Microsoft's project 'Threshold' to further converge PC, phone & Xbox platforms

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Microsoft plans to continue to blur the lines between its traditional Windows PC platform, its Windows Phone mobile platform, and its Xbox One game console operating system with a forthcoming update codenamed "Threshold," according to a new report.

Surface


Alleged details on Microsoft's plans for a spring 2015 release were revealed on Monday by Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. Specifically, Microsoft is said to be planning updates to all three of its major operating system platforms to share even more common elements between them.

"Threshold" will not represent a single Windows OS, but instead will reportedly add the same core set of "high value activities." These are said to potentially include products such as Office, Bing, Intune and more.

The Redmond, Wash., software company is also said to be planning to deliver a single application store that will work across its Windows OS, Windows Phone and Xbox One platforms.

Microsoft has been aggressively working to create a common experience among all of its operating systems, giving users of the Windows ecosystem a common look and feel on Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows PCs. Specifically, all three major platforms now feature Microsoft's tile-based "Metro" user interface as their primary method of input.

metro


That's a very different approach from Apple, which has so far kept the interfaces of its Mac operating system, iOS mobile platform, and Apple TV very distinct. Certain elements have been borrowed from each, but Apple has focused more on creating cross-platform services, like iTunes and iCloud, rather than, say, extensively replicating the feel of iOS on a Mac.

Microsoft's convergence strategy has gone beyond software and includes hardware, such as the company's first-party lineup of Surface tablets, aiming to bridge the gap between notebooks and tablets. Third-party vendors have also been releasing so-called "convertible" PCs as well, which can serve as both a traditional laptop and a touchscreen tablet.

This fall, AppleInsider spent some time with Microsoft's new Surface 2 tablet running the Windows RT platform, which is designed for ARM processors and cannot run full-fledged Windows apps, and found that the device works better as a potential netbook replacement rather than a competitor to Apple's iPad.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has panned such attempts at convergence by Microsoft and its partners, saying such attempts are "not pleasing to the user." He compared hybrid tablet-notebook devices to that of selling a refrigerator with toaster functions tacked on the side.

"Anything can be forced to converge," Cook said. "But the problem is that the products are about tradeoffs. You begin to make tradeoffs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn't please anyone."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36

    Microsoft’s known for its convergence.

     

  • Reply 2 of 36

    They call it "Threshold" because "Soup to Nuts" was already taken.:D 

  • Reply 3 of 36
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    Microsoft’s known for its convergence.

    Looks like a post location to trash AI threads from.
  • Reply 4 of 36
    You've got it backwards. Apple is doing more than focusing on "cross-platform services," they're looking at the user experience.

    Microsoft is trying to make everything fit into their imagined uberwindows, so no matter the product or its uses, everything will work the same way.

    Apple looks at how the user works with each piece of hardware and creating a user experience second to none. How can a user best make use of a phone, a tablet, a TV interface, a laptop/desktop. They design OSes that respond to each of those situations and are in the process of making all of those tools easily transfer data.

    That's why, in my estimation, Apple will eventually win in these approaches. Apple focuses on the user, Microsoft focuses on the machine.

    The buyers, however, are not machines.
  • Reply 5 of 36

    Hmmmm, feels like regardless of implementation/interface limitations, Microsoft are focused to make everything look the same.

     

    They should focus more on making the content/information flow across devices instead of giving everything the 'Metro UI' lick of paint.

  • Reply 6 of 36
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,245member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Don108 View Post



    You've got it backwards. Apple is doing more than focusing on "cross-platform services," they're looking at the user experience.



    Microsoft is trying to make everything fit into their imagined uberwindows, so no matter the product or its uses, everything will work the same way.



    Apple looks at how the user works with each piece of hardware and creating a user experience second to none. How can a user best make use of a phone, a tablet, a TV interface, a laptop/desktop. They design OSes that respond to each of those situations and are in the process of making all of those tools easily transfer data.



    That's why, in my estimation, Apple will eventually win in these approaches. Apple focuses on the user, Microsoft focuses on the machine.



    The buyers, however, are not machines.

     

    I completely agree. Microsoft is taking the one size fits all approach and usually this doesn't work with a lot of things from all topics. Each device needs an appropriate UI to make the most out of its purpose. I do see why Microsoft is using the approach its using so when a user experiences an interface from one Windows device (or PC), its the same across all devices (or PC's), but in return you don't get the most out of whatever you're using. Why not make a UI that fits the device properly...one that can build upon new features for the future. When you do a one size fits all approach, you create possible limits of what can be done, or at least you can make it hard to do the things you want to do. 

     

    I'd like to see them create ONE desktop Windows OS, not 7 with each one adding a couple of features. I know this confuses the hell out of users. Create ONE mobile OS that ties into the desktop OS. Create ONE interactive TV OS with its own UI that can tie into both the desktop OS and the mobile OS. Then, when they want to create a next gen version of their OS's they only have to worry about a couple of OS's to work together...like what Apple is doing. 

  • Reply 7 of 36

    I can't wait to run Office on my Xbox One and finally get some productivity done

  • Reply 8 of 36
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I can't wait to run Office on my Xbox One and finally get some productivity done
    looooool
  • Reply 9 of 36

    With the current CEO the lamest of ducks, and no new CEO announced, who is making all these fundamental, long range decisions at Microsoft?  Be the moves right, wrong, or indifferent, they hobble the new, incoming CEO in defining the future of the company.

     

    Only two possibilities that I can see:  

     

    1 - The new CEO has been picked, secretly, and is pulling the strings from the shadows.  (Pygmalion.)  But no leaks?

     

    2.  Microsoft is totally, hopelssly out of control.

     

    Really bizaare.

  • Reply 10 of 36
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bluestone View Post

     

    With the current CEO the lamest of ducks, and no new CEO announced, who is making all these fundamental, long range decisions at Microsoft?  Be the moves right, wrong, or indifferent, they hobble the new, incoming CEO in defining the future of the company.

     

    Only two possibilities that I can see:  

     

    1 - The new CEO has been picked, secretly, and is pulling the strings from the shadows.  (Pygmalion.)  But no leaks?

     

    2.  Microsoft is totally, hopelssly out of control.

     

    Really bizaare.


     

    2.

     

    They are going balls in with this crazy one-shoe-fits-all interface. Microsoft is destroying themselves.

  • Reply 11 of 36
    larryalarrya Posts: 486member
    I agree with others who said each device should have its most appropriate UI. With that being said, WTF was the point of Launchpad on OSX? It strikes me as just as misguided as what Microsoft is doing.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    Threshold - as in "pain threshold".

    Does it come with a "safe word" to "make it stop"?

    Zed's dead, baby...
  • Reply 13 of 36
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,245member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LarryA View Post



    I agree with others who said each device should have its most appropriate UI. With that being said, WTF was the point of Launchpad on OSX? It strikes me as just as misguided as what Microsoft is doing.

     

    While it may not be useful today, it could be part of something down the road for Apple. It sort of reminds of the old OS 9 Launcher you could setup in some ways. Not quite as useful as back then as today in OS X we have the dock to launch Apps from. Perhaps down the road, Apple is prepping the dock going away in OS X. Who knows! 

     

    It also does sorta tie in with the iOS experience where users are more familiar with launching apps from a similar interface on their iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. 

     

    I do agree with you though...to me it has no functionality. However, I will say that I'm glad Apple isn't forcing it on a user at this point unlike what Microsoft is doing. LaunchPad is a feature hidden away until you activate with either with the button on the keyboard, or click on the icon in the dock (if present). 

  • Reply 14 of 36
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bluestone View Post

     

    With the current CEO the lamest of ducks, and no new CEO announced, who is making all these fundamental, long range decisions at Microsoft?  Be the moves right, wrong, or indifferent, they hobble the new, incoming CEO in defining the future of the company.

     

    Only two possibilities that I can see:  

     

    1 - The new CEO has been picked, secretly, and is pulling the strings from the shadows.  (Pygmalion.)  But no leaks?

     

    2.  Microsoft is totally, hopelssly out of control.

     

    Really bizaare.


     

    Well, to be fair, plans like this are - or at least should be - months if not years in the making.  That's how it works with "normal" companies at least.  I don't think anyone expects MS to stand still waiting for the next CEO to tell them how things will be going forward (even if they'd probably benefit from doing so).  

     

    If Ford's CEO joins MS, Ford would continue to make vehicles based on pre-existing R&D, future planning, etc.  It would be a while before the new CEO's influence would be apparent.  In the world of tech there's a much faster track of course.  Steve Jobs' booting almost everything in the pipeline upon his return to Apple is a good example. 

     

    That said, and based on their shotgun approach to marketing, it's very difficult to tell what, if any, R&D and/or future planning happens at MS these days.  However if this "one size fits all" with "all" meaning "Windows" concept is Ballmer's baby...his legacy will certainly be cemented.

  • Reply 15 of 36
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    It sounds kind of like the ASUS Padfone or FonePad concept only taking it a step further.  

     

    Freakin Ballmer. 

  • Reply 16 of 36
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 248member
    Microsoft continues to call its chaos; convergence... "It's a floor wax, no it's a desert topping!!"
  • Reply 17 of 36
    richsadams wrote: »
    Well, to be fair, plans like this are - or at least should be - months if not years in the making.  That's how it works with "normal" companies at least.  I don't think anyone expects MS to stand still waiting for the next CEO to tell them how things will be going forward (even if they'd probably benefit from doing so).  

    If Ford's CEO joins MS, Ford would continue to make vehicles based on pre-existing R&D, future planning, etc.  It would be a while before the new CEO's influence would be apparent.  In the world of tech there's a much faster track of course.  Steve Jobs' booting almost everything in the pipeline upon his return to Apple is a good example. 

    That said, and based on their shotgun approach to marketing, it's very difficult to tell what, if any, R&D and/or future planning happens at MS these days.  However if this "one size fits all" with "all" meaning "Windows" concept is Ballmer's baby...his legacy will certainly be cemented.

    I'm not even sure it would be the CEO's job to mash peas and carrots together and call it innovation. Who is coming up with these initiatives that Microsoft management is backing?
  • Reply 18 of 36
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    I'm not even sure it would be the CEO's job to mash peas and carrots together and call it innovation. Who is coming up with these initiatives that Microsoft management is backing?

     

    Good question.  But it wouldn't surprise me if Ballmer thought marrying a toaster to a refrigerator was genius no matter who came up with it originally.

  • Reply 19 of 36
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 138member
    Why not just make XBox One the new PC, and end 3rd party contracts except for server markets.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    Originally Posted by JBlongz View Post

    Why not just make XBox One the new PC, and end 3rd party contracts except for server markets.

     

    With the failure that is Windows 8, they just may have to do that.

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