Why do people keep throwing Windows OEMs under the bus?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Rogifan, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #1
    There's a story on Ars about Lenovo refusing to sell Microsoft's Surface. A number of comments take swipes at OEMs saying Microsoft was the first one to design a good PC laptop.

    Is that really fair? One, I don't think it's true (Dell, Lenovo and Asus all make some really nice laptops). Two, PC OEMs have to deal with commodity hardware and software. They have to deal with razor thin margins. And consumers that are conditioned to getting cheap PCs. Kind of hard to make a premium product under those circumstances. And it's not like Gates or Ballmer's Microsoft was doing anything to change this dynamic. All that mattered to them was making tons of $$ from Windows licenses. I don't think PC OEMs set out with the intention of making crappy products.

    I would argue it's easier for Microsoft to design premium hardware as they don't have to sell in volume and can afford for it to not be profitable, at least not right away. Microsoft has freedoms PC OEMs don't. Throwing OEMs under the bus is unfair, IMO.
     
  2. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #2
    Haven't been much of a Dell fan until recently, but I still think they are overpriced.

    ASUS is hands down my favorite PC brand. Even their budget PCs are made with quality and run as if they are optimized for Windows.

    HP is the worst. Can't count how many times I had display failure for no reason on multiple models. And the build quality feels cheap.

    Don't have much experience with Lenovo, only had an used ThinkPad over a decade ago.

    I always wanted a Sony VAIO.
     
  3. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    So what, let all the OEM's die for all I care. The market dictates what they sell, and if they can't roll with the punches they deserve to die. Look at Apple, no razor thin margins and they put out a good product. All those years of cheap crap I bought I feel I should get a refund. There is no tablet on the market which is as well made and functional as the surface line, should I feel bad that OEM's can't put together a product that is well made and has great customer service?

    I understand the ramifications of what I say, windows depends on cloud services and subscriptions and without the OEMs they won't have that. Ballmer, bad as he was, saw a glimpse of a future where MS had their own hardware, I don't see why that future cannot solidify. Once again using Apple as an example, there are no Apple OEM's. Granted they don't make their money off subs and cloud services as much.
     
  4. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #4
    I think MS is competing more with Apple on the high end, high quality, high margin merchandise than they are their OEMs, who get most of their money from the low-mid end of the PC spectrum.
     
  5. Savor Suspended

    Savor

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    Agree everything you said about ASUS and HP.

    I read a couple years ago reading through an ASUS pamphlet that they have the most reliable PC's with the least amount of defects. Dell, HP, and Gateway had the highest defects. I even read some guy climbing Mount Everest and using an ASUS laptop that still worked with those temperatures. Just hoping ASUS can improve their smartphones and don't rely so much on Intel for the mobile SoC. ASUS is a Top 5 good brand I like and Top 3 in value. They already started showing their potential with the Nexus 7 in 2012 with a quality design for an excellent price. Padfones and Fonepads are rock solid too. Looking forward to their Zenfone 3 in next year's MWC.
     
  6. FFR, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2015

    FFR macrumors 6502a

    FFR

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    #6
    Asus is dying, I believe they are for sale.

    Since the surface book Microsoft started competing with the windows oem. Now with the surface book they took it up to eleven.
    Dell and Hp sell the surface because tablets and laptops are not a major part of their business (enterprise and desktops). Now Lenovo is another story so is asus and acer, their business models rely heavily on tablets and laptops

    The pc market is dying, Sony already sold their vaio division to a Japanese private equity firm. Asus is next on the selling block.

    One thing is for sure 2016, is going to be brutal for everyone other than Apple in the pc market. Let's see who will survive.
     
  7. kasakka macrumors 68000

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    #7
    Laptops in general haven't evolved along with tablets. We're used to 1080p+ screens with great colors and viewing angles on phones and tablet yet nearly every sub 1000 euro laptop comes with a low quality display and is anything but slim. Many trackpads and keyboards on them are still far worse than Apple's offerings.

    There's usually a pretty bad disconnect between the various aspects of a laptop. Such a thing as a great screen but mediocre other specs is not available but the opposite of great hardware but ****** display is. Apple is generally better in this regard but even their high end models often have integrated graphics which are still not that great.

    For the average user a tablet with a keyboard is a pretty good replacement for a laptop, especially if it runs Windows 10.
     
  8. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    #8
    Crappy hardware and third party software is mostly why people complain about Windows. Software being the bloat added by OEMs or corporate IT teams. Hardware being things like horrible touchpads. MS has a precision touchpad standard, for example. They should really trumpet things like this and let people know what is needed to have a good experience with Windows. Setting an example by designing their own hardware works too. Sometimes it's hard to tell when a PC meets certain standards. If they don't already (I haven't seen it) maybe they should start a certification program to help weed out the crap PCs and deter people from buying them. Maybe it's too late for laptops as we know them but it would be a nice fresh start for the next evolution of the PC which seems to be somewhere between phone and tablet. Everyone loses in the race to the bottom, except competitors like Apple that are more than willing to take in those disenchanted by some of the things that just don't work very well in Windows world.
     
  9. iSheep5S macrumors 6502a

    iSheep5S

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    #9
    I had 2 of the same Asus laptops die way too early. Like they knew when to die. I played games on mine and browsed till it died. My dad lightly used his, got a PC at the time mine died and sold his to me. Died shortly after.

    I had a Samsung laptop with decent graphics that lasted me 3 years till I sold it.

    In between these I had an IBM ThinkPad which is still running. It was a filler a I didn't have the cash at the time for anything 'decent'. One IBM T42 which is STILL going... slowly. :)

    I wanted something portable but couldn't be bothered with rubbish display netbooks so I got a Surface 3. No bloat etc and I love it.

    Surprised about the postings on HP. I have one and have had no issues. Its my first experience of the brand.

    Tablets I think are built to a budget. Had some Asus, transformer, memopad but the Nexus wins for quality on them. Battery issue with the transformer. Some apps wouldn't install/run with the memopad.

    Need I say iPad wins the overall quality/enjoyment race for me?

    I think Microsoft is onto something these days. No bloat and decent devices.
     
  10. Rogifan, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015

    Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #10
    Except they run different OSes. Why would a consumer buy a Dell XPS 13 or 15 now that Microsoft has the Surface Book?

    But why? Because Microsoft doesn't need to make money in hardware and isn't competing with other hardware players in a low margin business. They can afford to produce quality hardware without bloatware.

    Re/Code reported that Silverlake was entertaining selling Dell's PC business when they purchased EMC. With Surface Microsoft is basically saying we want to own the high end, i.e. profitable segment and you OEMs can all fight for the crumbs at the low end. PC makers like HP, Dell and perhaps Lenovo, that have a big presence in the enterprise will probably survive (unless Microsoft decides to aggressively go after that market too) but pure consumer players like Acer, Asus, Vizio etc. will find it hard to survive.

    My point isn't the what, it's the why. I don't think PC OEMs were/are making crappy hardware by choice. And Microsoft isn't totally blameless. It's not like they had nothing to do with years and years of cheap PCs on the market. And now that their Windows hegemony is being disrupted by mobile Microsoft decides they need to get into the hardware business themselves and they don't much care if they're throwing their OEMs under the bus. We'll see if this works. I think the new "PC does whaaat?" ad campaign is cringeworthy.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. spinedoc77, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015

    spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #11
    Well the why is that the OEM's have been making crap for years now. Look at netbooks, what a god awful product segment that was, and they were confused when the iPad came in and completely obliterated it. No I think they made crappy hardware by choice, that was their profit margin. Maybe they didn't have the balls to make nicer hardware and charge more like Apple, but that's their loss because that market definitely exists. Personally I choose the SP3/4 because of the quality, the functionality and also the customer service. Anyone who has waited hours on the phone only to speak to a heavily accented customer rep telling them to mail their laptop to Texas and wait 3 weeks to get their creaking cheap plastic, slow and bloated PC looked at knows what I'm talking about. MS has the right idea when they copied Apple, if I have issues with my SP3 I simply drive 15 minutes to my mall and have MS take a look at it.

    I don't see it as MS throwing the OEMs under the bus at all. Rather I see it as MS recognizing that the OEM's crappy products have brought the market down over the years and now the market is on the verge of dying, precisely because of the OEM's laziness and greed. This is exactly why the surface line was invented, to push the OEM's to produce a better product and thus elevate the entire PC market. The OEM's brought this upon themselves and Microsoft is doing what it can to revive the PC market.

    The funny thing is that the OEM's had ample time to up their game, they have NO excuse. The first surface Pro had crappy battery life, was quite thick and heavy, and expensive at the time. The surface RT tablets were dead on arrival. The OEM's could have stepped in and cleaned up the market with superior products, nice materials, impeccable fit and finish, get rid of bloatware, hardware that runs smoothly, great customer service, etc. Instead we got more "netbook" tablets, creaky cheap plastic, slow running, bloated, with the same horrendous customer service. Trust me, I bought ALL the freaking tablets out there. I can't tell you how many hours I was on the phone with Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, Dell, Samsung, Fujitsu etc. trying to resolve hardware issues, and never really have them resolved. The OEM's wasted this 2+ year period and are now just barely trying to release something decent, but still doesn't match up.
     
  12. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #12
    Yeah, but the OS is only one selling point among many. Quite a few people bought Macbooks because they made for some of the best Windows machines on the market. With MS making inroads into that high end, they're competing more with Apple than their OEMs, who tend to only rarely offer products of their own on that level.

    And why would people buy an XPS 13 or 15 with the Surface Book available? Price. Performance. Form factor. The XPS line is still more of a traditional laptop compared even to the Book. Some people don't need all the bells and whistles the Book offers, and thus aren't willing to pay that higher premium to get them. There are still plenty of spaces in the PC market for everyone to offer a competing product that address a need MS' line of laptops and tablets don't.
     
  13. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #13
    Pretty much agree with everything Spinedoc and Renzatic said. It's been a race to the bottom by PC OEMs for years. I'm glad to see Microsoft build what are essentially reference devices and if they pull sales away from other OEMs because of the improved quality, then great. Maybe it'll finally force them to stop producing the garbage they've been making for years.
     
  14. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #14
    Yep, this is a problem of the OEM's own making. We've been buying top of the line ThinkPads for more than a decade at my office, but for most of that time, Lenovo chose to not even offer anything other than crummy TN screens, poorly managed power consumption causing crap battery life, and touchpads that were functional and nothing more. There was a market for high-end computers that had the details sweated but nobody other than Apple was filling it. The fact that we now have MUCH better devices to choose from from most of those same companies now traces back almost directly to the release of the first Surface Pro.
     
  15. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #15
    I agree that it's largely the OEMs' own fault. While some companies have some really nice and competitive hardware, it's overshadowed by lots of sub-standard products. Then they apparently can't resist installing all sorts of bloatware (and worse) on the machines to degrade the quality perception further. They'd do much better if they streamlined their product lines, focused on quality hardware, and offered clean software installs (along the lines of Microsoft's "Signature Editions"). There are also plenty of market segments left for them that the "premium" brands like Apple and Microsoft don't cover, like business laptops with user-replacable/upgradable components.
     
  16. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #16
    Exactly, and I can say I was a consumer who fell in exactly these circumstances. Before the iPad came out, my last 3 or 4 laptops were MacBook and MacBook airs, BUT I only used windows on them. The main reason was because of the f it and finish and quality. I paid the extra money over the OEM offerings because of this.
     
  17. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #17
    How exactly is it the OEMs own fault? It's not like these companies are swimming in PC hardware profits. Companies like HP and Dell are moving away from the PC business into enterprise stuff and storage/cloud business. The PC isn't in decline because of crappy hardware or bloatware. It's because we now know most people were/are using their PCs for things like email, surfing the web, Facebook, YouTube, some gaming etc. and the hardware they have is powerful enough for that. And then throw on top of that mobile phones and tablets and most people just don't need full fledged PCs anymore.

    This new campaign is just weird. These videos are highlighting different features on different laptops. What happens when someone goes into Best Buy and says I want the laptop with 18 hour battery life that has no bezels and can slide under a door. And then they find out there isn't one laptop with all those features. And all the laptops featured in the ads are a lot more expensive than the average PC user is used to paying?
     
  18. Rigby macrumors 601

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    #18
    And yet, somehow Apple manages to grow its computer business in this environment. I'd argue that this is because they are able to maintain a premium brand perception, partly because of polished hardware and clean software. To put it in other words, their products are desirable to many people, while most PCs are just perceived as a necessity but not in any way exciting. We have seen some successes in the PC market recently though (like the Dell XPS line, the HP spectre, and of course the new MS products).
    Nothing prevents the OEMs from innovating with new types of devices beyond the traditional PC, just like Microsoft is trying to do with the Surface line.
     
  19. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #19
    Then why have Mac sales continued to outpace PC sales for the past few years? Macs are hardly the most affordable and are overkill for the tasks you describe. I think (and this is just my own pure speculation) with the prominence of both the iPhone and iPad, an entire segment of computer users who never would've looked twice at a Mac had their eyes opened to computers that weren't flimsy, bloat ridden, awful pieces of garbage, that usubg a computer didn't have to be such a painful experience. Sure, not everyone is willing to spend that much on a computer but obviously quite a few are and Microsoft is hoping to mirror this success.

    PC sales are in decline because yes, a larger segment of the population are fine using mobile device but also because they don't want to waste their money on the crap PCs OEMs traditionally have offered.
     
  20. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #20
    Well it's not like Mac sales are going gangbusters. Also I think PC OEMs have been trying different things well before Surface Book existed. 2-in-1's is the creation of Intel, not Microsoft just like Ultrabooks were.
     
  21. Renzatic Suspended

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    #21
    Also keep in mind that Macs, XPSes (yeah...that works), and Surfaces will continue to sell because they're addressing a demographic that wants to use their computer for more than just Facebook and email. Those people already have their lower cost, simpler to use tablets. They don't need a full on whizbang PC.

    And those who do? They don't want to pick a cheap piece of crap for $300 that'll give them a flaky year or twos worth of use before up and dying on them randomly. They want something they can put their trust in. For them, a Mac is an excellent computer. They're well built, reliable machines. It's why Apple has been seeing growth in a shrinking market. The people who now represent the PC Market want something nice, and Apple is providing it.

    But the OEMs? They've been selling the same stuff they've always been, which no one's buying anymore. There's no longer much of a market for the low end in the traditional PC scene anymore. MS saw this, thought "hell, we can't keep selling Windows if our partners won't make something worth half a damn", and, well...here we are.

    See, PCs aren't dying, but they're becoming the high end components of a much broader tech market. If the OEMs want to cater to this new niche, they better have a machine capable of doing so.
     
  22. Rogifan, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015

    Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6

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    #22
    Is there any hard, reliable data that confirms Macs are outselling PCs? I'm skeptical about that. Even still my argument isn't that there aren't junky, bloat ridden PCs. My argument is I think it's unfair to suggest they couldn't make decent PCs until Microsoft showed them the way (or shamed them into doing so). As I've argued earlier Microsoft doesn't need to make money on hardware. They don't face the same dynamics PC OEMs do. They can afford to make low volume premium hardware. How many PC OEMs can afford to do the same? Microsoft's vision was a computer in every home, on every desk. It was Bill Gates that said software was what mattered and hardware would just be a cheap, low margin commodity. In that environment is it any wonder PC OEMs delivered cheap crap filled with bloatware?

    I would argue PC sales are going to continue to decline until they stabilize into premium devices for a specific set of consumers willing to pay premium prices. And I suspect Surface will take sales away from premium Dell, Lenovo and HP products more so than Macs. There's a reason the chairman of Asus is pissed about Microsoft getting into the laptop business. Chromebooks might hang around for those who want cheap but in laptop format. Though its curious Google chose Android for the Chromebook Pixel C.
     
  23. Renzatic Suspended

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    #23
    The thing is, it's their own fault for not making a Surface Pro or Surface Book of their own. Why did MS, a traditionally software-centric company, have to take that extra step make a product to drum up interest in the PC scene themselves? Hardware is the OEMs job, is it not?
     
  24. zhenya macrumors 603

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    That's exactly the argument that all of them seemed to be making for the previous decade, which put them all in a race to the bottom because they had all convinced themselves that the problem with computers were that they were too expensive, so they ended up in a self-fulfilling prophesy where they built ever crappier computers driving the prices down and down until there were no margins left. Again, for much of the previous decade, I couldn't get a quality IPS screen on a top of the line Thinkpad which is built to custom order for any price.

    Apple, and now Microsoft, have stepped in to show these companies that the problem with the PC market was not that they were too expensive, but rather that they were built too cheaply, with little consideration of design or usability or the overall user experience. Most of those companies are now improving, but they still suffer from the other problem which is giving the consumer too many choices, and in the end they either choose the cheapest thing or nothing at all. I think that companies like Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc. need to build up a high-end sub-brand completely isolated branding-wise from the parent company and build it out in the Apple/Microsoft mold. A few extremely well executed designs with premium materials and service. Right now there is no focus from these manufacturers. Even the occasional great product they produce is often lost in the sea of mediocre companion offerings.
     
  25. spinedoc77, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015

    spinedoc77 macrumors G3

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    But it IS in decline because of poor quality hardware and customer service. How else can a company like Apple be explained, which charges a huge premium over other companies yet is probably the most successful company in history. Consumers flock to their superior quality and their customer service, that concierge type of service which you don't' get with anyone else except Microsoft. Although I do agree that it is in part due to PC's becoming powerful enough to do most things consumers want, although I can counter that partly with Apple's macbook and desktop sales which continue to climb. Even Microsoft's surface line is enjoying record profits and seeing increased sales every quarter, IMO consumers really appreciate hardware and customer service.

    But that doesn't make sense. Microsoft made huge profits on the surface line this year, they didn't lose money. The surface line isn't a loss leader, it's a bona fide product which makes Microsoft money. One some level I think the success surprised Microsoft and now they are taking advantage of it, which you can't blame them as a company.

    I don't disagree that MS maybe had something to do with the OEM's apathy, certainly onerous licensing fees and such contributed. But it's a different environment and MS has drastically reduced it's licensing fees for the OEMs and is providing them much more support and trying to give them a direction, a direction which has been proven by Apple and is being proven further by Microsoft itself.

    Bloatware, there is NO excuse for that at all, it's simply advertising greed on the OEM's part. It's like having commercials or ads forced upon you, no one likes it and it's a negative for your product.

    Also if the OEM's don't have the supply chain connections that Apple and Microsoft do then that's too bad, it's a reality of business. If a company can't stand on it's own, then does it deserve to be in business? You're trying to get others to feel pity for the OEM's, but they are profit generating companies and need to rethink their strategy to match what consumers want, or die.

    Excellent points. This reminds me of Samsung, which releases WAY too many phones, then wonders why it can't sell them. The OEMs need to have a flagship and a less expensive option in each product segment, and that's it. That would free up a lot of R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, and especially marketing money, giving them much more of a profit margin to work with.
     

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