Why the firing of Microsoft’s Terry Myerson and Apple’s decision to move to its own ARM chipsets matter?

Because it means the end of the desktop operating system.

The desktop OS as we know it is finally ready for its funeral. After the firing of Windows and Devices Group Manager Terry Myerson in a sweeping reorganization at Microsoft for the first time in history Microsoft has no representative of the Windows Operating System on Board Level. The Windows and Devices Group got split up and was moved below the Cloud and the Experiences Teams. Microsoft follows its strategy to become a Cloud and Services rather than an OS company and with Windows being down to 16% of overall revenue the switch seems to work.

At the same time Apple announced to switch from the technological lagging Intel chipsets to its own ARM based Chips in future Mac generations. This is not just a CPU switch as was done by Apple in 2006 from PowerPC to Intel architecture but even more so a first step in merging its OS lines (iOS and MAC OS) and the beginning of the end of the MAC OS as a specialized desktop operating system. This move might very well alienate the MAC OS user base, but just as Windows, MAC OS is not a significant portion of revenue of what has de-facto become a phone company.

These developments are not new but have been in the making for quite a while. Satya Nadella’s rise to power in Microsoft was always connected to making the company the number one Cloud provider, with providing Cloud Services on any system – no matter what the underlying OS might be. Apple’s switch from a computer to a phone company (or mobility company) was clear to most of us when they dropped their original company name “Apple Computer” and became Apple. Today 75% of Apple’s revenue is based on iPhone (69%) and iPad (6%) sales compared to MAC OS based devices with just under 8%.

All of this results in the underlying Operating System not being important anymore (something Microsoft had to learn the hard way with their Mobile offerings) – the only thing that counts is Cloud Services presented either through any Browser or platform agnostic Apps. This is a fact today in the consumer realm where I can use any Service on any of my devices and it will become reality in business environments as well. Today we are still fighting with legacy on premise applications and services that require a defined infrastructure like a specific Windows Version on the desktop but over the next years this will shift as well to a pure software as a service world where the OS doesn’t matter anymore and will become meaningless..

Short Apple

This weeks product announcement from Apple was great showmanship. A slew of new products and options will flood the market in time for the holidays. As a huge Apple fan I couldn't be happier if their wouldn't be this foreboding sense of doom that I can't quiet explain.

Well, let me try. What was the first thing Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple? He looked at the product portfolio of dozens of variations of the same thing and cancelled everything but four products. Four wer eenough to fulfil his vision at that time and he rightly recognized that Apple was confusing even its fanbase with far too many options. Sounds familiar? Fast forward to 2017. There is no iPhone anymore. There are eight of them. Why? They need some with headphone jacks because those had to go (for no apparent reason), they need each size (hence the SE), they need every pricepoint and I guess while they are at it just keep the model from two years ago for fun. From a business point of view where you want to reach the whole market it makes sense but from Apple's unique marketing position ("We make one really good product and that's what you just have to use.") they have lost their way. I see this as the beginning of destroying a brand, and after all that brand is what makes Apple unique.

However If they would have settled on the iPhone X that would not have been the answer either. Its a niche product and people will find out that design sometimes is lee important than functionality. Design mandated that their would be no Touch ID on the device. Face ID is cool and I totally trust in Apple that they can take this technology farther than eanyone else. I love Windows Hello on my Laptop, so why is Face ID a bad idea? Let's start with the one thing that will literally kill people: Face ID while driving. I know, you should never look at your phone or even use it while driving - but the reality is people do this and when using Face ID they have to give their phone attention. People will do this and not look at the street for as long as Face ID needs. The first lawsuit when (not if) a driver kills someone else while doing this will give Apple the worst publicity since Scully ran the company into thr ground.

But Face ID has more issues than being a potential harbinger of death. Even worse than that, I wont be able to use my phone in meetings anymore for a quick glance at my emails or other stuff with out directly looking at it to unlock it. People will get real mad when they realize how little attention they have from their audience when everyone looks attentively at their devices several times during a meeting.

And not to get political - but this is racist technology. How will this device be unlocked by anyone who is required by his religious beliefs to wear for example a Burka.

I wont even go into the other announcements, like LTE for Apple Watch which is great, but being abused by the Carriers to charge more for nothing - they dont even have to distribute SIMs as Apple has wisely chosen the eSIM path.

I know I will be wrong, the most powerful company on earth will have again the best quarter in company and world history this christmas, but I still feel that weird nagging feeling that I am watching a company that has lost its way one misstep at a time. 

The concept of always being reachable makes us present nowhere.

Think about it. It's true. Always on has ruined our lives, our attention span, our ability to focus and our relationships.

Technology driven interruptions, initiated by ourselves through usage of social media, modern technology like smartphones, smartwatches and the integration of messaging services into anything that is connected to the Internet, result in a superficial lifestyle. 

We can not just enjoy the moment, almost all of us already lost that ability. We have to stare at some screen. Apple has to change the lighting algorithm for its iOS devices because it is proven we are not able to sleep anymore after using our phones and tablets in bed. 

We are doomed! We don't live fulfilling lives anymore because we have to look at somebody else's also not fulfilling life (but there is a chance we miss something great). We let FOMA dictate our days (and nights). 

Maybe it is time to disconnect. I got off Facebook years ago, I got off Twitter and I use my Apple watch as a WATCH (revolutionary concept). My phone is set to "Do not Disturb" most of the time, when I am not at work.  But most importantly any Technology interruption (Phonering, Mail chime, Message Vibration) is not more important to me than what I am actually doing in that moment. It's hard, distractions are wonderful things sometimes, but I am taking my life back.

You know you are getting old...

... when you search the Web for game add-ons for Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour and realize that the last up-to-date websites are over 10 years old.

Well, I admit, I still love the game. And since I could buy it on the Mac Appstore last year it has been my favorite ever since. If you are like me, here is a video on how to use user-generated Maps on a Mac running Command and Conquer Generals Zero-Hour.  

Steve Jobs introduces the NeXT - Computer History

In his first large-scale public appearance after his departure from Apple three years prior, Steve Jobs unveils the NeXT computer. Content sourced from VHS. For questions, comments, or future video suggestions, email us at rediscoveredfuture@gmail.com.

This was found during Sorkin made his terrible Steve Jobs movie - it is worth watching. At 41 minutes you can hear Steve backstage "Come on, Come on, it's not working!" - quality is from old VHS tapes, but its worth to watch.

Apple had the best Quarter of any company ever and why nobody cares...

Not just the best Quarter, but the best Qarter ever recorded in history by any company. EVER!

Still, many people feel down about Apple and here is why in two simple graphs that I found at sixcolors.com

Growth for the iPhone has levelled off, iPod is dead and the iPad seems to follow the same trajectory in spite of the iPad Pro launch. The only constant is the Mac - maybe Apple will be a computer company again at some point in the distant future.

This however shows the real problem - zero or negative growth in all categories. This is what scares investors (that's why Alphabet became the most valuable company ahead of Apple last week - based on stock market evaluation). Apple had profits of up to 6 billion$ per month last quarter (PROFIT!) and the Apple stockprice did this:

 (Apple Stockprice over the last 5 days 30th. of January to 3rd. of February)

(Apple Stockprice over the last 5 days 30th. of January to 3rd. of February)

That's right - it did nothing. We live in a screwed up world.

Squarespace 7 Blog Import

I just moved my Blog again. This time from a Squarespace 7 Site to another Squarespace 7 site. Sounds easy enough, but ...

Squarespace does not offer this option!

I could move a Squarespace 5 Site/Blog - but not from the same version. Fail!

Anyway, this is how you do it:

  1. Export to Wordpress and save as an XML file
  2. Go to your new site and Import from Wordpress
  3. Choose advanced and select the XML file
  4. Be patient (it takes a while)

The result is almost perfect - all Blog entries moved over nicely. Why in the world there is no direct way to do this I will not understand though.


Apple Music Fail?

Maybe you experienced the same issue as many other Apple Music users today. Continuos error message popups with the following description:

The shared library “Cloud Music Library” is not responding. (503)

This started happening this morning and IS NOT an issue on your system. It has been reported for Windows and Mac versions of iTunes (my iTunes basically is unusable at the moment) and also of iOS devices.

Let's hope Apple gets this sorted out fast.

The Apple Watch - after 4 weeks of use

I am glad I didn't write a review of the Apple Watch right after I got it -  it wouldn't have done this marvelous piece of technology justice.

You see, it's a watch. And it's a very nice watch on top of it. But my expectations of what I would get were much different. Apple would re-invent the category of smartwatches, this would be the final breakthrough for wearable's on your wrist. The grand solution to all of the problems all other smartwatches weren't able to fix until now (and that includes my Casio calculator watch from 1983). 

Four weeks later I see that my expectations were wrong. For wearable technology on your wrist the Apple watch has not solved all the problems. The screen is beautiful but still too small to do a lot of useful things. 

But it is a beautiful watch, and it can do a lot of cool stuff on top of that. Controlling my music without getting my phone out when I run, being the best remote for my Apple TV and getting me notifications makes my life so much easier. 

After seeing the WWDC Keynote and what is coming with watchOS 2.0 and apps running natively on the watch I am even more excited. This thing is going to be the next big thing. And as long as you treat it first of all as a watch you will not be disappointed. All the other stuff will take some time until we figure out what makes sense on your wrist. 

But I am sure we will figure it out and Apple will make the watch better with every iteration until in hindsight it will have transformed its category. 

How to destroy a brand (ask Microsoft) - and my career?

Here we go, Microsoft Lync will be rebranded Skype for Business in Q1/2015.

Do I even have to write more? How stupid could you be Microsoft? Really? Skype?

You are seriously taking an established and trusted enterprise brand like Lync and for the sake of what exactly rebrand it to a generally distrusted brand that most IT Managers and their business counterparts still see as a toy, a consumer product on the same level as Yahoo Messenger (does that still exist?) and Snapchat.

What the f...?

I worked for years to establish Lync as the primary communciations tool in my company, it is used by 12.000 employees and is the only telephony system for many of them. At the same time Skype is still blocked in many companies (you know - it is a trusted brand...). So why would you do this? My estimate is that this name change (and the change of the client UI) alone will stall or eliminate many Lync projects. And it will be the end to many succesful implementations.

"Hey, why don't you switch off your Siemens PBX and use Skype instead?" 

Does that sound like it will be succesful in your company? It wont be in mine and that's why I give up on Microsoft. I will hold on to my Lync 2013 implementation and never again update, just let it die a slow death until something else comes along over the next ten years that is as trusted as Lync and won't have a stupid name that kills it. Thanks, Microsoft.

And just in case you wonder, I do completely understand the need to unify the Lync and Skype technologies, strategy and product teams. But there is no reason to use one name for two different products. It is simply put confusing (OneDrive and OneDrive for Business is a perfect example) and bad branding. 

Windows 10 - Build 9860

I just installed the latest Build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The installation took some time and it would be very helpful if the download interface would give some estimate on how long it would actually take - download size was about 2.5GB - it really seems this is a complete re-install, not so much an update. Also the installation process and first logon look more like a migration than an update. Some settings were reset and not carried over (e.g. IE Trusted Sites). 

There are a couple of new features, immediatly visible the notification center (which is right now just a plain white windoe which displays notification as they come in). Functionality is off course still missing, the items that are displayed are mostly not actionable - but I am sure this will get better with newer builds.

Windows are now more animated when opened and closed, Storage Sense and Data Sense are here (if you use Windows Phone you already know these). 

Most importantly the bugs I have seen in the first release are gone (search from the IE adress bar works again - before I had to first go to google and then search from there). 

Obviously there are more changes and tweaks, for example if you click on the network connection icon in the taskbar instead of just a popup on the right you get taken into fullscreen view of PC Settings - not a step forward in my view - but more consistant. 

I am sure I will find more changes that I'll write up in a future post - so far, still very stable and usable even as my primary system.

Putting weak iPad sales into perspective

Apple basically created the tablet category in 2010 - since then continously loosing market share (from 95% to 25% in the 3rd. Quarter of 2014). 

However, I think it is worth putting these numbers and the doomed iPad (if you believe some reports) into perspective. To do this here is the absolute numbers of tablet shipments (from Statista)

Apple owned the market in Q2 2010 but shipped only 3 million units. In Q2 2014 it held 25% of 49.3 million units - which results in sales of 12.5 million units compared to 3 million 4 years ago.

I believe the iPad is doing quite well and has a bright future - and competition from Android and Microsoft will only result in a better device from Apple in the end.