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  • Impulses - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Making WP free might be interesting, tho you gotta wonder if they're as well equipped as Google to figure out an alternate revenue stream in the long run, or if this is only a short term play. Working on the storage space requirements for Windows in general is something they should've been more aggressive about ages ago. Reply
  • uditrana - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    Well Google doesn't really make "alternate" revenue. They make it from apps and Google Play services. MS makes similar money even though the app numbers and downloads are far fewer. The only alternate revenue that is gained from Android actually goes to Microsoft with the royalties. Reply
  • bountygiver - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    By using pointer and wim, The 'recovery' partition obviously will not be removable, since they are just compressed files, it will certainly takes a lower amount of total disk space. As for performance, I do think the fact they made wim boot requiring only SSD is due to it will use more disk read than normal boot, which might not affect much performance unless your operation involves a lot of reading. Reply
  • BillyONeal - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    No, total data read should be less; because most everything to start the OS is being read from a compressed region.

    My understanding for the spinning disk prohibition is that the recovery images are located at the end of the disk, which is near the spindle/center of a spinning disk drive, which is where spinning disks perform the worst. If you look at an HD Tach trace for example you can see the end of the disk is significantly slower for HDDs. But eMMC / SSDs don't care.
  • yannigr - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    You can move the files to the faster part of a disk and leave the slowest part free for whatever else files the user will save there. I don't think that the problem is there. Reply
  • BillyONeal - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    @Yannigr: Sure, you could do that. But this implementation does not. Reply
  • Tuxedo2 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Any again Microsoft tries to push their own products (this time Bing) using their dominance in the operating system market. This killed Netscape back in ~2000, thanks god Google is way more powerful and not that easy to kill.
    In my opinion forcing the default setting of a completly unrelated product for a free windows is reason enough to start another antitrust lawsuite.
  • londedoganet - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Okay, in that case, what about Google and their requirements on OEMs before they are allowed to install Google Apps on top of AOSP, which allows for (among other things) the ability to use the Google Play Store? Isn't that also an example of a company pushing their own products due to a dominant position in the operating system market? Reply
  • eddman - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Huh?! Internet explorer already comes with bing as default. Guess you missed that.

    The only difference is that OEMs cannot change the default in "windows 8 with bing". End users can do it though as mentioned in the article.

    Also, MS has no dominance in the tablet sector.

    P.S. Google does it too with android, so what's the deal here.
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    You are free to buy the (rumored) 15$ more expensive regular version, which has IE set to some standard search machine choosen by the OEM instead of MS. If this is such a big deal to you and you're measuring not-MS by the same stadnards, you should want Apple and Google to burn in hell already... Reply
  • name99 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    This is no about consumers, which means there are fewer legal issues.
    It's about the fact that right now search engines pay companies (from Apple down) to set their search engine as the default on a device. This is presumably a win if the cost of this is, say, $5, and the expected lifetime ad revenue generated from the new user is $10.

    What this is telling us is that Bing was not doing this until now (or was doing it in the conventional pay-the-manufacturer way). But now the money flow is slight different: rather than Lenovo, say, getting $5 from Google to set the IE default to Google, they'll get say a $5 break on the cost of Windows if they let the default be Bing.

    Why do it this way rather than a straight $5 payment? Who knows? My guess is there are tax implications that make it better for one or the other party to view the transaction as "Cheaper Windows" rather than "Normal Price Windows one way, plus $5 the other way"?

    MS may also hope to establish a precedent here for the future: accept MS anti-virus and you'll get another $5 discount (rather than that being paid by Norton or Kapersky). Accept MS Movies on Demand Live Bing Edition Pro for SkyDrive (a new service I just invented, named in the usual elegant MS manner) rather than being paid $1 by Amazon or Netflix to ship the box with those services all set up and ready to go, and you'll get another $1 off the price of your Windows...
  • MartinT - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    "With the lower BOM, OEMs should be able to be price competitive with Android and Chrome OS now, but with a Windows experience."

    Which poses the (perhaps obvious) question: Is Windows still a preferred experience over Android or Chrome OS?

    I can't imagine Windows running any better than either of Google's offerings on the low-end hardware this is targeting, and Metro has proven to be, if anything, a customer repellent.

    Beyond those initial concerns, one has to wonder how Microsoft plans to make up for the revenue short fall they're only accelerating with this move, it's not like Bing is adding billions to the company's bottom line. (much the contrary)

    This move is fully reactionary to the changes in market conditions, and seems largely motivated by keeping unprofitable market share in the consumer market. Can't wait for them to explain how that'll increase their profits.

    #1 Give away Windows
    #2 ???
    #3 Profit!
  • CaedenV - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    #2 track telemetry, search, and user data. Use that data to sell adds via Bing Search and Metro apps, plus take a percentage of paid metro apps. Push people towards Office 365, Skype, OneDrive and other 'freemium' and paid services.

    Really, at this point Win8 should be free. Drive up adoption, push developers to get some awesome apps in the store, and profit from app sales and app adds. That has to be more profitable than $140+ Windows in a shrinking ecosystem
  • name99 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    App sales (primarily Office) happen anyway.
    There is no way in hell ad sales are ever going to reach $140 per user.

    The basic issue is the MartinT's question --- is Windows worth $140? Or even $55 or whatever the low-end OEM cost is? The Windows fans all rush to say "of course" and tell you about the great things Windows can do --- and in a world with no other OSs, those things would be worth $140.
    The problem for MS is that there are now multiple OSs which costs a hell of a lot less than $140, and also do most of those things. They all come with various encumbrances (OSX means you have to buy high end HW even if you don't want to, Android isn't interesting if you want a laptop, etc) but the pool of people for whom the ADDITIONAL value of Windows is worth $140 is shrinking rapidly.

    MS is trying to square the circle here --- get the excess price of Windows down to zero for those who have no reason to stick with MS (ie consumers) while making up the cost by charging business more. This is the usual response to this sort of situation (compare airlines, or Intel) but it's tricky to maintain, especially for software. MS needs to keep enterprise hooked on Windows, at the same time that enterprise has ever more incentive to find alternatives because their Windows costs keep rising.

    What I think would truly reshape the situation would be more honest accounting rules for "software depreciation". Right now, enterprise can fantasize that, having written their software once, fifteen years ago, it's going to keep running on autopilot forever. This leads to all manner of problems, which are particularly obvious and pressing with MS pulling the plug on XP.

    Governments that want their companies to have an advantage in the world, and companies that simply want to not suck, will change their accounting rules to prevent this situation. I don't know how best to do it, but somehow there needs to be an incentive (analogous to depreciation) to force companies to effectively turn over their software every ten years or so. Not literally, but applying that sort of effort --- the initial cost of the software should be about 10x the annual maintenance costs.

    This would obviously give us better quality corporate SW --- but it would also create a very interesting situation for MS, which has been able to cruise for so many years because of massive enterprise installed base which wants to keep running that code written for Win95. It would present a massive opportunity for MS to finally clean out the crud (and get enterprise onto .NET) --- but it would also be the opportunity for everyone else to swoop in.
    In the absence of this change, I expect things will continue as they are today. MS will bleed consumers; they will make it up from enterprise; and enterprise will bitch and moan --- but be unwilling to make the substantial changes to break free --- they'd rather pay the additional MS tax every year than a one-time payment to port various internal apps.
  • Romberry - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    You maybe "can't imagine Windows running any better than either of Google's offerings on the low-end hardware"...but that's down to a failure of imagination, because Win 8.1 Update runs remarkably well on low end hardware, especially in the Metro environment. In fact, based on what I'm seeing on several fronts, it does in fact run better than Android on low end hardware. (Can't speak to Chrome other than the browser. The next Chrome OS device I use will be my first.) Reply
  • savagemike - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Windows is an entirely different paradigm from ChromeOS and the tighter storage would be a problem which would only grow over time - regardless of initial disk space.
    It doesn't seem like running from a compressed file while shorting the RAM and using a low end processor would be a good idea. I guess we'll see.
    Perhaps OEMs won't be full silly with it. 1 Gig RAM is pretty spare on a laptop or desktop where a browser is often open for long periods and commonly used with multiple tabs.
  • lmcd - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Actually, it really isn't a different paradigm at all. Microsoft pushes OneDrive storage over local for documents, pictures, and other elements, like Google Drive. Microsoft runs its apps through a VM and syncs them across many computers, like Google Drive. Microsoft accepts web pages as apps with the option for extra local features.

    The differences? Microsoft already has a stable, accelerated graphics API, more offline capabilities, and a more stable VM (.NET versus PNaCl) but a worse browsing environment. Oh, and way more device connectivity potential.
  • En1gma - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    and how will winupdate work?
    it change/patch existing files or add new ones
  • Roland00Address - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Does this work with ssd caching? If so I wonder if the benefits of ssd vs ssd+harddrive will work better or stay about the same. Reply
  • Towermax - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    "Traditionally, Microsoft has been a dominate force"

    "Dominate" is a verb. I think you mean "dominant" force.
  • Ryan Smith - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Thanks. Fixed. Reply
  • BMNify - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    if WIMBoot (or even windows uncompressed) cant be installed and run (and it cant) from the masses of cheap generic USB3 hard drives on the market today what good is it !, also the fact that windows costs $50 but costs me £70<>£100 rather than the real current 29.71 British Pound Sterling plus VAT today, then again ,why pay the extortionate price hike (even on MS.UK web site) for windows , when you can install a free Linaro linux/android and boot from anything that's available at boot time to select at will. Reply
  • name99 - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    It's interesting to compare with how Apple solved the same problem.

    (a) For the recovery part of the problem, Apple doesn't provide the entire OS. What's provided is a small stub (650MB in size) which is large enough to run common tasks (most relevant here would be fsck), with the fallback solution being to reinstall the OS from the internet. Apple's assumption is that
    - users have internet available and
    - users are using Time Machine,
    so between the two of these, all that's really needed is enough to allow these to be activated. This seems to be an accurate assessment. In spite of the usual bitching about theoretical problems when the feature was first introduce, in practice I've seen precious few real world problems with the system.

    (b) For the saving space part of the problem, Apple did something similar to what MS has done here. They introduced transparent file compression. Obviously this had to be done in a way that was backward compatible (given that Apple didn't introduce a new file format with 10.6 when this arrived).

    The way it works is that the blob on disk is automatically decompressed whenever it's read --- just like normal transparent file compression. (You see this effect if you run rsync --- you'll see stretches in the rsync process where the data being written is 2x to 4x as much as the data being read from the src disk.)
    The cute part is that the only files that are compressed are those related to the internals of the OS. The idea is that if I take my drive with a copy of 10.9 on it (along with a bunch of personal files) and open it on a 10.5 machine, the personal files will open just fine. And yeah, if I open any system file, I'll get incoherent garbage --- but what did you expect? That's no different, conceptually, from Apple just changing the file format of data files from one version of the OS to the next, which is quite reasonable and which they have done both for plenty of small files as well as wholesale with the replacement of text plists with binary plists.
    This was done (along with a whole bunch of other stuff, like ruthlessly purging the system files of as much 32-bit support as possible, and making printer drivers, which were a mull-GB part of older OS installs, downloadable on demand) to support the small disks of MBAs, so same sort of motivation as MS.

    When we finally get the mythical and long-awaited HFSZ, with pools, end-to-end CRCs, multiple on-volume catalogs, and other such desiderata of a modern file system, I expect compression will be one of the features built available from the beginning and we won't need the compression to be quite so hidden (meaning, eg, that rsync will no longer only see, and have to store, the uncompressed version of files).
  • Divide Overflow - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    To be followed soon thereafter by a marketing statement from Microsoft triumphing in the recent increase in end users "choosing" their search engine. Reply
  • lorribot - Sunday, May 25, 2014 - link

    If you have ever tried updating a wim file with drivers or patches it takes a life time even on an SSD so not sure how that would affect things, maybe they have a quicker way to directly access individual files in the wim rather than open the wim, it would be good to see that technology in their Windows Admin Kits it could certainly make managing Windows images and distributing images in the enterprise space a lot more efficient and simpler. Reply
  • pugster - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Looks like they are trying to make a crappy version of windows 8.1. Too bad that this OS is not as modular as android. Reply
  • amitsen88 - Sunday, July 06, 2014 - link

    IE with Bing is good. Reply

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