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Last modified: 07 September 2013


Sync & Steal: five easy wins for Microsoft.


I used to work in science. People loved Linux.

I now work in design. People love Apple.

But I still like Microsoft products and I'm looking forward to a new CEO making them easier to recommend to other people. Big changes are needed going forward but in the rest of this year there are five easy wins for any new CEO. They might sound simple but these are the kind of opportunities Microsoft has been missing for nearly a decade now.

Synchronise your f&*%ing browsers!

Forget the pain of IE6; IE10 and IE11 are excellent browsers. IE10 displays standards-compliant HTML5 faster and more reliably than Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Only the pre-Webkit Opera that nobody used is better. I run IE11 on Windows 8 on my development machine, IE10 on a Windows 7 laptop and IE10 on a Lumia 720. I am signed-in to the same Microsoft Account on each device.

Why aren't my browsers synced? Why? Chrome has had this built-in for over a year.

Synchronise youre f&*%ing payment systems!

I use Skype a lot, it's amazing. It's even more amazing being able to call a landline in Vietnam for almost nothing, so I have money in my Skype account. But if I don't Skype out all that often, and if I forget to make a call at least once every six months, Microsoft steal my money.

Microsoft need that money a lot less than I do, but they still steal it. What's stupid is that Microsoft have a lot of other services I don't use that they should be encouraging me to spend my money on. Like Xbox Music, Xbox Videos, the Windows Phone Store, the Windows 8 App Store, Skype screensharing. I don't use most of those services, but if Microsoft offered to let me use my spare Skype money to try them out? Of course I would.

Stop. Stealing. My. F%$^king. Skype. Credit!!! Encourage me to spend it on something else you own.

Steal Dropbox!

I pay for Skydrive because I use Windows Phone and because it's cheaper Dropbox. I should be paying for Skydrive because it's better than Dropbox; it isn't.

It's unacceptable that Dropbox, using third-party systems and third-party operating systems is far faster and far more featured than the Skydrive clients you write for your own operating systems and run on the Azure system you claim is the future of cloud processing.

Short story: I want LAN sync, I want easy online versioning, and while you're at it, auto-awesome my photos too. You have amazingly quick panorama technology. Why aren't you using it?

Steal Google's Developer Cred!

I write apps that use Moodstocks' amazing image recognition technology. The provide an SDK for immediate on-device recognition on iOS and Android but - because you were slow releasing a native development kit - not yet on Windows or Windows Phone.

Microsoft has had technology that is similarly good for all mobile platforms for years - it's what drives the instant-stitching capabilities of Photosynth. You were talking about it as old technology and doing amazing new things in 2011 (skip to 46 or 50 minutes for the good stuff) but you never let anyone else play with it. The BING API set is a good start. Now do more!

Google let people play with their stuff. They let them build new things on it. You need to do the same. Now!

Do it all right f&*%ing now!

If you talk to people who like Microsoft stuff, I'd suggest starting with Paul Thurrott, they'll give a list of five more easy things to fix. Like this. So for the first six months, you've got hundreds of easy wins you can make while you figure out the real future of Microsoft.

The tech world needs Microsoft. It needs a browser that isn't webkit to keep HTML alive. It needs a company that people want to pay, as an alternative to a company that gives you free stuff and then sells your information to advertisers. It needs a company that makes great hardware, and sells great services, but who'll still let you buy better hardware from somewhere else and use better services from someone else.

So, seriously, get going. And deliver me the Amber update to my Lumia 720, the 'Other' folder is now 1.8GB.