re: Ballmer: Hardware Key To Microsoft's Future
Microsoft's problem as of late seems to be that they're simply not in touch with what the consumer wants. It's true that they showed off a tablet computer years before Apple even started on the iPad, but Microsoft's tablet was just Desktop Windows operated with a pen.
Apple came along and showed that a simplified UI operated by touch is superior on a tablet form factor, and Microsoft's response has been to demote the desktop UI and force a simplified touch based UI on Windows as a whole, despite no one asking for anything of the sort.
They deserve credit for an original approach to a phone UI, but different doesn't always equal better. Live tiles are a nice idea, but what's the point if they show so little information that one needs to launch the full app to accomplish anything anyway? How are they superior to a simple icon, and even more so, how are they superior to widgets like on Android, which can provide most of the functionality of the app right on a home screen? The simple answer is that they're not. Not only is there simply nothing compelling about the Windows Phone platform beyond the live tile UI, but this very UI has been replicated on Android in a simple launcher replacement.
And yet, all the while, Microsoft is boastful about how superior all it's products are and how no one else is building what consumers want. The irony is inescapable when compared to sales numbers of respective products.
It all seems a pretty clear example of the dangers of listening to only those telling you what you want to hear.