Microsoft’s Q2 FY 15 webcast adds some form to the target market for Hololens and word of a formal end to the Windows XP refresh cycle

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthDuring Microsoft’s Q2 FY 15 webcast, Satya Nadella alluded to Windows 10 Universal Apps, and their usefulness for average consumers of Microsoft’s recently debuted Hololens “alternative reality/AR” headset computer.

So Microsoft clearly intends to promote the Hololens to the consumer market. But as to whether or not the consumer market will jump at the opportunity, or not, is another question, which was not addressed during the webcast. It is more likely the early adopters for the device will be organization like the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL was mentioned during the January 20th event. As well, a post on the Hololens was published on the official JPL blog.

Another business with an entry in the headset computer business, Oculus also made news the same day Microsoft held its webcast. In an article titled Oculus CEO on its new VR filmmaking venture Story Studio and Microsoft’s HoloLens, Tim Bradshaw summarizes a comment made by Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus about Microsoft’s Hololens, likely target markets and the pace of introducing the technology: “AR [alternative reality] may be further away than Microsoft made it seem last week[. He] suggested the software giant should be “careful” about setting unrealistic expectations.” This opinion seems sensible to me, and, perhaps, one at least the Marketing Communications team at Microsoft might want to adopt.

The rationale behind my recommendation is an article by David Carr, of the New York Times, which appeared on the same day. Carr’s article brings up the whole personal information notion, complete with some thoughts on the level of behavioral re-engineering average consumers will have to go through to adjust to regular use of the Hololens. Of course this type of conjecture hovered around Google Glass for most of its product life. But, nevertheless, stimulating writers like David Carr to voice these opinions so early in the cycle of introducing a product like the Hololens may have been a mistake.

On the question of why the quarter failed to hit all of the analyst estimate targets, it may help readers to note the emphasis Amy Hood, CFO placed on the end of the Windows XP refresh cycle as a reason for these misses. A lot of the commentary already published on the quarterly results have posited notions of serious declines in sales of Windows, Microsoft’s enterprise products, etc. But little mention has been made of the end of the refresh cycle, which may actually make more sense.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved


With Highly Publicized Online Security Concerns Subdued, Microsoft is Poised to Move Forward

The Mashable blog has published a few articles on the online security flaws plaguing Microsoft’s Windows XP O/S. In Internet Explorer Gets Its Security Patch, and So Does Windows XP, Lance Ulanoff announced Microsoft’s intention to issue patches on Thursday, May 1, 2014, to fix the problems.

Numerous posts to other prominent blogs have debated the pros and cons of Microsoft’s decision to provide these fixes for a product (Windows XP), which, Microsoft has announced, has reached end of life.

In fact, there are very strong positives, as I see it, in Microsoft’s public announcements about this problem:

  1. In his post, Mr. Ulanoff claims Microsoft, itself, was the first authority to inform the public of the severity of these security holes, and to urge the public to stop using the products pending a fix
  2. Microsoft made an exception to its own policies for products reaching end of life, and provided the fix at no charge to anyone who still used Windows XP with “Automatic Update” set for the O/S and Internet Explorer Browser

If there is bad news, and someone has to announce it, better the culprit than anyone else. With this dictum in mind, I think Microsoft clearly took the right step with pt 1), above.

If a security hole is as dangerous as Microsoft claimed, and no less an authority than the U.S. Department of Homeland Security chooses to follow up with their own warning to the public, then the best strategy is to fix it, absorb any/all related costs related to developing and distributing the solution, and, hopefully, move beyond the issue. Per 2), Microsoft opted to follow this strategy, with, one would hope, positive results to come.

Better to assume the role of a “good citizen”, than to risk one’s reputation by trying to control costs, while rigidly adhering to a policy designed for normal circumstances, and not the kind of extraordinary conditions we found following the public revelation of the security holes.

In sum, I think Microsoft’s public posture through this event gets almost an 8 on a 10 point scale.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved