M$: If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em…

“Windows Phone is still dying. Android is the most popular mobile operating system by a wide margin. Microsoft has bought a company that can help its developers easily write apps for Android. And, last but not least, it has partnered with an Android vendor that wants to replace Android’s Google services and that also happens to be working on integrating Microsoft services with Android.
Maybe we won’t see Microsoft Android by 2017. But I’m certain we’ll see Cyanogenmod with Windows services locked in. For all practical purposes, it will be Microsoft’s Android.”
See Don’t be surprised when Microsoft Android shows up
M$ has come a long way. Finally, reality is creeping in. M$ has tried to beat Linux on x86 and ARM but when it comes to small cheap computers/smartphones, it was no contest. Linux won. Despite $billions invested, M$ could not take much share away from Android/Linux on smartphones. There are all kinds of reasons for that besides price. I suspect from the consumer’s viewpoint is was mostly about apps and keeping up with the Jones family.

So, why was Google able to succeed and M$ failed? It was all about control. Google allowed the ecosystem to innovate and not be locked into M$’s way of doing things. Android and Linux are both Free/Libre Open Source Software so there’s no lock-in built in to the licence. It’s all about sharing. Now, ironically, M$ finally sees the advantages of sharing and not doing everything in house. That’s good. That’s M$ becoming more like a real business instead of a monopoly. I expect when shareholders see margins and volume improve for smartphones, they will demand that M$ loosen its grasp of the desktop as well. That would be the right way to sell desktop operating systems. Not reinventing the wheel but sharing the load for software development is a much more efficient model of business. When that happens, GNU/Linux will be ready to help.

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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15 Responses to M$: If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em…

  1. oiaohm says:

    Neel UEFI means to replace the PK and inload your own KEK has come from Microsoft and Intel behind UEFI refining it not to get into the location where the ODM with Android are heading now.

    So UEFI has been altered to avoid being on the wrong side of the regulators. EU is giving Google a hard time because updates have not been moving out effectively.

  2. Neel says:

    Deaf Spy says: “Btw, Google is looking forward hard times”

    That is just EU giving Google hard times. Microsoft has done the exact same thing with Secure Boot firmware, and gotten away with it.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Dr Loser sorry kinda missing something Kangaroo is exploiting free MS Windows if under a particular size screen and under particular final item price tag.

    Since Kangaroo does not have a screen connected and you connect up a screen of your choice issue you can run into is connecting a screen larger than the Windows Licensing included allows. As a format over device its worth considering but there are other x86 stuff out there for 99 dollars OS less that are better from a legal point of view.

    The reality is MS Windows on a device under 250 dollars has some serous limitations.

    Dr Loser something funny about arm cpus they seam to price max out at 60 dollars no matter what they are. Devices with higher price tag in arm is normally not the CPU behind the higher cost but ram and storage.

    Dr Loser there are already skylake chips at 15 watt.

    Also please don’t guess there is absolutely no need on intel based stuff “Atom Z3580 would cost around $41” This is incorrect and there was no need to be incorrect.
    Above is current list of items in production/custom order-able.

    Yes Z3500 series is superseded . Intel® Atom™ x7-Z8700 Processor 39 dollars the same going price as Z3580 was. Currently Z3580 is price less because it old stock or custom order now. There is still some remaining stock of Intel® Atom™ Processor Z3530 and Intel® Atom™ Processor Z2580 otherwise Intel is out of stock of the older atom chips.

    Please note no atom chip has ever had a price higher than 40 USD. So when your guess said 41 you were 100 percent wrong.

    Dr Loser really how hard would it have been to visit the Intel site yourself and look up the pricing before typing crap. On intel chips in future please do us a favor and visit the intel site before making any attempt to guess. Yes no longer in stock/production chips you do have it guess a little but at least picking the closest current will give you somewhat correct numbers. Claiming 4.1 just shows you did not visit intel site first.

  4. Dr Loser says:

    They do care about OS, battery-life, and cost. All of those are correlated with processor.

    Correlated very weakly in the second two cases, I would think. But no doubt you have four data points on a made-up line fit that prove me wrong.

    And honestly, Robert, very few people except we who comment here on this blog care about the OS. Which is a very silly argument anyway, because if I care about a *nix, I don’t care about the chip. Which means your correlation vanishes. And if I care about Windows, I do care about the chip. Which also means that your correlation vanishes.

    I’m beginning to think that you have no knowledge of basic statistics whatsoever.

    This teardown estimates the cost of an ARMed SoC at $41 in a smartphone costing $250. What’s a new Intel chip cost?

    I’m tempted to act as the Voice of the Majority, and proclaim “We don’t!” And given that more than 50% of people who end up with that $250 phone will do so on a mobile contract, and therefore don’t really understand the amortization and so on of that cost, I’d be right. But I’ll play along with your casual throwaway thought.

    Here’s a comparison between the Snapdragon 801 (on the phone you quote) and a similarly performant Intel processor, the Atom Z3580. They’re roughly the same. Pricing? Difficult to be exact. However, the Kangaroo is still available at $99 (a bargain for Anniversary Gifts to Little Ladies Everywhere!) and is basically a computer in a box, with a docking station thrown in. The chip is a little weedier, but I think we can deduce that an Atom Z3580 would cost around $41.

    If you could buy one. Which you probably can’t. Why? Because it’s a two year old chip on a four year old manufacturing process. Intel is aggressively running down the “Arm benefit” for low-cost chips, so I’m pretty sure you could wait a month or two and get a Skylake chip running at 15W for roughly $41.

    Which cost defeats the purpose of your argument, in any case. Costs:
    1) OS? $0
    2) CPU? $41
    3) Everything else? $209

    Explain, Robert, explain. How does it make anybody happy to pay $209 for marketing, packaging, and sundry peripherals? Let’s face it, chum — you wouldn’t.

    And more importantly, if people are actually prepared to pay that extra $209 … what makes you think they’re so price-conscious about the CPU (an element of the cost that they almost certainly have no clue whatsoever about) that they would turn down, say, a slightly beefier version of the same phone with an $82 CPU rather than a $41 CPU?

    Have you talked to young people these days? I think you should get out the house more. Oh, wait, there’s that Chinese Tractorette to repair.

  5. dougman wrote, “How many people care what processor they are using?”

    They do care about OS, battery-life, and cost. All of those are correlated with processor.

    This teardown estimates the cost of an ARMed SoC at $41 in a smartphone costing $250. What’s a new Intel chip cost?

  6. dougman says:

    How many people care what processor they are using? I say the count would be 1/50th of .01% that care about Intel or ARM processors in their devices.

  7. dougman wrote, “The ONLY name that would coincide with the word ARM, is Arm & Hammer.”

    That is probably true but ARM is becoming more commonplace. e.g. It flashes by on my stock-ticker regularly and is often mentioned in reviews of various smartphones and IoT stuff. Just about everyone has or will soon have some investments or smart thingies related to ARM. ARM isn’t exactly hidden from view. Qualcomm and Samsung and other licencees are quite visible.

  8. dougman says:

    Re: ARM is a household name

    LOL..I have to side with the Dr. on that one. The ONLY name that would coincide with the word ARM, is Arm & Hammer.

  9. Deaf Spy wrote, “Google is looking forward hard times”.

    Well, the EU consistently makes life difficult for global IT-outfits. Google is muttering that they might move to China… I think the cost of search/advertising might rise if Google withdraws. On the matter of Android, I agree, Google is a bit heavy-handed, but Android is still FLOSS. Google can be replaced if need be. M$ is working hard at that so in the long term I don’t see lack of competition a problem. There will be much more competition as Android/Linux matures. Google is right that the market thrives on standardization, but they are wrong in thinking they should be the standard. Linux Foundation, where are you?

    A much bigger issue, IMHO, is that USA and others are trying to force makers of smartphones to provide a backdoor for their snoops. This creates a huge window of insecurity in modern IT-infrastructure. Then there are the murdering bastards…

    Yes, the global supply of IT needs to be Free but the EU’s recipes probably can’t be imposed globally without breaking a lot of eggs. I wonder who the EU thinks is the competition Google is stifling. M$? Oracle? Adobe? Samsung? It seems there is lots of competition out there and it’s thriving.

  10. DeafSpy says:

    I can see how this works as a strategy for Microsoft — they’ve got the corporate muscle to make out like gang-busters, assuming they execute properly.

    Now that Xamarin is free, it is a nice option to go multi-platform. I’ve fooled around with it, and though it seems limited for some gimmick apps, it is perfect for LOB applications. Combine that with Azure, which is heading to become the best cloud out there. Then sit back and watch how MS are making money of Android. GNU/Linux? Nowhere on the radar of consumer devices.

  11. Dr Loser says:

    ARM is a household name, since it has been there for ever.

    Nice try, dimwit, but no, it isn’t. I’d go so far as to say that Intel (which really has been there forever, in PC terms) isn’t even a household name.

    For whatever monetary/product moving value you could extract from that.

  12. Dr Loser says:

    Let’s get this straight, Robert.
    First of all, you’re for some reason delighted when a massive USA corporation (Google) forks Gnu/Linux and effectively locks its users into the result, built upon a proprietary VM (Dalvik).
    Now you’re for some reason delighted when another massive USA corporation (Microsoft) pursues the same strategy, acquires Xamarin — narsty narsty C# — and pals up with Cyanogen, whose sole raison d’etre is to break up the Google monopoly on mobile devices based upon Android. Which as I say is, basically, a closed fork of Gnu/Linux with a clever twist that you need the supporting bits from Dalvik to various closed source Google libraries.
    I can see how this works as a strategy for Microsoft — they’ve got the corporate muscle to make out like gang-busters, assuming they execute properly.
    But you, Robert?
    Looks like you got fooled by Google in the first place, and you’re very possibly going to get fooled once again by Microsoft.

  13. Agent Smith says:

    I’m not sure if what Intel is doing is going to give them more market share in that segment. ARM is a household name, since it has been there for ever. Intel is desperate, trying to gain a foothold, but ARM has price and a multitude of manufacturers. Intel is running after ARM, but it is still far, in the rear mirror.
    Windows too, MS can only afford that much of selling it with no cost. Somewhere down the road, they’ll have to monetize this “free” windows.

  14. Deaf Spy says:

    While MS definitely lost the smartphone (the way it is defined now), small cheap computers are a totally different arena. It is an arena where MS is increasingly pushing Android and Linux away. Slower than the Linux fiasco with netbooks, but surely definitive.

    What was once a pure Android ground is now heavily infested with Windows-based small cheap thingies, which are same-priced and deliver much more productivity, placing small cheap computers in office and production, not only home TV and entertainment.

    And then we have Apollo Lake looming over the horizon…

    P.S. I have the feeling that MS are perhaps trying to redefine the smartphone in a move they redefined tablets / convertibles with their service. Of course, not clear if they will ever try to do this, let alone succeed. Still, I don’t think they will totally abandon that sector.

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