has no idea what fizz or jetpack is and talks out of his rear end, like most things he says.

    In your wp-content/themes/fizz/css/main.css, look for this section:

    header {
    background: #222222;
    height: 70px;
    position: relative;
    z-index: 5;

    Then change the position: relative; to either position: static; or position: inherit;

    Oh and while you are at it, could you also please completely remove this line (probably in your theme’s index.php), or at least change it to a more pleasant color

    body.custom-background { background-color: #d5f2f2; }

    Also if you could please navigate to Jetpack -> Settings, and activate the JSON API, I would appreciate it very much. It will let me read you blog easily from my app here:


  15. dougman says:

    I would also add that M$ swapping ‘Surface’ for ‘Lumia’, is stupid, but even that won’t work.

    I know M$ put out a $99 trial Android Nokia device, but the M$ Android only works with M$ services which no one wants to use anyways.

    Hey, got a Lumia??………A what??


  16. DrLoser says:

    Interesting application of Postel’s Law, though.

    Be conservative in what you send; be liberal in what you accept.

    As presently borked, this site is not merely promiscuous in what it sends.

    It’s positively slatternly.

  17. DrLoser says:

    One other interesting benefit you get, and I’ve just tried this by pasting my own comment into the “not quite as appallingly borked as the original” article …

    … My comment has a link.

    You can’t navigate from the link in your version of the page.

    You can from mine.

    I hesitate, because I think making it easier for oiaohm to chase links (the poor soul hasn’t quite worked out how to access “view source” yet) is not necessarily a good thing.

    I will put the Northern New South Wales A&E departments on high alert for “linky blindness” immediately. It is my civic duty.

  18. DrLoser says:

    Alternatively, you could try using something not written in horribly botched PHP by an obvious weekend amateur.

  19. DrLoser says:

    (I say it’s absolutely nothing to do with CSS, which is true in the sense that you mean CSS to represent.

    (However, I am sure that oiaohm will triumphantly spring to the attack and point out that you can attach CSS to any element at all, in this case <article>.

    (And this is also true. And in that spirit, I attach a link to a very good CSS tutorial, where you’ll find the required info. From memory I think it’s somewhere on page 8 or so.)

  20. DrLoser says:

    If that’s the same “CSS expert” you brought in at a suitable cost to configure your WordPress system in the first place, Robert, you’re SOOL, aren’t you?

    In the spirit of the Community, I offer two observations. I think both are going to help.

    1) It’s absolutely nothing to do with CSS. You can probably do with cleaning up the CSS: according to Jigsaw from W3C, which is about as canonical as it gets, there are a few issues. Looks to me like “fizz” and “jetpack” are a couple of plug-ins you need to find an alternative for.

    2) Have you tried using Emacs? It’s a very handy tool.

    Here we go then. I’ve saved the “view source” to a file and used a simple emacs macro to test out a theory. (Keep the original and test out as many theories as you like — it’s easy.)

    Here’s my theory. Your site is almost totally deficient in the proper use of the <div> tag. Let’s see how that works when you wrap each and every <article id&gt (and closure) with a <div> (and closure).

    Hmmm,, looks to me like it works rather well, at least as far as cut and paste goes.

    Naturally, as an ex-Microsoft employee who charges the going commercial rate for my services, Robert, I am alas forced to require that you cough up the equivalent of what it costs to license Metro for a 7″ mobile phone.

    Let me know when the check for $0 is likely to arrive.

  21. kurkosdr wrote, “You argument that MS can’t compete because of price is not true, because Win 8.x offers a better price for OEMs than Android.”

    Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. This software is all bundled with the device so consumers only get to choose what OEMs and retailers put on the shelves. That’s been OK with M$ for decades…

  22. kurkosdr wrote, “why can’t I select some of the text”.
    That’s a mystery to me. I will have an expert on CSS look at it this weekend. I know there is a “disable” feature in “textarea” but that should not apply to the comments… The usual tool I use to examine such things, the browser, can’t even seem to figure it out. It could be cascading stylesheets running amok. I don’t have it on Beast, where I am logged in to the site but I can see it on other clients in the house where I am a normal visitor.

  23. dougman says:

    M$ is never cheap, nor are they in any sort innovators of software or hardware.

    Who in their right mind would go buy a Windows tablet? Windows is known for malware and other malfeasance, buyer beware!

    Especially now that Android is merging with ChromeOS, only a idiot spend money on MicroSh1t.

  24. kurkosdr says:

    for an OEM get Win 8.x for free = for an OEM to get Win 8.x for free

    PS: Also, why can’t I select some of the text? When I move the mouse over it, the pointer doesn’t turn to cursor and text is not selected when I click and drag. Also happens in Debian.

  25. kurkosdr says:

    “There’s a sound business plan, giving product away for $0 with no hope of compensation. Sounds like desperation on the part of M$.”

    Well, the agreement for an OEM get Win 8.x for free (for devices under 9-inches) includes Bing as default, and Win8.x steers people towards Hotmail (aka outlook.com), SkyDrive and the Windows App Store.

    Anyway, back on topic. You argument that MS can’t compete because of price is not true, because Win 8.x offers a better price for OEMs than Android. In fact, Win 8.x is free and Android costs OEMs money. MS can’t compete in the mobile market because customers don’t like the product’s UI and the app ecosystem is worse.

  26. kurkosdr wrote, “Windows 8.1 is free for devices with screens under 9-inch, while Android has the MS extortion fee attached to it.”

    There’s a sound business plan, giving product away for $0 with no hope of compensation. Sounds like desperation on the part of M$. Google, OTOH, intends to multiply its revenues by building up installed base of users of the Internet.

  27. kurkosdr says:

    PS: Yes, all Win 8.x tablets with an intel chip run Windows Desktop Software, but the Dell Venue 8 Pro is the only one that is so affordable (about same price as 7 and 8-inch Android tablets), so unlike other Win 8.x tablets with an Intel chip which are generally expensive, the Venue 8 Pro (and 7 Pro) doesn’t feel like you are spending as much as on a laptop.

  28. kurkosdr says:

    Excuse me? Windows 8.1 is free for devices with screens under 9-inch, while Android has the MS extortion fee attached to it. Google’s moronic decision of not conforting Microsoft in the courts has resulted in them paying a Tax Towards Competitor.

    It’s not about price. People just don’t like Metro, and the Win 8.x app ecosystem is worse, that’s the end of story. OEMs (and customers) are willing to pay the MS extortion fee for Android than use Win 8.x

    The only Win 8.x tablet that sells somewhat well is the Dell Venue 8 Pro, because it has the ability to run Windows Desktop Software. It managed to find a niche and sells to that niche. Instead of trying to fast follow Android with a worse interface and app library.

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