RIP Windows Media Center: Microsoft’s HTPC software won’t come to Windows 10

4 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Here’s Why Microsoft Is Suddenly Killing It Now.

Microsoft Devices Indonesia aims to integrate cloud computing into its mobile phones with the launch of two new phones on Monday equipped with cloud computing services. “Our services now have the motto ‘mobile first, cloud first’.

When the 3.7 million computer users who are testing Windows 10 go to use certain new features in the software, a small question appears in the bottom right hand corner of their screen: Do you like how this new feature looks, or not? Irwan was speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch Microsoft’s Lumia 640 LTE and Lumia 640 XL DS (Dual SIM), which feature cloud-integrated applications, as a follow-up to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s recent announcement in that direction. The question represents a whole new way of doing business for Microsoft, the once dominant software company that, with Windows 10, is hoping to make itself relevant again by learning some humility.

Customers purchasing the latest Lumia phones receive free Office365 Personal services for a year worth Rp 719,000 (US$55) and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage accessible from various devices. Back at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, the man in charge of “user experience” for Windows, Chaitanya Sareen, is counting those answers. The question, which has to do with what the Windows task bar looks like when the user is taking advantage of Windows 10’s new virtual desktops, is a “straight vote” by the public, says Sareen. The software hasn’t had any significant updates in nearly six years, and the version for Windows 8 was no different from the version that appeared in Windows 7. While the stock stumbled earlier this year, it’s up 14% since the company reported earnings on April 23, largely because of growth in its cloud business, such as its Azure computing platform.

At the same time Microsoft was developing Windows 8, it was also working on its Surface tablet, the first time the company had ever released a computer that competed directly with the PCs built by its business partners. In some cases, they’re not liking what they see, but Microsoft is persuading more and more shareholders it’s ready to deliver on the cloud-first, mobile-first world that its CEO Satya Nadella has been touting.

With a PC running Media Center you had access to all your stored digital media, you could watch and record live television, and play a DVD all in one spot. Unlike Netflix, Spotify or other companies that are thriving on cloud-based services for consumers, Microsoft has focused its cloud efforts in the enterprise market. Nadella said last week Microsoft’s enterprise cloud revenue, including hardware and software, would reach $20 billion a year within three years from about $6 billion now, an audacious goal but one that brought few snickers of disbelief. Responding to questions on the lack of Windows apps for its mobile devices, Irwan said that the company aimed to have an universal app store offering applications that could be used in various devices with the advent of the Windows 10 operating system.

Of course, much of this will come as its clients migrate from legacy products (like Microsoft Office) to cloud-based offerings (like Office 365), so there’s some cannibalization involved. Who needs a dedicated living room PC when you can send a Netflix or YouTube stream from your smartphone to a $35 HDMI dongle plugged in to your flat screen? Rivals Android and iOS both have some 1.4 million apps in their respective stores, while there are only about 300,000 mobile apps on offer in the Windows Store. (fsu/nvn)(+++) Says Belfiore: “Having seen the way Windows 8 played out, we thought it was appropriate to change the way we did business, so we moved to a model that’s way more open. “It’s a huge cultural change.

Microsoft also offers a Miracast-powered TV dongle dubbed the Wireless Display Adapter that lets you wireless mirror your Windows 8.1’s screen on your television. In reviews we’re doing with senior people in the [Windows 10] team, one of the main data points they’re using is the current quantitative analysis of the Insider’s view of what needs to be addressed and what doesn’t. For the more serious A/V types, the Xbox One offers a bunch of TV-centric features, including an overlay for many cable boxes, digital TV tuner capability (sold separately), as well as apps like Netflix and Sling TV. But last week, as the company held its Build developer conference to announce details of Windows 10, Nadella made a pitch for Windows to become a platform where developers from other platforms–iOs, Android, Linux–would not only be welcome, but actively courted.

Microsoft’s HoloLens, a radically new virtual reality headset that’s meant to become the fourth platform for running Windows 10 applications – the others being PCs, phones and Microsoft’s Surface Hub electronic whiteboards – has been showed off to developers and to the press well before it’s ready for release, leading to mixed reviews. In April, Nadella announced that the free software had been downloaded more than 100 million times, double the number of paying commercial users for Office 365, the commercial version of Office. If your current HTPC is on its last legs then you’d better pick-up a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC quickly (plus the WMC media pack if you opt for the latter). But the bigger surprise–and, depending on how developers respond, the potential game changer for Windows–is that Microsoft announced Islandwood and Astoria, two middleware projects that allow developers to easily port their existing apps into the Windows platform. At the Build conference, Microsoft bowed to third party software developers and released tools that would let iPhone and Android apps easily be converted to Windows 10.

Its software development tools, which once steadfastly ran only on Windows, now run on Apple Mac OS and on Linux PCs, where a lot of app developers prefer to work. All of those moves are designed to set the stage for Windows 10, which Microsoft is hoping will reclaim the ground it lost to Apple, Google, Amazon and other rivals. Indeed, the testing is only going to accelerate in coming weeks, says Belfiore, now that the hard task of merging the components has been completed, and Microsoft can focus on polishing off the look and feel of the finished product. Even after Windows 10 has been released, Insiders will still be able to download yet-to-be-released updates, so additional features can be tested and polled. When too many testers stop clicking on a feature, indicating they don’t like or need it, Microsoft quietly removes that feature from the next test version, he says.

What’s fundamentally different is how Microsoft aims to reach that goal: not through brute-force coercion, but through creating an open and inviting platform that plays well with others. Nadella’s plan isn’t likely to make Windows dominant in the mobile world right away, but in time it could give it a more equal footing in mobile OS alongside iOS and Android.

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