Unofficial Accidental Tech Podcast transcripts (generated by computer, so expect errors).

28: The Pit Of Irrelevance

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s predicament and potential future directions, the Nintendo 2DS, and ergonomic keyboards.

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⏹️ ▶️ Casey There’s a review that keeps happening. I think the person like updates it

⏹️ ▶️ Casey in some way or, um, I don’t know what they do, but they asked the title is

⏹️ ▶️ Casey something along the lines of non Cassie, CA SSCY download option.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey One star, I don’t have it in front of you, but it’s like one star. And it basically says I can’t handle Casey

⏹️ ▶️ Casey and I need to fast forward every time he talks.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, we, we already do offer a non Cassie download option.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey It’s the non-Casey download option that’s not coming.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Feature already implemented.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I believe it was last episode we talked about the time capsule and how that is or is not

⏹️ ▶️ Casey a acceptable way of backing things up and John lamented how

⏹️ ▶️ Casey network-based time machine backups are really crummy and the time capsule is a piece of junk and

⏹️ ▶️ Casey blah blah blah and And somebody whose name I need to rediscover, hold on, let me

⏹️ ▶️ Casey fill this dead air by mumbling. I’ll have to come back to

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco it. Nuclear Zen

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Fire? It was whatever’s in the follow-up. Somebody posted

⏹️ ▶️ Casey a blog post and the title is Time Capsule Backup vs. Syracuse. So

⏹️ ▶️ Casey immediately I was intrigued. So a quick

⏹️ ▶️ Casey subsection of that post, several weeks slash months ago my internal SSD suddenly died completely.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I hadn’t made a clone backup or manually offloaded the data since the morning. I’d been working all day and had many

⏹️ ▶️ Casey irretrievable projects that were lost except for the time capsule backup from 30 minutes before.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I sent the SSD in warranty and when it got back a week later, I booted up the new drive

⏹️ ▶️ Casey with it connected to the time capsule. It asked if I wanted to restore from the time capsule and I said yes and went

⏹️ ▶️ Casey to bed. When I woke up in the morning, my baby was back. The beauty of the time capsule is its fire and forget usability.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey That earns some loyalty. And I’m quoting, and Casey was right. My

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John work here is

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco done.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’ve just quit the podcast. And I would drop this mic if it wasn’t so darn expensive.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And chain to your

⏹️ ▶️ Casey desk.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco And

⏹️ ▶️ Casey on a mount. And on a mount.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, the time machine’s been around for a long time. Like that product’s been around for a long time. And in the beginning,

⏹️ ▶️ John it got a bad reputation because network time machine backups were terrible, mostly for software reasons.

⏹️ ▶️ John So right away, out of the gate, it was like, don’t buy a time capsule because it doesn’t work. that was

⏹️ ▶️ John the time capsules fault and how much of that was the network protocol they were using for a time machine we don’t know but

⏹️ ▶️ John that gave it a bad rep but even after they fixed the protocol I’ve heard from many many

⏹️ ▶️ John many people over the many years the time capsule has been out and the story has not been good

⏹️ ▶️ John so I’m sure this person had a good experience and it worked fine like it’s not like it doesn’t work at all I mean they keep selling them right but

⏹️ ▶️ John in the grand scheme of things and all the feedback I’ve received over the many many years it’s decidedly

⏹️ ▶️ John negative for this product for both hardware and software reasons and it’s better now than it was

⏹️ ▶️ John but I would still not recommend anybody buy one.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And that was Nuclear Zenfire on Twitter like Marco said whose first name is Michael and that’s all we know.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So thank you Michael for sending that in and for once in my life saying that I was right and John was wrong.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey That’s very exciting.

⏹️ ▶️ John He was wrong about it though so. Oh you John

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Syracuse. All right so how do we want to tackle the well is there any other follow-up I’m sorry.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know is there anything really happened this week like news-wise that’s really I mean Balmer’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John fire one someone’s

⏹️ ▶️ John not looking at the file

⏹️ ▶️ Marco oh

⏹️ ▶️ John we have lots of things in there

⏹️ ▶️ Casey oh this is gonna be a long one so buckle up kids

⏹️ ▶️ Marco let’s start with Balmer because that’ll be pretty quick I think I think

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I don’t know you know we we’ve joked a lot about how Balmer has been performing

⏹️ ▶️ Marco pretty badly in a number of ways for years. But,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, in fact, Ben Thompson, the guy who writes Stratechery, I’ll link this in the

⏹️ ▶️ Marco show notes, he’s a pretty awesome writer and thinker these days,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and he actually spent some time at Microsoft, so he’s kind of familiar with how it works, and he made a really good counterpoint

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to this, which is basically that Steve Balmer actually did a very good job with

⏹️ ▶️ Marco what he was kind of hired to do, which is take the ship that Bill Gates

⏹️ ▶️ Marco kind of built when he was at the head and just keep it going.

⏹️ ▶️ John Why was he hired to do that? Who decides that that’s what he was hired to do?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, we can argue about that, but he did a part of his job extremely

⏹️ ▶️ Marco well, which is he kept Microsoft going, he made them more profitable,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco he made them get more success in various business roles and enterprise

⏹️ ▶️ Marco roles, which is a massive part of their business. So he did a lot of that well,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco but what he failed to do was push into any new markets and recognize

⏹️ ▶️ Marco new markets that he had to push into. Almost all of his

⏹️ ▶️ Marco new initiatives that he tried to do over the years that were not related to the business

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and profit side. Almost everything he tried to do on the product side was mostly a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco failure. But it’s kind of hard to say, you know, the board

⏹️ ▶️ Marco let him keep his job all these years because he was doing, I guess, well

⏹️ ▶️ Marco enough on the business and profit side of things. So it’s not like,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, he wasn’t necessarily like a complete buffoon all this time.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I would say the board is more to blame for keeping him in that long

⏹️ ▶️ Marco when it was obvious that a lot of major product direction changes were necessary.

⏹️ ▶️ John I can’t believe you’re defending Ballmer. Like the only thing you could say, like any defensive Ballmer has to come down

⏹️ ▶️ John to defending short-term thinking over the long term. It’s like, yeah, in the long term, he screwed the company,

⏹️ ▶️ John but you know, day by day, he wasn’t that bad. Like, and they say, well, it’s really the board’s fault for not firing him. Like, yeah, the board

⏹️ ▶️ John does share some of this blame. The bottom line is, if we look back on Steve Ballmer’s tenure

⏹️ ▶️ John as Microsoft CEO, it’s going to be he was the guy in charge when Microsoft lost. They

⏹️ ▶️ John were the big dog. They became not the big dog. He oversaw that. And during the whole time, it’s not

⏹️ ▶️ John like he was a total buffoon. It’s not like he didn’t see some of these things. But as you said, every

⏹️ ▶️ John time something was coming that was a threat, and he tried to counter it with his company and his products,

⏹️ ▶️ John he screwed up. He failed. The only good thing that could be attributed to his watch is the Xbox. And even that

⏹️ ▶️ John is not, I mean, you have to say, look, they entered a new product area. They were

⏹️ ▶️ John successful. Maybe not totally financially successful, but they are

⏹️ ▶️ John now a player, a major player in the market. And that’s saying something, right? But every other initiative,

⏹️ ▶️ John they just missed everything. So in the micro level, saying, well, at least he was good at tuning their current businesses,

⏹️ ▶️ John and he kept the money going, and he grew the company, he did all this. Yeah, but that doesn’t matter.

⏹️ ▶️ John What matters is, what is your legacy? What have you done? You took control of a company that was on top of the world,

⏹️ ▶️ John and you leave a company that’s practically irrelevant. And that’s how you have to measure how good a

⏹️ ▶️ John job did you do.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey And you know.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey No, it’s not. Not if you’re a shareholder. All you need to measure is, are you getting more money

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John or not?

⏹️ ▶️ John But look at their stock price over his tenure, too. It is not great looking.

⏹️ ▶️ John Tim Cook has only been around a little while. But look at the graph of when Tim Cook took over, what was

⏹️ ▶️ John the stock price, and what is it now? And that’s after Apple getting slaughtered in the stock market. I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ John think he did any good for anybody, except for the people who knew well enough to sell when the getting

⏹️ ▶️ John was good. The Microsoft stock price has been stagnant forever. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. I think your job as

⏹️ ▶️ John CEO is not to just try to goose the stock price so people can invest and bail. It’s like,

⏹️ ▶️ John if you care about the company, and surely he does, because he was there from the beginning, right? If you care about the company, you want to make sure

⏹️ ▶️ John that your life’s work is to build this company and leave it better than you found it. And I think

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s what he cares about, That’s what we should care about when we measure someone as a CEO, not whether it’s like, that’s like saying, we’re going to

⏹️ ▶️ John measure someone’s presidency by how many of their friends they got rich with contracts, with government contracts during their tenure there.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s like, well, yeah, he just totally screwed the whole company, the country and left it in a worse condition than he started. But boy,

⏹️ ▶️ John while he was president, he got so many of his friends awesome government contracts, and they all got rich. That’s

⏹️ ▶️ John not how you measure things.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey No, it’s not how you measure a president. You measure a president or a government by is the

⏹️ ▶️ Casey population’s quality of life at least as good if not better than it was before

⏹️ ▶️ Casey that government came to office.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John And similarly –

⏹️ ▶️ John That’s a high bar. But anyway, yeah.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, yeah, but similarly with the corporation, it’s are they making money and specifically are they making money for

⏹️ ▶️ Casey the people who own portions of the corporation? I mean I agree with you. To me, Ballmer was a

⏹️ ▶️ Casey schmuck. But in the end of the day, did he or did he not please the shareholders and make the money? Because

⏹️ ▶️ Casey arguably that is the only measure that really matters.

⏹️ ▶️ John No, I disagree. That measure almost matters – almost not at all. That’s not what

⏹️ ▶️ John matters, certainly not what matters to Steve Ballmer. It’s not what matters to anyone, probably including Microsoft shareholders.

⏹️ ▶️ John Because if shareholders are not just about to die and need to blow their money on a big weekend,

⏹️ ▶️ John they also care about the long-term health of the company. Because if you’re buying shares and

⏹️ ▶️ John you’re not just going to flip them in two days or something, or some high-frequency trading thing where you’re going to sell them 15 milliseconds

⏹️ ▶️ John after you buy them, you care about the long-term health of the company. Because you’re going to buy, hold, and hope

⏹️ ▶️ John they go up and sell later. And you don’t want it to go up 5% or 10%. You want to double and Steve Ballmer

⏹️ ▶️ John did not make that happen is not making that happen

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Anyway,

⏹️ ▶️ John I think that’s just a terrible measure of like a terrible way to look at things and it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John really not I mean just look at the reason the board didn’t fire him is because even they didn’t look at it that way even the board Of directors

⏹️ ▶️ John who you think they’re surely there care about shareholder value and everything though They kept them around because of personal

⏹️ ▶️ John relationships And thinking that he was gonna do it The thing is he said most of the right things like he saw the threats

⏹️ ▶️ John he tried to position the company to counter them He fielded products that were competitive with them. It’s just that they

⏹️ ▶️ John all flopped, right? So it’s not like he was totally oblivious. He just he just didn’t execute

⏹️ ▶️ John and it just you know, he was slow. He was wrong and he was just, you know, everything he did

⏹️ ▶️ John had problems. But yeah, I think it was time for him to go. I’m glad he’s gone.

⏹️ ▶️ John Somebody could have done worse. Yes, but people could have done a lot better.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John I mean probably

⏹️ ▶️ Marco his worst problem was, you know, I mean you can look at his various feelings. I mean,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco one of them is obviously not getting very well into most new markets, especially in the consumer

⏹️ ▶️ Marco space. One of them was just that he was so embarrassing in public so often.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco He really made himself and the company look stupid on a very frequent basis.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think, though, you can look at what Microsoft has done and not done in the last roughly

⏹️ ▶️ Marco 12 years or 13 or 14 years, you know, since around 2000 to now.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And it’s very obvious that Microsoft’s greatest enemy has been itself,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco not anybody else. Not Apple, not Google. Its greatest enemy has been itself.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And Microsoft has always, even from before Ballmer, been infamous

⏹️ ▶️ Marco for infighting and having divisions, especially like Office versus Windows. have

⏹️ ▶️ Marco these ridiculous infighting groups that would really hurt the products that came out

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and the company. But it seems like with Ballmer that all got even worse. He famously had

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the stack ranking system for the entire company, all these performance reports and this

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John ultra competitive environment. That

⏹️ ▶️ John wasn’t him though. That predates him as CEO.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Does it? I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ John know. Yeah, I think it’s been around for a long time. Oh, okay. It’s possible. It’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco been terrible for a long time, yeah, at Microsoft. But it seems like Ballmer’s greatest

⏹️ ▶️ Marco failure over the years has really been not fixing or making that worse.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, not fixing that or even making it worse. Microsoft could do a lot of things. They have a lot

⏹️ ▶️ Marco of smart people there. They have a lot of resources. They have a ridiculous R&D budget.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco They have ridiculous staff. And a lot of good stuff happens within Microsoft,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco but so little of it ends up making it into the products, because it’s just slaughtered

⏹️ ▶️ Marco by the process and the bureaucracy and the people and the strategy tax and the complexity.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Maybe this giant reorganization he was trying to do, which most Microsoft watchers think is a pretty

⏹️ ▶️ Marco bad idea, and it’s probably what actually finally got him fired, maybe this was actually his attempt

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to fix that.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s aspirational. It’s like, boy, I wish this is the company that Microsoft was, but it’s not.

⏹️ ▶️ John what everyone’s saying is like, that’s a great vision, but explain to me how you’re going to get from where you are to there, because

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s a big gap and people don’t trust that they can get there. Microsoft’s kind of got like a Xerox

⏹️ ▶️ John PARC kind of vibe. Like Xerox made all their money selling copiers, and they had all this money, and they made this research center,

⏹️ ▶️ John and they’re doing lots of interesting research, and they made nothing out of it. Apple took the ideas. Microsoft took the ideas.

⏹️ ▶️ John Xerox did not become the power in the personal computing world that they could have been. And Microsoft had all this money from

⏹️ ▶️ John the PC business, and they put it into R&D, and they were out there with the Microsoft pen

⏹️ ▶️ John for Windows computing. They were doing tablets way before anyone thought that anyone should be doing tablets. They made

⏹️ ▶️ John smartphones. They were putting Windows on phones. They were doing all these things. It was all there for

⏹️ ▶️ John the taking, and they just didn’t execute. They’re like Xerox. I mean, they weren’t fielding $10,000 Alto computers

⏹️ ▶️ John that no one wants to buy, but it was close. They kept making

⏹️ ▶️ John tablets and Windows-type convertible tablet things and smartphones, and just all of them were

⏹️ ▶️ John not good enough. And so they were there first, and they had the R&D, and they had the tech, and they did lots of interesting

⏹️ ▶️ John things, but they could not get a good product out of it. And that’s the failure of the company. So then other

⏹️ ▶️ John companies came along and ate their lunch. But they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

⏹️ ▶️ John They had all the money in the world, all the R&D in the world, all the right tech. They were looking in the right places. Sometimes they’re

⏹️ ▶️ John looking in the wrong places. Interactive TV was the wrong place to look, and MSNBC was a sideshow. That’s what happens

⏹️ ▶️ John when you have too much money, I guess. They were looking in the right places.

⏹️ ▶️ John 10 tablet computing that just didn’t get there.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, and I thought a friend of the show, Guy English, his post about Balmer’s straightjacket was really

⏹️ ▶️ Casey interesting. And you guys kind of alluded to this earlier in that, okay, so now Balmer

⏹️ ▶️ Casey has said, we’re going to go all Apple and reorg the company and now

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Balmer’s gone. So now somebody else is going to have to come in

⏹️ ▶️ Casey and either say, oh, just kidding, or they’re going to have to roll with this

⏹️ ▶️ Casey decision that Ballmer made. And that’s a tough spot to, I mean, arguably being the CEO of a company that big, even when

⏹️ ▶️ Casey they’re doing well is tough, when they’re doing not so well is worse. And doing it when you’re using

⏹️ ▶️ Casey somebody else’s playbook that you’re maybe not buying into sounds worst of all.

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, no new CEO has to use that playbook, though. Like, that’s the thing about being a new CEO. And yeah, it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John embarrassing when you do the about face, but not that bad, because a new guy comes in, like, that’s the new guy

⏹️ ▶️ John comes in and people expect him to like, well, now he’s really going to clean house or whatever. And so

⏹️ ▶️ John your first move being reversing all your predecessor’s move happens all the time. Like, that’s part of the

⏹️ ▶️ John power move of asserting yourself. So I don’t think it’s as big of a straitjacket as that post implied.

⏹️ ▶️ John The problem that post was getting at is that, like, let’s assume that this shape

⏹️ ▶️ John that Balmer wants to make Microsoft is a better shape than it is now. And I think most of us agree that the shape it is now

⏹️ ▶️ John is terrible. And this new shape looks a lot like Apple. And Apple seems to be successful at doing the things that Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ John says it wants to do, like be a devices and services company or whatever. So it’s like, yeah, OK, that’s

⏹️ ▶️ John good. But how do you get there from here? And it’s not so much that you’re tied into Ballmer’s

⏹️ ▶️ John plan, is that if you also agree that Microsoft should be that kind of company, and it should eventually

⏹️ ▶️ John look like this, now it’s on you to figure out how to get there from here. So we could just lay out the goal, like we should be more like Apple,

⏹️ ▶️ John and I’m out of here. But reading too much into it, it’s like I don’t know

⏹️ ▶️ John why he got kicked out. was the reorganization his idea, and then he got kicked out, was the reorganization

⏹️ ▶️ John the board’s idea, and he just got to announce it before he got kicked out. So many things we don’t know about the details here.

⏹️ ▶️ John But once a new guy comes in, all bets are off. He could do anything. He could pull off that HP,

⏹️ ▶️ John what’s his name? Such an AP. Apotheker? Yeah. Or he came into HP

⏹️ ▶️ John and said, I forget. It was like, we’re not going to make personal computers anymore. And was he the guy

⏹️ ▶️ John who sold Palm? Or he made like 15 rapid fire drastic decisions and then got booted out, and then

⏹️ ▶️ John half of them got reversed. And you’re not looking for that kind of disaster here. I think this is just one thing.

⏹️ ▶️ John And the new guy is going to say, yes, I agree with that vision. We’re going to try to get there. And that poor sucker is

⏹️ ▶️ John going to have to do the hard work. But it’s not a straight jacket. If he comes in and says, nope, I changed my mind. We’re going to become like IBM

⏹️ ▶️ John and be a consulting company, then he’ll do that.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And speaking of IBM, the other series of interesting thoughts I saw about this was another friend of the show,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Craig Hockenberry, tweeted about how, and I’m going to butcher what he said, which was, although brief, very

⏹️ ▶️ Casey eloquent, but he said, hey, you know, what Microsoft needs now is a Lou Gerstner. And as the

⏹️ ▶️ Casey child of a nearly lifelong IBMer, I can tell you that IBM was in a really rough spot

⏹️ ▶️ Casey for a fair bit of time. And then Lou Gerstner came in and basically

⏹️ ▶️ Casey said, you know, we’re going to shake everything up and we’re really going to cut the fat and you’re just going to have to deal

⏹️ ▶️ Casey with it because I have to save the company. And now IBM is not the biggest company in the world but certainly

⏹️ ▶️ Casey one of the biggest companies in the world and it’s doing by most measures very, very well.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Now we’re kind of wondering, okay, well that’s nice. We know we need someone that looks and smells like Gerstner but how do you find

⏹️ ▶️ Casey that person and

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John who is that

⏹️ ▶️ John person? John Greenewald Don’t you think he saved IBM by destroying it? The village had

⏹️ ▶️ John to be destroyed to save it. He saved IBM, the corporate entity, making it into

⏹️ ▶️ John a profitable business again but he destroyed the old IBM to do that. The old IBM was gone,

⏹️ ▶️ John and this was the new IBM, because he had decided that the old IBM had no place in the world. And lots of things were

⏹️ ▶️ John lost with that. Lots of IBM, creator of the personal computer,

⏹️ ▶️ John and that’s not the IBM we have today. They are more of a services company. And that’s how he

⏹️ ▶️ John was able to make them successful, but that’s not what IBM used to be. So in some ways, IBM was reincarnated

⏹️ ▶️ John under his leadership, which I’m sure Microsoft watchers would be like, all right, fine, go ahead, reincarnate Microsoft, because currently it’s like

⏹️ ▶️ John a lifeless corpse, and no one really is interested in it, right? But other things, people, if you’re looking

⏹️ ▶️ John for Microsoft to return to its former glory, you don’t want someone like that coming in and transforming

⏹️ ▶️ John the company into something you don’t recognize anymore, even if the new thing is successful.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And that’s fair. I think that’s very fair. I just thought it was a very interesting point in parallel. And

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think you’re both right. I think that they could stand to have a Gerstner, but maybe that’s not what they

⏹️ ▶️ Casey really want right now. And maybe they don’t want to pivot their brand. Right, Marco? Nice.

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, like Marco said, do they want a forestall? Do they want like, we want to look like Apple. We want to be

⏹️ ▶️ John like Apple. We want to be like a cross between Apple and Google. We want to have like Google’s online services

⏹️ ▶️ John with like the Windows Azure stuff or whatever. Because Microsoft still has some good tech and good products, which is a shame

⏹️ ▶️ John when any company, tech company, is going down the tubes. It’s like, there’s always good stuff in there,

⏹️ ▶️ John right? So there are good things, things to recommend. Even Windows Phone is like, it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John not actually a bad product at all, right? It’s just that an Xbox, again,

⏹️ ▶️ John a product that is something, that could be something, right? So you’re looking for someone to say,

⏹️ ▶️ John take all these things, get rid of all the bad things, but keep us, as a company, the kind of company that

⏹️ ▶️ John makes the Xbox, the kind of company that makes Windows Azure, the kind of companies that make Windows Phone. Like, we can do all these things.

⏹️ ▶️ John We’re smart and capable people. Just make all those things successful now, please. And so if you want

⏹️ ▶️ John someone to do that, and you’re looking for someone with experience making kind of like we make devices

⏹️ ▶️ John plus the software that runs them on plus the software and services, like you could do worse than a forestall-like figure,

⏹️ ▶️ John someone who has experience in another company that is successful doing exactly the thing that you want to be doing.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Here’s a weird idea. What if Microsoft completely exits the consumer space?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So the way this would look would be Xbox would be spun off into its own company,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco which would solve a big problem for Microsoft which is making it profitable. that would be spun off

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or sold but probably spun off. The rest of Microsoft would become a lot like IBM

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in that it would be focused on business computing and consulting

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and enterprise services. Because if you think about it, their consumer stuff

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is where all of the losses appear to be happening in market share and relevance and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco probably in profits pretty soon. The problem, I forget who tweeted this and I’m sorry,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco somebody I follow who tweeted, you know, the problem that Microsoft has is that nobody’s paying for

⏹️ ▶️ Marco software anymore. And the

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John direction on that…

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, corporations are.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, yes, but look at, you know, Windows

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and Office as Microsoft’s two big cash cows. Think about how

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that might be collapsing in the near future.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John Oh, we see it happening. We see it happening. It’s not going to go away tomorrow,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco but it certainly seems like it’s the best days behind it. And so what if

⏹️ ▶️ Marco what if Microsoft’s future really is just completely exiting consumer stuff

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and and only being enterprise focused, you know, high-end office needs all

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that, you know, basically, if your office would have an exchange server or would use SharePoint,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco then that’s the kind of that’s the kind of customer Microsoft wants to keep. But those are not

⏹️ ▶️ John their good products. SharePoint is terrible, Exchange is terrible. Those are not the, like,

⏹️ ▶️ John I grant you those things, the products that make money, and then no one else wants to be in that business except for maybe like, you know,

⏹️ ▶️ John SAP, Oracle, or whatever, but those are not their, those are not their best products, right?

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco And so if they-

⏹️ ▶️ Marco They are probably their most successful.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John And their least

⏹️ ▶️ Marco competitive, or-

⏹️ ▶️ John I mean, they have the lowest upside probably, because, I mean, that’s what people are looking for is like, what is the upside? Like,

⏹️ ▶️ John do we think enterprise software that looks like this crap has a bright future, that you’re going to

⏹️ ▶️ John grow the company by selling more of that for money. Like the trend is in the other direction, getting rid of that stuff, using simpler

⏹️ ▶️ John things, switching to Google, integrating with non-Microsoft products. So they’re squeezing every ounce of money

⏹️ ▶️ John out of that. That’s like their last bastion, and they’ve defended it well. And Balmer has

⏹️ ▶️ John goosed that to try to make it produce as much money as possible. And they have some good things in the web services

⏹️ ▶️ John space that they kind of transitioned to. But if anyone was going to look at the crown jewels of Microsoft,

⏹️ ▶️ John I mean, I don’t I don’t know if they would pick that enterprising type software. Anyway, you could make a successful

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco enterprise.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey I

⏹️ ▶️ John think

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John I would, actually.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I would really consider it. You have no idea how much a SharePoint license is and how many. I mean, for the last

⏹️ ▶️ Casey four or five years of my life, I have more often than not been working on top of SharePoint, which is why

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I’m bitter and jaded. But it’s popular. It’s extremely popular. And you know

⏹️ ▶️ Casey exchanges. I mean, those are not cheap platforms. And when you get an Exchange

⏹️ ▶️ Casey server or a SharePoint server, server. You’re going to be doing that on Windows Server 2008, and you’re going to be using

⏹️ ▶️ Casey SQL Server, and it spreads quick. And it’s profitable.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John It’s got to

⏹️ ▶️ John be. But I don’t think there’s a bright future in selling that kind of software

⏹️ ▶️ John to businesses.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, no one uses it because it’s good. Because it’s good does not enter

⏹️ ▶️ Marco into this. Enterprise software is not about what’s good. There’s all these other factors involved. And Microsoft is pretty

⏹️ ▶️ Marco good at those factors. And there’s no sign that’s going to go away.

⏹️ ▶️ John There is, they’re already getting disrupted at the low end. It used to be everybody had Exchange, but now you probably don’t have Exchange if you

⏹️ ▶️ John are a smaller company. You get away with having like Igloo or something like that, or you use Google or something. And

⏹️ ▶️ John what about sharing? We have SharePoint and all these things, but in our office we use Google Hangouts, we use Dropbox to share things because

⏹️ ▶️ John the enterprise software is so terrible. And we’re a pretty big company, right? And we still pay for all the Microsoft stuff, but

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s being eaten from all sides. It’s super duper high end, I don’t even know if Microsoft plays there anymore, and that’s kind

⏹️ ▶️ John of like rarefied territory anyway, but they have special custom systems for that.

⏹️ ▶️ John And then at the low end, Microsoft stuff is constantly being eaten by all these little web services. And even in companies

⏹️ ▶️ John that pay for these things, the people who are in the companies are choosing to use something else. It’s like the way iPhones made it into

⏹️ ▶️ John the enterprise. Nobody wanted them. RIM had a stranglehold on it. They were great at serving those customers, but people

⏹️ ▶️ John didn’t want to use them. They wanted to use iPhones. And that’s the problem with the enterprise business, that

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s surrounded on all sides by other things that want to eat their lunch. And if people don’t want to use your product, I

⏹️ ▶️ John did this thing, article on Fatbots, I think, ages ago about what defines enterprise software,

⏹️ ▶️ John or enterprise entanglements, and why Apple doesn’t want to get involved in the enterprise space. And enterprise software, my definition is

⏹️ ▶️ John when the person buying your product is not the person that has to use it. That’s enterprise software, right? Because

⏹️ ▶️ John that totally defines the entire shape of this product. Because they’re saying, how I’m going to get

⏹️ ▶️ John these guys to pay for my software? And making the software better is not how you get that, because

⏹️ ▶️ John they’re not going to be the ones who use it. They don’t care if it’s better. All they care is, does this make my life easier as an IT manager? And

⏹️ ▶️ John so your product necessarily becomes shaped into this thing that IT managers love, and that who cares if

⏹️ ▶️ John anyone else likes it, because they have no choice, right? And that is an evolutionary dead end for software, as far as I’m concerned.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So let me take a quick break right now, and then I want to talk about another angle of this Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ Marco discussion. But because we’re a half hour in, let me take a quick break and thank our first sponsor. It is

⏹️ ▶️ Marco WordBox. WordBox is a simple yet powerful text editor for iOS.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Now this is pretty cool. These guys made it and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco we’ve had a long history with arranging this spot because they initially wanted to release this

⏹️ ▶️ Marco during the Dev Center outage, like that was when it was originally scheduled, so we had to bump them. And they were the nicest guys

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the world dealing with them and moving this around, so I want to thank them for first of all their flexibility

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and how nice they are. Then I got a chance to see this app and I got to say, WordBox

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is beautiful. It is an absolutely beautiful app. Go to

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to see what I’m talking about. So it has, it’s a text editor, it has auto saving,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco a magical scroll button, you can move the cursor wherever you want really easily. It supports multi markdown,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it supports text expand or tux, excuse me. It is all cloud

⏹️ ▶️ Marco based, uses Dropbox. It’s really, it has so many features,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I can’t believe this came out of nowhere. It has folder support, it has dropler sharing,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Dropbox backgrounding support, offline support, exports to HTML or PDF

⏹️ ▶️ Marco from Markdown. There are so many smaller apps that I think this could very easily replace.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Word counts, emailing, it’s really fantastic. And what I like most about it is the UI

⏹️ ▶️ Marco design. I mean, this not only fits right at home on iOS 7, I think, but it’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco just beautiful and you can get it right now for iOS 6 too. It’s really a fantastic, clean,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco modern design. There’s no quote skeuomorphism around. It’s very clean and modern.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And do you remember the day before WWDC’s keynote,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or even that morning I think it was, there was this company called Flesky that everyone thought had blown

⏹️ ▶️ Marco an exclusive about iOS 7 supporting third-party keyboards,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco because Flesky had made their own keyboard. Well, Wordbox supports Flesky built

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in. I believe it’s their launch partner. I believe it’s the first app that has Flesky support. So you can

⏹️ ▶️ Marco use this cool Wordbox app to try out the new Flesky keyboard and see, you know, see

⏹️ ▶️ Marco finally like an alternative keyboard in iOS and what that means and what that could bring us and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco how good it is. So really cool app. It’s called Wordbox. Go to

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or simply search the App Store for Wordbox. That’s the one with the cool light blue icon with the

⏹️ ▶️ Marco W in the circle in the middle of it. But it’s easier. You just go to You can see lots of screenshots and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco video. It’s really cool. Thanks a lot to for sponsoring the show.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And once again, check out Wordbox. Thanks.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah. I’m running iOS 7 on my carry phone now and it fits right in. I mean it really does

⏹️ ▶️ Casey look good. So if you’re a markdown person, you should definitely check it out.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m really impressed by the design of those. I mean, I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco they have this awesome, you can see in the screenshots, they have this awesome black slide up action menu,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco where it grays out the whole screen and all the buttons are the big circles, kind of like the iOS 7 dialer, the phone dialer.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Really, really cool. And I was very impressed by this design.

⏹️ ▶️ John The prevalence of applications that do something other than the OS defaults for cursor control

⏹️ ▶️ John should tell Apple that their cursor control defaults are inadequate. I keep

⏹️ ▶️ John hoping for the OS release, will they realize, like, every time I have to do anything involving the cursor in a standard

⏹️ ▶️ John iOS text field, it’s like, come on, Apple. Come on. And now it’s up to every third party app they have to implement their own

⏹️ ▶️ John thing, which is kind of good. But this is kind of like a lab to try all sorts of different techniques in terms of swiping and tapping.

⏹️ ▶️ John And my big complaint is the wait. How long do I press and

⏹️ ▶️ John hold? It’s such an important part of interacting with text and selections in iOS by default. But

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t like waiting anymore. Who is it? Was it you, Casey, or someone recently just installed

⏹️ ▶️ John iOS 7? I know you did as well, Casey. And then was complaining about the, or was it you, Marco, complaining about how long the animations

⏹️ ▶️ John take?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco It wasn’t recently that I installed it, but I complained about it last night.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, like I still haven’t, last time I used iOS 7 was WWDC, right? So but

⏹️ ▶️ John when I do install it, I fully expect to agree with

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco everything you said in that

⏹️ ▶️ John post. Oh, yeah, you’re going to hate that. And I can’t do a defaults right, you know, whatever, hack

⏹️ ▶️ John to get rid of the animations like I can in OS X. Yep, exactly. Yet another reason that the Mac is superior. Anyway.

⏹️ ▶️ John Oh

⏹️ ▶️ Casey goodness. All right, so Marco, you said

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco you wanted to

⏹️ ▶️ Casey make another

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco point?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah, one more idea here, you know, to think about this Microsoft angle a little bit more.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco How do you, or rather, do you think there is a way that Microsoft could

⏹️ ▶️ Marco regain growth and a foothold at all? But, you know, especially,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco could they grow market share again in the world of mobile, of smartphones and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco tablets? do you see a way that that could happen? Because honestly, I kind of don’t.

⏹️ ▶️ John I totally do. But like the company, things have to get worse before they get better. So like, buckle

⏹️ ▶️ John up, like they’re gonna have to lose a lot of weight, a lot of money, a lot of personnel, a lot of projects,

⏹️ ▶️ John a lot of products, like, but you know, it’s like, like, when jobs came back, he canned like everything, basically,

⏹️ ▶️ John and said, the whole company is concentrating on the iMac, right? And then our next generation OS project, and that’s going to take like three

⏹️ ▶️ John tries for us to get right. But everything else is gone. Newton gone,, you know, HyperCard gone, on like everything

⏹️ ▶️ John just and like I doubt anyone’s going to come into Microsoft and do that, but they should because

⏹️ ▶️ John if you want pick your product, if you want the Xbox to see if you want Windows Phone to succeed, whatever it

⏹️ ▶️ John is that you want to be your thing that you think has an upside in the future. And I would say like, you know, Windows Phone

⏹️ ▶️ John tablets and Xbox and any television related things like that, that set

⏹️ ▶️ John of consumer products probably has a much brighter future than their other consumer products. can be made

⏹️ ▶️ John in like they’re close like you know Windows 8 is terrible for policy reasons not so much tech

⏹️ ▶️ John reasons and as we said in past shows they were the first ones to the new aesthetic so they have

⏹️ ▶️ John like the right people in terms of design and everything there it’s just that you know all the other crap that they do and all the stupid entanglements

⏹️ ▶️ John and the fact they have to have the desktop mode on the surface and you know like they’re just their their own worst

⏹️ ▶️ John enemy and I I think they could turn this company around and pick a few of those great products

⏹️ ▶️ John and make them successful the cost will be almost everything else they do.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco But see, I don’t know, I don’t, you know, that worked for Apple, but there’s a very different,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was a very different scenario. That was, first of all, Apple was in way worse shape then

⏹️ ▶️ Marco than Microsoft is in now.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah,

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s easy, it’s easier to do crazy things when you’re about to go bankrupt and Microsoft is not, unfortunately.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Not

⏹️ ▶️ Marco at all. Microsoft is actually doing, you know, financially they’re doing all right. Like they’re doing pretty well, I think.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John It

⏹️ ▶️ Marco has to get worse before it gets better. Right, see that’s the thing like I don’t I don’t see that strategy working

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you know for a lot of the reasons like you know I wrote this piece forever ago about about

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft and Apple’s respective customer cultures this was back when Windows 8 hadn’t come out yet

⏹️ ▶️ Marco but I think it was being shown off and I was I was speculating at the time that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft customers generally don’t like being told what to do

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and so they would probably resist Windows 8 if the new interface was mandatory

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and they couldn’t just turn it off and just always see the desktop again. And that turned out to be correct that that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft did release it that way. People did hate it and now with that whatever code name Blue Mountain

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or whatever it is this fall they’re going to revert that. You know I think Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the reason why people buy Microsoft products is because the products let the people

⏹️ ▶️ Marco do whatever they want with their computers and they don’t really they hardly ever kill anything

⏹️ ▶️ Marco they hardly ever restrict anything it’s really not open in the sense

⏹️ ▶️ Marco of Stallman but it’s open in the sense of capabilities and settings and stuff like that it lets people do what they

⏹️ ▶️ Marco want.

⏹️ ▶️ John But it’s like raising a toddler and never telling them no. Well sure. That’s what they’re doing with their business

⏹️ ▶️ John and that like and it’s it’s terrible like back at that old hyper-global where I talked about what you know

⏹️ ▶️ John what’s wrong with Microsoft their biggest problem is that when they had all the power in the world they didn’t use it to

⏹️ ▶️ John subjugate the masses Like, we are on top of the world. Windows 95 has Jay Leno introducing it, and it’s the

⏹️ ▶️ John greatest thing in the entire world. And everybody loves Microsoft, and we do everything. That was the time to

⏹️ ▶️ John put to, you know, say, and guess what? Our new thing is not even going to have a desktop. It’s all going to be like whatever the crazy

⏹️ ▶️ John idea was. Because at that time, you know, they were like, oh my god, I don’t. You’re right. They would all go,

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t like this. I want my old desktop back. But if you didn’t give them the option, then Microsoft could have sat there with his arms folded and say,

⏹️ ▶️ John what are you going to do? Go to Linux on the desktop? Buy a Mac? Ha! I mean, those were ridiculous options, right?

⏹️ ▶️ John They had the power to turn their whole user base, as sort of Apple did, because the Apple faithful were like,

⏹️ ▶️ John you know, we love Apple, they’re about to go bankrupt, we’ll buy anything you make. Teal computer, I

⏹️ ▶️ John guess, like, all right. And this operating system that’s humongously slow and has these

⏹️ ▶️ John crazy buttons, the Genie, that’s kind of cool, like, you know, they had a very small, tiny amount

⏹️ ▶️ John of power and then grew it into something larger, but Microsoft was on top of the world and they could have, they should have,

⏹️ ▶️ John taken that opportunity to turn the ship. Now, they’re weakened and injured and like, here’s

⏹️ ▶️ John Windows 8. We have some ideas for new interface, but please, you can still get your desktop back. Don’t hurt us. And that’s,

⏹️ ▶️ John you know, I think they have more power than they thought they did. And I think Windows 8 would have been more successful if they had really committed the company to it.

⏹️ ▶️ John But you’re right, at this point, people do have other options, and maybe they don’t have enough power to,

⏹️ ▶️ John you know, to say, you can’t get the desktop back. All Windows 8 looks like this. And then IT would have been like, all right, let’s everybody

⏹️ ▶️ John start our plans to convert to, I don’t know, they still don’t have great options, because Apple doesn’t want their business, and they can’t use Linux.

⏹️ ▶️ John So I don’t know. I think their big mistake is catering to their customers to this real

⏹️ ▶️ John and sometimes perceived to be larger than it really is desire by their customers not

⏹️ ▶️ John to have things change. Because that’s what leadership is. It’s telling people, no, this is the way things are going to be

⏹️ ▶️ John in the future. No, you can’t have the old way back. You can’t do that all the time, but at certain turning points, it’s time

⏹️ ▶️ John to do that. And if you don’t do that ever, you will just be left with your cranky customers

⏹️ ▶️ John who will never really be satisfied and who are a dwindling base. Uh, I mean, IBM kind

⏹️ ▶️ John of got into the situation to our people selling main frames or whatever, where you just keep selling mainframes and they just keep making demands and those

⏹️ ▶️ John mainframe people want mainframe features. Then eventually you realize you’re selling to three people and the government and the entire rest

⏹️ ▶️ John of the industry has moved on and your three customers are still cranky about something.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, right. But the problem is when Microsoft caters in to a large degree to enterprise,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey enterprise is always a big, slow moving entity. And if you’re answering

⏹️ ▶️ Casey to the enterprise, they’re never gonna want new. They’re gonna want new only when they have to have it, because

⏹️ ▶️ Casey that means I have to spend money from their tight budgets to buy new. And so as

⏹️ ▶️ Casey long as they have, they’re concerned at all with what the enterprise thinks, I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ Casey think that there’s much that can be done. And that kind of comes back to our conversation earlier. So how do you make Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ Casey better? I almost wonder if, as you got, I think maybe one of you guys said it, if you just spin off the consumer

⏹️ ▶️ Casey business, however you define that and say, You go do your thing and don’t give a crap about the enterprise. Do what

⏹️ ▶️ Casey you think is right. And then the enterprise folks can do the boring stuff that the IT

⏹️ ▶️ Casey guys need. And they don’t need to be as mobile in the sense of

⏹️ ▶️ Casey agile, I guess I should say. And they can continue to do the same old thing over and over until they eventually

⏹️ ▶️ Casey wither away and die.

⏹️ ▶️ John But say you tell the enterprise people, tough luck. You’re getting what we give you. And they say, all right,

⏹️ ▶️ John no. Screw you, Microsoft. You didn’t listen to us. You’re not giving us what we want. What do they do after

⏹️ ▶️ John that? All right, it’s fine. Microsoft says, fine, we lose all your business. What are you guys gonna buy instead?

⏹️ ▶️ John And then they’re gonna be like, I guess we’ll like buy Google services or like

⏹️ ▶️ John wherever they run to. They’re kind of a poison pill. Say Microsoft completely pulls out of enterprises. We are canning,

⏹️ ▶️ John we’re stopping SQL Server, we’re stopping Exchange. The only thing we’re gonna keep around is Windows Azure because that’s

⏹️ ▶️ John like forward-looking network type services and it’s not the same thing. You can’t have it anymore. We’re canceling all those products. And

⏹️ ▶️ John they’re gonna be like, but wait, no, fine, fine. Go to someone else for their business. Whoever gets all that

⏹️ ▶️ John business is now tied down by that crap and those customers. So if Google got those businesses,

⏹️ ▶️ John unless you’re really, really strong, unless Google also held the line, anyone who these enterprise customers went to

⏹️ ▶️ John would be dragged down by them. It’s like zombies dragging you down into the pit of irrelevance, right? Because they’re like,

⏹️ ▶️ John we need to see your roadmap going forward and you can’t change things because now we’re your big important customer. How

⏹️ ▶️ John many millions of dollars do we give you every year? And it takes a strong company to be able to say no to them. Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ John can’t do it and if whoever they go to like I don’t know who they would go to they go to Oracle you know

⏹️ ▶️ John have fun with them yeah or again SAP or some new company would rise

⏹️ ▶️ John up to take their money you do not want those customers those customers are not good for a successful

⏹️ ▶️ John business and if you lose them or intentionally piss them off and abandon them they’re gonna

⏹️ ▶️ John have to go somewhere and chances are good they’re gonna go to one of your competitors and screw them and then you’ll be free

⏹️ ▶️ John to say I like Apple you know what I mean? Like Apple got out of the business, for the most part, except for maybe a little bit

⏹️ ▶️ John of education. And it let them go forward and do what they want without worrying about how they

⏹️ ▶️ John mess with the, you know, the enterprise, they did a little bit of like, oh, okay, we’ll change our iPhone to work a little bit better with

⏹️ ▶️ John the enterprise. But they are not focused on that customer. They don’t do what the enterprise wants.

⏹️ ▶️ John Ask anyone who it has to deal with Apple, they do not do what a large company wants them to do. And I think

⏹️ ▶️ John Apple is freer and more successful for it.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey You know, and you’re right, but also consider what if Microsoft pulled an

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Apple card and they, let me try to get these words out in a way that makes

⏹️ ▶️ Casey sense. What if Microsoft said, screw you enterprise? And then

⏹️ ▶️ Casey what if a different Microsoft product, the new version of SQL server, the new version of exchange

⏹️ ▶️ Casey that breaks all the old exchange, but is better in every way. What if that’s

⏹️ ▶️ Casey what the new thing is? So they self cannibalize. Is that so terrible? Is that what it

⏹️ ▶️ Casey will take?

⏹️ ▶️ John That’s not terrible, but you have to go into it with a new attitude. You have to go into it with

⏹️ ▶️ John the attitude of, A, we’re breaking everything, and I know you don’t like it. And we’re hoping that you

⏹️ ▶️ John like our new product. But B, going forward, you have to know the rules have changed. You don’t get to dictate what we want. We are not going

⏹️ ▶️ John to hold backward compatibility forever and ever and ever just to make you feel better. You have to take more power

⏹️ ▶️ John in that relationship, which they haven’t been able to do it. And that’s why I think it’s such poison to have

⏹️ ▶️ John these as your customers, because they do pay you tons and tons of money. And it’s natural for any business to go, geez, these

⏹️ ▶️ John customers are paying us tons of money. We have to pay attention to what we want. Otherwise, what if, like, that’s the instinct of a business. Do, you know,

⏹️ ▶️ John the customer’s always right. Do what the customer wants. And you end up making your products beholden to these

⏹️ ▶️ John customers, you know, to these buyers who are not going to actually use your products. And it starts taking that same shape again. So

⏹️ ▶️ John you have to, it’s very difficult to serve those businesses while still trying

⏹️ ▶️ John to make a product that’s good, that the people who are buying it, you know, the actual users who are

⏹️ ▶️ John not actually buying it like. And I don’t know if any company has ever been successful doing that. Apple Solution was just

⏹️ ▶️ John like, fine, we’ll exit that business. That’s the solution. If someone’s out, if there’s some company out there serving

⏹️ ▶️ John enterprise and government while also making awesome products that the users like,

⏹️ ▶️ John feel free to write us and tell us about it. Is it Lotus Notes? I’ve heard it might be Lotus Notes. I

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco mean, everything

⏹️ ▶️ Marco you guys have just said, I think, supports the the theory of that Microsoft should probably

⏹️ ▶️ Marco split itself into consumer and enterprise as separate

⏹️ ▶️ Marco companies or majorly separate divisions to the point where they could have totally separate product lines.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Because, you know, if you think about it, trying to shove corporate Windows

⏹️ ▶️ Marco on the desktop at home and on laptops and on consumer stuff has always kind of had problems. You know, back

⏹️ ▶️ Marco when Windows 2000, NT5, when that was supposed to be the big unifying release

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it was so hard to do technically that they had to push off the big unifying release to Windows XP and then Windows

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Me came out. It was clear back then that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it was very, very hard to mash these two worlds together of consumer and enterprise

⏹️ ▶️ Marco on a technical level. And then I think now we’re seeing a lot of that on the product level

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and even on the company level where we’re seeing Microsoft is not doing a very good job

⏹️ ▶️ Marco of balancing these two things, especially when it comes to their consumer device side.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco You see the Surface versus the Surface Pro as two separate products, Office having

⏹️ ▶️ Marco its own giant pile of politics and conflicts and issues in that world.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco You see Microsoft not being able to politically and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco strategically release Office for iOS or Android. You see these pretty

⏹️ ▶️ Marco big problems that are really hurting Microsoft big time. Imagine this, imagine

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft spins out a new consumer company. They are responsible for

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Xbox, whatever Zune still has left, basically they’re responsible for Xbox

⏹️ ▶️ Marco plus tablets and phones. Scott Forstall is the CEO of that company.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Then their regular, you know, everything else, the entire enterprise and services

⏹️ ▶️ Marco side of their business. All the server software, Windows for PCs, Office,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco all of that is a totally separate company

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that, you know, has somebody like Balmer but good at the head of that.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Why is it, why is that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John worse? Tim Cook could run that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco one. He could. Why, why is that worse than what they have now?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey Like why?

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Because the consumer side isn’t making any money. There’s no money to be made on

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John the consumer side.

⏹️ ▶️ John No, no, I don’t think that’s the problem. Like, well, Well, the technical problem is that all those things that you just described share

⏹️ ▶️ John so much common technology that it would be very difficult, legally speaking, how do you divvy that up?

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Well, they could

⏹️ ▶️ Marco license it to

⏹️ ▶️ John each other. Do they diverge or whatever? Yeah. But when I picture that in my mind, what I picture is a rocket

⏹️ ▶️ John ship going up into space, and stage one is the enterprise business, and

⏹️ ▶️ John it expends its fuel, separates, and tumbles back into the atmosphere.

⏹️ ▶️ John And stage two and three is the consumer products. And so it’s like, who’s going to volunteer to

⏹️ ▶️ John be on the stage one that fires us up and then runs out of fuel and then tumbles into the ocean?

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Who wants to be in that company? But they’re doing well. The

⏹️ ▶️ John enterprise business goes well. I know, but they’re the biggest rocket, right? They have the most fuel, they have the most power, but inevitably they’re going to run out of

⏹️ ▶️ John fuel and tumble into the ocean. Like, I would not, if I was there and they were divvying up the company along those lines,

⏹️ ▶️ John I would wonder how many people would raise their hands to be in that other part or to invest in that other part or whatever.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s like, this is the future business and this is the current slash dying business. And

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s a tough sell.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco The current one is the one that pays dividends and makes reliable money every year. And the consumer

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John new one is the potential growth.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s the shrinking one. I think those two things can exist within the same company. It just

⏹️ ▶️ John has to be a change in attitude. And I think existing within the same company gives you the biggest benefit. Because that’s like using the booster rocket and not,

⏹️ ▶️ John like this analogy is failing now, but not jettisoning it, like keeping it with you.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s kind of like what Apple did with the Mac. The Mac, we have to get this thing back

⏹️ ▶️ John on track, we have to make one of those teals so people will buy it. While we’re doing that, let’s work on the next stuff. And

⏹️ ▶️ John we’re going to try a whole bunch of things, and the one of them that stuck was the iPod. It’s like, oh, that gives us more breathing room. OK, we’ve got to work on the next

⏹️ ▶️ John thing, right? So it’s not like the Mac was the office cash cow, but it was the only thing they had. And so job

⏹️ ▶️ John one was make sure that keeps making money. And Microsoft’s already got that covered, right? That can power your company while

⏹️ ▶️ John you work on the other things. And when you work on the other things, and if the other things are successful,

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not like the Mac has faded away and slowly dwindled. It’s been growing along with everything else. It’s just growing at such a smaller

⏹️ ▶️ John rate than everything else that it looks like it’s unimportant, but it’s there, right? So you can use that

⏹️ ▶️ John enterprise business as your platform that will keep you safe and in the black long enough

⏹️ ▶️ John for you to work on the next big thing. And if you hit that next big thing, that part that’s been helping you stay

⏹️ ▶️ John safe and in the black, that could be a successful business too, and also still growing and also improving. So

⏹️ ▶️ John I think probably keeping the company together, But just organizing it and running it differently

⏹️ ▶️ John is probably a better strategy than splitting it up. Because with splitting it up, I don’t see good things for that enterprise

⏹️ ▶️ John company. And I see all sorts of crazy issues in terms of, like, the entanglements almost get worse when you have to

⏹️ ▶️ John have some sort of cross-licensing agreement or coordinated development

⏹️ ▶️ John to maintain compatibility between enterprise Windows and consumer Windows and all that other stuff.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey The thing is that I feel like we’ve been beating up Microsoft a lot today. and

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I think it’s easy to kick somebody when they’re down. But I think I speak for all of us when

⏹️ ▶️ Casey in saying that I’m actually very hopeful for Microsoft. And I was thinking about it,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey you guys made the point earlier that, Microsoft was really early on tablets and they were really early

⏹️ ▶️ Casey on smartphones. Well, maybe they weren’t that smart, but they were certainly more than just feature phones.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And so during those days, it was like, they had good

⏹️ ▶️ Casey timing and they had decent vision, but never really executed. You know, they saw

⏹️ ▶️ Casey that smartphones were a thing and they saw it arguably before a lot of other people did, but they never

⏹️ ▶️ Casey really did it well. Now with say, Windows Phone 8, they

⏹️ ▶️ Casey had pretty good vision and pretty good execution, but the timing was terrible.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And so I wonder if for whatever the next big thing is, the next mobile, maybe

⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s TV, as everyone’s been saying, but I doubt it, but whatever that next thing is, maybe

⏹️ ▶️ Casey they will get all three of those timing, vision and execution right. And then maybe that will

⏹️ ▶️ Casey really turn them around. And you could argue that maybe Azure is that thing. I’m not saying that is, but

⏹️ ▶️ Casey you could pose the argument that maybe Azure is that thing. And I’m really hopeful that maybe one of these days,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey they’ll get all three right at the same time. Because it’s better for all of us, even diehard Apple

⏹️ ▶️ Casey users, when Microsoft is competitive and good.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well, going back a second to the question I asked right after the last break, and it’s almost time for the next one, but.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco My theoretical question here—let’s ignore the question of whether the company gets split up or not, because that obviously

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is a rat hole. For the purpose of this, it doesn’t actually matter.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Imagine what an ideal Microsoft product launch would look like today

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the phone and tablet area, in the general mobile devices area, which

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is where all the growth is and which is what’s slowly eating PCs, actually not even that slowly.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco You know, where is Microsoft’s place in this market? Because I’m kind of thinking they don’t have

⏹️ ▶️ Marco one. Because here’s the thing, let’s say they release a real… I mean look, Windows

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Windows Phone 7 and 8 and Windows 8 were both

⏹️ ▶️ Marco pretty good. Neither of them were great, but they were both pretty good. Especially

⏹️ ▶️ Marco for, you know, for for a Microsoft release in the last decade, they were really

⏹️ ▶️ Marco good. You can look at basically the last few things Microsoft did on their

⏹️ ▶️ Marco major platforms. Windows 7 was very well received. Windows Phone 7, Windows 8,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and Windows Phone 8. Those were all very well received, critically. But in the market,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Windows 7 I think did well, but the rest of it, especially in the mobile area, has really

⏹️ ▶️ Marco done pretty terribly. What could they do? If they release something

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that was really, really great, let’s say Windows 8

⏹️ ▶️ Marco on the Surface. Let’s say that was a really great launch. Let’s say they even

⏹️ ▶️ Marco got the Surface down to 300 bucks at launch, and so it was price competitive, because when it did launch, it wasn’t.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco But let’s say they got it there. What could they release

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that would give them substantial growth and market share in this market? I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ Marco think there was anything they could do, because Apple has the premium end locked up tight.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Google has everything else locked up tight. I don’t really see room for a third

⏹️ ▶️ Marco party here doing similar kinds of things. And maybe they do something totally different, but then what

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is that? They tried a little bit with Windows 8 and some of the Surface PC crossover

⏹️ ▶️ Marco stuff, but that didn’t work that well either.

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, I think Casey was right, that that was a timing issue. Like, you either get the execution wrong or they get the

⏹️ ▶️ John timing wrong, or both. And this was a timing issue. They released adequate

⏹️ ▶️ John products with some interesting things about them to recommend them, but the timing was awful. They’re

⏹️ ▶️ John kind of in the similar position that Apple used to be in. Apple used to routinely launch better products, but nobody

⏹️ ▶️ John cared. Oh, because everybody uses Windows, because I can’t run my applications on it, because the software ecosystem is like,

⏹️ ▶️ John you know, it doesn’t matter how good Apple makes stuff. No matter how anything Apple releases, no one’s going to care. But

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s not entirely. It’s just the bar is really high. So who

⏹️ ▶️ John would have thought that the solution was to release a teal Macintosh? That will do it. Like, oh, yeah, now

⏹️ ▶️ John that generated excitement. Why did it generate excitement? Because it was a different color, and it looked different, like fashion.

⏹️ ▶️ John They started, they took a different tact, and it got them attention. Did

⏹️ ▶️ John that turn the whole company around? No, but that gave them a little more breathing room. And then the

⏹️ ▶️ John next thing, the iPod, which everyone shunned, but that turned out to be a great idea. It’s possible. It

⏹️ ▶️ John just it just it’s really, really hard. And if you’re really late, like if Apple, Apple

⏹️ ▶️ John can’t be the seventh company to release a translucent colored computer, no matter how good it is,

⏹️ ▶️ John they had to be the one to make the big splash with it. Right. So Microsoft was not the first one to release a tablet. They were kind of

⏹️ ▶️ John the first one with the windows eight type look, but it wasn’t, it wasn’t enough and it was diluted and watered down,

⏹️ ▶️ John but there are plenty of areas where Microsoft could be successful with a new product. Uh,

⏹️ ▶️ John they just have to reset. And I would say even the Xbox, an established category, could

⏹️ ▶️ John have been a runaway hit if everything had gone their way, right? So say

⏹️ ▶️ John they released a, say Sony screwed up. Nintendo let them do what they’re continuing to do because they’re already

⏹️ ▶️ John screwing up. Sony screws up and Microsoft comes out and they do everything right with the new Xbox launch.

⏹️ ▶️ John And everybody loves them and they end up taking market share from almost everybody else. They become

⏹️ ▶️ John the uncontested, undisputed platform for AAA games, because

⏹️ ▶️ John the competition for that market is like Nintendo, Sony, and PC space, which is kind of

⏹️ ▶️ John sort of Microsoft slash Steam slash whatever, EA and stuff like that.

⏹️ ▶️ John That is a big market. That market makes a lot of money. And if Microsoft could have come out and

⏹️ ▶️ John dominated it, that would be a big win for them, because they’re already in that market. And this is a generational

⏹️ ▶️ John turnover where lots of things are happening. If they had executed amazingly well, and if they got lucky, and their competitors

⏹️ ▶️ John didn’t execute as well, that would be a big win. And all of a sudden, you’d see that making

⏹️ ▶️ John a lot of money for them. They could have made like wee bucks from the launch. That’s not how it turned

⏹️ ▶️ John out. They ended up doing a whole bunch of things wrong. And one of their competitors, Sony, did not do a lot of things wrong.

⏹️ ▶️ John And it looks like it’s going to be a horse race again. But I don’t count

⏹️ ▶️ John them out. It’s just that it’s going to be really hard. And you can’t look at what your competitors have already done

⏹️ ▶️ John and try to do it better because you never know what better part

⏹️ ▶️ John you need to do to make it happen. If you looked at Apple, it’s like, well, what do they have to do? How awesome is the computer they have? No, they have to release

⏹️ ▶️ John a computer that’s faster than everybody else. So they have to release one that is more reliable. Oh, they have

⏹️ ▶️ John to release one that’s a different color. What? What did that guy say? A different color? Pfft, whatever. That

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco turned out to be the thing.

⏹️ ▶️ John A different color was the thing that got them attention and turned things around. Obviously, I’m making

⏹️ ▶️ John light of it. It’s

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco much more to it than that.

⏹️ ▶️ John I

⏹️ ▶️ Marco didn’t think

⏹️ ▶️ John it was that simple. But you know what I mean like it no one would have predicted that if you had to ask like okay We’re getting killed here. We’re releasing

⏹️ ▶️ John better products to Microsoft What do we have to do to make people notice us and you? Brainstormed it

⏹️ ▶️ John the guy who was coming up with the idea for like the iMac everyone would have been like that’s not gonna do it Because in the abstract

⏹️ ▶️ John it seems stupid you have to see the concrete iMac to understand what it is about it You know like it That’s

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s a difference in vision and it has to be executed well But just the idea of like we’re gonna make a computer that

⏹️ ▶️ John is designed differently physically speaking That doesn’t sound like a winning idea,

⏹️ ▶️ John but the execution matters. So if you said, we’re going to make a tablet that also doubles as a PC, I don’t even know that’s a winning

⏹️ ▶️ John idea, but certainly the execution where there’s one arm version and then like an Intel version with a fan in it, and

⏹️ ▶️ John that you can put the desktop on both of them because they’re afraid to go all the way, you know, like the execution was

⏹️ ▶️ John not winning, and I’m not even sure if that idea was winning, but I don’t rule out the concept of them feeling a product

⏹️ ▶️ John that, you know, becomes very popular and makes people

⏹️ ▶️ John sit up and take notice and Microsoft again.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And with that our second sponsor this week is another new iOS app. I love this kind of sponsor.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco This is my favorite kind of sponsor. It’s another new iOS app. It’s called Notagraph

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and it’s like photograph but for notes. So Notagraph. N-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And this is a pretty cool app. We talked last episode or two episodes ago about

⏹️ ▶️ Marco photo storage and photo stream and stuff like that. This is, Notograph

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is a place to keep photos that you’re taking more for like a note-taking purpose

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and they can be kept outside of your camera roll so they aren’t clogging up your camera roll because you’re not really

⏹️ ▶️ Marco taking a photo of the label of a wine that you like. You don’t really need that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be in your family vacation photos. That’s not the purpose that you’re taking it for.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I use my camera on my iPhone all the time for this purpose, for the purpose of reminding me

⏹️ ▶️ Marco of something that I want to come back to later. For me, it’s often as simple as

⏹️ ▶️ Marco a picture of where I parked in the parking garage. I’ll take a picture of the nearest sign with the letter and number on it, something

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like that. Or it can be longer, like, oh, here’s a beer I liked, here’s a product

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I wanted to look at, here’s something I saw in a store but I want to learn more about, I want to go read Amazon reviews, whatever

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the case may be. So Notograph is an app made for this purpose.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco First of all, it’s designed primarily for quick captures, because obviously when you’re in these kinds of situations, you don’t

⏹️ ▶️ Marco want to have to be filled in with lots of navigation. You launch it, it’s quick capture, it opens

⏹️ ▶️ Marco always ready to take a picture. It has all sorts of sharing options, iCloud syncing

⏹️ ▶️ Marco with Dropbox, Evernote, you can email, you can message, all that stuff. You can save

⏹️ ▶️ Marco these into your camera roll if you want to, but you don’t have to. It has a whole organizational

⏹️ ▶️ Marco system. You can create folders and manage all these things. But one of the coolest things about this,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I think, is the UI. It’s a really opinionated UI, and I like that about it. It

⏹️ ▶️ Marco was designed with iOS 7 in mind, but if you take a look at the site, it’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco slash ATP. Go to slash ATP.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Take a look at their UI. It’s very text-heavy, and it uses this awesome…

⏹️ ▶️ Marco What’s the font here? by Heffler Farrow Jones. So it’s a fantastic professional

⏹️ ▶️ Marco font and it is a very text heavy iOS 7

⏹️ ▶️ Marco principle styled app but it doesn’t look like every other iOS 7 app. You know because we’re about to enter an era

⏹️ ▶️ Marco where every app looks white with Helvetica, Noia and is

⏹️ ▶️ Marco all the same. This looks different. It takes a lot of the lessons learned from iOS 7 but it has

⏹️ ▶️ Marco its own style. And they have this cool UI mechanic where like to see the photos

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in a list you need some kind of thumbnail. They have this thing where the list is a big rectangular

⏹️ ▶️ Marco cell, the way table cells in iOS usually are, and they have this cool UI where you just drag a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco horizontal box up and down the photo to pick what part of it you want to be that little skinny rectangle thumbnail.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco It’s really cool, very cool UI, very cool idea and they even have,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and this is pretty cool, they even have a video made by our friend Jonathan

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Mann, the guy who made our theme song. If you go to their website

⏹️ ▶️ Marco slash ATP, you can see this awesome music video that Jonathan Mann made for it. It’s really cool.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So, I think this is worth checking out. I think you should definitely go get it right now to support them and our show. So,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco thanks a lot to Notograph for sponsoring our show. N-O-T-O-G-R-A-P-H, like photograph but

⏹️ ▶️ Marco for notes, slash ATP. Thank you very much.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, I’m glad you brought up the thumbnail thing, because that was, I agree with everything you said. I think the thumbnail

⏹️ ▶️ Casey thing was the most interesting bit of the UI that I saw. And it was a really clever way

⏹️ ▶️ Casey to make a list that didn’t feel like every other list that you’ve ever seen in iOS. And it is a pretty

⏹️ ▶️ Casey slick app, so you should definitely check it out.

⏹️ ▶️ John All these applications that use like a, they want to show you your

⏹️ ▶️ John content as the item. Like they don’t want to have an item that just has like a list box, like a thumbnail. Like they want, you know, if

⏹️ ▶️ John you’re sorting pictures something they want the pictures to be the item like I photos like this on the Mac where when you have events

⏹️ ▶️ John it picks one of the photos from the events to be the thing of the photo the key feature for any application

⏹️ ▶️ John that does that is there has to be a way for you to say you know what you pick the wrong picture I photo for that event

⏹️ ▶️ John I would like you to use a different one or you know what notograph actually I would have cropped that differently so I could

⏹️ ▶️ John see like the name of the wine label that’s that I took a picture of or whatever and that’s the key feature it seems

⏹️ ▶️ John like well what’s the difference that’s like a power user feature who’s ever gonna use that but oh man it’s big so much of a difference when

⏹️ ▶️ John you can move that little rectangle and pick which part you want to crop or by the way people who don’t know in what is it an iPhone

⏹️ ▶️ John spacebar lets you when you’re scrubbing through the pictures in an event you scrubbing through with the cursor hit the spacebar

⏹️ ▶️ John to use iPhone you want yes I do it to pick the one you want for the event that is

⏹️ ▶️ John one of my favorite iPhoto features that they actually added in recent years one of the few favorite features and the fact that

⏹️ ▶️ John notograph has something like that is a it’s a great idea everyone everyone should

⏹️ ▶️ Marco do

⏹️ ▶️ John that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that is not only is that that the best Syracusian feature pick that I could possibly

⏹️ ▶️ Marco think of. But we have what I believe might be the perfect Syracusian topic

⏹️ ▶️ Marco coming up next. So what happened with Nintendo today?

⏹️ ▶️ John Not much. Not much. Yeah, I

⏹️ ▶️ John think a lot of people are making fun of this product. We’re talking about the Nintendo 2DS, which is not a typo.

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s not a joke. Kind of like the name We seems like it might be a joke to begin with but no

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s the real the real name And in some ways it’s kind of clever, but anyway the 3ds is their handheld gaming

⏹️ ▶️ John system with a 3d You know you don’t need glasses kind of a stereoscopic

⏹️ ▶️ John screen on the top and a touchscreen on the bottom Which is crazy in a strange Nintendo kind of way But actually

⏹️ ▶️ John after a fairly disastrous start has started selling well when they slashed the price and so now they’re making a version of

⏹️ ▶️ John their flagship flagship product and the flagship feature of the flagship product right there in the name 3DS

⏹️ ▶️ John was that it’s like a Nintendo DS, but it’s 3D, right? So now they made a version of it without

⏹️ ▶️ John the 3D.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John Now can I

⏹️ ▶️ Casey interrupt you real quick? The 3DS, that folds in half, does it not?

⏹️ ▶️ John Yes, it does. It has a hinge just like the, you know, there was the DS and there’s like seven

⏹️ ▶️ John variants of this thing that are out there. I don’t want to enumerate all of them, but Nintendo is not shy about making different variations. Big ones, small

⏹️ ▶️ John ones, ones with extra cameras, you know.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey as big as your head.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah. And it’s actually not a terrible idea, because they make the big ones basically

⏹️ ▶️ John for adult-sized hands. And not that I play handheld games, but if I did, I would appreciate the fact they made big ones.

⏹️ ▶️ John But anyway, the 2DS is getting rid of the 3D. And the 3D has kind of been one of those things where it almost amazes

⏹️ ▶️ John me that they ever ship the product, because it’s interesting tech. 3D without glasses is a good

⏹️ ▶️ John idea, because everyone hates the stupid glasses. It does work as advertised, but you do

⏹️ ▶️ John have to keep your head in a certain position. Otherwise, you get the wrong image in the wrong eyes, and it doesn’t quite work

⏹️ ▶️ John right. And they shipped it with a little slider that lets you turn down the 3D effect. And when

⏹️ ▶️ John you put the slider all the way down, it turns it off. So they probably have some kind of stats, since these things are internet

⏹️ ▶️ John connected. How many people using our 3DSs that we’ve sold have that slider all the way down all the time?

⏹️ ▶️ John And probably determined that that 3D feature is not as popular as we thought it

⏹️ ▶️ John was going to be. It apparently isn’t a big differentiator for people. That’s not the reason people are buying this. They’re

⏹️ ▶️ John buying them. putting the slider down to the bottom, they’re leaving it there, and they’re just using it like a Nintendo DS or whatever. And they’re

⏹️ ▶️ John really buying it because we make good games, so let’s make one of these products without the 3D feature

⏹️ ▶️ John because we can save money. And the way they seem to save money with this product is,

⏹️ ▶️ John you know, by decontenting it, to use the word from the auto industry. Like, getting rid of the 3D is

⏹️ ▶️ John surely cheaper to have a screen that doesn’t do with that little 3D thing, so little lenticular things on top of it and

⏹️ ▶️ John everything. It doesn’t fold in Half and I thought that was because they wanted

⏹️ ▶️ John to save money on the hinge because hinges are expensive on electronics and more moving Parts and you have to thread you know

⏹️ ▶️ John ribbon cables through them and there’s reliability issues and all that other stuff But what I read and I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ John know if this is confirmed yet, but I’ve just read it So by the time you hear this episode, maybe you’ll know whether it’s true or not is

⏹️ ▶️ John that It doesn’t have two separate screens It has one big screen and they just crop out The top

⏹️ ▶️ John and the bottom part and that’s why it doesn’t bend in half because it can’t bend in half and once one screen that’s larger,

⏹️ ▶️ John like if you look at it, like the top and bottom screens aren’t even the same size. So if there’s one big rectangular

⏹️ ▶️ John screen that’s the width of the top screen, they’re just hiding part of it with the plastic surrounding

⏹️ ▶️ John parts, you know, and they’re hiding of course the middle part as well. And it seems like that might be more expensive, but I can also imagine

⏹️ ▶️ John it being cheaper. I don’t know if that’s true, but that would also explain why the thing doesn’t fold.

⏹️ ▶️ John And the final reason it doesn’t fold is it looks kind of more like a tablet form factor. Like you can kind

⏹️ ▶️ John of squint and think of it as kind of like an iPad Mini with with like handles and controls on the sides

⏹️ ▶️ John But then they put this thing on that makes it look like it’s a top screen and bottom screen and all this saved them 40 Bucks retail

⏹️ ▶️ John which is not really that much But it’s a pretty significant amount if you think of like if you had a consumer electronics

⏹️ ▶️ John product and someone told you okay We want this to run all the same games and be a good product, but you have

⏹️ ▶️ John to take $40 out of it You’d be like $40. How the hell do I get $40 out of it? I’m already using a plastic for the case I

⏹️ ▶️ John can’t really get that much money out for the chips and stuff like maybe I can save a few bucks here and there if They have a

⏹️ ▶️ John die shrink of them or something. Maybe we can combine some chips and save buck with 40 bucks. How are we going to get $40 of value

⏹️ ▶️ John out of this this handheld? And this is what it took to get $40 out of it. So it’s cheaper.

⏹️ ▶️ John It plays three games in 2D. It may be one big screen underneath the covers. They

⏹️ ▶️ John move the controls around a little bit. I don’t think it’s as ridiculous a product as everyone’s

⏹️ ▶️ John making it out to be. I’ve looked at it and I’ve seen especially the video that Casey put in that he said

⏹️ ▶️ John is an embarrassing video. and you know, come on, everyone can’t make Apple quality videos, right? But look at the size of the device

⏹️ ▶️ John and how it kind of zips up into the little bag. I would buy this for my kid if he wanted to play handheld games,

⏹️ ▶️ John and I think the kid would like it and enjoy playing games on it, and that’s what game machines are

⏹️ ▶️ John supposed to be for. And I think Nintendo would actually make money selling them, because they have, it seems, found a way to

⏹️ ▶️ John take some value, take some, not take some value, but take some cost out of the manufacturing process and lower the price while still

⏹️ ▶️ John making a profit. So I have to give this kind of a tentative

⏹️ ▶️ John thumbs up. What do you guys think?

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t know. So I haven’t played console video games with any regularity in like 10 years.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey We only have a Wii in the house, which is on only occasionally and usually only for rock band

⏹️ ▶️ Casey John Judge Away. I saw the pictures of the 2DS and I saw the ridiculous

⏹️ ▶️ Casey video for the 2DS. And I don’t it just the the fact that it doesn’t have a hinge

⏹️ ▶️ Casey just looks and feels wrong to me It it just looks like it’s clearly

⏹️ ▶️ Casey something that was designed originally to have a hinge and now doesn’t and the thing that really kind

⏹️ ▶️ Casey of confuses me is that now you’ve taken a device that We think

⏹️ ▶️ Casey is designed for children and people with perhaps smaller hands and smaller bodies And

⏹️ ▶️ Casey now you’ve made it bigger because it can never fold in half,

⏹️ ▶️ John but did you see how big it is? I don’t know if it’s that much bigger. Like, it’s still pretty darn tiny. Look at it next to

⏹️ ▶️ John that little kid who zips it up into his little carrying case.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey It is small. Are we talking about the video?

⏹️ ▶️ John Are we talking about the video? Yeah, look at the video. Like, it’s hard. When you see it just by itself, you think it looks like

⏹️ ▶️ John some gigantic, like, I don’t know. But look at it next to the, like, it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John practically a toddler putting it away. It is still small. I think it’s still a reasonable size for a kid

⏹️ ▶️ John to tuck in his backpack to go on a car trip to have something to play in the car or on vacation or something.

⏹️ ▶️ John Like, I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey think it’s certainly

⏹️ ▶️ Casey it’s certainly not huge, but it’s just maybe it’s me. And I just I don’t

⏹️ ▶️ Casey get the way it looks like it’s supposed to have a hinge and just doesn’t like they forgot it rather

⏹️ ▶️ Casey than it rather than they designed it out.

⏹️ ▶️ John See, the thing with the one with the hinges, a lot of a lot of 3DS games like their shoulder buttons on it as well, this face button,

⏹️ ▶️ John shoulder buttons, and you’ve got the analog stick and D-pad and and you’ve also got a stylus for the

⏹️ ▶️ John bottom touch screen. And some games try to use like all those controls at once. And like famously, I think it was the was

⏹️ ▶️ John the pilot wings chat room can tell me. Not pilot wings, Kid Icarus, whatever

⏹️ ▶️ John the Kid Icarus game for the three DS. Come on, chat room. Wait for the delay to go. Anyway, there was one game

⏹️ ▶️ John that the Nintendo came out with that required you to use like the styles at the same time as the analog stick

⏹️ ▶️ John at the same time as a shoulder button. And the game came with like a little plastic stand thing

⏹️ ▶️ John because Nintendo recognized that trying to manipulate the machine

⏹️ ▶️ John in this manner while also supporting it is actually very difficult. So find a table,

⏹️ ▶️ John use this special plastic stand to prop it up into the right position, and then you can play our game. That’s kind of

⏹️ ▶️ John a failure of game design and hardware design. It’s kind of ungainly to be trying to be

⏹️ ▶️ John holding basically a little miniature laptop that folds open, a little clamshell thing, while

⏹️ ▶️ John using all these controls all over it, and sometimes using a stylus and everything, I think

⏹️ ▶️ John the tablet form factor gives a better grip on the overall thing, like the fact that it’s just one big

⏹️ ▶️ John solid piece instead of some floppy thing. The chat room says Kid Icarus Uprising was the game, so I was close.

⏹️ ▶️ John I think that form factor may actually be better. Unfortunately it’s probably worse for some games that were designed

⏹️ ▶️ John around the clamshell factor, because some games, like someone was saying that in Metroid Prime Hunters, like it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John going to be very difficult to play that game because it was designed around the position of the controls for the folding game where the

⏹️ ▶️ John controls were lower down, nearer to the touchscreen, and now they’re sort of slid up. But I think overall,

⏹️ ▶️ John it will probably feel more secure in your hands, this one piece, instead of having that strange

⏹️ ▶️ John hinge thing at various angles. So again, I don’t think this is necessarily a loser product,

⏹️ ▶️ John and I think they might sell a lot of them.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And actually, I’m now looking at an image of what appears to me to

⏹️ ▶️ Casey be the 2DS, the, was the non-3D one, the DS and the 3DS. And

⏹️ ▶️ Casey you’re

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco right, I didn’t realize. I believe

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that’s 2DS, 3DS, and 3DS XL. Yeah,

⏹️ ▶️ John there’s also the DSi, which is the same size as the DS. And

⏹️ ▶️ John it was the old DS before they redesigned it. Put it in the chat room or something so we

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey can. That’s where

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I got it from. It was from

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco joystick one? No, the MediaLib. Yeah, blah.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey It’s

⏹️ ▶️ Casey from Alex Sabinsky.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So anyway, whatever it is I’m looking at, compared to that monstrosity on the right, It actually

⏹️ ▶️ Casey doesn’t look that big at all.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John That’s the

⏹️ ▶️ John XL, and that’s the one I would buy, by the way, because it’s made closer for adult hands.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So that’s designed to be a monstrosity? I’m not trying to be

⏹️ ▶️ John funny. The whole point of that one is to be larger for older people who have trouble seeing. And it

⏹️ ▶️ John costs a little more because you have a bigger screen. But if you’re an adult, you don’t want to have your hands on those.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Yeah, but you’re the only

⏹️ ▶️ Marco adult wanting to buy a 3DS. Well, I don’t.

⏹️ ▶️ John I already have one. I don’t play handheld games at all, because they’re terrible for RSI. Like, you know,

⏹️ ▶️ John yeah, the the you can’t make a really ergonomic Controller

⏹️ ▶️ John out of some when the controller is also the game system and the screen and has to be portable So I understand the compromises

⏹️ ▶️ John there and I kind of miss out on some of the games that I would like to play Like I wish what is it gravity

⏹️ ▶️ John rush? I gotta ask chat room again to confirm my memories failing But anyway, there’s a game for the Vita that I really

⏹️ ▶️ John love to play it But I’m not gonna buy a handheld gaming system to play it and I keep hoping it would come out for the ps3 or something

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Wasn’t there some? Like third party or maybe was first party box that you could get

⏹️ ▶️ Casey way back in the day to play original Gameboy games on a TV

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John yeah

⏹️ ▶️ John There’s a lot of there’s a lot of products like that And I I keep hoping that there will be some kind of product or maybe the

⏹️ ▶️ John virtual console games where a 3ds only games will Someone says it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John pronounced Vita. What did I say?

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I thought that’s what you said is

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John that Vita?

⏹️ ▶️ John I’m not gonna say Vita anyway Yeah, I keep hoping

⏹️ ▶️ John that these games that I’ve been missing on handhelds will eventually come to a system that I can play You know somehow

⏹️ ▶️ John on my television holding a slightly more ergonomic controller in more comfort

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So So you’re saying that tentative thumbs up for the for the system?

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Is that is that fair?

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I mean like it’s kind of sad that Nintendo has to go to these links This is not a power move This is not

⏹️ ▶️ John like, oh, we’re on top of the world, and now we’re so successful that we can do this. This is kind of like, look,

⏹️ ▶️ John the Wii U is doing really badly. The 3DS has actually kind of picked up in recent years. And

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not, you know, that has a chance for some growth. What can we do to get more money out of the part where our business

⏹️ ▶️ John actually is successful? Maybe we make a cheaper version around holiday time. People are more likely to buy it for their kids

⏹️ ▶️ John because their kid wants an iPad Mini, but we can’t afford that. So we’re going to buy $130 3DS or 2DS.

⏹️ ▶️ John And honestly, I think that 2DS, like the games that are available

⏹️ ▶️ John for the DS, because it plays any DS game plus any 3DS game. So there’s a huge game library available

⏹️ ▶️ John with this. And I would put the game library that that thing can play up against like seven

⏹️ ▶️ John app store game libraries. Not that there aren’t great games in the app store, but the depth of game

⏹️ ▶️ John available on that device and the type of gameplay experiences that you can have with buttons and shoulder buttons and sticks

⏹️ ▶️ John and a touchscreen and a stylus and all that other stuff, just puts the iOS gaming experience to shame. Like,

⏹️ ▶️ John so I would be totally comfortable buying this less expensive device. Now, granted, the games are going to cost you more, or whatever. But I’d buy

⏹️ ▶️ John this less expensive device and like two games and the kid’s stocking for Christmas. And I think

⏹️ ▶️ John even though the kid won an iPad Mini, if he’s the right age and he is a gamer, he would be much happier with this device.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So two very sore thumbs up.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Yeah, pretty much. Real time follow up. Prahinra in the chat room says it was

⏹️ ▶️ Casey a Super Game Boy for Super Nintendo I was thinking of, which it

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco was.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So then, John, you kind of started down this road and then backed away. What do you

⏹️ ▶️ Casey think this means as a barometer for the health of Nintendo and their power

⏹️ ▶️ Casey in the marketplace? I mean, it certainly, like you said, doesn’t seem like this was the move

⏹️ ▶️ Casey of the king. It seems like it was the move of the competitor, almost.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So, I mean, how does this make you feel as a Nintendo fan?

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I think that it’s a good thing Nintendo made all that money during the Wii era because

⏹️ ▶️ John now they’re that they’re rainy day fund it’s now time for them to start using it and I think they

⏹️ ▶️ John do have some breathing room to regroup doing these type of moves is like okay let’s let’s shore

⏹️ ▶️ John up the dam while we try to regroup and I really hope they are regrouping because they have they have some breathing room they

⏹️ ▶️ John made tons of money with the success of the Wii. The Wii U is tanking they have to decide are

⏹️ ▶️ John we going to try to recover the Wii U do we think that do we think they already did price drop on that what do they drop they drop the the

⏹️ ▶️ John good one the one that you really want from like 350 300. So that’s a good move to the reboot,

⏹️ ▶️ John the HD remake of wind waker, which appeals to old people

⏹️ ▶️ John is going to be available early in digital only form. That’s also a good move. Like when you have a kind of like an important

⏹️ ▶️ John popular title that you know people are going to want release it early in digital form to sort of you know reward people who don’t

⏹️ ▶️ John want to go to the store and buy a disc. I think the digital one might also be a little bit cheaper. Like so those are

⏹️ ▶️ John those are good moves, but are they going to stick it out with the Wii U? Are they going to rev the Wii U way before everyone else

⏹️ ▶️ John revs? Because there’s no PS5 and Xbox. We don’t want to even think of the name.

⏹️ ▶️ John Those aren’t coming out for many, many, many years. But Nintendo could

⏹️ ▶️ John produce a new console in the next two years. Is that their reboot plan? Or surely they’re

⏹️ ▶️ John not going to stick with the Wii U for eight years. Eight years from now, we pull out this podcast and play it back to me.

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t even think that’s, you know what I mean? So I would like to know what their strategy is, but I think they have a little bit of breathing

⏹️ ▶️ John room. And I think these types of moves are like, while we’re figuring out what we’re going to do,

⏹️ ▶️ John let’s see what we can do to get a little bit more money out of these good areas. I mean, a lot of their

⏹️ ▶️ John problem could just be software. Maybe that’s their strategy, regroup, and we really need to be firing on all cylinders

⏹️ ▶️ John with first-party software.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, to that end, are we going to see Zelda and Mario in the App Store anytime soon?

⏹️ ▶️ John I hope not. People keep saying that. I mean, Gruber said it today, like they should start selling for the iOS store.

⏹️ ▶️ John Like I, whether or not that’s like, I don’t think that would be good longterm

⏹️ ▶️ John business strategy for Nintendo, the company, but as a consumer, as someone who plays Nintendo

⏹️ ▶️ John games, I would not like that at all. Because the thing I love about Nintendo is that they make hardware and software combined. They make

⏹️ ▶️ John a complete gaming experience. They tailor their hardware to fit the software they want to buy. They want to

⏹️ ▶️ John make, and no one else does that to the degree they do. I love their games and I would not want

⏹️ ▶️ John to play their games on a touchscreen

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Well, but you’re assuming it’s a touchscreen

⏹️ ▶️ John or with any of those little controller things that Apple now supports Like it’s not it’s not the same thing like, you know

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t think they should do that. Nintendo doesn’t think they should do that I don’t think that would make anybody happy it would turn them

⏹️ ▶️ John into Sega where it’s like, oh, all right Well say he’s out of the hardware business I guess we’ll just make games now and you know

⏹️ ▶️ John people are not excited about Sega games Even though they are available on say games available on iOS. I’m pretty

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco sure yeah Yeah,

⏹️ ▶️ John like who cares? Those are terrible. Who cares? Nobody cares. Whereas, even as Nintendo

⏹️ ▶️ John fails, if they make a really good Zelda game for the Wii U, it will make a lot of people very happy.

⏹️ ▶️ John Even if it doesn’t make Nintendo a lot of money. So I’m one of those people who wants Nintendo to keep being Nintendo, and

⏹️ ▶️ John I would be willing to like, have the Japanese government subsidize them to make them keep making it happen.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I’m actually with you on that. I think people calling for Nintendo to just make stuff for iOS

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is a lot like people who used to call for Apple to just license Mac OS to PC hardware.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John Yeah, it’s exactly the same thing. I

⏹️ ▶️ Marco think it’s, you know, obviously Nintendo makes a lot of money on their hardware and that’s the business they’re in. And so if,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco you know, licensing their games to other platforms would be really giving up and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it would probably lead to a dramatic shrinking of the company and probably a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco lot of ruining of what’s best about them. The question is, you know, Apple avoided that by

⏹️ ▶️ Marco finding another way out of their predicament. The question is, can Nintendo do that?

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, Nintendo’s weathered a lot of ups and downs. Like the Nintendo 64 was the beginning.

⏹️ ▶️ John The Nintendo 64 and the GameCube were another pretty big, deep trough where like, oh, we’re totally counting Nintendo

⏹️ ▶️ John out. And then they came in and over with the Wii. And now it’s like a roller coaster. So now they’re on their way back down again. How

⏹️ ▶️ John long, how far down is this going to go before they make U-turn again? Like, again, I think they’re protected by

⏹️ ▶️ John their patience, by their determination, and by the mountains of money that they make

⏹️ ▶️ John during the high periods that they presumably spend wisely. Like I don’t think they they don’t spend money extravagantly.

⏹️ ▶️ John They don’t have humongous staffs. They are fairly conservative with what they spend,

⏹️ ▶️ John what their burn rate is. So I’m hoping they can weather the storm and come out the other side.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco All right, and with that, let’s wrap it up for the week. Thanks a lot to our two sponsors this week,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, that’s the app wordbox, and notagraph, slash

⏹️ ▶️ Marco ATP. And we’ll see you next week.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Now the show is over, they didn’t even mean to begin, Cause

⏹️ ▶️ Casey it was accidental, oh it was accidental.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey John didn’t do any research, Marco and Casey wouldn’t let him,

⏹️ ▶️ John Cause it was accidental, oh it was

⏹️ ▶️ Casey accidental. And you can find the show notes at ATP.FM

⏹️ ▶️ John And if you’re into Twitter, you can follow them at

⏹️ ▶️ Marco C-A-S-E-Y-L-I-S-S So that’s

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Casey Liss, M-A-R-C-O-A-R-M, and T. Marco

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Armin,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco S-I-R-A-C-U-S-A-C-R-A-Q-U-S-A

⏹️ ▶️ John It’s accidental.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey They didn’t mean to.

⏹️ ▶️ John Accidental. Tech podcasts so long.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey What kind of weird reality are we in where I was agreeing with you, Marco, about enterprise-y related things?

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, you’re the two PC users, so you still have that, you know, infection coursing through your veins

⏹️ ▶️ John in trace amounts.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I don’t even know how to argue with you on that one. You’re probably right. I’m surprised you’re so happy about the

⏹️ ▶️ Casey 2DS.

⏹️ ▶️ John I’m

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey not saying you’re wrong. I’m not happy

⏹️ ▶️ John about the state of Nintendo’s in, but I don’t think the product deserves the, you know, the ridicule. Like,

⏹️ ▶️ John it’s not attractive looking either. There’s many things, many things against it. It’s embarrassing kind of

⏹️ ▶️ John joke name. It’s not attractive looking. It looks ungainly and awkward, but I

⏹️ ▶️ John think it’s an okay product. And like I said, there’s seven DS products that I think you can

⏹️ ▶️ John buy now. You can buy the, Thinking still by the DS then there’s a 3ds. There’s 3ds XL. Then there’s the

⏹️ ▶️ John DSI. There’s a 2ds What the hell is

⏹️ ▶️ Casey the SI

⏹️ ▶️ John do like they added a letter? I think that’s the one with like more internet connectivity and extra cameras and

⏹️ ▶️ John There’s a whole bunch of like they have tons of products

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Do they still suck at internet and social things or have they gotten better at

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John that?

⏹️ ▶️ John Nope, they still suck They still suck.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey That’s

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John how they

⏹️ ▶️ John have gotten better though You can’t say they haven’t gotten better But they are still pretty crappy at it and like part of it

⏹️ ▶️ John is that philosophy of like protecting kids And you know like a lot of the things they do are to avoid

⏹️ ▶️ John what happened on the Xbox like hey Xbox Xbox Live Does it the best but it’s also the place where you go and will immediately

⏹️ ▶️ John be bombarded by teenagers Saying racist

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco and

⏹️ ▶️ John things to you and God forbid if you’re a female, right? So Nintendo does not have that problem for the most part

⏹️ ▶️ John and has avoided it by keeping people away from each other You know what? I mean keep them separated

⏹️ ▶️ John And Now they’re slowly trying to allow some kind of interaction on a trusted basis And you know they’re they’re trying

⏹️ ▶️ John to avoid becoming Xbox Live basically

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Which is it which is sad because Xbox Live is you know with the exception of the you know ten-year-olds swearing at

⏹️ ▶️ Marco you and calling you Horrible names it’s actually very successful in all other

⏹️ ▶️ Marco ways.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, no it is the best gaming It is the best one and yeah, it suffers from all those terrible ailments,

⏹️ ▶️ John but I don’t say who is doing console online best It’s not Sony and it’s not Nintendo. It’s Microsoft.

⏹️ ▶️ John But Microsoft also, in typical fashion, like, is that the price of good online that you have to deal

⏹️ ▶️ John with jerks? I’m not sure it’s the price of it. But Nintendo and Sony were just mostly incompetent.

⏹️ ▶️ John They didn’t have, they had people who make games. Like, Sony has less of an excuse, but Nintendo was like, look, they had a bunch of

⏹️ ▶️ John people who make games, a bunch of people make hardware, and then all of a sudden they’re expected to make network services. I don’t even, they

⏹️ ▶️ John must have had to hire people to do that. Because, you know, do we have anyone who knows We got to run a server here

⏹️ ▶️ John or what? Like that’s been the past many many years, but they

⏹️ ▶️ John are getting better, and they’re slowly learning But they’re doing it very cautiously I remember one of their first forays was you had a friend

⏹️ ▶️ John codes Which is like this nine digit?

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey Yeah, you

⏹️ ▶️ John would exchange because that way you couldn’t accidentally see somebody who would say something terrible to you or try to abduct you or

⏹️ ▶️ John Whatever right it would only it was so hard to connect with somebody the only people who would ever connect would be like

⏹️ ▶️ John you and Your best friend after six tries

⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah, did anybody actually ever do that

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey I did Yeah, no, I did.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey We played Mario Kart Wii over the internet against friends of ours.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey And this was shortly after Mario Kart Wii came out. And I was on Fios,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey and my friend was on a reasonably quick Comcast connection. And it was a total

⏹️ ▶️ Casey disaster.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John But that’s not friend codes.

⏹️ ▶️ John That was the better iteration. Friend codes were back, I think, the DS. Someone in the chat room will tell me. But it was before the

⏹️ ▶️ John Wii were the friend

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey codes. Oh, my apologies.

⏹️ ▶️ John The Mario Kart Wii was like, that was the improved version. Now see how much

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey easier it is for you. Oh, that was god

⏹️ ▶️ John awful. I know, but it was still better. They’ve been slowly making it slightly better and

⏹️ ▶️ John more possible to do, but they’re a long way from it just being a free-for-all, and I think that’s probably…

⏹️ ▶️ John The Wii U has a lot of things where people can scroll notes to each other, and they must have a fleet of people, or like Amazon Mechanical

⏹️ ▶️ John Turk or something, filtering out all the penis drawings and stuff. It’s gotta

⏹️ ▶️ John be moderated, because if you go to a certain level and you die and you fall want to put it in a Mario

⏹️ ▶️ John game, it’ll be like, you’ll get to see a little message from somebody who keeps dying there too. And it’s always something nice, like, oh, I keep

⏹️ ▶️ John dying here. And it’s not like curses or vulgar drawings or whatever. So someone must be filtering all them

⏹️ ▶️ John out. And I would not want that job.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey No, definitely not.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, Marco So our

⏹️ ▶️ Marco friend Ben Thompson, who we’re talking about at the very top of the show, is in the chat room, username MonkBent. And he’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco asking me my thoughts on the new Microsoft, oh, God, how many words are in this title?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop Keyboard.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco It was the successor to the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. Yeah,

⏹️ ▶️ Casey Microsoft doesn’t have any problems.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco No, they have the worst names of anything in the industry. Especially their

⏹️ ▶️ Marco non-critical products, like all the side stuff. Oh, it gets terrible names.

⏹️ ▶️ John I think

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco Nintendo

⏹️ ▶️ John gives them a run for their money. The new Super Mario Brothers Wii.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Fair enough. But yeah, so far, we should talk about Jeff Atwood’s keyboard too. This is pretty cool.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco The code keyboard, you saw

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, Casey that?

⏹️ ▶️ Casey I saw that. I don’t understand what makes it cool other than some dip switches on the bottom.

⏹️ ▶️ John I can tell you what makes it cool and what makes it a PC user’s keyboard. What makes it cool is that it’s

⏹️ ▶️ John a single person’s vision for what a keyboard should be. So that is something that I think Apple fans can get behind.

⏹️ ▶️ John Regardless of what the product is, This is a single person’s vision. He knew exactly

⏹️ ▶️ John what he wanted, and he made a keyboard that had that. And every aspect of this is presumably exactly how Jeff Atwood

⏹️ ▶️ John wanted it. And so there is a certain attraction to that.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And he’s really like a nerd’s nerd, too. Jeff Atwood is exactly the kind of guy you would want to design

⏹️ ▶️ Marco a keyboard if you’re a nerd.

⏹️ ▶️ John And you may not like what his decisions are, but Apple fans can totally get behind this. It’s

⏹️ ▶️ John an interesting product because it is a singular vision. But his singular vision is for a keyboard

⏹️ ▶️ John that looks and behaves like that code keyboard, which is not to my taste at all. I mean, I don’t think it’s even

⏹️ ▶️ John to Margo’s taste, because he likes the split keyboard. So this is not split, because he didn’t want that. This has

⏹️ ▶️ John big keys with long throws and clicky keycaps, which I used to like, but now I don’t. Now I need a very light pressure,

⏹️ ▶️ John short throws, like for RSI reasons or whatever.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey Like scissor keys.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah. So it’s not a keyboard that I would ever buy or be interested

⏹️ ▶️ John in. I don’t think it’s attractive looking either. I think it looks like a PC keyboard, because it is a PC keyboard, even though

⏹️ ▶️ John you can rewire it for the Control key. I don’t think the text on the key caps looks nice.

⏹️ ▶️ John It totally does not appeal to me, but the idea of it definitely appeals to me. And if your

⏹️ ▶️ John interests and keyboard tastes align with Jeff Atwood’s, then this is the one to get. Because some guy went out

⏹️ ▶️ John there and made something happen that you could not have made on your own. You would’ve been like,

⏹️ ▶️ John which one of these 17 keyboards do I want? I can’t really decide. But it’s like, this guy cut through all the fat and made the

⏹️ ▶️ John keyboard that he wanted to make, selling it to you. So it’s a very appealing product, but I don’t think I would ever buy it.

⏹️ ▶️ John I’m assuming Marco would say the same?

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Yeah. I think Jeff and the other people involved, but it looks like it’s mainly

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Jeff on the design and concept side, they’ve made a really, what appears

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be, I haven’t tried it yet, but it appears to be a really good implementation of

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the same old keyboard we’ve been using forever. And to a lot of people, that’s exactly what they’re looking for. A lot of people

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like it it’s it’s gonna appeal a lot to the people who are still holding on to IBM model M’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or who? Try to find them on eBay Because it’s like you know it’s like the keyboard and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like if you want the standard key layout That’s been around forever, and you want a really good implementation

⏹️ ▶️ Marco of that Then this is the one for you because it has everything that geeks love it has the cherry MX

⏹️ ▶️ Marco key switches the big like you Know clicky loud ones that are you know have great feedback

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John These are the quiet ones the Cherry Clear

⏹️ ▶️ John are quieter. Oh, right That’s an aspect that he won He likes the clear keys But didn’t like

⏹️ ▶️ John the you know calamitous noise that some of them make so that the Cherry Clear ones are here’s a whole big keyboard

⏹️ ▶️ John Post about the different color of Cherry Key switches, but right

⏹️ ▶️ Marco fair enough, but yeah, so it’s it’s a very good implementation of The same

⏹️ ▶️ Marco keyboard that’s been around forever My dream keyboard so I got this Microsoft

⏹️ ▶️ Marco many many words ergonomic sculpt keyboard and And, so far, I’ve only

⏹️ ▶️ Marco had it for half of today. So obviously this is not any kind of long-term impression.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So far, I think it’s pretty good. But they chose

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to use scissor keys on it. And just like laptop keyboards and all of Apple’s recent keyboards, so it’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like the short throw, flat top, scissor switch on the bottom. And

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s not mushy like the old dome switch, I mean, not dome, the old membrane one was.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco not mushy like that, because that was the problem with the original Natural 4000, the predecessor to this one, was that it had just

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the mushiest, crappiest keys. And this one has like decent

⏹️ ▶️ Marco scissor keys on it. I would say probably as good as, you know, any

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Apple laptop keyboard recently, possibly even a little bit better, a little bit

⏹️ ▶️ Marco springier or firmer, I guess. So I like the keys so far.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I haven’t typed full time on a scissor keyboard in a very long time, so I don’t know if

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it’s going to be better or worse for potential RSI issues for me, but I’m hoping it’ll be

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the same just by the layout. It should be alright. So, we’ll see about that. But my

⏹️ ▶️ Marco dream keyboard doesn’t exist. My dream keyboard, the way I envision it today,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is basically this keyboard with

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Jeff Atwood’s key switches. And that, as far as I know, does not exist. And everybody

⏹️ ▶️ Marco always recommends this one keyboard, it’s called Truly Ergonomic. Here, I’ll paste the link

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in the chat. Everybody always recommends this, and they say, why haven’t you tried this? Oh my

⏹️ ▶️ Marco god. And the reason why I haven’t tried that is because of that ridiculous layout that it has. I really do not

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like ergonomic keyboards that have weird custom layouts. And this one is, you

⏹️ ▶️ Marco know, as weird layouts go, it’s kind of moderate. Like it’s not, it doesn’t go totally crazy

⏹️ ▶️ Marco like the Kinesis Advantage, but it’s kind in the middle between regular keyboards and that,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco so it’s very, very strange. And I don’t like those kind of layouts because that involves a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco very high learning curve, and it makes it a little bit difficult to go between different computers.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And I frequently have to use a laptop here and there, or a TIFF’s computer here and there,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco or someone else’s computer here and there, and so I really like having just one standard keyboard layout

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that my fingers know and are accustomed to, and that’s it. I also think the truly ergonomic

⏹️ ▶️ Marco one doesn’t have the right shape. It’s not… See, what makes the Microsoft keyboards great

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is they have this giant hump in the middle, and then it curves down from there, and they have this great negative tilt where

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the keyboard actually tilts slightly away from you in the, I guess,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco relatively vertical direction from you. It tilts away from you so that it’s extremely

⏹️ ▶️ Marco comfortable. And in theory, I don’t know, you know, how many studies have proven this, in theory

⏹️ ▶️ Marco it should be very very good for RSI prevention. So Microsoft has a

⏹️ ▶️ Marco great way of making those keys or those keyboards with the best shape and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the most usable layouts. But so far, the Natural 4000 was this giant ugly boat

⏹️ ▶️ Marco with mushy keys, and the new Sculpt ergonomic desktop keyboard

⏹️ ▶️ Marco is way better looking. I mean, you could tell, I’ve

⏹️ ▶️ Marco already started writing my Dell, like, I’ve already started writing my review just of my initial impressions, and it’s so obvious. You look at the Natural 4000,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and you look at, if you do a Google image search for Dell

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Dimension 2005, you will see that’s what PCs looked like

⏹️ ▶️ Marco in 2005 when the Natural 4000 was designed. And the Natural 4000 looks just like the PCs of the day.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco By today’s standards, it looks ridiculous. And not in a good way. So

⏹️ ▶️ Marco the new the new Microsoft sculpt blah blah blah is quite good. It looks nice.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco The keys feel pretty good I like it better than the kinesis Freestyle 2 for

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Mac which I was using for the last year I like it better than that and I think it’ll be okay My

⏹️ ▶️ Marco one reservation is on the the key type and it being scissor keys. I’m a little bit worried about

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that

⏹️ ▶️ John I think the key to getting any kind of RSI benefit of scissor keys is you can’t hit them as hard like

⏹️ ▶️ John right the whole The whole point of them is that they activate easier, but it doesn’t mean that people actually don’t hit them as hard because people get into the habit of

⏹️ ▶️ John just pressing as hard as they used to have to press. And that’s actually a hard, especially when you get like, you know, when you get going,

⏹️ ▶️ John you get a big head of steam, you may find yourself hitting the keys as hard as you used to have to hit like your mushy

⏹️ ▶️ John keyboard or whatever you’re using before. And that’s the habit to try to break. Like

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s

⏹️ ▶️ Marco what I’ve had to do. Right, exactly. And it actually helped a lot. Like the Kinesis

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Freestyle 2 that I’ve been using for about the last year has extremely light-pressed key switches for

⏹️ ▶️ Marco that reason. And it’s not scissor keys, but it’s very, very light-pressed regular keys.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco And so I’ve kind of gotten used to that, I think. So we’ll see.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, and that’s one of the reasons I like it. I’m using the Apple aluminum keyboard now. Since I don’t type

⏹️ ▶️ John correctly, I have extreme difficulty with any layout changes, because I’m

⏹️ ▶️ John using the wrong hands and the wrong keys. I’m doing everything wrong. So split keyboards paralyze me, because

⏹️ ▶️ John I can’t use them. But what I try to do is do everything I can within a standard layout,

⏹️ ▶️ John which means very light key presses, but also get it to slope away from me. Remember

⏹️ ▶️ John how keyboards used to come with kickstands in the back? It was just torturing yourself. The more you tilt it up, the worse it

⏹️ ▶️ John is.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Even the Natural 4000, for some reason, came with those. I don’t know why.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John The Natural 4000

⏹️ ▶️ Marco has this big stand you can put on the front lip that lifts it to get the negative tilt. But you don’t have

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to put it on. And it had these giant stands in the back that you so you could set up your perfectly awesome natural keyboard

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to be terrible For you

⏹️ ▶️ John yeah people people expect it.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco I know

⏹️ ▶️ Marco this one the the the clip-on Front prop thing is still optional

⏹️ ▶️ Marco although now. It’s magnetically attached So it’s much cooler, but there’s no more rear stands those are just gone

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So you can’t set this up as terribly as you could the other one

⏹️ ▶️ John yeah, so I’d say people who have keyboards in there Start off with just trying to make it level like let’s start

⏹️ ▶️ John with that because almost every keyboard including the Apple Luna has some kind of tilt in the wrong direction where like you

⏹️ ▶️ John know if you put a marble on it would roll downhill into your lap you want to try making it level just start with that and you can do

⏹️ ▶️ John that by propping and you can do that by if you have an adjustable keyboard tray just tilting that or whatever and

⏹️ ▶️ John maybe you don’t have to go negative with it but you know small changes can make a big difference over a long period of time

⏹️ ▶️ Marco yeah John I would say you know given what you just said I think you might want to try this keyboard

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John it is I

⏹️ ▶️ John can’t I can’t do split like

⏹️ ▶️ Marco have you ever tried really like giving like a real solid try.

⏹️ ▶️ John I’ve never, I’ve never, never given it more than a week, but a week has been enough so many times to just,

⏹️ ▶️ John I, because I just have bad, terrible habits that do not, are not compatible with a split keyboard layout.

⏹️ ▶️ John And the thing is, like, rather than adapting, I adapt my bad habits to it. I end up crossing over.

⏹️ ▶️ John My one, my, like, you know, I’ll find myself doing that and then I find all I’m doing is

⏹️ ▶️ John honing my terrible, increasingly terrible, crossover habits on a split keyboard. So.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Well this one actually has, like, a physical gap

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John between Yeah, I know.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco You could actually, you could like, if you wanted to, you could stick like a DVD case in that gap upright

⏹️ ▶️ Marco to block you from crossing over if you wanted to train it.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, I think they would not, you know. Someone in the chat room is suggesting I learn Dvorak, the person next

⏹️ ▶️ John to me at work does that. Aside from being a mild security through obscurity

⏹️ ▶️ John hack, because whenever he leaves his computer unattended it’s more difficult for me to screw with it because I can’t find what the damn keys are.

⏹️ ▶️ John Because of course the keycaps are all qwerty. Right. I’m probably

⏹️ ▶️ John Past the point where I can learn new keyboard layouts or new keyboard shapes

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco But you know

⏹️ ▶️ John like typing is really not like I don’t think that’s my biggest issue And you know I

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t I think my hand positioning and stuff like that is not as bad as it used to be so Just

⏹️ ▶️ John going flatter and getting the keyboard at the right height is like 90% of the problem for it was for me Anyway,

⏹️ ▶️ John I think for most people because most people have their keyboard way too high and tilt it up

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Honestly, I really do think you should try this, even with the DVD case hack if you need to because,

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I mean, obviously you probably have a more severe problem than I did, but I was starting to get RSI-like

⏹️ ▶️ Marco symptoms back about a year into my first job after college because I was just constantly on the computer

⏹️ ▶️ Marco and

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John constantly on bad keyboards.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco I changed the keyboard and that was the number one helping thing, by far.

⏹️ ▶️ John The number one helping thing is typing less.

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco That is the number one thing.

⏹️ ▶️ John I think you probably made that adjustment because that’s when I had my problems was when I had no life and no kid

⏹️ ▶️ John and Like and I was just on the computer from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep whether I was working

⏹️ ▶️ John or not Constantly typing and that is that that’s what killed me and you know If you

⏹️ ▶️ John have a more balanced life where you only type for certain periods of time and then do other things that don’t involve typing For

⏹️ ▶️ John some portion of your waking hours, it’s amazing things happen.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco So no, I definitely didn’t do that. I mean I

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John I

⏹️ ▶️ Marco continued not to have a kid and not to have a life for about five years after

⏹️ ▶️ Marco, John that. With

⏹️ ▶️ Marco no changes, no reduction. In fact, probably an increase in computer use after that.

⏹️ ▶️ John Well, you are lucky, because I could not do that no matter what I was using. Mouse, keyboard, any shape,

⏹️ ▶️ John any anything, because I was at my limit. And also, my keyboard always used to be way too high.

⏹️ ▶️ John Like, that was,

⏹️ ▶️ John, Marco if I had

⏹️ ▶️ John to pick my number one thing that I did was, once I crippled myself, was put the keyboard lower. So

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s where I felt my biggest change. Maybe I would have felt a similar increase if I had

⏹️ ▶️ John got a split as well. But if I had the split and kept it up high, I would have still been killing myself.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So are we getting to the point then that in the same way that everyone was making t-shirts

⏹️ ▶️ Casey right before WWDC, is it going to be soon trendy to make your own keyboard? Is that going to be like the next

⏹️ ▶️ Casey big thing?

⏹️ ▶️ John I don’t think that’s something that regular people can do. I think you have to be Jeff Atwood to make that happen.

⏹️ ▶️ John And honestly, if I had to

⏹️ ▶️ John, Casey make my own. Or

⏹️ ▶️ Casey John Syracuse or Mark

⏹️ ▶️ Casey, John Owen.

⏹️ ▶️ John If I had to make my own keyboard, it would probably look a lot like the Apple Aluminum. I would just

⏹️ ▶️ John get those damn function keys away from my number keys. Because that thing

⏹️ ▶️ John kills me. I know they want to make it as small as possible. But

⏹️ ▶️ John the little dinky function keys being right up against the number keys has no reason for that. For years and years, I was an Apple

⏹️ ▶️ John Extended 2 person. And I still have a nice collection of Apple Extended 2s upstairs. And that

⏹️ ▶️ John was my keyboard that I used right up until the point where I was crippled myself.

⏹️ ▶️ John And I still like that better. I don’t like scissor keys as much as the Apple Extended 2, but I recognize that scissor

⏹️ ▶️ John keys are better for me. So they become more attractive, because now when I think about having to hit those

⏹️ ▶️ John clicky keys, it feels good, but only for a short period of time and it starts to feel worse.

⏹️ ▶️ Casey So plus, I thought your Extended 2s were your retirement plan, so you could sell them all to Gruber.

⏹️ ▶️ John Yeah, that’s the plan now. Like my left control key, which is apparently

⏹️ ▶️ John the only control I use because I don’t type correctly my left control key at work started sticking

⏹️ ▶️ John And I tried to repair it and it’s like it’s the first I’ve taken apart scissor keys many many times

⏹️ ▶️ John apples scissor keycaps And this was the first time I successfully reassembled it because those things are

⏹️ ▶️ John not easy to put back together like Especially if they come apart and you have all the pieces

⏹️ ▶️ John loose and you don’t remember how they went luckily now they have YouTube videos And stuff to give you hints, but it is a very

⏹️ ▶️ John tricky process. Anyway, I got the key back together after cleaning it out and it’s still stuck so I got a new keyboard. But

⏹️ ▶️ John that’s one downside to scissor keys is you pretty much

⏹️ ▶️ Marco can’t service them.

⏹️ ▶️ John You can! Like I was proud of myself. I was so excited. Now I feel like I could take off an Apple scissor key cap

⏹️ ▶️ John and put it back successfully after only 15 minutes of swearing.

⏹️ ▶️ John But when I’m done it will work like it did before. Like it won’t be

⏹️ ▶️ John off kilter. Like if you Look at it such tiny little parts in there. It’s amazing that the thing functions at all It’s extremely

⏹️ ▶️ John delicate tiny tiny little flanges and pins and stuff But there’s

⏹️ ▶️ John something else wrong with that. I don’t know why it was sticking I brought it home with me so I can you know, bring it down to the

⏹️ ▶️ John lab and try Dousing in an alcohol or running it through the dishwasher all the other things I said you can do

⏹️ ▶️ John on on the web to one of these keyboards.

⏹️ ▶️ Marco Wait, what else is in the

⏹️ ▶️ John lab? You know what? I mean? See, right, it’s like when the Grinch is going to take your Christmas

⏹️ ▶️ John tree to check the lights. So there’s not an actual lab.