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Microsoft plans to embrace Apple's App Store format

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Microsoft is less interested in adopting WebKit for a future version of Internet Explorer than in its plans to replicate another Apple-driven technology: the direct-to-customer software distribution model pioneered by the App Store.

Although Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Friday that the WebKit rendering engine employed by browsers such as Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome is "interesting" and may be looked into, he later suggested the company will stick true to its Trident engine for the foreseeable future so that it can continue to develop non-standard additions to the web experience.

"From time to time, we may take a look at [WebKit], but right now we feel very confident in our browser team and its availability to execute," he said at a developers conference in Australia, adding that while it's important his firm's browser embraces Web standards, it's vital that the company also be able to deliver "proprietary innovation" through "innovative extensions."

That said, Ballmer was more keen on mimicking Apple's move to digital software distribution through the App Store, revealing that Microsoft will soon launch a similar program that lets developers distribute their applications directly to consumers.

"I actually will agree that there's some good work, particularly at Facebook and also with the iPhone, where both of those companies have made it easier for developers to distribute their applications," he said. "[They've] made it easier to kind of get exposure for your applications."

Apple said last month that App Store users have downloaded more than 200 million applications since the digital shop opened its doors in July, while FaceBook has afforded third parties an avenue to market their software through the social networking site since last year.

Although Ballmer admits there's "not much money being made" by the formats, "the general concept of giving developers a way not only to get their code distributed, but to really get visibility for the code, is a good idea."

While the executive stopped short of providing hard details, he told developers to "fear not," as the company is hard at work on technology that will deliver some of the benefits of the two platforms, particularly those employed by FaceBook.

To that end, Microsoft is rumored to be testing a FaceBook knock-off dubbed "TownSquare," which was reportedly designed to be deployed within the enterprise. The software giant's specific ambitions for App Store-like application distribution are unclear.
post #2 of 35
What's interesting is M$'s inability to realise that IE is a dinosaur, no matter how many shiny buttons they stick on it.
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post #3 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft... plans to replicate another Apple-driven technology

Surprise, surprise!

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post #4 of 35
Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.
post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.

AMEN TO THAT! Ballmer is just taking the entire company into a hole right now. Then again, they have always done the bare minimum even when Bill Gates was the head!
post #6 of 35
Quote:
he later suggested the company will stick true to its Trident engine for the foreseeable future so that it can continue to develop non-standard additions to the web experience.

Oh great.
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.

Yeah it's pretty much agreed across the industry that Microsoft are NOT innovative (or at least are very very rarely). What they are good at is making money, usually by taking someone else's idea and using their market dominance to give it massive market exposure, or sometimes even breaking compatibility with competitor products to "push" their own as the recommended way. They are a pain in the ass to compete with for many reasons, especially for smaller companies, who don't really stand a chance.

But I think Apple are safe enough. Apple do not make money by default like Microsoft - they make it by innovating and creating really good products. And all this copy-copy-copying from Microsoft is a good thing in a way as it constantly forces Apple to re-innovate and make their products even better. Also, people (well, blog reading tech industry people like us, anyway) see what Microsoft is doing and lose all respect for them, and they get bad-mouthed all over the place, which is why there is an underlying unpopularity about everything they do (Vista, for example).

I swear, as soon as all software office suites agree on and use (by default) a consistent document standard format, Microsoft's Office leg will weaken dramatically. And then as OS X becomes more popular and Linux becomes more useable for the masses (which probably won't happen for a long time unfortunately), the Windows leg will start to give way. And then Microsoft will only have their Servers leg to stand on (mostly everything else they do is not actually profitable, including Xbox). I can't wait actually - the tech world will be a much more interesting place.
post #8 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.


Actually, I came into here to bitch that people keep calling the App Store original. There's no question it is by far the best implementation of an App Store out there... but every cell service has had an App Store of some sort for years. The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by drhamad View Post

Actually, I came into here to bitch that people keep calling the App Store original. There's no question it is by far the best implementation of an App Store out there... but every cell service has had an App Store of some sort for years. The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.

I would also argue that the iTunes Music Store wasn't "original". The originality and innovation with the iTunes store or the App Store is not what it does, but like you said, how it does it. There has never been anything easier to use, manage, etc. Apple's innovations aren't always because of some revolutionary new feature, but the fact that is just so stupid easy to use that it's a wonder anyone but Apple couldn't figure it out. For example, the iPhone was not the first touch device, but it was the most intuitive and simplest to use. Blackberry is touting the Storm as a revolutionary device, but it is still running Blackberry OS, and I think we can all agree that it is not the easiest platform to use.
post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by drhamad View Post

The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.

Yeah... that 'usability' stuff is just stupid.
Give me massive, unusable power any day.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.

Believe it or not, Windows 1.0 was going to have contextually sized scroll-bars (something we take for granted now), but Gates insisted it was removed, because the feature wasn't on the Mac. Proof, as if any were needed, that Windows was intended to replicate the Mac as close as possible.

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post #12 of 35
Quote:
he later suggested the company will stick true to its Trident engine for the foreseeable future so that it can continue to develop non-standard additions to the web experience.

The silver lining in this cloud is that more and more web designers are finding out they simply can't ignore other browsers anymore and code specifically to these "innovative extensions" Ballmer is touting. The days of the Microsoft proprietary web are almost over. Ballmer is in denial.
post #13 of 35
If Jobs had asked Bill Gates to be Apple's CEO instead of John Sculley I'm sure his response would have been, "No thanks, I'll just keep selling sugared water. There's more profit to be made." Which begs the question... is Ballmer really a Ferengi? Think about it.
post #14 of 35
Does anyone even listen to what Steve Ballmer has to say anymore. Never anything original and always positive spin re: M$. Blah blah blah.
post #15 of 35
I believe the grammar checker technology was purchased, and the Bob help was a rip-off as well....

Need to look for some other technology... good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.
post #16 of 35
As drhamad and hittrj01 said, an App Store is not a new concept. Even Microsoft has made attempts at an App Sore before. They called it Windows Marketplace.
I'm not sure of the popularity of the mentioned service but it has definitely not gotten the attention like the Apple App Store. So, I guess Ballmer translation would read "We were not successful with our App Store so we plan on explicitly copying Apple's and hopefully benefit."
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft is less interested in adopting WebKit for a future version of Internet Explorer than in its plans to replicate another Apple-driven technology....

Riiiight, because copying their competition has been such a successful tactic for them lately.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post

Riiiight, because copying their competition has been such a successful tactic for them lately.



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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

The silver lining in this cloud is that more and more web designers are finding out they simply can't ignore other browsers anymore and code specifically to these "innovative extensions" Ballmer is touting. The days of the Microsoft proprietary web are almost over. Ballmer is in denial.

Unfortunately Gates and Ballmer long ago decided to run Microsoft like they were GM. Well we know how that is working out.

He is talking to developers as if they were stockholders.

He is touting propriety to people who don't want it, except of course for themselves.

He is boasting of innovation to the very people who know better, but can't really confront him.

I've almost finished Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in audiobook (I disagree with much of her ideas, but understand the myth involved) and I just wonder if the neo-liberal economists who think monopolies are fine and proper and are good counter-balances to ineffective socialist policies, think that Microsoft is being heroic in any way. I've watched television interviews and forums where Ballmer and Gates truly sound as if they are in a bubble of denial. They actually look the camera in the eye and say that they are innovative and open in ways that causes their partners and competitors to snear opennly and yet no one calls them on it. It is liking listening to Putin talk about how he wants freedom in the country of Georgia. Marketing B.S.
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post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by drhamad View Post

Actually, I came into here to bitch that people keep calling the App Store original. There's no question it is by far the best implementation of an App Store out there... but every cell service has had an App Store of some sort for years. The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.

Can you show me where Apple made the claim that the App store was originally their idea? The "innovation" they have is it's integration with the iTunes Music Store and the fact that the App Store works like it is supposed to. I still have Apps I've purchased on my previous cell provider that has yet to downlonad and install....they had NO problem charging me for it though.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crtaylor View Post

AMEN TO THAT! Ballmer is just taking the entire company into a hole right now. Then again, they have always done the bare minimum even when Bill Gates was the head!

I'll second that AMEN.... Ballmer is such a LOOSER.....

But what about Zune... oh wait... that is a really crappy attempt at an iPod... but don't they squirt?
What about Internet Exploder..... Oh wait.... that was to put Netscape out of businesses
etc...etc...etc....

I wonder if that sorry fat ass ever visits this site...... Think he BP goes up when he reads about how we all think he's such a dunce. I don't care how much $ he makes..... he'll always be second rate.... just like MS.....
post #22 of 35
Don't knock them. MS could have something going with the real Vista OS (Windows 7). I found it online and have been using it and it's pretty fast. Works in VMware with no issue (this is how I know it's Vista cause VMWare says it's Vista during the install).

If the gold master can truly be installed on a netbook with 1gb ram, then it will be a decent PC. Obviously, the first thing a user does when you boot it up is to install FF3 and Safari. IE is just to clunky to use now. Otherwise, the OS is pretty usable now. Still trying to get used to the new desktop, but at least the UAC and balloon tips are less intrusive.

Just one advice for MS. Balloon tips should be turned OFF BY DEFAULT.

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post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by min_t View Post

Don't knock them. MS could have something going with the real Vista OS (Windows 7). I found it online and have been using it and it's pretty fast. Works in VMware with no issue (this is how I know it's Vista cause VMWare says it's Vista during the install).

Fool me once.... Longhorn was creating that kind of buzz too about its speed and stability and feature-set, and look where that went. I'll believe Windows 7 is a good OS when it's in the store and installed on millions of computers and running as well as yours is. And with all promised features in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by min_t View Post

Just one advice for MS. Balloon tips should be turned OFF BY DEFAULT.

Hands-down, that's my biggest Windows gripe ("Gee, thanks Windows. With my severe short-term memory problems, I really needed a pop up message telling me I just plugged in some headphones.") Google around and you'll find a registry hack that turns them off completely.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by drhamad View Post

The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.

You have described the Apple Experience perfectly - "great interface", "easy for people", and "minimal contact with Apple"! - Now that's innovation!!!

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post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Yeah... that 'usability' stuff is just stupid.
Give me massive, unusable power any day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drhamad View Post

The only "innovation" in Apple's system, besides a great interface/etc, was how easy it is for people/companies to submit new app's to it, with minimal contact with Apple or the carrier.

200 million downloads - yes, that about says it all. I guess it is how you define "innovation".
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post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ByronVanArsdale View Post

200 million downloads - yes, that about says it all. I guess it is how you define "innovation".

Perhaps we could define Apple's marketing and engineering methods as "sublimation" rather than "innovation", since it seems hard to swallow that the removal of complexity and options is a form of innovation.

But I do define that as innovation. Take the iPod Shuffle for example. iPod competitors were trying to add feature upon feature to appeal to users, and then Apple releases an iPod whose only features are to play music in order to shuffle it. There was no display and no options. They even went so far as to minimize the cost and size by making the 2.5" headphone jack the data port for syncing and the charging unit. That I found that to be be innovative because of this utilitarian simplicity. I wonder if such and idea was brought to SanDisk et al., if they would have dismissed it outright.
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post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by min_t View Post

...Just one advice for MS. Balloon tips should be turned OFF BY DEFAULT....

Peace be with you.

Just in case anyone doesn't know how to turn them off, here's a little help.
post #28 of 35
"Microsoft plans to embrace Apple's App Store format"

should have been written

"Microsoft plans to copy Apple's App Store format"
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Surprise, surprise!

Seriously. Ballmer has stated that MS will seek to duplicate Apple's tight software/hardware integration...their commercials are a direct response (and take a line from) to Apple's ad's...Windows 7 now has a dock-like taskbar...they want to start their own Apple-styled facebook... What is next?

MS reminds me of a Simpsons episode where network execs in need of new show ideas whip out portable TVs and start watching shows on other channels.

Microsoft is like (but not exactly like) Wal-Mart: neither company really makes anything and their true strength is their business model (OEM lock down/monopoly in Microsoft's case).
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post

Unfortunately Gates and Ballmer long ago decided to run Microsoft like they were GM. Well we know how that is working out.

He is talking to developers as if they were stockholders.

He is touting propriety to people who don't want it, except of course for themselves.

He is boasting of innovation to the very people who know better, but can't really confront him.

I've almost finished Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged in audiobook (I disagree with much of her ideas, but understand the myth involved) and I just wonder if the neo-liberal economists who think monopolies are fine and proper and are good counter-balances to ineffective socialist policies, think that Microsoft is being heroic in any way. I've watched television interviews and forums where Ballmer and Gates truly sound as if they are in a bubble of denial. They actually look the camera in the eye and say that they are innovative and open in ways that causes their partners and competitors to snear opennly and yet no one calls them on it. It is liking listening to Putin talk about how he wants freedom in the country of Georgia. Marketing B.S.

Why waste your time reading Atlas Shrugged? It would be better to read Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and John Maynard Keynes' The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. You will find both to be more relevant in to-day's crisis. It may also help if you research the latest findings of the Georgia conflict before dragging Putin into this forum.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

Believe it or not, Windows 1.0 was going to have contextually sized scroll-bars (something we take for granted now), but Gates insisted it was removed, because the feature wasn't on the Mac. Proof, as if any were needed, that Windows was intended to replicate the Mac as close as possible.

Apple had actually considered proportional scrollbars and decided against them:



From Folklore.org:
By the summer of 1980, we had dropped the soft-keys. The leftmost photo shows that we had mouse-based text editing going, complete with the first appearance of the clipboard, which at that point was called "the wastebasket". Later, it was called the "scrap" before we finally settled on "clipboard." There was also a Smalltalk style scrollbar, with the scroll box proportional to the size of the document. Note there are also two set of arrows, since a single scrollbar weirdly controlled both horizontal and vertical scrolling.

The next picture shows that we dropped the proportional scroll box for a simpler, fixed-size one, since we were afraid users wouldn't understand the proportionality. It also shows the I-Beam text cursor for the first time. At this point, we were finally committed to the one-button mouse, after a long, protracted internal debate.
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Microsoft is less interested in adopting WebKit for a future version of Internet Explorer than in its plans to replicate another Apple-driven technology: the direct-to-customer software distribution model pioneered by the App Store.

[...]

That said, Ballmer was more keen on mimicking Apple's move to digital software distribution through the App Store, revealing that Microsoft will soon launch a similar program that lets developers distribute their applications directly to consumers.
[/url][/c]

Blah, blah, blah. I've always been able to distribute software directly to customers via the Internet. That Apple is forcing developers to do that through the App Store is neither pioneering nor innovative ... unless you're only interested in business models.

Consumers should not be in favor of either Apple or Microsoft doing this as a sole means of software distribution.
post #33 of 35
The problem Microsoft has is not the distribution channel, is the number of devices.

Given the number of WM models out there, it is impossible for the developer to test more than a couple of them.

So, while Apple experience very low refund/chargeback rate, that will be a headache for MS (and Google, Nokia/Symbian). An app may work on a 320x240 screen WM7 with 2MP camera and Wifi, but how would it work with 640x480 screen, WM6, with 1.3MP camera and no Wifi? The developer will likely make an educated guess and test in the emulator. That may be OK, it may not. If it doesn't work, the customer will call MS for refund.

Considering the apps are likely to be in the $1 to $10 range, the refund transaction fee will add up. For example, to sell a $1 app, the transaction fee will be in the range of 30 cents to 40 cents. To refund, that's ANOTHER 30 cents.

And to make it worse, MS will have to man the support phones to handle the refunds. Even if the phone number is outsourced to India, the 1-800 number will cost money, as well as the employee time.

All for a $1 app.

When you think about the whole business cycle, Apple's strategy to have limited models makes good sense.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Excuse me for being so crass, but can this f-ing company do anything original? Other than BOB and grammar checker in Word, what have they done that is truly original? Nothing. Everything they've "pioneered" was due to a takeover/purchase.

Yeah they should come up with something without a takeover/purchase like Apple did with OS X... oh wait.
post #35 of 35
I don't agree that apple pioneered the appstore concept. I've been happily buying and downloading content from Steam for years now. Most recently on my mbp thanks to free code weavers winealike. OK, the developers on steam tend to be bigger players, but there are paid for mods etc on there, it's in the same vein.
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