Narrative: Microsoft's Consumer Challenges

Each narrative page (like this) has a page describing and evaluating the narrative, followed by all the posts on the site tagged with that narrative. Scroll down beyond the introduction to see the posts.

Each post below is tagged with
  • Company/Division names
  • Topics
  • and
  • Narratives
  • as appropriate.
    Narrative: Microsoft’s Consumer Challenges (Jan 28, 2017)

    This content is restricted to paid subscribers to the Tech Narratives service. You can sign up on this page for a 30-day free trial, which will give you access to all the content on the site including the daily comments, narrative essays, subscriber forums, and other restricted features. If you’re already a subscriber, you can sign in using the link below.

    If you’re already a member, you can sign in here.

     

    Microsoft Confirms Plans for First UK Store (Sep 21, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Microsoft Promotes Xbox Head to Senior Leadership Team (Sep 19, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Microsoft Sees Strong Xbox One X Pre-orders, Discontinues Xbox One Sales (Aug 25, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Skype Adds PayPal for P2P Payments (Aug 2, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Microsoft Adds AI-Powered Search and Automation to Photos App in Windows (Jul 28, 2017)

    Microsoft is adding some clever AI-powered image recognition, search, and automation features to the latest version of its Windows Photos app. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything here that will exceed the functionality of existing apps from Google or Apple, but just achieving parity would be a big step forward for Microsoft, which has always been bafflingly slow in addressing people’s needs to manage their photo libraries. Given how many people must store their photos on Windows computers, this is something Microsoft should have addressed long ago. Nokia was another company that always emphasized photography and yet never gave people a great way to manage the pictures they took on their phones, so the fact that Microsoft didn’t jump on the opportunity when it acquired the devices business from Nokia was another odd omission. At any rate, Microsoft now seems to be taking some of these advanced consumer features more seriously, as evidenced by the fantastic video creation tools in the forthcoming version of Windows, and these Photos changes are another positive move in this direction. This is low-hanging fruit as Microsoft looks to burnish its consumer and creativity credentials.

    via Engadget

    Microsoft Planning to Make Changes in Response to Backlash Against Skype Changes (Jul 17, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Microsoft Unifies its Minecraft Apps (Jun 12, 2017)

    Alongside its Xbox One X announcement, one other big announcement Microsoft made at E3 is a unification of its Minecraft apps, such that several major versions will now be interoperable and available for social play between different platforms. Interestingly, the original PC version of the game is the one that will be left out from all this interoperability, but the mobile, Xbox, and VR, and even Nintendo Switch will all get it as a free upgrade to the current version. And in-game purchases (DLC) will also be available on each version. In many ways, it’s a quirk of the way the Minecraft apps have developed that they haven’t had this compatibility in the past – surely, many kids (and adults) have wanted to play these games on all their devices all along, and have had to make do with different incompatible versions instead. So this is at least a logical step, though the exclusion of the original PC version still feels a little odd.

    via Minecraft

    ★ Microsoft Debuts Xbox One X, “Smallest” and “Most Powerful” Xbox, at ES (Jun 12, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Skype Gets a Big Makeover Focused on Messaging and Social Sharing (Jun 1, 2017)

    Skype is one of those odd products – a fairly sizable communications property owned by a major tech company, and yet one which doesn’t make much money, isn’t growing much, and hasn’t really been focused on either messaging or social communication. It’s been clear, though, for some time that Microsoft would very much like Skype to be a big part of its consumer push and become more of a messaging- centric app, and the makeover it announced today seems like a big step in that direction. The new design, rolling out first on Android and later on other platforms, puts social sharing and messaging much more prominently in the app, but that’s no guarantee that people will actually use those features more or even see Skype as a natural place to do that kind of sharing. I only ever use Skype for work phone calls at this point, and others I’ve spoken to who use its messaging features use those almost exclusively for work communication too, so I’d be very curious to hear more from Microsoft about who is using messaging on Skype and what they’re using it for. My guess is that, for all the changes Microsoft is making here, it won’t be that much more successful than in the past in making Skype a mainstream consumer service or app for social communication and messaging. It doesn’t have the brand or the user base to make that objective work. It’s also adding in more bots, an effort that began with a bang at Build last year but has been quiet since, but again those will only be relevant inasmuch as people are spending a lot of time in Skype already and want and expect to find those interactions with brands and companies there. In the end, I don’t see anything here that makes me think Skype is going to become a radically different animal, even if it might look quite different after these changes. And that’s emblematic of Microsoft’s broader consumer challenges: it simply doesn’t have a broad-based consumer play at this point beyond productivity.

    via TechCrunch