Windows Weekly 390 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for Windows Weekly. Mary Jo Foley is on her way back from Europe, so it's just me and Paul. That means that we can talk a little bit about Xbox, in fact we've got some really good Black Friday deals including, and Paul is going to explain how this works, one of the best deals in music that I have ever heard. If you've got Windows or Windows Phone then you are going to want to hear about this. It's coming up on Windows Weekly.
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Leo: This is Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott, Episode 390, recorded November 26, 2014.
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Leo: It's time for Windows Weekly, the show where we cover the latest and greatest from Microsoft. Mary Jo Foley has the week off, she is getting ready for turkey day tomorrow, but Paul Thurrott is here. We are ready to talk.
Paul Thurrott: Mary Jo is actually flying home from Europe today.
Leo: She stayed a little extra. She was in Stockholm last week.
Leo: And then I think that she was going on to Copenhagen, good for her. What are you doing for Thanksgiving Day?
Paul: Staying home. My big Thanksgiving event is at 8:00 in the morning. We go drink beer.
Leo: At 8:00 am?
Paul: Yeah, it's bagels and beer. It's kind of a tradition.
Leo: That's pretty awesome, with your buds?
Paul: Yeah, it's kind of a guy thing.
Leo: Do you do anything else? Where do you go? Do you go to a bar or a bagel shop?
Paul: A local bar yeah. They have this event. We were the original group of guys doing it, now it's packed with a bunch of people that we don't know.
Leo: That's awesome.
Paul: It obviously took off.
Leo: That's what I'm talking Boston strong. That is why.
Paul: Well Boston goes home and takes a nap after this event while our wives cook.
Leo: Boston is sleepy.
Paul: Well Boston has to reserve its strength.
Leo: Do you watch the football games all day?
Paul: Yeah, football is on all day of course. I do a little bit of work, I cut the turkey and stuff, and I clean up and all of that.
Leo: You cut the turkey. That's the man's job. Okay, thanks for the hard work, I will take over from here.
Paul: Well the electrical knife is fun Leo.
Leo: You have one of those?
Paul: Uh huh.
Leo: Wow, well have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.
Paul: And you are going to the football game you said?
Leo: Yeah, I think that we are not getting Turkey. I don't think we've made plans.
Paul: You have to get turkey Leo. Even if it's just a supermarket pre-cooked deal that you bring to tailgating.
Leo: Maybe we will stop at Willy Birds on the way down. We have a, believe it or not, in Sonoma County there is a restaurant dedicated to turkey in all of its forms, in all of its great variety.
Paul: That's awesome.
Leo: Thanksgiving Day is the busiest day of the year for Willy Birds. Then the day after Thanksgiving, nobody, it's empty, because nobody wants turkey.
Paul: I'm sure this topic has been beaten to death across your network, but Thanksgiving food the day after Thanksgiving is in some ways better than Thanksgiving food on Thanksgiving.
Leo: What do you like to do with your turkey leftovers?
Paul: Well we go through a progression of things. In the beginning it's cold meat, warm stuffing, and you cook the gravy so you've got that kind of...
Leo: It's kind of gloppy, yeah.
Paul: Yeah, you go through the sandwich phase, and then you make soup.
Leo: Let's not rush here. Now sandwiches; a little turkey, a little dressing, a little stuffing, a little cranberry sauce?
Paul: It depends. The sandwich phase is actually several phases because sometimes it resembles the Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich form.
Leo: Right, it's a Dagwood sandwich. It's on seed rye.
Paul: It's like mayonnaise and just the turkey meat.
Leo: You run out of stuff.
Paul: At some point the other stuff runs out.
Leo: You run out of the other fixings.
Paul: The turkey is like the port of plenty in an animal. It just keeps going and going.
Leo: It's the cornucopia of wild fowl. I like Russian dressing and rye bread. It's the only time all year that I like cranberry sauce and Russian dressing is Thanksgiving and the days following.
Paul: In the same meal, which is insane.
Leo: I don't even know what Russian dressing is, but it is what you have on turkey sandwiches in my experience. Maybe I'm wrong. Is that just a Laporte thing?
Paul: It's like what you have on a Rueben sandwich, isn't it?
Leo: No, Rueben’s you have the pink one, whatever that is called. What is that called? Maybe that's Russian?
Paul: I don't eat those kind of things. I don't know. I've tried.
Leo: That's the sad thing about not having your own Thanksgiving dinner. You don't get that, and that is the best part.
Paul: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. You should go buy a turkey anyway and make it the next day. You could make it tonight or whatever. Just have it.
Leo: You know, there would probably be big sales on turkeys on Friday like Black Friday.
Paul: Hopefully you won't be like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree version of a turkey, some little straggler, some little Cornish game hen.
Leo: Black Friday, I know that you and your son used to go to Best Buy. Do you do the Black Friday?
Paul: The internet has ruined all of my traditions Leo.
Leo: It's ruined it.
Paul: Even when the Call of Duty came out I woke him up at midnight, but we just stayed home.
Leo: That's so weird. Because we downloaded it already so that at midnight we could play it.
Paul: It was nice, we got to play a little longer than we would have. It's just not the same experience. That's kind of good and bad. Black Friday I feel like going to the store has lost its importance, although we will talk a little bit about some Black Friday stuff later.
Leo: Oh good, oh good. It feels a little wonky.
Paul: A lot of these companies have stuff, Amazon in particular was having Black Friday sales in October.
Leo: Why wait?
Paul: I think that it is still a tradition in some places for now, but I think that it's going to go away. I think that it's already going away, but we will see.
Leo: Let's get to the Windows, build 9879, you have had it for a couple of weeks now, of Windows 10. Last week we kind of rode that OneDrive train.
Paul: I won't bring up that one too much. It's interesting because as of today that build is 2 weeks old. It's like that winter storm that hit Buffalo, it just never goes away, it just kind of sits there and keeps dumping on you. That's what this build has been like, and it's been interesting watching it progress because you get a kind of peek behind the kimono in a way of how Microsoft can handle a rapid release cycle in a beta test / pre-release form because there is a bunch of that stuff going on. I feel like I've written so much about this. In the notes I kind of step through the various articles. It's odd for there to be so many articles about one build of something. Usually it's like here is what's new in the build and then maybe there is some follow-up like I've been using it for a while or whatever. This one has been fascinating on a number of levels. It's opened up that stuff, when Mary Jo was a couple of weeks ago worrying about the fate of Windows and whether Windows had a point going forward, especially with the phone. Part of the population, the Windows community, the Windows fan base, the tech enthusiast base that is really opposed to Microsoft supporting these other platforms over Windows, and that comes out in here. There are people with the OneDrive issue, which I won't beat to death, but it kind of stinks that they are dumbing down OneDrive in Windows. Instead of making OneDrive better everywhere else they are ruining it on Windows to make it as bad as it is everywhere else, which is kind of another way of looking at that. I can kind of see that kind of stuff. There is also the whole notion of Microsoft listening to feedback, and are they really going to implement some of the stuff on the product? Frankly, there hasn't been a lot of that yet. There has been a lot of talk about it, but it was one of those things that we felt really good about compared to the Sinofsky folks who were in there previously. We have had 3 builds of this thing so far, and vary minimal amounts of product updates based on what people have asked for, and then they kind of announced that we aren't doing any more until after the new year. It's like guys, what is going on here? We've reached this kind of interesting point, and the crux of it is this build. This release was this interesting kind of inflection point here for Windows. There is some good, and some bad, and there is some ugly, OneDrive being the ugly. In the weeks since our last show Microsoft has said that they will try to fix this build. They have actually released a number of fixes. They just, I guess it was yesterday, rolled it out to what they call the slow ring part of testers, and also revealed that that part of the beta testing group of Windows Insiders represents 90% of all of the people outside of Microsoft that are testing right now, meaning that I, what I would assume as sort of a typical Windows enthusiast, would get the build, immediately go into the PC settings area and change it to fast ring, because I would want everything as fast as possible. It turns out that 9 of 10 people wouldn't do that, so that's interesting. They feel like they have kind of fixed it to the point of where maybe it's as reliable and stable as previous builds were. My initial reaction to that was that it appeared that they had done it. In fact yesterday this thing ran fine all day long, there were no issues. Then I got up this morning and I had exactly the same kind of file explorer freezing that I had seen. I thought, you know, here we go. I have sort of resigned myself to this is the way that it's going to be. It's more important for me to be involved in this next version of Windows, and to use it, and I'm not going to go back to Windows 8.1 or whatever, I'm just going to deal with it. I use this thing with my real data, and I'm probably stupid for doing that.
Leo: You are a brave man.
Paul: Or mental. You know,whatever, it's okay. It's just been an interesting experience. I've been in beta testing for a few years, and you just kind of go up and down on this kind of stuff. It's weird to me how different this is than it has been in the past. It's been so long that we've gotten releases this quickly. You almost have to go back to the 1990s. If you remember Windows 98, or probably Windows 98 SE as well, or maybe Windows Millennium Edition actually, you used to get builds of those products every single week on Fridays. Friday would come, we would get a build, we would install it, we would use it, then we would wipe it out again next week. We got really good at doing that and the opportunity to clean install, and do upgrades, and wipe out a computer, and start again from scratch, and all of that kind of stuff was actually kind of healthy to experience sometimes too. It hasn't been all that.
Leo: Windows 10. It hasn't been all that.
Paul: I know people, whatever the complaint may be, somebody will always pop up and say, you know you are beta testing pre-released software, right? You shouldn't be surprised when things don't work and all of that kind of stuff. Of course I understand that. That's not my point. My point is that it should be as reliable and stable as shipping software. It's a little more nuanced than that. It's been interesting to watch them evolve and respond. In the last 2 days at least they have released 2 pretty major fixes.
Leo: Well you have it on your site, and this is one of them, the fix for OneDrive problems. Actually this was a couple of weeks ago.
Paul: Yeah, that was early on. Even when the build first dropped, when you finally got installed and booted into the OS, you actually needed to go into PC settings and check for updates. In fact, there was an update for that build the moment that it shipped, which is kind of interesting. I don't know what experience the slow ring folks are having, and I imagine that it really hasn't changed all that much since we first got it. It really is better than it was. Back 2 weeks ago when this first happened, you may recall because we were on the air when it happened, I was reading the description of OneDrive and trying to understand as I was reading out loud I was like, are we getting rid of this? The way that it was described, because they were describing it in a positive way, it's like we've seized your house and we are selling it at auction, but now you don't have to worry about your mortgage payments.
Leo: On the bright side.
Paul: Right, so maybe that could have been handled better.
Leo: So I'm just looking, boy, there are a huge number of articles that you have written on this subject. The install, you talk about the clean install?
Paul: Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, the stability issues had been so bad that I decided to do a clean install, which is something that I don't do lightly on this particular computer, you know, my daily work station here. It's awful when you do that kind of thing in some ways because OneDrive, the way that you have it configured the old way in Windows 8.1, which was wonderful, and now you have it the new way that is Windows 10. Once you bring up your system from scratch you have to reconnect everything and it takes a while. In the case of OneDrive the way that it works out could take a couple of days depending on how much you choose to sync and all of that kind of stuff. I've got the books that I'm working on in there, and important data, and I want to make sure that everything is backed to in case something goes wrong, and it's something that I don't do lightly. The unfortunate aftermath of that is that you go through that whole process. I obviously got a bunch of junk off of my computer, so that's good. You get up the next morning and file explorer is still freezing. It's like okay, that didn't solve any problems at all. I just wasted a weekend doing that. That was good. Oh well, because I feel like one of the roles that I can take on here is to be the first guy over the edge of the trench. I will take the gunfire and let you know how it's going, you know? That's what I'm doing. It doesn't always work out, you know what I mean? It's been that kind of experience. It's weird, the first 2 builds were so great. You always have that discussion, you just installed the Windows Technical Preview, do you recommend this to everybody? Logic tells me that it's been so clean, and clear, and reliable, and everything is great, why not? Then this happens, and this is why not, because this can happen.
Leo: Yeah, so don't.
Paul: Let me take the bullets.
Leo: Paul gets 20 articles out of it and that pays him for his efforts.
Paul: For my psychiatrist.
Leo: Do you recommend using the ISO? It's better to use the ISO, right?
Paul: So that's another thing that changed, I think it was 2 days ago, they actually released an ISO version of this build. In the past they only did that for the very first build. So when I did that clean install it wasn't really a clean install, it was a clean install of the first version, and then upgrade to the second version, and then upgrade to the third version, and make sure that you run all of the Windows updates because there are some updates. So it's not really a clean install. This give you that opportunity. I've not actually done this. I've downloaded it, but I didn't grab it.
Leo: This update will only install on devices that are currently running Windows Technical Preview.
Paul: Yeah, so you still have to install that first build, right, but now you can do it offline, which is the point of this.
Leo: Go it, instead of using Windows Update. This is about 3GB, between 3 GB and 4 GB depending on whether it's 64 or 32 bit.
Paul: It basically just lets you skip a step. The first clean install I did was 3 full builds.
Leo: This is how I would always do it is to put it on a flash drive and then install it. It seems like it was faster to do it that way.
Paul: There is all kinds of stuff that can go wrong with that. Like a goof I installed the initial build on virtually every single computer that I have here. It blows away the recovery partition on your Surface Pro 3, which is not what you are looking for.
Leo: That's terrible. Does it put a new one on there?
Paul: Yeah, it puts the Windows 10 one on there, which is not what you want.
Leo: You can't go back.
Paul: You can't go back, so obviously you can create recovery media. Microsoft actually offers a downloadable ISO, so that's good.
Leo: For the Windows 8.1 Surface Pro 3.
Paul: For the Surface Pro 3 specifically, so.
Leo: So you can always go back if you need to.
Paul: Yeah, but you know that sometimes enthusiasm gets in the way of common sense.
Leo: Move judiciously through the beta.
Paul: I keep wanting this to go away. I wish they would issue another build just so I could stop talking about it. I would just like to stop dealing with it too I guess.
Leo: Now this is the technical preview for Enterprise right? Are they going to do a preview for others?
Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's funny, I think that they should have gone in a different direction with the first preview. They did say that they are targeting businesses with this, but the truth is that there isn't a lot for business in these builds and the big stuff that is happening for business is the ability to have your own version of the Windows Store that you can present to your users and dictate which apps they can install and all of that kind of stuff. It's not available, this is something that is coming in months. I almost think that they should have released a developer preview first. In some ways this is like a technology enthusiast preview. There aren't many business oriented features here. Regardless of that, the next step is the consumer preview, which Mary Jo and I had previously pegged as something that would happen in early 2015. There is a Chinese site that has finally leaked some of the stuff that is going on in that consumer preview, and there is nothing dramatic here except for one thing, oddly, they are going to change the build number to Windows 10 to 10, like to Version 10. If you know anything about Windows you know that the version number of Windows hasn't aligned with the product name since Windows 3.something, like 3.11.
Leo: It's like 6, right?
Paul: Yeah, it's like 6.something. Windows 7 is not version 7, Windows 7 is 6.1.
Leo: That's only because they went 6.1, 6.2, 6.3. They didn't make big major changes.
Paul: The reason that they did that is because in the desktop part of the world, which was just Windows for all of those years, that version number was used by application developers, web developers, and also Enterprises to understand compatibility. When you something that is 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 you know that there are basically no capability issues that you need to worry about. In that case I think Version 6 must have been Windows Vista. That was a major reworking in the foundation of Windows, and then all of the 6.whatever versions that came behind it would basically be compatible from an application standpoint. That was what was found to be important. The important thing. This version number thing, when this first appeared, I talked to a bunch of people privately at Microsoft, like people who do what I do, like Peter Bright and those kind of guys. We all thought that this was impossible, that this would not be happening. As it turns out this is true and Microsoft in fact corroborated this essentially by mentioning it in some developer documentation in the context of some web apps, and Internet Explorer, and all of that kind of stuff. They are in fact changing the version number of the product to 10, like Apple did with Mac OSX. Mac OSX is version 10, right, so you know that every version of Mac OSX they call it Lion, or Mountain Lion, but those things are really 10.7 or 10.8, whatever the number may be. I wrote up a story about it about how they might do that, but then kind of offering some guesses. The basic story, and actually Peter Bright was one of the ones who wrote about this, is that that version of Windows will report itself accurately to modern applications. The old version will still be reported for legacy apps, this is just something that will be reported internally. The way that you access the version number tells the OS whether you are a legacy app or a modern application. The old way of doing it is in fact deprecated in Windows 10. They basically solve the problem by just modernizing the system essentially. That kind of stuff doesn't actually matter anymore, or shouldn't.
Leo: Windows 98 is still 6.4, right?
Paul: Yeah, so that's the build number. When you think about Windows 10 today it still is Version 6.whatever it is.
Leo: 6.4 according to Dr. Pizza.
Paul: So if you think about the full version number of this build it would be 6.4.9879. There is always a build number. The 6.4 is a major and a minor version number. If you did a Inver and looked in the box that showed there then you will see that.
Leo: But you are saying that it is going to say Version 10 when it comes out?
Paul: Right. I think from sort of a basic strategy standpoint that people get version numbers, that this thing would be Version 10. People would say of course it is.
Leo: Does it mean anything with compatibility or no?
Paul: No, because the types of applications, and actually I should specify this, the types of management environments like System Center, or Intune, or whatever where that wouldn't matter, the fact that they are calling the way that they would look for that version number would tell the OS that they are in essence a legacy product. They are still going to get the old style version number, so to them that should work fine. Interestingly, I think that the one place that this could be a problem is on the web because when you do a browser section there are different ways to do it. That version number can show up in a browser string, so sometimes when you check okay, it's Internet Explorer, what version is it, it could say Internet Explorer, what version of Internet Explorer? NT something, you know, you might get that kind of information. If there are web developers that are testing at that level it is possible if they are looking for an explicit version number equal to 6.something and not greater than or equal to 6.something there might be problems there. I think the reason that they are highlighting this now even though they haven't had a developer thing yet is they know that developers are going to want to get ahead of that because that could cause problems. We will see.
Leo: As always, the SuperSite for Windows is the place to go. Paul just writes voluminously on this, and as you can see, he is actually using it in day to day production, which is crazy.
Paul: There is something terribly wrong with me Leo. I think that we can all agree to that.
Leo: But you are a masochist, you've always been that way. It's okay, Paul does it so that we don't have to.
Paul: Sure, I always think of Jerry Parnell. I make these mistakes so that you don't have to. I don't intend to make a mistake, it just happens.
Leo: No, you do it naturally. No, seriously, you are doing it because this is your job. This is what you do. One place you don't want to be a masochist is in the bathroom.
Paul: Oh, right.
Leo: Maybe I should explain where we are going with this.
Paul: I'm curious where you are going with this.
Leo: When you are shaving there is no need to punish your face. Thanks to Harry's, the place to get a very fair price on the best blades anywhere in the market today. Harry's made sure of that because they found out when they founded Harry's that there is one place in the world that made the best blades. It was actually 2 factories, both in Solingham, Germany. They bought one of them, and because they are selling direct to you they can give you great prices, about half of that drug store blade. Yet, it is still a better blade. For the holidays we have got a very special Harry's deal just for you. This is nice, I love Harry's. If you have got a guy in your life that you want to gift, the Harry's Limited Edition Winter Winston set. This is the one that I use. Now, Winston is the metal razor, and mine is silver. Now I want this one, this is beautiful. It's a blue handle, still metal, still gorgeous. This is the Ice Blue, you can also get it in Charcoal Gray. As always with Harry's the kit comes not only with a razor and blade, but also 2 more blades. These are the best blades in the world, you will never cut yourself, the smoothest shave ever. The Harry's Shave Cream, which I like, I get these blades and the cream shipped to me every month, because once you are hooked it's awesome. They also have a new aftershave moisturizer that is so nice, it smells great and feels great. What's nice is that this is already wrapped, the kit comes with the handle, the 3 blades total, 2 extra blades, the foaming gel, but you can choose the cream, that's what I like, but it's up to you, some people like the foaming gel. This is kind of nice, Harry's does this, this is the extra thing, a travel cover for your razor which I actually use all of the time. If you put this in your dop kit as you are packing, you put the travel cover on and it protects the blade and it protects more importantly your hands when you reach into the kit. It has a little ventilation there so that it dries. It's very nice. As a special holiday gift Harry's is gifting all of our fans $5 off the Limited Edition Winston Set. This, by the way, is everybody. Even if you have already joined, if you are already a loyal Harry's user like I am; you will still get $5 off of the Winter Winston set. So the razor, 3 blades, a tube of foaming shave gel or shave cream, and free shipping. Did I mention that, free shipping. Twenty five dollars because you are listening, now, the free shipping ends December 10, so you want to take advantage of that right now. Go to Harry's, h-a-r-r-y-s.com, the offer code is WINDOWSHOLIDAY, and that will get you $5 off of this new Limited Edition Winter Winston Set; WINDOWSHOLIDAY. They have other kits too, but I think this is a beautiful, beautiful gift. Somebody will really appreciate this and they will never know that you only paid $25 including shipping. Harrys.com, h-a-r-r-y-s.com; but hurry, this deal ends December 10th. Just remember the offer code WINDOWSHOLIDAY and get one of these lovely Winter Winston Sets. It's a gift that makes is so easy for you, normally $30, $25 including shipping. H-a-r-r-y-s, harrys.com, take it from me, Harry's gives you the best shave ever, I love it. I shaved today with Harry's. I love Harry's. It's nice too to get the blades in the mail. I just change my blade every Monday. I start my week with a new blade. It's nice to know that I'm always going to have enough blades and shaving cream, I don't have to buy them.
Paul: I don't even make it a week. My hair is like...
Leo: Well lately I've been shaving twice a day.
Paul: Scraggly bush.
Leo: Because I am kind of scratchy.
Paul: It's not good.
Leo: No, coolbreeze is in our chatroom and he says that he can't wait to shave this Movember stuff off of his face. Just a couple of more days, and of course coolbreeze when you shave it off shave with Harry's. That should be their slogan, shave it off with Harry's. Continuing on, look, Mary Jo is not here, let's talk Xbox.
Leo: Let's do it. The heck with her. Are they doing deals for the holidays?
Paul: Yeah, and I have to day that these deals are actually really impressive.
Leo: They took $50 off, right?
Paul: It's more than that. The way to think about it is this time last year if you wanted a Xbox One, you were going to buy it as a Christmas present or because you are an early adopter, or whatever, the base price was $500. For that price you got a controller and you got a Kinect, but you didn't get any games, and $500 was the entry. This holiday season the entry price is $329.
Leo: Oh, wow.
Paul: For that price you get a couple of games.
Leo: Two games?
Paul: Depending on where you buy it you can get extra stuff, too. For example, if you buy at Target on Black Friday you get a $50 gift card in addition to the other stuff. It's impressive, you know that a Xbox One with Kinect and two games starts at $429.
Leo: Get the Kinect. I don't know why I say that.
Paul: Once you get down in the $300 price category you are reaching an interesting point, and I would just say that there is a certain percentage of the population that $300 happens and $400 doesn't. It's probably a pretty big part of the population. So there are all of these bundles. It's the consoles, basically the consoles are $70 off in the bundles as well, about $70. I think the way to think of it is that last year it was $500 and this year is it $300, you know? There are all kinds of different kinds of deals. I tried to highlight them on my site, I don't even think that I got them all because it was really hard to parse.
Leo: So if you are a fan of the motorsports you can get Forza.
Paul: Games are cheap.
Leo: Actually these would be good, 40% off of Forza 5 and Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls, which I love. That's at the Xbox Store. The Unity Bundle would be cool. If you are an Assassin’s Creed fan this time they are in France during the Revolution. What do you think? Don't get the Kinect or get the Kinect?
Paul: Well, it just depends on what you can afford. If you can afford it then obviously you should get it. It's just amazing to me that you get the stuff. Some of the deals you get an additional controller, I think that was the Best Buy deal. If you buy it at a Microsoft retail store you get a free game in addition to all of the other stuff that comes with. Walmart has a Halo Master Chief Collection, which is the basic console with that game. It's just astonishing how much stuff there is.
Leo: Is this Microsoft being aggressive and giving the retailers a cut?
Paul: Yeah, I would think so. I think that last year they did what they did, and they spent most of this year kind of fixing the price, which I think was the number one problem with the console. The thing that really bothers me about how they went to market this year is that this is how Sony went with the PS3, and at the time it just seemed like a semi arrogant thing to do. We were a year late to market compared to Xbox 360, but we are going to charge a lot more money because we have a Blu-Ray and those components are expensive. We think that the quality is there and people are going to see it, and they will buy it. They didn't, and it wasn't until Sony got aggressive price cutting that console that it finally took off, and of course over the lifetime of those consoles it did barely surpass the Xbox 360 overall. So I think that Microsoft here made the same mistake at launch just selling it for too much. I think that they got too cute with the Kinect stuff, and they fixed that. Now they have reasonably priced offerings, and I think that is a big deal and I think that is going to make a big difference. I think that the proof in the pudding is going to be if the Xbox One outsells the PS4 at any point. Maybe that happens in November, maybe in December, we will see. I wouldn't be surprised, I think that they have gotten this really nice range of prices. I guess the other way to look at it, I haven't even thought of this until now let alone wrote it, but last year $500 for and Xbox One, $400 for a PS4. This year you can get Xbox One cheaper than a PS4. That's a big change. It's not just cheaper, it's cheaper than a PS4.
Leo: That's good. It's interesting how much price impacts us. I thought, and I said this last year, that it's really about the games. If you are going to either a PS4 or an Xbox One you are giving up legacy gaming. All of the games that you have got on your shelf, they are gone, you have to keep your old machine. When they first came out there were not a whole lot of games to get you excited, and now there is enough out there. There is plenty to get you excited.
Paul: And two things to that, first there are continued rumors that Microsoft is going to have an online sales service on Microsoft that will let people play Xbox 360 games through the Cloud.
Leo: That would be nice.
Paul: This is a persistent thing. I've heard it enough times now that I think it is going to happen. I wish that it would have happened about a year ago now, but I guess we will see what happens there. The other one is that when I assess the first year of Xbox One, this is my own personal experience, everyone is different, but you know, I don't tend to play a variety of games. I play one game charitably and I could have done that on the Xbox 360 and saved $1000 by not buying 2 Xbox Ones for example. For me personally the Xbox One was not a great deal that first year. Of course, I write about Microsoft products, and that first year I can kind of justify it that way. I can say as a consumer in my own peculiar way of doing things I would have been way better off by sticking to the 360 this past year. Now that the year has elapsed though, looking at the way that pricing has gone at this point I don't know what to say now because I would certainly be buying it regardless. These prices are excellent and are right with where the 360 was for the majority of its own life cycle. I think that it makes a lot of sense. There is also some 360 deals to be had by the way this holiday season. You can get a Xbox 360 for as little as $100, which is amazing. There are still some great games, still some great games. There are probably thousands of great games. Obviously the game library on the 360 side is amazing. If you still can't afford a Xbox One it wouldn't be a bad choice to get a 360.
Leo: Isn't that funny?
Leo: Have both. I do.
Paul: You know, because I mention it from time to time, every month I go play Call of Duty with some guys from up the street. We did that last night. This has been the 3rd month in a row that instead of playing the new game we go play old games. So we've been playing old versions of Call of Duty. Graphically they don't really hold up to the new games. Call of Duty Black Ops, for example, from a few years back or Modern Warfare 2, from whenever. The multiplayer experience is really fun. Everyone knows the levels, right? We have all played these things for months, and months, and months a few years back so it's all very familiar. Those are still viable games. The experience of sitting down today and playing Call of Duty Advanced Warfare on an Xbox One versus playing the original Black Ops from 5 years ago maybe is not that different. It's not that different, and I think for a lot of people not everyone has the hundreds of dollars every time Activision throws a new game at us, and $500 for a new console. It's kind of a rejection of this constant upgrade thing, and there is nothing wrong with that. The Xbox 360 has got plenty of gas, and it's not a bad alternative.
Leo: I'm always surprised at you because you just play that Call of Duty forever. I play a new game for 10 minutes, then I get bored and I try another one and another one. I haven't found any game...
Paul: I sort of recognize that there are other games that are popular or look interesting, and I think I should be spending some time on these things. By the way, Halo was a game that I played. We played Halo before we played Call of Duty. I played through all of the Halos. The initial Halo, I probably played that single player campaign as many as 10 times straight through. It's very familiar to me, but I don't have the same nostalgia for that for some reason with the Master Collection where you go back and you look at those games. The limitations are a little more glaring, you can't run, you can't look down the sight of your weapon, it's a little more limiting. For whatever reason I'm not as interested in it, but regardless of the age of games I've always found, Destiny is a good example or Titanfall, Call of Duty like games are not Call of Duty. They don't feel exactly the same. I find that transition hard, but we go back to Black Ops from 5 years ago on a different console and it is immediately familiar. It's fun.
Leo: You know, I've been playing Sunset Overdrive like crazy. That, to me, that's it because it's so different. It's got a sense of humor about it and I'm not really big into being an army guy.
Paul: I'm into the death from above kind of thing.
Leo: I like Diablo 3, I keep coming back to that. That's the death from above and it's fun and hairy. It's kind of an old fashioned looking game because it's all top down. Diablo 3 right now is my go to, but I play Sunset Overdrive because I enjoy that. They are finally some interesting, Watchdogs was a little disappointing, I was hoping that was going to be an amazing game, same with Destiny and same with Titanfall.
Paul: Watchdogs is the one where the hacking is part of it?
Leo: You hack stuff as you are going around. See, I like stuff that looks different and feels different. That's why I like Sunset Overdrive; you don't feel like you are in a game.
Paul: By the way, Call of Duty is absolutely more of the same, there is no doubt about it.
Leo: But you like that. That is what you are looking for.
Paul: For me there is an appeal to that, but I can see where that would be a problem.
Leo: I did love Skyrim because I like that fantasy, and I have been playing the new Dragon Age a little bit. It's not quite as good as Skyrim.
Paul: I tried. I thought I was going to get into Destiny for example. You played the beginning of Destiny and it plays like a Halo game. So there is someone kind of floating around with you explaining how the controls work. It's kind of a cool way to get into the game good. You are fighting some aliens, you escape in a spaceship, and I think that this game looks good, it's got a nice vibe to it. You go up to a city and it turns into a mmo kind of thing where you walk around and talk to people. I was like what the, can you just send me on a mission? Why do I have to figure it out? I just want to go do something.
Leo: It's like they are mixing the genres, yeah.
Paul: I appreciate their need to expand but yeah. It just made it uninteresting to me.
Leo: I would be thrilled if they did a Skyrim update to Xbox One.
Paul: Oh, I bet they will. I'm sure that they will.
Leo: I would like that. Alright, even I am now getting bored. I will play the role of Mary Jo Foley. Can we just talk Enterprise, or Office, or something?
Paul: Yeah, a little bit sort of. We will just skim along the side of Enterprise. I don't actually have any truly Enterprise stories.
Leo: That's fine, we don't have to do it today. We do have some Office news.
Paul: Yeah, so early this month Microsoft announced a partnership with Dropbox. That was surprising to everybody because days earlier they had announce that OneDrive storage would be free to everybody who had Office 365. That seemed like that was the final dagger headed in Dropbox's direction, but they have a partnership. So in the weeks since what we have seen is Microsoft add Dropbox support to a number of Office apps on various platforms, not on Windows which everyone is annoyed by, but on IOS, on iPhone and iPad separately because those are separate now. I guess they were before. But they now have separate versions for both of those platforms, and on Android as well. Android is currently in preview. Dropbox support is in all of those things. Part of the agreement was that Dropbox was going to add support for Office in their apps, so today I think that it was, or last night perhaps, they released new versions of their Android and IOS apps where when you open an Office document in the app it displays in the normal preview application which is probably part of the OS. I'm not sure if it comes from Dropbox or where it comes from, but there is a new edit button. When you tap on the edit button it brings it up on the Office application, Microsoft's application. If you don't already have it you will be prompted to download it. This is for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can save it as you go. When you go back, there is a little back button in the corner, you go back to Dropbox. So it's kind of that end to end solution. If you are thinking of files from the perspective of where they are you can use the Dropbox app and do it that way. You could also do it from the perspective of I'm working in Word and I will launch Word and access Dropbox from there. You can do it that way as well. So that's possible. The advantage to having it within Dropbox is that oftentimes people will want to share that file with other people. You can do obviously from within the app. So that's there now. If you are a Windows user I don't want to hear any complaints. I don't know when it is happening and I apologize on behalf of Microsoft because they obviously hate you and it's not my problem. A couple of other things that happened semi related to Office, Microsoft is, actually I wrote adds, but I should say is adding Skype chat to Office Online. If you go to office.com and you edit, actually I should look up exactly what it is because it's not every single Office app, but 2 of the Office apps I want to say Word and PowerPoint, you will be able to chat in a pane in a browser window over Skype with people who you are collaborating with. It's Word and PowerPoint. You can collaborate on these documents in real time with other people. So you are inviting them in, you are both editing the document at the same time, and now you can chat with them over Skype. That is coming, it is actually not there right now, but it's rolling out in the coming weeks. So that is coming. The other one is this is actually just Skype and I don't know anything about this, I just linked to the Microsoft announcement. I'm probably not going to write this one up. Microsoft updated Skype for Mac today, which will also please everyone using Windows.
Leo: It's not a Windows world anymore boys and girls.
Paul: Sorry guys. I don't think that there is anything major in this release. I still need to look at it.
Leo: They seem to update it a lot.
Paul: Yeah, Skype loved the Mac, you know that.
Leo: We always have this trouble, we have to test Skype before we update it because it breaks things.
Paul: Yeah, because you have different versions over here and over here, and they can't work together.
Leo: We can't just always update.
Paul: I continue to have this problem where I just get suddenly signed out of Skype. So if I disappear I will be back in 30 seconds. That's just me logging in again. Why it logs out one in a live video chat, I don't know.
Leo: Yeah, it's like my TV.
Paul: Let's kill the one who's not actually using it.
Leo: My TV turns itself off in the middle of shows. I can see you are not watching. No, I'm watching. It's very frustrating.
Leo: Oh computers. Computers, what are you going to do with them? Hey, let's take a break. When we come back we will talk more about Microsoft Band. Paul is a believer. Lots of other news including our back of the book. Are you going to do a beer for us?
Paul: I am.
Paul: I'm going to do a kind of beer.
Leo: Tis the season.
Leo: And tomorrow, beer and bagels. Let's not forget. Our show today is brought to you by our friends at ziprecruiter.com. Here is the problem, you are in HR or you are the owner of a small business, like me, and you have got to hire. Then you have to figure out which job board do I post the listing on? Different job boards have different strengths. Not everybody is on every job board, right? It would be really cool if you just post one listing on every job board. Then you would face the issue that now I'm going to get phone calls until next year, I'm going to get email. I've got a solution that does it all for you, ziprecruiter.com. ZipRecruiter will let you post to 50 plus job boards with one click of the mouse. You post your job to 50 sites including social stuff like Craigslist, and LinkedIn, and Twitter, all with just one click of the mouse, Facebook. You can find candidates in any city because you are everywhere and any industry nationwide. You post once and those candidates start rolling in. What's nice is that you don't have to juggle emails and phone calls to your office. Recruits pour into ZipRecruiter's easy to use interface so you can use it to scan candidates, rate candidates, and hire the right person fast. They even have a resume database of over almost 5 million resumes. Thousands of new ones are added daily so you can even just scan through their database and see. I really, really like ZipRecruiter. It was such a boom for us. That's probably why more than 250,000 businesses have used ZipRecruiter. You can too. We've got it free for you for the next 4 days. Visit ziprecruiter.com/windows, ziprecruiter.com/windows, and you have got a 4 day free trial. It might be enough. They give you a company's career page and a jobs page that you can put on your website with your branding and everything. I just love it. Ziprecruiter.com/windows, try it free today.
Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte talking Windows. Mary Jo Foley is flying home from Europe for Thanksgiving. So are you still wearing the Microsoft Band?
Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I went through the stages of withdrawal after the first week or whatever that I wore my Fitbit as well. Then I decided that if I'm going to use this thing then I've just got to use it. So I am. From my perspective, and this falls into the way that I use Xbox to play Call of Duty kind of thing, is I try to walk every day, I try to exercise several times a week, I use it to monitor my sleep, and my steps, and my calories burned, and that kind of stuff. Fitbit does all of that kind of stuff. The one thing it does that I think is really special now, because I know more is coming, is it has your resting heart rate, which I think is really helpful from a health perspective. I think that the problem with the Microsoft Band is that for all of the amazing data that it is collecting there is so much that it is kind of not doing. I don't know what their plans are specifically for some of this stuff, but I think that it is notable that there are no health related or fitness related notifications on this thing at all other than to day that you met your daily calorie goal or that kind of thing after the fact, which is useless. It will notify me every time I get a phone call, or voice message, or text message, an email, a Twitter, a tweet, or whatever if I want it to. You can set all that stuff up. Those are all kind of productivity kind of things. It never does something like, hey, you haven't moved in 15 minutes, why don't you stand up? It's 3:00 in the afternoon and you are only at 25% of your goal of taking steps for the day, why don't you go for a walk? It seems odd to me that there are so many obvious things that they could be doing with this technology and they aren't, but I could use this thing to pay for coffee at Starbucks, which is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard of in my life. You won't be shocked and you will make fun of the fact that I am writing an admittedly very short book about Microsoft Band, but in an attempt to understand it and also to update it as it improves, or at least I hope it will improve, and really kind of use it every way that it can be used. You know, I've been using it. I monitor my sleep. I already know this from Fitbit, and I know this from being alive, that I don't sleep very well, for example. I can see that in glorious full color every morning. It should laugh at me when I wake up in the morning. It should say, seriously, go back to bed. You are not healthy. You know, that kind of thing. But it doesn't, so I don't know. Maybe the big problem with Microsoft Band has nothing to do with the device itself, or the services that it connects to, or its capabilities, or whatever. It's just that on the one hand we credit Microsoft for getting this thing to market quickly. We know that Apple announced an Apple Watch but then didn't ship it and won't ship it until sometime next year. Here is Microsoft, the day that they announced it you can buy that watch. That's really cool except that it sold out in like 10 minutes because they probably only made 6,000 of them or something. Now the promise that they had previously that they would continue making these things through the holiday and they would try to meet demand; they basically emailed people on the waiting list and said that it's not going to happen. Here is a $10 gift certificate if you spend $50 or more a the Microsoft Store online. It's like guys, seriously. You can ring defeat out of any victory. It's just depressing, it's too bad. I actually had dinner, not people from Microsoft, but 3 guys, and every single one of us had a Microsoft Band. I thought, the world is going to implode, this type of thing never happens outside of Redmand. How is this possible? I don't think anyone would ever look at a band on someone's wrist and say, oh is that the Microsoft Band? But I think that we are all very tuned to people wearing these kinds of bands.
Leo: Have you seen my new watch? I'm reviewing the Samsung Gear 2.
Paul: Jeez, look at that thing. That's crazy.
Leo: This is crazy. Crazy watch.
Paul: That's too big, but I will say this. I can tell by just looking at it that it does something that the Microsoft Band doesn't do, which is offer you that vertical view so that when you bring it up to your face you don't have to hold it up sideways.
Leo: No, right.
Paul: The Band doesn't even do that. How is that not available as an option?
Leo: I can choose ringtones, there is all sorts of stuff in here. I'm just charging it up now, and you have to use a Galaxy phone with it which is another disappointment of course. The Microsoft Band works with anything, right?
Paul: It does, and I have to say that is one of the things that I really love about it. It's not just because I move from phone to phone, but I spent part of last week using this because I was testing it, but you could literally pair it and change it to a Windows Phone, pair it and change it to an iPhone, pair it and change it to Android. In each case it syncs and all of the data comes into the app. I love that, I think that is really cool. It prevents one of those blockers. If you really were into this Band and it's a big deal for you, if it only worked with the one kind of phone that you had I think that is a cheap thing to do to people.
Leo: I agree, I think that is a nonstarter for a lot of these Samsung watches.
Paul: I don't think that will be a problem for Apple because they have a very loyal user base, but Samsung is pushing it. The Android Wear stuff, the Android Fit and all of that, the Android is okay. Obviously Android is a big ecosystem with different phones and all of that kind of stuff. I love that Microsoft is doing that kind of cross platform stuff.
Leo: It's what they are doing with everything. That's like the Dropbox story, it's like the Office for iPad. They are doing it for everything. Is there any special functionality with Windows Phone that you don't get with other phones?
Paul: Yeah, on the Windows Phone there are a few things, but the big one is Cortana integration. So you can speak to it. I have not done a lot of it yet and I have not written about it yet. I've been trying to kind of fill it out with the stuff that works consistently across the different phone types. Yeah, if you do have a Windows Phone it does work a little bit better, and that should please Microsoft guys, right? I would imagine that at some point they are going to integrate with Siri and Google Now or whatever that is called, but as of today the only voice control that works is through Windows Phone.
Leo: That makes sense actually. Let's see, moving along. What is going on with tablets Paul Thurrott?
Paul: Have you guys talked about this anywhere else?
Leo: We've talked a lot about the slowing tablet market, yeah.
Paul: I guess the way that I would put this is that it's been understood this year that tablet growth has slowed dramatically. What that means is not that tablets are selling less. They are still selling more but the rate of increase is going down. Tablet sales last year, year over year were north of 50% growth, which is humungous. This year overall tablet growth is going to be somewhere in the 7% range. So this is a more, the market is maturing very quickly. This is one of the things that fascinates me with markets and with newer companies. If you look at like the trajectory of a company like Google compared to Microsoft, Microsoft is decades going up. Google is a decade going up, it's very fast. Tablets are kind of the newest of the big ecosystems, tablets were going to take over for PCs and they were going to kill the PC market and all of that stuff. Now it's really not clear what is going to happen here. According to IDC, overall growth through 2018 is going to keep going down. In other words, sales are not going to fall, but growth is going to go from 7.2% to like under 4% by 2018. At that point the total number of tablets sold is going to be in the 285 million range, which is basically what PCs are selling right now. I'm not saying that they are not going surpass the sales of PCs, but it's going to be pretty close, and that is still several years away. So this is one of those things. And I know that people look at IDC and Gartner and these other companies that do these kind of predictions/guesses and say well, they're always wrong about everything. But this is a highly volatile market and I think the other two things that are interesting is that iPad sales are actually going to fall this year. That's amazing because the iPad is only a couple of years old. The sales aren't slowing though, in this case it's falling. The biggest growth is Windows.
Paul: Yeah. So Android sales go up by 16%, iPad sales go down by 13%, that's this year. But Windows tablet sales go up by 67%. Which sounds awesome until you understand the nuances of market share, which is when you're starting from a really small position, you can grow all you want, it's not going to make much of a difference. This is what we see in the PC market with the Mac. And so 67% growth on 11 million units is not great so when you look at their first column of their predictions for the year you think, wow what year will Windows tablet sales surpass those of the iPad. Never. That year is never. Even with 38% growth four years from now, you would imagine that the growth in Windows tablets would be between 70-40% over the interim. Windows tablets represent roughly half of iPad sales in four years.
Leo: I think part of that is that the Windows tablets are actually computers and the iPad isn't really a computer, it's an iPad. And the other problem that Microsoft is facing, this just came out today in TechCrunch, is people with bigger phones, like the iPhone 6+ are basically abandoning their iPad. Here is the iPhone 6+ vs. iPad usage, it's 80% iPhone 6+ compared to 20%. If you were using a 5s, it'd be 55% phone to 45% tablet.
Paul: I could see this. This is a debate though, on the one hand you have this notion of can I eliminate a device? Which a lot of people would like, it's less to carry around and all of that. But on the other hand, I just feel like certain devices are just better at some things than other devices. I have often observed that if you have a Mac Book Air style Ultra Book or a Samsung Ultra Book and an iPad Air or an iPad Mini and a phone, those three things together are lighter than the laptop I was carrying three years ago. So whatever, it's not necessary to eliminate a device.
Leo: Yeah, it's not just weight, it's the juggling. And I'm a big phone fan, I carry the biggest phone possible, I feel like that's it. I don't need a tablet.
Paul: What is that?
Leo: I have the Nexus 6, and I have the Note 4, the 1520, and the iPhone 6.
Paul: Yeah, I still wish I had gotten the regular iPhone 6. Like if I was going to use an iPhone, if that was going to be my phone-
Leo: I like the 6 frankly, there's no reason to get the 6+. There are bigger icons and bigger text, whereas Android has such great functionality built in to it in order to keep the ideal number of icons and widgets according to its user. On one screen I've got Audible player, the Sonos player, my podcast player, and Google music. And I can control any of those four without opening the apps or anything, just by pressing play. And that's on a homescreen.
Paul: I know, it's the same grid of icons and they don't get extra density.
Leo: Yeah, it's good if you have poor eyesight I guess.
Paul: Big hands and little eyes.
Leo: Folks at Google are having sympathy for Microsoft woes of ten years ago. Now saying, Google should be broken up.
Paul: I can't wait.
Leo: That's not going to happen.
Paul: No that's ludicrous. It's been fascinating to watch the US try to jump in and get some sanity in there. But when I look this story up and started investigating what's happening here, the call to break up Google... It's impossible for a Microsoft guy to not think back to the Microsoft Anti-trust trial. Generally speaking, the issue there was abuse of monopoly power. You have this dominant business, which is fine. It's perfectly legal to have a business that is a monopoly. But then you take advantage of it to enter other markets and prevent the competitors in those markets from being able to compete effectively. It's the foundation that the US case. I found a quote in Judge Jackson's findings of facts when he found Microsoft guilty of these anti-trust violations, that if you replace the word Microsoft with Google, it reads perfectly well. Because Google is doing the exact same thing in Europe where, depending on the country they have 80-95% market share. Google is a company that likes to say they're all mathematicians and engineers and everything is organically search results and that's not really how things work. And so you see that they can push vertical searches below the fold, so to speak, where they might have organically come up higher. And they promote their own services on top of those other products. And the thing that some politicians that they were calling for, this notion of splitting up Google, by which they mean split Google search off from everything else that they do, those other businesses would be very small. Google search and the advertising related to Google search is about 95% of Google's revenues. It is what they use to pay the bill for Gmail and Google Apps and everything else they do. And it is interesting, so we'll see what happens there. And I don't think the point of this is to really split Google up, I think it's to show them that they're serious and they have to curb their behavior and do the right thing for competition and so forth and I think it will end in that direction.
Leo: A lot of this animosity comes from big publishers who have really grown to hate Google because they feel like they're stealing revenue from them by exerting their content and yet, they don't want to not be in the search results so they're really torn over the whole thing.
Paul: Well, imagine Google search, like Yahoo search or Bing or whatever, I think most people think of these things as like general purpose search engines. But what if you wanted to do something more complex, like if I wanted to fly through Zuric to get to Milan and it can only happen on these days or something, and there's just some complexity to it. Most people wouldn't go to Google and type in flight to Milan kind of thing and so these vertical services have kind of risen to satisfy these needs and of course, because Google is almost literally the gateway to the internet for many people, Google notices this and Google starts disadvantaging those things and they start improving their own search services so that they can perform vertical searches and so Google has flight search.
Leo: And they buy the biggest fly scheduling company-
Paul: Yeah, because they're gigantic and they do what they want. So I think, you can make an argument that Google search is better, and it helps people. But on the other hand, there are these companies like from Europe and some are Microsoft and they're complaining because they're being disadvantaged by Google artificially. Publishing companies are an example, vertical searches are an example, we're going to see this happen with mobile devices and with mobile device services with Android, will be one of the next anti-trust battles that they fight. It's going to happen. You're not going to be dominant and not face these kind of challenges. And it's up to Google to respond accordingly.
Leo: There's a little conflict of interest when Google- And there's debate over whether Google even does this. -But if they favor you to- I don't think Google should be in the content business as a content person. If I were an airline I wouldn't be happy about Google being in the air scheduling business.
Paul: Right. Just from my perspective, I write articles that appear on the web. Google has insane and hidden SEO rules that change all of the time. Every once in a while- Because I work for a company and there are people monitoring this kind of stuff, I would never notice. -Someone will say hey, our Google search re-directions are off the charts bad, what's going on? And you would investigate it and finally you'd figure out, oh they made a change in their SEO and we're not doing this thing that they like and we're being disadvantaged now. You had no idea this was coming, it's almost illogical. The company I work for now has policies in place with regards to how we publish certain things, that are the result of an SEO change that happened probably 8 years ago or something. We just talked about this recently, do we still have to do this? It doesn't actually make sense, and nobody knows. Nobody wants to change it, and what if it still is bad to do this? It's a weird system to live under because if you're not in Google, you don't exist.
Leo: Yeah they're very very powerful. Very scary, ultimately. Microsoft sues the IRS, here's a company not afraid of anything.
Paul: This is- Well, basically tech companies often keep their revenues in countries around the world because their tax rates are better. So they have an effective tax rate in Ireland that is less than half of what we pay here in the United States so Ireland comes up a lot in these tax discussions, because Apple Microsoft and other companies will hoard a lot of their profits there because the tax is less. IRS is looking into Microsoft because apparently, over a certain 4 or 5 year span, Microsoft's tax rate was over half that of the statutory corporate tax rate in the United States. They were a little curious how they were able to wrangle that deal. And the reason that Microsoft is suing them is because the IRS in an unprecedented move has hired an outside contractor to figure out what Microsoft is doing. Microsoft says that under the Freedom of Information Act, they have the right to understand what this company is doing. They're running $2 million to investigate Microsoft on behalf of the IRS, no one has ever done this before and so this is kind of an unusual thing, they want to know what's up. And the IRS has basically said they will not be able to comply with that request in the time allotted and so Microsoft has sued them. The IRS has had some problems over the past few years and if you follow the news, I'm sure you've heard. We all feel bad about that.
Leo: Yeah, we love them.
Paul: We wish them the best.
Leo: And China- As long as we're in the court, China is accusing Microsoft of tax evasion.
Paul: So over the summer, Microsoft's offices in China were raided and there were all of these things going on, this has nothing to do with all of that. China has separately charged Microsoft of evading taxes in that country and has charged them $140 million in fees and interest, I guess. This is somewhat humorous because they didn't actually identify Microsoft, I don't know if you saw this but it was a company or tech giant whose name starts with M, they opened a China office in whatever year it was that Microsoft started an office in China, like they literally identified them in that way. I mean, it's Microsoft...
Leo: Why be coy?
Paul: Yeah, really coy about it. Microsoft issued a statement that said, in 2012 we agreed to how things would be taxed and we're paying our taxes that way and that's it. We haven't done anything wrong. I think they're just as confused by this as anyone else. So yeah, good stuff.
Leo: Alright, let's take a break I want to do the back of the book and see your beer pick. Maybe some specials for Black Friday. But before we do that, I also want to talk about audio books, Paul and I love us some Audible.com. We're big fans and listen to it all of the time. We haven't done an Audible ad in a long time so I thought it'd be a good time to get your Audible picks.
Paul: Well we talked about Audible sometime in October and I mentioned that at that time there was a crazy deal on horror books so I picked up some from Steven King and that kind of stuff and since then, I've gotten a number of things and there's a new version of Fahrenheit 451, the classic by Ray Bradbury, read by Tim Robbins, it's excellent.
Paul: It's only five hours long and I love these shorter books. I'm also listening to a couple of others. Steven King's newest book, Revival is out. A little bit longer, 13 hours 24 minutes, it's kind of a Frankenstein story which is interesting and it's also very good. But as a part of the horror stuff that I picked up, speaking of Frankenstein, I picked up Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the reason that one is interesting is because it's read by Dan Stevens. Dan Stevens being the blond British guy who is in Downton Abbey until the previous season. Now if you've ever listened to this guy's voice, you'd know that this guy is the perfect British narrator, this guy is awesome. I don't have this yet but this will be the next one I get, Dan Stevens also narrates the first James Bond book, Casino Royale, which I am absolutely getting and is also 5 hours long. I can't wait to start that, but he also narrates the 10-13 hours long versions of the Iliad Odyssey.
Leo: Oh nice.
Paul: His voice is awesome.
Leo: Here's a little bit from Frankenstein. He's an actor, so he brings the words to life. It isn't somebody reading to you, it's somebody bringing the words to life, which is fabulous I think.
Paul: Yeah, and so when you think about the James Bond book, Casino Royale, perfect voice for this, and Iliad Odyssey, same thing.
Leo: It's interesting, I don't know if people understand this but just as you can be a fan of an author and read all of their books, once you start listening to audio books on Audible you become a fan sometimes of the reader and you start listening to all the material that they read.
Paul: There are certain combinations that are perfect, like the guy that does Daniel Swarez' books-
Leo: Oh wait a minute, I want to hear Bill Nighy doing Moonraker. Apparently they've got celebrity performances of all the-
Paul: For each one, yeah.
Leo: Yeah, here's Bill Nighy. You will recognize his voice probably. Oh I can't wait. This is fun, thank you for pointing this out. So each one has a different British actor.
Paul: I only came across this because I grabbed Frankenstein for a couple of dollars, it was on sale. And you listen to the beginning of it and go, wait a minute this is that guy. I wonder if he does other books and then you kind of go from there.
Leo: Here's Damien Louis, remember he was the guy in Homeland for the first three seasons. He played an American Marine but he was British.
Leo: It's so funny because you see these British actors on these American shows and you never realize that's what they sound like.
Paul: Like the lead in the Walking Dead, completely British.
Leo: Yeah. This is wonderful, look at all of these. Here's the deal, we're going to get you an Audible book for free, go to audible.com/windows. You'll be signing up for the Gold Account, that's the book per month subscription plan you also get with any other subscription plans, a Daily New York Times or Walstreet Journal Digest read to you. Now, the way this works is you have thirty days where you don't have to pay a thing. Cancel anytime within the first 30 days and you get to keep the book. I don't think you're going to quit but, audible.com/windows. And I look forward to the 22nd of every month, which was a couple of days ago, because that's when I get my credits. I think I already have two books in my shopping cart that I really want to get.
Leo: One of them is free, thank goodness. So that means I have one more I can get. I'm just a huge fan, audible.com/windows. 150,000 titles, the best stuff ever. You're going to love it, audible.com/windows. And I love it when I see that subtotal come out to a zero because I have a subscription. Audible.com/windows, try it today.
Paul: By the way, Goldfinger, read by Hugh Bonneville- Also from Downton Abbey. -And what was the other one of these...? Kenneth Branagh reading The Man With the Golden Gun. Yeah, it's good stuff and that's going to be the next couple of months for me right there.
Leo: Yeah I'm excited. Okay, so continuing on as we must. We shall soldier on. Actually this, I saw this earlier this morning and I thought wow, this is great news.
Paul: Yeah, the only down side to this is Microsoft's communication of the deal I'm about to describe, was not very good. And looking at my website feedback and people on Twitter, I believe it's US only, I know that kind of this causes a problem with people who don't live in the United States. I'm sorry, it's very hard when you live here, if it's not spelled out for us to know that it's not going to work somewhere else-
Leo: Well books and music both, the deals are always negotiated on a per-country-basis.
Leo: That's just how it happens, sorry guys.
Paul: Yeah, so I think there's been a lot of misunderstanding-
Leo: Don't blame us, blame the music labels, right?
Paul: Right. Well, Microsoft could have said, US only deal. And just spelled it out.
Leo: They should have mentioned that.
Paul: I don't know why they do that. Anyway, if you live in the US over a month ago Microsoft released an app called MusicDeals for Windows phone and for Windows 8+, so 8, 8.1, either phone, tablet or PC. It really is just a way to know what deal are out that week on Xbox music. And so they always have an album that is $.99 and they have some promos for whatever little collections to have and stuff- And you know, if you want to establish a music collection this is the way to do it. But this week- This is a very limited time offer, ending in just a couple of days. -They're offering one hundred free albums and these are not like Bluegrass albums from some band you've never heard of, they're all really good albums. Again, even if you're not even positive that you want any of this stuff, it would behoove you if you can to get them for free, they're all free. And it looks like a lot of these free albums will be around for at least a couple of weeks so they'll be around, kind of a holiday thing. I'm just scrolling through really quickly... Eric Clapton, Greenday, Selena Gomez, Stone Temple Pilots, Lana Del Ray. All types of music, genres and everything. It's free and awesome.
Leo: Yeah, it's great. And you don't have to- It's free for forever, like you own it.
Paul: Yeah, it's free. And this is a thing, I don't think people understand this but you as an individual with a Microsoft account, can access Xbox Music. What that means is you can, in your- Of course, the free streaming stuff is going away so it's not going to be as great as it has been for the past couple of years. -But you could today, browse around this store, search for artists that you like and add those to your Cloud collection. So what that means is you have albums, and songs, you can create playlists and they're in the Cloud. You can stream them today, and that's ending literally in days. But for the past two years you could do that, stream them for free. If you have an Xbox Music Pass, you can stream them without ads forever.
Leo: So you're saying I don't need to buy an Xbox Music Pass to get these hundred-
Paul: Right, and that's the thing that people don't understand.
Leo: That's awesome.
Paul: And I did this on an account that doesn't have an Xbox Music Pass. So you run the app and find the album you want, click 'buy' go Xbox Music Launches. It's free, you buy it. The way Xbox Music is setup by default on Windows 8.1 or whatever is it will download that music to your hard drive. It's mp3, it's 320k, there's no right's management on it or anything like that, it's free and clear. If you use iTunes, you can push it into iTunes and use it there for the rest of your life if you want. It's free, it works and I've done it with and without an account that has Music Pass.
Leo: So would I use the Xbox Music app?
Paul: Yeah, it's built into Windows. The Music Deals app is the one that lists all of the free stuff. It's easier to browse for whatever you're wanting in the Music Deals app, click on the one you want, Xbox Music Launches, click here to get it for free and it adds to your collection. So in two years or whatever if you're still using Windows you can still sign in and it would be there, you own it.
Leo: I'm looking at the music right now and this would be the beginning of a great collection.
Leo: Sublime, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, U2, I mean these are great.
Paul: The other part is the box sets and in some ways they're a little more interesting because these box sets are usually $15-$100 depending on what it is. They're $2 each and there's like the complete Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones Single Collection, the London Years, John Lennon Box Set, Nirvana Box set.
Leo: That one was expensive, but $2.
Paul: It's amazing, and this is a great deal.. The point here is, even if you don't use Xbox Music or have any intention of every using Xbox Music if you have a Windows computer just get it. If you use Amazon, iTunes, Google Music whatever get it from Xbox Music and push it into the thing that you use. Why wouldn't you use this?
Leo: Right. Wow.
Paul: Great deal, but the box sets are only around for five more days. But definitely look at it, it's amazing.
Leo: Hardware pick of the week, I've seen a lot of people talking about this HP Stream and I've seen a lot of ads for it too.
Paul: Yeah, this kind of ties into the Black Friday stuff even though these deals are available now. When Microsoft announced early in the year this notion, we made fun of it. Remember the $0 licensing fee? The concern at the time was obviously we'd see a lot of cheap crap but that's going to happen. But the thing we didn't anticipate was what if some company decides to make something that isn't crap? These HP stream devices- There are four or five of them, an HP Stream 7 and 8, I've only tried the 7. There's an HP Stream 11, 13, and 14. 11 and 13 share the same kind of design language and I ended up getting a second one for my wife to use as well. We have two HP Stream 11's and there's a 13 coming. They're low-end machines, they have 2 gigs of storage, probably 32 gigs of EMMC storage on the device but they're beautiful looking and work great for what they are.
Leo: So they're just like Chromebooks, right but running Windows.
Paul: Yeah, but they're really nice looking. And the keyboard on this thing is fantastic, I'm a big guy and I still think that it is notably nice to type on.
Leo: So how about your beer pick? It'd be crazy not to end this show with a little bit of beer.
Paul: Yeah, so it's the most wonderful time of the year. This is when the barley wine beers appear. And I researched this and am not surprised to discover that there are two versions essentially, of barley wine beers there's American and English.
Leo: Is Barley Wine a beer?
Paul: No it's not so much a beer type, it's like a way that you make the beer. It's often in barrels and it's often high in alcohol content. The American versions tend to be hoppier so I don't like those, and I'm lucky enough for whatever reason- I live in Boston. -We have two breweries that I'm aware of that make these kinds of beers. They're high in alcohol, and dark colored with molasses kind of sweet flavors, We have two great versions here. There's Blue Hills Brewery which is my local brewery and they make one called Fortis Pagas which is my favorite. But there's also Pretty Things, on the other side of Boston, they have something called Our Finest Regards which is also fantastic. The thing that is most interesting about barley wine beers to me is not so much the flavor or the high alcohol content-
Leo: 12%, ooh.
Paul: Yeah, they're high in alcohol. They're winter beers. You could eat this with a fork.
Leo: So that's why they call it a wine, it's strong.
Paul: Yeah. These, unlike most beers can actually be aged. And presumably they get better over time. I find that they tend to get a bit more syrupy over time they almost get like a Port.
Paul: But I've got one left from last year of Fortis Pagas and that will probably end up being like a holiday thing.
Leo: You normally don't store beer by the bottle but these you do.
Paul: Yeah, these you can. Obviously they change a bit over time-
Leo: That must be the high alcohol.
Leo: So how long, like a year right?
Paul: A couple of years at best I think. Like I said, I've got one that's a year old- The beer guy I go to said that the Pretty Things that they put out this year are from last year.
Leo: Oh they age them, interesting.
Paul: This guy is really good. The interesting this is I went and rated this on Untapped and I love this beer and my rating last year was not very high at all. I think it was because it was aged it got better. It kind of went from a Porter type thing to almost like a Port. If you ever find any of those beers, although they're East Coast, those guys are great.
Leo: Awesome, I'll have to try that.
Leo: Paul Thurrott, have a really nice Thanksgiving holiday.
Paul: You too. Please try to have turkey, Leo.
Leo: Maybe I'll have a turkey dog at the ball park. I don't even know where I'm going to get turkey. It would be on the way down to Santa Clarida to the football game. Maybe we'll stop along the way.
Paul: I'll be in a beer and turkey coma by about 4 o'clock.
Leo: Beer and bagels, what a way to start a Thanksgiving. 8 AM you said?
Leo: You're crazy.
Paul: I know, I hate getting up that early but it is a holiday.
Leo: And there's beer and bagels. Do you put shmears on the bagels or you just eat it dry?
Paul: Oh yeah, yeah shmears. This has turned into an actual tradition.
Leo: Sounds great, frankly. Paul Thurrott is at the supersite for Windows, winsupersite.com. Normally Mary Jo Foley is here but she will be back. She's flying home from Europe and will be here with us again next week. She's at allaboutmicrosoft.com and between the two of them I don't think there's any better commentators. I mean, we really have got you covered here. We do this show every Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern time, 1900 UTC. If you'd like to tune in live, we'd love it if you would. If not though, on-demand audio and video always available after the fact at twit.tv/ww or at youtube.com/windowsweekly, and of course wherever podcasts are aggregated, including the Xbox Music store and the podcast app on your Windows Phone and all of the other devices. Have a great Thanksgiving to my friends in the US and to everyone else, we're taking the day off tomorrow.
Paul: Have some turkey wherever you are.
Leo: Have some turkey wherever you are, see you next week on Windows Weekly! Buh-bye.