The Surface Duo is Windows Phone all over again

Reeves

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I agree that the market needs more players, but in terms of hardware...Google IS that third player.

They target consumers, not enterprise. They've been committed to new SKUs every year for quite awhile now. They compete at multiple price points. They spend a ton of money for advertising and celebrity endorsements. Microsoft could've done this when building up Windows Phone AND they could've done this when jumping into the Android. They didn't and just won't.

I respect diehards who still ride with them after all of these abandoned failures, but I don't know why this surprises or disappoints them in 2023...
 

GraniteStateColin

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Yup. Well said. As a Windows Phone user, I realize it may have been self-serving, but it came from my role as a business and product development strategist, not a user: when you let products die, there is a cost to all future products, because the market won't trust you. Now, it may still be the right move. If virtually no one is using it or it's losing money, then killing it is better that continually pouring money down a hole. But before choosing to deprioritize or abandon a product, consider the new costs that creates by making it more expensive to launch everything in the future. In some cases, that will change the conclusion to proceed or cancel.

Consider, if MS had fought tooth and nail to make Windows Phone succeed. Even if it had failed after that, when they released the Duo, users would know that MS would at least give the product its all. Customers would be willing to take a chance, confident it would get better over time (like what CDPR has done with Cyberpunk 2077, albeit for software rather than hardware). Instead, users were hesitant to trust MS with the DUO, standing on the sidelines waiting and maybe hoping, but not willing to buy.

That is the cost of the way MS handled Windows Phone. The failure of the Duo is not just MS repeating the same approach, but it's actually, in part a CONSEQUENCE of how they handled Windows Phone (and Kinect, Zune, and, to a lesser extent, because it was never a major product, Band).

For MS to succeed with these products, it's more important to demonstrate a willingness and commitment than it is to actually get it perfect out of the gate. PROVE to customers that even if it's flawed, you'll always keep working to make it right. That engenders trust and then customers will spend money.

Ironically, in the Bill Gates days, this is exactly what made MS successful. They would often release crappy products, but they kept at it like their life depended on it until they got it right. That's how Word took over from Word Perfect, Excel from Lotus 123, IE from Netscape, Windows NT -> XP over Solaris and other *nix for user workstations etc. All of those started as feeble versions that the MS of today would abandon for lack of customer/user interest.
 

GraniteStateColin

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I agree that the market needs more players, but in terms of hardware...Google IS that third player.

They target consumers, not enterprise. They've been committed to new SKUs every year for quite awhile now. They compete at multiple price points. They spend a ton of money for advertising and celebrity endorsements. Microsoft could've done this when building up Windows Phone AND they could've done this when jumping into the Android. They didn't and just won't.

I respect diehards who still ride with them after all of these abandoned failures, but I don't know why this surprises or disappoints them in 2023...

Yes, Google targets consumers, but primarily in order to sell them to enterprise as ad targets. I find their business model despicable. I support their legal right to carry out that model, but I think it's unethical and I do what I can to avoid giving them my business.

As a personal experience, I recently had to work with Google: my son wanted to post YouTube videos. I had no trouble setting him up with the hardware and software to record and edit video, do voiceovers, etc. All the parts that one would expect might be a challenge. The ONLY part that has been a problem has been navigating the absurd and self-contradicting consumer monetization and child protection policies that Google has for child accounts and YouTube usage. The support forums have not be helpful, and because Google views its users as the products it sells to its customers (enterprise), there's no real way to get any direct support on this. As far as I can tell, what we wanted to do in having a child account (still managed by a parent) be able to post videos is impossible, so we're just going to lie and set up my son with an adult account, but this is just one more example of Google being an absolute horrible company to deal with. Just a personal anecdote, but aligns with my prior conclusions based on a much larger set of data.
 

GraniteStateColin

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Yup. Well said. As a Windows Phone user, I realize it may have been self-serving, but it came from my role as a business and product development strategist, not a user: when you let products die, there is a cost to all future products, because the market won't trust you. Now, it may still be the right move. If virtually no one is using it or it's losing money, then killing it is better that continually pouring money down a hole. But before choosing to deprioritize or abandon a product, consider the new costs that creates by making it more expensive to launch everything in the future. In some cases, that will change the conclusion to proceed or cancel.

Consider, if MS had fought tooth and nail to make Windows Phone succeed. Even if it had failed after that, when they released the Duo, users would know that MS would at least give the product its all. Customers would be willing to take a chance, confident it would get better over time (like what CDPR has done with Cyberpunk 2077, albeit for software rather than hardware). Instead, users were hesitant to trust MS with the DUO, standing on the sidelines waiting and maybe hoping, but not willing to buy.

That is the cost of the way MS handled Windows Phone. The failure of the Duo is not just MS repeating the same approach, but it's actually, in part a CONSEQUENCE of how they handled Windows Phone (and Kinect, Zune, and, to a lesser extent, because it was never a major product, Band).

For MS to succeed with these products, it's more important to demonstrate a willingness and commitment than it is to actually get it perfect out of the gate. PROVE to customers that even if it's flawed, you'll always keep working to make it right. That engenders trust and then customers will spend money.

Ironically, in the Bill Gates days, this is exactly what made MS successful. They would often release crappy products, but they kept at it like their life depended on it until they got it right. That's how Word took over from Word Perfect, Excel from Lotus 123, IE from Netscape, Windows NT -> XP over Solaris and other *nix for user workstations etc. All of those started as feeble versions that the MS of today would abandon for lack of customer/user interest.

I'll add that I actually love my Surface Duo 2 (and the 1 before it, except for the terrible camera). I'll keep using it as long as I can, until a phone comes along with similar features. I've tried alternative phones. I do appreciate the Duo is falling behind on some software options, but, for me, it's still better by a country mile than any other options out there. Mainly, it's the wide aspect ratio and ability to fold open (so no need for that wasteful external screen) and go into tent mode. When foldable screens can bend 360 degrees (I'm sure they will be able to eventually), that's when foldable will beat 2 separate screens for me.
 

Steelvictory7

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It's a reality that you either choose to live with or simply transition to another brand. Whether it was Zune, Microsoft Band, Windows Phone, Skype, or other products that have either been abandoned completely or put on the back burner, I have just come to grips with the fact that my experience with every new endeavor of Microsoft has the chance of being short lived. I simply choose to embrace the experience. I wouldn't substitute my Zune for an Ipod even knowing Microsoft would stop support. That goes for Groove over iTunes. The Microsoft Band worked great with Windows phone and I loved the features. I still choose to use Skype to talk to my daughters over other mediums. I use the Surface Duo 2 as my primary driver and for the most part have been pleased. All of these products offered an experience I just couldn't get with similar products from other brands. Of course some of it is biasness, but I stand firm in the fact that Ijust enjoy the Microsoft ecosystem (Surface Pro X, Xbox, Surface Duo 2, Surface Earbuds) over others.
Maybe there will be a Surface Duo 3, and if there is, I'll be in line to get it, knowing in the back of my mind that it might be the last iteration of the Surface Duo, just like the Xbox X/S series might be the last Xbox, or Desktop sales force the Surface Team to cut back on Surface tablets and laptops. Looking back, I've just enjoyed the ride...or maybe I'm just a glutant for punishment..lol.
 
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coffee-turtle

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i was willing to jump on board, but the price was out of my reach. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Windows Phone on the Surface Duo!

Even a very light version of Windows 11 would have been very interesting!

Android wasn't ready for this form factor and the ambitions Microsoft hoped to achieve with the Surface Duo.

Well, I guess picking up an old cheap Surface Duo 2 will become a reality soon. :-|
 
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scottmcb

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This is also why I never bought a Surface Duo or Duo 2.

I bought a few early Windows Phone devices (LG Quantum, Lumia 700), then later got a Lumia 820, and then a couple years later bought a Lumia 950.

But app support and OS updates were abysmal. I did love that I could connect my Lumia 950 to an external monitor and have a windows-like environment, but it just wasnt a great experience.

I have since graduated to a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and use the Dex feature with an external monitor often (a desktop-like experience for android apps).

I also bought into the MS Band 2, and the Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker over the years, and we see where that got me. I now use a Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and Alexa speakers around the house. Oh yes, lets not forget the 30gb Zune I have an a closet somewhere. Replaced by my Galaxy phone.

It seems that Microsoft just CANNOT FULLY COMMIT to making great products, other than the typical Surface tablets and laptops. They throw something into the ring that isn't really ready yet, look at it for a while, and then decide to back away because not enough people buy it, because they didn't fully finish the device.

And lets not forget, Samsung is soon launching generation 5 of its Foldable phones. And the rumors are that MS is going with a single screen foldable for the next gen duo - at this point why even bother? They are setting themselves up for failure on a foldable device vs the dual screen device, with Samsung 5 generations ahead already.
 
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DanRice

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I agree that the market needs more players, but in terms of hardware...Google IS that third player.

They target consumers, not enterprise. They've been committed to new SKUs every year for quite awhile now. They compete at multiple price points. They spend a ton of money for advertising and celebrity endorsements. Microsoft could've done this when building up Windows Phone AND they could've done this when jumping into the Android. They didn't and just won't.

I respect diehards who still ride with them after all of these abandoned failures, but I don't know why this surprises or disappoints them in 2023...
I think it's hope more than anything. I really like the products MS makes and nobody has made products I've enjoyed as much as those. Destined to be disappointed in perpetuity lol
 
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DanRice

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I'll add that I actually love my Surface Duo 2 (and the 1 before it, except for the terrible camera). I'll keep using it as long as I can, until a phone comes along with similar features. I've tried alternative phones. I do appreciate the Duo is falling behind on some software options, but, for me, it's still better by a country mile than any other options out there. Mainly, it's the wide aspect ratio and ability to fold open (so no need for that wasteful external screen) and go into tent mode. When foldable screens can bend 360 degrees (I'm sure they will be able to eventually), that's when foldable will beat 2 separate screens for me.
I'm eyeing the Pixel Fold simply for it having that same kind of aspect ratio. Plus the clean experience and long support. Still want a Duo. Maybe I'll succumb after all.
 
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DanRice

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This is also why I never bought a Surface Duo or Duo 2.

I bought a few early Windows Phone devices (LG Quantum, Lumia 700), then later got a Lumia 820, and then a couple years later bought a Lumia 950.

But app support and OS updates were abysmal. I did love that I could connect my Lumia 950 to an external monitor and have a windows-like environment, but it just wasnt a great experience.

I have since graduated to a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and use the Dex feature with an external monitor often (a desktop-like experience for android apps).

I also bought into the MS Band 2, and the Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker over the years, and we see where that got me. I now use a Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and Alexa speakers around the house. Oh yes, lets not forget the 30gb Zune I have an a closet somewhere. Replaced by my Galaxy phone.

It seems that Microsoft just CANNOT FULLY COMMIT to making great products, other than the typical Surface tablets and laptops. They throw something into the ring that isn't really ready yet, look at it for a while, and then decide to back away because not enough people buy it, because they didn't fully finish the device.

And lets not forget, Samsung is soon launching generation 5 of its Foldable phones. And the rumors are that MS is going with a single screen foldable for the next gen duo - at this point why even bother? They are setting themselves up for failure on a foldable device vs the dual screen device, with Samsung 5 generations ahead already.
You've had the same sort of experience as me. I don't know what it is but other parts of the business just seem to be given priority over the mobile efforts.
 

DanRice

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It's a reality that you either choose to live with or simply transition to another brand. Whether it was Zune, Microsoft Band, Windows Phone, Skype, or other products that have either been abandoned completely or put on the back burner, I have just come to grips with the fact that my experience with every new endeavor of Microsoft has the chance of being short lived. I simply choose to embrace the experience. I wouldn't substitute my Zune for an Ipod even knowing Microsoft would stop support. That goes for Groove over iTunes. The Microsoft Band worked great with Windows phone and I loved the features. I still choose to use Skype to talk to my daughters over other mediums. I use the Surface Duo 2 as my primary driver and for the most part have been pleased. All of these products offered an experience I just couldn't get with similar products from other brands. Of course some of it is biasness, but I stand firm in the fact that Ijust enjoy the Microsoft ecosystem (Surface Pro X, Xbox, Surface Duo 2, Surface Earbuds) over others.
Maybe there will be a Surface Duo 3, and if there is, I'll be in line to get it, knowing in the back of my mind that it might be the last iteration of the Surface Duo, just like the Xbox X/S series might be the last Xbox, or Desktop sales force the Surface Team to cut back on Surface tablets and laptops. Looking back, I've just enjoyed the ride...or maybe I'm just a glutant for punishment..lol.
Yeah I get it completely lol but at least you get to experience something different and it's kinda part of the enjoyment knowing that you have something really different compared to most people.

Thanks for the comment.
 

DanRice

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i was willing to jump on board, but the price was out of my reach. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Windows Phone on the Surface Duo!

Even a very light version of Windows 11 would have been very interesting!

Android wasn't ready for this form factor and the ambitions Microsoft hoped to achieve with the Surface Duo.

Well, I guess picking up an old cheap Surface Duo 2 will become a reality soon. :-|
I'm definitely up for a Duo running Windows 11!
 
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DanRice

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Yup. Well said. As a Windows Phone user, I realize it may have been self-serving, but it came from my role as a business and product development strategist, not a user: when you let products die, there is a cost to all future products, because the market won't trust you. Now, it may still be the right move. If virtually no one is using it or it's losing money, then killing it is better that continually pouring money down a hole. But before choosing to deprioritize or abandon a product, consider the new costs that creates by making it more expensive to launch everything in the future. In some cases, that will change the conclusion to proceed or cancel.

Consider, if MS had fought tooth and nail to make Windows Phone succeed. Even if it had failed after that, when they released the Duo, users would know that MS would at least give the product its all. Customers would be willing to take a chance, confident it would get better over time (like what CDPR has done with Cyberpunk 2077, albeit for software rather than hardware). Instead, users were hesitant to trust MS with the DUO, standing on the sidelines waiting and maybe hoping, but not willing to buy.

That is the cost of the way MS handled Windows Phone. The failure of the Duo is not just MS repeating the same approach, but it's actually, in part a CONSEQUENCE of how they handled Windows Phone (and Kinect, Zune, and, to a lesser extent, because it was never a major product, Band).

For MS to succeed with these products, it's more important to demonstrate a willingness and commitment than it is to actually get it perfect out of the gate. PROVE to customers that even if it's flawed, you'll always keep working to make it right. That engenders trust and then customers will spend money.

Ironically, in the Bill Gates days, this is exactly what made MS successful. They would often release crappy products, but they kept at it like their life depended on it until they got it right. That's how Word took over from Word Perfect, Excel from Lotus 123, IE from Netscape, Windows NT -> XP over Solaris and other *nix for user workstations etc. All of those started as feeble versions that the MS of today would abandon for lack of customer/user interest.
This is it. It's all about commitment. And since Windows Phone people know that they aren't. Trouble is I still love the products...
 
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Laura Knotek

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Yup. Well said. As a Windows Phone user, I realize it may have been self-serving, but it came from my role as a business and product development strategist, not a user: when you let products die, there is a cost to all future products, because the market won't trust you. Now, it may still be the right move. If virtually no one is using it or it's losing money, then killing it is better that continually pouring money down a hole. But before choosing to deprioritize or abandon a product, consider the new costs that creates by making it more expensive to launch everything in the future. In some cases, that will change the conclusion to proceed or cancel.

Consider, if MS had fought tooth and nail to make Windows Phone succeed. Even if it had failed after that, when they released the Duo, users would know that MS would at least give the product its all. Customers would be willing to take a chance, confident it would get better over time (like what CDPR has done with Cyberpunk 2077, albeit for software rather than hardware). Instead, users were hesitant to trust MS with the DUO, standing on the sidelines waiting and maybe hoping, but not willing to buy.

That is the cost of the way MS handled Windows Phone. The failure of the Duo is not just MS repeating the same approach, but it's actually, in part a CONSEQUENCE of how they handled Windows Phone (and Kinect, Zune, and, to a lesser extent, because it was never a major product, Band).

For MS to succeed with these products, it's more important to demonstrate a willingness and commitment than it is to actually get it perfect out of the gate. PROVE to customers that even if it's flawed, you'll always keep working to make it right. That engenders trust and then customers will spend money.

Ironically, in the Bill Gates days, this is exactly what made MS successful. They would often release crappy products, but they kept at it like their life depended on it until they got it right. That's how Word took over from Word Perfect, Excel from Lotus 123, IE from Netscape, Windows NT -> XP over Solaris and other *nix for user workstations etc. All of those started as feeble versions that the MS of today would abandon for lack of customer/user interest.
The major problem wasn't that Microsoft failed to promote Windows Phone and Zune. The problem is that they entered the market too late. By the time they introduced those devices and OSes, the market had already chosen the Android as the alternative to iOS and no other mp3 player could challenge the dominance of the iPod. All the other mp3 players like those from SanDisk also failed.
 

GraniteStateColin

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The major problem wasn't that Microsoft failed to promote Windows Phone and Zune. The problem is that they entered the market too late. By the time they introduced those devices and OSes, the market had already chosen the Android as the alternative to iOS and no other mp3 player could challenge the dominance of the iPod. All the other mp3 players like those from SanDisk also failed.
Maybe. I'm dubious of that explanation though. I would concede that certainly made it an uphill fight. But an uphill battle can be won IF YOU COMMIT SUFFICIENT RESOURCES. And I'm not talking about promotion. I know a lot of people say that lack of promotion is MS' problem, but I'm not one of them. Sure, promotion is a facet to marketing, but it's just one part. Branding, the message being communicated, features, support plan, pricing, things like the Insider program, and more are all critical components to product marketing.

As evidence, I point to the examples of my prior post: Word took over the fully established and entrenched and beloved WordPerfect. Same with Excel against Lotus 123 and Internet Explorer against Netscape (and then for a little while, people said the same about Chrome going against IE). In all of those cases, conventional wisdom was that MS was too late to have a chance.

I think that a company can succeed in those situations if it commits and fights hard. Further, MS today is much stronger than MS was during those prior fights. IF it thought they were worth winning, I believe it could have won.
 

dkstrauss

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It is disturbing that the company with the BEST hardware (other than cameras) hasn't put Windows on Arm on the Surface Duo and swept the field for SMALL TABLETS. The dual screens now work great; it's Android - Microsoft's nemesis Google - that is killing the story. The design, fit, and finish of the Duo is above every other folding screen device - AND - it would let you put a WOA tablet in your back pocket - total screen space rivals an iPad Mini.

Shame that Microsoft does not have the courage of its convictions - quit chasing AI rainbows and lead the market.
 

MisterBear

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If they dumped Android and came back with a mobile version of Windows running on their hardware in a single or duo configuration, I'd probably foolishly step forward again with cash in hand. It will never happen. Mobile innovation from anyone is really not happening anymore. I also have a box of Microsoft abandoned hardware (phones, tablets, MP3 players, and probably other items) that constantly remind me, "never again, Microsoft".
 
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finbaar

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There are some .... interesting rewrites of history going on here,

Windows Mobile was promoted pretty well at first with the 7 devices and then even more when 8 & 8.1 came out and Microsoft and the OEM (Nokia) did promote it. It reached a certain level of success in quite a few markets, but not the USA. W10M was a different kettle of fish. It was buggy and despite great cameras the Lumia 950 series was totally let down by the SnapDragon 808 & 810 SoCs. And it was a plasticy lump when Samsung had started to release the S6. W10M was given a chance but people didn't want it. I did and you did but we are a small minority. And I can look back in time to the 5 different WP/W10M phones from that period with affection, but I don't want them back.

The Surface Duo is different though. It will continue to work for years. Google Play Services will be updated for years and that ensures a reasonable level of support. Apps will continue to work and it will be years before you can't use them. So stop worrying about that. Yes, I'm sorry to see dual screen devices go away but Microsoft hasn't done anything wrong here - apart from if they don't fulfil the promise for Android 13, but I'm not that bothered. Anyway, I'm off to play with my Surface Duo.
 
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taynjack

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Microsoft has burned practically all of their goodwill in hardware, outside of Surface tablets. After all the other 2nd generation shutdowns I and many others told ourselves to never buy a Microsoft hardware product until at least version 3. I had to really restrain myself on Duo 2, but I held out that if Microsoft doesn't make it to version 3, it's not worth getting invested. Now with all the talk of more of the same which is again burning goodwill, I'm even questioning version 3. Is Duo 3 = WM10 all over again? Will Duo 3 be released with much hype and fanfare, only for Microsoft to go silent and the product quietly abandoned before that hype can prove out in the market?

This is made even harder since Google just released the Pixel Fold as it appears to be what Microsoft should have done from the start with the Duo line. The Pixel validates some of Microsoft's choices, but the Pixel comes from a company that has proven to support it's Pixel line; or at least far better than Microsoft. Why would I trust Microsoft again. I even hate Google's business model and prefer to never give that company a dime. And yet, I'm considering their phone because I just can't trust Microsoft. I've frankly lost all interest in even getting a Surface Duo 3.

Each time Microsoft does this they lose even more goodwill; which means they will have to work even harder on the next thing to prove their commitment. If Surface Duo follows previous Microsoft hardware's demise, it will be the final nail in the coffin. Then Microsoft will need a repeat of the Steve Jobs funeral ceremony for Mac OS 9 admitting their massive mistakes and commitment to reverse this. Forget waiting until version 3. I'm now leaning towards the notion that until Satya Nadella retires/is replaced and his successor proves commitment to hardware, nothing will get me to buy another Microsoft hardware product.
 
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